Originally launched as a way to vote on new technology products, Product Hunt has since greatly expanded to include media like podcasts and books as well as games and other content. Product Hunt rolled out a visually refreshed home page a couple weeks back to reflect the evolution, and today the service is unveiling a redesigned iPhone app with new features to match…
Welcome to 9to5Mac’s iPhone Holiday Gift Guide. Bookmark it or send it to your favorite people, because either you or someone you care about is going to find the ideal iPhone holiday gift inside!
I’m genuinely excited to present this collection to you, because the iPhone is the one Apple product I take everywhere — and couldn’t give up. Since I’ve been using iPhones and their accessories since the first iPhone debuted in 2007, I have a lot of experience sorting the good and great stuff out from the junk.
My iPhone Holiday Gift Guide picks are all best-of-breed options, selected for their combination of reasonable pricing and excellent performance. Whether you’re looking for the perfect case, great headphones, a smart car mounting solution, a battery pack, or a way to improve your iPhone’s camera, you’ll find the smartest iPhone gift picks below…
Pocket is one of the most popular read-it-later apps available on iOS, and the service is about to get better (or perhaps worse depending on your viewpoint), with the public launch of recommendations. The feature has been tested in beta for some time, and is now officially out in the wild and will be available to users on iOS, Android and on the web. Pocket describes it as “high-quality content without the noise”.
Recommendations takes the absolute best content being saved across Pocket and tailors it to your own saving and reading habits. The result is a feed that’s completely unique and personalized to you, and is filled with the most interesting articles and videos you might have missed otherwise.
Instead of being a collation of the most viewed web pages from the web, recommendations are based on how popular stories are with people with your interests. Since they’re already curated by humans, the company hopes that helps tune out the noise. For instance, if you happen to save a lot of technology articles to read later in Pocket, you’ll be served up tech-based recommendations. What’s more, if you find a recommendation you don’t like, just press the ‘X’ and remove it from your feed.
Recommendations are currently available in English only currently, but the company states that it is working on a wider roll out in more languages. You can download Pocket 6.0 for iPhone and iPad from the App Store for free.
With custom playlists at the center of Apple Music’s discovery experience, Apple’s biggest streaming competitor Spotify is also focusing its efforts on playlists for its latest feature called Discover Weekly. It’s not exactly a “me too” feature, though, as Apple’s and Spotify’s approaches each differ in how playlists are created. While Apple highlights having human editors curating its featured playlists, Spotify is basing its new feature around listening behavior to deliver weekly recommendations…
Earlier this year, Foursquare pulled a Facebook and split its mobile app in half with check-ins moving to a new app branded as Swarm and location discovery and recommendations becoming the sole focus of its Foursquare-branded app.
Both apps were iPhone-only for iOS users as Foursquare relied on a mobile site for iPad users wanting to check-in from a tablet, but now that Foursquare has become a full-fledged Yelp competitor with its own dedicated app to finding new places to travel and venues to review, Foursquare is giving users a native iPad app as well.
Netflix today announced a new way to recommend movies and TV shows to your friends from your iPhone or iPad. The recommendation feature works using Facebook, but it’s selective and private so you don’t end up spamming everything with the embarrassing movie you just watched that you and two of your friends may like but others not so much. The feature allows you to connect your Facebook friends list to your Netflix account, then recommend videos you just watched to specific friends from Facebook.
Beats Music iOS app updated w/ customizable recommendations, Sentence history, verified badges, more
Just as news hit this morning that the European Commission approved Apple’s acquisition of Beats, the Beats Music iOS app just received an update with a number of notable new features.
