Posts tagged OS X Yosemite

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.

TOTW: WWDC 2014 Reveiw

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The day we all were waiting for has come and gone. Apple’s WWDC keynote speech is over, but the amazing amount of software, new tools and features make it just the beginning. Like expected, iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite (yes, it’s called Yosemite),  and I’ll make sure to go over all the changes made to both systems, but, as we predicted, there were some things that NOBODY predicted. Some things that surprised the whole tech world.

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Swift

The first of which is Swift. Now, what is Swift? Well, in a completely unpredicted and suspenseful manner, Apple announced that they had made a new programming language, made for building iOS and OS X apps. Supposedly, Swift is several times faster than their earlier language, Objective-C. AND by fast, I mean the amount of code to program something in significantly reduced using Swift rather than another language like Objective-C, C or Python. Also, Apple introduced an app called Playground, allowing developers to code in a efficient manner. Playground is not just for coding small, simple projects, it can even produce complex 3D games using the two developer kits Apple released, Spritekit for 2D games and Scenekit for 3D.

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That alone is incredible. Not only is it very rare that a big company like Apple makes their own language, but that it is many times faster that any other language is many departments is great. I promise you, every Apple developer will be spending every waking hour learning and testing Swift. If you are that kind of developer, Apple even made a learning guide on iBooks, which you can buy HERE.

OS X Yosemite

Swift was really the only completely surprising part of this years WWDC. As expected, the new OS X 10.10 was released, and it was called OS X Yosemite. Again, as expected, Yosemite was upgraded to look more like iOS 7, and I have to say, they really went all out. Everything from the Finder logo to the red, yellow and green buttons at the top have been changed to fit with the flat style. Also like iOS, the slightly opaque, silky texture has pretty much replaced everything in every app, from Maps to Safari. Unlike Mavericks, iLife apps such as Garageband and iMovie has stayed pretty much exactly the same, except for maybe the small texture change that wasn’t worth mentioning in the presentation. The same goes for iWork apps such as Pages and Keynote.

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The only apps really updated are Safari and Maps. Both had the top bars shrunken and detextureized, along with the overall look flattened. There was one big unexpected change, though, and that was Spotlight. Spotlight, which I almost never use and sits in the top of my screen unused and sad. Now, instead of popping up that attractive blue bar in the top right corner, it shows up right in the middle of the screen in a sleek, good-looking way. Again, unlike the old Spotlight, the if you type in the new Spotlight, not only apps and people will show up, but also pretty much everything else. Restaurants like on Yelp, movies, current text messages, apps, documents, and calendar events. It will act like a centralized train station, drawing you in and then sending you off in a thousand different directions. And just so I don’t have to mention it later, Apple applied this technology to all their software, and it’s in app such as Safari, Maps, and even in Spotlight for iOS 8.

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A clear goal of Apple’s this year was to make all your Apple (and even Windows) seamlessly connected. This was made true in many different features, one of which is called Handoff. Lets just say you’re writing and email on your phone as you are walking home, and once you get home, you go straight to you computer to finish it up. Usually, you would have to save it to drafts and wait an hour while you emails load. With Handoff, you will just get a notification on your computer when your phone is close by, and you can just swipe up and start right where you left off. This works both ways, for Emails, iWork and iLife documents and more.

Another way Apple realized their seamless dream was with their calling system. Again, lets make up a scenario, and say your phone is across the room charging, or more realistically, sitting somewhere in your house and you have no idea where it is. Now lets say somebody calls you, and to make it even more drastic, it’s your boss. And it’s very important. Instead of scrambling around frantically, eventually finding it right when it stops ringing and awkwardly calling him or her back, the new system lets you answer that call right on your computer. Really. And even better, you can read all your calendars, documents and tabs up so you can sound prepared for your boss. Very handy.

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As the demo for the new calling system, they called Dr. Dre, Apple’s newest, most famous employee.

iOS 8

Just like we knew they would, Apple released iOS 8 at the keynote speech. Like predicted, iOS 8 looks very similar in general to iOS 7, but with some slight changes. For instance, when you double tap the home button, the recently used apps will pop up like normal, except this time, on top of the apps, a list off your most recently contacted people will show up. Or how you can interact with the notifications popups at the top of your screen such as texts and emails. Basically, anything that will stop you from having to move around your phone so much and maximize your time playing Candy Crush.

One of the most anticipated parts of iOS 8 is the previously rumored Healthbook, a hub for all your third-party health apps and products. Well, this rumor was right, and the app released was called Health. Heath will, like anticipated, be a hub for all your health products. But also, if some of your statistics go below or above what it should, in a big way, Health will automatically send a report to your doctor, along with the statistics needed for a diagnosis. Apple has even collaborated with the Mayo Clinic, who will have even better access and reports of their patients stats.

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Family Sharing is a new feature that nobody predicted. It is a way for families to squeeze all their photos and calendars into one, organized place. You can see where all your other family members are and where their devices are. But that’s not that amazing. What is amazing is that family members now get access to all the others purchases, from songs to apps. Plus, if you want more control over your kids ability to buy apps, when your child buys an app, it first goes through you. Very useful in case your 5 year old wants to buy Call Of Duty.

