Category Archives: iOS development

iOS Calendar App Fantastical Now Available For Download [Updates]


The iOS version of a popular Mac OS Calendar alternative, Fantastical ($1.99), is now available for the iPhone and iPod touch. Similar to its Mac counterpart, Fantastical is designed to make the mobile calendar very user friendly, with features not available in Apple’s iOS Calendar.

The biggest differences between Fantastical and the iOS Calendar is that the former sports a DayTracker for viewing your scheduled events at a glance, and the ability to use finger swiping gestures to navigate calendar days and months.

The Fantastical mobile app also allows you to view your events and scheduled dates in the traditional calendar view, by simply pulling down on the DayTracker. You pull down the calendar view to return. Similar to the traditional iOS Calendar, the DayTracker lists all your scheduled events for the currently selected day, plus upcoming scheduled events for the next 3-4 days. In Apple’s Calendar you can only select and view scheduled events one day at a time—at least in the Month view.

The biggest difference between the two Calendars is that with Fantastical you can use the iOS 6 voice dictation feature to schedule events, instead of having to type entries into the various calendar fields. So for example, when you tap the voice dictation button on the iOS keyboard and say, “Lunch with boss on Monday, 3pm,” Fantastical will convert your dictation to text and fill in the calendar fields for you.

The Fantastical app also includes other tips and tricks for navigating the features, scheduling events, and doing calendar searches.

iOS 7 and Live Tiles feature debate

Although Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 6 has only been available since September this year, attention is already turning to iOS 7. Customarily a new iOS has appeared with a new iPhone iteration so it’s likely we won’t see iOS 7 until the release of the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 (name not yet known). We’ve already started to discuss what we’d like to see from iOS 7 and it seems that one of the things under debate is a Live Tiles feature as in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

When we posted about a wish list for inclusions on iOS 7 we told of a concept video from The Next Web that showed what iOS could look like with a touch of Microsoft’s Live Tiles mixed in with Android’s widgets. Although this did not look like something ever likely to happen it certainly gave us food for thought and seems to have got others thinking too. You can see that iOS 7 post with video here. There has been talk recently that Apple’s iOS is getting a little stale and so something like Live Tiles would certainly invigorate it though of course there is the not insignificant matter that Microsoft might not be too pleased. However we should remember that Microsoft itself is currently being sued by SurfCast who claim to have had the patent first.

Back in September InfoWorld wrote about how both iOS 6 and Android Jelly Bean were “a bit boring” when considering that significant advances over recent years could not be seen as sustainable. So could Live Tiles or a remarkably similar idea, rejuvenate iOS 7? A report on iPhone5NewsBlog discusses this, notes how promising Microsoft’s Live Tiles feature is and wonders if this approach might be something that Apple will adopt for iOS 7 or whether the company will try to come up with something completely different.

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and the devices that use them are being heavily promoted by Microsoft at the moment and many people really like the look of Live Tiles. That doesn’t seem to have been reflected in the latest figures of US mobile market share though, with Microsoft’s smartphone platform market share standing at only 3.2%, closely behind RIM in third spot before a massive jump to iOS in second and Android on top. Although the fact that there’s a lot of admiration Microsoft’s Live Tiles doesn’t seem to be recognized as far as sales are concerned yet, it does appear that this is something that many people would like to see on their devices.

One of the highlights of Microsoft’s Live Tiles feature is the ability of showing information and the ability to engage on one display. The way that information and features are compartmentalized avoids the user having to switch between screens via apps and icons. As the latest iPhone has stepped up to a 4-inch display there’s more room for this sort of modular user interface. What’s more though is that iPhone5News Blog sees a way that Microsoft’s Live Tiles could be improved and wonders if Apple might also see this possibility.

After using a device with Microsoft Live Tiles the writer found that clicking on the majority of tiles still takes you to new screens that are a bit like going back in time. This could be enhanced if the user could stay on one screen with the majority of the action within the Live Tiles. Added to this a ZDNet article has also come up with a wishlist for iOS 7 and also discusses Live Tiles. It’s noted that Apple’s icons are “boring and useless” and notifications “primitive and clumsy” when compared to Live Tiles.

The article also points out that the lock screen in iOS 6 is “wasted space” and suggests the use of widgets so that the lock screen could have apps installed into it. This reminds us of course of the concept video that we mentioned earlier with use of both Live Tiles and widgets. Added to this ZDNet also points to the fact that jailbroken iOS devices can be made to run something very much like the live tiles feature so some iPhone users may already be getting a taste for this idea.

