Pebble Update Introduces Custom Messages, Health Improvements

Pebble today announced multiple updates for its line of Pebble smart watches, introducing new messaging options and new health features for Pebble owners.

Pebble owners who use iOS devices are now able to reply to incoming text messages with custom messages instead of the standard canned responses. Custom text replies are available to all iOS users who have text replies enabled from a compatible carrier.

Pebble Health, the fitness tracking app Pebble introduced in December for Pebble Time watches, has a new API that lets Pebble Health stats be added to apps and watch faces. The health tracking feature is also more accurate and is able to show distance in kilometers or miles.

New Pebble Time Firmware 3.9 introduces incoming MMS messages with descriptive icons and text, and it introduces speed improvements for Pebble Time and Time Steel. There’s also an improved Watch-Only mode, which introduces better power saving options when the watch battery is critically low.

The update is available through the Pebble Time iOS app, available from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Pebble Update Introduces Custom Messages, Health Improvements

Physics-Based Game ‘Piloteer’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Challenging physics-based game Piloteer has been named Apple’s App of the Week, and as a result, it’s available to download for free for the first time since it launched in June of 2015.

In Piloteer, the goal is to navigate a jetpack-wearing inventor through three gameplay environments to complete a series of 60 missions. Piloteer‘s tap-based controls are easy to grasp but difficult to master, so the inventor spends a lot of time being flung around and crashing to the ground in a heap of limbs.

Blending elements of both physics and trick-based games, players will need to maneuver their state-of-the-art jetpack through the skies while completing a myriad of increasingly difficult missions to change public perceptions.

Players will find themselves immersed in a wholly integrated physics simulation, making the beautiful world around them feel dynamic, unpredictable, and alive.

Along with Career mode for completing missions, Piloteer also includes a Free Fly mode and a series of GameCenter achievements to earn.

Piloteer will be available from the App Store for free for the next week. [Direct Link]

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Physics-Based Game ‘Piloteer’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Text-Based Game ‘Lifeline’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Popular text-based adventure game Lifeline was named Apple’s App of the Week, and as a result, it’s available to download for free for the first time since it launched in April of 2015.

Lifeline is a text-based game that asks players to make life or death decisions to help navigate Taylor, the protagonist, through the storyline. Written by Dave Justus, the story walks players through the aftermath of a crash landing on the moon of an alien planet.

Lifeline is a playable, branching story of survival against all odds. Using your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you will help Taylor make life or death decisions, and face the consequences together.

Lifeline is a deep, immersive story of survival and perseverance, with many possible outcomes. Taylor is relying on YOU.

What’s unique about Lifeline is its realtime gameplay. The story progresses in actual real world time, with the game sending players notifications throughout the day to make decisions about where the storyline should go. Players can answer as the notifications come in or catch up on their own timelines.

Lifeline is also notable because it was one the first games to be made available on the Apple Watch. When notifications come in, players can respond on the Apple Watch or directly from the iPhone’s Home screen without needing to open the actual game. Since its release, Lifeline has earned 4.5 stars in the App Store with more than 9,000 reviews.

Lifeline will be available for free from the iOS App Store for the next seven days. [Direct Link]

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Text-Based Game ‘Lifeline’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Twitter for Mac Gets Major Update With Revamped Design, New Features

Twitter for Mac today received its most significant upgrade since 2013, introducing a range of new features to bring the Mac app in line with the iOS and web experiences. Twitter for Mac 4.0 includes an updated design with improvements to icons, buttons, and interactions, and it brings a new dark theme to change the background from white to black.

Along with a new look, Twitter for Mac is gaining several new features like inline video playback, GIF support, Group Direct Messages, a mute option, and the ability to quote tweets. All of these features have previously been available within the Twitter iOS app and on the web. Today’s update also includes a new Today Center Widget for viewing Twitter highlights in the Apple Notification Center on the Mac.

Don’t call it a comeback!

Twitter for Mac is getting the update you’ve been asking for. Now it looks and feels more like the Twitter you carry with you everyday. We’ve built in some of the most-requested features so your Twitter for Mac experience combines what you love about Twitter with the elegance you expect on a Mac. Here’s what we’ve added:

– Inline video playback – You’ll see videos play directly in your feed.

– GIFs support – See animations without leaving your timeline.

– Group Direct Messages – Create and receive private notes with up to 50 people.

– Mute – Silence specific accounts so you no longer see them in your feed.

– Today Center Widget – Get your Twitter Highlights right on your desktop.

– Dark Theme – Now you can see the world in black or white.

– Updated design – Get the latest improvements to icons, buttons, and interactions.

– Quote Tweet – Add your two cents to any Retweet.

The Mac Twitter app received a minor update in August of 2015, but beyond that, the app has gone untouched since 2014. The last major version update ahead of today’s refresh was introduced in December of 2013.

Twitter for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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New Year’s Resolution Apps: CARROT Fit, Lifesum, Mint and More

January 1 is a popular day to begin New Year’s resolutions, but many people fall back to bad habits by February because the goals they set are not realistic. If you are one of those people, consider focusing on making small improvements to your lifestyle this year by taking advantage of iOS apps that can help you succeed.

