Posts in news

Super Mario Run Launching on December 15

With a press release issued this morning, Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Run – the company's first Mario game for iOS devices revealed at Apple's September event – will be released in one month, on December 15.

From the press release:

The first-ever mobile game featuring the most iconic video game hero of all time goes on sale for iPhone and iPad on Dec. 15 in United States time zones. Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the App Store at no cost, and players can try elements of the game’s three modes for free.

“The wait is almost over for a Super Mario game that can be played on mobile devices,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Developed under the direction of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto,Super Mario Run brings a new take on the series’ beloved action-platforming gameplay to iPhone and iPad for the first time.”

Super Mario Run will be available in 151 countries next month, and it'll be a free download from the App Store. A single $9.99 In-App Purchase will unlock all three game modes, which we previously detailed in our overview of Super Mario Run.

Super Mario Run will be modeled after the tradition of "endless runner" games for iOS that can be controlled with one hand by tapping on the screen to make Mario jump.

Update: You can watch a new gameplay video of Super Mario Run below.


Designed by Apple in California, a Photographic History of Apple Design to Be Released November 16th

In a press release, Apple announced the release of a hardbound book, Designed by Apple in California, documenting twenty years of Apple design work. The book is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs. According to Jony Ive:

“The idea of genuinely trying to make something great for humanity was Steve’s motivation from the beginning, and it remains both our ideal and our goal as Apple looks to the future,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. “This archive is intended to be a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years. We hope it brings some understanding to how and why they exist, while serving as a resource for students of all design disciplines.”

Designed by Apple in California includes 450 beautiful photographs of Apple products past and present by photographer Andrew Zuckerman and will go on sale at Apple.com and select Apple Stores on November 16, 2016. Apple’s press release provides further detail on the production of Designed by Apple in California:

"Designed by Apple in California" is available in two sizes and printed on specially milled, custom-dyed paper with gilded matte silver edges, using eight color separations and low-ghost ink. This linen-bound, hardcover volume was developed over an eight-year period.

The smaller version of the book (10.20” x 12.75”) will cost $199 and the larger version (13” x 16.25”) $299.

The price is steep, but the photographs are undeniably gorgeous. Here’s a selection of photos shared by Apple.


Secrets: A Beautifully Simple Password Manager, Now Free on the App Store [Sponsor]

Secrets is a simple, secure password manager for Mac and iOS. With version 2.0 released this week, the app is adopting a freemium model so you can try it for free on all your devices.

Secrets lets you securely store confidential information such as passwords and bank details. The app leverages industry-standard encryption algorithms to provide secure storage, plus macOS and iOS native features to automatically fill logins on webpages. Thanks to an action extension for iOS, you'll be able to log into your favorite sites directly from Safari. The app can also generate one-time passwords for services that support two-factor authentication.

At the same time, Secrets has a clean and beautiful user interface that is easy to use and functional. Logins are displayed with rich icons, which are also synced across all your devices with iCloud.

With version 2.0, Secrets is now based on a freemium model: the app is free to download and use with up to 10 items; with a $9.99 In-App Purchase ($19.99 on macOS), you'll unlock unlimited items and iCloud sync.

Secrets 2.0 is available on the App Store for iOS and macOS.

Our thanks to Secrets for sponsoring MacStories this week.


tvOS Apps Can Now Be Purchased on iOS Devices and Macs

When the fourth generation Apple TV was introduced, Apple proclaimed that the future of TV is apps. tvOS debuted complete with its own App Store. The trouble was, though, there was no way to link to tvOS apps or buy them anywhere other than on your Apple TV. All developers could do was ask potential customers to search for their app on the Apple TV App Store, a cumbersome process that made it difficult to acquire new customers.

Apple has been chipping away at the problem all year. In April, it introduced the ability to link to web previews of tvOS apps. The previews didn’t include buttons to buy or download tvOS apps, but it did allow potential customers to read app descriptions and view screenshots. Then in September with tvOS 10, Apple added an automatic downloads option to tvOS. That meant that if a tvOS app was associate with an iOS app, it could be installed automatically on your Apple TV if you bought or downloaded the related iOS app, effectively making the link to the iOS app a proxy for its tvOS counterpart.

Apple TV-only apps can be purchased on the iOS App Store and automatically downloaded to your Apple TV.

Apple TV-only apps can be purchased on the iOS App Store and automatically downloaded to your Apple TV.

Today, Apple added tvOS apps to its iTunes Link Maker web app and enabled tvOS app purchases on iOS devices, even if the tvOS app is available only on the Apple TV. iTunes Link Maker lets you search for and generate links to iTunes content. tvOS app links generated by the iTunes Link Maker open in iTunes on macOS and the App Store app on iOS where the apps can be purchased or downloaded. If automatic downloads are enabled on your Apple TV, any apps acquired this way should show up on your Apple TV the next time you turn it on. Links generated with the iTunes Link Maker also work with the iTunes Affiliate Linking program. This means that for the first time a customer can click or tap a link and purchase a tvOS app without leaving their Mac or iOS device and have it waiting for them they sit down in front of the TV.

