Forced to say goodbye to streams

Many of you have asked me why there aren’t more updates recently. The pace of updates is broken because it’s been impossible for us to get our latest versions approved by Apple’s app submission review.

Apple is forcing us to remove every feature that, under their view, makes Squire a file sharing application. We’re currently trying to resolve these issues making Apple come to terms with the fact that Squire:

  • Does not provide files to users.
  • Does not allow the sharing of magnet/torrent links between users.

Honestly, I’ve never considered Squire to be a torrent client and I think it’d be unfair to regard it that way. Squire lets the user gather their library in a single place regardless of the content’s origin. Squire gives users total freedom to organize their library as they see it fits them better.

After weeks of trying countless solutions, today I assume there’s really no turning back. This battle is lost. Apple is forcing me to terminate Streams and its associated features or face the pulling from the App Store (currently the app is removed from sale) and have my developer account cancelled. Enforced by Apple, the next Squire revision will eliminate all torrent and magnet support.

I want to remain optimist however. I think Squire is much more than a single feature we’re missing now. For example, our new update will enable the scanning and automatic identification of files stored in your put.io account. We’ll soon further extend the support to Dropbox, and Google Drive. Also, we’ll focus on enhancing Plex compatibility and support, as well as adding other planned features: offline mode, push notifications, etc.

Finally, Plex in Squire

Squire has been supporting Plex for many months now but we’re aware that it was a partial support and was far from being perfect. Our latest update has been a big jump and we think now Squire can be considered a great Plex client too.

In addition to being able to use your local server, Squire now also lets you enjoy your shared libraries or your Plex Cloud. Better yet, why not everything at once? Forget about selecting servers or typing IPs and ports manually. Just connect your Plex.tv account to Squire and we’ll take care of the rest. All your movies and TV shows from all your connected servers will be added to your Squire library.

All Plex support has been re-written from te ground up. We’ll keep on improving our system with each update. My most sincere thanks to our beta testers, specially Richard, Brice, Essam and Taylor.

Launching our News section

One of the problems (and a nice one to have, actually) for those of us movie and TV show lovers, is to be up to date about that show that’s trending on internet or that movie not to be missed at cinemas. We’ve all been hurt in our pride of movie/show enthusiast when a good friend asks “you really haven’t seen this show?” or “you haven’t watched this trailer yet?”

News in your iPhone

News in your iPhone

It’s no use for a library to be organized, clean and updated if you’re not able to keep up with new shows and movies you could watch in the future.

With Squire we want to solve this in various ways. Increasingly we’ll be implementing new features towards this. The first and most obvious will be a “News” section. As we mentioned in previous posts, if you’ve become a premium user you’ll be enjoying new features progressively. Here’s a new advantage to becoming premium… and it won’t be the last.

New Premium Memberships

I don’t know what Squire means to you. For me it’s the way to have the best possible experience managing my TV shows and movies. In my vision of what this experience should be, there are some functionalities that could not be achievable in the current format. Features that carry additional costs to the user or imply a lot of support and maintenance resources.

Squire is a small product, a one-man business built by taking away from sleep and spare time. Like most of the apps form the App Store it’s not profitable, despite having a considerable user base.

New premium interface for tvOS

New premium interface for tvOS

So in order to introduce these major new functionalities and still make of Squire a great user experience we had to choose between a couple of options:

  1. Create a new 2.0 version that breaks the old one, abandon current version support and user base, making then everyone pay in equal terms.
  2. Continue working in the current version and offer a monthly premium account for those wanting to upgrade to the additional functions and help us keeping the application alive. All for a minimal monthly fee.

I finally chose the latter.

This new version has a player powered by a completely new engine, new interface elements, subtitle support improvements, better Plex support… all this and many more features that current users can enjoy without spending a single dollar.

Additionally, we offer the first premium features:

  • Put.io account support, so you can forget about Squire Helper to play your movies and TV shows.
  • New detail interface view on Apple TV.
  • High quality trailers.
  • Clips with interviews, behind the scenes and other extras.
Loading screen. Premium extras and behind the scenes clips.

