Ole Begemann

iOS Development

iOS and Mac Development Link Roundup: November 2011

I skipped my customary monthly link roundups in September and October simply because I did not have the time to compile them. Not only did the composition of the interesting links at the end of the month take up an increasing amount of time (which I would be fine with), but the fact that I felt I had to stay up to date with my Twitter timeline every single day in order not to miss anything made this impossible.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the amount of positive feedback I got the roundups increased tremendously once I had stopped doing them. Thanks to everybody who told me they liked these posts. The feedback encouraged me to make another attempt at continuing the series, though note that I am not making any promises. It is quite possible that I abandon the whole thing again as soon as next month.

iOS 5.0.1

Apple released iOS 5.0.1. The update contains, among other small improvements, a way for developers to specify files that should remain on device, even in low storage situations. iOS 5.0.1 thereby fixes the “Cleaning” issue faced by many offline content apps, illustrated by Marco Arment.

To prevent your offline files from both being backed up and deleted by the system, put them anywhere in your Documents or Library folder except /Library/Caches and set an extended attribute to mark them as “should not back up”.

Thanks to Apple for providing such a quick fix. It shows that Apple is indeed willing to make changes to their policies when they realize the consequences for consumers are bad.

Programming

Siri

The guys from Applidium reverse-engineered Siri’s protocol. Basically, Siri uses binary plists over a non-standard-conforming HTTPS to talk with the server. It seems to require an iPhone 4S device ID to authenticate against the server. The binary plists contain raw audio data using the Speex audio codec. Applidium also published a collection of tool.

Using these as a basis, someone named Pete created SiriProxy, a proxy server that allows you to inject custom handlers for certain keywords into Siri’s vocabular. Pete’s demo video is worth watching.

In the meantime, several SiriProxy plugins have been published or demoed, such as one for Spotify from Simon Maddox.

Components and Libraries

Tutorials and How Tos

Miscellaneous

Design

Community

App Store

Sandboxing Deadline Extended

Apple extended its deadline for Mac App Store apps to be sandboxed from the planned November 2011 to March 1, 2012. The nearer the original deadline came, realization probably grew in Cupertino that developers need more time to assess the impact of the sandboxing requirements on their apps and adapt them accordingly. And hopefully, Apple provides enough leeway to allow Mac apps to exist under sandboxing without impairing functionality that users take for granted.

On the occasion of Apple’s announcement, an interesting discussion about the merits (or not) of sandboxing sprung up in the blogosphere:

Pricing and Marketing

Competition

Steve Jobs Biography

Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography came out in late October and many of you have probably already read the book. If you haven’t, I think you should do so because it really is quite good (although probably not as good as it could and should have been).