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Old 10-18-2013, 09:25 AM   #31
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That's not really true. iOS supports autolayout, which allows interfaces to adapt to different screen sizes.
Is that why soon after Apple introduced new screen sizes many apps displayed black bars at the edges until their developers could scramble and put out new versions of their apps with brand new image artwork that would work for the new sizes?

From what I gather, every single time Apple puts out a new screen resolution, their developers have to put out a new version of their app that includes another set of artwork exactly scaled to that new resolution.

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The fact is, though, that a single interface which just automatically adapts to screen size is rarely optimal for all those sizes.
I believe Android apps can scale both up and down -- unlike iOS. So developers can limit their apps to just one or a few versions. As long as they cover the high resolution devices, then there is no loss of quality for all users.

Personally, I don't notice any loss of quality going from an iOS tablet to an Android one. In the earlier days of Android (gingerbread and earlier variants) perhaps apps did not always evolve in step with the quickly evolving screen resolutions. But things have changed and Android apps have caught up now.

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With iOS the number of screen sizes to support is sufficiently small that it's feasible for a developer to design a separate, optimal, UI for each size. With Android that's not generally the case.
As much as iOS requirements usually result in optimal app quality on screen -- it is also a big limitation. It inhibits Apple from branching out with new screen size options. Those are two sides of the same coin.

Because of Android's flexibility, there is much more choice for consumers in the marketplace in terms of hardware. I appreciate that much more so long as there is no significant loss of quality with the apps. And with the maturation of Android apps today, there isn't.

--Pat

Last edited by PatNY; 10-18-2013 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:07 AM   #32
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Yeah....Android apps scale...just look at the sh1tty facebook app on a 10" android tablet to see how wonderful "scaling an app designed for a phone" looks on a tablet.

I agree that Samsung copies and innovates. All companies do...but few copy as brazenly as Samsung. They don't just copy, they clone.

Phablets are today's netbooks. Lots of people loved netbooks, lots of companies made netbooks. Lots of people wondered when Apple would make a netbook. Apple never did. Now almost nobody does.

Given that Apple makes a terrific phone at it's current size...with industry leading performance WHILE still being small...it's not credible to think Apple can't make a larger phone with larger battery and screen. That's EASIER to do. Yes, it's "innovation". Samsung and other solved the "how to we put a power hungry LTE chip in a phone without having terrible battery life" by making a larger phone. That counts as innovation.

Apple decided to NOT make an LTE phone until the chips had decent low power abilities.

Sometimes the best innovations are when to say "no".

And customers will choose what meets their desires and needs.

Can Apple make services as good as Google? Not yet. I think that definitely falls into the category of "can't" (witness Apple maps).

Can Apple make a netbook? Yes. Can Apple make a large screen phone? Yes. That Apple doesn't is a choice, not an inability.
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:04 AM   #33
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Is that why soon after Apple introduced new screen sizes many apps displayed black bars at the edges until their developers could scramble and put out new versions of their apps with brand new image artwork that would work for the new sizes?
That's just because those developers chose to design a pixel-perfect UI and not use the auto-layout features in iOS. As I said previously, the small number of screen sizes available on iOS makes this approach feasible, and allows for optimally designed UIs.

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From what I gather, every single time Apple puts out a new screen resolution, and many do, their developers have to put out a new version of their app that includes another set of artwork exactly scaled to that new resolution.
I'm afraid your understanding is wrong. iOS developers can choose to design pixel perfect UIs for each screen resolution, and many do, but they don't have to - they have the option to use auto-layout.

/JB
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:32 PM   #34
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You're underestimating the range of sizes and resolutions available on android devices. Just a couple of minutes of random looking finds:
  • 4" 854x480
  • 7" 1024x600
  • 6.4" 1920x1080
  • 4" 800x480
  • 5" 1920x1080
  • 3.5" 480 x 320
  • 4.3" 1280 x 720
  • 4.7" 1280x800
  • 10" 2560x1600

.. and that list is far from exhaustive.

