Posts tagged iOS 7

AOTW: Hyperlapse By Instagram Inc. Makes Time Lapses Easy

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After the incredible success of their first app, Instagram, the aptly named company Instagram Inc. had to follow up their first hit app with another. As most every type of equipment for many different professions have been recently made obsolete because of smartphones and mobile software, Instagram Inc. expertly rode that wave with their new app, Hyperlapse. Hyperlapse targets a specific type of photography, one that has been very popular in the recent years for cuts in promotional or review videos, or just beautiful scenes sped up such as the Northern Lights or large, incredible cloud formations. Whatever the cause, there are many uses for time lapse videos, but, there is one problem. Normal time lapse cameras are about $150-$300, a price only professional photographers can cough up. This, of course, left a big hole in the market for someone to sneak in there and create a cheap time lapse camera. But, Instagram Inc. took it one step further with Hyperlapse. Yes, Hyperlapse is a time lapse app, beautifully designed and easy to use, but also, the best part is it’s free.

These days, simplicity is key in a popular app. Nobody wants a thousand popup bars, or twenty buttons, or 50 different settings that they have to look through. More importantly, nobody wants to even look at them, or have these distractions on the screen. It needs to be orderly. In terms of Hyperlapse, there could be many settings, logins, and buttons that could be in view or obstruct your easy access to what you want, which is the ability to make a time lapse. Instead, the app almost immediately brings you to the main page, the page with the ability to make time lapses.

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That page consists of two elements. The first and most pronounced is the record button. A simple round, white button, this design feature is the only other floating button or sidebar in the whole page. The other element I mentioned is the background, which is a live feed of the front camera. Once the time lapse is started, a useful set of numbers appear underneath the record button, showing how long you have been recording and how long the time lapse will therefore be. (the ratio is 6:1)

Once you’re done, a bar pops up to allow you to change the speed of your time lapse of from the original 6 times faster. Of course, the bar that controls this is very style-conscious, using a slightly opaque black texture bar, with a rounded slider button, both details used highly in iOS 7 and OS X Yosemite. And in the background, a interactive loop of your just made time lapse, put in the speed that you have set on the bar below.

Now, once you are done with all that, this is where it gets creative. Even though the last step is pretty simple, it represents a thoughtfulness of the developers of what would be easiest for the user, adding features contributing to the customizability and smoothness of the app in general. At this stage, you are done with your time lapse. Now, Hyperlapse turns your creation into a video format, and saves it to your camera roll, and from there you can do what you want with it. Of all the options that the developers could have chosen from for this action, saving it to the camera roll is the most helpful, as iOS 7 makes is very easy to export pictures and videos to apps and other forms of communication.

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Hyperlapse is a great app for many reasons; it makes a previously pricey ability free and easy to do, the whole design of the app is slick and fits the whole style of the current operating system and most likely most operating systems to come. Plus, time lapses are pretty damn cool. Wether you’re using it just for fun, or for a professional commercial, or a YouTube video, Hyperlapse is good enough for all of it, definitely a good follow up app for Instagram.

AOTW: Pocket Casts Podcast App

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Music and apps have been the two big advantages of mobile technology (in general). Another basic use of the smartphone has become popular only in the last decade: Podcasts. The ability to record a couple of people discussing a certain topic, such as technology, news, and comedy is relatively new. You can also record programs directly from radio stations, such as NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me or This American Life (with their permission). Podcasts have become a mainstream thing in the last couple years with Apple giving easy access from iOS.

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The App

Even with Podcasts becoming popular, there hasn’t been one single super-amazing podcast app that everyone uses. One of the best is Pocket Casts, which recently updated their app for iOS 7, the first podcast to do so. So, currently, Pocket Casts is the most attractive option for podcast listeners. Pocket Casts easy downloading and subscribing interface is much better than Apple’s app, which appears less functional and stylish by comparison.

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The Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts great iOS 7-like set-up makes it very easy to access tons of podcasts. On the “add podcasts” page, all the podcast album covers are formatted into a nice grid, from which you can get a description of the podcast by tapping on it. Many of the podcasts you may have already heard of because they are sections of a radio station, but most of the are probably new. Once you’ve found a podcast you like and have subscribed (all free, they get their money from advertisements), you automatically get the first cast, and every future one. You can also fill up your time by listening to past ones, which are also free.

