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The new pro generaTion The new MacBook Pros have been a big hit according to Apple, though they’ve upset some of the “pro” users at which they’re ostensibly targeted. The suggestion is that they’re not suitable for some really high-end pro work (Apple says that its desktop line-up is there for anyone who can’t get it done on the 15-inch MacBook Pro), and that Apple is harming itself in the process. These high-end pro users have always been a kind of free advertising for Apple in the past – that when people see that the video editors from Pixar, or their favorite photographers, are using MacBook Pros for their work, it makes them seem like the obvious choice for people just getting into these industries, who aspire to be like their heroes. There’s no doubt for me that this is at least partly true, but what people may not be taking into account is that it’s a moving target. Editing for movies or commercials remains the standard for high-end video-editing work, for example, but it’s not the only kind of pro video work, and increasingly, it’s not the most visible. Online video is the area where most new people entering the industry will be looking, from YouTubers to news reports. This is a new kind of pro work – one that a lot of people already invested in these industries may gloss over – and it has different needs. It doesn’t require as much computing power for that kind of editing, and it’s balanced with the need to be flexible: this kind of work is often highly mobile, so the extra portability is valuable. And speed is usually a factor in production, so new shortcuts on the Touch Bar may be welcomed. Video is just one example, but it’s one of the most relevant, because of the audience that it really engages with: young people. And when they see the work they admire was made using Apple products, you get that same halo effect. I think the new MacBook Pros still advertise themselves as the pro option, they just do it for a new target market. Whether that’s useful to the old target market is another question…
Mat gartside art editor Mat’s used the News app a lot more since iOS 10. He wishes he hadn’t, though.
Jo Membery operations editor Jo loves the new TV app, but the Up Next feature is killing her productivity.
alan Stonebridge contributor Al loves rich notifications. He’s hoping to never unlock his iPhone again.
MaTT BolTon, Editor Twitter: @matthewbbolton
8 FEb 2017 maclife.com
Your opinions, rants & raves
I have been one of those Mac users awaiting the long-needed MacBook Pro refresh. I saved up for it, slowly stashing away $3,000 for a new one and some accessories for my engineering graduate program. I waited. It launched. And… I’m skipping the upgrade. The price (especially for the storage I want), the apparently overly optimistic battery life (as low as six hours some are saying – gotta save that extra gram…), and the need for a basket of dongles taken all together just seemed inelegant and extremely overly priced. Instead, I got a 1TB SSD, 8GB of RAM, a new battery, and a couple cool decals for my 2009 13-inch MBP all for about $400; it now runs like a dream! I have had several friends do this as well, skipping the 2016 refresh to upgrade the last upgradeable ones. And now, I’ve got $2,600 for a sweet spring break cruise! maTT waSHko It’s hard to argue with a sweet cruise! The battery life in the new Pros is still really good (see p62), but upgrading your older machines is a great idea. So great, in fact, that we’ve got a whole feature on it next issue…
Digging Time capsule I am a huge Time Capsule user. I have bragged about how seamlessly all of Apple’s products work together, especially Time Capsule and Time Machine. For example, when I take trips I’m able to come back, plug my laptop in, and Time Machine and Time Capsule will jump right back onto schedule. I like knowing that everything that I have on my laptop which I value is always available in a secondary place. I wish they would continue with the Time Capsule. milES carpEnTEr
Apple’s Time Capsule is popular with our readers!
miles’ letter is referencing the fact that apple appears to be ceasing production of its networking products – see p10 for more. His letter
SHarE wiTH US!
highlights our worry about the decision: that not selling these products makes the whole mac experience worse. but not everyone agrees: see p13!
Standard practice I’m turning to you for help. Will a Dell monitor (model P2717H) work with my MacBook Pro (Late 2014)? You might find this interesting: I contacted Dell with this question and their response was that they didn’t know. I then contacted Apple and their response was about the same. Apple did at least say I might need “drivers.” EDmUnD STaninaS it sounds like both companies were hedging their bets, for some reason – there’s no reason why this monitor
Most displays should just work with your Mac. shouldn’t work with your macbook. it’s a pretty standard 1080p monitor, with standard connections, which apple supports! The fact that it includes a USb hub could be a wrinkle – that might require a driver, as apple said, but they don’t normally.
Sticking point In issue 122, p40, you featured Apple MacBook decals from decalguru.com – but all I get from the site is an empty page. DEnniS Sorry about that – i’m not sure how i managed to get it wrong! The correct address is thedecalguru.com.
correction we made a mistake in our printing of the benchmarks in our macbook pro 13-inch 2GHz (late 2016) review last issue (#123). The scores for the new macbook pro and the 2015 macbook pro were the wrong way round in the Handbrake test. They were correct in the review text, and you can see them listed correctly in our review of the 2.9GHz macbook pro on p65. i apologize for the confusion!
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Apple pulls the plug on AirPort and displays The company has stopped making screens and networking products, but is that the right decision? BY MATT BOlTON
10 feb 2017 maclife.com
IN OcTOBER, APPlE revealed two new displays that pretty much matched what we expected from an update to its Thunderbolt display line: 4K and 5K displays that connect to the machine via a single cable, which provides power to the MacBook and video out to the dispay, with the screen acting as a hub for USB Type-C devices. It absolutely seemed to be an update to the Thunderbolt display… except for the fact that it was made by LG, not Apple. Shortly after, Apple confirmed that it was no longer going to make standalone displays. Just a few weeks later came a story that Apple was ceasing production of its AirPort products, including the AirPort Extreme router, AirPort Express Wi-Fi extender and AirPlay receiver, and its Time Capsule router with network storage. Reportedly, Apple has moved the staff from the AirPort division into other groups.
Feed your mind. Feast your eyes.
Snap’s Spectacles are weirdly inspiring These camera glasses show there’s still room to think different BY MATT BOlTON These revelations came with mixed responses: some people think it’s a good sign, and are happy seeing the company focusing its energy on the core products that people use the most. The Thunderbolt display had been from a pre-Retina time, and its lack of updates over the years just made people angry. Plus, with a new generation of Wi-Fi technology arriving now, the AirPort line-up would have needed a refresh too, or it would look badly out of date. Now Apple doesn’t have these worries – people can update at their own pace, without waiting for Apple. The other side of the argument is that this is the wrong kind of focus. The advantage of buying Apple has always been the experience, and by not making these kinds of products any more, Apple no longer offers the same full, easy experience it did. Displays come in all shapes, sizes, and prices – which is a good one to go for, that works well with your Mac? You didn’t have to worry; you could just buy Apple’s display. Networking is one of the most difficult and complex parts of computing, but Time Capsule made it easier than any other router with tools like Apple’s configuration app – plus it backs up your Macs. You can read our columnist David Chartier’s take on this new focus from Apple on p13. For now, Apple will still be supporting your displays and AirPort products, but it looks like they’re grounded for the future.
SNAP, ThE cOMPANY formerly known as Snapchat, often seems frivolous, making a product that not everyone “gets.” Its latest creation lives up to that: Spectacles. These are sunglasses with cameras built in, which can record 10-second clips when you press the button on them. The video is sent to your iPhone… and that’s about it. Snap is pitching them as a fun toy, rather than the herald of a new dawn of wearable technology. But of the many pieces of technology we’ve seen recently, we also think this is one of the best for showing that there’s still plenty of space left for innovation in even the oldest areas of tech. What impresses us about Spectacles isn’t the hardware (though it’s very well done, with a case that charges the glasses between uses, much like Apple’s AirPods), but the video itself. It’s round. The video taken by these glasses is not a traditional 16:9 rectangle, but circular. It seems bizarre at first, but it’s kind of brilliant when you look at the whole experience. When you record on a phone, you can rotate it to best capture whatever you’re pointing at. When the camera is mounted on your head, you can’t. That’s where the circular video comes in. When you (or anyone else) is watching your video on their
phone, they don’t see the whole circular video squashed onto their little screen. Instead, their screen shows a window into the circle, and if they rotate their phone, the section of the video they’re seeing changes along with it. So they can view it in landscape if they want, or just hold it in portrait. You can see how it works for yourself at spectacles.com. Humans have been working in the same movie formats since its invention. We throw new tech at broadcasting video, but how many times have we changed the constraints of the medium itself? Snap’s circular video is more like an invitation to view your world, where the person watching has control over their perspective. It makes us excited because, if we can still find new ways to innovate in 120-year-old technologies, just imagine what we’re yet to see from those invented in the last 30.
maclife.com feb 2017 11
Microprocessors? Boring. Meet the Megaprocessor This giant 16-bit processor aims to reveal the side of computers you can’t normally see BY Matt Bolton apple’s strength has always been making its computers easy to understand… but only in one sense of the word. They’re easy to use, but as they’ve become smaller and lighter, the way they work has become more sealed off and impenetrable. Take Apple’s A10 chip at the heart of the iPhone, for example; very few people know this processor’s exact details, and unlike programming, you can’t just tinker around to learn, or join many easy learning courses to get started. But we need people to have these skills and knowledge, and we need more people to become interested in the future. That’s where the Megaprocessor comes in. Like a microprocessor, it’s made up of transistors, which are built into certain modules so that they’re 12 feb 2017 maclife.com
capable of processing logic and running programs. However, while the transistors in a Mac or iPhone’s chip are microscopic, the ones in the Megaprocessor are about the size of a small paperclip. The 16-bit processor is built over several “boards,” with a total area of around 193 square feet, and includes roughly 40,000 transistors. For comparison, Apple’s A10 processor includes around 3.3 billion transistors in an area of 0.19 square inches… So, it’s more like the Motorola 68000 chip used in the original Macintosh than the Intel chips of the iMac, but power isn’t the goal. The Megaprocessor includes around 10,000 LEDs built into its modules too, with the idea being that you can almost literally see the movement of data through its structure, making it much easier to understand how these vital parts of our computers operate. It’s fairly slow and inefficient – even given its size and unusual design – but the education potential is huge… as is its nostalgia value, if you’re anything like us and spent time in mainframe rooms. The Microprocessor has recently been moved to a new home at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, in the UK, but you can see it working in various videos, linked from megaprocessor.com. Most importantly, though, you can write your own programs for it: the site has an assembler and simulator available. The creators have posted videos of it running people’s programs on their YouTube channel, and the next could be yours!
IMAGE ©Terry Harris
>>> Start Feed your mind. Feast your eyes.
>the shift Turns out that simplicity is complicated. david chartier looks at why Apple sometimes has to say no to say yes…
ometimes it’s fun to daydream about a world where Apple could design more of our everyday devices. What if it could make our microwaves and cars easier to use, or simply more beautiful? But the reality is that great product design is hard, and focusing on hard problems means saying “no” to others. Apple has long touted its propensity for navigating this balance to benefit “the rest of us.” Now it’s making the difficult decisions to prove it. Over the past half a year or so, Apple either retired some of its staple (though not necessarily breakout hit) products, or rolled back plans for upcoming projects. For example, it will no longer make new AirPort routers or Cinema/ Thunderbolt Displays. The Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in three years, and its product page still references Aperture – Apple’s professional photography competitor to Lightroom, which it retired two years ago.
Product design is hard, and focusing on hard problems means saying “no” to others
On a grander scale, Apple some time ago hired a number of car engineers and executives. It also hinted in public interviews about jumping into the race towards some kind of electric and/or self-driving car. But recently, some of those new hires left the company, and rumors circulated that the car projects have been scaled back or abandoned entirely. As a final example, the wireless AirPods Apple announced alongside the iPhone 7 were delayed and, at the time of writing, still don’t have an actual ship date or pre-order option in the store. For some, these signs have become fuel for a growing sentiment that the company is stumbling, losing focus, or both. Canceling longstanding products is one problem. But killing important new projects like a car (good for growth and the environment) and failing to ship headphones is seen as another problem entirely. i have a different perspective, and it starts with Steve Jobs’ famous quote about focus and building great products: “Innovation is saying ‘‛no’ to 1,000 things.” When a company grows as rapidly and large as Apple has, the capitalist culture says its ambitions and reach should expand equally.
But that isn’t the Apple we know and love. The Apple that changed the world boldly said no to the command line, floppy drive, DVD drive, Ethernet, and even its own iPod mini (remember when, after only one hit year on the market, it replaced the mini with the nano?). It’s hard to say no, and sometimes that means saying no and retiring products that already exist. I write
Apple has always been ruthless: the iPod nano replaced the iPod mini after just a year. this as my 2TB Time Capsule hums along just fine in my living room. Simplifying technology is at the core of what people appreciate about Apple. What many don’t see, though, is the complexity behind the curtain to achieve that simplicity. Apple is removing distractions and simplifying its lineup in order to polish its overall solutions, all in the name of giving us better products. Those are some “no’s” I can get behind.
>>> David Chartier is a content strategist and writer with vast experience analyzing the tech world. He runs the website Finer Things in Tech (finerthings.in) and hosts its podcast, The Finer Things In.
maclife.com feb 2017 13
>>> Start Feed your mind. Feast your eyes.
6 third-party apps that show off the Touch Bar well These apps tap into the potential of the MacBook Pro’s new addition BY MaTT BolTon
1Password offers Touch Bar support, but also works with the built-in Touch ID scanner.
Pixelmator puts a range of new options right under your fingers on the Touch Bar.
We give our full view on the new Touch Bar feature of the latest MacBook Pros in our review on p62, but the CliffsNotes version is: the potential is huge, as long as apps actually use it well. Even Apple’s own apps are a bit inconsistent about this – the iWork apps do it right, but iMovie’s support feels perfunctory. Apple makes it really easy for apps to add Touch Bar support, and so a huge range of developers have already included it in their apps. We’ve picked out some that we think make the best use of it, whether that’s through a smart choice of options, expanding the interface with new options, or just being cool ideas. There are lots more, though – check your favorite apps’ websites!
Pixelmator This image-editing tool has great Touch Bar support, which makes a bunch of controls easier to use. You can control brush size and hardness with sliders, easily compare adjusted images to the original version,
and customize which tools should appear there.
airMail 3 This super-slick email client has fairly simple Touch Bar support, but it’s customizable, so you can make even obscure options obvious.
PCalc In the calculator app famous for its sheer range of options, you get access to recent results on the Touch Bar, and you can set any tool to be just a simple tap away.
omnigraffle 7 The diagramming/ graphic design app offers controls for each type of element you select on screen. Not selected anything? Then you get options to start adding shapes!
1Password This password manager makes it easy to access your password vaults, but also adds great Touch ID support.
rocket This shows an app launcher on the Touch Bar when you press a shortcut. Free from: julianthayn. com/rocket.
Free app Rocket adds a simple app launcher to the Touch Bar. 14 feb 2017 maclife.com
>game loop With new competition from Microsoft, Brianna Wu asks if it’s time for Apple to Think Different about the Mac
pple’s latest line of MacBook Pros has been released, a forward-looking model that jettisons traditional USB ports and rethinks Function keys with the Touch Bar. The reviews are mostly solid (see Mac|Life’s on page 62). If you professionally edit video, music, or photographs, the Mac is still the best machine on the market. The same week the new line of MacBooks was released, Microsoft debuted its Surface Studio. The
i’d love to see apple bring their pencil technology to the 27-inch imac
concept is an enticing one – Surface Studio works very much like a 27-inch iMac, but has a hinge that allows the display to swing down to be used as a giant tablet. While the specs are mediocre, the integrated stylus promises to offer a drawing experience similar to the Wacom Cintiq, a high-end digitizer that enables you to draw directly onto the display. The security issues of the Windows ecosystem make the
Surface Studio a nonstarter for my video game development company, yet I can’t help but admire the bold concept. Yes, the Mac is a great product for video editors, but what about people that paint and draw? What about 3D modelers and video game level designers? In short, where are Apple’s creative machines for the rest of us? We’re over a year past the release of the iPad Pro, a device that promised to meet the needs of the same professionals targeted by the Surface Studio. While I still use mine constantly, it’s time to admit the creative software ecosystem for Apple Pencil has stalled. Programs like Autodesk Graphic are close to their professional Mac counterparts, but they’re not substantially improving. This means the Mac continues to be the only real choice for people that do this for a living. I’d love to see Apple bring its Pencil technology to the 27-inch iMac, enabling it to swing down and turn into a digitizer. This would open up a new world for creative professionals on the Mac, in everything from ZBrush sculpting to DJ software. In many ways, this is the kind of concept only Apple can do well. Microsoft is infamous for not
following through on hardware concepts – and I can’t count on it to go to bat with Adobe to make sure the Surface Studio is supported. I know Apple would make sure it works. It’s not just the iMac that could use some love. Following Apple’s event announcing the new MacBook Pro, many fans of the Mac Pro were disappointed by the lack of an update. After three years without changes, some couldn’t help but fear for the future of their machine. In some ways, I’ve found this critique misguided: the Mac Pro has always been an infrequently updated product. Yet it worries me to not see Apple pushing past its comfort zone. Apple recently announced it would not be developing new external displays. A cynic could say it’s because the Mac isn’t the priority it used to be. But I believe Apple can build on ideas, and keep turning the Mac into the next greatest thing.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro is a genuinely enticing concept – which Apple could better.
>>> Brianna Wu is the head of development at Giant Spacekat, developer of Revolution 60 on iPhone and iPad, and is a regular speaker at industry events, as well as host on the podcasts Isometric and Rocket.
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>>> Start Feed your mind. Feast your eyes.
MB&F Astrograph mbandf.com $19,900 >>> Better known for its high-end watches, MB&F has teamed up with Caran d’Ache to create the Astrograph – a rocket-shaped pen that’s bound to encourage flights of fancy. The three legs the pen rests on retract, so it can stand up and “prepare for take off,” while the lid acts as cockpit. Of course, it wouldn’t be a space-travel-inspired toy/object of luxury without a base that’s been designed to look like a launch pad. Oh, and did we mention the little magnetic astronaut? They’re only making 99, unsurprisingly, given the price.
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Bixi bixi.io $79 >>> Touchscreens are fantastic, but if you’re following a pizza recipe on the iPad, do you really want it covered in flour? (The iPad, not the pizza.) Sometimes, what you need is gesture control! Bixi, currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, is a gesturetracking device for controlling your iPad, iPhone, and smart devices (even a GoPro). Swipe your hand down over the device to scroll down a web page; raise your hand to turn up the volume, for example. The company also suggests using it in the car, so you’re less distracted. The idea is great, although how it works in practice will be interesting.
Leica TL leica.com $1,695 >>> Leica’s high-end cameras offer a brilliant mix of old-school style with modern features. This latest model is even more innovative and reliable. New features include the doubling of the internal buffer memory to 32GB, improved autofocus (particularly in AF-C mode) and optimized compatibility with lenses from other camera systems in the Leica range. There’s also a new Leica TL app that offers additional options for transferring pictures wirelessly, or sharing them on social networks.
Belkin Valet Charger Power Pack for Apple Watch + iPhone belkin.com $99 >>> With tech comes wires and connectors that are forever fraying and getting lost. Belkin has just launched the Valet Charger Power Pack for Apple Watch + iPhone, which uses a portable 6700mAh magnetic charging block to get your iPhone and/or Apple Watch powered up in no time (they can be charged simultaneously). The Watch’s magnetic charger is built into the unit, so there’s one cable you can leave at home. To charge your iPhone, just plug a Lightning cable into the provided USB port. It seems great for road warriors.
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Do more with iOS 10
Do There’s more to iOS 10 than first meets the eye – and more new features are arriving with updates. Here are the latest tips for your iPhone and iPad by Matt bolton
very new version of iOS brings with it a host of changes. Sometimes that means headline features such as an entirely new style of interface, though more often than not, the tweaks are more subtle, if just as useful. iOS 10 was a huge update that added a ridiculous number of new options to your iPhone and iPad – we revealed over 100 in our big feature in issue 120, but there are still more to discover, and new features have been added with Apple’s latest updates. So here are more tips and tricks for iOS 10!
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ioS 10 tips and tricks Get more from your iPhone and iPad > 3D Touch in Control Center We’ve mentioned in a previous iOS feature that you can 3D Touch on the flashlight icon in Control Center to choose different light levels, but that’s not the only option. You can hard press on the timer icon to choose preset countdown times, or on the camera icon to open the app straight to different photo modes.
> Spotlight in iCloud Drive Use 3D Touch to quickly access extra settings.
iOS 10’s Spotlight search, which is accessed either by
opening the Today view, or swiping down on a Home screen (or in any app by slowing pulling from the top of the screen), can now search files in iCloud Drive, so it’s easy to find even wellhidden documents and open them from anywhere on your iOS device.
> In-line video playback When you’re browsing in Safari on iPhone, and you play a video, it used to always take over the screen. Now, you can play videos in-line in the web page. If a video opens fullscreen, tap the arrow in the corner to reduce its size with the video still playing, then keep browsing the page. You might also find some videos play in-line automatically – this now an option for web developers to implement.
> Announce Calls Make it easier to know who’s trying to get hold of you without looking at the screen using the Announce Calls feature, which states the name of whoever’s calling you when the phone rings. You can find the option in Settings > Phone > Announce Calls. It comes with several options: Always, so it does this every time the phone rings; Headphones, so 20 feb 2017 maclife.com
you don’t need to get your phone out of your pocket to see who’s calling before you hit the in-line remote to answer; Headphones & Car, which can help avoid distraction when driving; and Never.
> Avoid tolls and highways in Maps Like to avoid toll roads or highways when driving? Go to Settings > Maps > Driving & Navigation and you can choose to have your device find routes that don’t feature them. Each of these options has an individual switch in the Avoid section at the top, so just turn on whichever you want, or both.
> Find my Apple Watch After updating your devices to iOS 10 and your Apple Watch to watchOS 3, the Find My iPhone app gets a new feature: it can now tell you where your Apple Watch is if you’ve misplaced it, provided it’s connected to the internet. Open the app and your Watch will appear as a device in the list at the bottom, and will display its location, if known. You can also perform the usual actions, including making it play a sound so you can find it, activating Lost Mode, or even erasing it remotely.
Do more with iOS 10
> Multiple Mail compose panels >>> A lot of the time, when we’re working on something, a more important or urgent task comes along and distracts us. This can be especially common if you’re emailing, with conversations bouncing back and forth.
iOS 10’s Mail app has a new option that makes it easier to quickly hide a message you’re writing. Just place your finger on the title bar of the composition panel (where it says the subject in bold lettering), then drag it down, towards the bottom of the screen. You can basically minimize the message, then look up messages in your inbox, reply to them, or even create a new composition window. You’ll see that your messages are stored at the bottom of the screen - just tap to view them in a 3D interface that looks a bit like the tabs view in Safari for iPhone. Tap one to return to it, or tap the X to close it.
> Rest & Type iPad keyboard >>> Those who type on the iPad’s touchscreen keyboard a lot get a little quality-of-life improvement in iOS 10: intelligent rejection of your palms if they touch they keyboard when you’re trying to interact with text or other options above it. In fact, you can now rest your palms right onto the iPad’s keyboard, and it won’t trigger any keys. It’s a small thing, but it’s useful.
Quick look The new iPad camera ZooM level Drag this slider up and down to change the zoom level of the camera. Remember, this is a digital zoom, so using it reduces image quality.
extra optionS These are your controls for the self-timer, flash, HDR mode, Live Photos mode, or switching to the forward-facing Selfie camera.
Shutter & preview Press the shutter to take a photo or start a video – or hold it for burst photo mode. Tap the preview of the last image taken to open it in Photos.
change MoDe Swipe up or down here to go through the photo and video modes. You can also tap above or below the current selection.
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and turn on the Rest Finger to Open option.
> Press and Hold to Speak In iOS 10.2, in the same settings location as the previous tip is an extra option for controlling your device with your voice. Press and Hold to Speak changes what your device does when you hold the Home button: Siri activates Siri, Voice Control offers the old-style Voice Control feature, and Off stops it doing anything.
> Suggestions for Siri corrections Apps and games can record your screen, and you can save the footage for later.
> Activate Maps extensions They haven’t had as much fanfare as iMessage apps, but many apps now support extensions in the Maps app, adding new options when you’re looking at locations. These range from the likes of OpenTable giving you a bigger set of restaurant reviews, to the ability to instantly call up a ridesharing service such as Uber to take you to the destination at which
you’re looking. To activate extensions, you must have the main app for the service installed. Then, go to the Settings app, and open the Maps section. Scroll down and you’ll see the Extensions category. Just turn on any that you want to use with the switches. If you don’t have any suitable apps installed, this setting simply doesn’t appear at all.
> Unlock your device the old way Because of changes to the Lock screen, you now need to press the Home button to open your phone. If you prefer to just rest your finger on the Touch ID sensor, as you could before, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Home Button,
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If Siri thinks it got a word wrong, it will underline it in blue. Tap it and Siri can bring up a list of alternatives you might have meant instead. You can also tap and hold on the underlined word, bringing up the pop-up text menu. Tap Replace… to see possible correction options.
> Revealed Music options In iOS 10.2, the Music app now points you to where the repeat and shuffle options are in the Now Playing screen (just off the bottom), and these buttons are larger.
> Screen recording Apps (mostly games) have the ability to record what’s happening on screen. They’ll ask for permission before
> The new TV app Apple’s replacement for the Videos app in iOS 10.2 > collecting what you’re watching The new TV app in iOS 10.2 is designed to bring together what you might be watching from a bunch of different sources. Partly, it acts as a replacement for the Videos app, so your iTunes TV shows and movies will be available here. but app developers can also work with it, so shows from the HbO GO app can appear alongside titles from the SHOWTIMe app. One company that isn’t currently supporting it is Netflix, however. > watch now doing this. How you start recording will depend on how each app implements it. When you stop recording, you’ll have the option to view the video, trim it, save it to the Camera Roll, or share it right away.
The TV app is cross-platform between iOS (on iPhone and iPad) and Apple TV. It remembers your progress in shows, so in the app’s Watch Now section, you can start watching on your iPad and pick up where you left off on Apple TV – and that applies to all the shows from the various different services. It remembers all your recent shows.
> up next When you finish an episode, the TV app will queue up the next one automatically if you’re bingeviewing. for shows appearing weekly, when a new one becomes available the app will immediately add it to your line-up. > recoMMenDeD The TV app will recommend new shows and movies you might like. Much like Apple Music, these are chosen by curators at Apple, while also highlighting popular trending shows. It’s something different to the algorithmic recommendations we’re used to from Netflix. > Siri This doesn’t apply to iOS 10, but on Apple TV, the TV app will work with Siri, naturally. You can just ask Siri to pick up whatever you were last watching from the point you left it, or take you to the next episode.
> New emoji iOS 10 added a bunch of new emoji characters, and iOS 10.2 adds even more. Finally, we have a bacon emoji!
> Apple TV keyboard When you activate a textentry field on Apple TV, you get a notification on your iPhone, if you have the Apple TV Remote app installed. Interact with this to type in the text on your phone! maclife.com feb 2017 23
camera & photos More new options for photography lovers > Preserve Camera settings in iOS 10.2 The Camera app defaults to the standard Photo setting when you open it, but maybe you tend to mostly use the Square setting, or take video. A new setting in iOS 10.2 will help – go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Preserve Settings. If you switch on
“Camera Mode,” the app will remember what mode you used when you last used the app, and will open to that. “Photo Filter” and “Live Photo” do the same for Live Filters you were using and Live Photos, respectively.
> View related photos When viewing an image in Photos, if you place your finger on it and swipe upwards, you’ll be shown more information. First are any people in the image, then location. Under that will be a Related section, showing any Memories that the app thinks are relevant,
based on things like who’s in the picture, or location.
> Markup in Photos Apple’s useful tool for annotating images is available in the Photos app as an editing extension. Open an image, tap the editing button, tap the three dots in a circle, and choose Markup. If it’s not visible, tap “More…” and activate it.
> Live Photo stabilization The video element of Live Photos is now stabilized, so it looks much smoother!
how to Add Faces in Photos for iOS
The People album iOS 10 adds the ability to tag people in photos based on facial recognition. To get started, go to the Photos app, go to the Albums tab, and open the People album. The app will have already picked out common faces.
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Identify a person Tap one of the faces to see images Photos thinks are of that person. Tap at the top to name them – it will suggest contacts as you type. Scroll down and tap “Confirm Additional Photos” to check images Photos is unsure about.
More options In the People album, tap and hold on a person, then drag it to the top to make that person a Favorite. Tap the “Add People” option (with a plus sign) to see even more faces the app has spotted, which you can then identify.
Do more with iOS 10
> How to import raw images
> caMera connection kit
> iclouD Drive
> FroM other Storage
You can import raw images into the Photos app from your camera (or SD card) by connecting it to your iPhone or iPad with Apple’s Lightning-toUSB or Lightning-to-SD card adapters. Be warned: if you shot in raw+JPEG, iOS imports the JPEG version, apparently ignoring the raw.
If you save a raw image to iCloud Drive (from a Mac or PC, say), you can then find it on your iOS device in the iCloud Drive app in its original form. Select it, tap the Share button, and you can then either choose Save Image to add it to Photos, or choose another editing app to open in, if you like.
If you have raw images saved in other storage apps, such as Dropbox, and you can’t see an option to save them to Photos, use the iCloud Drive app as a go-between. For example, in Dropbox, tap the Share icon > Export > Open In… > Add to iCloud Drive. Then follow the instruction on the left!
> Shoot raw photos on your iPhone >>> As of iOS 10, it’s now possible to shoot raw photos directly on your iPhone, in the DNG file format. You’ll need an iPhone 6s/6s Plus, an iPhone Se, or an iPhone 7/7 Plus. Taking raw photos basically means that the raw pixel data from the camera is captured, bypassing the processing that Apple normally applies. It means the images look kind of dull compared to normal shots from the camera, but you can edit them much more dramatically without losing detail. Raw images are larger than the usual JPeGs the iPhone takes, so watch your storage. These pictures still work with the Photos app – they can be opened and edited there. The only catch is that the built-in Camera app can’t take these raw photos – you’ll need a third-party app. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is free, or paid apps such as Manual ($3.99) offer support.
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the news app Take control of your news sources > Browsing the News app The redesigned News app is kind of like the Music app, with categories across the bottom that give you different ways to view media. The For You section recommends stories chosen by Apple’s editors, while also bringing your favorite news channels and popular stories. Favorites takes you to just your favorites. Explore lets you browse for new outlets. Search lets you search for new channels or topics, and Saved shows articles you’ve saved.
> Add Favorites If want to see more from a particular channel, go to its 26 feb 2017 maclife.com
main page (if you’re in a story, tap its name at the top of the story), then tap the + at the top-right.
> Control your notifications In the Favorites screen, tap the bell in the topleft corner to access notification options to individual channels, so important stories can be called to your attention. However, this only works for a select few channels right now.
> Interacting and 3D Touch Gestures play a big part in the News app. If you have a 3D Touch device, you can
press hard on a channel or story to get a preview of it. When you’re in a channel’s view looking at a list of stories, you can swipe right to left to see options to Like a story (so the app will recommend more like it), share it via email or social network, or to save a story for reading in the future in the Saved tab. Swipe the other direction and you can Dislike a story, mute a channel so you don’t see stories from it, or report a problem with a channel. When you’re viewing a story, you can swipe left or right to go to the next or previous story, too.
> History The Saved tab doesn’t just show stories you’ve intentionally saved for later – switch to the History tab using the button at the top and you can see articles you’ve recently read. Swipe on them for more options.
> Text size In stories from some channels, you can make the text larger or smaller – look for the AA at the top right.
Ph otos for mac
apple’s Photos simplifies managing and editing your photos, but don’t let that fool you – it also has some powerful tools available. Just take a look… by angela nicholson
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Master Photos for Mac
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hen aPPle announced that it was going to replace iPhoto and Aperture with Photos, there was naturally some concern. Aperture was aimed at serious enthusiast and professional photographers as a competitor for Adobe Lightroom, whereas iPhoto was designed for more occasional photographers who just wanted to be sure that their images were safely downloaded and easily
accessible. Could one package really meet both needs? What isn’t immediately obvious in Photos is that, below the surface, there are advanced tools that can help make Aperture users feel at home, enabling them to make complex adjustments to their images. It doesn’t replace a pro-level package like Adobe Photoshop CC, nor if we’re honest does it completely replace Aperture, but there’s plenty for enthusiast photographers to
Quick look Library view
thumbnail size this control enables you to adjust the size of the thumbnails shown in the center of the screen, either by sliding it or clicking at either end.
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albums click any of the entries in this column to display the images or videos in that album. You can right-click an album for more options.
organize click the + sign to open a menu that enables you to create albums, smart albums and slideshows, as well as create and order prints and more.
share to share images, simply click the thumbnails you want, then select the sharing method in the list that appears after clicking this icon.
get their teeth into. Unless you were a power-user of Aperture’s most advanced features you may well find that Photos does all you need. The beauty of Photos is that it enables you to download, organize, edit, and share your images all from within one software package. What’s more, it doesn’t matter whether your images were captured on your iPhone, compact camera, or DSLR, they’re treated the same way – and thanks to iCloud Photo Library, you can see them on all of your Apple devices. If you want, you can simply browse through all of your images, but they can also be organized, manually or automatically, into albums to make it easier to find the ones that you want. If you wish you can also share individual images or albums with friends and family. Editing images is also easy, with several different levels of tool available – from simple one-click adjustments to pro-level features such as Curves for manipulation. In between there’s a healthy collection of easy-to-use sliding controls. But that’s not where the story ends with editing in Photos, because from OS X 10.11 El Capitan onwards, Apple has opened up the software to enable developers to produce Extensions – third-party software plugins that can be downloaded via the App Store to add extra functionality. It means that new features are coming along all the time – some for free, and some paid.
Master Photos for Mac
> a closer look >>> To take a closer look at any of your images, simply double-click the appropriate thumbnail to make it fill Photos’ window. The zoom control at the top left enables you to magnify the image to check details and sharpness. At 100%, every pixel of the image is a pixel on the screen; going much above this introduces pixelation, which makes the image hard to see.
The thumbnail view at the bottom of the screen (which can be turned off and on using the icon in the top-left corner) is useful for scrolling through and checking other images. Once you’re happy that you’ve made the right selection, click the icon at the top right of the screen – the one that looks like three slider controls – to access the imageediting controls (see below).
Quick look Editing window
editing tools Click a tool to apply a one-click adjustment, or to display further controls depending on the selected tool.
revert to original As soon as you start making adjustments to images, this button appears. Click it to undo all of your edits, taking you back to the start.
done Once you’ve finished, click this button to close the editing window. If you edit the image again at a later date, you can still revert to the original version.
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getting things organized Photos does some of the organization for you, but you can also take control to make it easier to find the images you want at a later date he first steP in using Photos to organize your images is to import them. Photos can import the images to your computer automatically if you like, but we don’t recommend this if you also want to be able to access your images with other software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, or Lightroom, or if you like the comfort of having images in a standard folder structure. We recommend that you transfer images from your camera to a folder on your hard drive and then import them to Photos from there. You might also want, for example, to let Photos
You can import images directly from your iPhone or camera, or from folders on your hard drive.
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handle the importing and storage of the images on your iPhone, but deal with the images that you take on your dedicated camera yourself. That’s also possible. When your iPhone or camera is connected to your Mac, or a memory card is in the card reader, Photos automatically shows any images on the device and indicates which are new, ready for importing. Click Import All New Items at the top left to import them directly. Alternatively, you can select the images that you want to import and then click the Import Selected button to just import the images that are important to you. To import images from a folder, select File>Import and then select the folder where the images are stored. Your images will remain in the folder, with only their details and location imported to Photos, which means the files aren’t needlessly duplicated and don’t take up extra storage space.
u P loa d yo u r i m ag es to i c lo u d P h oto l i b ra ry fo r e asy acc ess o n a n y d ev i c e If you wish, you can set Photos to open automatically when you connect a device with images. With the device connected to the computer, make sure it is selected under “Import” in the column at the left of the screen and then check the box marked “Open Photos for this device” at the top left. Under Photos > Preferences > iCloud, you can choose to upload your images to iCloud Photo Library so you can access all your photos and video from your Apple devices, however they were captured. (See issue #123 for a complete guide to iCloud Drive.) It’s a great feature, but if you’re a keen photographer you’ll likely fill the 5GB space you get for free in no time, which means you’ll need to purchase more. Thankfully, moving to 50GB of storage will cost you just 99¢ a month, which is incredibly competitive compared to other cloud storage solutions.
Master Photos for Mac
> albums | PhOTOs’ LIfEbLOOd >>> Photos organizes your images into albums. Unlike a folder, images aren’t actually stored in an album; it’s just a tagging system, so you can have one image in several albums without clogging up your hard drive with duplicate files. If you want to browse through all your images, click all Photos at the top of the album list at the left of the screen. below is a collection of albums that are created automatically depending upon how the images were captured, “selfies,” for example, contains all the images shot using your iPhone’s frontfacing camera.
the People album is one of the most useful because it enables you to find the shots of the people you care about most. Photos searches automatically for faces within images and puts these into the People album. It also groups images that it thinks are of the same person and allows you to add name tags. as you begin to type a name under the image, a selectable list of potential subjects appears. If there’s already an album with that person’s name, you’re given the option to merge the two albums instead. Images with a GPs tag are automatically sorted into
the Places album. open this to reveal a map of your shooting locations. as you zoom in, more shooting locations and images become visible. click the thumbnail to see other images taken around the same area. It’s also possible to create albums yourself by clicking the + at the top right of the Library view and selecting the option. any selected images will be put into the
new album. once the album is created you can drag additional images into it. alternatively, smart albums can be created which will group images using specific criteria, such as only those taken within a certain date range. You can alter these criteria at any time and the contents of the smart album will automatically update to reflect the changes. It’s a very useful feature.
> share | shOw ThE wOrLd
> Projects | gET CrEATIvE
>>> Photos makes it very easy to share images. Just select the image(s) you want to share and then click the appropriate icon at the top right of screen to access the various options – it’s the same icon that’s used throughout Os X and iOs to indicate sharing. The first option, iCloud Photo sharing, is useful for sharing images with friends and family via shared albums. If you opt to create a new iCloud
>>> In the file menu, you’ll see a bunch of options that start with “Create” – these are projects. before you start creating a new project, it’s a good idea to select the images that you want to use and save them to their own album. when you choose a project, a step-by-step wizard takes you through the creation and ordering process (in the case of printed products). for a slideshow, you can set a theme or overall look for
album, you’ll have the opportunity to invite your contacts to connect to iCloud themselves and view the images. Naturally it’s also possible to share images on your facebook, Twitter, and flickr accounts. with facebook in particular, you can add the image to an existing album or your timeline, or even share images with specific facebook groups or on a page that you already manage.
the show together with background music – even from your iTunes collection – before saving it all as a movie. with books, calendars, and slideshows, Photos lays out the images automatically, but you can rearrange their order just by dragging them around. All the projects you’ve created are listed in the column at the left of the screen, under the albums, and can be revisited and edited at any time.
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meet the editing tools Minor tweaks and major edits alike are all possible with Photos’ editing tools ven Professional photographers using top-end cameras don’t produce exactly what they want “in camera” every time, so an image-editing package is essential. For the vast majority of people, Photos’ editing tools will be sufficient. Starting at the top of the tools column, Enhance offers a one-click solution to brighten gloomy images, boost contrast, and improve colors. It’s often worth trying it to see if it does what you want; after all, you can always revert to the original image and move on to the other tools if not. Next is Rotate, another one-click option that lets you change image orientation from portrait to landscape and vice versa. Each click rotates the image through 90 degrees. Below that, the Crop tool enables you to isolate a particular area of the image, perhaps to improve composition or to
> filters | Add INsTANT sTyLE >>> similar to Instagram, the filters control within Photos’ editing tools lets you apply a variety of different effects with just a click. There are eight options in total: Mono, Tonal, Noir, fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, and Instant. Their impact varies depending upon the starting point; fade can be quite subtle, while Noir creates a gritty, high-contrast black and white image. It’s just
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a case of clicking each in turn until you find one you like. There are no controls within the filters area to finesse the image – those edits have to be made using the controls within the Adjust option, just below filters. see opposite for more on these controls, and remember that you can always revisit your filter decision after using the Adjust controls.
remove distracting elements. You can also correct sloping horizons and sketchy verticals, or change aspect ratio from your camera’s default to 16:9 or square. To make a freeform crop, simply drag the edges of the box as needed; you can also select a specific aspect ratio by clicking the Aspect control. If you need to correct a sloping horizon, click the Auto button at the bottom right. Photos analyzes the image, looking for straight lines, and attempts to make them level. It doesn’t work in all instances so it may be necessary to take control yourself: Click the control that looks like a protractor, just to the right of the image. Dragging this up and down rotates your image; keep an eye on the grid that appears and use it as a guide to when the image is level. The crop will adjust automatically to avoid including any blank areas in your final image.
Master Photos for Mac
> retouch | CLEAN IT uP >>> Photos’ retouch control is useful for getting rid of dust marks – those little imperfections caused by dust on your camera’s sensor – as well as skin blemishes on portrait subjects and litter in landscape shots. In this case we’re using it to remove a distracting marker post in the ocean in the background of this shot. The first step is to zoom in to at
least 100% then size the brush to suit the subject. It’s usually better to select a source area to make the repair: to do this, hold Alt and click on a suitable area near the object you want to remove. Then release Alt and click the problem area. Photos will attempt to use pixels from the source area to cover the area you click, often with seamless results.
Quick look Introducing Adjust
reset once an adjustment has been made, a check mark appears next to the control name; click it to reset default values.
extensions select this button to get access to third-party plugins for a bigger range of features and greater control over your images.
g e t acc ess to t h i r d - Pa rt y P lu g i n s fo r e v e n m o r e f e at u r es
adjustment tools click this icon to reveal a new layer of adjustment tools that enable you to make more specific edits to your image as needed.
get the tools add or delete tools from the panel by checking or unchecking the options in this list. click save as Default to avoid doing it repeatedly.
reset adjustments clicking the reset adjustments button only removes edits made with the adjustment tools, not those made elsewhere.
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advanced editing get to grips with the controls within the Adjust panel to make more advanced changes to your images ost of the adjustments available within the Adjust panel use sliding controls. What you see initially isn’t all there is on offer, however: hover over the Light, Color, or Black & White sliders and a drop-down arrow appears. Click it for access to more detailed controls. Double-clicking any slider resets it to its original value. Each control also has an Auto option.
The distinction between options such as Brilliance, Exposure, and Brightness isn’t immediately obvious. Exposure adjusts the whole image uniformly, but Brightness works on specific areas, brightening dark regions and pulling back highlights while boosting contrast in other areas. Brilliance also does a good job of brightening a dull image without “burning out” the highlights, losing detail. As soon as you click the Black & White controls, the image converts to monochrome, as you might expect. Black & White controls include Intensity, Neutral, Tone, and Grain. Intensity works across all the tones in an image, Neutral adjusts the brightness of the grays (mid-tones), and Tone adjusts contrast. Grain emphasizes or removes the “film” grain – essentially random noise – in an image. In addition to the controls in the Black & White panel, you can use any of the other controls to manipulate the image until you get the result you want. Experiment!
using the adjust controls sOME rEALwOrLd EXAMPLEs
noise reduction Zoom to 100% when applying noise reduction to high-IsO images and use it carefully to preserve detail.
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light Midtones and lighter areas have been brightened, and contrast boosted. The black point has been moved too.
color saturation has been significantly reduced to give a washed-out look and a warm cast applied.
levels Compressing tonal range has given the appearance of boosting the saturation as well as contrast.
definition definition controls the micro-contrast of an image and can be useful to give more “bite” to skin.
black & White The black & white and Light controls have been used together to create a highcontrast image.
vignette Corner shading is a lens flaw, but it can help focus attention on your subject so is often applied as an effect.
Master Photos for Mac
> White balance
> histogram and light
>>> The white balance control is designed to correct any color cast caused by different light sources – our eyes and brain do a fantastic job of automatically correcting them for us. but it can also be used creatively to create cool or warm images that capture
>>> An image’s histogram shows its brightness distribution, the proportion of pixels of each brightness from black (0) on the left, to white (255) on the right of the horizontal scale. when the Exposure control in Photos’ Light panel is moved to the right to brighten the image, the peaks in the
the atmosphere of a scene. Photos’ white balance tool can be used to sample the color of a specific part of an image to make it neutral. The sample area can be set to be either neutral gray or a skin tone. Alternatively you can set a specific color temperature and tint.
histogram also move to the right as the pixels get brighter. Conversely, if you darken the image, the peaks shift over to the left. As a rule, when you adjust a “typical” image you want to avoid creating a big peak at either end of the histogram, unless it’s for a particular effect.
> levels | PIXEL brIghTNEss >>> Photos’ Levels control allows you to adjust image brightness and contrast by working directly on the image histogram. You can even work on individual color channels to adjust color and correct a cast. If you’re using Levels for the first time it’s a good idea to click the menu icon and set it to Luminance. You can then click and drag the handles at the top or bottom of the graph to adjust the image’s
brightness. Keep an eye on the histogram to see how it changes shape as the brightness of the image alters. the handles control specific tones of the image and you can brighten or darken these by dragging the handles left or right. the bottom handles at the far end of the horizontal scale set the point at which the brightest and darkest pixels become white or black respectively.
