Mobile app Stories August 26, 2015

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Congrats, iPhone owners: Popular online food ordering service Eat24 has determined that you are healthier than users of Google’s Android. That’s based on data it collected from its mobile app over a three month period, tracking information regarding how ordering habits differed across the rival platforms.

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Mobile app Stories May 14, 2015

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Starbucks has confirmed multiple reports of users of its smartphone app having three-figure sums stolen from their accounts in the form of gift certificates, reports CNN.

One user lost $550 in a matter of minutes, his account auto-reloaded each time it was emptied by a hacker sending a series of $50 gift cards. Other users have also reported three-figure losses within a matter of seconds or minutes …  expand full story

Mobile app Stories May 7, 2015

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Earlier today, fitness tracker hardware and software company Fitbit filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Since the regulatory filing went public, observers have been scouring the paperwork for information on Fitbit’s financials, sales numbers, and notes about the competition. The Financial Times‘s Tim Bradshaw noticed that that Fitbit cites Apple and the recently-launched Apple Watch as the top billed competitor in the IPO Risk Factors section:

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Mobile app Stories January 8, 2015

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The plethora of smart home devices at CES makes it clear that home automation is an idea whose time has finally come. It seems there’s almost no household device now that can’t be controlled by, or at least communicate with, an iPhone.

The only downside is the expense of having to replace your perfectly good dumb devices with smart versions. This is the problem the Roost Smart Battery set out to solve, a WiFi-enabled 9v battery allowing your existing smoke alarm to send alerts to your iPhone when it’s triggered, so you get alerted even if the alarm is at the other end of the house or you’re away from home …  expand full story

Mobile app Stories December 19, 2014

Bing iOS apps updated with refreshed homescreens; iPad gets instant translation within the app

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has updated its iPad app to offer instant translation of webpages, and the ability to display trending stories and the image of the day in the Notification Center. The app could previously translate via a Safari extension, but can now do so within the app.

The iPhone app also got a visual refresh, with a swipe-up ‘popular now’ tab at the bottom and the ability to swipe through a choice of background images for the app’s homescreen.

Bing and Yahoo are both reportedly making a bid to become the default search engine for iOS when Google’s contract expires next year.

Both iPhone and iPad apps are a free download from iTunes.

Via TNW

Mobile app Stories October 24, 2014

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Apple’s developer guidelines on explicit content

An iOS developer said Apple demonstrated that their app could be used to surf for porn by sending them a screenshot containing a pornographic image. Carl Smith shared the story of the rejection of Wave, an app for browsing Instagram and public images, in a blog post.

It turns out Apple thought the best way to tell us our app could be used to surf porn was to surf for porn using our app. Then send us some pictures and say take a look at these! Except they said, “Please see the attached screenshot for more information.” So with no warning […]

They sent us a picture of a guy masturbating.

The explicit image was attached to an email rejecting the app on the basis that the process for flagging inappropriate content was inadequate …  expand full story

Mobile app Stories October 6, 2014

Adobe updates desktop Creative Cloud apps, debuts new sharing services

To complement the new Creative Cloud Talent Search, Creative Profile services, and significant mobile app updates, Adobe is today enhancing most of its suite of desktop Creative Cloud applications. Here are the highlights, courtesy of Adobe:

Touch support on Windows 8 devices for key design applications; new 3D print features and enhanced Mercury Graphics Engine performance for Photoshop CC; a new Curvature tool in Illustrator CC; interactive EPUB support in InDesign CC; SVG and Synchronized Text support in Muse CC; GPU-optimized playback for viewing high resolution 4K and UltraHD footage in Premiere Pro CC; and HiDPI and new 3D support in After Effects CC.

Perhaps more interesting on the desktop side of today’s news are some fresh services. Here’s Adobe’s explainer on the new Cloud Market, Cloud Libraries, and Cloud Extract products:

  • Creative Cloud Market is a collection of high-quality, curated content that’s freely accessible to Creative Cloud members. Access and use thousands of professionally crafted files, including user interfaces, patterns, icons, brushes and vector shapes, to speed through desktop and mobile projects.
  • Creative Cloud Libraries is a powerful asset management service that lets creatives easily access and create with colors, brushes, text styles, and vector images through Creative Cloud desktop, mobile apps and services. Creative Cloud Libraries connects desktop tools like Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC to each other — and to companion mobile apps.
  • Creative Cloud Extract is a cloud-based service that reinvents the Photoshop CC comp-to-code workflow for web designers and developers, letting them share and unlock vital design information from a PSD file (such as colors, fonts and CSS) to use when coding mobile and desktop designs.

The Cloud Market feature could give services like Getty Images a run for its money, while Cloud Libraries is the iCloud-like solution that ties all of Adobe’s supported platforms together. Cloud Extract is an advanced cloud-based solution that allows designers and developers working on Photoshop projects together to share data on an asset-by-asset or feature-by-feature basis.

Like with the new services and mobile applications covered in our other Adobe news articles this morning, the updated desktop apps and new Creative Cloud services are free additions for those with existing Creative Cloud subscriptions.

Mobile app Stories September 12, 2014

 

app store hero flat modernA review of 1,211 apps carried out by a coalition of privacy officials across 19 countries found that 60 percent of them failed at least one basic privacy test, reports the WSJ.

The officials found that 60% of apps raised privacy concerns, based on three criteria: They did not disclose how they used personal information; they required that the user give up an excessive amount of personal data as a condition of downloading the app; and their privacy policies were rendered in type too small to be read on a phone’s screen …

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Mobile app Stories September 11, 2014

Viber joins the video call party with latest version of iOS & Android apps

FaceTime and Skype have long been popular ways to make free video calls to your friends and family from your iPhone and iPad, but Viber has now joined the party. While video calling has been available on the desktop version of Viber for some time, the mobile app had previously been limited to voice, text and photo messages.

With Viber, everyone in the world can connect. Freely. More than 400 million Viber users text, call, and send photo and video messages worldwide over WiFi or 3G – for free […]

Make video calls from your phone to other Viber contacts on mobile or Desktop. You can also transfer video calls between mobile and Desktop!

The USP of Viber is that no username is needed – only your mobile number. When a contact joins Viber, the service spots that their number is in your contacts app and sends you an alert to let you know.

Viber is a free download from iTunes. Voice and video calls between Viber users are free (bar any data charges on LTE/3G). The company makes its money by selling stickers and offering low-cost outgoing calls worldwide.

Mobile app Stories September 3, 2014

Expedia redesigns its iPad app with combined flight and hotel search

Travel booking website Expedia has revamped its iPad application with a new, tablet-optimized look and improved search. Expedia says that its app is faster at helping you book travel than apps from the competition because of its combined search feature.

You just enter your destination and the app will provide results for both hotels and flights in one panel. The app has a handful of other helpful features, according to Expedia:

  • Single Search Box: To eliminate hefty search interfaces, the new tablet app offers a single search box to do the lifting. When a traveler enters a city] name, landmark, or airport code, the app will surface hotels and flights relevant to that query – no dates or specific details are required at the start.
  • First-Ever Combined Hotel & Flight Travel Search:For the first time in the industry, combined search has arrived for the travel market. Rather than searching for trips in a rigid, linear progression of flights then hotels, or hotels then flights, Expedia is introducing one combined search that provides both hotel and flight results simultaneously, available all in one glance.
  • Collections:Expedia presents various themed travel destinations to spark interest in future journeys. Collections offer customers the opportunity to explore vacation destinations they may not have otherwise considered. Beautiful locations come to life in a particularly compelling way on tablet devices. Collections offer a rich combination of design, mobility and travel research. Content is catered to various regions and will be updated based on traveler feedback.
  • Integrated Trip Planning, Booking, & Data, Shared Across Devices:Earlier this year, Expedia introduced Scratchpad in certain markets around the globe. Scratchpad is an easy way to keep track of your travel searches. When a traveler is signed into an Expedia app, trips researched on a tablet device will appear on the desktop or mobile Scratchpad. This allows travelers to begin their travel planning from where they left off – on any device.

A new version for Android tablets is also available. Expedia also has an iPhone version , and both apps are a free universal download on the App Store.

Mobile app Stories August 7, 2014

United Airlines adds passport scanning for international flights to mobile app

The immigration authorities of most countries require airlines to check the passports of their passengers before they are allowed to fly, so if you are making your first international flight with an airline, you have to queue up at check-in instead of downloading your own boarding pass at home. United Airlines is aiming to end this by adding the ability to scan and verify your passport using its mobile app, then head straight to Departures at the airport.

Once you’ve scanned your passport with your iPhone’s camera, the app sends the details to credentials management company Jumio Inc, who verify that your passport is valid which then allows you to download your boarding pass.

If your passport is already registered with United from a previous international flight, you don’t need to scan it again, it is verified automatically.

The bad news is that the system can’t yet verify visas, so if you need a visa for the country you’re visiting, you’ll still need to check-in the old-fashioned way.

You can download the free United Airlines app from iTunes.

Mobile app Stories August 6, 2014

Foursquare’s location discovery-focused app overhaul now available

Earlier this year Foursquare announced its plans to split check-ins and social features from location discovery and reviewing features from its mobile apps. Swarm, the new app focused on check-ins, launched earlier this year in May while Foursquare gave its users some time to become familiar with having two apps for two different purposes.

Mobile app Stories July 2, 2014

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A Nielsen study (via TechCrunchreveals that while we all spend much longer using mobile apps than we did two years ago, and we may have many more apps installed on our phones, the average number of apps we actually interact with in any given month hasn’t changed nearly as much.

While time spent using mobile apps climbed from 18h 18m in 2011 to 30h 15m by the end of last year, the total number of apps actually used only increased from 23.3 to 26.8. So we’re spending more time using pretty much the same number of apps …  expand full story

Mobile app Stories June 30, 2014

Twitter’s mobile app install advertising feature comes out of beta, goes global

Twitter has taken its mobile application install advertising feature out of beta and it has also taken the service global. Twitter talked about the feature, which allows companies to advertise mobile apps within the Twitter mobile app timeline, earlier this year. The video above explains how the service works. The app install feature can show apps from the App Store and Google Play based on “interest, keyword, TV targeting and tailored audiences” as well as based on “gender, geo, language and mobile platform targeting.” The service allows apps to be installed on smartphones directly via the Twitter app and the Twitter app will even notify users when the app is ready to use.

Twitter explains how advertisers can use the functionality:

Mobile app Stories May 29, 2014

Crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app Tapshield goes public

A crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app trialled on selected university campuses has now been rolled out to everyone. Tapshield allows real-time viewing of crime stats and suspicious activity in an area, and allows you to summon help when in trouble.

An award-winning mobile safety app and response dashboard, TapShield uses collaboration and crowd-sourcing to build safer communities & improve response times. Think of TapShield as your social safety network with you wherever you want to go.

The way the app works is that users can report crimes in progress and anything else they spot that concerns them, and those locations and incidents are then automatically shown to other Tapshield users in the area.

When a crime is reported, Tapshield sends a message to campus security when used within one of the participating colleges, and dials 911 when used elsewhere. You also have the option of sending a non-emergency alert to police when you see something that concerns you but which doesn’t justify an immediate emergency response – such as a bunch of street lights out, leaving a path in darkness.

If you have to make a journey that concerns you, you can specify your route and ETA and allow family and friends to follow your journey remotely, raising the alarm if you go off-route or don’t reach your destination when expected.

Finally, the app has a ‘yank’ mode, which automatically sends an alert if headphones are forcibly pulled from the device, such as when your phone is snatched by a thief.

Tapshield is a free download from iTunes.

Via TheNextWeb

Mobile app Stories March 12, 2014

Starbucks app adds shake-to-pay and tipping that lets you change your mind

An updated version of the Starbucks app expected next week will add a shake-to-pay feature and let you add a tip of between 50 cents and $2, reports Engadget.

Shake-to-pay just means that if you’re on another screen of the app when you get to the front of the queue, you can simply shake your iPhone to bring up the barcode instantly.

The tipping function allows you to adjust the amount of your tip for up to two hours afterwards, presumably in case they manage to spill your second cup of Americano or the barista creates a particularly artistic piece of latte art for you.

The current free Starbucks app, incidentally, is Sleep Cycle alarm clock, normally $0.99.

Mobile app Stories February 12, 2014

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According to new data from Nielsen, Americans now spend more time using mobile web and apps on their smartphones than they do online on their PCs, reports Engadget.

That shift toward mobile is affecting how many spend their free time. Americans spent an average of 34 hours per month using mobile apps and browsers in 2013; that’s more time than they spent online with their PCs, which chewed up 27 hours …  expand full story

Mobile app Stories February 7, 2014

Apple currently plans to release iOS 7.1 in March

While recent reports are pegging a launch sooner than later, reliable sources say that Apple is currently planning to ship iOS 7.1, the first significant update to iOS 7, in March. The iOS 7.1 update is said to not have any “secret features,” and it will basically be what we have been told to expect by the past five betas: some user-interface tweaks in the Phone app, an improved Calendar app, speed improvements, and numerous bug-fixes. It wouldn’t be surprising for Apple to talk iOS 7.1 at an event in March (a month in which Apple has held events in the past), which would possibly be centered around the next-generation Apple TV.

Mobile app Stories January 16, 2014

Starbucks confirms that its iOS app stores passwords in plain text

Starbucks has confirmed a finding by security researcher Daniel Wood that both username and password in its iOS app are stored in plain text.

It’s not the big deal some are making it out to be – to make use of it, someone would need physical access to your unlocked iPhone, in which case you likely have bigger things to worry about than someone being able to order tall skinny lattes on your dime. Additionally, as Engadget observes, a far easier hack by someone with access to your phone would simply be to take a photo of the on-screen barcode used to authorise payments.

All the same, it is pretty poor design on the part of a payment app from a major company, and it’s surprising that Starbucks apparently has no plans to fix it with an updated app.

Mobile app Stories January 14, 2014

Fewer than 0.01 percent of mobile apps will be financially successful by 2018, predicts Gartner

If developers are finding it difficult to make money from apps today, things are only going to get tougher, according to a forecast by Gartner (via TechCrunch). Looking at the period through to 2018, Gartner predicts that fewer than one in 10,000 apps will be considered financially successful by their developers.

“The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many,” said Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits.”

While this may not necessarily be a bad thing for major brands, who Gartner note may use apps to build brand recognition and product awareness, small developers have a much harder time getting their apps noticed, as consumers increasingly turn to recommendations and advertising to make their selections.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, 94.5 percent of apps will be free or freemium, suggesting that advertising and in-app purchases will become an increasingly important source of income. The company also expects browser-based apps to grow in popularity as the HTML5 standard matures.

Mobile app Stories November 14, 2013

Mint refreshes its iPhone and iPad app with iOS 7 design, brings Trends to mobile

The Mint mobile app is rarely updated with new features, but it’s not like it has been abandoned — it receives maintenance updates every few months. Today, though, Mint has pushed version 2.7 to the App Store which does bring more than just bug fixes.

Mobile app Stories October 15, 2013

Google’s Sparrow mail app updated for the first time in months with new icon, iOS 7 fixes

Despite being bought out by Google, the replacement mail app Sparrow has now been updated for iOS 7. Whilst the developers behind Sparrow never said that work on the app had ceased, this was the implied meaning of Sparrow’s thank you letter still visible on the Sparrow website. Until today, the app had not been updated since December 2012, nearly a year ago.

This update brings compatibility bug fixes for iOS 7 as well as a new flatter icon, shown above.  Even so, work on Sparrow is obviously not a priority for the team. Apart from a new icon, the point-fix update brings no new visual appearance to the app’s interface or any new features for users.

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