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iStat Menus 4 brings Retina support, new design, and more to the Mac

iStat Menus is the gold standard of system monitoring tools. It's one of the first apps I bought when I switched back to the Mac, and it's one of the first apps I -- and almost every geeky/techy type I know -- installs when they get a new Mac. Originally designed as a Dashboard widget, iStat has since moved to the menu bar, and with iStat Menus 4, it's now completely, comfortably ensconced there with a bold new look and full on Retina support.

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iStat 2 for iPhone and iPad lets you remotely monitor Windows, Mac, and Linux from server side to pool side

iStat menu 2 is the second generation system monitoring app for iOS by longtime iStat menu-makers, Bjango. While Bjango started off focused on widgets on computers, for computers, they moved rapidly to mobile following the launch of the iPhone so that you could take your monitoring with you. That's the dream, right?

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Marc Edwards of Bjango talks iStat 2 for iPhone and iPad

Marc Edwards, the creative mind behind Bjango, spent a few minutes talking to me about re-designing and re-building their signature system monitoring app, iStat from the ground up.

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Developer Spotlight: Marc Edwards of Bjango

TiPb's developer spotlights are like DVD/iTunes Extras for the App Store -- a weekly look behind the scenes at the programers and designers that bring you the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps and games you love. This week Rene talks with Marc Edwards of Bjango.

What can we call you? Marc Edwards.

What can we call your company? Bjango.

Where are you situated? Melbourne, Australia. Yes, that giant, mostly empty island at the end of the earth. It's a great place to live, provided you avoid the killer snakes, killer spiders, killer sharks and various other nasties.

On the web?

And on Twitter? @bjango and @marcedwards

What apps do you make? iStat Menus for Mac, iStat for iPhone, Consume for iPhone, Darkness for iPhone, Cities for iPhone, and a few others.

What apps, other than your own, do you currently use the most often? 1Password, Brushes, The Early Edition, Reeder (yes, two RSS readers) and Our Choice. There's some obvious and potentially boring choices in there, but those are the current apps I've been using daily or enjoying.

How long have you been a developer? We started building Mac Dashboard Widgets in 2005, which quickly turned into Mac app development. Prior to that I'd designed some fairly basic websites. And prior to that, I spent most of my time designing for print and for TV advertising. Creating software is incredibly rewarding and challenging, so I think I'll be doing it for quite some time.

How long have you been an iOS developer? We've been building iOS apps since the day the SDK was publicly available. Amazingly, that was just 3 years ago. It feels like an eternity.

Do you develop for any other platform in addition to iOS? If so, which one(s)? We're a Mac and iOS only shop. We've dabbled on other platforms and will continue to keep an eye out for opportunities, but for now, Mac OS X and iOS are great places to be. A big part of that is the users—iOS and Mac users seem to appreciate high quality software.

What primary computer setup do you use for your iOS development? I use a 2010 Mac Pro with a 24" LED Cinema Display, a couple of Drobos and lots of backup drives inside the Mac. I bought a Magic Trackpad and have tried to use it, but I keep going back to the Magic Mouse. I also have a Razer Deathadder, but use the Magic Mouse for all design related tasks. All pretty stock, really. I'm not a fan of dual displays—I'd much rather have a single, huge display.

I also have a 13" MacBook Air for when I'm on the road. It replaces a 15" MacBook Pro. I'm an Air convert and hope that Apple will release a 15" MacBook Air with 3G modem (or 15" MacBook Pro with flash drive and no optical drive).

What iOS device(s) do you personally use most often? 16GB Black iPhone 4 and 32GB 3G Black iPad 2. I have an iPod touch and a variety of older iPhone and iPads, but they're just for testing.

What mobile devices, other than iOS, do you currently use? None. What else do you think I need? I've always loved the Pre, but sadly it wasn't ever available in Australia. I'm also keen to see the TouchPad. It's the only non-iPad tablet I'm excited about.

What's your favorite thing about developing for iOS? Seeing your app take over the entire screen and experience is quite amazing. While open, your app is the device. It makes the software seem more physical, and the possibilities more limitless.

What's your least favorite thing about developing for iOS? The app approval process. I can deal with time delays, but placing our entire business' future in Apple's hands makes me feel vulnerable. Today Apple are our partner, tomorrow they may decide we're their competition.

What feature would you most like Apple to add to the iOS 5 SDK? Better notifications. Not an original suggestion, but a good one. Alerts are probably my least favourite part of iOS and the thing I envy most about webOS and Android devices.

