Iconfactory

Update to Twitterific 5 adds new layouts for user profiles and more!

If you're on board with Twitterific, one of the best looking Twitter clients money can buy, then you might like to know that there's a new update pushing out through the App Store now. Among other things, new in this version is a new layout for user profile pages.

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Anatomy of an iOS 7 icon redesign

iOS 7 is coming this fall - perhaps as soon as mid-September - and in terms of design language and user experience, it'll hit like something shot out of a mass driver. Not only will customers have to transition to a newly objectified, gamified, and dynamic interface, developers and designers will have create matching, perhaps transcending apps to go along with it. How much work will that be? Well, the incredibly talented and generous team over at the Iconfactory have shared their journey in updating xScope mirror for iOS 7:

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Twitterrific 5 offers an incredibly retro-geeky easter egg

Quick, fire up Twitterrific 5 on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and then follow these directions from @twitterrific:

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Debug 5: Craig Hockenberry, Sean Heber, and Twitterrific

Guy and Rene talk to the Iconfactory's Craig Hockenberry and Sean Heber about Twitterrific 5, the early days of the iPhone, Chameleon, beefs with nibs, underscores, colons, and ternary operators, App Store realities, and the importance of blame avoidance optimization.

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Twitterrific 5 brings breathtaking new design, vicious new speed to Twitter for iPhone and iPad

Twitterrific is the Star Trek of iOS. Not only is it the original, but more than any other app, it has proven its ability to re-invent and re-invigorate itself, over and over again, from one generation to the next. From the Jailbreak days before the App Store to now, post Twitter API crackdowns, post-iPhone 5 and iPad mini, the Iconfactory, and with the team of Sean Heber, David Lanham, Craig Hockenberry, Gedeon Maheux, Tyler Anderson, and Cheryl Culling have continually moved Twitterrific forward while never losing what made it great to begin with. Old and yet new, simple and yet deep, Twitterrific 5 is startlingly beautiful and viciously fast, and represents nothing more or less than a re-imagining of the app and the genre.

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Iconfactory teases Astronut for iPhone [video]

Astronut is a new iPhone game coming this holiday season from the Iconfactory, makers of Twitterrific, Ramp Champ, and other well-known iOS titles. Chock full of cosmic-scale, arcade-style action, Astronut promises 24 levels across 6 sectors, and full support for Apple's Game Center. And as with most things they put pixel and code to, it looks frakking awesome.

Iconfactory's Gedeon Maheux told TiPb:

"I firmly believe Astronut is our finest entertainment title to date. We’ve crafted the game play to be fun and addicting, while creating the beautiful graphics users love to see on the stunning retina display on iPhone and iPod touch. We can't wait to get it into player's hands."

Check out the teaser trailer after the break!

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Twitterrific gets simpler, better for iPad - TiPb at WWDC

Twitterrific is the grandaddy of iOS Twitter clients -- it existed on the iPhone before there was an SDK and was in the App Store on launch day, and again for iPad launch. Twitterrific has evolved from a reader-centric experience to a feature-full client and back to a highly focused app.

Craig Hockenberry, a principle at Iconfactory, the driving force behind Twitterrific, spoke to me at WWDC 2010 about getting Twitterrific ready for the iPad and how that process re-informed what will be going into (and perhaps coming out of) Twitterrific 3.0 for iPhone.

And no, Tweetie becoming the free Twitter for iPhone isn't slowing them down. (You can read more on that from Craig and Iconfactory collaborators David Lanham and Ged Maheux)

Hockenberry has also taken a turn as author, with his iPhone App Development: The Missing Manual now available from O'Reilly. It takes you through the process, from SDK signup to Xcode and Objective-C, to deploying an app. It's a treasure-trove of experience and insight for developers -- aspiring and veteran alike.

Videos after the break. (Huge apologies to everyone, especially Craig, for the annoying wind noise -- I greatly underestimated it during filming)

[Twitterrific homepage]

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App Store Broken or Developers? Losing iReligion vs. the Two App Stores

Is Apple's iTunes App Store broken, a combination of developers racing to the bottom and users getting conditioned -- and feeling entitled -- to pay less than what an app is worth? Or, are some developers not yet savvy enough in terms of planning and marketing to take advantage of the App Store business model?

