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Posts tagged with "iOS 10"

The iMessage App Store and Paid Stickers

Ortwin Gentz, one of the developers behind Where To, has noticed that the majority of iMessage apps and sticker packs in the top charts seem to be paid ones. He collected some numbers from the iMessage App Store and concluded:

The distribution of business models is even more interesting. In contrast to the iOS App Store where freemium titles dominate the top-grossing charts, the overwhelming revenue in the iMessage App Store comes from paid titles. This reminds me of the early days of the App Store where In App Purchase wasn’t even available.

Probably the #1 reason for this is the lack of IAP in no-code sticker packs. These sticker packs consist only of the actual artwork and are easy to create for designers who don’t want to code.

Currently, basic sticker packs – the ones that only require dropping a bunch of image files into Xcode – can’t offer In-App Purchases. As soon as Apple offers an integrated solution to bring In-App Purchases to iMessage sticker packs without writing code, I have no doubt we’ll see the iMessage App Store follow the “Free with In-App Purchases” model of the iOS App Store.

Unless Apple is deliberately pushing artists towards paid packs because they do not want to repeat what happened with the App Store? The perception of sticker packs right now reminds me of the early days of the App Store – that good work is worth paying for.

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How RAW Changes iPhone Photography

Ben McCarthy, writing for iMore:

Editing RAW files feels like a huge leap forward in terms of mobile photography: With iOS 10, the iPhone is evolving from a great camera for taking casual photos with into a capable professional tool. It still has plenty of limitations, but I suspect we’ve passed a tipping point.

But shooting while out and about is one thing. What about using the iPhone in a studio? I gathered together a couple of friends to do a little impromptu photoshoot to see how the iPhone would hold up.

Ben is the developer of Obscura, which I featured in my review yesterday because of its native RAW support on iOS 10. He makes some good points on the limitations and advantages of shooting RAW on iPhone.

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WhatsApp Adds Siri and CallKit Integration for iOS 10

CallKit and Siri in the latest WhatsApp update.

CallKit and Siri in the latest WhatsApp update.

There are two iOS 10 features I wish I could have covered with more examples in my review: SiriKit and CallKit. It was tricky to get my hands on Siri-enabled apps this summer (I only tested one); I couldn’t try any CallKit app.

WhatsApp didn’t miss the opportunity to support the latest version of iOS with new features ready at launch this time. With an update released today, WhatsApp has brought Siri integration to send messages and CallKit support to elevate VoIP calls to a native experience on iOS 10.

I’ve been playing with both features tonight, and they work just as well as Apple advertised. You can ask Siri to send messages on WhatsApp and it’ll show you a preview of the message with WhatsApp’s UI before sending it. It’s fast and it works from anywhere. Same for CallKit: WhatsApp calls take over the Home screen and Lock screen with the regular interface of phone calls on the iPhone – they’re not basic push notifications anymore.

You can even add a button to start a WhatsApp call to a person’s contact card (try to long-tap the ‘Call’ button and you’ll see) or to your Phone’s Favorites. WhatsApp calls feel like part of iOS now thanks to CallKit and Intents – and other VoIP services can take advantage of the framework, too.

I had a rough idea of how Siri would work in everyday scenarios (I think it’s going to be a great addition to messaging apps on iOS), but I’ve been genuinely impressed by CallKit and contact extensibility so far.


David Smith’s iOS 10 and watchOS 3 App Updates

I’m a fan of David Smith’s apps for the Apple Watch. He gets what makes an app great on the Watch, and his focus on health and fitness resonates with me. David shipped some solid iOS 10 and watchOS 3 updates today – but Background Refresh in Sleep++ is my favorite:

Sleep++ has been updated to take advantage of the new Background Refresh mechanism in watchOS 3. Now rather than performing all of the sleep analysis in the morning when you wake up, instead it is able to analyze your night while you are sleeping. So when you wake up only the last few minutes of the night need to be processed. The end result of this is that you should barely seen the Analyzing Night progress dialog any more.

I have a feeling that Background Refresh will make me re-evaluate several Watch apps I stopped using (except David’s – one of the very few apps on my Watch).

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Messages Apps and Sticker Packs Roundup

Messages started life as an innovative app that unified SMS with Apple’s own free iMessage service when it was introduced five years ago. As time passed, Messages fell behind many of its competitors like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat, and others.

With the introduction of iOS 10, Apple has made up substantial ground with Messages while upholding its commitment to customer privacy. Few third-party developers would have imagined even a couple of years ago that Apple would open up one of its most important first-party apps to them, but that is precisely what Apple has done with iOS 10.

In the process of unlocking Messages, Apple has created a whole ecosystem of apps and sticker packs with their own dedicated store built right into Messages. Developers immediately sensed an opportunity and an all-new land rush is in full swing.