It does appear that there is scope for Apple to come up with a completely new look for iOS 7 that could use an evolved version of Live Tiles although no doubt Apple would come up with a different name completely and insist it had no connections with the Microsoft feature. It’s a question of how much further on Apple could develop this kind of feature as to whether it could use it without claims of patent infringement.

What are your thoughts on iOS 7? Is the Microsoft Live Tiles feature something you’d like to see come to the iPhone? Maybe you can think of something completely groundbreaking that could drastically change the look and feel of iOS and totally refresh Apple’s mobile operating system? Let us know with your comments.

Marvel’s Avengers Initiative comes to Android, iOS

Marvel’s Avengers Initiative comes to Android, iOS

Now it is your chance to take on the fight up against the evil with your favorite superhero.

Marvel has announced the launch of the Avenger’s Initiative game for Android as well as iOS based devices. The game revolves around the same basic principle of good guys beating the bad guys but gives the players ample chance and freedom to do thing their way.

Avenger’s Initiative begins with the Vault, a top‐secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility in the Rocky Mountains, getting busted open, releasing all of the super‐powered criminals and monsters imprisoned there. Now the director Nick Fury is assembling all the avengers to take on the bad guys.

Marvel's Avengers Initiative

In the first installment of the game, players get to play as the green monster Hulk and get to smash the hell out of the bad guys. Users also get fully customisable Hulk to play the way they want to play. Users can acquire exclusive costumes, unlock incredible super powered abilities, discover explosive augmentations, and upgrade all of Hulk’s combat stats increasing the chances to win in the battle for glory.

The list of heroes is not just limited to the Hulk but many other popular faces such as Ironman will be added to the game in the coming versions which will be made available to the users via upgrades.

The game is available for Android devoices and well as iOS devices for around Rs 275 which might be a small price to be paid but on Android it remains exclusive for devices such as HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy SII, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, Asus Nexus 7, Asus Transformer Prime and Asus Transformer. More Android devices are expected to get the support in coming days.

Top apps for travel on iOS


Top apps for travel on iOS

If you don’t have your flight for Thanksgiving by now, you’re probably out of luck, but check out these apps to make your travel day much easier.


There are tons of apps at the App Store for booking flights, but with Thanksgiving only two days away, I decided to make a different kind of travel collection.

The first app will help you get packed and ready for your trip, the second will help people picking up family at the airport, and the third helps you keep your holiday memories with a convenient blogging tool.

Packing ProPacking Pro lays out pre-trip preparations and your packing list to make it easy to check things off.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Packing Pro ($2.99) gets you ready for your big trip before you leave by making sure you have everything you need while away from home.

If you like to make lists, this app is a dream come true for planning a vacation. You start by creating your trip, then add everything from pre-trip preparations to every item of clothing you’re going to need — all by choosing each item from an exhaustive pre-made list. If your particular item is not already included (I couldn’t find Q-tips, for example), you can add items to the database that will be ready for every trip list thereafter.

What makes this app especially useful is the way it automatically organizes different items. The pre-trip planning section, for example, reminds you that you might need to update your passport, buy travelers insurance, and other odds and ends that might be easy to forget without them waiting to be checked off your trip list. Your baggage list is also organized by category, so you have a section for clothes, a separate section for toiletries, and another for the gadgets you need to bring. All of these sections and categories are broken down using an intuitive hierarchical interface, and you can select from several themes to give your list a personalized touch.

Like every good list-making app, you can tap the screen to check off a list item, showing that you have it squared away. iCloud support also checks it off your shared lists with other devices so you’ll never be confused about what’s on each device.

For all its complexities, Packing Pro is mostly a simple list-making app. But with tons of pre-made common travel item listings already available for you to add, and eye-catching interface elements, you can make sure you have every detail covered, saving you time and stress when you’re about to travel.

Just LandedJust Landed uses an elegant interface to show you the vitals on your friend’s flight. By the way, you’re late.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Just Landed (99 cents) is not exactly an app for the holiday traveler per se, but instead uses your GPS location and current flight schedules to help you pick the exact time to go pick up your friend or family member from the airport. So rather than the traveler, this app is for the person at the destination.

Just Landed sports a well-designed, minimalistic interface with only the tools you need for picking up a person at the airport. The way the app works is, once you’ve gotten your friend’s flight information, you can enter the flight number into the app to get the latest info about their flight on travel day including whether the flight was delayed or will arrive early. From there, you can simply go about your day until the app notifies you (you’ll need to keep notifications on) when it’s time to leave for the airport in time to pick them up.

