6 Things You Need to Know About the iPhone 6

This story was originally published on the Applause App Quality Blog by Dan Rowinski.

Bigger and bolder, Apple has finally embraced the large screen. Apple latest iPhones were announced on Tuesday and it comes in two variants: the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Each is bigger and more powerful than any iPhone Apple has ever made.

In its announcement, Apple referred to the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus at the greatest phones ever made. It is a bit of hyperbole that Apple has been prone towards in its iPhone announcements through history, a legacy of the late Steve Jobs. But nearly everything about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is bigger and badder, a worthy successor to Apple’s smartphone franchise and likely to be the most sought-after gift this coming holiday shopping season.

What do you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Let’s break it down.

Screen Size And Resolution

Apple has finally broken out of its mold and listened to what people want. Consumers want bigger screens on smartphones. Thus, mobile app developers want bigger screens on because that is what consumers want.

Well, Apple has delivered.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen with a 4.7-inch, 1334-by-750 screen that translates to pixels-per-inch (ppi). Good news for developers, this is the exact same pixel count as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPad Mini with Retina Display.

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The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen with a 1920-by-1080 resolution with 401-ppi. The new pixels-per-inch count will be what developers are going to focus on because it is this metric that will directly effect what their existing apps will look like on larger screens. To this end, Apple has created an desktop-class scaler in the Xcode integrated developer environment to deal with all the new screen sizes and (limited) pixel variation among iOS devices. Apple also employs the Adaptive Layout feature introduced in iOS 7 (and advanced in iOS 8) to help developers make apps that fit any of its device sizes.

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How Apple Aims To Improve App Store Discovery With iOS 8

This story was originally published on the Applause App Quality Blog by Dan Rowinski.

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Sometimes you can’t find the app you are looking for.

A single app in Apple’s App Store is just the perfect one that you are seeking. With 1.2 million apps, it has to be in there somewhere, right? It may be a new calendar app to that syncs your iCal, Google Calendar and Outlook meetings. Or it is a messaging app that focuses on standard and proper English, eschewing the craze of emoji and emoticons endemic today’s popular communication methods. You know somebody at some point must have built this app, but it is impossible to find.

App Store discovery has been a massive problem for developers, users and Apple for the last several years. App Store search is inadequate for most people’s needs and the top lists that Apple relies upon have created a top-heavy capitalistic market that breeds poor quality apps.

Apple is not ignorant to this problem. In 2012 it spent a reported $50 million to improve the App Store and acquired app search engine Chomp to enhance discoverability. The improvements proved minimal and Apple eventually shuttered Chomp and rolled its intellectual property into iOS 6. Judging by the current discourse among the iOS developer community, Apple still has a lot of work to do to help app makers sell their wares.

Apple has some more improvements for the App Store coming with iOS 8 that it hopes will arrest the issue.

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18,796 Android Devices: Developers and Testers Worse Off?

android_fragment_transparent-264x300Apple has always prided itself on a sleak, sexy, streamlined experience. Moreover, this is one same experience that the user on his iPhone 4 in the United States may very well be sharing with that iPhone 4 in India.

Now take a look at Android. He’s kind of the sloppy guy at the wedding that decided to wear shorts and sandals. But this operating system of the Big Two has always embraced this different and defiant but sloppy lifestyle, with a customized experience on each device that’s as unique as a snowflake.

However, as of late, Android has recently taken this very un-Apple business model to an extreme. According to PC Magazine, there are now approximately 18,796 unique Android devices in-the-wild. And this number has jumped a whopping 60% in just one year from just over 11,000.

So with this proliferation of Android devices floating around, has the experience for Android testers and developers become that much more of a horror show full of challenges? We’d like to hear from you in the Comments below.

The 10 Hottest Devices for Mobile App Testing

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Image Courtesy: XING (https://devblog.xing.com/)

Testers within our community often want to know on which devices they should be testing. Concurrently, developers also want to know where their beautiful creations should be given the most love.

Thankfully we have a magical data team that can take any request we throw their way, and give us such statistics on the hottest devices requested by our customers.

We sent such a request over to our trusty data team, and magically (for me, anyways, as an English/Communications major), they came back with this list of the 10 most tested mobile devices at uTest. The criteria for this data were the devices (both phones and tablets) on which the most bugs were filed in the past 30 days. Here’s the top 10 in order of popularity:

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Throwback Thursday: The 14.4k Modem

Every Thursday, we jump into the Throwback Thursday fray with a focus on technology from the past, like the 14.4k modem. These days, we get a little cranky when we can’t stream a two-hour HD movie from Netflix. When this happens to me, my internal dialog sounds a bit like: “How dare you, Internet, for making me watch this in standard definition! What is this, 1991?!”

We are, in fact, throwing it back to that exact year when the 14.4k modem was released.  14k_modem

A dial-up modem, for those of you who have never owned/used/seen/heard one, was the analog way to connect to the web. The word modem stands for modulator-demodulator. According to Wikipedia, it “is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information and demodulates the signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data. Modems can be used with any means of transmitting analog signals, from light emitting diodes to radio. A common type of modem is one that turns the digital data of a computer into modulated electrical signal for transmission over telephone lines and demodulated by another modem at the receiver side to recover the digital data.”

If you were using a modem at home, it typically connected through your phone line, thus making it impossible to surf the web and talk to anyone at the same time. Surfing the web with a dial-up modem took dedication and lots of alone time. It was especially great when I was waiting forever for a web page to load and someone else in my house would pick up the phone and break the connection.

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Throwback Thursday: The TV Era Prior to Netflix

PrevueChannelIn this week’s Throwback Thursday, yes, believe it or not, there was a time when there was not Netflix. Yes, kids, I know that sounds like a society you wouldn’t want to be any part of.

There was a time — gasp — that you had to sit down to scheduled programming, tethered to the mercy of the television channels and what they were programming then and there. You wanted an episode of Seinfeld? Sure. Only if you happened to be planted on your couch in front of the tube during NBC’s Must-See-TV Thursday Nights.

Binge watching wasn’t a part of the vernacular. If you wanted to do a 1990s equivalent of binge watching, it would consist of either stomaching four consecutive hours of whatever was on the channel you were on, or a VHS tape full of those great Seinfeld episodes you wanted to watch so bad (in fact, I believe I had a tape like that…replete with all the commercials and poor quality you’d expect of a tape that was re-recorded on, over and over, about 2000 times).

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Throwback Thursday: Hacking the Mainframe

If there is sexy side of software testing, it is likely Security Testing. I know this because it’s the only type of testing (aside from game testing) that Hollywood seems to care about. For some reason, the hackers portrayed in movies always are always trying to access vital intelligence contained within the mainframe.

The truth is that mainframes – which are essentially just large scale computer systems – are actually throwback tech and today most companies don’t use them. According to the Huffington Post, “the manipulation of massive amounts of data, once the hallmark of mainframe computers, can now be done by server farms which easily connect to other systems, cost far less money, and require less training to administer.”

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Throwback Thursday: 80’s Tech at its Best

The 80’s brought with it an incredible range of technology that for better or worse shaped the age we live in now. For this TBT, we’ll be having a quick look at some of the more surreal/novel items that came from the land of neon and synth.

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The Private Eye, brought to us by Reflections Technology, allowed the wearer to view a 1-inch LED screen with image quality comparable to a 12-inch display. Released in 1989, the Private Eye head-mounted display was used by hobbyists and researchers alike, going on to become the subject of an augmented reality experiment in 1993. To think that this type of wearable technology has only been tapped into fully within the past 3 years is pretty mind-blowing.

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The Stereo Sound Vest provides the wearer with a $65 portable speaker solution to provide a ‘safer’ listening option without the use of headphones. With zip-off sleeves, it’s a wonder this wasn’t all the rage.

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iOS 8 Crowding Out Fitness Apps?

This week, Apple released the latest beta of iOS 8 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Among other additions, the fleshing out of the new Health App means bigHealthbook changes for developers.

Health, Apple’s centralized health and fitness hub app, in the initial iOS 8 preview was more of a shell, designed to take in data from third-party providers. In the Beta 3 release, however, it can now track both steps and calories on its own. Additionally, you can measure your caffeine intake as well as monitor a lengthy list of nutritional categories.

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Throwback Thursday: The Palm V

Today’s tech Throwback Thursday pays homage to the days when PDA meant Personal Digital Assistant. The long-time leader in that category was the PalmPilot series of PDAs by Palm Computing, a division of 3Com. By the time I got my hands on one of these amazing machines, it was known as the Palm V. You could email, access your calendar and contacts, and organize your to-do lists all in the palm of your hand.
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Released in 1999, the Palm V was the first of its kind to have a built-in rechargeable battery. Among other hardware specs:

Processor: Motorola Dragonball EZ MC68EZ328
User Storage Memory: 2MB
Display: 160×160 pixel, high contrast and backlit
Size and weight: 4.5″ x 3.1″ x 0.4″, 4oz

According to this great review from The Gadgeteer, “the display on the Palm V is a marvel to behold” and “the Palm V is downright sexy with its sleek metal body.” Maybe we were more easily amused back then, but I don’t remember ever thinking that 160×160 pixels was a marvel to behold. (Then again, I used to think the Iomega Zip 100 disk was pretty sweet so my judgement for tech marvels isn’t 100%.)

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