As we near the April 24th launch for the Apple Watch, a pair of notable apps have received support for the device this evening. First off, Microsoft’s OneNote app has been updated to version 2.11.7 with support for the Apple Watch. A variety of features will be available from the Watch, including the ability to dictate new notes.
Best known for its app-controlled robotic toys, iOS developer Sphero was responsible for creating the real version of the ball-shaped droid BB-8 featured in Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to Time. Having released the original iOS-controlled Sphero and much-improved Sphero 2.0 balls in 2012 and 2013, the company was accepted into a Disney accelerator program in 2014, receiving personal mentoring from Disney CEO Bob Iger — a close friend of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “When the tech-savvy CEO saw Sphero’s technology in action,” Time reports, “he realized the potential application for BB-8 and connected the startup with the masterminds of the Star Wars characters.”
Along with the disclosure of Sphero’s involvement in the robot’s creation, Time noted that an BB-8 toy was planned for release. Although Gizmodo suggested that an official BB-8 toy by Sphero had appeared on retailer Fat Brain Toys’ site, the image has since been pulled, and Sphero subsequently said that it is not a “legitimate” image. Separately, designer Christian Poulsen has demonstrated how to make a homemade BB-8 droid by cutting open a Sphero ball, inserting a neodymium magnet inside, and placing another magnet inside a handmade foam head, painting the head and ball to match BB-8. Poulsen described making the toy as a quick one-day project, and has a collection of videos showing the modified Sphero moving around much as BB-8 does in the upcoming movie. Sphero 2.0 currently sells for $130. The official Sphero-designed toy will likely be released closer to the film, which is due out on December 18, 2015.
Updated April 22, 2015: In addition to noting that the BB-8 image run by Fat Brain Toys is not its actual product, Sphero has confirmed its involvement in BB-8, providing clarification and an official link to follow progress on the toy.
“This is the beginning of a whole new category of consumer products. You can own a piece of the movie, have it in your home, and relive an experience that is authentic to the entertainment on the screen.” said Rob Maigret, Chief Creative Officer. “Our hardware and software technology advancements make it possible to build the toys of the future now. We are deepening the user connection in ways that, until today, have only been portrayed in science fiction.”
According to a leaked email from the Sony Pictures hack, Snapchat has given former Apple executive Scott Forstall a 0.11 percent stake of its company for being an advisor. According to the email, Forstall was given his stake in early 2014 with his advisory occurring in January of that year.
Wikipedia today has announced a major update to its app on iOS. The update adds a handful of new features to both the iPhone and iPad Wikipedia apps. First off, the update makes a few design tweaks to the appearance of articles. At the top of every article now is a large header image. Previously in Wikipedia on iOS, header images would appear smaller and below the first paragraph of text.
Workflow for iOS was initially released back in December with a plethora of capabilities thanks to iOS 8. Now, the app has been updated to version 1.2 with support for Apple Watch. Workflow, similar to Automator on OS X, allows users to create more than 200 automated actions with a mix and match interface on the iPad and iPhone. With Apple Watch, users will be able to view and download workflows designed for Apple Watch instantly from their wrist.
Earlier today Facebook unveiled a dedicated website for its Messenger service, accompanying dedicated apps for the iPhone and iPad. Now, however, a third-party developer has taken that newly unveiled web interface and put it into a dedicated OS X desktop app.
There are now several companies selling USB thumb drives for iPhone and iPad since the first ones with built-in Lightning connectors debuted late last year. By connecting a small and lightweight thumb drive directly to your iOS device, you can avoid limitations of onboard storage and cloud services and instead store and stream media like music, video, and photos using the drive’s additional storage.
A few things to consider when searching for the right Lightning drive: some have a battery that requires charging, companion apps for managing and streaming content from an iOS device vary in quality, and I found some have designs that make using the drives and your iOS device at the same time easier than others. Lastly, pricing varies quite a bit based on the the options below with drives ranging from 8GB to 256GB and other options offering bring-your-own storage using a micro SD card slot. Read more
When the Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order on April 10th next month, customers will have to decide between two different sizes: 38mm and 42mm. Deciding between the two sizes may be difficult if you want to buy one before they begin shipping on April 24th, so the Watch will go on display at Apple Stores two weeks ahead of its launch.
You might not be able to visit a crowded Apple Store just to make that decision, and Apple (mostly) has that covered too. Buried inside the Apple Store app for iPhone is an actual size comparison for each case size. The mockup shows the casing of the Apple Watch with the home screen icons displayed, and you can tap to toggle between the smaller and larger cases. Read more
Apple has asked developers who attended secretive Apple Watch app development workshops in Cupertino across January and February to hold off on announcing their applications, according to multiple high-profile developers. These people say that Apple has asked developers to not provide in-depth details, revealing screenshots and videos, or launch information about their applications until after the event at the very least. In some cases, Apple has even asked developers to wait until late March or early April to announce their applications…
VideoLAN has today launched several updates to VLC across its apps on iOS, Android, OS X, and every other platform where the app is available, marking the first time that the company has pushed such a massive coordinated release and the re-release of the iOS app. The new versions (with the main app numbered 2.2.0), include several features across the various platforms, and VLC says it took more than a year of volunteer work to put them together…
Apple has apparently been revising its app review strategy this week and has decided to reverse a previous decision that banned MassRoots, a marijuana-centric social app, from its software storefront. The application was booted from the App Store late last year (though it lasted much longer on the store than some other apps).
According to App Store guideline 2.18: