Friday, January 07, 2011

iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Guide (Part 2)


Retina Display – This is the display on the iPhone 4 and the latest iPod Touch. It has four times the resolution of the previous generation of devices, which were already fantastic. They use this term because its pixels are apparently smaller than what your retina can distinguish at a normal distance.

Push Notifications – This is basically a way for companies to send you messages for specific apps whenever something changes. For example, Zinio will alert you when a new issue is available. Smurf Village will let you know when your strawberries are ready. These notifications work even if the programs aren’t running.

In-App Purchases – Many programs are now free because they rely on in-app purchases to make money. For example, Smurf Village is free but Smurfberries cost real-word cash to purchase. If you ever do something that will charge your iTunes account then you will be prompted by the device to re-enter your iTunes account password. This is good for 15 minutes, so you don’t have to type it in if you purchase anything else during that period. If this is a concern then you should unlink your credit card from your iTunes account, purchase iTunes gift cards and associate those with your account. There have been extraordinary stories about kids racking up $600 in Smurfberry charges. Apple isn’t great about refunding money for these situations.

Universal App – This is a bit confusing. Pretty much every iPhone app will run on an iPad so compatibility isn’t really an issue. However, the older iPhones, the iPhone 4 and the iPad all have different screen resolutions. Whenever you run an iPhone app on the iPad it will run in a small window in the middle of the screen. You can click the ‘2X’ icon on the screen to make the app zoom to take up most of the screen. However, it will be ‘pixelated’ because of how it scales the image, so the app won’t look that good. iPad-specific apps will not run on an iPhone at all. A universal app runs on all devices AND uses the entire screen on an iPad. This really doesn’t matter for something like solitaire, where graphics are not important, but it’s significant if the app displays a lot of text. Some apps have separate versions for the iPhone and iPad, which means you have to pay twice if you want it to look great on both platforms.

Multi-Tasking – The devices don’t support full multitasking. Instead they let programs stay loaded in memory so they appear instantly when you go back to them. Some background processes are allowed, so you can run Pandora while surfing the Internet.

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