New iWork & iLife apps go for simplicity, upset power users all over again

Following the introduction of Apple’s new iWork apps at its iPad Air event earlier this week, an increasing number of users have taken to Apple’s support forums to voice concerns over the removal of features as the apps receive new simplified user interfaces that bring them more in line with the iOS versions. Several pages of complaints from users in Apple’s forums point out that many features, those mostly used by power users, have been removed from Apple’s new redesigned version of Pages:

Why does Apple get rid of so many useful features in new pages? iWork 13 has been a huge disappointment and nothing more than a downgrade to match the capabilities of the iOS iWork apps.  If Apple simply made performance upgrades to iWork 09 I would have been happy.  I hope there is a way to get back to the most up to date version of iWork 09.

It comes down to this. Apple has discontinued Pages in its entirety. You can no longer download it or purchase it, and Apple won’t support it. Apple has simultaneously introduced a completely new and different product, also called Pages, that is designed for different users and different use cases. Despite the name, it is not a successor to Pages (old), except in the licensing terms, it is completely a completely different species of animal. Those of us who depended on Pages (old) cannot use Pages (new). We have to save all our Pages files in a widely used format and import them into a new word processor that supports the formatting.

Pages isn’t the only app, users are also hitting Apple’s forums to list features that have been removed from the redesigned versions of Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie: Read more

Review: Boxie for iPhone makes Dropbox management even easier

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Many of us keep files in the cloud using services like Dropbox. While Dropbox has a decent iPhone app, there are quite a few features that it lacks. Boxie is an intuitive and beautiful new Dropbox client that aims to alleviate some of those issues. From the ability to view any file’s previous revisions and restore deleted files to the simple drag-and-drop file manager, Boxie has a ton of advantages over the official Dropbox app.

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iPhone app turns your iPhone 5c (and case) into ‘Connect Four’ board

Ever since the iPhone 5c launched along with a specially-designed case, people have compared the case’s design to a the game Connect Four. Now a new app has arrived on the App Store that takes that observation and turns it into a real game. The app is called Flipcase, and the idea is pretty simple: you put your iPhone 5c case on backwards, so that the holes on the back are on top of the screen, and then take turns tapping the columns to try to connect four colored dots.

The app’s description says it’s compatible with other iPhone models, including the iPhone 5 and 5s, though it’s designed specifically with the 5c in mind. Flipcase is available for free on the App Store.

… And another cool use for the 5c case:

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Facebook prepares major updates to iPhone apps as top engineer returns to Apple

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Screenshots of upcoming Facebook Graph Search for iPhone update

Facebook is preparing a pair of major updates for its most popular iPhone applications, according to a source familiar with the apps. Facebook is testing an updated version of its main iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch client that integrates the social network’s powerful Graph Search tool. Graph Search is a feature that allows Facebook users to locate fellow users that have similar interests. For example, a Graph Search user can search for all friends who “Like” a certain Facebook page, musician, or movie. The upcoming app update incorporates Graph Search into the Facebook app’s main search bar.

In addition to the aforementioned update to the main Facebook for iOS application, Facebook is preparing a redesign of its Messenger app. Facebook is said to be internally testing two new versions of Messenger. The first version is said to look largely similar to the Messages application bundled into iOS. That version includes green interface elements. The second version in testing, which the source says is more likely to ship to end-users, is heavy on white space and very fitting for iOS 7’s design. It is not filled with blue interface elements like the new Facebook app. The new app has tabs for active/recent chats, contacts, and settings across the bottom…

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iOS 7 How-to: Redeem iTunes gift cards with your device’s camera

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iTunes gift cards are a great gift for iOS Device users. They can be used to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore. However, entering in the string of characters to redeem the gift card balance has typically been a pain with the touch keyboards on iPads, iPhone, and iPod touches. Like iTunes 11 on the Mac, iOS 7 moves to solve this problem. You can now use your device’s camera to scan in the code.

Go to the main/featured page in whichever store you choose and to get to the redemption screen, scroll all the way down, and press on redeem:

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A look at what some high-profile apps will look like when iOS 7 hits

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Click for a larger view.