What feature would you most like Apple to add to the App Store? I'm glad you asked. Being able to support older app versions is absolutely critical, and horribly broken right now. For example, if a customer buys App version 1 and we release App version 2 as a new app (the only way to charge for it), we have no way to fix bugs in version 1, while stopping people from buying it. We're forced to choose between removing the app from sale and dealing with the consequences, or keeping it on the store and dealing with the consequences.

Removing the older version of an app stops accidental purchases, but means customers can't redownload the app if they need to. This is one area where the App Store is far worse than the good old web download days. I see this as by far the biggest issue with the App Store. I'm hopeful that Apple will need to fix this for their own software and will add the ability to the App Store in the process.

If we were to eavesdrop on you while you were coding, what curse word would we hear you use the most? F**k you. (To which Photoshop, Xcode or iTunes Connect usually reply "No, f**k you.")

What do you do when you're not buidling iOS apps? Spend time with my wife, family or friends. Write music with Luc Wiesman under the name Duosseudo. Play indoor soccer (badly, usually breaking or bruising fingers while goalkeeping). Drink coffee. Play games of the iOS, Wii or Mac variety (I'm intentionally avoiding buying an Xbox or PS3 for productivity reasons). Listen to music.

What should we look for from you next? We're busy putting the finishing touches on an iStat-related product and an iPad game we've been working on since 2009 (it was an iPhone game that was better suited to the iPad, so we switched as soon as the iPad was announced).

Thanks Marc!

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Bjango talks Consume for iPad, iStat, and designing for iOS - TiPb at WWDC 2010

Marc Edwards from Bjango talks about bringing Phases and Consume to the iPad (and their other apps like iStat in the future).

Consume presents an easy, drop-dead-gorgeous way to track everything from mobile accounts to broadband accounts to loyalty cards to deliveries. Consume pulls data from the cloud so they can update it with new "recipes" for various providers as it becomes available. Consume for iPad takes the same core functionality and paints it across the big screen, using Apple's conventions like popovers but redrawn in a distinctive Bjango way. Likewise, CoreAnimation is used give a unique visual flare to transitions.

In general, Edwards loves the iPad -- it's bigger and more powerful. Where the iPhone is deep (hierarchical layers of screens) the iPad is broad and allows for a lot more information to be show at once. A lot of what they learned making Consume is being used to bring iStat to the iPad, and what they learn from the iPad is being fed back into their iPhone development.

We're glad to hear that because we're eagerly waiting for all of them.

Phases for iPad is available now [iTunes], Consume for iPad is pending [teaser], and iStat is in development.

Bjango's full range of iPhone apps include iStat, Consume (currently free), Darkness, Phases, Beats, Cities, Kapowie, Jobs, and Matches [iTunes]

Video interview from WWDC 2010 after the break...


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TiPb Apps 5.4: iStat for iPhone

Rene talks to Marc Edwards of Bjango about iStat [$0.99 on sale - iTunes link] for iPhone, iPod touch, and... iPad!

iStat lets you monitor the resources on your iPhone, including voice and data usage, RAM, storage, networking, up time, processes, and more, and remotely monitor resources for your Mac, Linux, or Solaris server. Additional tools include ping and traceroute. If you want to sit on the sofa and watch your octocore's CPU's to see when that big transcode or render is done, or if you want to try and narrow down a problem at your serve co-lo from the coffee shop, give iStat a shot and let us know what you think.

Note: If you're a fan of iStat Menus on the Mac, they're running a poll [Google Spreadsheet link] on future versions so head on over and let them know what you think about price points and features.

Watch along after the break!

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Consume 1.6 Hits App Store, Goes on Sale

Consume [$0.99 on sale - iTunes link] is the awesome little app for the those of us who don't have unlimited anything on our iPhones... or ISPs. Yes, tiered data is a reality in some parts of the world, and we have to watch our MBs/GBs as closely as we watch our voice minutes. While I've been using Consume to do that on Rogers for a while now, their latest update -- version 1.6 -- improves support for existing providers and adds support for:

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Appigo Todo, UFC Undisputed, Word2Find, Tweetero, iStat - TiPb Picks of the Week

Every week a few of us from team TiPb, bloggers and forum crew alike, will bring you our current favorite, funnest, most useful App Store apps, WebApps, jailbreak apps, even the occasional accessory, web site, or desktop app if the mood strikes us. As long as they're iPhone (or iPod touch) related, they're fair game.

So who's on deck this week and what are our picks? Find out after the break!

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