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Look back at what happened in New York City the night the lights went out in summer 1977, plunging seven million people into darkness. The event led to both horrifying lawlessness and acts of selflessness and generosity.

Apps

  • wwrite: 10 Years on the App Store

    It is not often that a major shift in technology occurs. Generally, changes are incremental, but there are those times when a big shift does occur. One of those shifts was in 2007 with the release of the original iPhone. As compared to today’s iPhones and iPads, the original iPhone was very basic.

    Even with the limited functionality of its day, the iPhone completely changed the course of technology and help usher in the idea of having a computer in your pocket. People generally do not think about that, but you really do have a computer in your pocket. In 2008, the iPhone got a huge boost with the release of a Developer Software Development Kit (SDK). This allowed third-party developers to build applications specifically for the device.

    I did not have any application ideas until March of 2010 after Apple announced a whole new product, the iPad. The iPad took the best of the iPhone and put it into a 9.7-inch device. Once the iPad was announced, I had an idea for an app. I called it wwrite.

    Once the iPad SDK was available I began building my app in hopes of having it be on sale the day the iPad was released, which was April 3rd, 2010. Unfortunately, I was a bit late and wwrite was not available until April 12th, 2010. I opted to sell my app for $1.99.

    In December of 2010, I released a a free version of the app, called wwriteFree, and later renamed to wwriteLite. This was an ad-supported version and initially used Apple’s now defunct iAd platform, but in 2018, I changed this to be first-party ads that I am in complete control of.

    I did have a third version of the app available from March of 2011 to August of 2014 called “wwrite – iPhone Edition” this was a version of wwrite that was optimized for the iPhone. I removed this version because it did not make sense to keep maintaining it. With version 3.0.0, released in May of 2017, I switched both apps to be universal, which has made it a bit easier to maintain them.

    I thought I would provide a look at how well the app has done over the last 10 years. We will look at a few different aspects and all of the information provided will be accurate numbers. As a couple of notes, the “wwrite” category includes both the wwrite app as well as the now defunct “wwrite – iPhone Edition”.

    wwrite – iPhone Edition

    When the iPad was initially launched, there was no such thing as adaptive layouts, different screen sizes, and auto layout. There were only two screen resolutions that you needed to worry about, 320 x 480 for iPhone and iPod touch, and 1024 × 768 for the iPad. In order to make my life easier, I thought I would create an iPhone version of wwrite. This would take all of the features of the iPad version of wwrite and make them available on the iPhone.

    I initially launched wwrite – iPhone Edition in September of 2010, did one update in 2011, but removed the app from sale in August of 2014, because I knew I was not going to update the app, so I did not want to keep it in the store. By this time there were universal iOS apps and it did not make sense to have such an old app still available for purchase.

    Name Change

    When I went to submit version 4.0.0 of wwrite and wwriteFree, the wwriteFree app was rejected, which is not unheard of as apps are rejected quite often. Some of these are due to crashes, as was the case with my initial 1.0.0 release, and has been in many versions after. There is also the possibility that Apple inquires about why you are using a specific feature. This could be because they want to gain additional information, or for some other reason.

    My app was rejected because of the word “free” in the name. Now, my app had the same name for 8 1/2 years at that point, so it seemed odd to have to change it. But that is the way of Apple. They did not want any words that reflected the price of the app in the name of the app. Normally, this would not bother me. I would have needed to update my logo, once I came up with a new name, but I had added a whole bunch of different icons, so I had to redo all of those, 14 in total. With 18 different sizes needed for each one, that was a total of 252 icons that needed to be added. Ergo, I was a bit annoyed. I renamed the app to wwriteLite, since I could not come up with a different name. I was inspired by the name scheme of PCalc and PCalc Lite, both by James Thomson.

    Shifting Business Models

    wwriteLite, now formerly wwriteFree, has been available since December of 2010. wwriteLite was supported through iAds during the life of iAds, which was June of 2016. During the lifetime of my apps, there was a period of approximately 3 years where I did not work on the apps, and they remained as is. This was from June of 2014 to May of 2017. As is noted in my post App Updates and Model Changes, developer James Thomson, creator of PCalc, was the imperious for me to work on my apps again.