This is a welcome change for tvOS-only apps that greatly expands developers’ ability to reach potential customers. The change is not, however, without limits. As of the publication of this article, tvOS apps do not appear to be searchable from the iOS App Store’s Search tab. In addition, tvOS app results are not currently returned when the iTunes Search API is queried, though there seem to have been changes made to the API in anticipation of adding tvOS apps. Notwithstanding those limits, the changes today should help make tvOS-only apps a more viable option for developers.


Gmail Refreshed with New Design, Swipe to Archive or Delete, ‘Undo Send,’ and Faster Search

Until today, Gmail hadn’t been updated since January 2016. That’s a long time between updates for a major Google service. Meanwhile, Inbox, Google’s other email client, has been repeatedly updated throughout 2016. That led me and others to wonder whether Google was abandoning its more traditional email client for Inbox’s cutting-edge features. Although Gmail appears to be on a slower update cycle than Inbox, today Gmail received a handful of solid new features and a design update that breathes fresh life into the app.

Gmail’s new design brings it much closer to the UI of its Android cousin and other Google apps available on iOS. The design is colorful, uncluttered, and easy to read with a compose button right where you expect it in a Google app.

Google also added the ability to quickly archive or delete messages with left or right swipe gesture from your inbox. By default, Gmail is set to archive when you swipe on a message, but you can switch it to delete messages in settings on a per-account basis.

Gmail’s new ‘Undo Send’ feature gives you about five seconds to tap an Undo button in the lower right hand corner of the screen to retrieve a message that you didn’t mean to send. It would be nice to be able to adjust the length of the delay before a message is sent, but I suspect five seconds is enough in most circumstances.

In addition, Google says it has made email search even faster. The speed and accuracy of Gmail’s search is the primary reason I keep Gmail installed. I don’t use Gmail regularly enough to comment whether the new search is faster, but in my limited testing search results appeared almost instantly on a good WiFi connection, even when retrieving months-old email.

I’m glad to see Google pushing Gmail forward. With this update, it fits better aesthetically with the rest of Google’s iOS apps and adds features that keep Gmail on par with other iOS email clients. I only wish that Gmail also included a unified inbox option instead of requiring me to switch among multiple accounts.

Gmail is available on the App Store as a free download.



Talkshow Will Shut Down on December 1

Talkshow, which launched about six months ago, will be shutting down effective December 1st. The service allowed groups to have text-based conversations in public. It quickly became a place to assemble panels to comment on live events or just discuss a particular topic. The discussion was limited to the host and guests, but people observing the Talkshow chat could submit questions.

In an email to users and post on Medium, Talkshow says:

While we have enjoyed the conversations that have happened on Talkshow, and are grateful for the community that has formed around the product, we don’t see it getting big enough to have the impact we had hoped for.

Talkshow’s shutdown is happening in stages over the next month. Talkshow is being removed from the App Store today. On November 8th, active Talkshows will end and tools will be made available to export existing shows. Finally, on December 1, the service will be turned off, which means the app will no longer show existing, inactive Talkshows, even in browsing mode.


Instapaper Premium Features Are Now Free

In August, Instapaper was acquired by Pinterest. Today, Instapaper announced that it is making its premium features free to all users. Previously, full-text search, unlimited notes, text-to-speech playlists, and speed reading were premium features that cost $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. In an email to premium subscribers, Instapaper said:

Now that we're better resourced, we're able to offer everyone the best version of Instapaper.

Instapaper is also eliminating all advertising from its website. Premium subscribers will receive a pro rated refund of their current subscriptions.

According to The Verge, which spoke to Pinterest:

Pinterest says it has “no new monetization plans to share at this time” for Instapaper. The decision to drop subscriptions, Pinterest says, was simply a matter of the app being “better resourced,” so that it can “offer everyone the best version.”

The battle among read-it-later services has been a long one. By making some of Instapaper’s most powerful features free, Instapaper should be better positioned to compete against its main rival, Pocket.


iOS 10.2 Beta Brings New Emoji, Wallpapers, and More

Apple has released the first iOS 10.2 beta to developers. The update includes:

  • new Unicode 9.0 emoji support (for a full list of the new emoji, check out this post on Emojipedia);
  • redesigns of existing emoji;
  • three new wallpapers, previously seen in Apple’s marketing materials for iOS 10;
  • a new celebration screen effect in Messages;
  • a widget for Apple’s built-in Video app;
  • a setting in the Music app to display star ratings that does not affect Apple Music 'For You' recommendations; and
  • a setting to maintain the Apple Camera app’s settings between uses.

New wallpapers.

New wallpapers.

New Camera settings, Celebration screen effect, and Video widget.

New Camera settings, Celebration screen effect, and Video widget.

The Music app's settings include star ratings.

The Music app's settings include star ratings.