updated 12:23 am EDT, Thu April 25, 2013
New animation tools, page objects, per-page controls, more
Although it got off to a rocky start, Apple's iAd service is now the second-largest such service online, behind Google. The program has quietly but slowly improved over the years, and the improvements have now filtered through to a new major version of iAd Producer, the program that allows artist to create both typical iOS ads as well as the elaborate, beautifully-produced promotions that have become a signature showcase of Apple's approach to advertising. The new version, 4.0, improves nearly every aspect of the program.
Most importantly, the release brings new animation tools including built-in effects, an Object List, and new page objects (HTML, Stack, Drawing and Panorama). There are also now per-page controls for image preloading, support for folder-based organization in the asset library, new actions for adding and removing CSS classes and the ability to apply CSS filters as well as image and gradient masks to objects.
Version 4.0 now has project-wide search in the Code Editor, an in-app quick preview, support for Quick Look previews in iAd Producer project files, and support for iTunes LP, iTunes Extras and iBook Author widget project types. Improvements include better Object and Actions library interfaces; improved export performance, menu layout and font support (including for OpenType fonts). The update also features enhanced inspectors with pop-up color pickers and gradient sliders that now represent opacity, along with other fixes and improvements.
The app is free for registered iOS developers, and requires a 64-bit Intel Mac running OS X 10.8.3 or later and Safari 6.0.3 or later.