One of the coolest new features in iTunes 11 is the ability to take a picture of an iTunes gift card on a Mac and have it instantly redeemed in the store. It’s a heck of a lot quicker than manually typing in a 16-character string.
One of the developers who helped work with Apple on iTunes 11 has explained the incredible efforts behind creating this new feature.
The last 12 months have been really exciting and intense for me. This project represented a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and touch new things and really push the limits of technologies and devices. Many people and teams were involved in this project. You cannot imagine the quality and quantity of engineering, design, development, integration, testing, manufacturing, marketing, management and coordination behind just this single feature. This is Apple.
According to Parziale, “a very sophisticated set of image processing and computer vision algorithms extracts the 16-digit code from the iTunes Card and converts it into a string in few milliseconds.” Several key Apple frameworks are used to make the process fluid and reliable. Like Parziale says, it’s a classic example of Apple’s commitment to excellence.
Parziale also notes that the feature is optimized for the visually impaired thanks to VoiceOver in OS X. “VoiceOver helps positioning the card in front of the camera and the very fast image processing algorithm generates very quickly the result,” according to Parziale. “The user experience is amazing.”