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using extensions Add more tools to Photos with a range of third-party software plugins xtensions are third-party plugins that broaden the range of things Photos can do. They’re a great way for experienced photographers to access more advanced controls without leaving Photos, but others can give you a wider range of easy-to-use filter effects or borders, and are useful to photographers of all experience levels. Many Photos’ Extensions are available from the Mac App store: you can find a growing list by searching for “Photos Extension.” However, not all developers have tagged their plugins to make them easy to find, so you need to keep your ear to the ground to discover new apps. If you have a favorite image editor, it’s worth searching to see if there’s an Extension version available, either at the Mac App Store, or at its website – apps outside the App Store can have Extensions, too.
hoW to | INsTALL EXTENsIONs
find it Install the app from the Mac App store, or other source. Open system Preferences and select Extensions.
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install it In the Extensions pane select Photos on the left, and then check all the plugins you want to use.
Some Photos Extensions are free while others have a modest cost, but there are a few more expensive packages. Many of these are available as time-limited trials or with reduced functionality, which can be expanded by upgrading to the full version. A few developers include Photos Extensions right alongside their desktop software. Affinity Photo ($49.99) from Serif, for example, is a powerful image editor and comes complete with six extensions: Develop, Haze Removal, Liquify, Miniature, Monochrome, and Retouch. These offer some of the control of the desktop app in a simpler form directly within Photos and are
extensions are a g r e at Way to a d d m o r e a dva n c e d e d i t i n g co n t r o l s installed with the main software. See p40 for more about Monochrome. If you like using Photos but find that you still frequently defer to an external editor, you might want to try External Editor For Photos from Karsten Bruns. This extension costs just 99¢ and enables you to open and edit an image in other editors, including Photoshop, from within Photos. Once you’ve made the edit you can return to Photos, or click Revert to Original to remove all of the applied external edits.
Master Photos for Mac
> dxo oPtics Pro for Photos $9.99 >>> DXo is a developer that makes complex measurements of lens and camera performance, and then creates software such as optics Pro that enables flaws like distortion, chromatic aberration (fringing), vignetting, and lens softness to be easily corrected. this DXo plugin detects which camera and lens was used to capture an image automatically, and then applies the correction immediately. tens of thousands of camera and lens combinations are supported, with more being added all the time.
In addition to these optical corrections it’s also possible to adjust white balance, exposure (using DXo smart Lighting), noise, and the level of haze in landscape images. each of these controls has one-click options, giving examples of when they should be used, but there’s also a sliding control to allow you to finetune the adjustment. the simplicity of the controls belies the complexity of the measurements and corrections that are applied automatically. DXo optics Pro for Photos works best with raw files. If you shoot both raw and
JPeG files together, Photos defaults to using the JPeG version, so it’s worth switching to the raw file for processing through the plugin. a small “J” in the corner of the thumbnail in the Library view indicates when you’ve shot raw and JPeG images. In the editing
menu, right-click to access options and select “Use raW as original.” also bear in mind that it’s best to use the DXo plugin before you apply any other adjustments to your image, because the corrections it makes can potentially be quite dramatic.
> macPhun intensify $8.99 >>> you get quite a lot for your money with Intensify, which does pretty much what the name implies, making your photos much more dramatic. As well as adjustable Preset treatments that are designed to suit a range of subjects, there’s also an extensive array of controls over aspects such as white balance (color temperature), exposure, contrast, structure, detail, sharpness, vignetting, and opacity. you can also use these controls to create your own Preset for use in the future; clicking on the star in a Preset’s control assigns it to your favorites list for quick access.
Part of the power of Intensify comes from the fact that its adjustments are applied as a layer. This means that you can also apply a mask that you either paint in/out with a brush or control with a gradient tool. The opacity and size of the brush can also be varied. It’s also possible to apply additional adjustments in new layers by clicking the + icon in the Layers section. The masking tools and layer opacity sliders then enable several treatments to be blended together. Each of the adjustments has a reset icon as well as an on/off box to allow you to turn the effect off without resetting the values.
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> befunky exPress $9.99 >>> befunky has an auto-fix tool that is designed to brighten all sorts of dull images with one click, but it’s the portrait-enhancing features that are really attractive. the first of these is skin smoothing, which is
applied with a variable sized brush tool. there’s a zoom control at the top of the screen and it’s a good idea to zoom into around 100% before you start work. Next, size the brush so that you need
several strokes to cover the key areas of your subject’s face without having to be too precise, and paint over and over again. set the texture amount, smooth amount, and brush Hardness to mid-range values and brush over a section of your subject’s face. If the effect is too strong, reduce the smooth amount. If the border between treated and untreated areas is too strong, reduce the brush Hardness. If you make a mistake, use the back arrow
next to the zoom control to step backwards. be subtle; the aim is to enhance the image and flatter your subject rather than turn them into a plastic doll. one of the nice features about befunky express is that you can adjust the texture and smooth amounts after you’ve applied the brush strokes so you can vary their impact. When you’re happy, click apply and move on to teeth Whiten followed by eye brighten and apply their effects in a similar way.
> affinity monochrome WItH serIf affINItY PHoto ($49.99) >>> As mentioned, Affinity Monochrome is an example of an extension that comes with a desktop software package, and it’s very powerful, going far beyond the control of Photos’ standard black & white conversion feature – plus many users are likely to find it easier to understand. At the top of the column on the right of the screen are six sliding controls that govern the brightness of the areas that were originally that color. with our image, for example, sliding the green control over to the right lightens most of the vegetation while sliding it left darkens it. beneath these controls is a curve that allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast of the image. The bottom-left section of the curve controls the darkest areas, while the top-right controls the brighter zones. Clicking on the straight diagonal line and dragging it up brightens pixels of that brightness (it has a knock-on effect on others), while dragging it down darkens them. underneath are a set of controls for toning and duotoning the image. The color of the tone is selected using
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the hue slider(s) and it’s easiest to see the colors if you push the saturation slider(s) to the far right before pushing them back to a subtler level. with this image, for example, we’ve applied a sepia tone to the highlights and a blue tone to the shadows. The order of the controls suggests a sensible way of making the adjustments, but you can go back to fine-tune any of them.
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How crowdfunding took over the world 42 feb 2017 maclife.com
$ How crowdfunding took over the world
The crowdfunding craze is creating opportunities for big companies and individuals alike. Craig Grannell talks to creators about their highs and lows â€“ and how to harness the power of people
$ maclife.com feb 2017 43
ealizinG a dream project once required you save up a pile of money or find someone with deep pockets. Even then, there were risks. Crowdfunding on sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon now offers a viable alternative, where interest and payment can go hand in hand. Elan Lee masterminded card game Exploding Kittens (explodingkittens.com) – the most successful Kickstarter to date. He thinks the model does two really helpful things: “You connect
Chris Abbot showed that people still buy CDs – complete with elaborate cover art.
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Micro-computer Kano used its crowdfunding campaign to test the market.
directly to your audience, so you can get feedback and understand who they are, to make your product as good as possible. And you can gauge interest, without putting massive amounts of investment on the line.” This is particularly useful for hardware. It’s one thing to make, say, a small videogame that fails to set the App Store charts alight, but you really don’t want warehouses full of unwanted equipment. “Market fit was a question mark for us, so we tested it out on Indiegogo,” says Mikko Kesti of his
team’s Adobe Lightroom editing console Loupedeck (loupedeck. com). Demand was such that the campaign rapidly flew past its target. Kesti adds that without the campaign, convincing investors would have been harder: “After all, people can say they love a product, but the ultimate test is when they place an order.”
Tiny CompuTer Kano (kano.me) had a similar start on Kickstarter. Six-year-old Micah challenged founders Alex Klein and Yonatan Raz-Fridman to create a self-built computer as simple and as fun as LEGO. A few prototypes later, crowdfunding was the obvious next step – to amass capital, but more importantly to receive public validation that there was interest in a $99 computer anyone could make and code with. Head of communications David Ortiz reasons Kano wouldn’t be what it was without Kickstarter: “Our second campaign was the most crowdfunded educational project to date. Both campaigns provided exposure to a public hungry for physical devices to build and code with, moving away from the current world of sealed, one-size-fits-all products.” The notion of working in the margins of what’s popular is common in crowdfunding. Chris
“ K i C KsTa rT e r l e T m e Gau G e i n T e r esT s o i d i d n ’ T i n v esT i n s o m e T H i n G o n ly fo r i T To fa i l .” sa m dy e r Abbott, who has crowdfunded audio projects based on 8-bit videogame music (c64audio.com), notes “Some things in crowdfunding defy gravity – such as people still buying CD boxsets.” And you can’t exactly imagine record labels clamoring to buy into a project that asks: what if 1980s videogame soundtracks were reimagined in the style of Jean-Michel Jarre or Vangelis? Yet several Abbott-run Kickstarters have been successful. In similar territory, Sam Dyer of Bitmap Books (bitmapbooks.co. uk) has funded a small library of visual compendiums celebrating classic technology hardware,
which he thinks wouldn’t exist at all without Kickstarter: “I had no customer base. I had no idea if anyone would want that first book. Kickstarter let me gauge interest so I didn’t invest in something only for it to fail. It removed the risk.”
THis idea of niche products is close to the heart of TV writer Paul Rose, who ran a popular magazine at the very early forefront of digital publishing. “For me, part of the appeal of crowdfunding is being able to support things outside of the mainstream – that don’t fit into an
obvious box. It allows for more tailored projects, and I honestly think it presents a genuine alternative – possibly even a threat – to existing funding models.” Rose himself has successfully crowdfunded two projects: a web take on his games magazine Digitiser (digitiser2000.com), and Mr Biffo’s Found Footage (a comedy series comprising fake VCR footage) – and thinks neither would otherwise exist. He reasons Digitiser2000 “awkwardly straddles blog and games site” and is too “wilfully strange, obtuse, and at other times shamelessly personal and heartfelt” for traditional funding. And Found maclife.com feb 2017 45
$ >>> Feature
$ Loupedeck is a bespoke console for editing in Lightroom.
Footage is “as out there as anything I’ve ever done” to the point it wouldn’t make it on to standard television “without a lot of compromise to make it more palatable,” he believes.
However, noT every story is a success. Abbott notes some projects can have issues in trying to get the average pledge high enough to withstand only getting a small number of backers. “There’s still a big disparity between what people regard as good value, the number of
people interested in something, and the development and production costs,” he says. Developer Marco Arment has first-hand experience of “how difficult it is to get the mass market to pay for intangible digital goods such as apps and media, regardless of their quality, in an environment of overabundance.” He tried running his acclaimed podcast app Overcast (overcast.fm) using a patron financial model, where people donated a recurring fee. Arment reasons this kind of funding can be beneficial: “Your project can be free, opening the
Sam Dyer made a glossy book from low-res art.
doors to everyone to accelerate growth and sharing, and you can theoretically make enough money from ‘superfans’ to fund it. It’s also simpler to implement and support than other monetization schemes.” Whether it works for you, he says, is another story. With Overcast, figuring out how to encourage and reward patronage was tricky. Without perks, the patronage rate was unsustainably low. On the flipside, when he made features patron-only, other users got angry. Arment eventually switched to a more typical ad-funded model, adding a “premium” tier to remove ads, which he says “drives more subscription sales than patronage did – and I’m also making money from the userbase that doesn’t pay.”
as ever, there are exceptions. For example, Rose’s Digitiser2000 is funded via Patreon, where fans pledge support in a subscriptionstyle manner, in return for promised rewards (which are usually just that the creator will keep making things). “Patreon works for Digitiser2000 because it’s ongoing, and I find people who support it very generously give far in excess of what 46 feb 2017 maclife.com
How crowdfunding took over the world
“ T H e Co m m u n i T y Ca n p r ov i d e i n s i G H T, a n d s H a r e yo u r pass i o n fo r T H e p r o d u CT.” m asa pavo Kov i C they might spend on a magazine every month,” reveals Rose. “I don’t earn as much as I would writing the same volume of content freelance – but the freedom it affords me makes up for that.” Rose also discovered regular, direct engagement with his loyal, dedicated following boosted his projects’ chances: “The bulk of my backers came from my Twitter followers, and Found Footage was bolstered when I started to offer unique, personalized retro-style pictures to everyone who pledged [at a certain tier]. This drove tons of backers, and also meant I could upload the images to Twitter, which doubled up as a marketing tool. It nearly killed me doing over 300 of the things, though – I had eyestrain by the end of the campaign!” Even with less off-the-wall crowdfunding campaigns, there’s an understanding about the power of the community. Masa Pavokovic,
MAG-LEV Audio is the world’s first levitating turntable.
communications coordinator behind the MAG-LEV levitating turntable campaign, says that although crowdfunding’s “quick income of funds is crucial for establishing production,” the community can play a big role. “As a creator, you try to think of every possibility that makes your product better, but with so much going on, you sometimes miss a thing or two. The community can provide insight, and share your passion for the product, thereby being the most powerful marketing tool around.” Robin Rath, co-founder of kid-friendly game creation tool Bloxels (bloxelsbuilder.com), says much of the key to community involvement in the project is “really understanding what the story is, making sure it’s easy to tell, and ensuring it’s great for the specific audience you are trying to reach, so that it really resonates with them.”
Robin Rath successfully launched his company Bloxels with the help of Kickstarter. Dyer adds that for multiple campaigns to be successful, lines of communication must stay open for the duration, rather than just during the early days. In his case, regular updates about in-progress books are sent to backers, who may then be more likely to support subsequent volumes: “People really appreciate the openness, and I try to make backers feel like they are in an exclusive club – the first to know and see things.”
as noTed, Exploding Kittens was the most successful campaign in Kickstarter history, so it should come as no surprise that its team worked hard to define its story and engage the community. Elan Lee recounts that the team initially shared a preview of the campaign page with friends, who thought it was a bit “infomercial.” “They said it shows we’d built a product, liked it, and that people could buy it. That would have made for a mediocre, middle-of-the-road maclife.com feb 2017 47
Exploding Kittens raised a staggering $9 million on Kickstarter.
campaign, and it was a revelation. We realized we had to explain why we were on Kickstarter, and the only reason is to work with the community and the crowd.” The reworked page started with this premise in mind, the team realizing it was there to work with its backers, in order to make the game the best version of itself. When the company raced past its $10,000 goal – set because that was the minimum order requirement from the printer – Elan said the team “had no more interest in funds.” Everything thereafter was designed to “raise a crowd, to throw the biggest party the internet has ever seen – all around this silly, interesting, fun product.”
insTead of tying stretch goals (upgrades) to raising money, Exploding Kittens found itself with an achievement system. “One of our characters is a taco cat, so we said we wanted 25 pictures of real taco cats. We even had people write haikus,” says Lee. And it worked. The community got involved, and word continued to spread. By the end, 48 feb 2017 maclife.com
Exploding Kittens had 219,000 backers and had raised almost $9 million – both Kickstarter records. “The first of those is what we’re most proud of,” says Lee. “We have more people who wanted to play this silly game with us than use any other product on Kickstarter. That was truly glorious. “And we had so much fun talking to those people, letting them test the game early, playing games with them, sharing pictures, singing songs, and creating more content
Bears vs Babies is the follow-up to Exploding Kittens.
for them, because they wanted to join our family and help us make this thing as good as it could possibly be,” he adds. Another interesting aspect of Exploding Kittens was its razorsharp focus in terms of what it offered. Although Abbott notes Kickstarter campaigns “look stupid” when they offer “ridiculous upperlevel expensive pledges like $1,000 for lunch with the development team,” he says it’s important to offer price levels for all backers. In
How crowdfunding took over the world
$ $ “ d o n e r i G H T, yo u ’ r e o n T H i s r o l l e r CoasT e r j o u r n ey w i T H yo u r baC K e r s.” e l a n l e e some cases this can bump up the average pledge, while still making the lower tiers accessible to all. With Exploding Kittens, though, and similarly successful follow-up Bears vs Babies, you had just two options: buy the game, or buy the game with the “NSFW” expansion deck. “We had no posters, no T-shirts, and no pins,” says Lee, who argues such extras are a distraction; not only for the buyer, who has to figure out what option to pick from sometimes confusing alternatives, but also – and most importantly – for the creators. “Making T-shirts is really hard. Stocking posters and figuring out mailing lists for postcards… Those are all full-time jobs, and detract from the experience of building a community around a new product
that everyone can get excited about,” continues Lee. “Besides, we found all of those things can come into existence afterwards, either from us or from our vibrant community. But they don’t need to be created at the beginning because they put your product at risk – and there’s no-one on the planet who would appreciate that.”
reGardless of approach, there is one thing everyone immersed in crowdfunding can agree on: along with being a potentially great way to fund a project while building a community, it is often a really exciting time for the creators. “Done right, you’re on this rollercoaster journey with your
backers, who happen to get a souvenir at the end,” thinks Abbott. “There’s nothing quite like those last two or three days of a Kickstarter for tension.” Lee reasons that, if anything, things can get a bit too much, not least when the numbers were zooming upwards, as with Exploding Kittens: “That was the most exciting and the most terrifying part. Every time we saw the numbers go up, some of our team would celebrate because we were getting more successful. “But I’d see another box to manufacture, fulfill and ship. It got so bad I put sticky notes over my monitor, so I could view the campaign page without having to watch the numbers rise, because that gave me too much stress!” For some creators, crowdfunding can be truly life-changing. “I’ve a large family and a demanding job, but through crowdfunding, I can justify working on projects without squeezing them in around everything else,” says Rose. “In fact, it potentially offers a real alternative to my day job – and though I’ve been lucky in that I’m a pretty successful kids’ TV writer, there’s always the threat of shows being canceled, or work drying up. For the first time in a long time, crowdfunding has made me consider that I might be able to go on doing things I love for a long time yet.” maclife.com feb 2017 49
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maclife.com fEb 2017 51
APP LIFE THIS MONTH’S MOST INTERESTING iPHONE & iPAD APPS
Making writing on iOS more productive Free (Pro $1.49/month or $14.99/year) Developer Shiny Frog Platform Universal Requirements iOS 9 or later
Document statistics are available from a panel, but can’t be displayed permanently.
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Bear exists somewhere between minimal writing app and note-taker. The interface is split between a narrow sidebar, the current notes list, and the editor. The editor will accept images from Camera Roll and automatically styles text when symbols for the Markdown text styling language are used. Any file can include tags – within copy or listed. These are displayed in the sidebar, and are intended to create groups of notes. You can link to another document by copying from the option in its More menu within the notes list, then pasting into the editor.
For writers, a panel with statistics (word counts and so on) can be accessed, but unlike the Mac version, this can’t be displayed on a permanent basis. Time management fanatics are better served with to-dos, with - and + symbols in place of bullets, displayed as checkboxes. There’s also fast access to notes with specific content when searching with typed triggers: @tagged, @todo, @images, and so on. The default theme looks lovely, and can be tweaked regarding fonts and spacing. It’s great there’s no lock-in, too – you can share any note as TXT or export to MD or RTF. Upgrading to Pro unlocks cross-device sync, additional themes, and export to PDF, HTML, DOCX, and JPEG. Of those, sync proved robust and fast, the additional themes are fine but the original one’s best, and export works well, bar messy HTML output. Other small issues we found include the sidebar becoming cluttered if you use too many tags, and an inability to arbitrarily order notes. You can pin notes to the top of a list, but that’s all. This
The keyboard row provides quick access but requires scrolling back and forth. and the lack of multi-note selection and export makes Bear inferior to Ulysses and Scrivener for long-form texts from multiple documents. Two of our issues – the info panel and multiple note selection – are resolved on the superior macOS version. Regardless, the stumbling block for many might be subscription-based pricing, although a year of Bear costs far less than setting up with its closest rivals – especially if you’re going cross-platform. the bottom line. A bit lacking for long-form writing, but good for notes and storing smaller documents – both in the free and paid incarnations. CRaig gRannell Bear
Lovely interface and easy to use No lock-in; docs can be exported Free version is feature-rich Cannot arbitrarily sort notes in lists good
Tough testing, trusted ratings
Keep on top of your likes and dislikes 99¢ Developer Austin Lubker, lubkerdesign.com Platform Universal Requirements iOS 9.3 or later
Have you ever had a moment where you can’t remember the name of something you liked (or if you liked something you remember)? Categories is an app to help you record information about the things you use, to look up later. Categories enables you to create lists of items and assign a familiar one- to five-star rating to them. By doing this, you can quickly reference things that you’ve loved, versus things that you’re happy to forget. This would be a useful app to keep in your back pocket if you’re starting up a
new hobby that involves a lot of trial and error. For example, maybe you’re looking to start up jewelry making and you want a place to record what brands of supplies you liked as well as those you didn’t. Using Categories, you can create lists that allow you to rate the supplies you buy and quickly find them later. It has problems, though. From what we can tell, you can’t edit or delete a single item once you create it, and are only able to delete lists as a whole from within the list screen. This is especially frustrating if you make a typo well into filling out a comprehensive list, and we hope that the developer corrects this issue in future
Categories makes it easy to refer back to your lists and check ratings for individual entries. updates. Categories is a functional app, and we think that there are users out there who will find it useful. the bottom line. While not perfect, Categories provides a service many users could benefit from. AmbeR neely Okay
Call Blocker - Block spammers and spam calls
Who you gonna call block? Those spammers! 99¢ Developer Konstantinos Papadakis, callblocker.e-papadakis.gr/ Platform Universal Requirements iOS 10 or later
iOS 10 introduced tools that allows apps to monitor incoming calls, identifying spammers, scammers, and robocalls before the receiver even answers. Call Blocker is one such app, and it’s straightforward to set up and use. Open iOS Settings and navigate to Phone > Call Blocking & Identification. From there you can toggle on any compatible apps already installed; switch on Call Blocker, hop back to the app, tap Settings, and toggle on Identify
Unwanted Calls. Starting with the next incoming call, Call Blocker compares the caller against a database of known offenders. If there’s a match, the app displays an on-screen “Unwanted Call” message. Although iOS 10 can selectively block callers, Call Blocker offers usercreated rules, along with an option to automatically reject those calls. Call Blocker works well, but lacks the niceties of Hiya, a free alternative that goes a couple steps further by classifying the type of incoming call (“Scam or
Call Blocker only displays telemarketer calls as “Unwanted” rather than providing more info. Fraud,” “Telemarketing,” and so on) and using reverse lookup to research who’s behind those calls. In this case, the paid app offers less. the bottom line. Call Blocker works, but lacks the extra features found in rival apps. J.R. bookwAlteR gOOd
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There are some really interesting options available.
Tackle multiple email accounts Free Developer Polymail, polymail.io Platform Universal Requirements iOS 8.2 or later
Like other popular email apps, you can delay incoming messages.
