Federico Viticci

7980 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 on his two podcasts – Connected and Virtual.

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Apple Releases iOS 8.4

Apple's new Music app.

Apple's new Music app.

Apple has released iOS 8.4 today, bringing a redesigned Music app with Apple Music support, audiobook listening features for iBooks and CarPlay, and iBooks Author textbook support on iPhone.

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Apple Watch and the Killer App Crisis

Smart take by Ken Segall on Apple Watch:

Well, here’s the stark reality: The Apple Watch has no killer app. And it will never have a killer app.

But anyone who hinges the success of the device on the idea of a killer app is living far, far in the past.

If you need any proof, just look at the iPhone. We can all agree it started one of the biggest technology revolutions of our time. So … what’s the killer app?

This is exactly how I look at the iPad, too. I have a feeling Apple Watch will follow the same path – especially after watchOS 2.

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Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

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Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Twitterrific Adds Facial Detection

With an update released last night, Twitterrific has gained a new facial recognition feature that properly frames people's faces in timeline photos. The Iconfactory's Gedeon Maheux writes:

By far the coolest of these improvements is the use of Apple’s facial recognition APIs to improve image previews. What does that mean exactly? It means that as Twitterrific displays media thumbnails in the timeline (pictures, videos, etc), the app tries to detect faces and frame the thumbnail so faces are always showing. In short, if Twitterrific sees a face in a tweet, it tries to make sure you see it too!

The effect when scanning through your list of tweets in the timeline can be dramatic. Previously Twitterrific always framed thumbnails on the center of images, but many times people’s faces aren’t in the middle, especially on portrait shots. Check out these before and after comparison screen shots to see the difference facial framing makes in the timeline.

This is a great example of how an iOS API seemingly unrelated to Twitter clients can dramatically improve the experience of an app. Very clever.

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“Everyone in Buenos Aires Is Communicating by Voice Memo Now”

This story by Kari Paul (via Daring Fireball) on WhatsApp voice memos in Argentina could have been written for my friends in Italy, and it would be the same:

On any given block in Buenos Aires, you are likely to see someone speaking into their phone, but not on it; talking to someone, but not necessarily with anyone. I recently visited the city, and was struck by the fact that it seemed like all the citizens were walking around expressively talking to themselves. In reality, most people are perpetually sending voice memos to one another.

WhatsApp voice memo usage has skyrocketed in the past year among my circle of friends. Interestingly, even if some of them believe iMessage is an overall superior app, they stick with WhatsApp because it works for everyone (Android friends and even a few of them on Windows Phone). A day doesn't go by without at least 50 WhatsApp voice memos in busy group threads.

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Apple Releases iTunes U 3.0

Apple has launched a major update to iTunes U for iOS today, bringing features to simplify homework management for students and grading for teachers. Dawn Chmielewski, writing for Re/code:

With this latest version of Apple’s educational software, students will be able to turn in homework from their tablets; these documents will carry a timestamp recording when the student submits term papers, book reports and other work. An integrated grade book will alert teachers when a student’s work is complete and ready for review, or if it’s time to send a reminder.

Interestingly, Apple's updated iTunes U webpage shows a PDF markup feature similar to the one coming in iOS 9. And, “students can hand-in their homework from any Apple creativity app and dozens of third-party apps” – this seems to be based on an extension that communicates with the iTunes U app.

Last, a few notes from Fraser Speirs:

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The New York Times Profiles Zane Lowe, Details Artist Shows on Beats 1

In a profile published today, The New York Times' Ben Sisario has shared some interesting details ahead of the debut of Beats 1 on Apple Music next week, with a focus on Zane Lowe.

Compared with the mild-mannered corporate executives who usually represent Apple in public, Mr. Lowe is a new kind of animal for the company. A motormouth both on and off the air, he is an irrepressible advocate for the music he chooses to promote. And like that of the legendary BBC announcer John Peel before him, his endorsement carries major weight: Among the artists Mr. Lowe got behind early are Adele, Ed Sheeran and the Arctic Monkeys.

Interestingly, artists and other celebrities will have their own shows on Beats 1, including Dr. Dre and Elton John:

“Zane is a genuine enthusiast; this is not a fake thing,” said Mr. John, whose Beats 1 show, “Elton John’s Rocket Hour,” will be an eclectic mix of old songs and new. “He’s a fan, and he’s a fan who’s got the opportunity to make his position in the world work for other people. He genuinely loves music, and that’s my kind of guy.”

And:

To keep Beats 1 sounding fresh around the world, the station will alternate one- and two-hour programming blocks by established broadcasters with those by musicians and celebrities, who will host and plan the shows themselves. Among the names on board: the teen actor Jaden Smith, the alternative singer St. Vincent, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and the British electronic duo Disclosure.

Between Lowe, Adenuga's eclectic career, and original shows from a variety of artists, it sure sounds like Apple is willing to experiment with Beats 1.

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