This week Federico and Myke catch up on a bunch of follow up and listener mail, before discussing some upcoming games that have caught their interest over the last few weeks, like Tomodachi Life, Mario Kart 8, Below and Severed.

A fun episode of Directional in which we catch up on some recent game announcements; don't miss the links in the show notes, and especially the Tomodachi Life video. Get the episode here.

This week, Stephen, Federico and Myke re-visit Carousel, Greg Christie’s departure from Apple and CarPlay. Then, Federico buys a shirt on the air and leads a discussion about boredom with apps, tinkering with setups and feature creep in apps and services.

This week on The Prompt, we discuss a topic that I've been thinking about for a long time: can software become boring? Why do we always want “more” and “new” from apps? How can developers balance the tension between simplicity and feature additions? To be continued, for sure.

Get the episode here.

There are very legitimate uses of IAP that make sense from both a developer and customer standpoint, but it’s not usable in education deployments. When my art teacher saw Paper by FiftyThree, she immediately wanted it. The problem is that it’s a free app and you can unlock needed extras by using IAP. If you are using either Managed Distribution or redeemable spreadsheets from the VPP store, there is simply no way to deploy these upgrades using MDM or Apple Configurator. I’ve e-mailed a couple of developers asking them to release paid versions of their apps as education editions, but haven’t had much luck.

Bradley Chambers provides seven great suggestions about how Apple could improve the functionality and usability of iOS in the educational field. What makes them particularly interesting is that these suggestions from Chambers have clearly come out of his experience of deploying iOS in an education setting. As a result, I was oblivious to a lot of the issues that he raises, and his suggestions make a lot of sense.

Hopefully Apple has been listening to people like Chambers who are on the front line of deploying iOS devices in educational settings and have some improvements to announce at WWDC in a few weeks time. And I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I really hope Chambers’ final suggestion became a reality.

In post published yesterday on the Editorial forums, developer Ole Zorn shared more details on Editorial 1.1, announcing some features he's been working on for the update, such as the ui module, which will allow users to create custom interfaces inside Editorial:

It's not just a module, there's also an integrated visual editor for setting things up without code, and in Editorial there's also a way to build UIs around workflows, without having to write Python at all (though you can also mix and match). Before you get the wrong idea: This is in no way a complete wrapper around UIKit or some kind of Cocoa bridge, so you won't be able to do a all the things you could do in a native app, but it provides a (hopefully) easy-to-use and pythonic way to create UIs that look and feel “at home” on iOS, and it's possible do some relatively advanced stuff with custom drawing and touch handling.

For Editorial, I tend to think of this as a “plugin” interface that allows the creation of workflows that are nearly indistinguishable from native features. Obviously, this won't be for everyone, and there will definitely be a learning curve, but given what I've seen this community come up with, I'm pretty confident that it will enable some people to really push the limits of iOS text automation (and others to reap the rewards via shared workflows).

I can't stress this enough – the new module fundamentally reinvents the way you can build visual workflows in Editorial, and I can't wait to share more about the workflows I've been working on.

Make sure to check out Ole's post for screenshots of Editorial 1.1 on the iPad and iPhone.

Jason Snell offers a great take on the tech press' obsession with an Apple iWatch:

So in the end, why do we want Apple to make an iWatch? Because it’s fun to see new products from Apple. Because we want to try one out and see if we like it. Because we like to buy new gadgets. Because we want to complain about how Apple got it wrong. Or because we’re residents of the financial sector and see everything in the context of growth, like a predator that can’t see the prey standing still right in front of it.

Even more ingenious is the way Carousel surfaces photos it thinks you’re most likely to want to see. To start, the app scans every photograph in your collection for human faces. Based on the qualities of the mugs it detects, it assigns each picture a “smile score.” The one with the highest ranking for a given event is displayed with a double-size thumbnail, serving as a sort of hero shot for that subset of pics.

Wired's Kyle Vanhemert talked to Gentry Underwood about some of the UI details in Carousel – as I wrote, there are some fantastic touches in the app. The way thumbnails are generated and deployed is quite clever.

Indeed, significant progress has been made in recent years to break open the developer workflow, from alternative IDEs like AppCode to build tools like CocoaPods, xctool and nomad. However, the notion that Xcode itself could be customized and extended by mere mortals is extremely recent, and just now starting to pick up steam.

Xcode has had a plugin architecture going back to when Interface Builder was its own separate app. However, this system was relatively obscure, undocumented, and not widely used by third parties. Despite this, developers like Delisa Mason and Marin Usalj have done incredible work creating a stable and vibrant ecosystem of third-party Xcode extensions.

If you're an iOS or OS X developer and have been looking for ways to customize Xcode, Mattt Thompson has a great roundup of Xcode plugins. I had no idea it was possible to add a Sublime Text-like mini map to the app.

If you listen to The Prompt and you've ever wished you could express your appreciation for the show in a very visible way, well, we now have t-shirts.

We’re excited to announce the world’s greatest t-shirt. With a two-sided color design and printed on black, it celebrates the culture surrounding Apple and a community that’s bigger than any country or accent. We’ve been testing the design for a while now, and we really like it.

All orders and shipping are being handled by Teespring, so there’s no doubt about the quality of the product and the service. The best part? They’ll be at your door well in time to pack for WWDC.

Get yours on Teespring today, and you'll have it by WWDC.

Brenden Mulligan has an interesting post on various ways to ask users for permissions to access photos, contacts, and notifications on iOS. Brenden and his team experimented with different user flows and designs for Cluster, and what they ended up using seems like a good balance to me: there are multiple dialogs, but they're often contextual and they explain to the user how data will be accessed before making a decision.

The “trick” of showing a custom permission dialog before the real iOS one seems to be a common trend these days – I've seen it in Facebook Messenger and other apps, and the general idea is that the user will be prepared when iOS will pop up the permission dialog to grant access to private data. There are many ways to approach this problem (dialogs integrated with welcome tutorials, custom dialogs with screenshots, etc), but I agree that making permission-granting contextual to a user-initiated action is much better than a deluge of permission dialogs on an app's first launch.