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We’re willing to bet quite a few of our readers have multiple email addresses; one for home, one for work, and maybe even another for school. Juggling all those email addresses can get a little bit tricky, especially if you’re doing it on your phone. Polymail is an app that aims to help take the frustration out of using multiple emails and comes packed with additional goodies. Polymail can be used across platforms, on iPhone as well as Mac, and keeps synchronized with a single Polymail login. You can use Polymail with all
sorts of email accounts, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, and any email provider that uses IMAP, so it should work well with any email your internet service provider has given you, as well as most email accounts that are provided by offices and schools. On top of keeping all your emails in one place, there’s a lot of useful features to be used in Polymail, whether you’re using it for business or just to make your life a little easier. There are email templates that allow you to respond to common questions you get, the ability to undo messages you send if you make a mistake, and delayed message sending so you can make sure your emails are read at the correct time. You’ll be able to see when people read emails
you’ve sent them, as well as when they download any attachments – perfect for when you’ve got time sensitive material to distribute. You can even create detailed contact profiles with built in social links and a record of your interaction history. Our favorite thing about Polymail is the minimal, yet attractive interface. It doesn’t feel cluttered in the slightest, and is easy to navigate from the moment you open it. It feels quite a bit like the built-in iOS email app, but with a fresh coat of paint and some additional features you won’t find with within the stock Apple app. We think that Polymail is truly one of the more approachable third party email apps we’ve come across. We cannot recommend Polymail enough and think that most people will enjoy it once they start using it. While it’s meant for people who use more than one email and those who are business minded, we could see anyone benefiting from making the switch. the bottom line. A well designed, highly functional app we’re happy to recommend. ambeR neely Polymail
Attractive, simple; tools will be useful to a pretty wide audience Packed with additional useful features Keep all emails in a single place Some features may not appeal to all awesome
Tough testing, trusted ratings
Author – Create and Edit Tabs A music-writing app that fails musicians Free Developer Ultimate Guitar, ultimate-guitar.com Platform iPad Requirements iOS 9 or later
Feel like being an unpaid content provider? Then Author is the app for you. It’s designed so that you can painstakingly create guitar tab sheets and chord sequences of other people’s songs for the 12-million-member Ultimate Guitar website. So, can you import from other notation apps or file formats? Nope. Can you export your tabs and chords to any other location or app? Nope. Can you use the app to write down your own songs to share with others? Nope. Can you use the app to learn songs other people have contributed? Nopety-nope-nope-McNope.
What that means is that unless you’re really keen on sharing things with the Ultimate Guitar community, then the app’s features are largely useless. That’s a shame, because it’s very well designed. Creating tablature is simple, and in addition to the good old-fashioned “put this finger there” approach you can also specify ghost notes, artificial harmonics, palm muting, and other key techniques. The app also ties in with Apple Music and enables you to play songs as you work out what the guitarist is doing, and in another nice touch the Chords option automatically grabs the lyrics to save you time. The problem is that the focus on
Author enables you to create lyric and chord sheets (shown here) or guitar tab. Ultimate Guitar means the app is effectively pointless for anything else. As a result, Author is little more than a website’s content management system. the bottom line. If you’re an Ultimate Guitar contributor you’ll like this a lot. And if you aren’t, you won’t. GaRy maRshall weak
A smart app extension that fills a void in iOS $1.99 Developer Tijo, opener.link Platform Universal Requirements iOS 8 or later
It’s an app world now, we all just live in it. That is, except when links you tap on your iPhone or iPad open in Safari instead of the app you intended. We still don’t have a way to set default apps in iOS 10. Thankfully, now there’s Opener. Put simply, it opens links in the apps of your choice – think of it like using the right-click “Open With” menu in macOS. Instead of opening YouTube links in Google’s app or Safari, Opener can send them to ProTube, a third-party app we prefer. Instead of opening Twitter links in Twitter’s official (poor) app, you could open them in Tweetbot or Twitterrific.
We’ve used Opener almost daily since we found it, and we think it fills a functional vacuum quite well. There has never been a way to control default apps in iOS, but Opener is a low-friction way to gain some of that flexibility. One small complaint is the way browsers are handled. If you want to use a browser besides Safari, you only get to pick a single option. We’d rather see all available browsers listed and have the choice on-the-fly. That said, we definitely recommend Opener, and while we wish iOS would make some of these tasks easier by default, we totally get Apple’s desire
If Apple has any sense, it’ll snap up this app from the developer for future iOS versions. to keep things simple for most users. Thankfully, iOS has the foundational support to allow apps like Opener to exist, and we’re glad it does. the bottom line. A strong app extension for everyone who needs a little more flexibility from iOS. great
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Extensive testing revealed that Graava’s AI thinks blurry, moving shots are “highlights.”
Video editing made less simple Free Developer Graava, graavaapp.com Platform iPhone Requirements iOS 9.1 or later
Manually highlighting moments can be useful, but not easy to do if you’re filming sports.
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The description for Graava promises to remove the pain of editing video using “a combination of sensors and artificial intelligence.” It is unclear what that means; it seems to be a combination of microphone, accelerometer, location, and, potentially, heart rate – but those aren’t always connected to exciting video. If there’s artificial intelligence in there, it’s not very smart. After picking which videos you want to combine from a badly designed selection menu, the app will suggest a video length seemingly at random. Sometimes it will give you the option of 6-10
seconds, other times 7-23 seconds – even if the videos were longer the first time. You can tweak the videos after Graava shows you its edit, adding music from its list or from your iTunes downloads, cropping photos, moving the clips around and adding “highlights” which tell the app what to focus on – pretty tedious stuff on a phone, and the icons and functions can be difficult to figure out. There are also other people’s videos to watch, but it’s quite clear that the best of those weren’t auto-edited: they were tweaked and polished by people who know how to make good videos. It’s very hard to do that yourself, because the app limits you in strange ways. Trying to make a satisfying montage of photos is unbelievably hard, because
Graava enforces weird video lengths, usually around 6-8 seconds, but then changes the times the photos appear on screen so that some photos flash by in milliseconds. It doesn’t even auto-match cuts to the music. The premium upgrade – a $4.99 yearly subscription – promises video lengths of up to three minutes, 1080p exports and no watermarks. However, it doesn’t really add much to the app itself, just takes away limits. It also didn’t make the experience feel any more streamlined or “premium” – the app still crashed, the exports still didn’t save, the videos sometimes had six unexplained seconds of nothingness. This app sits uncomfortably between great video editing software, such as Premiere CC, and basic software like iMovie. It wants to be the former for people on-the-go, but ends up being the latter with extra complications. the bottom line. A video-editing app that isn’t in-depth enough for pros, or simple enough for beginners. Kate GRay
A quick video-editing solution Incomprehensible “auto-editing” decisions Unhelpfully minimalist icons Crashes, sometimes can’t export videos Weak
Tough testing, trusted ratings
If racing games had training wheels $4.99 Developer Chillingo, chillingo.com Platform Universal Requirements iOS 8 or later
Warning: if you want to infinitely tweak cars, peer through a mud-streaked windshield, or judge when precisely it’s best to drop from fourth gear to third, you’ll have to go elsewhere. What Go Rally offers instead is simple, accessible racing. No messing: just jump in and rev up. Using the recommended control scheme, you turn and brake using buttons either side of the screen, and the game takes care of everything else. Consider yourself experienced? Different controls give you more to worry about. The length of each stage – and there around three per rally – is well judged;
long enough that you’ll probably need a few tries to finish in a good position, short enough that you can tackle one while waiting for the coffee to percolate. Unfortunately, it’s lacking any real sense of balls-to-the-wall speed – perhaps due to the third-person (third-car?) viewpoint. As a result, you might be speeding along at a thrilling number of miles per hour, but it feels like a safe 50. Think you could do better? Get stuck into the surprisingly immediate track editor. The interface makes smart use of the touchscreen, allowing you to draw out your track layout using one finger as a pencil. From there, you can then drag to
Those tire marks? That’ll be where you went screeching off on the last lap. amend corners, place signs and other amenities, and even alter the angle of the sunlight. Sadly, you still can’t create unskiddable corners… the bottom line. Somewhat shallow but enjoyable racing that’s enhanced by an intuitive track-editing mode. emma Davies great
Super Cat Tales
A super-cute game for Mario fans Free Developer FDG Entertainment, fdg-entertainment.com Platform Universal Requirements iOS 7 or later
Super Cat Tales is an affectionate homage to Nintendo’s SNES classic Super Mario World, and it isn’t afraid to show it. It’s a charmingly cartoonish, detailed, and bright game, in which – as in Super Mario World – you have to make your way to the end of a 2D level by jumping over things, swimming through dangerous waters, and using a bunch of power-ups to get past obstacles. Unlike in Super Mario World, you can’t vanquish enemies; bumping into them incurs a time penalty or death. The platforming, then, becomes more a test of skill, but it’s made difficult by
the controls. Tap once on the right to walk, once on the left to jump, and twice to run, but bear in mind that running is sometimes detrimental to what you’re trying to do, such as wall jumping. In water levels, you’re unable to move forward – only diagonally upwards, which makes it incredibly hard to progress. What’s more, the central concept of the game is that you can unlock cats with new abilities to get past obstacles. That’s sweet, but it would have worked better to power up your main character instead. The controls make it hard to really feel like you’re good at the game, and the cat-switching mechanic is ultimately
Themed worlds, like Super Mario, test skills in different ways, with different obstacles. tedious. Still, if you can get your head around both of those elements, the Mario influence serves the game well, and it’s still really charming. the bottom line. A cute, good-looking platforming game that requires a level of skill made difficult by unintuitive controls. Kate GRay good
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We’re almost certain this is how real-life generals launch their attacks, too.
Rome: Total War Caesar the day
$9.99 Developer Feral Interactive, feralinteractive.com Platform iPad Requirements iOS 9 or later
Have to say, we don’t like the Gauls’ chances here. Even if that reinforcement division in the horizon will take until Christmas.
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As the name suggests, there’s plenty of spear-togut action in this strategy game. Each fight takes place as a sprawling real-time battle involving hundreds of troops – it can take the better part of 10 minutes simply to maneuver a unit from one side of the battlefield to the other. As well as directing your soldiers’ destination and speed, you decide on whether
or not they fire at will, if their ranks are tight or loose, what formation they take. You’ve even got to take terrain and weather into account. As such, victory might feel like a desperate last stab that’s paid off, but it never feels like sheer luck. If you’re more of an armchair general, there’s the option to “auto-resolve,” but it’s risky unless the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor. However appealing, though, these battles are just a portion of the game. You’ve also got your overarching strategy to worry about, visualized as a map with large figures symbolizing each of your agents – be they warmongering general, gracious diplomat, or underhanded spy. This element plays out in turnbased fashion, with you moving agents around Europe, scuffling over territory and warring/making peace with
the 16 other factions (whose allegiances to one another are also constantly shifting). When it comes to taking cities, you’ve not only got the option of starving them out with a siege – slower, but potentially less imminently dangerous – but even of how high to set taxation once you’ve taken over. After all, an army may march on its stomach, but how are you going to feed it without coins coming into the coffers? Pretty much every decision here is on your shoulders. All this depth does come with a trade-off. Rome isn’t an immediately accessible game and probably does benefit from a larger screen and the precise controls of a mouse. The wealth of options can feel more than a little daunting, too. Not one to entice casual players, perhaps, but there’s depth here to please even the most ardent of strategy obsessives. the bottom line. A full-fat port of a Mac gem; an involving campaign, incredible depth, and near granular-level control. emma Davies
Rome: ToTal WaR
Feel like a real emperor! Battles are hard-fought and rewarding Enough game here to keep you occupied for a seriously long time Interface isn’t always intuitive; some options are more obvious than others gReaT
Tough testing, trusted ratings >>> App
6 great apps for food lovers Jump out of the frying pan and into the fire with these culinary companions bY Emma daViEs
We’ve all gotta eat, so why not take pleasure in one of life’s necessities? Thankfully, when it comes to dining, iOS has a wide menu of satisfying options. Recipe book, tour guide, encyclopedia: you’ve got it all here to hand. When it comes to recipe apps, Epicurious (Free, Universal) has long been held as the filet mignon standard. It’s an easily searchable collection of over 30,000 recipes, all tested and rated by users – you can browse by ingredient, as well as narrow it down by the likes of course, dietary requirements, and cooking method. For inspiration, look no further than FoodgawkEr ($1.99, Universal). It puts a whole world of food blogs in front of you; just tap once to view the post in question, or twice to save it to your favorites – along with comments and tags to help you find it again. Essentially, it’s a culinary-focused Pinterest with less fuss and fewer colors. If you need a bit more guidance, EscoFFiEr cook’s companion (Free, Universal) is your virtual
Want a delicious, low-fat Greek dinner? Not a problem for Epicurious.
Never Google “Celsius to Fahrenheit” again with Escoffier Cook’s Companion. sous chef. It’s a multi-tasking tool to support you in the kitchen, enabling you to convert measurements and temperatures, scale a recipe’s number of servings, set multiple timers and even find out how to tell if a particular ingredient is of good quality. To get the bottle to match, load up ViVino (Free, iPhone), your personal wine library. As well as recommending wines to pair with particular food, it also enables you to search by parameters such as price, rating, and grape. You can use your iPhone’s camera to snap a bottle’s label and see usersubmitted reviews and average prices. It’s a great way of keeping track of bottles for future reference – especially if a few too many taster glasses has temporarily impaired your memory… For nights when you’re too tired to prep your own meal, opEn TablE (Free, Universal) saves you the trouble of showing up at a
restaurant only to find it fully booked. It’ll show you restaurants based on location or search terms, along with reviews and table availability. Seen where you want to eat? Tap through to secure a reservation. Better still, you can earn points when booking at certain places, so if you’ve got a favorite spot you’ll soon pile ’em up. It also has a Maps extension, so it works right within that app, too. And for the ultimate fantasy fix, chEFsFEEd (Free, iPhone) is a delicious rabbit hole of menu envy. Part location-based restaurant recommendation, part curated editorial content, this iPhone app boasts reviews from top chefs such as Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, and Alain Ducasse. If you want to track down the dishes that your heroes dine on when they’re not behind the pass, this is the app for you. Who knows, perhaps you’ll discover the next rainbow bagel while you’re at it?
ChefsFeed lets you check out the eateries that your favorite chefs rate. maclife.com feb 2017 59
>>> App Life
watch apps and guides to get more from your watch
Quick, efficient voice memo recorder Free Developer Artem Iakovliev, skyhighapps.com Platform iPhone, watchOS Requirements iOS 9 or later
Although watchOS 3 fills in a few of the remaining holes in the Apple Watch built-in software lineup, one skill that remains missing is the ability to quickly record voice memos with just a tap. While there are a few third-party apps that perform this task, few do it with the speed and agility of FastRecorder. This free app works on both iPhone and Apple Watch, allowing users to quickly and easily record short voice memos. Thanks to support
Switch watch faces WatchOS makes it easier to browse watch faces using a gallery on iPhone, and it’s easy to switch between favorites. After adding more than one face, swipe left across the display to see
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the next; keep swiping to cycle through others.
for Complications, recording is no real-world complication at all – launch it right from your favorite watch face, tap Start Recording, and you’re capturing whatever the built-in microphone can hear. When a recording is finished, you can play it back right from your wrist. The M4A-format audio files are quite clean and play back clearly at a good volume. While you can’t share recordings from Apple Watch, it’s easy to do from either the connected iPhone or using iTunes File Sharing. The iPhone app also makes it a snap to record voice memos, with 3D Touch support to get started without even launching the app. Regardless of which device you used to record, files can be played back with a tap; there’s also gesture support for renaming or deleting individual files. Given that it’s free, FastRecorder does a nice job of recording or playing back voice memos in a simple, intuitive way. Our only real complaint is the default file name has
an embarrassing typo (“Recordered” instead of “Recorded”), confirming the developer’s native language is not English. the bottom line. Tap and record voice memos with ease, and it’s all free. J.R. bookwalteR
Record voice memos on iPhone or Apple Watch iOS sharing extension support Good quality, volume level Spelling error in default file name of each recording gReat
Tough testing, trusted ratings
Slightly rocky asteroid game
Find cheap fuel with Gas Guru
99¢ Developer Thye Chean Lim, virtualgs.wordpress.com Platform watchOS Requirements iOS 10 or later
SATURN 3D pits a spaceship against a relentless hoard of oncoming asteroids. Your only weapon is a laser to blast the rocks. And the only control over your tiny spacecraft is the Digital Crown, which you turn back and forth to move the ship side to side to outmaneuver the asteroid belt. There are no sound effects – until you run afoul of the wrong asteroid and explode in a shower of red sparks. Play is ultimately repetitive, but the graphics are decent and the animation
is fluid for the most part. The latest update remembers the highest score, which gives players a little more incentive to fire up the game when there’s a spare few moments. Like many such games being released now, SATURN 3D is exclusively built for Apple Watch – open the app on iPhone, and all you’ll be greeted with is a splash screen reminding you it’s only playable from your wrist. the bottom line. Fun but repetitive, and definitely needs more sound effects. J.R. bookwalteR solid
Solve the culinary conundrum Free Developer FancySoftware, fancysoftware.de Platform Universal, watchOS Requirements iOS 10 or later
It’s a question nearly as old as time itself: are we having pizza or burgers for dinner? Let PizzaOrBurger steer you… As you probably guessed, PizzaOrBurger helps break a life or death decision-making deadlock between friends or family. Open the app, tap the Pizza or Burger button, and your two favorites will be narrowed down to a single choice. While clearly designed with Apple Watch in mind, PizzaOrBurger also works on iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
Fill UP After installing the free app, launch Gas Guru to scroll through a list nearby stations sorted by the distance from your current location.
The big difference is the addition of a spinning wheel animation and drumroll sound effect, which heightens the suspense a little bit. Otherwise, the developer has done little to modify the graphics for larger screens, so it’s basically the Apple Watch app surrounded by inky blackness. the bottom line. This could have been something kind of handy, with more options, and extra polish on Apple Watch. As it is, PizzaOrBurger barely worthy of the free download. J.R. bookwalteR weak
FUel GRaDe If your vehicle requires a different grade fuel, tap the gray bar above the list, which switches between regular, midgrade, premium, or diesel fuel grades.
cheaPeSt GaS If cost is more important than locale, press and hold to switch from Distance to Price view, which sorts results with the cheapest gas at the top.
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TOUGH TESTING, TRUSTED RATINGS
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2.9GHz Late 2016 The most portable, flexible Pro ever. But it comes at a price $1,799 Manufacturer Apple, apple.com Features 2.9GHz dual-core Intel processor, Intel Iris 550 graphics, 8GB RAM, 256GB flash storage, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch Bar
he last redesign of the MacBook Pro was four years ago, to accompany the addition of the Retina display. We had been anticipating another big refresh after this much time, and a similar new feature to match. The Touch Bar, a touchscreen along the top of the keyboard, replacing the Function keys, is definitely a flashy addition – and the range has got thinner and lighter again. But as an upgrade, is it up to the standard of the huge leap forward that Retina represented? The 13-inch MacBook Pro we’re looking at here is the $1,799 model with Touch Bar, which includes a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Graphics 550 graphics chip, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports (as well as a headphone jack). There’s also a $1,999 model, but the only difference is that the more expensive model comes with 512GB of storage. Let’s get straight into the Touch Bar. The adaptable strip changes to show different options depending on what you’re currently doing. In Finder, with a file selected, it shows options such as adding tags or invoking Quick Look. Switch to Pages and it shows formatting options when you select some text. Create a new table in your document, and it gives you options to add new rows or columns. When a system dialog appears, the options display on the Touch Bar, so you don’t need to reach for the trackpad. Every app can, and should, use it differently. Physically, it feels great to use. It has a supersmooth matt finish that’s different to the iPhone or Apple Watch’s glass. It’s great at resisting reflections to stay clear, though the screen quality is actually a little disappointing compared to the Apple Watch’s similar OLED screen. The pixels seem to sit quite deeply under the surface of the Touch
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Bar; it doesn’t look as crisp, and it can appear a little dull. The lack of illumination appears to be partly down to the fact that it adjusts its brightness automatically, based on an ambient light sensor that’s separate to the sensor used for the keyboard backlight and display. Its brightness can’t be controlled by you at all – and we’re just not sure it’s getting it quite right. It doesn’t affect usability in practice, but we were hoping it would be a little more vibrant. The important thing is how it works as a tool. The potential reveals itself best in something like Keynote, where formatting text normally requires switching to the Text panel in the right-hand sidebar. The context-sensitive nature of the Touch Bar means you no longer have to – for example, you could have the Arrange pane open, but as soon as you click the text box,
The overall reduction in volume, weight, and thickness makes a big difference.
Your response to the “futuristic” Touch Bar will depend on how well your favorite apps make use of it. 64 FEB 2017 maclife.com
formatting options appear on the Touch Bar. You now effectively have two panes open at once affecting the same box, but without obscuring content with extra windows – especially useful on the 13-inch screen. It also works well in many apps as a way to display tools to a button you’d otherwise need to know a keyboard shortcut for. In fact, it’s actually more flexible than a keyboard shortcut, because you can have sub-menus or tools such as sliders to control something. Pixelmator, for example, gives you brush-size sliders you can control with one hand, while your other hand stays on the mouse or trackpad. But this all comes down to individual apps’ implementation of the Touch Bar. iMovie has minimal support, for example. In Safari, the way it displays tabs just doesn’t seem worth the effort – it’s nice when it shows the symbols for your favorites, but you just can’t see what’s going on in its thumbnails of pages. If you don’t want the app-specific options, you can change what the Touch Bar does in System Preferences. The Control Strip (the right-hand side of the Touch Bar, which shows some of the control shortcuts that were previously on the Function keys) can be extended to take over the whole bar with more options, but it’s also customizable, so you can choose which options appear, and in what order. Is the Touch Bar worth all the fanfare? It depends both on whether the apps you use make good use of it, and your own habits. We’re already using it a lot in Pixelmator and iWork apps, but it provides little impact when writing or even using Photos. For the most part, its implementation in Photos doesn’t feel any better than using mouse controls. We’re still waiting on versions of Adobe’s pro apps and Microsoft Office that support it, too. The potential is huge, and when apps use it really well, it can be massively useful, but that doesn’t apply universally. Still, it didn’t take long for us to start reaching for it after switching back to older machines, which tells you something. This fact is also true for Touch ID, which is part of the Touch Bar. Once you start using it, you’re completely sold, just like on iPhone. It’s excellent. INTERNAL UpGRADES The new Pro also has some component upgrades, of course. The 2.9GHz processor seems like it would be a big upgrade over the 2.0GHz chip in the $1,499 MacBook Pro (without Touch Bar), but
Tough testing, trusted ratings
in our benchmarks the difference was minimal – the higher model wasn’t even 10% faster in our Handbrake video encode test, and the Geekbench scores are around the same. We can’t say we noticed any difference in other uses, either. For big processor gains, you need to look to the 15-inch model (see p66). You also get a stronger graphics chip in this model, and we see bigger improvements here. Batman: Arkham City at 1080p is just under a 20% improvement. We also used LuxMark to test the GPU’s computational power, but the difference was smaller – about 13%. The 8GB of RAM is suitable for most people, and isn’t a problem for editing big raw photos in Pixelmator, editing 4K home video projects in iMovie, or using large libraries in Photos. 16GB is available, but that’s the limit – we go into that more in our review of the 15-inch model, but it
T H E TO U C H bA R ’S p OT E N T I A L I S H U G E , A N D w H E N A p pS U S E I T w E L L , I T CA N b E M ASS I v E Ly U S E F U L can be limiting for some pro users. More than that, though, we feel like not including 16GB in a notebook that starts at $1,799 is kinda cheap. The flash storage is ridiculously fast – we tested read speeds of 2,984MB/s, and write speeds of 1,484MB/s. There’s pretty much no pro task that can’t handle. 256GB isn’t a huge amount of space to have, but whether this is a problem depends on the kind of work you do. You can connect very fast external storage using its four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which also double as USB Type-C ports. They carry data, but also video and power, so you’ll need to plug the AC adapter directly into one of them. Having four ports that are so flexible provides a huge amount of connectivity options, but it does mean you’ll need adapters for existing accessories. The display is a new brighter Retina display at the same resolution (2560x1600), but with a wider color gamut. It’s beautiful – really vibrant and clear, with excellent viewing angles, and pretty good at limiting reflections.
