Author Archives: Jordan Kahn

Adobe releases Comp CC layout-design iPad app

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Adobe today released a new iPad app dubbed Comp CC that offers “rapid creation of layout concepts for mobile, Web and print projects” that can later be used in Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and InDesign CC. Adobe first previewed the new app last year when it was still an early prototype, but today the app is arriving on the App Store for all.

The Adobe Comp CC app is available as a free download on the App Store and requires at least a free Create Cloud membership.

Features include a gesture-based UI, an infinite timeline, Typekit fonts, integration for importing images and direct export of layouts to InDesign CC, Photoshop CC, or Illustrator CC, and, of course, Creative Cloud support to keep everything saved in the cloud and access assets:

Comp CC extends the mobile and desktop workflows enabled by Creative Profile and Creative Cloud Libraries. Creative Cloud Libraries consist of design assets — such as images, colors, text styles, brushes and more — that members have created with Creative Cloud tools. And a member’s Creative Profile surfaces their libraries, as they move from app-to-app and desktop-to-device, in the right context — enabling members to effortlessly work across devices and apps. Thanks to their Creative Profile and associated Creative Cloud Libraries, Comp CC lets designers quickly combine the Typekit fonts, relevant images, color swatches and shapes they need to jump-start layout-design projects on iPad and later continue their work in CC desktop tools.

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Filed under: Apps Tagged: Adobe, Adobe Comp CC, Comp CC, Creative Cloud, design, fonts, layout, typekit

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The best Apple Watch accessories: bands, cases, docks, screen protectors & more

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Apple Watch preorders, reservations, and sales are set to kick off in the coming weeks, so we’ve prepared a running list of the best accessories available to purchase and preorder online.

Companies aren’t waiting around for an official Apple third-party accessory program for the device, as a long list of straps, cases, charging docks, screen protectors and more are scheduled to ship next month in time for the Apple Watch launch. There are even solutions to attach traditional watch straps to Apple Watch, and portable power options for charging on the go.

There are bound to be more companies announcing accessories in the weeks to come, and we’ll be updating this list as they do.

Pad & Quill Luxury Pocket Stand ($69), Roll Up Kit ($49)

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One of our favorite companies making high-end, handmade leather iPhone goods has a gorgeous collection of wood and leather Apple Watch accessories available to order ahead of shipments in May.

Armorsuit screen protector ($8), w/ body skin ($11)

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Available next month when the Apple Watch ships, Armorsuit has faux carbon fiber skins for the Apple Watch’s case as well as screen protectors. You can get the screen protector by itself, or together with the carbon fiber or transparent body skin:

Custom bands from Casetify ($50)

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Casetify is bringing its online tool for custom designing iPhone cases to the Apple Watch. Get $10 off by clicking here and using code “KQQ6I5”.

MyCell replacement bands ($25 – $75)

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MyCell appears to have created replacement bands that look a lot like Apple’s, ranging from $25 for a Sport knock-off to $224 for stainless steel.

Griffin charging dock for Apple Watch & iPhone ($29)

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Griffin’s charging dock will accommodate both an iPhone and the new Apple Watch when it ships this summer.

WatchKeeper charging/travel case ($59)

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Accessory makers Proper out of Australia plan to ship these leather charging/travel cases for Apple Watch in May.

Click adapter for standard watch straps ($10)

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Can you use standard watch straps with Apple Watch? Not without an accessory like Click, which offers an adapter to attach any standard 22mm watch band to Apple’s proprietary slide-in mechanism for swapping bands. The company has already doubled its funding goal on Kickstarter and plans to start shipping in late May/early June.

Twelve South HiRise dock for Apple Watch ($49)

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Twelve South’s charging dock/stand for Apple Watch, based on the design of its popular HiRise docks for iPhones, ships in May.

Nomad Stand for Apple Watch ($59), NomadPod portable battery/charger ($59)

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Nomad will ship the stand above, made from a solid piece of aluminum, in early May, while the portable 1800mAh battery pack will arrive in early June. We have coupon codes to get 22% off both on 9to5Toys.