Loading screen. Premium extras and behind the scenes clips.

We know, it may not seem much at this point but we plan soon to add many more:

  • Better put.io support.
  • Support for Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive…
  • Offline mode for video watching from anywhere, even without a connection.
  • Intelligent notifications.
  • Recommendations.
  • News

If you really enjoy Squire, want to help it improve and also help us afford these new functions I very much appreciate your subscription.

Thanks in advance.

Redesigning Squire for iPad

Our new update for iOS is focused on iPad features. Until now we were dissatisfied with what we offered. Honestly, the iPad version did not keep a consistent line with what's available for iPhone. While both were Squire they looked like different apps.

Portrait mode

Portrait mode

If you mainly use squire for iPhone you'll feel right at home with the new iPad version. It works as intuitively, it feels familiar and it takes advantage of the bigger screen real state provided by iPad.

Show Details

Show Details

If iPad is you main device for using Squire get ready because this update is a huge step forward. Now you’ll be a bee to rotate your iPad and use Squire in either orientation. Navigation will be more straightforward, adds support for iOS 10 etc.

Movie details

Movie details

We’re aware there are still things to improve. We’ll keep on sweating the details you’ll be able to enjoy in further updates.

Actor bio and filmography

Actor bio and filmography

New versions for Apple TV and iOS

After a rather troublesome revision process we’ve released the new versions for Apple TV and iOS, available now. This new new version makes some deep internal changes to allow future improvements in upcoming months:

  • Cloud service to allow the syncing of playback position, TV show tracking and Watch Later/Favorites list state.
  • New local data persistence system.
  • First version to support Plex Media Server in local networks.
  • New settings.

Right now it might not look like a big deal for everyday use, but in the near future it’ll help deploy frequent and important updates.

The most relevant feature is perhaps the addition of Plex support announced in previous posts. This is the first version that supports Plex Media Server locally and, even if we have been testing Squire for months, it’s not until now that the app faces thousands of Plex libraries installed in multiple devices, each one with its own peculiarities. We’ll need your help and greatly appreciate all reports sent to support@squireapp.com. We hope there are no major problems. Thanks for your patience.

Alive and kicking

The pace of updates to Squire these past months has been pretty steady. With a new version out every few weeks the product has been growing healthy. During this last month, however, updates have taken a break and we’d like to explain why.

As you may know, in order to use Squire today you need a Mac computer running Squire Helper.

Current flow

Current flow

Many Windows and Linux users have expressed to us their desire to become users too. It’s kinda sad not to be able to offer this possibility and we’ve been working hard to support Plex Media Server as an answer. Do you have a Plex Library in your Windows or Linux computer or even running on a NAS? You’ll be soon able to access and manage that within Squire. Do you have a library in Squire Helper and another running in Plex Media Server? Don’t worry, Squire will merge both magically under a single interface without any hassles on your side.

Add support to Plex Media Server

Add support to Plex Media Server

Now, you could ask yourself, if I can use Squire without Helper running, what will happen to all my data? Where will my Watch Later lists go, or the TV shows I’m currently following? When I return to that episode I was watching yesterday, how will Squire know the point to resume? Until now all this data was stored in Helper but now that it’s not essential we’ve been compelled to change that paradigm.

If you turn off Squire Helper, you will have the Plex Media Server library. However, how do you store the library data?

If you turn off Squire Helper, you will have the Plex Media Server library. However, how do you store the library data?

Squire Helper will not be the data source for your library. We have instead created a cloud service that will slowly grow to sync all your data, no matter if you use either Plex Media Server or Squire Helper, be located in your home network or a friend’s… All without having to have a Mac available at all times!

New flow. Manage all your library data everytime and everywhere.

New flow. Manage all your library data everytime and everywhere.