HAndbrAke video encoding test
13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz (Late 2016)
13-inch MacBook Pro 2GHz (Late 2016)
13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (Early 2015)
To test real-world processor capability across multiple CPU cores, we re-encode a Blu-ray-quality video. Lower numbers are better.
bAtMAn: ArkHAM citY bencHMArk 1080p
Frames per second
13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz (Late 2016)
13-inch MacBook Pro 2GHz (Late 2016)
13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (Early 2015)
We run the built-in benchmark in Batman: Arkham City at 1920x1080, with settings on High. Higher numbers are better.
The keyboard is the same style as the MacBook, which will be divisive. It’s an updated version, with more “clicky” feedback, but still very little travel. We’re big fans – we find it comfortable and accurate, thanks partly to its larger key size. The trackpad is larger too, which is useful, but not life-changing. The new speakers are pleasing – much more full and powerful. The overall reduction in volume, weight, and thickness is great too – better portability is a pro feature in itself. At 3 lbs, it’s no problem to carry around, and it’s as thin as a MacBook Air. We found battery life to be as good as in previous models in general. All-day battery life is definitely possible for lighter work, though if you have the screen on full brightness, that can limit its battery life to more like 6 hours. Obviously, heavy-duty activity will reduce this notably. THE bOTTOM LINE. A nice, portable work machine, and we like the Touch Bar a lot. It has some inconveniences, though, and we’re not sure it completely justifies its price. MATT bOLTON
Apple MAcbook pro 13-incH 2.9gHz lAte 2016
Touch Bar can be excellent Very portable and usable Not a huge performance improvement Expensive for its performance good
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Tough testing, trusted ratings
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.7GHz Late 2016
A lighter big Pro that’s still heavy on performance $2,799 Manufacturer Apple, apple.com Features 2.7GHz quad-core processor, AMD Radeon Pro 455 2Gb graphics, 16Gb RAM, 512Gb storage, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch bar
hen it comes to choosing the right Macbook Pro model, it’s not just size that usually differentiates the 15-inch models from the 13-inch models. If what you need is high performance, the bigger Pro is where you get it. This is the top-end Macbook Pro 15-inch Macbook Pro with Touch bar model, which costs $2,799. for that, you get a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, AMD Radeon 455 Pro dedicated graphics card, 512Gb of flash storage, and 16Gb of RAM. With the exception of RAM, all these elements are improved over those of the $2,399 base-level 15-inch model, which has a 2.6GHz quad-core processor, AMD Radeon 450 Pro graphics card, and 256Gb of storage. both models feature the new Touch bar, and a redesigned case with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, as well as a 2880x1800 display. The processor and graphics capabilities are the big deal here. The quad-core processor makes a huge difference over the dual-core chip in the 13-inch models. It completed our video encoding benchmark in just 25 minutes – better than half the time. It’s also a solid speed boost over the 2.2GHz 15-inch Macbook Pro from last year, which completed the task in 34 minutes. That’s around a 25% improvement from that model to this, which could make a big
difference to video output and other tasks that make full use of the processor. The 13-inch Macbook Pros are limited to using Intel’s integrated graphics chips, which are reasonably capable, but don’t compare to what a dedicated GPU can do. Using the Radeon 455 Pro, the batman: Arkham City benchmark reaches 61 fps at 1080p, while the 13-inch model reached 41 fps, making for a nearly 50% improvement here. It was the same story in the Tomb Raider 1080p benchmarks, where the 15-inch machine scored 46 fps to the 13-inch’s 29 fps. Games performance tells us a lot about a graphics card’s power, but in a pro machine like this, rendering 3D real-time visuals isn’t always how it will be used. Many apps now use the huge processing power of the graphics chips for speeding up some tasks, including final Cut Pro and Photoshop. To benchmark this, we’re using LuxMark, which tests how fast a graphics chip can perform OpenCL computations (OpenCL is a software framework for using the graphics chip for computing data): the Radeon Pro 455 scored 4207, while the 13-inch model scored 2700. This can make a huge difference working in apps such as final Cut, Motion, Photoshop, and many more, for really high-end work. In practice, for more mid-level stuff, you’Il still see a noticeable difference, but
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HAndbrAke video encoding test
15-inch MacBook Pro 2.7GHz (Late 2016)
15-inch MacBook Pro 2.2GHz (Mid 2015)
13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz (Late 2016)
To test real-world processor capability across multiple CPU cores, we re-encode a Blu-ray-quality video. Lower numbers are better.
geekbencH 3 multicore
15-inch MacBook Pro 2.7GHz (Late 2016)
15-inch MacBook Pro 2.2GHz (Mid 2015)
13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz (Late 2016)
Geekbench 3 is a benchmark that tests CPU capability in simulations of multiple real-world tasks. Higher scores are better.
bAtmAn: ArkHAm citY bencHmArk 1080p
Frames per second
15-inch MacBook Pro 2.7GHz (Late 2016)
15-inch MacBook Pro 2.2GHz (Mid 2015)
13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz (Late 2016)
We run the built-in benchmark in Batman: Arkham City at 1920x1080, with settings on High. Higher numbers are better.
not as pronounced as you might think. Working on a huge raw photo in Pixelmator, adding duplicate layers and effects, the 15-inch model is smoother to work with than the 13-inch model for using effects as well as just zooming and panning around the image. but the difference is not so pronounced that everyone would be too frustrated by the 13-inch model – if you’re just doing that level of work occasionally, it’s fine. Conversely, if that sort of image work is your daily bread, the added smoothness of the 15-inch would help your sanity a lot. We also had the opportunity to test a model configured with the highest-power graphics chip
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that Apple offers, as a custom order only: the AMD Radeon Pro 460. This is a more powerful GPU, and comes with 4Gb of video memory, rather than the 2Gb in the Radeon Pro 455. When it comes to LuxMark, it doesn’t make that big a difference: the Radeon Pro 460 scored 4,566, so not even 10% faster for computation tasks. It was the same story with games. Really, you need to be using apps such as Motion or 3D rendering tools that require the extra video memory to make the upgrade worthwhile. both the 15-inch models of Macbook Pro come with 16Gb of RAM, which is a great starting point for pros – but it’s also the end point. There’s no option to upgrade to 32Gb, because the Intel
chips used here don’t support 32Gb of lowpower RAM, which Apple is using to prolong battery life. Apple could provide 32Gb of higher-power RAM, but there are estimates that this could reduce batter life by more than 10%. Realistically, the vast majority of people will be just fine with 16Gb, but we’ve already established that this is the model for those who need really high performance, and for some developers working with virtual machines, or some higherend video work, 16Gb will be limiting. If that’s the case for you, you probably already know it, and already know whether you can buy this machine accordingly. If you don’t already know, you can almost certainly get by on 16Gb with no problems at all. If you do find yourself hitting the upper limit of the RAM, having to send and retrieve data using the main flash storage instead is not the hardship it used to be – as with the other models, it’s astonishingly fast. We measured read speeds of 3,231Mb/s and write speeds of 2,226Mb/s, which are just incredible. This does all bring us to a frustrating element of the new Macbook Pro models, though we think it’s most pronounced as a problem in the 15-inch as the higher-power machine: there’s basically no future upgrading you can do to its components – the storage and RAM are both soldered directly to the logic board. So you need to think about futureproofing when you buy. Speaking of futureproofing, let’s talk about the ports. You get four Thunderbolt 3 ports,
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which are also USb Type-C. They do power, video, and data all in one connection. They’re great! but barely anything uses them right now, so you’ll need adapters. These can be inexpensive, but if you want a good dock setup, you might need to pay quite a lot extra. There are also some bizarre issues with them – for example, it’s really hard to get an adapter for mini-DisplayPort, even though lots of pro-level displays use it. We understand why Apple made this change in ports, and for many people it won’t be a problem, but you’ll need to factor the extra cost and hassle into your buying decision. RaiSing The baR The 15-inch model also received the Touch bar, and it’s identical to the one on the 13-inch model, just like the keyboard. You can read our thoughts on it in that review, but the same applies here: if apps use it well, it’s excellent… but a lot of hardcore pro software may never bother. The 15-inch model also has a huge new trackpad – bigger than the 13-inch model’s. Again, it’s really nice to have the extra space, but not quite
game-changing. The palm-detection and rejection when typing worked perfectly for us. It also features Apple’s new keyboard with very short travel, which we like, but not everyone does – give it a test in-store. There are improved speakers too, which are a massive improvement, though for pro audio work, you’ll still be using headphones or external monitors. The 2880x1800 screen is big, detailed, brighter than before, and beautiful, with the wider color gamut. battery life is still all-day for light work with the brightness turned down slightly. You can get a good nine hours of use if you avoid intensive apps – equally, it’s possible to drain the battery in a little over two hours if you let Adobe After effects and Premiere run wild… The boTToM line. It’s expensive, but you get good performance from the new 15-inch Macbook Pros, and the Touch bar and improved screen are great. for a lot of people, the $2,399 2.6GHz model would work as well, though – its components are all nearly as fast. MaTT bolTon
Apple mAcbook pro 15-incH 2.7gHz lAte 2016
Powerful CPU and good graphics output The most portable “big” notebook Ports could be inconvenient Pretty expensive greAt
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is more portable than ever – you get a lot of power in that thin and light frame. maclife.com feb 2017 69
Final Cut Pro X 10.3
Apple’s professional video-editing app gets an update $299 Developer Apple, apple.com Requirements OS X 10.11.4 or later
You can jump to taskbased workspaces to find useful tools more quickly.
Final Cut Pro X 10.3
Workspace is easier to navigate Color-coded roles keep track of multiple assets Repositioning browsers into sidebars makes tools harder to find Possibility of messedup sound mixes when upgrading old Libraries great
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Apple has made key changes to the form and function of Final Cut Pro in this release. Indeed, it recommends you back up your old Final Cut Pro Library before you upgrade it to be compatible with version 10.3, due to the new “roles” feature. All components of a project are assigned roles (titles, sound, video, and effects). When an old projects’s multi-channel audio clips are given a role in 10.3 it may change the way that they are mixed. For this reason it’s a wise move to export a major project before upgrading. The new roles feature makes a complex project more manageable. Every component in the timeline can be assigned a color-coded role so it’s easier to see where assets such as sound effects and cutaway clips appear. You can create custom roles and subroles (such as ambient sound) and assign them a unique color. You can group assets in the browser together according their roles, so it’s easier to find particular assets. The enhanced Timeline Index lets you focus on clips that have a specific role while collapsing other assets
into color-coded bars. This way of simplifying the timeline makes it easier to work with on a MacBook Pro. Indeed, you can view the color-coded timeline on the Touch Bar of a new MacBook Pro and jump to a specific part of your project in a tap. The new Flow transition, which morphs between two cuts instead of dissolving, can make a jump cut in an interview look less jarring, alleviating the need to hide the edit point with a cutaway. There are interface tweaks, too. For example, the Titles panel used to be near Transitions, but it has now been promoted to a Titles browser, top left of the workspace. This positions the Titles browser as it is in iMovie. Indeed, with the new sharp lines and black panels, Final Cut Pro X and iMovie look more similar, which should help iMovie users make the transition. A welcome addition is the option to create layouts for tasks (such as grading) and save these as custom workspaces. You can also now expand the Inspector to the full height of the workspace, which reduces the need to scroll to adjust a clip’s particular properties. the bottom line. Workspace tweaks combined with color-coded roles help you manage complex editing projects more effectively. GeoRGe CaiRns
Create and assign custom color-coded roles to various assets to help organize them more effectively.
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Editing an imported font (this is Google’s Chivo) will give you new respect for type designers
Draw your own typefaces Free/$14.99 mac App store developer Birdfont, birdfont.org Requirements OS X 10.6 or later
Birdfont aims to allow anyone with some design skills to draw letterforms and turn them into a font. The app’s single window defaults to a Dark mode. Create a new font, and a character set appears at the right, with tools in a block at the left; there are no menu bar options. Clicking any character shows a blank canvas with guides ready for you to draw. If the drawing tools feel unfamiliar, check out the tutorials online. You can import paths if you prefer: this worked from Adobe Illustrator, but other apps, such as Affinity Designer, don’t export the clipboard the right way. You can also open TrueType .ttf and .otf files, so you can edit or add glyphs to an existing font. If you’ve sketched glyphs on paper, you can import a scan as a “background” over which to draw paths. We found that the autotrace function produced poor results.
There are facilities for ligatures and stylistic alternates, but little other assistance in completing a properly formatted font. Frustratingly, pressing ç+z for Undo worked erratically. Once completed, your finished font can be exported as a TrueType .ttf. Birdfont addresses a different audience from, say, FontLab Studio (fontlab.com, from $649). Its main competitor is FontForge, a well established, but somewhat clunky, free cross-platform open source app. By comparison, Birdfont looks modern and accessible. It doesn’t really make anything easier, though, and omits a long list of FontForge functions. Birdfont is more of a tweaking tool than a type design studio. the bottom line. Want to create your own fonts or edit existing ones? Here’s an affordable way to do it. AdAm bAnks
Low-cost font editing Simpler than FontForge Tools work unpredictably Limited features solid
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Add extra layers of content and interactivity to your videos.
Record, edit, and share the contents of your screen $199 Developer TechSmith, techsmith.com Requirements OS X 10.10 or later, 2GB RAM
Animate quickly using presets Share up to 4K in size Cross-platform compatible Expensive for an app solid
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Camtasia enables you to record, edit, and share your Mac’s display as a movie. It’s a popular tool with educators in particular, because they can show their audience how to fix a picture in Lightroom, for example. Version 3 has a more polished look, though because the key panels are in the same relative positions to version 2, there’s no need to re-learn the app if you’re an old hand. But while the basic cake may not look too different, there’s a lot more icing to work with. The new Behaviors panel lets you drag and drop eye-catching animation presets onto assets such as text. The welcome Split button enables you to cut a timeline’s clip in two without having to right-click on the playhead. And all music tracks included with Camtasia are royalty free, and fine to use on YouTube and Vimeo.
You can also now make your video productions more interactive by incorporating multiple choice quizzes, and even personalize your captured movies by adding the feed from your FaceTime camera as you record. With Camtasia 3, a Mac user can now deliver the project to a PC Camtasia user, who can then fine-tune it. This crossplatform compatibility will be welcomed by many professional Camtasia users. The only significant issue we have with Camtasia 3 is the eye-watering price tag. That said, there is a free 30-day trial available, so you can try it out and establish whether the software is really worth the money for your particular needs. the bottom line. Slick post-production tools to make eye-catching videos, but at equally eye-catching price. GeoRGe CaiRns
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iStat for Mac
Keep an eye on your Macs $9.99 manufacturer Bjango Pty, bjango.com Requirements 64-bit Mac, OS X 10.10 or later
Siri-style assistance for older systems $7.99 manufacturer Matthew Leeper, bit.ly/2fzjBqq Requirements OS X 10.11 or later
Siri finally arrived on the desktop with macOS Sierra, but if you’re on an older system and can’t upgrade beyond OS X 10.11 El Capitan, tough luck. A mashup of “Siri” and “query,” Quiri works with the Mac’s dictation functionality to perform most of Siri’s tricks on older machines. With the click of a button or a spoken “Hey Quiri” command, the app looks up contacts, plays music, schedules appointments, and more. Quiri also responds to the type of commands typed into Spotlight, like weather conditions, the score for a game, or directions. The app isn’t as sleek or integrated as Siri, but it’s responsive and customizable, with light and dark modes, and the ability to change text and button colors. There are a few limitations: you’ll need to enable Enhanced Dictation, and Quiri automatically opens Contacts and iTunes, required to command those apps. We discovered an issue where Quiri failed to work on Macs with a large media library (12,000 songs, in our case); the developer promises a fix will be available by the time you read this. the bottom line. For those stuck on El Capitan, a taste of what Siri on the Mac is like. J.R. bookwalteR
You might be familiar with the iStat Menus utility in the menu bar, providing readouts about Mac activity. iStat for Mac is in similar territory, but for remote-monitoring. Install the server app on the target machine, then add server details (name, address, port). If you’re on the same network as the target, iStat will likely pick up the machine automatically. Such user-friendliness is welcome – just as well, given that “iStat Help” throws you at a support page stating: Help is on the way. Fortunately, the app is elsewhere more impressive. The main view displays graphs detailing CPU and network usages, and readouts for disk usage and activity, sensors, memory, load, and uptime. You can delve into more detail by clicking the relevant pane. For stats and admin geeks, this app will be heaven: extensive histories (up to 12 months); network tools (including ping and traceroute); iCloud sync to a similarly impressive iOS app. the bottom line. Feature-rich, full of stats, and yet extremely approachable, iStat is an excellent way to monitor remote Macs. CRaig gRannell iStat for mac
Easy to set up and use Plenty of detail for those who need it Ping and traceroute tools No way to export any data great
Customizable text, button colors with light or dark theme Menu bar and “Hey Quiri” shortcuts for initiating new commands Not as slick or tightly integrated as Siri Limited utility for macOS Sierra users good
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>>> Reviews Tough testing, trusted ratings
The photo-editing app that adapts to your photos $59 Developer Macphun, macphun.com Requirements OS X 10.10.5 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo (from late 2009), 4GB RAM, 2GB hard disk space, 1280x800 resolution
Convenient, adjustable interface Pro-level editing tools Layers! No organization tools Great
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acphun’s Luminar is the latest contender to attempt to knock off Adobe’s photo-editing crown. Unlike Affinity Photo and Photoshop, Luminar isn’t interested in per-pixel editing. There are no text controls; no lasso or marquee selection tools, for instance, so its closest competitor is actually Lightroom. By default, the changes you make are applied to the whole image, although you can mask off bits of images with gradient masks or brushes. The user interface is outstanding: a simple range of sliders that reward experimentation for beginners without dumbing down for the more experienced. Those coming from Lightroom, for instance, will find familiar sliders such as exposure, vibrance, saturation, and so on. Each group of sliders (exposure and contrast, among others, are grouped into Tone) is, in Luminar’s lexicon, a “Filter,” and the list of filters available numbers in the low 60s. Luminar places great emphasis on its “adaptive UI for different skill levels.” This translates to selecting different groups of Filters depending on the type of image you’re editing. Select the Landscape workplace, for example, and you get a group of filters including radiance, top and bottom lighting, and vignetting, as well as the slightly specious “foliage enhancer,” which in reality boosts the saturation of everything green in your image (selective color saturation, entirely absent, might have been preferable).
Choose the Portrait workspace and the Filter list changes to include “Soft Glow” and “High Key” options, among others. Luminar also boasts of “non-destructive” editing, but in reality this simply means the user can’t save a file over itself. Click Save and you instead create a new file in Luminar’s native .lmnr format. This isn’t quite as graceful as Lightroom or Aperture’s nondestructive editing, where the software edits an invisibly created preview prior to export. There are no batch-editing tools, which will be a dealbreaker for those used to the batch-keywording abilities of software such as Bridge or Lightroom. Luminar does install as an extension to Apple’s Photos, though, and round-tripping images out of Photos, editing them, and then returning is both easy and better fulfills Luminar’s claim of being a non-destructive editor. There are pluses elsewhere, not least of which is Luminar’s layer tool, which can be deployed either traditionally or by creating different adjustment layers. It’s a powerful, useful feature that comprehensively outdoes either Aperture or Lightroom. Indeed, Luminar takes the fight to Lightroom convincingly well. It’s capable of excellent results, and for those simply interested in editing photos it’s a bargain. the bottom line. A great piece of software with lots of flexibility, though prolific photographers will still need something to organize their shots with. Dave StevenSon
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Make your own music? This app’s got you covered $19.99 Developer Simplest Ways, simplestways.com Requirements OS X 10.8 or later
Text handling is very good, with the ability to change character spacing, rotation and opacity.
Very easy to use Surprisingly good feature set It’s a little too focused Pixelmator is only $10 more good
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Record covers aren’t what they used to be. Most of us are more likely to buy from iTunes or stream Apple Music than comb through record sleeves for hours. But covers still matter. They’re what you see in your music app, and more importantly what your potential listeners see in the iTunes Store, on Spotify, or on whichever platform musicians are trying to make a living. With Membrane Pro, you can make very effective album or track covers with the very minimum of effort. Membrane comes in two versions: a free taster, which is ad-supported, adds a watermark, and only offers low-quality exporting; and the Pro version, which is ad-free and unrestricted. In the Pro version, the watermarking is customizable: you can select your own text or image, or disable watermarks altogether. Membrane is essentially a graphics app with a single purpose: to create square album covers. And that’s a purpose it fulfills very well. Simply choose from the available templates and make them fit your exact requirements. If you’ve used any image app at all, you’ll pick it up instantly. You can add images, overlay shapes and add text, automatically lock items to the
edges or center, reorganize layers to put items in front of or behind each other, and get pixel-perfect control over text size, rotation and positioning. We particularly appreciated the preview panel, which enables you to see if the changes you’re making in the main section are going to be legible in iTunes. By default, it’s set to 50%, but you can scale it between 10% and 200%. Membrane Pro may appear to be a stripped-down graphics app, but it doesn’t lack features. You get opacity and blend options just like you do in more flexible image apps, with separate options for the fill and the border, and you can adjust text spacing and line spacing too. You can export your finished cover in two ways; either as a Membrane data file for sharing with other Membrane users, or as a PNG or JPG image file. The image will take the same dimensions as the original – 1400x1400 unless you change it – and you can choose between low, medium and high image quality. the bottom line. We like Membrane Pro a lot. It’s a very specific app, but it does a very specific job very well. It’s perhaps a little limited - why album art but not flyers or posters? - but Membrane Pro delivers what it promises. GaRy maRshall
The supplied templates look the part, and it’s easy to customize them to suit your own requirements.
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Drag-and-drop media files $39.95 ($19.95 upgrade) Developer Softorino Inc, softorino.com Requirements OS X 10.9 or later
ProForecast for The Weather Channel A gloomy outlook
$1.99 Developer Judhajit Ray, appease.work Requirements OS X 10.10 or later
ProForecast for The Weather Channel is really a web app not-so-cleverly disguised as a native Mac app. The developer appears to have done little work, short of adding a navigation header that confusingly replicates existing website functionality, such as search and settings. This might be tolerable if ProForecast at least saved preferences when quitting, instead reverting to the default location (New York, NY) and metric Celsius unit of temperature, even after selecting Fahrenheit. The app also becomes unstable when viewing five- or 10-day forecasts. ProForecast does at least faithfully reproduce weather.com, with a few nice touches of its own such as push notification weather alerts and a menu bar widget, but settings from the main app aren’t carried over to the widget (and vice versa). There are also frequent banner ads cluttering up the works, with no way to banish them. the bottom line. Save your two bucks and stick with the website instead. J.R. bookwalteR
WALTR is a simple utility for converting and transferring videos, music, and ringtones to iPod or iOS devices without iTunes. WALTR 2 is better in every way, from the ability to perform wireless transfers at nearly wired connection speeds (up to 5MB/s) to automatic content recognition for adding artwork and metadata to movies, TV shows, or music, together with iBooks support for EPUB or PDF files. WALTR 2 is the first and only utility that allows ringtones longer than 30 seconds – rename an M4A file with the M4R extension, drag-and-drop to a connected device, and the entire song works as a ringtone. You can even mix-and-match file types – WALTR 2 will determine what goes where and perform any necessary conversions. Softorino recommends closing iTunes while using WALTR 2, although the two coexisted fine for us. the bottom line. The best $40 you’ll ever spend, and hands-down the slickest way to send media from Mac to iOS. J.R. bookwalteR
Wireless transfers at nearly wired connection speeds Automatic content recognition for artwork, metadata Ringtones no longer limited to 30 seconds Content recognition mismatches when poster art resides in same folder as media aWesome
ProForecast For the Weather channel
Menu bar widget It’s just the website inside an app Frequent banner ads Settings and login credentials aren’t saved Weak
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Securifi Almond 3
Nuts about Wi-Fi? This could be for you $149 manufacturer Securifi, securifi.com Requirements Broadband internet connection; iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 7 or later
A Securifi Almond 3
Touchscreen display, mobile apps for setup and management Smart-home compatibility with hundreds of devices Setup isn’t quite as easy as advertised No HomeKit support good
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lmond 3 is marketed as an easier way to set up and manage home networks. Smaller than competitors at just 5.3x4.6x1.9 inches, and available in black or white, Almond 3 is a router that checks off the requirements of a modern wireless network, with dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, two gigabit LAN ports, parental controls, and “presence” notifications. What makes it unique is the 2.25x1.75-inch color touchscreen on the front, which enables users to configure an entire network without a Mac or PC. You can also control Almond 3 from an iOS or Android device, although the app isn’t as comprehensive. Setting up one unit was easy enough, but adding two more to cover a singlestory, 3,600 square-foot home was a mixed bag. Installing multiple Almond 3 units creates a “Home Wi-Fi Network,” which meshes the signal
from three units into a single access point that bathes the entire house in wireless connectivity. We connected the first unit to our cable router using the included Ethernet cable, then strategically positioned units around the house to wirelessly distribute that connection. At the opposite end of the house, the maximum available speed only dipped by about 20% – better than our current AirPort Extreme setup. That’s only the tip of the iceberg: Almond 3 also acts as a smart home hub, automating hundreds of compatible devices including the company’s programmable Click button, smart plugs, and motion sensors. Sadly HomeKit is not supported, however. the bottom line. Almond 3 isn’t as simple as the marketing would have you believe, but it’s more robust than Apple’s AirPort. J.R. bookwalteR
Tough testing, trusted ratings
Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter HDMI and USB-A for USB-C $59 manufacturer Satechi, satechi.net Features 3x USB 3 Type-A ports, USB Type-C
Seagate Backup Plus Hub for Mac
Big backup drive with two-port hub $249 Developer Seagate, seagate.com Features 8TB, USB 3.0, 7.8x1.6x4.6 in, 2.3 lbs
Seagate has managed to produce a competitively priced 8TB drive that includes a welcome bonus in the form of a two-port USB 3.0 hub. These are positioned on the front of the drive, and because the drive requires its own power adapter, won’t draw additional juice from your Mac. The white Mac version should be pre-formatted; if you end up with the black PC/Mac version it’s a simple task to reformat it as HFS+ using Disk Utility. Performance is middle of the road – around 131MB/s for standard read/writes, increasing to 187MB/s (extended) and 176-219MB/s (large files). Random read/writes are less impressive at 26-30MB/s. The hub ultimately sets this drive apart – while the drive’s bulk makes it less appealing to those on the move, desktop users will find the two additional ports a big draw. They perform well too – we connected another 4TB drive to one and benchmarks suggested performance drop-off was no more than 10%. the bottom line. A great choice for desktop users looking for lots of storage plus USB ports. nick Peers
A docking station can be really useful for MacBook users; you can plug the notebook into power, a monitor, and other peripherals through a cable or two. The USB Type-C ports on the 12-inch MacBook and new MacBook Pros do this over a single cable, because they transfer power as well as data and video. Satechi’s adapter provides two standard USB 3.0 ports, as well as HDMI 1.4 connectivity. It also has a USB Type-C connection to pass through power. Use it for a larger monitor and power at your desk, or it’s light enough to carry around. The bad news: if you have a 4K display, the HDMI can only output at 30Hz, which isn’t totally smooth. It also doesn’t have an SD card reader built in, and two USB ports don’t go that far for power users. the bottom line. A great adapter for a good price. Use at your desk, or keep it with you for data and video flexibility. matt bolton
SatecHi SliM aluMinuM type-c Multi-pORt adapteR
HDMI, data, power for USB-C Light, and matches MacBook colors HDMI 4K output is limited No SD card slot gReat
Seagate Backup pluS HuB FOR Mac
Plenty of storage USB hub adds much-needed value Perfectly reasonable performance Bulky and unattractive chassis gReat
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Nikon KeyMission 360
This action cam sees in all directions – but what’s it for? $499 manufacturer Nikon, nikonusa.com Features 23.9MP photos, 4K Ultra HD video, ISO 100-1600, up to 2160p, 24fps video
T NikoN keyMissioN 360
Very rugged Lightweight Captures unique footage Expensive, and a niche product for now great
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he Nikon KeyMission 360 features a pair of 180-degree lenses on its front and rear faces, and stitches the resulting images together to produce 360-degree, 4K footage. The camera itself is a rugged little cube; with focal-length-widening lens protectors attached, it’s waterproof to 20 meters. Underwater lens protectors allow it work to a depth of 30 meters for up to 60 minutes, albeit not 360 degrees. It will also survive chills down to 14°F. The record button on top doubles as a power button, while a side button works as a shutter release for stills. You can use Nikon’s SnapBridge 360/170 app to trigger recording, change video resolutions, or opt for various timelapse modes. Recorded video and images can be downloaded to synced devices. The footage and stills don’t make much sense on their own. It takes a fair amount of squinting to make sense of an image whose far left and right edges should join up. Logistical problems also present themselves:
the ultra-wide lenses see almost directly above and below, so they inevitably film whatever form of support you’re using, with the exception of the bundled adhesive helmet mounts, which sit perfectly in the 360’s blindspot. The raw footage – which can be captured in up to 4K resolution – can be uploaded to YouTube, which is compatible with VR footage, and can be watched on compatible devices. An iPhone will suffice, and Nikon bundles a flatpack cardboard VR viewer. The still images are a tougher proposition, although their 360-degree nature means they work well for “little planet” photo processing. There’s scope for unusual selfies, as the unit has a two-second self-timer by default. The KeyMission 360 is an easy-to-use, rugged device for those who want to push their videoography to a completely new place. the bottom line. An expensive, strange product, sure… but great for forward-looking adrenaline junkies. Dave StevenSon
Tough testing, trusted ratings
Audio and power in one $10 manufacturer EZ Electronics, ildock.com Features 3.5mm audio jack, Lightning connection
Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar Complicated name, simple accessory $39 manufacturer Belkin, belkin.com Features Lightning connector, 2x Lightning ports Apple has always thought differently, and the arguments over the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack still rage on. We think most people will have forgotten about that clumsy old port before too long, but we accept the difficulties presented by having just one port for charging and audio output. Up steps Belkin with one solution to that conundrum. It looks just like an official Apple cable, which is nice, but it’s also a little inelegant by that very design. Lightning ports are tiny, yet this white block is 1.4x3.9 inches to fit in two Lightning ports side by side horizontally. Something a little less Apple-like might have yielded a more efficient, better-looking design, as it does look pretty odd plugged into your slender iPhone. Functionally, it addresses the charge/play issue well enough, though if it’s a 3.5mm set of headphones you want to plug in, you’ll need the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter plugged into this one. It’s also very Apple-priced at $40. the bottom line. It’s not a cheap option for charging and listening to your iPhone or iPad, but it does what it aims to do well. Christian hall
One option for fixing the problem of the single port for audio and charging in the iPhone is the Belkin cable on the left – though if you want to connect headphones that use a 3.5mm jack, it’s not the ideal solution. The iLDOCK is more likely to be what you need in that case: this add-on includes a Lightning port and a 3.5mm jack, so you can listen to your old headphones and charge through just one adapter. It seems well-made, but its price comes with trade-offs. It provides power through its Lightning port (which is not certified by Apple), but not data; and its headphone port doesn’t support microphone or in-line controls. Depending on your exact setup, these may be total dealbreakers, or no problem at all. Audio quality through it is still good, it comes in iPhone-matching colors, and it has a useful hole you could thread to connect it to a keyring or bag. the bottom line. It’s got missing features you need to be aware of, but then it’s also really, really cheap. matt bolton ildoCk
Lightning and 3.5mm Very cheap No in-line controls or mic No data Solid
Belkin lightning Audio + ChArge roCkStAr
Solves a problem Up to 48 kHz, 24-bit audio A little costly A neater design would be preferable Solid
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A card game mixed with tactical battling Free Developer Counterplay Games, duelyst.com Requirements OS X 10.9 or later, 2GHz processor, 2GB RAM, Open GL 3.1+ compliant graphics card
Necroseers’ high Attack and extra card draw upon death make them good choices for cannon fodder.
Some clever mechanics Abounds with tactical and strategic decisions Steady updates and daily challenges keep things fresh A steep learning curve and clashing, mismatched art don’t make it inviting great
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Counterplay Games’ debut is the latest in a nascent and exciting genre: like its forebears Card Hunter and Scrolls, Duelyst blends the strategic deck-building of collectible card games and the turn-based, tactical possibilities of a tabletop skirmish. The goal of each match is to whittle down your opponent’s “General,” a special unit commanding an army of pint-sized knights and golems across a gridded battlefield, drawn from a deck of 40 cards. There are six factions, each with two generals wielding unique “Bloodborn” spells: powerful, re-usable effects that define each class. The Songhai Empire, for instance, can build decks full of powerful spells or focus on teleportation to maneuver around the board cleverly. The options are dizzying, but Generals have relatively little health, mana is limited, and you can never have more than six cards in your hand. This keeps Duelyst matches short and breezy, but it can also hamper more sophisticated decks.
This is familiar ground for anyone who cut their teeth on Magic: The Gathering or, more recently, Hearthstone, but the 9x5 game board adds a new dimension (literally) of tactical positioning. The “Infiltrate” attribute, for example, grants bonuses to creatures in enemy territory and the Repulsor Beast – a staple in beginner decks despite its weak stats – can push enemy minions to any tile on the board, clearing a path to vulnerable Generals. Thus, late-game decks aren’t only about defense and survival, but also about locking your enemy down and controlling the battlefield. Pulling this strategic tightrope taut is Duelyst’s signature “Replacement” mechanic: once a turn, you can re-shuffle a card into your deck and draw again. It sounds minor, but it mitigates one of the most common complaints against cardbattling games: bad draws still happen, but in general it is remarkably consistent. Duelyst stumbles in a few other areas, however. It’s overwhelming in the sheer number of cards and minion types, and will take dozens of hours for most players to suss out the nuances of competitive play. the bottom line. Duelyst is a bold, ambitious spin on both tactics and collectible card games. Joseph leRay
Lilithe Blightchaser’s unique spell is to spawn lots of weak units, allowing her to swarm opponents.
Tough testing, trusted ratings
Simple skirmishes can spiral out of control.
It’s not as simple as good versus bad… $44.99 Developer Obsidian Entertainment, tyrannygame.com requirements OS X 10.10 or later, 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB RAM, Radeon HD 6950M graphics with 1GB VRAM, 15GB storage
In most role-playing games, you’re saving the oppressed, hunting down the big bad, and vanquishing evil. Get rid of those notions before playing Tyranny, which places you squarely on the side of the realm’s malevolent overlord Kyros – a mysterious being who nonetheless instills fear into the hearts of all in its path. Character creation is fairly deep, and not just cosmetically – you’ll be able to choose your character’s gender and hairstyle, of course, but also background and combat style. You’ll have a chance to play through a brief intro outlining the events prior to the game, and your choices affect how Tyranny starts off. That’s a common theme throughout the game: decisions have weight and determine the course of future events.
Combat is a real-time affair, and it can be so chaotic the game recommends pausing to line up commands. Party members you’re not controlling will act automatically, but it’s still hectic to switch between them and make sure everyone’s fighting efficiently. During the first few hours you might find your entire group dead before you even realize they’re wounded, so saving often is key. There are pop-up tutorials for basically every aspect, but there’s already so much reading between dialogue, history, and instructions that you may just want to rush into action and hope for the best. the bottom line. Though not as open and lengthy as some role-playing games, Tyranny’s rich world will make you question every choice. Sarah leboeuf
High replayability factor Choices are genuinely difficult with real consequences Chaotic battle system takes a while to click Lack of controller support good
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home life better living through Smarter technology
> your guide to being a
Smart traveler Planes, trains, and automobiles – modern travel can be stressful, but the latest tech can smooth the way for you by cliff JoSeph
obile technology has transformed travel in recent years. Simply being able to plug in your headphones and listen to some soothing music can make a long flight or train journey a lot more pleasant, and now you can even fly halfway around the world binge-watching Game of Thrones on your iPad to while away the hours. But mobile tech has some really straightforward, practical uses too, from simple battery packs that can charge up your iPhone or iPad, through to smart baggage that can help you to keep track of your belongings when you’re on the road. Losing a case is the nightmare scenario for every traveler – and we’ve probably all spent unnecessary hours waiting for luggage simply because our bags have been knocked off the baggage carousel and not come through with all the other baggage from a flight. That kind of mishap can now be prevented with the range of smart suitcases that are now available. Samsonite is one of the most well known manufacturers of rugged luggage, and it
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recently announced a new range of Track&Go cases (available early 2017). The new cases include a built-in “beacon” that uses Bluetooth to help you locate your luggage. Bluetooth only has limited range, of course – Samsonite says just over 200 ft for the Track&Go cases, but that’s probably enough if your baggage has gone astray at the airport.
w e ’ v e p r o b a b ly a l l Spent too much time w a i t i n g f o r b a g S at the carouSel Samsonite’s Travlr app can also help out if your luggage gets even more lost, because bags can send an alert to other Samsonite owners who are in range and also have the Travlr app on their phones. That message can then be relayed – anonymously – around the world so that you can at least get some
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>>> Home Life
The Kanex GoPower Watch is a compact battery for iPhone and Apple Watch recharging. 86 feb 2017 maclife.com
indication of where your bags have ended up. That said, the chances of having a convenient Samsonite fan on the spot when your bags end up in Timbuktu are relatively slim, so a better option here might be to use GPS to help keep track of your baggage. There are a number of “smart luggage” projects floating around on Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites, but the one that’s really taken off is the Indiegogo-featured Bluesmart One, which costs $449, but is absolutely packed with high-tech features. Even before you leave home, the Bluesmart can weigh itself to avoid having to pay extra charges at the airport. It uses a short-range Bluetooth connection to prevent theft, automatically locking itself if it leaves
close enough to detect your lost or stolen items. The one drawback with the Tile Mate ($25) and Tile Slim ($30) devices is that their internal batteries only last for one year and can’t be replaced – although they’re pretty cheap to start off with, and Tile does give existing users a discount when buying replacements. Another popular tracking device is the Lugloc ($69), which tracks its location using cell tower signals rather then GPS, then sends you the information. You need to pay for a service plan, however (a 30-day trial period is provided).
You don’t need to spend a fortune to keep tabs on your gear – the Tile Mate is just $25.
Who needs a power outlet to charge mobile devices when you can just plug them in to your travel case?
your side and sending an alert message to the Bluesmart app on your iPhone. And once the traveling has happened, the Bluesmart also includes 3G and GPS features, so that you can continue to track its location it pretty much anywhere in the world. A less expensive option is to use a tracking device such as Tile to keep an eye on your belongings. These portable little Bluetooth sensors are designed to attach to personal items like your keys or your smartphone, but you could also slip one into your bags when you’re traveling. Again, the Bluetooth range is relatively limited, but – like the Samsonite app – the Tile app can link up with thousands of other Tile users around the world who might be
road warrior The Bluesmart One suitcase mentioned earlier has one other feature that can really be useful, in the form of a 10,400mAh battery pack that you can use to charge up your iPhone or iPad when you’re on the road. There are also a few backpacks from sports companies, such as the North Face, that include batteries for charging up your devices when you’re doing outdoorsy stuff. But buying special suitcases and backpacks seems a bit extreme when there are so many compact and affordable battery packs available for your mobile devices. Mophie is the current king of battery packs, with several models in its Powerstation range, as well as its Juice Pack cases (from $99, although there is a Reserve case for $59) that include a
yo u c a n g o h i g h - e n d w i t h a Smart caSe, or uSe an inexpenSive tracking device built-in battery and make a good alternative to Apple’s own Smart Battery Case ($99). There are also some more specialized devices that are particularly suitable for regular travelers. If you’re an Apple Watch fan then you might like the new Kanex GoPower Watch ($99), a compact 4,000mAh battery pack that has both a USB port for topping up your iPhone, as well as well as a built-in magnetic charging connector for Apple Watch. And if you travel a lot by car you’ll definitely want to try Belkin’s ColorMatch Charge Kit ($99), which includes a 6,600mAh battery pack along with a car charger, a spare outlet adapter and spare Lightning cable, so that you can cover all your power options in the air and on the road. maclife.com feb 2017 87
>>> Home Life
five of the beSt Don’t leave home without our top travel tech
blueSmart one $449 bluesmart.com
boSe Quietcomfort 35 $349 bose.com
kanex gopower watch $99 kanex.com
mophie Juice pack air $99 mophie.com
> Bose is a leader in noisecanceling technology, and the QC35 is its top-of-therange model. The powerful battery provides up to 20 hours’ Bluetooth streaming and noise-cancelation when traveling, but you can also use the QC35 as a conventional set of wired headphones.
> This useful little dualpurpose battery has 4,000mAh capacity, which is enough to charge an iPhone 7 twice, or an Apple Watch six times over. It only measures around 3.1 in square, but has a charging plate for the Watch and a separate USB port for powering smartphones.
> Most battery cases for the iPhone are pretty chunky and clunky – including Apple’s own bulbous Smart Case. However, Mophie’s Juice Pack Air manages to provide a full charge for most iPhone models without adding too much size or weight.
> Possibly the smartest suitcase currently available, the Bluesmart One includes its own digital scales to weigh all your stuff before you leave home. It also uses Bluetooth, 3G, and GPS technologies to prevent theft and help you locate the case pretty much anywhere in the world.
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> What else should i think about…
Setting u p apple pay and wallet Making your way in the world today takes less effort thanks to your iPhone and Watch aking sure you’ve got cash in your wallet is easy enough to forget when you’re just running out, but you really don’t want to be caught out when you’re traveling further afield. “We want to kill cash,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook when discussing the Apple Pay system. Apple Pay was launched back in 2014, and it’s been picking up overseas support since then. Apple Pay can be really useful for travelers, as its contactless payment system is now supported by most major banks, which means that you can use your credit card to make quick, cash-free payments in the UK, France, Canada, China, Australia, and so on. The Wallet app on your iPhone can also be used to store ticket information, so that you can quickly check-in at airports. A number of airlines – including Delta – directly support Apple Pay from within their own apps to
5 tile mate $25 thetileapp.com > It only lasts for one year, but the Tile Mate can easily be attached to a set of keys, a wallet, or slipped into a suitcase when you’re traveling, so it’s very versatile. It uses Bluetooth to help you find nearby items, but can also use the worldwide network of Tile users to help locate lost or stolen items.
speed up bookings and payments. And, of course, Wallet runs on the Apple Watch too, so you can be all James Bond and just flash your beautiful stainless steel Watch as you stroll through the departure lounge.
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>>> Home Life
track your bagS with tile jargon buster Nodes Anyone who has the Tile app on their smartphone becomes a “node” – part of a worldwide network of Tile users who are connected over the internet.
the finder The Tile tracker is primarily designed for use with personal items such as your keys, wallet, or purse. However, you can easily slip one into a backpack or suitcase when you’re traveling, and then track your belongings with the Tile app on your iPhone.
genius tip The Tile tracker works both ways. If you misplace your iPhone, you can press a button on the Tile, and the Tile app will sound an alarm on your iPhone. 90 feb 2017 maclife.com
beyond bluetooth If your bag goes out of Bluetooth range, the Tile app can still show you the last known location on a map so that you can go back to that point and start looking for it. You can also press the “Find” button to make the Tile sound an alarm.
Close at hand The Tile uses Bluetooth to talk to your iPhone. Bluetooth only has a maximum range of around 328 ft, but that can still help you to find your belongings if they’re nearby, or endlessly going round and round on the baggage carousel at an airport…
location, location If your bags get really lost then the Tile app on your iPhone can ask for help from millions of Tile users around the world. If another Tile user passes within Bluetooth range of your bags, their app will send you an anonymous message to tell you the location.
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>>> Home Life Better living through smarter tech
Elgato Eve Motion elgato.com $49 >>> HomeKit is gaining more and more support with devices such as Elgato’s new Eve Motion sensor. As well as providing security features by detecting motion within a 30 ft range, the Eve Motion can also use HomeKit to create “scenes” that control multiple devices. So you could create a scene that tells the Eve Motion to turn on your HomeKit thermostat and lights as soon as you walk through the door, or turn the lights on dimly if it detects you at night.
