Author Archives: Mike Beasley

MooVee for iPhone aims to help you manage your growing movie watchlist

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Following up on the success of the series tracking app TeeVee, developer CrazyApps has released a new piece of software aimed at moviegoers. The app, appropriately titled MooVee, allows you to keep track of movies you’ve seen and what you want to see.

The app’s UI is similar in some aspects to TeeVee, but most of it has been designed from scratch to better accommodate the ways movies and TV differ. For example, in the image above you can see the watchlist view, which resembles the main list view in TeeVee. However, other features are unique to MooVee.

On the watchlist view, you can tap a movie to see more information about it, but you can also swipe it to bring up a bunch of other useful controls, such as the option to mark it as watched or add it to your favorites. A shuffle button at the top of the screen picks a random movie from the list for those times when you’re just not sure what to watch.

There are several ways to add movies to your watchlist. A “browse” view accessible from the “hamburger menu” presents you with a list of movies that are currently playing, coming soon, and popular among viewers. You can also explore a collection of individual genres to find something you might enjoy.

This view and several others are powered by the third-party community-managed database TMDB, and unfortunately it seems to be returning some bizarre results. A “browse” section supposedly dedicated to TV movies listed only blockbusters, while the comedy section inexplicably included documentaries on Kurt Cobain and Edward Snowden at the top of the list. Hopefully the database providing this information will receive some corrections.

Comical genre misfires aside, the rest of the data provided is actually pretty complete. Cast listings are accurate (although they sometimes include multiple entries for the same person if they filled multiple roles, such as actor and producer), and release dates are all correct. Each movie’s page contains a description; a trailer; budget and revenue figures; writer and director credits; viewer ratings and the option to rate it yourself; and even a link to buy the movie, related books, or soundtrack on iTunes.

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A gallery provides some stills and marketing images for each film, and a “related” tab gives you some solid recommendations for similar titles. Viewers interested in Jurassic World will be presented other Dinosaur flicks, John Wick fans will be suggested The Equalizer, and so on.

A “discover” section similar to the “browse” view suggests even more movies you might be interested in. These selections appear to be based not on any specific movie, but on your entire watchlist.

From the discover page you can also access the “surprise” feature. Tapping the gift icon in the corner of the screen will present you with a single out-of-context quote from a movie the app thinks you’ll like. If you’re interested in the quote, you can tap a button at the bottom of the screen to be taken to the associated movie for more information and to add it to your watchlist.

Like TeeVee, MooVee can notify you when movies on your watchlist are about to open. You can pick a time early in the day to get your reminder so that you’ve got time to plan and buy your tickets. Future updates will also add a Today view widget for Notification Center and support for Trakt syncing.

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MooVee takes everything that works so well in TeeVee, applies it to a new type of media, and then goes the extra mile in making sure that you have all the information you need to find movies that you’ll enjoy. It’s a great piece of software overall, though it does suffer from some wonky database results.

I’d recommend giving it a try if you’re looking for something to keep track of a growing list of movies you haven’t had a chance to see yet. You can get it on the App Store today for $1.99.

9to5MAC


Filed under: Apps, Reviews Tagged: moovee, TeeVee

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Apple says native watch SDK preview coming at WWDC, calls car the ‘ultimate mobile device’

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Big improvements will be coming to Apple Watch apps later this year, Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams revealed during an interview at the Code Conference. In the current version of the Watch OS software, apps need to run on the iPhone rather than the watch itself, which puts a serious damper on performance.

However, that will change this fall, Williams said, when native watch apps are finally made possible…

Unlike current watch apps, native apps will run directly on the watch, increasing performance and allowing them to run even while the iPhone paired with the watch is dead or out of range. Developers will be able to start work on their native apps as soon as next month.

Williams revealed that Apple will be releasing a software development kit to enable creation of native watch apps during its Worldwide Developer Conference which starts on June 8th. The company is also expected to unveil the next-generations of its OS X and iOS operating systems, which will likely debut in the fall, so it’s safe to say that these updates will be part of iOS 9.

The native watch SDK will be able to tap directly into the hardware’s sensors and Digital Crown. He provided an example of the Strava running and cycling application being able to use the watch’s sensors rather than relying on the iPhone’s.

