Apple acquired Workflow – The powerful workflow automation tool for iOS

When I was talking about my iPad Pro desktop replacement experiment, I mentioned Workflow, a powerful automation tool I use for tasks of many kinds on the iPad and iPhone. It lets you connect various features of many iOS apps in an easy to use interface that often reminds me of Apple Automator on the Mac, an application that Apple is slowly fading out in my opinion… or at least that is what I thought.

Workflow iOS app
Workflow iOS app

As it turned out, Apple just bought Workflow in March 2017, giving me new hope for more professional capabilities on iOS devices. Right now, the app provides the easiest way to generate workarounds for the various restrictions of many system and third party apps on iOS. For many things that are simple to do on a desktop machine, tasks need to be distributed between several iOS apps and chained together. Doing this manually takes forever, with Workflow it only takes longer than on a desktop machine.

With the acquisition I am hoping for a deeper integration into iOS that would allow for easier usage of workflows within and between apps. Also, I would consider it a good idea to broaden the number of preconfigured workflows to specifically target typical desktop tasks. If Apple is really serious about the iPad as desktop replacement, there is still much left to be done.

So I am looking forward to whatever will happen next.

How the Apple Watch (somewhat) changed my life

When Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch, I was very excited and enthusiastic, as any good Apple fanboy should have been. This blind enthusiasm and the desperate need for something new to change the world was not impaired by the watch’s price tag in any way. Since we all know that Apple is working on becoming a luxury brand, everything seemed pretty reasonable for a paradigm shifting, game changing new device that would redefine time itself. For some reason, I opted for a Apple Watch Sport with a 42mm wristband and could resist the urge to choose the stainless steel version for just twice the price.

Trying on the Apple Watch - 4

 

Not much happening with the Apple Watch

Now, after almost 11 month and the recent Apple Watch OS 2.1 updates, things are still pretty slow with the Apple Watch. I am not talking about somewhat disappointing sales figures Apple is not really talking about for some reason (although these numbers seems to be growing and the Apple Watch will be great business in the end), but rather the slow adoption of the ecosystem by third party app developers. Up until today, there is basically no app whatsoever I am using on the Apple Watch apart from Apple’s own system apps. And I feel like I tried them all. Sure, 1Password, Airbnb, Camera+, DriveNow, eBay, Evernote, Foursquare, Lufthansa, Things, Uber, Withings and Yelp have updated their apps for Apple Watch, as did many others. But whatever they are doing, it’s not much. In addition the apps are so slow, it takes them forever to load and any potential advantage over taking out the iPhone and starting the apps gets lost on the way.

Here are a few screenshots of some apps I use on my iPhone. Make up you own mind wether their Apple Watch implementation blows your mind:

 

Still the Apple Watch changed everything for the better…

Although I am deeply disappointed by the Apple Watch ecosystem so far, I am still more than happy with my purchase. Finally I have full body contact with an Apple device. Apart from that, I enjoyed the sketch feature for a few weeks but it wore off pretty fast. What didn’t wore off, however, was how I use the Apple Watch for notifications. And this changed everything for me.

Until before I was constantly checking my iPhone for news updates, message notifications and all that stuff just because of the fear of missing out. I could have deactivated most notifications on my iPhone, but I really like their way of keeping me informed without having to start a bunch of apps. So basically I suffered through buzzing notifications every day for years. Also this led to me (and everyone else for that matter) being constantly on the phone, isolating myself from social interactions in some way.

With the Apple Watch I can basically use a different notification scheme, allowing me to focus only on the most important messages. That means turning most notifications off. Now my iPhone is in silent mode most of the day, not vibrating anymore. Anything that might be of real importance to me will come through to the Apple Watch, everything else just has to wait until I actually use the iPhone.

The results are: I am using the iPhone far less than before and I am not taking it out of my pocket while in meetings ever since. This is a liberating feeling, I can tell you that much. It allows a whole new level of concentration on the moment. In addition I also feel much more calm, since I  filtered out so much noise. It’s a huge improvement over how thing where before. This sounds like a tiny little issue, but in fact it changed my daily routine for good and for the better. This alone was totally worth buying the Apple Watch.

