Apple Watch

Screenshot++ and new Apple Hardware

I'm currently finishing development on Screenshot++ 2.0. I decided this version will also support iPad Pro sized screenshots and be available before the new iPad actually ships to customers in November.

Its important that Screenshot++ users be able to interact with the iPad Pro's massive screenshots from day 1. It's also a little frightening that I won't be able to properly test this feature on an actual device before official launch day. Chicken or the egg?

I'm looking into whether screenshots from the new Apple TV can be supported in the app. Can you take screenshots of the Apple TV's output without the simulator? If so, where do the files go? Screenshots from Apple Watch worked out well because a screenshot taken on the Watch is moved to the user's iPhone soon after creation. I'll have more info about screenshots from Apple TV in a later post.

Because I don't want to cause major delay in shipping Screenshot++ 2.0 with iOS 9 support, I'll be adding iPhone 6s features in a 2.1 release later this fall.

--WD

Screenshot++ 1.2 Now Available

I'm pleased to announce that Screenshot++ 1.2 is now available on the App Store! It includes support for screenshots from Apple Watch, Quick Actions for automating complex actions, keyboard shortcuts, and UI enhancements.

A big thank you to all our beta testers for their valuable feedback! If you would like to help the next version of Screenshot++, we'll be running another beta for our next version soon.

Screenshot++ 2.0 is already in development with support for new features in iOS 9 as well as a new Dashboard. Stay tuned for more info!

If you love Screenshot++, please take a moment to rate and review us in the App Store. It really helps!

Learn more about Screenshot++

Apple Watch Band Combinations

If you're planning on buying an Apple Watch when it launches this Spring, check out mixyourwatch.com and browse the different body/band configurations.

I'm leaning towards the lighter bodies with the metal bands.

Such a great resource!

Apple's 'Early, Mid, Late'

At last year's iPhone event, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch and said it would be available for consumers in 'Early 2015'. What exactly does that mean?

Most, including myself, assumed this meant anytime between January 1 and June 30 2015 - that's a broad timeframe.

During this week's 2015 Q1 earning's call, Tim Cook provided some clarity -

Cook says Early 2015 means first four months, Mid means next four months, Late means last four months…
— 9to5Mac, http://9to5mac.com/2015/01/27/fy15-q1-earnings-call/

While this may not seem newsworthy, it's important to note that Apple has historically been loose-goosy with their promised release timeframes. You can bet that if something is promised in 'May', it will be released after the 15th.

Apple has burned itself in the past when it couldn't deliver on a promised launch date. For me, a 6 month window lands far on the obscure side of the fence. It's nice to see Tim providing some clarity on Apple's wording when it comes to timeframes.

Debugging Apps on Apple Watch

With iOS 8.2 beta and WatchKit, we now have a way to create apps (sort of) for Apple Watch. With Apple Watch not actually going on sale until some time in 2015, developers can only test their apps in the Watch simulator on their Mac.

This isn't the first time developers are tasked with creating software for a device they haven't seen in person. In 2010, developers began writing apps for iPad which, at that time, wouldn't ship until months later.

There's nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, it's great that Apple gives early API access to developers so their apps will be ready on launch day.

One issue we encountered while testing on iPhone OS 3.2 was we had little knowledge of the original iPad's performance capabilities. We over-estimated what that device was capable of. Software that ran smoothly in the Simulator on a Mac with access to, at that time, a blazing-fast dual-core Intel CPU ran slow and choppy on the iPad's A4. Surprise.

With iOS 8.2's WatchKit, it's a little different this time around. Instead of running native apps on the Watch, we're only able to create extension-like software that runs primarily on iPhone. By using the iPhone's processor, Apple is able to maximize Apple Watch battery life. In addition, WatchKit doesn't yet allow for the creation of full/native Watch apps as you would think of them for the iPhone.

Native Apple Watch apps are coming sometime next year, most likely at June's WWDC. And that's when the Watch Simulator won't be enough and developers will need to test their apps on an actual device. 

So how will that actually work? With iPhone and iPad app development, you connect your iOS device to your Mac and run a project in Xcode. But, the Apple Watch doesn't have a Lightening port.

While it's somewhat of a mystery, my best guess is Xcode will bring back wireless device testing. It was a seldom talked about feature in Xcode 5 that took some tinkering to enable, but it used to be possible to wirelessly test an app on an iOS device without connecting it directly to your Mac via USB. At some point, it seems, the Xcode Team removed the feature as I can't find any trace of it in Xcode 6.1.

The possibility of wirelessly debugging an app on a device that I don't have to plug in to a computer is enticing. I would also imagine any content syncing to the device will be done wirelessly through iTunes.

If that's true, this is one developer that hopes wireless testing/debugging is supported for all iOS devices, not just the Apple Watch.