Federico: I need to annotate screenshots on a daily basis. In writing about apps and working on MacStories every day, I generate a lot of images where I have to mark up a specific element or point out issues that I want to show to someone else. Whenever I need to do this, I use the excellent Pinpoint, developed by Lickability.
Pinpoint is the new version of Bugshot, originally created by Marco Arment and relaunched under a new name earlier this year. Pinpoint is one of those apps that does one thing extremely well: when you open it, you’re shown a grid of recent screenshots from your photo library. Tap one, and you can start editing with various annotation tools such as callouts and text. When you’re done, tap share, and you’ll be able to send the image elsewhere without having to save it again into your Camera Roll thanks to iOS extensions. If you want to, you can also delete the original image from this menu.
The reason why I love Pinpoint is its simplicity. Pinpoint launches fast, always works as expected, and it’s dependable. In a sea of complex image editing apps that keep on adding options and cluttering their UIs, Pinpoint is refreshingly obvious and reliable. The app is free on the App Store, with an In-App Purchase to unlock different colors for annotations.
Federico: 2Do is a powerful task manager for iOS and OS X, and on Apple Watch it comes with a unique design that simplifies access to starred tasks, scheduled items, a list chosen in the iPhone app's settings, and tasks due today. You can also dictate new tasks using the microphone, and, obviously, you can complete tasks, delete them, and reschedule them. 2Do is one of the nicest looking Watch apps in my opinion, as it doesn't try to cram every single feature from the iPhone onto the smaller screen.
Federico: I love knowing the lyrics of the songs I listen to, and I’ve always been a fan of Musixmatch to discover lyrics for what’s playing on my iPhone. Musixmatch has a Watch app that lets you see real-time lyrics for any song playing on your iPhone. Plus, Musixmatch already works with Apple Music, so you can look up lyrics for millions of songs on the service directly from an Apple Watch.
Federico: I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, and I’m addicted to Deliveries when it comes to keeping track of when items will be delivered to my doorstep. Every time I’m expecting an item from Amazon (or other online shops), I refresh Deliveries obsessively multiple times each day (I realize I may have a problem) and therefore the ability to quickly check on the status of shipments from the Watch is a must-have. Deliveries for Apple Watch shows a list of upcoming deliveries and it displays last updated times and a map preview.
Federico: QuickSwitch for iPhone lets you set up shortcuts to quickly turn WeMo switches on and off. On the iPhone, you can use these shortcuts directly from Notification Center, which is extremely fast and convenient. On Apple Watch, QuickSwitch is even faster as it’s always on you. I use QuickSwitch on a daily basis when I want to turn on my espresso machine from anywhere around the house, and my coffee consumption habits have improved because of it (or gotten worse, depending on how you look at this).
Federico: I like Calcbot on the iPhone because it shows every single operation on a tape that I can control. This allows me to never lose the history of my calculations, which is always the case with Apple’s Calculator. On Apple Watch, Calcbot has large, tappable buttons and it hides operations into a Force Touch menu that ensures only numbers are always displayed at a bigger size (unlike other Watch calculators). Like on the iPhone, Calcbot visualizes the history of operations underneath the current result – I can use Calcbot on my Watch while grocery shopping, and this lets me keep my hands free without having to walk around the store with an iPhone.
Tips with Graham
Tips and tricks to master your apps, this week by Graham
Messages on iOS and OS X has some neat features that are kind of hidden behind a "Details" button. Go into a conversation with any of your contacts, press the "Details" button (the (i) button on OS X) in the top-right corner, and you'll be presented with options to send your current location, share your location for a period of time (via Find My Friends), mute notifications for that conversation and view attachments (images, videos, documents) that have been sent in the conversation.
Additionally, if a contact has given you access to their location through Find My Friends, their location on a map will also appear in that details screen.
Great reads and links from around the web.
Instagram has brought its recently revamped search features to the web – now they can also be enjoyed by iPad users in Safari.
Graham: If I had to list my top 10 favorite TV series, I have no doubt at all that The West Wing would be near the very top of that list. If you have even a passing interest in politics, particularly US politics, this is a show that you have to watch. But even if you despise politics, I think you'd still enjoy watching The West Wing because at times it can be a bit fantastical, with things achieved that would never happen in real politics, and at other times it can confirm your disdain about politics when something truly terrible happens (or rather, doesn't happen) because of silly political strategy and games. Yes, the latter seasons decline in quality. Yes, Aaron Sorkin's writing can be frustrating. But even those negatives can't dampen my enthusiasm for this show, which as a whole, is some fantastic television.
Besides bringing in a new top row when I switched to the iPhone 6 Plus, my Home screen has been fairly stable for years now. A podcast app has always sat where Overcast sits, and Fantastical sits where I used to keep Apple’s calendar application. So much of what I do on my phone is muscle memory that big disruptions can make a lot slower on the go with the device.
That said, there are some interesting things going on here. First and foremost, if my iPhone was *just* these apps, I could do almost everything I *need* to do on it. They make up the core of what I need to do while mobile — communicate, schedule, read and take photos. Yes, I’ve got some games and a bunch of utilities stashed into folders on my second screen, but this grid of applications are my primary weapons to face the day.
Maps, Time Zones and Activity aren’t used a ton most days, but were important enough to graduate to the Home screen of the larger phones. Likewise, I don’t shoot within VSCOcam, but a lot of photos I take pass through the app on their way to somewhere else. With the iOS Camera app a slide away in Control Center, it got regulated to a folder with iOS 7.
Messages gets a ton of use, but I find its current location easier to hit than someplace like the Dock. Apps like Fantastical, Slack, 1Password, Dropbox and Evernote are essential to my working life, but I’m hopeful iOS 9’s Notes app will replace the last one for me.
Todoist hasn’t been on my Home screen very long. I’m just starting out doing Relay FM and 512 Pixels full-time, and what I had previously set up in OmniFocus just wasn’t working for me. I suspect I will go back to OmniFocus soon, but I haven’t had time to re-think how I’m going to categorize things, so Todoist’s more flat structure is giving me the freedom I need for now.