    As also mentioned in that post, when I decided to work on my apps again, I went with the idea of “wwriteLite” being behind in features, as compared to wwrite. I abandoned that idea in November of 2017 as noted in my wwrite and wwriteFree Updates and Changes post. Instead of lagging behind in features, which honestly would just have been more of a headache for me, I opted to go back to the ad model. Inspired by Marco Arment’s Overcast, I opted to go with first-party ads.

    These ads are entirely created, and selected, by me. A majority of the links are advertising my books, but there are also links to movies. These links are affiliate links, so I do make a bit of money if someone clicks on the links and purchases the items. Of course, if anyone buys my books, I make that amount as well.

    In-App Purchase

    As of wwriteLite 4.6.0, I added an in-app purchase to remove the ads from the app. As of right now, there has been a total of 1 in-app purchase of this. That purchase was me, on a separate account to verify that the purchasing was indeed working. It is with version 5.0.0 that I created an ad that would bring you to the In-app purchase screen. So I am hoping that creating this will help more users realize there is an in-app purchase to remove ads, and hopefully they will purchase it.

    Free vs. Paid

    It should come as no surprise that if you compare a free app to a paid one, it is more likely that the free app will have more units sold than the paid. That is definitely the case for me. Specifically, I have “sold” 9,030 copies of wwriteLite and a combined total of 327 of wwrite and wwrite – iPhone Edition. This means that 96.38% of all “sales” have been for the free version.

    The total sales for all of the apps is $629. With Apple’s 30% cut, my actual income has been $430. This is not 70%, but with exchange rates, the amount will be different. That is an average of $3.58 per month. Needless to say, my app is not one that I have gotten rich off of, nor is it one that is a viable business.

    Current Users

    Most application developers like to know who is using their apps as well as what devices they are using it on. I am no exception. However, I do not need to know exactly who my users are, just some basic information. This includes a user device id, device type, iOS version, app version, appearance (light or dark), the date it was added to the database, and the last time it was updated.

    It is not super easy for me to determine how many active users there are with my app. But from my internal analytics, there are 50 users who have opened wwriteLite this year, and 10 who have opened wwrite this year. So this is 60 total, Here is a breakdown of device type:

    Device Identifier Number
    iPhone 7 iPhone9,3 8
    iPad Pro 10.5-inch (WiFi) iPad7,3 5
    iPad 6th Gen (WiFi) iPad7,5 5
    iPad Air 10.5-inch (WiFi) iPad11,3 4
    iPad Air 10.5-inch (WiFi) iPad11,2 4
    iPhone 11 iPhone12,1 3
    iPad Air (WiFi) iPad4,1 2
    iPad Mini 4 (WiFi) iPad5,1 2
    iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd Gen (Cellular) iPad8,7 2
    iPhone XR iPhone11,8 2
    iPhone SE iPhone8,4 2
    iPad Air (GSM) iPad4,2 1
    iPad Air 2 (WiFi) iPad5,3 1
    iPad Air 2 (Cellular) iPad5,4 1
    iPad Pro 9.7-inch (Cellular) iPad6,4 1
    iPad Pro 12.9-inch (WiFi) iPad6,7 1
    iPad Pro 12.9-inch (Cellular) iPad6,8 1
    iPad Pro 10.5-inch (Cellular) iPad7,4 1
    iPad 6th Gen (Cellular) iPad7,6 1
    iPad Pro 11-inch (Cellular) iPad8,3 1
    iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd Gen (WiFi) iPad8,5 1
    iPhone 8 iPhone10,1 1
    iPhone 8 iPhone10,4 1
    iPhone X iPhone10,6 1
    iPhone XS Max iPhone11,6 1
    iPhone 11 Pro iPhone12,3 1
    iPhone 11 Pro Max iPhone12,5 1
    iPhone 6 iPhone7,2 1
    iPhone 7 Plus iPhone9,2 1
    iPhone 7 Plus iPhone9,4 1
    iPod Touch 7th Gen iPod9,1 1

    Here is a chart of the breakdown of device type.

    Appearance

    Starting with version 4.5.0, I added the ability to choose which appearance mode you wanted, “light” or “dark”. Here is a breakdown of version number, the number of users using the “light” appearance, versus the “dark” appearance.

    Version Light Dark
    4.2.3 4 N/A
    4.5.1 4 2
    4.6.0 8 8
    4.6.1 14 3
    4.6.2 11 6

    Between my two apps there are 37 devices using the “Light” appearance, 23 devices using the “Dark” appearance, and 4 people still using iOS 12. So this breaks down to 57.8 %, 35.9%, and 6.3% respectively.

