Q&A: How To Keep Up With Apple’s Constant Changes

It’s amazing (and sometimes unnerving) when you think about the new technologies and devices Apple has released in just the last TWO months. Here is a list that only includes the iOS-related items:

  • iPhone 5
  • iOS 6
  • iOS 6.01 (yes, already)
  • iPad 4th generation
  • iPod Touch 5th generation
  • iPod Nano 7th generation
  • iPad Mini
  • New EarPods
  • New Lightning connector
  • Xcode 4.5
  • Xcode 4.5.1
  • Xcode 4.5.2

And if you want to include changes to tools for those of us who write about iOS technologies, you can add these to the list:

  • iBooks 3 – This is the App you use to read iBooks on your iPad
  • iBooks Author 2.0 – This is the App used to create books in iBooks format
  • iTunes Producer 2.8 – This is the App used to upload and manage your books in the iBookstore

Shelves Full of Outdated Print Books
I have been working in the technology industry for over 20 years now. My library is full of technology books on Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sun technologies. Needless to say, I go through my bookshelves every once in a while and clean house, because the information in them is completely outdated. However, I’ve never seen changes come so frequently from a technology company as they have been coming from Apple over the past few years.

eBooks Let Me Provide Free Technology Updates!
If you have been following this blog, you know that I am the author of a new book series, iOS App Development for Non-Programmers. To date, we have produced the series both in Amazon Kindle format and iBook format for Apple’s iBookstore—but NOT in paperback. The reason is, we can provide free updates when technology changes—and when technology changes as often as it does with Apple, this is a good thing!

When writing a book series for non-programmers, you want to make sure the text and images in the book match the tools the reader is using, so it doesn’t throw them a curve. So, when Apple releases an update to iOS or Xcode (the tool for creating iOS Apps), we update our book series accordingly. I am enjoying being able to do this!

Apple iBooks Now Let You Know when a Book is Updated!
One of the new features of iBooks 3 is that you automatically receive notification when a book on your shelf has been updated–just as you currently do when an App is updated. A small badge appears next to the book on the shelf indicating you can get an updated version of the book for free! 

Book 1: Diving In – Updated to Apple’s Latest and Greatest!
Today, we released a new version of Book 1: Diving In that contains updates for Xcode 4.5.2 and iOS 6. The update took about three days from start to finish and included updating screenshots, text, AND the videos that come with the book. We don’t need to do this with every small update Apple makes, but it’s important to do so when the changes are significant enough. With a release of the iPhone 5 with its new 4-inch screen as well as changes in Xcode for iOS 6, the change was definitely necessary.

Should We Create Print Books?
This is always a question we wrestle with. We have a small percentage of readers asking for a print copy of the book, and we’re looking into providing that now. It requires a bit of formatting on our part, but some readers simply prefer having a book in hand (my wife is one of these types of readers). We’re actually heading down that path now for Book 1 to see how this works for us. I’d love to hear comments from you to see what your thoughts are on the subject!

Kevin McNeish
Author: iOS App Development for Non-Programmers series
Twitter: @kjmcneish

FourBooks

Apple releases new version of Xcode (for creating iOS / Mac OS X Apps) today!

Today, Apple released the latest version of Xcode (version 4.5.2) today. “Prolific” is the word that comes to mind.

This is great news, because as I am in then process of finishing up our new Xcode book (the third book in our iOS App Development for Non-Programmers series), I have run into several  stability issues on a regular basis.I could consistently get Xcode to “blow up” when laying out the user interface by setting certain attributes and when working with the new Autolayout feature introduced in Xcode 4.5.

Apple’s release notes indicate that most of the changes in this version resolve Xcode stability issues as well as auto layout and storyboard bugs.

The iPad Mini Simulator?
If you’re looking for a version of Xcode that has a simulator for the new iPad Mini, then you need to wait. It’s not in this version, but it’s a safe bet that Apple will introduce the iPad Mini Simulator soon!

Plan for Plenty of Disk Space!
The new version of Xcode is 1.56GB download, so make sure you have plenty of room on your hard drive for the download and the installation. If you don’t have adequate room on your hard drive, the Xcode installation can stop mid-way with a very vague error message, or no error message at all!

Happy App Writing!
Kevin McNeish
Author: iOS App Development for Non-Programmers book series
Twitter: @kjmcneish

FourBooks