This week's sponsor

Trails

Your GPS Tracker and Logbook for iPhone & Apple Watch


Posts in news

Trails is Your GPS Tracker and Logbook for iPhone & Apple Watch [Sponsor]

When you start your next outdoor adventure, make sure you bring along Trails. Trails is a GPS tracker and logbook that gathers statistics like altitude, ascent and descent, speed, pace, and duration. It also includes topographic maps available for offline use when you have no data connection. Soon, Trails will add a dashboard display with summary statistics and graphs of your activities using a customizable date range and with optional filtering by tags.

Trails takes advantage of the latest Apple hardware and features like 3D Touch, Spotlight search for tracks and waypoints, Siri to start and end a trip, a Today Widget, and AirDrop sharing. In addition, with a Series 2 Apple Watch, you can start recordings, use it as a second screen to display live statistics, and gather heart rate and calorie data.

Trails features a wide array of ways to export and share the data you collect like integration with Apple’s Health app, GPX export, the ability to upload to Trails.io to share your trips, like the hike through San Francisco embedded above, local WiFi sharing, and full database backups. You’re in full control of your data. You don't have to signup for anything to get started, your data isn’t uploaded anywhere without your permission, and there are no ads to get in the way.

Trails has a special promotion for MacStories readers. Trail is giving away 10 one-year subscriptions to Trails Pro. Just enter your email address here by 9:00 pm US Eastern time on June 4, 2017. Winners will be selected randomly and be given a code that they can redeem for the one-year subscription by contacting the Trails team.

Our thanks to Trails for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Twitter for Apple TV Updated with Periscope Global Map

Twitter has updated its Apple TV app with an interesting new way to view Periscope videos from around the world. The feature is called Global Discovery, and it was announced in a tweet earlier today.

Once you open Global Discovery in the Twitter app, you'll be presented with a zoomed out view of Earth. The face of the planet is scattered with various pins representing different Periscope streams that are currently live. It's a clever way to discover live videos from radically distant parts of the world. I enjoyed being able to easily hop between Periscopes from areas in the U.S. and others in Asia, on the other side of the world.

Navigation in Global Discovery is limited to four options: you can scroll around the face of the globe, move from pin to pin (and thus video to video) on the planet's surface, and zoom in or zoom out. Switching between these options can be done at any time using the Siri Remote's Play/Pause button.

Global Discovery is a nice evolution of the Map view found in Periscope's iOS app, and one that takes advantage of the big screen to great effect.


Dash Returns to the iOS App Store

Last fall, Dash, a popular iOS and macOS developer documentation app by Kapeli, was pulled from Apple’s Mac and iOS App Stores amid allegations of fraudulent reviews and Kapeli’s Apple developer account was terminated. Since then, Kapeli has continued to sell Dash for macOS outside the Mac App Store. With no way to sell the iOS version of the app outside the iOS App Store, Kapelli open-sourced the code for the app.

According to Kapeli, open sourcing Dash for iOS has led to numerous people submitting it to the App Store in violation of its GNU GPL license. In an attempt to slow down the rate of copycat apps appearing to the App Store, Dash’s developer, Bogdan Popescu, announced in a blog post today that he created a personal developer account with Apple and submitted Dash for iOS to the App Store. The app was approved and is now available as a free download in the App Store.


IFTTT Launches Powerful Applet Tools in New Maker Tier

Last November IFTTT, the popular web automation platform, introduced powerful applet tools to its Partner tier of users. The Partner tier was not designed for the average user though, and was therefore cost prohibitive to most. But today, IFTTT announced that some Partner benefits are becoming accessible to a broader base of users with a new Maker tier. This tier is free, but it must be signed up for to gain the new applet tools.

