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Posts in iPhone

The iPhone 4S

We are used to a fall release schedule when it comes to iPhones, but that hasn't always been the case. The first four iPhones came out in the summer, usually after being announced at WWDC.

2011's iPhone 4S changed that for good, and in some ways that phone draws parallels to the new iPhone XS. Both are the second generation of a radical new design, and both boast improved cameras, networking, and battery life. That's not to mention how Siri is at the heart of the iOS version they both ship with.

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AeroPress Timer for iPhone, Now with Custom Recipes

One of my favorite iOS kitchen utilities, AeroPress Timer ($4.99 US), has updated to version 3 with a complete rebuild and new functionality.

AeroPress Timer is an iPhone app that steps you through the stages of coffee making with an Aerobie AeroPress. Each step, Pour, Stir, Steep, and Plunge, has its own countdown timer. Once you get into the world of AeroPress, there are a hundred different variations and precise recipes for making different types of coffee, so it's a handy guide.

The app has always had a great selection of AeroPress recipes, but the biggest, baddest new feature: you can now create and add your own recipes. You can also favorite recipes, add notes, and there's a new visual grind size guide accessible from any recipe.

This update did lose Apple Watch functionality, which is a bummer, but the developer plan to have it back soon.

AeroPress Timer is available on the App Store.



Field Trips Just Got Cooler: Waypoint EDU

With the ubiquity of the smartphone in increasingly younger classrooms, integrating them into education is fast becoming a requirement for teachers. What better way to tame smartphones in the classroom than to make them part of the learning process?

Matthew Braun, developer of SketchParty TV (one of my favorite Apple TV games), released a new app to do just that. Waypoint EDU uses AR to make the phone not only a learning tool, but a truly interactive experience that can take place outdoors. Or anywhere.

From the student perspective, it works like this: students see a waypoint on a map of their current location and move around to find it. A la Pokemon Go, they search by looking through their phones, scanning for an out-of-place object such as a (miniature) colosseum sitting in a park. Once they've found the waypoint, they answer a quiz question to reveal the next waypoint. Think augmented reality geocaching.

From the teacher (or parent) side, creating a curriculum is pretty easy. I didn't get into creating a fully customized one while I was trying it out, but editing the waypoints and related questions is simple. Once you have your curriculum set up, you just pull up the map and draw the playfield with your finger. The waypoints are automatically placed within the playfield, ready for the Hunt to be shared with the students via AirDrop. You can currently add artwork from a library, and the ability to add your own artwork will be a paid feature in a future update.

Waypoint EDU is a free app. Obviously, it has the requirement that everyone in the group has access to an iPhone. In situations where that's possible, Waypoint EDU seems to me like the future of field trips. Below is a video of Waypoint EDU in action. You can find it on the App Store, and get more info at waypointedu.com.


HomePod Follows in iPhone 4’s Steps

The HomePod firmware that was accidentally posted last month by an Apple employee has led to a wealth of knowledge about Apple's upcoming iPhone.

Most leaks in recent years have come from Apple's expansive supply chain. A rear shell here and a camera component there slowly fill in the details about unreleased hardware. It's a slow process normally, but one the rumor cycle has become accustomed to over the years.

The HomePod is obviously different. While the accidental leak contained just software, inside its depths were details about all sorts of unannounced features. Developers even found icons depicting the next-generation iPhone.

Whoops.

This isn't the first time that Apple has leaked from the top about an upcoming iPhone.

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NotePlan Calendar + Markdown + Notes Comes to iOS

When I first heard about NotePlan, I was intrigued. It was a Mac app that used a text format (Markdown) as a calendar-based system, a note for each day, allowing you to easily create tasks and take notes, then see it all in an organized calendar. NotePlan for iOS was released today, and it's enough to sell me on the idea.

I have a lot of side projects (I suppose my whole life is side projects these days), and organizing todo lists is vital. I love using the TaskPaper format, with TaskPaper on Mac and Taskmator on iOS, to track action items for individual projects. I also have a calendar, and a bucket of notes. Combining all of this in one place is appealing to me, and being able to use it on both Mac and iOS makes it truly useful.

In NotePlan, tasks are created as Markdown lists. You can have it recognize any list item as a task, or tell it that only lines with a checkbox (- [ ] Thing to do) are action items. There's an extra keyboard row available when editing that makes it easy to create items, complete or cancel them, or even schedule them for a future date.

Tasks can sync to Reminders lists as well, so it can incorporate into other workflows (and even shared lists). In the calendar view you can tap a day to see the note and associated task lists for that date.

Each day on the calendar gets a note, and you can add freeform notes in the All Notes area. A note can be bits of information, its own action list, or both. You can use #tags anywhere in the notes to organize, and wiki style links ([[title]] or [[YYYY-MM-DD]]) to reference other notes. Tasks added to freeform notes can be scheduled to the calendar with a tap, so you can use notes as a central project repository and schedule out the day's (or week's) tasks as you're ready to tackle them.

NotePlan on iPhone

NotePlan on iPhone

On the new iOS version, you can drag and drop tasks around by pressing a text block until it turns blue and sliding it into place. You can also press and hold until it turns blue, then release and press another one to expand the selection between them, at which point NotePlan will offer you a toolbar to allow batch completion, rescheduling, etc.

I'd label NotePlan as a day planner, not a task manager like OmniFocus or Things. It's ideal for planning out your day, Bullet Journal style. You won't find extensive project management features or perspective overviews, but the combination of scheduling, tagging, and (plain text, portable) notes in one place makes it a true productivity tool.

If words like productivity, GTD, Markdown, TaskPaper and Bullet Journal cause a stirring within you, you're probably the right audience for this one. Check out NotePlan for iOS, and then try out the Mac version for fully-synced productivity. Today and tomorrow, NotePlan for iOS is $11.99. After that, the price will be $14.99. NotePlan for Mac is $16.99.


HealthView Review: Your Customized Health App

When it comes to health information on my iPhone and Apple Watch, I’m about as mildly interested as it comes – while I enjoy glancing at the metrics and measurements displayed on the Apple Watch, I usually stay away from the iPhone’s Health app.

There are two primary reasons for this: the Health app is pretty cluttered; and Health often gives me information that I really don’t care about. I’d like a “less is more” approach.

HealthView offers exactly that – rather than providing you information scattered throughout the app, you choose what you want to see, how you want to see it, and when it appears. Although it’s not as robust as Apple’s Health, HealthView may just be a better fit for your needs.

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Television Time Review: A Modern Guide to TV

Many years ago, weekends at my grandparents' went like this: flip on the TV, peruse through all the channels hoping to find something I like, and eventually hand over the remote to my grandfather, when he would then search the paper TV guide for that night’s programming.

The days of using those guides are long gone, but the need to see what shows are coming up is still relevant. For that, I’ve been using Television Time, a beautiful TV guide for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

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Partly Sunny Review: Weather Reimagined

When Apple introduced the App Store in 2008, much of the excitement spanned from the opportunities and functionalities these new apps would bring to the iPhone. Many of the first apps were forays into markets untouched by the stock apps – games, social networks, and read-it-later services.

Eight years later, the trends are different; with millions of apps covering almost every genre imaginable, a lot of this year's best apps are refinements or new takes on the same functionalities some of Apple's stock apps offer.

That's where Partly Sunny comes in – it's a weather app that, at first glance of its icon, looks almost identical to Apple's Weather. But after tapping into it, Partly Sunny shakes the similarities and introduces a robust, beautiful new way to view weather information.

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