Over recent weeks, Federico and I have tested dozens of iMessage apps and sticker packs, exchanged hundreds of stickers, made interactive to-do lists, played games, edited photos, and much, much more. Some of the things we’ve tried are highlighted in Federico’s iOS 10 review to illustrate particular aspects of the Messages app, but we’ve seen so many interesting apps and stickers, we wanted to share them with readers in one place.

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Apple News in iOS 10: Greatly Improved

Apple News: Greatly Improved

Apple News launched last year in iOS 9, and despite my early enthusiasm, I found the experience at launch to be deeply flawed and disappointing. However, in the past twelve months I have been pleasantly surprised by a number of improvements that Apple has made to News. These improvements go a long way in addressing nearly all of my major complaints about News from last year.

Shortly after completing my review last year, I stopped using News regularly – only checking in occasionally. But since installing the iOS 10 beta in late June I decided to give News another go, and this time, I’m finding it both enjoyable and useful.

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iOS 10 Refines the CarPlay Experience

CarPlay is a window into iOS – an alternate UI for your iPhone designed to limit distractions as you drive. As such, most of the changes to CarPlay are simply a reflection of iOS 10. Nonetheless, iOS 10 brings a handful of refinements that are unique to the CarPlay interface along with iOS 10 compatibility.

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iOS 10: The MacStories Review

Sometimes, change is unexpected. More often than not, change sneaks in until it feels grand and inevitable. Gradually, and then suddenly. iOS users have lived through numerous tides of such changes over the past three years.

iOS 7, introduced in 2013 as a profound redesign, was a statement from a company ready to let go of its best-selling OS’ legacy. It was time to move on. With iOS 8 a year later, Apple proved that it could open up to developers and trust them to extend core parts of iOS. In the process, a new programming language was born. And with last year’s iOS 9, Apple put the capstone on iOS 7’s design ethos with a typeface crafted in-house, and gave the iPad the attention it deserved.

You wouldn’t have expected it from a device that barely accounted for 10% of the company’s revenues, but iOS 9 was, first and foremost, an iPad update. After years of neglect, Apple stood by its belief in the iPad as the future of computing and revitalized it with a good dose of multitasking. Gone was the long-held dogma of the iPad as a one-app-at-a-time deal; Slide Over and Split View – products of the patient work that went into size classes – brought a higher level of efficiency. Video, too, ended its tenure as a full-screen-only feature. Even external keyboards, once first-party accessories and then seemingly forgotten in the attic of the iPad’s broken promises, made a comeback.

iOS 9 melded foundational, anticipated improvements with breakthrough feature additions. The obvious advent of Apple’s own typeface in contrast to radical iPad updates; the next logical step for web views and the surprising embrace of content-blocking Safari extensions. The message was clear: iOS is in constant evolution. It’s a machine sustained by change – however that may happen.

It would have been reasonable to expect the tenth iteration of iOS to bring a dramatic refresh to the interface or a full Home screen makeover. It happened with another version 10 beforetwice. And considering last year’s iPad reboot, it would have been fair to imagine a continuation of that work in iOS 10, taking the iPad further than Split View.

There’s very little of either in iOS 10, which is an iPhone release focused on people – consumers and their iPhone lifestyles; developers and a deeper trust bestowed on their apps. Like its predecessors, iOS 10 treads the line of surprising new features – some of which may appear unforeseen and reactionary – and improvements to existing functionalities.

Even without a clean slate, and with a release cycle that may begin to split across platforms, iOS 10 packs deep changes and hundreds of subtle refinements. The final product is a major leap forward from iOS 9 – at least for iPhone users.

At the same time, iOS 10 is more than a collection of new features. It’s the epitome of Apple’s approach to web services and AI, messaging as a platform, virtual assistants, and the connected home. And as a cornucopia of big themes rather than trivial app updates, iOS 10 shows another side of Apple’s strategy:

Sometimes, change is necessary.

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    Apple Announces September 7 Event

    As first reported by Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, Apple has announced a media event for September 7 at 10 AM. The event will be held at the Bill Graham auditorium in San Francisco.

    Based on recent speculation and rumors, Apple is widely expected to introduce a new iPhone 7 line, which may eliminate the 3.5 mm headphone jack and include a dual camera system in the higher-end model. A second generation Apple Watch and refreshed Retina MacBook Pros may also be announced at the event. There have been few rumors about what to expect from a new Apple Watch, but the Retina MacBook Pro is rumored to be thinner, lighter, and include a touch sensitive strip on the keyboard that replaces the function keys and can be programmed to perform different tasks.

    In addition to hardware, Apple is expected to announce release dates for iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, which have been in public and developer beta since WWDC in June. As in the past, Apple should release a Golden Master seed of iOS 10 and macOS shortly after the event, with a public release to follow within about 10 days.