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Parkopedia and Apple Strike Maps Deal

Parkopedia, a parking service provider with data on over 40 million parking spots world-wide, has struck a deal with Apple to provide parking data to Apple Maps. Parkopedia announced that Apple Maps users in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America:

will be able to view key information about parking garages and lots around the world.  In addition, users will have the option to click through to Parkopedia's website and iOS app to view more detailed information including pricing, user reviews, special offers and real-time space availability. They will also be able to make reservations.

I ran a parking search for downtown Chicago, and many of the parking lots are still listing Yelp ratings and information, but I did find one nearby with Parkopedia information that included the number of spaces, the type of parking lot, payment methods accepted, height limits, hours, and a link to Parkopedia for more information.

It’s good to see Apple continuing to work with other companies to provide additional information for Apple Maps. The last week has seen a couple Google Maps announcements and with today’s news, it seems as though the competition to provide rich map data will only heat up from here.


One Billion iPhones

This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook celebrated the one billionth iPhone, holding it aloft at an employee event in Cupertino, California. Cook said:

”iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day," said Cook. “Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day.”

It's remarkable to think that less than ten years ago, Apple launched the iPhone with 2007 sales of just 3.7 million units.


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!

Apple Music Buys ‘Carpool Karaoke’ TV Series

Cynthia Littleton writing for Variety:

Apple has emerged as the surprise buyer of the unscripted TV series based on the “Carpool Karaoke” segment of CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

The tech giant’s Apple Music service will distribute the series to its members in 100 countries worldwide. Apple sees the show as a natural vehicle to drive online activity for its streaming-music venture.

This is not Apple's first foray into original video content, and at this point it is quite clear that Apple is actively exploring the idea. For now at least, most of the focus (including today's announcement of Carpool Karaoke) has been on video content that can be part of Apple Music, but if these early projects go well it's likely that we'll see Apple's video ambitions expand in scope and scale. In the last year Apple has reportedly approved a scripted series from Dr. Dre, launched a music docu-series from Vice, partnered to produce the 'Planet of the Apps' reality competition series, and exclusively streamed a Taylor Swift concert from her 1989 world tour.

“We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services. “It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”

It should be noted that James Corden, who has hosted the Carpool Karaoke segments as part of 'The Late Late Show' will not be hosting these standalone episodes of Carpool Karaoke for Apple - though he will be an executive producer. The new host and premiere date has not yet been announced, but Variety reports that production is expected to begin soon. Apple has licensed 16 episodes of Carpool Karaoke and they will air the episodes weekly to members of Apple Music in over 100 countries.


Google Tweaks the Design of Maps and Adds Areas of Interest

Google Maps is on the move. Just last week, Google added enhanced crowdsourcing features to Google Maps making it easier for users to edit map locations and add richer information about them. Now, Google has updated the design of its iOS, Android, and web apps to make them easier to explore visually too.

Downtown San Francisco before and after.

Downtown San Francisco before and after.

The goal of the Google Maps update was to create a less cluttered look:

… as part of this update, we’ve removed elements that aren’t absolutely required (like road outlines). The result is a cleaner look that makes it easier to see helpful and actionable information like traffic and transit.

Google also modified the typography and color scheme of Maps to make it easier to identify different map elements.

The update to Google Maps includes an all-new feature as well – areas of interest, which are shaded orange. The shading, which is determined algorithmically and by humans makes it easy to spot areas where you may want to zoom in to browse points of interest.

I like the design changes that Google has made. In the before and after screenshots of downtown San Francisco above, the neighborhood names and other points of interest are much more legible than they were previously, which should make it easier to use Google Maps to explore and navigate new places.


New Video Policies for iOS

Jer Noble on the WebKit blog:

Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, Safari on iOS has required a user gesture to play media in a <video> or <audio> element. When Safari first supported <video> in iPhoneOS 3, media data loaded only when the user interacted with the page. But with the goal of returning more control over media playback to web developers, we relaxed this restriction in iOS 8: Safari began honoring the preload="metadata" attribute, allowing <video> and <audio> elements to load enough media data to determine that media’s size, duration, and available tracks. For Safari in iOS 10, we are further relaxing this user gesture requirement for silent <video> elements.

There are a few new <video> policies in iOS 10, and the WebKit blog goes into great technical detail about what they all are. But for most users, there will be two main changes that you'll notice in iOS 10. The first is that iOS 10 will now support the ability to play videos automatically if they are silent. For example, some websites have a silent video background (e.g. The Life of Pi movie website), and others use it as an alternative to displaying GIFs. In iOS 10 these will be able to play automatically without a user interacting with it. It is important to note that this feature of automatic playback will only be triggered if a video has no audio tracks or is muted.

The second change is that on the iPhone, user-triggered video will not automatically enter full screen mode. Instead, videos will play inline, just as they do currently on the iPad and on Android. Full screen mode is still available, but a user will have to trigger that manually.

These may seem like small tweaks, but they are notable improvements to the video experience on Safari for iOS. The first brings the iPad and iPhone one step closer to the Mac/PC web experience, whilst the second is a recognition that iPhones have become large enough and powerful enough that it is entirely feasible that users may wish to view videos inline and continue browsing the webpage that has embedded the video.


Pokémon GO is Big, Really Big

It’s not a surprise that Pokémon GO is a huge hit. All you need to do is walk around any major city or look at the photos of people mobbing spaces like New York’s Central Park to get a sense for just how big the game is. But, today Apple confirmed to The Loop that Pokémon GO is just as big, and perhaps even bigger, than people thought:

Apple told me today that the game has set a new App Store record with more downloads in its first week than any other app in history. That is impressive.

Even more impressive is that for that first week, Pokémon GO was only available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

There have been a lot of big games on the App Store. Angry Birds, Clash of Clans, and Candy Crush come immediately to mind, but Pokémon GO feels different. Pokémon GO has captivated the world in a way that no one has seen before. It’s easy to dismiss the game as a waste of time and productivity, but that’s short-sighted. Sure, Pokémon GO is just a game, but it’s a game that has gotten people outdoors and brought them together with other Pokémon players – and there’s nothing wrong with that.


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.