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22
Sep

The Future Is Now

We’re a wee bit excited in the office this morning. We’re adding something very cool to the Pocket Casts universe very soon. If you want to join in the excitement, head on over here and sign up:

https://play.pocketcasts.com/register/beta

Between this, the iOS 8 updates that we’re working on, and Android L we’re insanely excited about the future of all our apps on all your platforms.

17
Mar

The Best Pocket Casts Yet

pocket casts 4.5

After many months of hard work we’d like to introduce you to our latest update: Pocket Casts v4.5 for Android. Don’t be fooled by the ‘.5′ part there’s a lot that’s new:

  • Chromecast support: send your favourite podcasts straight to your TV with a single tap.
  • Up Next playlist: no need to wonder what’s playing next, flick right on the now playing screen and see. Re-arrange items to your heart’s content, and quickly skip between them too.
  • Colourful Awesomeness: podcast authors have some amazing artwork. The new Pocket Casts automatically detects colours from the artwork and brightens the interface in subtle, but powerful ways.
  • Modern Android Interface: When Pocket Casts 4 first came out, it was everything that was right about Android design. Since then Android has moved forward, and now so have we. See your podcasts in a whole new light.
  • Enhancements Galore: We’ve re-written so many parts of Pocket Casts to make it faster, more robust and better than ever before. There’s a million little details that have gone into this update and we can’t wait for you to experience them.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Google Play Store and grab it now!

14
Jan

Pocket Weather Android Update: So Hot

Pocket Weather 4

After many months of hard work, we’re proud to announce that Pocket Weather Australia version 4 is now available for Android. It’s a free update to all existing users who have Android 4.0 or above on their devices. As Australia heats up this summer there’s no easier way to check exactly what’s happening in your local area. Here’s just a few of the things that are new to version 4:

Built for Android
The user interface has been designed from scratch to suit the modern Android experience. The result is a clean, dynamic and concise app that will make your friends envious.

Tablet ready
We love our Nexus 7 and 10, perhaps a little too much. As a result, we’ve improved the tablet design. All of Pocket Weather’s features are optimised for larger devices.

Customise your weather
In Pocket Weather 4.0, you can choose which observations appear on the main overview page of the app. You can also rearrange the order of the sections.

Extremely local observations
If your phone supports it, you can read the temperature, pressure and humidity via your device’s sensors.

Tides
We’ve re-thought how tides work in Pocket Weather. In 4.0, they’re treated as a location, are faster, look nicer and are all round better.

So whether you’re new to Pocket Weather, or you’ve been with us since version 1 there’s no better time to grab the update .

13
Dec

Pocket Weather 4 is here!

Pocket Weather Australia

Pocket Weather 4 for iPhone and iPad is here, and it’s a free update, so before reading any further: go grab it!

What’s new?

  • iPhone performance! Locations are back to opening lightning fast on even the oldest of iPhones.
  • Brand new iOS 7 interface, this wasn’t us just removing some assets and gradients, we reworked the entire app to make it cleaner and simpler.
  • We’ve redone the iPad interface, no more iPhone clone with cards, but something far more unique and forward thinking.
  • Background refresh: it’s amazing just how much of a difference it makes to have your weather loaded already when you open the app.
  • All new visualisations for chance of rain, never wonder when you will be rained on again!
  • On the iPhone, the cards can now be re-ordered.
  • There are too many other tweaks and enhancements to list here, go have a play and let us know what you think.

For those of you still reading, you might be wondering why it took a while to get this version out, I know a few of you were even on the brink of losing hope of seeing an update from us. Once we saw iOS 7, back in June with Beta 1 we knew that Pocket Weather had to change. We were busy working on Pocket Casts though, and figured we’d have plenty of time to get to that before the end of the year. Then in September, in literally the very last beta from Apple, our app broke horribly on the iPhone. Tapping a location could take up to 10 seconds before it would show you any data. This was horrific, so our first instinct was to patch that, then continue working on the iOS 7 update itself. Unfortunately patching that one bug proved impossible, without re-doing most of the app itself.  Once we realised that we had but one choice: many months ago we pressed ‘File’ -> ‘New Project’ and started Pocket Weather again. It’s been a tough few months and for the first time we hired an external contractor to help speed things up (the amazing Chris Miles, who did an awesome job!), and we worked many late nights and weekends. Long story short, sometimes when we’re talking about what we’re doing the least, it’s because we’re working the hardest.

