icloud ▪ June 3

When Apple Watch and Watch OS 1.0 shipped in April, the definite omission of an Apple Reminders app on the platform was particularly surprising to me. The Apple Watch User Guide even highlights the app’s absence:

There’s no Reminders app on Apple Watch, but Apple Watch notifies you of reminders you create in the Reminders app on your iPhone—and on any other iOS device or Mac that’s signed in using your Apple ID. Also, you can create reminders using Siri on Apple Watch.

Creating and responding to reminders is fine, but my girlfriend and I use a shared iCloud Reminders list for our grocery list, and being able to glance at the watch as you walk through the supermarket without pulling out the iPhone is an ideal use case for Apple Watch. Fortunately, Flexibits has developed a new version of its Fantastical app for iPhone that brings the full Reminders experience to Apple Watch, fulfilling an important use case for the watch I had in mind before it arrived.

Fantastical for Apple Watch also brings the excellent streamlined calendar list view to the watch, complete with the app’s easy-to-use natural language parsing feature that sets it apart from Apple’s own calendar app… expand full story

icloud ▪ June 2

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Update 2 9:45PM ET: Users this evening again reported issues centered around iCloud. The outage affected all store services, according to Apple’s status page. It appears to have been resolved, however, with the exception of Game Center.

Update: After about an hour of downtime and still with no admission from Apple of anything ever having gone wrong, iCloud services seem to be coming back online now.

Despite being listed as fully functional on Apple’s status page, it seems iCloud is once again down for many users. Reports across Twitter and in our own experience here at 9to5Mac have verified that iCloud and the App Store (and possibly other Apple services) are currently down.

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icloud ▪ May 29

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Google Photos

My relationship with Apple’s hardware is simple: I’m happily locked in, and not changing platforms any time soon. But my relationship with Apple’s software is complex: I want to love it, but every time Apple decides to “throw everything away” and “start over” with an app, it’s disruptive — and for many users, unnecessary. From my perspective, users weren’t complaining that Apple’s popular photo apps iPhoto or Aperture were hopelessly broken or even deficient in major ways, yet Apple discontinued both of them last month to release Photos, a bare-bones alternative no one seems to love. On the relationship scale, I didn’t abandon Aperture; Aperture abandoned me (and a lot of other people).

So yesterday’s announcement of the free cross-platform photo and video storage app Google Photos couldn’t have come at a better time. Apple has struggled to explain why it now offers two separate photo syncing services, neither with the virtually unlimited photo and video storage Google is now giving users — notably all users, including Mac and iOS users. Moreover, Apple has offered no sign that it’s going to drop the steep fees it’s charging for iCloud photo storage. With WWDC just around the corner, Apple has a big opportunity to match Google’s photo and video initiative, thrilling its customers in the process. If that doesn’t happen, I’m moving my collection into Google Photos, and not looking back…

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Spark

Readdle today released a new addition to its giant collection of productivity apps for iOS with the debut of Spark. Spark is described in short as “fast and smart email for your iPhone” while its core features include tons of customization options and intelligent notification and filtering options that help take the stress out of email. Though Spark is only the latest third party email app to land on the iPhone, it is the first solid email client I’ve used on the Apple Watch so far. How does it compare to Apple’s own Mail app in this case? expand full story

icloud ▪ May 25

icloud ▪ May 21

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Update: As of 6.30am PT, Apple had updated its status page as showing all services back to normal. The company said that 40% of users had been affected.

Apple’s system status page is showing a substantial issue with iCloud services, the problems affecting eleven different services and persisting for four hours and counting at the time of writing.

While Apple lists the services as “may be slow for some users,” many users are reporting that the services are either completely unavailable or time-out when attempting to login …  expand full story

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