Posts in news

FastFeed – Multi-Tab Enhancement for Tumblr/Instagram/500px [Sponsor]

FastFeed is a series of iOS apps that brings the power of multi-tab management to Tumblr, Instagram, and 500px.

FastFeed's versatile tab bar is designed to be unobtrusive, but it's highly versatile and customizable: it sits at the bottom of the screen, it can be auto-hidden when you scroll, and it lets you open new feed links in new tabs so you can easily switch between them. In FastFeed for Instagram, you can have multiple tabs for user profiles and a location; in FastFeed for Tumblr, you can open the dashboard and user pages as multiple tab bars so you don't have to constantly navigate back and forth.

Tab control gestures are supported by the FastFeed apps, and, when you tap an active tab, you'll see a handy menu to close the current tab, close all other tabs, or view tab history. You can switch between grid and flow layouts with a gesture, and smart paging is supported in flow mode.

And for each service, FastFeed comes with unique features: you can explore photos on a map in Instagram; you can search for photos by keyword or tag in 500px; and you can post any type of content in FastFeed for Tumblr.

The three FastFeed apps are available for free on the App Store, and you can find out more here.

Our thanks to FastFeed for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple Debuts Two New iPhone 6 Adverts Featuring Gaming and Continuity

Overnight Apple released two new adverts for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. One, called 'Gamers', features the new iOS game Vain Glory and the other, 'Reservations', demoes the ability to make and receive phone calls on an iPhone, iPad or Mac with Continuity's Phone Relay feature.

These new iPhone 6 adverts continue to be narrated by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake and are the fifth and sixth adverts in the series. Previous iPhone 6 adverts included Duo, Health, Cameras and Huge.

We've embedded the adverts below, but you can also view them in YouTube (Gamers and Reservations).

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Apple Launches (RED) App Store Promotion, Donating Proceeds to Fight AIDS

Update: Apple has confirmed the campaign with an official press release and webpage. The campaign, called Apps for (RED), will feature 25 apps and all proceeds from November 24 to December 7 will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Apps for (RED) is the first global App Store campaign for this cause, and developers have created RED-inspired content for it.

“Apple is a proud supporter of (RED) because we believe the gift of life is the most important gift anyone can give,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “For eight years, our customers have been helping fight AIDS in Africa by funding life-saving treatments which are having a profoundly positive impact. This year we are launching our biggest fundraising push yet with the participation of Apple’s retail and online stores, and some of the brightest minds in the App Store are lending their talents to the effort as well.”

In addition to Apps for (RED), Apple will donate a portion of sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday from retail and online stores. More details are available at Apple’s new (RED) website.

Original post follows below with updated list of apps.

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iTunes Connect Shutting Down December 22 to December 29

In an email sent to iBooks publishers last night, Apple confirmed that iTunes Connect will shut down for a week from December 22 through December 29. While the email has been sent to registered iBooks Store publishers, Apple's annual iTunes Connect holiday shutdown will also affect iOS and OS X developers, who during that time won't be able to access iTunes Connect.

From the email:

From Monday, December 22, through Monday, December 29, 2014, iTunes Connect, iTunes Producer, and iTunes Connect for iOS will be unavailable.

During this time, you will not be able to access iTunes Connect, submit new books or book updates, or make price changes. You can schedule a book release or price changes to take place between December 22 and December 29. Just make sure that your changes are scheduled, submitted, and approved by December 18, to ensure your book remains available during this busy period.

For users, this means that no new apps, updates, or price changes will be available during the week. Developers who wish to release new apps and updates or price changes to apps or In-App Purchases will have to do so before the iTunes Connect shutdown.

Currently, Apple has only shared the 2014 iTunes Connect holiday shutdown dates with iBooks publishers; a developer update should be posted on the company's Developer News page soon.


Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant on Your Smart Phone [Sponsor]

There’s a mountain of data inside your car waiting to be unleashed, and all you have to do is plug in a quick little connector and download a mobile application.

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 $79.95. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Sunrise 3.0 Brings Google Tasks and Eventbrite Integration, New iOS 8 Widget

I rediscovered Sunrise earlier this year, when I was looking for a calendar app that integrated with Todoist and offered a web app in addition to solid iOS clients. Sunrise, founded by Pierre Valade and launched last year, has quickly become one of the most popular free alternatives to the stock calendar apps on iOS and Android thanks to a polished design and integration with various web services such as Evernote, LinkedIn, and Songkick.

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Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant on Your Smart Phone [Sponsor]

There’s a mountain of data inside your car waiting to be unleashed, and all you have to do is plug in a quick little connector and download a mobile application.

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 $79.95. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Microsoft Releases New Office for iPhone Apps, Makes Office Free for Mobile Users

Following the news of Dropbox integration from earlier this week, Microsoft has today announced new Office apps for iPhone with full creation and editing capabilities and changed the entire pricing model for Office on mobile devices (iOS and Android). Office for iPhone, iPad, and Android is now free for basic creation/editing/printing features for personal accounts (that includes the new Dropbox sync), but an Office 365 subscription will still be required for advanced editing features and business users (either on OneDrive for Business or Dropbox for Business accounts).

New Office for iPhone apps (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) have been released, bringing document editing features to smaller screens. MacRumors notes that the apps have been "designed with the existing iPad apps in mind":

All three apps take advantage of an innovative "vertical ribbon" that puts a full suite of editing tools right within thumb's reach at the bottom of the device's screen. Each individual app also has built-in tools to make the viewing experience more streamlined on the iPhone's Retina screen.

Some advanced features in the new iOS apps will require a paid Office 365 subscription: change tracking features in Word won't be available to free users, and the same will apply to Pivot Tables in Excel.

The Verge spoke with Microsoft about today's launch and pricing changes:

"It’s an extension of the strategy that we’ve got," explains Microsoft's head of Office marketing Michael Atalla. "It’s not a total strategic shift, as much of an extension of the existing strategy." Microsoft offers free Office apps online, and Atalla argues that recent development model changes inside Microsoft have allowed the company to open up editing functionality to mobile clients. "We’re taking that same user experience we provide online to the native apps of iOS and Android. We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have."

Microsoft's new Office apps for iPhone are available now on the App Store as version 1.2 and Universal updates.