Apple Has Acquired Workflow, a Powerful Automation Tool for iPad and iPhone →

March 23, 2017 · 08:54

Matthew Panzarino:

This is not a ‘pure acquihire’ in that Workflow — not just the talent — is being purchased in this deal. This makes sense and I’m glad to see it because Workflow itself was a prime meat example of how to find a need in the iOS ecosystem, tackle it in an interesting way and execute it with cleverness and attention to honoring the platform. Simply put it’s super smart, really well designed and works very well.

Wow! This is something I did not expect.

I use Workflow every single day and I just hope it won’t go away and will continue to be updated. I actually just used it to create this post.


Confide: A Quick Look →

February 16, 2017 · 13:05

Jonathan Zdziarski:

My inbox has been lighting up with questions about Confide, after it was allegedly found to have been used by staffers at the White House. I wish I had all of the free time that reporters think I have (I’d be so happy, living life as a broke beach bum). I did spend a little bit of time, however reverse engineering the binary and doing a simple forensic examination of it. Here’s my “literature in a rush” version.


Magic Variables in Workflow 1.7 Are Magic →

February 10, 2017 · 11:54

Federico Viticci:

Magic Variables mostly remove the need to manually save variables. They leverage Workflow’s Content Graph engine to automatically keep track of variables in the background, allowing you to access them at any time with the ability to change their type (format). It’s a novel idea, and it’ll take a few minutes to fully grasp, but it’s drastically superior to Workflow’s old variables. Magic Variables will change how you build workflows.

I started using the new Magic Variables this morning, trying to rework one of my older workflows. The one which I am in fact using to create this post. Thanks to the new system, I’m down to 6 steps instead of close to 20. There are two huge benefits: quicker workflow creation and much more readable workflows.

Awesome work!


App Store Deals — 15/09/2016

September 15, 2016 · 13:06

Apart from the surprising amount of deals on Mac games, there are a few good iOS apps available for a lower price too. I especially like the Kingdom Rush series — played through them all (Frontiers is pretty hard in comparison to the regular one).

Big Action Mega Fight! – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
Civilization: Beyond Earth – Mac – Games – €39.99 > €19.99
Civilization IV – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
Civilization V: Campaign Edition – Mac – Games – €29.99 > €14.99
Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
Evel Knievel – iOS – Games – €1.99 > €0.00
Fighting Fantasy: Starship Traveller – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.99
Kingdom Rush Frontiers HD – iPad – Games – €3.99 > €2.99
Kingdom Rush Frontiers – iPhone – Games – €2.99 > €1.99
Kingdom Rush HD – iPad – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €4.99
The Secret of Monkey Island: SE – Mac – Games – €9.99 > €4.99
Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
SimCity: Complete Edition – Mac – Games – €29.99 > €14.99
Star Wars: Empire At War – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast – Mac – Games – €9.99 > €4.99
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy – Mac – Games – €9.99 > €4.99
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy – Mac – Games – €9.99 > €4.99
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Mac – Games – €9.99 > €4.99
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – Mac – Games – €9.99 > €4.99
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
Symmetrica – Minimalistic arcade game – iOS – Games – €0.99 > €0.00
The Sims 2: Castaway Stories – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
The Sims 2: Life Stories – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
The Sims 2: Pet Stories – Mac – Games – €19.99 > €9.99
The Sims 2: Super Collection – Mac – Games – €29.99 > €14.99


Geekbench 4 Is Out →

August 31, 2016 · 09:18

John Poole:

I’m excited to announce that Geekbench 4 is now available. You can download Geekbench 4 for Windows, macOS, and Linux from the Geekbench website. You can also download Geekbench 4 for Android from Google Play, and Geekbench 4 for iOS from the App Store.

Geekbench 4 is currently free on iOS, so grab it now if you don’t want to pay.


Vesper Open Source Plans →

August 31, 2016 · 09:16

Brent Simmons:

We plan to do all of the below by the end of 2016, but we can’t make promises. (Life may intervene.)

Q Branch’s existing open source code — DB5 and QSKit — will be moved to my personal GitHub account. I will continue to maintain DB5 (I continue to use it). QSKit will not be maintained, but will be made available as historical artifact.

