Category Archives: Products and News

ePageCreator v5.9 released.


ePageCreator v5.9 released.

What’s new

  • HTML 5 version now can be automatically open when Flash Player is not found or disabled on PC/Mac;
  • Fixing an issue with link for iOS 9;
  • Fixing an issue that could crash when previewing on Windows 10;
  • Fixing an issue that could cause the generated EXE file fail to launch on Windows 8;
  • Fixing an issue that could prevent opening saved project;
  • Fixing an issue that could prevent inputing YouTube id;
  • Fixing an issue for some users that caused failure to open big video in Chrome;
  • Fixing an issue for some users that caused crashing when loading some PDFs;
  • Fixing an issue that could cause image gallery shifting down on mobile devices;
  • Fixing an issue for Mac OS X 10.11;
  • Fixing a compatible issue with Android 4.4;

A newsletter from Apple: Changes to Newsstand in iOS 9.


Hi Alive Software,

We’re making some important changes to Newsstand in iOS 9 that will impact your Newsstand apps. You may need to take some of the steps outlined below to ensure your app appears correctly on the App Store and across devices.

Newsstand App
With iOS 9, which will be available for customers later this fall, the Newsstand app will no longer be available. Instead, all existing Newsstand apps will be in a newly created folder, Newsstand, which will appear on the Home screen. You’ll still be able to offer In-App Purchase subscriptions for your magazine and newspaper apps on the App Store. Background downloads will also continue to work and existing subscriptions won’t be affected.

Category Name
With the release of iOS 9, apps in the Newsstand category will automatically move to a new category called Magazines & Newspapers. Your primary category won’t change. If you prefer a different category for your app, you’ll be able to change categories when you submit a new app version after iOS 9 becomes available.

App Icons
Magazine and newspaper apps will no longer display custom Newsstand cover art or per-issue art. Instead, they’ll just display their standard app icon. Make sure your app icon scales well to all sizes and is easy to read. For more details, see the iOS Human Interface Guidelines.

Atom Feeds and Metadata
After the iOS 9 release, you’ll no longer have access to the Newsstand Atom feeds to update your metadata cover art. We recommend that you add generic cover art to your Atom feed and update your app’s description regularly. You’ll still be able to update your app screenshots and metadata without submitting a new app version. Learn more on our App Store product page.

If you have any questions, contact us.

The App Store team

Magazine App Creator – Mag2GO released


Create magazine app and publish your magazine on Apple newsstand/Google Play.

I would like to present you our new product – Mag2GO, which delivers your content into Apple Newsstand/AppStore and Google Play. It can create native app and publish your content into the app.

Why Newsstand App?

  • 1. Huge Market – Over 800 million iOS devices and a billion Android devices on the Market!
  • 2. Super Low Competition – Only 5,000 magazine apps in Apple Newsstand!
  • 3. Recurring Income – Readers are Paying You Monthly!
  • 4. No Need for Marketing or Support System!
  • 5. Super Low Chargeback!
  • 6. Instant Results!

We don’t claim any commission on your publication’s sales. Publish your content to the Apple Newsstand/AppStore with Mag2GO costs $99/month.

If you would like to learn more, please check http://www.mag2go.net

OS X Mavericks will be available today as a free download


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Apple has just announced the latest version of OS X, 10.9 Mavericks, will be available as a free Mac App Store download today. In addition to the usual promise of increased speed and efficiency, the update has a number of improvements over 10.8 Mountain Lion, including a more robust notification system (which includes inline replies), better support for multiple monitors and full screen apps, a revamp of Finder, and the addition of iCloud Keychain for saving passwords.

A clip from Apple’s keynote.

 

Many other apps have been updated, but although some are getting a boost in functionality, a lot of the work done brings the overall aesthetic of OS X in line with Apple’s iOS 7. Gone are the Contacts app’s fake book and pages, gone are Calendar’s torn page marks, and gone is the Notes app’s yellow legal pad. This is the first time Apple has distributed a major update like Mavericks without charging — 10.8 Mountain Lion was priced at $19.99, while 10.7 Lion was $29.99. The free update is available to everyone running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and above.

It’s worth noting that the discount doesn’t extend to OS X Server. The latest Server 3.0 requires Mavericks and will be available as a $19.99 upgrade from the Mac App Store.

Apple OS X Mavericks 10.9 review


By  posted Oct 22nd, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Apple OS X Mavericks 10.9 review

When Apple first unveiled Mavericks, the latest version of its desktop operating system, we noted one key takeaway: The company is committed to OS X. Meaning, those of you waiting for an altogether new experience will have to keep holding your breath. Like all the iterations before it, version 10.9 is a building block atop the operating system’s familiar UI. Apple didn’t opt for a “biggest change ever” update as it did with release of iOS 7 (and potentially risking alienating longtime users as a result). Which makes sense, in a way: there’s little question that the success of its smartphone and tablet offerings have contributed to the erosion of desktop sales, so it figures that the company is focusing much of its developer talent on mobile.

That’s not to say there aren’t a fair number of additions. As the company’s decidedly modest tagline puts it, Mavericks lets users “Do even more with new apps and features.” At the top of the list are the additions of Maps and iBooks – two apps first introduced in iOS. And while there are no changes to the Finder as major as Notifications, tabbed windows and tags aim to help users better organize their desktops. We can tell you right now that there’s enough in here to justify the download time, especially given that this is free for people already running Snow Leopard or higher. But is it enough to help OS X maintain Apple’s self-proclaimed “world’s most advanced desktop operating system?” Or is the company’s reluctance to think different on the desktop hampering innovation?

Apple OS X Mavericks 10.9 review

See all photos18 PHOTOS

 

FINDER

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MavericksIf you’ve so much as touched a Mac in the past decade, you won’t be blindsided the first time you boot up Mavericks. Rest assured, everything is just where you left it. While Microsoft has made its way through a couple of UI overhauls over the past decade (some, admittedly, more successful than others), Apple’s tinkered and tweaked and iterated, sprinkling in new features where it saw fit, but generally choosing not to mess with a good thing. That means, thankfully, that the company hasn’t yet transformed OS X into a desktop counterpart to iOS, but it also means that after 15 years, this once-revolutionary operating system is starting to feel a bit stale.

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MavericksThere are, however, some notable additions here. Open a window and you’ll immediately spot a new button, just to the right of the Share feature that came along for the ride in 10.8. This is just one of many entry points for tagging. Highlight a file, click the button and you’ll be able to tag it with an existing label or a new one. Apple’s already created a few to get you started, including five colors and categories like “Home,” “Important” and “Work.” A file can also be tagged from the drop-down that pops up when you press Control and click it. You can assign as many tags as you want to a given file; the corresponding colors will show up as dots next to the file name line for a quick view.

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MavericksTags also appear in the left sidebar of Finder windows, so you can quickly tap in to see all of the files that fall within a given category. Meanwhile, tags have been added to the Finder Spotlight search, giving you another option to refine results. All told, it makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for, particularly in those cases when you can’t quite remember what you’ve titled something. Apple’s also integrated tags into its own apps, like Pages, with a field that pops up when you save things, allowing you to tag item from within the program.

Ditto for iCloud’s desktop component. You can tag files there, regardless of the device that was initially used to create it (Mac, iPhone, iPad). Once you do, it will show up in all of the searches you do in Finder and via the tag-refinement sidebar. Just how handy tags will be depends on how organized you are — and how often you remember to actually tag things. Which is to say, it’s a compelling feature if you actually use it. Ultimately, it’s yet another tool at your disposal for cleaning up your hard drive and finding things even faster.

Mavericks

Another handy Finder feature was borrowed directly from the browser world: Finder tabs let you open multiple folders in a single window. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. You can press Command and double-click a folder or choose the option from a drop-down. Once you’ve got more than one folder in a window, a Safari-style plus sign will pop up, letting you add more; we’re not entirely sure why Apple opted not to put the option there by default, but making tabs is simple enough without it.

Once tabs are created, you can drag and drop folders between them and turn them into their own separate windows by dragging them out. Hover over a tab and an “X” will appear in the left corner for when you’re ready to close out. It’s a nice addition for those with limited screen real estate, as well as folks who can’t deal with having too many windows open on their desktop at a given time. Still, as the tabs’ browser counterpart, you risk losing track by having too many open at the same time.

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MavericksOne of the major updates from OS X Mountain Lion, Notifications, has received some key updates in this go-round. For starters, you can interact directly with a number of message types when they pop up in the upper-right-hand corner of your screen. When notes for email, Messages or FaceTime roll in, you can respond directly within the notification window itself — a handy feature for multitaskers who don’t want to go through the rigmarole of shifting gears just to respond to a message. Also new is the ability to receive notifications when you’re away. Notifications will continue to populate the left-hand corner of the screen while it’s locked, though these alerts won’t display thecontent of the messages.