Games will also be able to run right on the watch, providing a big increase in performance and enabling new types of games to be created.

The executive also called cars “the ultimate mobile device,” giving a not-so-subtle wink at hints that Apple is currently working on a car of its own for release in 2020 under the name “Project Titan.” Of course, Williams simply played this off as a reference to the existing CarPlay software in iOS 8.

Several other key features are currently being planned for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, including a new “personal assistant” feature with a limited Siri API, a Beats Music-based streaming service, a refreshed UI featuring a new font, improved security features, a new iOS keyboard along with improvements to its messaging system, split-screen multitasking on the iPad, and a new app for managing HomeKit devices.


Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple watch, iOS 9, native apps, OS X 10.11, WatchKit, WWDC

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iPhone rumor roundup: Asian sources claim we’ll see thinner phones, more powerful chips & bigger cameras

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A trio of new rumors from a handful of Asian sources have popped up over the holiday and today, each predicting a different facet of the upcoming ‘iPhone 6S‘. While these are still just very unverified whispers at the moment, odds are that at least one of these will end up coming at least partially true.

Here’s a roundup of the latest iPhone rumors, in no particular order:

A10 Processor

OK, we lied just a little bit. First up is a rumor that’s not so much about the iPhone 6S as it is the iPhone 7. Specifically, this rumor has to do with the “A10″ processor that will likely be used to power the new handset in 2016.

A Taiwanese report discovered by GforGames claims that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be producing all of the chips for the new iPhone. Previous rumors indicated that Apple has elected to use TSMC for only one-third of its A9 processors (which will appear in the iPhone 6S this year).

Whether TSMC will actually be the sole manufacturer has yet to be seen, but Apple has previously been burned by its reliance on a single manufacturer for both sapphire crystal iPhone displays and Taptic Engines for the Apple Watch. It seems unlikely the Cupertino company would decide to put all of its eggs in one basket again, given how badly things have gone when the tech giant’s leadership failed to prepare for contingencies in the past.

The rumor also claims that the chips will be manufactured using a 10nm process that will enable the creation of faster, more powerful hardware. It’s not a big surprise that Apple would consider building a beefier CPU for its latest phone, so that part of the rumor, at least, seems credible.

TSMC is said to be preparing a pilot line of this chip for the end of June, roughly the same time the iPhone 6S is rumored to be entering production.


Smaller LED Backlight

The next rumor has to do with the backlight that powers the iPhone’s display. A new report suggests that Apple will be switching to a model that’s 0.2 mm thinner than the one found in the iPhone 6 line, but comes with an unfortunate side effect. The newer model is said to be 10% dimmer than its predecessor, meaning Apple will have to use additional chips to achieve the same level of brightness.

Granted: this rumor comes from DigiTimes, so it’s best taken with a Bonneville of salt. Regardless, like the faster processors, a thinner backlight seems like exactly the type of move Apple would make in an incremental iPhone update. This rumor sounds like a pretty safe bet.


Improved Camera

The final rumor for this roundup deals with the iPhone’s rear camera. We’ve already seen some (very fake) images floating around of an iPhone 6-style phone sporting dual cameras on the back, but this rumor seems a bit more believable.

The latest claim from Feng says that Apple will finally move on from its 8MP sensor to a new 12MP model. The new sensor will be an RGBW model from Sony. This is far from the first time we’ve heard of a 12MP upgrade for the iPhone, but several recent reports have indicated that this might actually be the year that it happens. Apple has reportedy spent an entire year quality testing the camera.

Autofocus speed on the new camera is also said to be improved.


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: 12MP camera, A10, A10 chip, a9, Apple watch, iPhone, iphone 6s, iPhone 7, iphone camera, ISight, iSight camera, Taiwan Semiconductor manufacturing company, Taptic Engine, TSMC

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Apple releases new OS X 10.10.4 betas to developers and AppleSeed participants

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Apple has just released a new beta seed of the upcoming OS X 10.10.4 update. Users who are part of the company’s AppleSeed beta program and registered Mac developers can download the operating system from the Updates tab of the App Store or the Mac Developer Center.