More information is coming soon in following posts :)

Settings in AppleTV version

We keep on improving the app week after week. This update brings many small improvements that’ll make you feel more comfortable using Squire.

We also bring an all-new Settings view where we’ll be adding features so you can customize Squire to your like. For starters, you’ll be able to configure your subtitles appearance and activate/deactivate soundtracks music from movies.

 

Setup subtitles

In detail:

- Configure size, font, color and subtitle background to adapt it to your TV screen, customize them to your like (see image above).
- Interface visual improvements.
- The gesture used to open and close the upper menu in the video player behaves more consistently with the standard system gesture.
- Fixes a small bug when marking episodes as watched.
- Fixes small bugs regarding environment sound management.
- Now the app behaves more consistently when entering and coming out of background usage.
- Fixes other minor bugs.

For you, the users.

When you devote so much effort to something there’s always the fear of things not working out and receiving negative feedback. I am perfectly aware that Squire still needs much work, there’s lots of improvements to be done and new features to be developed.

However, the feedback we have gathered from you, the end users, has been really incredible. The contribution to ideas, comments and suggestions has been constant.

And when things go wrong I’ve always met at the other side of support plenty of helpful people with lots of patience that put me on the right track to find the bug that was needed to be ironed.

I think these thoughts deserved a post. I just wanted to express a sincere “thank you”.

New iOS Update

Starting today you can find a new update to Squire for iOS. The new features added some weeks ago to the AppleTV version can now be enjoyed on your iPhone too. You can browse the cast from your favorite movies and TV shows, look for similar content and many other visual improvements.

 

We have also improved video rendering and made some visual and stability enhancements. We take care of each version with great attention to detail, so the iPad version is not yet ready with these new features but rest assured we are working hard to get them in your hands as soon as possible.

New seasons is coming

If you have "House of Cards" in your following list, congratulation!. Netflix has just brought online a new House of Cards season four teaser. All 13 episodes are set to hit the streaming service on Friday, March 4. 

 

And more surprises. The HBO officially released a cryptic teaser of “Game of Thrones” Season 6. The sixth season premiere of “Game of Thrones” debuts April 24.

2016 Super Bowl Movie Trailers

Considering this is the year’s most popular TV show in the US, Hollywood doesn’t miss the opportunity to showcase new scoops on the best upcoming features.

We leave you here with some of the advances set for upcoming months that were broadcasted on american TVs during the Super Bowl:

 

X-Men: Apocalypse

 

Captain America: Civil War

 

Independence Day: Resurgence

 

Deadpool

 

Jason Bourne

 

Gods of Egypt

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

The Secret Life of Pets

 

Alice Through the Looking Glass

 

The Jungle Book

 

Eddie the Eagle

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

More Info...

It’s always been clear to us that Squire had to be a tremendously simple application with a clean interface. These past weeks we‘ve been working on adding more information to enrich the browsing experience and help you choosing a suitable movie or TV show to watch.

So, how do we achieve a clean, simple interface and offer a good amount of information at the same time? The result after weeks of work is displayed below:

We are happy to present our next update. With it you’ll be able to browse movies, lookup Rotten Tomatoes ratings, learn more about your favorite actors and gather basic recommendations of similar movies and TV shows.

But that is not all. This update also offers:

  • Countless visual and performance improvements on the interface.
  • Improved compatibility with Helper settings.
  • Minor bug fixes.

The app has already been submitted to Apple and we cross fingers so you can soon enjoy it on your Apple TV.

Review tvOS today

Many thanks to “tvOS Today” for the Squire video review. If you want to watch it you can enjoy it here:

New Player

Until now Squire has been using the native iOS media player. This means that Helper must convert video on the fly and send it in the correct format to your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. This approach has many advantages but it also means that Helper has to work continuously and make lossy video conversions.

The upcoming Squire update will showcase a whole new media player, so realtime conversions will be a thing of the past. Devices will show an optimal picture quality, faster load times, better subtitle support and better overall performance.

Also expect many other enhancements.