Last night, Jared Sinclair announced that he will be releasing a version of Unread for iPad, and that he will be documenting the design process in a series of videos. He has provided an RSS feed for anyone who wants to follow along.
Diet Coda is the code-editing app to get if you have to maintain websites from your iPad, and it just updated with some great new features. Files can now be stored locally and synced with Dropbox, and the app now supports a slew of new syntaxes, including Markdown. It's a $20 app, so only serious coders need apply.
Shawn Blanc invited me to write about iOS Pinboard apps for The Sweet Setup. It's a pretty crowded market these days, but after thoroughly testing the various Pinboard apps out there, we selected Pushpin as our top pick in the end. A very close second went to Pinswift.
Well, now they want to clear the air (see what I did there?) once and for all, by going back to a single, universal version of the app and making it temporarily free so that everyone can easily migrate over:
“As Apple doesn’t offer a way to migrate users between copies of an app, we’re going to make Clear free for 24 hours so owners of Clear+ can move to the correct version free of charge.
To make sure as many people as possible can move to Clear, we’re going to do this twice in the next few weeks. We know this is risky - we rely on the income from Clear to run our small, independent company - and so whilst this was by no means an easy decision for us to make, we simply want to do the right thing for you, our customers.”
“Chicago Avenue Moon is a responsive, generative music app that gathers a set of variables including date, time, phase of the moon, and GPS location, and uses that data to determine how its music unfolds, in real-time. The piece is intended for a listener in motion, whose route and speed affect the composition. Composer Joshua Dumas wrote 1000 brief musical phrases which the app manipulates, sequences, and layers to create trillions and trillions of variations, a unique experience with every listen.
He imagines the piece as a personalized soundtrack for strangers’ mundanities—an effort to help re-enchant a person’s daily commute, trip to the laundromat, or evening jog.”
Chicago Avenue Moon is only $1 right now, and will go up to $2 after Feb 11th. I highly recommend checking it out. If nothing else, it will totally change the way you experience a nighttime walk.
Federico Viticci has assembled a series of lists for his favorite apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that came out in 2013. Lots of good stuff in there, and he's also put together some interesting stats concerning the series.
Shawn Blanc tasked Chris Herbert and I with putting together a list of our all-time favorite iOS games for The Sweet Setup. The list has a little something for everyone and I had a lot of fun putting it together, so go check it out!
Apple just unveiled their 2013 Best-Of charts, encompassing all the types of media found on the iTunes Store (music, movies, tv shows, apps, books, and podcasts). Each category is interesting enough to check out, but being the nerd I am, I was mainly interested in the App Store results.
Some highlights that particularly caught my attention:
VSCO Cam was runner-up for iPhone App of the Year, and deservedly so. It's the only photo editor I need, and so it's the only one I've been using for the last several months.
Ridiculous Fishing received iPhone Game of the Year. This was also very well-deserved, because it's easily one of the most entertaining games I've ever played on iOS. Maybe on any console. The music alone is so good, I even bought the soundtrack.
Editorial was mentioned as one of the top 'Smart Productivity' apps. Can't hit the nail much harder on the head than that. I know that my own productivity and overall writing workflow have gotten a huge boost from this app.
Many congratulations to all the developers – of which there are way more than I could comfortably list here – who got into top lists in their respective categories. It's been another exciting year for iOS apps, and I'm looking forward to what's in store for 2014.
Shawn Blanc interviewed me for The Sweet Setup about the ways I use my iPad for work and play. I tried to convey just how versatile this device is, and how I have almost no need for an actual laptop to get my stuff done. I absolutely love my iPad.
If you're interested in the wallpaper seen in the screenshot at the top of the interview, feel free to grab it from this link.
Apple just wrapped up an event that was loaded with new product announcements. I won't bother going into insane detail since the big-name blogs will have it covered, but here's a quick rundown on what was talked about.
The biggest news here is that OS X Mavericks, the iWork suite, and the iLife suite have all been made free (the caveat being that iWork and iLife are only free for newly-purchased devices from this point on) and they're all available for download today. Mavericks will also work on devices dating all the way back to 2007, which I think is pretty cool.
The iWork and iLife apps have been totally redesigned across the board, with new features throughout.
- Full file compatibility across all Mac and iOS devices.
- Pages has way better text-formatting tools than before.
- Numbers has interactive charts. For example, you can see your expenses animated over some amount of time.
- Keynote seems to be the biggest update, with new effects, animations, and transitions, with old transitions being updated with better physics. There's also real-time iCloud collaboration for your presentations now.
- iPhoto now lets you create and order photobooks on the iPad, a feature that previously was only available for the Mac.
- iMovie now includes a feature called "iMovie Theater", which is a nice-looking collection of all your videos and clips in one place. Reminds me of a media center-type interface.
- GarageBand on iOS now supports up to 16 tracks (up from 8) and lets you add customizable "drummer tracks" that are recordings of actual session drummers that can automatically play over the song you've created. Projects now sync over iCloud as well.
Hardware was really the juiciest part of today's keynote. Along with the iPhone 5s/5c, Apple has now refreshed nearly their entire hardware lineup ahead of the Christmas season (excluding iMacs and cinema displays, basically).
The Retina MacBook Pros have been updated to be more powerful, and yet cheaper to purchase. The 13" model is now $1299 (down from $1499) and the 15" model is $1999 (down from $2199).
The new Mac Pro that will be available in December and starts at $2999, making it the most expensive ashtray I've ever seen. All kidding aside though, it does have some neat features:
- Fastest processor and memory of any Mac ever
- Dual-workstation GPUs (a first for Macs)
- All storage is flash-based — no more spinning HDDs
- Thunderbolt 2 ports
- 4K video support, and for multiple displays
- 70% less energy consumption than the previous Mac Pro
- It's somehow as quiet as a Mac mini
Now, the new iPads were the most exciting announcement for me personally. Rather than calling the new full-size model 'iPad 5', they went with 'iPad Air', and they're releasing an iPad mini with Retina display!
