Review: Hours, the world’s simplest time-tracking app from former Apple Design Award winner Tapity

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Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to have to use a corporate hours-tracking/billing system will know that they typically give every impression of being designed by an enraged gorilla working to a spec provided by a sadistic accountant.

Tapity, which won an Apple Design Award back in 2011 for “the ultimate app for students” Grade, has today launched Hours, a simple color-coded app it says aims to take the pain out of time-tracking. I’ve been using a pre-release version for the past week so that I could let you know my thoughts on the day it launched …

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Review: Overcast for iPhone, the newest contender for the iOS podcast app market

With Instapaper and The Magazine, Marco Arment effectively invented the read-it-later and independent publishing idioms on iOS. Naturally, competitors followed but Arment was already a ‘front runner’ in the market. With Overcast, Arment is the follower. Overcast joins a whole host of other developers in a segment of the App Store that is already well established. It’s a different set of challenges.

In many respects, Overcast acts like its the only podcast app on the iPhone. I mean this in a good way. There aren’t any gimmicky extras or visual widgets to try and spur interest. This is very much Arment’s take on how a podcast app should look and behave. Read on for our full review …

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Paul McCartney releases five classic albums as iPad apps – more content, lower cost

ipad

The Guardian reports that Paul McCartney has released five of his classic albums as iPad apps, offering remastered audio tracks, videos, interviews, photos, and artwork from both albums and singles.

Five of his classic albums – Band on the Run, McCartney, McCartney II, RAM and Wings over America – have been turned into iPad apps by label Concord Music Group, and released through Apple’s App Store.

Surprisingly, despite the additional content, the cost of the apps is lower than buying just the albums alone…  Read more

Google Chrome for iOS update adds Cast support to web pages, gets a tweaked icon

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Google has released an updated version of the Google Chrome application for iOS today, bringing at least one interesting new feature to the app: mobile websites that have Cast support will now work with all of your Cast-capable devices. It’s unclear how the feature works at the moment, but according to the release notes, developers are going to need to add support to their webpages before they can take advantage of the feature.

Also, as will likely be praised by iOS users everywhere, the version 36.0.1985.49 update goes the way of Google Hangouts and finally gets rid of the infamous “lip” located at the bottom of the app icon:

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Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers

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Last month Apple confirmed that it would soon beef up encryption for iCloud email following a report detailing security flaws in major email services. While Apple previously encrypted emails sent between its own iCloud customers, now the company has enabled encryption for emails in transit between iCloud and third-party services for me.com and mac.com email addresses. 

The change is documented on Google’s transparency website that shows the percentage of emails encrypted in transit for both inbound and outbound email exchanges (pictured below): Read more

Estimote introduces iBeacon power management tools for extending battery life

Estimote iBeacon beacon screen grab

Estimote, the company behind the iBeacons I tested in my Launch Center Pro 2.3 coverage and used by easyJet in select European airports, is introducing a round of improvements to its beacon product line and corresponding software today. The primary focus of the improvements deals with power management and how Estimote’s iBeacons consume battery. In short, Estimote’s iBeacons are getting smarter about how they connect and stay powered by adding two beacon power modes including Basic and Smart…

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Review: Wiper encrypted messaging/calling app with neat erase feature (and iOS 8 update details)

Yes, another secure and ephemeral messaging app. There’s Wickr, Snapchat, Confide, so what makes Wiper Messenger different? I’ve had the chance to play around with the new free chatting app on iOS, and it seems to act as a fusion of WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Wickr. The app prompts you for your email address or phone number in order to create your account, and then you are brought to a fairly simple interface with three tabs across the bottom: Chats, Contacts, and More. Let’s go tab-by-tab:

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Apple seeds Safari 7.1 & 6.2 with WebKit improvements to developers and AppleSeed users

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 9.16.02 PM

 

Apple has released a new beta version of Safari to beta testers in the AppleSeed program and Mac developers. The new version for Mavericks is 7.1, while Moutain Lion users will see version 6.2. The update includes several upgrades to the WebKit engine that powers the browser.

According to the release notes, the changes include support for WebGL, IndexedDB, and JavaScript tweaks, among other things. There is also apparently a change to the way the app handles extensions, as the beta disables all installed add-ons by default and the notes request that developers check for any compatiblity issues.

Version 7.1 will likely be the last major update to Safari for Mavericks before the launch of OS X Yosemite, which will include the all-new Safari 8. The full seed notes for this beta are below:

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Apple blocks all outdated versions of Adobe Flash in Safari due to vulnerabilities

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Due to a security flaw discovered in its Flash Player software, Adobe released an update to the web plugin earlier this week. Today Apple confirmed that it had updated its plugin blacklist for OS X to stop the system from using a version of Flash Player older than 14.0.0.145 (or 13.0.0.231 on older systems).

According to Apple’s product security team:

Due to security issues in older versions, Apple has updated the web plug-in blocking mechanism to disable all versions prior to Flash Player 14.0.0.145 and 13.0.0.231.

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Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for apps coming soon to 16 new countries

Volume-Purchase-Program

Apple is about to roll out its Volume Purchase Program, which allows business and education customers to purchase and distribute iOS apps in bulk for deployed devices, into 16 new countries. Apple’s website for both the Volume Purchase Program for Business and for Education have been updated to announce the expansion and now list the following countries as coming soon to the program: Read more

The App Store’s 6th anniversary by the numbers

Steve Jobs introducing the App Store in 2008

Steve Jobs introducing the App Store in 2008

As Apple celebrates the 6th anniversary of the App Store today, let’s take a look at the most recent numbers Apple has announced regarding App Store statistics. During the WWDC keynote on June 2nd, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared that the App Store then featured more than 1.2 million apps and counting.

Out of that catalog, App Store customers have downloaded apps more than 75 billion times since the digital store debuted on July 10, 2008. Apple also noted that its platform is home to more than 9 million developers with registered accounts through the Developer Program, a number which was up 47% from the previous year… Read more