Apple announced on Tuesday that iOS 7 will be publicly available on September 18th. The revamped OS moves completely away from the realistic designs of the past six generations, dropping almost all “artificial shadows” (as Apple SVP Craig Federighi called them), gloss, and even button borders. Instead, the Jony Ive-inspired interface features an entirely rethought design language that focuses heavily on large icons, lightweight fonts, whitespace, transparency, and conservative use of color.

We previously took a look at what some of Apple’s own in-house apps could look like when redesigned for iOS 7. During Apple’s September 10th event, Federighi flashed up a slide displaying the upcoming iOS 7 updates for many third-party applications. None of the apps were labeled, but we’ve tracked down names for most of them.

The apps featured are:

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Apple starts new campaign to push businesses to convert tools to iPad apps

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Apple has replaced its iPad in Business apps website with a new site that is much simpler and more direct. The new page highlights multiple specific use cases for which a business could use an iPad, then presents specific applications to complete those tasks. The old website was more cluttered and less specific. The iPhone version of Apple’s business apps website still showcases the older format…

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Free content begins showing up in Apple Store iOS app amid sales push

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Two weeks ago, we reported that Apple would update its Apple Store iOS app with the ability to receive free content. The app was updated a couple of weeks ago to lay the groundwork for this feature, and now free content has begun appearing. The first paid app (normally $0.99) for free is Color Zen, and Apple will provide either a new app, piece of iTunes media content, or iBook each week.

The functionality works both in Apple Stores and actually if you are not in a store. A user just needs to pull up a store inside of the app’s store panel (see image above). When you click the free content option, you are taking to a screen to finalize your download.

We previously reported that Apple Store employees are instructed to install this application on a new iOS Device during Personal Setup (After a purchase). At an internal event in San Francisco last month, Tim Cook revealed that only a small percentage of Apple customers are aware of the app, but Cook wants to use the app as an element of his plan to boost iPhone sales in his stores. 

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In an iOS 7 world, here’s how Apple’s iLife, iWork, iBooks and other apps could look

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The introduction of iOS 7 brought forth a new era of iOS design: one that discards old thinking and draws little inspiration from past designs. While Apple’s included applications in iOS 7 have all been updated for the new design aesthetic, their App Store apps haven’t. Installing any of Apple’s other applications alongside iOS 7 reveals a huge discrepancy between the old, skeuomorphic design, and the new, flatter look. Obviously, Apple will have to redesign all of their App Store applications. So, what will they look like?

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New for app developers in iOS 7: text to speech, motion effects, background downloads, free in-app purchases, more

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We’ve reported on a number of big improvements coming to iOS 7 for both app developers and accessory manufacturers already. Yesterday we reported first on the new blinking and smiling detection features available to camera and photo app developers, and earlier this month told you about some of the new Bluetooth related APIs coming this fall.

We previously walked you through some of the new APIs and features for gamers, but there is still a lot more coming to third-party app developers in iOS 7. A few big improvements: a text to speech API, background downloads for in-app content, motion effects, 3D maps, and much more.

Head below for details on some of the more notable new APIs available for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7: Read more

Photoful takes an amazing gesture-based approach to organizing and sharing photos

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Even with upcoming improvements to the native Photos app in iOS 7, simple tasks like sharing, organizing and deleting a couple of photos can take quite a few taps. If you’d like to share multiple photos, you need to tap on literally every single picture then press the share button. In comes the new, free Photoful app – and it blows the native app out of the water.  Read more

Logitech announces the Harmony Ultimate Hub: Turns any iPhone into a full-fledged Universal Remote

harmony-smart-control-gallery-02After nearly selling their Harmony remote line, Logitech has officially announced the Harmony Ultimate Hub, an “appcessory” that turns any iPhone (or most any Smartphone!) into a slick universal remote.  Bringing the beautiful Harmony remote touch interface to smartphones everywhere.  The hub allows up to 8 devices to connect and control entertainment systems from anywhere in the house via a Bluetooth connection.  No more precision remote shooting to try and hit the IR sensor just right… Read more