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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.





iTunes Festival Schedule Updated with New Acts, Apple TV Channel Available Again

The eighth annual iTunes Festival is on again from September 1st, and in anticipation of the month-long festival, Apple has again updated the schedule with new musical acts. The schedule is now mostly complete, with headline acts announced for all but two of the thirty days. Some of the recent additions have included deadmau5, Ed Sheeran, Placebo and Mary J. Blige amongst others. You can view the full iTunes Festival schedule here.

Apple also appears to have made the iTunes Festival channel available on the Apple TV once again overnight. The channel will let you view performances live and on demand during the festival, as well as view the full schedule. The other way to watch the iTunes Festival is through the iOS app or iTunes.



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.


Apple Initiates a Limited iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program

If you missed it late last week, Apple has implemented a limited battery replacement program for the iPhone 5. The program involves replacing the battery for certain iPhone 5 devices that have suddenly begun to experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The devices affected by the issue were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a certain serial number range.

If you have been experiencing battery issues with your iPhone 5, you can check your device's serial number on Apple's website to see if it is eligible for the free battery replacement. The replacement program has already begun in the US and China, but will be available in other countries from this Friday, August 29th.


Google Photo Sphere Comes to the iPhone

Google yesterday launched a free iPhone app for their Photo Sphere Camera tool. Photo Sphere originally launched in October 2012 as an Android 4.2 feature, allowing people to create their own panoramic views that can be uploaded to Google Maps. The new iPhone app is simply a port of that original Android functionality and allows you to take your own 'Photo Spheres' with an iPhone (4S and above). Unfortunately you can't view other people's Photo Spheres in the app - just ones that you have made and two samples.

It reminds me a lot of Microsoft's Photosynth which has had an iPhone app for some time. Photosynth also has the advantage of letting you save a static panorama to your camera roll or even share an interactive Photosynth (where you can make it unlisted). By contrast, if you want to share a Google Photo Sphere, your only option is to publish it to Google Maps. On the plus side, Photo Sphere did seem to make slightly better quality panoramas in my testing.

Finally, it would be remiss of me to not link you to the Google Photo Sphere community and the Photosynth website, both have some incredible panoramas that are well worth taking a look at.


Flappy Bird Creator Coming Back with New Game Launching This Week

Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird, is coming out with a new game for iOS, which, like Flappy Bird, will be free to download from the App Store. TouchArcade has published an exclusive preview of the game, which is called Swing Copters and that will be released this week on Thursday (August 21).

Swing Copters will have a similar mechanic to Flappy Bird, but unlike its predecessor it will launch with a $0.99 In-App Purchase to remove ads.

Swing Copters captures all the “just one more try” of Flappy Bird, and seems even more brutally difficult. In the game, you play as a little dude who has a propeller on his head. Swing Copters coaxes you to tap the screen, at which point you're airborne, wildly flying to one side. Tapping changes your flight direction, and the goal is similar: Fly through as many gates and get as high as you can. Sort of similar to Flappy Bird, but going up instead of to the side.

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