There’s a universal truth behind all of this: buying a Shifty Jelly app is always a safe bet. We always keep our apps up to date, and continue to strive to make them the best in their respective categories. Pocket Weather 4 is just another little gift from us, to you our loyal fans. We just hope that Santa won’t be mad that we delivered it earlier than he could have ;)

Note for our Android fans: version 4 for you guys currently in beta testing. More on that soon. :)

5
Nov

Pocket Weather & iOS 7

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Pocket Weather is a bit of an institution in Australian weather apps. It was one of the first apps on the scene when the App Store first launched, since then we’ve grown it to what we think is the one of the best weather apps in the world. It features live weather data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology pinpointed to your exact location, rain radar maps, a dynamic ui & comprehensive tide data. The current version of Pocket Weather has enjoyed a long innings in the high end of the App Store’s Top Paid charts. It’s a crowd favourite; Australians love it, and so do we.

What’s happening with Pocket Weather?

Since it’s been a long time between drinks for Pocket Weather customers, we thought we’d share what we’ve been up to.

Apple released iOS 7 almost two months ago, and with it came some sweeping changes to how we see and use our iOS devices. Changes in iOS change the way apps like Pocket Weather work. Unfortunately, the current version of Pocket Weather has taken a performance hit under iOS 7 – there’s a long delay when tapping a location, before you see the data.

Pocket Weather’s stunning interface features photorealistic textures and lighting. iOS 7 has shifted the expectations of design, so we’ll need to update accordingly.

There’s a new major version of Pocket Weather on the way

We think it’s the best one yet.

Here are just some of the things coming in the next version:

  • It fixes the performance issue in iOS 7
  • It has been redesigned to suit iOS 7’s user interface
  • We’ve paid a lot of attention to weather on iPad
  • It’s better
  • It’ll be a free update

We’re working full time and will get it to you as soon as we can. We use Pocket Weather every day, we love it and we haven’t forgotten it.

8
Oct

How Do We Use Pocket Casts?

Here at Team Shifty Jelly we’re die hard podcast lovers. My personal fanatical crush on Tom Merritt aside, we all have slightly different listening habits so we thought it would be cool to share some of those with the world. I listen to podcasts almost exclusively while driving to and from work. What I need from the app is to have all the podcasts I want ready to go in the morning so that I can pick which ones I want to listen to. I’ve got 32 podcasts in my collection most of which release weekly or daily episodes. I’m never able to listen to all of them, so I’ve created an Episode Filter of my favourite ones called ‘Top Casts’. I set this one to show me all the Unplayed and In Progress episodes from the podcasts I listen to the most:

Top Casts Filter

I have auto-download configured for my favourite podcasts, so when I woke up Monday morning I had the following downloaded and ready to go:

IMG_0050

My drive to work varies from 30 minutes to an hour, so clearly I’m not going to be able to listen to every single one of these. Pocket Casts makes marking episodes as played super fast, just swipe your finger from right to left over it:

mark_played

Today I’m in the mood for the Vergecast, so I’ll tap play on that first. After that if there’s time I’d like to listen to something more Australian, so I pick the Reckoner, followed by The Talk Show. Adding these to the up next list is easy, tap on one, tap the ‘+’ and choose ‘Play Next':

IMG_0053

So now my ‘Up Next’ list has 3 episodes ready to go, with the first one currently playing:

IMG_0054

Now I’m driving along, occasionally tapping the skip button. I have my app configured to skip 45 seconds forward each time I press the skip button, so it’s easy to breeze past any boring bits. About halfway through the Vergecast I’m done with listening to Josh interrupt people constantly, so I long press on the skip button, and BAM, I’m transported to listening to Reckoner instead:

IMG_0056

At the 35 minute mark, I make it to work and turn off my car. Pocket Casts automatically stops playing, and off I go. Before leaving work, I queue up another podcast or two for the trip home depending on what has come out during the day. Any ones I feel I might not get to, I quickly swipe away. Pocket Casts is configured to automatically delete downloaded files for any episode I mark as played, so I never have to worry about manually trying to manage storage.