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Pocket Casts On A Samsung Device

Easy and free access to podcasts if pretty new for the 21st century. But to do it in a good fashion to is almost irresistible. The elegant design of the home screen, playing screen and adding podcasts screen fits well with the rest of the OS. If you are looking for a Podcast app, I recommend Pocket Casts. If you have never tried podcasts, they are a really cool way to get information on whatever you are interested in.

TOTW: iOS 7

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After all those concepts, leaks, concepts, previews, developer releases, reviews, releases, more reviews, and now finally, the real thing. The software we have aaaaaalllllllll been waiting for, ladies and gentlemen, here is iOS 7!

Ok. If you followed iOS 7 at all, you probably have seen that video before. It was shown at the 2013 WWDC, and was followed up by the introduction videos for both iPhone 5c and 5s in the same style. But, to be honest, the final product was not changed that much since the WWDC. Small details, app icons, that sort of thing. More importantly, it is still iOS 7, the revolutionary operating software that completely changes how you use your phone. It practically makes it a new phone.

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Some New Screens In iOS 7

Apparently, Jony Ive really likes flip down/up bars, because there are now 3 on iOS 7. First of all, the well anticipated Control Center bar was added. To open Control Center, all you have to do is flick up from any screen. The semi-opaque bar comes up, and from that, you can access most of the stuff you actually use in Settings. You can turn on WiFi (but to change the station, you have to go into settings), Airdrop, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, mute, change the brightness and the sound level, and access Airplay and any connected Bluetooth items. Control Center is probably the most useful of the added bars.

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A Comparison Of A Concept iOS 7 and the Real iOS 7

The second bar is actually just the search bar redesigned. In all the previous iOS’, the search is in the far right page. In the new iOS, the search bar is just a flick away. To access it, you just flick down in the middle of the home screen on any page. A little search bar pops up, an you just type whatever you want just like the old search. The last bar, the old notification bar, hasn’t been changed that much. The leathery texture of the old bar has been removed, like the rest of iOS 7, and replaced with a black-ish opaqueness.

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The Classic Home Screen In iOS 7

There couple other small features that weren’t explained very thoroughly in the 2 conferences releasing iOS 7. For instance, a couple swipe gestures have been added. For instance, if you are in an app, and you want to get out, you could either hit the home button, or you could pinch in with all your fingers. The app will close, but it will do so in way that makes it look like a ripple. Very Apple-like.

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Control Center Being Shown Off For The First Time

Overall, iOS 7’s new and insightive design is certainly a great leap up from anything Apple has attempted in the past. Getting rid of the textures and shiny-3D app icons was a big risk, but it will probably pay off. The big features that have been changed are: Notifications, the search bar, the dock, all the app icons, the text, the colors, the lock screen, Siri, and much more. iOS 7 definitely works well with the new iPhones and iPad Mini, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Apple can come up with in their new style.

 

 

TOTW: iPhone 5S and 5C

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On September 10th, Apple will be having a big conference, probably to release their new iPhone, the iPhone 5S. The biggest change in the 5S is that they reportedly have added the long-awaited fingerprint scanner in the home button. No more awkwardly hiding your phone when you type in your password, people! Also, like always, the specs, camera and processor will be upgraded. Another interesting change is that you can reportedly (and by leaked photos) buy a champagne /light-gold color iPhone 5S.

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The Champagne iPhone 5S

Apple are going on a streak! If they’re going to change something, they might as well change all of it. They will, along with the 5S, will be coming out with a iPhone 5C, a low-end iPhone. This iPhone will have a plastic cover, but still run the same retina display, specs and processor as the 5S. The 5C will come in many colors to, such as the leaked blue, yellow, pink-ish, white and probably more. This will benefit the younger market whose parents don’t want them breaking a $400 phone. Sort of like a iPod Touch/iPhone hybrid, the iPhone 5C will be an interesting product, for which we will just have wait and see if it is successful or not.

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Four Of The iPhone 5C Colors

And of course, both these devices will be running on the new iOS 7 that will be coming out. The new iOS, released at the latest WWDC, will be the most drastical change ever. All the textures will be completely removed, along with the curve and shine of app icons, and will be replaced by flat colors and thin text. It will go very nicely with the 5C’s colors and design. This will be one of the most interesting conferences ever, so stay tuned for my review of the released products.

