This Week in App News

Fresh off the presses, here’s Mac AppStorm’s weekly app news roundup.

Happy reading!

Fantastical updated to version 1.3

Fantastical, one of our favourite Mac calendar apps (we reviewed it back in May of last year and gave it a handsome 9/10 rating), received a nice big update back on Thursday to version 1.3, bring along with it Reminders support for iOS and iCal. This allows you to set up reminders to sync with all your devices that integrate with iCloud, including the new upcoming Reminders app in OS X Mountain Lion, which is due to be released at the upcoming WWDC conference in a week’s time.

Fantastical 1 3

Fantastical 1.3 was released on Thursday with built-in support for Reminders on iCloud

There have also been a few tweaks and ironing out of bugs in this version, including a fix for sending out responses to event invites sent by Outlook. If you’ve already bought Fantastical, then the update is free for all registered users, otherwise you can grab it from the App Store for $19.99.

WWDC 2012 schedule announced

Apple has announced the schedule for its upcoming WWDC conference, which is due to start at 10:00 am (Pacific Time) on Monday 11th June, via its Developers Conference page. The program includes presentations for OS X developers (including development for Mountain Lion and tighter multi-touch support) and labs on a variety of topics. Reservations can be made by signing in with your Apple ID.

WWDC 2012 App

Apple's own WWDC 2012 app, with a slightly different interface to what we're used to in iOS apps.

Apple has also released an app aimed to help visitors find their way around the conference a lot easier, which is available via the App Store. What is interesting, however, is that Apple has strayed away from its typical black on white interface and gone for an all grey one instead, which may hint at possible design changes in the upcoming version of iOS, which is also speculated to be announced at WWDC.

Sandboxing WILL disadvantage Mac users, say developers

On Friday, Apple’s own sandboxing deadline came into force, meaning that any new apps submitted to the Mac App Store that do not conform to Apple’s strict guidelines will be rejected. The move was quite controversial (check out our handy guide to sandboxing if you want to find out more about it) and has already had developers up in arms about the impracticalities concerning the decision as well as the lack of concise information on Apple’s part.

Now, developers are saying that the new regulations will destroy the user experience of most Mac apps. Ray East, from BeLight Software, was quoted in saying to Macworld UK:

We can definitely say that user experience is going to suffer. Apps are going to now be swamped with dialogs asking for permission to carry out what used to be simple actions. That will just add more steps and clicks. And we count our clicks to make our programs as intuitive as possible.

Other developers also aren’t happy with the changes. One, who wished to remain anonymous, mentioned that Apple are forcing them [the developers] to “upset” their customers and that customers will start demanding refunds because of lost features.

The new regulations have only been in force for a couple of days now, so only time will tell whether the changes have had a detrimental impact on the user experience of Mac apps. We will of course keep you updated on any new going-ons in this field.

Traktor Pro 2.5 released

German-based software developers Native Instruments have released the latest version of their popular pro DJ software, Traktor Pro 2.5. The new version, which is free for any registered users of Traktor 2.x, features a completely new tempo and beats per minute detection (this has been confirmed by independent tests performed by DJ Tech Tools), a major performance upgrade (which is visible by the significant reduction in CPU usage) and the implementation of remix decks, allowing easier live remixing and improvisation.

Traktor Pro

The new version of Traktor Pro, version 2.5, which is available as a free upgrade to all Traktor 2 users

There have also been a number of slightly more subtle changes, such as a new mapping system for external DJ controllers and a few interface changes. If you haven’t yet got Traktor Pro (and you fancy a hand at DJing), then head over to Native Instruments’ website, where you can download a free trial version (the full version is priced at € 249).

And finally…

Nest Learning Thermostat goes on sale on the Apple Store

The Apple Store is known for mostly selling Apple’s own products and a range of high-quality accessories to go with them but now, a thermostat (among all things) designed for use in your own home has arrived on the shelves.

Nest Thermostat

Nest's thermostat on the Apple Store, priced at the slightly eye-watering price of $249.95.

The Nest thermostat helps you save energy by turning the heating down when you leave and intelligently learns at what temperatures you are most comfortable at. It can also be controlled via a separate app available for all Apple devices (including the Mac) and is compatible with most domestic heating systems (check here to see if yours is compatible).

It’s a great and extremely stylish way to save money however at $249.95 a pop, you’ll need to make a serious investment before you start seeing those savings on your energy bill.

Heard Anything Else?

If you’ve heard anything else exciting that’s happened this week then go ahead and post a link to it in the Comments section below for the benefit of our other readers!