Push Notification Beta Alert

Redesigned from the ground up, Twitterrific launched last December with a fresh design that pleasantly surprised long time fans of the app. Breaking ground on the original iPhone, Twitterrific has relatively stayed the same for years, subtracting unnecessary features and focusing on delivering a robust core experience. Today, people expect more from their Twitter clients, such as the ability to mute hashtags and receive push notifications for follows and replies. The Iconfactory addressed the former through their last update with muffling, a simple way to shush users, hashtags, and domains on the timeline. Yesterday, The Iconfactory began addressing the latter by introducing push notifications in Twitterrific 5.2.

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Now Playing View

Yesterday, Apple updated their podcast player by introducing some great new features as well as some visual changes to the Now Playing view. I’ve talked at length before about Podcasts and where it stands amongst other podcatchers on the App Store, but I’d like to revisit some of those notions as playlists take center stage in the form of stations.

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About Two Step Verification

Today, as originally reported by 9to5Mac, Apple has rolled out two-step verification for Apple IDs. Two-step verification makes it more difficult for someone to compromise your Apple ID by adding an additional layer of security. In this case, it’s an iOS device you own such as your iPhone (iPads and iPod touches also apply). As you make a purchase from iTunes on a new device or after you log into your account with your username and password, you’ll be asked to authenticate with a short code four-digit code. Currently, two-step verification is available for Apple customers living in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Using two-step verification is completely optional — you’re not required to use the extra security measure if you don’t want to. For those who opt-in, Apple gives fair warning that you’ll need your trusted device with you to access your account information. Apple does provide a printable Recovery Key in case you lose your iOS device or forget your password, but they won’t be able to help you if you lose it. I recommend storing the Recovery Key in 1Password for safe keeping. If you do lose the Recovery Key, you can generate and print a new key if you can log into your account.

If you won’t be enabling two-step verification, it might be a good idea to revisit your security questions. Instead of using likely answers, generate less guessable, complex words with 1Password instead for added security. Here’s a quick guide.

How to Enable Two Step Verification

Setting up two-step verification starts by visiting appleid.apple.com. Upon logging in, click on the Password and Security tab. After entering a couple of answers to your security questions, you can find the option to turn two-step verification on at the top of the page. Simply click Get started… to begin setup.

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Today TestFlight is announcing FlightPath, a new mobile analytics tool that makes it easy for developers to gain insights on how their customers are using their apps in real-time.

Launching as a private beta, FlightPath shows what you care about on a single, easy-to-read living page. A simple chart provides a high-level overview of an app’s status and usage in real-time. Developers can click on various points to filter data into specific metrics, such as session length, that can be combined with other data points and saved off as preset segments for easier tracking. Preset segments, such as Loyal Users and Flight Risks, give developers a head start on gaining valuable insights. Developers already using the TestFlight SDK can easily take advantage of FlightPath by adding a single line of code.

FlightPath appears to be the Squarespace of analytics tools: it’s easy to get started, everything is a click away, and more nuanced data is available if developers want it. FlightPath aims to solve common frustrations with analytics tools by reducing complexity and by delivering up-to-date information now, not later.

Developers can sign up for the FlightPath beta by signing up at www.flightpathapp.com.

Mar
21
2013

On Friday, Apple (along with Microsoft and Adobe) will front the Federal Australian Parliament’s inquiry into IT Pricing. You may recall that after failing to voluntarily appear, the committee in February of this year summonsed the three, effectively forcing them to appear. Given Apple’s appearance, I wanted to take a closer look to see what Apple actually charges for their products (both hardware and media from their iTunes and App Stores) and see how it compares to the US.

Methodology

Doing this kind of analysis can be fairly contentious given there are a few ways to do it, various assumptions you have to make, and different ways of presenting the information. To be clear, here is how I have constructed the data presented in the graphs in this article.

  • I collected from Apple’s website, the Australian and US prices of all their key products and main models (but not built-to-order models).
  • GST is removed from Australian price: The Australian price includes a 10% GST (goods and services tax), so I removed that from the Australian price because US prices do not include a sales tax, that is added at checkout based on which US state the customer is from (sales taxes varies across US states).
  • Now that both prices don’t include sales taxes, I convert the Australian price from Australian dollars (AUD) to US dollars (USD). I use a 3 month average of the exchange rate. The 3 month average smoothes out any temporary peaks or troughs in the exchange rate and gives Apple a fairly lengthy period of time to alter prices if there was a significant change in the exchange rate.
  • This now gives me the price of the Australian good in USD and without GST, a figure that can now be compared with the US price. So I calculate the percentage markup of the Australian price based on the original US price.
  • NOTE: Methodology for the Media calculations do vary a bit, read the notes I include with them.
  • I encourage you to scrutinise my calculations by taking a look at the Excel document I created, linked below.
Mar
19
2013

We have many great deals for #MacStoriesDeals today. You can find us as @MacStoriesDeals on Twitter.

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iOS 6.1.3 Update

Today Apple released iOS 6.1.3. It is an incremental improvement to iOS that includes a security patch for the previously publicized vulnerability that allowed access to the Phone app even when the screen was locked. The release notes also mention improvements to the Maps app for users in Japan. Perhaps some of our kind Japanese readers can give us some insight in to the changes Apple might have made to the Maps app. Finally The Next Web is reporting that some of the vulnerabilities required to jailbreak iOS devices have in fact been patched which means that the cat and mouse game between Apple and the jailbreak community continues.

The update is now available through iTunes and iOS’ Software Update panel and it is assumed that the update will ship to all iOS devices that are iOS 6 compatible.

Mar
18
2013

#MacStoriesDeals – Monday

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We have many great deals for #MacStoriesDeals today. You can find us as @MacStoriesDeals on Twitter.

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Mar
18
2013

A Month with Mailbox

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Mailbox, Inbox Zero

Orchestra, the company originally behind Mailbox, set out to redesign the traditional mobile email app by transforming the inbox into a to-do list. Recently acquired by Dropbox to the tune of $100 million, Mailbox has been making waves in the media on the promise of helping people act-on their email more quickly and efficiently. Anticipation for the free email app began late 2012 and came to boil over as the app launched in February, thanks to an incredible amount of press attention and clever marketing through Twitter.

Questionably, Mailbox launched with a reservation system to cope with demand. Available on a first come, first served basis, Mailbox was initially only available to those who signed up for the service early-on. So far, over a million people have signed up to use the app, and the company has filled over 500,000 reservations according to a recent TechCrunch interview with Mailbox founder Gentry Underwood.

Mailbox has had its fair share of both praise and criticism. Understandably there’s a healthy amount of skepticism over whether Mailbox actually helps you deal with the bulk of email people receive in their inboxes.

I gave Mailbox my phone number before much of the recent press, leaving me with a reservation somewhere in the early 20,000s. My reservation was filled relatively quickly. As I downloaded the app, I decided I’d pass on early impressions to get a good feel for whether Mailbox could be my daily driver on the iPhone.

As Mailbox is structured around the principles of Inbox Zero, the actions that can be performed are built on top of making quick decisions about what’s necessary to keep. With mobile in mind, Mailbox is designed to help people quickly archive, delete, snooze, or put email in a “do someday” list. People are always checking their phones throughout the day, so why not give people an easier way to weed out the things that don’t matter?

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