Tag Archives: notification center

iPhone app Numerous previews iOS 8 Notification Center integration

Numerous Today View Numerous Today View Numerous Today View

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…

If you’re not familiar with Numerous, the iPhone app launched at the beginning of May and makes tracking a plethora of numbers relating to a variety of items like a stock’s price or someone’s follower count easy and fun with a dashboard view. The app was especially useful for me as a countdown tracker for counting the days leading up to WWDC ahead of Apple’s developer conference.

Now the developers are showing off their upcoming support for the new Notification Center shown off at WWDC this year. With widget support in the Today view for Notification Center, numbers being tracked with Numerous can be viewed quickly by swiping down from anywhere on the iPhone without even having to open the app. As you can see from the preview above, this allows you to access more numbers than just stock prices like the number of steps you’ve taken as measured by the M7 chip available on the iPhone 5s.

Numerous Notification Center widget

The integration looks really smooth and gives us a great preview of what we can expect from even more apps when iOS 8 laters this fall.

We’ve seen Philips show off their own idea for a Notification Center widget that could control their connected light bulbs, and Fleksy has previewed native iOS support for its third party keyboard as well so we know we have a lot to look forward to from developers with the public launch of iOS 8.

You can read the blog post on Numerous here and download the app for iPhone for free on the App Store (san Notification Center support, of course, until iOS 8 launches later this year).


Filed under: Apps Tagged: developers, iOS 8, iPhone widgets, Notification Center, Numerous, Today view

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Apple China denies location tracking claims: we’re ‘deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers’

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 11.56.35 AM

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:

Our customers want and expect their mobile devices to be able to quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work. We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users’ locations – Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using pre-stored WLAN hotspot and cell tower location data in combination with information about which hotspots and cell towers are currently being received by the iPhone. In order to accomplish this goal, Apple maintains a secure crowd-sourced database containing known locations of cell towers and WLAN hotspots that Apple collects from millions of Apple devices. It’s important to point out that during this collection process, an Apple device does not transmit any data that is uniquely associated with the device or the customer.

On App Store apps and Location Services settings:

Apple gives customers control over collection and use of location data on all our devices. Customers have to make the choice to enable Location Services, it is not a default setting. Apple does not allow any app to receive device location information without first receiving the user’s explicit consent through a simple pop-up alert. This alert is mandatory and cannot be overridden. Customers may change their mind and opt-out of Location Services for individual apps or services at any time by using simple “On/Off” switches. When a user turns “Off” location data for an app or service, it stops collecting the data. Parents can also use Restrictions to prevent access by their children to Location Services.

On Traffic tracking, iOS in the Car, Notification Center, and iTunes in the Cloud:

When it comes to using iPhone for traffic conditions, iOS can capture Frequent Locations to provide commute information in the Today view of Notification Center and to show you automatic routing for iOS in CarPlay. Frequent Locations are only stored on a customer’s iOS device, they are not backed up on iTunes or iCloud, and are encrypted. Apple does not obtain or know a user’s Frequent Locations and this feature can always be turned “Off” via our privacy settings.

Of course, Apple’s sharp and direct response to these location tracking claims indicates how seriously the company takes both its public perception and the privacy of customers. The letter in full can be found below in both English and in Chinese.

English version:

Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers. Privacy is built into our products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world. Unlike many companies, our business does not depend on collecting large amounts of personal data about our customers. We are strongly committed to giving our customers clear and transparent notice, choice and control over their information, and we believe our products do this in a simple and elegant way.

We appreciate CCTV’s effort to help educate customers on a topic we think is very important. We want to make sure all of our customers in China are clear about what we do and we don’t do when it comes to privacy and your personal data.

Our customers want and expect their mobile devices to be able to quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work. We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users’ locations – Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using pre-stored WLAN hotspot and cell tower location data in combination with information about which hotspots and cell towers are currently being received by the iPhone. In order to accomplish this goal, Apple maintains a secure crowd-sourced database containing known locations of cell towers and WLAN hotspots that Apple collects from millions of Apple devices. It’s important to point out that during this collection process, an Apple device does not transmit any data that is uniquely associated with the device or the customer.

