Popular iOS app Todolist to receive major makeover with v.10 later this year

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Todolist the popular universal iOS task-manager app is slated to receive a major update that is described on their Blog site as a Completely new version for iOS.  I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to productivity apps.  I touched upon some of my feelings when highlighting a major update to Wunderlist earlier this month. Updates are good–hell, they’re needed to keep the user base loyal and happy.  Todolist hasn’t received any updates to their app this year.  I suspect they have been focusing their efforts into this new overhaul, and I for one, am excited to see what they have planned.  Their goal was to make Todolist iOS app faster, easier to use, and more beautiful–sounds like a good start!

Notable changes include…

  • Completely revamped task interactions will make it easier and faster to get your ideas out of your head and onto your to-do list, no matter where you are.
  • New organizational features will give you more control over how you view and prioritize your tasks and projects.
  • And much, much more– you may even see a few pops of color incorporated into our characteristically minimalistic design…

Via their Blog they go on to say that the update is coming up fast–which could mean anything, I guess.  Perhaps in the next few weeks?  If you want to hear about the release as soon as it happens you can sign up to have the news delivered to your inbox.  Once the iOS version is released the same features will also be available on the Web, and on your Mac or PC.

While this all sounds great, three bullet points are enough to get my attention, but that’s about it right now. Here’s to hoping we get some additional teaser updates before the final release.

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Pure Pinball for iPad: everything but the roll of quarters

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I have to confess at the outset that pinball arcades were a frequent venue for a large part of my misspent youth. Fridays would find me and my buddy Dave at Pinball Pete’s. We got good enough to play all night on $2, as if that were something to brag about. Pure Pinball is a pinball simulator done right on the iPad. It’s super-realistic and beautiful to look at. In short, if you like(d) real pinball, you’ll love Pure Pinball for your iPad.

The makers of Pure Pinball went to considerable lengths to make sure all the gameplay, graphics, and physics match what you’d find on a real pinball table. From the way the plunger launches the ball, to the gravity of its descent, to the way the bumpers fire, to the spinning of the targets it all matches the real deal. The layout of the table is as busy as late-model tables became before their almost extinction. There are buzzers, bells, ramps, and chutes of every description. Point-making opportunities come and go, announced by the game’s Mr. Big Voice, and lights on the table. You will do well to pay attention to these specials as they can quickly multiply your score. There are three tables available and you unlock the second and third by doing well on previous tables.

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Quick Look: Vesper for iPad

Patrick already picked Vesper as last week’s iPad App of the Week, but call me greedy: I wanted to write about it as well. If you look at Vesper bullet point by pullet point, it’s hard to see why you’d use it as an alternative to apps like Drafts or Evernote. Evernote has apps on every platform and its notes can take files, images, and text. Drafts has had is iOS only, but it has all the tools you need to automate your text workflow on an iPad.

In comparison, Vesper was designed to excel as a classier version of the built-in Notes app, with an option to add a single picture to each note.

I spent the past few days playing with Vesper to see whether it would stick for me, and I found all sorts of really delightful details embedded in the UI. If you show Vesper to someone who has never seen it before, they’ll likely comment on how nice the font is. In my experience, even people who aren’t into fonts tend to see the difference. Then there are the animations. Tapping on a note in the list view will cross-fade you into that note, swiping to see the tag list uses a subtle parallax effect, and leaving a note zooms smoothly back out into the list view.

The thing is, as an iPad app, Vesper isn’t really there yet. It’s really just an adapted iPhone version that happens to work on the iPad. This means there can be a lot of blank space on the screen, as most iPhone apps show a single pane of information at a time. There aren’t any obvious modifications to the iPhone design to take advantage of the different ways that people use and hold an iPad, or to take advantage of the extra space on the iPad’s screen. I’m not too nervous about this though. Q Branch is working on the Mac version of Vesper, but I’m pretty sure they’ll circle back to re-imagine the iPad app afterwards.

I really want to integrate Vesper into my everyday workflow, in large part because it’s just so incredibly satisfying to use. It has a better and faster sync engine than Drafts does, so notes are more consistently updated across my iPhone and iPad during the day. However, that custom sync engine is also what keeps me from committing to Vesper. I’m worried about not being able to access notes on my work PC, or having my data stuck in Vesper should I choose to try another app six months from now. You can of course use the iOS 8 share sheet to send notes out of Vesper, but only on an individual basis.

That isn’t a condemnation of Vesper, simply an admission that this magnificent app isn’t for me. As simple as Vesper is to use, keeping it around would actually complicate my setup, so I’ll be sticking with Drafts and Evernote for now.

Here’s an App Store link for Vesper ; it’s priced at a very sustainable $10 with no in-app purchases. You will definitely get what you pay for.

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How to use alternative apps to navigate to an address from Apple Maps

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Apple Maps have come along way since Scott Forestall first introduced them with iOS 6 in 2012.  I prefer them over Google Maps most of the time, especially with regard to navigation.  However, as one might suspect, they still are not on the same playing field with Google Maps when it comes to search results from within the app. This might not be the case for you, and even though you may know that you have countless alternative options when it comes to competing map programs–you do have options.  There is actually a quick and easy way to navigate to an address from within a different mapping app if you already have the address loaded into Apple Maps–here’s how.

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Apple makes it so easy, you don’t even have to have the alternative app downloaded to your iPad prior to starting this process. Like I mentioned previously, you need to have your address, or pin drop (approximate location) already loaded in Apple Maps.  Once entered, the location (address) will show a pin on your iPad screen with a label defaulting to the driving directions and the estimated time it will take to navigate the that location.  When you tap on that label you will see a split screen showing a satellite view of the location and options to drive to that location or to use that location as your starting point.  Selecting either will give you itemized turn-by-turn directions.  You can then select the “Route” button in the top right of the screen to see the full route on a map.

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Gmail for iPad Gets Extensions

Gmail for iPad just became a better iOS 8 citizen, gaining a few new features to help you utilize the app as your primary mail app (if you’re so inclined).

Notifications for new messages now feature an archive and a reply button; you won’t be able to apply in-line like you can with iMessages (Apple doesn’t allow that), but tapping on Reply will load up the Gmail app to that specific message, with the reply window ready.

Then there’s the Gmail share extension that’s now available in other apps. If you’d like to send a PDF from within Notability, or a picture from the Photos app, all you need to do is activate the Gmail extension from within the iOS share menu. Once that’s done, you can select the file(s) you’d like to share, and then tap on Gmail within the Share list. iOS 8 still won’t let you select a default app for things like OS X can, but these extensions enable much tighter integration of the Gmail app into everyday workflows. The only app that didn’t play too nicely with the Gmail extension was Dropbox — I tried sending a few messages out of Dropbox, but no links or files ever made it into my outgoing emails.

Finally, there’s sharing of files within Gmail with any of your other apps on the iPad via the Share menu. Now you can take that vacation picture your friend sent to your Gmail address and save it straight to Dropbox.

I don’t use the Gmail app on a daily basis; I keep it around for searching archived messages that are several years old. However, for big users of Gmail, this new features should feel like a major update. Check them out today!

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Wunderlist for iPad receiving big overhaul in 2015

I love To-Do lists and Productivity apps in general.  Some may say I love them to a fault.  See if this sounds familiar–you want to find the perfect To-Do / Productivity list app.  You try so hard, and you invest so much time in researching your needs against what is available that you never can […]

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Game review: Space Marshals for iPad

Space Marshals for iPad is a top-down shooter that pulls you in quickly and will have you surprised when you next look up at the clock. It has great arcade graphics, easy-to-learn controls, and plentiful levels for you to explore while you accomplish missions and avoid the bad guys. In Space Marshals you play a […]

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Review: Alto’s Adventure for iPad

Alto’s Adventure is getting a lot of good press, for a lot of good reasons. With a combination of compelling but uncomplicated gameplay, beautiful graphics, and a sprightly soundtrack that perfectly fits the scenario, Alto’s Adventure is one of the best things to hit the App Store in a while. You play the part of […]

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