We will make Vesper for iOS, Vesper for Mac, and Vesper’s JavaScript sync service open source on my personal GitHub account. This code will also be provided as historical artifacts: they’re not intended as active projects. They’re also not intended as examples of how to write apps these days.

The licenses will be public domain or something roughly as non-restrictive. However: the name Vesper and the app icon remain the property of me, Dave, and John. If you build anything based on this code, you must pick a different name and different app icon.

I wonder if anyone will try to use this to build their own ‘Vesper’… What am I saying? Of course they will. Question is: will it be any good?


Import Your Vesper Notes Into Ulysses →

August 27, 2016 · 09:41

Götz Fabian:

A few days ago, the creators of the notes app Vesper announced to end its development and eventually shut down the sync server. Being in this industry ourselves, we can understand that making this move isn’t easy, and we’re sorry for both the developers and the Vesper users who grew fond of the tool. If you’re a Vesper user and considering Ulysses as a future replacement, this post is for you. To ease migrating your notes from Vesper to Ulysses, we’ve created a small tool which lets you do exactly that.


John Gruber Says Goodbye to Vesper →

August 24, 2016 · 08:28

John Gruber:

I really enjoyed working with Brent and Dave. When we were on a roll I could tell that we were doing good work, and it was fun. I’ve spent the better part of my career working solo. It was great to be on a team. I don’t remember who came up with the names “Q Branch” (I think that was Brent), or “Vesper” (I’m pretty sure that one was Dave), but in both cases, as soon as the name was proposed, the whole team said, Yes, that’s the name. That’s it.

With “Vesper” we were thinking things like beautiful, smart, clever, strong. In the end, the name was more apt than we knew, because it also carries heartbreak.

John also points out the mistakes they probably made while working on Vesper. Looking back on my years of using Vesper, he’s probably right. It’s a good example of how your love for your product can blind you from the seemingly obvious.

Even though I had absolutely nothing to do with Vesper, I am very sad that the app is now officially dead. It’s still on my home screen and though I haven’t been using it for a while, it did provide a very specific function in my workflow. One that I will miss greatly. There aren’t many apps out in the world with which I had developed something more than just a passing fancy. Truly, there are only two pieces of software that I can say that I loved. One of them is Tweetbot [iOS / Mac], which will keep me pinned to iOS for as long as it exists — I already dread the day when Tapbots call it quits — and the second is Vesper [iOS]. While Tweetbot completely replaced my need for the official Twitter app, I as hoping Vesper would do the same for Evernote and Notes. Unfortunately, it didn’t and seeing how sad this whole situation makes me, I can only imagine the pain that Brent, Dave, and John are going through.

Cheers, Vesper. We had a good run, you and I.


Vesper and Q Branch Are Shutting Down

August 22, 2016 · 09:53

It’s Monday morning and the first news of the day that I read is that Q Branch is shutting down and so is their app — Vesper. I have been using Vesper for a few specific tasks since it debuted back during the iOS 6 days. I still remember it was one of the first apps to look pretty damned good after Apple changed their design language in iOS 7. It was also one of the first apps to be ready for the 4.7″ and 5.5″ iPhone screens.

Continue reading →


2016 Apple Design Award Winners

June 15, 2016 · 12:17

None of the winners disappoint and I can personally recommend Ulysses and Lara Croft GO. I use the former for my Markdown writing, while the latter is a great procrastination tool.

Dividr – iPhone – Games – €0.00
Linum – iPhone – Games – €0.00
djay Pro – iPad – Music – €19.99
Auxy Music Creation – iPad – Music – €0.00
INKS. – iOS – Games – €1.99
Lara Croft GO – iOS – Games – €4.99
Chameleon Run – iOS – Games – €1.99
Ulysses – Mac – Productivity – €44.99
Frame.io – iPhone – Photography – €0.00
Zova – Personal Trainer – iPhone – Healthcare & Fitness – €0.00
Streaks – iPhone – Productivity – €3.99
Complete Anatomy – iPad – Medical – €0.00


One Reason Why You Should Use 1Blocker for Mac & iOS

June 10, 2016 · 17:08

I bought a bunch of adblockers for iOS when they came out last year. After repeated experiments, I stuck with 1Blocker — it was extremely fast, very good at dealing with trackers (which I care about most), and streamlining my mobile experience. The latter is probably the most important, since it really helps conserve data when roaming — why would I want to download a 1 MB webpage and 9 additional megabytes of trackers, when I can just download that 1 MB?

