Federico Viticci

8682 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 three podcasts – Connected, Canvas, and Remaster.

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Tweetbot 4.5 Brings iOS 10 Updates, Profile Notes

Profile notes and slightly richer notifications in Tweetbot 4.5.

Profile notes and slightly richer notifications in Tweetbot 4.5.

Tapbots released Tweetbot 4.5 today with a few iOS 10 additions.

In the latest version, notifications are slightly richer: you won't be able to preview entire conversation or DM threads in a notification, but at least the sender's username and notification title will have a bold font for better visual separation. I would have liked to see even richer notifications with custom interfaces, and I also wonder if Tweetbot could use SiriKit's messaging intents to send DMs. Perhaps Tapbots will consider deeper iOS 10 enhancements in the future.

Also new in this version, you can now add notes to user profiles. According to Tapbots, the feature is intended to add a brief note to remember why you followed someone; personally, I think it's just as effective to remember why you don't want to follow someone without blocking them. User notes are private, they sync with iCloud, and they can be accessed from the gear menu on a user's profile.

Finally, Tweetbot 4.5 supports smoother scrolling thanks to iOS 10's performance improvements in this area. It's not always noticeable, but I'm glad Tapbots implemented this feature for iOS 10 devices.

Tweetbot 4.5 is available on the App Store.


iOS 10 Actionable Notifications, the Lock Screen, and 3D Touch

Junjie, developer of Due for iOS, on changes to the Lock screen and actionable notifications in iOS 10:

To my surprise, when users upgraded their iOS 9 devices to iOS 10 this week, I started receiving feedback that they were no longer able to snooze or complete their reminders from their Lock Screen. Many thought I’ve removed the feature from Due, or that there was a bug with Due in iOS 10. Of course, neither of which is the case.
[...]
Unlike iOS 8 and iOS 9, swiping a notification from right to left in iOS 10 no longer reveals the notification actions. Instead, depending on the device that you use, it now displays either View and Clear on non-3D Touch devices, or just Clear on 3D Touch devices.
[...]
So while users can now access all four notification actions in iOS 10, they need to go through an additional, unintuitive step of pressing the View button. However, for users with 3D Touch enabled phones like the iPhones 6s and 7, pressing firmly on the notification will reveal the notification actions menu.

I was talking about this with my girlfriend earlier today, and it's something I didn't consider in my review. For some reason, she can't use 3D Touch. Every time she presses on the screen, she ends up swiping or activating tap & hold accidentally. I don't know what it is about the way she grips the phone or touches the screen – we've tried every setting, and she just can't take advantage of 3D Touch in her daily iPhone usage. She ended up disabling 3D Touch altogether because it's useless to her.

Here's a problem, though: with iOS 10's notification design, this means she can't swipe on a notification and have instant access to actions. There's an extra step:

  1. Swipe notification on the Lock screen;
  2. Tap the new 'View' button;
  3. Tap actions in the expanded notification.

Step 2 is what people who don't use 3D Touch need to go through now, and it feels like a regression. I wish I had mentioned this in my story, but I didn't think of it because I use 3D Touch and pressing notifications is second nature to me.

Perhaps Apple could improve this by automatically expanding a notification with a long swipe. Instead of revealing two buttons – View and Clear – a long swipe to the left could trigger the View button, expand a notification, and avoid the additional tap required for non-3D Touch users in iOS 10.

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The iMessage App Store and Paid Stickers

Ortwin Gentz, one of the developers behind Where To, has noticed that the majority of iMessage apps and sticker packs in the top charts seem to be paid ones. He collected some numbers from the iMessage App Store and concluded:

The distribution of business models is even more interesting. In contrast to the iOS App Store where freemium titles dominate the top-grossing charts, the overwhelming revenue in the iMessage App Store comes from paid titles. This reminds me of the early days of the App Store where In App Purchase wasn’t even available.

Probably the #1 reason for this is the lack of IAP in no-code sticker packs. These sticker packs consist only of the actual artwork and are easy to create for designers who don’t want to code.

Currently, basic sticker packs – the ones that only require dropping a bunch of image files into Xcode – can't offer In-App Purchases. As soon as Apple offers an integrated solution to bring In-App Purchases to iMessage sticker packs without writing code, I have no doubt we'll see the iMessage App Store follow the "Free with In-App Purchases" model of the iOS App Store.

Unless Apple is deliberately pushing artists towards paid packs because they do not want to repeat what happened with the App Store? The perception of sticker packs right now reminds me of the early days of the App Store – that good work is worth paying for.

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Copied 2.0

There's a great update to Copied, my favorite clipboard manager for iOS, released on the App Store today.

I've been using Copied since version 1.0 and it's a good example of an iCloud-based app that has always worked reliably (same with Ulysses). I use Copied to store bits of text and images and keep them synced across devices. Just this past week, I stored several shortcode templates in Copied for the special formatting of my iOS 10 review. I love the app.

I haven't had time to properly test the new version yet, but based on a few minutes of playing around with it, I think it has some terrific enhancements. The widget has been redesigned for iOS 10 and it can show more clippings at once. You can now create text formatters (with templates or JavaScript) to reformat text in specific ways before pasting it. There are rules to save clippings into lists based on text matches. There's a built-in Safari View Controller browser and both extensions (action and custom keyboard) have been rewritten with text formatter integration.

There's a lot to try in the latest Copied, and I'm already considering some text formatter scripts for my Markdown workflows. Copied 2.0 is a free update on the App Store.

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Connected, Episode 108: Confusion as a Discovery Mechanism

iOS 10 is here, and Federico has written the definitive review of it.

On the latest episode of Connected, we talk about the launch of iOS 10 and how my review was finalized. You can listen here.

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How RAW Changes iPhone Photography

Ben McCarthy, writing for iMore:

Editing RAW files feels like a huge leap forward in terms of mobile photography: With iOS 10, the iPhone is evolving from a great camera for taking casual photos with into a capable professional tool. It still has plenty of limitations, but I suspect we've passed a tipping point.

But shooting while out and about is one thing. What about using the iPhone in a studio? I gathered together a couple of friends to do a little impromptu photoshoot to see how the iPhone would hold up.

Ben is the developer of Obscura, which I featured in my review yesterday because of its native RAW support on iOS 10. He makes some good points on the limitations and advantages of shooting RAW on iPhone.

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