Posts in mac

iCloud Drive: What Is It, How It Works & Its Fundamental Problem

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple is introducing a new feature of iCloud: iCloud Drive. Apple bills it as a feature that will let you:

...safely store all your presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, and any other kind of document in iCloud. Documents you store in iCloud Drive will be kept up to date across all of your devices, and you can access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.

This brief article aims to clarify what exactly iCloud Drive is, how you access it, as well as the big problem that it has.
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Extensibility and Automation Changes in OS X Yosemite

The headline making news of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, released yesterday as a free update on the Mac App Store, is that it brings an extensive UI overhaul, modernizing the look of Apple’s desktop operating system to fit in with the design language pioneered by iOS 7. This is a great change, and maybe would have been enough to satisfy the average Mac user, but if you’re reading further into this article than the title, chances are you’re looking for a little more than a surface adjustment. Thankfully, Apple was kind enough to oblige.

OS X Yosemite introduces a series of interesting and useful changes under the hood, particularly in the category of automation. The first of these is the addition of extensions to the Mac. Yes, those extensions. If you have a device running iOS 8, you already know what extensions are, and extensions on the Mac are built on the exact same concept of extending the functionality and content of your individual apps out across the entire operating system. Although the idea is the same, extensions on the Mac are a bit different in their implementation due to the fact that the restrictions and capabilities of the operating system are not the same as those of iOS.

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The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display

At Apple's media event yesterday, Apple unveiled a new high-end iMac that includes a Retina 5K display. Starting at US$2499 it includes the 5K display with a resolution of 5120x2880, a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. In every other respect, the iMac is identical to its non-Retina version, still tapering off to the sides with an edge of just 5mm.

“Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.”

The Retina iMac can be further upgraded to a 4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM a 3TB Fusion Drive or 1TB SSD and an AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

Apple's website explains the interesting technical features that allow the iMac to have a 5K display, including a custom timing controller, Oxide TFT and highly efficient LEDs. Because there are nearly 15 million pixels, Apple developed its own timing controller that has four times the bandwidth of the previous generation 27-inch iMac.  The Oxide thin film transistor (TFT) provides the electrical charge to each pixel and does so more precisely and quicker than other technologies - and is even more energy efficient. Apple have also used more efficient LEDs which has actually enabled them to power four times the number of pixels with 30 percent less power.

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Taking a Tour of OS X Yosemite’s Revamped Spotlight

Spotlight in OS X Yosemite is improved not only in its appearance, but also utility. The biggest and most obvious change is that Spotlight no longer resides in the right corner of your menu bar. Triggered by the usual CMD+Space keyboard shortcut, it now appears as a floating bar in the center of your screen. As you start typing, the bar will expand downward to display your results on the left and a Quick Look-esque panel on the right.

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Apple Asks Developers to Start Submitting OS X Yosemite Apps

Apple today notified registered developers that Mac App Store submissions are now open for OS X Yosemite apps. Apple repeated its previous statement that Yosemite will be made available to customers "later this fall", but it may arrive as early as next week. By comparison, Apple notified developers to submit their OS X Mavericks apps last year on October 15, with Mavericks becoming available to customers a week later on October 22.

Add powerful new functionality throughout OS X Yosemite with app extensions, explore the innovative new Swift programming language, and take advantage of advances in game technologies, Safari, iCloud, and more. To prepare your apps for the Mac App Store, download and build with the OS X Yosemite GM candidate and Xcode 6.1 GM seed from the Mac Dev Center. With these latest releases, Swift is now final and you can submit your Mac apps written with Swift to the Mac App Store.



Xcode 6: Live Rendering, Visual View Debugging, and Swift

Xcode is the development environment that Apple supplies to the community for creating Mac and iOS apps. Those familiar with the tool will likely agree that working with previous versions have been nothing short of a love/hate relationship. After any update, Xcode’s quirks and crashes are never far behind, however it is one utility that Mac and iOS developers simply could not live without.

Xcode 6 brings exciting new features and enhancements including support for an entirely new programming language, improved view debugging, live view rendering, extensions, playgrounds, and more.

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Apple Refreshes Retina MacBook Pro With Faster Processor, Doubled RAM on Two Models

Apple this morning refreshed their MacBook Pro with Retina display models with the latest generation of Intel's Haswell processors. All things considered, it's a minor update with each of the five base models receiving a 0.2GHz processor speed bump. All that means is the base model goes from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz, whilst the most powerful preconfigured model goes from 3.5GHz to 3.7GHz. The other notable hardware change is the doubling of RAM for the base model 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (from 4GB to 8GB) and base model 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (from 8GB to 16GB). Finally, the 15-inch 2.5GHz model gets a price drop of $100, now selling for US$2,499.

“People love their MacBook Pro because of the thin and light, aluminum unibody design, beautiful Retina display, all day battery life and deep integration with OS X,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The MacBook Pro with Retina display gets even better with faster processors, more memory, more affordable configurations and a free upgrade to OS X Yosemite this fall.”

Also worth noting is that Apple today also dropped the price of the MacBook Pro (without the Retina display) by $100, so it now sells for $1,099. For those of you considering purchasing one of the new MacBook Pros, and live in the northern hemisphere, keep in mind that Apple's Back to School promotion is currently running. So if you purchase one of these new Retina MacBook Pros (or any other Mac) before September 9 you'll get a $100 Apple Store card.

Read Apple's Press Release or view the new models on Apple's website.


Sandboxing Difficulties Mean Coda 2.5 Will Not Be Released on the Mac App Store


Panic announced yesterday that they will be moving away from the Mac App Store for distribution of their popular and Apple Design Award winning Coda app. Panic has been working for a number of months on a significant 2.5 update for Coda but have been struggling to resolve issues with maintaining adherence to the sandboxing requirements of the Mac App Store. Instead, Panic has decided to revert back to distribution of Coda outside of the Mac App Store so they can release the update shortly.

As we continued to work on Coda 2.5—a significant update that we’re really excited about—we continued to discover new corners of the app that presented challenges under sandboxing. Coda, to be fair, is a very complex developer tool and is something of a sandboxing worst-case scenario.

Panic makes this move despite the fact that they had a notable degree of help from teams within Apple - but it seems that ultimately it just was not enough. They write that Apple "to their considerable credit, spent a lot of energy assisting us with ideas, workarounds, and temporary exemptions we might be able to use to get around some of the issues". The move also comes more than a year after Panic successfully made the decision to change the way Coda worked in some ways so that it could be sold on the Mac App Store despite the, new at the time, sandboxing rules.

The new version, which will be available from Panic's website upon release, will automatically detect if there is a Mac App Store version of Coda installed and unlock the app for use. As a consequence of moving away from the Mac App Store, it also means the Coda can no longer use iCloud Sync and as a result, Panic have developed their own sync service - Panic Sync. This new service will be free and work across Panic's apps, including Coda and Diet Coda.

Panic write in their announcement that they will always "evaluate the possibility of sandboxing with each future release of Coda", with the hope of one day returning to the Mac App Store. Finally, Daniel Jalkut made the point on Twitter that Coda will no longer be eligible for the award it won last year, the Apple Design Award, because it is leaving the Mac App Store.


PaintCode: Vector Drawing to Code

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If you are active in the Apple developer community, you are probably already familiar with PaintCode. It is a unique Mac app capable of turning your vector graphic design into pure Objective-C code. PaintCode is a professional quality app and the price tag is a reflection of that fact. The normal selling price of $99.99 (currently $19.99 via MacHeist) is a big pill to swallow for the average user but for a professional iOS/OS X developer it is merely a business investment. However, it is up to you to get your money’s worth out of the app.

PaintCode is full of tools that blend together the look and feel of traditional vector drawing apps while including customizable fields you would more commonly see in Apple’s Interface Builder. It supports numerous object shapes and custom bezier paths, as well as detailed color options including linear and radial gradients. The app is versatile and the uses are limited only by your imagination.

I thought the best way to give you an overview of PaintCode would be to come up with a sample project that I could walk you through. So I decided to make a menubar icon for a non-existent app. This app lets you drag files to the menubar icon to delete them, thus the icon needs to be a little trash can. Read more