Tag - Mail
One of the lesser-appreciated features of email today is how you can swap the application you use to read and write it, without swapping email addresses. You can practically swap in the middle of writing a message, it's that easy, and Airmail 3.0 for OS X wants to persuade you to make the jump. Mind you, so did Airmail 2.1 which we reviewed a year ago, but each new version does push it a little further along from good to compelling.
[Update: now fixed] According to a report from Apple, approximately 0.86 percent of users are currently seeing some problems with Mail and Notes, such as the inability to send or receive email from an iCloud account for the former program, and the inability to sync and in some cases create notes in the latter program. The outage which at press time has lasted for four hours, began shortly after 8AM Eastern time. While affected users can still access the web portal of iCloud if needed, syncing appears to be the biggest issue.
It's not as if there aren't several alternatives to Apple's Mail app and it's not as if a jump from a 1.0 to a 1.1 version is ever significant. Except today. For Airmail 1.1 for iOS doesn't really add more than one tiny feature that's important, but it's important. As of this version, Airmail is now designed for iPad as well as iPhone –– and it is designed very well.
There might be another new version of the Spark email app before you've read to the end of this sentence: the company has done at least one a month since last July. Not all have been hugely significant but most have and if anything tops this month's previous release for good new features, it's this month's second one. For where Spark 1.5.0 was an iPhone app that you could run on an iPad if you didn't mind it being stretched up to the bigger screen, now the new Spark 1.6.0 is a proper universal app –– including an excellent Apple Watch edition.
We may be the only people who like email as a concept, and are fine with Apple Mail as an app. That's nice for us, but even we agree there are things we wish Apple would add, and there are now several alternative apps that provide the features we'd like, and many are struggling without. Spark 1.5.0 for iPhone is one, and like the recently-released and recently-reviewed Airmail, it chiefly focuses on making dealing with new emails very, very fast.
It's like the mostly-fictitious parable that NASA and its contractors spent billions of dollars developing a pen that can work in space where the Russian space agency just bought some pencils -- a moment ago we signed a form, and we did it using an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro, where in the past it would've been a ballpoint pen that cost five cents. You will never spend the money on all this Apple gear in order to sign forms, but if you have the iPad Pro, and you have the Pencil, you will never sign anything any other way ever again.
Airmail has been a popular email app on OS X that arguably suffered from not also being on iOS. That absence won't have bothered everybody, but now it doesn't have to trouble anyone, as Airmail 1.0 is out for iPhone.
Microsoft made no secret of how it had bought the companies behind calendar app Sunrise and email app Accompli. Now it's making a big deal of how it will be taking the best features from those and putting them right into its own Outlook. Microsoft Outlook 2.0.0 for iOS is the start of this process and for all the promise of what's coming next, it is just a start. If nobody told you, you might not spot for quite a while that anything is different at all -- unless you used the old Sunrise app.
There's is no doubt that you have at least a little interest in your Mac and OS X, or you wouldn't have read to the end of this sentence. Yet, it's equally sure that you're busy, it's certainly sure that updating will take longer than you think, and for once it is less obviously sure that you should do it. Trust us on this one, though: the upgrade is worth your time.
Email is not dead, email is not dying, email is still brilliant. True, we get a lot of it, and that is a problem. The volume is a problem that services and apps try to fix by being like Apple Mail, but better somehow. Dispatch 3.1.2, though, is like an adjunct to Mail that makes handing your emails faster and more efficient -- under certain circumstances.
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Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu