Editorial

Widgets in iOS 8: Explained

Widgets are part of Extensibility, one of the biggest new features in iOS 8, and one of the most important, most enabling new technologies to come to the iPhone and iPad since the launch of the App Store. With Today view extensions, any app can present a widget that displays information and offers a small amount of interaction right in Notification Center. That makes them only ever a swipe away. So, how do widgets work?

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Happy 7th birthday, iPhone!

On June 29, 2007 people were lining up in droves outside Apple Stores to be among the first to own a wide-screen iPod, a revolutionary phone, and a breakthrough internet communicator. To own an iPhone.

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Why a 32GB iPhone costs $100 more

Apple's updated iPod touch lineup separates 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacity models by $50 price increments. That's new for Apple in the iOS device lineup. Previously for the iPod touch, and still for the iPhone and iPad, capacity models are separated by $100 price increments. There are some other factors, like iPhone 5c vs. iPhone 5s pricing, or iPad Air vs. Retina iPad mini pricing, or iPad Wi-Fi vs. iPad cellular pricing. However, for the most part, Apple chooses to segment devices by capacity. So, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

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Apple kicks Aperture (and iPhoto) to the curb; are we ready for Photos?

Apple's plan to kill Aperture (and iPhoto) for Photos will cost it goodwill with Mac-using photography pros

During the WWDC 2014 keynote presentation Apple showed off a new app for OS X Yosemite currently in development called Photos. It won't be out until 2015, but it looks like it's going to replace both iPhoto and Aperture on the Mac. This promises to be a good thing for consumers, but where does this leave professional and prosumer photographers on the Mac?

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Metal in iOS 8: Explained

You know it's serious because Apple's Craig Federighi flipped a goat on stage at WWDC when he announced it.

Metal. If the name sounds hardcore, it's because it's a hardcore improvement to the way games will be able to perform on iOS 8. Metal represents a much more no-nonsense approach to getting the most out of the Apple A7's gaming performance, assuring users of the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display that their devices will continue to be top-notch game systems come this fall.

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iPod touch: Who is it best for and why?

The iPod touch doesn't always get the attention or consideration it deserves. Some of that is simply a reflection of its current status — it hasn't seen a significant update since it was released alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012. Sure, it has the a 4-inch Retina display like the current iPhones, and the same 5mp iSight camera as the iPad line, but it's using the Apple A5 processor in time when even the Apple A7 may soon be surpassed. Yet, as Apple told us so brilliantly in 2011, technology alone is not enough. It's experience, not specs that matter to most people. And if anyone is the least bit price sensitive, if anyone wants something pocketable but doesn't want the phone bits, then the iPod touch remains one of the best options. So, now that Apple's added case colors and a camera to the 16GB model at $199, and dropped the price of the 32GB and 64GB models to $249 and $299 respectively, how do you know if the iPod touch is for you or yours?

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The importance of bug reporting

There's a longstanding debate in the iOS and OS X developer community over the value of filing bugs through the Apple Bug Reporter system, commonly known as radar. Some believe it's invaluable, the only way to give Apple the feedback they need to ensure bugs get fixed. Others believe it's valueless, a black hole from which little satisfaction, if any, ever escapes. I'm not a developer but, based on the conversations I've had, both points of view are certainly valid. So, what good is filing radars and what should developer expectations really be?

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App Store policies, in-app video ads, and Occam's razor

There's been some consternation recently about Apple rejecting apps that contain video ads encouraging people to watch them or share them in exchange for in-app rewards. No doubt it's worrisome to the advertising agencies and developers involved in those apps, but some of the theories as to what exactly was happening tended towards the overly complex, and in some cases, conspiratorial. Tim Cook famously said that, when it comes to Apple hardware plans, looking at one piece of supply chain data didn't allow for the drawing of any meaningful conclusions. Likewise, looking at ad network complaints and developer reactions doesn't necessarily allow for any useful insight into App Store policies. So, what exactly has been going on?

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Google's Nest is officially in competition with Apple HomeKit

Not that this is any sort of surprise, but Google has finally announced a developer program for the Nest division. The timing couldn't be much better since I just finished writing about why I'm looking forward to the primary mobile players, Apple and Google, integrating "Internet of Things" hooks into their respective operating systems.

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Interactive notifications in iOS 8: Explained

With traditional notifications you could be alerted when a message came in, an invitation was sent your way, news was shared with you, etc. but you couldn't do anything about it, not without leaving your current activity to switch apps, take action, and then find your way back. With interactive notifications in iOS 8, however, you can reply to a message right from the banner, accept an invitation right from the lock screen, or like a piece of news directly from Notification Center. Whether you're editing a business document or playing a game, interruption is minimized and app switching is potentially eliminated altogether. So, how does it work?

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