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Apple ships a very capable weather app in iOS 7. That weather app uses Yahoo’s information, and takes cues from other apps in the design and feature department. On iOS, many developers take a hint as to what they need to include in a weather app from Apple’s efforts.

Weather Line goes in a different direction: what two conditions do you need to know most often? Temperature, and whether or not it’s going to rain in the next hour or so — or at least that’s what the developers bet on. Other information is available in the app, but those two key pieces of data are displayed most prominently. Interested? (more…)

I’ve been giving some thought, recently, to many of iOS 7’s design changes. I’ve noticed that some of them have been seeping through into my own professional design — partially because I admire the work that’s been done and partially because I spend so much time on my iPhone. What we live with is often what inspires us, and sometimes not in the ways we expect.

There are three areas of iOS 7’s design that most strike me, though: the depth, the blurs, and the translucency — in other words, the subtlety with which layers and a nearly-tangible sense of depth is created in a virtual OS. It’s pretty incredible. I love the way, in particular, that wallpapers work within the system, and have spent a little more time than I’d care to admit selecting my own for a few weeks at a time before changing them just to see a new “effect” with the blurs and transparency effects. Although it’s not the only (or even the first) app to play with wallpapers and iOS 7-like blur effects, Blur Studio is my favourite. Read on to find out why. (more…)

As an American living in Ireland, I’m constantly converting numbers: euro to dollar, Celsius to Fahrenheit, kilogram to pound. You wouldn’t think life would be so complicated, but I live on the northern border, which means road signs switch from kilometers to miles. The ultimate goal is not to be constantly looking for an app to tell me the answer, but to develop an understanding of the conversions so I can begin to think it through myself. The Converted by Ideon claims to be a “radical new way to convert.” Rather than answer my questions, the app forced me to dive into the numbers and find my own answers. I’ve always struggled with numbers, so I was skeptical about being converted.

Is The Converted a highly evolved app of the future? Did I join The Collective? Keep reading to find out.

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Just as there are too many ways to listen to music these days, I think there are too many ways to get in touch with people. Between email, texting, and phone calls, I’m already swamped. Or, at least, I feel swamped, even if I’m not busy answering a myriad of emails and messages. Social networks don’t make it any easier; actually, they add to the problem. I need another way to keep in touch with people about as badly as I need to be shot in the foot with a double-barrelled shotgun.

Enter BBM, or Blackberry Messenger. Another one of the ill-fated company’s “too little, too late” strategies that makes sure Blackberry is still firmly planted in 2007, BBM for iPhone is almost exactly what it says on the label. I went to school in Waterloo and have a number of great friends there, some of who were working at the company when it was still called RIM, so I mean no insult. In fact, I want the company to succeed — a little competition is always a good thing. But the question remains: is BBM relevant in today’s world? Is it better to show up late to a party than to never show up at all? Read on to see my thoughts.

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One of my favourite use cases for a smartphone has always been the ability to find information you need right away with the world around you. We’ve seen a lot of innovation in this regard over the past year or two, specifically with gadgets like Google Glass, but for most of us, we’re still using Yelp or Google.

Or at least, this is what I’ve been using. But for a while now, this has been starting to bother me. I wanted more reliable information about what’s near me, and I especially want an app with a better design than the Yellow Pages app. This is why I had to try AroundMe, a beautiful app meant to help you find the closest gas station, movie theatre, pub, and more. Read on to find out if AroundMe is for you.

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Almost all carriers in the United States offer support for Visual Voicemail, a service introduced with the original iPhone that provides a more flexible way to manage your voicemail messages. No more dialling in to listen to a stream of messages in chronological order, instead the messages are downloaded to your iPhone automatically.

For the rest of the world, however, it’s a different story. Most carriers across mainland Europe don’t support the service, with only two carriers here in the UK (O2 and EE) officially supporting Visual Voicemail, but even then it’s not available on all price plans. In fact, more US carriers support Visual Voicemail than the rest of the world combined! HulloMail not only restores much of the functionality of Visual Voicemail to those without carrier support but it offers features that take it to a whole new level.

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Conversion apps are ten a penny on the App Store and are one of the most popular types of app available today. Each app that can convert feet to inches will do so in the exact same way, so developers have to come up with other ways of trying to make their app stand out above the rest.

The developers behind Camera+, tap tap tap, have released a significant update to their Convert app which, whilst containing more units of measurement than I ever realised existed, it does so in an easy to navigate way while offering some additional functionality that goes beyond simple conversions and really enhances the app.
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Apple really went above and beyond with most of the stock apps on iPhone. As much as we hate to admit it, the stock apps are all a lot of people will ever need. Notes, Compass (now with a built-in level!), Weather, Calendar, Camera, and even the Maps app are actually pretty good. Apart from the occasional app I recommend for their specific needs, many of my friends are really content leaving their home screen exactly how Apple set it up.

That being said, there are some apps that Apple neglected to include. They have a Stocks app and a Calculator, but they didn’t include a unit or currency converter to match the World Clock. Vert rectifies this with a beautiful interface that not only matches iOS 7 very well, but also does its own thing with great panache. Many other developers should start taking notes. Read on to find out what Vert does and why it’s so beautiful.

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Developing iOS apps is a very challenging process but one area that takes up more time than anything else is its design. It doesn’t matter what your app can do — if it’s poorly designed then people just won’t use it.

POP‘s aim is to make the early stages of testing an app’s design as effortless as possible by making use of the most fundamental part of process — your sketches.

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One of the greatest pleasures I have found with iOS is incorporating it into my everyday life. So far, iOS has incorporated itself into my kitchen and security system, and I am looking forward to its continued movements thoughout my house. The latest addition is through the Belkin WeMo Light Switch and the WeMo Switch.

The Belkin WeMo Switch plugs into an outlet and allows you to plug in a device which then can be controlled through the WeMo app. Recently, Belkin also introduced the WeMo Light Switch which replaces a light switch to allow control of the switch from the WeMo app. This type of home automation has been around for some time but never has it been this easy or affordable. Keep reading on to see if the Belkin WeMo is truly a contender for a home-automation solution. (more…)

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