I'd Rather Pay A Subscription

Jared Sinclair:

Considering the enormous amount of effort I have put into these apps over the past year, that’s a depressing figure. I try not to think about the salary I could earn if I worked for another company, with my skills and qualifications. It’s also a solid piece of evidence that shows that paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store.

There are a few iOS apps that are essential to my day to day computing happiness: Overcast, Reeder, Omnifocus, Evernote, Tweetbot, Byword, Pocket, Fantastical, and 1Password. Outside of Evernote and Omnifocus, all of these apps cost less than $10. In fact, I am pretty sure you could buy all of them for less than $30 total. Evernote is free with an optional subscription. Omnifocus is a (whopping) $20. I am happy to pay an Evernote subscription to enable additional features and to help the service survive. When Tweetbot 3 came out, I happily paid the minimal price of the new app. I use these apps daily and want them to continue development. Innovation and continued development cost money. If 1Password released a new paid version of their iOS app today, I'd upgrade immediately. It's an app that saves me time and manages something important to me.

I say all this to make the point that I'd gladly pay an addtional small subscription fee on top of the purchase price (or instead of) for the apps I use daily. I hope many developers use iOS 8 as a time to release a new paid version of their app. I'd like to see many developers release new paid editions on a schedule. I think 18 months from time of release seems like a fair upgrade cycle. We've got to make iOS app development sustainable for the big companies and the small companies.

Sponsor: Photo Book Flip for iPad

I wanted to thank Photo Book Flip For iPad for sponsoring Chambers Daily this week. Here are a few things they are working on:

  • Sharing features: Email, tweet, or post to Facebook individual photos as well as pages in your photo books.
  • Full screen photos: Tap on any photo to see it in full screen view.
  • More templates: We're gradually adding more templates for more layout variations.
  • Flickr and Facebook Support: The feature we're excited about the most! Create photo books from photos in your Facebook and Flickr account.

You can purchase it on the App Store.

Amazon Fire Phone Review

David Pierce:

The Kindle Paperwhite is what the Fire Phone should be, a device perfectly suited to its task with subtle improvements lurking behind every corner. And who knows? Maybe in seven more years we’ll have the smartphone equivalent. But this Fire Phone is more like that first Kindle: a device with so many features, so many ideas, that it has either forgotten or ignored what it’s supposed to be for. Dynamic Perspective and Firefly are impressive technological achievements with bright futures (if by some miracle Amazon can get its developers on board), and the Fire Phone is a remarkably efficient shopping machine. But it’s not a very good smartphone.

The original Kindle was apparently terrible, but the Kindle Paperwhite is fantastic. The question remains if Amazon can repeat that strategy with the Fire Phone and the Fire Tablets. With the forking of Android, Amazon has taken the power into their owns hands. Are they able to further develop an OS or will they be stuck with what they have?

2 Minutes

It's no secret that app reviews are important for app sales. Once you come across an app in the store, it's really the only way to customers can find out if the app is good or terrible. The problem with app reviews is that they are subjective. Maybe someone thinks $2 is too much for an app (as they drink a $4 coffee), but that doesn't mean the app isn't worth $2 to you. Whenever an app is updated, the reviews are 'reset'. While the old reviews are still there, the most prominent ones are the ones for the current versions

Whenever an app that you enjoy is updated, take 2 minutes and either leave a review or update your existing one. 2 minutes isn't a lot of time to you, but it can mean the world to the developer and other potential customers.

Explaining Continuity: The Tech Tying iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite Together

Andrew Cunningham:

Apple’s developer documentation doesn’t go into much depth about passing voice calls through your iPhone to your Mac or iPad, but the preview site indicates that both devices will need to be on the same Wi-Fi network (having a Mac hooked to wired Ethernet will also probably work, but it's safe to assume that more homes are wireless these days). Unlike Handoff, the feature doesn’t appear to use Bluetooth at all, and unlike AirDrop, it doesn’t require your device to support peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connections. Unlike so many of the other Continuity features, this one looks like it should work fine even if you’re using an iPhone 4S with an iMac or MacBook Pro from 2007.

Given what we know about how it works and about other features being added to iOS 8, the ability to take and make phone calls from a Mac or iPad is likely an extension of the voice over IP (VoIP) capabilities that power FaceTime Audio in iOS 7 and OS X 10.9.2. Rather than sending voice over the Internet between two Apple devices, it appears to be communicating between two devices on your local network to deliver voice calls. Look at the official screenshots Apple has released to promote the feature, and you'll notice that Apple even uses the same kind of pop-up notification UI in Yosemite for both iPhone and FaceTime Audio calls.