Along with email, Messages, FaceTime and social networks like Twitter and Facebook, third-party sites will be able to take advantage of notifications, so you can have breaking news and other items sent directly to your desktop. We weren’t able to test the feature during our time with the OS, but it could certainly be compelling for outlets like The New York Times and others delivering breaking news to your desktop. Still, between this and all the other sources, you’ll definitely want to be choosy with who you let into your Notification Center. Things can get noisy fast, and that level of distraction could ultimately even hamper your productivity.

DNP Apple OS X Mavericks 109 reviewLast (and probably least) is the addition of full-screen scaling to Finder. The company brought the full-screen option to a number of its proprietary apps in Mountain Lion, but somehow managed to skip Finder windows. That’s there now, so with a tap of the arrows in the upper-right corner, you can now make Finder windows really, really big, which, admittedly, might better accommodate all those tabs you’ve created.

SAFARI

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MavericksIt wouldn’t be an OS X update if Apple didn’t give Safari a little love. Fire up the browser for the first time, and you’ll see a number of sites arranged on a grid. Apple has rejiggered the formerly curved Top Sites layout so that it now runs along a straight line. By default, the list is populated by the sites you visit most. You can customize things as you see fit by dragging and dropping images and pulling links out of your bookmark bar. Hover over a thumbnail and you’ll see options for either pinning it to Top Sites or removing it. The sidebar has been souped up a bit, too. Click the open-book icon on the far left of the toolbar, and you’ll get access to bookmarks, your Reading List and Shared Links. Apple’s dumped some of the chrome here in favor of clean, white text with a gray background — basically, the same flat aesthetic that defines iOS 7.

Mavericks

Reading List, introduced way back in Lion, lets you store links for later offline reading. The feature is mostly unchanged here, though the reading selections are now stitched together into a continuous, Kerouacian scroll, letting you read everything in one go. Shared Links, a new feature for Mavericks, is currently limited to offerings from Twitter and LinkedIn that populate only after you’ve connected your accounts in System Preferences. The feature’s a bit like a lite version of TweetDeck built directly into your browser, except it’s limited solely to links shared by your friends (or people your friends have retweeted). Clicking on a link will bring you to the page with a module up top with a retweet option.

Mavericks

As ever, Apple is touting speed as its most powerful weapon in the great browser war. For version 7.0, the company’s propping up its back-end Nitro Tiered JIT and Fast Start technologies. JavaScript speeds have been improved here, and while you’re not likely to notice a huge difference in your day-to-day browsing activities, the browser dominates Firefox and Chrome in SunSpider. In that benchmark, Apple’s browser got the best score: 137.7ms, compared with 171.8ms for Firefox and 153.5ms for Chrome (lower numbers are better). The browser offers some battery savings as well, suspending Flash animations on the periphery of the window. Hover over those ads and a “Safari Power Saver” notice will pop up above the image. Click it and things will play normally. In particular, we found the feature primarily serves to freeze annoying Flash ads (surprise, surprise). If it bugs you, though, you can disable it in settings.

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DNP Apple OS X Mavericks 109 reviewSecurity has also been improved in this version of Safari, courtesy of the iCloud Keychain. Create a four-digit security PIN and enter your phone number in System Preferences to enable the feature, and Keychain will automatically suggest 256-bit AES encryption-protected secure passwords when you sign up for a new service. If you’re OK with the suggested passwords, Keychain will automatically save them and then sync them across your devices. Keychain will do the same for credit card numbers as well, if you’re so inclined.

CALENDAR

Mavericks

MavericksLike iOS 7, Mavericks marks a move away from Jobsian skeuomorphism. There are fewer boxes and the fake leather and torn pages are all gone. As Apple put it during its WWDC keynote, “No cows were harmed” in this redesign. It’s a welcome change when your schedule is as chaotic as mine (I can’t help it; I’m popular). Scrolling has been improved as well, so you can blow through days and weeks quickly to find out what October 2032 holds for you (we apparently have a date with something called “Skynet”). You can also straddle between two months, which may help scheduling a bit.

Facebook events will show up automatically (even those you didn’t actually RSVP for); birthdays too. Events you create in the calendar will autocomplete locations with information pulled from your contacts tossing in a small map from Apple’s new proprietary desktop app in the newly designed Calendar Inspector. It’ll also factor in estimated travel times, which will be added to the length of the event so that you have enough padding built in between appointments.

IBOOKS

Mavericks

MavericksAlong with Maps, iBooks is one of two new icons that’ll appear in your Dock once OS X 10.9 is installed. Mavericks marks the app’s first appearance on the desktop — although, like so many of the other features that are new to OS X, Apple’s had plenty of time to perfect it on the mobile side. The first time you launch iBooks, it will populate with content from your system — in my case, that means a lot of the liner notes I’ve accumulated over the years through iTunes deluxe album downloads (these appear as PDFs and are therefore opened in Preview). Titles you’ve already purchased through iBooks using your iOS device will show up here as well, with a cloud icon in the right-hand corner. Give that icon a tap to start downloading.

Double-click a book to open it, and the cover will pop up, followed by a nice little animation in which the text unfurls like a scroll. Once opened, you get two flat pages at a time; it’s a bit like reading a book’s pre-publication galley. Again, Apple has dropped some of the chrome here, opting instead for a clean reading experience. You can flip through pages by swiping two fingers on the trackpad, using the arrow keys or by hovering over either edge of the book and clicking on the arrows that pop up. There are no fancy page-curling animations here; this time, the text just snaps into place.

Mavericks

We were a bit surprised that pinch-to-zoom doesn’t work on the pages here. Instead, you’ll need to point your cursor to the top of the app, where a menu bar will appear, along with a number of formatting options, including seven font styles and a dozen sizes. You’ll also find three options for page color: the default White, a jaundiced Sepia and the white-on-black Night. From there, you’ll also be able to get back to your library, scroll through the table of contents and access a search function that will help you locate passages as you type. Double-click a word in the text and a window will offer up a definition courtesy of Apple’s built-in dictionary. Select a longer passage and you’ll get a pop-up with options for highlighting, underlining and adding notes. At the bottom of the text are page numbers and a note telling you how many pages you have left to go in the chapter.

The iBookstore will look familiar to anyone who’s spent time with the desktop version of iTunes. In fact, the layout is so similar that it makes us wonder precisely why Apple felt it necessary to break out its bookstore into yet another app/store. Up top, you’ll find buttons for featured titles, charts, New York Times bestsellers and top authors, from A.S.A. Harrison to Zondervan. Below that is a big, rotating carousel of popular and recommended books (rest in peace, Tom Clancy). You’ll see numerous rows of suggestions farther down the page, including one devoted specifically to those titles built for iBooks. On the right, meanwhile, are bestseller lists for iTunes and The New York Times.

Mavericks

There’s no shortage of ways to discover books — and there’s no shortage of books, either. By Apple’s count, there are some 1.8 million titles available for download. Amazon, by comparison, currently offers around 2.1 million books, according to its latest numbers. We found nearly everything in Apple’s store that we found in Amazon’s e-book selection, though the prices were often higher than on the Kindle store. The implementation here is pretty solid; it borrows key features from the iOS version. Most importantly, it syncs your reading across devices, so you can pick up where you left off on your iPad and vice versa.

All of this raises a key question: why bring iBooks to the Mac in the first place? After all, the desktop experience is hardly ideal for reading, particularly if you’ve got an iPad lying around (which is probably why you created that iBooks account). You just don’t get that lean-forward experience you’d enjoy on a tablet or e-reader.

Mavericks

For starters… why not? If you can transport your fairly robust e-reading platform to another key prong of your software ecosystem, why not do it? Personally, we can’t see ourselves reading novels or even comics much on a desktop or laptop; again, we’ve got plenty of electronic methods at the ready. There are, however, some potentially appealing applications for a desktop version of iBooks. The textbook category comes to mind, with the ability to transfer notes and other synced information from your iPad to your Mac. Functionality like that could be a boon for students tied into Apple’s ecosystem (an increasingly common phenomenon these days). Plus, textbooks (not to mention titles created specifically for the iBookstore) often have interactive multimedia elements that would play out well on the desktop.

MAPS

MavericksThe other major new OS X application also began life on iOS. Like iBooks, Maps feels like a more natural fit on the mobile side. After all, when we shut our eyes and try to picture a MacBook on the dashboard of a car, things tend to end terribly. That said, if you’ve ever used the browser-based version of Google Maps on a desktop, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine how you might use Apple’s app — particularly given the built-in ability to send maps directly to your phone. With that feature, you can take advantage of your bigger screen when you need directions, and then transfer all of that to your iPhone on your way out the door.

Fire the app up and you’ll see a standard map layout of the Earth. At the top, there’s a button for locating your position on that great, big blue ball in space. Like the mobile version, clicking that arrow icon will remind you that “Maps [is] not authorized to access your location.” You’ll need to go into the Privacy tab in Settings to enable that, so you can keep track of whether Apple is keeping track of you. Go through all of that and Maps will zoom right into your current location. As with the beta version, the location isn’t precise (in our case, this was likely due to the fact that we tested it on a corporate network), though it was at least able to get within two blocks of our location.

Mavericks

You get three views here: Standard (the default), Satellite and Hybrid, the latter of which combines the other two, overlaying street text and location information on bird’s eye images. As on most other Maps applications, Standard view is the cleanest and therefore the best. The Satellite imagery, however, gets cool points when you toggle into Flyover mode, which switches from top-down to a three-quarters view. This adds a feeling of depth for both natural topography and big buildings, letting you zip through with a swipe of the old trackpad.

These visuals wowed the audience at the keynote where Apple first demoed this feature on iOS, and you can bet it looks fantastic on a MacBook’s larger Retina display as well. Even on our zippy office WiFi, however, the load times are still a little slow, so flying over landscapes doesn’t have exactly the intended effect; instead, a dark gray graph of unrendered data ominously sits on the edge of town like in some dystopian Bruce Springsteen song. Also, while the topography is pretty well intact, height information for buildings can be hard to come by, outside of bigger cities like New York City and San Francisco.

MavericksBells and whistles aside, the handiest feature here is arguably the most banal. In the menu up top, you’ll find the standard array of sharing options, including Facebook, Twitter and AirDrop. Above all of those, you’ll see a list of your registered iOS devices. Get some directions on Maps, select that option and it’ll send them to the iPhone or iPad you’ve highlighted, popping up a notification on your device. Tap that and you’re golden; it’s a quick-and-easy way to get directions on your way out the door. There’s also an option for bookmarking a location, which will sync across your OS X/iOS devices, and you can also just export information as a PDF, so you can print it out and take it with you.

Mavericks

The added screen real estate you get with Maps for desktop also allows for more business pop-ups (you can thank Yelp for those). As with iOS 7, tapping on a pin will display Yelp results, including star rating, pricing, hours, contact info, reviews and some slow-panning, Ken Burns-style images of the place. And as with directions, you can send that information directly to your iOS device. This desktop version of Maps, like iBooks, isn’t a killer app, exactly, but it’s an important step on the road to mainstream adoption amongst Apple users. By placing the programs front and center in the Mavericks experience, Apple is perhaps lessening users’ desires to stray to the welcoming arms of Google Maps when sitting in front of their laptops. For those devoted to Google’s offering, however, this early iteration of Apple Maps for desktop doesn’t bring a lot to the table that you’re not already getting.

MULTIPLE DISPLAYS

DNP Apple OS X Mavericks 109 reviewMultiple-display support was quite the hit when Apple first announced the feature in front of a room full of developers at WWDC. It’s not a new feature, exactly; in fact, it actually brings functionality that had been dumped in recent OS X updates. This time, the stretched desktop is gone. In its place, you get a fully independent desktop on each monitor, complete with its own menu bar and dock. When a desktop isn’t in use, the menu bar goes dormant and the dock disappears.

The new format also means that you won’t be able to stretch apps across displays, unfortunately — though the ability to have two full-screen apps open at the same time will likely make up for it. An update to Mission Control, meanwhile, lets you drag and drop apps between displays. And presenters will no doubt find a lot to like in the new ability to utilize an HDTV as a second display, courtesy of AirPlay.

POWER

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Sometimes the best part of an OS upgrade is the new lease on life it can give old pieces of hardware. Indeed, Apple’s implemented some changes aimed at helping your well-loved piece of hardware make the most of its components. These include the power-save feature we mentioned up in the Safari section. If you’re the type who obsessively monitors your remaining battery life like us, you’ll quickly notice the addition of “Apps Using Significant Energy” under the power menu. That feature will help you get the most out of your system’s juice when your MacBook is untethered. For our part, Photoshop and Firefox have proven pretty common battery-sappers.

App Nap, meanwhile, powers down apps when they’re hidden on your desktop, while Timer Coalescing gives your CPU “tiny periods of idle time” to help lower energy use. I can’t say I experienced a truly noticeable difference in speeds since switching to Mavericks on my primary system, but Apple’s promising a lot of changes to the back end to help soup things up a bit, including Compressed Memory, which frees memory space from inactive programs. All in all, it’s not unlike App Nap, which also helps speed up the rest of your system.

WRAP-UP

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Taken on its own, Mavericks is a bit underwhelming — something we’ve said about the last few iterations of OS X as well. Apple’s desktop OS has been on a slow and steady upgrade path for years now, adding features to improve the user experience piece by piece. The two biggest additions here, iBooks and Maps, bring truly new functionality to the OS that will keep users further entrenched in Apple’s ecosystem. Finder tabs, tags and tweaks to 10.8′s Notifications amount to nice changes that help improve the overall experience. The company’s new approach to multiple displays, meanwhile, is sure to have a positive impact on multitaskers and anyone using a Mac in the office.

As in years past, we’re left wanting a little more — a truly revolutionary upgrade that will feel as state-of-the art as OS X did, way back in 2001. It’s hard to say when such an upgrade might arrive. If one were to base predictions on naming conventions, this latest version of OS X leaves Apple in a bit of a lurch. You see, 10.9 seems to imply that we’ve hit the last point iteration before the inevitable Spinal Tap upgrade; a move to 11 that might signal a true change. On the other hand, the switch from big cats to California locales (particularly one known for its big, risky waves), seems to suggest that this upgrade was meant to be precisely that. A quick glance at the new features, however, confirms that the move from 10.8 to 10.9 is hardly the kind of game-changer we saw when Apple moved from iOS 6 to iOS 7. As ever, though, installing it is a no-brainer – particularly given that it costs nothing to upgrade.

Apple announces the iPad Air, its thinnest and lightest full-size iPad yet


Apple iPad Air

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Apple has officially announced the latest version of its iPad tablet. The newly named iPad Air features a design that’s reminiscent of the iPad mini released last year. It’s thinner and lighter than prior versions, and features a smaller bezel, which shrinks the footprint of the tablet down without compromising on screen size. Apple says it’s 20 percent thinner at only 7.5mm thick, and weighs just 1.0 pound (28 percent less than the previous iPad). The screen remains the same; it’s a 9.7-inch Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. This is the first major redesign of Apple’s flagship tablet since the iPad 2 was released in March 2011.

Also watch on YouTube

The iPad Air features the 64-bit A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor found in the iPhone 5S, which Apple says is 8 times faster and has 72 times better graphics performance than the old processor. It also has a 5-megapixel iSight camera and FaceTime HD front-facing camera and 10 hour battery life. Apple says the iPad Air has twice the data transfer rate on Wi-Fi thanks to new MIMO  802.11n support, but it doesn’t support 802.11ac.

 

 

 

 

 

The iPad Air will be available in silver and white and space grey and black color options starting at $499 in dozens of countries on November 1st. An LTE version will be available starting at $629. Apple is also keeping the geriatric iPad 2 in the lineup for $399. All of the new iPads will be shipping with iOS 7.

3 Content Optimization Questions That Google Analytics Can Answer


google analytics on laptopIt’s a big tool with lots of reports. Google Analytics can be intimidating. It can also be a huge waste of time. Too many marketers just browse through charts and graphs, without gaining any insights, without making a decision.

So rather than jumping into an ocean of data and swimming around aimlessly, let’s use Analytics to do our analysis for us.

Here’s what we’re going to do…

  • Ask a question about our website or visitors
  • Log into Google Analytics and find the answer
  • Make a decision and take action!

This action-oriented approach to Analytics is the key to content optimization. If you’re part of a big team, this approach will help build support. If you’re a service provider, this approach may help prove ROI. Either way, it’s the key to making good decisions.

Here are two examples of how to ask nicely so Analytics will tell us exactly what to do:

Which posts are most popular?

study by InboundWriter shows that 20 percent of web pages drive 90 percent of traffic. For most sites, these are the pages that rank in Google, but they may also be the pages that are getting shared. Regardless, let’s ask Analytics and find which of our blog posts are traffic magnets.

Note: This example uses the Orbit blog, which is in a directory, orbitmedia.com/blog/. If your blog is in a separate directory or subdomain, filtering to see just the blog posts is a bit easier.

  1. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
  2. Set the filter to show only blog posts (pages that start with /blog/).
  3. Set the secondary dimension to “Medium” (Note: This step is optional, but it will show you if visitors came from search engines (organic), other sites (referral), email campaigns, etc.).  
  4. Sort by “Unique Pageviews.”

sort by unique pageviews

The report you’re looking at may confirm the findings of the InboundWriter study — a few posts are likely driving a ton of your traffic.

If you’re going to spend 10 minutes working on your website today, work on the pages that are getting seen. Here are five ways to give these pages some love:

  • Make it more interesting with a great image, quotes, clear formatting, and concise writing.
  • Make it more informative with evidence, statistics, details, and examples.
  • Add a compelling call to action.
  • Add “related links” to other posts on similar topics to the bottom of the page.
  • Add internal links within the body copy to other pages.

Now we can gently guide visitors from these pages to our most effective pages. But which pages are the most effective? Let’s ask our Analytics…

Which posts are most compelling?

The posts that bring in the visits aren’t always the pages that turn visitors into leads, subscribers, and customers. In other words, traffic magnets aren’t usually conversion magnets.

As long as your goals are set up properly, you can check this for any type of conversion: lead generation, e-commerce customers, event registrants, job candidates, etc. Here’s an example of how to use it to find which blog posts are turning your blog visitors into newsletter subscribers.

1. Set the date range for one year. Especially for lower traffic sites, we’ll need a lot of data for this one.

2. Go to Conversions > Goals > Reverse Goal Path.

3. Set the filter to show only blog posts as “Goal Previous Step – 1.”

goal previous step 1

4. Sort by “Goal Completions”

sort by goal completions

Note: On our company blog, we include a sign-up option in every post. This is important because it allows me to set “Goal Previous Step” to be just blog posts. In other words, I can ask Analytics which post visitors were reading just before they arrived at the email subscribe thank you page…

Now you’re looking at a list of blog posts, along with the number of newsletter subscribers each has generated. But remember, the most compelling aren’t always the most visited. So really, we’re looking for the conversion rate for each post, not the total conversions. So there are a few more steps…

5. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Content.

6. Filter this report so only blog posts appear.

7. Sort by “Unique Pageviews.”

8. Create a spreadsheet of these blog posts, with one column for “Conversions” and another for “Unique Pageviews.”

9. In the spreadsheet, divide the Conversions number by the Unique Pageviews number.

unique pageviews

Now you’re looking at the visitor-to-newsletter subscriber rate for each of your blog posts. In this example, you can see that some posts on the Orbit blog have been far more compelling to our readers than others (1.5 percent compared to 0.3 percent). That’s a big difference — some posts are literally five times as compelling as others.

post conversions

If you’re going to spend 10 minutes on efforts to drive more traffic today, these are the posts to focus your efforts around, as they are clearly the most compelling to your audience. Here are five ways to drive a little traffic their way:

  • Share them again on social networks.
  • Add a link to these posts in your email signature.
  • Write a roundup of your top posts and put these at the top.
  • Write a guest post on a similar topic and link back to the posts.
  • Make links to these posts more prominent in your navigation.

Analytics is more than a scorecard

Sadly, many content marketers don’t use Analytics to do analysis. They just check traffic, smile or frown, then move on with their day. But great content marketers are curious. They ask questions, form a hypothesis, test it, and then act on the evidence. Here are some other questions we might ask Google Analytics to answer for us:

  • Did simplifying our contact form increase leads?
  • Does our new responsive website connect better with mobile visitors?
  • Which social network is driving the most leads?
  • Which guest bloggers are creating content that gets shared the most?
  • Which of our blog categories or website sections are most popular with visitors?

That last question is really interesting. Many content marketers produce content within categories and sections without knowledge of what visitors are reading. The gap between Percent Created vs. Percent Consumed is easy to find and easy to fill. (Perhaps I’ll walk you through it in a follow-up post!)

What questions is Analytics answering for you? Share your experience with us in the comments.

For more guidance on using analytics tools to determine content optimization priorities, read CMI’s eGuide on Measuring Content Marketing Success.

 

Author: Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design companyin Chicago. You can find Andy on  and Twitter.

Designing for iOS7: Perils & Pluses


Like many other companies building mobile applications, we’ve spent a lot of time recently redesigning our iPhone app, Polar, for Apple’s newest operating system. Through what turned out to be a rather lengthy process, we learned a lot about the good, the bad, and even the blurry parts of designing for iOS7.

As we began adapting existing elements of the Polar design to work with the overall aesthetic and design language of iOS7, one thing became really clear. We weren’t satisfied to just make things fit into iOS7, we wanted to ensure we were actually making the design better as a result of these changes. In some ways, iOS7 made it easy to improve our design. In other ways it made things a lot harder -which is where most of our time was spent.

iOS7 Design Pluses

The design language of iOS7 is inherently simpler than the one Apple used in iOS6. On the surface, that would seem to make designing for it simpler as well. But in reality you end up needing to do more with less, which is not easy.

“True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go… Yeah, well, of course.” -Jonathan Ive, 2013

While we needed to use Ive’s process of continual iteration for several of our design elements (details later), the work done by Apple’s team also allowed us to quickly get to a better design with other elements. For instance, moving to the iOS7 style of input fields instantly made our forms feel simpler and fit in well with the rest of the operating system aesthetic.

Polar before & after iOS7 redesign:forms

Headers, while requiring more work, also improved our existing design by forcing us to get down to the bare essentials. They also gave us an opportunity to take advantage of the translucency effects that define a lot of the iOS7 experience. By default, app headers are now transparent and can match up with the color of the OS system bar. This creates a single visual element at the top of an application and teases content below the header with transparency -both pluses. But these pluses also come with some new challenges.

Polar before & after iOS7 redesign: headers

In order to create more screen space for content, Polar has always removed our headers when people scroll down through the list of polls. when they scroll up a certain amount, we bring the headers back so people can navigate around the app again. As you can see in the video below, the default transparency broke this behavior and we had to come up with a new solution.

We ended up sliding the header under a thin blue underlay we positioned below the system bar (see the video above for the full effect). When scrolling down with this implementation, just a thin blue system bar is left thereby maximizing screen space and retaining a bit of the app’s style after the header is gone. but we weren’t out of the woods yet… because of our custom pull to refresh elements.

Since the first version of Polar, we included a pull to refresh gesture that updated the content on our screens. With our new transparent iOS7 headers, these perviously hidden (below the header) UI elements showed through and made the text in our headers harder to read. We got around this issue with blur.

Polar blur background header elements

To ensure our pull to refresh elements below the header didn’t make things harder to parse, we blurred all the elements below the header. This created a sense of depth through translucency without negatively impacting readability. So win/win.

When it came to the forms and headers in Polar, the iOS7 design language made it easy to do the right thing. And I think we did end up with a better design instead of just an iOS7 design. With other elements of Polar, things weren’t that easy.

iOS7 Design Perils

The simplicity of iOS7’s design language comes at a cost: a reduction in the amount of visual elements designers can use to create hierarchy and thereby understanding.

To explain that a bit further, how people makes sense of what they see gives designers a set of attributes to play with to create meaning within a design. Elements like color, size, and texture can create similarity, differences, and hierarchy within a layout. When these elements are “flattened”, some of this vocabulary goes away. It’s like losing a set of words, you have to work harder to communicate with a more limited vocabulary.

You can see a lot of places in iOS7 where the flat design style makes the hierarchy of actions less clear. For instance, compare Twitter’s compose screen on iOS6 to the one on iOS7, the lack of strong contrast between elements makes it less immediately apparent where the primary call to action (Tweet) is located.

Twitter before & after iOS7 redesign: tweet

In parts of iOS7 it can be hard to determine what the primary call to action is because it is only distinguished through subtle visual relationship differences. For example, in the Terms and Conditions screen every iOS7 user sees, Agree is just a bit bigger and just a bit bolder than other elements on the screen despite being the primary action.

iOS7 Terms & Conditions

Of course, it’s still possible to create effective visual hierarchies with less contrast between visual elements but it’s often harder to do so. Which bring us back to Jony Ive’s quote at the start of this article: it’s all about iteration.

In some of our earliest explorations of an iOS7 design, flattening things out resulted in less hierarchy than we felt was needed to make actions distinct. You can see this situation in the example below. The Add, Search, and Create actions all seem to blend together as we’re relying on small visual changes to distinguish these actions.

Polar iOS7 equal visual issue

We faced the same challenge in our list of polls. In our iOS6 design, we had relied on depth (shadows) and texture to separate items in the list from each other. When we adapted to an iOS7 design, simplify flattening these elements once again created hierarchy issues. A number of of visual elements blended together too much making it hard to distinguish individual polls in the list.

 

Polar before & after iOS7 redesign: poll list

It was only after we started to remove visual elements from the poll list that the flatter, simpler look began to work well. We took out the elements that had been background textures, eliminated icons, and introduced a bit of color to separate out actions like Comment and Share.

Polar iOS7 poll list

Removing texture and depth forced the rest of the visual design to work harder to create meaningful distinctions between the various elements on screen. I think this is a key reason why designing for iOS7 is harder. It forces you to simplify in order to provide the same clear visual communication using less visual relationships.

Another area that required significant iteration was our Tab Bar. Thanks to Thanh’s amazing icon work, our Tab Bar not only provided quick access to key features in Polar but strongly reflected our personality as well. When we simply tried to adopt iOS7 styled outlines for our icons, two things went wrong.

Polar Tab Bar before and after iOS7

First, it made the icons harder to parse quickly. Aubrey Johnson recently pointed out hollow icons take more effort to process and we ran a series of polls that seemed to prove out his hypothesis. But even without these theories and data, it was clear the Tab Bar icons were communicating less effectively. Secondly, we lost a lot of our personality. So it was back to iterating until again we found a Tab Bar design that retained our personality and felt at home on iOS7.