Continue reading →


Best Apps to Mark Up and Annotate Images for iOS →

June 4, 2016 · 15:01

Allyson Kazmucha:

One question I’m asked on a regular basis is “What apps are you using to mark up and annotate your images?” A few years ago, I would have told you that it wasn’t an easy task on iOS and you were better off using a Mac app, such as Napkin. Luckily, that not only isn’t the case anymore, it’s actually easier to mark up and annotate images on iPhone nowadays.

PointOut [App Store] is my tool of choice. Ally has some more suggestions though, if you’re looking for more.


How Frank Underwood Helped Monument Valley →

May 21, 2016 · 09:14

Andrew Webster:

When the third season of House of Cards debuted on February 27th last year, it included a curious cameo: in one episode, newly-inaugurated president Frank Underwood was relaxing with an iPad, playing the gorgeous game Monument Valley. Two days later, the game had its second biggest money-making day to date, raking in close to $70,000 over the span of 24 hours, thanks to being featured in the show.

This is one of my favourite mobile games and one of the best I’ve ever played. The whole team truly deserves their success.


Live Video Viewing Up 86% Over Last Year in MLB’s at Bat App, Thanks to Multitasking →

April 18, 2016 · 08:29

Sarah Perez:

To support these claims, the MLB gathered usage metrics from the first two weeks of the season — to clarify for non-baseball fans, the MLB season is not quite two weeks old at this point (Opening Day was April 3rd).

During these first two weeks, MLB fans spent 20 percent more minutes per day, on average, watching live video on iPad compared with the 2015 season, when multitasking was not available. (MLB says that any form of multitasking behavior was counted here, not just spilt-screen viewing.)

The only video I watch on my iPad is on YouTube, which doesn’t support any of these features. Their whole site and app completely sucks on mobile — I actually deleted the app it was so bad. Perhaps someone will get off their behind and finally do something about it.


Why Does iPad Not Have a Native Calculator? →

April 12, 2016 · 12:41

User tangoshukudai on Reddit:

It is actually a funny story. When they were prototyping the iPad, they ported the iOS calc over, but it was just stretched to fit the screen. It was there all the way from the beginning of the prototypes and was just assumed by everyone at apple that it was going to be shipped that way. A month before the release, Steve Jobs calls Scott Forstall into his office and says to him, “where is the new design for the calculator? This looks awful” He said, “what new design?” This is what we are shipping with. Steve said, “no, pull it we can’t ship that”. Scott fought for it to stay in, but he knew he had to get their UI team involved to design a new look for the calculator but there was no way they could do it in that short time frame, so they just scrapped it. It has been such low priority since then that no one cares to work on it since there is more important things to work on. (Source: I worked at Apple)

They should have just licensed PCalc [App Store].


Using iOS 9’s Universal Links (And My YouTube Rant) →

March 30, 2016 · 12:14

Ben Collier:

If you don’t know, Universal Links allow a website and iOS app to be linked together so following a link opens up the app (with the right content) instead of the website. For example, following a link to a Vine video can open up straight in the Vine app; where the video looping experience is much better than the website.

Universal Links are great and I love them, but there is one app that totally screws this up — YouTube. Perhaps this changed recently, but up to about a month ago, I had to use the YouTube app after clicking any YouTube link to watch a video (embeds were exempt from this) — this completely broke down when using Tweetbot or Twitter, breaking my flow and forcing me to jump between apps. I finally uninstalled the app.

This caused one more huge problem. The YouTube app does not offer every setting and option that their website does, especially in terms of managing my own videos. Normally I would just open the desktop site in Safari, but because of Universal Links, it would switch me over to the app every single time that I tried to do so. Unacceptable.

 


Overcast 2.5 Is Out With New Features →

March 15, 2016 · 08:13

Marco Arment:

Overcast 2.5 is now available, bringing major under-the-hood improvements and some of the most requested features to my iOS podcast player.

The new features are: a new dark mode using the system font, audio file uploads, optimised battery life, a separate Voice Boost profile when listening via the built-in speaker, and many bug fixes. The first two are for patrons only. Speaking of battery life…

Some results were unsurprising: Compared to wired headphones, Bluetooth headphones cut battery life by about a third, while AirPlay cut it about in half. But the biggest battery drain is the built-in speaker, which is even more costly to the battery than AirPlay.

