There are many possibilities opened by this kind of access and technology. At TechCrunch, Matthew Panzarino imagines that Topsy's technology could be useful to improve Twitter search tools built into Siri:
There is also a slim possibility that Apple may want to use Topsy's stored trends data and firehose access to improve Siri search. It could provide Siri with a reliable way to present people with trending topics and search results according to Twitter when queried.
As Panzarino also speculates, however, I believe that there's real potential in Twitter analysis algorithms used to augment iTunes and App Store discovery for media, and especially apps. Imagine being able to determine in (almost) real-time the kind of buzz that an app is getting by analyzing tweets sent by humans (not bots or websites) about a new app release. I've written about this before, and smaller third-party companies have already tried to provide their own layer of App Store discovery tools by triangulating signals from App Store charts, online reviews, and social networks.
And, of course, there's the TV rumor: Twitter has become the de-facto destination for real-time TV commentary by millions of watchers, with the company going as far as surveying a subset of users about live TV viewing habits in their latest iOS app update. Topsy's firehose access and algorithms could have endless potential for Apple's rumored television plans.
As John Gruber notes, it is a curious acquisition. Apple may have bought Topsy for its team or technology or patents, but the fact that Topsy was highly specialized in Twitter tools and that Apple already has native Twitter integration in iOS and OS X creates several interesting scenarios. Although, as we've seen with the Chomp acquisition, this kind of changes can take a long time.
As a user, I can only agree with Marco’s take. I’ve only signed up to 3 or 4 reneweable subscriptions on iOS over the years, and every time I wanted to access the management screen (which is tucked away in the Settings) I found it incredibly slow and hard to use. The entire Apple ID panel (Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID) has poor navigation and is slow and unchanged from iOS 6. I’ve always ended up canceling iOS subscriptions and subscribing through the web (whenever possible).
Following the news that TextExpander touch had to be “revised significantly” in order to receive an update on the App Store, Smile has today released version 2.3 of the app, which includes a new SDK for developers to integrate in their apps. The app no longer uses the Reminders database to store snippet data and it requires manual user intervention to set up snippets in compatible apps.
We have come up with an alternative to using Reminders, which will require you to take action to update your snippets and keep them updated. This will have to be done via apps you use with TextExpander integration. There will probably be a “Get Snippet Data” button in the app’s settings, but that depends on how the developer chooses to handle this.
And an important note on developers:
We have also provided an updated TextExpander touch SDK to third party developers so that they can revise their apps. As developers ourselves, we know this sort of unexpected and unscheduled change is difficult to accommodate even under normal circumstances. At this time of year, with impending holidays and year-end obligations, it’s even more difficult. You might want to let the developers of your favorite apps know that you would like to see updated TextExpander support, but please be patient with them as they work out how to fit that into their development schedules.
As a result of this change, apps that used to work with TextExpander touch 2.2 won’t expand snippets with TextExpander touch 2.3 unless they update to support the new system. Looking at the SDK documentation on GitHub, it appears that Smile is now using x-callback-url to handle the initial setup of snippets between TextExpander and compatible apps which, as Smile initially suggested, shouldn’t allow for constant sync of snippets — i.e. if you change a snippet in TextExpander, you’ll have to run the snippet setup again in a third-party app.
It’s unclear how developers will settle on this new implementation and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an open-source solution for TextExpander snippet setup appearing soon. I’m not aware of apps compatible with TextExpander touch 2.3 at the moment and Smile also reset the list on their website.
Amazing work by Kyle Lambert (he should be familiar to MacStories readers). Kyle only used a finger and an iPad Air for a photorealistic portrait that took 285,000 brush strokes and over 200 hours of work.
I was already well into developing Runtime when the iPhone 5s was announced and we learned about the new M7 “motion co-processor” from Apple. There have already been a fewgood articles talking about what the M7 does and how we believe it works, but essentially from a developer’s perspective the M7 provides a great way to track a user’s steps and type of activity while they are moving. Instead of writing about what the M7 is or how it works, I wanted to write about what its like to use as a developer.
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MindNode makes mind mapping easy. Mind maps are a visual representation of your ideas, starting with a central thought and growing from there. This allows you to brainstorm and organize your thoughts in an intuitive way, so you can focus on the idea behind it.
MindNode 3 for iOS was just released and it comes with a completely new user interface designed for iOS 7. New features like MyMindNode – a service that allows you to embed your MindMaps on any website – and iCloud folder integration mean sharing your documents between all your devices has never been easier.
I’ve been using MindNode for years and I’m a fan of version 3.0 (my review). What I like about MindNode is that Smart Layout makes it easy to build large maps without having to worry about rearranging nodes, and the beautiful new default theme on iOS 7 looks great on the iPhone and iPad. In the new version, MindNode also supports keyboard shortcuts on the iPad: this allows me to create a map in a few minutes like on my Mac while retaining the iOS app’s handy Inspector menu. I rely on MindNode to organize topics for my longer articles and reviews, and I highly recommend it.
Last night, I started getting an error in iTunes for Mac every time I tried to sign in to browse the Store or download app updates — “The iTunes Store is temporarily unavailable”. I looked everywhere and tried every trick in my arsenal, including an obvious restart of my Mac and even Keychain First Aid. I eventually found an Apple support document but that didn’t help either.
This morning I came across this discussion on Apple Support Communities and followed the instructions provided by Jerome Colas on September 30, 2013. I don’t know if this is a new problem with Mavericks or Safari 7, but it worked for me, so check it out if you’ve been having the same issue lately.
The misconception is that because most people don’t actually understand PCs/Macs, they do not have serious needs. That is wrong. People don’t do serious stuff on their PCs because PCs are incomprehensible to them. They just don’t work as they would expect. So they end up giving up and stop trying.
With iPads, though, they «get» computing. They notice that they can do stuff that was almost impossible (by their own standards) to do with PCs. They can make music (even if it’s just for fun), they can share boring blurred photos with their family members, they can look for skin problems with apps that recognize rushes and stuff like that. With time, their needs evolve. Doctors do doctory stuff with apps that understand patterns when dealing with uncommon diseases, housewives cross-check discounts on multiple apps and use notifications to be alerted when deals start, and so on. And yes, this is not my imagination, I’ve actually seen people do this stuff and these are real-world examples.
We (myself included) often refer to “normal” people, but we rarely reflect on just how empowering iOS devices have been for everyone. Diego makes some good points.
As I discussed on The Prompt, I also believe that, eventually, any iPad user – no matter the label you want to give them – will stumble across evident limitations of iOS. This is normal because iOS is still relatively young (especially after the iOS 7 reboot), but it'd be wrong not to bring attention to those issues.