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18th May 2019
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It’s time for another great and insightful post by Jeff Perry at Rocket Panda. He talks about how we tend to focus on so many things, that it’s very difficult to accomplish anything:

I have been thinking a lot about habits lately and I think that one of my biggest flaws, as many others also have, is that we suffer from 3 Stooges Syndrome.

One thing, I constantly deal with is new interests and goals I set for myself when I want to make a positive change in my life. The issue is when I have so many things that it all seems to be too much.

I would highly recommend reading the full post. It’s something I think affects a lot of us.

16th May 2019
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Jordan Merrick shared some great tips on how you can manage Hashtags for Instagram:

My iPhone photography workflow includes sharing some of the photos I’ve taken to Instagram. I usually include relevant hashtags to increase discoverability and have a collection of frequently used hashtag sets—different hashtags for the same topic—that I can choose from. I also include a five-dot prefix (each dot on a separate line) to separate the photo’s caption text and hashtags. This is a commonly used method for hiding hashtags “below the fold” so they’re only visible when tapping the more button.

I’ve used specific groups of hashtags before on Instagram, and used a Shortcut to populate the clipboard with them, however these tips are much better than that.

13th May 2019
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Becky Hansmeyer on pricing an app:

$5 should be the absolute rock bottom price for a quality indie app, full stop. So, for whoever might need to hear this: stop kidding yourself, you’re not going to make it up in volume, raise your dang prices, thank you and good night.

I wouldn’t class Text Case as some kind of massively featured app, but I recently rose the price of it from its initial price of $1 to $2 with the last 2.0 update. But now I’m starting to think I should up it to $3.

10th May 2019

As part of National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase, they released a short film about how forests are now starting to be grown in Iceland:

The landscape of Iceland has changed a lot in a thousand years. When the Vikings first arrived in the ninth century, the land was covered in 25 to 40 percent forest. Within a few centuries, almost all of the island’s trees were slashed and burned to make room for farming. This rapid deforestation has resulted in massive soil erosion that puts the island at risk for desertification.

Today, the Icelandic Forest Service has taken on the mammoth task of bringing back the woodlands. With the help of forestry societies and forest farmers, Iceland’s trees are slowly beginning to make a comeback.

It’s only a short video, around 5 minutes. But it’s fascinating to see the effect that farming has had on Iceland’s forests.

28th April 2019
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Ever since moving in to a new home with my girlfriend, I’ve been thinking of ways to add a bit more nature. We both like the look of plants, and having quite a lot of green in the house, but she would prefer fake ones, and I would prefer all real plants.

As I was watching videos about what other people have inside their house, I discovered a woman called Summer Rayne Oakes (@homesteadbrooklyn on Instagram). A channel called Barcroft TV have a great video of her apartment in New York, and shows how she fits in over 150 different plant species.

It’s absolutely incredible.

While I wouldn’t mind living in this apartment, I’m pretty sure whatever I go with, won’t be as crazy.

28th April 2019
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When I heard about Reeder 4 being released, I wasn’t quite sure what benefits it had over Reeder 3. Thankfully, Matthew Casinelli wrote a great piece:

iPad users who have been holding out hope for an update to Reeder for iOS can relax – a new version was released today with full support for all devices on all platforms and some interesting new features.

After reading the full article, you’ll have no surprise that I ended up purchasing the app.

You can find Reeder 4 on the App Store.

18th April 2019
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Jeff Perry, writing at Rocket Panda:

This is just a quick little tip for iPad users out there. If you are like me and using the Smart Keyboard or any keyboard that doesn’t have an Escape key you can press command . and that will most likely work as a way to escape from any text input you are in.

I think I’ve heard of this vaguely in the past. But after seeing this post, I tried it in a few different places in iOS, and I can confirm that it’s probably the closest escape key alternative.

The escape key on a Mac does all kind of things. Such as cancelling a drag action, cancelling some kind of input, or closing a temporary window. This “escape key” is more limited, in that I’ve only see it escape from text entry. That doesn’t mean it’s not handy though, and I’m sure I’ll use this quite a bit.

18th March 2019
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Apple Newsroom:

Apple today introduced the all-new iPad Air in an ultra-thin 10.5-inch design, offering the latest innovations including Apple Pencil support and high-end performance at a breakthrough price. With the A12 Bionic chip with Apple’s Neural Engine, the new iPad Air delivers a 70 percent boost in performance and twice the graphics capability, and the advanced Retina display with True Tone technology is nearly 20 percent larger with over half a million more pixels.

