Where To? 10.5 is now available, and it’s a substantial update, particularly targeting two major areas of the app: search and reviews. We put a lot of thought into the design process so I’d like to walk you through the changes.
Search hasn’t been changed significantly for quite some time and it had one major weakness: the differentiation between category and location search. We used to solve this by prepending the results with two special options, “Search Address” and “Search Business”. While this did the job, it wasn’t particularly intuitive and required to think about the two options.
For Where To? 10.5, our goal was to provide an all-in-one search that blends categories, places, addresses and contacts in one search results list. We already used this approach in the iMessage app introduced last fall and now took it over to the main app. The major advantage is that you immediately see the results as you type, including the place’s rating. Search results marked as a favorite places are now shown with a green distance pill, not in a separate section.
There were some gotchas though. When searching in one of the category lists such as “Food & Drink”, the now-removed “Free Search” special option also had a Plus button to add this search as a new custom category. This was kind of a hidden feature, so we decided to make it more obvious by adding an “Add New Category” option at the end of each category list. We hope that category customization is now more approachable and easy-to-use (deleting categories still works using left swipe). Customization now also works on the Brands level so you can easily add your local pizza chain or bank.
We also reworked the Ratings & Reviews section for business listings. Where To? 10.5 displays user images making the reviews more personal. To create or change your own user image, just open the “Sharing” settings and choose or take a photo.
Quality and facts about businesses change over time so we wanted a way to update reviews you had written before. Now you can simply tap on your own review and update it.
Business owners can now comment on reviews making a two-way communication possible.1 Speaking of review comments, we can’t wait for review responses to be added to the App Store, too!
And by the way, I’d love to see more reviews so other users can benefit from your experience! To cheer you up, we now let you know, after posting a review, how your review activity compares to fellow users.
Reviews with avatar images and badge for own review
Improved collaboration with Streets
Browsing a Street View panorama or a 360° indoor photo sphere is now even easier. Tapping one of these thumbnail panoramas opens the Streets app directly with the interactive panorama.
Interactive panoramas are linked to Streets
Indoor 360° panorama displayed in Streets
Calls via Skype
If the Skype app is installed, tapping a phone number allows you to choose between making a traditional phone call or initiating a Skype call.2 We actually added this feature almost 5 years ago but had to disable it later on because the Skype app stopped supporting the URL scheme required to initiate calls from third party apps. Gladly they fixed this in one of the recent updates.
As usual there are countless minor improvements finding their way into a Where To? update:
- Improved distance display for non-metric locales: We no longer display yards for US and feet for UK users. Also, informed by extensive feedback from UK users about the status quo of the country’s metrification efforts, we now switch to metric units for walking or biking directions as well as for displaying mountain elevations – at least if Where To? is configured with the default “Distance Unit: Automatic” in the “Advanced” settings.
- For a number of new cities, Citymapper is now offered as a public transport directions app.
- There’s now a fair and growing share of US dinner menus with photos of individual menu items.
- Reclaims storage space, same as in Streets.
- The video player for listings with videos has been fixed.
- + many more small improvements and bug fixes
If you haven’t updated yet, go grab the update now!
Thank you for your support and I hope you enjoy the changes and new features!
When Apple announced the big App Store cleanup last fall, we knew the days of the Where To? upgrade bundle were numbered. To recap, we offer the Where To? upgrade bundle as a way to let Where To? 6.x users upgrade to the current version at a discount. Upgrade bundles are regular app bundles comprising of an old and a new version of the app. They leverage the fact that users who have purchased one part of a bundle can complete a bundle by getting the old purchase credited and buying the bundle instead. App bundles require all participating apps to be available independently as well. This is the only reason, the old Where To? 6.x is still available on the App Store – despite not being updated and being superseded by its successor for almost 3 years.
Today, I received the inevitable email from Apple I’ve been expecting for a while now:
That means, on March 13, Apple will remove the old version of Where To? 6 from the App Store. As described in Apple’s email, this will not effect any users. The app will remain functional for current users and users will still be able to re-download the app while restoring from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
However, it means the Where To? upgrade bundle will automatically be removed from sale as well. So if you’re still on Where To? 6 (with the faux leather background), you should consider upgrading to the new version 10 of Where To? with tons of new features including an Apple Watch and iMessage app. Upgrade before March 13 to benefit from the upgrade discount!
