Whether you did or didn’t make it to WWDC 2012 this year, Apple’s published 113 videos covering developer sessions across iOS and OS X, which you’ll want to check out if you’d like a refresher or need to get in the know on how to best build and optimize your applications for iOS 6 and Mountain Lion. Developers can watch the sessions online in the developer hub, or the videos can be downloaded in HD from iTunes.
Chatology Review: Flexibits Reinvents Messages.app Search
The iOS 7 Summer
iOS 7: Thoughts and Questions
Apple Releases New MacBook Airs, Previews New Mac Pro Design
Apple Introduces OS X Mavericks
Apple’s iPhone TV Ads: The Complete Campaign
Without much fanfare, the iPhone campaign has surpassed its predecessor in terms of volume of work—”Get a Mac” lasted for 66 spots over four years (watch them all here), wrapping up its run in October 2009; the iPhone campaign is now entering its sixth year, and is up to 84 spots and counting. “Get a Mac” was beloved for its characters and wry humor. And while the iPhone work may lack that same level of charm—it is, at its heart, merely a series of product demonstrations—it is just as exquisitely produced and in many ways more varied.
I have previously written about how Apple’s commercials often tend to tell “stories” rather than simply showcasing the functionalities of a product. The complete collection of iPhone TV ads provides a fantastic example of how Apple’s marketing style can be a little different, but still effective and capable of establishing an emotional connection with the audience.
Check out Adweek’s gallery here.
With iOS 5, Apple introduced Photo Stream, a service based on iCloud to store your most recent photos in the cloud, and automatically have them pushed to all your devices, including the Mac (with iPhoto and Aperture) and Windows PCs. Photo Stream has been criticized by some for its lack of settings and customization options (you can’t selectively choose which photos go in Photo Stream, and which ones you’d like to keep private), but most of all many users have been disappointed by the lack of video support. Especially with the new iPhone 4S, users are finding themselves shooting decent videos with a vastly improved camera, without a way to automatically store these videos in Photo Stream and find them later on an iPad or Mac.
As we noted in our iPhone 4S review 1080p video can end up consuming a lot of space, so perhaps due to upload concerns Apple decided to focus on pictures with Photo Stream. After all, even a decent WiFi connection might require several minutes to get a 5-minute 1080p video uploaded to the cloud, and downloaded back on other devices. Yet a third-party app for the iPhone and iPad, Video Stream, aims at providing iOS 5 users with a way to store videos in iCloud and push them effortlessly to all their iCloud-connected devices.
Video Stream is a $0.99 download from the App Store, and it runs on the iPhone and iPad. The concept is simple: you can manually import videos from your Camera Roll (or shoot new ones directly into Video Stream) and the app will start uploading them to iCloud. Once it’s done, the videos will begin showing up on other devices running Video Stream, like an iPad. And because the system is based on iCloud’s Documents & Data, files will unsurprisingly become visible on a Mac as well (though the developers say that a native Mac app is also in the works). Video Stream is a third-party app, so videos won’t be automatically uploaded after they’ve been recorded with an iPhone or iPad: you’ll need to import them into the Video Stream app.
An obvious caveat of video is that even a couple of minutes can generate a large file. For this reason Video Stream needs to compress a video before it’s uploaded, and the app offers three options: Low, Medium and High quality. For instance, I chose “High” for a 1080p video I shot with my iPhone 4S, and I ended up with the following video information on my Mac (for a 28.7 MB video file).
Video Stream isn’t a permanent solution to store your video library in the cloud (just like you shouldn’t use Apple’s Photo Stream to build your personal photo library), but it gets its job done. Which means easily pushing videos across devices and offering options to reduce file size, thus cutting upload times in half.
Video Stream is $0.99 in the App Store.
Back in March I reviewed Watchlater, an iPad app that I described as “an Instapaper for video” in the way it allowed users to save videos for later viewing using a simple browser bookmarklet. Whereas nothing has changed concept-wise since the original release, the much-improved version 2.0 of Watchlater addresses pretty much every issue I had with 1.0, adding support for more video providers, a better interface, as well as a redesigned web app and iPhone version.
