Step It Up Redesigned

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After a lot of thought and hard work this summer, Step It Up for iPhone has been redesigned from the ground up. If you remember Step It Up used to have a graph of your steps for the each of the day, then I used a circle, similar to the one on the Apple Watch app. Now, Step It Up has no graphics to display your steps. Why? Well, in my opinion, the graph began to look old, dated and wasn’t really that useful. Instead, I wanted to make it easier to visualize your whole progress throughout the day. This is what led to the circle view, similar to the Activity app or the Step It Up Watch app. While this made viewing your progress throughout the day super simple, it looked cheap. So, today, I am announcing the new Step It Up design. Step It Up now displays just your raw data, in a beautiful layout. This lets you quickly see the information you care about, and get on with your day. Additionally, I have been thinking a lot about goals and daily activity. While goals are important, it is much more important to listen to your body and do what is healthy. Sometimes, not hitting your step goal is the healthy thing to do for a day or two, just don’t make it a habit. Which is why you now see much more information about averages. You should really make sure that your weekly average is above your goal. This would mean, most days, you’re hitting your goal and improving your health.

The weight tracker has also been redesigned, however, I am still not very pleased with that design. It turns out, it is very difficult to visualize your weight and display it in a meaningful way. Please keep looking for changes to the weight tracker, and give me feedback.

Finally, starting with this release, I will be aiming to release new updates every 2-3 weeks. I decided this after much thought this summer, the version I had been running all summer on my iPhone and Watch was so much better than the version on the App Store. I decided I do not want to wait for big features or to have a lot of changes to push out updates. Every 2 weeks is my goal, but if a few more days are needed for testing or development, 3 weeks is okay. This will allow users to have the best possible app, at all times. Some updates will be small, like super small, other updates will have some big changes. My ultimate goal is to provide you with the best app and remind you, that I am always working on Step It Up, even if it doesn’t look like it.

You can download the new Step It Up today on the App Store and you can upgrade to Step It Up Plus for $2.99 inside Step It Up.

Pine Now On Watch

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Pine is now available on Apple Watch. Pine for Watch was delayed from the launch of Pine, because I wanted to spend more time with it making sure it was perfect. I am pleased with how it has turned out and learned some important lessons about developing for Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is a great device for Pine, you can access all five breathing exercises right on your wrist. Once you complete a breathing exercise, Pine will sync that exercise to Your Profile on your iPhone so you can look back at your progress.

Pine for Watch also features a great complication for Apple Watch allowing you to launch Pine right from your Watch Face.

I’m very pleased with how Pine for Watch turned out, I hope you enjoy it. Pine for Apple Watch is available today for free on the App Store.

Pine Now (Sort of) Free

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When Pine first launched on the App Store in January, I was charging $4.99 to download Pine. After several weeks on the App Store I have realized that this business model for Pine will not work. Getting the right business model on the App Store is tricky and you can rarely get it right the first time.

According to my App Store Analytics, Pine has been seen by roughly 50% more users in the App Store than Step It Up… However, the amount of downloads does not reflect this difference. This is expected since Step It Up is free and Pine is not, but the difference is far more than expected.

After some thought, I have decided to offer Pine as a free download with two breathing exercises available immediately after download for users to try. Users can then unlock all five breathing exercises by upgrading to Pine Premium for $1.99 (USD). This decision appears to me as the best choice.

Pine Premium will transfer to all of the devices you can use Pine on: iPhone, iPad, Apple TV. If you purchase pine on your iPhone, it will transfer to your iPad automatically and vice versa.

If you purchased Pine on the App Store before it was a free download, I would like to thank you for supporting me. Please email me with a copy of your receipt from the App Store and I will provide you with a promo code to unlock Pine Premium.

Pine Launches on App Store

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Today I am excited to announce that Pine is available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Pine is a guided breathing exercise app designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Pine features five breathing exercises, a profile view of all of your past breathing exercise, and quotes about mediation and self-care.

The five breathing exercises Pine supports are Relax, Simple, Energize, Box Breathing, and Sleep. Relax, or 4-7-8 breathing, is a popular breathing exercise that is perfect for when you begin to feel the anxiety building up during the day. Simple is a quick and easy breathing exercise to help you take a minute and collect your thoughts. Energize lets you skip your afternoon coffee for a healthier alternative. This exercise gives you a surprising amount of energy in just one minute, it’s by far my favorite. Box Breathing, improves your concentration and performance. It’s used by professionals around the world, including the U.S. Navy SEALs and professional athletes. Finally, Sleep will help you wind down after your busy day and get ready for bed.

After you complete each breathing exercise you’ll see a new quote about relaxation, mediation, or self-care. I think this is a great way to end a breathing exercise and to help your prepare you for heading back out into the world. 

Pine is available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. I wanted Pine to be on as many devices as possible at launch so that it’s available for you no matter where you are in your day. Maybe you’re drawing on your iPad, or just drove to a job interview, or about to watch TV after a long day. Pine is always there for you. 

I think today’s world has a lot of negativity and stress. I started making Pine back in July of 2018 for myself as a way to take a break from all of the stress we all face and reenergize. After months of development and testing, I believe I ended up making a great guide breathing app for everyone. I hope with Pine you will be able to take some breaks from your day and find joy, happiness, and calm in your life. 

