Learning how to develop software can be one of the most intimidating prospects for any computer enthusiast, and with the growing saturation of applications in mobile marketplaces, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get your work noticed. That’s what this series is for, helping you learn iOS development from a conceptual perspective. No prior knowledge of computer programming will be necessary. Over the coming weeks, we’ll examine the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad’s ability to deliver immersive, intuitive content, a unique opportunity for both developers and consumers.
Today, we’ll be examining the second-generation iPad from a developer’s perspective, analyzing the device’s features and learning how to translate the superior hardware into superior applications. Though we were supposed to start programming this week, we have decided to delay our introduction to coding until next week.
For your convenience, you can check out the first installment in the Introduction to iOS Development series. The following information is a pseudo-amendment to the first lesson, so it would be a fantastic idea to go back and refresh your memory.
Why the iPad Is Great for Development
No matter what arguments one makes about the ongoing tablet wars, it is quite evident that Apple has come out a head in terms of developer support. The larger screen real estate coupled with a market of engaged, app-crazy consumers has given developers a relatively big reason to release their apps on the iPad.
One of the biggest reasons why the iPad is so universally supported is the lack of user base fragmentation. With Android there are a number of developers trying to push products out that are running on different versions of Google’s mobile operating system. Yet, with the iPad, Apple has found success as there is one single target device, a simple 9.7-inch screen. What is up for debate, however, is if there will be any market fragmentation with the release of the iPad 2, but Apple has done a good job in the past of making sure that their products enjoy the same level of developer support throughout their life cycles.
Introducing the iPad 2
Many have been upset with the updates that Apple made to the iPad, yet by adding a faster processor, two cameras, a gyroscope, and a plethora of other features, the iPad 2 will be the market leader for some time to come. What’s the practical application of all of these new features? Read on to find out.
Apple’s A5 Processor – I wrote a piece breaking down the technology behind Apple’s latest chip, so if you would like a more detailed breakdown feel free to check it out. To bring back a few key points, the A5 chip is a dual-core processor, which allows the iPad to interpret greater information at a faster rate. Practically, this will have little to no effect on average development, but game developers will notice a greater ability to create graphically immersive content with the integrated graphical processing unit (GPU). The added stability will allow for better multitasking while also allowing for a revamped operating system to run smoothly.
Front & Rear Cameras – The addition of cameras will obviously present the opportunity for communication apps alongside the use of augmented reality, which overlays information on real environments. Again, the GPU, which is twice as efficient, will add significant performance enhances when you use cameras.
3-Axis Gyroscope – Similar to an accelerometer in function, a gyroscope is use for orientation. It doesn’t rely on gravity like an accelerometer would, and instead remains oriented, allowing for the creation of more precise motion controls.
Where the iPad 2 Doesn’t Impress
There are two aspects of the iPad 2 where Apple did disappoint developers – the aspect ratio and display resolution. The general standard nowadays is a 16:9 aspect ratio, or widescreen formatting. If the Cupertino-based company would have gone along with the general trend, it would allow for a better experience when exporting via HDMI and viewing video content. The resolution of the display was not changed, which was disappointing considering the fact that the iPhone 4’s display is so graphically stunning. It would have presented developers with a unique opportunity to create crisp content on a great product.
If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this lesson, feel free to voice them in the comments below. We will do our best to ensure that you have a relatively painless experience developing for iOS. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, which is released weekly.
To read previous installments from this series, check the links below.