Archive for the ‘tech.commentary.appleapps’ Category

Instagram 3.0 Available

Instagram 3.0 was made available for download yesterday. The major release will be welcomed by the 80 million users who are sharing photos with friends via Instagram’s iPhone and Android apps.

Instagram 3.0 includes a variety of improvements and performance enhancements, but the goal of the release was clearly to improve, and re-imagine, the browsing and exploration experience.

During an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom described the new update:

“With every data release we’ve tried to shift our focus dramatically. Instagram 2.0, with its new filters, etc, was all about the user’s production experience. Instagram 3.0 is about a new kind of browser experience, Photo Maps. Photo Maps is such a fun way of re-descovering yourself, but not just yourself, all Instagram users”

Photo Maps, a feature of the member profile, provides an alternative map-based way to browse photo collections. The experience provides a new and fun way to browse other’s photos, but it’s also a fun way to rediscover some of your own photos.

Instagram Photo Maps

Instagram’s Photo Maps

Improvements like support for continuous browsing, and slightly larger grid photos will also be welcomed by the army of people that use Instagram on a daily basis.

The video below provides a walkthrough of the new Photo Map feature if you’re interested in learning more. Or, just download Instagram for iOS, or Android, it’s FREE!

Instagram 3.0 – Photo Maps Walkthrough from Instagram on Vimeo.


Amazon Cloud Player for iOS Released

Amazon’s Cloud Player for iOS is now available in the iTunes App Store. Amazon Cloud Player provides Amazon’s customers with the ability to stream or download music stored in their Amazon Cloud Drive. You can also manage your music library and create playlists using the App. Because Apple prohibits it, you won’t be able to purchase new music through the App – the Kindle App for iPhone is limited in the same way.

Now your music can come with you everywhere! Listen to your music from the cloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch anywhere you are. You can download or stream your library from the cloud – or play the music you already have on your device. – iTunes App Description

Amazon Cloud Player is long overdue – it should have launched along with the Cloud Drive service a year ago. Still, I’m glad to see that Amazon is willing to commit resources to supporting their customers that are also Apple customers.

Amazon Cloud Player


App Review: Nuance Dragon ID

Soon you’ll be unlocking your iPhone or Android powered smartphone using your voice and Nuance’s Dragon ID. You won’t find the App in the iTunes App store or Google Play, but hardware vendors will be integrating it into their devices at the factory level soon. For example, you might be able to unlock you iPhone by speaking your password into your Bluetooth connected headset. Personally, I’m looking forward to this, my iPhone screen has four dimples.

[Source] Nuance’s Dragon ID lets you unlock your phone by voice


App Review: Loving Snapseed Photo Editor

SnapseedA Day In The Life of Talented and Inspirational Mobile Photographer Andrew Proudlove by Joanne Carter (@theappwhisperer) is a good read for any aspiring mobile photographer. The article features some of Andrew’s work, and the Apps he uses to manipulate the images he captures – amazing stuff. I’ve only had time to play with a few of the Apps mentioned in the article, but Snapseed (@snapseed) is quickly becoming a new favorite. Snapseed’s UI is intuitive, and it includes a really well thought out feature set. If you’re ready to add another photo App to your collection, Snapseed won’t disappoint.


Is Square the new Intuit?

Square RegisterSquare Register for iPad looks great. Register uses the same Square Card Reader the iPhone App uses, and I love the new analytics package.

Square, founded by Jack Dorsey in May 2010, made a big splash by making it easy for iPhone users in the U.S. to accept credit cards inexpensively. Square has been showing up everywhere lately, from Farmers’ Markets to Girl Scout cookie stands. Square Register looks great, and I’m sure it’s going to be a big hit with small business owners across the country. Is Square the new Intuit? It’s starting to feel that way.

Square Register from Square on Vimeo.


Clear Task Management

Clear, an elegantly simple and gesture based task manager for iOS, had a fantastic first week. Clear has been downloaded more than 350,000 times in the 9 days since it hung its shingle in the iTunes App Store, as reported in the Guardian. Clear was developed by RealMac Software in collaboration with Milen and Impending. You can download Clear now for the introductory price of $0.99 – MAC and iPad versions on the way.

“With Clear, the mission was pretty simple. Get rid of the bullshit, and focus on easy, quick and flexible task entry and management. We looked at what was out there, and began by forgetting everything we saw.” – Impending

Clear for iPhone – Available Now! from Realmac Software on Vimeo.


App Review: Tiny Wings

Tiny Wings, from first time iOS developer Andreas Illiger is receiving rave reviews from top sites like AppAdvice and touchArcade. I caught a glimpse of it on AppAdvice earlier today and made a mental note to take it for a spin with the kids after dinner.

Tiny Wings is cute. You play a plump little bird with wings that are too small to generate the lift you need to fly. Fortunately, you’re a smart little bird and you’ve figured out that you can use the rolling hills in your fantasy world to get a little wind under your wings. You slide down hills, tucking in your wings to increase your speed, and use the opposite upward sloped hills as ramps to launch yourself into the air. Tuck your wings to control where you come back down, ideally on a down slope, and launch yourself off again. You can only fly at night, so move as fast as you can. A perfect launch, and landing, is surprisingly rewarding and consecutive successes will launch you into the clouds. Collect coins, speed boosts, and complete objectives to boost your score multiplier.

Tiny Wings is great because it’s simple and complex at the same time. It’s a one-touch game, so it’s easy for the first time player to get started – touch the screen to tuck your wings. As you move through the game, jumping from island to island, the theme changes and you’re always presented with a different set of increasingly challenging hills. Every tap on the screen makes a big difference so you really need to concentrate, especially if you’re trying to control your decent from way up in the clouds.

For those with an interest in competing openly, OpenFeint is included for online high scores and twenty seven achievements for more replay.

Tiny Wings is beautifully executed and a joy to play. My kids and I loved the look-and-feel, and the audio track is matched to the whimsical artwork beautifully. Highly recommended, and available for the iPhone in iTunes for $0.99.


Bubble Ball Bumps Angry Birds From Top Spot

Robert Nay & Mom

Fourteen-year old Robert Nay, left, and his mother Kari Nay are shown in this picture. Robert's game Bubble Ball is the #1 free game in Apple's App store.

Bubble Ball, an iPhone app developed by a 14-year-old, bumped Angry Birds from the top spot on the Top 10 Free Apps downloaded list in the iTunes App Store. The physics stimulating app has taken the globe by storm with over 2 million downloads worldwide. It’s a huge succes in the iPhone App Store, and is also available in the Android Marketplace.

Bubble Ball was developed by Robert Nay, a youngster who apparently has a passion, and a gift for programming. Nay used Ansca Mobile’s Corona software development kit (SDK) to develop Bubble Ball.

“I’m pretty surprised by how well it’s doing,” 14-year old Robert Nay told AllThingsD, via MSNBC, about the app-store topping hit “Bubble Ball”.

Well, it’s doing great Robert! Love the humility and congratulations.


iOS App: Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

Mish's Global Economic Trend AnalysisDo you enjoy reading Mish (Mike) Shedlock’s popular financial blog, Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis? “Yes,” you say? Wish you could take it with you into wi-fi or network dead zones? Or, on safari in Africa perhaps? Well, now you can. Concentric Sky recently launched a handy iPhone app that provides users with off-line access to Mish’s insightful, and well regarded, financial and economic analysis. The free app caches posts, and Mish’s fantastic charts, for off-line viewing at the user’s pleasure. Download and search hundreds of posts. It’s a simple app that solves an obvious pain point for fan’s of Mish’s blog.

Disclaimer: I’m the Director of Technology for Concentric Sky and had a hand in developing this app for Mish Shedlock. Still, it’s a slick little app that fan’s of Mish’s blog will really appreciate.


New App: The Economist for iOS

The EconomistEnjoy reading the latest from The Economist over a latte and a biscotti? Well, there’s an app for that.

On Friday, The Economist launched iPhone and iPad apps. Built by TigerSpike, which also built The Times’ Eureka iPad app, the apps contains all the content from the print magazine, in a UI that’s customized for iPhone and iPad.

Full access to The Economist on iPhone and iPad will be free for current print or online subscribers. If you are not a subscriber you can purchase a digital subscription ($110 a year) from within the app or subscribe online. New editions will be available to the digital apps by 4pm (U.S. East Coast) every Thursday. If you like to try things like this on before you buy, an “Editor’s highlights” selection of content is available for each issue.

The apps are fairly reserved, which is appropriate for The Economist.  There is one feature that sparkles a bit in the apps – audio is provided for all the articles. A button at the top of the interface provides you with easy access to audio versions (read by professionals) of all the articles. So… instead of putting yourself to sleep reading The Economist, you can let the sweet lullabies of  The Economist lull you into a slumber. Kidding.

The interface is clean, and easy to use – you won’t find yourself getting lost in these apps. Pages are flipped through (as opposed to scrolled through) and it’s easy enough to flip your way through a whole issue. Ads are included, but they don’t get in the way of the experience too much. All the illustrations from the print edition are included – unfortunately, you can’t do anything interesting with them – i.e., you can’t zoom in on a photograph.

The Economist is a great publication – one of the few news publications that can boast a growing subscription base – and they’ve produced equally great apps for the iPad and iPhone.

The Economist App Store Link


About palmIT

palmIT is authored by Cale Bruckner [LinkedIn], President at Concentric Sky, and former SVP Product Development at Palo Alto Software.

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