I cannot wait for a deep dive on this technology once iOS 8 and Yosemite are released.

Sponsor: Photo Book Flip for iPad

Photo Book Flip instantly turns the photos on your iPad into a beautiful photo book with a single tap. Unlike most photo apps that only let you browse photos one at a time, Photo Book Flip lets you flip through your photos in variety of layouts, so you can enjoy them in a delightful and different way.

How is Photo Book Flip different?

Photo Book Flip is not your ordinary photo book creator app. Every time you choose a set of photos, the app intelligently lays out photos into minimalist templates inspired by photo-centric magazines like Kinfolk. So every time you create a photo book, it’s going to be a different experience even with the same set of photos.

Photo Book Flip also works nicely with Apple’s Photo Stream. This means all the photos you take on your iPhone, you can use Photo Book Flip on your iPad to make them into a photo book with just a tap.

Lastly, we think the best part of Photo Book Flip is that it takes the hassle out of creating beautiful photo books for you to enjoy.

A sneak peak at what’s coming up.

We are hard at work polishing and making this app better. There are lots more features to come and here’s a preview:

  • Sharing features: Email, tweet, or post to Facebook individual photos as well as pages in your photo books.
  • Full screen photos: Tap on any photo to see it in full screen view.
  • More templates: We’re gradually adding more templates for more layout variations.
  • Flickr and Facebook Support: The feature we’re excited about the most! Create photo books from photos in your Facebook and Flickr account.

As you can see, lots of exciting features are coming to Photo Book Flip! Find it on the App Store and make sure to sign up for updates on our website.

Why I Like Overcast

Most of you have heard that Overcast for iPhone was released last week. It's a podcast app from Marco Arment. It's been much anticipated since it was announced last September. Here is why I like it (after a few days of full time use):

  1. Simple
    The interface is simple, but still powerful. It's easy for new podcast fans to use, but also powerful enough for the hardcore fans. The new playlist section makes it easy to organize shows without much effort. I have one playlist that groups my 2 favorite shows at the top regardless of what else is on there. While it doesn't yet support streaming, I've always been one to download shows to save on my data plan.

  2. Saves me time
    I love smart speed feature. It's probably the feature that is the key differentiator over other podcast apps. It seeks to speed up the show by eliminating near silence from track.

It's free to download, but there is a $4.99 IAP if you want to unlock some great features.

Cellular downloads
Variable playback speed
Smart Speed
Voice Boost
Per-podcast effects settings
One-by-one playback option
Sleep timer
Unlimited number of playlists
Unlimited episodes shown in playlists

If you want a more detailed review, check out Macstories.

The Problem With Chromebooks

Tablet Academy:

And finally, mobility. This is increasingly important.Its very difficult to pull out your Chromebook at the bus stop and do five minutes of quick work on the hoof…the devices are just too big, and getting them connected would most likely be a challenge. Not so with a tablet device…

Whilst there might well be a place for Chromebooks in education, we are becoming increasingly convinced that this will be limited. They are not disruptive devices, that’s for sure, being limited to a substitution role at best. We do think the IDC paper ignores these three points, concentrating as it does on the supposed reduced maintainance time and increased levels of productivity due to quicker loading and up-time.

Are Chromebooks the device for 100% of schools? Probably not. They have a niche, though. If you've got an upper school (8-12) with Google Apps, Chromebooks make a nice option. In some ways, Chromebooks make great laptop replacements where you still need laptop functionality. The question probably isn't iPad vs Chromebook. It's probably Chromebook vs a traditional laptop.

Sponsor: Photo Book Flip for iPad

I wanted to thank Photo Book Flip For iPad for sponsoring Chambers Daily this week.

Photo Book Flip lets you experience your photos in a delightful and different way. Like what physical photo albums do, they created this app to celebrate the wonderful memories and moments in everyone's life. You can download it on the App Store at a limited-time introductory price of $0.99 and learn more on their website.

Staying Safe On Public WiFi

I've become more and more paranoid about using WiFi that I don't manage. Because of that, I always use a VPN when I am using WiFi other than at my house, my work, or my inlaws. While I am using OpenVPN with a 3rd party VPN service, I don't recommend that for most people because it is a lot more complicated to setup. I highly recommend Cloak for folks wanting a really easy to use VPN service for Mac and iOS. It's dead simple to setup and they have various kinds of plans for the sporadic user vs the power user. One of the things that makes it really easy to use is that you can set it up to automatically connect if you are connected to an SSID other than ones you put as your "safe" networks. This means that when you walk into Starbucks, it will automatically connect and you won't have to remember activate it once your connect to WiFi.

They offer a 5 GB plan for $2.99 per month or an unlimited plan for $9.99 per month. If you use IAP purchase through the iOS app, you can prepay for the year for $99. They also have a weekly pass option through IAP that is handy if you just need it for a conference, etc. Your Mac, iPad, and iPhone can all share the same account and data bucket. Security is something we should all take seriously, but Cloak makes it easy and inexpensive.

Download Cloak on the App Store.

Tim Cook On Enterprise Software

9to5Mac through the WSJ is reporting that Tim Cook said that 80% of our work should be on an iPad.

There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be like that. Imagine enterprise apps being as simple as the consumer apps that we’ve all gotten used to. That’s the way it should be

With the iPad, it's not about doing more spreadsheet work on the back porch. It's about the simplification of computing. I support 100+ Macs every day. I see the pain points people have with tradtional computers. The iPad solved that. The goal of technology should be to allow people to do things they couldn't previously do. The iPad allows a novice user to do great things without worrying about why they have the same voicemail downloaded 40 times.

Enterprise applications are known for being complicated and not user friendly. This is because companies are often selling to people who aren't the ones using the software. The iPad forces companies to rethink how software works. It's a completely new environment for users and developers.

Sponsor: Photo Book Flip for iPad

Photo Book Flip for iPad

Six months ago I was reading Kinfolk, a culture and lifestyle magazine with lots of beautiful photos. Flipping through it was a really delightful experience. Then it came to me, what if I could flip through my own photos as if they were a beautiful photo magazine, say on my iPad? And even better, what if I didn’t have to organize and layout the photos?

And that was the beginning of Photo Book Flip. After five months of design and development, the app has finally come to life.

Photo Book Flip instantly turns the photos on your iPad into a beautiful digital photo book with a single tap. Inspired by photo-centric magazines like Kinfolk and beautiful cookbooks like Mast Brothers Chocolate and Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, the page layout features a minimalist design to spotlight your moments. And just like the iBooks app, as you flip each page, you’ll also see what’s behind the page as if it was a real book.

We think Photo Book Flip lets you experience your photos in a delightful and different way. Like what physical photo albums do, we created this app to celebrate the wonderful memories and moments in everyone's life.

Find it on the App Store at a limited-time introductory price of $0.99 and learn more on our website. We think you’re going to like it. Please check it out, and let us know how we can make it better.

Sponsored via Syndicate Ads

A Desk of iPad

Ben Brooks:

That’s not to say that I won’t benefit from a laptop, or that an iPad is the best tool, but that the iPad did everything exceedingly well. I loved it. Not enough for everyday just yet, but when I know I have a busy day in meetings, I’m now going to leave the laptop behind.

I still need more than an iPad, but that gap is going to close tightly once apps start taking advantage of the new features in iOS 8. And I can hardly wait for that.

The only thing I do need is a bigger screen for the iPad. I’ve always wanted a larger iPad, but perhaps someone can figure out a way to make an iPad functional on a bigger screen (meaning the larger screen needs touch, or something of that ilk). Mostly I think a 12-13” iPad would make me drop a laptop completely, perhaps with just one family computer at home for those odd ball tasks.

When people force themselves to use the iPad for more than consumption, they find ways to get their work done. Are there compromises? You bet. As Ben finds, there are also plenty of gains to be had. There are always compromises with any device selection. I feel like the iPad is a great choice for power and portability.

Curbi - Parental Controls for iOS

I posted about this a few months ago, but I wanted to mention it again. If you have had kids that have an iOS device, I highly recommend you subscribe to Curbi. I interviewed one of the developers on the most recent episode of Out of School and I highly recommend you listen to learn more about it. It's only $50 per year for 5 devices. It does a lot of interesting things to allow you to have control over when you kids can access certain kinds of content. It also blocks adult content by default. It works over LTE and WiFi and does not require a special browser. It works at the device level rather than inside of a browser.

Particulars, System Information On Your Desktop

Fraser Hess launched his new Mac app last week that is called Particulars.

Particulars displays system information about your Mac on your desktop. It shows computer name, model, CPU, RAM, OS version, Server version, current user, uptime, disk space and network configuration.

Particulars provides up-to-date information and dynamically changes when your system changes. For instance, if you switch Wi-Fi networks, Particulars shows the new network configuration immediately.

Particulars does not replace your desktop background image and is responsive to changes in your screen or space layout. It does not require any scripts or need any complex setup.

Particulars supports many disparate network configurations including IPv6, manual addressing, multiple addresses, captive portals, PPPoE, and VPNs.