Drink more water with Lifesum, a free healthy living app for easily tracking each glass or bottle of water you drink. The daily goal is set to 8 glasses, or 68 fl. oz, by default, but can be adjusted based on your personal needs. Water intake data can be exported to Apple’s official Health app.

Drinking water can contribute to better alertness and productivity, weight loss, improved digestion and many other benefits. Lifesum can also help you track your breakfast, lunch, dinner and exercise. Some features require upgrading to a Lifesum Gold subscription. [Direct Link]

Save more money with Mint, a free app that links to your U.S. or Canadian bank account and provides an overview of your cash flow, recent transactions, upcoming bills and spending habits based on categories such as restaurants, groceries, fast food, alcohol and bars, clothing and more.

Mint enables you to create budgets to help you save money. Aim to reduce your spending by a realistic amount relative to your net income. If you spend $83.33 less per month on non-essential purchases, for example, the savings quickly add up to $1,000 in one year. [Direct Link]

BUDGT [Direct Link] is a simplistic budget and expense tracking alternative that does not link with your bank account. The app costs $1.99.

Get in shape with CARROT Fit, a top-rated fitness app that delivers an exhaustive 7-minute interval workout based on 12 high intensity 30-second exercises with 10 seconds of rest in between each set. The app also features a step counter, weight tracker, workout calendar and more.

CARROT Fit is $2.99, so it is worth a try before signing up for an annual gym membership or personal training, which can easily cost upwards of $300 or $50 per hour respectively. The app’s 7 Minutes in Hell workout can be completed anywhere, and the only equipment needed is a chair. [Direct Link]

Quit smoking with Smoke Free, which tracks how much money you have saved since quitting, how many cigarettes you’ve avoided smoking, how long you’ve been smoke free, how many hours of life you’ve theoretically regained, overall health improvements and more.

Smoke Free provides you with daily missions and tips to help you stop smoking, and rewards you with badges for not smoking or avoiding cravings for various lengths of time. These features can be unlocked via in-app purchase, while most of the app’s other features are free to use. [Direct Link]

Wake up rested with Sleep Cycle, a free intelligent alarm clock app that analyzes your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase, allowing you to feel rested and relaxed. The app has patented technology that monitors your sleep movements using sound or vibration analysis.

Simply open Sleep Cycle and place your iPhone on a nightside table or floor near your bed, and the app will find the optimal time to wake you up during a 30 minute window that ends at your set alarm time. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to a power source to ensure it does not die overnight. [Direct Link]

Sleep Cycle offers an optional annual Premium subscription for $1.99 per year featuring online backup, long term sleeping trends, sleep notes, a heart rate monitor, Philips HUE lightbulb support and more. Sleep Cycle’s developer Northcube AB says the app was developed using proven sleep science and years of research and development. The app is also fully integrated with Apple’s stock Health app.

Organize your life with Wunderlist, a popular task management and to-do list app acquired by Microsoft in June 2015. The app allows you to create to-do lists with optional subtasks, notes, files and comments, and set due dates and reminders for important deadlines.

Wunderlist is free to use, while upgrading to Wunderlist Pro is optional and provides unlimited access to Files, Assigning and Subtasks for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year through an auto-renewing subscription. [Direct Link]

Lifesum, Mint, CARROT Fit and Wunderlist have companion Apple Watch apps available.

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New Year’s Resolution Apps: CARROT Fit, Lifesum, Mint and More

PIQ and Rossignol Launch Ski Sensor to Track Performance on Slopes

PIQ has partnered with Rossignol to create a new version of its multi-sport sensor for tracking skiing performance on the slopes (via Engadget). The 13-axis ski sensor attaches to a ski boot and allows skiers to record runs, analyze turns, challenge friends, track best speeds and more.

It can then measure stats like edge-to-edge speed, G-force and carving angle, while giving freestyle skiers air time, G-force at landing, rotation and more. As with other PIQ models, you can check stats immediately from your Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth, but if you don’t carry a phone during mogul practice, it’ll store the data for later.

PIQ sells a package with the sensor and Rossignol ski accessory for €149, or the €49 ski accessory can be purchased separately for those that already own a PIQ sensor. The products can be pre-ordered until January 12, 2016 and will ship in February before general public availability.

Rossignol’s companion Ski Pursuit app is free on the App Store for iPhone [Direct Link].

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New ‘djay Pro’ App for iPad Brings Redesigned Interface, Powerful Mixing Tools, and More

Following the launch of the ultra powerful iPad Pro, Algoriddim, the developers behind the popular line of djay apps for Mac and iOS devices, set out to build a professional quality djaying app designed with the new tablet in mind.