    This breakdown is merely an interesting statistic, because I will be supporting both “Light” and “Dark” appearances in the app going forward.

    Countries

    It is interesting to see where apps are being downloaded. Here is a breakdown of every “purchase” of wwrite and wwriteLite since 2010. This is in order by number of units from most to least.

    This is an interesting list because it shows where I should focus for internationalization. Neither wwrite nor wwriteLite are in any language other than English. This may change in the future.

    Country Code Units
    US6675
    GB998
    FR448
    IT214
    ES126
    DE123
    AU28
    CA26
    JP18
    CN14
    IN12
    NL10
    BR9
    AE8
    HK7
    SE7
    SG7
    DK6
    MY6
    NZ6
    SA6
    CH5
    FI5
    PK5
    TR5
    EG4
    PH4
    TH4
    ID3
    KE3
    KW3
    LT3
    TW3
    AR2
    AT2
    BG2
    CZ2
    EC2
    IL2
    KH2
    LU2
    NO2
    PL2
    RU2
    ZA2
    BE1
    GD1
    GR1
    HR1
    IE1
    KR1
    LB1
    LV1
    MO1
    OM1
    PE1
    QA1
    RO1
    SK1
    SV1
    UA1
    VE1
    ZW1

    For those who might like a more visual representation, here is a chart of the top 6 and the remaining countries.

    Trend

    The landscape for apps has become more and more competitive as time has gone on. Here is breakdown of app units by year:

    Year wwrite wwriteLite In-App
    2010 193 2,290 N/A
    2011 89 3,300 N/A
    2012 56 1,850 N/A
    2013 14 671 N/A
    2014 4 285 N/A
    2015 4 122 N/A
    2016 0 149 N/A
    2017 5 112 N/A
    2018 7 158 N/A
    2019 2 78 N/A
    2020 0 19 1
    Total 374 9,034 1

    As you can see, the number of units sold, or downloaded, has been going down precipitously since 2013. I cannot say why this has been the case. It could have been due to the fact that my apps were not updated to support iOS 7, which was a major visual change.

    I also think part of the issue is that my app has never been a “cloud” app, meaning that it does not support syncing. However, it does support import to, and exporting from, the Files app. This has become significantly easier with version 5.0. On that topic, let us look at some of the big changes with the new version

    Through the Years

    The App Store, and my apps, have seen significant changes over the last 10 years. Here is a slideshow of various versions of the apps over the past 10 years.

    Version 5.0

    Application development can sometimes fall into a cadence. For me, it has become

    • Create an update in the Spring before WWDC, because I will be writing books and those take up my time during the summer months.
    • Create an update in September when the new version of iOS is released to incorporate new features with the new operating systems.

    There may be minor updates to fix bugs, particularly crashing ones, but I try to avoid these. I may also do updates if I come up with a new feature I want to add.

    I will not go into all of the changes, but you can look at the change log to see all of the changes. However, I will highlight a few of the biggest ones.

    • There are 5 new icons, Green, Moon, Orange Gradient, Psychedelic, and Sun
    • Customize Templates now allows you to choose from over 340 colors instead of having to define it yourself.
    • Files now have actions, including duplicate file, and share file.
    • There is now Trackpad and mouse support (requires iOS 13.4 or newer).

    With having been doing iOS app development for 10 years, there are some things that I have learned over the years, and I thought I would share them.

    Lessons

    I have learned a few lessons over the last 10 years of iOS development.

    The first lesson is that there are likely plenty of competitors doing the same thing that you are. Therefore, you must try and do something that is unique and that other developers are not doing. For my apps, there are a few apps that immediately come to mind that are similar to mine. Some of these are Apple’s Notes app, Bear, and Drafts. They all have more features, like syncing, rich text, URL support, and more. My app is a plain-text app that allows you to do templates. I support some things, like importing and exporting, but the rich text, url support, and syncing is not included.

    Th second lesson is that I am not that good at marketing. I do not like to tout my own apps that often, for fear of annoying others. I do some marketing through my blog posts, but very few see these. There are other I do not use Apple’s Search Ads, because the app does not make enough money to warrant using search ads to gain exposure.

