Notification Center Stories January 29, 2016

iPhone on table showing Health app screen listing out steps, weight, and water

When news came out that Apple was working on a dedicated Health dashboard app, which would offer a way to take healthcare monitoring mobile, I was extremely excited. I had been recently diagnosed with traumatic arthritis in my knees and I needed a better all-in-one system to track my steps, weight, and BMI. None of the other apps on the market at the time seemed to do any one of those three especially well. Apple’s Health app has since become my go-to app for everything I wanted to log and more. It’s not perfect, but it’s a built-in dashboard with tie-ins to plenty of iOS apps.

Within a few weeks of using Health, I soon realized I wanted a better way to automate inputting data into the system. I eventually came to a methodology that worked great for me and decided it was time to share three of the different ways you can automate quickly logging your weight into the Health app.

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Notification Center Stories January 20, 2016

CornerTube

With iOS 9 being out for nearly five months now, you would’ve expected all the top video apps to already be including picture-in-picture for the iPad. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case with YouTube and a few others. If you’re feeling the hurt from not being able to catch up on your favorite YouTuber’s latest videos while multitasking around your iPad, then check out CornerTube, a new YouTube utility app focused on PIP. CornerTube lets users quickly jump into videos on YouTube, all the while enabling that missing PIP feature. It gets even better once you start utilizing the included Today widget in Notification Center and Action extension in other apps.

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Notification Center Stories September 15, 2015

Launch Center Pro for iPhone adds launcher widget to Notification Center

Apple opened the door to new extensibility features on iOS with extensions and Notification Center widgets in iOS 8, but mixing app launchers with the swipe down Today view was quickly disallowed by the App Store as we saw around this time last year. That policy has since changed and we’ve seen developers able to build better widgets like Workflow’s recent update.

Launch Center Pro has been working on its own Today widget, which puts actions like opening the Instagram camera or messaging a specific contact a swipe down away from anywhere directly in Notification Center.

Notification Center Stories July 16, 2015

Microsoft’s OneNote iOS app goes universal, bringing Notification Center widget and more to iPad

Microsoft today released a new update to OneNote for iPhone that makes it a universal app, now OneNote for iOS. That means that the existing OneNote for iPad app is being replaced by a single, universal app that runs on both iPhone and iPad.

The benefit, aside from having a single version, is that the iPad app is gaining some recent features introduced in the iPhone app including a OneNote widget in the today view of Notification Center. iPad users will also notice a new “recent notes” section for notes made on either device, and landscape mode on the iPad now presents a column of page previews.

Catch the full release notes below:

Notification Center Stories March 6, 2015

Just ahead of the finalized Apple Watch’s presentation at Apple’s March 9th “Spring Forward” event, sources with hands-on Apple Watch experience have revealed a collection of new details about the device’s features to 9to5Mac. Our sources have offered new information on the Watch’s real-world battery life, health and fitness features, apps, and experiences using Apple’s next-generation touchscreen hardware…

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Notification Center Stories March 5, 2015

CNN app gets a Notification Center widget, sports section on iOS

CNN today pushed out an update to its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch application with a pair of features that some users will find significant: a Today widget for iOS 8’s Notification Center and a sports section. The widget is populated with the latest top stories from CNN, while the sports section sources its content from Bleacher Report, which has a dedicated App Store app (iPhone, iPad). CNN also says this version includes various bug fixes, like every app update that has come before it.

Notification Center Stories January 29, 2015

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Apple has released a new update for iTunes on OS X that introduces support for a Notification Center widget. The widget will allow users to control their music and buy songs from iTunes Radio directly from the system-wide panel.

iTunes 12.1 also includes a “quick tour” feature that runs on the app’s second launch. It’s the same quick tour that has been available on Apple’s website since last year, but it is now included natively in the app to help users get acclimated to the new design.

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Notification Center Stories January 15, 2015

Things for iOS updated with Notification Center widget, improved inter-app functionality

Cultured Code released an update for its Things to-do list manager on iPhone and iPad today that added support for a Notification Center widget. The new plugin allows users to keep a list of reminders in the Today view, mark off completed tasks, or quickly access a shortcut for creating new to-dos.

The widget pulls its data from the app’s Today list, and can also let you know which items will be due soon so you can prioritize your activities.

The update also adds a new URI scheme that enables developers working on other apps to integrate their software easily with Things.

You can grab the iPhone version of Things for $9.99 on the App Store. The iPad version is available separately for $19.99.

Notification Center Stories November 30, 2014

Screenshot 2014-11-26 21.16.48

With Cyber Monday coming up, a lot of us shop online, as opposed to going out to the store. It would be nice if there was an easy way to track all of your packages. Of course you could set up mail rules to filter any emails that contain the words, “the tracking number,” but all that does is put all of your emails into a folder without notifying you of any changes in the status of your package. After initially receiving the email most forget about it and never track their packages, which happens all the time to me causing me to not pick up my packages for weeks. Or you can be the type of person that can obsessively track your package by constantly pressing the refresh button hoping that there’s an update to no avail. Well there’s an app that can track your tracking numbers and keep you updated about the status of your order. Deliveries is powerful, handy and easily notifies you of your packages.

