iOS 7 Released Today

Before you update, assuming your iOS device is supported, make sure you’re running the latest version of iTunes (11.1 for OS X Mountain Lion) by launching iTunes and going to the iTunes menu and choosing Check For Updates…. . Alternatively, you can download iTunes from Apple. Then, connect your iOS device to your computer with the USB cable, and backup your device to your computer.

Once you’ve updated and backed up, connect your device to a power source, go to the Settings App, then General, then Software Update to update your device.

After the iOS update arrives, update any apps that need it, then read this excellent TidBITS article by Tonya Engst: iOS 7 Pre-flight Checklist.

Apple Announces iOS 7 Release Date

Apple has announced that the iOS 7 release date will be September 18. iOS 7 will run on iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, and the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad 5.

Apple’s official iOS 7 page lists the features and updates, but I’m especially looking forward to iTunes Radio, AirPlay and some subtle but smart improvements in support of multitasking.

It does look very different, especially in terms of overall design concepts and icons, so I’ll be interested in seeing what it’s like to work with and the updated version.

Photobucket’s Stories Akin to iPhoto for iOS Journals

Photobucket has introduced Photobucket Stories as a brand-new Photobucket feature; in fact, it looks like Stories are still in Beta, and part of a general overhaul of Photobucket.

screen shot of an iPhoto for iOS Journal pageThe basic idea behind Stories is that you upload pictures, you select a background, you arrange them and title them, you select their size (small, medium, large), and you add text annotations in the form of small text fields with a choice of color and font (limited in both cases, but quite reasonable options).

You can drag and drop to rearrange; you can change photo size, text placement, etc. And it’s dead easy to Share your saved/published story, or invite collaborators.

Photobucket Stories are strikingly similar to iPhoto for iOS Journals. You can see what I thought about Journals for iPhoto for iOS.

You can’t add weather and calendar widgets, and stories are a bit more limited in terms of options for layouts, but the concept is the same, and frankly, it’s a bit easier to us (at least on the Web; thus far it doesn’t seem to be actively supported by the PhotoBucket iOS app). Like Journals, Stories have built in facilities for sharing a link to a Story, but at least at present there’s no way to download all the content and make a stand-alone static Web site, the way you can with iPhoto for iOS Journals.

What’s interesting in particular about Stories is that you can collaborate with others on a Story. That’s a neat way to create a record of a family or group event, or to share data.

I made, roughly, the same kind of a Story as one of the previous Journals I made with iPhoto for iOS.

Here’s the Photobucket Story about Life in Washington.

Here’s the iPhoto for iOS Journal about A Year in Washington.  

I’m curious to see which of the new features are implements and supported in iOS apps.

iPhoto for iOS Journals

One of the niftiest new features of iPhoto for iOS are the Journals. Journals are digital scrapbooks, with photos, videos, and text items, including dividers, subheads, free-form text fields, and widgets (“Extras” in Apple parlance) like calendars, weather, and location and map data.

The Journals are created via the Sharing icon; you select images and videos, a layout and background, and give the Journal a title (if you’re creating a Journal based on an album, the album name is automatically supplied as the title, but you can change it). Once you have arranged the images and videos, and added the extras you want, you can Publish the journals to iCloud, or to a public Webpage derived from your iCloud account. Any changes you make to the journal (or its photos) can then be applied to the published version.

That’s all well and good.

But if you use the iTunes File Sharing support for iPhoto, you can export your journals. Open the journal in iPhoto, tap the Share icon, then tap the iTunes icon. Next, connect your iOS device to your computer, and open iTunes. Select your device, then click the Apps tab, and scroll down to the File Sharing pane.

Exporting is a bit slow (the speed is very much dependent on the resolution and size of your photos and their number) but you end up with a neat, orderly directory named after you journal, with all the photos, thumbnails, versions of the widgets and their data, and Javascript, htacces, html files included to create an independent mini Website. All you need to do is upload the entire directory and its files.

I suspect Journals were at least partially meant to be a replacement for .mac Web galleries, and, to some extent, for iWeb. It’s a nice idea. What I would have preferred as a feature, personally, was something like the old iCards, even if they were email only.