This is the fourth developer seed that has been released. It comes with a build number of 14E26a. The previous build was released on May 11th with a build number of 14E17e.

The upcoming OS X 10.10.4 currently highlights improvements to security and performance. Meanwhile, the current iOS 8.4 beta also in development includes an all-new Music app with changes to iTunes Radio, iBooks, and will support Apple’s upcoming subscription music streaming service as we’ve reported.

Changes

This beta removes the often criticized discoveryd networking software in favor of the old mDNSResponder.


Filed under: Developers, Mac Tagged: 10.10.4, appleseed, beta, developers, OS X, OS X 10.10, OS X 10.10.4

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Jony Ive promoted to ‘Chief Design Officer’, handing off managerial duties July 1st [Tim Cook Memo]

Alan Dye, Jony Ive, and Richard Howarth

Apple’s Jony Ive has served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Design for several years now, but Apple has announced today that the executive is being named Chief Design Officer (a newly-created position). Additionally, Ive and will be handing the managerial reins of both the industrial and software design units at Apple over to two new leaders on July 1st.

Richard Howarth will become VP of Industrial Design and focus on hardware. Howarth has been part of the iPhone team since the very first generation of the device was in development.

Alan Dye will now be VP of User Interface Design, which covers both desktop and mobile devices. He was a key player in iOS 7’s major redesign as well as the work on the new Watch OS interface. Both of these executives were mentioned as key Apple employees during the New Yorker and WIRED Apple Watch profiles earlier this year.

Ive’s new role will still leave him in charge of the company’s hardware and software design teams overall, but allowing others to handle the day-to-day affairs of each design group will free him up for other tasks. Among those other tasks, Ive says, is a focus on the design of Apple’s retail stores and new campus.

In fact, Ive’s part in designing the new campus extends beyond the building itself. He is responsible for designing a number of other items, such as the desks and chairs that will be used by employees.

The leadership change was first announced in a Telegraph profile by Stephen Fry today. An email from CEO Tim Cook to Apple employees, obtained by our Mark Gurman, confirmed the change today and helped flesh out the details of Ive’s new position and those of his new design leaders:

Team,

I have exciting news to share with you today. I am happy to announce that Jony Ive is being promoted to the newly created position of Chief Design Officer at Apple.

Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name. His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.

Design is one of the most important ways we communicate with our customers, and our reputation for world-class design differentiates Apple from every other company in the world. As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.

Richard, Alan and Jony have been working together as colleagues and friends for many years. Richard has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product. Alan started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom team, and helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch.

Please join me in congratulating these three exceptionally talented designers on their new roles at Apple.

Tim


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Alan Dye, chief design officer, Jonathan Ive, Jony Ive, richard howarth, Tim Cook

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Take a look at the next major redesign of Spotify’s iOS app

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Spotify announced yesterday that it would be redesigning its iOS application with support for new features like original video clips and podcasts. A few glimpses of the updated version of the music streaming app were shown off during the announcement, but today a tipster has supplied us with a collection of screenshots from a beta build of the upcoming release.

Below you’ll find a gallery demonstrating the podcast integration, running speed-based tempo detection, and more. Almost every corner of the app has been completely overhauled with a new design. Many of the icons in the older app have been removed in favor of simple text labels, and a host of new features have been added.

Apple is set to debut its own Spotify competitor next month at WWDC alongside the next generation of its mobile and desktop software.

No details have been provided yet on when this version of Spotify will be available, but some users are reporting that it’s rolling out to them already, so it shouldn’t be too much longer before everyone has it. Until then, here’s a look at what you can expect:

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Filed under: Apps Tagged: Podcasts, Spotify

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Apple launches Czech and Slovak versions of Mac App Store (Update: more languages)

Apple has launched a version of the Mac App Store localized in Czech. Like previous changes to the Mac App Store, upport for the new language is rolling out to users and will only show up for a few people at first. Some users have also spotted a Slovak version of the store, which may be rolling out now as well.

If you’re not seeing the language change yet, you may be able to enable it by switching your region using the flag button at the bottom of the home page, then changing back.

Update: Users are reporting that Romanian and Hungarian versions of the store is also showing up now.


Filed under: Mac Tagged: Mac App Store

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