June 2013

Should You Use a QR Code?, Part 2

by Joey deVilla on June 25, 2013

Here’s a little promo that Pete Ashton found in the Yellow Pages. It explains two ways to get their app: via QR code or typing in an URL. Guess which one is simpler:

yellow pages qr code

Click the photo to see the full-size original.

Pete calls it “the most damning piece of anti-QR code copy ever”, and I think he’s got a point. At the very least, you shouldn’t use a QR code when a simple, easy-to-remember URL is available.

Again, I remind you:

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Oh, CSS, How You Try My Patience Sometimes…

by Joey deVilla on June 24, 2013

It’s funny because it’s true:

Found via Glenn Cameron.

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Apple’s been working hard on iOS 7 and its developer tools over the past little while, and the result is a couple of new versions of their beta software:

In this article, we’ll show you how to get both.

Getting iOS 7 Beta 2 the Easy Way (if it’s already on your iPhone / iPod Touch)

If you have the first beta on your iPhone or iPod Touch, you can get it the easy way: the built-in Software Update. Fire up Settings, choose General, and then choose Software Update. You should see a screen that looks like this:

ios7 beta 2 update

Tap the Download and Install button to do just that, and follow the screen prompts.

Getting iOS 7 Beta 2 the Hard Way (if your iPhone / iPod Touch doesn’t have iOS 7 beta on it, or if you’re installing on an iPad)

Getting the Package

Point your browser at the iOS Dev Center. If you’re properly registered in the iOS Developer Program, you should have the options of looking at resources for iOS 6.1 and iOS 7. Naturally, you should select iOS 7 SDK beta, after which the page should look like the screen capture below:

developing for ios 7 beta

You can click on the Downloads link under the Resources for iOS 7 beta heading, or simply scroll down. Either way, you’ll end up in the same place, where you’ll see this:

ios 7 beta 2

Download the one that’s appropriate for your iDevice. I’ve included direct links to the available packages below:

Installing the Package

The file that you’re downloading is a disk image. Double-click it to mount the image. You should see one file that looks something like this:

ipsw

Connect your iDevice via USB to your Mac and start up iTunes. Let the sync complete. Click the iPhone or iPad button near the upper right-hand corner of the iTunes window:

iphone button

The iTunes window should look something like this:

itunes 01

If you haven’t done so already, back up your iPhone.

And now, the important part of the process. I’m going to spell this out in large text:

While holding down the option or alt key on your keyboard, click the Restore iPhone… button. This allows you to choose a specific file to use when restoring your iPhone or iPod Touch. Choose the .ipsw file contained within the disk image you just mounted.

(That’s how you get iOS 7 on your iPhone or iPod Touch at this early point in the game: you’re restoring it from an image that has iOS 7 on it.)

Once you’ve done that, the uploading and installing process will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Your iPhone or iPod Touch will reboot once or twice during this time.

Getting Xcode 5 Developer Preview 2 and the iOS 7 Beta 2 SDK

If you want to develop for iOS 7 Beta 2, you’ll need the latest version of Xcode 5 and the iOS 7 Beta 2 SDK. Here’s how you get it:

Point your browser at the iOS Dev Center. If you’re properly registered in the iOS Developer Program, you should have the options of looking at resources for iOS 6.1 and iOS 7. Naturally, you should select iOS 7 SDK beta, after which the page should look like the screen capture below:

developing for ios 7 beta

You can click on the Downloads link under the Resources for iOS 7 beta heading, or simply scroll down. Either way, you’ll end up in the same place, where you’ll see this:

xcode 5 developer preview 2

Click the Xcode 5 and iOS 7 SDK beta 2 link to start the download. It’s a .dmg file that’s about 1.7 GB in size, and when double-clicked, mounts a disk image and opens the window shown in the screen capture below:

It’s a straight-forward drag-the-app-to-the-Applications-folder-alias install, and you’re done!

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A Little Cellular Reception Humour

by Joey deVilla on June 20, 2013

too many bars

Click the comic to see it at its source, Buni.

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8 simple rules for bringing your own device

Cisco have come up with a term called “Comprehensive BYOD” as well as the eight things it comprises, and the idea’s so good that we’re going to borrow it. We’ve taken their eight points — they called them “foundational capabilities” — improved on them with a little re-ordering, re-wording and a jauntier name because we think that doing so makes them more effective. Here are our 8 Simple Rules for Bringing Your Own Device, or what organizations implementing BYOD need to do:

  1. Automatically enforce mobile device policies for usage and corporate resource access
  2. Monitor and remotely “wipe” corporate data from managed devices
  3. Give users secure access to the corporate network through wired, wifi, remote and mobile means
  4. Give users the ability to simultaneously log in on multiple devices, because it’s now a multi-screen world
  5. Give users the ability to move between networks seamlessly and securely, because we’re all “on the go” now
  6. Provide simple, user-friendly user authentication for various mobile device makes and models
  7. Provide corporate collaboration tools that work on all end-user devices
  8. Support separate “work” and “personal” personas to keep corporate data separate

Through the strategic and judicious use of mobile device management (MDM), container applications, back office integration, and good practices and policies, you can follow the 8 Simple Rules, give your company’s employees the ability to use the devices they know and love, and get the most out of your BYOD program.

