Federico Viticci

7345 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.


IFTTT Introducing Paid Features “Soon”

Reported last week, IFTTT has raised $30 million in funding. In the NYT article covering the news, Mike Isaac included a mention of paid features coming soon to the service:

The company also plans to soon introduce its first revenue streams, and will offer a paid version of its product for users who want to connect different accounts to the service. A social media manager for a company, for example, could connect multiple Twitter accounts to IFTTT and set up recipes specific to each account.

IFTTT has become a service that I rely upon for tasks that would waste several minutes every day. I archive my tweets in Evernote, receive notifications in Launch Center Pro, and save my sleep and weight logs using IFTTT. Paid accounts have been on the roadmap for years now, and I hope that what they're planning will generate enough revenue to be sustainable. It'd be a sad geek world without IFTTT.


PARC Scientist Larry Tesler Recalls Jobs’ Famous Xerox Visits

Larry Tesler, one of the Xerox PARC scientists that gave the first demoes of the graphical user interface to Steve Jobs, recalls Apple's original visits to PARC and Jobs' reactions to what he saw.

Fortune writes:

This six-minute excerpt is part of a 100-minute panel discussion hosted by Paul Freiberger at San Jose’s Churchill Club in November 2011. It’s one of hundreds of tributes to Jobs’ legacy recorded in the weeks after his death, which may explain why I missed it the first time around and why fewer than 40,000 people in the world know about it.

You can watch the full video here.


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

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. Automatic retails at $99.95 with no subscription fees.

MacStories readers can go to automatic.com/macstories to get 20% off and buy Automatic at just $80. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Common App Rejections

As noted by AppFigures on Twitter, Apple has posted a new webpage detailing common app rejections during the review process for the App Store.

Before you develop your app, it’s important to become familiar with the technical, content, and design criteria that we use to review all apps. We’ve highlighted some of the most common issues that cause apps to get rejected to help you better prepare your apps before submitting them for review.

At the bottom of the page, Apple lists the top reasons for app rejections in a seven-day period ending August 28, 2014.

Unsurprisingly, apps that exhibited bugs/crashes and that did not comply with the developer agreement were rejected, but the list also contains mentions of “less than very good” interfaces, apps with “screenshots not relevant to the App Store”, and apps with “icons similar to other apps”. All these are common traits of many apps that have been approved, not rejected.

Check out Apple's new webpage here.


Choosing CloudKit

Greg Pierce, the developer of Drafts, Phraseology, and Terminology, has written a post with his reasons for choosing CloudKit instead of other sync providers in iOS 8:

I’m glad choosing CloudKit removes the need for me to manage servers or engage another third party service to do so, but that is not why I chose it. I’m not afraid of servers.

Why am I willing to make these trade-offs for CloudKit, despite it’s limitations? Because, ultimately, developer perspectives aside, I felt it was the right choice for my customers.

If CloudKit will work as advertised, I, as a user, can only appreciate the fact that I won't have to create additional online accounts or worry about the privacy policy of an app I just want to try for a couple of days. I have big hopes for more apps using iCloud on iOS 8.


Based on Launch Center Pro, Contact Center Simplifies Contact Shortcuts

Contact Center is not for me. The latest product from Contrast, Contact Center is a simplified version of Launch Center Pro that brings a subset of its features to a free iPhone app supported by ads and aimed at a less geeky and power-user audience. I don't need Contact Center. But, at the same time, I recognize that it's a great idea from the Contrast team, cleverly executed in this 1.0 release.

Read more

Apple Announces Media Event for September 9

As first reported by Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, Apple today announced a media event for September 9, this time to be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino. The keynote will begin at 10 AM, and the invitation image shared by Apple shows the event's date with the "Wish we could say more" tagline.

Apple is widely expected to introduce the next version of its iPhone at the event, with rumors suggesting that the company will introduce two new devices under the "iPhone 6" name, carrying larger screens than the current generation models. Apple is also expected to confirm the release of iOS 8, first introduced at WWDC in June and set to debut this Fall.


Connected: The Pasta and The Pizza and The Sauce

This week, Federico, Myke and Stephen follow up on the history of the iPod, then discusses software and hardware that are helping them get in better shape.

On this week's episode of Connected, I briefly touch upon the launch of Perspective Icons 2, then, after some follow up, we talk about how wearables and iOS apps are helping us achieve healthier lifestyles.

The story about the apps I've been using for the past couple of months will become a longer article/series for the site, but, in the meantime, you can get the episode here.

This episode of Connected is sponsored by: