Apple Debuts New ‘Powerful’ iPhone 5s Advert

Apple last night debuted a new advert for the iPhone 5s on US television networks and YouTube. Dubbed ‘Powerful’, the advert features the song Gigantic by the Pixies amongst a montage of scenes that shows the iPhone 5s accomplishing a myriad of tasks. There is no narration in this advert, but it does end with the slogan “You’re more powerful than you think”, which aptly sums up many of the more unique uses of the iPhone 5s that are shown. For example, the iPhone is used as a heart rate monitor, a remote to launch miniature rockets, as well as both an instrument and aid to an instrument, amongst other uses in the 90 second advert.

Update: As discovered by MacRumors, Apple has today launched a new section on their website that is dedicated to this advert and it highlights the apps that are featured in the spot.

You can watch the full advert below, or on Apple’s YouTube channel.

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1Password 4.5 Brings iOS 7 Redesign, Better 1Browser, Support For Multiple Vaults

1Password 4 for iOS, first released in December 2012, was a major update to AgileBits' popular password manager that introduced a new design, a powerful built-in browser to manage logins inside the app, and a variety of other features that were later ported to and expanded on OS X with 1Password 4 for Mac. 1Password 4.5, available today on the App Store, brings a complete redesign for iOS 7 and several other changes and feature additions that make 1Password officially optimized for the modern OS, further narrowing the gap between the mobile and desktop versions.

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Apple Tries to Clean Up Its Carbon-Spewing Ways With New Data Centers

It’s an unusual trip in that its point is to give a reporter exposure to the way Apple works, a departure from the company’s usual maniacal secrecy. But when it comes to the environment, Apple consciously carves out an exception to its standard opacity. Part of the motive, of course, is generating a halo effect from good works. But Apple also hopes to inspire other companies and organizations to embark on similar ecologically helpful enterprises. Though it may not have always been the case, Apple has a good Earth Day story to tell.

Here’s that story: Apple is close to its goal of powering all its facilities 100 percent by renewable energy. Its corporate campuses and data centers are now at 94 percent renewable and rising. (In 2010 it was 35 percent.) The next step is to extend the efforts to its retail stores.

A fascinating insight into Apple’s environmental efforts from Stephen Levy at Wired, who was given the opportunity to tour an Apple solar plant and data center in Nevada with Apple’s senior vice president of environmental initiatives, Lisa Jackson. It’s no surprise that the tour given to Levy is a good news story for Apple, but equally interesting are the things that Jackson notes Apple has yet to achieve – in particular converting their retail stores to renewable energy (which is this year’s goal).

Also interesting (but not surprising), Levy was allowed to report on anything he saw, except “the manufacturer of the servers” in the Reno data center.

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Unread 1.2 Adds Image Viewer, New Gestures, And More

Originally released in February, Jared Sinclair's Unread is an elegant and polished RSS reader for iPhone that made me switch from Reeder. As I concluded in my review:

For me, Unread provides a better reading, syncing, and sharing experience than Reeder. While it lacks some of the features that Reeder gained over the years, Unread’s debut shows an app with focus, flexibility, attention to iOS 7, and the capability of scaling from dozens of unread items to several hundreds articles. Some people will complain about the lack of a compact mode to disable article previews in the main list; combined with thumbnails, I realized that this feature helps me pay more attention to articles in my RSS feeds.

Available today on the App Store, Unread 1.2 adds a variety of fixes, design tweaks, and new features that make the app more powerful and faster to navigate without compromising its vision and the choices Sinclair made for version 1.0.

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Sloppy Swiping

Josh Ginter on apps that implement sloppy swiping through loose gestures that can be activated anywhere on the screen:

Stretching your thumbs to the topmost corner or having to swipe from off screen to go back is not natural in any way. Mobile phone users often find themselves in situations where the precision of pressing a specific button is both inefficient and aggravating. Swiping from off the screen can also be aggravating, especially when using the iPhone with your right hand when on the move. I actually find inaccuracies with swiping from off the screen to be more annoying than having to button-mash to go back a menu.

I'm a fan of the system-wide Back gesture introduced with iOS 7, but I prefer apps (like Unread and Facebook Paper) that don't force you to swipe exactly from the edge of the screen. I find that kind of gesture implementation comfortable, friendly, and natural.

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Directional: Espresso Game Recap

This week Federico and Myke catch up on a bunch of follow up and listener mail, before discussing some upcoming games that have caught their interest over the last few weeks, like Tomodachi Life, Mario Kart 8, Below and Severed.

A fun episode of Directional in which we catch up on some recent game announcements; don't miss the links in the show notes, and especially the Tomodachi Life video. Get the episode here.

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The Prompt: The Problem And The Solution

This week, Stephen, Federico and Myke re-visit Carousel, Greg Christie’s departure from Apple and CarPlay. Then, Federico buys a shirt on the air and leads a discussion about boredom with apps, tinkering with setups and feature creep in apps and services.

This week on The Prompt, we discuss a topic that I've been thinking about for a long time: can software become boring? Why do we always want “more” and “new” from apps? How can developers balance the tension between simplicity and feature additions? To be continued, for sure.

Get the episode here.

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