Graham Spencer

734 posts on MacStories since January 2011

Graham is a regular contributor to MacStories, a law and economics student at university and connoisseur of great TV shows. With a particular passion for telling stories with the aid of data and visualizations, there is a high likelihood that he wrote a story if you see a graph on MacStories.

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‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ Is a New Book about Steve Jobs That Arrives March 24

A new book about Steve Jobs, authored by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli will arive later this month on March 24th. Titled 'Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader', the book promises to answer the question of how the exiled Steve Jobs managed to return to Apple and 'become the most effective visionary business leader of our time'.

Drawing on incredible and sometimes exclusive access, Schlender and Tetzeli tell a different story of a real human being who wrestled with his failings and learned to maximize his strengths over time. Their rich, compelling narrative is filled with stories never told before from the people who knew Jobs best, and who decided to open up to the authors, including his family, former inner circle executives, and top people at Apple, Pixar and Disney, most notably Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, Robert Iger and many others. In addition, Brent knew Jobs personally for 25 years and draws upon his many interviews with him, on and off the record, in writing the book. He and Rick humanize the man and explain, rather than simply describe, his behavior. Along the way, the book provides rich context about the technology revolution we all have lived through, and the ways in which Jobs changed our world.

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Apple Investing €1.7 billion to Build Data Centers in Ireland and Denmark

An Apple Press release this morning announced that the company will be investing €1.7 billion (US$1.93 billion) to build and operate two new European data centers. The two data centers, one in County Galway, Ireland and the other in Denmark’s central Jutland, will both be powered by 100 percent renewable energy according to Apple. The two new European data centers are expected to be in operation in 2017 and will be used to power Apple's various online services including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri.

“We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”

In its press release, Apple focuses on how they have continued to support jobs in Europe, claiming that they support over 672,000 jobs in the region and paying out €6.6 billion to European app developers. The press release also makes particular and repeated reference to the fact that these new data centers will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, one of the key environmental benchmarks the company has been keen to demonstrate in recent years.

“We believe that innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it, and that the time for tackling climate change is now,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We’re excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources. Our commitment to environmental responsibility is good for the planet, good for our business and good for the European economy.”

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Apple Debuts ‘Make a Film with iPad’ Advert

Coinciding with Sunday's Academy Awards Ceremony, Apple debuted a new iPad advert with a focus on making films. The advert features students from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) as they prepare and shoot films for a school project. Also featured in the advert is Martin Scorsese, with audio excerpts from his 2014 commencement speech to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts serving as the narration to the advert.

iPad is the ultimate tool for independent filmmakers. It lets them chase their ambitions and dive deeper into the work they’re so passionate about. Learn how students at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts relied on the power and versatility of iPad to write, produce, shoot, score, and edit their films in a matter of days.

Like most of Apple's recent adverts, they've set up a page on their website with more information about the advert and those featured in it. As noted on the page, the apps featured in this advert are Final Draft Writer, FiLMiC Pro, Garageband, and VideoGrade.

We've embedded the advert below, but you can also view it on Apple's website and on YouTube.

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Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iOS Add Support for iCloud Drive

Microsoft today updated the iOS versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to include support for iCloud Drive. This means that iOS 8 users can now open, edit and save documents to iCloud Drive, making it even easier for users who want to share a document between multiple apps. To access the iCloud Drive pop-up window, simply tap the 'More' button in the Office app's open or save panel.

Today's addition of iCloud Drive support follows the partnership between Microsoft and Dropbox which saw the suite of iOS Office apps add support for Dropbox back in November last year.


iWork for iCloud Beta Available for Everyone, No Need to Own an Apple Device

Late last week Apple made a change to their iCloud web services, opening up the iWork for iCloud beta to everyone. Previously the iWork suite of web apps (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) was limited to those users who owned an Apple device.

With last week's change anyone can go to beta.icloud.com, click the banner (shown above) to sign up for an Apple ID (which includes 1GB storage) and use the iWork for iCloud beta. Just make sure you do head to the beta iCloud website, as the main iCloud website doesn't let you sign up for an Apple ID yet. The iWork for iCloud web apps, which are still classified by Apple as betas, was first announced at WWDC 2013.

[via iMore]



Saver 2 for iPhone Review

This week saw the release of Saver 2, a big update to the personal finance and expense tracking iPhone app from Alex Solonsky and Vadim Shpakovski. I reviewed the original Saver nearly four years ago, and whilst the core of the app is very similar, the new features and completely refreshed and modernised design make Saver 2 a lot better.

There are quite a few personal finance apps available these days and it’s important to know that Saver, an iPhone-only app, is one that won’t be for everyone. For example, you won’t be reconciling multiple bank accounts – that’s just not how Saver works. But at the same time, don’t think of Saver as just a barebones tool: it is far more than that and will work terrifically for many people. This is particularly true if you purchase one of Saver’s subscriptions which add a bunch of advanced features (more on that later).

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Apple Debuts ‘Make Music’ Advert for the iPad Air 2

Coinciding with Sunday's Grammy Awards, Apple debuted a new iPad Air 2 advert with a focus on music creation. Featuring recording artist Elliphant, producer Riton, DJ The Gaslamp Killer and director So Me, the advert is a 60 second montage of the 'All or Nothing' remix being written, produced, performed and filmed on the iPad Air 2.

iPad is changing how we live, work, and create more and more each day. For recording artist Elliphant, it’s liberating her to make music in a radical new way. And whether she’s writing lyrics at home or recording on the road, iPad has become an essential part of her process. It was even used by director So Me to shoot this film.

Like most of Apple's recent adverts, they've set up a page on their website with more information about the advert and those featured in it. As noted on the page, the apps featured in this advert are GarageBand, iMPC Pro, NanoStudio, Serato Remote and Manual Camera.

We've embedded the advert below, but you can also view it on Apple's website and on YouTube.
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Microsoft Releases Outlook for iOS

Microsoft today released an iPhone and iPad version of Outlook, their well-known email app from the Office suite of productivity apps. The app is free and does not require a subscription to Office 365.

Outlook for iOS supports email accounts from Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail - but does not yet support custom IMAP accounts. Interestingly, the app also directly connects to online storage services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive so you can easily attach and send files.

Outlook makes it simple to share files stored in the cloud. With just a few taps, you can insert a link to any file from OneDrive, Dropbox and other popular accounts in your email message. Recipients are automatically granted permission to view these files, with no extra steps.

Need to find a file quickly? No problem. Outlook provides a view of your recently received email attachments, so you don’t have to go searching through email to find that document you need. Outlook also lets you search across both your cloud storage and your email attachments at once, with Quick Filters to let you quickly sort by file type.

Be sure to read the full announcement blog post from the Microsoft Office team, they highlight a number of neat features that might convince you to try the app out. And if you're ready to try the app out, here's the direct link to Outlook on the App Store.
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Snapchat’s Discover: Daily Mini-Magazines from CNN, Cosmopolitan & More

Snapchat yesterday released ‘Discover’, a big new feature that sees Snapchat partner with news and entertainment brands such as CNN, National Geographic, MTV and Cosmopolitan to produce and publish content for the Snapchat app. The easiest way to explain the content is to try it out yourself, or watch the video below (which shows the CNN and National Geographic packages from January 27). But essentially, each partner will publish new content every 24 hours and that content can include video, articles, pictures, and other editorial content.
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