It's only $1.99. You can't beat that. You can purchase it on the Mac App Store.

On LAUSD's Failed iPad Program

Howard Blume:

Los Angeles school district officials have allowed a group of high schools to choose from among six different laptop computers for their students — a marked contrast to last year's decision to give every pupil an iPad.

Contracts that will come under final review by the Board of Education on Tuesday would authorize the purchase of one of six devices for each of the 27 high schools at a cost not to exceed $40 million.

In the fall, administrators, teachers and students at those schools will test the laptops to determine whether they should be used going forward.

What they learn will affect the future of an ongoing effort to provide computers for all students in the nation's second-largest school system.

"The benefit of the new approach is clear," said Los Angeles Unified school board member Monica Ratliff, who chaired a panel that reviewed the technology effort. "Why would we treat all our students — whether they are a first-grader or a high school freshman — as if they all had the same technology needs? They don't.... To have a one-device-fits-all approach does not make sense."

At the time, officials stressed the advantages of managing only one device and cost savings from a bulk purchase.

The rollout of the iPads last fall at 47 schools, however, was beset by challenges, controversy and some mistakes.

Students immediately deleted security filters so they could freely browse the Internet. The district recalled the devices at several schools and some students never saw them again. Distribution of the devices quickly fell behind schedule. Senior staff also incorrectly characterized terms of the contract — saying, for example, that the district owned the curriculum. Instead, the contract purchased a three-year license and the materials were incomplete during the first year.

The brand new approach is very clear. They have zero clue what they are doing. They completely botched their iPad deployment. I'm not blaming their IT department, because I don't know what happened. I do know that they didn't follow best practices at the time. They wanted to lock down the iPads, but they didn't install the main security profile through Apple Configurator. Yes, I know that was probably not practical, but that was the only way to make a security profile where the user couldn't remove it. In the recent months, Apple has released the Device Enrollment program. This allows you to accomplish what LAUSD was trying to do without having to touch each iPad. The initial failure of their iPad program was due to just the inability to follow Apple's guidelines. This was a big enough contract that Apple likely worked hand in hand with them. I have full faith that Apple told LAUSD that what they were doing would not work. While I believe that locking down an iPad to essentially a curriculum-based device does nothing to address a culture change or digital citizenship, that's a story for another day.

From an IT perspective, not standardizing on one piece of hardware is a recipe for disaster. You have to deal with various types of hardware, manufacturers, drivers, bugs, etc.

How well the various devices function will be examined by both staff and outside reviewers. Curriculum from three different vendors also are being tried: Pearson; McGraw-Hill/StudySync; and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

"Let's see what works from letting the people in the field — the teachers, the students and the parents — tell us what works," said Thomas Rubin, a consultant for a committee that oversees the spending of school-construction bonds.

Why don't we just let parents pick out cleaning materials? Let's also let students pick out their own textbooks. You are essentially saying that your technology department does not have the ability to make the correct decision.

It wasn't a perfect process. The curriculum, for example, was hard to assess in a process akin to speed dating, said one participant.

The laptop options impressed Carolyn McKnight, the principal at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet, one of five schools at the Torres complex. Two chose the Lenovo Yoga Touch, two the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and the last, a Dell Latitude E7240.

A few other campuses chose Chromebooks.

"The Surface is really sexy, but I was concerned about the detachable keyboard, about students losing or breaking it," McKnight said.

Pick one horse and ride it. If you like Surface 2 Pro, standardize with it. I love iPads, but I'd rather see someone go all in on a Surface deployment instead of a crapshoot of devices.

How To Free Up Space On iOS

I don't have hard data to prove this, but Apple probably sells more 16 GB iOS devices than they do another other size. In 2014, 16 GB is becoming less and less manageable. Apps are getting bigger, we are consuming more media, and we are taking more photos. Time and time again, I've gotten calls and emails asking how to free up space on an iOS device. This is often a complex question. I want to run through some ways that you can deal with this issue if your phone gives you the dreaded out of space alert when you go to take a photo.

Delete Apps
This is where I start first when dealing with this problem. Is your iOS device full of games and other apps that you never use? Take a moment and cull through them. You can always re-download them for free in the future. If you travel 2-3 times a year, do you really need the Delta app? Games can easily push 1 GB in size and deleting games you are finished with is a really easy way to free up some space. I've even gotten rid of a lot of shopping apps. Thanks to iCloud Keychain, it's actually faster for me to use the Amazon.com website on my iPhone than it is to use the app. The app requires me to re-enter the passcode before making a purchase where iCloud Keychain fills it in automatically on the website.

