No matter how you feel about Apple and the iPhone, it’s impossible to deny that the device completely revolutionized the mobile industry when it was launched in 2007. Without it, the smartphones of today may have been completely different.
Take Android, for example. It’s the biggest competitor to the iOS operating system that powers the iPhone, and it’s now the world’s largest mobile platform — but the iPhone is the reason Android is what it is today. Google started work on the software way back in 2005, but it scrapped everything and started again the day after iPhone was revealed to the world.
Sure, you can open up Apple’s Maps app on your iPhone (or iPad, but really, who does that?) and enable live traffic information with a tap or two. It’s super helpful while you’re on the road, and helps you avoid the nasty traffic snarls that might be up ahead.
But what if you’re planning a trip from your Mac running Mavericks? Shouldn’t you be able to access that kind of data on your Mac?
Well, you can! Mavericks makes it super easy to enable, too.
It’s great to be able to keep track of addresses for friends and places around town in your Contacts app. Having all the address info in a ready Contact makes it super simple to launch Maps in Mavericks from the Contacts app when you want directions to a party in town somewhere.
And, while you can easily send directions from Maps app to your iPhone, it’s also helpful to just say to Siri, “Directions to Jill’s house,” or “Get me to the movie theater,” and have your iPhone just pull up maps based on that name in the Contacts app.
Mavericks makes it incredibly simple to put addresses for all the places you might want to go right into your Contacts app so you can do just that.
Browsing the App Store can be a bit overwhelming. Which apps are new? Which ones are good? Are the paid ones worth paying for, or do they have a free, lite version that will work well enough?
Well, if you stop interrogating me for a second, hypothetical App Store shopper, I can tell you about this thing we do here.
Every week, we highlight some of the most interesting new apps and collect them here for your consideration. This week, our picks include one that tells you when famous people die; a DVR for your commute; and pretty, pretty weather forecasts.
Here you go:
R.I.P. V.I.P.: The Death Alert App – News – $0.99
It’s the witching season and there’s a weird little app to keep you informed while you’re eating tiny versions of regular candy and watching horror movies of varying quality.
R.I.P. V.I.P.: The Death Alert App is as basic as its title is punctuated: It’s a news feed that updates every time a person of note passes away. So if you want to be the first among your friends to say, “Oh, no, that guy died?,” it has you covered. It’ll even send you notifications and you can instantly share any of the eulogies of Sausage Kings or 1960s character actors on social media and in text messages, if that’s your thing.
It all sounds pretty tacky, but it’s actually a pretty good resource for learning about interesting people that you can never, ever meet now. For example, did you know that recently deceased Filmation co-founder Lou Scheimer, who produced Star Trek: The Animated Series and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, also provided the voice for Tracy the Gorilla in the unfortunate knock-off Ghostbusters cartoon?
I appreciate a simple, uncluttered interface and that’s why I hate the Weather Channel app. But I’ve replaced that table-laden monstrosity with Nice Weather 2. It’s a jumble-free program that has all the information you need that still manages to look neat and clean. The curved line at the bottom represents the temperature over time, and you can drag that little ball along it to get actual numbers. You can also check humidity and the wind’s speed and direction, and the high and low temperatures are marked for your convenience.
Beyond that, it’s just striking to look at. And I know I’m talking about the weather here; that’s how good-looking this thing is.
My Mountain of Debt — Finance — $0.99 (50%-off launch sale price)
My Mountain of Debt, a new financial app by developer Fun with Data, believes that paying off your debt is as hard as removing a giant pile of bricks from over the opening to your anthill. At the start, you enter your total debt in up to four categories, and then adjust the amounts as needed.
Each time your debt shrinks, the formic hero mounts the pile with his trusty pickaxe and whittles down the stack. It could be a valuable tool to keep your debt in perspective and show your progress — plus that ant looks pretty cute in his little miner’s helmet.
You can prepare all you want, but accidents happen. When they do, Save Drives thinks that you should have documentation. It’s an app that turns your phone into a dashboard camera to log your drives. It maps your courses, tracks your distances driven, and records the last 30 minutes of your drive. You can cut the video into 10 or 30-second chunks as needed, which could come in handy if you need to present something in court or if something crazy happens in front of your car that you want to show your friends later.
If you are in an accident, it’ll even send out some e-mails or post something on Twitter to let people know, which is simultaneously handy and random. It’s handom.
I rely on the iPhone to get me around most places, even in my current hometown. I just really have a bad sense of direction. But ever since the advent of online maps and the GPS function of my iPhone, I’ve longed for the ability to quickly look up an address on my Mac, hit a button, and have the directions go to my iPhone.
That’s never been possible until now, with the advent of OS X Mavericks and the addition of the new Maps app to the Mac. Ideally, you’re supposed to be able to just launch Maps, get a set of directions, and then hit the little Share button to send those directions to your portable device.
I was super disappointed, then, when I went to send some directions to my iPhone from my Mac today and didn’t see my iPhone or iPad listed in the Share list.
Did Jony Ive design iOS 7 in Microsoft Word to win a bet at the bar? Almost certainly not, but he could have. Every single one of the new iOS 7 icons — including the more intricate ones like Game Center, Maps, and Stocks — can be recreated almost perfectly in Word.
Vaclav Krejci demonstrates the whole process in the video below.
Looks like Apple’s Maps app is in the spotlight again, as it is directing folks directly across a taxiway where airplanes take off in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaska Dispatch reports that at least two out-of-town drivers relying on Apple’s navigation system for turn-by-turn directions to the Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) were directed across the runway to the airport ramp side of the passenger terminal.
That could be pretty dangerous if a plane was taking off or landing.
Google has updated its Google Maps apps for Android and iOS to add real-time incident reports from the Waze community. This means that when Waze users — or “Wazers” as they like to be called — report accidents, construction, road closures, and other delays, the alerts will be displayed inside Google Maps as well as Waze.