Apps Stories April 27, 2015

Facebook continues to add new capabilities to its Messenger app today with the launch of a new video calling feature. A new video icon at the top of conversation threads will initiate a call, allowing participants to communicate across platforms over Wi-Fi or LTE connections.

The addition puts Facebook in competition with Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype, and other similar services. Interestingly, web-based video chat has been available on the desktop for some time, and was previously powered by Skype.

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The Weather Channel brings real-time alerts for rain, snow, & lightning strikes to Apple Watch & iPhone

The Weather Channel app is today bringing new real-time alerts for rain, snow, and lightning strikes to both iOS devices and the Apple Watch.

For rain and snow alerts, the app will be offering up what the company says are “exact, to-the-minute timing of when rain or snow will start based on their GPS location,” while the app will also notify users of lightning strikes nearby with a new lightning map layer.

The Weather Channel® today announced the launch of real-time rain and lightning alerts on iOS, Android and Apple Watch. In the app, users can set up fully customizable notifications based on personal preferences so they receive the exact alerts that are relevant to them, whether they are at home or on-the-go. By combining the most accurate forecasts and weather data from The Weather Channel with real-time notifications, users have the information they need to get outside, stay safe and make the most of the weather.

The Weather Channel app, which just received an update for Apple Watch support over the weekend, is available on the App Store.

Instagram introduces three new filters and support for emoji in hashtags

Instagram announced today that three new photo filters will be making their way to the photo sharing app later today through an update on the iOS App Store. The new filters are called Lark, Reyes, and Juno, and are focused on enhancing outdoor photography.

These new filters are just the first of many, as the app’s development team has promised to add new filters more regularly in future updates.

discover

Discover announced today that it’s made a deal with Apple to join the other three big card companies already offering support for the company’s new payments service, Apple Pay. That means that starting this fall, Discover cardholders will finally be able to add their cards to the service and make contactless, NFC-based payments using iPhone and Apple Watch, as well as make payments within apps supporting the platform on all iOS devices. expand full story

Apps Stories April 24, 2015

Starwood Hotels has allowed guests to use their iPhone as their room key since last November, and today announced that guests can now use the group’s Apple Watch app to unlock room doors at more than 100 properties. You can also use the app to get directions to the hotel and to check-in.

“We’re committed to mobile and digital innovation and are excited to be the first hotel company to let guests check in and open their hotel room door with their Apple Watch,” said Mark Vondrasek, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Apple Watch allows us to engage with our guests and give them the information they need instantaneously in a simple yet extremely stylish way. ”

For regular guests, the app offers two additional functions …  expand full story

Apps Stories April 23, 2015

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