Important iPhone 5 Features for Developers and Testers

iPhone 5Enough with rumors, the iPhone 5 is finally here! Here’s a list of what it includes (so you can stop speculating).

  • 4 inch retina display: That’s half an inch bigger than the 4S. The resolution has also been up-ed from 960×640 to 1136×640. Apple is boasting a clearer picture because there are fewer screen layers. “Instead of a separate layer of touch electrodes between display pixels, the pixels do double duty — acting as touch-sensing electrodes while displaying the image at the same time,” according to Apple.com. Mobile app developers are going to want to keep these screen changes in mind and test their apps on the new iPhone to make sure everything still looks good.
  • A6 chip: Reported to be twice as fast as the A5 chip in the 4S, the A6 chip will boost CPU and graphics performance and incrase battery life (when used with iOS6).
  • LTE Connection: Apple took the chips traditionally associated with LTE access (one for voice, one for data) and combined them into one super chip.
  • Camera: According to the specs, the iPhone 5’s camera isn’t any different than the 4S camera. But Apple is talking about a panorama feature that let’s users shoot a full 240 degrees. The new iPhone also reportedly increases photo capture by 40% and performs better in low light situations.
  • More mics and better speakers: This handset features three microphones – on the front, back and bottom. It also apparently has improved speakers, but there isn’t much press on that.
  • iOS6: The new platform has already been covered, but I wanted to put it here as a reminder. This is, afterall, one of the biggest aspects testers and developers are going to encounter with the iPhone5.

(Since this blog is about app testing I focused on the features that will have a direct impact on developers and, in turn, on testers. So there are other new features, like the Lightening connector and new Micro-Sim card, that didn’t get mentioned in the post.)

Thanks to TechCrunch and Apple for the information!

Zuckerberg Says He Regrets Not Focusing on Native Sooner

Facebook has always centered their mobile strategy around HTML5 over native apps. However, Mark Zukerberg recently admitted on TechCrunch Disrupt that the company’s biggest mistake to date was to focus only HTML5 and not native.

In the TechCrunch Disrupt video, Mark Zuckerberg says:

“I think that the biggest mistake we’ve made as a company is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native. Because it just wasn’t there. It’s not that HTML5 is bad, I’m actually, I’m long term really excited about it…

…Then we had to start over and start re-writing everything to be native. [It] brings us to where we are now. We’ve burnt two years. It’s really painful, probably we will look back on that as being one of the biggest mistakes if not the biggest strategic mistake that we’ve made… but we’re coming out of that now.”

And indeed Facebook is coming out of that now. Facebook’s iOS app update was a very positive company advancement, and the app has been well received. In fact, Zuckerberg says in the video that people are consuming twice as many feed stories since the update to the new iOS app.

When a company like Facebook admits that a hard focus on HTML5 is a mistake – and that mobile strategies should include native – it says a lot about the mobile market, and where mobile developers should put their focus. Do you think Facebook’s HTML5 focus was a mistake – or do think the web is where the company’s strategy belongs? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

View the video below:

Free is in Fashion for Mobile Apps

In honor of fashion week, it seems that this season for mobile apps – free is in.  As posted on the Software Testing Blog Today, many developers assume that mobile users will be willing to pay a a certain amount of money if the app provides a significant value and is of good quality. However, this is not necessarily the case due to the fact that free downloads account for almost all mobile app downloads. A recent report from Gartner says that free apps account for 89% of downloads.

As covered by Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch:

“Among those downloads, free will continue to reign supreme: 89% of those downloads worldwide will cost nothing. That is also appearing to have a knock-on effect on apps that are sold for a price: 90% of paid apps will cost less than $3.

These are pricing trends that will only become stronger. By 2016, Gartner is predicting the the mobile app market will see almost 310 billion downloads, with 93% of those free apps. These numbers point to growing opportunities for those companies that help app developers monetize their apps in other ways: not just through mobile advertising, but also through developing models for in-app purchases, subscriptions and other ways to get users to pay later for content. Indeed, in-app purchases, Gartner predicts, will drive 41% of all app revenues by 2016.”

Read the full post here.

A Visual Guide to iOS App Testing

I recently pointed you toward a giant checklist to help make sure your iOS app makes it into the App Store. But what if you’re at the beginning of testing? Where do you even start? Don’t worry, the folks over at the Software Testing Club have your back.

They recently published a mindmap of iOS testing points, sub-points and sub-sub-points. Here’s a few of the categories they cover:

  • Hardware
  • Data
  • Software
  • Audio/Video
  • Functionality
  • UI

Each category has anywhere from eight to 19 sub-points that you’ll want to check out.

iOS Testing Mindmap

If you like the mindmap but are developing for a different platform, no worries, the Club put out a general mobile app testing mindmap a few months ago.

