Nutshell: Easy as 1-2-3

With what feels like little room for new contenders, Prezi enters the arena with Nutshell: a new way to create and share stories.

Simply take three “snapshots” in a any given scene, and Nutshell will stitch them together into one seamless video with just a touch of Ken Burns.1

Depending on the content, calling them “stories” might be a bit of a stretch, but nonetheless Prezi at least wants you to try.

If content is king, Nutshell’s patriarch is on vacation.

Since the app is so new — not even a week old — there isn’t much to see or browse. You’re given three “inspirations” that serve as basic, uninspired ways to use the app. There’s no “following” friends or catch-all feed to scroll through.

In some ways, focusing the app on pure content creation rather than a social network could actually work in Prezi’s favor. By being limited to only three “snaps,” the resulting video ends up being relavity short — perfect for sharing to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Thankfully, the app is incredibly simple to use. When creating a nutshell, there are three buttons: back/cancel, take a photo and switch cameras. That’s it.

After you’ve taken your three photos, Nutshell you compile your “story.” From there, you can text and various animated graphics to spruce up your nuthsell.

It’ll end up looking something like this.

  1. The Ken Burns effect, for the uneducated.

Though, it’s difficult to gauge how effective Nutshell can be at telling stories.

For one, it seems like the app favors a pre-plannned approach when it comes to setting up shots. The nature and theme of the app doesn’t lend itself to spontaneity.

While Nutshell certainly has a few unique qualities that set it a part from others, I don’t see it having the same staying power compared to other apps of it’s kind. Being limited to three photos is both a blessing and a curse. If you’re ever in a situation that requires more than three “scenes,” you’re out of luck.

Without the juggernauts on Instagram, Vine, etc., Nuthshell doesn’t stand a chance of surviving if the videos made aren’t shared across other platforms.

There’s potential. But without some kind of breakthrough, Prezi’s new app will be a tough nut to crack.

The Apple Watch is a first generation product with a heart of gold

Announced back in September alongside the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch has been quite the talk of the tech community since Apple unveiled their foray into the smart-watch realm.

Aside from the little demos Apple has given to the press and public, not much has been known about how the Apple Watch will actually work for developers—until now. Known as WatchKit, the development platform and guidelines are now available from Apple. For first time, we are now able to dig a little deeper into Apple's new platform. Diving into the myriad of documents and guidelines released by Apple reveals a number of new facts about the Apple Watch.

One of the most interesting things I found on Apple's WatchKit page is that Apple Watch apps come in two components: the WatchKit extension and the UI elements installed on the watch. According to The Verge, who delved extensively deep into Apple's new development guidelines, an iPhone will be mandatory to use Apple Watch apps. Apparently, the watch won't have much function without being connected to an iPhone, especially in regards to third-party apps. This is because most of the processing power is done by the user's iPhone, which then sends information back and forth to the watch, according to The Verge.

Unfortunately, Apple stated in their press release that fully native Apple Watch apps won't be coming till next year. This means that for the time being, all Apple Watch apps must be extension functions of iPhone apps, which is probably what most people expect anyway.

For right now, third-party WatchKit apps will have three primary functions:

  1. A full app UI that users can launch and interact with
  2. Provide read-only glances of information to the user
  3. Show actionable notifications the user can interact with from their watch

The last thing of interest was that any and all maps that third-party developers show to a user on the watch are only static, according to the Verge. This means they can't be interacted with, only acted upon. This reveals an interesting design choice on Apple's part: to minimize confusion by limiting how a user might interact with such potentially dense information on their wrist, such as a map.

Overall, it seems like Apple is playing it safe with this first round of development tools. Though there is certainly room for improvement and complexity for the Apple Watch in the future, I think Apple knows this is still a first-generation products. It's going to have its kinks. Think about the first iPad or the first iPhone. Neither of those products were the stunners they are today. Apple is starting with another clean slate with the Apple Watch. It might not be the most exciting product at first, but I highly doubt Apple will give up on this thing so easily.

The Verge
Apple WatchKit
Apple Press Release
Image couresty of Apple