According to Cisco’s survey of 2,415 mobile users in 6 countries (Brazil, China, Germany, India, United Kingdom, and United States), as much as $3,150 per employee can be saved through “Comprehensive BYOD”. Cisco says that under a Comprehensive BYOD plan, employees will spend an average of $965 on their devices, plus another $734 in annual data plans, or a total of $1699 that they no longer have to spend since they’ve offloaded that cost onto their employees.

We beg to differ with Cisco. While there are some cost savings that can come from BYOD, we feel that employers should help employees cover the costs of work-related use of their devices through stipends or some other compensation plan. In our opinion, the really big wins that come from BYOD are employee productivity (up to 81 minutes of time saved every week, for every employee, according to Cisco’s survey) and satisfaction.

this article also appears in mobilize the cts blog

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ios 7 developmentIn the previous article in this series, I showed you how to get the Xcode 5 preview and the iOS beta SDK up and running on your Mac. That enables you to start writing apps and testing them out on the Simulator.

Of course, it’s one thing to test an app on the Simulator, and it’s another thing to test it on a real iDevice. Running iOS 7 on your device lets you try out your apps in a closer-to-real-world situation, and it also lets you get a better feel for what the new version of the OS looks and feels like. Let’s face it, if you’re going to be developing apps for iOS 7, you’ve got to experience it on a regular basis, so that the apps you write look, feel, and function as though they belong.

Currently, the iOS 7 beta works only on:

  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 4
  • iPod Touch (5th -generation only)

You’re going to have to wait if you want to run iOS 7 on an iPad.

Before You Install the iOS 7 Beta on Your iPhone or iPod Touch, Ask Yourself this Question

dirty harry

iOS 7, in its current state is not something for everyone to try. It’s a work in progress that’s being given exposure to developers, designers, and other people in the business of making iOS apps a much-needed advance trial. Since it’s still in development, not all the features are final, it hasn’t yet been fully optimized, and there’s no guarantee that all the known issues have been fixed. A lot of its features may still be subject to change, and any material on it that wasn’t released to the general public by Apple is covered by an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

The question you must ask yourself is: “Am I a person in the business (or planning to be in the business) of making iOS apps?”

If the answer is “yes”, carry on. If the answer is “no”, and you just want a sneak peek, I suggest waiting.

Prerequisites

You should make sure that you can answer yes to all the following questions:

  1. Are you enrolled in the iOS Developer Program? You can’t get to the download page for the iOS 7 beta without one. It’s a mere US$99 for individual developers.
  2. Are you running the latest version of MacOS? You should be running the latest version of Mountain Lion, a.k.a. version 10.8. I’m running version 10.8.4, and that seems to have worked for me, as my iPhone 4S is running iOS 7 right now.
  3. Are you running the latest version of iTunes? There’s no getting away from iTunes as the go-between for your Mac and your iPhone or iPod Touch, and you’ll need it to transfer iOS 7. I’m running version 11.0.4.
  4. Is your iPhone’s or iPod Touch’s battery charged? Call me paranoid, but I don’t upgrade OSs on my mobile devices unless they’re fully charged. You just want enough charge so that it doesn’t run out during the upgrade process.

Getting the Package

Point your browser at the iOS Dev Center. If you’re properly registered in the iOS Developer Program, you should have the options of looking at resources for iOS 6.1 and iOS 7. Naturally, you should select iOS 7 SDK beta, after which the page should look like the screen capture below:

ios dev center - ios 7 beta

You can click on the Downloads link under the Resources for iOS 7 beta heading, or simply scroll down. Either way, you’ll end up in the same place, where you’ll see this:

ios 7 beta

Download the one that’s appropriate for your phone. I’ve included direct links to the currently available packages below:

The file size might vary from model to model; mine was 1.16 GB.

Installing the Package

The file that you’re downloading is a disk image. Double-click it to mount the image. You should see one file:

ipsw

Connect your iPhone or iPod Touch via USB to your Mac and start up iTunes. Let the sync complete. Click the iPhone button near the upper right-hand corner of the iTunes window:

iphone button

The iTunes window should look something like this:

itunes 01

If you haven’t done so already, back up your iPhone.

And now, the important part of the process. I’m going to spell this out in large text:

While holding down the option or alt key on your keyboard, click the Restore iPhone… button. This allows you to choose a specific file to use when restoring your iPhone or iPod Touch. Choose the .ipsw file contained within the disk image you just mounted.

(That’s how you get iOS 7 on your iPhone or iPod Touch at this early point in the game: you’re restoring it from an image that has iOS 7 on it.)