 

… even without wearing it

In addition I might add, that I haven’t worn wrist watches in the past years, although I really like them as a fashion statement. This led to me forgetting to put on the Apple Watch from time to time. Since I arrived in Sydney I left it at home to save my wrist from the otherwise unavoidable tan lines. The most interesting part ist, that although I haven’t worn the Apple Watch in almost 4 weeks now, I didn’t change my iPhone routine. This might be great. So even if things don’t pick up with the Apple Watch in the future, I broke my terrible iPhone habits… hopefully for good.

Music Man Luke III

ricfreak:

New kid on the block…………….Steve Lukather Music Man

Luke III

Music Man Luke III, totally the stuff I’d want if I had any skill …

Also I would love the AMPLIFi TT by line6, a totally kick ass tabletop multi effect with a remote app for iOS or Android. for just 188 €.

AMPLIFi-TT-by-line6

Pull, Merge, Push – Online Music Collaboration

When I tried Composer the other day, I especially liked the approach they took on collaboration between musicians. They really seem to think of it like working with repositories when it comes to managing input from different sources and keeping track of revisions etc.

Online-Music-Collaboration

Source: Online Music Collaboration, https://www.composrapp.com November 16 2014

So maybe there’s is github for musicians in the making, or at least there should be. What they really should do is, is provide an environment to share and collaborate on music/audio data, coming from any digital music production environment such as protools, Logic, Cubase, Ableton or any audio editing solution like Audition etc.

Obviously, it would be necessary to enable playback of any audio format and at least allow basic meta data to be reviewed on any project files from any system to make this a worth while effort. If one for instance could review takes, mixes and things like that with realtime controls to enable/disable revisions to let the differences really stand out… that would be quite a tool for creative professionals.

Update: Apple tried something like this in a limited capacity for videos with Final Cut Pro Server, but it was kind of a flop and the product died after only 3 years…

Composr – Online Music Collaboration

Composr – Online Music Collaboration

Although I think the idea for this app is absolutely awesome, I am not quite sure what to make of it. In the end, for something real the app just lacks the functionality of any basic recording setup. Also in chrome the performance is pretty poor, even the metronome is laggy… I did’t try the iOS App I must admit.

Collaboration is nothing new to music production although I admit, it is hard to find people to collaborate with on the internet. Once you find them, I suppose it is easier to work with conventional solutions like Logic or Garageband etc. and share files and projects via Dropbox or Google Drive.

Still, I am looking forward to see what the future might bring…

An evening with my Impossible Instant Lab – Creating Instant Photos

Since my bedroom wall is supposed to be decorated with Polaroid instant photos, I spent an evening with my Impossible Instant Lab, developing a series of photos with an iPhone 5 and the Impossible iOS App.

impossible-lab-1

impossible-lab-3

impossible-lab-2

The result being a bunch of color and black & white photos soon to be displayed in my personal little art gallery.

It comes at a price, though. 8 instant photos produced with Impossible Instant film sum up to 20 €, not considering the price of the instant lab. That one actually dropped recently from around 250 € to just 120 €.

So now is a good a time as any to start your instant photo experience even if you don’t want to buy an analog Polaroid camera like my Polaroid SX-70 Landa Camera.

Long live the iPad… and Keynote

As I was updating my Keynote for iPad app today, I notices two things: 1 – it now runs on the iPhone, 2 – it supports the Keynote Remote app. I like this app already as it allows me to remote control my desktop Keynote presentations. With the combination of these two apps, the iPad 2 finally becomes a powerful business device. As I have an iPhone anyway I am good to go with my new presentation setup.

ipad-keynote-remote-1

Using the video mirroring functionality of the iPad 2, I can show my entire iPad 2 screen on any display or projector using a VGA or HDMI adapter. Also I can use the keynote app to show my presentations without carrying a macbook around. In the Keynote app’s settings remote control can be enabled. You need to pair your iPhone running the Keynote Remote app as you would do with your desktop Mac.

ipad-keynote-remote-2

ipad-keynote-remote-3

I really like how easy this works. I get all the features I want out of my apps with a free upgrade. I have full presentation control with my iPhone, I can move around and see my notes while the iPad is connected to the projector.

ipad-keynote-remote-4

There is just one more thing I need: Airplay for everything. I would really appreciate the ability to stream my entire iPad or iPhone screen to any screen available. Let’s see, where we go from here.

