Astro HQ create menu button with iPad hack

Astro HQ create menu button with iPad hack
iPad Pro. Photo: By Pengjiajie - Own workOriginal text: Selbst fotografiert, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons

Apple’s mission to create a minimalist design for its products by taking away buttons has created challenges for many third party developers.

However, Astro HQ has created the perfect iPad hack that allows the iPad camera button to become a menu button for its app. It comes as a result of Apple’s ever so frequent tendency to remove buttons and create more ‘on screen’ functions leaving little wiggle room for others.

The new Luna Display app from Astro HQ allows you to turn your iPad into a secondary display screen for you Macbook or iMac. The app improves efficiency and is aimed at designers who require greater creative functionality and by turning their Mac into a touch screen it gives them more opportunities.

The difficulty faced was the fact that almost every part of the iPad screen now has some sort of functionality based on a specific swiping gesture making it difficult for the app developer to find an alternative solution so as not to create congestion on the display.

So the company came up with the idea to utilise the camera lens as a menu button with the alertness of the camera used as a sensor to trigger the menu and allow the screen to be fully utilised.

User privacy was a major challenging in the development but the battery life was also something that had to be considered as constant use of the camera is going to drain the devices battery life far more quickly.

The company says it spent four months working on a way ensure that the constant use of the camera didn’t drain the battery of the iPad.

Marketing director of Astro HQ, Savannah Reising, commented on the development of the app and the constant changes being made by Apple saying,

“Apple made headlines when it revealed a new iPhone design that left out the home button…but every further simplification Apple makes keeps us on our toes”.

She continued to say that it also encourages the company to search for creative solutions in an effort to continue providing high quality software without overcrowding the screens and working against the minimalist attitude.

The company used the fundraising website ‘Kickstarter’ in order to raise funds for the creation and development of its new Lunar Display app, including the iPad hack, and far exceeded its desired total of $38,000. The company managed to raise over US$755,000 in the end with tremendous support from the donors.