Posts in Linked

Piezo Exits the Mac App Store

Rogue Amoeba's Paul Kafasis, writing on the latest version of their audio recording app, Piezo, and their decision to exit the Mac App Store:

A major reason for the initial creation of Piezo was our desire to allow recording from other applications on the Mac within the limits of what Apple’s Mac App Store rules allowed. We were pleased to provide audio capture to customers of the Mac App Store, and for a time, things worked just fine. However, Apple eventually changed the rules, requiring that all applications distributed through the Mac App Store be sandboxed. This was a problem. Piezo’s need to capture audio from other applications precludes the possibility of it being sandboxed. This new requirement effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way.

[…]

We’d like to provide customers with the option of buying Piezo through the Mac App Store, but it’s more important to us that we provide a quality product with full functionality. In the case of Piezo, that now means exclusively distributing the application via our site. Users have always had the option of downloading and buying Piezo direct, so this didn’t involve much in the way of additional work. The biggest issue was simply choosing to remove Piezo from the Mac App Store. Ultimately, we feel the decision was made for us by both technical and bureaucratic factors outside of our control.

It says a lot about the Mac App Store that, whenever another app exits it, our reaction isn't "why" but "of course".

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Watch Apps Worth Making

David Smith:

What doesn’t work is easiest to say. Apps that try to re-create the functionality of an iPhone app simply don’t work. If you can perform a particular operation on an iPhone, then it is better to do it there. The promise of never having to take your iPhone out of your pocket just isn’t quite here yet. The Apple Watch may advance (in hardware and software) to a point where this is no longer true but the platform has a ways to grow first.

There seems to be only three kinds of apps that make sense given the current hardware and software on the Apple Watch.

Bingo. As I tweeted yesterday, my favorite Watch apps aren't trying to mimic iPhone apps at all. If the same task can be completed on the iPhone, I don't see why I would try on a smaller, slower device.

The best Watch apps will be the ones that wouldn't be possible or make sense on an iPhone.

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The Verge: ‘The Age of Indie Fitness Apps Is Over’

A sad but true post by Lauren Goode at The Verge:

What do Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Runtastic, FitStar, and RunKeeper all have in common?

Aside from all being smartphone apps that track your health and activity, all of these apps have been acquired by bigger companies — bigger brands — over the past couple of years, the latest being RunKeeper, which was just bought by running shoe maker Asics. Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, and MapMyFitness went to Under Armour. Runtastic was acquired by Adidas. FitStar was bought by Fitbit, which at the time wasn’t yet a public company, but in its own right has swelled to become the market leader for activity trackers.

Large companies operating at scale with free services and lots of users who don't bother to pay for extras? It's photo management, all over again.

If history does repeat itself, we'll continue to see, as Goode argues, consolidation of independent services being acquired by bigger brands. The good news: smaller, more focused health and fitness utilities seem to have a profitable niche in which they can thrive, while still retaining the ability to save data into HealthKit. I appreciate how Apple's Health puts everyone on the same playing field – from brands to solo developers (the real indies in this case) like David Smith.

At which point, though, do we expect Apple and Google to make their own all-encompassing fitness and meal tracking apps for smartphones? Apple may be pushing the Watch as their premier fitness device, but they know how much people use their phones for these tasks, and a future Sherlocking wouldn't surprise me at all. Just like it happened with photos.

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Apple Music and Sonos Launch Collaborative Ad Campaign

Following the launch of Apple Music on Sonos earlier this week, the companies have launched an ad campaign to highlight the benefits of music in daily lives. Mikey Campbell, reporting for AppleInsider:

The marketing effort — dubbed "Music Makes it Home" — draws on statistics from a wide-ranging, multi-country Sonos study of 30,000 families that found positive correlations in listening to music and overall quality of life. As UK publication Marketing reports, the survey discovered music benefits sexual activity, relationship satisfaction, mood, happiness and other metrics.

