Automatic 2.0 for iPhone brings new design & fuel gauge support to the smart driving assistant

Automatic, the smart driving assistant that connects your car to your iPhone, is updating its accompanying iOS app today with a new design and new features. The new design, Automatic says, is meant to be “lighter, faster and more modern”. The gray header, for example, has been replaced with a white field displaying the current and past driving stats collected by the app.

In addition to the refreshed look and feel, Automatic 2.0 for iPhone brings new features to Automatic Link users. With the update, Automatic will offer fuel level information and warnings on supported cars. While this feature only works on supported cars, in many cases it goes beyond dashboard fuel gauges as Automatic can present an estimate of miles possible to be driven before running out of fuel based on previous driving behaviors. Read more

Paper by 53 shows off surface pressure feature coming to its Pencil stylus and iPad Paper app

Paper by FiftyThree Surface Pressure feature

Last fall, the folks behind the iPad drawing app Paper introduced a standalone iPad stylus that integrates with the app appropriately called Pencil. FiftyThree’s Pencil is designed to not only look like a good old-fashioned pencil, but the stylus even talks to the Paper software to decipher which end of the stylus is for drawing and which end is for erasing… like a digital pencil.

Today FiftyThree showed off in a blog post a new feature coming to current and future Pencil and Paper users that the company calls Surface Pressure. In short, FiftyThree’s Pencil stylus is getting even more like a real artist’s pencil: the Paper app will soon be able to distinguish various sides and widths of the Pencil tip as well as recognize the amount of pressure applied. Video and details below… Read more

Facebook rolling out new discovery panel for iPad with game and trending news access

updated iPad screenshot

Facebook is now rolling out a new right-side panel for its iPad application to provide timely information, the social networking company told developers today. In the newest version of the Facebook iPad app, a new panel (shown in the image above) will provide instant access to trending news topics, calendar events, the weather, and games.

In the latest update to Facebook for iPad in the US, we’re testing new ways to help people discover more timely and entertaining content on tablet. This update will surface content on the right-hand side of the iPad that’s relevant to how people use tablets today, which is primarily to read news, watch videos and play games.

The move is primarily positioned by Facebook as a way to continue to attract gaming within the network. Facebook says that over 70% of iPad users have played a game on Facebook over the past three months, so it makes sense for the company to further promote gaming on the platform. This move also serves as a way for Facebook to keep users inside of its app while on the iPad.

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iBeacons in retail stores blowing up app usage, ad engagement

cp-zatarains

One of the big debates regarding iBeacons, the tech that allows iOS apps to receive location-aware notifications over Bluetooth LE, is whether or not the experience will become intrusive for users. Imagine having your local grocery store’s app installed. Once the store has installed a few beacons, you could soon find yourself overcome with notifications as you walk around without ever even opening the app. You run the risk of users getting frustrated and potentially avoiding or deleting the app entirely. However, that hasn’t been the case when it comes to the iBeacons installed by inMarket in grocery stores across the country. It tells us app and ad engagement has skyrocketed since rolling out the platform: Read more

Ahead of Apple’s HealthKit, WebMD app now tracks health & fitness data from connected accessories

WebMD today launched “Healthy Target”, a feature within its iOS app that lets users track health data from a variety of sources like activity trackers, glucose meters, and other iPhone-connected health and fitness accessories. The feature lets users set goals, track habits, get easy to understand summaries of biometric data, and also provides progress reports and inspiration along the way. WebMD says the feature “will provide valuable assistance to individuals looking to manage chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as to a broader audience interested in achieving their fitness goals or more generally living a healthier lifestyle.” The feature acts a lot like Apple’s new Health app, which is about to launch alongside its new HealthKit platform for developers this fall with iOS 8Read more

iOS 8 lets apps access Safari AutoFill credentials for quick & easy login

In iOS 8, Apple is making the process of logging into apps a much smoother experience by allowing native iOS apps to access usernames and passwords stored in Safari. The new feature, which works by letting iOS apps tap into Safari’s AutoFill & Passwords feature, will allow users to login to apps with a simple tap rather than having to type login info. Imagine your username and password are stored in Safari’s AutoFill for Facebook, for example. When launching the native Facebook iOS app, the feature will let users select from passwords stored in Safari to quickly login (as pictured above with Apple’s demo “Shiny” app). Read more

Apple’s App Store editorial team now curating seven additional categories in Europe

(Before and after screenshots via The Guardian)

Just over a week ago at WWDC, Apple announced several changes and improvements coming to the App Store this fall with the public release of iOS 8 including new ways to navigate through the App Store as well as explore new apps. As The Guardian points out (via MacStories), App Store customers across Europe will notice improvements in the following categories: health, lifestyle, music, photo and video, productivity, and sports. Prior to the editorial expansion, every App Store category aside from education, games, food, kids, and Newsstand were populated solely by use of an algorithm of new and popular apps… Read more

Launch Center Pro 2.3 for iOS adds IFTTT, geolocation, and iBeacon support

Contrast today is releasing a major update to Launch Center Pro for iPhone and iPad adding support for If This Then That and location-based actions. The update includes support for sharing GIF images from within the app using Giphy search integration (fun, right?) as well as support for scanning barcodes and QR codes from Launch Center Pro.

While there’s certainly a lot of potential with connecting web services to native apps using LCP and the IFTTT automation service, the location-based actions using geofencing and iBeacons unlock some really cool use cases for me personally… Read more

Apple launches new ‘Soccer Fever’ App Store section prior to FIFA World Cup

soccer fever

Apple has launched a new “Soccer Fever” section on the App Store, fittingly with June 12th marking the first day of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The page has four app sections, including one for “Soccer Apps” (such as the official FIFA app itself), one for featured soccer-related games, a variety of typical social apps labeled as “Share the Fever,” and a plethora of apps for exploring the country of Brazil. Read more

Ringly introduces new iPhone-connected smart ring

Ringly Pink-Sapphire

New startup Ringly seeks to help solve a problem that many busy women have: missing important phone calls, texts or notifications because they cannot hear their phone go off in their purse, or find the phone quickly enough to get to it. Personally, I’ve run into this problem several times.

Ringly’s solution looks like an ordinary fashionable ring, but is actually a high-tech smart ring that can notify users of incoming messages, notifications, phone calls, and more.

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