Since we covered Ramp Champ this morning, it's timely to cover both the thoughts of the developer, Gedeon Maheux, and a response from Tumblr and Instapaper developer Marco Arment that are currently surrounding it.

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Quick App: Ramp Champ Brings Skee-Ball Fun to iPhone

Ramp Champ [$1.99 - iTunes link] is a skee-ball-like, old school boardwalk arcade or amusement park-style game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Co-developed by the Iconfactory and DSMediaLabs, it's gorgeous. Of course, I'd expect no less from the pixel perfectionists behind it (and behind other well-loved apps like Twitterrific and Frenzic).

The premise is simple: using your finger and the iPhone's multi-touch screen, you flick balls up a ramp and try to hit targets, win trophies, score points, get tickets, and redeem those tickets for prizes. The art is sublime, from the included Clown Town, Breakwater, Spaceswarm, and Icon garden to the in-app purchasable add-on packs like the Ninja Attack and Tiki Island combo ($0.99 each). Other add-ons currently include Voyage, Halloween, and Challenge. This part of the app is implemented particularly well, and there's even a "restore purchases" button should you even need to re-download the add-ons.

In-jokes abound for the attentive as well. Developer Ged Maheux points out the classic icon sizes 16, 32, 48, 64, 128, etc. used as ticket cost for the prizes. And, of course, the first prize I bought was the Twitterrific blue bird itself.

There are three "goals" to each ramp. The first one tends towards the easy, a cookie to reward us for playing. The second and third range from difficult to how-the-frak-do-I-do-this. (Obvious tip: try to time your shots so that you hit more than one target with each ball). That you can often get close works only to make it more frustrating and addictive to play.

The frustrating part may be a double-edged sword, however. Sometimes flicking the ball seems absolutely intuitive and under your complete control, and sometimes it seems like there's no rhyme or reason to where the ball goes relative to how you flick. In the real world, and number of quirks in a ramp could account for chaotic end results. On the iPhone, it might just be a matter of tweaking the physics engine a bit more.

All-in-all, it's a beautiful, engaging, casual time-filler of a game, perfect for occupying interstitial moments. As a test, however, I gave it to an 11-year old to try out. I only got it back an hour and half later. So, yeah, it works for a wide range of players and time constraints as well.

If you give Ramp Champ a go, let us know how how many goals you get, and which prizes you pick up.

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Quick App: Twitterrific 2.0 Twitter Client for iPhone

Twitterrific is looking to be the Alpha and Omega of iPhone Twitter clients. As it was first (before there was even an official SDK!), so it is also now the most recent -- in snazzily updated 2.0 form.

So what's changed? Nothing. And everything. Cliched, maybe, but Twitterrific was originally born from the Iconfactory's passion for a graceful, gorgeous Twitter reading experience. But then came a host of other Twitter clients that banged the uber-functionality drums and while it seemed like every celebrity with an iPhone clung to the grandaddy goodness of Twitterrific, the unwashed tech-masses wandered elsewhere.

Well, with Twitterrific 2.0, many will wander back. It somehow manages to keep that quick, clean experience but -- through UI wizardry -- neatly tucks away most every power-user feature imaginable beneath the covers.

Old awesomeness remains -- I've always loved the ability to quickly, and at any time, change from new tweet to @reply to direct message (dm) at the touch of a tab. New awesomeness is introduced -- now I can also tap the "eye" icon to see the tweet I'm replying to for reference, to add another @username to the reply, etc.

Yes, in Battlestar Galactica terms, if Twitterrific 1.0 was the Cylon Centurian, Twitterrific 2.0 is the red-dressed Caprica 6. It has evolved. (And definitely has a plan).

Speaking of which: there's inarguably the feature-equivalent of an arms race going on among iPhone Twitter clients, and it's one that greatly benefits users. If the first Twitterrific was a board with a nail in it, and subsequent Twitter clients went from sword to gun, this is our first plasma cannon. And I can't wait to see what happens next.

Note: Twitterrific 2.0 comes, as it always has, in two versions. There's Twitterrific (Free with ad support - iTunes link) and Twitterrific Premium ($3.99 - iTunes link). I bought the original Twitterrific Premium and was startled to see Twitterrific 2.0 come to me as a free upgrade. I would easily have paid another $10 for this, much less $3.99. Donation button please?

Full gallery after the break!

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