Polar Tab Bar iterations

The balance of your application’s personality and the personality of iOS7 is a great reason to not simply change over to an “iOS7 design”. Take the visual vocabulary iOS7 provides as a language but find your own voice.

We also encountered an over-abundance of “flatness” in another one of the key screens on Polar: create a poll. When we first adapted this screen to an iOS7 style, we lost the priority of actions that we counted on depth and texture to establish in our iOS6 design.

Polar before & after iOS7 redesign: create screen

To create a clearer hierarchy of what to do first when creating a poll, I suggested blurring out the secondary elements and putting the focus on the things people need to do first. This was an attempt to use the translucency and blurring effects found in other parts of iOS7 to add some much needed hierarchy to a critical screen design.

Polar blur create screen

Ultimately, we backed away from this approach based on usability concerns and the time it would take to fully explore and build. But we’re still iterating, so this and few more iOS7-designed elements might make it into Polar soon. Install the app to see how our current iOS6 design morphs over to iOS7 in the coming days. We’ve certainly enjoyed the journey and think you will too.

 

Luke Wroblewski

Luke Wroblewski

LukeW is an internationally recognized digital product leader who has designed or contributed to software used by more than 750 million people worldwide.

The HTML5 Scorecard: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in iOS 7


We’ve been testing the final release of iOS 7 over the last few days against our usual battery of HTML5 tests. Normally we’re effusive about new releases of iOS to the point of fanboy-dom, but this time, and for the first time ever, we’re disappointed in the execution of iOS software. Although there are some impressive performance gains in SVG and JavaScript, the sheer number of bugs and broken features, clearly mark this release as a beta. While nowhere as bad as the Android 3 browser — our all time champ of broken web releases — we recommend that organizations standardized on HTML5 development hold off upgrading until an iOS update fixes these issues.

iOS 7 Bugs & Features

Max Firtman has already done an excellent first pass about the new features, bugs and quirks in iOS 7’s web runtime. If you haven’t read his post, you should read it now. We will not repeat all the findings here; but to review, there are two very big bugs in iOS 7. First, WebSQL permissions to increase the default 5MB of space for an app to the previously permitted 50MB limit no longer work correctly, and require a workaround. Second, “Save to Home Screen” apps are basically broken. Once more than four apps are saved to home screen, the save slots are recycled and sometimes duplicated, and the phone has to be rebooted in order to clear itself. Further, any external URI no longer opens correctly and all JavaScript modal dialogs (alert, prompt etc.) are disabled. Finally, If your app uses AppCache and you are managing state via hash or other mechanisms, the history object will never update, disabling history.back.

“We recommend that organizations standardized on HTML5 development, hold off on upgrading to iOS 7 until an update fixes these issues.”

Beyond these major bugs, there are also some very troublesome design decisions in iOS 7. First, there is no way to hide the URL bar using JavaScript (and the user no longer has a “full screen” button in mobile Safari). This will throw a wrench into layouts if your app relies on absolute positioning. One workaround, suggested by Andrea Giammarchi, is to ask the user to take an action (such as swiping up) in order to reset into full-screen. But there is no programmatic way to do this (as of yet). And once you are in full-screen, tapping anywhere in the bottom region first summons the browser chrome and there is no way to cancel this. This makes for poor UX for bottom-positioned toolbars: the first user tap summons the browser chrome, which boosts the tool-bar up the page, and then requires the user to tap again to take an action. There are related problems with the status bar which can be worked around.

In addition to these decisions, right and left swipe gestures within about 10 percent of display edge are always grabbed by iOS and treated as a forward/back request, and not passed to the browser. Furthermore, if you’ve built back/forward behavior into your app using history push-state, then accidental swipes will load the previous state as if it was a prior web-site. This will probably be unexpected behavior. Chrome for Android was the first browser to introduce this behavior, but has now removed it based on feedback from web developers. We hope Apple follows suit quickly.

In our own testing, we discovered a number of additional bugs in the iOS 7 runtime.

  • On iPad, an orientation change when an input is focused shifts content unpredictably, and causes screen rendering artifacts.
  • Launching and quitting the same home screen app several times can hard lock the device requiring a hardware reboot.
  • requestAnimationFrame animations do not appear to background correctly, and cause performance degradation in RAF animations on the active page. This defeats one of the major purposes of using RAF animations.
  • On iPad, if the document body is set to 100 percent height, content is shifted upwards by 20px in landscape mode. This can be worked around by calling window.scrollTo(0, 0) on the orientationchange event.
  • In certain cases, resizing a composited layer (an element with 3D transform) does not repaint it correctly. Instead, the cached bitmap is stretched.
  • CSS Animations will sometimes fire before implicit z-indexes have been calculated, resulting in incorrect z layering during an animation.
  • Scripts running within Web Workers are not suspended unless either the originating page is explicitly killed, or the Safari process is explicitly terminated. Neither switching to another tab, nor minimizing Safari, nor turning off the screen seem to stop Worker execution. This is a serious issue that allows any web page to drain the battery of an iOS 7 device and slow down performance of the whole system without a user alert.

Performance Characteristics

In addition to feature/bug testing, we also put iOS 7 through a battery of our standard performance tests on an iPhone 5 running iOS 6.1 vs. iOS 7. There are some remarkable increases in benchmark performance as well as some very notable misses. First up, we want to note that something odd has happened to the JavaScript timer on iOS 7. In previous versions, iOS had an exceptionally well implemented timer: 4ms with extremely good consistency (see below). But using John Resig’s standard timer test resulted in this odd profile: a timer that jumps between 4ms and 12ms with clockwork regularity and much more noise than iOS 6.

iOS7 timer
Figure 1A: JavaScript timer resolution: iPhone 5/iOS 7

iOS6 timer
Figure1B: JavaScript timer resolution: iPhone 5/iOS 6

Perhaps this is a limitation of the test in some way, but it’s certainly nothing we’ve ever seen before, and one more reason to make sure that you use requestAnimationFrame for JavaScript animation.

In good news, raw JavaScript performance has increased substantially. SunSpider 1.0 is about 15% faster on iOS 7 vs iOS 6.1, and iOS 7’s Octane score is 70% better vs. iOS 6. Some Octane tests showed dramatic speed-ups: Navier-Stokes performance increased by almost 4x. By comparison, Safari on my 2 year old MacBook clocks in at 5,600 — so iOS 7 is now 50% as fast as desktop Safari on Octane! This is either some serious JIT hacking, or we also speculate that there may be some GPU offloading of general computation in iOS 7?

iOS7
Figure 2: Octane Benchmark – iPhone 5 iOS 6 vs. iOS 7 (higher is better)

But it’s not all good news on the performance front. During the iOS 7 beta, we were concerned at the very slow DOM interaction benchmarks that we were seeing from Dromaeo on iOS 7, and expected that Apple would get performance back to snuff before final release. For DOM traversal, attributes and modification, performance is now back at iOS 6 levels, which is good. However DOM Query is still 50% of iOS 6 speed. This is a major concern for the many HTML5 apps that perform high numbers of DOM queries, and this needs to be on Apple’s fix-list for its next update.

iOS7
Figure 3: Dromaeo benchmark – iOS 6 vs iOS 7 (iOS 6 = 1.00 – higher is better)

Graphics Performance

Test of Canvas performance show a minor improvement in iOS 7 — about 10% in the Fishtank test and on Mindcat microbenchmarks. But SVG is the real revelation. Thanks to a switch to a new drawing algorithm, SVG Path drawing speed has improved 200x. Yes that’s literally 200 times faster. In iOS 6, a 10,000 segment SVG path took about 11 seconds to draw. In iOS 7 that’s now 53 milliseconds. iOS is now 6x faster than the Surface RT — the previous champ at SVG drawing performance.

iOS7
Figure 4: SVG Path Drawing Benchmark (lower is better)

Other SVG capabilities experience similar speed-ups. Some SVG Filter operations now appear to be GPU accelerated — which means that meaningful filter animations are now possible on iOS. But performance is dependent on specific filters. Color transformations (Color Matrix & Color Curves) and displacementMaps are fast. Complex compositing and lighting effects are still slow.

And now the real killer. In the rush to get iOS 7 out the door, making sure SVG animation via JavaScript was fast seems to have been dropped on the floor. Animating SVG with JavaScript is now a hit or miss proposition. Animating 500 SVG circles used to be 50 fps on iOS 6. On iOS 7, the animation simply freezes after a few frames. We tried other apps that have interactive UI elements built with SVG, and we saw a similar severe performance degradation.

iOS 7: A Beta Release of Web

Given all these bugs and issues, combined with some genuine major advances, it’s hard not to interpret this as a beta release that was rushed into production for the release of the iPhone 5S. In a way, it reminds us of the Android 3 release — which was rushed into production for the Motorola Xoom tablet — with severe bugs and performance deficiencies. We’re eagerly awaiting the release of the first update for iOS 7 when we hope Apple delivers on its usual commitment to quality.

