Apps

Developer Spotlight: Marc Edwards of Bjango

TiPb's developer spotlights are like DVD/iTunes Extras for the App Store -- a weekly look behind the scenes at the programers and designers that bring you the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps and games you love. This week Rene talks with Marc Edwards of Bjango.

What can we call you? Marc Edwards.

What can we call your company? Bjango.

Where are you situated? Melbourne, Australia. Yes, that giant, mostly empty island at the end of the earth. It's a great place to live, provided you avoid the killer snakes, killer spiders, killer sharks and various other nasties.

On the web? Bjango.com

And on Twitter? @bjango and @marcedwards

What apps do you make? iStat Menus for Mac, iStat for iPhone, Consume for iPhone, Darkness for iPhone, Cities for iPhone, and a few others.

What apps, other than your own, do you currently use the most often? 1Password, Brushes, The Early Edition, Reeder (yes, two RSS readers) and Our Choice. There's some obvious and potentially boring choices in there, but those are the current apps I've been using daily or enjoying.

How long have you been a developer? We started building Mac Dashboard Widgets in 2005, which quickly turned into Mac app development. Prior to that I'd designed some fairly basic websites. And prior to that, I spent most of my time designing for print and for TV advertising. Creating software is incredibly rewarding and challenging, so I think I'll be doing it for quite some time.

How long have you been an iOS developer? We've been building iOS apps since the day the SDK was publicly available. Amazingly, that was just 3 years ago. It feels like an eternity.

Do you develop for any other platform in addition to iOS? If so, which one(s)? We're a Mac and iOS only shop. We've dabbled on other platforms and will continue to keep an eye out for opportunities, but for now, Mac OS X and iOS are great places to be. A big part of that is the users—iOS and Mac users seem to appreciate high quality software.

What primary computer setup do you use for your iOS development? I use a 2010 Mac Pro with a 24" LED Cinema Display, a couple of Drobos and lots of backup drives inside the Mac. I bought a Magic Trackpad and have tried to use it, but I keep going back to the Magic Mouse. I also have a Razer Deathadder, but use the Magic Mouse for all design related tasks. All pretty stock, really. I'm not a fan of dual displays—I'd much rather have a single, huge display.

I also have a 13" MacBook Air for when I'm on the road. It replaces a 15" MacBook Pro. I'm an Air convert and hope that Apple will release a 15" MacBook Air with 3G modem (or 15" MacBook Pro with flash drive and no optical drive).

What iOS device(s) do you personally use most often? 16GB Black iPhone 4 and 32GB 3G Black iPad 2. I have an iPod touch and a variety of older iPhone and iPads, but they're just for testing.

What mobile devices, other than iOS, do you currently use? None. What else do you think I need? I've always loved the Pre, but sadly it wasn't ever available in Australia. I'm also keen to see the TouchPad. It's the only non-iPad tablet I'm excited about.

What's your favorite thing about developing for iOS? Seeing your app take over the entire screen and experience is quite amazing. While open, your app is the device. It makes the software seem more physical, and the possibilities more limitless.

What's your least favorite thing about developing for iOS? The app approval process. I can deal with time delays, but placing our entire business' future in Apple's hands makes me feel vulnerable. Today Apple are our partner, tomorrow they may decide we're their competition.

What feature would you most like Apple to add to the iOS 5 SDK? Better notifications. Not an original suggestion, but a good one. Alerts are probably my least favourite part of iOS and the thing I envy most about webOS and Android devices.

What feature would you most like Apple to add to the App Store? I'm glad you asked. Being able to support older app versions is absolutely critical, and horribly broken right now. For example, if a customer buys App version 1 and we release App version 2 as a new app (the only way to charge for it), we have no way to fix bugs in version 1, while stopping people from buying it. We're forced to choose between removing the app from sale and dealing with the consequences, or keeping it on the store and dealing with the consequences.

Removing the older version of an app stops accidental purchases, but means customers can't redownload the app if they need to. This is one area where the App Store is far worse than the good old web download days. I see this as by far the biggest issue with the App Store. I'm hopeful that Apple will need to fix this for their own software and will add the ability to the App Store in the process.

If we were to eavesdrop on you while you were coding, what curse word would we hear you use the most? F**k you. (To which Photoshop, Xcode or iTunes Connect usually reply "No, f**k you.")

What do you do when you're not buidling iOS apps? Spend time with my wife, family or friends. Write music with Luc Wiesman under the name Duosseudo. Play indoor soccer (badly, usually breaking or bruising fingers while goalkeeping). Drink coffee. Play games of the iOS, Wii or Mac variety (I'm intentionally avoiding buying an Xbox or PS3 for productivity reasons). Listen to music.

What should we look for from you next? We're busy putting the finishing touches on an iStat-related product and an iPad game we've been working on since 2009 (it was an iPhone game that was better suited to the iPad, so we switched as soon as the iPad was announced).

Thanks Marc!

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Angry Birds Rio Beach Volley update to hit this week [video]

After the release of Angry Birds Rio back in March this year, Rovio is set to release the first update for the game. The update will be known as Beach Volley and Rovio say it will be available this week!

To give you a taste of what to expect, Rovio has released a short preview video showing the birds getting hurled at helicopters, pirate ships and castles decked with beach balls. It all looks like a lot of fun set against an ocean backdrop.

