It’s an iPad, Watson!

We’ve given our Sherlock Holmes app a small makeover in Version 1.5: it now has a proper iPad interface! Not only that, we’ve also added:

  • all remaining episodes from Elementary, Season 2
  • five new movies starring Arthur Wontnter
  • one new movie starring Robert Stephens
  • another new movie starring Christopher Plummer

The update is available immediately and for free. And here’s what it looks like:

 

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Designing the iPad Experience

It’s not always easy to add an iPad specific interface, especially if the app doesn’t really need it to function well. We’ve been thinking long and hard, gone through several design concepts in the past and always came to the same conclusion: an iPad interface really doesn’t add anything new to the app.

When iOS 6 came out we’ve noticed that an iPhone app no longer appears in the App Store search results when browsed from an iPad: you have to manually switch to “show iPhone Apps” to see matching results. This trend has been carried over into iOS 7 of course, and several customers told us they just couldn’t find our apps - thinking they were not available in their country. A fair assumption. We knew we had to address this.

Then we thought: what if we don’t really change anything and make the app behave on iPad just like it did in “iPhone mode” – but make it universal anyway? We tried it last month – and soon after our first prototype we could see the benefits of keeping the current iPhone look/feel/functionality while adding iPad benefits.

Here’s what we did: All tabs at the bottom have been retained, the rows displaying details about each item look just like they did on the iPhone, but when you browse to the detailed description, the iPad implements a welcome change: data from Wikipedia or IMDb is loaded on the same page – displaying more details then ever before without having to navigate to a new screen.

On iPhone that’s impractical – but on the iPad we have an abundance of screen real estate which makes this possible and a shows you “details at a glance”.  We hope you like it!

With Julia’s help I’ll add the iPad features to all our other apps over the next week or so. I hope to submit all updates before the Developer Conference on June 2nd.

Bike Tour Diary goes iPad

The day has come on which our first ever iPad app is available on the App Store: with immediate effect, Bike Tour Diary is now a universal app – looking good on both iPhone and iPad.

It’s the same app of course, just with added goodness for the larger iPad screen real estate. Here are some screenshots from Version 1.1:

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But we didn’t stop there: here’s a full list of all the new features in this new release:

  • the app is now available for iPad (yey!)
  • added backup/restore feature (restore requires full version)
  • you can now share data with iTunes
  • added an icon that indicates whether a Tour has Waypoints
  • fixed a bug that would crash iOS 6 devices when removing waypoints beyond 0
  • and it even works on iPad 1 (marvellous!)

A new microsite will tell you all you ever wanted to know about this project, including a full User Guide for all versions. Check it out here:

This little project has turned into quite a large one, and I can’t stop fiddling with it. Creating an iPad app wasn’t as easy as I had imagined - I’ll tell you all about it on my personal blog when I have the time.

Right now I’m working on the Mac Version of Bike Tour Diary so we can see our Tours on an even larger screen. I’m literally working on the finishing touches as we speak.

Other features for iOS are live tracking, DropBox integration and Tour sharing – all coming soon. If only the day had more hours!

Download Bike Tour Diary from the App Store today:

AppStore

Poirot is back on iPad 1

Poirot Icon 512x512Rejoice, iPad 1 users: Today we’ve submitted Version 2.1 to the App Store, a small patch that will bring back The Belgian Detective Guide to your old devices!

We’ve received feedback from several users who said the app stopped working since the latest update on the iPad 1. That is very unfortunate, since at the time we had an iPhone 4s running iOS 5.1.1 which ran the app fine. We did not have access to an iPad 1, and Apple took away the iOS 5 simulators from our development tools. This left us without a chance to investigate.

But at the back of my mind I was always thinking: if ever I get an iPad 1, this is the first thing I’ll investigate.

Yesterday we received one from our friends at Oxford iPad Rentals at a superb price and in fantastic condition and went to work right away. And sure enough: Poirot didn’t work in iPad 1 with version 2.0. A puzzle!

Turns out the culprit was the way iOS now handles Storyboards and translations: under iOS 5 each translated view needed its own Storyboard (that’s a graphic file which lays out the flow of an app). iOS 6 introduced an option to translate several aspects of a storyboard, and when you try to run that on iOS 5 the app crashes.

This is all fixed in Poirot Version 2.1 – thank you for your patience, and I’m really sorry it took us so long to fix it. The new version should be live in a matter of days.

Introducing Bike Tour Diary

PinkBike-1024x1024Our latest app has just been approved by Apple and is now available on the App Store: We call it BIKE TOUR DIARY.

It’s a simple utility app that lets you track how many miles (or kilometres) you’ve cycled. Give a new Bike Tour a title, add the distance, enter when it was – and if you like, draw the route on an integrated map to remember where you went.

Be amazed how many miles you clock up on that new bike, or this summer, or this year. Here’s what it looks like:

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CURRENT FEATURES

Version 1.0 contains the following features:

  • iCloud integration keeps your journeys in sync on all your devices (can be switched off under Settings and use local storage instead – only available on iOS 7 and above)
  • add a new journey from the home screen
  • add a title and mileage for your journey
  • add route points on a map to remember where you went
  • check out how far your travelled in total (under Stats)
  • choose to display journeys in miles or kilometres

FUTURE FEATURES I’M WORKING ON

I really got into it once I started writing the app – and over the last week I’ve added some more exciting features. These are still under development, but coming very soon at an App Store near you:

  • iPad interface: a challenge to make it right and relevant, but it’s nearly finished
  • Backup and Restore feature: export tours to iTunes connect and DropBox, then import them on devices that can’t use the iCloud feature
  • Live Tracking: let the app draw the route for you and even tell you how far you went

I’ve got all features working but they’re not quite ready for prime time yet. You’ll be the first to know – watch this space!

Here’s a sneak peek of the iPad interface:

iOS Simulator Screen shot 22 Apr 2014 10.34.04

FULL VERSION

Bike Tour Diary is free to download so you can see how it all works and test drive it, but there is a full version that you can unlock as an in-app purchase.

The free version lets you add up to 5 Bike Tours only and will not allow access to some of the other features I’m currently working on. You will be prompted automatically to buy the full version at relevant points in the user interface. For example, when you add more than 5 tours. You can also restore your purchase on another device from the same dialogue.

Bike Tour Diary was inspired by buying a new bike, and I wanted a simple way to track my mileage. I’ve written more about the development process on my personal website in case you’re interested.

Download Bike Tour Diary from the App Store today:

AppStore

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