Thank You

I wanted to finish this post with a quick thank you. I’d like to thank my family and friends for your unwavering support and insight while I was developing Pine. I would not have been able to finish Pine without your support, and it would not have been the app that it is without your insight and suggestions. Thank you!

Lastly, if you purchase Pine, thank you! I spent a lot of time programming, designing, and testing Pine to make sure it’s perfect for you. I hope you enjoy it and please reach out to me at casey@beansbytes.com with any feedback or suggestions. I would love to hear how it is or can help your life.

You can buy Pine on the App Store today for $4.99. I also recommend following Pine on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest updates and features. You can find Pine on both platforms by following: @Pine_Breathing.

Below is a YouTube video I made to show off some of the features of Pine.

2018 Year End Review

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Now that 2018 is over, I like to take some time and look back at what worked, kind of worked, and didn’t work in the past year. This provides insights into where I should take Bean’s Bytes into the new year and beyond. 2018 was the first year Bean’s Bytes did not have iScan for sale and instead focused solely on Step It Up. iScan was the most successful app I had ever released and the decision to remove it from sale was a difficult one. Looking at Step It Up’s numbers, I believe I made the right choice. Step It Up is designed to help users live healthier lives and feel better about themselves. From the emails I’ve received this year, it seems that I have succeeded in that regard. Additionally, in September of 2018, I launched Step It Up Plus. A new way to pay for Step It Up to unlock new features and help fund development. Step It Up Plus is on track to out gross iScan, but with only 3 months of information, it’s hard to say for certain. This is important to keep track of so I can keep making great apps.

What didn’t work.

What seems clear to me, however, is Step It Up is extremely unstable on some devices and seems to be hiding bugs left & right. Therefore, in early 2019 I will begin rewriting the entire app to improve performance and fix bugs. Step It Up is 7 years old, which means there is 7-year-old code in there. After 7 years I couldn’t tell you what that code could be doing to Step It Up. I’ve learned a lot in the past seven years and Step It Up has grown a lot in that time too. I think there’s no reason in no longer making Step It Up available to users, but rather making it an app that brings you joy and just works. If you want to learn more about the coding lessons skip ahead to Technical Notes. Before rewriting Step It Up I will take some time to determine what it is users love the most, and how to make that easier to use. I think overall step counting, viewing past days activity (weeks and months as well), and tracking your weight seem to be the biggest use cases and request for improvement.

Looking ahead in 2019

This leads me to Pine. Pine is a new app I’ve been working on for a good half of 2018. Pine is a breathing and meditation app for iPhone. Lots of talk in 2018 was about how bad phones are for our health and well-being. I think this is true, but we can make our phones a tool to improve our lives. I hope with Pine users can take a minute or two every day out of their busy lives to take a breath slow down and take care of themselves. Pine will feature five breathing exercises at launch, Simple, Relax, Energize, Box Breathing, and Sleep. Each exercise has a specific purpose which is explained in the app when you select it. After you complete the breathing exercise you’re presented a screen with a quote about relaxing or taking control of our busy lives.

Technical Notes

Pine is my first Swift only app. It took me some time to learn the new syntax but once I did I realized how improved it is over Objective-C. My plan for Step It Up is to completely rewrite the app in Swift. I think this will lead to better performance and improved stability. With the old code in Step It Up, I learned that it’s important to keep track of what each line is doing. While 95% of the app I can tell you everything occurring, 5% of the code has stuff happening that I can’t entirely figure out. Rather than going through and removing or improving that 5%, I think a Swift version of Step It Up will be better. Swift lets your code be more clear and simple, and overall I think it’s more flexible to my demands. This version will crash less and more reliable.

In Summary.

Last year was a great year, with a lot of lessons for me personally and professionally. In 2019 Bean’s Bytes will launch Pine, an app to help users take back their busy lives. It will also rewrite Step It Up to lead to a more stable and reliable version of the app. This rewrite will lead to many more years of tracking your activity with Step It Up. I look forward to hearing from you all in the new year.

Happy New Year,

Casey

Pine - Now Available for Testing

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Today Bean’s Bytes is launching testing of a new app, Pine. Pine is a breathing exercise app. It is now available for beta testing via TestFlight. Pine is a new app which has a focus on a relaxing, easy to use design. In today’s constantly going and notification interrupted lives, Pine focuses on removing distractions from your world for a minute to help you ground yourself in the world and relax.

Pine has 5 different breathing exercises you can pick from, Relax, Simple, Energize, Box Breathing, and Sleep. Each one has different durations and breathing styles which Pine will walk you through. Each one has a description to help you decide what breathing exercise will help you most in the present moment. Additionally, Pine features a relaxing natural background while you’re breathing, all of which have been personally taken by me.

I am doing a public beta test via TestFlight of Pine for several reasons. The first being, as an app that is intended to help you relax the last thing you want to see is an ad. Therefore, Pine will be a paid upfront app in the App Store. I want to make sure that after you buy Pine you are delivered the best possible experience without any bugs or poor design. I’m asking the tester to determine what they think of Pine, what works and what doesn’t work, what needs more design work and what works great. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Secondly, even though Pine is not ready for the App Store yet, I want to get Pine in the hands of as many users as possible now. With that in mind, I decided that Pine as a beta would allow you to get access to a great and peaceful experience on your phone while helping look for bugs. Any feedback you can provide is greatly appreciated.

You can click on this link to begin testing Pine now.