Posts in news

iWork for iCloud Beta Available for Everyone, No Need to Own an Apple Device

Late last week Apple made a change to their iCloud web services, opening up the iWork for iCloud beta to everyone. Previously the iWork suite of web apps (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) was limited to those users who owned an Apple device.

With last week's change anyone can go to beta.icloud.com, click the banner (shown above) to sign up for an Apple ID (which includes 1GB storage) and use the iWork for iCloud beta. Just make sure you do head to the beta iCloud website, as the main iCloud website doesn't let you sign up for an Apple ID yet. The iWork for iCloud web apps, which are still classified by Apple as betas, was first announced at WWDC 2013.

[via iMore]


Apple Promoting “Great Games with No In-App Purchases” on App Store Front Page

Apple has started promoting games that don't have any In-App Purchases on the front page of the App Store. Currently featured in the UK App Store and likely expanding to the U.S. store later today as part of the App Store's weekly refresh, the section is called 'Pay Once & Play' and it showcases “great games” that don't require users to pay for extra content through IAPs.

The section is organized in Recent Releases, Blockbuster Games, and App Store Originals. The games included vary in terms of popularity and developer: Apple is promoting indie hit Thomas Was Alone under Blockbuster Games alongside Minecraft, but they're also showcasing award-winning Threes, Leo's Fortune, and Blek.

Over the past few years, Apple has dealt with numerous complaints and investigations over the nature of freemium games and how they were advertised as free downloads while effectively hiding major gameplay features behind In-App Purchases. The company brought a series of changes to the way freemium games were displayed on the App Store – it added a specific label to indicate IAPs, and then changed the button to download freemium games from “Free” to “Get”.

It's unclear whether the new section will be regularly updated or become a permanent fixture of the App Store's front page, but it's a good sign as it shows an interest in promoting quality game experiences that don't follow typical (and lucrative but potentially confusing) freemium trends.


Saver 2 for iPhone Review

This week saw the release of Saver 2, a big update to the personal finance and expense tracking iPhone app from Alex Solonsky and Vadim Shpakovski. I reviewed the original Saver nearly four years ago, and whilst the core of the app is very similar, the new features and completely refreshed and modernised design make Saver 2 a lot better.

There are quite a few personal finance apps available these days and it’s important to know that Saver, an iPhone-only app, is one that won’t be for everyone. For example, you won’t be reconciling multiple bank accounts – that’s just not how Saver works. But at the same time, don’t think of Saver as just a barebones tool: it is far more than that and will work terrifically for many people. This is particularly true if you purchase one of Saver’s subscriptions which add a bunch of advanced features (more on that later).

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Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

Why invest in the latest, sleekest devices if you are going to use them to stare at an intranet website that looks like it was built in the 90’s?

Not only can Igloo be customized to look exactly like your brand, but with its responsive design, it’s automatically optimized for almost any device you’re using, including the latest iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. And just like your favourite Apple devices, Igloo helps you do your best work.

Share files, coordinate calendars, provide status updates and manage projects. Igloo’s not just for your traditional intranet stuff like HR policies and expense forms. It also lets you work better together with your teams. And it keeps getting better.

Our latest upgrade, Viking, gives you more control over how you interact with documents, gather feedback and make changes. We’ve even added the ability to track who has read critical information (like read receipts in your email, but less annoying) to keep everyone on the same page.

Not convinced yet? We understand love doesn’t happen overnight. If you sign up now, we will let you try our platform for free for as long as you want.

Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple Debuts ‘Make Music’ Advert for the iPad Air 2

Coinciding with Sunday's Grammy Awards, Apple debuted a new iPad Air 2 advert with a focus on music creation. Featuring recording artist Elliphant, producer Riton, DJ The Gaslamp Killer and director So Me, the advert is a 60 second montage of the 'All or Nothing' remix being written, produced, performed and filmed on the iPad Air 2.

iPad is changing how we live, work, and create more and more each day. For recording artist Elliphant, it’s liberating her to make music in a radical new way. And whether she’s writing lyrics at home or recording on the road, iPad has become an essential part of her process. It was even used by director So Me to shoot this film.

Like most of Apple's recent adverts, they've set up a page on their website with more information about the advert and those featured in it. As noted on the page, the apps featured in this advert are GarageBand, iMPC Pro, NanoStudio, Serato Remote and Manual Camera.

We've embedded the advert below, but you can also view it on Apple's website and on YouTube.
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Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant on Your Smartphone [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.

MacStories readers can go to automatic.com/macstories to get $20 off and buy Automatic at just $79.99. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

Why invest in the latest, sleekest devices if you are going to use them to stare at an intranet website that looks like it was built in the 90’s?

Not only can Igloo be customized to look exactly like your brand, but with its responsive design, it’s automatically optimized for almost any device you’re using, including the latest iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. And just like your favourite Apple devices, Igloo helps you do your best work.

Share files, coordinate calendars, provide status updates and manage projects. Igloo’s not just for your traditional intranet stuff like HR policies and expense forms. It also lets you work better together with your teams. And it keeps getting better.

Our latest upgrade, Viking, gives you more control over how you interact with documents, gather feedback and make changes. We’ve even added the ability to track who has read critical information (like read receipts in your email, but less annoying) to keep everyone on the same page.

Not convinced yet? We understand love doesn’t happen overnight. If you sign up now, we will let you try our platform for free for as long as you want.

Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Microsoft Releases Outlook for iOS

Microsoft today released an iPhone and iPad version of Outlook, their well-known email app from the Office suite of productivity apps. The app is free and does not require a subscription to Office 365.

Outlook for iOS supports email accounts from Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail - but does not yet support custom IMAP accounts. Interestingly, the app also directly connects to online storage services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive so you can easily attach and send files.

Outlook makes it simple to share files stored in the cloud. With just a few taps, you can insert a link to any file from OneDrive, Dropbox and other popular accounts in your email message. Recipients are automatically granted permission to view these files, with no extra steps.

Need to find a file quickly? No problem. Outlook provides a view of your recently received email attachments, so you don’t have to go searching through email to find that document you need. Outlook also lets you search across both your cloud storage and your email attachments at once, with Quick Filters to let you quickly sort by file type.

Be sure to read the full announcement blog post from the Microsoft Office team, they highlight a number of neat features that might convince you to try the app out. And if you're ready to try the app out, here's the direct link to Outlook on the App Store.
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Snapchat’s Discover: Daily Mini-Magazines from CNN, Cosmopolitan & More

Snapchat yesterday released ‘Discover’, a big new feature that sees Snapchat partner with news and entertainment brands such as CNN, National Geographic, MTV and Cosmopolitan to produce and publish content for the Snapchat app. The easiest way to explain the content is to try it out yourself, or watch the video below (which shows the CNN and National Geographic packages from January 27). But essentially, each partner will publish new content every 24 hours and that content can include video, articles, pictures, and other editorial content.
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