Due 2 Review: Effective Reminders

Due has been around for a long time. Created by independent developer Lin Junjie (who later went on to launch Dispatch and Clips with Hon Cheng), Due was launched in late 2010 as a simple reminder app for iPhone to never forget the things you had to do. Over the years, Due expanded to more platforms and received an iOS 7 redesign, but, at its core, it remained a streamlined utility to set reminders and always complete them. With a combination of clever design and thoughtful snooze settings, Due ensured you'd never ignore an alert (or pretend it wasn't important).

The original Due was, however, a product of simpler times. In five years, thousands of reminder and timer apps have been released on the App Store. As widely documented by the indie iOS dev community, it's hard to survive in a market driven by a tendency to lower prices and to add features atop features. People's workflows change (often, from modest to more advanced needs) but, unlike others, Junjie has shown remarkable restraint in changing how Due works. He's an exception. I can't think of any other 1.0 app that lasted this long.

Four years after the original Due (which I discovered thanks to John Gruber), Due 2 launches today with a completely redesigned interface and interactions updated for the modern era of iOS 8 and larger phones. And yet, in spite of its new look, Due 2 is still unmistakably Due – a testament to the developer's deliberate efforts to make a specific type of app that doesn't compromise its nature.

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An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media

Danah Boyd makes an important point about Andrew Watts' article on teenagers and social media:

Andrew’s depiction of his peers’ use of social media is a depiction of a segment of the population, notably the segment most like those in the tech industry. In other words, what the tech elite are seeing and sharing is what people like them would’ve been doing with social media X years ago. It resonates. But it is not a full portrait of today’s youth. And its uptake and interpretation by journalists and the tech elite whitewashes teens practices in deeply problematic ways.

Many (including myself) failed to mention that Watts' article was only reflective of a segment of teenagers who use social networks in the US. Danah's comments on Twitter and Ferguson are especially apt: some teenagers may not see the point of Twitter, but the network proved to be an essential information sharing tool for many citizens of Ferguson through the use of hashtags, photos, Vines, videos uploaded elsewhere, and more. Danah's post is an important reminder and I recommend reading it.


Apple Pay in Slow Fast Slow

Studio Neat's Dan Provost writes about how they integrated Apple Pay in the latest version of their iPhone app, Slow Fast Slow:

Integrating Apple Pay into the app wasn’t too difficult, but it wasn’t trivial, either. In a future post we will dive into the nuts and bolts of how we implemented Apple Pay. As far as we know, we are the first “indie” company to utilize it in an app.

We are excited to see how this integration affects sales. In theory, it is now much easier to purchase a Glif, so hopefully sales will trend upward, even as traffic to our site moves downward. We are also offering free shipping on the Glif, if purchased with Apple Pay; to grease the wheels, as it were. If you want to check out the redesigned ad with Apple Pay integration, simply tap the S/N logo on the home screen of Slow Fast Slow. If you are on a device that doesn’t support Apple Pay, the buy button is replaced with a button to studioneat.com.

Slow Fast Slow is an excellent app for slow-motion videos and I'm looking forward to playing with the new version (especially now that I have a new friend who will soon want to run and jump daily). I think it's clever that Studio Neat is leveraging software to sell hardware and the experience of buying with Apple Pay in-app is intuitive and fast. I hope the experiment goes well.


Boom 2 – The Root of All Good Audio [Sponsor]

Boom 2 is a pro-audio app for Mac that offers a system-wide volume booster, advanced equalizer control and presets, amazing audio effects and much more. This indispensible app was built from scratch and is designed especially for Yosemite. Boom 2 is tailored to calibrate itself to suit your Mac as no two are the same.

With personalized and customized sound to suit every occasion, it also gives you the power to fine-tune and control every single element of audio coming out of your Mac. Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, iTunes and every other service out there is about to sound a whole lot better. Boom 2 can be tried for free from the website and is now also available on the Mac App Store.

For more information, visit Boom's website to check it out for yourself!

Our thanks to Boom 2 for sponsoring MacStories this week.

A Brief History of User Interface

Every day, people all over the world are clicking, tapping, typing, and touching and dragging things on glass screens. Our ability to use all this fancy technology with ease didn’t happen overnight. So how did we end up here?

I enjoyed Dave Wiskus' video on the history of user interfaces and how we went from keyboard input to the first PDAs, skeuomorphic interfaces, and multitouch. A great complement to Neven Mrgan's video. You can watch it below.


“Quietly Doing Just Fine”

Well, I think a lot of us are out there, quietly doing just fine. HoursTracker had its best year ever in 2014, and five years of best ever years before that. If you can solve an important problem in a way that resonates with a sizable group of people, you can find success. There’s always room for a fresh take on an already well-served problem, too.

We often hear about the frustrations of indie developers who are trying to make a living on the App Store, which has essentially become the default narrative for many (I often talk about this topic, too). Carlos Ribas, developer of HoursTracker, has a good article about the opposite scenario and how he managed to turn his app into a profitable business. Well worth a read to get a fresh and different perspective, and a good reminder that there are indie developers who are doing fine after years on the App Store.


Why Skeuomorphism Is Like a Classic Car

We could sit and listen to Neven talk forever. Like so many of our interviewees, the guy has insight for days and the work to back it up. We knew this gem in particular would be a great addition to the ongoing conversation around design aesthetic. So we’re letting it fly the nest early for your enjoyment.

One of the projects I'm most excited about is App: The Human Story, which I covered last year.

I believe this is a project that matters because the stories of people behind apps go largely unnoticed. Covering the details and stories of apps has always been one of my personal motivations behind this site, but a blog can only do so much to expose the general public to what it means to be an app maker.

The team has posted a short clip featuring Panic's Neven Mrgan today, and it's about the transition from skeuomorphic design to simpler and modern UIs. I love the comparisons and the style of the video, which further confirms that this documentary is going to be extremely important for the indie iOS development community.

You can watch the clip below and pre-order App: The Human Story here.


Virtual: Ticci Mansion

This week Federico and Myke talk about the New 3DS Ambassador Edition and theorise a mobile strategy for Nintendo.

And don't miss the last part of the show where I mention the odd mix of Python and Nintendo Miiverse in my workflow (seriously). You can listen to the episode here.

For context, you can watch the Nintendo smartphone app concept below.

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