Offload Your Camera Roll
If you've followed me anywhere on the internet, you know this has been my suggestion for a while now. 1080p videos and high quality iPhone photos will eat up your free space. Upload them to Dropbox or Google Drive and empty your camera roll. iOS 8 will allow apps to delete your photos after uploading them somewhere (with your permission), but until it's released you will need to manually do it. If you have a Mac, you can use a built in app called Image Capture to delete them in bulk.

Delete Local Music
We all love to have music to listen to, but it can eat up a lot of space. iTunes Match is really helpful when it comes to managing your music. It's $25 per year, but it gives you the ability to mirror your iTunes library in iCloud. You start the process on your Mac, and it scans your library. As it scans, it matches your library with the iTunes catalog, and makes them available to stream or download on your iOS devices. If it can't match it, then it will upload it. If you download music from iTunes Match, you can start to fill up your phone again. You can swipe on a song to delete it. You can also go into the Settings app and go to General > Usage to mass delete everything that is downloaded.

Delete and Reinstall Apps
I've noticed that a lot of the apps I use regularly seem to grow in size. This includes Tweetbot, Google Drive, Droplr, Dropbox, etc. I know that it comes from caching content so it can load faster. iOS is suppose to clean these periodically, but in my experience, it can take quite a while. Since most of the apps I am referring to have online components, you can simply delete and re-download them. One it's downloaded, you can sign right back in. They will grow back in size as times goes on, but you can simply repeat the process. This is especially helpful if you are on vacation and are needing to make room for some extra photos and videos.

Delete iMessages
iMessages can actually begin to eat up free space if you never delete them. If you get a lot of picture messages, your iMessage cache can quickly grow in size. If you don't need an iMessage thread, then delete it. You can use DiskAid to export a thread if you need to archive it.

Use PhoneClean
This app was recommended to me on Twitter. Had I just simply come across this app from searching the web, there would be no way I would have used it. It seems too good to be true. It cleans a wide variety of aspects of your phone as well. There will be a little work afterwards to get your iPhone as it was before. I had to login to a few of my apps and Castro had to re-download my podcasts. Using this app gave me a few GB of storage back. I highly recommend it.

Using the above tips should help tide you over till you upgrade your phone again. Next time, move up to a 32 GB device (I am going with a 64 GB).

Here is a bonus tip after you free up some space:

Delete and Re-upload iCloud Backups
Every few months, I will delete my iCloud backup and start it over again. I just deleted a 1 GB backup, and it was around 400 MB on the next initial backup. Why is this? I imagine it has something to do with your camera roll and other caches.

On iCloud Photos

Most of you probably know that Apple announced iOS 8 yesterday. One of the things I was most excited to hear about was an upgrade to iCloud Photos.

With iPhone, people are taking more photos and videos than ever. As photo collections grow, so does the desire to store them all safely and still access them whenever and wherever. That’s where the new Photos app and the new iCloud Photo Library come in.

This is definitely a step in the right direction. The Photos app will store original resolutions of your photos and videos in iCloud. They also announced that a Mac version of the new Photos app would be coming in early 2015. Along with these announcements, they are going to be modifying the iCloud storage payment tiers:

  1. 5 GB for Free
  2. 20 GB for $.99/month
  3. 200 GB for $3.99/month
  4. Plans up to 1 TB will be available

I really think that 20 GB should have been the free tier and do away with the $.99/month pricing. After credit card fees, how much is Apple really be making here? Apple products are premium products and they have the margins to cover it. While people reading this article understand that $.99 is cheap for 20 GB, a lot of regular people will just not pay any amount of money for it. They will just use up their 5 GB and then nothing else will be uploaded or backed up. When they drop their phone in the pool, they will still be upset that some of their photos aren't backed up. Google offers 15 GB for Google Drive as the starter plan. We can argue about business models all day long, but the bottom line is that things like automatic backup with a ton of storage for free helps sell devices. Selling devices is how Apple makes its money. We are getting the same free space as when iCloud launched in 2010. Outside of the free tier, the other plans are priced well, though.

As with everything Apple does using networked services, the devil is in the details. Although I am a big fan of folder based organization, I can see where iCloud Photos will take the headache out of the process for most people. The big question is that will it work 99.99999% of the time?

Some other questions I have (regarding the Mac aspect of it):

  1. What about importing from my DSLR on the Mac? How will that process work?
  2. What about my existing library?
  3. What are the export options?
  4. Can Time Machine/Backblaze backup this library as well?

Once iOS 8 is released and we see more of the final details, I will update my Photo Management book with additonal thoughts.