/JB
And, they ALL fall in the 3 buckets I mentioned. You only need to target 3 buckets: 320DP, 600DP, 720DP. Note that I use DP, not PIXEL, that's the beauty of Android, you don't care what the resolution is, only what bucket it is in.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:41 PM   #35
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And, they ALL fall in the 3 buckets I mentioned. You only need to target 3 buckets: 320DP, 600DP, 720DP. Note that I use DP, not PIXEL, that's the beauty of Android, you don't care what the resolution is, only what bucket it is in.
Sorry, but I have to disagree. There are lots of reasons to have your UI configure itself differently on a 10" tablet screen and a 4" phone screen, even if both use the same DPI value. Consider, say, a mail app; on the 4" screen you probably want the inbox to fill the whole screen, being replaced by the message when you read it. On the 10" screen you have the space to display your inbox down one side of the screen, with message text alongside it. Physical size is just as important as resolution.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:44 PM   #36
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Sorry, but I have to disagree. There are lots of reasons to have your UI configure itself differently on a 10" tablet screen and a 4" phone screen, even if both use the same DPI value. Consider, say, a mail app; on the 4" screen you probably want the inbox to fill the whole screen, being replaced by the message when you read it. On the 10" screen you have the space to display your inbox down one side of the screen, with message text alongside it. Physical size is just as important as resolution.
Harry, you don't understand.

A 1280x720px phone is a 320DP device, a 1920x1080px phone is a 320DP device, a 2560x1600px 10" tablet is a 720DP device, a 1280x800px 7" tablet is a 600DP device, a 1280x800px 10" is a 720DP device and so on.

Here's the beauty: you don't care about the physical dimensions or the pixel resolution of the device, it will fall into one of the 3 buckets and it will get a phone, 7" tablet, or 10" tablet layout - the framework takes care of it for you.
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:33 PM   #37
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And, they ALL fall in the 3 buckets I mentioned. You only need to target 3 buckets: 320DP, 600DP, 720DP. Note that I use DP, not PIXEL, that's the beauty of Android, you don't care what the resolution is, only what bucket it is in.
That just backs up the point I'm trying to make - if you use those DP buckets for scaled UI design you'll end up, for example, using the same UI layout for a 3.5" 480x320 phone as you would for a 5" 1920x1080 phone. The difference in physical size, resolution and aspect ratio mean that that layout is unlikely to be optimal for them both.

/JB
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:49 PM   #38
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That just backs up the point I'm trying to make - if you use those DP buckets for scaled UI design you'll end up, for example, using the same UI layout for a 3.5" 480x320 phone as you would for a 5" 1920x1080 phone. The difference in physical size, resolution and aspect ratio mean that that layout is unlikely to be optimal for them both.

/JB
Wrong. You don't understand how things work on Android. You use XML layouts that dynamically expand to account for the space. Also, you don't use static images for things like button backgrounds, or list backgrounds, you use 9-patch images that expand without loss of quality. The whole thing has been thought out from the ground up to be screen size and screen resolution agnostic, as long as you target the 3 buckets, and you don't use static images that need to be blown out, your app will look beautiful on all devices.

And yes, your layout would be identical for 4" phone on 840x480, a 4.3" phone on 1280x720 as it would be on a 1920x1080 5" phone, they would fall into the same bucket (320DP). The screen display will not be identical, for instance the line width of one might be slightly longer (so an email subject might display a few more characters on one device over another), but the layout is the same, you just don't care, it adjusts automatically without loss of quality.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:29 PM   #39
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Nice theory. In practice, it's why Android phone apps suck when run on a tablet.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:32 PM   #40
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Nice theory. In practice, it's why Android phone apps suck when run on a tablet.
Yet another armchair developer. Congratulations for your insightful comment!

Apps suck when they don't target the 3 buckets and have to be blown out for a tablet; if an app targets the 3 buckets it just looks as it's intended, rather than a horribly blown out phone app.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:39 PM   #41
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Yet another armchair developer. Congratulations for your insightful comment!

Apps suck when they don't target the 3 buckets and have to be blown out for a tablet; if an app targets the 3 buckets it just looks as it's intended, rather than a horribly blown out phone app.
Spoken from a 30 year software development veteran...and Android tablet/iPad owner. I own both. And the tablet software for the Android is still embarrassingly bad outside of Google's apps and a few others (flipboard, evernote are examples of the few that are great). Of those that are great, they are redesigned and built for the tablet size on Android, just like with iPad apps.