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Notification Center Stories November 17, 2014

Yosemite 10.10.1In addition to releasing iOS 8.1.1 for iPhone and iPad users, Apple has released OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 with bug fixes and performance improvements for Macs running the latest version of the desktop operating system. Mac users that have experienced WiFi performance issues running Yosemite should expect improvements with this bug fix release. The update is available for Macs running OS X Yosemite through the Updates tab of the Mac App Store.

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Notification Center Stories November 12, 2014

Box for iPhone app gets Touch ID support and new features geared to ease of use

Box for iPhone and iPad – an app designed to allow convenient access to more than 100 document types in the cloud – has been updated to allow unlocking via Touch ID and given a bunch of new features designed to make it easier to use.

Touch ID support should make a big difference to heavy users, who the company says typically use the app 50 times a day.

A Notification Center widget makes Box significantly more convenient, allowing you to view recent files and add new notes. A new Favorites feature allows fast access to frequently-needed files without having to load them into the app first.

What’s New in Version 3.5.0

  • Now use Box from your Today view in Notification Center to quickly and easily create Box Notes, view recent documents and more (requires iOS 8)
  • Use your fingerprint to unlock the Box app at the touch of the home button with Touch ID (compatible devices only, requires iOS 8)
  • Add files and folders to a Favorites list for easy access without having to download any data ahead of time with our new Favorites feature
  • In-folder search capabilities
  • Box Bookmarks are now accessible
  • Support for previewing password protected Office and iWork files
  • Automatic photo upload for Personal Pro subscribers and Enterprise users
  • Additional stability improvements and bug fixes

Box appears to be a favored app at Apple, featured in Best New Apps and used to demonstrate app extensions during this year’s WWDC.

Box for iOS is a free download from iTunes, with 10GB of storage included. An in-app purchase of $79 a year for the Pro version boosts storage to 100GB and allows individual files of up to 5GB to be uploaded.

Notification Center Stories November 10, 2014

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Apple today seeded the second beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update to registered developers and participants in the AppleSeed program. The update is available for these users in the Software Update tab of the Mac App Store.

As with the first beta, Apple asks developers to focus their testing on WiFi-connectvitiy, Exchange accounts in the Mail app, and Notification Center. Apple has not indicated when OS X 10.10.1 will be released to the public, but the first point updates to OS X typically arrive within a month of the original version.

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Notification Center Stories October 30, 2014

Notification Center widgets in Today view

Update: Thompson has verified the policy change.

We learned yesterday from developer James Thompson that Apple had informed him that the calculator widget for his app PCalc, which had already been approved and even featured by the App Store, would have to remove the widget from the app to remain available for sale. The reason Apple gave, according to Thompson’s tweets, is that “widgets on iOS cannot perform any calculations” which his PCalc calculator widget obviously did, but it seems Apple has since reversed that decision, according to iMore and TechCrunch. TC reports that an Apple spokesperson has confirmed that PCalc’s widget can now remain as well as any other similar calculator widgets. expand full story

Notification Center Stories October 29, 2014

Pcalc-today-widgetDeveloper James Thomson of popular calculator app PCalc announced today via his Twitter account that Apple is forcing him to remove the app’s Today Widget due to a restriction that iOS widgets “cannot perform any calculations.”

Apple’s new Today Widgets feature in iOS 8, which allows developers to build functions into the system-wide Notification Center, does have some limitations that Apple outlines in developer documentation. For example, Apple encourages developers not to use Today Widgets for multistep tasks: If you want to create an app extension that enables a multistep task or helps users perform a lengthy task, such as uploading or downloading content, the Today extension point is not the right choice.” There doesn’t, however, appear to be specific references to apps that perform calculations in Apple’s developer guidelines. expand full story

Notification Center Stories October 16, 2014

Video has no commentary

Facebook has added a nifty new feature that hopefully you won’t need to use too often: notifications of nearby disasters, and a one-touch means of letting family and friends know that you’re ok …  expand full story

Notification Center Stories September 26, 2014

iPhone 6 weather widgets

When Apple introduced iOS 7 with an overhauled design for the iPhone and iPad software, it replaced the weather widget showing current temperature and weekly forecast introduced with iOS 5 with a text summary of the day’s weather conditions. This weather summary includes an icon for the current weather condition as well as a text description like ‘mostly cloudy’, but it tends to give you the high and low temperatures of the day and not the current temperature like Apple’s former weather widget.

Luckily, iOS 8 allows developers to create third-party widgets including – you guessed it – weather widgets with current temperature and forecast. Since iOS 8 was released last week, I’ve been trying a variety of apps with included weather widgets, and below I’ll share with you what I’ve discovered so far.