Long time, no groove… Garageband for iPad

After reading several reviews of Apple’s Garage Band for iPad, I couldn’t resist. For just 4,99 $ it seems to be the best 8 track recording studio I’have ever seen. If you are interested I recommend this review by iLounge. At least trying out the drums is something you shouldn’t miss. I especially like the integrated sampler, allowing you to record your own samples. External microphones would be a recommended accessory for this. There is a integrated sample library in addition to you own samples. All samples can be played on the keyboard, utilizing usual features such as pitch, modulation, sustain etc. Also you can create nice arpeggios using the integrated arpeggiator.

I can’t say there is anything missing from this app whatsoever. For just 4,99 $ it seams to be the best music app available on the iPad. In fact, it seems to be one of the best mobile music production setups. I hope professional equipment accessories will introduced in due time. I am thinking breakout cables with nice mic preamps for sophisticated recording capabilities.

 

 

Don’t stop the music… with Seamless

Just recently I discovered a very cool iPhone app, called Seamless. What it does is quite simple: It crossfades music playing in itunes on your Mac to your iPhone – seamlessly. You might think this is an app of no real use to anyone, but try it for yourself. I certainly wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Here is the ad for the app (nicely done by the way):

Source: Seamless from Five Details on Vimeo.

It works like this: You have to install the Seamless app from the Mac App Store on your Mac. While running the app, a seamless icon appears in the menu bar.

seamless-app-1

In addition you need the Seamless app for the iPhone. The iPhone app links the iPhone with the desktop Mac. On the iPhone you just have to select the Mac for transitions. You have to be on the same network to do so.

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On the Mac you just have to allow the iPhone to transition music with itunes. That’s it.

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Now while playing your favorite songs in itunes you can open the Seamless app on the iPhone in order to crossfade the music. Of course the playing song has to be available within the iPod app on the iPhone.

seamless-app-4

If so, you can transition the music from the Mac to the iPhone to leave with no interruption what so ever. It really works seamlessly.

seamless-app-5

You can control your music with the iPod app in the iPhone, while itunes has stopped playing. Of course you can always transition back to the Mac. When doing so, itunes will continue your playback withour any interruption.

seamless-app-6

The app is available for 0.99 $ in the itunes app store.. In celebration of the introduction of seamless there is a give away for a Bang & Olufssen BeoSound 8. Check it out, if you are interested.

Hans Zimmer and the Inception iPhone app

A week ago the free Inception iPhone App was introduced. It’s a project by the movie’s director Christopher Nolan, Michael Breidenbrücker and Hollywood’s star composer Hans Zimmer. As an absolute Hans Zimmer fan I tried it out immediately and I must admit, it is intriguing. It uses augmented sound through the iPhone’s headset to change the “dream” your are experiencing which is underlined by music composed by Hans Zimmer.

This app is a dream machine that transforms the world around you into a dreamworld. It uses augmented sound to induce dreams through the headset of your iPhone and iPod Touch. It will change your perception of reality.

Inception The App transports Inception The Movie straight into your life. New dreams can be unlocked in many ways, for example by walking, being in a quiet room, while traveling or when the sun shines. You will get realtime musical experiences, featuring new and exclusive music from the Inception soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer.

Source: “Experience your life as a dream” Inception The App

Hans Zimmer’s music alone is reason enough to get the app, but this augmented sound implementation is a live feedback loop into the actual music experience and is really amazing. Through this feedback you change the music and therefore the dream itself. The app contains 10 different dreams so far. These are:

  • Reverie Dream
  • Still Dream
  • Full Moon Dream
  • Traveling Dream
  • Action Dream
  • Sleep Dream
  • Quiet Dream
  • Sunshine Dream
  • Africa Dream
  • Limbo

To read some reviews about this dreams, look into the Dream Review Site. For more details and some words of Hans Zimmer about the project take a look at this video:

Hans Zimmer talks about Inception The App from RjDj on Vimeo.