On this week's episode of AppStories, we look back at where health, fitness, and quantified self apps have been, where they’re going, and how hardware and software advancements are changing the way we track and gain insights about our health and fitness.
- Yoink: Simplify and improve drag and drop on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone to speed up your daily workflow.
A new tongue-in-cheek ad from Apple highlighting the power of Face ID has been published on YouTube. The ad begins with a girl walking through the halls of a high school who looks startled when she unlocks her iPhone X by looking at it. Next, she looks at a locker in the hallway that unlocks too, spilling its contents onto the floor. From there, the girl runs through the school unlocking and opening everything in sight, wreaking havoc to the beat of Bang Bang by Pete Cannon, a single that was released on Apple Music today.
The video is fun way of promoting Face ID by imagining what it would be like if you could unlock anything with just a glance.
Last December, Apple announced a partnership with the Chicago Public Schools to bring Apple’s Everyone Can Code program to the city’s students. Today, Apple sent invitations out to members of the press about an event that will be held at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The invitation, which is titled ‘Let’s Take a Field Trip,’ says ‘Join us to hear creative new ideas for teachers and students.’ The event is scheduled for March 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
The invitation doesn’t provide details of what Apple has in store for the event, but the debut of iOS 11.3, a new Apple Books app, and new entry-level iOS hardware targeted at the education market are all possibilities.
Jot is a simple note taking app that collects the little bits of textual ephemera that come at you throughout the day. True to its name, Jot makes it easy to take down notes quickly. Although I think there’s room for a few more features that would enhance the app without compromising its simple approach, anyone with basic note taking needs that is looking for an app that focuses first and foremost on the words captured should appreciate Jot.
As noted by Craig Hockenberry, it has been a full decade since Apple shipped the first version of the iPhone SDK to developers.
It's hard to remember today that, in the beginning, the iPhone didn't have third-party apps. It came with a handful of built-in apps written by Apple for things like checking stocks and the weather, jotting down quick notes, making calendar events and reviewing contact information.
These apps were, for the most part, self-contained. The rich environment we enjoy on iOS today where apps can share lots of data with each other just wasn't present in 2007.
The outlier in this paradigm was Safari, which put the Internet — or at least the parts that didn't require Flash — in the palm of our hands.
Today the HomePod is all about music, but it could be so much more.
From its debut last June at WWDC to launch day this February, HomePod's primary purpose has been clear: it's an Apple Music accessory. Music has been the sole focus of Apple's marketing, including the recent Spike Jonze short film – yet it's an angle many have trouble accepting.
In a pre-Amazon Echo world, HomePod being a great Apple Music speaker would have been enough. But in 2018 we expect more from smart speakers, and we expect more from Apple.
HomePod succeeds as a music speaker, but it's not the device we expected – at least not yet. Due to its arrival date more than three years after the birth of Alexa, we expected a smarter, more capable product. We expected the kind of product the HomePod should be: a smart speaker that's heavy on the smarts. Apple nailed certain aspects with its 1.0: the design, sound quality, and setup are all excellent. But that's not enough.
HomePod isn't a bad product today, but it could become a great one.
By becoming a true hub for all our Apple-centric needs.
Apple has introduced a new webpage that highlights the tools it makes for parents to limit kids’ use of the company’s devices, keep them safe, and make sure they are viewing appropriate content. The page provides an overview of:
- The Kids section of the App Store
- The App Store’s Ask to Buy feature, which requires children to get an adult’s permission to download apps
- Restrictions that allow parents to block In-App Purchases and viewing of certain media
- Settings that block adult content or limit browsing to certain sites on the Internet
- Location Services, including Find My Friends and Find My iPhone
- Media sharing
- Health and Safety Features, including the Emergency SOS and Medical ID features of the iPhone
- The Apple Watch’s fitness features
- Privacy features like Face ID and Touch ID
- The Classroom app
Each section links to additional resources on Apple’s website.
Apple was recently criticized by certain institutional shareholders in advance of its annual shareholders’ meeting for doing too little to help parents protect children that use their devices. The company responded swiftly with a statement:
“We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them,” Apple said in the statement. “We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.”
Apple’s new Families webpage doesn’t include any new features. Instead, it’s a useful one-stop resource for parents looking for guidance about the tools already at their disposal. Apple has said, however, that additional features and enhancements to parental controls in the works.
Apple has published a trailer and six short films by artists showcasing the power of the new iMac Pro. Apple also posted six behind-the-scenes videos explaining how each artist used the iMac Pro to create their film.
The videos each begin with the tagline ‘The Most Powerful Mac Ever’ followed by ‘Pushed to the Limit.’ The artists were tasked with creating a project that put the iMac Pro’s hardware through its paces. The six shorts combine CG effects, animation, and bring other techniques to bear using professional-grade apps with stunning results.
The behind-the-scenes videos explain how each film was created along with commentary by the artists who all walked away impressed by the iMac Pro’s capabilities.
Below is the trailer for the film series. The full videos and behind-the-scenes features are available after the break.
Spotify is testing a voice navigation feature that lets users search for and play songs, albums, and playlists in the music streaming service’s iOS app. The feature, which was first reported by TechCrunch, is found under the Spotify app’s Search tab, but it’s currently only available to a small number of users.
Casey Newton of The Verge got a chance to try the feature:
I got early access to the test and tested out the feature set. In short, it’s an excellent step forward for navigation in app that has historically required too much tapping and typing to get where you’re going.
Spotify confirmed the test to both TechCrunch and The Verge but declined to provide any details.
If you have the feature, it appears as a microphone icon inside a circular white button in the search view. According to Newton, voice search provided ‘mostly accurate results.’
Spotify’s experiment with voice commands is notable because rumors have been circulating that it is developing a smart speaker to compete with offerings from Apple, Amazon, and Google. It’s not as useful as having built-in voice search functionality, but unless Apple opens up Siri to other music services, building the feature into its iOS app is also the closest Spotify can get to working like Apple Music on the HomePod.
WWDC is announced, Apple acquires a digital magazine service, and Myke and Federico discuss some ‘iOS Little Wonders’, because Stephen is away.
On this week's Connected, we talked at length about Apple's acquisition of Texture and what it might mean for the future of Apple News. You can listen here.
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