I will grant that Android phone apps running on a tablet, while horrible, are somewhat less horrible than iPhone apps running on an iPad. There's just 350,000 made for iPad apps such that one doesn't need to still be running phone apps on an Apple tablet.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:53 PM   #42
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No, it couldn't. A Retina screen has significantly higher power consumption and needs either a bigger, heavier battery, or keeping the same battery with a significant reduction in usable lifetime. Producing a Retina Mini with acceptable weight AND a decent battery life needs a completely redesign, which is why it's taking a year (or whatever it is) to do.
Apple is hung up on thinness, smaller sizes, and super light weight by choice; not by necessity. As such, those parameters delay the addition of technological advances and hamstring their devices. My iPod touch 4 has a horrible rear cam. Why? because Apple made it too thin. That precluded the use of the cams used in the iPhone 3GS or 4.

With Apple it's form first, function second.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:56 PM   #43
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They have purses
I'm not carrying a stupid purse just to have a huge phone. I only have one to carry a few notebooks, sharpies, pens, and sticky notes in it to begin with, and I only carry it once a week. If a phone doesn't fit in my pocket, I'm not buying it.

Waste of money purses are.

It's either a 4" phone, or I'm buying used ones off eBay for the rest of my life if I have to.
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:19 PM   #44
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With Apple it's form first, function second.
With Apple, form and beauty are certainly considered as well as function. You'll never see a big "camera bulge" like the Lumia for example.

For the opposite aesthetic you have Samsung which will through every imaginable feature just to put it on a checklist for marketing whether or not it makes sense as a whole.

Tim Cook has said that the trade offs that today's large screens require are not the kind that Apple is willing to make. Just like those first gen Android LTE phones with their terrible battery life. Apple waited until they could make the phone the wanted to make, at the size they wanted it to be, with the battery life they wanted to have -- and then ability to have LTE. The day may come when Apple overcomes the tradeoffs or changes their opinion.

Apple means it when they say the ability to say no is very important.

Horses for courses. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking Apple "can't" create a large screen phone. They just simply aren't. And for those where large screens are a deciding factor, Apple is willing to not have their business. Just like Apple is willing to not produce a cheaper iPhone at this time leaving all kinds of sales they could get.

Apple will make it's moves...and they will be considered moves according to Apple's timetable. For all the fury on this topic, the huge sales in Android are not coming from the large screen Hero phones. They are coming from cheap low end phones. Apple has 65% share of the >$400 market.
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #45
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Wrong. You don't understand how things work on Android.
If you say so.

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You use XML layouts that dynamically expand to account for the space. Also, you don't use static images for things like button backgrounds, or list backgrounds, you use 9-patch images that expand without loss of quality.
I know that, and it doesn't contradict my point.

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And yes, your layout would be identical for 4" phone on 840x480, a 4.3" phone on 1280x720 as it would be on a 1920x1080 5" phone, they would fall into the same bucket (320DP). The screen display will not be identical, for instance the line width of one might be slightly longer (so an email subject might display a few more characters on one device over another), but the layout is the same, you just don't care, it adjusts automatically without loss of quality.
You're missing my point. I know that the layout will be the same, and my point is that that is not necessarily what you want. The layout that makes sense on a 3.5" phone with a 3:2 aspect ratio might well not be the one you want on a 5" 16:9 phone. You may well have had to make compromises on the smaller display in order to maintain acceptable button sizes and spacing that you do not have to make on the larger display. For example, buttons for functions which had to be relegated to a secondary dialog (or "activity" if you want to use the Android terminology) on the smaller phone may be able to coexist with the rest on the bigger one. Or even more basic - buttons with a "nice" size and spacing on the 5" phone might be too small and tightly spaced to be hit accurately on a 3.5" phone.

In practice, because of the wide variety of Android devices, Android apps don't really have an option but to do it the way you describe. iOS developers, on the other hand, do have options - you can have your UI adapt automatically, but given the relatively small number of display sizes to cope with it's much more feasible to design optimal layouts for each one.

It's interesting to note that in order to achieve an acceptable appearance, the Android docs discuss designing different layouts for different size-buckets, and for each of those providing different bitmaps for different density-buckets. They list 4 size-buckets and 6 density-buckets. Even though not all 24 combinations are common, it still leaves many more bases to cover than iOS.

/JB

Last edited by jbjb; 10-18-2013 at 03:35 PM.
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