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Daylite: A Business Productivity App for Mac and iOS [Sponsor]

Daylite is a business productivity app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Organize you and your team’s contacts, calendars, projects, tasks, emails, notes, and new business opportunities all in one app.

Track sales and set reminders for follow-ups. See a full history of all emails, calls, and notes for each customer. Customize your own pipelines to track sales and projects. View your whole team’s calendar to make scheduling meetings simple. Daylite even integrates with Apple Mail so you can update customer info, set tasks and reminders, and add appointments to your calendar – all without leaving Mail.

Automate lead generation from online web forms with Daylite & Zapier integration. When someone fills out a form on your website through Google Forms or Wufoo, a new contact and business opportunity are creating in Daylite. You can then segment leads for specific email campaigns and track all of your communication with them in Daylite.

Always have your business info no matter where you go. Daylite is a native app so you can access your information on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

Read how businesses all over the world are becoming more efficient with Daylite.

Our thanks to Daylite for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Healthy Competition

One of the intriguing aspects of iMessage sticker packs is that they can be as simple as static images or as complex as full-blown apps. There’s a place for both, but it’s interesting to see innovation beginning to take shape as a differentiator among sticker sellers.

Health Stickers, by Krishna Kumar, is a good example. It lets you share your exercise and health accomplishments via stickers, whether that’s your step count, weight, heart rate, or something else. What’s cool about the app is that it pulls health data from Apple’s Health app with your permission. Share you step count with a friend in Messages and the sticker includes your current step count total. The stickers cannot update dynamically, but you can always resend a sticker to a recipient if you want to update your statistics. The step count in particular seemed high compared to Pedometer++, but for casual sharing, as opposed to precise measurement, the app has a lot going for it.

Health Stickers is available on the iMessage App Store as a free download.

Apple Debuts New Advert Showcasing Redesigned Apple Music

Apple yesterday debuted a new advert on its YouTube channel which showcases the redesigned Apple Music that comes with iOS 10. The extended, 80 second, advert explores the key features of Apple Music and actually shows, step-by-step, how you can use the app.

The walk-through begins by showing how you can access your own music library, and then moves on to demonstrate the For You feature of Apple Music which, based on your tastes and listening history, will recommend "music you'll love next". The advert then pivots to demonstrating how you can share music and your playlists, before showing you how to download music to your device and explore new music in the Browse tab of Apple Music. Finally, the advert highlights the live and on demand radio stations that Apple Music offers, with a particular focus on Beats 1, which also offers interviews with musicians.

This Apple Music advert follows last month's tongue-in-cheek Apple Music advert featuring James Corden. You can watch this advert on Apple's YouTube page, or below the break.

(via MacRumors)

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Dropbox Receives a Major iOS Update

Dropbox announced an update to its iOS app that adds five new features with a sixth promised ‘in the coming weeks.’ According to Dropbox, the update will be released today, although we have not seen it in the App Store yet.

The five new features are:

  • The ability to sign PDFs within the Dropbox app, which eliminates the need to send PDFs to another app for signing.
  • A new iMessage app that lets you access recent files from within the Messages app and insert them with a preview of the file into a conversation.
  • A new widget, from which you can scan, upload, or create new documents and access recent Dropbox files.
  • Notifications when someone else edits a document you are viewing and an opportunity to refresh the document to include the edits.
  • Picture-in-Picture support when you watch videos stored in Dropbox.

Finally, Dropbox announced that ‘in the coming weeks’ it will also add Split View support for iPad users. It’s disappointing that Split View, which was introduced with iOS 9, is still not part of Dropbox, but good to know that we should see it added before the end of the year.

Tim Cook Says VR Is Nice, but Augmented Reality Is the Future

Adario Strange, writing for Mashable, picks up on Tim Cook's answer to a question that was posed to him last Friday when he was interviewed by Senator Orrin Hatch at the Utah Tech Tour.

"AR [augmented reality] I think is going to become really big," said Cook. "VR [virtual reality], I think, is not gonna be that big, compared to AR … How long will it take? AR gonna take a little while, because there’s some really hard technology challenges there. But it will happen. It will happen in a big way. And we will wonder, when it does [happen], how we lived without it. Kind of how we wonder how we lived without our [smartphones] today."

This is not the first time that Tim Cook has commented on the potential for AR. Soon after the release (and phenomenal success) of Pokemon Go, Tim Cook said that Apple was "high on AR in the long run" when answering a question during an Apple earnings call:

It also does show that AR can be really great. We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We are high on AR for the long run, we think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. The number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers’ kind of products like Pokemon, that’s why you see so many iPhones in the wild chasing Pokemons.

