I had an interesting app cross my desk this week called I’m Coming. It’s a GPS-based app that will automatically send updates to people letting them know how far away you are. For instance, you’re driving across country to visit your family. I’m Coming will notify the people you designate on your progress. No texts to and from you while you’re driving. And your family doesn’t have to bug you or wait for you to let them know where you are. Or, you’re driving across town for an important meeting. Same thing, rather than (illegal) texts in the middle of city driving, I’m Coming will notify your peers. [Edit: Or the kids you’re going to pick up. Think—be ready when I show up.] It’s an interesting idea that I haven’t seen in an app. It lets you save both your contacts and trips, and users can customize their messages, notification intervals, and profile. This app was developed by Don Kimenker—long-term Mac fans might remember him as the publisher of MacAddict magazine. The app is a free download—some features require an in-app purchase of $2.99.
When you’re looking for an iTunes replacement, you want something that can do just about everything Apple’s software can do, but better. WALTR has been a good contender in this arena, and WALTR 2 offers functionality that iTunes doesn’t. The question is, does it work as designed? Come along with Jeff Butts as he reviews WALTR 2 and uncovers how well it performs.
Apple announced the name of what we used to call Apple Campus 2.0—now it’s Apple Park. Bryan and Jeff chew on the name for a while, and discuss what we might expect when it opens in April. They also pore over Apple Watch 3 rumors and the news that a key supplier will stop making Apple Watch displays. And somehow they segue that into some new iPad and iPhone rumors.
When you get right down to it, iTunes is pretty bloated for the limited usefulness is provides. Jeff Butts has been exploring iMazing, a potential replacement for synchronizing iOS devices with the desktop, and has some tips and tricks that show how powerful this iTunes alternative can be.
It seems that there is just as much fuss about Apple products that seem to be on the verge of extinction as there is about exciting new products. John looks at the economics and psychology of Apple dropping beloved products like certain Macs, Airport base stations, displays and other devices that we’ve come to depend on. Are we on the verge of a new age of Apple?
Futurama is back! Or, it will be thanks to a new game that’s coming from TinyCo. What we know right now is the game is called Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow and it’s coming soon. TinyCo is working with the animators from the Futurama TV series, and Matt Groening—the guy who created Futurama and The Simpsons—says he loves it. The game developers say we’ll have more info in the “near future,” which we assume comes sooner than Fry’s defrosting. Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow will be available for iOS and Android, plus you can keep on top of the latest announcements by signing up at the game website. And seriously, shut up and take my money.
Rumors about an Apple media event in March got serious this week with a story from Japanese site Mac Otakara. According to the story, Apple will hold a media event in March—in keeping with last year—where the company will introduce a new iPhone SE and new iPad models.
My free time over the weekend was taken up by a new iPhone and iPad game that just came out called Hidden Folks, so now I’m ruining your productivity, too. It’s a clever hidden object game with it’s own charm thanks to the hand-drawn graphics and sound effects that are clearly some guy who decided his mouth is a complete foley studio. His ba-doo-be-doop, skrintch, and pop sounds are important to the game, as are the little animations. Tapping objects triggers actions sounds and actions. Sometimes that’s clearing away a bush or moving a boat, and can reveal the elusive objects and characters you need to find. Hidden Folks is great for a quick diversion or a couple hours exploring new levels. You can get it for your iPhone and iPad at Apple’s App Store for US$3.99.
Apple added another facial recognition company to its stable. This time it’s RealFace, the company behind the photo picker app Pickeez. Reports speculate Apple bought the company so it can jump into using facial recognition instead of Touch ID to unlock our iPhones. That may be Apple’s long-term plan, but don’t count on Touch ID going away any time soon.
Your iPhone has an FM radio chip that you’ve never been able to use. FCC chairman Ajit Pai thinks that’s a shame, and so does Jeff Butts. While the FCC chairman isn’t going to try forcing Cupertino to turn on the chip, he’s certainly turning up the heat about it. Let’s see what the good chairman has to say, and what impact that might have on streaming music services.
The Amazon Echo family of devices shouldn’t be underestimated. We talk about how it appears to be a device for casual questions, weather, music and shopping. But the underlying technology is going after something much bigger. Moreover, Amazon’s lead over Apple in AI and home automation may be unstoppable. John looks at two articles that provide insight into what Amazon is after in the long run.
If you’re using two-factor authentication for your Apple ID (and you should be!), then you’re likely familiar with how you’ll approve access from your trusted devices with a six-digit code. But what if that code never comes through or you accidentally dismiss the prompt? Well, in today’s Quick Tip, we’re going to show you an easy way to generate a new one from your Mac or iOS device!
Get ready for Pokémon GO Gen 2 and 80 new monsters because Niantic plans to give us more characters we gotta catch by this weekend. The new monsters come from the Pokémon Silver and Pokémon Gold video games, so if you’re tired of the gobs of characters already available you’ll have plenty more to keep you roaming around your neighborhood. Niantic also rolled in new evolutions and Evolution items to collect, new berries, new avatars, and more. The updates are free, unlike the time we’ll all spend hunting for Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile.
The LEGO Batman movie is out, and it shows us just how important Siri is: She’s the computer system of choice for Gotham’s elite vigilante crime fighters. Luckily, we don’t have to live in Gotham, become emotionally scarred orphans watching our parents die, or spend gobs of money on devices named bat…something. We can get Siri to treat us like the bat heroes we want to be right on our iPhones. Just press and hold your iPhone’s Home button to activate Siri, and get your Batman on by saying, “Hey, computer,” or “Hey, ‘puter.” Siri will respond with bat-appropriate comments, first try.
In the battle of virtual personal assistants, Apple and Amazon have strong contenders. Which one is “smarter,” though, Siri or Alexa? Perhaps it’s too early to really call the race, since both personal assistants keep growing and evolving. Be that as it may, Jeff Butts has put both through their paces, and shares his thoughts.
You may known of my penchant for tower defense games, but I also have a not-so-secret love for arcade scrollers. The good news for your time-sucking pleasure is that I found a new one called Photon Strike. It’s a solid vertical scroller for iPhone an iPad (I played on iPad) with good graphics and fast action. In fact, it’s very fast. It’s similar to others in the genre. You have to steer your ship (with your fingers), firing as long as your finger is on the screen. Waves of enemies fly around the screen, and you have to shoot/avoid them. Powerups are available throughout each level, and you get credits for each enemy you destroy for buying upgrades. It’s free to download, but for real-world cash, you can get yourself a whole heap of credits. You can also watch videos for free credits. Every five waves there’s a boss at the end. It’s ad-supported, but the ads go away with any purchase (the ads are not obnoxious). That said, this is the kind of game where I’m happy to pay to unlock ads to directly support the developer.