TOTW: Apple’s WWDC 2013 Review Part 1 – iOS 7

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Wow. Just, wow. On Monday, Apple released all their plans, their work, from the past year in the WWDC 2013, and it’s pretty amazing what they’ve come up with. As expected, both iOS 7 and the new OS X 10.9, the OS X Mavericks got released, and both are going on sale in the fall. It’s amazing how fast Apple made 2 operating systems. I mean, it took us 4.5 billion years to make the first one, and they made 2 in a year. Also, as predicted, the Macbooks and Mac Pro got and update. All these products are great, but one stands out from the crowd: iOS 7.

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iOS 7 Beta Preview

It is actually a little surprising how accurate the rumors about iOS 7 were. Still, Apple surprised us att the WWDC with an operating system that makes iOS devises supreme to all other mobile devises. The simplicity, yet detailed design is sure to bring a seamless experience to users world-wide. You’ll see what I mean in moment. Anyway, here are the main design and features of iOS 7:

Control Center

Control Center is a whole new and easy way to control your phone. All you have to do is slide upward from the bottom of the screen, and the CONTROL CENTER *Boom, Crash!* will appear! From there, you can turn on Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, WiFi, manage brightness, currently playing songs, camera and more. It renders most of what the Settings app is used for useless, and is also much faster, easier and much better looking than Settings.

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Control Center

 

New App Design

The new app design for iOS 7 is the big difference from iOS 6 to iOS 7. For one thing, Apple took away the shine and shadows just as they said they would, and replaced them with a simple, detailed and flat design. This works for most apps, but for some, like Music, they got it all wrong. Still, the design gives iOS 7 a slick look and will probably be the main reason for the many people to update. Also, when you group apps together, instead of just being a pop-down bar, the folder takes up the whole page. From there, you can pick which app you want in full size. Even though it is a minor detail, it is the details that makes a operating system seamless, after all.

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Notifications Center

Apple’s new Notifications Center also goes along with the flat, textureless, transparent and simple but detailed design Now, you can open Notifications right from the lock screen the same way, sliding down from the top of the screen. From there, you can pick from 3 options: today, all and missed. All, obviously, is where all your notifications such as emails, calendar events and more go. From the “today” menu, you can see the weather, your next Calendar update, your whole calendar for the day and info from other apps. From the “missed” section, you can access all missed phone calls, emails, texts and other notifications. This is a really important change, because currently, Notification Center has little use. When iOS 7 comes out, it will be almost as useful as Control Center.

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Notifications Bar

New Lock Screen

For the first time since Apple released their first iPhone, they have changed the lock screen. Now, all you have to do is slide upward from the bottom of the screen. The slide bar is no more. At the top of the screen, there is the time. Also, you can open up the Control Center, and for the first time, the Notification Center. As an added affect, when you tilt your device, the background will shift to give it a 3D look (that goes with the whole phone).

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Multitasking

Multitasking is completely revised in iOS 7. All you have to do is press the home button twice. and instead of just a small bar on the bottom of the screen, multitasking takes up the whole page. Along with app icon, a preview of the page will be displayed. This is a great feature because multitasking is an extremely important part of iOS. And in iOS 7, it’s made easier.

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Multitasking Screenshot

Siri

Apple have totally gone all out on their new version of Siri. It can now bring up information right from Twitter and Wikipedia without having to look it up. Many more prompts have been written (displayed on the Siri start screen) allowing you to do many more things like add reminders and look up definitions. Also, it does a better job of recognizing speech, something it was notorious for in the last iOS. By the time iOS 7 comes out, Siri will be a big plus and used a lot.

iTunes Radio

Even though it is about 5 years to late to join the party, Apple released their own Music streaming service, iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio allows you to …. well, pretty much the same stuff music services like Pandora can. You can play songs from “featured stations”, make your own stations and immediately buy songs right from the station. Also, Siri takes requests like “Play Classic Rock radio”.

