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iOS 8.3 Released

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Apple updated the iOS to version 8.3. To download the release, tap Settings > General > Software Update. You can read about it from this web page.

According to Apple, the release includes the following:

…improved performance, bug fixes, and a redesigned Emoji keyboard. Changes include:

Improved performance for:

•    App launch

•    App responsiveness

•    Messages

•    Wi-Fi

•    Control Center

•    Safari tabs

•    3rd-party keyboards

•    Keyboard shortcuts

•    Simplified Chinese keyboard

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fixes

•    Fixes an issue where you could be continuously prompted for login credentials

•    Addresses an issue where some devices disconnect intermittently from Wi-Fi networks

•    Fixes an issue where hands-free phone calls could become disconnected

•    Fixes an issue where audio playback could stop working with some bluetooth speakers

Orientation and rotation fixes

•    Addresses an issue that sometimes prevented rotating back to portrait after having rotated to landscape

•    Improves performance and stability issues that occurred when rotating the device between portrait and landscape

•    Fixes an issue where device orientation appeared upside down after pulling the iPhone 6 Plus from your pocket

•    Resolves an issue that sometimes prevented apps from rotating to correct orientation after switching apps in multitasking

Messages fixes

•    Address issues that caused group messages to sometimes split

•    Fixes an issue that sometimes removed the ability to forward or delete individual messages

•    Resolves an issue that sometimes prevented a preview from appearing when taking a photo in Messages

•    Adds the ability to report junk messages directly from the Messages app

•    Adds the ability to filter out iMessages that are not sent by your contacts

Family Sharing fixes

•    Fixes a bug where certain apps would not launch or update on family members’ devices

•    Fixes a bug that prevented family members from downloading certain free apps

•    Increased reliability for Ask to Buy notifications

CarPlay fixes

•    Fixes an issue where Maps could come up as a black screen

•    Fixes an issue where the UI could be incorrectly rotated

•    Fixes an issue where the keyboard could appear on the CarPlay screen when it shouldn’t

Enterprise fixes

•    Improves reliability of installing and updating enterprise apps

•    Corrects the time zone of Calendar events created in IBM Notes

•    Fixes a problem that could cause web clip icons to become generic after restarting

•    Improves reliability of saving the password for a web proxy

•    Exchange out-of-office message can now be edited separately for external replies

•    Improves recovery of Exchange accounts from temporary connection problems

•    Improves compatibility of VPN and web proxy solutions

•    Allows use of physical keyboards to log into Safari web sheets, such as for joining a public Wi-FI network

•    Fixes an issue that caused Exchange meetings with long notes to be truncated

Accessibility fixes

•    Fixes an issue where using the back button in Safari causes VoiceOver gestures to not respond

•    Fixes an issue where VoiceOver focus becomes unreliable in draft Mail messages

•    Fixes an issue where Braille Screen Input cannot be used to type text in forms on webpages

•    Fixes an issue where toggling Quick Nav on a Braille Display announces that Quick Nav is off

•    Fixes issue keeping app icons from being moveable on home screen when VoiceOver is enabled

•    Fixes an issue in Speak Screen where speech will not start again after pausing

Other improvements and bug fixes

•    Introduces a redesigned Emoji keyboard with over 300 new characters

•    iCloud Photo Library has been optimized to work with the new Photos app on OS X 10.10.3 and is now out of beta

•    Improves the pronunciation of street names during turn-by-turn navigation in Maps

•    Includes support for Baum VarioUltra 20 and VarioUltra 40 braille displays

•    Improves the display of Spotlight results when Reduce Transparency is turned on

•    Adds Italic and Underline format options for iPhone 6 Plus landscape keyboard

•    Adds the ability to remove shipping and billing addresses used with Apple Pay

•    Additional language and country support for Siri: English (India, New Zealand), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Netherlands), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Thai (Thailand), Turkish (Turkey)

•    Additional dictation languages: Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and Hebrew (Israel)

•    Improves stability for Phone, Mail, Bluetooth connectivity, Photos, Safari tabs, Settings, Weather and Genius Playlists in Music

•    Address an issue where Slide to Unlock could fail to work on certain devices

•    Addresses an issue that sometimes prevented swiping to answer a phone call on the Lock screen

•    Addresses an issue that prevented opening links in Safari PDFs

•    Fixes an issue where selecting Clear History and Website Data in Safari Settings did not clear all data

•    Fixes an issue that prevented autocorrecting “FYI”

