(You're reading all posts by Alex Heath) Alex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.
About Alex Heath
Let’s be honest, searching in the iTunes Store sucks, especially on the desktop. It’s often slow, and the results are difficult to navigate. Apple has tried to simplify things by displaying one result at a time in the App Store on iOS, but that approach also means that it can take longer to find the specific app you want in a sea of knockoffs.
A new web tool called “fnd” makes it easier to quickly search and navigate not just the App Store, but the iTunes Store in general.
Like Nests’s futuristic thermostat, its iPhone-controlled smoke/carbon monoxide detector looked like the perfect replacement for the antiquated systems used in most homes today. It turns out that the Nest Protect was a little too good to be true.
Since the device went on sale in November of last year, Nest has discovered that one of the Protect’s hallmark features can malfunction. And that happens to create big safety concerns. Until the issue is resolved, Nest Protect sales have halted.
For those who thought Office for iPad was too late to the party, the numbers tell a different story. Today Microsoft announced that Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote combined have been downloaded a staggering 12 million times in one week.
If you doubt that number, then just take a look at the App Store charts.
Vine has added video messaging. After today’s update, video messages (or VMs) can be sent to friends on Vine or through SMS and email.
A six-second message can be sent to more than one person, but not as cleanly as Instagram Direct works. A new conversation thread will be opened for each person you send to, meaning you have to send the same video multiple times.
Today Facebook Messenger was updated with the ability to make free voice calls over WiFi both domestically and internationally. Making calls over a cellular connection uses data. The features works similar to FaceTime Audio, which is natively baked into all iOS devices and Macs.
Facebook Messenger technically added VOIP (voice over IP) calling in January 2013, but the feature has been limited to the US, UK, and Canada until now. Facebook users with the Messenger iOS app installed can be called with a new phone icon at the top right of a conversation thread. The calling interface looks almost identical to Apple’s stock Phone app in iOS 7.1.
Messenger was recently updated with group messaging and forwarding. After WhatsApp was bought by Facebook earlier this year, it was revealed that VOIP calling is coming to that app as well in the coming months.
- Source App Store
The jailbreak tweak called Auxo did card-based app switching in iOS 6, and then Apple came along and fully implemented the idea in iOS 7. Auxo, which started as a concept that went viral online, was suddenly obsolete.
A successor to Auxo has been in the works for quite some time, and now it’s available for jailbreakers to install in Cydia. Auxo 2 doesn’t reinvent iOS 7 multitasking, but the tweak builds upon it by adding more controls and customization.
I may not be able to say that Fantastical is the best calendar app for everyone, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s the best option for most people. What started on the Mac and made its way to the iPhone is now on the iPad. Fantastical 2 for iPad is here, and it’s great.
iWork’s web apps have lagged behind Apple’s iOS and Mac apps in terms of design and functionality, but no more! Apple has redesigned the iWork for iCloud suite to make it look more like its iOS 7 counterpart.
Available to use now on iCloud.com, today’s updates to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote brings a unified look and feel to the iWork suite across all platforms.
Apple has rolled out what is perhaps the most important update ever to its mobile advertising platform, giving anybody with an Apple ID the ability to create iAds for free.
Using the updated iAd Workbench tool, anyone can make their own iAd campaign in a simple, Apple-style interface. It just got a whole lot easier to make iAds for iOS devices.
And that’s not all Apple has added.