You can watch the full Tim Cook interview from the Utah Tech Tour on YouTube.


‘Spoken Editions’ Section Makes Official Debut on iTunes

Roger Fingas, writing for AppleInsider:

Following a false start in September, Apple on Monday launched an expected "Spoken Editions" section on the iTunes Store, letting people hear audio versions of written content from online publishers.

The section currently includes articles from over 40 sources, such as Reuters, Wired, IGN, Jezebel, Playboy, and the Huffington Post. People can also access the material from Apple's dedicated Podcasts app.

I like this idea, and could see myself subscribing to some Spoken Editions when it expands to other publications, particularly those in Australia. I listened to a few Spoken Edition articles, and whilst the recording quality was generally quite good, I was a little surprised to hear some obvious pronunciation errors and general reading mistakes which hadn't been edited out.

The Spoken Editions are featured on the front page of the Podcasts section of the US iTunes Store, but they are also accessible via this link (which will also work even if you are outside the US).


Telegram Adds SiriKit Support and Game Bots

Telegram received a significant update today that adds SiriKit support for sending messages and upgrades its bot platform. Both features will help keep Telegram closer in line with the features available in Apple’s own Messages app.

By integrating with Siri, messages can be sent with Telegram using commands like ‘Send Federico a Telegram message that says what’s the weather like in Rome today?’ Similar to Messages, Siri interprets your instructions and presents you with a draft message before sending it. In my tests, the feature worked to send messages to individuals, but I couldn’t send a message to The MacStories Lounge channel, which broadcasts messages to everyone who subscribes to that channel.

Starting a game in Telegram with a bot.

Starting a game in Telegram with a bot.

Telegram also updated its bot platform to support games made using HTML5. The iOS release notes for Telegram also suggest that the changes to bots could be used for other rich media experiences, but for now, Telegram has chosen to focus on games. According to Telegram’s blog:

The best part of the Telegram Gaming Platform is the competition across all your existing chats. We save high scores for every game played in every chat, and you can instantly check out how you and your friends are doing against each other. Every time there’s a new leader in the game, other playing members of the chat are notified that they need to step it up.

I took a quick look at a few of the thirty games available at launch from Gamee and they were fairly basic games, but it’s a good start, and it will be interesting to see what developers do with the new APIs.

Apple Reveals Balloons Ad

Apple released another advertisement in its 'practically magic' series, focusing on the new effects that can be used with Messages. 'Balloons' begins with a single red balloon floating out the window of a house. The balloon travels across landscapes, through forests, swamps, and across a large body of water. Eventually, it's joined by a second balloon under a rusted structure.

When the camera pulls back, it becomes apparent that the balloons are in Chicago. As the camera follows the balloons, they pass by several Chicago landmarks, including an 'L' train, the Chicago Board of Trade, and finally, the Chicago River near the Wrigley Building.

The scene cuts to an office where a woman is working. Balloons begin to blow into an open window as she receives an iMessage wishing her a happy birthday, which is sent with Messages' new balloons effect, echoing the scene surrounding her. The spot ends with the camera pulling back to a wide angle view of millions of balloons rising among Chicago's skyscrapers, including the Willis (née Sears) Tower with the tag line 'expressive messages on iPhone 7.'

Previous spots have focused on iPhone 7 hardware features like its water resistance and camera. This is the first ad since iOS 10 was released that focuses solely on a new feature of iOS.

Enhanced Edition of ‘A Game of Thrones’ Available on the iBooks Store

The iBooks Store is today featuring the launch of 'A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition':

Navigate the astounding world of Westeros with the enhanced editions of George R.R. Martin's magnificent series. Available only on iBooks, they're the best way to read this thrilling epic. Interactive maps, author notes, glossaries, family trees and illustrations add to the adventure, whether you're new to the books or speak fluent Dothraki.

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the series, and the Enhanced Edition is available now. The other books in the series are also set to received Enhanced Editions over the coming months. A Clash of Kings is coming on 27 October, A Storm of Swords is arriving on 15 December, A Feast of Crows is arriving 2 February 2017, and A Dance with Dragons is expected on 30 March 2017. The Guardian has a few more details on the Enhanced Editions, including this quote from George R.R. Martin:

“We’re now entering a new period in the history of publishing,” said Martin, announcing the new edition. “The digital book gives readers the ability to experience all this rich secondary material that had not been possible before. These enhanced editions, available only on iBooks, include sigils and family trees and glossaries. Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips. It’s an amazing next step in the world of books.”

This is not the first time the iBooks Store has released Enhanced Editions of a popular series. Last October saw the release of Enhanced Editions of the Harry Potter series on the iBooks Store, which included new illustrations and animations.

(via 9to5Mac)