•    Addresses an issue where contextual predictions did not appear in Quick Reply

•    Fixes an issue where Maps did not enter night mode from hybrid mode

•    Resolves an issue that prevented initiating FaceTime calls from a browser or 3rd-party app using FaceTime URLs

•    Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented photos from properly exporting to Digital Camera Image folders on Windows

•    Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented an iPad backup from completing with iTunes

•    Fixes an issue that could cause Podcast downloads to stall when switching from Wi-Fi to cellular networks

•    Fixes an issue where remaining time on timer would sometimes incorrectly display as 00:00 on Lock screen

•    Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented adjusting call volume

•    Fixes an issues that caused the status bar to sometimes appear when it shouldn’t

Evernote for iOS updated

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Evernote icon

 

Evernote for the iPad has been updated to improve camera functionality and to prepare for the new Apple Watch.

The new camera functionality includes:

– Auto-capture: Point the camera at docs, whiteboards, and business cards
– Business cards: Connect to LinkedIn to get more info when scanning cards
– Review, crop, and rotate images before saving

Additional improvements include:

– Suggested notes in Today widget
– Mark reminder notifications as complete or snooze the reminder for an hour
– Start a work chat from the home screen
– Numerous bug fixes and improvements

To get ready for the introduction of the new Apple Watch, the app has been updated to allow the new device to communicate and work with the app. Features include:

– Dictate notes into Apple Watch and they’ll be transcribed and synced to Evernote
– See recently created, updated, and viewed notes
– Dictate searches and see results on your Apple Watch
– Create reminders and get notified about items due today.

 

OmniFocus 2 Update

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OmniFocus 2 for iPad icon

OmniFocus 2 for iPad has been updated to version 2.1.1. This universal app provides task management at your fingertips.

The changes include:

• Customizeable Today Extension — Show deferred items or choose a custom perspective to display in Notification Center (Pro)
• Tiled Home Screen (Pro) — Tap and Hold to drag tiles and customize your layout
• Extension Architecture — the underlying way extensions interact with the OmniFocus app have changed to make adding and viewing items in extensions more responsive and generally seamless.

To learn more about using OmniFocus, go to the support page.

The site even shows how you can read about how to set up OmniFocus2 to use Siri to capture your reminders in a few simple steps. Read the warning about only configuring this on a single iOS device to avoid duplicate entries.

Ulysses for iPad

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Ulysses-iOS-1024x1024-rect

Ulysses for iPad is a great tool for getting text down so you can get your thoughts, ideas, or paper done. The writing app is by the The Soulmen who have been writing apps for the Mac for some time. This app and its Mac sister Ulysses are designed to work together and help you draft and create a brief, story, memo, and more. This post reviews the iPad version of the app.

Organization of Documents

Ulysses approaches document creation differently than most typical word processors. The idea of the app is simple. Focus on getting words and thoughts down even if it means doing so in discrete separate sections that can be combined later.

Ulysses Library

The Library consists of a series of “groups” which is further broken down into individual “sheets.” A sheet can represent a paragraph, a page, or even an entire chapter. However, the power of this app is that it allows you to break your document into bite size pieces to help you better organize and create without so much focus on the ultimate way the document will look in terms of formatting, page numbering, etc.

You can “nest” your groups by tapping on the + on the library panel. Then, add the name of your new group and identify the parent group that it should be nested under. To make the process easier, tap on the group you wish to create a subgroup under first. You can name the group and even assign a unique icon to help identify it.

Keyboard Plus

The keyboard features the standard iOS keys. However, just above that is a row of commonly used and needed shortcut buttons.

Ulysses Keyboard

These allow you to quickly accomplish tasks related to Markup, list making, indenting and more. If you tap and hold down on the buttons, more options become available.

Sync via iCloud

One of the most surprising features was the ease and speed at which the app syncs with the Mac version via iCloud. The set up is straight forward when you initially install and open the app. The changes made on the Mac app rapidly appear on the iPad version and vice-versa.

Personalize Themes

You can modify the default theme with others that are built in. Just tap on the gear icon. Then, tap Theme and select one of the other themes. You can also download others by scrolling down and visiting Ulysses Style Exchange within the app. Then, download a new theme and install it.

Ulysses Themes

The theme above is a built in theme iOS with Dark Mode turned on to assist in writing in darker environments.

Exporting Final Versions

After you have created your document, there are several ways to export it. You can choose from Plain Text, HTML, ePub, PDF and RTF.  You can also share your material via mail, message or simply copy it for passing into another app.

