You can already organize fine dining excursions through a single app like OpenTable, but you still have to pull out your phone or wallet to pay when the night’s over. You won’t have to worry about the bill with Reserve’s new concierge service, though. The currently iOS-only platform lets you not only find and book tables based on your preferences, but automatically bills you after each meal (tip and all); you’ll be charged a $5 fee for the convenience, but that’s tiny in the world of haute cuisine. If your favorite eatery is busy, you can even offer to pay more than usual in hopes of securing a spot. Want to give it a whirl? You’ll have to eat in Boston, New York City or Los Angeles during the current beta testing phase, although San Franciscans will get to try it relatively soon.
Trying to keep a journal has always been difficult for me. Before the age of smartphones, I tried to rely on text files or a physical notepad. If I wasn’t forgetting to write down my thoughts, I was losing the file or my handwriting was so bad it would make a doctor jealous. I did the LiveJournal thing, too, except it fostered too many passive-aggressive entries. Finally, while browsing the App Store I come across an interesting-looking piece of software called Day One. The features, design and presentation prompted me to give journaling another go. And I’m glad I did.
If you’ve never heard of Day One, here’s a quick rundown: It’s a journaling app with an emphasis on ease of use. MultiMarkdown text allows for cleaner, faster writing, and you can import location, activity, music and weather data from the apps. More recently, the app added a Publish feature that allows you to share entries with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Think of it as having a personal blog without every entry being public.
With the latest version, Day One made some tweaks to take advantage of some of the new features introduced in iOS 8. Previously, I would have had to go into the app to attach a link or photo. I can now share directly from any application where developers have taken advantage of Apple’s new “extensibility” feature. I can now use Touch ID to unlock my journal. Entering a PIN isn’t hard, of course, but using a fingerprint feels more secure over the standard four digits. Apple also added a widget option, allowing you to view two random picture entries as well as journaling stats for the last 50 days, all from the iOS Notification Center. For the most part, these aren’t the kind of changes that make or break the product. Instead, they’re the type of updates that help round out an already good experience.
When I first tried Day One, I had trouble making everything work. At the time I was using an Android phone, but unfortunately, the app is iOS-only. This proved to be an issue because I had no way of capturing thoughts or photos on the go. Sure, I could have taken a picture of that awesome graffiti I saw on the street and write about it when I got home, but without fail I would end up forgetting. The desktop client offers a notification option, but it’s too easy to dismiss by telling myself “I’ll do it later.” Getting an iPhone is what really made using Day One a more regular part of my routine.
Creating new entries is an easy experience. Whether I’m writing an entry or snapping a picture, the app makes it effortless. One feature I didn’t think I’d fully appreciate is MultiMarkdown. This style of text input allows me to write new entries with detailed formatting — without HTML messing up the flow. Simply wrapping a word in an asterisk can italicize it, or if I want to create a link, I can use brackets and parentheses instead of writing a full HREF statement. The app even has a swipeable bar to quickly input different Markdown tags so I’ll never forget how to bullet a list or insert a link. It seems silly to spend time discussing writing syntax, but it makes for more efficient writing.
Tagging — a pretty standard feature in any archiving service — is also present in Day One. This has always been beneficial with bookmarks, but I’m getting a lot of utility out of it with journaling, too. I use it for tracking potential medical issues as well as my hobbies. For example, I have one called “Invisalign” where I’ve been writing once a week about my experience with this alternative to traditional braces. Before my next visit, I can pull up the tag to quickly remind myself of any issues I ran into. I’m also a huge coffee fan. I enjoy trying out different roasters, but tracking the various bags can be time consuming. Using a modified Launch Center Pro action, I can quickly create an entry with pre-filled fields. Triggering the actions brings me to a series of boxes asking for roaster, origin, method, rating and tasting notes. All of this gets formatted into a clean-looking table, then auto-tagged for easy reference later.
With the help of If This Then That (IFTTT) and Launch Center Pro I can also automate some of my entries to make life a little easier. Using the two services, I can notify my phone of any photo I post to Instagram with the tag #dayone. Interacting with the alert will pre-populate a new post with the image and the text from the tagged ‘gram. I also combine them with Strava to auto-create entries for any new activities I complete. This allows me to stay on top of my training log, something I’ve tried to do numerous times over the years to little or no effect.
The downsides to Day One? As I mentioned, there’s no Android app — it’s currently only available for iOS and OS X. Unfortunately, Windows and Linux users are out of luck, too, though the team does link to a few tools for generating entries. As for Android, I’ve seen a few apps offering import/export abilities, but I personally haven’t used them so I can’t report on how well they work. Additionally, you may be turned off by the prices: $4.99 for the iOS app and $9.99 for the desktop client, or $15 total. That’s something I questioned at first since there are cheaper journal solutions, but after using Day One for a while, I’m convinced the cost is more than justified.
Filed under: Software
Vine is full of video creators talented enough to score TV deals, but keeping up with them has usually meant either following them one-by-one or browsing channels for ages. You have a much easier way to catch up on those clips as of today, though: Vine’s iOS app now lets you follow channels, which puts featured videos in your feed alongside everything from people you follow. If you’re a space buff, for instance, you can add the Science & Tech channel in hopes of seeing some orbital footage.
The upgrade also brings Vine into the iOS 8 era. There’s now a sharing extension that lets you send clips from your camera roll straight to Vine, and both iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners should see better use of their larger screens. The Vine crew hasn’t said when channel following will come to Android or Windows Phone, but it’s likely that there’s at least an Android update in the pipeline.
Source: App Store
If your response to the question “How much money did Verizon make in the last quarter” was “$3.79 billion in net profit,” then congratulations. Big Red can afford to feel quite smug about its performance in the last three months, finding 1.53 million new wireless customers, of which 1.52 million took up monthly contracts. The tiny sliver of prepaid users has led the company to believe that the pay-as-you-go market is beginning to shrink as people move to monthly deals. Verizon is also happy to announce that it flogged 1.1 million LTE-equipped tablets this quarter, only a slight dip on the 1.15 million sold last time ’round. It’s something that the company is happy to encourage, since people are likely to keep hold of their tablets for longer and are much cheaper to subsidize than comparable smartphones.
During the company’s third-quarter announcement and subsequent earnings call, Verizon pledged to continue throwing money around to remain king of the network hill. According to the release, Big Red is pledging to spend around $17 billion on building out and optimizing its 4G network in 2014. At the same time, the company casually mentioned that XLTE, faster data rates that rely upon the company’s 2012 purchase of AWS spectrum, is now available in 400 markets across the US.
Normally, Verizon likes to talk about how many iPhones it has sold in a quarter, but CEO Fran Shammo was unusually terse when Apple was mentioned. When asked about new device sales, he merely said that there’s a “high backlog of demand,” and changed the subject to the 3.1 million users who signed a deal for a free iPhone back in 2012. Now that those users contracts are beginning to expire, they’ll be looking for a fresh deal, and Shammo is hoping that they’ll choose to upgrade to a new Verizon device. The company was notoriously absent from Apple’s soft-SIM that we saw in the iPad last week, but Shammo was brusque when asked why Verizon wasn’t a participant, simply answering “We have our own SIM card that we place in our devices. That’s really all there is to be said on that issue.”
Verizon’s broadband team can also feel self-congratulatory about its work in the last three months. After all, the company gained 162,000 new FiOS data users and 114,000 FiOS video customers. Perhaps it’s not too unreasonable to wonder if the 48,000 homes that didn’t subscribe to the latter are preferring to source their entertainment from other, online, sources instead. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that the company is working on more streaming deals with the NFL and companies like Viacom to ensure that people don’t think too hard about straying — unlike the folks over at AT&T and Comcast.
During the earnings call, Fran Shammo was asked both about LTE Multicast and the company’s purchase of Intel’s doomed video service OnCue. On the subject of LTE Multicast, the company’s 4G-based video streaming platform, the message was that Verizon is hoping that broadcasters will adopt the technology next year, but is entirely dependent on how rapidly the tech is taken up. He was vaguer about OnCue, and the potential of internet-based TV more generally, just saying that such technology makes him “optimistic for the future of the video business.”
Source: Verizon (PRNewsWire)
Apple may have only introduced 64-bit computing to iPhones and iPads a little over a year ago, but it’s already preparing for the day when legacy 32-bit code is gone for good. The Cupertino crew is now telling developers that their iOS apps must include 64-bit support from February 1st onward. While the company won’t kick out existing titles, both new apps and updated releases will have to make the switch. Theoretically, this is easy — developers just have to build apps using the most recent tools and standard settings.