An added bonus feature is that Just Landed uses your GPS location and traffic data to show you the best route to the airport and figures out how long it will take you to get there. The app notifies you taking these factors into account, so you don’t have to worry so much about what the roads will be like getting there. When you start your drive, the Maps app takes over, showing you the best route to get to the airport quickly.

While this app isn’t for the holiday traveler, it will definitely come in handy for those who are picking up people at the airport. If you have a relative coming in for the holidays, check out Just Landed.

HipGeoSnap a picture and say a few words and HipGeo adds it to your blog automatically with location info.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

HipGeo Travel Blog and Trip Journal (free) lets you tell the story of your holiday with images, videos, text, tags, and more, all tied to your geolocation. You start by signing up through Facebook or Twitter, then you can choose people to share your travels with.

Once signed up, you’ll have your own personal blog on HipGeo where all your posts will live. When you’re ready to start, you can either touch the camera button to take a photo or video, or choose the Post option to write a text blog. After hitting Post, your photo, video, or text blog will show up with a time stamp and your location automatically, along with whatever message you want to send to your followers. Essentially, it’s an easy-to-use geotagging blog tool, but what it means is that you can go about your holiday vacation snapping pictures of family and writing a few words while HipGeo does all the hard work for you. What you get is a way to remember your Thanksgiving (or any holiday or vacation) that you can send to friends and family with pictures, locations, your thoughts, and more.

There are a number of extra features that will make HipGeo even more useful as you record your year-round adventures. When taking a picture for example, you get a full-fledged photo editor with several effects to choose from, color balance controls, cropping, saturation, red-eye correction, text captions, and tons more. The extra photo-editing controls make for great-looking pictures that make your blog as interesting to look at it does tell the story of your journey.

HipGeo is free at the App Store and is a great way to document a trip, whether it’s out of the country or just going home for Thanksgiving. If you’re about to go somewhere and want a neat history of your travels, you should check out this app.

iOS 5 Speech-To-Text Feature Revealed

We had heard rumors that Siri’s artificial intelligence and assistance technology may be deeply integrated into iOS 5, before it was unveiled at WWDC 2011 Keynote.

Couple of weeks back, folks at 9 to 5 Mac had published a screenshot from an Apple iPhone test unit, which indicates that the feature will be called Assistant. They have published another screenshot from iOS 5 with a microphone in the standard keyboard.They explain how the feature will work:

As you can see, it is quite simple. Just click the microphone icon next to the space key and start talking. Once the key is clicked, a new microphone overlay will appear as long as you are talking. After that, the text will appear in the text field as you can see in the screenshot above.

Meanwhile, MacRumors points out that Apple has gone out of its way to hide the feature in iOS 5:

Apple’s certainly aware that individuals comb through every new developer beta looking for hints of upcoming features. In this instance, they’ve obfuscated the names of various pieces of the interface. For example, calling the microphone button “forward delete key” and the keyboard pretends to be a “Dvorak” keyboard. The move is a reflection of the increased scrutiny of Apple’s moves but also the relative significance of this feature that Apple has gone out of its way to hide. 

Back in June, we saw couple of screenshots, which revealed Settings for Nuance’s speech recognition technology built into what appeared to an internal iOS 5 build as these settings are not available in iOS 5 beta that was released to developers. The screenshot confirm that Apple is definitely working on integrating Nuance speech recognition technology in iOS. We hope that Apple introduces it at the iPhone 5 launch later this fall.

( Source

Face Recognition May Be Coming To iOS 5

It looks like Apple is planning to include face recognition capabilities in iOS 5.

9 to 5 Mac has discovered several face recognition APIs in iOS 5 beta 4 that was seeded to developers late last week.

 9 to 5 Mac reports:

We have taken a look at these iOS 5-exclusive APIs and they are highly sophisticated. The first, called CIFaceFeature, can determine through an image where a person’s mouth and eyes are located. The second API, CIDetector, is a resource within the operating system that processes images for face detection.







This presumably would power face detection via live motion imagery. The significance of this finding is that Apple is making face detection an even easier feature for developers to implement.

9 to 5 Mac speculates that Apple will open up these APIs either to developers to make it easier to implement face recognition technology in their iOS apps or Apple could be working behind the scenes in developing a killer app using these face recognition APIs.

Apple had acquired Polar Rose, a Swedish face recognition company in 2010, and it is quite likely that their technology is being used for this feature in iOS.

You can checkout the demo video of an augmented reality app called Recognizr, which Polar Rose co-developed to get a glimpse of what to expect:

Another example is RecognizeMe – a jailbreak app already brings biometric face recognition security to iPhone, which generated quite a bit of interest from our readers. Checkout the demo video of the app: