Graham Spencer

766 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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Interesting Bits and Pieces from Today’s Apple Announcements

Earlier today Apple held its ‘Spring Forward’ keynote event to unveil their new their new MacBook, announce more Apple Watch details, reveal they are the exclusive launch partner with HBO Now, and unveil ResearchKit to help medical researchers.

We’ve covered the headline details of all those announcements, but as always there are little things that we didn’t capture, or tidbits that others have uncovered since the event. That’s what this article is dedicated to, little interesting things that you may not have noticed yourself.

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Apple Watch at the ‘Spring Forward’ Keynote: Our Complete Overview

At Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ keynote held earlier today at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Apple provided more details about the Apple Watch, which will open for pre-orders on April 10 and launching on April 24. Today’s keynote was mostly a recap of last September’s announcement of the Apple Watch, with a handful of new details sprinkled throughout, read on to get all the key details. Read on to get an overview of the important announcements from today, but if you're looking for more information, look no further than the Apple Watch website or the keynote video.

“Apple Watch begins a new chapter in the way we relate to technology and we think our customers are going to love it,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait for people to start wearing Apple Watch to easily access information that matters, to interact with the world, and to live a better day by being more aware of their daily activity than ever before.”

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‘Spring Forward’ Keynote Video Now Available for Streaming

Apple has now posted the video of its 'Spring Forward' keynote held earlier today in San Francisco. The video can be streamed here, and a higher quality version should be made available in a few hours through iTunes (on the Apple Keynotes podcast). To avoid streaming errors, Safari is recommended for the best viewing experience.

For more coverage, check out our 'Spring Forward' keynote news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.


Apple Events Channel Now Available on Apple TV to Stream Today’s ‘Spring Forward’ Keynote

Those with an Apple TV can now access the Apple Events channel, ahead of today's 'Spring Forward' keynote. The channel will allow users to stream the keynote live, from 10am San Francisco time, as Apple previously announced. The channel also allows users to stream past Apple events, just in case you have some time to kill whilst you wait for today's event to start.

For those without an Apple TV, you will also be able to stream today's keynote from Apple's website if you use Safari on Mac or iOS. You can also follow our March 9 Event hub for updates, or subscribe through RSS to our dedicated March 9 event feed.

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A Week in the Life of Indie Developers

We’re always trying to think of new and interesting stories to publish on MacStories, and often times they’re articles that are a complete experiment that we honestly don’t know how they’ll turn out – this is one of those articles.

Earlier this year I published an article that was essentially just a list of indie iOS/Mac developers and we got a great reaction to it (and we promise an update is coming). Inspired by the developers featured in that article, I asked a handful of them to write a journal of what they do in a week of development, and for some crazy reason, they agreed to contribute. Those generous developers are (in no particular order) Oisin and Padraig from Supertop, David Smith, Philip Simpson from Shifty Jelly, Greg Pierce from Agile Tortoise, and Junjie from Clean Shaven Apps.

I asked each of the developers to keep track of the work they did in the week of Sunday 22 February to Saturday 28 February. But I wasn’t specific in the format, other than to say I wanted something along the lines of a journal crossed with a time sheet. That was partly because I really didn’t know what would work well, but also because I wanted to be flexible and let the developers just write what they thought was appropriate. I had no idea what to expect, and was a bit nervous that the whole thing might fall apart because I hadn’t been specific enough about what I was looking for.

Fortunately, the result is fascinating, I found myself not only entertained but educated as I read through each of their journals. You’ll find that each journal is quite vastly different, not just in their writing style but also how they work as an indie developer. I know it’s a long read (certainly longer than I had anticipated), but stick with it – there are some great surprises throughout.

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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.