But beyond bugs, the design decisions in iOS 7 clearly privilege consumer content over business applications. We remain convinced that Enterprises that want to deploy HTML5 applications to mobile devices can’t rely on consumer browsers and need a secure and predictable mobile environment designed for business applications. iOS 7 has convinced us that more than ever that the future of HTML5 app deployment for business is Sencha Space.

Written by Michael Mullany
Michael Mullany is Sencha’s CEO. He has held various product and executive marketing roles at influential Silicon Valley startups Netscape, Loudcloud, and VMware. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Harvard College.

Safari on iOS 7 and HTML5: problems, changes and new APIs


Safari on iOS 7Apple has rolled out iOS 7 with iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C . As expected, Apple has published just 10% of the necessary information for web developers, and I can say without fear of mistake that this is the buggiest Safari version since 1.0. In this post I’ll show you the new APIs and abilities and most of the  problems that you will need to deal with right now if you have a website or a webapp.

In a nutshell

Don’t have time for reading the long post?

  • UI Changes: toolbar tint, problems with new full-screen navigation, new home screen icon sizes; no <title> usage on iPhone; possible conflicts with new gestures.
  • New devices: nothing new about them for web developers, same as iPhone 5.
  • HTML5 markup: video tracks, <progress>, REMOVED support for input type=datetime  
  • HTML5 APIs: Page Visibility, AirPlay API, canvas enhancements, REMOVED support for Shared Workers, Web Speech Synthesis API, unprefixed Web Audio and Animation Timing, Mutation Observer and other minor additions. BIG PROBLEM with WebSQL using more than 5Mb.
  • CSS: Regions, Sticky position, FlexBox, ClipPath, unprefixed Transitions and other enhancements
  • Home Screen webapps: SEVERAL SEVERE PROBLEMS (for example, no alert support!)
  • Native webapps: Web View Pagination, JavaScript runtime for native apps and video playing new abilities

 

The new browser

Safari, as well as other native apps, has received the biggest update in the user interface and experience since version 1.0. These changes will affect how users interact with websites and how your webapp will react.

Toolbars’ tint

Safari will now tint the toolbars (URL bar and bottom toolbar on iPhone) based on: a) the background color when loading the page and b) the current main color behind the bars while scrolling.

If you want to “hack” the initial tint and have different backgrounds for the body and the tint without adding noise to the HTML (such as new containers) just use the following CSS hack:

body {
background-color: blue; /* for the tint */
background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, green 0%, green 100%); /* for the body */
}

In this hack we define both background color and image; the content will use the image, in this case a gradient (it can also be a data URI 1px image). In the next examples, you can see the first two samples with the same color (just a background) and the last examples with one tint color and other background color for the body.

tint

 

Full screen and big problems for HTML5 apps and games

Web browsing is now always in full screen on iPhone and iPod touch. When the user scrolls the page in portrait orientation, the bottom toolbar will disappear and the URL bar is transformed to a small semi- transparent bar at the top. On landscape, after the user scrolls the page the bottom toolbar and the Host domain bar will both disappear, leaving it in complete full-mode.

The toolbar and full URL bar will appear again when: 1) the user taps on the domain host at the top or 2) the user starts to scroll back to the top.

The next picture shows how the UI changes before and after scrolling in landscape and portrait mode:

fullscreen2

 

The problems are:

  • The resize event is not firing anymore when the toolbar is appearing/disappearing
  • We can’t detect changes with JavaScript or media queries
  • The old hack of using window.scrollTo to hide the URL bar doesn’t work anymore; therefore there is no way to hide the URL bar or toolbar without user’s intervention scrolling the page.
  • If you are not using a natural scroll, you will have problems (detailed below).
  • UPDATE 19/9: The bottom part of the canvas is not interactive anymore (details later)

If you are using a “non natural” scrolling layout, such as iframes, sections with overflow:scroll or a JavaScript-based scrolling mechanism, toolbars will never hide. And even more problematic, if somehow the user gets into fullscreen mode he will not be able to go back again to normal mode. As an example, see the Twitter website (using overflow: scroll) on landscape mode where your scrolling area is less than 50% of the screen and toolbars never go away.

twitter

To be honest, if you go portrait and then landscape again, sometimes, you will get full-screen without scrolling, but you can’t get out of it. You need to test it to get the idea of the problem.

Scrolling back to restore toolbars are making things complicate to HTML5 games also. Because this post has started in the Apple Forum while in Beta 1, lot of people were complaining about this problem, such as:

  • Richard Davey: “This is actually a real issue for us. It has broken the display of all of our games on the BBC site (try anything on http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/ for example). With the removal of the full-screen button and the removal of this ‘hack’ we’ve no way to make our games go full screen. So they are crammed into a tiny window in the middle of the browser on iPhones. (…) When you enter a page in landscape mode, only 2/3rd’s of the screen area is available. Controls cover a full 1/3rd of the screen.(…)
  • TheFlashGuy: “We need more control over the appearance / disappearance of the browser bars when in landscape mode. It’s far too easy for a user to break out of this mode just by touching the top or bottom of the screen. This breaks a lot of websites and web apps whose major ui nav elements tend to sit in the top or bottom of the content area”

There is no way to have a truly fullscreen experience on your website. This was one of the wonderful aspects of iOS 6, and losing it is a major step backwards. Richard Davey.

 

 

Bottom toolbars and interactive elements (update 19/9)

When in fullscreen mode, the bottom portion of the page is not interactive anymore. This problem affects any toolbar, link or form item that is in the bottom part of the viewport while in fullscreen mode (after scroll). For example, fixed toolbars at the bottom are one example.

When you click on that portion of the viewport, it doesn’t matter where do you click, it will just fire the full-screen dismiss action. Therefore, Safari toolbars will appear and you will need to tap again on the interactive item to activate it. Therefore, two taps for action a button for example. To test it go here, scroll and try to click on the bottom toolbar.

For example, if you try to click Albums in the next image, it will just open the Safari toolbar and you need to click Albums again to go there.

bottom-toolbar

Title

The next big change in Safari’s UI on iPhone is the title’s area. The page’s title on iPhone was replaced by the current host (the domain) as you can see in next image. The page’s title is only available when browsing tabs on iPhone.

On iPhone with iOS 7 your page’s <title> will be ignored while the user is browsing the document

On iPad there is no fullscreen mode; the toolbar and title’s bar is always visible.

New Add to Home button

iOS 7 has changed the Share icon and it has a new Add to Home Screen button.
The whole UI has changed, including new icons replacing the Share icon with a new style, so every website that is inviting the user to add it to bookmarks or to the Home Screen need to update the icon.

Gestures

The operating system and Safari itself now offer new gestures that might impact your website, mostly if you are detecting gestures yourself.

A) Control Center: it appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. In this version, because of the full screen, the bottom of the screen might be part of your website and not the Safari toolbar. Therefore, be careful when suggesting the user to do a swipe up from the bottom of the canvas.

B) History Gesture: The second and probably more problematic gesture is the swipe right and left from the borders; Safari will trigger the back and forward action in the browsing history à la Internet Explorer on Windows 8 mode. This gesture might have some conflicts with your website if you are inviting users to swipe left or right without some nice margins around (but to be honest, you have the same problem right now with Chrome too).

The problem is even weirder on single page webapps (inside Safari) when using the History API or using a hash hack to manage app states. When the user starts a back gesture, he will see two images of the same app, but the user will be on the same app. And when you have side-by-side scroll gestures, such as Yahoo! homepage you might have usability issues if the user starts the gesture from the border (it even trigger touch events for just a while):

The swipe right and left gesture from the borders will trigger a back or forward action in browser's history.

This gesture and the back animation (slide to the right) is also making conflict with some UI frameworks, such as jQuery Mobile or Sencha Touch as when the user gestures to go back, two animations will be rendered (by the browser and after that by the framework). Also, when the previous page was left at one specific scroll position, the snapshot during the slide animation is ok but then the page loads from the top, not keeping the scroll position.

There is no way to prevent these gestures as they are managed by the OS or the browser itself.

Hopefully, the History gestures are not available on home screen webapps or UIWebViews (such as PhoneGap apps)

Icon sizes

The new OS icons are 5% bigger in 7.0 then in previous version, for example 120×120 on Retina iPhone devices instead of the previous 114×114. System icons are also flat now and they don’t have the shiny effect anymore, so we might want to update our icons to match the new design. To do that we can use the same apple-touch-icon link with the new sizes values.

The apple-touch-icon precomposed version is still supported but it will make same results as the apple-touch-icon as now there are no shiny effects anymore on icons. If we define both, the precomposed version will take precedence.