The result of that effort is djay Pro, which is available today for both the iPad Pro and older iPads. djay Pro takes some of the best parts from the djay Pro app for Mac and refines and improves them for use on a touch screen. Algoriddim tells MacRumors that the screen size and the power of the iPad Pro allowed the app to come together amazingly fast because they were so excited by what’s possible with Apple’s latest tablet.

djay Pro is designed for professional users, but it also has a clever interface that’s able to shift and grow with skill level. Algoriddim’s Michael Simmons likened it to the layers of an onion, with users able to add or subtract layers of tools for as much simplicity or power as they desire.

At its core, djay Pro has a fresh design that’s modern and less distracting while still incorporating all of the tools a professional needs. The default app interface includes two decks along with a range of different mixing tools, but it is able to incorporate up to four decks, displayed vertically or horizontally for mixing up to four audio tracks together. Advanced performance modes offer access to horizontal and vertical colored wave forms, live sampler and drum pads, and FX racks.

The built-in music library is able to combine local music, a Spotify catalog, and files stored in iCloud Drive or Dropbox into a central location so tracks can be mixed together and manipulated regardless of where they’re stored. It also includes a song recommendation engine that’s able to suggest tracks that will go well with what’s playing.

djay Pro includes all of the video features from vjay, allowing users to create video mashups to go along with song mixes. The video features sync to the music and there are audio visual effects with video tweaks that mimic sound effects like echoes and strobes. Pre-bundled video content is included, and there’s support for title and image overlays.

djay Pro offers support for iOS 9’s split-screen multitasking feature, allowing the djay Pro app to be used with Slide Over or full Split View mode on compatible iPads. With split-screen multitasking, djay Pro has the potential to be used along with other music apps, and because it includes integration with music libraries and Spotify, it is the first app that allows users to select and control their music using the multitasking window. Apps like Spotify and Apple Music have not yet integrated multitasking support.

Specific to the iPad Pro, the new app includes a selection of more than 70 keyboard shortcuts for the Smart Keyboard that merge touch and key strokes in a unique way that can only be done on a tablet, plus access to the camera and AirPlay for recording 1080p videos and displaying them in real-time. Also unique to the iPad Pro is the ability to import and work with both 4K and 1080p video when using the app’s video manipulating features. The iPad Pro is the only device that can handle two 4K/1080p video streams at once as the Mac version only supports 720p video.

The app integrates with professional DJ hardware and Cue Points, beat grid edits, metadata, and FX purchases from other versions of djay for Mac and iOS will sync to the new djay Pro app.

djay Pro was designed with the iPad Pro in mind, so the iPad Pro is going to offer the absolute best performance with the app, but it is also fully functional on other iPads like the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4, aside from the iPad Pro only features.

djay Pro can be downloaded from the App Store for $19.99, a limited time sale price that will rise to $29.99 in the future. [Direct Link]

In celebration of the launch of djay Pro, Algoriddim is also making djay 2 for iPhone, normally $2.99, available for free for a limited time. [Direct Link]

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New ‘djay Pro’ App for iPad Brings Redesigned Interface, Powerful Mixing Tools, and More

Sony Releases ‘PlayStation Messages’ App for iOS

Shortly after its PlayStation Experience 2015 event in San Francisco this weekend, Sony has released a brand new app called PlayStation Messages, which allows PlayStation 4 owners to chat with their friends on the go. While the standard PlayStation app had built-in messaging functionality, it’s been split into its own app like how Facebook did with Facebook Messenger.

The app allows PlayStation Network users to send their friends text, voice and picture messages in addition to stickers of PlayStation game characters like Knack and Uncharted’s Nathan Drake. The app also allows for group messaging.

The standard PlayStation app was also updated today with the ability to follow verified users and the removal of the messaging functionality.

PlayStation Messages is a universal app that’s available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Zite Shutting Down December 7, Recommends Flipboard to Users

News aggregator app Zite last night announced that it will no longer be functional past December 7, with the company encouraging fans to migrate their information and preferences over to similar app Flipboard before the deadline (via VentureBeat).

Flipboard acquired Zite in 2014 after a competitive few years together in the social media and news aggregation app sphere, keeping it open but slowly appropriating Zite’s features and services into Flipboard. Zite has been hinting at its impending closure for a few months, but kept silent on whether or not it would continue to run in the face of the Flipboard acquisition until now.

„We wanted to ensure that Zite’s key functionality was available in Flipboard before asking users to migrate. Now that we’ve integrated all the major parts of the technology such as the topic engine, collaborative filtering algorithms and thumbs up and down voting, Zite will soon stop being available as its own app. Zite users have a few more weeks to import their preferences into Flipboard. We hope many of them will do this.”

Zite users will recieve a notification within the app, or a personalized email, of the impending closure, along with a step-by-step guide of how to migrate their data to Flipboard. All the app requires is the entry of Flipboard login information into Zite – a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ login will work as well – to begin the migration process.

Similar to the newly launched Apple News, Flipboard provides customers a one-stop shop of all their prioritized daily news services. Flipboard [Direct Link] allows a bit more personalization, however, letting users construct digital magazines of favorite stories, pictures, and breaking news and share them on social media. The app was recently updated to bring full support of the larger screen on the iPad Pro, as well.

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Zite Shutting Down December 7, Recommends Flipboard to Users