Archive for the ‘announcement’ tag
Notekeeper is the latest app from High Order Bit, and it just launched on the iPhone App Store. It’s a simple notepad for iPhone that supports photo and location attachments. It matches the iPhone’s built-in note-taking app in simplicity, but it makes noting your current location a snap. It also allows you to express your note in photos in addition to text. Because location attachment is automatic, and snapping a photo is a quick, low-concentration event, Notekeeper helps you take notes without even breaking stride.
And, after all, why shouldn’t you be able to use the full power of your phone for keeping reminders?
Here are some screenshots:
When might Notekeeper come in handy? We’ve been using it for a while now, and we come up with new uses all the time. Here are a few of my favorites:
I live in Chicago, a town known for it’s many great restaurants — so many great restaurants, in fact, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Every time I’m out, I find another restaurant I’d like to try.
Notekeeper is great in this situation. As a reminder, create a new note with your location, take a quick photo of the sign and jot down which night they have specials. Later, when you’re back in the neighborhood looking for dinner, pull out Notekeeper and view your notes on a map.
And it works well for other types of places, too: parks, stores, a nice spot on the beach… The possibilities are endless.
Notekeeper works great as a light and easy travel journal. Track the day’s events with locations and photos, and come back to attach your notes when you’re taking a coffee break. Later, your notes can help you flesh out a more polished journal that you can share with friends — or help you write photo captions.
There are all kinds of other ways we use Notekeeper from remembering parking spots, to marking waypoints on hikes. Notekeeper’s simplicity makes it extremely versatile.
Today we’re excited to announce our latest iPhone app, GPS Tracks. Here’s the elevator pitch: it turns your iPhone into a full featured GPS tracking device. It records your location in real-time, taking advantage of multitasking in iOS 4 to continue recording even when you’re making a call or using other apps. Record as many track logs as you’d like, add waypoints as you travel, and export your data as universal GPX files when you’re done.
Here are some screenshots, or you can check out the website.
As with all of the software we’ve released so far, we made GPS Tracks because we wanted to use it ourselves. For example, I love geotagging my photos and seeing them overlaid on a map later, especially on the iPad. Unfortunately, just about the entire process of geotagging photos is incredibly clumsy. From carrying around a handheld GPS tracking device to the cumbersome task of post processing on the computer, it leaves a lot to be desired.
GPS Tracks helps make that process suck less. It completely replaces the need for a dedicated handheld GPS device, which is one less thing to carry around and keep track of. If you’ve got your phone in your pocket, you’re good to go. Better yet, GPS Tracks exports your data via email as GPX files, so it completely eliminates the cumbersome step of plugging the GPS device into the computer with a USB cable and sucking down the track information with a tool like GPSBabel.
This is my primary use for GPS Tracks, but yours might be completely different. For example, it can be used to track runs or bike rides. I live in Colorado and do a lot of hiking, and it’s great for recording my trip. I’ve used it to track the length of my morning runs, and to track my bike ride downtown. This winter I’ll be using it to track my days on the ski slopes. Since it’s a general purpose app that provides the same functionality as a handheld GPS device, it can replace one in just about every situation.
Add waypoints along the way, track elevation gain as well as distance, configure the accuracy of your GPS recording so you can find the right balance between accuracy and battery life, and lots more.
Read the full feature list and download it on the App Store now!
The first Chirpy feature update was released on the iPhone App Store today. Aside from a nasty crash-inducing bug, the initial launch went smoothly. We were pleased to receive a great deal of positive feedback. As is the case with all 1.0′s, however, there was definitely room for some improvement. We think this update addresses the most pressing deficiencies in 1.0. Here are the changes:
- Added a ‘find username’ button to the new message view (shows a batch of 100 friends)
- Added an automatic refresh when a push notification is received while the app is running
- Updated address book entries to include both the Chirpy url and the twitter.com user page
- Fixed bugs related to sending a message to a new recipient
- Fixed bug where ‘Add to Contacts’ button was enabled after adding a contact and restarting the app
- Fixed errant ‘dismiss’ button title that resulted after sending a new message
- Fixed some obvious landscape orientation bugs
We think it’s a nice little update, but you can expect that we won’t stop here. Enjoy!
Twitbit push notifications are fast. So fast that we find ourselves using direct messages over text messages with our Twitter pals. For those new to Twitter, direct messages are basically private tweets — short messages sent directly to people in your Twitter network. They work great as a substitute for text messages. With direct messages, you can save a couple bucks, benefit from internet ubiquity, and you don’t have to worry about sending messages to friends abroad. In addition to your mobile device, you can access your inbox through the web, email, or wherever else you use Twitter.
Until today, however, the experience has been suboptimal on the iPhone — yes, even with Twitbit. We appreciate the benefits of Twitter packaged into a single app, but with so much functionality in one app, there is no escaping certain usability compromises. It might just be the difference of an extra tap or two, or losing screen real-estate from the tab bar, but even the little things add up. We wanted to build an app to address these shortcomings.
Our newest release, Chirpy, is that app. Chirpy makes direct messages as intuitive, familiar and useful as text messages. With that goal as our focus, we made Chirpy’s interface very similar to the built-in messages app. Messages are organized as threaded conversations, not by inbox and outbox. New messages are composed right in-line, so you can reference the conversation as you type. Check it out:
Another critical aspect of any messenger app is fast notifications. We have a great deal of experience with Twitter notifications from Twitbit, but with Chirpy, we’ve made notifications even faster. We think we’re pretty close to making notifications instantaneous, and due to some exciting additions to Twitter’s API, notifications should only get faster.
Other Chirpy features include integration with your contact list, multiple Twitter accounts, landscape mode, photo attachments and alternative notification sounds. We also invested considerable time in making the app fast and polished.
Chirpy is available now on the iPhone App Store. And it’s only a couple bucks, so it should pay for itself in no time. Check it out and let us know what you think.
About a month ago we announced that we were hard at work on Twitbit for iPad. Our plan was to release that product some time in late April. In other words, right about now.
About a week after our announcement, Twitter announced their acquisition of Atebits, maker of Tweetie for the iPhone and Mac. They plan to rebrand Tweetie as Twitter for iPhone and give it away for free. They also made clear their intention to release a version for the iPad and make that available for free, too.
In light of this, we’ve reluctantly decided to stop development of Twitbit for iPad. Believe us when we say that this was not an easy decision. We’ve invested a lot of time and effort into making Twitbit the absolute best Twitter experience available on the iPad. Once it was finished, we think it would have been an exceptional iPad Twitter client.
While we don’t expect Twitter for iPad to be available for a while yet, over the long term we just don’t want to compete with a free Twitter-branded app that’s likely to be good enough for most people. A truly excellent iPad app requires too much work, and without the realistic expectation of a reasonable return on that investment, Twitbit for iPad starts to look like a pretty poor business decision.
To all of our fans who were eagerly awaiting this app, we very much appreciate your support and hope you understand our reasoning.
The good news is that this frees us up to move on to new projects. We’ve had some ideas we’ve been kicking around for a while, and we’re going to be announcing the first of those very soon. Stay tuned.
With the iPad launch only a few days away, we’ve been getting lots of questions from customers asking about our plans for the device. Hhere’s just about as much detail as we know ourselves.
Will There Be a Twitbit for iPad?
Will It Be a Direct Port of Twitbit for iPhone?
Twitbit for iPhone is specifically optimized to support how people tend to use apps on a mobile phone. To quote Apple’s own iPhone developer documentation, “A typical user pulls a device out of a pocket or bag and uses it for a few seconds, or maybe a few minutes, before putting it away again.” Twitbit for iPhone is built to support this usage model.
With the iPad, not only do we have a lot more screen real-estate and some new UI goodies to play with, but the way people use the app will be completely different from how they use the iPhone version. People are going to spend a lot more time in the app, sending tweets, checking their timeline, maybe thumbing through a few of their lists or checking out the latest trends.
Not only does the iPad provide a unique platform upon which to build a compelling new user experience, but Twitter itself is rapidly adding new features to its platform. In just the last few months they’ve added geotagging and retweets, and much more is on the way.
We’re going to take full advantage of what both platforms have to offer. We’re investing a ton of effort into reimagining the entire experience for this new device. Twitbit for iPad is going to be a completely new application, designed from the ground up.
When Will It Be Available?
We’ll probably submit Twitbit for iPad to Apple within the next few weeks.
Apple gave developers the opportunity to have their apps available on day 1 of the iPad’s release, which required developers to submit their apps by March 27th. We decided against submitting by this deadline. We think it’s more important to have an app that we’re proud of and love to use and that our customers will love to use, too. We just couldn’t achieve that goal within the iPad’s release timeframe, and ultimately we chose to prioritize quality over being there on day 1.
How Much Will It Cost?
We haven’t decided on a price yet, but we do plan to charge for it separately from Twitbit for iPhone. We intend to build a fantastic app with a phenomenal user experience. We’re confident our customers will think it’s worth the price.
Will There Be a Lite Version?
Probably. We made Twitbit Lite because Apple doesn’t provide any ability for users to try apps before they buy. We wanted to give potential customers a way to download and test out the software before they hand over their hard-earned cash.
