A dashboard for all your social media
You do spend far too long on Facebook -- hang on, we've just had a friend request -- and Twitter, and we have absolutely no problem with that. Well, time spent reading what your friends are up to is great, it's far quicker than phoning them up, or actually going to see them. Equally, reading the news on Twitter, or writing some brilliantly witty tweets, that's great. It's all the other faffing about, getting oneself to read and to write, that bothers us -- and that is where Hootsuite 2.9.2 comes in.
Alleged app said to provide help for common issues, book Genius Bar visits
Apple may be working on an app to help users self-diagnose problems with their iOS devices, before attempting to get help from employees. Supposed leaked images claim to show an app that will suggest to customers ways to fix their iPhone or iPad themselves using online guides and other support documents, before helping with contacting relevant support staff, organizing a repair, or a visit to the Genius Bar at the user's nearest Apple Store.
Hand-crafted with rich Corinthian voices for extreme effect
Episode 42 is, first and foremost, a gorgeous-sounding episode. It features Mike and Charles, a good connection, and a fair amount to talk about even in a slow news week. As is the norm with these two, they wander around to various topics, but among the things that are for sure discussed in the repairability (or rather, the lack of it) in the Apple Pencil (and whether anyone should care), what's up with MacUpdate.com, and more.
Manage your YouTube videos in one solid app
It used to be that all you needed to know about making YouTube videos was to forget every lesson you should've learned from years of watching broadcast-quality television –– and to be certain to begin every video with the words "Hey, guys, what's up" or similar. Get that licked and you were away in the wild west that was YouTube. It's still pretty crazy on the now-Alphabet video service, but the service wants to give you some solid tools for getting things right. You're on your own with video framing and audio but for managing your work like a pro, there is YouTube Creator Studio 1.6.21 for iOS.
Grab your camera and your bug spray as you snag photos of elusive animals
If you haven't checked out Snapimals yet, maybe you should. It's one part Seabeard, and one part Pokemon Snap, which was a popular Pokemon-based photography game on the Nintendo Gamecube. The goal of Snapimals is to become the best wildlife photographer-slash-museum-designer in the whole world. How do you do this? By taking pictures of animals, of course!
Board game update gains portrait view, and goes universal
Back in February, we praised the game Ticket to Ride but apologized to the makers, because we didn't review it so much as review how people reacted to it. Specifically, we gave it to people who play games, and those who do not. We didn't judge them, we weren't "judging" TTR as the cool kids call it, we wanted to see how one game worked for fans and for total newcomers. Now it's been updated to Ticket to Ride 2.0, and we'd like to inform you that the world has changed.
Developers warned of yearly iTunes Connect downtime
Apple will be holding its annual shutdown of iTunes Connect from December 22 until December 29, the same dates as last year, the company has confirmed. Announced over the weekend in a news update on the Developer portal, the downtime warning advises developers to get any new apps or app updates in order and submitted to Connect in a timely manner before that eight-day period, as they will not be accepted or approved over the holidays.
Your favorite world-traveling villian is back, but she isn't better than ever
If you grew up in the '80s and '90s, you're probably familiar with Carmen Sandiego, the sassy, classy, and especially slippery thief who is known for stealing everything from artifacts to famous locations. If you've been a fan of The Lady in Red, or at least a fan of thwarting her plans, you should be excited to know that she's up to her old tricks in a new game. Today, we're checking out Carmen Sandiego Returns, an iOS game that features the antics of the Miss of Misdemeanor herself to see how the game holds up to the rest of the storied franchise.
There's a Bing app?
Not only is there a Bing app for iOS, but it is now Bing 6.0. That's a lot of revisions for a product you may not even have realized exists -- but then that could be the life story of search engine service Microsoft Bing. While Google remains a verb, and Bing barely enters the language, Microsoft has been improving it and this new version is very good.
My MacNN tool belt
In the interest of keeping these stories both interesting and relevant, I am going to attempt to follow Charles' self-imposed rule to not cover any apps that have been previously mentioned. For those of you who are not familiar with me, I first began working here as a writer back in 2008, but since then have become something of a swiss army knife for the team. You will still find my writing around the site, however, you will also now find me contributing more in the way of graphics, audio, and video content. With this in mind, I am going to highlight a few apps that are vital to my day-to-day workflow.
Carmen Sandiego Returns resurrects the venerable educational software series
Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced the return of the iconic Carmen Sandiego brand, with the first-ever app for iPad and iPhone. The launch of Carmen Sandiego Returns also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the mysterious character, adored by millions of children and nostalgic adults alike.
Eat or be eaten in this fast paced multiplayer game
Multiplayer games on iOS are somewhat of a rarity still, especially live-action multiplayer games. But we found one, and we're excited to show it to you. Allow us to introduce you to Agar.io, a massively-multiplayer action game.
Excellent podcast app but you'll need the in-app purchases
Ferrite Recording Studio 1.0 is a complete podcast recording, editing and to an extent even distributing app which does what it does very well – though it isn't yet the one-stop-shop it aims to be. Plus, it's a free app -- but you have to have at least one of the in-app purchases to even really try it out. We do like it a lot and do expect it to get better over time, but also time is something you need to devote to the app as it stands now. You won't pick up how to use Ferrite without reading through the online documentation.
Learn about animal biology, evolution, and biochemistry in this beautiful educational app
You should never stop seeking out knowledge, regardless of your age. A decade or two ago, information required a lot more legwork, but thanks to the era of the Internet, we've got tons of information at our fingertips. If you're interested in biology, we're going to show you an educational app sure to entertain and educate adults and children alike, Brian Cox's Wonders Of Life.
Control a six foot tall cephalopod as he attempts to fit in with the human race
We love silly games, which should be fairly obvious to regular readers at this point. We've checked out a ton of games that are on the "weird" side, and we're always excited to add more to that list. Today, we're here to talk about Octodad: Dadliest Catch, which is as heartwarming as it is bizarre.
Race across the grasslands and don't get eaten in this endless runner
How many times have you watched a nature documentary and found yourself rooting for the inevitably doomed herbivore? Don't you want to see the gazelle outrun the lion, or just once, turn around and give him a taste of his own medicine? Well, in Oh My Giraffe, you can take control of your own digital grasslands herbivore and play to outsmart those cocky carnivores.
Silly puzzle game has you singing, jumping, and shaking to get through 100 action-packed levels
Puzzle games are fun, right? Of course they are! And it's a broad genre, but for the most part they tend to be fairly stationary games. There are some titles out there, though, like the Warioware and Mario Party series that feature some interactive puzzles and arcade games, but largely require a group of people to play them. So what's a puzzle lover to do? That's easy, you grab Progress to 100, an action-based puzzle game for iOS.
App Store searches get smarter, go beyond metadata or strict spellings
Developers over the last week have reported that the algorithm that powers App Store searches is evolving, now offering suggestions that go beyond simple title or keyword identification. The biggest changes appear to have debuted on November 12, but tweaks and other noticeable (to developers) differences in results have been happening all during November, and are continuing. The overall effect appears to be that searches are more intelligent, with for example "Tweetbot" turning up in a search for "Twitter" when it didn't previously.
Bug in iOS 9 blamed for removal of third-party software keyboards from Chrome
Google has released an update for Chrome on iOS, disabling third-party software keyboards from working with the mobile browser. The update, specific for the iOS version only and released through the App Store yesterday, removes support for third-party keyboards due to "crashes caused by a bug in iOS 9" related to the keyboards, though it is unclear when exactly support will be reintroduced to the browser in the future.
Apple News and Flipboard rival
It's Facebook Notify 1.0.0 but it has nothing to do with the incessant notifications that Facebook regularly sends you. Instead, this is actually a news app which wants to keep you up to date with the news that most interests you. It's really competition for the likes of Apple News and Flipboard in how it wants to be where you go to look up what's happening.
