Hey, did you notice yet? Our other site, APK Mirror, got an update a little while ago. Things are... different. The site's design has been updated, and that means we've made some functional changes too.
We considered renting an all-white studio and some film equipment to tell a heartfelt (and, frankly, heartwarming) story about the new design - about how subatomic particles are related to APK files, how we carefully cut each button out of aircraft grade aluminum, how each material sheet is thinner and lighter than anything you've seen before, or something along those lines. But I couldn't get the budget cleared with Artem in time for this post, so we thought a simpler overview of what we've changed (and fixed) might be better.
A few days ago, Google announced newly revised icons for its Play-branded apps. Newsstand was the first to emerge with the updated look, but aside from very minor tweaks to a few of the icons inside the app, there wasn't anything significant to be seen. The Play Movies & TV app received a pretty similar update, again with a few minimal icon changes and the new launcher icon, but there's actually something more interesting in the teardown: new rules about streaming paid content when it's shared in the family library.
After Google announced the new icons, I insisted that AP should not post about the individual updates if those were the only changes worth pointing out.
Android N will be responsible for some big changes to phones and tablets, but that doesn't mean there aren't going to be some interesting things happening to the Android TV platform, as well. Installing the developer preview images onto a Nexus Player reveals some welcome improvements to the look and behavior of the Settings app, including a new visual layout and support for multiple accounts.
New Design for Settings
Left: previous version. Right: Android N Preview.
The Settings app has been given an entirely new look. Say goodbye to multiple rows of tiles, they've been replaced by a single column that looks very similar to the regular Settings app on phones or tablets, except it's anchored to the right side of the screen.
Google's Android Wear site is a great place to get started learning about the operating system for your wrist, from the different watches you can buy to the features available to you, the apps you can use to make even more use of it, and the watchfaces and bands that help you customize the look even further.
The site just got an overhaul that puts visuals first and makes the entire experience even more interactive. Specifically, the different sections of Try these apps are now dynamic, changing the screenshot on the watch as you hover over the icons to show you exactly what to expect from each application.
Whether you call them UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft), or drones, there's no denying that they are making waves. It's hard to bring up the subject without specifically talking about the DJI Phantom series. In the year since it was announced, the Phantom 3 has become the crowd favorite among photographers. Today, DJI announced the brand new Phantom 4, and it includes a boatload of improvements and new technology over earlier models.
The Phantom 4 looks a lot like its predecessors, but almost every aspect has been touched up or completely redesigned. The chassis is both stronger and lighter thanks to a new magnesium core, which should help in the event of a collision and hopefully bring up the flight time just a bit.
Have you compared YouTube on your phone to YouTube on a friend's phone lately? There are better than average chances that the two are at least slightly different. The video consumption app is a bit like a snowflake, at least in the sense that it's not the same experience for any two people. The latest experiment for some users is introducing a new icon for the floating action button (FAB) and an entirely new screen for uploading content to YouTube.
Left: older look. Right: new look.
There's not much of a change to the FAB itself, just a new icon. The somewhat generic upload icon has been replaced by a camcorder.
Some of you may think of Cerberus as a three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hell. Others may think of a service that can track down your phone and lock it as necessary. One of the two has decided to embrace material design.
Many a double-take were... taken? when the brand new Google+ redesign was unveiled. Not because the design didn't look great, or didn't perform well (as we know, the website is highly responsive and super speedy), but because of an interface element that appeared on the new Android app - the bottom tab bar.
Not since the days of holo have we seen the split action bar in Google's apps (unless you count the bar in Keep), so it seemed odd to find a bottom tab bar so prominently featured on almost every screen of Google+ in 2015. But there's more to the tab bar than just its unfamiliarity on the platform.
Out with the old and in with the new. That's just about the best way to describe the latest update to the Google app for Android TV. Version 2.0 doesn't seem to bring much in the way of features, but what it lacks in functional changes is more than made up for with visuals. Basically everything having to do with a search interface looks at least a little different, if not completely. If you're eager to try it out for yourself, there's an APK Mirror link at the bottom. Otherwise, take a gander at a few screenshots below.
New microphone – Left: old version, Right: new version.
The Google+ redesign from last week may look pretty, but it's also missing a lot of features that were available in the classic layout. This is true of every product revamp or relaunch: there will always be a tradeoff between getting all the bells and whistles of the new version and keeping the things you're used to on the old one. There's a whole help page that lays out most of the changes and features that the redesign still lacks, ranging from the simplification of profile pages to the (temporary) removal of polls from the web version. Fortunately, upgrading is still entirely optional, so for now you can stick with the classic version of Google+ if that suits you better.