Apple today also introduced the new 7.9-inch iPad mini, a major upgrade for iPad mini fans who love a compact, ultra-portable design packed with the latest technology. With the A12 Bionic chip, the new iPad mini is a powerful multi-tasking machine, delivering three times the performance and nine times faster graphics. The advanced Retina display with True Tone technology and wide color support is 25 percent brighter and has the highest pixel density of any iPad, delivering an immersive visual experience in any setting. And with Apple Pencil support, the new iPad mini is the perfect take-anywhere notepad for sketching and jotting down thoughts on the go. The new iPads are available to order starting today and in stores next week.

I guess this is Apple clearing out a few announcements before the big event on March 25th.

15th March 2019
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So, Apple have now posted their response to Spotifys long list of complaints against them.

It’s pretty huge, and they go against nearly every point they made. I’m hugely biased as I’m an Apple fan, but to me, everything they said makes a lot of sense.

Here are some of the sections that I found the most interesting:

What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.

That’s a dig at Spotify already, and they also go a bit further than their complaints, by mentioning their relationship with artists.

One thing that surprised me, was their response to Spotifys claims about Apple restricting them from platforms such as the HomePod or Apple Watch:

  • When we reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, they’ve told us they’re working on it, and we stand ready to help them where we can.
  • Spotify is deeply integrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has.
  • We found Spotify’s claims about Apple Watch especially surprising. When Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is currently the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.

That all sounds like Spotify have actually been working with Apple successfully already.

They then went into detail on the number of free apps in the App Store, how different apps make money while Apple not taking a cut (free, ad-supported, external subscriptions, and physical good sales). They turned this at Spotify by stating that only a small fraction of their subscriptions are going through their payment platform, and that their target is to reduce that to zero. So in effect, reducing their contribution to the platform to zero.

They end with a statement about what it means to music, and also how Apple’s approach is to help grow opportunities for artists, businesses, and every person with a big idea:

We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters.

Just this week, Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. This isn’t just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.

Apple’s approach has always been to grow the pie. By creating new marketplaces, we can create more opportunities not just for our business, but for artists, creators, entrepreneurs and every “crazy one” with a big idea. That’s in our DNA, it’s the right model to grow the next big app ideas and, ultimately, it’s better for customers.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to help Spotify build a successful business reaching hundreds of millions of music lovers, and we wish them continued success — after all, that was the whole point of creating the App Store in the first place.

This is going to be really interesting to watch play out. Especially the EU court case.

There is one thing that I agree with Spotify on, and that’s the 30% cut Apple take. But I wouldn’t class that as being anti-competitive, as it’s a rule for the entire App Store. I just want it to be lower.

In general, I’m against Spotify on this one. I was unsure on a few things after the complaint was published, on things like the App Store rejections, their claim that Apple dismissed their Apple Watch app proposals, and Apple apparently not letting them on the HomePod. Apple cleared a lot of this up. And while both sides of the argument will include biases, I feel that Apple have quashed a lot of Spotifys claims.

14th March 2019
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Ben Sandofsky, the developer of the popular app Halide, and now Spectre, shared an update on how the Spectre launch went, and also their plan for future releases:

He also shared some photos taken on Spectre, which look amazing. The hashtag they’re using is #SpectreShot, so I may have to share some myself.

The section I found most interesting was about the initial release:

To say our launch was a success would be an understatement. On day 1, Spectre instantly rose to the first place in the App Store. We had features on The Verge, The Daily Mail, Lonely Planet, Macstories, CNet, Macrumors, 9to5Mac, Uncrate and more.

It was a bit too much success: We rose up the charts so fast that one of Apple’s fraud detection systems kicked in. For a half a day, we were missing from the charts. Yikes! We were panicking and got in touch with Apple.

Fortunately, after Apple’s fine people verified we weren’t gaming the system, we were back at #1, where we stuck it out for almost a whole week.

I had never heard about these “fraud detection systems”, but the people at iA (iA Writer Developers) wrote about it last year. It’s a huge piece of writing, and there’s a ton of great investigation as well, but essentially they found that an increase in traffic to the App Store, can negatively affect the apps ranking. That sounds pretty weird to me.

Fortunately/Unfortunately for me, none of my apps have managed to be affected by the fraud detection systems.