What's Hot in Tech - September 30

 

Twitter slowly rolling out redesign 

 

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Twitter is in the midst of a big overhaul of its mobile app design which will likely influence its desktop offering. Twitter is working on catering to the casual user as it moves toward an IPO with the first of its changes coming in the form of a new conversation layout, detailed earlier this month. As part of the overhaul, Twitter is experimenting with a view dedicated to TV-related tweets as the platform rises in popularity for supplemental content and discussion while watching live TV (often referred to as the "second screen experience"). 

Facebook releases new design for iPhone/iPad alongside release of iOS 7

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A lot of apps, including Facebook, have released new designs to match the fresh aesthetic of iOS 7. Facebook moved its navigation to the bottom of the screen, abandoning the "drawer" that pulled out from the left-side of the app, a change validated by extensive user testing. The company says it will not implement the same changes in its iPad app as the larger screen is appropriate for the pull-out drawer approach.     

Apple TV adds Major League Soccer and Disney Junior 

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Apple continues to slowly cobble together an attractive collection of content for Apple TV which now includes "channels" for Major League Soccer and Disney Junior. Apple TV allows people to watch a wide array of internet-based content on their TV including iTunes (music, movies, tv shows), content beamed wirelessly from iPhones and iPads via Airplay, and content channels (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, ESPN, YouTube).  

A true Google Now experience is coming to iPhone and iPad

Google Now is Google's intelligent personal assistant service presenting information relevant to you throughout the day including weather, news you like, commute times, stock prices, and places of interest. Up to this point, only Android users have had the true Google Now experience which includes notifications for important information like letting you know when to leave for work based on traffic conditions or that your upcoming flight has been delayed. As part of an upcoming update to its app for iPhone and iPad, Google Now for Apple devices will soon include these same helpful notifications. You can start using Google Now ahead of this update by downloading Google Search on the App Store.  

Reeder news reader makes a comeback as Reeder 2

I'm a big fan of RSS readers, a tool for pulling content from a myriad of websites into one app where I can read, share, and save articles. Google Reader was the leading RSS reader and provided a platform on which nearly all RSS readers were built including Reeder and Feedly, which I covered previously. Google Reader was retired this summer, much to the dismay of content power consumers across the web. As a result, RSS readers (or news readers) have had to regroup and build new technology.

Feedly chose to build its own technology and was up and running ahead of Google Reader's sunset. Reeder, however, took a bit longer but is back with Reeder 2, a universal iOS app (one app that works on both iPhone and iPad) capable of syncing with your Feedly account and other RSS technologies. I moved to Feedly when Google Reader fell, but was a big fan of Reeder despite the inconsistencies between its separate iPhone and iPad apps and slow addition of features. The universal app should eliminate feature inconsistency and will be welcomed by those not fans of Feedly's layout and reading workflow.

Reeder 2 is an all-new app, separate from the original Reeder, available for $4.99 in the App Store

Major League Baseball experimenting with interactive ballpark experience

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When Apple released iOS 7 for iPhone and iPad, it included a feature that didn't receive much press at the time but could change the way we interact with physical spaces. iOS 7 includes "iBeacon" which uses your phone's Bluetooth signal to serve as GPS for indoor locations with greater accuracy than GPS. By communicating with transmitters installed in a physical space, your phone can know if it's in aisle 4 of a grocery store versus aisle 8.  

Major League Baseball is looking to take advantage of this technology within its At the Ballpark app. Knowing where in the ballpark you are, At the Ballpark can provide different experiences and content including coupons and discounts or highlight videos. The feature has been in testing and could be made available for the 2014 season. 

Quick Hits

  • Amazon Instant Video app for iPhone/iPad updated with support for streaming to Apple TV via Airplay plus reviews and ratings from IMDb. If you have Amazon Prime, Instant Video is great for watching movies and tv shows not to mention free two-day shipping!
  • Apple's software for iPad and iPhone, iOS 7, officially released September 18th. If you missed it, I covered the big features in my last issue.
  • One of my favorite task list apps, Clear, released an all-new app for iOS 7 and it works on both iPhone and  iPad.  Download Clear on the App Store.
  • Facebook is rolling out the ability to edit your posts on the web and Android devices. Support for post editing on iPhone/iPad is coming soon.
  • Google Drive app for iOS and Android received a refreshed look to match its new card-based aesthetic which is coming to mobile search as well.
  • Netflix has made "Super HD" (very high-quality streaming video) available to all members, provided your internet connection is fast enough (~7 mbps).
  • Uber, an app for hailing private cars and paying without showing a credit card, now allows users to share their ride with friends by texting a live map of their trip along with estimated time of arrival.
  • Yahoo! releases Screen app to provide a "channel surfing" experience for its exclusive content including Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, GQ, The Colbert Report, ABC News, The Onion, and more. 

 

As a tech enthusiast, early adopter, and avid reader, I come across a lot of gadgets, apps, websites, and more. Few things excite me more than sharing and discussing these finds with others.  Follow me on Twitter where I share even more tech news and trends.

Chris Fohlin

Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA