This week's sponsor

Automatic A smart driving assistant on your smartphone

Posts in news

Apple Posts ‘Someday at Christmas’ Ad Featuring Andra Day and Stevie Wonder

Apple uploaded a new holiday commercial today (just ahead of Thanksgiving in the United States) featuring soul singer Andra Day and Stevie Wonder playing Wonder's 1967 classic 'Someday at Christmas'.

The ad is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it's not focused on any particular Apple product, although MacBooks and Apple Watches make a brief appearance. The theme of the ad is Day and Wonder playing and singing together – the ad immediately highlights VoiceOver integration in GarageBand for Mac, one of the Accessibility features that Wonder uses to interact with OS X and manage recorded tracks in the app.

Earlier this year, Apple was honored as a recipient of the Helen Keller Achievement Awards for its implementation of accessible technologies, with a particular mention of VoiceOver by the American Foundation for the Blind.

In a subtle note, the ad closes to a "Love, Apple" message. You can watch the video below.

Automatic: A Smart Driving Assistant on Your iPhone [Sponsor]

There’s a mountain of data inside your car waiting to be unleashed, and all you have to do is plug in a quick little connector and download a mobile application.

Automatic is a smart driving assistant that plugs into your car's data port and lets you connect your smartphone (either iPhone or Android) with your car. By  talking to your car’s onboard computer and using your smartphone’s GPS and data plan to upgrade your car's capabilities, Automatic will allow you to easily diagnose your engine light, never forget where you parked your car, and save hundreds of dollars on gas.

Automatic learns your driving habits and gives you suggestions through subtle audio cues to drive smarter and stop wasting gas. Thanks to a map view available on your phone, Automatic can display a trip timeline after every driving session, showing you how you're doing with a Drive Score; the app can even track local gas prices and tell you how much you're spending.

In case of engine problems, Automatic can decipher what the "check engine" light means and show you a description of the issue with a possible solution. And thanks to a feature called Crash Alert, Automatic can detect many types of serious crashes and automatically alert local authorities as well as your loved ones when you can't.

Automatic is currently available in the US for iPhone and Android devices, with a 45-day return policy and free shipping in 2 business days.

MacStories readers can go to to get $16 off and buy Automatic at just $63.99. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Reeder 3 for iOS Now Available, Adds Support for iOS 9 Split View, Safari View Controller, 3D Touch

Reeder 3 for iOS has just been released today as a free update for existing customers. The new version brings support for iOS 9 Split View, support for the new iPad Pro and 3D Touch capability on the iPhone 6s, amongst a number of feature improvements. Split View support enables you to use Reeder side-by-side with another app, on compatible iPads. Whilst 3D Touch support is currently limited to previewing articles when in the article list - it isn't yet able to preview links in articles or preview article lists for a particular RSS feed.

Reeder 3 also adds support for the Safari View Controller, an iOS 9 feature which brings the native Safari experience to third party apps. For those familiar with Reeder you'll be well aware that a key aspect of its design is the use of a number of sliding panes for your feed list, article list, the actual article itself and finally the 'view in browser' option. You'll be glad to know that Reeder implements Safari View Controller in a way that fits within Reeder's existing design and user interface. So just as you would before, you can swipe left on an article and Safari View Controller will slide in, not pop-up. Dismissing the Safari View Controller can also be done by swiping right from the left edge of your screen.

Some of the other features in Reeder 3 include the ability to add Instapaper as a sync service, options to adjust the font size for the list of articles, and additional UI tweaks throughout the app.

Reeder 3 for iOS is available as a free update for existing customers, and is $4.99 on the App Store for new customers.

Beamer 3 Launches with New User Interface, Google Chromecast Support

Following a two month public beta period, Beamer 3 was released earlier this month. Beamer, a favorite of the MacStories team, is a Mac app that allows you to easily stream video (in almost any format) to your Apple TV via AirPlay. In Beamer 3, streaming support has expanded beyond AirPlay and it can now stream to Google Chromecast.

The user interface has also been redesigned in Beamer 3, and now fits in better with OS X Yosemite and El Capitan. The new UI isn't just prettier, it's also more useful because it provides easier access to audio track and subtitle controls. Another new feature enables you to skip to the next video in your Beamer queue by double clicking the play button the Apple Remote. All of the new features are listed here.

Beamer 3 is available for $19.99 for new customers, and existing Beamer customers can "pay what you want" to upgrade to Beamer 3. Beamer 3 requires OS X Yosemite or El Capitan.

Square Announces New Square Reader for Apple Pay, Contactless & Chip Cards

Square yesterday announced a new Square Reader, designed to work with contactless payment services such as Apple Pay, as well as "chip and PIN" EMV cards. The new contactless Square Reader can be reserved from today for $49.

The new contactless Square Reader is a pocket sized square puck (naturally), which can be used wirelessly with the Square app on an iOS or Android device. For customers with an EMV card, there's also a slot on one of the sides of the the new Square Reader to insert the card's chip into the device.

For now at least, Square's mobile payment processing for small businesses is limited to the United States, Canada and Japan. The launch of this new contactless Square Reader may help boost Square's international expansion efforts, particularly in countries such as the UK and Australia, where EMV cards are more widely adopted.

Apple Debuts Five Short Apple TV Ads Featuring Apps and Games

Apple on Tuesday uploaded the first collection of adverts for the Apple TV since the device was released late last month. Each of the five adverts are short 15 second videos which give a quick introduction to some of the most high profile apps and games that launched with the Apple TV.

The five featured apps are Crossy Road, Asphalt 8, Disney Infinity, Netflix and HBO Now. You can view them all below the break or on Apple's YouTube account.

Read more

Instagram Updates Its Platform Policy, Prohibits Third Party Instagram Feed Apps

As reported by TechCrunch, Instagram yesterday announced several changes to its 'Platform Policy', the document that developers must agree to abide by if they want to use Instagram's APIs. The changes will impact a number of developers, but one of the most significant consequences is that third-party apps which would present a user's Instagram feed will not be permitted under the new rules.

That means the many third-party apps which sprung up to offer the Instagram feed on platforms which Instagram has never supported, whether it be Flow for the iPad, Photoflow for the Mac, or Tangram for the Apple TV, will no longer be permitted.

On its Developer Blog, Instagram notes that the changes are aimed at improving "people's control over their content and set up a more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on the platform". Instagram wants developers using its API to work on apps that do things such as:

Help individuals share their own content with 3rd party apps, such as apps that let you print your photos and import an Instagram photo as a profile picture.

Help brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience, develop their content strategy, and get digital rights to media. Established apps in this space may apply for our newly announced Instagram Partner Program.

Help broadcasters and publishers discover content, get digital rights to media, and share media using web embeds.

Instagram is adopting a phased approach to implementing the new policy - new apps will be reviewed under the new policy, and Instagram will begin granting full API access starting December 3, 2015. Existing apps will need to be re-approved under the new policy, but they will have until June 1, 2016, to do so. Instagram is also introducing a new Sandbox Mode which will give developers access to the Instagram API so that they can privately build and test their apps whilst their app is being reviewed by Instagram.

Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

We all struggle with productivity. We are constantly pressured to accomplish more, and to do it quicker. There is no one definitive way to accomplish that, and we have all devised our own little method to make things work.

At Igloo, they think your way is the best way, they just want to support you, and make your way better.

Work has evolved and your tools should too. Never email yourself a file again. Bring your company into the 21st century - send your IT guy to try Igloo Software for free.

Igloo is an intranet you’ll actually like.

Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Apple Pay Now Available In Canada For American Express Customers, UK Banks Tesco and TSB Also Add Support

As reported by iPhone in Canada and 9to5Mac, Apple Pay is now available in Canada. Unlike the US and UK, Apple Pay support in Canada is limited and only available for American Express customers, as announced by Apple in its Q4 2015 earnings call.

Meanwhile in the UK, Engadget is today reporting that TSB and Tesco Bank now support Apple Pay and customers can add their cards to the Wallet app today. Barclays remains the last of the big four UK banks yet to add support for Apple Pay, but Barclays CEO has said previously it will add support for Apple Pay "very early in the New Year".

Apple Pay is also expected to launch in Australia later this week on Thursday, November 19th. As with Canada, Apple Pay will be limited to certain American Express cardholders only. You can see if your American Express card is eligible with Apple Pay here.