A quick rundown:
- Thinner, lighter, and more powerful.
- Bezel is 43% smaller.
- 7.5mm thick, which is 20% thinner than the iPad 4.
- Only weights 1lb, down from 1.4lb.
- Reduced battery size, yet same battery life as before (10 hours).
- A7 chip and M7 coprocessor (same as iPhone 5s).
- Support for even more LTE bands, meaning better connectivity.
- Available in two colors: silver/white and space gray/black.
- Available at $499 (non-LTE) and $629 (LTE), and starts shipping Nov 1.
- iPad 2 still available as a lower-cost full-size model at $399.
- Retina display!
- A7 chip, but no mention of M7 that I can recall. (UPDATE: I've been informed by my buddy Nate that it does indeed have an M7 chip.)
- 10-hour battery life.
- Thinner than a pencil (as shown in a great video that I imagine will be available online soon)
- Priced at $399 (no LTE) and $529 (with LTE).
- New Smart Covers ($39) and new leather cases ($79). Both are available in Product (RED) in addition to the standard colors.
- The non-Retina iPad mini is still available, and has been lowered from $329 to $299.
Overall, this was a huge announcement by Apple. This holiday season is sure to be exciting for a lot of people.
For as long as I could remember, Instacast was the podcast app that I felt provided the best overall experience on the App Store, and the one I recommended to everyone else who asked. But as it turns out, Instacast's recent 4.0 update sadly resulted in a step backwards in usability. I talked about this a bit in my recent article about the state of podcast apps on iOS 7:
“The playback controls cover up some of the podcast artwork, the advanced toolbar […] can no longer be hidden, and the cloud sync service no longer seems to work properly.”
Replacing an app on my dock is a pretty rare occurrence since I'm picky about what gets put there in the first place, but Instacast just hasn't been cutting it for me anymore. And so, I found myself doing something I never expected: I decided to give Pocket Casts another shot.
Ever since sometime in 2008, I've been a user and ardent fan of Evernote. Over the years, it's been the place where I've dumped just about everything I possibly can — interesting articles from the web, recipes, tutorials, project ideas, blog drafts, purchase receipts, shopping lists, inventories, gift ideas, bits of inspiration…the list goes on and on.
It was my Everything Bucket — my external brain. And for a while, it was a pretty good one.
The wait is ~*finally*~ over. You can now pick up Reeder 2 from the iOS App Store for only $5, and it works on both iPhone and iPad. The previous iPhone version of Reeder already supported Feed Wrangler – my RSS service of choice – but this update also brings Feed Wrangler support to the iPad.
I've sorely missed being able to use Reeder on my iPad, and it feels good to have it back. My initial impression (after only 10 minutes of playing with it) is very positive, other than that it took a long time to sync my Feed Wrangler Smart Streams.
And as always, Federico Viticci published his review of Reeder 2 immediately after the app was available for purchase. Go check it out.
Federico Viticci's epic review of Editorial is now available as an awesome book on the iBookstore, and is packed with a ton of new content for your enjoyment. For a limited time, it's available for only $3, so be sure to pick it up today.
If you're like me and you do a lot of writing on your iPad, this is an invaluable resource.
Congrats to Federico on publishing his very first book!
UPDATE: Looks like the book is already a success.
I've been anxiously awaiting the release of Editorial after Federico Viticci mentioned it a while back, and now it's finally here. Speaking of Viticci, you should go read his epic review of the thing.
If you'd like a more summarized description of Editorial, go check out my post about the app on Tools & Toys.
Over at Tools & Toys, Shawn Blanc and I put together a list of some awesome iOS apps and games that have gone free this week to celebrate the App Store's 5th anniversary.
Seriously, this list is full of great stuff, so go check it out.
Google Reader is dead, long live Google Reader.
Sorry, I had to.
Now that Reader has truly been put out to pasture, I suppose it's time to share what my new RSS setup looks like. I really liked the format of David Sparks' setup post, so I hope he doesn't mind if I copy it.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
– Carl Sagan
Sometimes when I’m browsing the web, or reading a book or article somewhere, I happen across a quote that strikes me in some way, and I feel compelled to save it somewhere for later. The reasons vary of course, but the most common one is simple: inspiration.
I’m not talking about the fluff you’d find on cheesy motivational posters, but rather genuine insight given to us by the great minds of the world. The kinds of teachings that show us how to be more than we are; that inspire us to achieve greatness.
This is a pretty big update, if you're an iPad owner. Now you can generate passwords right from within the browser (they're calling it "1Browser" now), just as if you were using the desktop app.
They've also added 'Go & Fill' bookmarks to the iPad version, which really streamlines the process of logging into websites, saving you from having to go back-and-forth between 1Browser and the Vault.
The iPhone will be receiving both of these awesome features in a later update, but for now you can still use the other new goodies: the ability to share encrypted logins (be very careful with this) and advanced search functionality.
If you want to get the update now, click here.
As my readers may or may not know, I recently took a week-long trip to Disney World. I just happened to be there the week before Stephen Hackett, who I work with over at Tools and Toys but haven’t yet had a chance to meet in person. We flew back maybe a day or two before he got there, which, talk about timing, right? I just hope he was able to locate all the “easter eggs” I’d strategically strewn about the various Disney parks for him.
Although I could have asked Shawn ahead of time to take off from my Tools and Toys duties, I figured I could just continue posting during downtime at the hotel each night. I mean, those posts aren’t required to be insanely long or anything, and I already had a few ideas lined up. Easy peasy right?