    The third lesson is “Keep Developing”. If you really believe in your app, be sure to keep developing it. The updates that you do could just be small updates that merely keep compatibility with the latest versions of iOS and adopt new techniques. The biggest of these was the iOS 7 transition where the entire interface for iOS changed. Updating my apps for iOS 7 would have been a major undertaking and it was tough enough just trying to get my Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks book done. I did not even write a book about iOS 7.

    Not keeping up with development is entirely my fault. I did not develop the app for almost 3 years. I am sure this significantly hurt any chance of, to use silicon valley speak, “staying relevant”. This is entirely on me. There are two things related to this. The first is that I lost interest in development. Maintaining an app is not a simple thing. It requires significant effort to do.

    The fourth lesson is to use GitHub, or some other Source Control system, although right now it is likely to be GitHub. This is because GitHub is directly integrated into Xcode. This will make things much easier because you will be able to keep your source code off-site, to avoid the risk of something catastrophic from occurring. I did not lose any of my source code, but I no longer have all of the versions of my source code. I do have the original code for version 1.0 of wwrite. Looking back now, the code is very simple but it worked.

    The fifth lesson learned is do not feel afraid of refactoring old code. Code, and techniques change over time. Sometimes you find a better way of doing something and when you do, definitely take this path, provided it allows the following:

    1. Your code is easier to maintain.
    2. Your code becomes easier to read, which makes your code easier to maintain.

    My code is now a mix of Swift and Objective-C. There is more Swift code than Objective-C code, but I do have a mix of both. Do not be afraid of adopting new languages. Yes, it will take time to learn, but sometimes it will make things a lot easier to code. At least I have found that Swift is easier for me to code.

    The sixth lesson that I learned is to name your app something that is searchable. The name I have for my paid app, wwrite, is not really a good one. wwriteFree, and wwriteLite, are a bit more memorable and are not easily misspelled. I have contemplated changing the name of my apps but the apps are not my primary means of income, so it does not make sense to change them at this point.

    The last lesson is that it is okay to put an app into maintenance mode and limit the amount of time you spend on an app. There are definitely instances where it no longer makes sense to continue putting significant effort towards an app. Determining the time is entirely up to you.

    Closing Thoughts

    wwrite and wwriteLite will likely never be the “killer” apps that will allow me to retire on their sales. There are likely many reasons for this, and they are summarized in the Lessons section above. I do have one addition thing to add to points three and six above.

    As mentioned above, not developing my app for almost 3 years probably hurt it significantly. However, the effort that I would have used for app development I put towards my books instead. That decision was a much better one. The amount of money I made with the books just from September 2014 to May of 2015 was twice as much as my apps have made in their entire lifetimes.

    Even though I will never “get rich” off of the app, I will continue to develop them. Even though there are very few people who use them these days, the apps have become my playground to keep up with changes in iOS and figuring out how to implement new features of each version of iOS.

    Maybe one day I will come up with another app idea, but in the interim, I will continue to work on these apps and maybe, possibly, see an increase in users.

    wwrite and wwriteLite 5.0.0 are both available in the iOS App Store.

  • wwrite and wwriteLite 5.0 Now Available

    Back in 2010, I shipped an iPad only app called wwrite. I have written a whole analysis of the current state of my apps which goes in depth including lessons learned.

    wwrite 5.0.0 and wwriteLite 5.0.0 are big updates that include a few new features, fixes some bugs, and changed a few things. Here is a full list of the changes.

    • There are 5 new icons, Green, Moon, Orange Gradient, Psychedelic, and Sun.
    • Modified Customize Templates to now allow you to choose from over 340 colors instead of using the sliders that have been used previously in the app.
    • Added Share button to export current file, which also allows for quickly copying the file contents to another app.
    • You can now perform actions on files in the File List, including Locking/Unlocking File, Enabling/Disabling Auto Save, Sharing a File, duplicating a file, and deleting a file.
    • Created an “Ad” to advertise the ability to Remove Ads. This will appear intermittently and is wwriteLite only.
    • Added support for TrackPads and Mice.
    • Added more keyboards shortcuts, including Archives, About, Support via Email, Support Via Twitter, Settings, and Customize Templates.
    • You can now navigate the File List with the up and down arrow keys.
    • Escape key while on Text will go back to the File List.
    • Added support for 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro.
    • Added support for 4th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

    Tweaks

    • Moved Print Button to Tools menu to make room for “Share” button.
    • Adjusted Distraction Mode icon to show on any background

    Bug Fixes

    • Fixed an issue with the tint color not being set properly when starting the app on a file.
    • Fixed a bug where the app would crash when importing templates from wwriteLite.
    • Fixed the archive emailer not closing when you cancelled sending an archive
    • Fixed the inability to cancel a file creation on an iPhone or iPod touch when you don’t have any templates
    • Fixed an issue that stopped the tint color from updating when you changed the app icon

  • wwriteLite 4.6.2 Now Available

    Version 4.6.2 of wwriteLite is now available. This is a minor update that fixes two bugs.

