Category Archives: iTunes

App Cubby Launches Launch Center Pro

If you haven’t heard of the Launch Center App before, you will want to now. App Cubby first launched their shortcut app Launch Center and it was basically a list of shortcuts and actions. It was in a list view and it was really handy.

Now they’ve redone the app and relaunched it as Launch Center Pro. The basic point of this app is to make things easier to do and faster to do things. The shortcuts you create in the app can be specific to certain apps or people, like create a new item in Omifocus, or message or call a certain person to launch Instagram in the camera view.

The format of Launch Center Pro uses a grid of large buttons, that are accessible with gestures. There are a lot of supported apps and actions, and I really only went back to using the original a few weeks ago, but it saves me a lot of time and actions.

The one thing I do like is that you can schedule actions to happen, so for example if you want to write an entry in Day One everyday at a certain time, you can schedule it to notify you.

There are a lot of supported apps and actions, and they use the Custom URL scheme. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, it’s how you can launch apps and actions, and a developer has to use that within the app itself. If you want to add one that’s not included, you can check the handleOpenURL index. Most of the time though you can just try appname:// and see if it will open your app (replace appname with the name of the app you want.

You can also customize the icons in the app, which is nice, and I highly recommend you get it and start using it, the more you use it, the more you will get used to it and customize it.

Launch Center Pro is available right now for $2.99 in the App Store ($4.99 after the introductory pricing).

 

Apple’s Let’s talk iPhone Announcement

apple-iphone-event-iphone5Apple has it’s iPhone event tomorrow. It says Let’s talk iPhone, but we all expect them to announce iOS 5 and iCloud, as well as a new iPhone of some kind.

The Times to start listening and following along are:

7:00AM Hawaii

10:00AM Pacific

11:00AM Mountain

12:00PM Central

1:00PM Eastern

6:00PM London

Here are some places you can follow along.

TWiT

GDGT

Engadget

AirVideo: One of the Best iOS Apps

watch video on iphone

I started using this app during the first version, and if you don’t know what it is, I’ll explain that now.

AirVideo comes in two flavors, the free version and the $2.99 paid version. The main difference between the two is that the free version limits the number of items displayed in each folder.

AirVideo: Air

AirVideo Free: Air

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Video Streaming: Watch videos from your computer, over the air via WiFi or 3G, on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. No need to sync with iTunes or transfer files.
  • Live Conversion: Convert video from a non-iPhone friendly container like AVI or MKV, or codecs like XviD or DivX while you’re watching. No need to convert first, watch later.

Continue reading AirVideo: One of the Best iOS Apps

Apple Event To Be Streamed Live By Apple

In a move that no one knew was coming, Apple released a press release stating that they themselves would stream the event. There is a catch though, you have to have a Mac running Safari on OS X version 10.6, an iOS device with 3.0 or higher, or an iPad. This is because they will be using the open HTTP live streaming protocol.

In reading the multiple blogs about why Apple is deciding to do this, according to TechCruch, they claim that streaming media will be a key part of the event, I myself think that with the new Apple TV or iTV, that will introduce some sort of iTunes in the cloud option, but there will probably be limitations, as I wish I could put my 1.72TB of iTunes media on the cloud, but it would take a year to get it uploaded somewhere.

This will also cut back on the illegal streams and hopefully Steve won’t have to tell people to shut off their wireless devices.

Anyway, it’s all rumor and speculation, so tune in at 10 AM PST and watch for yourself at Apple.com.

Wunder Radio is Now iOS 4 Ready

Wunder-RadioLarge-300x300.pngMy favorite, and possibly the best streaming radio app Wunder Radio (iTunes Link) is now iOS 4 ready with official background streaming. The app has had background streaming available for a lot of it’s feeds via mobile safari streaming for awhile, but it’s gotten better with official streaming. Wunder Radio offers more radio stations than you can imagine, and they offer Sirius and XM streaming as well as live streams of Air Traffic Control and Police Bands. When TUAW reviewed this app they said that most of the time the signal was actually better on the iPhone then on the car radio, and I agree.

Continue reading Wunder Radio is Now iOS 4 Ready

iPhone 101: Save space on your iPhone without removing a thing

iPhone 101: Save space on your iPhone without removing a thing: ”

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A little-heralded feature of iTunes 9.1 is the ability to convert higher bitrate songs to 128kpbs AAC files for iPhone or iPod touch sync with iTunes. How do you do it? It’s a simple check box option in the Summary tab when your iPhone appears in the iTunes source list. When the box is checked, on the next sync, all your songs on your iPhone that are not 128kpbs AAC files will be removed and then re-added, being converted on the fly.

