Posts in news

Apple Launches New ‘We Hear You’ iPad Pro Ad Campaign

Apple released four 15-second commercials each promoting different features of the iPad Pro. All four open with an actor holding up a large image of a tweet. ‘Better Than a Computer’ opens with the snarky tweet: ‘An iPad Pro is not even close to being a computer.’ The narrator agrees explaining that it’s not a computer because it’s faster, has LTE, and a touchscreen you can write on, concluding that the tweeter is ‘kinda right.’

‘Don’t Hunt for WiFi’ features a young woman stuck studying at a gym because her home WiFi is slow. The narrator explains that with LTE, that’s not a problem for the iPad Pro.

‘Do More with Word’ answers the question ‘Is Word on the iPad?’ The narrator shows how to download Microsoft Word and highlights its Apple Pencil integration.

The final spot called ‘No PC Viruses’ highlights the fact that the iPad Pro doesn’t suffer from PC viruses in response to a woman who complains on Twitter that her PC is infected.

What’s best of all about these spots is that the tweets are real. For example,

You can watch all four videos after the break:

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Apple Announces WWDC 2017: Kicks Off June 5 in San Jose

Apple today announced that WWDC will take place June 5-9, 2017 in a new venue: the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. The announcement came as a bit of a surprise because in past years, WWDC was announced closer to the event and it has often been scheduled for the second full week in June. But the biggest departure of all is the change of venue. WWDC has been held at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco for the past 16 years. San Jose is much closer to Apple's new Campus 2 headquarters, which should facilitate the logistics of putting on the conference.

According to Apple's press release:

The McEnery Convention Center will be the hub for thousands of attendees with great hotel, restaurant and entertainment options, all within walking distance. In addition to the keynote address, get-togethers, sessions and labs for developers, Apple is working with the city of San Jose and local businesses to celebrate the return of WWDC with very special experiences around San Jose throughout the week.

Tickets will go on sale March 27th. Apple said that the number of tickets available for WWDC 2017 will be roughly the same as in recent years.


Pokémon Go to Add More Than 80 New Creatures

Niantic announced a big update to its hit game Pokémon Go. Later this week, more than 80 Pokémon from the Johto compendium will appear in the game. That's not all the generation two Pokémon, but it is nonetheless a substantial update to a game that has seen bug fixes and refinements, but limited new content since it debuted last summer.

In addition to adding a subset of Pokémon from the franchise's Gold and Silver games, Niantic is adding new game elements including two new collectable berries, new Pokémon trainer outfits, and evolution items. Other items will be available for purchase from the in-game Pokémon Go shop.

Pokémon Go became an instant phenomenon in many parts of the world when it launched last year, but its popularity has waned substantially. It will be interesting to see if the new content released this week will reignite interest in the game.


A Recap of the Code Media Conference Interview with Eddy Cue

Last night Recode's Peter Kafka hosted an interview with Apple's Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, who was joined by television producer Ben Silverman at Recode's Code Media Conference. The discussion centered around Apple's video ambitions, with new information and trailers being released for two of Apple's upcoming original shows: Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. Additionally, Cue commented on work Apple's doing with Apple Music and in a variety of other areas.

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The Iconfactory Launches ‘Project Phoenix’ Kickstarter: A Twitterrific for Mac Reboot

The histories of Twitter and Twitterrific are closely tied. Twitterrific was the first Twitter client on the Mac in 2007 and later on the iPhone, coined the term ‘tweet,’ beat Twitter to a bluebird icon, and more. Until 2013, Twitterrific for the Mac was developed in tandem with the iOS version, but the pace of iOS’ evolution led The Iconfactory to suspend development of the Mac version.

Today, The Iconfactory unveiled a Kickstarter campaign to reboot Twitterrific for the Mac. The campaign, which seeks to raise a minimum of $75,000 or more with stretch goals, aims to rebuild Twitterrific from the ground up for macOS.