The app even allows you to edit text files created in other apps that are stored on iCloud drive or 3rd party services including Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Features Galore

This app allows you to perform tasks like search, find and replace, adding images, tagging, write notes and write in full screen mode. The ability to write in portrait and landscape mode is available too.

Conclusion

There are very few apps that allow you to organize and write down ideas on your Mac, pick them up on your iPad on the go and provide so much flexibility in terms of output. Ulysses for iPad is one such app. If you are constantly writing or want to write better, Ulysses is a great tool for providing you with the ability to do so.

The Mac version of Ulysses allows for some additional flexibility. You can download a trial version for the Mac from the developer’s website.

Jot Script 2 Stylus

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Adonit Jot Script 2 Screen Shot

Adonit has updated their Jot Stylus to the new Jot Script 2 bluetooth. It is currently available for $74.99 and comes with 6 months of Evernote Premium services with the Evernote edition.

You can learn more about the new stylus from Adonit’s Jot Script 2 page.

Adonit USB charger

The stylus promises better palm rejection, longer battery life, a USB connection to charge the device and bluetooth compatibility with several apps.

To learn more, click here.

Fantastical 2 for Mac Released

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fantastical-icon-big@2x

Flexibits has introduced a brand new version of Fantastical. This calendar and reminder app has been known for the ease of typing in plain english and watching the app convert it into the desired event or reminder. There are many improvements in this latest version, including the big screen calendar and reminder list. No longer is the mini calendar locked to the tool bar.

For those not familiar, there are really two main categories of entries: Reminders and Calendar events. Think of an event as an appointment and a reminder as a task to be performed. This app allows you to enter this information in no time using plain text and even your voice as shown and explained below. The app also works with and syncs with your iCloud and CalDav calendars. Minimal set up is required to get the app fully loaded with existing calendar events and reminders.

As in the past, this app can sit in the toolbar ready for easy entry.

fantastical2-mac-screenshot-dark

New is the full size calendar to allow easy reference to upcoming events and reminders.

Built in Integration with Existing Calendars

There is built in integration with LaunchBar and other similar apps. To create an entry using Launchbar, enter an event by invoking your LaunchBar, tapping space and then entering your event or reminder. Press return and its automatically added to Fantastical.

One of the nice new time saving features is the ability to create a default reminder set for every time event or all day event. In the preference panel of Fantastical, add as many alerts as you may want before each event so when you create an event, more than one alarm will automatically be added if you want. Apple’s iCal app limits you to a default of one alarm. Many times it is helpful to have more than one alarm. For example the day before the event and 1 hour before. In iCal, after creating an event, you have to add the additional alarms each time you enter a new event. This takes time and you may forget.

In Fantastical, go to the preferences pane and set the defaults in the Alerts section.

Fantastical Alarms

Entering Events With Your Voice

About 54 seconds into the below video, you can see what appears to be a Siri like method for entering a reminder into Fantastical with your voice on your Mac.

In order to achieve this functionality and dictate into this and other apps, follow the instructions from Apple found here. This dictation feature is part of Yosemite and can be found in the System Preferences. Note, if you choose Use Enhanced Dictation, additional files will be downloaded from Apple so an internet connection will not be required in the future to interpret your voice.

Dictation Preference Pane

There is a full collection of videos showing the app in use at the developer’s web site. Make sure to watch these to see the app in action and understand the full power and potential available.

Of course, the app works with the iPad and iPhone version of Fantastical. If you have Yosemite, the handoff feature is also available.

If you have any questions with using the app, check out the FAQ page.

Conclusion

This app costs $49 and is on sale for the introductory price of $39. There have been some who have commented on the price. You need to consider how much of your life depends on a reliable calendar and reminder system that is easy to use and speeds up the process of entering this information. If you save just a few minutes a day, this app will pay for itself in no time. The developer provides a download for a free 14 day trial from its website. Try it out first and see how much easier it is to get your calendar events entered and more organized you can be.

Fantastical for iPad Updated

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Fantastical iPad icon

Fantastical for iPad has been updated to coincide with the update for Fantastical 2.0 for the Mac. There is an iPhone version too.

This update addresses the following:

– Fixed an issue where Fantastical could crash when using overdue recurring reminders
– Fixed an issue where long notes would appear clipped when viewing an event
– Various fixes and improvements

This app is very good at taking your plain english entry and turning it into a calendar event, reminder or repeating action. For example, typing “Lunch with John at 1 pm” turns into a calendar event.

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