To present the data in easily digestible TV spots and social media posts, the companies invited 30 families to take part in a social experiment that restricted each of the 109 participants from listening to music in the house for one week. After the prescribed deprivation period, music was reintroduced courtesy of Apple Music playing on a wireless Sonos system. Along with families in eight countries, celebrities St Vincent, Run the Jewels' Killer Mike and The National's Matt Berninger also took part in the study.

Interestingly, iPhones, Apple Watches, motion-activated cameras, and iBeacons were used to gather a variety of data during the experiment. Apple and Sonos have also launched a Tumblr blog with a collection of photos and descriptions of the families involved. A full breakdown of numbers and recorded stats is available here.

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Connected: This Feels Like Therapy to Me

This week, Federico and Stephen discuss the culture surrounding app updates and answer some listener questions.

On this week's Connected, we discussed a topic that's been in the back of my mind for years: how do we approach apps that aren't going to be updated often? What do we look for in an app when it comes to future feature additions? And how can developers understand their audience and plan updates on the increasingly competitive App Store? It's a good one. You can listen here.

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Apple’s Notes App for Mac to Add Support for Evernote File Imports

Mikey Campbell, writing for AppleInsider, reports on the upcoming update to Notes on OS X 10.11.4, which is set to bring support for native Evernote imports:

The new Evernote compatibility comes as part of Apple's Notes buildout, a project that most recently resulted in substantial feature upgrades on iOS 9 and OS X last year. Adding to a rich in-app note-taking toolset, .enex file support means enhanced flexibility for those invested in Evernote's platform. […]

Apple marketing VP Brian Croll mentioned the forthcoming Mac feature in an interview with Japanese publication PC User, saying Evernote "capture" support would arrive for OS X Notes "soon." The report was spotted Mac Otakara on Monday.

I just tried it on my MacBook Air running the latest beta seed of 10.11.4 released earlier today, and it worked like a charm. I exported a handful of notes from Evernote, each containing rich text formatting (links, lists, fonts with different sizes and colors, inline images, etc.) and, despite it being a beta, the results were very good. The app displays an alert warning the user that notes may not look the same once imported – some formatting will always be lost in the transition from one proprietary platform to another – but, as a start, this should be more than enough to move everything out of Evernote without having to use scripts or other workarounds (you can import multiple .enex files at once, of course).

This is going to be an important addition for those who are thinking about moving from Evernote to Notes. I did last summer, and I continue to be impressed by the simplicity and functionality of Notes on iOS 9.

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Apple Rejects ‘The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’

Owen S. Good, writing for Polygon:

An iOS version of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was rejected by Apple on grounds it depicts violence toward children, the game's publisher said Saturday evening.

Tyrone Rodriguez, the founder of Nicalis and a producer and developer for the game, tweeted this image of Apple's rejection notice, which notes that "Your app contains content or features that depict violence towards, or abuse of, children, which is not allowed on the App."

You know your App Review has a problem when even Nintendo has accepted the same game a year ago. This wouldn't be the first time Apple's App Review team has shown less respect for mature themes expressed through videogames (the same themes being generally okay for other types of entertainment) and I hope this rejection gets reversed. The Binding of Isaac is a fantastic game and Apple should be thrilled to have these kinds of indie titles on the App Store.

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Remaster – State of the Union: iOS

The Platform State of the Union series continues. This week your hosts focus on how Apple has fared in 2015, taking a look at all of their current platforms and where games fit within them. They also take a look at Apple's overall attitude towards gaming, and how this could be improved.

A very special episode of our State of the Union series on Remaster this week, in which we talk about Apple, their approach to gaming, the new Apple TV, and games on the App Store. Don't miss this one. You can listen here.

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tvOS 9.2 to Bring Support for Dictation

Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors on the the third beta of tvOS 9.2 seeded to developers earlier today:

There's now support for onscreen text entry via dictation in countries where Siri is available. When updating to tvOS 9.2 beta 3, users will be prompted to enable or disable dictation. With dictation, Apple TV users can dictate text and spell user names and passwords rather than typing them. With dictation enabled, the tvOS search bar alternates between a blank search field and an option to hold the Siri button to dictate text.

Feels like another feature that should have been there since tvOS debuted. Maybe the ability to actually link to tvOS apps will be next.

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