According to The Iconfactory, if its minimum goal is met,

The plan is to build a minimal product within 6 or 7 months that includes the following functionality:

  • Unified home timeline
  • Multiple account support
  • Composing, replying, and quoting tweets
  • Muffles and mutes
  • Streaming
  • Themes
  • Delete and edit your own tweets
  • Sync timeline position with iOS
  • VoiceOver Accessibility
  • Keyboard control
  • Attaching images to tweets
  • Timeline search (text filter/find)
  • Open links to other tweets, profiles and media in your browser

The goal is to build a solid, simple foundation on which The Iconfactory can iterate and eventually match the iOS version’s functionality. That means that not every imaginable feature will be included initially, but based on the list above, most of the core Twitterrific experience will be included if the project is funded. Additional features will be added if funding reaches $100,000 and $125,000. My only quibble with the goals as structured is that direct messages feel like something that should be included in the initial goal, not a stretch goal.

I like Twitterrific for iOS a lot, especially Center Stage, its new media browsing feature. However, as someone who uses a Mac and iOS devices daily, the lack of updates to Twitterrific for Mac has played a significant role in preventing me from considering it as my primary Twitter client. Consequently, I was excited to hear the news about Project Phoenix. I would like to have seen mockups of what The Iconfactory has planned, but even without that, I immediately backed Project Phoenix based on the great work The Iconfactory has done on the iOS version and its other apps.

You can watch the video introducing Project Phoenix, read more about The Iconfactory’s plans, and check out the rewards for each backing level on Project Phoenix’s Kickstarter page.


Google Maps Adds List Creation and Sharing

Today Google introduced a new feature for Google Maps that allows curating lists of places you want to remember and sharing those lists with others.

In previous versions, Google Maps allowed saving a location in a way that's similar to marking a place as favorite in Apple Maps. Every saved place went on one list, and there was no way to further categorize items you had saved. Today's update is a helpful expansion of that feature, making it possible to save places to pre-set lists like "Favorites" or "Want to Go," or to your own custom created list.

The ability to create custom lists opens so many possibilities: future vacation planning, restaurants to try, date night ideas, or whatever else you can think of. Any list that you've created can be shared with others via a link. When you share a list with others, they'll have the option to follow that list, meaning any future updates made to it will be visible to them.

Last fall my wife and I took a vacation to New York City for the first time. In researching places we would want to visit in the city, I would look up a location in Apple Maps, then use the share extension to add that location to a note in Apple Notes that was shared with my wife. Throughout our trip, we would use the links in that note to get us where we wanted to go. It wasn't a terrible system, but if Google's list feature had been around at the time, it would have been a perfect solution for us.

The new list feature will be rolling out in the next version of Google Maps for iOS, expected soon.


Apple Previews Carpool Karaoke Series During Grammys

During the Grammys, Apple debuted a one minute preview of its upcoming show Carpool Karaoke: The Series, which will be available exclusively to Apple Music subscribers. The preview video features a montage of clips from the upcoming show including many of its celebrity guests. The notes accompanying the clip uploaded to Apple’s YouTube channel provide additional details:

Based on the segment that has become a global, viral video sensation on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the new CARPOOL KARAOKE series features 16 celebrity pairings riding along in a car together as they sing tunes from their personal playlists and surprise fans who don’t expect to see big stars belting out tunes one lane over.

Featuring James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more.

The question left unanswered by the clip is when the show will be available. For now, it is still ‘Coming Soon.’


Turn Touch: A Smart, Flexible Remote Control

Samuel Clay, the founder of NewsBlur, is seeking funding on Kickstarter for an interesting new project: Turn Touch.

Turn Touch is a four button remote control carved out of solid wood. Get instant control of your devices and your home. With only four buttons, your Turn Touch connects you to apps, lights, speakers, and more.

While most smart devices found in the home today are designed to be controlled via a smartphone or a voice-controlled device like Amazon Echo, Turn Touch is a more tactile option. It's designed to look less like a standard remote control and more like a piece of decor in the home.

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Flipboard 4.0 Presents Deeper Personalization Options

Flipboard 4.0 launched today, introducing a redesigned app that revolves around one core new feature: Smart Magazines. The magazine analogy isn't altogether different from Flipboard's previous interface, where certain topics or news sources made up a grouping of stories through which users could flip. The main difference here is found in the deeper level of personalization available with Smart Magazines.

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