Along with Apple’s delve into programming, they also dived into the world of business. Many features were added to iOS 8 that were completely made for the average entrepreneur, such as automatic responses, passcodes for importants apps, multiperson documents and even devices already set up right out of the box, all ready for your business.

According to Apple, Messages is the most used app of all. So, they decided to upgrade the app, adding multiple different new features. A “Details” page has been added to each message and group thread, so you can add and subtract people from the thread, see all the sent photos in one place, even send you location and see everybody else’s(of course they have to share it to). Also, even though it is a blatant copy of What’s App, you can now send a voice recording as a text, just by flicking up in the top right corner of the keyboard.

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Speaking of Keyboards, Apple introduced a new feature called QuickType. All QuickType does is predict your next words, by displaying three words above the keyboard that you can quickly add into your text. It predicts your next words by looking at your previously written words. Say, if somebody texts you, “Which do U like better? Candy Crush or Angry Birds?”, QuickType might show the words, “Candy Crush”, “Angry Birds”, and “Clash Of Clans”. Potentially helpful, but I think I will mostly just type regularly.

Overall

All in all, this years WWDC was pretty much a success. The biggest change to the OS X line for a long time was released, and Apple added the word “Continuity” to the long list of words they use to describe themselves with Handoff and iCloud Drive. iOS 8 got some pretty useful, small new features, and Swift was released, the programming language that will shape Apple’s future. Fairly good for 2 hours.

If you really, really, really can’t wait until the fall for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, there are two ways to get the software now. The first one is to fork up the $99 to be a developer, which will grant you access to the beta versions of both softwares. The other option is trying to get into Apple’s new public beta program, but’s it probably already to late for that. Sorry.

Apple’s WWDC 2014 – What To Expect

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Every year, the tech world explodes with a gigantic amount of rumors and speculations and concepts of what might come out of this years WWDC. Apple’s big developer conference always brings something surprising and amazing to the table, despite all the attention it’s getting. Last year, iOS 7 was announced, the biggest change to iOS ever. That one change boosted along the flat design movement, and the expectations are high for what will happen this year. Of course, another complete redesign probably won’t happen, as it’s to soon to throw another curveball that the industry, so what changes they actually did do to warrant the title of iOS 8 is still a mystery.

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Now, before I start, I want to warn you of something. Don’t kill the messenger, but there is a tiny, tiny amount of information about any of Apple’s software updates, which will reportedly feature in this year’s WWDC. Apple is known for their incredibly strict ruling about these kinds of things, so correct leaks are very rare. But, there is a general idea of what will come out, so I make what I can with what’s out there.

iOS 8

For instance, something that we are sure that will come out is iOS 8. Pictures of a big “8” banner, with a watery background, were taken at the site of the conference in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. As I said earlier, it’s way to early to redesign the system again, so the changes made will most likely by new features and improved specs.

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Speaking of new features, a pretty solid rumor has been going around about Apple’s delve into the health and fitness market, Healthbook. In a article by 9to5Mac, Healthbook was reported to have many functional abilities, such as heart rate, nutrition, blood sugar level and steps taken monitors. Because the iPhone M7 chip isn’t really capable of collecting all that information, (though a new chip they introduce theoretically could) it is assumed that Healthbook will be a hub for many other third-party applications and products.

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Besides that, there are some other smaller rumored features, such as iTunes Radio getting it’s own app, a Siri upgrade, a music recognition app in partnership with Shazam and a hinted at new mobile payment system. Other than the rumors that I’ve mentioned so far, Apple has kept it’s release pretty watertight. There are so many possibilities in this release, new features that could be added, it’s just the way Apple wanted it. A surprise to blow your brains out.

OS X 10.10

Along with iOS 8, we know that OS X 10.10 will also be released, in the same way we know iOS 8: a big “X” banner. Though unlike iOS 8, where the water backround doesn’t matter, OS X banners tend to relate to the name of the system. This year, the backround was of El Capitan, a gigantic rock formation in Yosemite, indicating OS X Yosemite or OS X El Cap.

Because of the last WWDC’s iOS overhaul, it’s expected that this year the OS X UI and design will get the attention. Most likely, the still slightly textured and skeumorphic OS X will look more like the flat iOS 7. Also, some of Apple’s own music and photo apps might get a redesign to match the overall flat design, but there is incredibly little known about OS X 10.10.

iWatch

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, Apple fans, but it’s looking like the hotly anticipated iWatch will not be released this WWDC. First of all, the WWDC is historically used for software, not hardware updates. Also, sources familiar with Apple’s general plans were reported to say that they will most likely not release the iWatch, just adding on to the already pessimistic attitude surrounding the release of the iWatch.

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An iWatch Concept

Even though the whole media industry is probably overdoing this whole thing, nobody can doubt the importance and excitement surrounding this release. After the software is sent out to the millions of developers out there, eager to get their hands on the new features and capabilities. The whole next year in tech may change drastically depending on what comes out of tomorrow’s keynote speech. On a completely separate note, make sure to check back here for the official Fast Forward WWDC 2014 keynote speech live blog at 10:00 to 12:00 AM PT!

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