Available icon sizes for iOS 7 are:

  • iPhone / iPod Touch retina: 120×120
  • iPad non-retina (iPad 2 and iPad mini): 76×76
  • iPad retina: 152×152 

We need to remember that iOS 7 is not available for any non-retina iPhone-factor device. If we don’t provide the new sizes, the device will pick the iOS 6 related one. If you want to cover all the possible icons for iOS, the code will look like:
<!-- non-retina iPhone pre iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon57.png" sizes="57x57">
< !-- non-retina iPad pre iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon72.png" sizes="72x72">
< !-- non-retina iPad iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon76.png" sizes="76x76">
< !-- retina iPhone pre iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon114.png" sizes="114x114">
< !-- retina iPhone iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon120.png" sizes="120x120">
< !-- retina iPad pre iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon144.png" sizes="144x144">
< !-- retina iPad iOS 7 -->
< link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon152.png" sizes="152x152">

Bookmarks and Favorites

While on bookmarks there are new icons available (see left image below), it seems there is no way to define those icons specifically yet, as well as the text.

For the favorites (see right image below) that appear when you click on the URL bar, it seems to use the apple-touch-icon link but it doesn’t follow any sizes rule and I’ve found weird situations, such as some websites with a proper link element that is not taking the icon for favorites. XXXX

favorites2

The new devices

In a few days, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C will be available on the market and the good news is that from a web development perspective they are exactly the same as the iPhone 5. Same screen size, same pixel density, same abilities. They may be faster, but nothing to worry about from a coding perspective.

The new Touch ID feature (fingerprint scanner) is not available to web sites yet and the 64-bit CPU will not change anything from a JavaScript developer’s perspective. Having said that, on the iOS Simulator now you have the ability to emulate a 64-bit CPU.

HTML5 markup support

Video tracks

The video HTML5 element now supports the track child for subtitles and/or closed captions. We can support multiple languages and they will appear in a picker inside the video player. The user can change the language and/or disable the captions from the track picker.

cc1

For all the possible track types (kind attribute), it supports only captions and subtitles and we have to define the language in the srclang attribute in ISO format (such as en for English). Subtitles are useful when the user can hear the audio but she/he doesn’t understand the language and captions are for when the user can’t hear the audio, so it includes additional information about what is happening (such as ‘background musing playing’).

cc2ch

Defining the label attribute for track is worthless because on iOS it will be ignored and the language name will be used instead for the menu with an optional CC suffix if we are using captions instead of subtitles as the kind value.

<video>
< source src="myvideo.mp4">
< track kind="captions" src="my-captions-en.vtt" srclang="en">
< track kind="subtitles" src="my-captions-fr.vtt" srclang="fr">
< /video>

Tracks can be accessed through a JavaScript API and we can use it to loop through all the cues on the track file. That might be useful only on iPad where we can truly embed the video in the web canvas instead of a always fullscreen mode on iPhone.

Track elements should follow cross-domain policies, as by default, the video and track origins must be the same. Using JavaScript we can detect if tracks are available using webkitHasClosedCaptions as in

var hasCC = document.querySelector("video").webkitHasClosedCaptions;

We can also change captions visibility using webkitClosedCaptionsVisible boolean property of every video element.

Styling captions

From a CSS perspective, iOS 7 supports the new ::cue pseudo-element but we can only change text-shadow, opacity and outline. All other properties, such as color and font styles are ignored.

::cue { opacity: 0.8 }

More about the Track element and API (have in mind that not all the API might work on Safari).

Progress and output elements

The <progress> element is now supported, creating a progress bar on the screen based on max and value. There is no indeterminate progress support as in other browsers, so it’s only suitable when we know the determinate value of the activity’s progression.

<progress max="100" value="40">

The <output> element is now supported but I don’t think you will be so excited about it :) .

About <meter> it seems to be supported, all the content is ignored but nothing is rendered on the screen, so I think it’s a bug.

REMOVED: Datetime input type

Following Google Chrome, now Safari on iOS doesn’t support the datetime input type anymore and it will fallback to text. This type was deprecated in the standard in favor of using two inputs, date and time for the same purpose. The problem is that datetime was compatible with iOS from version 5.0 to 6.1; if you are using it, be careful!

The week input type is still not available, but now instead of falling back to a text input type, it’s rendered a non-interactive control

datetime

 If you are using a input type=”datetime” you should act immediately as it is now rendered as a text input type.

Seamless iframe

The new boolean seamless attribute for iframes is now available on iOS 7 that will create a borderless iframe in your website. The iframe will not have scrollbars and, by default, it will get the height of the inner content appearing in the website as using the space of any other block element in the DOM.

<iframe seamless src="mypage.html"></iframe>

HTML5 JavaScript APIs

Let’s start with bad news: no WebGL, FullScreen, WebRTC, getUserMedia or IndexedDB support yet.

In terms of new APIs available we have:

  • Page Visibility API
  • XHR 2.0 full implementation
  • Video tracks API (already covered)
  • AirPlay API
  • CSS Regions API
  • Canvas enhancements
  • Removed support for Shared Workers
  • WebSpeech Synthesis API

Page Visibility is the API -webkit-prefixed on iOS 7- to detect when our tab goes foreground and background. You can try a live demo here. XMLHttpRequest 2.0 spec fully compatible means that now we can request ‘blob’ as a response. The Video tracks API was already covered quickly and it allow us to query and navigate through all the tracks and contents on any media element.

The CSS regions API appears as part of the CSS Regions spec (covered later) and is basically the prefixed webkitGetFlowByName function available on every DOM element.

About the Canvas 2D Drawing API, we have now the globalCompositeOperation attribute on the canvas context that allows us to define the blending mode (such as multiply) when drawing different a layer on top of other. We also have a new Path constructor that we can then draw on the canvas’ context allowing us to store these paths for later usage instead of drawing them directly on the canvas.

AirPlay API

The AirPlay API needs some explanation. AirPlay is the wireless streaming solution from Apple that allows some devices to stream content to different other devices, for now usually an Apple TV. While Safari already supported x-webkit-airplay HTML attribute to define if we want AirPlay or not, we couldn’t customize the experience from HTML5 before.

The API allows us to customize the player and get information and events about streaming through AirPlay. Every video element has the eventswebkitplaybacktargetavailabilitychanged and webkitcurrentplaybacktargetiswirelesschanged. They remind us how terrible is the idea of not using underscores, camel case or other technique for event names convention in JavaScript :S. The first event will fire when there is a new AirPlay target -such as an Apple TV- available or it’s not available anymore; and the second when the playback status on one target has changed.

I think webkitcurrentplaybacktargetiswirelesschanged has won the record: the longest JavaScript event name ever.

If there is a streaming target available, we can then offer the user a button to pick the target calling the video webkitShowPlaybackTargetPicker function.

While there is no official documentation on this API yet, you can check the video  ‘What’s New in Safari and WebKit for Web Developers’  from the WWDC session where they covered this topic.

Background execution

Now we have several use cases for background execution:

  • If the user is changing tab (Tab selection screen), your code is still executing but the image is frozen
  • If the user is changing apps (multitasking mode), your code is still executing and the image is updated
  • If Safari is in foreground but your website is in a background tab, your code is frozen and Safari has a snapshot of your last execution for UI purposes
  • If Safari is in background your code is frozen

WebSpeech Synthesis API

UPDATE 19/9: I could make this API work, so it is officially supported and working.

The WebSpeech API allow the website to record and transcript audio, as well as synthesize text to voice using internal voices in the operating system.

Safari on iOS 7 includes just the Synthesis API (text to speech) but not the APIs for listening for audio from the microphone. You can query on all the available voices to speak in different languages and on a real device it is returning 36 voices (sometimes you refresh the page and you get 0, a bug I think) using speechSynthesis.getVoices(). In terms of English, you have female voice using en-US and male voice using en-GB. I’m not an expert in voice recognition but I feel that the voices in this API are not the same as Siri that sounds much natural in iOS 7.

To make JavaScript to speak from your website you can use a shortcut version in the default language or you can define different properties as the following examples:

speechSynthesis.speak(new SpeechSynthesisUtterance("Hello, this is my voice on a webpage"));

var speech = new SpeechSynthesisUtterance();
speech.text = "Hello";
speech.volume = 1; // 0 to 1
speech.rate = 1; // 0.1 to 9
speech.pitch = 1; // 0 to 2, 1=normal
speech.lang = "en-US";
speechSynthesis.speak(speech);

From the SpeechSynthesisUtterance object we can also bind to some events, such as start and end but please don’t use alert inside those events or your whole Safari will freeze (don’t ask me why).

The speakable string can be just plain text. While the standard supports also an XML document in SSML format (Speech Synthesis Markup Language) for input, Safari on iOS is just reading the XML :) .

