A Developer’s Perspective on Creating Apps for the New Apple TV

Apple TV, a digital media player that can receive content from multiple sources and stream it to a TV, was first released almost nine years ago. In October of this year, Apple released the fourth generation of the device with its own “tvOS” operating system. Numerous changes occurred to the platform, and one of the most exciting was Apple’s creation of the Apple TV App Store and the unprecedented invitation to outside developers to create apps for it.    

We couldn’t wait to experiment with coding on this new device, and two of our app developers jumped right in to test out the experience. Apple hopes to see the new Apple TV impact everything from entertainment to gaming to business, so we explored some simple apps in two of those areas.

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iOS7: Because being a developer isn’t hard enough already

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For this week’s Lunch and Learn, software engineer Will Helling gave us an overview of the changes he’s discovered as he works to make our ePCR for iPad app compatible with iOS6 and the forthcoming iOS7.

Here are some of the highlights of his presentation:

Design – while the presentation was largely about changes from a developer’s perspective, it’s impossible to talk about iOS7 without mentioning Apple’s radical design changes.

Although they’ve kept their main color scheme (white, blue, grey and black,) Apple decided to allow whitespace to dominate the new design. We noticed that this helps make the content “pop,” compared to the overwhelming frames created by the various toolbars in iOS6.

View control overrides

In iOS7, view controls are automatically set to fullscreen, covering the status bar. However, iOS6 does not have this feature, leaving an awkward gap between the status bar and the view. To ensure compatibility with both operating systems, Will had to use a command that would force fullscreen in iOS6:


Flurry 

iOS7 requires developers using Flurry to update to the most recent version, 4.2.3 – apps not using this version may experience “irrevocable data integrity issues.” Since providing the best tools based on our users demands is a core function of ePCR for iPad, updating this feature was absolutely necessary. In order to update, Will had to download the new SDK and make sure to include Apple’s security framework and ad support framework. And… voila! Flurry is compatible with iOS7.

Libraries

Will also ran into some backend issues with libraries. iOS7 links to the new XML library… but the old XSLT library is incompatible with the new XML library, and the new XSLT library is incompatible with the old XML library. This required Will to do a manual universal compile of LibXML.

iOS7 will be available to consumers sometime next month, but with some users slow to adopt to a new OS, we’ve emphasized making sure ePCR for iPad works on both systems. As these new changes roll out, we also plan to introduce some new features, like a “night mode” that will be easier on users’ eyes at night.

We have a weekly Lunch and Learn where team members share different aspects of their work. Have a topic you’d like to know more about? Let us know in the comments!

2010 WWDC: The Driver’s Seat

The Macintosh put Apple in the driver’s seat for the personal computer revolution in the early 80s. But they were displaced by Microsoft and others, relegated to a ~3% market share at its low point. Since Steve’s return to Apple, the introduction of OS X, the overhaul of their traditional laptop and desktop lines, and the advent of retail stores, Apple has clawed its way up the market share chart.

But something happened with the introduction of iTunes and the iPod. It was the start
of an explosion for Apple. And it propelled Apple to a market position it hadn’t seen in a very long time— if ever. It dominated the music industry with a 70% share of retail sales. Read More

2010 WWDC: What Goes Around

Monday was the first time in a long time (as long as I can remember) when something has gone wrong for Steve Jobs during a high profile presentation like the WWDC keynote address. It is a testament to the preparation that goes into such events. Read More

Matt Drance Prepares for WWDC 2010: Perspective From The Apple Outsider

Matt Drance is a former Technologies Evangelist at Apple. Since his departure, Matt has started Bookhouse Software, an independent iPhone consulting company, and has partnered with Daniel Steinberg to teach at The Pragmatic Studio. He is also the voice of the Apple Outsider blog. Matt shares a few insights as he gets ready for his first WWDC as an attendee. Read More

iPad Apps Approval Process

No one can deny the buzz and enthusiasm surrounding the recent iPad announcement. The sentiment is shared among many developers and consumers alike. But Apple could face a sizable challenge around launch time.

By the time the iPhone SDK was opened to developers, there were already millions of devices in the market. Developers were encouraged to test on hardware (iPhone and iPod Touch) before submitting to the App Store, instead of relying on Read More

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