Following reports earlier this week that Apple had acquired video aggregation and discovery service Matcha, TechCrunch claims today that its sources have provided a bit more info on the motivation behind the acquisition. While noting that the purchase price was actually closer to $10-$15 million opposed to the $1 to $1.5 million reported by others, the report says that Apple is after the company’s proprietary recommendation algorithm rather than just its talent:
Nor was it an acqui-hire; this was about the product Matcha built and about the specific recipe for video recommendations it put together via its proprietary algorithm, according to one source close to the matter.Matcha was acquired after testing numerous approaches to generating recommendations, right at the point where it had refined its algorithm such that it saw an explosion in user growth, according to our source. The app did definitely do well on the App Store charts, and was ranked among the top 15 apps in the Entertainment category before it was shut down.’
TechCrunch also adds that Apple found Matcha’s user acquisition and user engagement strategy to be the “best of any other apps competing in that space” and that it had “found the answer” with its recommendation algorithms:
It was Matcha’s user acquisition and user engagement strategy that Apple was interested in, according to one of our sources, since the acquisition happened just after Matcha had completed a round of vigorous A/B testing and had “found the answer” to rapid user growth and time spent in app. Matcha’s pairing algorithms that drove the right content to the right users simply worked best of any other apps competing in that space, the source affirms.
The report also confirms that Apple actually acquired Matcha prior to the company shutting down the service back in May.
The video programming recommendation app, which lets users browse across services like Netflix, iTunes, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others, didn’t pick up much steam on the App Store after launching in January 2012. While some have speculated that Apple could use the service to help power recommendations for a revamped Apple TV service, today’s report compares the purchase to Apple’s previous acquisition of app recommendation and search service Chomp.
Twitter #music app gets new ways to discover artists, scans iPhone library for personalized recommendations
Twitter updated its Twitter #music iPhone app today with several new ways to discover new artists in addition to personalized recommendations based on the content in your iPhone’s music library.
Version 1.2 of the app now allows users to “listen to artist’s top tracks, similar artists, and the artists that your favorite artist follows on Twitter.” However, another interesting new feature will scan the device’s music library in order to serve up relevant recommendations based on your past listening habits.
Twitter is also making it easier to find artists that you like by making it easy to quickly access the artists that you’ve tweeted about in the past.
Personal recommendations based on previous listening habits is becoming a prerequisite for just about any music app ahead of Apple’s iTunes Radio launch. Apple’s upcoming service will rely heavily on its personalization features similar to iTunes Genius, and Rdio and others have been adding similar features that focus more on stations custom tailored to the user’s listening preferences.
Lastly, the app gets support for a number of new languages:
What’s New in Version 1.2
We’ve added a bunch of new ways of discovering music. Listen to artist’s top tracks, similar artists, and the artists that your favorite artist follows on Twitter.
We also scan your iPhone’s music library now to suggest more relevant artists to you. And we show you the artists that you’ve Tweeted about so you can always get back to them.
Finally, we’ve localized #music into all of your favorite languages. If you’re one of those good looking people living in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland then we’ve got you covered!
Music recognition and discovery app Shazam updated its iOS apps today with a couple interesting features, including new “multi-track purchases” allowing users to purchase multiple songs at once through iTunes.
Multi-track purchase: When you’ve tagged a bunch of songs, now it’s easy to go back and buy them in one go. Go to My Tags (or Favorites on iPad), tap “Select & Buy”, pick the songs you want, then tap “Buy” to purchase in iTunes.
Also included in the update its recommendations based on what others users have purchased, music previews for trending songs in the Pulse charts, and improved Voiceover support and sharing.
What’s New in Version 6.2.0
○ Multi-track purchase: When you’ve tagged a bunch of songs, now it’s easy to go back and buy them in one go. Go to My Tags (or Favorites on iPad), tap “Select & Buy”, pick the songs you want, then tap “Buy” to purchase in iTunes.
○ Recommendations: Discover more music based on similar tracks other Shazamers have bought. Shazam any track or find old ones in My Tags, then tap “”Recommendations””.
○ Music Previews: Added loads more previews for tracks you Shazam and trending music in the Pulse charts.
○ Accessibility: Improved Voiceover on iPhone.
○ Sharing is caring: Made it easier to tweet and share on Facebook, or to e-mail music and TV results.