Developers Show What They Could Make if Apple Opened Up Watch Face Development

Last week we linked to Marco Arment’s article critiquing Apple’s watch faces and calling for Apple to open up watch face design and development to third parties. By the next day, Steve Troughton-Smith had an Xcode project up and running that uses SpriteKit to simulate custom watch faces. Troughton-Smith posted pictures of the watch faces he created on Twitter, which drew a lot of interest from other developers.

Troughton-Smith uploaded his watch face project to GitHub, and in the days that followed, developers, including David Smith, who’s been making Apple Watch apps for his health and fitness apps since the Series 0 was introduced, began playing with Troughton-Smith’s code. Writing about the experience on his website Smith said:

There is something delightful about solving a problem that is superficially so simple and constrained. The constraint leads to lots of opportunities for creative thinking. Ultimately you just need Continue reading “Developers Show What They Could Make if Apple Opened Up Watch Face Development”

Adobe Unveils Photoshop for iPad, Launching in 2019

Earlier this year Adobe confirmed that it was working on a full-featured version of Photoshop for the iPad, but no real details on the product were given. Today that changed, however, as the app’s official announcement arrived alongside the kickoff of Adobe’s MAX conference.

Photoshop for iPad won’t arrive until some time in 2019, but when it does launch it will differ drastically from Adobe’s current lineup of Photoshop-related iOS apps. Rather than focusing on an individual subset of desktop features, like Adobe’s existing Photoshop Fix, Express, and Mix do, the aim with this forthcoming app is to provide the full desktop Photoshop experience on an iPad.

As part of its iPad efforts, Adobe has brought the same underlying codebase of Photoshop for desktop to iOS, and it has also worked to modernize PSD files for the cloud. These new Cloud PSDs will be the default file format Continue reading “Adobe Unveils Photoshop for iPad, Launching in 2019”

Fiery Feeds Updated with Design Refinements and New Ways to Filter News Feeds

There are a lot of good RSS readers on iOS that are continually being updated with new features and other improvements. It’s a competitive category, and Fiery Feeds, which is one of my favorites, was just updated with a focus on design and new ways to filter the feeds you follow.

Before (left) and after (right) Fiery Feeds' update. Source: blog.cocoacake.net

Before (left) and after (right) Fiery Feeds’ update. Source: blog.cocoacake.net

I like the design changes to Fiery Feeds a lot. Everything is bolder and easier to read than before. The headers of each view reflect the same sort of bold typography found in Apple apps like Maps and Music. Icons are more pronounced, and various pickers in the settings have been updated to make choosing options easier.

One of the biggest difference though is to the article view that uses the main image of an article as a header for the story. The top and bottom

Fiery Feeds' redesigned article view (right). Source: blog.cocoacake.net.

Continue reading “Fiery Feeds Updated with Design Refinements and New Ways to Filter News Feeds”

Apple Releases Bug Fix Update to iOS 12

Apple has released iOS 12.0.1, which fixes several bugs that affected users after upgrading to iOS 12.

One of the highest profile issues affected the iPhone XS, which sometimes failed to begin charging when connected to a Lightning cable. Other users reported that after the iOS 12 update, their iPhones would connect to WiFi networks at 2.4 GHz instead of 5.0 GHz even when both were available. Apple’s release notes say both issues have been fixed. The update also addresses a Bluetooth connectivity issue and a problem where subtitles sometimes didn’t appear in video apps.

iOS 12.0.1 includes a small design change on the iPad too. With the iOS 12 update, the ‘.?123’ key was moved. With version 12.0.1, that key has been restored to its previous position on the software keyboard.


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Daily Dictionary’s New Watch App Showcases the Latest watchOS Capabilities

Developer Benjamin Mayo released an update this week to his new word of the day app, Daily Dictionary. Version 1.2 adds an Apple Watch app, making it easy and convenient to view each day’s featured word from your wrist.

Daily Dictionary’s Watch app is noteworthy for employing two capabilities recently added to the Watch: complications for the Series 4’s Infograph faces, and a custom UI for notifications. For complications, you can use a smaller option containing the app’s logo which serves as a launcher, or you can select a larger complication that includes the logo alongside the word of the day itself. If you’d like it to, the larger complication can also display the current date, saving you the need for a separate date complication elsewhere on the face.

One of the ways Daily Dictionary can provide its featured word each day is through a push notification, and if Continue reading “Daily Dictionary’s New Watch App Showcases the Latest watchOS Capabilities”

Apple Strongly Refutes Bloomberg Report That Its Servers Were Compromised by Malicious Chips

Earlier today, Bloomberg published a story claiming that Apple and Amazon discovered tiny, malicious chips on Elemental network servers built by Super Micro. According to the story, the chips were the work of Chinese spies and designed to infiltrate the tech companies’ networks. Shortly after publication, Apple responded in an email statement strongly refuting Bloomberg’s account.

Amazon’s chief information security officer similarly discredited the claims saying in part:

There are so many inaccuracies in this article as it relates to Amazon that they’re hard to count.

A short time ago, Apple elaborated on its initial statement to Bloomberg on its Newsroom website:

In response to Bloomberg’s latest version of the narrative, we present the following facts: Siri and Topsy never shared servers; Siri has never been deployed on servers sold to us by Super Micro; and Topsy data was limited to approximately 2,000 Super Micro servers, not 7,000. None of Continue reading “Apple Strongly Refutes Bloomberg Report That Its Servers Were Compromised by Malicious Chips”

Philips Hue App Adds Siri Shortcuts Support

Promised earlier this year, the Philips Hue app now supports Siri Shortcuts allowing users to trigger scenes created in the app.

The Hue app received a major update earlier this year, which significantly improved the creation of scenes. Users can pick from pre-built scenes created by designers to evoke a particular mood or create their own using photos or a color picker to control the color and brightness of a group of Hue bulbs.

With the new Siri Shortcut support, those scenes can be triggered using Siri and incorporated as actions in custom shortcuts using Apple’s Shortcuts app. I have several Hue bulbs in my studio. They aren’t the kind that supports a wide range of colors, but I can adjust the brightness and warmth of each bulb. To test the Hue’s new shortcut functionality, I created a scene called Focus Mode that turns the brightness up to 100% with

Continue reading “Philips Hue App Adds Siri Shortcuts Support”

Apple Releases Materials for the Everyone Can Create Curriculum

Last March, Apple held an education event in Chicago where it unveiled a 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support and a new curriculum called Everyone Can Create. Since then, Apple says over 350 schools worldwide have begun working with the program. A complement to its Everyone Can Code initiative, Everyone Can Create is designed to help teachers and students use iPads in creative pursuits such as drawing, music, photography, and filmmaking.

Today, Apple announced that as part of the Everyone Can Create initiative, it has released four student guides and a teacher guide that are available in Apple’s Books app.

“We believe Apple technology can help unleash every child’s creative genius,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Working closely with teachers, we have built the Everyone Can Create curriculum to help bring creative expression and the arts into the classroom, and to help students stay

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Google Maps Adds Commuting Features

Google has announced that later this week, it will add several new features to its Maps app for iOS and Android commuters. The update includes live, personalized traffic data, support for ‘mixed-mode’ commutes, real-time bus and train tracking, and integration with Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify.

The update will include a dedicated ‘Commute’ tab in the Maps app. After users identify their commute, Google Maps will provide live traffic data about the route. The Android app will also include notifications about delays as they happen so you can adjust your trip.

Google Maps will also support mixed-mode commutes. That means, for example, commuters who travel by car, train, and on foot will see commute information relevant to each leg of their journey. Real-time bus and train tracking is being added in 80 cities worldwide too.

Playback controls for Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music is coming to Continue reading “Google Maps Adds Commuting Features”

Waze Adds CarPlay Support

Today, Waze, which is owned by Google, updated its iOS app with CarPlay support, which Google Maps received last week. I took Waze out for a few errands over lunch and in my limited testing was impressed.

Waze immediately identified nearby stoplight cameras.

Waze immediately identified nearby stoplight cameras.

The first stop was the bank to pick up some cash. As I passed through a busy intersection, Waze warned me that there were stoplight cameras ahead, which I knew about, but it was good to see Waze did too.

I'm glad I missed that sheet of plywood in the road.

I’m glad I missed that sheet of plywood in the road.

Next, it was off for some steak tacos to celebrate finally finishing my Mojave review. On the way, Waze said there was an object in the road. Sure enough, there was a piece of plywood straddling two lanes not too far ahead. Waze also alerted me to heavy traffic just ahead of my turnoff.

Daily Dictionary: A New Word of the Day App

Today developer and writer Benjamin Mayo launched his latest iPhone app on the App Store: Daily Dictionary. From the app’s website:

One word every day. Words that you have known but long forgotten. And some that are entirely new.

Daily Dictionary is written by real people, not machines. No technical jargon or esoteric science terms. Just words you can use to improve your writing and expand your speaking vocabulary.

Get a word of the day with a push notification, lock screen widget, or ask Siri using iOS 12 Siri Shortcuts.

I’ve been testing Daily Dictionary over the last month, and it’s a beautiful app with a design language that feels like a preview in some ways of where Apple could take iOS in the future. There’s lots of big text, buttons that are easy to press, and gestural navigation of the app which works great one-handed. These things are Continue reading “Daily Dictionary: A New Word of the Day App”

Pages, Keynote, and Numbers Add Siri Shortcuts Support and More

Released today in version 4.2, Apple’s iWork suite of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers now supports Siri shortcuts in iOS 12. Additionally, each app scored a handful of new features and improvements, many of which are available across all three apps, while others are app-specific, such as animated drawings in Pages and Smart Categories in Numbers.