Apple gives customers control over collection and use of location data on all our devices. Customers have to make the choice to enable Location Services, it is not a default setting. Apple does not allow any app to receive device location information without first receiving the user’s explicit consent through a simple pop-up alert. This alert is mandatory and cannot be overridden. Customers may change their mind and opt-out of Location Services for individual apps or services at any time by using simple “On/Off” switches. When a user turns “Off” location data for an app or service, it stops collecting the data. Parents can also use Restrictions to prevent access by their children to Location Services.

When it comes to using iPhone for traffic conditions, iOS can capture Frequent Locations to provide commute information in the Today view of Notification Center and to show you automatic routing for iOS in CarPlay. Frequent Locations are only stored on a customer’s iOS device, they are not backed up on iTunes or iCloud, and are encrypted. Apple does not obtain or know a user’s Frequent Locations and this feature can always be turned “Off” via our privacy settings.

Apple does not have access to Frequent Locations or the location cache on any user’s iPhone at any time. We encrypt the cache by the user’s passcode and it is protected from access by any app. In the interest of even greater transparency for our customers, if a user enters their passcode successfully, they are able to see the data collected on their device. Once the device is locked no one is able to view that information without entering the passcode.

As we have stated before, 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.

Chinese version:

一直以来,Apple 都非常坚定地承诺保护我们所有用户的隐私。从最初的设计阶段开始,隐私保护的理念就已植根于我们的产品与服务之中。我们不懈努力,只为将安全性世界领先的硬件和软件产品带给我们的用户。与许多其他公司不同,我们的业务并不依赖于收集大量用户个人信息。我们郑重地承诺,坚持给予用户清晰而透明的提示和选择,让用户得以控制自己的信息。而且我们坚信,自己的产品也简单而恰当地做到了这一点。

我们非常感谢 CCTV 的努力,就这一我们也认为非常重要的议题来协助进行用户教育。在此,我们要确保所有的中国用户能够清晰地了解,在涉及隐私和个人数据信息时,我们的所为及所不为。

在购物,旅游,寻找就近餐馆或计算上班所花费时间等具体活动中,我们的用户想要并期望他们的移动设备能够快速并可靠地确定自己的当前位置。我们在设备端做到了这一点。但 Apple 不会追踪用户的定位:Apple 以前从未这样做过,以后也永远不会这样做。

如果仅使用 GPS 卫星数据进行手机定位,可能需要花费几分钟的时间。而通过预先储存的无线局域网热点位置和信号发射塔位置数据,并结合当前正在被 iPhone 接收的无线局域网热点和信号发射塔信息,iPhone 可以将这个时间缩至短短几秒钟。为了实现这一目标,Apple 运行着一个安全可靠的众包数据库,其中包含了 Apple 通过数百万 Apple 设备收集的已知信号发射塔和无线局域网热点位置信息。但必须重点指出的是,在这一收集过程中,Apple 设备并未发送或传输任何具体与某部设备或某位用户相关的数据。

在我们所有的设备上,Apple 都让用户能够自主控制定位数据的收集和使用。用户必须自主选择启用 “定位服务”,因为它不是一项默认设置。Apple 绝对不允许任何应用,在未曾预先弹出让用户一目了然的提示并得到用户明确同意的情况下,就擅自接收设备的定位信息。这样的提示是强制性的,并且不能被隐藏或覆盖。如果用户改变主意,仅需简单地切换 “开/关” 按钮,即可随时就个别应用或服务退出 “定位服务”。当用户将某个应用或服务的定位数据切换成 “关” 时,它就会停止收集数据。而且,家长还可以使用 “访问限制” 功能,以防止孩子使用 “定位服务”。

当使用 iPhone 了解交通状况时,iOS 可搜集 “常去地点”,在 “通知中心” 的 “今天” 视图中提供通勤信息,并在 CarPlay 中为你展示 iOS 自动规划的路线。但 “常去地点” 仅存储于每个用户个人的 iOS 设备上,并且进行了加密;它并不备份于 iTunes 或 iCloud 中。Apple 从不获取或了解某个用户的 “常去地点” 信息。而且,这一功能也可随时通过隐私设置切换为 “关”。

Apple 不会在任何时候通过任何用户的 iPhone 去获取其 “常去地点” 或其定位服务的缓存。我们通过用户密码对缓存进行了加密,并且谨防任何应用对其进行访问。为了让用户拥有更大透明度的权益,用户在成功输入其个人密码后,即可看到其设备上收集的数据。而当设备锁定后,在未输入密码的情况下,任何人都不可能查看这些信息。