The Bumper ($20)

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One of the first protective cases for Apple Watch, The Bumper is a rubber shock-resistant protector for the casing of the Apple Watch aimed at the extreme sports crowd. The company plans to ship in May and has almost hit its crowdfunding goal.

Band Swapper ($6)

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch Sport model comes with two straps— one sized Small/Medium and the other Medium/Large. BandSwapper lets you exchange the strap you won’t be using for a different strap in the color and size of your choice. It costs $6.

Bandstand from Standzout

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From a company that already makes a lot of high-quality stands for Apple devices, Standzout plans to have its Bandstand Apple Watch charging dock out this summer.

Navitech Oak charging dock ($34), Clear Smart Cover/Screen Protector ($19)

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An inexpensive oak wood stand for Apple Watch that will ship April 14 and is available to preorder now. The company also has the clear Smart Cover pictured right, that promises to offer case protection and a tempered glass screen protector. We’ll see how it works with Force Touch.

Reserve Strap with built-in battery ($249)

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The first promise of a strap with built-in battery for charging comes from the $249 Reserve Strap. The company is taking preorders through its site, but it hasn’t announced a release date and says the first batch of Reserve Straps will be “extremely limited.”

Apple’s Bands ($49 – $449), Magnetic Charging Cable ($29/$39)

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Apple will be selling its own bands for Apple Watch that range from $49 for the rubber Sport Band up to $449 for the stainless steel Link Bracelets.

Supershieldz screen protector 6-pack ($3)

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The best value for money for screen protectors, SuperShieldz is advertising this $3 6-pack of anti-glare and anti-fingerprint matte screen protectors arriving April 27. Get the 42mm version here or the 38mm version here.

DodoCase Charging Stand ($69)

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Accessory maker DodoCase was one of the first to announce a charging stand for Apple Watch and plans to ship the walnut and solid steel product 4-6 weeks after the Apple Watch launches on April 24. Preorder today.

Check back soon for more… 


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Accessories, Apple watch, best, cases, Docks, film, screen protectors, stands, stickers

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App Store, iTunes, Apple TV and more experiencing service disruptions (Update: Restored)

iTunes-outage

Update: Apple says all services are restored.

Following an outage of many Apple services earlier this week, several of Apple’s iTunes and App Store services are again today experiencing disruptions, according to Apple’s system status page.

Apple is currently listing outages for the App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match, iTunes Radio, iTunes Store, iTunes U, Mac App Store, and OS X Software Update.

The company says that only some users are affected and currently “unable to access multiple services and stores or make purchases.”

Following the outage earlier this week, which also hit some of Apple’s own stores, Apple blamed the outage on “an internal DNS error at Apple,” and apologized to customers for the inconvenience.

We’ll keep you updated as Apple works to fix the problems.


Filed under: Apps, iOS

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Facebook unveils platform to integrate third-party apps, customer support for businesses into Messenger

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During its F8 Developer Conference today, Facebook announced a new Facebook Messenger Platform that will allow third-party apps to integrate with its popular Messenger app.

The platform will allow users to launch and install other apps from the Facebook Messenger app itself that add additional features to the experience and allow users to easily share directly from Messenger, as pictured in the screenshots below.

The new platform will launch with 40 supported apps initially, but Facebook is releasing an SDK today that will let any developers integrate with Messenger.

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The platform doesn’t exist outside of Apple’s App Store, as Messenger will actually send users to the App Store to install and download the apps that support the platform. The SDK allows app developers to make the experience smooth for users, however. When you launch an app from Messenger, you can quickly jump into creating content in the third-party app and easily share and then jump back to Messenger, as highlighted below:

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The new Messenger platform comes alongside a new and improved way for users to share content on mobile devices from other apps. Now users will be able to share content across all of Facebook’s services, allowing users to select specific groups, Messenger, or their News Feed to share content. The new sharing screen for app developers is pictured below:

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The company also showed off a new Messenger Business platform that will allow businesses to interact with customers in unique ways and offer shipping notifications via the app:

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Facebook is still in the process of showing off the new services at its Developer Conference. You can tune into the live stream here.