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iOS 12 Review Extras: Audiobook, Shortcuts, eBook, and Making Of

It’s a big week ahead for Apple fans, with the company launching the next major versions of iOS, watchOS, and more later today, plus the arrival of the iPhone XS/XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4 in a few days time. It’s also a big week for MacStories, with coverage planned for many exciting app updates and the publishing of Federico’s iOS 12 review.

Over the last few years, Federico’s annual iOS review has grown into the center-point of our September Apple coverage, and as such we always enjoy providing a variety of extras to accompany the review. Here’s what we have in store for this year.

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Club MacStories Is Celebrating Its Third Anniversary with Exclusive Discounts on Apps and Services

It’s hard to imagine that Club MacStories is already three years old. In that time, the Club has grown steadily allowing us to expand its offerings every year. Today, Club MacStories is a cornerstone of MacStories allowing us to share more about apps and the people who make them every week through the Club newsletters and on MacStories.

The success of the Club wouldn’t be possible without its members, many of whom have been part of it since the very first day. Thank you. We sincerely appreciate your support and for helping make it possible for us to do what we love.

To celebrate the Club’s anniversary this year, we have assembled a stellar list of exclusive Club discounts on apps and service from our friends in the developer community. Their generosity has been overwhelming, and we can’t thank them enough for contributing to the celebration. This year we have Continue reading “Club MacStories Is Celebrating Its Third Anniversary with Exclusive Discounts on Apps and Services”

September 12 Event Roundup: All the Little Things

Yesterday’s keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater featured the debut of new iPhones and the Apple Watch Series 4, but there were a lot of small details revealed outside the keynote. Below is a roundup of some of the most interesting extra details from the day.

iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max

It wasn’t mentioned during the keynote, but the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR can read NFC tags in the background without the aid of an app.

Dual SIM functionality, which includes one physical SIM and one eSIM, won’t be activated until later this year with an update to iOS 12.

The new iPhones still ship with an increasingly inadequate 5W charger.

Apple posted a new Tech Talk dedicated to building apps for the new iPhones.

Split View on the iPhone XS Max means new layout considerations for developers.

iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max: The MacStories Overview

Earlier today, Tim Cook took the stage at Apple Park’s Steve Jobs Theater to announce Apple’s fall product lineup. As with past fall keynotes, Apple’s announcements included all-new iPhones. Some of the details of the new iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max leaked earlier this morning, but as usual, there were still surprises.

Design

The iPhone XR marks the completion of Apple’s transition to the new form factor introduced last fall with the iPhone X. The iPhone XR will take some people by surprise. At 6.1 inches diagonally, the new XR has a bigger screen than the XS, but it’s also more affordable than the smaller 5.8-inch device. In contrast, the iPhone XS and XS Max are an evolution of the design of the iPhone X.

The iPhone XR is also differentiated visually from the XS and XS Max by its new color options. The new phone is

Continue reading “iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max: The MacStories Overview”

Apple Watch Series 4: The MacStories Overview

This morning at Apple’s annual September event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park, Jeff Williams took the stage to announce the Apple Watch Series 4. The new Watch lineup boasts larger and thinner chassis, more than 30% larger displays with rounded corners, a breakthrough ECG sensor, and more.

This is the first major change to the shape of the Watch’s enclosure since the debut of the original Apple Watch, but thankfully Apple has maintained compatibility with existing watch bands. The new models will be sold in 40mm and 44mm varieties, each size 2mm larger than the 38mm and 42mm of previous generations. Stainless steel and aluminum varieties are offered as usual, but it looks like we’ve seen the end of the “Edition” Apple Watch line.

On the software side, the larger Apple Watch models are launching with a swath of new watch faces. Many of these faces take

From left: Infograph, Breathe, Fire, Vapor
From left: Infograph with white face and friends complications, Inforgraph Modular with activity complications

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iPhone XS and XS Max Cases Join a New Lineup of Apple Watch Bands

The new iPhone XS line and Apple Watch Series 4 are not available for pre-order until this Friday, and unlike in past years, when new device accessories became available immediately after Apple’s keynote event, this time the new cases and watch bands will also not go on sale until later this week. But eager purchasers can get a head start on scoping out exactly which accessories they’ll order by browsing Apple’s website. iPhone XS and XS Max cases and new Apple Watch bands are available to view, but you can’t order them until Friday.

One important note is that all Apple Watch bands are now designated 40mm or 44mm, to match the new Series 4 Watch, but they are all fully compatible with prior Apple Watch models which were sized 38mm and 42mm.

Here’s the full list of accessories you’ll be able to order starting this Friday.

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