30
Sep

Pocket Casts Launches Into The Exosphere

I’m not sure if you noticed, but last week Apple launched iOS 7. It was a big deal. We launched Pocket Casts 4 at the same time, it was also a big deal. Today we launched version 4.1 which includes all the features that didn’t quite make it into 4.0, as well as updates based on your feedback and of course the usual raft of bug fixes. We’re very excited about the future of Pocket Casts and we have some big plans for the future. Today though we’d like to recap how the launch went.

After waking up at 2.30am in Australia to push the release button, we were pleasantly surprised by Apple having picked our app to feature in quite a number of spots.

iTunes Feature banner

First and foremost a massive banner in the news category, and also in the ‘Designed for iOS 7′ section:

Designed for iOS 7

When we threw out all our old version 3 code, and started a new Xcode project at the beginning of 2013 we spent a lot of time on design and workflow. When Apple announced iOS 7 at WWDC in June, we changed course again. Our aim was always to build a podcast listening app that was easy to use, fitted in perfectly with iOS and looked amazing. Clearly Apple feels we nailed it and we couldn’t think of better approval than that.

Next up the reviews started to roll in, here’s a few quotes we’ve picked out:

“I’ve thoroughly been enjoying Pocket Casts 4, and it’s booted Instacast off of my home screen. I’m in love with the natural iOS 7 design, subtle custom colors, transparencies, and intuitive interface. Plus, the syncing is easy and fast. This is what an iOS 7 podcast client should be, and I’m glad Shifty Jelly made it.”

- Christine Chan, App Advice

“I’ve been trying out Pocket Casts 4 for a while now, and it does a great job providing robust, power user features in a way that stays incredibly clean and clear”

- Rene Ritchie, iMore

“This isn’t just a reskinning of an old app. It is an app that truly understands and lives on iOS 7. Everything in the app has been redone to look pixel perfect on your iPhone or iPad…”

- Mikhail Madnani, Beautiful Pixels

“I’ve switched to Pocket Casts 4 as my podcast client of choice…Besides design choices and animations, the app’s navigation, sync, automatic downloads, and filters work better for me and for the way I like to listen to podcasts.”

- Federico Viticci, MacStories

“Pocket Casts 4 represents what iOS 7 is all about. If you love podcasts, this is a must download”

- Clay Russell, iPhone Addict Reviews

“This app really looks native to iOS 7 without just being derivative of what Apple is doing”

- Ryan Witwam, PC Mag

“I find Pocket Casts 4 the be the best overall podcast management app for iOS, and a perfect way to usher in the dawn of a revisioned iOS.”

- Jesse Virgil, App Storm

We also rated a mention on The Verge and even a shout out on Reddit, for a dialogue I wrote at 2am. In short thanks to your amazing support, we had our best app launch in the history of Shifty Jelly. We made it into the Top 50 paid apps in the US, and were at #2 in our category as well. As small independent developers with little to no marketing budget, we can’t tell you how great that feels.

For those of you that have followed us for a while though, you’ll know that we’re not going to retire on our amazing launch and take the rest of the year off. We’re already planning future updates for the app as well as some new and innovative things in the world of podcasting that no one else has done before. We’re not ready to talk about that today, but rest assured we still have more things in the pipeline that should blow your collective minds. So strap yourselves in, and enjoy the Shifty Jelly Experience (Patent Pending). Also if you got all the way way here and haven’t bought the app yet, shame on you, go buy it right now on the App Store.

13
Aug

Pocket Casts 4 Sneak Peek

pc4_screenshot

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard on the biggest update to Pocket Casts for iOS that we’ve ever done. We’re excited to finally be able to announce that Pocket Casts version 4 is almost done, and will be available soon!

Some big features of Pocket Casts 4:

  • Stunning, redesigned user interface based on iOS 7’s styling.
  • iPad support, because your iPad needs podcast lovin’ too.
  • Your subscriptions, playlists and play states can be synced between every iOS & Android device you own. We *love* this feature. And you heard us right, iOS and Android, living together in syncing harmony. That’s syncsess right there!
  • Smart dynamic episode filters. Want a list of every unplayed, downloaded podcast? Right here. How about a list of video episodes that you haven’t downloaded yet? Easy. Manual playlists are obviously still available for the super picky among you.
  • Automatic downloads. When a new episode of your favourite show comes out, Pocket Casts can download it automatically for you, without you having to open the app.

