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Thursday, September 25, 2014

iOS 8.0.1 Update is Breaking Phones and Hearts

The latest update to Apple's mobile Operating System (iOS 8.0.1) seems to have been a bit of a disaster for the Cupertino-based fruit vendor.

In fairness, all software (and an Operating System is just very complicated software after all) can have unpredicted bugs and unwanted behaviour, and therefore all updates can suffer the same likelihood of things going a bit awry.

On rare occasions and for some users, the cure for fixing a number of issues with the original iOS 8 version was worse than the disease itself.

Within a few hours, Apple pulled the update from their servers due to "an issue" and said that they were "actively investigating" reports of users having problems.

Some of the problems include network issues whereby the iPhone ceases to be able to access the mobile carrier - effectively turning their phone into an expensive iPod. Not cool!

We're sure Apple will work this out and have an iOS 8.0.2 update ready to roll out in the coming days.

If you were one of the poor unfortunate souls who immediately updated from iOS 8.0.0 to 8.0.1 (the "more broken" version), here's a guide from our friends at iMore to help you revert back to 8.0.0.

Some iOS users are unhappy with the latest update (iOS 8.0.1) - pic courtesy of mactrast.com

Friday, September 19, 2014

New iPhones Delivering to Brisbane Customers Today

As always happens when new major mobile devices are released, we're keenly awaiting the delivery of ours to add to our testing pool.

For anyone who has been living under a rock, Apple have today started shipping their latest iPhone handsets (iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus). Some 4 million units were pre-sold in the first 24 hours of the release last Friday, so there's clearly a massive appetite out there for these new toys.

Everybody is getting in on the act, including - of all places - Qantas who will let you buy an iPhone 6 (16GB) for 132,000 Frequent Flyer points.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Selling iPhones ?  Yup!

Yesterday, iOS 8 was released as an update to some existing users (iPhone 5 and 5S owners, for example) and aside from some lengthy installation times our clients have reported that they are impressed by the new features available in this latest update.

The shift from iOS 7 to iOS 8 isn't as massive as iOS 6 to iOS 7 last year, so far fewer broken apps are emerging than did a year ago at the last major release.

Some challenges will be had by existing app publishers (our clients) with the new devices because their screen sizes are new. We have yet to see how old apps perform on the new hardware, but our simulators show that older apps should be just fine for the most part.

Apple have a new suggested development method, which we have started implementing already. This new method allows for better scalability of the types of deliberately-designed apps in which Creative Intersection specialises.

If you are an app publisher with an existing app that needs updating to be compatible with iOS 8 or the new iPhone 6/6+ devices, give us a shout to set up an obligation-free appointment to discuss your needs.

(Update 9:58am - first iPhone 6 received by our office via TNT courier)
(Update 2: 22/9/14 9:20am - first iPhone 6 Plus received by our office ... 7 days ahead of estimate)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Apple Getting Fired up for iOS 8 and iPhone 6 Releases

All signs are pointing towards as big a launch of iOS 8 as had been predicted when we attended the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) back in June.

Earlier today, a number of changes were rolled out to the layout and some of the features of the iTunes Connect system (the online service developers and publishers use to submit and manage apps in the App Store). These were mentioned during WWDC and have finally arrived.

It's the first time in a couple of years that the iTunes Connect system has had any significant change made to it. Apple don't do such things lightly, and generally do so alongside of other functional changes.

For example, we can expect the new TestFlight Beta Testing Service to be managed through iTunes Connect.

This is the stuff that we nerds get excited about, but some consumers are already starting to queue up for the iPhone 6 even though the launch event isn't until 9th September and the likely release date of the device to Apple Stores is 18th September. You can watch the live stream of the launch event if you have nothing better to do at 3am (Brisbane time).

Here's what the interface looks like today:

Main Page of the New iTunes Connect (as at 5th September 2014)

An Example of an App Listing in the New iTunes Connect (as at 5th September 2014)

Creative Intersection develops apps for Android and iOS, with equal fervour and zeal. Give us a shout if you'd like us to apply our expertise to your idea.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Keynote from #WWDC ... How close did we get to our predictions ?

OK - so we got close on a few things and missed a few others in our post from a week ago with Our Ten Predictions for Apple WWDC 2014 Announcements.

Apple were more true to the "Developer" part of the Worldwide Developer Conference than they have been in recent years. Most announcements were about allowing developers to be able to do more with less effort and greater consistency.

