iOS


ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

My friend Cesare Forelli has just released his fourth app, and it’s a pedometer to help keep track of how far you’ve walked.

It’s a simple application, in that it’s primarily a way to view your walking data, but that’s not all it does.

It tracks your steps, the distance you actually walked, and if you’re on an iPhone 6 or newer it also shows you how many stairs have climbed.

This data is combined with a set goal, which is an amount of steps you want to hit every day. This is all presented in main ring, but if you swipe to the left you will also get to see the Stats view. Here you can find your past steps and distance walked, but also other data points such as the most steps walked, longest distance, and most floors in a single day.

There’s also a today widget, that let’s you keep on top of your walking at a glance.

I’m a big fan of the interface, and how it shows everything I need to see, and in a beautufil way.

Walk More is free to download on the App Store, but there’s also a few tip options in the settings, just in case you want to help keep the app going!

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Starting in iOS 11, users will no longer be able to associate social media accounts, such as Twitter or Facebook into the Settings app.

Previously, users could add an account to Settings, which would then allow other apps to request these details as authentication. Which was quite useful, as there are a lot of apps/services that authenticate via Twitter, and this meant you didn't have to keep entering your password.

There is an alternative that developers can use, and that is the built in Keychain that can be used to store authentication details, such as username or password. And they can combine this together with the new additions to in app autofill, so that stored details can be loaded into the login form automatically.

This also means that the Social app framework, that developers used to initiate content sharing to built-in social networks has changed. Instead of providing a simple way to post to LinkedIn, Weibo, Facebook, is Twitter, it is now a generalised framework that can be manipulated to be used with any social account.

From the documentation:

On iOS and macOS, this framework provides a template for creating HTTP requests. On iOS only, the Social framework provides a generalized interface for posting requests on behalf of the user.

A common way to use this framework is:

  • Create a network session.
  • Get the activity feed for a user.
  • Make a new post.
  • Set properties on a post, add attachments, etc.
  • Publish a post to an activity feed.

So it's still helpful, in that it can be used in more ways than before, and a general interface is also provided. But from the point of view of something like Twitter that was previously integrated, it will be a bit more work to integrate.

David Sparks on the missed opportunity of text and screen effects in iOS, and specifically iMessage:

When iOS 10 was first released, I made the argument that to keep these relevant, Apple needed to constantly iterate and update them. If you've ever spent any time with Snapchat, you know what I'm talking about. Snapchat regularly releases new filters and effects that you can apply to your images. They often change seasonally and even for particular holidays. Watching my children and their friends, they all get a kick out of whatever the latest and greatest Snapchat filter is.

I think Apple had a similar opportunity with text and screen effects in iOS messaging. Why not render text with snowflakes during the winter? Why not have a screen effect with flowers blooming in the spring?

I agree with all of the points David makes, and with the recent TV ads and a bigger focus on iMessage stickers, I think they should also work on these effects a bit more. I'm not saying they should go mad, but maybe a seasonal advert, and a few extra effects every now and then would be a massive improvement. Some people don't even know that they exist, so surely just meeting that mark would be beneficial.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

With iOS 11 days from being announced, you wouldn't expect a great deal of big updates to apps. But Readdle have implemented a feature, that most iOS users have been waiting for - Drag and Drop.

So on their iPad apps - Documents, PDF Expert, Scanner Pro and Spark, you will be able to drag items from one app to another when using Split View.

I don't want to write thousands of words explaining this new feature, because it just wouldn't do it justice. Instead, you can watch Readdles's demo video.

It's truly impressive, and it's what I expect a native drag and drop feature on iOS would look like. Their own implementation would of took a huge amount of work, and they've really made it look seamless. One point I have to make though, is that if Drag and Drop is announced for iOS 11, would this custom implementation be the best way to do it?

But leaving the pessimistic thoughts alone, this is an incredible feature, and makes me want to try out even more of Readdle's apps.

You can read Readdle's announcement on their blog, but if you want to know more details on these updates, and see some more examples, then Federico Viticci has written a great piece at MacStories.

Joe Cieplinski, on the way iOS handles review prompts, and the way developers have to implement them:

While working on my latest update of Fin, I spent a bit of time playing with Apple’s new SKStoreReviewController API.

For those unfamiliar, this new API was announced with the early betas of iOS 10.3, and it went live with the 10.3 release last month. Though it isn’t the only approved way to prompt a customer to rate your app on the App Store yet, that is Apple’s ultimate intention. Like it or not, you’ll have to learn to work with this thing eventually, in other words. Unless you never prompt for reviews.

If you're interested in the way apps now ask for reviews on iOS, or maybe just want to find out a developers perspective, Joe explains the pros and cons very nicely.