For our other app, Streets, we’re offering an upgrade bundle
as well. While we haven’t received a similar notice from Apple for the old version of Streets yet, we expect it at any time soon. We’ll keep you updated here and on Twitter
Update, March 13, 2017:
Apple has removed the old Where To? from the App Store. This caused the upgrade bundle to automatically disappear as well. To upgrade to the newest version of Where To? please buy it
Recently, a user complained about the storage being used by Streets and I investigated the situation. It turned out the cache for network requests grew without a limit and could consume a few hundred MB. We use the standard NSURLSession API provided by iOS, so this seemed odd. Shouldn’t iOS take care of purging old cache data? At least, that’s what the NSURLCache documentation suggests. Unfortunately, iOS doesn’t enforce the maximum disk capacity of the cache so it grows and grows infinitely.
We reported this as a bug to Apple and hope it will be fixed in a future iOS version. In the meantime, we added a workaround in Streets 3.2.2 that manually purges the cache when over capacity. (If you’re a fellow app developer and are doing any network requests in your app, you should probably investigate if you’re affected, too!)
Apart from this embarrassing issue, the Streets 3.2.2 update improves Spotlight indexing and addresses a few issues in the Watch app.
Do you have a long list of favorite Street View panoramas? Streets 3.2 now lets you organize favorites in your own folders so you can group them by topic, region, vacation or any other means. Simply swipe the item to the left to reveal the Edit icon – or type
Cmd E on an attached keyboard (More on Streets keyboard shortcuts). Then select a folder or create a new one. You can also rename locations if the automatically determined name isn’t quite right.
Good news also for Apple Watch owners: Streets for Apple Watch now lets you rotate panoramas using motion detection, simply by turning your wrist. Just try it out, it feels a lot more natural! If you prefer to rotate using the Digital Crown, you can still do so by tapping onto the panorama to select it. When selected, it displays a green border.
More news in the Streets 3.2:
- By request from some users we now save pin drops in the list of recent locations, too.
- Improved Spotlight indexing
- Added a good number of Gallery Places so we’re at 2000+ now.
- The blue coverage layer that recently broke due to a Google change is now working fine again.
- Fixed the floor picker for multi-level locations
- Fixed a few crashes and bugs
Grab Streets 3.2 from the App Store now.
Update 10.12.16: Streets 3.2.1, released today, displays the address and lets you favorite the pin even if no panorama is available.
Daniel Walter, 14 year old student from Hesse, Germany, was challenged to give a talk in his geography high school class. He didn’t have to think long to come up with his subject, an introduction of Where To?, one of the most used apps on his iPhone: “I’m using the application so often in my daily routine that I worked really hard on my PowerPoint so I could impart the application the best way to my classmates.”
Daniel shared the PowerPoint presentation with me and I was totally impressed by his work. A great presentation supports the speaker by visually illustrating and explaining the talking points without distracting the listener with overly excessive animations. Daniel just found the right balance. With the well-structured content including screencast videos to demonstrate the app, a tasteful design and fluid animations, his presentation was just awesome.
We’re honored that Daniel selected Where To? for his talk and wish him all the best! His teacher was just as impressed as we are and rated his performance with a 1, the best score in the German school system.
You already have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus? Then we’ve a nice little gimmick for you: In the newest Where To? 10.0.1 update we added haptic feedback for the category wheel so you can feel spinning it.
Also new in this update:
- Improved VoiceOver in the main app and the iMessage app
- Fixed swiping through favorite places in the place details
- Performance and stability improvements
- Various bugfixes
Download the update on the App Store.
After our launch of Where To? 10 which includes an iMessage app, I was fascinated how it would perform in the new iMessage App Store. Similar to the Apple Watch App Store, Apple chose to build a new, separate App Store for iMessage apps.
The US store differs from other stores in that it has categories (similar to the iOS App Store but with fewer categories) and Top Charts. I didn’t check many other countries but it looks like the US is unique in this regard.
Update Sept 16: Top charts and categories seem to roll out worldwide. At least in Germany and Italy, they’re now available, albeit with fewer categories.
Top Charts are interesting because they offer an insight how the market works and which categories and business models are most successful.
I went through the list of 150 apps in both the Top Free and Top Revenue charts and made an analysis on the type of content and the business models used. Some items were hard to categorize because there are apps that are essentially just sticker packs. Or there are iOS games that have a sticker pack attached. I tried to categorize them according to their actual content.
First, sticker packs drastically outnumber apps and games. The revenue share generated by sticker packs is even higher than the free download share of sticker packs. So clearly, users have no problem whatsoever to open their purse for well-designed pixels.