We had a bit of off-the-record inside information yesterday from an expat Aussie who now works at Apple as a designer that there would be some exciting announcements in the visual space (OS X Yosemite, the new Photo app with iCloud, and others were the proof of this).

What did we get right ?

Internet of Things (IoT) and Home Automation

We got those about right, but they were mostly put out there as a single slide with the icon and name of "HomeKit". This is a new developer Framework (for non-developers, this is something that we use to be able to maintain a standard with others around the world on the iOS platform - a bit like having a particular type of cable that plugs into the right equipment).

Apple did the same thing with iBeacons last year and that category is heating up all by itself.

Beats by Dr Apple

Wasn't really formally announced but as a group we did make a live phone call to Dr Dre himself as a new "employee" of Apple to demonstrate the ability to make calls using your mobile phone from your Mac computer. 

iOS 8 and OS X

These were the major announcements for the conference and both received shrieks of joy and chuckles of satisfaction from the 6,000-strong tech/developer contingent as each new feature was shown. More on this in later posts.

More $$ to Developers than Google

No specific numbers were mentioned, but a good old slam against Android on adoption rates were popped up against some impressive figures on developer numbers (9 million currently registered, having doubled in the past year alone), weekly downloads, etc.

iPhone 6

We got that one right. No mention of iPhone 6 .... it will be announced at a separate event later in the year.


Not quite announced as hardware, but our Part B of this prediction came true in the sense of the new "HealthKit" framework which will allow health equipment and app developers to exchange data, allowing the user to build up a comprehensive health profile from disparate sources on their device - and subsequently to share that information with Health Care Providers for active health management (having heart trouble, your Doctor may know before you do and call you to let you know).

What did we get completely wrong?

A swing and a miss on the following:

iBeacons were not mentioned at all. There are, however, nearly a dozen presentations and labs covering the iBeacon technology over the week so obviously there is still an appetite.

Transformer MacPad and Multitasking in iOS 8. This was a wild shot for us, and others who we spoke to are disappointed that this won't be happening. However, Apple have dealt with the problem of mobility and interchangeability of devices a little differently by adding a set of core capabilities to the new OS X Yosemite and iOS8 which will let your devices pick up from where you left off without having to think about it ... start an email on your iPhone and if you haven't yet finished it by the time you get back to your Mac, it'll be waiting for you to complete on the Mac (or any other devices of your choosing). Apple have also added a slew of other capabilities to iOS8, including a Widget/Extension registration so your favourite app can appear on your notifications screen along with weather, messages, etc.

General Hardware Updates ... Following along with Apple's re-focus on developers at this conference, no hardware updates were announced.

Apple TV Update .... Nope. Nothing to see here. Keep walking!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Ready for #WWDC ... Creative Intersection is in the house!

We're ready and raring to go for WWDC 2014 Conference.

Chomping at the proverbial bit, if you will.

Apple WWDC14 Swag
Our Managing Director, Ian Exaudi has just picked up his attendee pack a short time ago.

It includes a snazzy jacket (all the cool kids are wearing them these days), a special edition "WWDC 25 years and coding" iTunes App Store voucher (ummm - don't think we're defiling that just for the sake of $25 in iTunes App Store credit), and the standard ticket/lanyard combo.

Pretty cool overall.

We are nerds, and we love nerds ... and it's great to see the buzz that Apple still manages to instil in their partners and staff.

Big clap to everyone just for turning up!

What does Apple have in store for us all tomorrow ?

We'll help you understand some of the ramifications of the announcements on real people, so check back throughout the week or subscribe and we'll send you a copy automagically.

Wide-angle selfie: "Hey check it out Dad ... It's full of apples!"

Monday, May 26, 2014

(Our) Ten Predictions for Apple WWDC 2014 Announcements

With Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) starting in just over 1 week, let's bring out the crystal ball and see how close we can get in our predictions for major announcements.

We like to think that, as app developers focused on business apps, we have good insight into Apple's roadmaps and strategies because we pay attention to trends instead of fads.

So, here goes ....

1.  iBeacons

A personal favourite of ours (we have several AusIndustry R&D projects in the works right now), iBeacons are low-emission Bluetooth devices (tiny chips with a battery attached) that can "blip" out an identifying signal every few seconds to announce their existence and identity to their surroundings. These "blips" can be picked up by mobile phones, which can then in turn decide to act on that knowledge. Think of them like lighthouses that travelling mariners can use to know their location.

