App Store Changes ‘Free’ Button to ‘Get’

Zac Hall Reporting for 9to5Mac:

Apple has introduced a small but interesting tweak to the way it markets apps on the App Store. As you can see in the screenshot above, non-paid apps are now presented with the word ‘GET’ rather than ‘FREE’. While the reason for the change in how Apple is presenting non-paid apps isn’t clear, it’s likely due to the popularity of ‘freemium’ apps and in-app purchases, something that has been the source of controversy for Apple in the past…

Apple has taken a great deal of flack from customers and consumer protection groups through the years over apps marketed as free that push in-app purchases. The freemium model has been used in some cases to circumvent the lack of app trials on the App Store. For example, a developer may make an app free to download, but require an in-app purchase to unlock the app’s full functionality. The new ‘Get’ labels seem to address such a use case where previously ‘Free’ could be misleading.

I am not sure ‘Get’ is the right term to use here and maybe ‘download’ isn’t the right term either due to it already being used for your previously purchased apps but I certainly like it better than ‘Get’. I’d bet this term will get changed again in the near future.

Apple to Bundle Beats Music With iOS Early Next Year

Via 9to5Mac:

Apple will bundle the subscription music service it acquired from Beats into its iOS operating system early next year, instantly making it available on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads – and ramping up pressure on Spotify, the market leader in music streaming.

This seems pretty plausible especially as Jim Darlymple over at The Loop more or less confirmed it. Whether it will be a seperate app from iTunes is not clear at this point but one step at a time eh?

iOS 8.1.1 Update Fixes iCloud Sync Issues

iCloud Drive Syncing Improvements — MacSparky:

 I’m pleased to report iCloud Drive document syncing is loads better with the latest updates. This morning I spent 30 minutes moving between my iPad and Mac on a large numbers spreadsheet and both devices were keeping up. In short, iCloud document syncing is manageable again. Third party apps, like Drafts and Mindnode, are also seeing the benefits of this update. If you’ve been waiting, or had a bad prior experience, update your Mac and iOS devices with yesterday’s updates and give it a try for yourself.

I too concur that iCloud syncing is now working back to normal in the iWork suites on iOS with the 8.1.1 update so if you have been having issues, this latest update is certainly a positive one.

What’s Behind the Great Podcast Renaissance?

Kevin Roose Reporting for NYMag:

There are a few possible reasons for the resurgence. The first is that today’s podcasts are simply better. Most podcasts used to be pretty amateurish — two people talking about sports for an hour, say, or a businessman ad libbing MBA lessons. And some still are. But today’s top podcasts — and I’ll refer you to The Atlantic’s list of some of the best — are full-scale productions with real staff, budget, and industry expertise behind them.

Podcasts or internet broadcasting have always been an underrated medium that in the majority of cases are available for free for playback on most any device – the problem is the industry needs to make it easy for non-tech minded folks to start listening/watching to podcasts by showing them how to subscribe to them and convince the folks to adopt podcast consuming into their daily lives for it to take off.

Certainly the production values on video podcasts from the likes of Twit.tv are excellent and the majority of podcasts can be entertaining and informative and make a nice change from the usual TV shows that are broadcasted nowadays. With tablet and smartphones market share increasing every day, it’s only a matter of time before momentum gathers pace for Internet broadcasting.

Things for iPad Updated to 2.5

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Cultured Code have just updated the iPad version of their award winning app Things to version 2.5 which brings full background sync, Handoff support and extension support.

This update ensures that the Mac, iPhone and now iPad versions of their app all have the same new features and functionality including a fresher UI. They have also announced that version 2.6 will bring Today Widget functionality which they are working on at the moment and will arrive soon.

Despite a sense of disappointment that has been levelled at Cultured Code in the past for their apparent delays to their software, with this latest release they well and truly are up to date with their app, taking advantage of Yosemite and iOS extensions and peoples misgivings should now be a thing of the past.

You can find Things in the App Store here.

Belkin iPhone Controlled Coffee Maker

Hot on the heels of the iPhone controlled iKettle being released, Belkin have announced The Mr. Coffee Smart Coffee Maker which is an iPhone controlled and programmable coffee maker.

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The Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker enabled with WeMo is a smartphone-controllable coffeemaker which gives users remote access to all of the coffeemaker’s functions. Perfect for busy weekday mornings and lazy Saturdays alike, the WeMo-enabled coffeemaker ensures coffee is always freshly brewed. Set a schedule to have coffee ready every weekday morning at 7:30 for the morning commute or hit brew from the dinner table so coffee’s ready just in time for dessert during a dinner party.

With the WeMo app, users can start or monitor the coffeemaker from anywhere. Through the app, users can also schedule a week’s worth of brew times, check to make sure the coffeemaker has a full tank of water or the carafe is in place, setup reminders, and receive alerts when the water filter needs changing, or the coffeemaker needs to be cleaned. The Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker enabled with WeMo also works seamlessly with the entire WeMo family of products and partner products.

In addition to WeMo’s connected capabilities, the Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker is also a state-of-the-art, artisan-style coffee maker with optimal brewing technology for more flavorful, rich coffee. By heating up to an ideal brewing temperature of 205 degrees and a 10-cup, stainless steel thermal carafe, coffee stays hot until the last sip. Additionally, total brewing time for a full pot is just eight minutes, which is 20 percent faster than the average initial brew speed of the competitive coffeemakers tested.

  • Start and monitor brewing from anywhere via smartphone or tablet and the WeMo app
  • Set schedules, receive reminders and alerts
  • Removable brew basket – easily add filter and grounds and clean up quickly
  • Brew button – for manual operation when brewing without the WeMo App and smart device
  • Sleek, sophisticated black and chrome design
  • 10-Cup Thermal Carafe, double walled and vacuum-sealed to keep coffee hot
  • Optimal Brew™ Technology – brews coffee faster and ensures full coffee flavor

Availability and Pricing:

The Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker enabled with WeMo is available now at Belkin.com, Mr. Coffee.com and Amazon.com with for an MSRP of $149.99. The WeMo app is available at no cost for download now at the App Store.

SmartThings to Control Samsung’s Smart Appliances

Ry Crist Reporting for CNET:

With a SmartThings hub plugged into your home router, you’ll be able to monitor the status of your Samsung smart appliances right on your phone via the SmartThings app. If you’ve got a Samsung smart refrigerator in your kitchen, you’ll be able to check the temperature or humidity level, or receive an alert if the door gets left open. Additionally, you’ll be able to broadcast important smart home alerts to the screen that’s built into the refrigerator door. For instance, if a SmartThings moisture sensor detects a leak in the basement, the fridge will give you a heads up.

The washing machine and air conditioner integrations are more focused on saving energy – and money. With Samsung’s air conditioner in your window, you’ll be able to track your energy usage and control the temperature remotely or automatically – similar to what you’ll find with the Quirky Aros. You’ll enjoy remote control and alerts for the washing machine, too, along with the ability to set it to run overnight, when energy rates are the least expensive.

As for Samsung’s robot vacuum, SmartThings is promising a smart scheduling feature, along with push alerts whenever a cycle is complete, or when the dust bin needs emptying. Samsung’s also promising to leverage the vacuum’s integrated camera and microphone for smart security purposes. If SmartThings detects unexpected motion somewhere in your home, it can send the vacuum to investigate.

So with Samsung starting to integrate SmartThings technology with their own products now, Samsung are all in with the notion of connecting your home appliances together to make them smarter and to make them work for you – with their recent capture of SmartThings, they certainly have a good software team behind them to make this happen.