Once you’ve done that, the uploading and installing process will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Your iPhone or iPod Touch will reboot once or twice during this time.

Getting Xcode 4

xcode in the app store

Since most discussion of iOS 7 is still under non-disclosure agreement — you can talk about it all you want within the forums inside Apple’s developer site, but not out in public just yet — the best way to show you iOS 7 development is through showing you iOS 6 development. Until the embargo on showing iOS 7 in action is lifted, I’ll show you iOS 6 development, most of which is applicable to developing for iOS 7.

In order to do iOS 6 development, you’ll need the current version of Xcode, version 4.6.3 at the time of this writing. Getting the current version of Xcode is easy: you get it via the Mac App Store, and it’s free-as-in-beer. As I mentioned in the previous article, the current version of Xcode and the Xcode 5 beta can coexist on the same machine. In our explorations of iOS 7 development, I’ll show you iOS 6 code, which you can first try on the current Xcode, and then try out on Xcode 5.

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Mobile is Eating the World!

by Joey deVilla on June 17, 2013

eating the world

No matter what your angle on mobile technologies is — mobile developer, a mobile IT pro, a mobile marketer, or participating in mobile ecommerce — you’re going to want to get a look at a slide deck titled Mobile is Eating the World. Yes, it’s another “state of the mobile industry” presentation saying that the future of mobile is massive, but it tells the story very well using mostly graphs, and it’s quite layperson-friendly. The presentation, put together by Enders Analysis consultant Benedict Evans, has gone unnoticed by the mobile tech world for almost a month because it wasn’t given at a tech event, but at BookExpo America, a book publishing industry conference.

I’ve taken the graphs from the slide deck and rearranged them a little; I think the story’s even stronger when the slides are in this order.

Step Aside, PC, Here Comes Mobile!

According to IDC, PC shipments are expected to drop by nearly 8% this year. They’re still selling, but the sales trend is no longer upwards, as the roles it once played exclusively are now being taken up by smartphones and tablets. A new version of Windows used to boost PC sales, but that’s no longer the case; a number of people in the industry say that it’s the upcoming end of extended support for Windows XP (this happens on April 8, 2014) rather than Windows 8 that will slow the decline:

01 the state of pcs

At the same time, sales of smartphones are booming. They’ve got much faster product cycles, and people tend to replace them every 2 or so years on average, rather than every 4 years with PCs:

02 smartphones are exploding

CCS Insight predicts that 1.86 billion phones will be shipped in 2013, and 53% of them will be smartphones. In fact, more smartphones than non-smartphones were shipped for the first time in the first quarter of 2013:

03 more mobile growth coming

Tablets Taking Over

According to Evans’ charts, tablet sales surpassed desktop PC sales in late 2012 and are quite close to laptop sales today. It shouldn’t be surprising to find that 1 in 3 American adults owns a tablet:

05 tablets overtaking pcs

If you treat Android, Kindle Fire and Nexus tablets as individual platforms — and from a non-technical end user’s point of view, they are individual platforms — then the tablet market resembles the PC market in the mid-1980s, with a couple of big players and some smaller but significant ones:

06 120m tablets in 2012

In G8 countries, the phrase “tablet market” might as well be synonymous with “iPad market”:

07 ipad use dominates everywhere

One casualty of the rise of tablets is the ereader. While they’re cheaper and typically have better battery life than tablets, the fact that they’re single-taskers, have a form factor that’s all-too-similar to tablets, and cost almost as much as the new smaller tablets (such as the iPad Mini) make them less appealing to purchase. They will most likely turn out to be a transitional technology, as netbooks and PDAs were:

08 weaking interest in ereaders

The Future is Mobile

Mobile is booming:

04 the future is mobile

In fact, it’s expected that there will be more mobile phones than people by 2017:

09 the world in 2017

Two big players dominate, each with different audiences, own the mobile market. Samsung sells the most mobile units, but Apple has the most active users, with former heavyweights BlackBerry and Microsoft clawing tooth and nail for a distant third place:

10 dominance of apple and samsung

Ouch:

11 the irrelevance of microsoft

When Two Giants Combine

Back in 1994, when I was about to graduate with my computer science degree, I was at first intrigued by an ad place in some programming newsgroups about a company that was planning to sell stuff through an online catalog and deliver their products via courier or standard shipping. In the end, I dismissed it thinking “Really? That’s just the old Sears & Roebuck mail order catalog in electronic form.” I’m kicking myself now:

12 amazon

Like me, Evans compared Amazon to Sears & Roebuck — just not dismissively:

13 21st century sears and roebuck

And having seen Amazon’s sales and having worked at Shopify, I’ve witnessed the upward trend in this chart from the front lines:

14 much more ecommerce to come

Be sure to check out the full slide deck of Mobile is Eating the World. It’s a mere 24 slides, but it’s great fodder for those of you who need material on the state of the industry:

Mobile is Eating the World by Benedict Evans

this article also appears in mobilize the cts blog

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