Plex Gets iOS 7 Update
My Must-Have iPad Apps, 2013 Edition
Reeder 2.1 Released with Themes, Reading List Support, Fixes
Tweetbot 3.2 Brings Night Theme, Account Reordering and Quick Switching
Plex for iOS, a native client for the company’s media manager, has been updated today with support for iOS 7. Version 3.3, available on the App Store, introduces a tweaked look to match Apple’s new OS, as well as bug fixes and changes to the media player.
The app hasn’t been revolutionized in its transition to iOS 7: the main screen has stayed the same, with sections to access your library, channels, and media that is either on deck or has been recently added to your Plex. There are no new options in the Settings, which still allow you to log into your myPlex account and configure playback preferences for synced and remote media.
There’s been, however, a general clean-up of the UI: gone are iOS 6 toolbars and buttons, leaving room for translucencies, redesigned icons, and simplified navigation bars. Translucencies are especially fitting as they make colorful media artwork show through the interface, but it still feels like Plex could use a major redesign (particularly on the iPad) as it has remained largely unchanged since 2011. According to the developers, “lots more user interface improvements” are coming.
The media player (pictured above) has been updated, and the app is now capable of recognizing URLs in the clipboard upon launch, so that you’ll have a shortcut to quickly put content from the web in your Plex queue.
You can get Plex 3.3 on the App Store. Last week, the company released (after a long beta period) version 1.0 of Plex Home Theater, a Mac app to access your Plex content without having to use Plex/Web.
Ember is a very polished app with a fantastic UI, slick animations, full-screen mode and it’s simply a fun app to use and organize images with. If you’re a digital creative person and want to organize your screenshots, inspirational images and reference files, Ember could be what you need.
Today, Realmac is back with Ember for iOS, a free companion app for the iPhone and iPad that lets you manage and organize your library but that doesn’t come with editing features yet. Realmac decided to start with a free app as a foundation for all Ember customers; annotations will be added in a future update with In-App Purchases – a trend that’s making several indepedent developers and small software shops, such as Realmac, experiment with different business models than the traditional paid app approach. (more…)
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On the same day that Tapbots launched Tweetbot 3.2 with a dark theme, developer Silvio Rizzi released Reeder 2.1, which brings several fixes and changes to the app introduced in September, plus themes — including two dark ones.
The new theme switcher in Reeder 2.1, located in the style menu of the article viewer, allows you to switch between four themes: White, Light (the original one), Dark, and Gray. Choosing a theme is a manual operation, and the dark ones should help users who have been asking for a background easier on the eye while reading at night. I’m especially a fan of the Dark theme, as it’s not completely black — it’s a darker version of the original Reeder sepia hue. (more…)
In 2010, we wrote about an interesting Kickstarter campaign for an iPhone stand and tripod mount called Glif. Simple and elegant, the Glif allowed you to easily mount an iPhone 4 on a tripod or act as a kickstand to prop it up at an angle. After the Kickstarter success, the duo behind the project, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost, went on to form Studio Neat; in the past three years, they have released other products that include the Cosmonaut stylus, iPhone apps, and a book.
Today, Tom and Dan are back with an update to the original Glif (called, in a very iPad 3-esque way, “The New Glif”) that makes it adjustable for practically any smartphone size. From their description:
The Glif will fit virtually any smartphone, between 58.4–86.4mm wide and 3.1–12.7mm thick. Some exceptions include “phablets” like the Samsung Galaxy Note, or phones with incredibly bulky cases.
With the new Glif, you’ll get a 5/32 hex key to adjust the device for your smartphone. Besides non-Apple phones, I think that having an adjustable Glif is a good idea for users who like to keep their iPhones cases that don’t fit with the original Glif design (which is still available for purchase).
The new Glif is $30 and available here.
Released today on the App Store, Dropbox 3.0 is a complete redesign that gets the app ready for iOS 7.
Two months after the release of iOS 7, the new Dropbox shows the work of designer Tim Van Damme, who left Instagram to join the Dropbox design team earlier this year. “Dropbox 3.0 is all about your content. We stripped out as much branding as we could, just so you can focus on what’s important”, Van Damme told me. Noting how several functionalities and interactions have been simplified in this update, he mentioned how, for instance, documents and photos are easier to enjoy in full-screen: “On your iPad, it used to take two taps to see a photo full-screen. Now, a single tap will let you enjoy your photo full-screen, and this also works for most other file-types”, Van Damme added. (more…)
Apple is featuring Clumsy Ninja, an iOS game that was first announced at the iPhone 5 keynote in 2012, with a custom page on the App Store that, alongside a description, features a 1-minute trailer for the game. The custom “Featured” page is live on the UK App Store at the moment and it features Clumsy Ninja as Editor’s Choice for the week; it’s likely that the game will also be featured on the US App Store and other international stores later today.
The big news is, of course, the fact that Apple is embedding a video in the App Store, which has historically only allowed developers to include up to five static screenshots for their apps. Clumsy Ninja’s video opens the built-in iOS media player in portrait mode, and it features music playing in the background with no voiceover or custom App Store branding. It is, effectively, a game trailer on the App Store; right now, it’s only available in the special Featured page for the app, as the app’s regular App Store page doesn’t show the trailer.
The possibility of including videos alongside screenshots on the App Store has long been one of the most requested features by third-party developers who, over the years, have struggled to explain App Store customers the purpose of their app or game with just text and images. With iOS 7′s focus on motion and animations, the lack of videos on the App Store was particularly surprising, and it led many to wonder as to whether Apple would soon add support for videos besides screenshots. When iOS 7 was first announced in June, even Apple produced a series of short videos for the OS’ official website, where they showcased the new features and design through animations and quick demonstrations of Messages and other apps.
It’s unclear at this point if Clumsy Ninja will remain an isolated case or become the norm for the App Store going forward. It’s also not clear whether any developer will be able to add a video for their app on the App Store, or if trailers will be limited to Editor’s Choice and managed by Apple’s curation team on a weekly basis. Developers have traditionally resorted to creating videos and screencasts of their apps for their websites or YouTube channels, and an integrated solution available in the App Store alongside screenshots, description, and buy buttons would be a fantastic addition to better illustrate an app’s feature set, flow, and user experience.