Since iBeacons were announced quietly (with just one slide of the keynote) as a concept at last year's WWDC, the technology has quickly taken off in the hearts and minds of the developer and hardware community. iOS 7.1 included a significant update to handle iBeacons more efficiently and consistently.

Expect announcements of alliances with at least one third-party hardware supplier OR (less likely) Apple may disrupt the embryonic hardware market with their own devices.

2.  Internet of Things (IoT)

This is a massive emerging category with cashed-up players like Cisco, Samsung, Google, and others already elbowing their way around.

In a nutshell, IoT is every device around you being connected online in some way. "Stuff" being online instead of just "computers". 

Talking with those "things" in a consistent way is essential, and if you do it through your mobile phone you can have that elusive "single point of truth" to command the things around you.

CarPlay was a foray into this for Apple and we expect it to explode this year. In particular, we expect a new framework for developers to start connecting to IoT devices and for manufacturers of those devices to include to allow such connectivity.

3.  Beats by Dr Apple

Obvious one here. Apple is rumoured to have bought Dr Dre's Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3.2B a few weeks back. They're going to want to announce a new line of neat hardware, most likely centred around the technology that the Beats brand has developed over the years. There's some cool tech behind those massive hipster headphones, so look out for that soon.

Of course new rumours say that the deal may be off. Our take: Nah - they're just holding off for a hard announcement at WWDC. The deal is already sealed.

4.  iWatch

Part of the Internet of Things trend - "wearables" such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch and unconfirmed upcoming Watch Phone are struggling to find their feet. Apple may join the bandwagon on this. We're not particularly excited at this point, but some people are.

Fitness applications ("Healthbook" is a term being repeated a few places) are an obvious extension to this, either through the watch form-factor or as wristbands with minimal screen features.

5.  iPhone 6

iPhone 6 and new standard iPads will be announced later this year at separate events.

6.  iOS 8 & OS X

These are no-brainers since both have a 1-year release cycle. The one interesting change could be a further merging of features and even code-base to create a Frankenmac - the mythical MacPad with a detachable keyboard with trackpad (the latter would be the real leap).

7.  More $$ to Developers than Google

Another obvious one, at least if you follow the Monetization trends of the iOS and Android ecosystems. Apple apps make more money for developers than their Android counterparts.

Expect BIG Dollars being quoted, and no mention of Android by name.

8.  Apple TV Update

We love the Apple TV (ATV) in our own boardroom here at Creative Intersection because it lets us effortlessly show laptop and iPad/iPhone content to the entire room. It's also a handy way to show our portfolio as a Flickr-powered screensaver.

Beyond that, the ATV is pretty boring since it just does what it should. A quiet little worker-bee tucked behind a flatscreen.

Apple have had the opportunity for a long time now to take ATV in a cool new direction by allowing third-party apps to be installed (via a new ATV App Store). They haven't done so, and haven't seemed to be able to find much breadth to the offering beyond basic content delivery (videos, movies, and music).

Our guess is that ATV won't get any love this time around either, except maybe for an upgrade to the hardware supporting Ultra-High Def (4K) TV's.

Other speculation around a screen-included Apple TV - for us at least - falls into the "never going to happen" basket. Why? There are too many TV's on the market and very little chance that Apple can find a way to revolutionise and disrupt the market, and make good profit at the same time.

9.  Transformer MacPad

There are a lot of rumours about hardware announcements, including a larger iPad, retina Macbook Air, and of course the continuing improvements in computing power with the latest 64-bit CPU's in the mobile range.

Multi-tasking in iOS 8 is also a strong contender.

Put those together with the trend for the past 2 years of integrating more-and-more iOS/Touch-centric icon-based features into OS X and you have the perfect storm for creating a device that can compete against the Surface 3 as a laptop and touch screen device. The big leap would be to allow a trackpad to be used with an iOS device for a more office-friendly computer (have you ever tried using an iPad with a keyboard for office work ? Most people miss the mouse/trackpad and never quite get over it.

10.  Updated General Hardware

General updates to hardware will be announced, as per usual. Probably a Retina Macbook Air.

What we'd like to see is a re-introduction of the top-of-the-line Macbook Pro 17-inch model, but sadly that ship has sailed. 

11.  Home Automation

OK - so there are 11 items in our list of 10 predictions - we added this one on 27th May.

This one is a late addition based on what seems like co-ordinated noise on social media and various news outlets (meaning that it may have come as a teaser from somewhere near the Apple Core - bad pun).

