Federico Viticci

7724 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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Apple Found Its Newest Billboards on the Internet

Brendan Klinkenberg, writing for BuzzFeed on Apple's new ad campaign for iPhone 6 photography:

Last December, when the Bay Area had one of its rare rainy days, Cielo de la Paz took her kids out to play. She’s an avid photographer, “willing to wake up at five in the morning and hike 10 miles to get that shot of the sunrise,” and when she saw the reflection of her red umbrella on the wet concrete, she knew she had a good one.

“It took a few shots,” she said, “this was the last one I took, I was finally happy with how the wind arranged the leaves for me.”

She edited the shot with Filterstorm Neue, uploaded the picture to Flickr (she was taking part in the photo365 challenge), where Apple found it.

Very nice of Apple to use these real photos in billboards around the world, too.

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The Story of Crossy Road

Dave Tach, writing for Polygon on the story of Crossy Road:

Crossy Road is the rare story of success at the intersection of art, commerce, design and marketing. It's about lessons learned in hard times and a games maker who thought he might never go back to GDC after one terrible year. It's about a pair of developers who, in fact, did set out to create a video gaming phenomenon — and succeeded.

An inspiring tale of success, especially because the developers purposefully tried a different free-to-play model and didn't simply experiment without consideration. A good lesson.

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Interactive Apple Watch App Demos

Cool idea by the newly launched WatchAware: interactive demos for Apple Watch apps ahead of the device's release.

At WatchAware, we’re excited to bring you our take on industry news about Apple Watch and the impact of wearable technology in general. But we’re even more excited about our new, just-launched Apps section. There, we’re giving third-party developers their own little corner of the site, where readers can come to check out their wares, see how their apps will look and run, and even interact with them. It’s really cool, and we’re really proud of it.

The Apps webpage they launched features a collection of apps previously shown in September but also new ones provided by indie developers. I'm particularly intrigued by Feed Wrangler, Todoist (obviously), and Run 5k. Besides the device itself, I'm excited to see how third-party apps will adapt to the Watch – Run 5k (video here) will display heart rate, distance, and pace directly on your wrist, which wouldn't be possible with an iPhone app.

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Launch Center Pro Coming to Apple Watch

Launch Center Pro, my favorite utility to launch actions and apps on iOS, is coming to Apple Watch. As shown by Contrast's David Barnard, Launch Center Pro for the Watch will feature a list of actions with a simplified interface in line with Apple's guidelines for the new device.

I'm excited about the potential of bringing discrete automation to the wrist. And I'm curious to see how Contrast will slim down the experience to make sense on the Watch. The actions in the screenshot seem to be primarily web-based (likely powered by IFTTT) and they can work well with one-tap interactions and dictation, but I'm wondering if the more complex workflows of Launch Center Pro for iOS could have Watch counterparts as well.

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Designing for Humans

The last hundred years or so have brought us a very, very long way. From the invention of the telephone and the automobile to telephones you can use to… order an automobile, technology has empowered and enabled not just gadgets and toys, but massive changes in the way we design, create, and produce objects of every size and shape.

And there are roughly seven billion people on this planet right now. So… who is all this stuff for?

The latest video in Dave Wiskus' excellent Better Elevation series reflects on designing experiences for more diverse audiences. This is an important message for any type of designer, and one that I should follow more often for the accessibility of MacStories.

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Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle

I've been struggling to get back in shape after chemo.

Since being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma (Stage IV) in late 2011, my life changed. Beyond the psychological and emotional consequences of how cancer affected me, my family, and my relationships, it is undeniable and abundantly clear that cancer took its toll on me from a physical perspective.

Last year, I decided to regain control of my body, my life habits, and my health. I started tracking everything I could about my activities, my exercise routine, the food I ate, and the time I spent working with my iPad instead of walking, sleeping, or enjoying time with my family. Since then, I've made a decision to not let cancer and its consequences define me any longer.

I want to be healthier, I want to eat better, and I want to take the second chance I was given and make the most of it. What started as an experiment has become a new daily commitment to improve my lifestyle and focus.

And it wouldn't be possible without my iPhone.

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Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant on Your Smartphone [Sponsor]

There’s a mountain of data inside your car waiting to be unleashed, and all you have to do is plug in a quick little connector and download a mobile application.

Automatic is a smart driving assistant that plugs into your car's data port and lets you connect your smartphone (either iPhone or Android) with your car. By  talking to your car’s onboard computer and using your smartphone’s GPS and data plan to upgrade your car's capabilities, Automatic will allow you to easily diagnose your engine light, never forget where you parked your car, and save hundreds of dollars on gas.

Automatic learns your driving habits and gives you suggestions through subtle audio cues to drive smarter and stop wasting gas. Thanks to a map view available on your phone, Automatic can display a trip timeline after every driving session, showing you how you're doing with a Drive Score; the app can even track local gas prices and tell you how much you're spending.

In case of engine problems, Automatic can decipher what the "check engine" light means and show you a description of the issue with a possible solution. And thanks to a feature called Crash Alert, Automatic can detect many types of serious crashes and automatically alert local authorities as well as your loved ones when you can't.

Automatic is currently available in the US for iPhone and Android devices, with a 45-day return policy and free shipping in 2 business days.

MacStories readers can go to automatic.com/macstories to get $20 off and buy Automatic at just $79.99. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple Highlights ‘Shot with iPhone 6′ Gallery on Apple.com Homepage

People take incredible photos and videos on iPhone 6 every day. And here are some of our favorites. Explore the gallery, learn a few tips, and see what’s possible with the world’s most popular camera.

Apple has launched a 'Shot with iPhone 6' mini-site today. The iPhone 6 truly has an incredible camera, which is extremely portable and has a large selection of apps (which Apple also highlights). Great shots.

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