The switch could have a meaningful impact on the apps you use. At the least, it should reduce the need for iOS to juggle both 32- and 64-bit code. That’s good for performance, whether or not there are meaningful upgrades to the apps themselves. The move may also spur more developers to fine-tune their apps for the A7 and A8 chips in recent iOS gear — even if they don’t need to use higher-precision 64-bit math, that could still lead to faster games, media players and other demanding titles. It’ll likely take much longer for Apple to drop 32-bit support altogether, but the ball is clearly rolling on that transition.
Source: Apple Developer
Apple just dropped its 4th quarter earnings a few moments ago, revealing that the folks in Cupertino raked in $42.1 billion in revenue and $8.5 billion in pure profit — more than enough to take care what it might owe in back taxes. More interestingly, the company moved a total of 39.3 million iPhones over the past three months, along with 12.3 million iPads and 5.5 million Macs. Word that Apple’s mobile business had a bang-up three months is hardly a shock — a record-breaking 10 million iPhone 6/6 Pluses were sold over its first weekend, which CEO Tim Cook said beat all previous milestones “by a large margin”. Here’s the thing though: iPad sales didn’t just dip from last quarter, they dipped year-over-year, too. In fact, the number of iPads Apple has moved this time around was the lowest since the company started reporting tablet sales separately in 2012.
Now, this by itself isn’t necessarily a shock either. Bigger ticket products like the iPad are things that people tend to hold onto for longer, and we’ve only just seen a new batch of iPads (well, one new iPad and one very mildly tweaked one) make their debut. Stalwarts will say just give it some time, the iPad’ll pick up steam again, and it very well may do so — there’s an iPad at nearly every notable price point now. With the launch of a device like the iPhone 6 Plus, though, a device that for many people will ably straddle the line between the iPhone and the iPad Mini, it’ll be interesting to see if the iPad manages to regain it’s former sales glory. The fact that the iPad Mini wasn’t barely touched this year won’t help matters — it got all of what, five sentences dedicated to it during the iPad Air 2’s grand unveiling? Sure, part of that is almost certainly due to the cost and complexity of shrinking components and refining design, but the continued (some would say overwhelming) demand for Apple’s bigger iPhones may wind up eating away at the iPad’s relevance in some very curious ways.
(Brief parting aside: If you want some really interesting numbers, next quarter will factor in the new iPhones’ momentum in China, and the one after that will chronicle Apple’s typical holiday explosion. We’re expecting a doozy.)
Update: Apple’s talking iPad on its earnings call right now — it says this quarter’s sales were consistent with its expectations, and apparently did really well in Japan. The iPad also remains the United States’ education tablet of choice. Later, during the Q&A session, Tim Cook said Apple looks at this iPad dip as a “speedbump and not a huge thing” and went on to note that he personally sees a “great future” for the company’s tablets.
Well, it’s Monday, and that can only mean one thing: Apple’s iOS 8.1 update has finally gone live for your installing pleasure. To recap, the new software – which is debuting just over a month since iOS 8 first hit – brings back once-trashed favorites like the Camera Roll, and strengthens the connection between your iPhone and Yosemite-powered Mac with features like SMS handoff and the uber-impressive Instant Hotspot. Perhaps most importantly, Apple Pay’s launching today too: once you’ve installed 8.1 and set everything up, you’ll be able to trudge down to your local Walgreen’s (along with a horde of other participating retailers) to pay for your contact solution and Haribo gummies with your phone. If that sounds like a good time, all you need to do is pop into your iPhone’s settings and jump into the Software Update menu – the 126MB file should be ready and waiting for you.
Filed under: Mobile
File-sharing service Dropbox has updated its official iOS app with a number of new features, including full optimization for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as well integration with Touch ID for more convenient unlocking. The app also includes a fix for previewing rich text format format files and general stability and performance improvements.
Dropbox saw its last major update last month after the release of iOS 8 which brought a new Notification Center widget, a new Share extension that allows files from other apps to be opened and saved, and the ability to manage shared folders in the app. A number of other apps have also included support for Touch ID since the release of iOS 8 last month.
There are a few things you can count on when Apple releases a new iPad: it will be thinner, it will be faster and there will be a LOT of hyperbole. Amidst the claims of magical devices, record-breaking sales and “very cool stuff” there are also a lot of numbers. Here’s a closer look at the big digits from today’s event.
Wanna know just how big the Nexus 6 is going to be? Here it is right next to the iPhone 6 Plus. As you can see, it’s slightly longer, but it’s also much wider.
Either way you look at it, this going to be one huge phone. We should get the exact dimensions later today when it get’s officially announced, so stay tuned.
Come comment on this article: Nexus 6 poses with the iPhone 6 Plus