 

Testing the Tabeo Tablet for Toddlers

In case you missed the news, tablets are pretty popular these days; beloved by people of all ages – including kids. Seeing a big market opportunity, Toys ‘R’ Us is launching a tablet just for children, called the Tabeo. Here’s the story from VentureBeat:

Created by and available solely at Toys ‘R’ Us, the Tabeo comes with 50 games, including beloved apps Angry Birds and Cut The Rope. Built-in parental controls limit what kids can do on the tablet and how much time young ones use it. (Amazon recently announced similar controls in its latest Kindle Fire tablets.)

The jump into tablets comes as Toys ‘R’ Us faces two big existential challenges: On the retailer end, online outlets are scooping up customers, making Toys ‘R’ Us (and Best Buy) basically showrooms for companies like Amazon.

And the kids aren’t helping, either. Young ones are increasingly turning to gizmos and video games for their entertainment, making it a bit tougher for toy makers and toy retailers to do business. Aiming to remain relevant, Toys ‘R’ Us wants to get ahead of what kids are interested in. Hence the Tabeo.

The Tabeo brings up some unique testing challenges, including those around UI; privacy settings; parental controls, purchase controls (imagine a kid downloading hundreds of paid apps) and others.

Would you buy this tablet for your kids? Let us know in the comment section.

All About Mobile App Testing: 16 Articles

Testing Experience September 2012This month’s edition of Testing Experience is dedicated entirely to mobile app testing! Here’s a rundown of the articles:

Mobile App Performance – How to Ensure High-Quality Experiences
All about real world performance and user expectations, this article covers user’s “need for speed,” the importance of capturing real world data, the business impact of poor performance, how to deal with third party integrations and some helpful tips for making your mobile app as fast as possible.

Roadblocks and their workaround while testing mobile applications
This article breaks down the challenges of mobile apps and testing into six easy-to-understand categories: Environment challenges and Application challenges, User’s challenges, Device challenges, Network challenges, Automation challenges. It shows a nice understanding of dealing with the mobile testing matrix.

Main issues in mobile app testing
This article lists the major mobile testing issues as: User experience; Coverage of available mobile hardware; Connectivity; Security. It also briefly covers integrating the testing methods in the article with agile dev.

Beyond the Smartphone – Testing for the Developing World
Remembering that feature phones still outnumber smartphones, this article takes a look at how best to test for feature phones and how to translate some smartphone testing criteria into the feature phone realm.

Best Practices in Mobile App Testing
The author provides short lists of tips for functional and non-functional testing, plus discusses device fragmentation, tools and the usefulness of internal beta releases and of being involved in the larger testing community to keep up-to-date and on your toes.

Continue Reading

The iPhone 5 is Coming to Siri-ously Rescue Apple Users

Has your Siri app been “having a bit of trouble lately”? It seems that Apple’s virtual assistant app was down on Friday. Jordan Crook in a TechCrunch article said it could have been an OS specific problem:

“It would appear that Siri is down. We’ve tested five iPhone 4S models, all of which are running iOS 5.1. One of the iPhones in the TechCrunch office is running iOS 6, and Siri seems to be working fine on the newer OS.

Twitter confirms, and there are some pretty funny tweets coming out of this very serious crisis.”

Siri has been disappointing users since its release. In a post on the In-The-Wild Testing Blog we covered a story showing that the low-tech childhood toy, the Magic 8 Ball, is actually more accurate than Siri who squanders one out of three searches.

While these inaccuracies are frustrating – there is still hope for Apple’s mobile users. The iPhone 5 and iOS 6 are scheduled to be released this Wednesday, September 12th. The iPhone 5 will arrive in stores on the 21st, and the hope is that Siri will be much improved. Many announcements say that Siri will be able to give sports updates, launch apps, and Tweet by voice. However, what users really care about is that the app functions correctly.

Planning on upgrading to the iPhone 5? Let us know what features you are most excited about in the comments section.

Video: Hands on with the Nokia Lumia 920

As you might know, Windows Phone 8 is scheduled to hit the market sometime next month. In the meantime, you can learn a lot about this new OS by checking out Nokia’s latest hardware: the Lumia 920. Take a look at this great hands-on video:

Infographic: Building a Mobile App vs. a Web App

It’s a decision all companies are making- should I build a mobile app, a web app or both? Mobile apps have obvious advantages in speed and availability. In fact, according to an infographic on tnooz, native mobile apps completely trump web apps in terms of how much time users spend with each. Check out the infographic here: