Posted by:Suparna Rao January 8th, 2014

iPhone apps on iPad don’t look good. Till iOS 5, there was no solution for this limitation but iOS 6 brought the auto layout feature – for design to adjust on screen resolutions based on content. Though theoretically cool, the new feature proved too complicated for most iOS app developers to adopt, compelling them to come up with workarounds. But with iOS 7, things are different with Apple making design and code for resolution independence easier.


In iOS 7, Apple moves away from precise pixel positions. This methodology is very messy for scaling layouts across devices with resolutions not straight multiples or divisors of the original. The latest OS uses the more dynamic, physics based layout that allows interactions between design elements – objects, layers, springs – for proportionate scaling. This allows iOS developers more flexibility for on-the-fly rendering.

Apple’s own stock apps are good examples of fluid layout rendering – the multi-tasking rolling panel, the new buttons, the Safari browser including buttons and tabs. There’s also the new TypeKit typography rendering engine that enables fonts to scale weight with size.

Apple is moving towards resolution independence in a big way. It has already broken tradition with iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. If developers won’t need to bother about device fragmentation and spend hours on pixel perfecting mobile apps for various screens, significant development hours could be saved. This saving could be channeled into the creation of more intuitive, innovative and rich apps for the iOS platform.

Resolution independence could soon become a coding principle for iPhone and iPad app developers to get apps through Apple’s approval engine.

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