Federico Viticci

7803 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and editor-in-chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, and mobile software. He can also be found in the iBooks Store and on his two podcasts, Connected and Virtual.

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Glide

A new Kickstarter project by Chris Harris, Glide aims to simplify app creation with drag & drop of text and images in Dropbox and a variety of templates for different app types and native iOS features.

From the project's page:

Building an app yourself is hard work. Normally you need a lot of technical skills that most people don't have. Glide makes it easy to create beautiful apps that look professional right from the start.

You simply put text, images and movies into folders, and Glide will build the app for you. When you change the content, the app updates automatically.

We have created a number of award winning apps using Glide, but we believe that everyone should be able to afford their own app. This Kickstarter is our way of making this happen.

If this sounds too good to be true, Harris and team have been building apps with Glide for years, including The Loop Magazine and Wonders of Life. Glide has been optimized for various app types, and it also sports integration with iOS features such as push notifications and iBeacon.

This is an interesting project for me, especially because it's entirely based on files in Dropbox, which makes content creation easy for someone who primarily works on iOS.

Here's how Marco Arment describes Glide:

I’ve never seen anything quite like Glide, and I think it’s going to be huge.

The best way I can explain it is that Glide is to apps as Squarespace is to websites: it lets you build a lot of common app types (especially content, informational, and portfolio apps), with very little effort or expertise, and yields stunning results.

I'll keep an eye on this. You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

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Day One for Apple Watch

Another one of my favorite iOS apps, Day One, is coming to Apple Watch with a slimmed down UI focused on quick logging of new journal entries.

The Day One team has only shared one screenshot of the Watch app, but it gives a good idea of what it'll be capable of. Like others, I often forget to create new entries in my Day One journal because I get distracted by all the other apps on my iPhone and creating a new location check-in takes too many taps. Day One for the Watch will have shortcuts for one-tap check-ins, dictation, and even customizable entries with tags. I'm curious to see if easier access to Day One will help me save journal entries more often.

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Twitterrific for Apple Watch

I'm a big fan of The Iconfactory's continued development of Twitterrific in spite of the restrictions on third-party clients imposed by Twitter. I'm happy to see that Twitterrific is already available on Apple Watch with version 5.11 (released last night), which uses notifications and Glances to offer an overview of recent Twitter changes in your account.

Twitterrific’s glance gives you a fun, visual digest of the total number of favorites, retweets and new followers you’ve received over the past 24 hours. Think of it as a lightweight version of the Today View from the iOS app. It also displays the number of unread tweets currently waiting for you the next time you launch the iOS app. Note that Twitterrific’s push notifications (available as a one-time in-app purchase) are needed to take full advantage of the app’s features on Apple Watch.

The Twitterrific watch app displays a list of your most recent 25 replies, mentions, direct messages, favs, RT’s and new followers right on your wrist. This helps you focus on the part of Twitter that’s most important to you and frees you from information overload common when viewing your entire timeline. Simply tap any item in the list to view its details and respond in a number of ways. Favorite a reply or mention, give a new friend a follow back and even reply to mentions and direct messages using Apple Watch’s dictation feature. It’s just that simple.

I look forward to trying Twitterrific once I get my Watch. Also in this update, you can now see fave and RT counts for selected tweets. These counts are one of my favorite features in Twitter for iOS, and while Twitterrific can't fetch them for all tweets and update them in real time (due to API restrictions), they managed to find a good compromise that helps add context to tweets. Well done.

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‘What Does Google Need on Mobile?’

Fascinating take on Google by Benedict Evans from earlier this week:

Apps cut off Google’s reach, both to get data into its systems, since apps are opaque, and to surface data out to internet users, since any search in Yelp’s specialist app is a search that wasn’t on Google, and such apps are stronger on mobile than on the desktop. Apps reduce Google’s reach in both senses. This of course is why (like Facebook) it has been pursuing deep links, and is probably also one reason why it is keeping Chrome OS warm as a standby mobile platform. But it also means that Google has conflicting incentives - as a provider of services, should it try always to make things as part of the web, or embrace the new experiences that apps and everything else happening on smartphones can provide? What would the web search team say if Hangouts became a development platform, for example?

Just yesterday, Google announced a new search initiative on Android: now, users will be able to find content inside apps they don't have installed (powered by App Indexing), start downloading an app within search, and continue their activity directly into the just-downloaded app.

As explained by Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch:

Here is what all of this will look like in practice: say you are searching for a recipe and Google’s algorithms determine that there is an app that has just the right recipe for black forest cake for you. You will now see a carousel with relevant apps and a prominent install button right next to them. From there, you’re taken to the Google Play store to install the app. Once the app is installed, you simply click “continue” and the app will open with the content you were looking for.

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Behind the App: Working with the Press

This week we take a look at how developers tease their apps to build hype, how they manage relationships with the press, and how journalists feel about this themselves.

Over the years, I've often been asked to share my process for evaluating app pitches and tips/best practices for developers who want to work with the press for a successful app launch. I'm very happy to have contributed some thoughts for Myke Hurley's excellent Inquisitive series, Behind the App. The episode features some great guests, and, if you're a developer, I strongly recommend listening to this.

If you're not familiar with Behind the App, it's a fantastic series on Relay FM about app making and the people behind the apps we use every day. It's an Inquisitive series, so start from this episode and work your way up to #35 (the latest one).

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Connected: The Popsicle Rumor

This week, the boys are joined by Jason Snell to talk about Photos.app, then wrap up “Becoming Steve Jobs.”

On this week's Connected, we invited everyone's favorite power slider, Jason Snell, to discuss Photos for OS X. I didn't talk much, but I listened. You can get the episode here.

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Virtual: I Don’t Know What’s Rumbling

This week Federico and Myke talk about Lego Dimensions, the new Guitar Hero, Pokemon Rumble World and whether Apple Watch games make sense.

Even if you don't play videogames much, I'd recommend listening to this week's Virtual for the smartwatch section and how game developers are approaching Apple Watch. You can listen here.

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Watch OS Accessibility

As with every product we make, we want as many people as possible to enjoy using Apple Watch. That’s why it’s designed with assistive technologies and features that make it easy for people with disabilities to use. Accessing them is also simple, either through Settings on the device itself or through the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

Apple launched a new webpage for Accessibility in Watch OS last night, highlighting different accessibility features that will be available in the first version of Apple Watch. As Steven Aquino wrote last month, the Taptic Engine could play an important role for the accessibility community.

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