Some nice updates for developers who integrate Facebook functionality in their iOS apps. A new native Share Dialog, with support for photos like the iOS 6 Share Sheet, will be available in beta today:
The native Share Dialog is simple to integrate and significantly improves people’s sharing experiences from your native mobile app. It has built-in support for publishing Open Graph actions. In addition, people now have the option to share activity from apps through this dialog without needing to login to Facebook first. This makes it faster and easier for people to share.
The data and publishing permission dialogs look good as well. Facebook says they’re 20% faster, too.
Facebook 6.0 for iOS is, essentially, a cleaner Facebook app with Chat Heads. The slide-out navigation is still there, but it has been tweaked to feature new icons, consistent with Facebook’s new take on News Feed; the iPhone app now comes with filters to browse specific feeds for photos, music, games, close friends, and more; the iPad app has a cleaner design for the News Feed with avatars on the left; and both apps come with Chat Heads, Facebook’s new floating bubbles for private messaging (or, as they call it, “private sharing”). The Chat Heads feature is still rolling out, just like the updated News Feed design.
I’ve been able to try Chat Heads, which are enabled for my account. Unlike Facebook Home for Android, Chat Heads are limited to the Facebook app: per iOS’ architecture, Facebook can’t display Chat Heads anywhere in the operating system. The implementation of Chat Heads is consistent across the iPhone and iPad, but there are also some minor differences worth noting. (more…)
The Facebook app for iOS was updated today to version 5.4, which includes the possibility to record and upload videos within the app, as well as sending voice recordings to friends.
The UI for sending voice recordings in private messages is interesting. You can tap the “+” button in a conversation to bring up a menu to attach a photo, snap a new one, send emoji, or create a voice recording. To create a recording, you have to “touch and hold” to talk; an audio file will be sent once you release the button, and it can be played inline in a conversation. It’s a very simple interaction. I don’t know if this is new in this version, but the “+” button rotates to an “x” when tapped — just like the “+” button in the OS X Dashboard used to rotate when clicked.
Because the file gets sent after the user lifts the finger off the screen, Facebook implemented its own way to cancel the action: you can swipe to the side while holding to cancel a recording in progress. Doing so will reveal a red “cancel bar” at the top of the screen as confirmation. Recordings can also be played inline on the Facebook website.
The improved Nearby tab is also well designed. With an embedded MapKit view, the Nearby section lets you check out “favorite places” in your area. Like Apple’s Maps app, Nearby has floating controls at the bottom to pinpoint your current location and hide/view a list of results. At the top, there’s a large button to bring up a search for places that includes categories like Coffee and Hotels, as well as your “History”. I like how moving the map around brings up delimiters to “Search This Area”.
Revealed yesterday, the Facebook app for iOS has now been updated to version 5.2, which includes the long-awaited Share option. Notoriously missing from its mobile app, users have long been able to re-post interesting posts on their News Feeds using desktop browsers; with the latest Facebook for iOS update, they’ll now be able to share a post natively, using a dedicated menu that keeps the original link/status but allows for an additional comment.
Another notable missing feature of mobile Facebook has also been fixed in this version: you can now tag your friends in any post, comment, or photo by using a simple “@name” syntax for including friends’ names in messages. Like the desktop websites, tags included in a post will be highlighted in blue (but they’ll still remain regular text you can copy and select).
Last, emoji and sorting. Facebook says you can now include “smileys, hearts, and other emoji” in messages, and I indeed managed to send a message to a friend including standard iOS emoji, which showed up on her end (she’s still running the 5.1 version of Facebook for iOS though). Sorting is, perhaps, more interesting, as it “finally” lets you decide how to sort your news feed: by tapping on a gear icon next to News Feed in the left panel, you can “Show Top Stories” and “Show More Recent”. For me, this is a welcome option as I never want to show top stories but I like to check out plain, old-style posts in reverse chronological order.
Facebook today released version 5.1 of its iOS app, which adds a new way of messaging friends and sharing multiple photos at once. The updated Facebook app now comes with a friend list on the right that you can use to easily start a private conversation. You can swipe left to access the chat panel, and add friends you contact the most to the top of the list. To customize the Favorites list, you can hit an Edit button to start “pinning” your friends in the Favorites section. (more…)
Following the release of iOS 6, Apple just pushed an update to OS X Mountain Lion as well, which reaches version 10.8.2. Available for download on the Mac App Store, 10.8.2 brings Facebook integration to OS X, working similarly to Facebook in iOS 6, and various stability improvements. Like in iOS 6, Facebook is now available as a social service to log in from the System Preferences, and there are options to update contact information and pictures through Facebook as well as system-wide sharing menus.
On the feature set side, Facebook is now also integrated in Game Center (for friend recommendations and like buttons for games), Power Nap is now supported on the late 2010 MacBook Air, and iMessage introduces support for phone numbers alongside email addresses, just like on iOS 6.
You can find the full changelog after the break. We’ll update this post with direct links as soon as they’re available.+
When Apple introduced iOS 6 to the world at this year’s WWDC, one of the most talked about moves was Apple’s decision to step away from their partnership with Google Maps and create their own maps app. In many respects, it wasn’t too surprising given the increasingly strenuous relationship between Apple and Google in the years since the iPhone launched and Google became a competitor with Android, but in recent weeks it was also revealed that YouTube will also no longer be included as a pre-installed app from iOS 6. That leaves Google Search as the only remaining Google service to be integrated into iOS. Yet whilst Apple has been severing its relationship with Google, it has been courting numerous other service providers and integrating them into iOS over the past few years.
Curious to visualise this information, I made a list of every notable service that has been integrated with iOS (and when) and then created the above graphic (click on it to view a larger version). When I had compiled the list, it was pretty compelling (and longer than I had realised), but I think the graphic takes it to the next level and really tells a story about iOS and Apple’s relationship with other services.
Formerly known as PicLens, I used to rely on Cooliris years ago to browse images and slideshows on the Internet in a more visual interface. Resembling a virtual wall with great focus on large, neatly arranged thumbnails for web content, Cooliris has always been one of the most interesting experiments in terms of browser integration and overall presentation. For the past few days I have been using Cooliris’ latest iteration, a universal app for iOS, and I am quite impressed with the results.
Cooliris also developed Discover, a Wikipedia app for iPad that turned articles into magazine-like layouts. The standalone (and free) Cooliris application is a new take on the old browser plugin, but it shares the same attention to detail and care for interface design of Discover.
Cooliris has always been about browsing photos, and this new iOS version is no exception, only it’s a more modern app that takes into account the changes that have happened to social photo sharing on the Internet in the past years. (more…)
In other acquisition news, renowned Mac and iOS developer Acrylic has announced they will be joining the design team at Facebook:
I’m happy to announce today that we’ve packed up our small Vancouver studio and will be making the move to San Francisco in the coming weeks to join the design team at Facebook.
Our products and services have not been acquired by Facebook, and while there are no plans for further development on them, Wallet and Pulp will continue to remain available for download and purchase in their current form. We’ll certainly be the first to let you know of any updates or changes here in the future.
Well-known among the Apple community for their Pulp and Wallet apps for iOS and OS X, it’s unclear whether the apps will also keep receiving updates for bug fixes or not. This isn’t the first acquisition of a former Mac developer by Facebook: notably, the company acquired Sofa last year, which then went on to create the Facebook Camera app.
You can check out our review of the latest version of Pulp here.