iPhone Development

Bluetooth/WiFi Issues and Status for 3.0

For a couple weeks we've been trying to release a Bluetooth version of our game (iSamurai), but have been experiencing strange network problems ever since compiling for the 3.0 GM (gold master) Seed of Apple's iPhone 3.0 software. We've now had enough breakthroughs on our network struggles to share some (hopefully) useful info.

We submitted a bug report to Apple and answered one of their follow-up questions, and started an official support request - and have been going back and forth with an Apple rep on this. He has provided some good direction and interesting tests.

To cut right to the main issue:
- With the release of the iPhone software 3.0 GM seed, a service discovery process is now running that will look for other computers over EITHER WiFi or Bluetooth, (switching back and forth using the single antenna available for both).
- When that process is actively looking, various problems are caused with a current network connection that has already been established. Lags, and sometime even big lags and dropped packets of data being sent between the computers.
- To stop the service discovery, you do something like [self.netServiceBrowser stop] after you've made the connection, but it doesn't stop network problems from happening during the initial discovery process, which sometimes hangs one or both of the phones.
- When you turn off either WiFi or Bluetooth on the phones, the other type of connection (that you didn't turn off) is great, probably because the discovery process doesn't even try - no lags, no problems. Unfortunately this is something the user must do in their Settings (Right? Not sure what other options there are here.).

That leads to the amazing fact:
A bluetooth connection can be made using the 2.2.1 and earlier WiFi Picker, on iPhones running 3.0, regardless of whether the new GameKit framework is used or not. People can get a Bluetooth connection with 2.2.1 apps just by upgrading to iPhone Software 3.0!

I have verified that a Bluetooth connection is possible with our currently available 2.2.1 app (iSamurai compiled for iPhone OS 2.2.1) with phones that (now) have iPhone OS software 3.0 -- although not obvious, the Bluetooth connection is made using the WiFi Picker interface, and then our Apple-mandated "No Network Found" message comes up, but the connection is there.

To make absolutely sure, this last test was done and works even with WiFi off on both phones and all possible wireless access points (WAPS) turned off - it IS a Bluetooth connection, being made with an app compiled to run on iPhone software 2.2.1 but running on Apple's iPhone software 3.0.


Fieldrunners is addictive

Someone stop me now! Fieldrunners was one of the first iPhone games that I was introduced to, and since that point, no other game has held my attention quite like it does. If you're not familiar with Fieldrunners, it's another take on the thoroughly worn “defense tower” style game. But this game is so well put together, so simplistic yet challenging, I can't seem to put it down.

When it comes to killing time on a plane, in a car, at home, etc., nothing beats Fieldrunners.

I can only hope our games here at Toy Kite can grasp your attention like Fieldrunners does mine. Enjoy!

iPhone Keyboard Hack

Our buddies over at Perceptive Development have pulled off a stellar hack: they've hooked up an external keyboard to an iPhone using an audio modem implemented with a $20 micro-controller.

The result is a way of communicating with the phone using the Apple-approved SDK audio input, and in this case sending encoded keyboard inputs to it. So this hack can be done on a non-jailbroken phone... genius.

Stanford University is offering free downloadable classes in iPhone development

Per MacWorld's iPhone Central, Stanford University is now offering free downloadable classes via iTunes taught by Apple engineers. These classes are the same ones offered to Stanford students but without credit towards a degree.

For more information see the article at iPhone Central:

App Reviews: Galcon, the Best Network Game for the IPhone (by far)

In looking over the different types of applications out there for the iPhone and picking an area we wanted to jump into, we at Toy Kite decided that we had to put some serious effort into "testing" many, many cool iphone apps of all types...particularly the leading genre, games!

The iPhone - an Overnight Market

Back in the 70s and 80s, the first personal computers (PCs) arrived, and slowly but surely they were brought into the home, allowing newborn software development companies, such as Microsoft, a slowly expanding market for their wares. Over time some companies did very well and others dropped out of sight.

Getting started with iPhone Development

Some aspiring iPhone programmers might appreciate a list of books to get them started.

We went through the lists on Amazon, read the reviews and, in cases, actually waited until the books that we wanted were published. Hopefully the following list will save new iPhone developers some time.

Learn C on the Mac

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