I recently came across a private API to find out the hardware device color of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. There are two color values, the DeviceColor (front side) and the DeviceEnclosureColor (bezel/back side). The latter is not supplied in all cases. Here’s the code to retrieve these values:
With this knowledge at hand I decided to write a small demo app that displays the artwork and the device colors and lets you share them. Unfortunately, this uses a private API, so don’t use this in App Store builds as your app will get rejected!
Nevertheless I can imagine various interesting use cases to match the interface UI with the hardware color. So if you’d like to see this in a public API, feel free to dupe my radar.
Where To? 6.5 is now available for download. We’ve fixed some iOS 7 issues as well as general issues with content details such as opening hours, pictures and reviews. We haven’t updated the UI for iOS 7 yet. This will be part of a complete UX overhaul in Where To? 7 and will take some months.
We didn’t just fix bugs, we’ve added something new for everyone:
We’ve increased the number of places with a description text.
The Google Maps app is now supported for directions
Under “Services” we’ve added the “Post Boxes” category listing more than 140k post boxes world wide and almost 50k in Germany alone (currently in Beta). For some of them collection times are available, too.
If you’re based in Germany you’ll benefit from a new cooperation we’ve signed with Gelbe Seiten. Several categories are now fed with search results from our yellow pages friends. What’s the result? You’ll enjoy more relevant search results and more details such as opening hours, descriptions and email addresses. As a Where To? user you get the best from many worlds: Gelbe Seiten results are combined with photos and reviews from Google users as well as Where To? users.
Places or reviews shared on Facebook now deep-link to the Where To? app if installed. So it’s is a great way to share your favorite places with your friends who can add them easily to their own Where To? favorites.
If you’re in Berlin in the next three months, watch out for the world’s first app street car! Now rolling on the M10 line connecting Berlin’s best party locations, the train carries 45 App Store app icons. Streets is all about great street views – so we’re proudly supporting this project.
Even better, you can win a free copy of Streets just by tweeting a picture of the App Store train! Make sure the Streets icon is clearly visible, add some nice words and copy @StreetsApp. The first 10 responders win!
In other news, our introductory sale will end soon. Grab your copy now and save 50% until the end of July!
A new Streets update is available. This time we focused on stability improvements and bug fixes. Also we changed the way we link back to the Maps application: Now, we don’t change the map type (Map, Satellite, Hybrid) in Maps according to the selected type in Streets.
Download the update on the App Store now. And remember: through the end of July, Streets is available at the introductory price of $0.99. After that it’ll cost $1.99.
Before I get to the real meat, let me give you a short update on Streets. The updated and renamed 2.0 version of the app was launched a week ago and received great feedback so far. The New York Times reviewed Streets and writes:
the Streets app shows the Street View in higher resolution than Google does. A user can zoom in on – and read – signs that would be undecipherable in Google’s own Street View.
With that little update out of the way, I’d like to go through the details of the Streets API allowing to launch Streets from 3rd party apps using specially crafted URLs. Where To? uses this technique to integrate Street View panoramas in a seamless fashion.
Support for x-callback-url
Streets is designed to be also used as a helper app that plays well together with other apps. This requires a bidirectional connection to let the user return to the calling app easily. For example, this is the user experience of a Where To? user using Streets:
The Back button with the icon of the originating app (plus the app name on iPad) takes the user back to the originating app with a single tap. No app switcher juggling needed. To implement this, we’re following the x-callback-url specification with the addition of a parameter for the source app’s icon. If desired, Streets can return to the calling app immediately if no panorama photo is available for the given location.
To specify Street View panoramas, in the simplest case you just send the latitude and longitude of the location. If you want to go fancy, you can specify everything from the concrete panorama ID, the view heading and pitch through to a custom panorama title.
All the details including how to detect if Streets is already installed on the user’s device can be found on our Streets API page.
Promoting your Streets enabled app
We’re glad to introduce apps making use of the Streets API on our blog. Just let us know. Also please contact us and explain your needs if you’re missing a certain API. We’re open to expand this API for new use cases.
Only three months after its initial release we already have the first major Street View update for you! The 2.0 version features a new icon and has been renamed to “Streets” – more succinct and hopefully easier to find on the App Store.
We’ve been busy putting a ton of new features into this release. Without further ado let me walk you through the new stuff:
A blue overlay now indicates the street view coverage to inform you whether street view is available for a given location. Depending on the region you’ll also notice blue and orange dots next to the blue roads. Blue dots represent user-contributed panoramas and orange dots are displayed for businesses with indoor panoramas. The coverage layer is also displayed in the mini map in the corner of the panorama view.
Alternatively, you can display the current traffic conditions in the map.
We’re now using Google vector maps and high resolution satellite imagery instead of the stock iOS map component providing a richer, more detailed map experience. You can tilt and rotate the map using the touch gestures known from the Maps application.
Speaking of high resolution: Did you know that Streets offers a much greater resolution and zoom range of panorama pictures than the Google Maps app?
You can now share interesting panorama findings with your friends via email, iMessage, Facebook and Twitter or save them as geo-referenced photos in the camera roll. If you’re interested in watching fun street view panoramas, just follow @streetsapp on Twitter or Facebook. Of course, we’re also gladly accepting your findings. Just @reply us or post to our Facebook page. Can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!
To learn more about the current panorama location or display directions, you can display the location in the Maps app or in our Where To? app.
And finally, if you’re curious how long ago a panorama image was actually taken, we’ve got you covered, too: Just tap on the title bar once and the image date is revealed!
I hope you’re as excited as we are about the update! Now, go ahead and grab it from the App Store. And of course, if you like it, why not spread the word with a short review on the App Store?
If you’re not on board yet, don’t wait any longer: Streets 2.0 is available through the end of July at the introductory price of $0.99. After that it’ll cost $1.99.
Last year, in Where To? 6.0, we introduced integration with the new Audi A3 using the Audi MMI connect app. This app was rolled out in Germany first and is now available in most European countries.
To send a destination to the car, just select “MMI connect” from the list of directions apps. The Audi MMI connect app automatically launches and displays the destination. Tap “Send” or drag the destination upwards onto the car image. Then the destination is automatically transferred to your car dashboard.
You can even save one tap by selecting “MMI connect” as your preferred directions app by tapping the bookmark icon and selecting the app. Then you just need to long-tap the directions button to transfer the destination to Audi MMI connect.
The Where To? 6.1 update is available. We’re now using the system Twitter account(s) so you don’t need to type passwords anymore. You can share places and reviews via Twitter and login to the Where To? community of place reviewers. Reviews can now also be shared via Mail, Message and the clipboard, besides Facebook and Twitter. And the displayed reviewer name can be changed in the Sharing settings (changes activated with the next review).