AWT News Update: June 9, 2016

A lot of fun, interesting, and historical Apple news today:

  • Take fun retro photos with BitCam, a 20th anniversary gift app from Iconfactory.
  • Facebook's iOS app now supports upload and viewing of 360° spherical photos
  • Two more metro areas -- and one national rail service -- gain transit direction support on Apple Maps
  • Apple co-founder and legend Steve Jobs met with the head of a team building a lightweight and inexpensive car way back in 2010

The text version of this post can be viewed below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for June 9, 2016.

If early tweets are any indication, a new app from Iconfactory is going to be very, very popular. BitCam is a special, free with in-app purchase app made for the company’s 20th anniversary that takes really retro bit-mapped photos. Yes, anything you snap can look just like it’s being displayed on an original Mac in one of three different modes — Super-Res (which looks like a monochrome halftone photo), Standard (which looks quite a bit like an original Mac image, and FatBits (which is really chunky!). There’s an in-app purchase for adding a 8-bit “color card” to your handheld computer, but like many of those early apps we used to love and hate so much, BitCam crashes when you try to make the purchase. Developer Craig Hockenberry says that an updated version is on the way, and he’s hopeful that it will go through Apple’s new expedited App Store process within a day or two. BitCam is available on the App Store.

Facebook today announced that it will allow users to start uploading 360° photos to their News Feed through the newly updated Facebook app for iOS. If you’re not familiar with 360° photos, just think of being inside a photograph that completely surrounds you. Photos of this type can be taken with the iPhone using a variety of apps, or with a higher-resolution camera like the Ricoh Theta S. The images are then viewable in the web interface and in the mobile apps. With an iPhone, viewing a 360° photo is done by just moving the phone around so that it is pointing in the direction that the camera was facing when the photo was taken. It’s the first step in a VR revolution at the popular social media site.

If you live in Miami Florida or Atlanta Georgia, you’ll be thrilled to know that Apple has added Maps support for transit directions in your city. That’s not all; the UK’s National Rail system is now supported in Maps.

In case you think that Apple’s interest in building cars is something new, it turns out that Steve Jobs himself met with the creators of a unique inexpensive and lightweight vehicle called the V-Vehicle way back in 2010. At the time, the V-Vehicle team was looking at creating a petroleum-powered car that could sell for as little as $14,000. The body was made of polypropylene and glass fibre, allowing the vehicle to be 40% lighter than a normal steel body car, while 70% less expensive to produce. Of course, it’s likely that a future Apple car will be electric and not exactly inexpensive, but it’s fascinating to know that there is some history behind what is currently known as Project Titan.

We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.