正如我们前文所述,Apple 从未与任何国家的任何政府机构就任何产品或服务建立过所谓的 “后门”。我们也从未开放过我们的服务器,并且永远不会。对于我们而言,这些都是必须坚守、绝不妥协的


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, china, Frequent Locations, icloud, iOS, iPhone, iTunes, Notification Center

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Apple China denies location tracking claims: we’re ‘deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers’

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 11.56.35 AM

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:

Our customers want and expect their mobile devices to be able to quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work. We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users’ locations – Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using pre-stored WLAN hotspot and cell tower location data in combination with information about which hotspots and cell towers are currently being received by the iPhone. In order to accomplish this goal, Apple maintains a secure crowd-sourced database containing known locations of cell towers and WLAN hotspots that Apple collects from millions of Apple devices. It’s important to point out that during this collection process, an Apple device does not transmit any data that is uniquely associated with the device or the customer.

On App Store apps and Location Services settings:

Apple gives customers control over collection and use of location data on all our devices. Customers have to make the choice to enable Location Services, it is not a default setting. Apple does not allow any app to receive device location information without first receiving the user’s explicit consent through a simple pop-up alert. This alert is mandatory and cannot be overridden. Customers may change their mind and opt-out of Location Services for individual apps or services at any time by using simple “On/Off” switches. When a user turns “Off” location data for an app or service, it stops collecting the data. Parents can also use Restrictions to prevent access by their children to Location Services.

On Traffic tracking, iOS in the Car, Notification Center, and iTunes in the Cloud:

When it comes to using iPhone for traffic conditions, iOS can capture Frequent Locations to provide commute information in the Today view of Notification Center and to show you automatic routing for iOS in CarPlay. Frequent Locations are only stored on a customer’s iOS device, they are not backed up on iTunes or iCloud, and are encrypted. Apple does not obtain or know a user’s Frequent Locations and this feature can always be turned “Off” via our privacy settings.

Of course, Apple’s sharp and direct response to these location tracking claims indicates how seriously the company takes both its public perception and the privacy of customers. The letter in full can be found below in both English and in Chinese.

English version:

Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers. Privacy is built into our products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world. Unlike many companies, our business does not depend on collecting large amounts of personal data about our customers. We are strongly committed to giving our customers clear and transparent notice, choice and control over their information, and we believe our products do this in a simple and elegant way.

We appreciate CCTV’s effort to help educate customers on a topic we think is very important. We want to make sure all of our customers in China are clear about what we do and we don’t do when it comes to privacy and your personal data.

Our customers want and expect their mobile devices to be able to quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work. We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users’ locations – Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using pre-stored WLAN hotspot and cell tower location data in combination with information about which hotspots and cell towers are currently being received by the iPhone. In order to accomplish this goal, Apple maintains a secure crowd-sourced database containing known locations of cell towers and WLAN hotspots that Apple collects from millions of Apple devices. It’s important to point out that during this collection process, an Apple device does not transmit any data that is uniquely associated with the device or the customer.

Apple gives customers control over collection and use of location data on all our devices. Customers have to make the choice to enable Location Services, it is not a default setting. Apple does not allow any app to receive device location information without first receiving the user’s explicit consent through a simple pop-up alert. This alert is mandatory and cannot be overridden. Customers may change their mind and opt-out of Location Services for individual apps or services at any time by using simple “On/Off” switches. When a user turns “Off” location data for an app or service, it stops collecting the data. Parents can also use Restrictions to prevent access by their children to Location Services.

When it comes to using iPhone for traffic conditions, iOS can capture Frequent Locations to provide commute information in the Today view of Notification Center and to show you automatic routing for iOS in CarPlay. Frequent Locations are only stored on a customer’s iOS device, they are not backed up on iTunes or iCloud, and are encrypted. Apple does not obtain or know a user’s Frequent Locations and this feature can always be turned “Off” via our privacy settings.

Apple does not have access to Frequent Locations or the location cache on any user’s iPhone at any time. We encrypt the cache by the user’s passcode and it is protected from access by any app. In the interest of even greater transparency for our customers, if a user enters their passcode successfully, they are able to see the data collected on their device. Once the device is locked no one is able to view that information without entering the passcode.

As we have stated before, 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.