When, why and how fast to stop running two calendars
Please consider this a sequel to a previous Pointers about Syncing Google and Apple Calendars. Please consider it a relief, too, as we wrote that article to help us figure out a problem and now that problem has been taken away from us. We no longer have to juggle both calendars and the first new event we added afterwards was a party to celebrate this fact. You can juggle both, you may well need to and that previous Pointers will tell you how, but the short version is that mixing two of anything is terrible.
Live out your spookiest fantasy, scare the pants off unsuspecting humans
Ghosts are an enigma. They mostly go around trying to scare people, and aside from Casper, when's the last time you heard of a friendly ghost? After playing Haunt the House: Terrortown, we can't say we blame them for all the spookiness, as it seems like quite a bit of fun.
Step into a virtual world with professionally filmed, 360-degree videos
Once upon a time, the concept of virtual reality was pretty far-fetched, but thanks to things like Google Cardboard and the Oculus Rift, it's finally arrived. App developers have taken notice as well, creating and collecting content specifically for full immersion, and we couldn't be happier. Today we're checking out Vrse, aN app that allows you to enjoy immersive video.
All work apps and no play apps make Chas a dull boy app
With my self-imposed rule of not writing about any of the programs already covered in the previous installments by William Gallagher and Malcolm Owen, I'm left with not a lot to talk about in terms of my core work apps: I rely on Simplenote for my daily MacNN writing, Pixelmator for creating web graphics for the site, I use Fantastical more than Calendar directly (though I'm frankly balking at the sky-high price for the Mac upgrade), and I mostly use default Apple apps unless there's a good reason not to. So here's my other apps, mostly outside my day-to-day job, that I rely on the most.
Downloads for sideloaded app against developer program agreement, Apple claims
The creators of F.lux for iOS have been asked to pull the download from their website by Apple, for violating its Developer Program Agreement. Previously only accessible on iOS for jailbroken devices, the app was recently made available to install via sideloading to normal iOS installations, but Apple objected and requested the app be pulled from view, preventing anyone else from being able to install it at all.
Streaming music service shuttering after almost two years of operation
Beats Music is closing down at the end of this month, according to an announcement on its website and via networked speaker manufacturer Sonos. The Apple-owned streaming music service will shutter completely on November 30, with Apple suggesting existing subscribers transfer their profile, playlists, and musical preferences over to Apple Music before their subscriptions cancel and the service becomes unavailable on that date.
Charming adventure game presents engineering puzzles in the big city
If you're a fan of point-and-click adventures, you're in luck. Today we're here to feature what might be our favorite point-and-click game for iOS that we've come across yet. We're talking about Lumino City, an impressive little adventure game set in the eponymous magical city.
Challenging puzzle game for kids offers fun for adults as well
We've covered a lot of children's apps in these parts, but generally they tend to fall into two broad categories: educational or simulation-role playing. There's not a lot of games that are designed for elementary age kids to just enjoy for the sake of playing a game. That's why we were excited when we heard about Leonardo's Cat, a game that is designed to be challenging and fun for any puzzle-loving kid.
Subscribers of YouTube Red can use YouTube Music app ad-free
YouTube has launched a version of its mobile app specifically dedicated to playing music, following the end of its Android-only YouTube Music Key trial. Available for iOS and Android, the YouTube Music app allows its users to search for individual tracks and play personalized stations from the video service's extensive library, though subscribers of the YouTube Red service will be able to enjoy more features, including the ability to listen to music uninterrupted by advertising.
The browser comes to iPhone and iPad for some reason
Firefox 1.1 is now available for free on iOS and it brings you, er, um, well. Give us a minute. There must be something. Got it. Firefox is -- no, that's not it. Hand on heart, all we can think of is that if you're a fan of Firefox on the Mac, you'll enjoy having something that looks and works like it on your iPhone and iPad -- just don't think that its equivalent to Firefox on the desktop.
Bug fixes, better Microsoft Office compatibility on tap for minor update
On Wednesday, Apple issued minor updates for all six of its "iWork" apps -- Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for both iOS and OS X -- to address some bugs and improve compatibility with some Microsoft Office documents. Stability for the apps across both mobile and desktop platforms was also addressed. Fixes for the Mac included problems with exporting presentations, or looking up definitions under certain circumstances in Pages. For iOS, fixes for issues in Numbers and Keynote were addressed.
Also fixing the common problems you'll get
It's very easy to say why you should use Airplay on Apple TV: it means any video you watch on your iPhone or iPad can be played directly on your television set. Since the odds are that your TV, even if you have to dust it off a bit first, is bigger than your iOS screens, this is nice. Back in the day families used to watch shows together so there's also a handy nostalgic angle too.
Tech Talks return for Apple TV development in ten-city tour
Apple has revealed it is holding Tech Talks in a number of cities around the world, to help developers create apps for the fourth-generation Apple TV. Open to members of the Apple Developer Program, the talks are being held over the next few months from December onwards, with each session said to offer technical information on creating apps for tvOS, refined coding techniques, and other assistance from on-hand Apple experts.
Stream video directly from your iPhone and iPad to your computer
Have you ever wondered how so many people have figured out how to record their iPad and iPhone screen? Have you ever wanted to walk a group of people through a new app? Are you a developer looking to make a quick tutorial on how to use their app? Never fear, we've found a super quick, super easy way to do all these things, by utilizing an app called AirServer.
Instagram account credentials sent by malicious app to third-party server
An app that harvested the account credentials of Instagram users has been pulled from the iOS App Store and Google Play, after being found to be malware. InstaAgent, an app that claimed it could track who has visited the user's Instagram feed, has been found to store and transmit the usernames and passwords of Instagram accounts to a third-party server, potentially putting hundreds of thousands of user account credentials at risk.
Offline turn-by-turn navigation, search arriving in impending Google Maps update
Google is making its offline mode in Google Maps mobile apps more useful, with the Android version getting the change now and iOS set to receive it "soon," according to the official blog. The updated offline feature promises to make life easier for its users, by allowing them to continue navigating to a location whenever the cellular signal drops, or in cases where the user wants to save on their wireless plan's data allowance, with the app seamlessly switching between offline and online modes.
New technology cuts streams to 480p, also for tethering users
At today's tenth T-Mobile Un-Carrier event, the company announced several initiatives that it claims will reduce user prices. Beginning this Sunday, and as part of the T-Mobile's "Binge On" initiative, video streams from HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, Sling TV, Starz, WatchESPN, and other popular video providers, don't count against data allocations for customers on Simple Choice qualifying plans.
The unimaginably useful yet unimaginably under-used news service
There's an argument that this year is the 20th anniversary of RSS. Strictly speaking, the first technology called RSS was launched in March 1999, but it uses ideas from 1995, at least according to Wikipedia. Whether it's 16 or 20 years, though, it still hasn't caught on -- and yet I and the rest of the MacNN staff are fans who use it daily, very often hourly.
Apple pushes 9.0.1 update to fourth generation Apple TV owners
Apple has released the fourth generation Apple TV's first patch, incrementing the version to 9.0.1. Cupertino has declined to provide information on what the patch resolves or updates. Following the update, the tvOS version is now build 13T402. The update does not restore support for Bluetooth keyboards, excised from previous developer builds of the software, pre-release.
Get more from Apple's presentation tool
If you want to be really harsh about it, Apple's Keynote presentation software might only be better than Microsoft PowerPoint because fewer people use it. We are all so used to sitting through PowerPoint presentations that we recognise the software no matter how fancy the speakers get. Keynote seems newer and fresher just in comparison. Only, there is a huge amount of power behind Keynote and this is only increasing.