One of the most significant privileges granted to users on the Maker tier is the ability to create applets with more than two actions. Previously applets could only have one 'If' and one 'Then' action each, but Makers can now create applets that have multiple 'Then' steps. So you can set up an applet that triggers based on one thing, then takes several different actions because of that initial trigger. Applet building in this way more closely resembles the power of a service like Zapier. Makers can also modify applets using JavaScript filter code, unlocking a range of new possibilities such as the ability to cause an applet, or particular applet actions, to run only at certain times of day.

Another benefit of being a Maker is that you can build applets for any service on IFTTT, whether you have an account with that service or not. Previously, actions could only be used in an applet if you had a connected account tied to that service or device, but that's no longer the case. This ties in well with another Maker benefit: public profile pages. Each Maker will have a public profile for sharing all of their applet creations.

Creating applets using the Maker tools must be done on the web; the IFTTT iOS app does not currently provide access to any Maker tools, and it is unclear if that will change in the future.


Apple Introduces Swift Curriculum for High School and Community College Students

Apple introduced a new year-long app development curriculum today for community college and high school students that is available as a special collection on the iBooks Store. The free-to-download course, which is an extension of Apple’s existing Everyone Can Code curriculum for kids in grades K-12, teaches students how to build fully-functional apps using the Swift programming language. In the fall, six community college systems that serve over 500,000 students will offer the new course.

Tim Cook explained why Apple has created the development course:

“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”

Swift Playgrounds has proven to be a powerful teaching tool with over 1 million downloads since it was introduced. In addition, over 1,000 schools in the US plan to teach using Apple’s Everyone Can Code materials in the fall. The extension of Everyone Can Code to older students should make the entire program even more attractive to educators than before.


IKEA’s Low-Cost Smart Lights Will Support HomeKit

Earlier this year IKEA announced a collection of low-cost smart lights under the Trådfri name. At the time, it was unknown whether the lineup would be compatible with existing smart home platforms, such as Apple's HomeKit. Today MacRumors shared new details announced in a Swedish press release:

IKEA said in its press release that HomeKit support is in the works... IKEA plans to retrofit the new functions via a software update to the Trådfri Gateway and Trådfri app. In addition to HomeKit, the update will also make IKEA's smart products controllable through Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Perhaps the most significant barrier to wider smart home adoption thus far has been cost. While IKEA's Trådfri offerings will certainly not be able to compete with the prices of traditional lighting, their cost will be easier to swallow than that of competing products.

Additionally, news that the lights will support not only HomeKit, but Alexa and Google Home as well, set IKEA's products up to be strong contenders in the smart home market when they launch later this year.


Apple’s New Switch to iPhone Ad Campaign

Apple posted a series of five short videos to YouTube today encouraging consumers to switch to the iPhone. The spots, which are each just 16 seconds long, take place on a two-tone stage. The left side of each set is a plain gray color and represents ‘your phone.’ The more colorful, right-hand side of the stage is the iPhone.

The ads make the case that:

  • It’s easy to move your photos from another phone to the iPhone;
  • Moving to the iPhone from another phone is straightforward;
  • The iPhone is faster than your current phone;
  • Your privacy is protected by the iPhone; and
  • Switching to get a better music experience is simple.

None of the ads have any dialogue. Instead, they use humorous skits and music to make each point.

You can check out all five spots after the break.

Read more


Nike Announces New Collection of Apple Watch Bands

Nike has announced a new collection of "Day to Night" Apple Watch bands going on sale soon. The four new Nike Sport Bands match up with the designs of a collection of Nike shoes: the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit "Day to Night" collection. This marks the first time Nike has directly paired Watch bands with a shoe line.

The "Day to Night" collection celebrates runners whenever they choose to run – at twilight, sunset and everything in between. Each of the colors is inspired by a shade of the sky, from dawn to dusk, and allows runners to – for the first time – make a statement by matching their Apple Watch Nike+ bands to their footwear.

Each band will be priced at $49.00 when they go on sale next month. They'll be available from nike.com and select Nike retail stores on June 1, and shortly thereafter from apple.com, Apple Stores, and other retail partners.