    1. This version fixes a crash that would occur when tapping on an ad description.
    2. The second item that was fixed is the inability to perform an action on a file if ads were not disabled.

    wwriteLite 4.6.2 is now available and is free.

  • wwrite and wwriteLite 4.6.0 Now Available

    I have published updates for both wwrite and wwriteLite. Each app is now at version 4.6.0.

    Both wwrite and wwriteLite add that ability to import files from the Files app, including iCloud Drive, and any other third-party services that you have linked within the Files app. This is done by going to “+” -> Import Files.

    There is one bug fix for both apps. If you had tried to “Copy files” using a share sheet from another app, it would have failed. This has been fixed. There is one feature, specifically for wwriteLite.

    Removing Ads

    One of the features that I have wanted to add to wwriteLite is the ability to remove the ads. This is now possible through an in-app purchase. This is accessed by going to Tools -> In-App Purchases. Removing Ads will cost you $0.99. The reason I chose this amount is because $0.99 is the same price as wwrite, which does not have ads. Additionally, this is a way to support the development of both of the apps.

    Due to these changes, the Frequently Asked Questions and the Change Log for each app has been updated, so be sure to check those out. wwrite 4.6.0 and wwriteLite 4.6.0 are free updates and are available now in the App Store.

  • Taking a Stance with my Apps and Books

    Over the past couple of weeks there has been some discussion, and consternation, about Apple rejecting, allowing, and then subsequently pulling the HKMap Live app from the Hong Kong App Store. The controversy stems from the fact that the Apple ultimately pulled the app due to information received from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau. The information provided to Apple is that the app was being used not only to avoid Police, as the makers of the app intend, but also to target police and other protesters. My thoughts on whether or not Apple should have pulled the app are mixed.

    Apple cannot just ignore the will of the Chinese government. This is due to Apple’s reliance not only on China for sales, but also because their manufacturing relies heavily on China. China has one of the most advanced and integrated supply chains in the world. China’s skill not only with manufacturing but also being able to source the quantities needed by Apple are unparalleled.

    One day Apple may be able to reduce their dependence on China, and they are making in-roads into being able to do so, but right now it is not currently something that is feasible. Due to their reliance on China, Apple is limited in how it can challenge their will and authority. This is not limited to just China, but China is one of the largest economies in the world and Apple must comply with all laws, including those in China and the Hong Kong territory.

    The whole situation has gotten me to thinking about my own apps and books. In particular, whether or not to continue to have them available in the stores of countries that do not meet with my own personal morals.

    Because of this I have come to the decision to remove my apps and books from sale within certain territories. These territories are ones that do not meet my personal moral standards. Which countries I have pulled my apps and books are listed below.

    • Bahrain
    • China (Mainland)
    • Colombia
    • Laos
    • Qatar
    • Russia
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Tajikistan
    • Turmenistan
    • Uzbekistan
    • Venezuela
    • Yemen

    If additional countries warrant the removal of my apps and books from sale, or if the countries listed above warrant me allowing the sales of my apps and books to continue, I will add and remove the countries as needed.

    I take stances in many different aspects of today’s society. These include which stores I will purchase from, which websites I will visit, and which company’s products I use (You may be able to guess one of the companies in the last category quite easily). One area where I did not necessarily take a standard, was when it came to where I will sell my creations.

    I had physical goods, then it would be less likely that my products would not be available in all countries. This is the case with my paperbacks, since they are only available from Amazon in select markets. Most can be ordered through a book store. Because my products are available digitally, I have always wanted to reach the largest possible audience. Therefore, my books and apps have always been available in all countries. But that is changing. I have decided to take a stance and not provide my apps and books for sale in some countries.