There’s a lot more to Pocket Casts 4, but we have to keep some surprises for when it launches ;)

Many of these new features rely on the cool new technologies built into iOS 7. This is why Pocket Casts 4 will be available as a free update for iOS 7 only and will be released to coincide with the launch of iOS 7. If your device can’t run iOS 7, v3 of Pocket Casts will continue to work just fine, and when you do update to a shiny new device, you’ll be able to upgrade your app for free!

We think Pocket Casts is the best way to listen to podcasts. We know you’ll love it and we can’t wait to get it into your hands so you can enjoy it too!

1
Aug

iOS vs Android, Great Balls of Fire

Smart people like John Gruber of Daring Fireball seem to believe that Android development takes 3x as many developers as iOS. He believes it so strongly he mentions it again in another post about analysts who try to fit facts into a narrative.

Unlike John, we actually do Android development full time, and we have for many years. We’ve made big apps, we’ve made small apps. Sorry to disappoint you John, but a talented Android developer works at roughly the same speed as a talented iOS one. They make the same apps, of the same complexity, in the same amount of time. Sure there are differences in platforms and API. Some things are quicker to do on iOS, others on Android. Long story short, there’s not a lot of difference when it comes to development time.

Like the very analysts he mocks, Gruber is trying to fit a story to his pre-existing narrative. Does the BBC story offer a reason as to why the team is 3x bigger? Nope. Does it suggest any sort of causality? None. It’s a casually mentioned fact about an app which is currently being developed. It could be that the team is bigger because the app is playing catch up to the iOS one that came out first. It could be bigger because some of the iOS team is helping out. It could be bigger because the BBC is using developers who are less familiar with Android. It could be that the iOS team used to be the same size or bigger, but was ramped down after the first version of the app was completed. Which one is it? I have no idea, I don’t infer facts from stories that don’t explicitly state them. Justin Williams (an iOS developer by trade) speculates along the same lines. Your mileage may vary, but unlike most other people I speak from years of experience in actually developing on these platforms.

John is certainly not the only one doing this, people write articles like this almost every day on both sides of the fence. It’s just disappointing that these kind of myths are perpetuated in the echo chamber that the tech press occasionally becomes.

Update: Johns response is quite well done, and his research shows that indeed, the BBC iPlayer team is having a lot more issues on Android than iOS. He also links to a PBS Article where they’re having the same issues. Then states:

Maybe the problems the BBC faces are specific to the domain of streaming video.

Maybe? I’d say most likely since that’s all they talk about in the other articles John has now linked to. I realise however, that I should have provided examples of where Android development was faster, or the same as iOS. So here goes:

Skala View development on Android was easily 10x faster than the iOS version. The main reason? Networking is far easier on Android, as are most of the other tasks that Skala View needed to perform.  The iOS version was also there for us to work from. To quote Marc Edwards of Bjango:

Backing up @shiftyjelly’s claim re Skala View. Android was way faster and has some additional abilities.

My Physio, a client app we developed was also done in a shorter amount of time than the iOS one. Again because the iOS version was already completed so a lot of the hard work had already been done. I’d say if they were done in parallel they would have been finished in parallel.

Pocket Casts on Android was easier to develop than the iOS counterpart, though the testing and support costs are higher. It’s no small project either, taking 6 months to complete the version 4 update.

Likewise our other apps like Pocket Weather take about the same amount of time to develop for Android as with iOS.

At this point I could scour the Internet for more examples like this one where the author explains how both platforms took him equal amount of times to develop for, and which aspects of each he prefers. That’s not my intention though, it was merely to point out that Android and iOS development in general, take about the same amount of time. In some cases is Android development harder? Of course. In some cases is it easier? Yes. I’m not here to champion Android and claim it’s not fragmented, because it is. I’m not here to tell you that it’s somehow superior to iOS, the truth is that it’s a lot more nuanced than that.

29
Mar

We’re on a podcast!

We wouldn’t normally link to podcasts we’re on, but for the first time in history all 3 of us are on the same one. Iterate 43 featuring the Shifty Jelly Team is well worth a listen, especially if you want to destroy any preconceptions about how awesome we are ;)

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Direct Link

Open in Pocket Casts

 

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