There’s less risk when buying iPhone apps before using them because they’re typically so cheap that it doesn’t really matter if the purchase is a bust. If I spend $2.99 on an app I don’t like, it’s not a big deal because the app cost less than the price of a cup of coffee. Nonetheless, we want to reduce the amount of friction required to check out our products as much as we can, so we built Twitbit Lite and included just about every feature the paid version has.
We expect iPad apps to do a lot more than their iPhone counterparts. Ours certainly will. That means more features and a richer experience. That means more value for users, but also higher prices. Increasing prices, even by a small amount, means people will want to have more confidence that they’re going to get value out of an app before they buy. And most iPad apps will be outside of that impulse purchase price that so many iPhone apps carry. So free, “try before you buy” versions of apps are even more important on the iPad than they are on the iPhone.
Because of all this, it’s probable we’ll build a version of Twitbit Lite for iPad. Given that there are only so many hours in the day, though, and that we’re eager to get Twitbit submitted as soon as possible, the most likely scenario is that Twitbit Lite won’t be released until some time after Twitbit has made its debut.
What’s Going to Happen to Twitbit for iPhone?
Our commitment to Twitbit for iPhone is as strong as ever. The next release will be Twitbit 3.0, and we have big plans for it. We’ve already implemented a bunch of new features, and we have a lot more great stuff in store. We are focusing on the iPad app for now, though, and that focus will probably continue for another month or so. Once the iPad app is out the door, we’re going to shift our focus back to Twitbit for iPhone.
Can You Tell Us Any More?
We’re going to keep publishing more details about Twitbit for iPad as we know more. That’ll include a notice when we submit, and probably pricing as well. And of course screenshots. (Unfortunately none are ready for public consumption just yet.) If there are any features you just can’t live without, please drop us a line or leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you think.
Twitbit 2.8 was released on the app store earlier today. You can get the full list of features and bug fixes on the Twitbit release notes page, but there’s one feature in particular we want to highlight: xAuth! xAuth allowed us to drop our former web-based login workflow and replace it with a much simpler one. Here’s a screenshot of the old workflow:
And here’s the new one:
And because we now collect your username and password when you add an account, we don’t need to ask for that information again when you setup a photo or video sharing service. Bonus!
We also fixed a few bugs and made some small UI enhancements. Enjoy the update!
Twitbit 2.7 has been approved by Apple and is available on the App Store. We’ve seen approval times get significantly better since our 2.3 release in December 2009. Twitbit 2.7 was approved on the same day it was submitted, the second time that’s happened this year. Kudos to Apple for responding to developer complaints about excessive wait times.
Now to the details of what’s new in 2.7:
- Added customizable font sizes.
- Load links to tweets directly in Twitbit, rather than opening the embedded browser.
- Display an icon on the timeline next to tweets that link to photos.
- Fixed a bug where the user’s avatar would not update after it was changed on twitter.com.
- Fixed a bug where the PIN number no longer populates automatically when adding an account.
- Other minor bug fixes and UI enhancements.
All our code is belong to you. That’s right, starting today we’re making the source code for three of our four projects publicly available. Those projects are Build Watch, Code Watch and Bug Watch (never released) and are meant to comprise a nice little suite of development utilities for the iPhone. You can find the code for those projects and others on our GitHub page. In case you’re unfamiliar with these projects, here’s a little information on each:
Bug Watch is a Lighthouse client for the iPhone and iPod touch. (Lighthouse is our preferred issue tracking system.) We were close to releasing this app some time ago when we got distracted by writing a Twitter push notification server. We planned to come back and finish it when we found some time. Still waiting for that to happen. Here’s a screenshot:
Code Watch is a GitHub iPhone app. This app was available on the iPhone App Store as a free download called ‘Code Watch Open Source’ and as a paid version that provided access to private repos, just called ‘Code Watch’. For now, we’ve dropped the lite version and made the ‘pro’ version a free download.
Build Watch, High Order Bit’s first project, is a simple client for various continuous integration servers (CruiseControl and Hudson). There are many types of continuous integration servers and even more customized configurations. We hope opening up the source code will allow people to implement support for their setup with minimal effort while being able to leverage the full range of Build Watch features.
All of these projects are licensed under the MIT License, which basically means you can do whatever you want with the code. Unfortunately, we don’t anticipate having a ton of time to further contribute to these projects, so we’re hoping they’ll attract some new developers. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have.
Today Apple approved Twitbit 2.6. It includes these changes:
- When adding users to contacts, the Twitter field now opens the user directly in Twitbit when tapped.
- A brief sound is now played when posting a tweet.
- Fixed a crash when either the user’s timeline, mentions, or search results are empty.
- Fixed a bug where the “highlight new” setting was not working correctly.
You can read more about it on our release notes page.