Neato for iOS – A Unique Widget Notification Centre Text Composer

With the introduction of customisable widgets in the notification centre in iOS 8, developers have been prolific in expanding their apps to take advantage of the extra functionality that the Notification Centre can bring and Neato is a dedicated app designed just for the widget/Notification Centre functionality.

From a rules perspective, it’s highly possible that Apple will pull this app from the App Store due to the fact it potentially infringes on the App Store’s guidelines that apps must stay within the boundaries of the API guideline for the Notification Centre and it’s highly likely that any sort of text composing or editing is such one of these guidelines. Due to the recent controversy over the app PCalc and what they were allowed to show in the Notification Centre for their app, it’s possible that Apple is currently reviewing their guidelines and this Neato app has slipped through the net so to speak.

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Having said, the functionality of the app is very useful as once you swipe down to show the Notification Centre widgets and start typing, you can then send that text straight to Evernote or Dropbox. With Evernote’s own widget, you have a link to create a new note which upon tapping, takes you straight to Evernote to start composing your text but with Neato’s widget, I can compose my text right on the Notification Centre and when I am done, I tap send and it will open up Evernote, create a new note and have the text already filled in so I can store it or expand on it more.

With Neato you can:

•Take notes simply and quickly

•Take notes while using other applications

•Save the notes to your Dropbox or Evernote immediately

•Mail, tweet or text the notes rapidly

There is an argument to be made on whether you are actually saving any time typing in the Notification Centre but if you think of other scenarios where you quickly want to write some text, a quick swipe down on your iPhone is going to be quicker, then unlocking your iPhone, navigating to an app then composing.

It’s a simple app overall and it has some issues namely with cursor placement which will be down to the API restrictions but for a free simple, text composing widget, I like it and would suggest downloading it very soon before Apple pulls it from the App Store. You can download it here.

Microsoft releases Office apps for iPhone, makes basic editing features free

 

Microsoft releases Office apps for iPhone, makes basic editing features free | 9to5Mac:

Microsoft announced today that it’s rolling out standalone Office apps for iPhone after releasing the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps exclusively for iPad earlier this year. Microsoft previously had an “Office Mobile” app for iPhone that integrated features of all three Office apps, but today’s release of standalone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iPhone are officially replacing Office Mobile as Microsoft’s Office solution for iPhone.

Microsoft is also delivering updates for the Office iPad apps that include new features along with the ability to create and edit for free.

Sensible from Microsoft to remove the paid restriction of creating and editing in these apps and change to freemium. Between Microsoft Office, iWork and Google, the 3 big players now have equal footing on the app store.

Arguably, Google’s office-based apps are best for collaboration, Apple’s iWork are best for design and how your documents will look whilst the Microsoft Office suite has the power.

Will.i.am’s Puls smartwatch is Very Underwhelming

 

Will.i.am’s Puls smartwatch is the worst product I’ve touched all year | The Verge:

Musician, producer, and just generally positive dude will.i.am has dipped his toes more than once into the personal technology world. His latest venture is a wearable smartphone called the Puls, sold under his i.am+ company. The Puls is a fully independent smartwatch — it has its own SIM card and doesn’t rely on being connected to a smartphone to work. Will.i.am introduced it to the world on a stage at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference last month in front a bunch of devotees to CRM.

I got a chance to use an early production model earlier today. It’s objectively the worst product I’ve touched all year.

Ouch. Sounds like they got an exclusive first use of Beyond Verbal’s mood detecting tech and that was enough to push the watch into production but “an unresponsive interface and frustrating experience is not going to win over the masses.

iPad Air or mini?

 

Daring Fireball: The iPad Air 2 (And a Few Cursory Words Regarding the iPad Mini 3):

Anecdotally, most iPad photographers I see in the real world are using 9.7-inch iPads, not the Mini.) And the sort of iPad users who are pushing the performance limits of the platform are the sort of people who’ve preferred the 9.7-inch models all along. In short, I think the Mini really is more of a pure consumption device, and the Air is more of an alternative to a MacBook.

I think that is a great point from John – Although you can use the mini as a laptop replacement, it really is the bigger sized iPad that is the true laptop alternative – bigger screen for photo and video editing, two handed typing etc. If you are on the fence on what size to get, consider that before purchasing.

iPad Air 2 60% Faster Than the iPhone 6

 

Secret hardware upgrades make the iPad Air 2 the fastest frickin’ tablet on the planet | Cult of Mac:

And what does that mean practically? It means the iPad Air 2 is not only the fastest tablet in the world, smoking even Nvidia’s Tegra K1 Shield Tablet. It’s also over 60% faster than even the iPhone 6.If you want a top-of-the-line iDevice with blistering fast speed, the iPad Air 2 is as good as it gets.

No Free Space Left to Upgrade to iOS 8?

 

Daring Fireball: Note to Self: It’s the Storage Space, Stupid

that either they themselves or people they know want to upgrade to iOS 8 but haven’t yet or can’t because the OTA software update won’t fit on their devices.

Jonathan Hoover puts it well:

iOS 8 OTA update requires about 5GB of free space on the device. Most people, especially those who wouldn’t update until they get the badge on the settings app, don’t have 5GB free on their iPhone. They have no idea they can plug their iPhone into their computer and iTunes will update it. They don’t know they can free up space by downloading their pictures and videos to their computer. 

iPhone makes it so easy for casual users to take gigabytes of photos and videos but nearly impossible for those users to know what to do with them.

This is a serious problem for Apple, because all those 16 GB devices (let alone the 8 GB ones) aren’t going to suddenly gain more free storage space on their own. A lot of these devices might never get updated to iOS 8, but would if the OTA software worked. Unless they can rejigger the OTA software update to require less free space, iOS 8’s adoption rate might lag permanently.

Apple need to either start selling larger storage-capacity devices and stop selling 8 and 16gb versions and/or they need to reduce the footprint of the over the air annual iOS update – either way, they need to address this matter soon as it is affecting their adoption growth which they proudly like to talk about at their keynotes.

[Link] Translator Keyboard For iOS Makes Writing Foreign Missives A Breeze

 

Translator Keyboard For iOS Makes Writing Foreign Missives A Breeze | TechCrunch

The Translator Keyboard for iOS 8 can translate what you’ve typed into one of 44 other languages — including French, Spanish and even Welsh. Beth annisgwyl!

The app, which is the work of UK developer Steven Barnegren, is using the Microsoft Translate API to do the grunt work of turning whatever you’ve typed into fair foreign phrasing.

So how does it work? Swiping left along the top of the keyboard brings in the language selection interface where you can specify your current language and the one you want to translate your words into.

Once back in keyboard view you type whatever it is you want to say — and this appears within a bar at the top of the keyboard (with support for autocorrect). Once you’re done typing you hit the translate button at the bottom corner of the keyboard and a translated version of your text appears on the screen. Et voila!

Extremely useful keyboard to add to the growing number of keyboards available in iOS 8.

Integrating Health App With MyFitnessPal & Jawbone

With the recent release of iOS 8, Apple has introduced a new app called Health and new developer API’s called HealthKit so that developers of fitness and health apps can integrate their data into the centralised Apple Health app. This sounds great in theory in having one home that collates all the data no matter if you are using a Jawbone wrist band, FitBit, Nike Fuelband or food diary apps like MyFitnessPal.

Since the delayed release of this integration capability in the latest iOS update 8.0.2, people are reporting issues in not being able to correctly set up the Health app to share the data with the 3rd party apps or complaining that it is not working or indeed how it is supposed to. I have played around with the settings of each app and seem to have got them working. As always, make sure you check and run any updates on your iPhone before following this advice;

Jawbone app

I have a Jawbone Up24 wristband that I use to record my steps and my sleep analysis. This information can be synced with the iOS 8 Health app as the Jawbone wristband is going to record more accurate step information than what the iPhone will record – after all, I don’t carry the iPhone with me when I am playing football but I do have my Jawbone wristband on so the wristband is the more accurate data source.

We need to tell the Health app to use the step data recorded from the Jawbone wristband rather than the iPhone’s own step analysis. Here is how I did it;

First of all, in your Jawbone app settings make sure you have the integration options set to on:

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Then, switch to the Health app, tap on the ‘Sources’ tab and should see a list of your current apps that have integration with the Health app;

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In this case, tap on ‘Up’ and make sure you turn on the options ‘Allow Up to write data’, in my case for steps and for sleep analysis.

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Then tap on the ‘Health Data’ tab, search for and tap on ‘Steps’ and then tap ‘Share Data’

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Now the important part here is to make sure that in the data sources list, you choose ‘UP’ as your main data source by tapping edit in the top right hand corner and then dragging the order of your data sources by putting ‘UP’ as the top source. Tap done and now the Health app will show the steps data recorded from your Jawbone wristband instead of the iPhone.

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MyFitnessPal app

I use MyFitnessPal as the app to record everything that I eat and drink. With its massive database of Worldwide foods and using that scanner to read bar codes, you can get the exact information from nearly every food including exact sugars, salt, nutrients and calories.

With their latest version of the app, MyFitnessPal can now share its data with the Apple Health app. Because MyFitnessPal can in itself integrate data with services like Withings who specialise in weight analysis recording, you can have MyFitnessPal record not only your food and drink intake but your weight data as well which in turn can then share with the Apple Health app.

As with the Jawbone app, you need to go into the settings in MyFitnessPal and turn on the sharing of data with the Apple Health app. Once you have done this, go back into the Health app and make sure under the ‘Sources’ tab that MyFitnessPal is there and that you have all the categories of data switched to on including the weight option at the bottom.

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The problem I have found with the integration of MyFitnessPal and the Health app is that although MyFitnessPal shares all the nutrients and ingredient data from your foods, it doesn’t appear to share actual calorie data with the Health app so you can’t get a true picture within the Health app of your steps and activity against your food intake and weight to be able have a clear picture of your outlook. I have emailed MyFitnessPal to ask this very question to see if it will be included in a future app update or whether it’s API drawback on Apple’s side of development.

Until then at least I have a platform to build on and a centralised place of storing all my weight, sleep and step data in the Health app. With all the different options out there for recording health and fitness activity, it shows that the centralised place of the Apple Health app can successfully sync its data with your other applications and hardware. This is just the start and I am looking forward to seeing more integrations and data being introduced from other companies and of course the  Watch.

[Link] A Rare Look at Apple’s Design Genius Jony Ive

 

A Rare Look at Apple’s Design Genius Jony Ive — Vogue

As you watch Ive walk off, politely thanking people, you recall that he closed up his private presentation by asking you to listen closely to a watchband as it is pulled off and then reconnected. “You just press this button and it slides off, and that is just gorgeous,” he was saying. He encouraged you to pause. “But listen as it closes,” he said. “It makes this fantastic k-chit.” He was nearly whispering. And when he said the word fantastic, he said it softly and slowly—“fan-tas-tic!”—as if he never wanted it to end. This is perhaps Ive’s greatest achievement: not that we can get our email more readily, but that we can stop to notice a small, quiet connection.

The attention to detail from Apple and lack of in Samsung’s recent news shows, is what sets Apple apart and with Ive leading the creative side, the quality and detail will continue to be a success for a company where consumers follow the brand because they want the quality – it’s that simple.