It’s important to keep in mind that the Speech Synthesis API works only after a user’s explicit action, such as clicking on a button so you can’t initiate a speech on the onload or on a time-base. Try this online demo browsing to ad.ag/jmawam on your iOS7 device

Other changes

  • MutationObserver
  • Unprefixed Animation Timing API (also known as requestAnimationFrame)
  • Unprefixed transitionend event name
  • Unprefixed URL
  • Unprefixed WebAudio API and new advanced abilities
  • New DOM properties hidden and visibilityState
  • window.doNotTrack support

WebSQL bug

  • Using WebSQL API will have big issues (DOMException) while trying to create a database bigger than 5Mb. On previous versions, the limit was 50Mb with user’s permission. Because of a bug, when you try to store more than 5Mb the user will get a permission dialog but just for 5Mb only. Even if the user grants you permission because it’s for 5Mb only, you will get an exception trying to get more. It’s a BIG BUG.

Update 19/9: According to tarobomb from New York Times, if you request less than 5Mb when you first create the database and then you try to store more data (up to 50Mb) the proper confirmation dialog will appear (first 10Mb, then 25Mb and finally 50Mb) and you will finally be able to store more than 5Mb.

CSS Support

In terms of new specs supported (mostly webkit prefixed) we have:

  • Sticky Position
  • CSS Regions
  • CSS Grid Layout (not working)
  • CSS FlexBox
  • Dynamic Font types

Sticky position

Sticky position is a new experimental feature that allow us to fix an element to the viewport but only when it’s off the visible area (usually after a scrolling action). It’s like mixing position: static with position: fixed when the static position moves the element outside of the visible viewport. If you have more than one sticky element, they will all accumulate in the same area -defining same position properties- creating a nice effect while scrolling similar to native UITableView sections.

UPDATE 19/9: Some reports indicate that this feature was available on 6.1 as well (but the community didn’t get it so I’ll keep it here).

h1 { position: -webkit-sticky;   top: 10px; }

You can try a demo.

sticky

CSS Regions

With CSS Regions -spec proposed by Adobe- we can create magazine-like designs to flow content through different containers. Because of the nature of the screen size we’ll use this new flow mechanism more on iPad websites and webapps.

Selecting content flowing into different regions is not allowed on iOS. CSS Exclusions, a way to define shapes for regions, usually coming as a Regions companion, is not available yet.

You can try some online demos

CSS Grid Layout

CSS Grid Layout is other layout new spec from the W3C (proposed by Microsoft and already available in IE10). All the new CSS properties (-webkit-grid-X) are there available but I couldn’t enable using display: grid or display: -webkit-grid. I’m not sure if there is a different way to enable it or is it that it’s not ready yet.

CSS FlexBox

The final spec for CSS FlexBox is finally here and it allow us to stop insulting floats and clear everywhere to layout elements horizontally and/or vertically. To use it we should use display: -webkit-flex to a container and apply different properties available

Dynamic Fonts

Dynamic fonts are a new font type available in iOS 7 that adjusts weight, letter-spacing and leading based on current font size to improve legibility. We can take advantage of this new feature from HTML, using new -apple- prefixed constants (maybe because webkit is not going to use prefixes in the future?). We have a big list of constant, such as -apple-system-headline1, -apple-system-body and -apple-system-caption1.

h1 { font: -apple-system-headline1 }
p { font: -apple-system-body }

Other CSS improvements

There is no good news for media queries as resolution attribute is still not supported. Well, there is something new, such as the ability to query on min-color-index and max-color-index that is completely useless :)

We also have some minor updates, including:

  • Unprefixed CSS Transitions (and the transitionend event).
  • CSS Clip Path to clip contents based on shapes, including circle, rectangles and polygons
  • Kerning and Ligatures on fonts are enabled by default
  • Background properties now gets more compatibility with different values
  • box-decoration-break: slice/clone
  • tab-size style
  • overflow-wrap: normal/hypernate/break-word
  • support for the units ch and vmax
  • mask-type: alpha
  • new ::cue pseudo-element already covered in the video track section
  • New -webkit-background-composite property (but I couldn’t make it work)

Home-screen webapps

If you are using Home Screen webapps, I have bad news for you: too many bugs are around this platform in this version.

The only good news is now it seems we don’t have any limits for WebSQL Storage when in full screen; we don’t need user’s permission.

Big issues

There are some big issues on home-screen webapps:

  • Standard dialogs are not working at all, such as alert, confirm or prompt.
  • Webapps can’t open an external URI, such as a website in Safari, make a call, open AppStore, etc. Any URI is just ignored.
  • If you install more than 4 apps, the home screen will do strange things, such as replacing one webapp with another one. You will start seeing clones of the same webapp. The same happens when you open different webapps at the same time. Just try it on your device: go to app.ft.com, install the webapp; go to pattern.dk/sun, install the webapp; repeat the operation several times and you will see the mess on your home screen. Restarting the device seems to solve the problem.
  • When in portrait mode and a text input, a select or a date picker is in focus, media queries will honor orientation: landscape and the resize event will fire. This behavior (bug?) happens on home screen webapps and Web Views, but not on Safari.
  • UPDATE 19/9: If you are using Application Cache and also managing states through hash or other technique, the history object will not keep your navigation history, therefore history.back() will never work and history.length stays in 1 forever. (Thanks to 10+ people who reported this problem!)
  • UPDATE 19/9: Cookies are not transferred between your website and your webapp when installing the icon on the home screen (for authentication purposes for example). It was working until 6.1 and now it’s not working anymore. (Thanks Joseph Pearson for reporting this; a test suite here.)

Status bar

If you don’t provide any apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style meta tag or if you provide one with the default value, the status bar will become black over black, so… just a black area on the screen (on some devices you will see just the battery icon). The user will not see the clock and all the other icons on the status bar.

The black value works ok but it’s not in full mode as in iOS 7 new style. Lastly, If you are defining the apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style as black-translucent it’s not black-based anymore, it’s just fully transparent following the new iOS full-screen mode for apps (previous image, at the right). Unfortunately it seems there is no way to define if our background is clear or dark so we need to test how the icons and clock look like over our background. UPDATE: The text seems to be always white.

In the next picture you can see the default status bar, the black value and the black-translucent value in action on iOS7. statusbar2

 

Launch image and multitasking

For the new multitasking system, when having a home screen webapp, the system is using a white image, not the launch image and not the current status of the app for the preview. The only exception is when the webapp is still the active app where you see the right snapshot. In the next example, we can see the Financial Times webapp with a white snapshot even with a correct Launch image and an active execution.

multitask

Luckily we don’t have the iPhone 5 bug for home screen webapps anymore that was letterboxing the app (a year after it was found). We don’t need the viewport hack solution anymore.

Native webapp development

If you are developing hybrid (native webapps), such as Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) apps, there are some news for you. First, no Nitro engine yet.

Paginate mode

When using UIWebView for rich content in native apps or for native webapps (hybrids), we can now use a Paginate feature for an ebook reading experience without vertical scrolling (a la Windows 8 app experience). This feature is perfect if on the app we are showing dynamic content, so we can’t pre-optimize it for pagination. We have different Objective-C properties to configure the pagination process. To enable it, we need to use something like:

myWebView.paginationMode = UIWebPaginationModeLeftToRight;
myWebView.paginationBreakingMode = UIWebPaginationBreakingModePage;
myWebView.gapBetweenPages = 50;

These properties will convert any HTML document in the web view in pagination mode (divided horizontally in pages).

Other improvements

  • For native development -not necessarily using Web View- the iOS SDK now includes a JavaScript runtime: JavaScript Core framework providing wrapper Objective-C for standard JavaScript objects. We can use this framework to evaluate JavaScript code and also parse JSON
  • With a new property of the Web View, we can now have inline playback mode for HTML5 video instead of the default full screen mode
  • With a new property of the Web View, we can enable autoplay for video when in a native webapp.
  • There is also a SafariServices Framework that on iOS 7 is useful to programmatically add URL’s to Safari reading list.

Remote debugging

If you have a MacOS and you are used to remote debugging with your iOS, you must update Safari to version 6.1 and iTunes to version 11.1 to have the ability to communicate with an iOS 7.0 device. At the time of this writing, Safari 6.1 is only available as a Preview.

While the abilites inside the debugger are the same as in the previous version the user interface has changed a lot with a much cleaner design.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 4.02.56 PM

Not there yet

While the list is big, in this case I will list features that were announced for Safari 7 for Mac but are not there on Safari on iOS:

  • Web Speech API (it’s there but it’s not working on iOS)
  • Push Notifications from websites. This will be a great addition to iOS but it will only be on Mac OS.
  • Background Blend mode
  • Grid Layout (it’s there but it’s not working on iOS)

Anything else?

Most of the bugs and problems in this post were posted a few months ago in the private forum and lot of people have sent bug reports and ask desperately on the forum for a solution. I can’t believe that Apple can’t give answers to web developers and they are not event executing some basic test suites to detect some API bugs.

Did you found any other API or support? Any other bug? Feel free to add your comments below using any of the options available.

Maximiliano Firtman


Maximiliano Firtman

Hi! I’m Maximiliano -If you speak English, maybe Max is better for you ;) -. I work in mobile+web development doing development & consulting, book writingtraining and public speaking.You can follow me on twitter at @firt.