Home automation would be a fairly untapped market and actually is a logical next step. This would be about maturing a specific subcategory within the "Internet of Things" (our #2 prediction), and with the right device and service support (for safety, security, and consistency) as well as a channel-to-market provided by Apple, this could be a hot new "thing".

As part of our attendance at WWDC 2014, our Managing Director (Ian Exaudi) will be blogging daily ... so check back to see how close we came with our predictions!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Timelapse of 3D Prototype Printing

Ever wonder how additive 3D printing/prototyping works ?

Layers of melted plastic are added in increments of a fraction of a millimetre (1/5th mm in this case) until the model is finished. The effect is that the prototype object appears to grow out of nowhere.

To help show our customers how our 3D printing and prototyping service operates, we have created a simple timelapse video of a prototype being printed in 3D.

The item is a clever little device we invented a while ago and made available for free to the public via Thingiverse. It attaches to an iPad mini or iPad Air "Ultrathin Keyboard Cover" and changes the viewing angle to a more comfortable one.

Check out the video here (total printing time was about 1hr 14mins).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WWDC Rumour: Apple iOS 8 Could Include Split-Screen Multitasking

The rumours are heating up as we close in on Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) for 2014.

The latest rumour to surface is that the next update to the iPhone/iPad Operating System (iOS) will allow users to run multiple apps at once and even drag-and-drop content between those apps. This is a luxury that Microsoft Surface users have lorded over their iOS cousins for a long time.

Currently, iOS only allows certain types of apps to continue to perform limited work in the background when another app is on the screen (e.g. Playing music or checking GPS location data) - so this would be a quantum shift in multitasking on iOS devices and is likely to help greatly in the quest to bring tablets further into the business environment.

..... and of course, we will bring you more details as we will have our own representative from our Brisbane production facility personally attending the WWDC Conference in early June.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Creative Intersection attending Apple WWDC 2014 Conference

We are thrilled that Apple have chosen us to attend the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) from 2nd to 6th June in San Francisco.

Our Managing Director, Ian Exaudi, will be representing Creative Intersection at the exclusive Apple event which features product and feature launches as well as extensive 1-on-1 sessions and workshops with Apple technicians and experts.

The event is a tech-fest involving 1,000 Apple technical staff and 5,000 developers from around the globe.

WWDC is also a great opportunity for meeting with our other strategic global partners, including our bluetooth iBeacon hardware suppliers.

We are currently accepting requests from our existing and prospective clients and other Australian developers who have not been fortunate enough to be invited to the event. We will then discuss and explore as many of these requests as possible - in person - with Apple's experts.

So, if you have a burning idea that currently has difficulty being executed on the iOS platform, we can investigate it and find out from the experts if there is any way to make it happen or if the idea fits into Apple's future roadmap.

Give us a shout if you would like us to represent you at WWDC !

Creative Intersection ... Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, June 2-6 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Just Released: 3 New Apps Developed by Creative Intersection

This past fortnight has been a fairly big one for us, with 3 different app projects being approved by Apple (and one of those on Google Play) and subsequently released to the public. We have only released this many apps in such a short period a couple of times before, so we're pretty relieved and have allowed ourselves 20 minutes off before we move on to the next batch of projects already under way and scheduled for release in the next few weeks.

App #1:  Reports2Go (iPad)

Catapult BI's Reports2Go App

This is a Business Intelligence (BI) app used by management teams within large corporate entities to access their Cognos Business Intelligence data using the services of our client (Catapult BI).

It's an iPad-only app, which uses Dropbox as the cloud storage service for the data (documents in various formats such as PDF, DOC, and MHT). The documents are then then shared with authorised users and can be previewed and downloaded for later (offline) review at will via the Reports2Go app.

The app integrates with other BI apps such as IBM's Cognos mobile app to present interactive BI content generated by the Cognos system.

Client website: www.catapultbi.com

App #2: Agent Genie (iPad + iPhone)

Agent Genie iPad and iPhone App

This is a Real Estate Agent's best friend. It allows the agent to create and manage properties for which they hold open house events, and then allows prospective property buyers to register their attendance and interest at those open house events. Marketing and Offer Management is also an important part of the overall system designed and developed by Creative Intersection's team of web and mobile application developers.

Property numbers are limited for the free account version, with an unlimited number of properties able to be created if the agent subscribes to the Agent Genie service online (using the ChargeBee subscription system).

The Agent Genie app is a Universal iOS app, meaning that it works on iPhone and iPad, and the online administration interface runs via any web browser.

Client website:  app.agentgenie.com.au

App #3: Out2Nite (iPhone + Android)

Out2Nite iPhone and Android App

Out2Nite is a social networking app for iPhone and Android handsets, and uses a central database and local GPS/geolocation technology to allow users (signed in using their Facebook profile) to be notified when their friends are at the same venue (bars, pubs, etc) as themselves.

Client website:  www.out2nite.com.au

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Australian iTunes App Store Price changes - April 2014

Apple have announced some pricing changes that will affect a small number of local "stores", including the Australian iTunes App Store.

No news yet on what the changes will be specifically, but it looks like there will be an adjustment to some of the pricing "tiers" that Apple app publishers have to choose from to set the price of their apps.

In Apple's iTunes App Store, a publisher can't choose just any price for their app ... they have to choose a tier which then relates to a price in each country in which the app is sold.

The "free" tier is obviously the same worldwide, whereas Tier 1 - for example - equates to USD 0.99. Australian apps at Tier 1 prices were previously AUD1.19 but were brought back into line with USD a couple of years ago due to exchange rates.

Apple are now adjusting that again, which means that the prices for Australian apps will most likely go up slightly.

The good news ? ... If you're an app developer/publisher who resides in Australia then your app prices will increase for any apps sold in Australia, and your 70% cut of that app price will increase accordingly.

Don't forget - if you're thinking of creating an app, check out our blog post on how to best monetise your app (hint: don't charge up-front ... charge for in-app purchases or use advertising).

Update 2-Apr-2014:  Apple's new Australian pricing changes the Tier 1 app price from $0.99 to $1.29 (AUD) and Tier 2 from $1.99 to $2.49 (AUD). This is a sharp rise (25-30%) which seems a little out-of-line with the AUD exchange rate but the positive side is that as an app publisher you now earn 25-30% more for those lower Tiers.

The other Tiers have also changed to varying degrees (remember there are many Tiers right up to Tier 87 which is now a whopping $1,299.99 AUD).

Friday, February 7, 2014

New 3D Printing and Prototyping Service for Brisbane

We're excited and happy to announce that Creative Intersection has started offering a 3D Printing and Prototyping service to businesses, professionals and students in Brisbane and Southeast Queensland.

Our 3D printer has an accuracy of 200 microns (0.2mm) and uses ABS or PLA plastic to build up complex 3D models as large as 140mm cubed.

3D printing example by Creative Intersection
Example of 3-part model of the Google Android logo, printed and then assembled

This service is perfect for:
  • Engineers and engineering students
  • Inventors
  • Hobbyists
  • Lovers of custom novelty "stuff"
  • Anyone looking to create a special one-off gift for someone
  • Tinkerers who need that little doo-dad for the thingamabob that just broke
  • Bakers (domestic and commercial) making custom cookie-cutters (there's even a Mac and PC program for that)
Some printed models, including our logo and a bust of one of our designers!

There are free apps available to take a series of pictures and effectively scan yourself (or a special friend) and create a 3D model of that person.

You can even download free files from places like Thingiverse, 123d (Autodesk), CubeheroYoumagine, and others and then just send them to us for manufacturing.

Click here for more details about this exciting new 3D printing service.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In-App Purchases By Far Exceed Paid Apps

News just in last week from our friends at eMarketer: Free apps with in-app purchases account for nearly all non-advertising revenues.

In other words ... if your app is available only as a paid version you are most likely missing out on a very large proportion of the revenue that you could otherwise be earning.

We have known this for years, based on anecdotal evidence from our numerous clients - which is why our recommendation is often to release a free limited version which allows for the user to experience the main features of your app without risking being sold a lemon (after all, there are a lot of try-hard and me-too apps on the App Store - both Apple/iOS and Google/Android).

Interestingly, while the Google Play Store (Android apps) has been picking up quite a bit of market share, it's almost exclusively (98%) for apps that are free to download and which then offer in-app purchases. Apple users aren't far behind with 92% of revenue from the Apple App Store being from free apps with in-app purchases. For Apple, that's a 15% increase in 11 months and is creeping ever-closer to 100% for either platform.

The lesson here is to remember to think about how you're best going to earn back the development costs and like any business, it pays to understand your customers' spending habits.

If you have a great idea for an app for iPhone, iPad, or Android handsets and tablets and would like to discuss it with us confidentially to see if it can be done (and how best to position yourself to make a profit from it), give us a shout.