5 days with Apple: WWDC 2017

As always the keynote was grand, and didn’t disappoint in spite of the high expectations.. but it was just the beginning of Apple’s 5-day mega tech event, the Worldwide Developers Conference.


With around 6000 participants – including the “randomly selected attendees” like myself, scholarship winners and Apple employees, it was a masterpiece of organisation.


A word about the registration process: due to high demand, the chance to register is given by a lottery system. A period of nearly a month is given to apply and then from those who have applied, some are randomly selected and informed. (Note: This is not a free scholarship) I tried my chance for three years, and got in this time 🙂


And it has been a wonderful experience.


The rest of the conference was a mix of tech sessions, interactive labs, special guest speakers and entertainment events.


This year’s guest speakers included: Michelle Obama, Christine Darden (first African-American woman in senior management at NASA), Todd Stabelfeldt (who has lived with quadriplegia since 8, a noted expert in technologies for persons with disabilities), and Miral Kotb (inventor of iLUMINATE – groundbreaking light suits used for mesmerizing dance performances).


Michelle Obama @ WWDC 17
WWDC 17 guest speaker Dr. Christine Darden, the first African-American woman in senior management at NASA has done groundbreaking work on sonic boom minimisation
Todd Stabelfeldt
Miral Kotb and iLUMINATE dancers
The sessions were great, and of very high quality – the design sessions were especially delightful to attend – but what made it special to be here in person was the chance given go one on one with Apple engineers, designers and other experts on App related matters, which was remarkable, considering the scale of the event.


Some more glimpses from the conference:

Breakfast was a matter of bread, cakes, fruit and coffee
Lunch was provided in boxes and included veg and non veg options
The weather outside was bright and sunny most of the time
And not least – “the Bash” – an evening of entertainment with live performance by acclaimed group Fall Out Boy

Courier Tracker for iPhone & iPad!

Courier Tracker »Multi« is now available for iPhone & iPad!

Courier Tracker »Multi«

Download on the App Store

The Lord of the Shipments: One App to Track Them All!

  • Tracking for ONE HUNDRED AND SIX popular courier services in India and around the world
  • TRACKING HISTORY with a COLOR scheme and tagging for easy identification
  • SMART PASTE to paste text directly from an sms or email: copy & paste an entire message or a link and the tracking number will be searched for and pasted
  • SHARING of tracking details directly from the app via email, AirDrop, iMessage and more

Note: The app works by directing the queries to the tracking sites of the respective couriers.

Updates for iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

All iOS apps featured here have been updated for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – with resizable launch screens, auto layout and landscape orientation support.  All of these make the apps essentially independent of the device screen size, and hence all of them now run without scaling on the iPad as well!

Train Status on iPhone 6 Plus
Train Status running on iPhone 6 Plus

Of course whether that is required is another matter, an app such as Divert Calls would meaningless to have on on iPad, so would Ticket Wallet, more or less, since the tickets must be copied from SMS messages – but still, if installed, they do run happily on the large screens.

The apps that already supported iPad (Train Alarm, IV Thrombolysis) will continue to do so but designing the layouts for iPhone 6 & 6 Plus has lead to several further tweaks which improve the overall interface even on smaller iPhones (I suppose that’s what we’ll be calling iPhone 4 & 5 hence forth!).

However, the app that benefitted the most is: Train Statusit now a Universal app, that can be installed, and runs without scaling on all screens, from iPhone 4 to iPad –  and thus being available now for two whole new families of devices.

Updates for iOS 8

The next update of Train Alarm for iOS comes with new features for iOS 8: A Today View Widget that shows up-to-date distance to latest alarm station, and ‘Show in Map’ action for alarm notifications.

Train AlarmWith iOS 8 round the corner, and Apple gently nudging to update  apps with shiny new versions in time for the big release on 17th, the past week has been busy, and the rewards, well, shall soon be ‘available on the App Store’.Download on the App Store

Managing  the different screen sizes with  larger iPhones turned out to be quite easy,  the only thing extra that was really required was a new 3x res app icon for the high pixel density of the 6 Plus screen. A few other issues regarding access to system services like notifications, location services and background tasks were sorted out.

The interesting part was trying to implement some of the new features in the latest iOS. As mentioned in the last WWDC, iOS 8 is a big release for developers and opens up a lot of the system to developers.

  1. Notification actions – which are small optional buttons that can be added to notifications to provide faster and meaningful interaction with the information. This was relevant for the Train Alarm app, so that a new option has been added, “View in Map” for the alarm notifications.
  2. Widgets – yes, iOS finally has widgets, but they are implemented in a unique way that is both unobtrusive yet seems quite powerful. They live in the “Today” view. This also was relevant for Train Alarm, to have a widget that would update the location to the latest alarm station, this has also been added in the update.

So look out for these exiting new features in the next release!

Indian Train Alarm for iPhone & iPad

Indian Train AlarmLocation based alarms for Indian Train Stations – now available for iPhone & iPad!

Download on the App Store

Just like the Android & WP8 versions, this app comes with a list of Indian Railway Stations, with their locations, to set the alarms. Over 2500 stations are currently listed, more stations are being continuously added, and you can also add stations on your own after downloading the app!

Be informed when your train is about to reach a station, using the location services on your iPhone or iPad! No internet connection is required for the alarms to work.

The alarms may be set with a triggering radius of 10km or 25km, and will be triggered within an error margin of 1/2 – 2km depending on the accuracy of the location fix.

The app uses low battery consuming location detection provided by the latest iOS core location technologies.

Download on the App Store

Ticket Wallet for iPhone

Ticket Wallet for iPhone. is now available.  The app offers easy and convenient storage for Indian Railways SMS e-tickets – with built-in PNR status quierying, quick link to train enquiry and sharing options.  Also has the berth & Seat calc.

Note: The app is compatible currently only with the SMS sent after booking at the IRCTC website.Ticket Wallet

Just copy the railway ticket SMS and open the app, it will offer to save it.  No more searching around for the ticket SMSes –  all the SMSes are saved in one place.

There are options to check PNR status, open the train enqiury site to get live status and schedules and also to share the ticket via the standard messaging options available on the handset, including Air Drop, if available.

PNR status caching is available, which enables quick rechecking of the status and berth / seat nos without going online.

And finally, there is the unique Berth and Seat calc, to look up the confirmed seat and birth positions. No longer wonder whether its a middle berth or an aisle seat!

Ticket Wallet

Indian Train Status – Quick Tip: Paste the Entire PNR SMS!

Noted in a review for the app: “am looking fwd to pasting the entire SMS for finding PNR status”.  Well dear user, your wish has already been granted!

If you copy an entire SMS, go to the app (in Android) and hit paste, the PNR contained in the SMS alone will be pasted automatically, and the status enquiry will proceed.

In iOS, if you copy an entire SMS with PNR, and open the app, the PNR will be already pasted there, just hit Check to proceed!

Indian Train Status – Offline Time Tables

In the latest update, Indian Train Status v4.6 for Android, and  v2.8 for iPhone, the option to save Time Tables for offline viewing has been added.  The icon has also been updated.

Indian Train Status
Indian Train Status: New Icon

While traveling in a train, it is far more accurate to compare the saved time table, with the GPS location on the map to get the train status rather than depend on live status from trainenquiry.com, which is often inaccurate.  So accurate it could be called “Ninja” train status!

Get it on Google Play