Posts in news

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.


Thank You, Gary Allen

Gary Allen announced on Friday that he would stop writing new articles for ifo Apple Store, the website he has been running for 14 years. Over the years, Allen and ifo Apple Store has became an invaluable resource for news, data and analysis relating to Apple's rapidly expanding retail efforts.

After following Apple retail for 14 years, I’ve reached a happy ending, and am gracefully backing away from the crazy world of following the company and its stores. No more stories or analysis, or flying out to far-flung locations to join overnight crowds,waiting for the excitement of new store opening (NSO). I began this Web site as simply a way of celebrating the fun of grand openings and the close friendship of the people I met when I arrived in a new country or city. My first overnight camp-out was with my son Devin on the sidewalk in front of the epic Palo Alto store in October 2001, I continued to other store openings with him in China, Australia, UK and other countries. I’ve visited over 140 stores around the world.

ifo Apple Store has been in my RSS feed for many of those years and I am genuinely sad to hear that Allen is winding down operations. Many of the articles I've written about Apple's retail operations have been informed in some way by the work done by Allen. That includes this article from late-2012 on Apple's Retail Expansion, which is one of the articles I am most proud of, and it probably wouldn't exist without ifo Apple Store.

Thank you, Gary Allen. We wish you all the best.


Tim Cook: Pro-Discrimination ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws Are Dangerous

Tim Cook in The Washington Post today:

There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.

A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.

Cook's op-ed in The Washington Post comes after Indiana's 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act', which allows businesses to deny service to same-sex couples, was signed into law last week.

I encourage you all to read the full op-ed, Cook does a remarkable job at highlighting just why these laws are dangerous. His final paragraph is particularly powerful:

This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.

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Scenery for Mac: Quickly Generate Marketing Photos of your App or Website

Launching today, Scenery is a new Mac app that can quickly create professional looking photos of your app or website on a device for marketing purposes. Developed by Unsigned Integer, the makers of Deckset, Scenery essentially allows developers and marketers to skip the expensive and time consuming process of taking their own photos or spending hours in Photoshop.

The Scenery app is free and comes with 3 starter templates (two iPhone 6 templates and one Samsung Galaxy S5 template). Additional template packages can then be purchased from prices ranging from $15 to $100. Each template package has a particular theme such as ‘Around the House’, ‘Wooden Benchtop’ or ‘Flat White Workspace’ and can include various devices such as iPhones, iPads, Macs and Android smartphones. At launch there are 14 template packages available for purchase.

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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.



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.


Interesting Bits and Pieces from Today’s Apple Announcements

Earlier today Apple held its ‘Spring Forward’ keynote event to unveil their new their new MacBook, announce more Apple Watch details, reveal they are the exclusive launch partner with HBO Now, and unveil ResearchKit to help medical researchers.

We’ve covered the headline details of all those announcements, but as always there are little things that we didn’t capture, or tidbits that others have uncovered since the event. That’s what this article is dedicated to, little interesting things that you may not have noticed yourself.

Read more


Apple Releases iOS 8.2

On the heels of today’s keynote, Apple has released iOS 8.2 to the public. The update includes support for the Apple Watch, improvements to the Health app, increased stability, and bug fixes.

Apple Watch support includes a new Apple Watch app (for us all to stare at longingly for the next few weeks), which is available on iPhone 5 and later.

Improvements to the Health app include the ability to select units of measure for certain statistics, the ability to add and visualize workout sessions from 3rd party apps, and new privacy settings which let you turn off tracking of steps, distance, and flights climbed.

There are also lots of improvements to stability and even more bug fixes for various small issues across the system.

In my personal usage, iOS 8.2 has been far more solid than previous iterations, and feels like the first release in which iOS 8 has really stabilized.

The iOS 8.2 update is available now in Software Update.