iOS Blog


Twitter is planning a massive overhaul of its mobile apps, reports AllThingsD. While the redesigned iOS app won’t be launched until sometime after iOS 7 is available, it will include a focus on streams, doing away with the standard menu bar on the bottom of the screen.

Content, including what is found in today’s Home, Connect, Discover, and Me sections, will be organized into streams, which can be navigated by swiping. The Discover section of the app will be eliminated and embedded media will be available in all streams.

There will be a main, reverse-chronological stream like users are currently familiar with, as well as a stream for interactions between other users and conversations they’re having. Notably new, there will also be a stream dedicated entirely to photos shared on Twitter.

Essentially, moving through all the streams will be more of a visual experience, sources said, with a heavier emphasis on multimedia. There won’t be the need, for instance, to click inside a tweet to see a photo or a video – it’ll just appear in the stream. (For reference, see how Twitter’s current “Discover” tab treats some media content.)

The overall theme: Look pretty, feel richer, and become far more visually immersive than the text-heavy Twitter we’re all familiar with.

The company is also reportedly experimenting with a stream that will display only television-related tweets and conversations, designed to bump up user retention by helping first time Twitter users discover interesting content. In August, Twitter redesigned conversations within its app, adding lines and reordering conversations to make it easier to follow discussions.

Twitter is expected to launch an update for iOS 7 following its release on Wednesday, but the redesigned app will not be released until later this year.

Twitter for iOS is a universal app that can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


Roku has updated its iOS app to version 2.3.0, allowing users to broadcast videos from their iPhones to their Roku players. Previously, the app limited its “Play on Roku” sharing, which works somewhat similarly to Apple’s AirPlay, to photos and music.

The app’s new video sharing capability only works with video that was captured using the iPhone and saved to the photo library; it does not work with other video content stored on the phone. Shareable videos can be accessed by tapping on the “Play on Roku” button and selecting content from the newly included video menu.

Streaming video works with multiple versions of the Roku, including Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku HD, Roku LT, and the Roku Streaming Stick.

Roku is a free app for the iPhone that can be downloaded from the App Store. [Direct Link]

MIT Technology Review has dug up a job ad posted by Apple on LinkedIn appealing to writers to help make Siri more conversational.

“[S]omeone who combines a love for language, wordplay, and conversation with demonstrated experience in bringing creative content to life within an intense technical environment.”

The ad notes that writers who apply will also need “experience in writing character-driven dialog”, a good vocabulary and, ideally, knowledge of more than one language. The goal of the hirings would be to “evolve and enrich Siri.”

Siri has been known for her wit and personality, with Apple attempting to allow Siri to build emotional ties with users.

Apple focused on keeping Siri’s personality “friendly and humble — but also with an edge”. According to their source, they were thinking “How would we want a person to respond?” while developing the software.

After scaling back Siri’s original feature set for its initial launch through Apple, the company has been working to expand compatibility to new devices such as the iPad as well as new languages. Apple has also improved Siri in iOS 6 with new movie, sports and restaurant features, and is set to introduce movie ticket purchases through Fandango with the upcoming iOS 6.1.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority just released a new app, MTA Subway Time, which provides accurate real-time information on subway arrivals for six of the numbered lines, including No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, plus the 42nd Street shuttle, covering 156 different stations in the city. Subway Time will allow commuters to plan trips down to the minute.

The app works with the countdown clocks that are linked to centralized computers, which have been installed in just seven of the city’s 24 lines.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the system’s age and the cost of upgrading has prevented it from being easily updated, though real-time coverage will roll out to other lines in the future. The first update will come in six to 12 months, when the L line is added.

The new app covers only about a third of the subway system, and agency officials acknowledged that it will likely take years of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment before conveniences increasingly common elsewhere are standard in the Big Apple.

The rest, encompassing two-thirds of its total stations and roughly 60% of its daily ridership, continues to rely on signal technology dating to the middle of the 20th century or earlier. It will be years before those lines have signal systems that can generate the digital information that drives countdown clocks on platforms and apps on cellphones with live updates.

Other cities have been quicker to incorporate current technology into existing transit systems. California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System, or BART, for example, has developed a web-based mobile app and in 2007, the city released open format transit data that third party developers were able to incorporate into their own apps.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Chicago Transit Authority also provide information for third party developers.

New York Transit officials are hoping to inspire app developers to create third party apps as well, and a free live stream of arrival time data will be given to app developers.

Transit apps have become especially important with the release of iOS 6, because Apple Maps does not provide innate transit directions. Instead, the Maps program redirects users to download relevant routing apps like New York’s new Subway Time.

MTA Subway Time can currently be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

ThinkGeek has discounted the iCade Jr. Mini Arcade Cabinet for iPhone to only $9.99. That represents 80% off its normal price of $49.99.

The iCade Jr. was originally launched in January 2012 at CES. It represents a smaller iPhone/iPod Touch sized version of the original iPad-sized iCade. Like its big brother, the iCade Jr. connects to your iPhone or iPod Touch using Bluetooth. This model was originally designed to fit the iPhone 4/4S and 4th Generation iPod touch form factors, but is said to work with the iPhone 5 “if you leave the top lid hinged back”.

The controller has an arcade stick, four front and rear buttons and works with existing iCade-compatible games.