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Notification Center Stories September 24, 2014

iOS 8’s Notification Center gets a new useful widget: ESPN SportsCenter

The official ESPN SportsCenter app has been updated with support for an iOS 8 Notification Center widget, and it seems awesome thus far. The widget allows you to get quick access to scores from your favorite team (go Lakers) and provides access to ESPN’s radio stations. The update is free on the App Store.

Notification Center Stories September 23, 2014

Skype update for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus coming next month

Yesterday, Skype released an update for its iOS app to include iOS 8-optimized notifications and other goodies. However, it has no support for the higher-resolution iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus displays. That will change next month, per a Skype spokesperson:

We’re currently working on an update to Skype for iPhone that scales for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screen sizes, which we plan to release in the next month.

Unfortunately, that sounds like quite a while. Hopefully the updated version isn’t just bigger, but more optimized for the larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch panels.

Notification Center Stories September 17, 2014

Notification Center widgets in Today view

Apple introduced a new concept for developers with iOS 8 called Extensibility. This allows users to use services from apps throughout the system without actually being in the app itself, and widgets in Notification Center’s Today view are a major example of this feature in action.

Widgets from supported apps can be enabled by swiping down to the Today view in Notification Center, scrolling down to the “edit” button at the bottom, and tapping the “+” icon next to any supported apps. When you install a new app that supports a Today view widget, a badge will appear on the edit button to subtly notify you of the widget. You can also rearrange widgets as well as remove Apple’s own Notification Center widgets.

Many of these widgets present up-to-date information like the number of steps you’ve taken today, upcoming tasks or events on your third-party task management app or calendar, and much, much more. Below we’ll show you several of the latest apps offering widgets right now in Notification Center’s Today view. expand full story

Notification Center Stories July 18, 2014

We’ve already seen a few developers preview how new technologies introduced in iOS 8 make new features possible. Last month we saw 1Password’s iPhone app take advantage of the new access developers have to Touch ID and systemwide Extensions with their iOS 8 beta, and a number of health and fitness app developers have discussed their excitement for Apple’s new HealthKit tool. Today the developers of the fairly new iPhone app Numerous have previewed in a blog post their plans to include an app widget for presenting numbers from the app in the new Today view in Notification Center coming to the iPhone and iPad in iOS 8… expand full story

Notification Center Stories July 12, 2014

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This past week, Chinese State TV called the iPhone a “national security concern” because of its location tracking capabilities. The iPhone’s operating system utilizes location for several applications, including Maps and Weather. iOS 7 also introduced a new feature that utilizes a customer’s location in order to provide improved traffic and route information. Now, Apple has quickly responded via a concrete and comprehensive message on its website for China. The message is advertised on the homepage, and is a direct response to the allegations from China State TV.

Apple denies the claims by stating that “privacy is built into [its] products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” Apple also explains that it uses industry leading encryption to protect location data, and says that all location data is stored solely on the iPhone, not on Apple’s servers.

Apple goes on to, once again, explain that it does not work with government agencies to spy on its customers: “Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.” Apple goes on to list specific work it does for individual services in order to protect customer privacy.

On Maps:

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Notification Center Stories June 30, 2014

Pebble smartwatch updated with improved Bluetooth and notification management

Pebble has updated its smartwatch software and iOS app to bring various improvements, including improved Bluetooth LE connectivity and quick notification management. The notification improvements are shown in the brief video clip above. Here are the release notes:

Pebble Firmware 2.3 (Release Notes)

  • Improved Bluetooth LE connectivity.
  • Added the ability to skip to the next notification with a double-click of the Down or Up buttons.
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements.

iOS Pebble App 2.2.2 (Release Notes)

  • Enabled more new JavaScript apps to be downloadable in the Pebble appstore (Pebble apps included in this latest bundle will no longer say “Coming Soon” for iOS users).
  • No other major changes  from version 2.2.

The updated Pebble software is available via the Pebble app’s software update function and you can grab the latest Pebble for iOS via the App Store for free.

Notification Center Stories June 10, 2014

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In addition to the comprehensive redesign, OS X Yosemite could have made a significant change to how the Mac operating system functioned since it originally shipped just over thirty years ago. The above image from a source shows a March build of OS X Yosemite that featured a Control Center panel. The panel did not end up shipping in the first beta of Yosemite and was not announced on the WWDC stage last week, but Apple definitely considered including it.

In fact, developers have located numerous code strings in the first Yosemite build that confirms Apple’s testing of an OS X variant of Control Center:

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Notification Center Stories June 9, 2014

A few years ago, Skype was the rockstar of the messaging world, but now with smartphones and mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, Skype’s iPhone feature-set and application have begun to stagnate. However, the Skype development team has not been standing still. The Microsoft-owned company is revealing today that it is nearing the launch of a completely revamped Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch. I met with lead Skype designer Guilherme Schneider last week for an exclusive preview and an interview regarding the new software, and the application certainly seems impressive…

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