Physics puzzle combines air hockey and mini golf into fun skill shot game
We're big fans of physics puzzles like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, even though they're not exceptionally rare these days. There's something fun about relaxing with a game that requires you to do a bit of thinking. That's the idea behind the skill-shot game we'd like to talk about today, named Gentlemen Ricochet.
Postcard app servers breached this week, UK authorities investigating
Touchnote has become the latest online service to confirm it's servers have been breached, with a limited amount of customer details accessed by the attackers. The postcard creation app for iOS and Android advises it first discovered the data breach on November 4, with the company now contacting potentially affected customers via email while still investigating the extent of the attack and fixing any security issues.
Other travel apps are available, but we like the trip-planning features
This is a case of the Internet solving a problem that the Internet caused. Back in the day, if you wanted to go somewhere, you consulted a travel agent, and he or she presented you with a neat little agenda, a smart little itinerary, and a not very little bill. Now that we book our own planes, trains, cars and hotels, maybe we can see why they earned their money. Or maybe we can just see how useful an app and service like TripIt is.
Study to use data to correlate late-term pregnancy loss to placenta health
The Yale School of Medicine has launched its second ResearchKit-based study app, this time using volunteer data to prove a relationship between undersized placenta and late-term pregnancy loss. With the larger study, doctors are hoping that estimated placental volume (EPV) will become an easier and more reliable measure to predict, and eventually prevent, fetal loss -- an issue that affects 30,000 women in the US each year. If the correlation is established, EPV could become a part of routine prenatal care.
RPG fans rejoice in knowledge of a Final Fantasy mobile title that is actually good
The Final Fantasy franchise is huge, and with FF7 getting a remake, we thought it'd be a good time to talk about one of our favorite mobile Final Fantasy titles. Today we're here to show you Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, a game that manages to encompass what the Final Fantasy series is about in a compact form.
First US store to offer loyalty card integration with Apple Pay
Walgreens has become the first major retailer in the United States to integrate its customer loyalty scheme with Apple Pay. The announcement means that members of the Balance Rewards program can now participate in the scheme, having their rewards card accepted as part of the same contactless payment transaction used for Apple Pay itself, without requiring a second scan or presenting the membership card to store staff.
Fast-paced local multiplayer game brings fun, competitive pay to the iPad
There's a shortage of action-packed local multiplayer games for iOS, and there's an extreme shortage of any good ones. Sure, there are tons of great board game ports, and there's some decent card games as well, but where's the action? The suspense? The drama? Well, it turns out that it was hiding in our new favorite iOS game, Wrestle Jump.
Arcade shooter offers up classic nostalgic gameplay
If you grew up playing arcade games through the 1980s and 1990s, you probably spent a fair amount of time flying through space, shooting enemy spaceships and saving the day. These sort of shooters may not be as prominent today, but thanks to mobile gaming they've seen a surprising comeback. Today, we bring you a shooter that feels like it would be equally at home in an arcade cabinet as it would be in your iPhone: Cosmos - Infinite Space.
Will have limited features compared to Windows version
Microsoft is planning to bring its Cortana voice-powered personal assistant service to iOS, and is looking for a pool of iOS users to help the company beta-test the technology. The company is now accepting signups in the US and China from "Windows Insiders," or those who helped beta-test Windows 10, and will limit the number of people who can get early releases of the software. Microsoft has been testing Cortana for iOS for six months already, and there is no known release date for a final version.
Everyone's favorite mining simulator finally gets a story
We've been fans of Minecraft since the old days, and we mean the "small, medium, large" map days. We also mean the "no biomes" days. We mean way back, when the game didn't have an endlessly-generating map or multiplayer days. So when we heard Minecraft was getting a single-player, narrative-based game, we immediately turned up our noses. However, we decided to snag Minecraft: Story Mode to see if the game really lives up to all the hype it's been generating.