Federico Viticci

8635 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and editor-in-chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, and mobile software. He can also be found on his two podcasts – Connected and Virtual.

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An Ode to the iPod Classic

Lindsay Zoladz, writing for The Ringer, has a great story on the role of the iPod Classic in today's music streaming landscape. I understand where she's coming from, and I found this passage on the paradox of choice particularly accurate:

“When I’m searching for something to listen to on Spotify, I feel like I end up listening to the same albums and artists again and again,” my friend Becca wrote in an email, after I asked a handful of acquaintances about their post-iPod listening habits. “My brain by itself isn’t good at cataloguing everything I love.”

The psychologist Barry Schwartz has written (or, if you don’t have too much time on your hands, has TED-Talked) about a related phenomenon he calls “paradox of choice” — the notion that, although we tend to think of freedom of choice as an inherently good thing, too much choice can leave us feeling paralyzed and anxiety-ridden. “With so many options to choose from,” he says, “people find it very difficult to choose at all.” I personally have proven this theory many times over in the past few months, when I’ve stared for a few moments at the infinite void that is the Apple Music search bar and decided, “I guess I will just listen to Pablo or Lemonade again.” Another friend I emailed summed up the Paradox of Digital Music Listening succinctly: “With device-bound listening, I absolutely feel limited by [storage] space. With streaming, I feel limited by my own memory.”

This is why I often buy videogames from a small shop in my hometown. I could open the App Store, or the eShop, or the PlayStation Store, and buy anything I want. But there's just so much stuff. There's too many games and too many reviews and too many Let's Plays to choose from. Sometimes, it's nice to have fewer options.

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Bluetooth Headphone Revenue Overtook Non-Bluetooth for the First Time in June

Interesting data from NPD:

According to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service, Bluetooth headphone revenue overtook non-Bluetooth for the first time in June accounting for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales and 17 percent of unit sales in the U.S.

And:

Beats and LG have led the Bluetooth headphone market throughout the first half of the year, accounting for approximately 65 percent of dollar sales.

Not necessarily a direct indication of decline in wired headphones, but a sign that, as average prices of Bluetooth headphones go down, consumers may prefer wireless.

Removing the headphone jack from the next iPhone will be annoying; at the same time, limitations notwithstanding, I can't deny how nice it is not to deal with wires anymore.

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Apple Maps vs. Google Maps vs. Transit

Concise, well-illustrated comparison of transit maps from the developers of Transit for iOS:

Transit maps are hard. Really hard. Even for Apple and Google. Piecing a transit map together, city by city, agency by agency, stop by stop, without it turning into a hairy mess is INCREDIBLY difficult. So far, no one (not even Apple or Google) have been able to create a transit map that is both automatically generated and well designed. Why is that?

As Apple outlined at WWDC, their approach to transit takes a long time because it involves manually curated details (things like signs, directions, and cultural conventions that match the real world), which wouldn't be possible with an algorithm alone.

That said, I can vouch for Transit in Rome. The app is excellent. Well designed, with some clever interactions (such as an "arrive by" option to plan a trip on a timeline), and a joy to use. It's also the only decent transit app that combines public transit with local car sharing services on the same map.

I wish Apple Maps transit data was a) available in Rome and b) as flexible as Transit.

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Remaster, Episode 14: Pokémon Go

This time the guys discuss why Pokémon Go has been so successful, and what this means for Nintendo.

If you haven't had enough of Pokémon yet, this week's discussion on Remaster tries to understand the phenomenon through the lens of how smartphones changed society and how the App Store can still generate overnight successes. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

  • Zombies Run: Running is really boring, but the Zombies, Run! Virtual Race makes it fun!
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Canvas, Episode 15: Task Management, Part 1

This week Fraser and Federico take a pass at task management on iOS. This is another area of productivity where iOS is very well served for options.

In this week's Canvas, we've started a new mini-series on task managers for iOS. We've taken a look at Todoist (with some details on why and how I've been using it again) as well as Apple's Reminders app.

We have lots more in store, and you can listen to the episode here.

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Connected, Episode 100: Tepid Takes

On the centennial episode of Connected, the crew covers #TicciMentee program applications, checks out Scrivener for iOS and considers iOS 10's widgets and privacy features.

On this week's Connected, we celebrate episode 100 with a very special surprise and a host of iOS 10 topics. I'd like to thank everyone who has listened to us so far. I'm excited to keep producing Connected every week with Myke and Stephen.

You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

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Enhanced eBook: Storytelling Through Dance

I've been a fan of Keone and Mari's dance videos since my girlfriend introduced me to their YouTube channel a while back (she's a dancer, and an avid follower of their work). I often watch choreography videos, but what Keone and Mari create is exceptionally unique. In addition to being masters of their craft, every video they produce blends choreography and story – revealing a deeper meaning to the song they are dancing to. Truly, Keone and Mari's videos are works of art.

Now, Keone and Mari have set out to produce a multimedia eBook to combine "dance, writing, music, film, design, photography, and technology to tell a story". I'm not a dancer myself, but, knowing their work, I'm intrigued:

We’re best known for our work as dancers and choreographers, yet we’ve always had a dream to use dance as a medium between different/collaborative art forms. With Mari’s creative writing degree and our love for various art forms we never saw dance being completely independent of the different crafts. Our dream is this: An enhanced eBook with storytelling through dance.

Enhanced eBooks are digital books that include immersive, interactive, and interesting features like video, music, audio narration, animation, photography, and more. While dance videos online have become a norm in the millennial age, we hope to give dance a new home within this enhanced ebook. Imagine following a movement-driven story, that’s accompanied by originally produced music, partnered with interactivity - like flipping through photos, learning a dance, or potentially dictating where in the story you’d like to go next. The imaginative possibilities are truly there. The hope for this creative and visual novel is to have it available on your devices to download or stream.

I would love to see this project happen. Keone and Mari have launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $45,000 in funding to cover costs for production, artists, and design. With 11 days left, over $24,000 have been pledged, and there are some great rewards for dancers such as tutorials, Q&As, and even private dance lessons.

If you're interested, you can contribute to the campaign and check out more details on their Kickstarter page.

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Connected, Episode 99: European Exotic

For episode 99, listener Nathan sent in the best follow-up of all time. After that, the boys talk about Stephen's PowerBooks, Myke's two-factor authentication pains and Federico's new line of work.

Don't miss the prescient follow-up in this week's episode of Connected. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

  • Casper: Because everyone deserves a great night sleep. Get $50 off with the code ‘CONNECTED’
  • MartianCraft: Training crafted just for you.
  • Braintree: Code for easy online payments.
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