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iTunes Radio Preview

AirDrop

AirDrop is another feature that Apple upgraded. To share a photo/contact/ect you just hit the share option in the app and pick whoever you want to share it with. This person has to be in your area, though. Then, AirDrop sends the *blank* right to the other person. A widow pops up their phone that says “*Blank* has sent you a *blank*. Accept or Decline?”. If you accept, it will save the photo/contact/ect to Photos/Passbook/ect. Also, you can have the option of appearing as an AirDrop option or not. This is a great feature because it makes it easy to share info instead of emailing or texting.

iOS 7 will be a very interesting operating system when it comes out. It has many features that make it fast and easy, but the design is a big maybe. Personally, I think they did a good job on designing the app icon, and the “simple yet detailed” approach is a good change from their classic “TEXTURE! MORE TEXTURE! MORE UNNEEDED VISUALS!” iOS 7 also is a jackpot for developers. All the new features can be used to their advantage. Also, anyone who has an app has to redesign the logo to fit the new regimen. Apple acknowledged this fact, so they allowed developers to get their hands on an beta version. Overall, iOS 7 is a amazing and innovative operating system (even if it looks a little like Windows and Android). It will be very exciting when it comes out and I’m sure it will be revolutionary. For more on the WWDC 2013, check out my next post, Part 2!

TOTW: Preview Of Apple’s WWDC 2013

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Just like the Google I/O, Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) is a place of great revealing and surprise. Each year, both companies invite developers and tech fanatics to come and witness the unveiling of the future. For instance, at the Google I/O 2 years previous, Google released the design for Google Glass, which is sure to change the future. This upcoming WWDC, Apple are going to release probably the most anticipated thing of the year: iOS 7 and the new OS X 10.9. Since this is Apple’s first conference in 7 months, the stakes and expectations are high. It starts on June 10th in San Francisco; but don’t get to excited, you can’t go. It sold out in just less than 2 MINUTES. Still, the content will be available online of anyone who wants it.

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The WWDC 2013 Logo

The biggest, probably most anticipated and rumored about software to be released at the WWDC is iOS 7. Since the iproducts are pretty much the high-end of the tablet and smartphone market, there is lot’s of pressure to come out with something creative, seamless and innovative. Based on a few interviews and leaks, we can guesstimate what iOS 7 will look like:

iOS 7 has been changed a lot since iOS 6 came out at WWDC 2012. Many long-lasting features of iOS will be removed. Also, as of May (they are always changing the design), Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive described it as “black, white and flat all over”. This means they will be replacing some of the current textures such as the leather on the notifications bar with flat, black and white backrounds. Also, many of their apps like Mail, Calendar, Notes, Game Center and Maps will be flattened out. Each will also be given it’s own color, so that users don’t get confused like Jony Ive feared. Plus, to go along with the “flat” goal, the home (app) screen will be modified to get rid of shadows and shine. This will all come together to make a interesting and new design. Unfortunately, since nothing like iOS 7 has been done before (mostly because everyone copied Apple), we can’t really be judge it until it comes out.

A Concept Of iOS 7

Another software that Apple is rumored to be releasing at the WWDC is OS X 10.9. Sadly, Apple probably aren’t going to be redesigning it, unlike iOS 7. Many minor changes such as adding tabs and tags to finder or making multi-tasking better will be added but not much else. One big feature that Apple is integrating in OS X 10.9 is Siri. They haven’t yet disclosed how or why, but I’m sure it will be useful. Speaking of usefulness, a feature that will not be useful is Apple’s *shudder* Apple Maps integration. Hopefully they don’t block off Google Maps.

A “theory” of what the new OS X 10.9 might be called

Enough with software. Not much hardware is rumored to be released at the WWDC, but we are pretty sure an update for the Macbooks will come out. Most of the revealed info on the new Macbooks suggest that Apple’s AirPort will be made faster, the camera better and the Macbook Pro slimmed a bit. Overall, though, these updates are minor, and unless the rumors are wrong, that’s all for the Macbooks. Also, Apple’s monitor Thunderbolt Display will get an update, which is very useful for all you Mac Mini users.

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The Macbook Air

Tomorrow morning is sure to be an exiting one for all developers and tech-lovers around the world. Apple, probably the most well-known and successful in the world. They will be releasing many softwares, hardwares, services, developer tools and much more. The next generation of pretty much every tech market will be shown to the world. Even though they will (probably) not release any products to the market, it is very exciting. There will not be any conference all year that will match this (maybe except for the Google I/0). I highly recommend you watch it, either highlights from the Apple website, or live-stream it at the times below. If you don’t have the time, check back here for my WWDC 2013 review!

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