    This is a moral stance for me, one that I am able to take because it comprises 0.32% of my app sales ($6.14 over the lifetime of my apps) and 0.075%, or $5.60, of my book sales. Removing the apps and books from sale in these countries will not meaningfully affect my income. This is particularly true since the income from my apps and books is not my primary source of income, but I have decided to take this stance. If you do not agree and decide not to support me by purchasing my apps and books, then that is your decision to make.

  • wwrite 4.5.1 and wwriteLite 4.5.1 are now available

    wwrite 4.5.1 and wwriteLite 4.5.1 are now available. These are minor updates that add support for the latest 10.2-inch iPad, and the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

    New Features

    • Added support for 10.2-inch iPad, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

    Bug Fixes

    • Fixed an issue with the ad refresh not working properly. (wwriteLite only)

    These are free updates and are available in the App Store now.

  • wwrite 4.5.0 and wwriteLite 4.5.0 are now available

    iOS 13 is a huge update and I have updated both wwrite and wwriteLite to take advantage of a number of features available.

    wwrite 4.5.0 and wwriteLite 4.5.0 bring a few new features, fix a couple of bugs, and removes one item. Both of these apps require iOS 13.

    iOS 13 Specifics

    • Dark mode for the app. By default it will match the system, but you can set your preferred style in settings.
    • Multiple windows, so you can work on more than one file at a time.
    • The ability to convert your files to PDF, by taking a screenshot.

    Drag and Drop (iPad Only) – There are more drag and drop abilities. There is a new file icon in the toolbar on the iPad.

    • You can now drag files between wwriteLite and wwrite.
    • You can create copies of files by dragging from the icon in the toolbar to the File List.
    • You can drag and drop templates between wwriteLite and wwrite by dragging on the specific template you want to copy between the two apps.
    • You can also create copies of your templates by dragging on the template from the template ist and then dropping it right back on the list.

    Other New Features

    • The File List rows will now be multiple lines if necessary.
    • The file name, date, and time will also go to multiple lines if necessary.
    • You can now see more information about an ad by swiping from right to left on the Ad and a description will show. (wwriteLite only)

    Bug Fixes – some things have been fixed

    • Including attachments when emailing support will now work again.
    • Fixed the crash where clicking on “support via twitter” would cause the app to crash.
    • The autosave feature was not displaying properly. This has been fixed, but you may need to reset your auto save interval. Sorry about that.

    Other Tweaks

    • The divider between each file will now go all the way across.
    • The “email” icon has been updated to a paper airplane.
    • The “print” icon is now a printer.
    • The title of the file will be larger and shrink as you scroll.
    • The Lock/Unlock, Enable/Disable Auto Save, and Delete colors are now system colors.

    Removed Feature – There is one removed feature

    • The custom app email signature when sending emails has been removed. Only the system email signature will show.

    If you find any bugs, are having issues, or have questions be sure to use the “Support” options within the app. Both of these are free updates. If you are still on iOS 12, you can download wwrite 4.2.3 and wwriteLite 4.2.3.

    wwrite 4.5.0 and wwriteLite 4.5.0 are both available now in the App Store.

  • wwrite 4.2.2 and wwriteLite 4.2.2 Now Available

    There is a minor update available for my apps, wwrite and wwriteLite. This update fixes a situation where the app may have crashed when you clicked on the “Support via Twitter” button.

    If you have any issues, bug reports, or any other feedback, be sure to get a hold of me on twitter @waynesworkshop, or through the app.

  • wwrite 4.2.0 and wwriteLite 4.2.0 are now available

    New versions of my two apps, wwrite and wwriteLite have been released. There are some big changes with these versions.

    wwriteLite now requires iOS 12.2, but with this requirement you get some new features, and who does not like new features. The biggest of these is a New “Distraction Free Mode” on the iPad. Distraction Free Mod” removes the file list and status bar, which will allow you to focus on just your writing and not worry about everything else. While you are feverishly typing, if you do need to save, you can do so with the new “File Info” panel. This panel will allow you to rename your file, see your character and word count, change the template for the file, or even turn off Distraction Free Mode should you need to focus less on your writing. 

    The File Info panel is available when you are using the normal typing mode. If you are a keyboard warrior, you can also use the key combination of command + I to bring up the panel.

    Sometimes you create a template and realize that you no longer need the template, you can now delete a template. When you do this if any files are using the template, the file will be changed to not use a template.

