Fiery Feeds, an RSS client developed by Lukas Burgstaller, has long been among the top choices of iOS power users given its integration with multiple RSS services and ability to create custom actions for sharing articles with other apps. In the aftermath of Google Reader's demise, Fiery Feeds found its niche as a client that supported a variety of modern RSS services and that also catered to users who had been looking for an alternative to Mr. Reader – which pioneered the idea of a highly customizable and extensible RSS app for iOS long before iOS 9 and the iPad Pro.
With Fiery Feeds 2, released on the App Store today, Burgstaller has largely focused on two fronts: modernizing every aspect of the app, and adopting a subscription-based business model that clearly separates features available for free from those exclusively available to paying customers. In the process, Fiery Feeds has grown into a cleaner, more elegant client that looks nicer on iOS 11 and the iPhone X; at the same time, Burgstaller has been able to extend Fiery Feeds' appeal with a powerful premium-only feature dubbed Smart Views.
The result, while not perfect or as deeply integrated with iOS 11 as lire, is among the best options for RSS clients on the platform.
At the start, you should know two things about me: HomePod is the first smart speaker I've ever owned, and I'm all-in on the Apple ecosystem.
These facts make me the HomePod's perfect customer, and they will surely color my comments. I'm guessing if I had more experience with other smart speakers, or I didn't own nearly every modern Apple product, my thoughts on HomePod would be different. That said, here are my early impressions.
Becky Hansmeyer started building Snapthread to combine Snapchat videos. What she ended up creating is an elegant way to combine Live Photos and videos into short movies that are greater than the sum of their parts and perfect for sharing with friends and family.
What I love about the origin story of Snapthread is how much the app changed from its inception to launch, yet how close the resulting app remains to Hansmeyer’s original vision. That’s because at its core is a great idea: creating a better way to share life’s fleeting moments.
With version 1.5, Snapthread has grown into a mini iPhone video studio with a focus on making it as quick and simple as possible to assemble a video from several Live Photos or standard videos. The approach is smart. It’s easy to get caught up in filters, effects, and transitions when you’re editing video. There’s a place for that sort of app, and Snapthread lets you add things like a title card and overlay music, but what I like most about it is that the app’s focus on the basics prevents me from obsessing about my creation. It’s a design choice that makes me far more likely to create and share a clip.
Dropout Games is known for publishing relaxing, stylish puzzle games like Blyss, which we previously covered on MacStories. They are back with WayOut, an elegant Lights Out-style iOS game developed with Ukraine-based developer Konstructors that is easy to learn to play but devilishly difficult to master.
With the ubiquity of the smartphone in increasingly younger classrooms, integrating them into education is fast becoming a requirement for teachers. What better way to tame smartphones in the classroom than to make them part of the learning process?
Matthew Braun, developer of SketchParty TV (one of my favorite Apple TV games), released a new app to do just that. Waypoint EDU uses AR to make the phone not only a learning tool, but a truly interactive experience that can take place outdoors. Or anywhere.
From the student perspective, it works like this: students see a waypoint on a map of their current location and move around to find it. A la Pokemon Go, they search by looking through their phones, scanning for an out-of-place object such as a (miniature) colosseum sitting in a park. Once they've found the waypoint, they answer a quiz question to reveal the next waypoint. Think augmented reality geocaching.
From the teacher (or parent) side, creating a curriculum is pretty easy. I didn't get into creating a fully customized one while I was trying it out, but editing the waypoints and related questions is simple. Once you have your curriculum set up, you just pull up the map and draw the playfield with your finger. The waypoints are automatically placed within the playfield, ready for the Hunt to be shared with the students via AirDrop. You can currently add artwork from a library, and the ability to add your own artwork will be a paid feature in a future update.
Waypoint EDU is a free app. Obviously, it has the requirement that everyone in the group has access to an iPhone. In situations where that's possible, Waypoint EDU seems to me like the future of field trips. Below is a video of Waypoint EDU in action. You can find it on the App Store, and get more info at waypointedu.com.
Agenda is an intriguing approach to note taking on the Mac that’s organized around dates and your calendar. The app is beautifully-designed and notably feature-rich for a 1.0 but lacks an iOS counterpart, which is still in the works, and collaboration features, which will limit its appeal to some users. There are also areas of the app that lack polish, but overall, Agenda shows a lot of promise and should be attractive to anyone who juggles multiple calendar events and deadlines.
There are a seemingly endless number of ways to represent colors. Whether you’re a professional designer or developer, or someone who just wants to update a website template, you’ve undoubtedly come across several. The trouble with so many different formats is that it guarantees that at some point, the color value you have won’t be the one you require. Aquarelo is a beautifully-designed new Mac app that cuts through the thicket of formats to help you find the colors you want and convert them to the format you need.
For some people, weather apps simply answer questions like ‘Do I need a coat today?’ but their appeal is much broader. Weather apps are also about science and statistics. If you enjoy the geeky data side of tracking the weather, there’s no better way satisfy that interest than by collecting measurements yourself with a weather station like the one made by Netatmo.
Weather stations, like many gadgets, run from the simple to the complex. What I like most about the Netatmo Weather Station is that it’s easy to set up and modular. That means you can start with the core system that tracks basic weather data like temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and air quality, and later, add wind speed and precipitation gauges if you want to dive deeper into tracking the weather.
The ElevationDock 4 is an unassuming collection of smart design decisions that together make it my favorite iPhone dock. The device, which comes in black or white, performs well as a place to charge my iPhone, which isn’t remarkable by itself. What distinguishes the ElevationDock though, is the little touches that combine to make it more useful than other docks.