Maps ‘City Tours’ feature hidden in iOS 8 betas, works like a guided Flyover video

Although deeper changes to Maps are in the works, Apple did announce a new City Tours feature for iOS 8 discreetly on one of the keynote slides. This feature is not normally available in the current iOS 8 betas, but developer Pierre Blazquez has managed to unlock the feature through a hidden debug screen and shines some light on exactly what ‘City Tours’ entails.

City Tours is best described as a guided-camera Flyover view. After activating the tour, the Maps app changes to satellite mode and begins zooming and panning to different landmarks in the city. For example, in the video, the tour rotates and pans between a couple of different cathedrals. More screenshots after the break …

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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

iOS 8: Lock screen app shortcuts, iPhoto changes, & App Store reviews

Update: Explanation of lock screen apps after the break…

Since Apple previewed iOS 8 yesterday during the keynote at WWDC, we’ve been continually trying out the new iPhone and iPad software to get familiar with the changes coming to users this fall. First up is a new way for apps to be promoted on the iPhone using subtle location-based prompts. Similar to how the lock screen features an icon and a swipe up gesture from the lower right corner of the display to quickly access the Camera app, several users are reporting a variety of apps are being featured on the lower left corner prompted by being near a relevant venue.

For instance, in the screen shot displayed above on the left, the user is visiting an Apple Store and an App Store icon appears in the lower left corner. Swiping up from the bottom acts as a shortcut to quickly access the Apple Store app within the App Store. Once installed, the Apple Store app icon then appears on the lock screen when visiting the retailer. While it’s not certain which specific perimeters must be met for this functionality to work, the commonality between other supported App Store apps including Starbucks and ShopSavvy is location. Read more

Apple makes it easy for devs (and others) to screencast iOS apps with OS X Yosemite

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.00.09 AM

Apple has added a handy feature into OS X to easily capture the screen of an iPad or iPhone on the Mac itself. Apple positions the feature as a way to help developers quickly make app previews, which Apple introduced as part of iOS 8’s improvements to the App Store, but there is no reason why this couldn’t be used by others for different purposes.

When plugging an iPad or iPhone running iOS 8 into a Mac running OS X Yosemite via USB, the iOS device now shows up as a standard camera input. This means any video app can be used to record the screen of the iOS device without the need for additional hardware.

Although Apple is targeting the feature at developers in its documentation for making app previews, it is not limited to being a developer-only feature.

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Xcode 6 features resizable iPhone and iPad simulators, leading the way for iPhones with new screen resolutions

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 21.43.28

Xcode 6 includes new iOS Simulator features that allow developers to resize the simulated screen for any arbitrary resolution. 9to5Mac first reported this was imminent in May.

Although the feature is very temperamental in the first beta, it clearly leads the way to a future with a much more diverse lineup of screen resolutions. This allows developers to test for future iOS devices that do not exist today — such as 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch iPhones for example.

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Apple focuses on developer features for iOS 8: TestFlight beta testing, biggest SDK ever, inter-app communication and more

iOS Simulator Screen shot 2 Jun 2014 19.23.27

Alongside a whole of other changes to the App Store, Apple is integrating TestFlight. This allows developers to do seamless beta-testing for free. There are also a whole host of ‘extensions’ apps can access, enabling integration into share sheets, Notification Center widgets and more.

Apple is heavily stressing that this is the biggest developer release since the App Store was announced.

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New developer APIs for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 appear in open-source WebKit

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 15.54.50

The code shows that this is a new addition for OS X 10.10 and iOS 8.

Slightly ahead of the keynote later today, Apple has pushed some of its new APIs for developers into the open-source channels. The class in question is a new view that appears to replace the current iOS and OS X WebKit implementations, which enables apps to show webpages and other content inline.

The new framework seems to indicate a focus on cross-platform API compatibility, between iOS and OS X. The leaked framework seems to be fully feature-compatible across platforms. This differs to the situation today, where developers must use the ‘WebView’ class for OS X and ‘UIWebView’ for iOS. This should help developers write more reusable code.

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Apple updates WWDC for iPhone and iPad with new design and conference schedule

With WWDC less than two weeks away now, Apple has released WWDC 2.0 for iPhone and iPad today on the App Store. The update revamps the user interface to reflect the design changes introduced with iOS 7 at last year’s WWDC conference. The update also includes a new icon to reflect the design changes: from dark purple to bright orange. The update also includes the latest schedule for this year’s conference (or as much as it will reveal) so developers attending the conference will want to download and reference it soon.

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Apple enticing games publishers with promotion deals in return for exclusivity

Game Center WWDC 2013

The Wall Street Journal has published a report saying that both Apple and Google are actively pursuing exclusivity deals with game developers. Whispers of these type of arrangements surfaced last year, with reports highlighting a partnership between Apple and EA for Plants vs Zombies 2.

The Journal confirms that Apple’s exclusivity deals do not include monetary payments. In return, the companies offer “premium placement” (such as featured spots on the home page) for launching first on their platform.

In regard to the Plants vs Zombies’ deal, the report says EA gave Apple agreed about two months of exclusivity.

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Facebook releases ‘Tweaks’ tool to help devs iterate on their apps faster

Tweaks

Facebook has today open-sourced its rapid prototyping tool ‘Tweaks’, a framework that helps application developers quickly iterate on their projects and test out different possibilities for their iOS apps.

The best way to improve an app is to use it every day. Even when ideas can be tested out in advance — for example, with Origami — it can still take some time with the app to see how it works in practice.

Occasionally, it’s perfect the first try. Sometimes, the idea doesn’t work at all. But often, it just needs a few minor adjustments. That last case is where Tweaks fits in. Tweaks makes those small adjustments easy: with no code changes and no computer, you can try out different options and decide which works best.

Tweaks makes it really simple for developers to adjust parameters and properties in their application and then test them out in realtime. This is particularly useful for rapid user interface development, which often consists of merely tweaking parameters (like colors or durations) than any involved work.  Normally, developers have to recompile application binaries in order to change animation curves, durations or other parameters. This is relatively slow and inefficient.

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