The first time I did it, about 400 songs on my iPhone needed to be converted. It took about ten minutes to do the conversion. Once the first large conversion is done, the iPhone syncs your music as fast (or slow) as it ever did (unless you’re refreshing your iPhone’s library every time you sync). If you keep ‘convert higher bitrate songs to 128kpbs AAC files’ checked, any new songs added to your iPhone will automatically be converted.

It’s important to note that this on-the-fly conversion does not alter your original files inside your iTunes library — those will remain at whatever bitrate and in whatever file format you had them in.

How well does this work? I saved a whopping 1.5GBs of space on my 8GB iPhone. Others here at TUAW saved between 2-5GBs. Of course, how much space you save will be dependent on what bitrate and file type your songs are now. The guys here who saved 5GB said their conversions took a few hours initially. As for audio quality. I didn’t notice a bit of difference on my $20 headphones. However, I’m not an audiophile. If you’ve got an ear for music and are using the latest Shures, you might notice some quality degradation.

TUAWiPhone 101: Save space on your iPhone without removing a thing originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Tue, 06 Apr 2010 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

iTunes 9: The Best New Feature You May Not Know About

B9A76002-5F8C-41F4-99D3-E4F71D020B49.jpgI downloaded iTunes 9 as soon as it was released, and am truly enjoying all the changes. I don’t care that it’s not a true cocoa app, or 64 bit, I am enjoying the new syncing options, and the little changes that Apple finally gave us.

I keep my iTunes library on an external drive because of the size, and I have always had iTunes keep it somewhat organized, however, when looking through the folder, it was a  mess of artist folders. iTunes 9 solves this problem by keeping your music folder neatly organized with a more logical folder structure. To get this new organization, you have to upgrade to the new style by going to the menu under library and organize.

This makes it much easier to find things, and the best change is that you’ll notice a folder names Automatically add to iTunes, if you drag files into that folder they will get added automatically into your library, and for those of you who torrent, most clients will move completed downloads, so if you move music and video files to that folder, they will then be added to your library as well.

Let me know in the comments what you like or dislike about the new iTunes.

How to Tag Your Videos for iTunes the Easy Way

For a long time I was an avid windows user, and had a hard time properly tagging my videos for iTunes. I prefer to add MPAA ratings, actors, and all the data that you cannot add directly in iTunes itself. I didn’t like the fact that the videos would show up wrong, or the artwork was jacked up. Now to clarify, most of the videos you buy directly from the iTunes store or get as a digital copy off your DVD’s come properly tagged. The crisis was for downloaded content or movies that I rip from my personal DVD collection.

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Now that I am a full time mac user, I heavily rely on a couple of programs for getting the job done. If you want to get your personal DVD’s into iTunes and tag them the right way, I recommend the following combination of programs. Handbrake and MetaX. Handbrake is an open source app that takes DVD’s and a variety of other video files and converts them to a host of formats, the main one being MPEG-4 which is iTunes and iPod friendly. MetaX is a meta-data tagging application capable of batch tagging MPEG-4 as well as QuickTime videos.

Both programs will make your ripping and tagging much easier, and handbrake will throw the file into MetaX if you change that in the prefrences.

It’s an easy way to make sure that all your files are properly tagged and so iTunes puts them in the right place.

Help Finding the App You Want

The iTunes App Store now has 56,081 different apps available, but how do you find the right one, the search in iTunes is good, but if you type something in, you usually get too many choices that really don’t contain what you want, there are a few sites out there that might help:

  • Appshopper.com is a great site for finding out what’s new, free or updated, as well as price changes. The newest feature is that if you create an account you can check if you own the app or want the app, and it will notify you via email if the app is updated, I currently use this site via RSS.
  • 148apps.com lists what’s new and free, but they also release their favorite 148 apps, and have other lists as well.
  • Freeappalert.com updates daily with a list of apps that have gone from paid to free, I haven’t used this one yet, but I will start using it right away.
  • Macworld’s App Guide is very well organized and is the most functional site out there, it’s search is great, and it also notes price changes and groups popular apps.
  • Iviewer.com is a reader submitted site that looks for undiscovered apps from readers, it’s pretty basic.

This is just a basic list, and if you have a site or tip you like better feel free to let me know in the comments.