We will let you know as soon as the update is available and don’t forget to check out the video after the break.

[Angry Birds Facebook Page]

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iOS 4.3.3 Jailbreak utilities PwnageTool and redsn0w updated to fix side switch vibration

The Dev Team has released a small update to PwnageTool and redsn0w to fix an issue with the side vibration/ringer switch for iPhone 3 and iPhone 3GS.

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Amazon Cloud Player now less hostile to iPhone, iPad

Yesterday, one of our readers, Aaron wrote in to tell us Amazon Cloud Player was suddenly playing -- if not nicely, than with less hostility -- on his iPad. Since it's US only, I couldn't check it myself but I asked him what was different from the previous, play-one-song-at-a-time-via-QuickTime "support"

He said it was; it played in his browser, didn't launch QuickTime, his music controls worked, and it would continue to play in the background. He was also kind enough to make us the video, embedded below.

Why less-hostile rather than nicely? You still have to ignore the warning about it not being compatible and push on through. Hopefully this means Amazon is working on it, however, and it will eventually, if not soon, be a seamless experience for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

If you're using Cloud Player on iOS, let us know what you think of the experience now. Good, good enough, still needs to get better?

[Thanks Aaron!]

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TiPb Picks of the Week

Every week a few of us from team TiPb will bring you our current favorite, most fun and useful App Store apps, WebApps, jailbreak apps, even the occasional accessory, web site, or desktop app if the mood strikes us. As long as they’re iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch related, they’re fair game.

To see what we picked, and to tell us your pick, follow on after the break!

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iPad subscriptions: The Telegraph, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, The Oprah Magazine, Time, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated

A bunch of print newspapers and magazines seem to be finally jumping on board the iPad subscription train, including The Telegraph (UK), Heart properties including Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and O, The Oprah Magazine, and Time has somehow swung a deal to get existing Time, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated readers free access via iPad.

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TiPb Asks: Do you judge an app by its icon?

A while back on iPad Live, we got to talking about how we often judge and app by its icon -- if the icon is bad, or even just not great, we don't buy it (ahem, Chad!). There are just so many apps in the store it becomes an easy way to eliminate some. If the developer doesn't care enough to make a fabulous icon -- the thing everyone sees when buying and launching their app -- what else don't they care about?

Are we being snobs? Superficial much? Missing out on great apps just because the developer was better at coding than they were design? Or do great icons sometimes hide crappy apps?

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New and updated iPhone and iPad apps for Friday, May 6 [give-away!]

Every day, TiPb gets flooded with announcements for new and updated iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps and games. So every day we pick just a few of the most interesting, the most notable, and simply the most awesome to share with you!

  • Mooniz (give-away): Save the world from adorable moon monsters by tapping groups of same colored Mooniz to make them explode in a spectacular display of dazzling colors. [$0.99 - iTunes link]

  • Linear Solver Basic: Solve every system of linear equation to 3 decimal places. [$0.99 - iTunes link]

  • Pinch: Using the multi-touch controls of the iPhone, take control of the Norbs; tiny nanobots with the sole purpose of conquering the mazes and puzzles which make up their world. [Free - iTunes link]

  • Create A Monster HD: Open a blank canvas and go wherever your monster making creativity leads you. In one blink of a monster’s eye you will become addicted to all the possibilities – silly monsters, colorful monsters, imaginative monsters, classic monsters, unforgettable monsters and best of all, your monsters. [$2.99 - iTunes link]

  • Super Ball Escape HD: An action adventure game that will challenge your balance and agility skills to the max! Take control of your robot ball and help him in his epic escape from the evil corporation that created him. [Free - iTunes link]

The folks at Mooniz Interactive have given us a few promo codes for Mooniz to pass on to you, our awesome readers! Check out a trailer of the game after the break and leave a comment about why it looks fun for a chance to win!

Any other big apps or game releases or updates today? If you pick any of these up, let us know what you think!

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How to jailbreak iOS 4.3.3 via redsn0w 0.9.6rc16 (untethered)

Complete guide to Jailbreaking iPhone, iPod touch, and original iPad running iOS 4.3.3 with redsn0w

The iOS 4.3.3 untethered Jailbreak for iPhone, iPod touch, and original iPad has just gone live... and once again it's the same exploit and the same process as iOS 4.3.1 and iOS 4.3.2. That's right, three-peat! So here's your updated redsn0w Jailbreak walkthrough, just to get you going as fast as possible

Important: iPad 2 is still not supported. Likewise, if you've got a Verizon iPhone you'll want to wait for our updated Verizon iPhone iOS 4.3.3 guide.

Important: If you want to preserve your unlock, DO NOT USE THIS METHOD. To maintain your baseband, you'll need to create a custom IPSW and pwnagetool. Check out our TiPb jailbreak forum for more.

UPDATE: redsn0w has been updated to rc16 to fix an issue with the side ringer/vibration switch. The process remains the same, but we've updated the link to redsn0w below.

Hit the jump for a complete how-to!

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iPad 2 Jailbreak update -- still pending

Those of you waiting to Jailbreak your iPad 2... looks like you can keep waiting for now as, according to the Dev Team's updated this morning, the search for an exploit continues!

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