    While navigating throughout the app you may notice that there is a bit more consistency with how things are managed, this was intentional and makes it easier to find what you are looking for. For instance, all of the “Template” options are available in the “Customize Templates” screen. The same goes for Archives, you can create, email, and delete an archive all from the Archives screen.

    There were a couple of bugs fixed in this release too. The first is when you were choosing your favorite app icon the application was crash. This was definitely not intended behavior, so that has been fixed. Some links and ad parameters were not able to be updated without an app update, this has been fixed as well. Regarding ad parameters, these were not updating properly at launch, this has been rectified. The last fix which you will not see is with localization. This has been completely re-worked so any future localizations will be easier.


    There are more changes than just that though. I have moved the entire website to its own domain, which has all of the information on it. That domain is wwrite.app.

    If you already have wwrite or wwriteLite, you can update for free. wwriteLite is the free ad-based version of wwrite. Both are available in the App Store now.

    wwrite Logo
     
    wwriteLite Logo

  • AirBuddy: A Review

    AirBuddy Today Widget
    AirBuddy Icon

    When Apple unveiled a new product in September of 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, it was something that users were not necessarily expecting. The product was the AirPods. During the announcement Apple let us know that there was some very custom silicon in the earbuds. This chip was a wireless chip that they dubbed the “W1”.

    The W1 chip is an Apple designed chip that is specifically for being able to quickly pair with any iOS or macOS Sierra device. The W1 chip also enables is the syncing of the pairing information between all of the devices using the same iCloud account.

    The synchronization with iCloud is designed to allow your devices to automatically switch, without having to go through the tedious, “un-pair”, “re-pair” dance that is typical of Bluetooth enabled devices.

    Apple has made this entirely seamless when switching between iOS devices. And it is somewhat seamless on the Mac as well. However, unlike iOS there is no nice interface on the Mac for connecting to the AirPods. In order to connect to your AirPods, or Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones, you have to select the headphones either within an app or from the Bluetooth menu. This is where AirBuddy can come in handy and makes things a bit easier.

    AirBuddy

    AirBuddy is an app that Apple should have created for macOS. Since they have not, macOS and iOS spelunker Guilherme Rambo, has written it. AirBuddy takes the look and feel of the iOS card that appears when you open your AirPods and it brings that to the Mac. The app uses the same services and graphics as on iOS and mimics the look and feel. The screenshots below show the comparison


    Prerequisites

    There are some requirements to be able to use AirBuddy. These include a Mac running macOS Mojave, and signed into the same iCloud account that your AirPods or Beats Solo 3s are on. The second requirement is that you will need a Mac that supports Bluetooth Low Energy, also known as BTLE. If your Mac supports Handoff and continuity it is quite likely that it will support AirBuddy.

    Preferences

    As with any good Mac app there are a few things that you can tweak. There are only two options. These are “Enable for AirPods” and “Enable for other W1 headsets”. By default “Enable for AirPods” is checked and “Enable for other W1 headsets” is unchecked. This is because most users of the app have AirPods, but may not have a pair of Beats Solo 3, or newer headphones.

    Today Widget

    There are different interaction methods on the Mac, including via the Today section of the Notification Center. With the Today Widget enabled you can not only view the battery levels for all of the bluetooth connected devices, but you can also click on a device that you want to connect and it should connect to your Mac.

    AirBuddy Today Widget

    Pricing

    AirBuddy has a slightly differentiated pricing model than most other apps. For many apps an author will provide a price and you can either agree to pay or not pay it. AirBuddy has this same idea, with a price of $5.00. However, if you so choose, you can actually pay more than the minimum. To quote Office Space:

    “Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to [pay] more and we encourage that, okay?”

    When I bought the app, I paid more than the minimum. This was for two reasons. The first is to support an indie developer and the second is because any native Mac app that is produced brings even more to the ecosystem. You can purchase AirBuddy at Gumroad.com starting at $5.00.

    Closing Thoughts

    AirBuddy is an app that cannot live on the Mac App Store. This is because it uses some system frameworks that will not allow it to be in the store. Even though it is a side project for Mr. Rambo, he does intend to provide meaningful updates and bug fixes, as time permits. If you use any W1 enabled headphones on your Mac AirBuddy can help make things easier. While it is a minimalist application, it does what you expect an all in a nice clean interface. AirBuddy is worth the entry fee, whatever you decide that fee is.