Developers interested in learning more and integrating their apps with Facebook Messenger can grab the SDK on Facebook’s website. 


Filed under: Apps Tagged: App Store, Apple, business, Customer support, F8 Developer Conference, Facebook, iOS, iPhone, Messenger, third-party apps

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UK government approves free iPad Air 2 for all 650 members of parliament

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The UK government has decided to equip all of its 650 members of parliament with an iPad Air 2, according to a report from The Telegraph citing an official announcement from the House of Commons Commission this week.

While some have been critical of the decision to lock into Apple’s ecosystem, it’s now official with all members set to receive a 16GB WiFi + Cellular iPad Air 2 at a cost of around £200,000 or almost $300,000 US a year:

“Our requirements are for a secure, SIM-enabled tablet with a good life expectancy and capable of supporting future upgrades. “The Apple iPad Air 2 meets these requirements and is competitively priced when compared with similar models.”

The Commission also responded to comments about locking into Apple’s ecosystem by noting that due to iPads being “integrated with current business processes and infrastructure”… “A move away from the Apple operating system at this time would incur costs to change these processes.” Around 209 MPs were reportedly already using iPad. 


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, House of Commons Commission, iPad Air 2, John Thurso, parliament, UK

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Apple recycled water project for Cupertino & Campus 2 approved amid California drought concerns

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A $17.5 million project led and partly funded by Apple to increase the use of recycled water in Sunnyvale and Cupertino has been approved by city officials.

Mercury News reports that the Santa Clara Valley Water District has given the project the go ahead this week which will see the city of Sunnyvale, Apple and the California Water Service Company work together to lay 13,300 feet of pipeline to bring recycled water into Sunnyvale and Apple’s new campus in Cupertino:

Apple catalyzed talks among the various water stakeholders in the area, making plain its desire to use recycled water on its new campus, said Katherine Oven, deputy operating officer of the water district… ”Apple drove this project,” she said. “It really is a true partnership of both public and private agencies.”

The recycled water project would begin construction in August and is expected to be operational by October 2016, shortly before the end of next year when Apple plans to wrap up construction on its new Campus 2 project. Today’s report notes that Apple will contribute $4.8 million to the project and expects to use around 3% of the new pipeline’s total capacity:

About 3 percent of the pipeline’s capacity will be devoted to Apple, which is the only company so far that has committed to the project, Butler said. The company is contributing $4.8 million to the project, with the rest of the more than $17 million tab footed by the city of Sunnyvale, the California Water Service Company, the Department of Water Resources and the water district… More than 157,000 gallons of recycled water will flow to Apple’s new campus under the proposed project, Cal Water announced in February.

We’ve been tracking construction progress in our Apple’s Campus 2 timeline with the latest official aerial shots from Apple, drone flyovers, and news surrounding the project.


Filed under: AAPL Company

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Apple acquires database software makers FoundationDB to speed up cloud services

FoundationDB

Apple has reportedly acquired database company FoundationDB, according to a new report from TechCrunch. The report cites sources and notes that the company is no longer offering downloads of its main database software product after posting the following notice to its website:

Thank you for your support of FoundationDB over the last five years. We’re grateful to have shared our vision of building the best database software and we strongly value your participation in this community. We have made the decision to evolve our company mission and, as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.

As noted in the report, Apple is likely looking to improve its cloud services with the acquisition:

So. A fast, affordable and durable database company, acquired by Apple. It seems likely that this was an acquisition designed to bolster Apple’s server-side technologies for the App Store, iTunes Connect or iTunes in the Cloud. With millions of apps now in the store and billions being served to users, there is undoubtedly room for improvement in those systems.

Although FoundationDB has yet to officially confirm the acquisition, Apple provided its usual statement to TechCrunch, which in the past has proven to be confirmation for other acquisitions:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: acquisition, Apple, database, FoundationDB, icloud, iTunes, statement

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