Google launched a free trip planning app called Google Trips today with a deep set of features that work online and off. The motivation for the app was described by Richard Holden, a Google vice president of product management, to Casey Newton of The Verge in an interview:
We’re doing a great job on the planning stages, but we really need to help consumers when they’re actually at their destination.
I have spent a short time with Google Trips and it looks like Google has delivered.
After signing into Google Trips with the Gmail account I typically use to make travel plans, Trips showed an upcoming trip to Austin and past trips going back to 2008. Tapping on a trip opens a page with buttons to view any reservations the app finds in your Gmail, ‘Things to Do,’ ‘Food & Drink,’ and ‘Saved Places,’ which are any destinations you mark with a star as you browse through Trips’ suggestions.
Trips’ recommendations are further divided into categories like ‘Top Spots’ and ‘Outdoors’ for activities, and restaurants, cafes, and places near where you are staying for food and drink suggestions. Results can be viewed in a list view, where each item can be tapped to view more detail, or on a map. A toggle on the first page of each trip gives you the option to download the trip, a handy feature if you are traveling internationally and want to limit your data use.
Of course, to get the most out of Google Trips, you need to log into it with a Google account. If you are uncomfortable with Trips scanning your Gmail and search history to customize what it presents to you, Trips is probably not the app for you.
Google Trips is an iPhone-only app and is available as a free download on the App Store.
Update: As noted below, the changes to how the Twitter character limits are counted are available to third party developers. MacStories has learned that Tweetbot and Twitterrific will both be updated soon to support the changes to Twitter’s APIs.
Twitter began rolling out changes that take back space for text in tweets. As Twitter has gradually become a multimedia experience full of images, GIFs, videos, quoted tweets, and other things, each has encroached on the 140 character limit of a tweet leaving less room for text. That just changed.
With a tweet today, Twitter began to roll out features, first announced earlier this year, that exclude certain things from the 140 character count limit. Users will still be limited to 140-character messages, but, as first reported by The Verge last Friday, media attachments (including images, GIFs, videos, and polls) and quoted tweets will no longer count against the 140-character limit, making more room for text.
Airing for the first time last night during the 2016 Emmy Awards, Apple debuted a new extended 2 minute advert for Apple Music featuring James Corden.
The tongue-in-cheek advert sees a serious Corden attempt to pitch ideas for an Apple Music advert to Apple executives Jimmy Iovine, Bozoma Saint John, and Eddy Cue. Corden's ideas range from the bizarre, with Corden impersonating famous musicians, to the melodramatic, swimming through 40 million Apples. The trio of Apple executives rebuff Corden's extravagant ideas, simply pointing out that Apple Music is available offline, that there are over 40 million songs, and playlists are handpicked for users.
This is not Apple's first collaboration with Corden. Earlier this year Apple bought the Carpool Karaoke scripted TV series which was based on the segment that began in the The Late Late Show with James Corden. Corden also appeared with Tim Cook in a Carpool Karaoke skit for the opening video of Apple's September 6 keynote earlier this month.
YouTube via MacRumors
Last week, I mentioned how Airmail – my favorite email client for iPhone and iPad – would soon receive Siri integration on iOS 10. Today, Airmail 1.3 has hit the App Store with a variety of iOS 10 features in addition to SiriKit, including support for rich notifications and iMessage.
Tapbots released Tweetbot 4.5 today with a few iOS 10 additions.
In the latest version, notifications are slightly richer: you won't be able to preview entire conversation or DM threads in a notification, but at least the sender's username and notification title will have a bold font for better visual separation. I would have liked to see even richer notifications with custom interfaces, and I also wonder if Tweetbot could use SiriKit's messaging intents to send DMs. Perhaps Tapbots will consider deeper iOS 10 enhancements in the future.
Also new in this version, you can now add notes to user profiles. According to Tapbots, the feature is intended to add a brief note to remember why you followed someone; personally, I think it's just as effective to remember why you don't want to follow someone without blocking them. User notes are private, they sync with iCloud, and they can be accessed from the gear menu on a user's profile.
Finally, Tweetbot 4.5 supports smoother scrolling thanks to iOS 10's performance improvements in this area. It's not always noticeable, but I'm glad Tapbots implemented this feature for iOS 10 devices.
Tweetbot 4.5 is available on the App Store.
Apple posted three advertisements to YouTube, one featuring the Apple Watch Series 2, and two showcasing the iPhone 7.
The Apple Watch Series 2 ad, titled Go Time, highlights the Watch’s fitness features and water resistance. Backed by Sinnerman, a classic song by Nina Simone, the ad begins at dawn showing a swimmer getting ready for an early morning workout. The swimmer adjusts his goggles and pulls his hand out of the water to start a workout on the Apple Watch. Through a series of quick cuts, the ad shows other people involved in all sorts of activities, including yoga, running, jumping into a pool, biking through a rainstorm, dancing, and sprinting out of the subway. In between each activity are clips showing off features of the Watch like the Activity app, Messages, notifications, the Workouts app, and the Breathe app, which is new to watchOS 3.
Morning Ride starts with a man looking out into a thunderstorm while checking Apple’s Weather app on an iPhone 7. AC/DC’s Thunderstruck starts playing in the background as he gets ready for his morning bicycle ride despite the rain. He mounts his iPhone to the handlebars of his bike, starts a tracking app, and prepares to take off into the rain. The thirty-second spot ends with the lines ‘the water-resistant iPhone 7’ followed by ‘practically magic.’
Midnight highlights the iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black. The ad follows a young man as he skateboards around a city in the middle of the night taking photos with his iPhone. Backed by In A Black Out by Hamilton Leithauser, he takes videos as he passes through sprinklers, showing off the water resistance of the phone, captures moths flying around a single light bulb, and photographs a deer that wanders into a gas station. The ad concludes with the young man on a hill overlooking the lights of the city and ends with the tag line ‘low-light camera on iPhone 7’ followed by ‘practically magic.’
Each of the three ads does a good job focusing on the personal side of the new features of Apple Watch Series 2 and the iPhone 7. The ads don’t focus on specs; instead they emphasize how the advancements of each device expand their utility in everyday scenarios.
You can watch each of the ads after the break.
Junjie, developer of Due for iOS, on changes to the Lock screen and actionable notifications in iOS 10:
To my surprise, when users upgraded their iOS 9 devices to iOS 10 this week, I started receiving feedback that they were no longer able to snooze or complete their reminders from their Lock Screen. Many thought I’ve removed the feature from Due, or that there was a bug with Due in iOS 10. Of course, neither of which is the case.
Unlike iOS 8 and iOS 9, swiping a notification from right to left in iOS 10 no longer reveals the notification actions. Instead, depending on the device that you use, it now displays either View and Clear on non-3D Touch devices, or just Clear on 3D Touch devices.
So while users can now access all four notification actions in iOS 10, they need to go through an additional, unintuitive step of pressing the View button. However, for users with 3D Touch enabled phones like the iPhones 6s and 7, pressing firmly on the notification will reveal the notification actions menu.
I was talking about this with my girlfriend earlier today, and it's something I didn't consider in my review. For some reason, she can't use 3D Touch. Every time she presses on the screen, she ends up swiping or activating tap & hold accidentally. I don't know what it is about the way she grips the phone or touches the screen – we've tried every setting, and she just can't take advantage of 3D Touch in her daily iPhone usage. She ended up disabling 3D Touch altogether because it's useless to her.
Here's a problem, though: with iOS 10's notification design, this means she can't swipe on a notification and have instant access to actions. There's an extra step:
- Swipe notification on the Lock screen;
- Tap the new 'View' button;
- Tap actions in the expanded notification.
Step 2 is what people who don't use 3D Touch need to go through now, and it feels like a regression. I wish I had mentioned this in my story, but I didn't think of it because I use 3D Touch and pressing notifications is second nature to me.
Perhaps Apple could improve this by automatically expanding a notification with a long swipe. Instead of revealing two buttons – View and Clear – a long swipe to the left could trigger the View button, expand a notification, and avoid the additional tap required for non-3D Touch users in iOS 10.
This week Federico and Shahid discuss Shigeru Miyamoto being on-stage at the Apple iPhone event, and Sony's new PlayStation hardware.
We had a good discussion about Nintendo's future with iOS on the latest episode of Remaster. You can listen here.
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