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Netatmo Presence netatmo.com $299
>SMarT hoME LiviNg
>>> Most security cameras are designed for indoor use, including Netatmo’s popular Welcome camera. However, Netatmo now has a new camera, called Presence, that is very much designed for outdoor use. The Presence combines a high-def (1080p) camera with a floodlight that automatically comes on when it detects movement. It’s also weatherproof, so you can use it outdoors to monitor your garage or yard. Video footage can be stored via the built-in SD card slot, or online in a Dropbox account.
JENNiFEr PhiN extols the virtues of smart tech for anxious parents
TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug tp-link.us $29 >>> Amazon’s Echo seems to be getting a lot of support at the moment, including TP-Link’s new Wi-Fi Smart Plug. This enables you to schedule On/Off times for devices that are plugged into it, while its Wi-Fi networking allows you to control devices over the internet when you’re away from home. Support for the Echo means that you can turn devices on and off using voice commands, and there’s a second version of the plug, priced at $39, that monitors and analyzes your energy usage as well.
>>> you couLd say I’m a baby bore, in the same way you could say that the Grand Canyon is a hole: it’s a massive understatement. I obsess about every aspect of my child’s care, then obsess over the potential impact of obsessive mothering, then share my concerns with friends, family, and the Twitter accounts of minor daytime TV stars. I am the most boring bore who ever bored. But I’m allowing myself, just this once, to unleash my tedium on you, dear reader, on the off chance you too may benefit from my favorite gadget for the neurotic parent: Withings Smart Baby Monitor, a device that clips to the crib and not only sends live video and audio to your iOS device, but also provides nightlight and white noise options, records room temperature, sends alerts when it detects sound or movement from your little one, and predicts whether she will grow up to be a matricidal sociopath (I made one of those up). Even better, you can watch the live feed wherever you are! At a fancy soirée? Why not sidle up to your fellow guests and insist they coo over the prone form of your drooling progeny? Hired a babysitter? Check in on bedtime progress then bombard them with “helpful” texts! The Withings Smart Baby Monitor does actually help me relax. I know it’s monitoring my daughter when I sleep; I can check in on her if I’m away from home, and the poor child gets more rest without me creeping into her room every five minutes. Plus, I can take screengrabs – would you like to see a few? Wait… come back!
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>>> Home Life
apple Tv The laTesT tvOs apps and The hOTTesT hardware
An elegant video player Free (subscription required)
And they said computers would kill the printed word… take over the TV with some bedtime favorites.
Read aloud in the living room Free
iBooks is great for snuggling up with the kids when it’s story time, but if you have a larger family, not even the biggest iPad is roomy enough for everyone to get a good view. With iBooks StoryTime, the entire living room can enjoy the experience on the big screen. Parents can save their voices and let iBooks do the talking thanks to Read-Aloud narration that pipes the sound through your speakers, with automatic page flipping so adults can sit back and be as entertained as the youngsters (maybe). Naturally, you can turn off both features if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, while still being able to enjoy a modern story time on your HDTV. Children’s iBooks already in your account will be ready and waiting when you install StoryTime, and you can use the Siri Remote to browse and buy titles from Apple TV as well as iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. j.r. bookwalter 94 feb 2017 maclife.com
In the early days of Apple TV, the only way to get personal media libraries onto the streaming box was to jailbreak – an increasingly complicated solution that only worked until the next software update. With the arrival of the fourth-generation model, the developers at Firecore shifted their efforts to the App Store, and Infuse 5 is the latest fruit of that endeavor. Infuse is billed as “the beautiful way to watch videos” on your iOS and Apple TV devices, and indeed it’s the perfect all-in-one solution for
media fans who don’t want or need a centralized solution like Plex. As always, Infuse 5 plays pretty much anything you can throw at it, whether it’s on a media server, UPnP/DLNA apps, Wi-Fi connected storage, or an iOS device. Unlike previous versions, Infuse 5 is a free app with an optional $6.99 per year subscription, which enables Pro features like HD audio, AirPlay and Google Cast support, iCloud sync, and streaming from cloud services Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box; parental controls are on the way. j.r. bookwalter
Unlike many third-party media players, Infuse’s interface looks gorgeous and entirely at home on your Apple TV’s display.
Better living through smarter tech
Endless arcade racing Free
From the creators of Blocky Football comes Blocky Racer, a free endless arcade racing game for the entire family – not to mention all your iOS devices. Players will have a blast building the cutest 8-bit-inspired drivers and vehicles, then set them loose on a variety of scenic landscapes including rocky mountains, twisting forest roads, and a beachside tunnel. The graphics blend a familiar retro style with modern graphics full of stunning scenery and 30 adorable characters everyone will love. Naturally, players steer their favorite vehicles into increasingly more difficult
Make the most of home entertainment
The Federal Highway Administration really needs to get its priorities in order. scenarios, collecting coins along the way that enable cars to be leveled up with additional skills, all while increasing the score accordingly. There’s plenty of eye candy too. j.r. bookwalter
Shout! Factory TV
SamSung un55kS9000 $2,299 samsung.com Billed as “the ultimate flat 4K SUHD picture,” the latest 55-inch stunner from Samsung offers a more lifelike image thanks to Quantum Dot Color Drive and Triple Black Technology. It’s also a great value for the quality, with an unobtrusive design, remarkable HDR picture, and a nice smart remote.
A buffet of cult classics Free
Fancy yourself a pop-culture junkie well-versed in obscure film and television shows from a bygone era? If so, we have no doubt you’ll find something to love on Shout! Factory TV. This ad-supported streaming channel features on-demand content from the giants of pop culture, home video distributor Shout! Factory. Where else can you experience the short-lived joys of The Weird Al Show, catch up on classic Ultraman episodes, or enjoy a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards (better known to fans as Kramer) performing late-night shtick on Fridays? It’s all here under one roof, nicely categorized by
Stuff you’ve heard of, stuff you haven’t – but all with that special something. genre, but viewers can also search for something specific as well. If you’re not yet ready to watch, mark the stuff you’re interested in as a favorite, and return to the Apple TV app later to get caught up. j.r. bookwalter
elago D StanD Charging Station $22 elagostore.com Available in black or silver, this is an affordable and stylish way to charge Siri Remote while keeping it conveniently located beside the television. The cylindrical shape is constructed from solid aluminum, and can even be used to charge your iPhone while you’re enjoying TV.
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TECH SUPPORT & TECHSPLANATIONS
TaskExplorer, which is free for personal use, can identify whether a task on your Mac is known malware.
startup disk, or in your Home folder, or hidden somewhere else. If the task isn’t malware, identify the culprit and uninstall it if you can, and seek advice from its publisher. If the misbehaving task turns out to be adware or malware, remove it using a tool such as MalwareBytes (free, malwarebytes. com). From the behavior you describe, the culprit may well be one of several variants of the InstallMac malware. That can be removed manually, but the process is quite awkward, and prone to error. Once removed, check again using TaskExplorer.
Mac dead or mouse dead? At apparently random moments every couple of days, my wired USB Apple mouse stops working, and I can’t control my Mac any more. I’ve tried using a different mouse, but the same problem occurs. The only solution when this happens is to force a restart. I’m running OS X El Capitan 10.11.6. How do I fix this?
MEMOry BEIng drAInEd My MacBook Air with 8GB of memory has been running out of it lately; Activity Monitor shows an item called Installer keeps popping up to consume large amounts of it. I don’t have anything installed that would behave like that. What’s going on, and more importantly, how do I fix it? Although macOS makes the best use of physical memory, it shouldn’t be going into the red like this, and you are rightly suspicious of any periodic process consuming lots of memory. A good way to identify what’s responsible and check if it’s bona fide is to inspect it using TaskExplorer (free, objective-see.com). This links
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into the VirusTotal database to determine whether a task might be malware, which seems highly likely in your case. Anything running periodically is probably doing so by means of an installed LaunchAgent or LaunchDaemon – possibly located in “LaunchAgents” or “LaunchDaemons” in the Library folder at the root of your
Log entries in the few seconds immediately before a forced shutdown or restart can give valuable clues as to its cause. If your Mac has frozen completely – with the keyboard not working, and the clock stopped – this is a “kernel panic,” a techy term which means the operating system itself has essentially ground to a halt. That should never happen, but some Macs running El Capitan, particularly versions 10.11.4 onwards, seem to be prone to sporadic kernel panics. Old and incompatible extensions are a potential cause of this, particularly those that support ageing peripherals or which “enhance” the system. Eliminate those as a cause
Tech Support & Techsplanations
by starting up in safe mode, holding ß when you hear the startup sound and releasing it when you see the Apple logo. Safe mode disables thirdparty extensions, so if the issue crops up in it, you can be fairly confident they aren’t to blame. You may also get a clue as to the cause by opening Console when your Mac has just restarted after one of these incidents. Search in its logs to reach the last message containing BOOT_TIME, which marks the restart event, then look in the entries before that line for error messages and crashes. Even experts can find it very hard to work out what caused a kernel panic. The good news is that macOS Sierra is far more robust than El Capitan. If your apps and peripherals are compatible with Sierra, upgrading to it should banish these annoying kernel panics for good.
Why isn’t AirDrop working? Airdrop won’t work on my MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) running OS X 10.11.6. The option to share using Airdrop appears, but when I try to use it, Finder or the app I’m using becomes unresponsive. Is there something wrong with my Mac? AirDrop is an “ad hoc” service that depends on a device’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hardware. It normally either works fine, or it doesn’t work at all, no matter how hard you try to fix it. Macs from 2012 or later, excluding 2012’s Mac Pro, can share with most other Macs from 2008 or 2009 onwards, as
Ensure that both Bluetooth and AirPort are turned on and aren’t blocked by a firewall, then AirDrop should “just work.”
> faceTime failure I have a new 12-inch MacBook (Early 2016). Although I’ve entered my username and password in order to make calls using FaceTime, the app gets stuck on its loading screen and does not work. What’s wrong? ensure you have a good internet connection, and that the Apple ID you’re attempting to sign in with is valid. To make a faceTime connection, you must have verified your email address; check your Apple ID’s status by going to appleid.apple.com, where you can also create an Apple ID, change its password, and more. Next, in faceTime choose faceTime > Preferences. If it shows your email status as “verifying,”
follow the instructions in the email to verify the address, and allow the process to complete. If faceTime is still being awkward, under Apple ID in the app‘s preferences clear and refill the “enable this account” checkbox. Other factors that can cause problems with faceTime are not having the correct time, date, and time zone set,
well as devices running iOS 7 or higher. Both devices need to have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, and receiving Macs must not have any form of software firewall set to block all incoming connections – that applies to the built-in firewall in System Preferences’ Security pane, as well as third-party products such as Little Snitch or NetBarrier. AirDrop works best with OS X 10.10 and higher, but provided you open an AirDrop window, it can also work with OS X 10.7 up to 10.9. However, it can be even less reliable in those older versions. Apple provides further information at apple.co/2eaIQf9.
and trying to connect through a firewall that blocks ports. faceTime needs ports numbers 80 (TCP), 443 (TCP), 34783497 (UDP), 5223 (TCP), 16384 to 16387 (UDP), and 16393 to 16402 (UDP). Make sure those ports aren’t being blocked for outgoing connections. Apple provides further ideas at apple.co/ 2egdryZ.
Unsent mail We normally collect our email using Apple’s Mail without any problems. Since changing the password for our email service, though, we can only receive messages and can’t send any using this method. Oddly, our iPad still works fine, connecting with the same server. Is this the result of changing the password? This is most probably the result of a long-standing and infamous bug in the Mail app. Although the settings you’re using appear correct, the fact is that those for the SMTP server, which is used to send outgoing messages, are broken. To repair them, you need to
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about troubleshooting in Safe Mode at mzl.la/2f7zu8M. Another potential solution is to remove Firefox’s preferences file, which is located in the Library folder within your Home folder. There, open the Preferences folder and trash the file called org.mozilla.firefox. plist. If none of these steps resolves your problem, you may find Firefox’s next version runs better.
Firefox’s Safe Mode disables browser extensions, and lets it check extensions.
remove all the old SMTP server settings and re-enter the new ones. Ensure you have a careful and complete written record of the correct SMTP server settings, checking them against those used by your iPad. In Mail on your Mac, choose Mail > Preferences, go to the Accounts tab, select the problematic email service on the left, and open the Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP) pop-up menu. In turn, select each item related to the troublesome service (ignore others) and use the – (minus) button to delete them. You’ll be left with no servers, or just those for other services. Now click the + button to add a new server. Set it up exactly as shown on your iPad. Check the other settings and click OK. If that doesn’t help, repeat this, but after removing servers, quit Mail, reopen it, then add the new server.
PPTP VPN OMG I know this is a bit osbcure, but does Sierra no longer support PPTP VPn? Apple decided that PPTP protocols are too insecure to support any longer
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and has removed them from Sierra. If you are unable to switch to a support protocol, such as IPSec, or use an SSL client, there are many apps which still support PPTP, including Aruba, OpenVPN, and Shimo.
firefox won’t open any more Whenever I open Firefox 48.0.2, it quits immediately. Is this caused by a bug in Firefox? Perhaps, but there are other possible causes you should rule out. The first is an old and incompatible extension, in either /Library/ Application Support/Mozilla/ Extensions or the same path in your Home folder. In Finder, hold Alt and pick Go > Library. Any which look old or unwanted should be moved to a folder in Documents, which may allow Firefox to start up normally again. In a new Finder window, locate Firefox, then hold Alt and double-click the app’s icon to open the browser’s Safe Mode. That mode eliminates third-party extensions, themes, and accelerators you’ve added. Mozilla provides info
Tech Support & Techsplanations
The neverending storage Why does Sierra’s storage summary never seem to complete when I use it on my computer? In Sierra, the bar shown on your startup disk in > About This Mac > Storage should give a breakdown of free and used space. On some Macs running 10.12, the assessment never completes and the bar continues to say ‘”Calculating.” This bug should soon be fixed; try installing the recent macOS 10.12.1 update.
es imposible, capitán How can I upgrade my old iMac to run OS X El Capitan? Unless you previously “purchased” the free upgrade to El Capitan from the Mac App Store, you can’t obtain its
SHArE WITH US!
> Office in iCloud Drive I’ve just upgraded my iMac to Sierra, and see that I have the opportunity to store my files on iCloud drive. Most of my work is done in Microsoft Word, for which I have a Onedrive subscription so that I can share those documents with my iPad and iPhone. does this mean that I can now use Word on my iPad with iCloud drive instead of Onedrive? Yes, though using iCloud Drive is slightly less direct than using OneDrive: tap Open to browse files, then tap More at the bottom of the list of locations, and you’ll be offered your iCloud Drive, and any other cloud storage that you’ve added to Word’s list of locations. To save a
document from your iPad to iCloud Drive, use Save a Copy, then tap the More item in the list of locations to see your folders on iCloud Drive. You may find it helpful to create folders for Word and other Office docs on iCloud Drive, but that isn’t strictly required. If you currently pay for additional storage above the 5GB that comes free with an Office 365 subscription, and the 5GB that’s free with your iCloud account (shared by all its services, not just iCloud Drive), you can now consolidate in iCloud and perhaps get better value. Beware that all cloud storage services are keen to get you to use more space, and to pay ever-
installer from the store now, nor can you use an installer “bought” using someone else’s Apple ID: it’s Sierra or stick with what you have. Apple is keen to have as many people as possible using the latest version of macOS.
Lost logs in Sierra How can I browse my recent logs in macOS Sierra? Unfortunately, there’s no longer an
increasing subscription prices. In Sierra, be very careful with the Optimize Storage feature; the option to move your Desktop and Documents folders to iCloud Drive can rapidly fill all the online storage you give it. files you haven’t touched on your Mac for a while are pushed to the cloud.
easy way of reading your logs as you could previously using the Console app. Sierra comes with a brand-new version of Console (it’s even numbered 1.0), which is only useful for inspecting live logs. The “log” command in Terminal fills some gaps, but isn’t easy to use. If you’re brave and willing to get your hands dirty, you can find a lot more information on the log command at bit.ly/2fwCPfZ.
EMAIl: email@example.com FACEBOOk: facebook.com/maclife TWITTEr: twitter.com/maclife
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CREATE HOW TO DO ANYTHING ON YOUR MAC, iPHONE & iPAD
use Mac and iOs’s Continuity options Make your Mac, iPhone, and iPad work better together with these features REQUIRES An iCloud account, Apple devices that meet certain hardware and operating system requirements – see apple.co/2dNfcOn yoU wIll lEaRn How to configure and use the whole set of Continuity features IT wIll TaKE 20 minutes
COntinuity is a group of six features that are available in the latest versions of iOS and macOS, and which provide extra convenience in certain scenarios. Two of these features – Auto Unlock and Universal Clipboard – are new. With the former switched on, when you wake your Mac it checks for your Apple Watch nearby, and that the Watch is unlocked; if so, your Mac assumes it was you who woke it and skips its usual request for your password, taking you straight to your desktop. Universal Clipboard recognizes that you may in fact be using more than one of your devices at the same time, and
so its purpose is to enable you to copy and paste text, images, or video from one device to another just by copying to the clipboard as you normally would. The remaining four Handoff features were added to Apple’s operating systems some time ago. However, if you’ve been using a Mac that predates 2012, you won’t have had the luxury of enjoying them, due to a lack of Bluetooth 4.0 in those earlier models. All of the Continuity features require participating devices to be signed in to your iCloud account, as proof of your identity. Most features also need Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to be turned on. alan stOnebridge
HOw tO Use Continuity
UnIvERSal ClIpboaRd Universal Clipboard needs no further setting up than Continuity’s basic requirements. Just copy on one device and paste on another. 100 feb 2017 maclife.com
Start with Auto Unlock Ensure your Mac’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on, then that your Mac and Watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID (go to > System Prefs > iCloud on Mac, and the Watch app > General > Apple ID on phone).
More Auto Unlock If you haven’t already, set up a passcode in the Watch app > Passcode on your iPhone. In > System Prefs > Security & Privacy on your Mac, enable “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock…” and wait for it to activate.
How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
Set up Handoff To use Handoff, a Mac’s Wi-Fi must be turned on, even if it’s using Ethernet for networking. On your Mac, go to > System Prefs > General and turn on “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.”
Set up Instant Hotspot On your iPhone, go to Settings > Mobile Data and turn on the Personal Hotspot feature. From the Wi-Fi icon on your Mac, choose the name of your iPhone. On another iOS device, tap your iPhone’s name in Settings > Wi-Fi.
Choose devices for calls Pick devices on which to make and receive calls. Turn on Calls From iPhone in FaceTime’s prefs on your Mac, and in Settings > FaceTime on iOS. Incoming calls show as a notification on a Mac and a call screen on iOS.
Switch devices Enable it on iOS in Settings > General > Handoff. To move a task from iOS to Mac, click the Dock icon left of Finder’s. The other way, swipe up from the app icon on the Lock screen, or double-click Home and tap bottom tab.
In the Watch app on your iPhone, go to General and enable Handoff. To transfer a task from Watch to your iPhone, see step 4.
Phone calls on devices Sign in to FaceTime on each device using the Apple ID you use for iCloud. Ensure your iPhone/devices are on the same network. In Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices on the iPhone, enable “Allow Calls on…”
SMS and MMS Your iMessage account in Messages’ prefs (Mac) and Apple ID in Settings > Messages > Send & Receive (iOS) must match. In iPhone’s Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding, enable devices; enter the code they receive.
QUICK TIp If you need to use Instant Hotspot only with your Mac, you can connect your iPhone over USB and turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. maclife.com feb 2017 101
Make and manage disk sets Combine disks for faster transfers or to provide extra protection for files REQUIRES macOS Sierra yoU wIll lEaRn How to set up a striped or mirrored disk set using macOS’s RAID support in Disk Utility IT wIll TaKE 10 minutes
Disk Utility in macOS 10.12 Sierra adds the ability to create and manage disk sets. (Strictly speaking, you could also manage disk sets in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, but you had to do it using the not exactly user-friendly “diskutil” command in Terminal.) A disk set requires multiple hard disks – a minimum of two – and pools their storage in one of three ways. The first is a “striped” disk set, or RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) level 0. This type of set combines the capacity of all its disks into one big pool, but it spreads “chunks” of data, even if they’re part of the same file, across its disks to speed up read and write operations, improving the set’s overall performance. However, the risk here is that if just one disk fails in the set, you may lose data permanently. the gooD type of reDUnDancy The second type is a mirrored disk set, also known as RAID level 1, and for many people it’s the most attractive option due to the additional protection it gives your files; whatever you copy to a mirrored set is stored multiple times – once on each of the disks in the set. The advantage of this is that as long as only one disk fails, you can rebuild the
STaRT agaIn After you first create a disk set, the pane that displays its individual disks may not show all them; restart Disk Utility and they should appear.
Take heed of the warning at the final stage: ensure that you’re happy to erase the disks’ contents. 102 feb 2017 maclife.com
A mirrored set can be repaired automatically or manually if a disk is disconnected and reconnected. setup by replacing the faulty drive. The worst case here is if data on every disk becomes corrupted, or all of the disks fail at the same time. The former situation can be addressed by creating one or more periodic backups of the mirrored set and storing that separately. The latter situation can be dealt with by adding one or more extra disks to the set – either as additional “slices” (live copies of all the data stored by the set) or as spares. These are usually idle, and are only called into action when another slice fails, so that the setup can be rebuilt with your data still stored on multiple drives. A mirrored disk set’s capacity is equal to the lowest capacity disk that’s part of it, so you’ll want them to match in order to make the most efficient use of storage. The third kind of disk set is JBOD: “just a bunch of disks.” This simply adds the capacity of multiple disks – which can be different – into a single volume. This kind of disk enables several small disks to work as if they were one bigger one. In the walkthrough opposite, you’ll learn how to safely set up RAID 0 and RAID 1 disk sets. Before you begin, gather at least two drives that are blank or whose contents you don’t need; they will be erased, so make sure you have a backup of anything on them that you want to keep. alan stonebriDge
How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
how to Create a disk set in Sierra
Create a disk set Connect the disks you want to be part of the disk set to your Mac. For safety, disconnect any other disks, so you don’t accidentally erase their contents. Open Disk Utility and choose File > RAID Assistant.…
Choose disks Disks and volumes are organized much as they are in the left pane of Disk Utility’s main window, with volumes indented slightly under the disk they are on. In the list, check each disk you want to include in the set.
Chunk size (striped) With a striped set, “chunks” of data from each file are spread across the disks. If you choose this for faster transfers, a smaller chunk size is more efficient; one disk can read a chunk while another looks for the next one.