Chinese version:

一直以来,Apple 都非常坚定地承诺保护我们所有用户的隐私。从最初的设计阶段开始,隐私保护的理念就已植根于我们的产品与服务之中。我们不懈努力,只为将安全性世界领先的硬件和软件产品带给我们的用户。与许多其他公司不同,我们的业务并不依赖于收集大量用户个人信息。我们郑重地承诺,坚持给予用户清晰而透明的提示和选择,让用户得以控制自己的信息。而且我们坚信,自己的产品也简单而恰当地做到了这一点。

我们非常感谢 CCTV 的努力,就这一我们也认为非常重要的议题来协助进行用户教育。在此,我们要确保所有的中国用户能够清晰地了解,在涉及隐私和个人数据信息时,我们的所为及所不为。

在购物,旅游,寻找就近餐馆或计算上班所花费时间等具体活动中,我们的用户想要并期望他们的移动设备能够快速并可靠地确定自己的当前位置。我们在设备端做到了这一点。但 Apple 不会追踪用户的定位:Apple 以前从未这样做过,以后也永远不会这样做。

如果仅使用 GPS 卫星数据进行手机定位,可能需要花费几分钟的时间。而通过预先储存的无线局域网热点位置和信号发射塔位置数据,并结合当前正在被 iPhone 接收的无线局域网热点和信号发射塔信息,iPhone 可以将这个时间缩至短短几秒钟。为了实现这一目标,Apple 运行着一个安全可靠的众包数据库,其中包含了 Apple 通过数百万 Apple 设备收集的已知信号发射塔和无线局域网热点位置信息。但必须重点指出的是,在这一收集过程中,Apple 设备并未发送或传输任何具体与某部设备或某位用户相关的数据。

在我们所有的设备上,Apple 都让用户能够自主控制定位数据的收集和使用。用户必须自主选择启用 “定位服务”,因为它不是一项默认设置。Apple 绝对不允许任何应用,在未曾预先弹出让用户一目了然的提示并得到用户明确同意的情况下,就擅自接收设备的定位信息。这样的提示是强制性的,并且不能被隐藏或覆盖。如果用户改变主意,仅需简单地切换 “开/关” 按钮,即可随时就个别应用或服务退出 “定位服务”。当用户将某个应用或服务的定位数据切换成 “关” 时,它就会停止收集数据。而且,家长还可以使用 “访问限制” 功能,以防止孩子使用 “定位服务”。

当使用 iPhone 了解交通状况时,iOS 可搜集 “常去地点”,在 “通知中心” 的 “今天” 视图中提供通勤信息,并在 CarPlay 中为你展示 iOS 自动规划的路线。但 “常去地点” 仅存储于每个用户个人的 iOS 设备上,并且进行了加密;它并不备份于 iTunes 或 iCloud 中。Apple 从不获取或了解某个用户的 “常去地点” 信息。而且,这一功能也可随时通过隐私设置切换为 “关”。

Apple 不会在任何时候通过任何用户的 iPhone 去获取其 “常去地点” 或其定位服务的缓存。我们通过用户密码对缓存进行了加密,并且谨防任何应用对其进行访问。为了让用户拥有更大透明度的权益,用户在成功输入其个人密码后,即可看到其设备上收集的数据。而当设备锁定后,在未输入密码的情况下,任何人都不可能查看这些信息。

正如我们前文所述,Apple 从未与任何国家的任何政府机构就任何产品或服务建立过所谓的 “后门”。我们也从未开放过我们的服务器,并且永远不会。对于我们而言,这些都是必须坚守、绝不妥协的


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, china, Frequent Locations, icloud, iOS, iPhone, iTunes, Notification Center

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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.


Filed under: Apps Tagged: Android, Bluetooth, iOS, JavaScript, Notification Center, Pebble, release notes, smartwatch

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Apple considered ditching iconic Apple Menu for Control Center in OS X Yosemite

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 4.30.39 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.16.25 PM

The Control Center feature was first introduced as a slide up settings menu in iOS 7. While, in iOS, Control Center is simple a handy feature for accessing commonly used toggles quickly, OS X’s variant would have represented a massive shift in the Mac’s fundamentals. According to sources and developers who have located OS X Control Center references in the current beta, the feature was designed to replace the iconic Apple Menu in the Menu Bar. The Apple Menu is currently home to buttons to access About this Mac, System Preferences, logging out, rebooting, and shutting down the Mac.