The relatively small number of games was surprising to me. Apparently, only a small percentage of games benefits from iMessage integration, specifically turn-based games.
The distribution of business models is even more interesting. In contrast to the iOS App Store where freemium titles dominate the top-grossing charts, the overwhelming revenue in the iMessage App Store comes from paid titles. This reminds me of the early days of the App Store where In App Purchase wasn’t even available.
Probably the #1 reason for this is the lack of IAP in no-code sticker packs. These sticker packs consist only of the actual artwork and are easy to create for designers who don’t want to code.
Nevertheless, even the three of four games in the grossing charts are traditionally paid and 9 of the 12 apps.
Another observation I made: the sales and the ranking of iOS apps including an iMessage app seem to be independent in both stores. For instance, at the time of writing these lines, Where To? ranked #73 in the (overall) US iMessage Top Revenue charts but didn’t rank at all in the US iOS App Store, even on the category level.
We’re only at day one of the iMessage App Store so it’s hard to predict what the future will hold but I expect (and kind of hope, as an app developer) the number of apps and games in the top charts to increase. Stickers are new and fresh and everyone wants to try them but after the initial excitement levels down and after users have already filled one screen with sticker packs, users will probably gravitate towards deeper apps and games that promise longer lasting benefit. Another reason for this is development time. Developers only had three months of time since Apple introduced the first beta of iOS 10 at WWDC16 – actually less because of bugs in early betas. Developing a great app or game takes time so we’ll definitely see more non-sticker titles in the future.
I also believe the ratio of freemium titles will increase vs. paid-upfront titles, even for sticker packs. It’s not hard to see that there will be tools to automatically generate sticker pack apps with only a few free stickers and the rest of them locked behind an IAP wall. As soon as designers have the (easy) choice, they’ll make use of it.
Overall, it’s fascinating to follow the launch of this new economy with its own new laws of physics and I’m really curious to watch this fourth baby (after the iOS, Mac and Apple Watch App Stores) grow over time. For us, it’s an exciting business opportunity and I’m glad we’re part of it since day 0!
Where To? 10 is available. The big new feature of this update is Where To? for iMessage. The included iMessage app allows you to search for locations and share them with your friends in a conversation. Whether you’re meeting for lunch or having drinks or whether you want to share a special shop or hotel, you can now do so without even leaving the Messages app.
And if you want to share the location of a contact with privacy in mind, you’re covered too: Where To? for iMessage only sends the map area with the name and the address. Your contact details such as email, phone numbers, birthday and notes remain private.
The main app also learned some new tricks. You can access your recently viewed places under the Recents tab. Also, appropriate for an update focused on messaging, you can search for all kinds of categories simply by typing an emoji in the search field. So you can easily find the next ⚽️, ?, ⚾️, or ? court, grab a quick ☕️ or watch the latest ? with ?. In the previous 9.0.5 update this already worked in Spotlight, now you can search by emoji in the iPhone or iMessage app, too. You won’t believe it but more than 300 categories can be searched via emoji! Can you guess the appropriate emoji for dentists?
If you’re a current Where To? 9 user, make sure to update to iOS 10 and head over to the App Store to grab the free update with all the iMessage goodness. Or if you’re new to Where To?, check it out in either the App Store or the App Store for iMessage. No matter how you download it, Where To? includes both the iPhone app and the iMessage app – and the Apple Watch app, if you have one!
The Where To? 9.0.5 update released today supports Emoji search in Spotlight. You’re dying for a pizza or a burger? Just type ? or ? in the Spotlight search field! More than 300 of our 700+ categories can be searched with an emoji. So it’s easier than ever to find a ? or a ? or some ?. Or are you more into seeing a ?? No matter what, if you need a ? or a ? back home you should be covered, too.
We also took the time to squash several ? and prepare Where To? for the upcoming iOS 10.
Grab the update and don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating for the update! ??
Today’s Where To? 9.0.4 update adds support for a few more public transport routing apps.
- UK Transport by our friend Amy Worrall is a UK-wide public transport routing app with realtime departure boards.
- SNCF is France’s national rail service and their app includes an Apple Watch app.
- Despite its name, Salzburg Verkehr provides public transport routing for all of Austria including realtime information and multi-mode routing such as Bike & Ride, Park & Ride and more.
Where To? 9.0.4 also displays more location photos and adds several bugfixes and minor improvements. Download the update in the App Store and if you appreciate our work, consider leaving us a nice rating.