It’s been a long time coming, but Automatic 2.0 is almost here! Version 2.0 may share the same name with its predecessor, but the similarities end there. Automatic 2.0 is a complete rewrite, from the ground up: it is no exaggeration to say that there is not a single line of shared code between the two versions. So what does 2.0 bring?

  • New UI – pretty much a no-brainer, given the code rewrite. While the basic layout remains the same, there are improvements in practically every corner.
  • Probably the biggest feature, preset subscriptions for TV shows: 2.0 sports a listing of over 230 shows, complete with show and episode information. Just browse or search, press ‘Add’ and done!
  • The initial “raison d’ĂȘtre” of 2.0, iTunes-style rules. No more weird regular expressions – the new rule editor allows for very complex subscriptions, with a minimum of fuss.
  • More transparency. That includes notifications, better logging and the ability to monitor downloads in progress.

These are just some of the big-picture features in 2.0. Improvements have been made in practically every area, from the ability to specify what linked files are matched to the more mundane performance improvements. And most importantly, 2.0 provides a great foundation on which to build many exciting features.

As far as availability goes, a release date will be announced very soon. Automatic 2.0 will be a paid upgrade from Automatic 1.x – the price will be revealed closer to release. The current version (1.1.4) will continue to be available for free.

Finally, if you want to stay updated on the upcoming 2nd phase beta, follow @automaticapp.

Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 14:58. Filed under: Automatic, Mac OS X, News

Off the top of my head:


  • The obvious: no more lite versions! Apps can have a fully-functioning trial period.
  • Paid upgrades! Apps can now offer upgrade pricing to existing users.
  • Upgrading from the trial version to the full one (or any future version) no longer means lost data for users, they can continue using the app as normal.
  • In-app purchases provide better protection from piracy; to my knowledge, apps can’t illegally install DLC. It’s also nice that Apple is finally acknowledging iPhone piracy.


  • The free section will now be muddied with totally free apps and “partly free” ones. This can be remedied by separating the listings, or prominently displaying a badge for apps that have DLC.
  • Free apps have notoriously bad ratings, usually disproportionate to the quality of the app. So any paid app that gets listed as a free app with unlocked functionality will suffer, ratings-wise. Perhaps Apple can again restrict rating only to those users that have both downloaded and paid for the app.
  • Apple lied – again. Apparently, free is no longer always free. But does anyone really care?

As a whole, this is excellent news: it solves many existing problems with the App Store, and only introduces very minor issues that can easily be addressed.

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 00:24. Filed under: iPhone, News

Despite the Palm Pre being the biggest news to come out of CES, I hadn’t really given it much attention, apart from the occasional headline or photo. I mean, it’s Palm, nothing good has come out from there in years!

And then I watched the CES Pre introduction video (here), and I have to say it: Wow. Sure, the device might be clunky, the battery life is uncertain, animations left a bit to be desired, and 3rd-party app development is something of a question mark, but what blew me away was how the Pre just nails the workflow. Everything is connected into one seamless experience, from messaging to the internet to notifications. Jumping from one activity to the next is effortless, and the information is always there.

It’s obvious that Palm went back to square one and threw away absolutely everything: not only their own technology, but also every preconception about how a mobile device should work. The Pre redefines the mobile workflow in such a way that it makes the iPhone look as archaic in design as the iPhone did its predecessors. This is the way a “personal digital assistant” should work!

It borrows heavily from the iPhone in some areas, like the device button layout, or the scrolling and zooming gestures, but then leaps forward and disposes of all the traditional mobile clutter. The gesture area, the ‘Card Deck’ concept, Synergy, and above all, the inobtrusive notification system shift the focus from managing applications to flowing through activities. In some cases during the demo, it wasn’t even clear where one application ended and another started: they were all seamlessly inter-connected.

Granted, these were just some of Palm’s first-party apps; it remains to be seen how well the third-party ones fit into the experience. But with Apple’s comparatively weak push notification system still MIA, Palm’s bold new design looks very promising indeed.
It also remains to be seen if Apple will be able to match or surpass the innovations found in the Pre; the iPhone is due for a refresh around the same time the Pre will be available. One thing’s for sure, however: competition is never a bad thing.

Will I buy a Pre? Probably not; it’s not even going to be available outside the US for quite a while anyway (due to EVDO), not to mention I’d be loath to go back to carrying a stand-alone iPod.

But it’s the first true innovation in the mobile space since Macworld 2007, and that’s exciting. Apple, your move.

Posted on Thursday, January 15th, 14:46. Filed under: iPhone, Mobile, News, Opinion

This was definitely a pleasant surprise: after only 5 days in review, I got the email saying that Converted has changed status to “Ready for Sale”. I was expecting it to take at least a couple of weeks, especially since the enrollment process was so frustratingly long.

As happy as I am, however, I do feel sorry for the person(s) at Apple working on a Sunday…

Posted on Monday, January 12th, 00:29. Filed under: Converted, iPhone, News

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