Instead, OS X Yosemite could have placed all of those options in a slide out Control Center panel. Symmetrical to the new OS X Notification Center, Control Center would have slid out via a gesture on the trackpad or by the click of the Apple logo in the still-existing Menu Bar. Alongside features like Continuity and Handoff, Control Center in Yosemite would have brought increased feature parity with iOS and made it simpler for Apple customers to transition between devices. Control Center on the Mac would even have toggles for Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Do Not Disturb, like on iOS.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.10.22 PM

Speaking of Do Not Disturb, it seems that the preferences for that feature indicates that Apple removed Control Center from Yosemite fairly late in development. A switch for activating or deactivating Do Not Disturb does not exist in the current build of OS X Yosemite, so perhaps Apple was relying on Control Center (as shown in the top image) for that function. To activate Do Not Disturb on the current Yosemite build, users have to use the unintuitive “Option + Click Notification Center icon” command. It is uncertain if Apple plans to re-implement Control Center on the Mac, but as iOS and OS X continue to adopt similarities, it is likely that Mac users will see the functionality at some point in the near future.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, iOS, Mac, Mac OS, Notification Center, OS X, yosemite, Yosemite National Park

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Skype for iPhone gets ground-up redesign; top designer talks future iPad & iOS 8 updates

Skype_5.0_iPhone_chat Skype_5.0_iPhone_people

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…

The new design is flat, clean and easy to use. With large and colorful buttons, the interface is more accessible and quicker to navigate. The interface ditches the classic tab bar from the current version of the app in favor of a Windows Phone-style swipe gesture.

With the new app, users can swipe between their contacts list, recent contacts, and favorite people. At the bottom of the app, there are quick action buttons to launch the Skype phone dialer and open chats list. While the interface is akin to that of the Windows Phone and Android Skype apps, it still feels at home on iOS.

The scrolling and the fonts inside of the chat windows are a major improvement over the current version of Skype for iPhone. Additionally, the new app has in-app notification banners so that you can view new Skype messages as they roll in without leaving your current chat window. There is also a nice gesture for swiping quickly between multiple conversations.Skype_5.0_iPhone_port_favorites

At the bottom of each chat window, there are quick buttons to access voice calling, video calling, and an additional options panel. The entire experience is cleaner, more fun, and now poses comparisons to the fluidity of Apple’s in-house iOS Messages app.

New to Skype on iPhone is a Favorites tab that provides large profile icons of the people you talk to most. The interface is similar to the icon tiles on the Windows Phone home screen, but it still feels at home on iOS. As Schneider said in our interview, “we rebuilt the Skype for iPhone calling experience to fit seamlessly into iOS and optimize for mobile users.”

He also noted that iOS is the last platform to receive Skype’s new look, and this means that the iPhone expierience received the full attention of all of Skype’s mobile app designers. As Schneider noted, “we created this version with very high standards and went the extra mile to make sure we were proud of every design component we included.”

Rounding out the ground-up redesign are improvements to two areas: more integrated chatting and messaging synchronization.

Using the new chat button, group chats can more easily be created from an iPhone. Messages to offline users can also now be sent and received, and those messages will appear upon the user’s next sign-in into Skype.

Skype_5.0_iPhone_profileCertainly important to me, Skype now has improved message read/unread notification syncing between multiple devices. So if I have Skype running on my iPad and my iPhone and I read the message on my phone, it will, too, become read on my iPad.

Speaking of notifications, Schneider said that Skype is aware of the interactive notifications enhancements in iOS 8 and that the company is excited about the possibilities for Skype with those new features. While Skype would not confirm which additional features it is considering for the iOS 8 update, it would make sense for the firm to develop a Notification Center widget to quickly access contacts as well as an extension to share content via other apps through the Skype app.

While the 5.0 update is being announced today, Skype is aiming to actually release the new version sometime next week. Skype has no specific announcement plans for an updated iPad app, but a new version for the Apple tablets is in the works, according to Schneider.

At a time when Apple is adding improved group chatting and media messaging to iMessage, when Facebook is buying up messaging apps for billions of dollars, and ephemeral messaging apps are popping up at a rapid pace, the original king of messaging is taking a new step onto Apple’s platform, and I believe that users will appreciate the faster interface, fresh design, and much improved chatting.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Tagged: App Store, Apple, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, iOS, iPhone, Microsoft, Notification Center, Skype, WhatsApp, Windows Phone

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