First off, Watchlater slashed the price of in-app credits (used as “minutes” to cache offline videos) to $0.99 for 150 minutes, and $2.99 to have an additional 300 minutes to cache videos from Vimeo, TED, FunnyOrDie, and many others (you can check out the full list here). Unfortunately, as I noted in my first review, YouTube videos still can’t be saved offline due to copyright issues, however the developers have worked on improving the way these videos are loaded in a new window, so that YouTube’s mobile player scales gracefully both on the iPhone or iPad. This is also true for Vimeo material, and I’ve noticed a general trend towards polishing the overall UI which includes folder icons on iOS, and a completely revamped web app that turns your video queue into something” nice” to look at.
Videos from iOS devices can now be moved around folders, shared on Facebook and Twitter or forwarded to Safari, whilst the web app allows you to edit and manage folders, “search the web and add instantly”, or switch from list to grid view.
Perhaps the biggest change in version 2.0, iPhone app aside, is the inclusion of Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader as sources for your videos. The new “connect & collect” feature lets you automatically build a video queue based on videos found in your Twitter and Facebook timelines or Google Reader feeds — whereas the “normal” Watchlater experience requires you to manually use a bookmarklet to “curate” videos you want to save for later, this new functionality will aggregate all videos related to your accounts, with the downside being that perhaps you don’t want any kind of video to show up in Watchlater. You can delete these videos, obviously, but it’d be nice to have filtering options to make sure that only some videos get forwarded to Watchlater. Speaking of the bookmarklet, it now works much better with videos embedded on web pages, and it supports more providers.
Watchlater is my favorite app to collect and organize videos I don’t have time to check out right away. You can get the app for free on the App Store, and unlock minutes through in-app purchases. (more…)
Released today at $0.99 on the App Store and created by the same developers of Canned, Capture is a minimal and simple utility for the iPhone that addresses a common issue with the iPhone’s Camera app: sometimes you need to capture a moment quickly, but the app takes too long to launch or switch to video recording. Brought to my attention by Ben Brooks, Capture is simply great at what it does: the developers describe it as “a record button for your home screen” and, really, that’s not too far from the truth. Capture starts recording a video as soon as you tap on its (beautiful) icon. You launch the app, and it starts recording after one second. No need to switch to the “video” tab as in Apple’s Camera, no need to wait because, and I don’t know how exactly, Capture is immediately available after you tap on it.
I can see why Capture could become an essential tool for many: by placing the app on the iPhone’s dock, you have quick access to video recording by pressing an icon. This is certainly useful for people who want to “capture” a particular moment in their kids’ life or, overall, users frustrated by the general slowness of Apple’s Camera when it comes to recording a video quickly. For reporters and citizen journalists, Capture might be exactly what they were looking for.
Capture is fast, elegant, lets you activate the iPhone’s Flash but has no support for switching between rear and front facing cameras yet. If you need an app to record video in seconds without waiting, get Capture at $0.99 on the App Store.
We have covered all the iOS 5 announcements in the past few days in our roundups and daily coverage, but there are so many new things about the new OS for iPhone and iPad that it would be impossible to list them all in a single article. So we have collected 10 videos from YouTube that show some of the most interesting aspects of iOS 5, such as Notification Center or the new custom vibration alerts for your Address Book contacts.
Check out the video gallery after the break.
Watchlater is an iPad app I reviewed back in March that, similarly to how Instapaper enables you to save articles from the web for later, allows you to organize videos you don’t have time to watch right away into a convenient interface that groups videos in folders and also lets you cache them for offline watching. With the installation of a browser bookmarklet, Watchlater could grab any video from sources like Vimeo and Youtube, send it off to the iPad client, and allow you to watch content later without re-opening the web browser. Again, the concept is very similar to Instapaper, only it works with videos instead of text.
