Very, very obscure iOS7 tips, tricks and features

The new iOS7 home screen

After playing with iOS7 for a couple of days, I’ve found a few hidden gems buried in the code. Some of these are practical, some just for fun, and some are just, well, FLORM!

Bitch Mode (Siri-equipped models only)
To access Bitch Mode, tap twice anywhere on your home screen and yell “bitch!” The Siri interface will appear, with Siri inquiring, “What would you like to bitch about today?” Then just unload! Everything that’s pissing you off, just get it out. Scream it, shout it, whisper it, even rasp it in your bitched-out-until-you-can’t-take-it-anymore voice. No matter how petty, unjustified or mean-spirited your bitching is, Siri, in high resolution virtual empathy, will respond, “I know, right?”
Oblogatory rating: Essential

Spleen Grab
Admittedly, this is one of those “gee whiz” features with very little practical use and it is included mostly just to make Android users jealous—and to temporarily free them of their spleens. To access, hold your phone up for an Android user to see and pretend that you are showing off the home screen’s “slight, but totally noticeable and amazing 4D parallel reality effect.” While the Android user is occupied trying to see something he secretly believes he’s not cool enough to see, stealthily plunge your hand through his rib cage and pull out his spleen. When he becomes totally frustrated and gives up on trying to see the effect, casually ask, “So, how’s your lymphatic system feeling right about now?” Note: this feature will be locked, preventing you from further use until you give the guy his spleen back.
Oblogatory rating: Nice-to-have

Glinda Mode
Lost? Confused? Never fear, Glinda Mode is present at your location! To access, hold your phone to your heart (through your clothes and skin is fine), close your eyes, then click your heels three times while saying, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” When you open your eyes, you should be back in Kansas! You’ll be in bed under the covers and in your nightgown, so if you tend to overheat easily, you may wish to disrobe before deploying Glinda Mode (though please exercise caution if you are in police custody at the time). Also, as you will awake with your loyal little dog beside you, I can’t recommend Glinda Mode for those with pet allergies. Sorry.
Oblogatory rating: Game changer

FLORM!
Perhaps the most esoteric and astounding of all the new iOS7 features, FLORM! is best used with extreme discretion. This is not something you can—or should—do all the time, though to fully understand all of its implications, you may wish to try it now as you read along with this little tutorial. To access, type F-L-O-R-M-! into your phone’s search field (yes, all caps), then tap return. I’ll wait.
Yeah, pretty amazing, huh?! As Siri might say, I know, right?! So cool! You can see why I warn people not to do it all the time—who could handle such extremes of joy and ecstasy? Though God knows I’ve pushed the FLORM! envelope a time or two these past couple of days.
Whew! Wow. FLORM. Yeah.
Oblogatory rating: Worth killing for

 

5 iPhone apps you are lame for not having yesterday

Whimsy by App With People. This app does just what it says—make whimsy. There are no controls and you don’t do anything. You just put it on your iPhone and it simply suffuses everything in your life with, well, you know. Not recommended for the terminally ill.

What the Fuck Did I Do with My Oh Wait Never Mind by CodeFellows. You know how sometimes you think you’ve lost your iPhone, but you really haven’t? This app is for those times. Whenever you’ve misplaced your phone, simply head toward your computer, and before you can sit down at the keyboard you’ll be like, “Oh, yeah. I left it on the goddamn clothes dryer.”

Hipstonite by Onezunzeros. If you’re like me, hipsters are always hovering around, copying every facet of how you dress, eat and play. It can be a bit much sometimes, especially if like me you are allergic to beard hair. Hipstonite emits a spread frequency hum that recreates the aural ambience of a Wal-Mart. The result? Hipsters leave, and they don’t come back!

MoneyDripper by See Plus Plus Plus. MoneyDripper is a new kind of personal debt visualizer: it’s financial insolvency you can see.  With a few taps, you enter your entire financial history as well as all of your account numbers. Then MoneyDripper displays a soothing image of water dripping onto a stone. Every drop means you are one step closer to hitting rock bottom of the financial shit hole you’ve dug yourself into. But the interface and gestural responses of this app are just so elegantly conceived and rendered, who cares?

Wooby Woo by Ye Aulde Appe Factorie. Wooby Woo is a FaceTime accessory for tiny babies and their back-to-work parents. This one-size-fits-most head bracket lets parents mount their iPhones to capture every expression on babies’ faces and watch them all day long as a PiP insert on their desktop monitors. And baby can see mommy and daddy hard at work in front of their computers, too. Unfortunately, due to the optimal focal distance of 6.47”, baby sees mommy and daddy as kind of these fuzzy blob-like things, but any crossed eyes or pre-migraine-like symptoms should clear up by adolescence. 

 

7 Little Words is an addictive little game

Comes now 7 Little Words (link is for iPhone), a casual word game from the people who made Moxie, another word game which I’ve tried but never fallen in love with. 

Much of this game’s appeal comes from its utter simplicity. At the top of the screen you get a list of seven crossword-style clues, with the letter counts for the answers. At the bottom is a grid of 20 word fragments. Each fragment is used in one and only one word. You tap word fragments to build words that answer the clues. It looks like this:

When you tap word fragments, they load in the input field and the “Shuffle” button converts to a “Guess” button. If you guess correctly, those fragments are removed from the grid. Here’s the completed screen for the puzzle above:

It gets tricky, because word fragments might contain parts of two syllables, and a single syllable might be divided into multiple fragments. There’s no time limit, and you can guess as often as you like. 

The game is a free download that comes with 50 puzzles, and there’s a free daily puzzle. Additional 50-puzzle game packs are available for $.99.

Nice little time waster. At the official site, you can play the daily puzzle online

My bite at the Apple: on Jobs's departure, iPhone 5's arrival

Jobs

Fanboy-ism is not in my nature. I’ve always tried to stay out of PC vs. Mac debates, even though I personally don’t like using PCs very much. Mostly my ambivalence is based on the fact that I have no rooting interest in either side. Maybe if I owned investments that depended on one platform or the other “winning,” I would care. But I don’t. My success, security and happiness don’t depend on it and I can’t really affect the outcome one way or another, so it’s just not something I choose to waste my time on. 

Macs and PCs are just tools, and some tools are right for some situations and some for others. I have no problem with people using PCs and loving it. Hooray for them. HOWEVER, I have thought a lot about the Mac’s influence and impact on my life, especially during the past year since I’ve started my own business.

My business infrastructure consists of my brain and my Mac. That’s pretty much it. That’s what puts food on my table. The Mac and the software it runs are creativity enablers. Sure, there’s probably nothing I can do on my Mac that I can’t do on a PC. But back in the 80s, the Mac made it easier and less intimidating for me to learn how to use it, and my capabilities have advanced as the platform—hardware, OS and software—has advanced. Because just as I don’t tighten a nut just for the pleasure of using a wrench, I don’t do the kind of work I do just for the pleasure of using a Mac. I use a Mac because I want to make stuff that people need and which I have the skills to make, but which would be much more difficult for me to make any other way.

And it has had a huge positive impact on my life in all kinds of ways. Sometimes I wonder how things would’ve gone for me if I hadn’t had the Mac to channel my creativity into productive output. So, yeah, I’d say Apple products have had an outsized influence on me. And I’d guess that Steve Jobs and his insistence on developing human-centric innovation is more responsible for that than any other single person. So, thanks, Steve. 

iPhone 5 Prediction

In light of the transition at Apple, I started wondering what their next big market disrupter will be. (The iPhone, iPhone 4 and iPad were all market disrupters in my view.) Since the iPhone 5 is rumored to be their next big product launch, it’s the likely candidate. So I wondered what it could possibly do or enable that would be disruptive in the same way its predecessors were. And my money is on the e-wallet.  

I’m predicting that the iPhone 5 will get millions of people in the US used to and comfortable with the idea of exchanging money with their phones. All of the technology exists, but the concept hasn’t taken off in this country yet for a number of reasons. I’m betting that the iPhone 5 will change that. And look for Apple to make massive amounts of money from billions of teeny-tiny transaction fees and build a tough-to-overcome first-to-market dominance. Again. 

Homer Simpson, UX consultant

I’m usually down on user experiences that flout convention. And, generally speaking, error messages are not the time and place to get clever. But I make an exception for Word Shaker, an acrostic word finder game on my iPhone. If you are playing against the clock, you can shake your phone to shuffle the letters, thus creating more words to find. But if you play in “casual mode,” that feature is intentionally disabled. If you try to use it, you’ll see this:

Cute.

New Netflix app shows movies, but doesn't mow lawn or give blowjobs

It’s gettin’ all Buck Rogers up in this bee-yotch.

The latest version of the Netflix iPhone app lets you watch instant view content on an iPhone. I think it’s only been possible on the iPad up to now.

And, as you can (kinda) see by the uber-meta-ironic screenshot, it looks great.

Continuing our train of thought on over-entitled users, there’s a plethora of bitchy comments in the app store, mostly because only the iPhone 4 lets you use the app to send video out to your TV. Hilarious.

DUDE, YOU HAVE AN ENTERTAINMENT VIEWING PLATFORM LOADED WITH AN ENTIRE TV/FILM LIBRARY IN YOUR POCKET. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?!

Cool iPhone game UFO on Tape: you WILL believe you have a European girlfriend

If you have $.99 burning a hole in your e-wallet, this ultra-intuitive game is easily worth a dollar of diversion. How intuitive is it? Well, there are no instructions; just start playing it and you’ll get it. Simple to learn, difficult to master. Great graphics and sound. Hectoring German girlfriend. What more could you ask, really?

iTunes app store: UFO on Tape