Marco’s battery results actually surprised me. I didn’t think that the impact on the battery by using Bluetooth headphones was so big.


I’ve used Overcast solely since its release and apart from one bug/feature1, it has been the perfect companion during my walks and runs. There are many other great podcast players out there, but Overcast’s simplicity, Voice Boost, and Smart Speed2 won me over.

Overcast – iOS – News – free

  1. When changing the sort options of a playlist, it doesn’t reorder the already downloaded episodes automatically.
  2. I run it at 1.5x.

How to Use Workflow for iOS When You Don’t Know Where to Start →

March 10, 2016 · 08:53

Federico Viticci:

With Workflow, your imagination is, in many ways, the only limit. And that can also be a problem at first. Facing the potential of Workflow and the breadth of its actions can be a little daunting; fortunately, the app makes it easy to get started and experiment.

The first thing you’ll want to understand is which kind of task you want to automate on your iOS device, and why. My suggestion, if you’re new to automation: Find common tasks that would truly benefit from requiring fewer seconds each day. They don’t even have to be extremely complex; something simple will do. When automating, it’s better to save a second on a trivial task that you repeat 10 times a day than to save 30 seconds on an impressive workflow you only need once a month.

A good starting point for those of you who are at a loss. I love the app myself. In fact, I used my own workflow to publish this post.


Apple: iOS Apps That Adjust Display Temperature Aren’t Allowed →

March 10, 2016 · 08:51

Juli Clover:

Earlier this week, we shared a blue-light reduction app called FlexBright, which worked similarly to Apple’s own Night Shift mode. Apple initially approved the app, which was able to adjust the screen temperature for the entire iPhone, but after it garnered attention following our post, Apple pulled it from the App Store.

Normally I would be against pulling apps like this, but since it uses silent background audio to keep it alive, which surely increases battery drain, I’m not disappointed. Most users would blame iOS or their device instead of the app.


Ulysses 2.5 for iOS Adds iPhone Support

March 9, 2016 · 13:24

Ulysses 2.5 for iOS is out. My go-to writing software is now a universal app, supporting both the iPhone and iPad, and it naturally syncs with the Mac version, should you work cross-platform. At this point in time, I favour it over both iA Writer [iOS / Mac] and Byword [iOS / Mac]. The main features that got me to start using it are:

  • easy to divide documents into separate sheets and combine them if necessary;
  • lots of customisation options, including fonts (I currently use Menlo Regular) and themes (my favourites are Solarised, Yosemite, and Cursor Console);
  • a good selection of customisable export options, including Markdown, DOCX, and various others such as PDF, etc.

Ulysses – iOS – €19.99
Ulysses – Mac – €44.99

Unfortunately, it’s pretty expensive compared to the other apps, but in my opinion it is worth the money — I use it every single day.


Sale on Best Daily Journaling App — Day One 2 — Ending Soon

February 10, 2016 · 21:05

I have used Day One for over four years now, and I truly believe it’s the best ‘dear diary / journal’ app out there. I recently wrote a few words about the new additions and my first impressions of Day One 21 — it’s second iteration in which is was rewritten from the ground up. It’s still on sale — it will be ending sometime tomorrow — and you can get it for 50% of the price.

★ Day One 2 Journal + Notes – Mac – Lifestyle – €19.99 →
★ Day One 2 Journal + Notes – iOS – Lifestyle – €4.99 →

The new version has had a huge impact on my personal writing — I now input a few entries per day, instead of a few per week, and I use the Mac version much more now; it’s greatly improved.

  1. Day Two?

Day One 2 for iOS and Mac — First Impressions

February 6, 2016 · 14:32

I first started using Day One Classic1 in 2011. At least that’s what my first entry shows — I have a “Hello World” post on 29 December 2011. I have never used it on a daily basis, preferring to post most of my thoughts on Twitter instead, but I do try to write down all of my personal stuff in there — mostly all the bad stuff as far I can see. It has become my own way of dealing with all the negativity in the world and in my life. I admit that I have been writing less recently, mostly due to lack of time, but every since Day One 2.0 debuted on Mac and iOS, I have been using it every single day. Obviously part of that is due to the novelty of having and using new software, but I honestly hope I’ll be able to keep it up.

Continue reading →

  1. That’s that the 1.x version is now called.

Day One 2 for iOS and Mac, Rewritten From the Ground Up, Launching on 4/02/2016 →

February 1, 2016 · 11:13

Paul Mayne on the Day One blog:

Over the past two years we’ve been working towards a major new version of Day One, using the somewhat awkward-sounding “Day One 2” as its name.

To support Day One 2’s new features, we ultimately rebuilt the app from the ground up, all the while staying true to Day One’s original simplicity. Rebuilding an app as seasoned as Day One is no small task. What I’d hoped would be a year-long effort has taken twice that… but we feel it’s been worth the wait.

Day One 2 will be a new app on Mac and iOS with two headlining features: multiple journals and multiple photos per entry. It will remain a paid app and be priced at $9.99 for iOS and $39.99 for Mac. We will provide a 50% discount to both apps during the first week of its debut. Day One Classic (v1) will continue to be maintained as needed and is compatible with Day One 2 when using Day One Sync.

I have been a Day One user since 2012, if I recall correctly, and continue to love what the team has built. I’m glad they’re coming out with a paid update, which is technically a completely new app, and that they’ll continue to support the older version. I’ll be purchasing the new one as soon as it comes out, although I sort of wish I could pay full price for it straight away, as I know I won’t be able to hold off for a full week. I also like their bold decision to keep the price pretty high, going against the tide.


Use a GoPro With Periscope →

January 27, 2016 · 14:45

Periscope:

We’ve seen people put their phones in some precarious situations — they’ve been taped to drones, tied to balloons and submerged underwater. Creativity always finds a way, but we wanted to make it a little bit easier. Today, you can broadcast from your GoPro HERO 4 directly to Periscope for iPhone. Keep that phone safely tucked away.

This is awesome.


The 2015 Panic Report →

January 27, 2016 · 08:38

Cabel Sasser:

As always, thank you for being a Panic customer, and a Panic fan. Thank you for allowing us to run this company making neat things that you hopefully like. And thanks for giving us the chance to do what we love every day. I hope that our journey can also kind-of feel like your journey, because you’ve been with us every step of the way.

These guys and their software always make me smile. Thank you Panic for that.


Daniel Details How to Use Drafts and Workflow for iOS →

January 25, 2016 · 16:27

Daniel Wallace:

If you liked my post about blogging on an iPad, and the best writing programs available on the iOS App Store, here’s a little more.

In my first post, I assumed that you were writing an essay-type post, full of big ideas, in which prose came first, and the links and quotations came second. First you wrote, and then, when you had finished writing, you went back and cleaned up the piece, got it ready for the web.

That’s why I began the piece talking about writing apps on the iPad, great programs like Ulysses and Drafts.

But, of course, not all blogging is like that. Sometimes we are responding to another person’s post, or want to connect a few different arguments; sometimes we just want to fire off a quick piece that’s nothing more than a link, a quotation, and a comment.

In theory, these sorts of posts would be a slog to compose on an iPad. You’ve got to select text on a web page, copy it into your text editor, go back, select links, copy them over, HTML or Markdown those links up, and then send the post to your blog. It’s a lot of bother for a quick response. But with the new capacities of iOS9, the best iPad (and iPhone) apps are getting better and better at speeding up the process for you.

Why should a short post take you a long time to write, when it doesn’t have to?

I’ve been meaning to incorporate the excellent Drafts for iOS [App Store] into my workflow for over a year now, for more automation. Daniel’s post, which details how he uses Drafts, has given me an excellent idea — to expand my workflow even more, to publish linked or regular posts, with quotes from the clipboard or Drafts, and mash it up all together in Workflow [App Store], without leaving Safari.

Hopefully my plan will be actually possible to execute…


Ulysses’ Backups Are Automatic on Both Mac and iOS →

January 14, 2016 · 14:14

Frank Steffens:

With Ulysses, you can write all kinds of texts, even novels. For you as a writer, your works certainly are very valuable, to the point that loosing them is not an option. For this reason, Ulysses will automatically back up your entire library. You can be sure that your works are safe.

This is my current go-to text editor and I did not know about this. I really hope they add Dropbox integration to the iOS version of Ulysses though — that’s the only thing that’s currently missing and it totally screws with my workflow.