Choose a set type You’ll be shown three descriptions, as we’ve outlined, of the three types of disk set you can create and manage using Disk Utility. Select the type you want to create, then click the Next button.
Set each disk’s role Each disk in a mirrored set must be designated as a RAID slice which contains your data (two minimum), or a spare. Spares are optional but offer some extra protection if a disk fails. Click Next.
Chunk size (mirrored) In a mirrored set, pick a large chunk size if it’ll store videos or other big files, or a smaller one otherwise. With “Automatically rebuild” on, if a disk fails or is removed, the set is rebuilt using a spare.
See available disks You’ll be presented with a list of all the disks connected to your Mac, and the volumes on them. Your startup disk will be dimmed as it can’t be used. Each one’s connection type and capacity are also listed.
Set disk properties You need to assign a name to your disk set, which will be shown in Finder. Of the two choices offered for the set’s formatting, the most common is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) – the one that isn’t case sensitive.
finish the set Click Create, then Done. In Finder, the set acts like a regular disk. To check its status, select it under RAID Sets in Disk Utility’s left pane. You can later add more slices or spares to a mirrored set.
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part 4 of 5 Next issue:
Get to the top of the pile with SEO tips and tricks
Add media to pages in RapidWeaver Learn how to add a range of media to your site – and avoid some pitfalls REQUIRES RapidWeaver 7 yoU wIll lEaRn How to add images and embed content from elsewhere IT wIll TaKE 15 minutes
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The internet may have started life as a text-only medium, but today it’s capable of all kinds of wonders. You can add photos or videos, music or maps – the range of available content is massive. So in this guide, we’ll use RapidWeaver to create a multimedia marvel. We’ll look at two kinds of content. The first is content you provide, such as images you use to illustrate your pages. The second is content you embed from another site. Here, we use a map from Google Maps, yet you can embed all kinds of things: Twitter feeds, Facebook videos, YouTube clips, SoundCloud and Bandcamp music, and much more. The advantage of embedding content is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We’re sure you’re perfectly capable of making a wonderful map, but why bother when Google has done the work for you, and when it can also offer visitors live
traffic info, satellite views, directions, and locations of nearby points of interest? Embedding content is particularly useful when somebody else owns the copyright. Upload a Lady Gaga video to your site and you’ll receive a stern message from her record company for copyright infringement. Embed the official clip from YouTube or Vevo and the company will be delighted; you get the video and it gets details of the number of views, and so on. Another kind of embedded content is that which you’ve uploaded somewhere else. It may sound odd to record a video on your iPhone, upload it to YouTube and embed the YouTube version on your site, rather than just uploading it to your own site, but it’s a good idea. It means your video can be discovered, shared, and commented on by YouTube’s many millions of users, and if your video becomes a huge success you won’t need
How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
Quick lOOk Media controls in RapidWeaver
ThE MEdIa BRowSER This displays your Photos library, your Pictures folder and folders you add manually.
EdIT and pREvIEw This pane has two states: Edit, to add or edit content; and Preview, which is how the page will look in a web browser.
RESoURcES This shows the pages in your project as well as options for how those pages will appear.
to worry about paying the bills for all that bandwidth. That’s YouTube’s problem!. Embedding is usually set up by the third-party website that provides the content, but there’s another way to use content from others: linking directly to files on servers. That’s okay if you’re linking to something like a PDF file on a big company’s website, but it’s not so good for images; doing so without the owner’s permission is called hotlinking, and it’s a no-no for several reasons. It’s usually copyright infringement, and you’re expecting the owner to cover bandwidth costs of serving the image to your visitors. Also, it’s easily defeated as they can replace the image. As many unscrupulous hotlinkers have found, that replacement can be the kind of image you really don’t want to appear on your site. When using other people’s content, stick to this philosophy: if there’s a big “Add this to your site!” or embedding option, go ahead and use it; if not, don’t. Often, the best place to get pictures is your own photo library. The internet’s also great, of course, but there’s an attitude that if something’s online, you can use it for free. That isn’t true, and every image remains the property of its copyright holder – usually the image
InSpEcToR This is where you can adjust pagespecific items or add extra code.
creator or photographer, or the company for which they made it. You can get free images online, though. Google Image Search can filter its results by usage rights to only see what you can reuse. There are entire sites of free pics, such as unsplash.com and flickr.com; at the top left of Flickr’s search results, click Any License: and check “Commercial use allowed,” “Modifications allowed” and “No known copyright restrictions.” ONliNe imAge dOs ANd dON’ts When using images, a sensible naming convention is good for organization – and for being Google-friendly – “FlatironBuilding_front.jpg” is more helpful than “IMG003129.jpg” – and it’s wise to fill in alt(ernative) text for important images (do so by doubleclicking the image in RapidWeaver) to show visitors alt text if the image isn’t shown, to assist people with vision impairments, and automated systems such as Google’s website indexers. For example, for the file “FlatironBuilding_ front.jpg,” alt text like “Picture of Flatiron Building in daylight” and a similarly descriptive caption is useful and Google-friendly. Whatever you do, don’t make important text part of an image
JaRGon BUSTER Embedding is when your site includes something from an external source, such as a YouTube video, a SoundCloud song, or a working Google map.
MaRKUp You can use the same annotation tools from Preview and Mail in RapidWeaver. Simply click the arrow to the right of an image on a page and pick Markup. maclife.com feb 2017 105
JaRGon BUSTER A plugin is a small program that plugs in to a bigger app, such as RapidWeaver, to give the host app new tools, options or features.
without also adding it to a page’s body text, or it might go unseen by those with sight issues or poor connections. It’s also important to consider mobile devices. They’re increasingly used, rather than Macs or PCs, as people’s main web browser, often on mobile networks with limited data usage. Optimize your images to make them as small as possible without becoming unrecognizable. As well as reducing visitors’ data usage, it also makes your pages load more quickly. You can resize images in Preview: open them
all, select them all and pick Tools > Adjust Size. There are batch image editors in the Mac App Store, should you need more advanced tools. The trick to choosing online images or any other kind of media is to keep it focused, relevant, and appropriate. One well chosen image or useful bit of embedded media can be more effective than a page plastered with all kinds of things. Ask yourself: does this make my site better for visitors? If the answer is no, it’s got to go. gARy mARshAll
hOW tO Add images and embed content
Manage your media Clicking RapidWeaver’s Media button opens this window, the Media Browser. It looks in Photos and your user account’s Pictures folder by default, but you can drag additional folders onto it from Finder (as shown here).
Get plugging RapidWeaver plugins (also known as add-ons) add extra features to the app. For example, to add a photo gallery, choose Add > All Plugins > Photo Album. Drag photos from the Media Browser and RapidWeaver does the rest.
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find your photos Your images will now appear as thumbnails in the Media Browser. You can change viewing options with the toolbar at the bottom of the Media Browser’s window. To add an image, open a page in Edit mode and drag the picture onto it.
Make a map Adding content such as Google Maps to your site is simple. In Safari, go to maps.google.com and find the place you want to show on your site. Bring up the menu and choose Share/Embed, then click Embed Map and copy the code.
fine-tune your photo Double-clicking an image displays more options, such as to add a drop shadow, add a border, or rotate the image. We’ve added a basic drop shadow and then clicked on Preview at the top of RapidWeaver’s window to see the result.
embed the content To add your map, open the page in RapidWeaver on which you want it to appear, switch to Edit mode and paste the code where you want the map to appear. Click Preview and you should now see the completed map in all its glory.
How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
create shareable graphics Design better social media images quickly and easily with Canva REQUIRES Canva, iOS 8.1 or later yoU wIll lEaRn How to create images that can be quickly shared on various social networks IT wIll TaKE 10 minutes
Sharing graphicS on social networks can be a daunting task, even if you think you know what you’re doing. Whether you’re posting to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, your images should to be different sizes and dimensions to avoid getting cropped awkwardly. Canva is a free app that aims to make the process a little easier. With a few taps you can create ready-to-publish, shareable graphics for use on a number of different social media channels. Just pick which site you want to publish to and Canva gives you a ready-made template designed for that platform. It’s quick and easy, and the base version is free, although you can pay to unlock new layouts and backgrounds on the Canva website, as we’ll see. At the moment, the app is mainly geared towards Instagram, with almost 100 graphics templates for this social network (there are about 50 for Facebook and Twitter). Once you’ve picked a layout, you can choose from a range of graphical
elements (doodles, frames, banners, and more), text styles, and filters. Each of these is customizable, allowing you to change the size, color, font weight, and opacity with a few quick taps. The iPhone app makes creating and editing graphics quick and easy, but if you want more control over the designs then head to the Canva website (canva.com). This has a larger selection of layouts, including presets for printouts, cards, infographics, email headers, and more. There’s also a wider array of fonts, graphics, and badges to use in your designs – but, as mentioned, you have to pay for some of them. There’s a surprising level of depth and control to the app, and even more on the Canva site. Still, if you find the designs are a little too “trendy” for your tastes, you can upload your own photo backgrounds, remove the image filter and take a pass on the heart doodle. The site has hordes of other options. In short, Canva is a neat little design package in its own right. alex blake
how to Quickly create and share social graphics
Choose background Pick a social network; there are presets for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as slideshows. Next, pick a background image for your shareable graphic. You can also choose one from the Camera Roll or take a shot yourself.
Make adjustments Canva lets you add Instagramstyle filters. Our image is a bit dull, so we’ve changed the filter to Summer. Next, add a doodle with the Elements button at the bottom, then enter some text – both can be moved and resized.
Finish up and share Adjusting text is easy. Double-tap a text box to edit it, and use the slider to change its size. Canva lets you alter the alignment, weight, color, and more. When you’re done, tap Share and choose a social network to post to. maclife.com Feb 2017 107
Work with Control Center Learn about the shortcuts that are only ever a swipe (or three) away REQUIRES iOS 10 yoU wIll lEaRn How to use iOS 10’s new-look Control Center to its fullest IT wIll TaKE 10 minutes
Control Center saves you the trouble of digging around for often-used settings, opening an app that’s playing audio to control its playback, or searching for a flashlight. Whether you’re at the Home screen, in an app, or you’ve just woken your device to its Lock screen, you can do all these things and more. To open Control Center, swipe upwards from the screen’s bottom edge. This slides a card over the bottom of the screen and dims the rest of the display. Swiping up while using an app might not reveal Control Center; look for a small tab with an arrow on it at the center of the screen’s bottom edge; the point of this is to stop you accidentally pulling Control Center over an app just by interacting with its controls near that point. Tap elsewhere on the screen to dismiss the tab and carry on, or swipe upwards from it to pull Control Center in to view. The top row of Control Center contains buttons that toggle Airplane Mode (which disables Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), enable or disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on their own,
toggle Do Not Disturb to avoid calls and notifications interrupting you, and lock the screen orientation (portrait only on iPhone or iPod touch, but also landscape on iPad). Below these is a slider that controls screen brightness. Next down are buttons to mirror your iOS device’s screen to an Apple TV and control whether Macs and other iOS devices can see your device and send things to you – such as links, contact details, photos – over a direct Wi-Fi connection between devices. The Night Shift button toggles that feature and shows when it’ll next turn on or off. Set up Night Shift in Settings > Display & Brightness. The bottom row contains buttons for a flashlight, Clock, Calculator, or Camera app. On a device with 3D Touch, press firmly on them for extra options, such as flashlight intensities, preset timer durations, and camera modes. Note the page dots that are shown below the card, which are new in iOS 10 – Control Center is now divided into different “cards.” AlAn Stonebridge
HoW to Control your iOS device’s key features
Open up Swipe up from the bottom of the screen; the last card used is shown even after locking your device. On the first card, the top icons and Night Shift toggle on/off when tapped. AirPlay and AirDrop offer some choices, though.
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Stream to TV To mirror your device’s screen to Apple TV, tap AirPlay Mirroring and then tap the name of an Apple TV that’s been found on the same network. Tap AirPlay Mirroring again for an option to turn this off.
Receive something Tap AirDrop, then Contacts Only or Everyone to send things to or receive from a Mac or iOS device that’s nearby. AirDrop to and from Macs only works with models made in the last few years (see apple.co/2eA1elc).
How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
HoW to Control audio from the Now Playing card
Music maestro When an app is playing audio in the background, Control Center’s second card shows details (tap to go to the app), playback controls, plus headphones, and Bluetooth and AirPlay speakers you can send audio to.
Pick a target On iPhone, the destination for audio is shown in the bottom row of the card. Tap it to expand it and see the list of available speakers. Tap one to send audio to it. Tap outside of Control Center or swipe down on it to close it.
Split video/audio Also use the second card if you want to watch video on your device yet send its audio to a better speaker; ignore the first card’s AirPlay control in this instance, as it always sends video and audio to your specified destination.
HoW to Control HomeKit accessories and scenes
Master your home If you’ve configured accessories in the Home app, such as lighting, Control Center’s third card shows up to nine accessories (12 on iPad) and scenes marked as favorites, for at-a-glance info about their status.
Accessory info Tap an accessory or a scene to toggle its status – to turn a light on or off, for example. If an accessory allows finer adjustment, such as a light’s brightness, apply 3D Touch/hold a finger on it to show that control.
favorites Tap the house icon (top left) to open the Home app if you need to use its extra controls or want to rearrange the favorite accessories that are shown in Control Center: tap Edit, and drag the accessories into position.
> ConSider your SeCurity
Choose which features are accessible while locked You may be happy for all of Control Center to be available at the Lock screen on an iPad that stays at home, but want to prevent remote access to your HomeKit accessories by anyone who picks up your iPhone. You can entirely block access to Control Center at the Lock screen (and, separately, in apps if you find that you accidentally open it while using them) in Settings > Control Center. To disable control of HomeKit accessories at the Lock screen – using Control Center or Siri voice control – turn off Home Control in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
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create your own photo filters Use Mextures to design your own custom effects for photographs REQUIRES iOS 8 or later, Mextures app ($1.99) yoU wIll lEaRn How to combine different tools into a filter made just for you IT wIll TaKE 20 minutes
DigitaL photos may be ageless, but they can also lack character. Mextures is a photo-editing app that gives you all the tools you need to transform dull images into something more striking. Mextures is based around the principle of applying textures. These textures transform your photos in a number of ways, evident from their category names, such as Radiance, Grit and Grain (use this to “age” your photos), Light Leaks, Emulsion, and Vintage Gradients. Each of the roughly 130 textures is placed on top of your image in the form of a semi-transparent layer, which is “blended” into the image. You can also add more through In-App Purchases, one of which – X-Film – is free. You can then polish your original photo further through the use of special “film stock” filters – each of the 26 on offer emulates the kind of film used to shoot
movies and animated films from yesteryear. These filters are accompanied by a series of common image adjustment tools for tweaking lighting, color, sharpness, and so on. It can be a painstaking job applying filters and polish to create the perfect effect. Imagine having to meticulously record each step and repeat it every time you want to recreate the look. Thankfully, Mexture solves this conundrum with its use of “formulas,” which enable you to save carefully crafted edits for use time and again. You can even share formulas over social media for others to use, plus you can import their creations in return. Mextures bundles over 130 formulas you can use to instantly transform a photo, or serve as a starting point for your own experimentation (all formulas are editable). Now you’ve no excuse for transforming lackluster photos into something more striking. Nick peers
Quick Look Mexture’s interface
TExTURES Tap these to switch textures, or tap a texture’s heart symbol to add it to a “Favorites” category.
opacITy SlIdER Slide this up to strengthen the effect, or down to reduce it by making the layer more transparent.
ToolS Tap the + to add a new layer; the others navigate between textures, layers, polish, and formulas.
layER IndIcaToR Tells you which layer is currently selected – adjustments to opacity and rotation only affect this layer.
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How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
how to Add textures and polish
frame photo Open Mextures, then tap Camera or Library to take or choose your photo. Tap “Use” and then use the controls to crop and zoom into the portion of the image you wish to use. Tap “Crop” or “Uncropped” to select it.
Pick a texture A list of categories – each containing multiple textures – will be shown. Tap one and the first texture will be applied as a layer. Tap other textures to preview them, or tap the ^ button to try another category.
Add more textures
fine-tune effect Move the opacity slider on the right of the image up to strengthen the effect, or down to lessen it. Tap the button in the bottom left-hand corner of the image to rotate the texture layer by 90 degrees at a time.
Tap the interlocking circles button on the left to change how the texture is blended into the image. Tiny thumbnail previews give you an idea of what each effect does, but again tap to preview. Tap the check mark to apply.
Tap + to add another texture on its own layer. Use the Manage Layers button (the square icon second from left) to view and switch between layers, plus rearrange (tap and drag), hide (tap the eye), or delete (tap the X) layers.
You can add extra polish using a series of adjustments. These affect the whole image, not just a single layer. There are filmic effects, plus a series of sliders to tweak color, lighting, and other aspects of the image.
export or save
When you’re finished, tap the Share button in the top right corner to save the image to your library, share it via the Share extensions menu, or save the current selection of textures and polishes as a formula.
The quickest way to add striking effects to your photos is to leverage the hard work of others through formulas. Tap the beaker icon or return to the main Mextures-select screen and select “Formulas.”
Once you’ve selected a formula you like the look of, tap the check to accept it. You can now fine-tune each of the formula’s layers as well as adjust applied polish settings to customize the formula to suit your photo.
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Make your own podcast on iOs Learn how to record and edit a podcast in GarageBand REQUIRES Something to say, a USB microphone and the right connections yoU wIll lEaRn How to record a podcast, edit audio, and upload the results IT wIll TaKE 15 minutes, plus time to talk
GaraGeBand isn’t just a great tool for musicians. It’s also a radio studio, enabling you to record podcasts. Some podcasts put a microphone in a room with interesting people, hit Record and wait for the magic to happen, uploading the results with little or no editing. Others are painstakingly produced, combining music and sound effects from all kinds of places. GarageBand is happy to work with either. It’s possible to record your voice using the microphone built into your iPad or iPhone, but you’ll get better results with a dedicated microphone and a pop shield – a circle of fabric that sits between you and the microphone to reduce the noise of plosives, which are “puh” and “duh” sounds that can boom on recordings. Unfortunately, there’s no microphone socket on an iPhone or iPad, so you can’t simply plug in a USB mic like you would with a desktop or laptop Mac. If your iPad or iPhone has a Lightning port you’ll need
Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, which adds a USB port to the bottom of your device; if you have the older 30-pin connector the dongle you want is Apple’s 30-pin to USB Cable. Non-Apple versions of both items are widely available, but in our experience the build quality isn’t usually up to much. There’s another problem: power. Many USB microphones need a lot of power, and iOS devices don’t provide enough of it. You may need to connect a powered USB hub between your iOS device and the microphone. More elegantly, Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 cable has a Lightning port next to the USB socket, so you can just connect your charger. If you’re new to podcasting, it’s worth sketching out a plan of what you want to talk about in case you get tongue tied, but even if you do, don’t worry. It isn’t going out live, so you can fix problems at the editing stage before unleashing your podcast on the rest of the world. Gary Marshall
hOw tO Make podcasts in GarageBand
Rock the mic Connect a USB microphone if you’re using one, open GarageBand and create a new song. Navigate through the instruments until you see the Audio Recorder, which enables you to record speech or instruments.
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Turn it up You’ll see a little icon of a jack plug towards the top right of the window. Tap that to bring up the input level slider and adjust the volume. Enable the Noise Gate to shut off the mic when you’re silent.
Give it room By default, GarageBand expects to record short clips. To change that, tap on the + icon at the right hand side of the timeline. You should now see a window showing Song Sections. Tap where it says Section A: 8 Bars.
How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad
Automatic option If you choose the Automatic option under Section Length, the app won’t stop recording you after 8, 16, or 32 bars: it’ll keep going until you run out of words and hit the stop button (the square button at the top).
Stop, trim, restart If you’ve made a mistake, you can just use the grabber at the right of the audio track and pull it back to shorten the recording. Now, tap the timeline at the point you want to restart and then hit record again.
Mix it up To adjust the relative position and volume of tracks, tap the mixer icon and you’ll see options for volume, pan and special effects. The compressor’s good for speech as it keeps the volume at a consistent level.
Start talking All you need to do now is to tap the red circle at the top of the window to start recording. The dial in the main bit of the window will move to show your volume level; try to keep it out of the red – audio becomes distorted at this level.
Add audio You can add audio by tapping the loops icon, which gives you access to Apple Loops, audio files on your device or iCloud Drive, and Apple Music tracks. You can’t add Apple Music songs you haven’t downloaded.
Save your speech When you’re finished, to save your podcast, tap on My Songs and you’ll be returned to the main GarageBand library. Give your podcast a meaningful name, select it and then tap the share icon at the very top left.
See your speech When you’ve finished recording, tap on the Tracks button (third icon from the left at the top of the screen) and you’ll see the Tracks View. The blue bit is the audio file you’ve just recorded. Tap on it for options.
Drop the beat You can add a loop or audio file by simply dragging it from the list and into the main window. GarageBand then creates a new track, and you can add more tracks if you have multiple audio files to include.
Tell the world GarageBand can transfer completed projects to iCloud Drive or to iTunes, and it also works with third party services such as the popular SoundCloud. Just scroll through the Share sheet to see your options.
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>>> RAM RaNdOM applE MEMORy
ipod nano adam banks recalls the introduction of the pocket wonder
The iPod nano featured flash storage, making it much smaller and lighter than other models.
featuring an eyebrow-raising English accent, was still something of a coup. It wasn’t what the audience was waiting for, though. Rumors had been growing of an Apple phone, and Jobs produced one: a bog-standard handset manufactured by Motorola under the name ROKR. It was greeted with the apathetic silence it deserved, a rare misfire for tech’s great showman. As the bosses of Motorola and Cingular (later acquired by AT&T) were wheeled on to present their TV adverts, an un-Applelike intrusion, things only felt more awkward. But, just for once, there was a second “one more thing.” Recounting the
success of the iPod and its promise of “1,000 songs in your pocket,” Jobs produced “the biggest revolution since the original iPod” from his smallest pocket: the one on the front of his jeans. “Ever wonder what this pocket’s for? Well now we know.” And the iPod nano drew the expected whoops and applause. It really was an iPod made “impossibly small,” and would be popular enough to survive to seven generations over the next decade, outliving the iPod classic format by a year.
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If a STEvE Jobs presentation ever needed one more thing, it was Apple’s 2005 Music Special Event, held on 7 September at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. After some boring stuff about how iTunes was going, including a nod to the new phenomenon of “podcasting,” Steve pulled a surprise: using iChat, the Mac’s videoconferencing system (and a precursor of FaceTime), he called Madonna. The material girl’s lucky star had waned a bit at this point – Confessions on a Dance Floor, released two months later, would be seen as a comeback – but the live chat, streamed from her new home town of London and
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