The first version of Watchlater, however, had some issues the developers needed to iron out: for instance, YouTube videos couldn’t be cached and the app was forced to play them back in a browser window through an embedded web view; on the other hand, the bookmarklet didn’t play nice with embedded videos in web pages, forcing you to save them by visiting the original Vimeo or YouTube page. Formally introduced today after months of App Store availability, the new version of Watchlater tries to fix the issues reported in the first version and adds a more powerful bookmarklet to make saving videos from the web easier and faster. The app still can’t cache YouTube videos, but the bookmarklet has been rewritten to be more reliable and capable of catching any video — whether it’s embedded in an article or available in its direct URL, the bookmarklet can grab it and display a sidebar to add it to one of your folders. A new “express” option in the sidebar also brings an option to quickly save videos without confirmation — this is very nice in the way it displays an unobtrusive notification à la Instapaper for saved videos, and it’s something we’ve been asking since the first version of Watchlater we tested. In the iPad app, the developers added a redesigned cache button, a download queue, as well as the possibility to delete videos within the app without opening the Watchlater website. Videos now launch by default in a more elegant view that strips all the unnecessary clutter around them and gets rid of the original web page (try it with a YouTube video). More importantly, users can now add videos thanks to smart URL recognition from the system clipboard — meaning you won’t have to necessarily use the bookmarklet on the iPad as long as you’re launching the app with a link copied from YouTube, Vimeo, or other video providers.
All in all, Watchlater is a great way to manage videos found on the web, and it keeps getting better on each release with updates to the website, bookmarklet and iPad app. You can download Watchlater at $2.99 from the App Store.
Released yesterday for free in the App Store, Showyou is a new universal app aimed at letting you discover videos shared by your friends on Twitter and Facebook, and share these findings yourself in your social graph. Unlike Squrl — which we reviewed yesterday as well — Showyou isn’t a service meant for curating videos in collections and grab them from a web browser through a bookmarklet: rather, it’s a very simple app that wants to offer a better way to browse videos found on Twitter and Facebook with the “Showyou Grid” — a 2D video wall that you can pan horizontally and vertically, very similar to what we’ve already seen in the Aweditorium iPad app.
Once logged in with Twitter or Facebook, Showyou will find friends that are already using the app and it gives you the option to “follow them”. The more people you follow, the more videos you get and the more populated the Grid becomes. By default it shows nearly 1,000 videos — many of those collected from Showyou’s system, so it really depends on how many people you start following and how much content they decide to share publicly. But there’s no doubt Showyou works best the moment you start following people and engaging with the service itself, as it also showcases “featured users” the developers recommend you follow to get interesting videos. The video wall was quite responsive yesterday when I first installed the app, but I’m noticing some slow loading times today — presumably a lot of people gave Showyou a try (again, it’s free) and the servers are getting hammered under heavy traffic. When videos load, however, not only you get a beautiful presentation with big thumbnails and an elegant Futura font — you can tap on each video to view it in a bigger popup window overlaying the main grid, share it or leave a comment. You can also tell a user you liked a video he shared by “thanking” him. If you don’t like the Grid view, you can switch to a cleaner list that shows you videos one after the other.
Overall, Showyou it’s a really simple app that gets one thing done extremely well: collecting videos shared by your friends. It’s not as full-featured as Squrl when it comes to exploring the Internet hunting for cool videos to curate (I mean, they’re two deeply different products), but if you’re looking for an easy way to see what your friends are watching you should take Showyou for a spin.
Apple hasn’t posted an official video of yesterday’s Final Cut Pro X announcement at the Supermeet in Las Vegas (and some say it likely won’t), but as noted by MacRumors two unofficial videos has surfaced on Youtube showing the entire presentation. The video are in good quality, audio is decent and they can be viewed in 720p.
You can watch the videos below. More screenshots of Final Cut Pro X were posted this morning, as well as confirmation from Apple to “stay tuned” about other apps of the Final Cut Pro suite coming in the future. Final Cut Pro X will be released at $299 on the Mac App Store in June.