August 1, 2016
Category: Mobile Industry
Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds, an app designed to teach the Swift programming language, at WWDC 2016. We’ve had a chance to experiment with it since then, and can say without reservation that their first foray into teaching kids how to code deserves top marks. They have enabled learning to code to be fun and addictive, even for those who aren’t the “coding type.”
The app feels like a puzzle-solving game, reeling you into the challenge while introducing coding concepts and building skills step-by-step. After completing a challenge and receiving encouraging praise from the app, we found we were motivated and eager to move on to the next one. One tester expected to finish two or three challenges to get a feel for the app, but ended up finishing over fifteen lessons because she was so engaged with it. The pace, lesson structure, and challenges all prove to be well-designed from an instructional standpoint. This app will likely teach many future programmers how to code. Read More
July 5, 2016
Back in January, we predicted important tech innovations for 2016 would include Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Several products are leading the VR market, and we’ve had an opportunity to evaluate one of them, the HTC Vive, firsthand. One of our software engineers, Will, recently acquired the Vive and volunteered to write this review. Below is Will’s personal history of gaming and his impression of the Vive. Read More
April 16, 2016
As a leader in mobile app development, we consider it our responsibility to keep current with changing technology. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, though, given the vast number of new products, languages, versions, and technologies that continue to be created in this industry. In our experience, staying on top of your game requires two things: time commitment and an awareness of how you learn best. The team at InspiringApps spans a wide variety of personalities and each of us has a preference for how to keep our tech knowledge fresh. Here’s a summary of our techniques for staying sharp in a sea of constant change. Read More
March 7, 2016
We love our fitness wearables! Between us, InspiringApps employees possess Apple Watches (with fitness apps), the Garmin Forerunner 220, and a handful of FitBits. The swimmers on our team are looking into Moov Swim to track laps, and some sleep-challenged employees think the Jawbone UP3 that tracks both fitness and ZZZs is worthy of consideration.
We’re not alone in our passion for wearables. A recent report from Gartner predicts that sales of wearable electronic devices will increase 18.4% in 2016 from the previous year. While fitness products lead the market in sales, wearable technology in other industries is causing a buzz too. Several caught our attention in the business, health, and pet industries.
February 15, 2016
We started using the iPad Pro last year, shortly after it was released. We wanted to use this new device the moment it was available, but had to wait one (long, agonizing) week until we could get our hands on it, and then another four (longer, more agonizing) weeks until a Pencil found its way to us. Since then, we’ve used the iPad Pro almost daily. Clients and friends ask the same question in one way or another: What is the iPad Pro good for? Or for our English-degreed counterparts: For what is the iPad Pro good?
First and foremost, the iPad Pro is good for looking at things. It’s big. Very big. With a 12.9” (diagonal) screen, the screen real estate feels as endless as the lingering snow after Boulder’s last snowstorm. The graphics are sharp, photos and videos look clean and precise due to the retina display, and gaming apps seem more fun to play on the expanded screen size.
Better movies and gaming might not be enough to compel purchase, but we think the larger screen size offers benefits to two audiences in particular: the creative community and business users. For creatives, the additional real estate provides the opportunity to express ideas more fully on a larger canvas. Read More
January 18, 2016
We enjoyed a relaxing holiday checking out new gadgets and thinking about what new innovations might make an impact in 2016. Our tech-savvy employees are excited about a wide range of things, including some renewed technology from years past. While an incredible number of amazing items were recently showcased at CES in Las Vegas, our list highlights items our team members might utilize personally. In no particular order, we present our list of tech innovations to watch in 2016.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). While this technology has been around for awhile, hype is building around new AR and VR products to be released this year. Oculus Rift, running on a high-end PC with a powerful graphics card, will be our first choice for experimentation. HTC Vive offers another highly-rated VR experience, and PlayStation VR, running off a PlayStation 4, is also a noteworthy system in the mix.
Apps for Owner’s Manuals. AR is not only for gaming, and we think some of the business oriented uses are pretty compelling. For example, Hyundai updated its Hyundai Virtual Guide with AR, potentially making owner’s manuals a thing of the past. Just point your phone at your car, and the app uses AR to display information that details what you’re looking at.
The Internet of Things. The IoT is “the network of physical objects or ‘things’ embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.” While IoT also has been around for many years, the use of connected things may rise 30% in 2016. Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide this year, and we anticipate daily life could be greatly enhanced as a result.
A $5 Computer. Since 2012 the Raspberry Pi Foundation has allowed computer hobbyists to create personal projects using its affordable boards. It recently announced its latest programmable board, called the Raspberry Pi Zero, will be available for only $5. The Pi Zero can be used to connect the computer to home devices, to build inexpensive robots, and to create games.
Smarter Smart TVs. Smart TVs have also been around for years, but have lacked a rich ecosystem of apps to run on them. That should change dramatically in the coming year, now that Apple has allowed the large community of iOS developers to build apps for the latest release of the Apple TV. We anticipate considerable advances in living room and board room TV experiences as a result.
Fitbit Blaze. This smartwatch offers a sleek design, color touch screen and interchangeable watch faces. With more features than the standard Fitbit, and an affordable price, it’s bound to make an impact for fitness and tech enthusiasts.
Podcasting. Serial, a podcast that debuted last October, introduced many new listeners to the medium, and fresh shows and subscriptions followed. The evolution of technology, and the ease with which you can listen to a podcast on your device or in your car, predicts that podcasts are here to stay.
Linux. We have a Linux enthusiast on our team who states, “The Linux Desktop has been solid and mature for a long time, but recently the efforts of polish have really started to show.” Additionally, Swift, a programming language created by Apple for iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS development, was recently open-sourced and is now available on Linux. We’re excited to see whether or not developers adopt Swift as a server-side programming language on Linux.
We are eager to see these – and more – new technological innovations come to fruition in the coming year.
December 14, 2015
Apple TV, a digital media player that can receive content from multiple sources and stream it to a TV, was first released almost nine years ago. In October of this year, Apple released the fourth generation of the device with its own “tvOS” operating system. Numerous changes occurred to the platform, and one of the most exciting was Apple’s creation of the Apple TV App Store and the unprecedented invitation to outside developers to create apps for it.
We couldn’t wait to experiment with coding on this new device, and two of our app developers jumped right in to test out the experience. Apple hopes to see the new Apple TV impact everything from entertainment to gaming to business, so we explored some simple apps in two of those areas.
I recently returned from my third trip to South by Southwest – SXSW. I haven’t seen official stats, but it felt like larger swarms of people descended on Austin for this year’s Interactive portion of the SXSW festival. Some people say larger swarms mean more buzzwords, as modea.com depicts in their slick infographic (http://www.modea.com/buzzwordbingohd/sxsw/). The larger number of participants certainly didn’t mean more variations in advice from C-level keynote speakers. When asked, “If you could give one bit of advice what would it be?”, their response was overwhelmingly, “Follow your dream.” One can only think these speakers spent their time working on other portions of their talks and were blindsided by this cutting question.
But SXSW didn’t disappoint. I went to the festival to learn more about how other people build great products, and I walked away with insightful advice and a peace of mind that InspiringApps is on the right track. I had the opportunity to listen to leaders in the mobile-consumer-application space talk about how they get closer to their user base and how they assemble their teams.
Hands down my favorite part of SXSW is the people I met. This sounds cliche but it’s true. I had an opportunity to meet people from across the country and world, who have built and are building companies similar to InspiringApps.
It’s hard to quantify the knowledge you walk away from SXSW with. You suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) the entire time you are there. Then you sit down on the airplane headed back to the ‘real world’ and your eyes gloss over from all the information you have jammed into your head over the last several days. One thing I know for sure, I arrived home with a new level of passion and appreciation for the work I get to do every day and the people I get to do it with.
For an industry that intensely relies on cutting edge technology to prevent disease and save lives, can it be said that they are, in some respects, behind the times? It’s an interesting dichotomy that you can be standing in the same office and experience the newest, most advanced ultra-sound machine at the same time as encountering shelves and shelves of 2-inch thick file folders on each patient that walks in the door. Does high-tech equal paperless? If it does, our healthcare system has some catching up to do.
When healthcare meets “healthtech”, there is an endless amount of things to consider. This post does not profess to cover the nitty gritty details but rather to get us thinking—how can the healthcare industry benefit from going digital? From doctor offices to hospitals to the ambulance careening down the street, could patients receive better care if mobile technologies were more widely embraced?
January 25, 2012
Category: Mobile Industry
Bye, Bye MobileMe Gallery
If you use MobileMe, then you should know by now that the Gallery functionality is being deprecated by Apple in June of this year. If you’re like me, this is un-welcome news. I thought publishing family photos to a web gallery directly from iPhoto was super easy and convenient enough that I actually shared [a lot of] photos with the family. And I thought that a foundation as solid as Apple was reliable enough to bank on. I thought I heard that Apple has more money in the bank than the US? Despite that, MobileMe is dead (to be partially phoenix-ed as iCloud of course):
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