Always one to play with fun gadgets, we picked ourselves up a DJI drone last year — like, if you own a drone, you almost certainly did too — but somehow, we’d managed to completely miss that there’s an actively supported iOS SDK suite out there, until we stumbled across this:
The initial idea for Dronoway, the outcome of our experiment, was to conduct automated drone missions. First of all, we chose an iOS app to control our Mavic and machine learning part (embedded in the app) to decide if the machine has enough battery to conduct the mission. If not, it should return home and continue the plan from where it stopped…
That’s an inspiring project, isn’t it? Let’s collect our resources on how to go about playing with flying toys:
DCI-P3 will be the gamut to have when UltraHD content rolls around, and Apple choosing it instead of Adobe RGB was a well planned move. While it’s not very relevant now, it certainly will be in the future, and Apple has already ensured that iOS and its app ecosystem manages color correctly to render sRGB content and DCI-P3 content correctly…
As with most things released by Apple, there is an amazing amount of underlying technology that makes this new display shine. This new product is also a glimpse of how our screen technology will evolve over the coming years, so now is a good time to start understanding how these changes are going to affect our products.
As a developer, you’ll quickly realize that the scope of these changes will make your update to Retina graphics look like a walk in the park…
Following all the interest created by my Plum-O-Meter, I couldn’t resist trying a similar experiment with my newly arrived Apple Pencil, so here’s PencilScale, an iPad Pro application that uses the Pencil as an electronic scale … The update() method simply subtract’s the touch’s force from a base weight (which is set as the current touch force when the ‘zero’ button is pressed) and multiplies it by 140 which gives the weight in grams (very roughly) …and amazingly, that is pretty much all there is to it!
My PencilController project is a Swift app for iPad Pro that applies two Core Image filters to an image: a hue adjustment and a colour controls which I use to control the saturation … The hue filter’s value is controlled by the azimuth angle and the saturation is controlled by the altitude angle: when the pencil is vertical, the saturation is zero and when it’s horizontal the saturation is eight (although when the pencil is totally horizontal, its tip isn’t actually touching the screen, so the highest saturation the app can set is about six and three quarters).
I thought it was about time to play with the Pencil for its intended purpose, sketching, and see how I could use its orientation data to affect brush strokes.
FurrySketch is a Pencil powered drawing application that draws a sort of multicoloured hair and, most excitingly, the hair’s direction matches the angle of the Pencil. It was super simple to write and, at least in my opinion, gives really nice results … If you are writing drawing apps, adding Pencil support is not only super easy, it adds real value for your users. The technique I’ve used here to draw hair is only a few lines of code way from spray cans and air brushes and I genuinely believe the iPad Pro will prove to be an amazing device for creatives.
Seen any other creative applications? Let us know! And if you’re still pondering over getting one, check out Gus Mueller’s love letter:
Every single stylus that has been made for the iPad or iPhone has been a pile of dog shit when compared to what you can do with a Wacom tablet. Even compared to what you could do 20 years ago with a Wacom tablet. The KoalaPad on an Apple //e was probably better.
It’s been hard, and upsetting. And so much money wasted on crappy iOS styluses. I stopped paying attention whenever a new stylus was announced, since I was inevitably let down.
And then this week I got the Apple Pencil (which is Apple speak for a stylus) and an iPad Pro. This new tablet from Apple has the hardware support needed to make a useful stylus. Hardware support that has been missing for five long, very long, agonizing years.
And It’s God Damn Amazing.
It feels absolutely right. Super low latency, palm rejection, and … it just works.
Looking for some Christmas presents for the other Apple fanbois/fangrrrls in your life? Here’s a rundown of various pieces of kit that are HealthKit-enabled, that’s a good way to combine geek fun with subtle lifestyle commentary:
..the free Health Mate app from WiThings can track your steps and log stats like weight using the iPhone’s M7 and M8 motion coprocessors. Where WiThings really shines is the integrated hardware accessories (sold separately) that can track unique data without user intervention..
If users are wanting to track nutrition and calories, the free MyFitness Pal app is a great choice. MyFitness Pal incorporates a large food database that can automatically fill nutrition information just by scanning a package’s barcode…
One of the most popular fitness tracking band lines on the market, Jawbone’s UP series boasts a number of tools to keep users healthy. The UP app was recently updated to integrate with HealthKit to track activity and add a sleep tracker capable of sending your data to the Health app. The software also provides personal coaching tips to achieve your personal fitness goals…
Another popular line of activity trackers come from Fitbit. Unfortunately, Fitbit has refused to natively incorporate HealthKit into its app. Instead, a third-party developer has created an unofficial app called Sync Solver for Fitbit that will read the data from your online Fitbit account and send it to HealthKit…
With numerous accessories and one of the most mature platforms for fitness, the free Nike+ Running app can send your distance traveled, calories burned, run duration and more to HealthKit…
So there you go. We’ve been users of various pieces of the Withings kaboodle since the first scale shipped wow is it that long ago? and quite recommend them for keeping tabs on your various measurements. The other stuff mentioned above, well we’re sure it’s nice too, as always let us know any strong feelings you might have one way or the other!
And while we’re on the topic of HealthKit, the prolifically inquisitive Natasha The Robot has some intros here if you feel like programming your own healthy app:
Which is about all we’ve noticed in the way of tutorials — even the generally exhaustive Wenderlich iOS <N> By Tutorials didn’t have anything on HealthKit this time out. There’s a few testbeds and adapters on Github, but nothing jumping out as compelling. Hmmmm, wonder why that striking lack of interest from the development community in healthy apps. Hey, think how good the testing would be for you!
Today let’s take a look at what’s happening with one of the sleeper features of iOS 7: iBeacon! If you’ve managed to miss it so far, it’s Bluetooth microlocation broadcasters to supplement the accustomed location methods. No particularly big changes API-wise, a few new Core Location and Passbook methods, but it does have some rather interesting potential:
Forget about QR codes, NFC technology, kiosks, and tablets as the major game changers in retail; introducing iBeacon and Bluetooth Low Energy technology to our everyday retail experiences is like introducing the Flintstones to the Jetsons shopping mall…
For retailers desperate to turn smartphones from distractions into a sales tool, it provides a quick way to target ads and other messages to consumers as they walk through a store. For Apple, it’s a chance to collect valuable shopping data and to build a mobile-payment platform into a dominant retail standard. Apple declined to comment. “IBeacon’s momentum is just getting started,” says Hari Gottipati, an independent tech consultant in Phoenix, “but it’s going to explode faster than anyone can imagine.”
… iOS7 and iBeacon create an ecosystem-wide network effect overnight, with standard technology, offered in an open development environment. It’s very clear that Apple is starting to put the pieces together to allow consumers to make offline transactions with their device..
As we write they’re some $4K short of their $80K goal with 34 hours to go; the Flomio website is here where you can see the team includes the dude who wrote NFC Quick Actions for Android, and you can check out their SDK at flomio / flojack-ios; so it certainly looks like they’re serious here, and it would be nice to see their project succeed … if only to cut off another talking point from those cackling “ANDR0ID FTMFW!” fandroids. Cheap at the price, really.
So you’d like to put AirPlay support in your app, but hardware to test with is inconvenient (or completely unavailable in your country)? Here’s a couple ways to sort that out:
Banana TV – [EDIT: Discontinued.]
… Banana TV lets you use AirPlay for your Mac as well – play video or images from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 4.2 or higher directly onto any networked Mac. It runs directly on your Mac, and is a great tool for showing off pictures or video on your Mac’s monitor, at a friend’s house, or the office. Even use your iOS device photo library as a presentation tool…
… This program emulates an AirPort Express for the purpose of streaming music from iTunes and compatible iPods. It implements a server for the Apple RAOP protocol. ShairPort does not support AirPlay v2 (video and photo streaming) …
Any other AirPlay development helpers you’ve found of assistance, Dear Readers?
The easy-to-use PSoC-based development platform enables highly-integrated modular design of functions such as capacitive touch-sensing, LCD segment drive and much more for traditional iPhone and iPod accessories such as audio docks and speakers, chargers and automotive products. The platform also opens up a new realm of accessories that can leverage the 480 x 320 touchscreen display and many other features of the iPhone and iPod touch for a myriad of markets and applications, including health and wellness, point-of-sale, RFID, and diagnostics and instrumentation tools. Details on the new kit and a video demonstration are available at www.cypress.com/go/cy8ckit-023…
Almost enough to make us wish we knew anything about hardware design!
And today something we don’t get to do nearly enough around here; play with a new toy! Specifically, soon as we found out that there was such a thing as a wifi-enabled weight scale with an iPhone app — no, seriously, a wifi-enabled weight scale, with an iPhone app, you read that right —
— well hey, we just had to order that sucker immediately. So you get it in a couple days, the Withings people are good with their shipping, and — ooh! It’s shiny! — snap in the batteries and connect it up with the USB cable and go to their website, and it downloads a little native application that fixes your shiny new scale all up for you:
There’s just something intrinsically hilarious about a dialog that reads “Restarting the scale…” isn’t there now? Ah, the marvelous cognitive dissonance of our increasingly wired world. Oops, we mean, “wireless”, because the included USB cable mentioned above is only for the initial setup apparently, once you’ve sorted it out with the target wifi network apparently you don’t need it again. Surfing around the web we saw some complaints from people who claimed it wasn’t so good at connecting, but certainly we haven’t had any trouble getting started; found a place for it, hopped on, waited a few seconds for the little fat-measuring bar to dance across, and yeppers by the time we got back to the computer there it was on their web dashboard. You can even have it tweet every measurement, if you’re like extra narcissistic or something; but we figure that for pretty much everybody in the world except ourselves knowing the exact fat content of a troll would be way way into the TMI category.
And, of course, the defensible motivation for getting this shiny toy was to check out the iPhone app integration,
which is quite nicely done indeed. About the same information as in the web browser interface, but very dextrously adapted to the iPhone, particularly the very natural feeling way they use swiping and orientation changing to get the various graphs displayed. Nice job all around, and worth taking a gander at if you’re designing any kind of horizontally charted data displaying application, we’d say.
So there you go. If you’re really obsessed about tracking your weight/fat composition comprehensively, or if you just dig cool toys, we quite thoroughly recommend picking one of these up! At least judging by our exactly one weighing so far; but hey, how cool is it to say “there’s an app for that” about your weight scale?