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What's new in Instacast 1.4

Today is October 12, 2011. Today Apple will make iOS 5 available to the public. I am running it for a few weeks now and I am loving it so far. There is only one minor quirk. More about that later. Today I want to tell you about a new version of Instacast which I labeled 1.4.

A lot of Instacast users were running the developer betas of iOS 5 since WWDC this year. To be precise around 10% of all users. And since GM the percentage went up to 20%. Which tells me that you guys are daring to install iOS 5 on your iPhone or iPod touch. I expect a steep adoption curve. The current version of Instacast available on the App Store is 1.3.6. This version is pretty stable and it should work nearly perfectly for everybody on iOS 5, however naturally it lacks iOS 5 specific features. This is where version 1.4 comes into play. It is currently in review at Apple and should be available if not today, but in a few days.

Between version 1.3.6 and version 1.4 I changed a lot of internals and added some neat features. For one the whole playback engine had to be changed again, since Apple has been working very hard internally on the media APIs. With Instacast 1.4 now you can watch anything you like on AirPlay via the Apple TV and I added 'Now Playing' information to the lock screen. And if you have multiple iOS 5 devices you can sync the applications states between devices using iCloud. More about that in another blog post.

As I mentioned in 'The Case of iOS Background Audio' Apple seems to have changed the background behavior of apps. Previously when you locked the screen, the front most application continued to work and could do its thing. Now in iOS 5, the app seems to transition into the background and thus freezes the app if it is not using any of the background modes, like playing audio, using the GPS, doing VOIP etc. This means for you if you put your iPhone into the dock, set the refresh option to every hour, Instacast would have downloaded all episodes and be ready in the morning - in iOS 5 not so much anymore. I am currently investigating this, but I think there won't be an easy solution and that this behavior needs to be abondoned in the future.

That's said, if you have any feedback, please let me know.

October 12th, 2011 • Permalink

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