A fleet visibility solution for Mac, Windows, and Linux to help you securely scale your business

AppStories, Episode 298 – Widgets, iPhone Photography, and the Apple Watch Ultra with David Smith

This week on AppStories, we are joined by Widgetsmith developer David Smith to talk about the history of his app, Widgetsmith, iOS 16 Lock Screen Widgets, and his recent hike through the Scottish Highlands where he tested the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera and the Apple Watch.

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On AppStories+, it’s my turn to surprise Federico.

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Gamevice Begins Taking Pre-Orders for the Flex, Its New iPhone Game Controller

Source: Gamevice.

Source: Gamevice.

Today, Gamevice announced pre-orders for the Flex, a new MFi-certified, case-compatible game controller for the iPhone. Like the Backbone One and Razer Kishi V2, the Flex separates an Xbox-style controller into two halves that connect to the ends of your iPhone for playing controller-compatible iOS games. I haven’t had a chance to try the Gamevice Flex, but based on the company’s announcement video, there are a handful of features that set it apart from the Backbone One and Razer Kishi V2 that are worth considering if you’re shopping for an iPhone game controller.

Like the Razer Kishi V2, the Gamevice Flex uses spacers to accommodate a long list of Apple and third-party cases, an advantage over the Backbone One, which requires you to remove your case before using it. The downside, of course, is keeping track of the collection of spacers to allow for moving to a different case in the future.

Gamevice says that the Flex uses Hall effect triggers, a technology that uses magnetic field sensors instead of mechanical parts to cut down on the wear and tear on components. The company hasn’t said if the Flex’s thumbsticks use the same technology or not.

Like the Backbone One, the Flex includes passthrough charging via a Lightning port on the end of one of the controller’s grips and a headphone jack on the other grip. The Razer Kishi V2 includes a Lightning port for charging but not a headphone jack. Although you can never be sure about how a controller will feel to use until you have it in your hands, I like the look of Flex’s grips too.

Originally announced in August with the video above, 9to5Mac has a hands-on with a prototype of the Flex with more details on what the device is like to use.

Set to start shipping later this month, the Gamevice Flex costs $109.95 for the iPhone model, which is about $10 more than the Backbone One or Razer Kishi V2, and $99.95 for the Android version. Customers who order before October 14th can get one month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate free with their purchase.

Last Week, on Club MacStories: Advanced Notes Shortcuts, Focused Work, Stage Manager, and a New MacStories Unplugged Episode

Because Club MacStories now encompasses more than just newsletters, we’ve created a guide to the past week’s happenings along with a look at what’s coming up next:

Monthly Log: September 2022

Stage Manager running in an early macOS Ventura beta.

Stage Manager running in an early macOS Ventura beta.

MacStories Weekly: Issue 338

Kolide: A Fleet Visibility Solution for Mac, Windows, and Linux That Can Help You Securely Scale Your Business [Sponsor]

Device security is a lot like Mount Everest: it’s tough to scale.

When you’re a small company dominated by engineers, you can keep up with fleet management with nothing more than trust and a spreadsheet. But once you start to hire marketers, designers, and the rest, the number of laptops balloons and the line between “work” and “personal” devices gets fuzzy. 

But fuzzy isn’t going to cut it. You have to prove you’ve got device security under control to close deals with customers, pass a third-party audit, and prove you’re ready for acquisition or an IPO. 

At this point, you start looking for a tool that will give you visibility across all these devices. And you have two options. 

Option one is an MDM, which acts as the puppet master for your whole fleet, forcing compliance through intrusive agents. But for all an MDM’s power, it still can’t answer your most nuanced questions. And when it comes to Linux devices? Good luck with that.

Your other option is Kolide. 

Kolide is an endpoint security solution that gives IT teams a single dashboard for all devices, regardless of their operating system.

Kolide can answer questions MDMs can’t. Questions like:

  • Do you have production data being stored on devices?
  • Are all your developers’ SSH keys encrypted?
  • And a host of other data points you’d otherwise have to write a custom shell script to learn about.

Want to see how it works for yourself? Click here for a free trial, no credit card required, and let us show you what we’re all about.

Our thanks to Kolide for sponsoring MacStories this week.

MacStories Unwind: Cyberpunk 2077 and Shovel Knight Dig


This week on MacStories Unwind, Federico’s been playing Cyberpunk 2077 on his PC, while I’ve been enjoying Shovel Knight Dig on my iPhone using the Razer Kishi V2 controller that I reviewed earlier this week.

Sponsored By: Kosmik – For All Mindkind

Federico’s Pick:

John’s Pick:

Adobe Updates Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements with Apple Silicon Support and New Features

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

Today, Adobe announced the release of Photoshop Elements 2023 and Premier Elements 2023, its photo and video editing apps for the Mac that guide users through a wide variety of creative projects and support for Apple silicon. The paid-up-front apps, which don’t require a Creative Cloud subscription, have been updated with an extensive list of new features and projects designed to help users get the most from their photos and videos.

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

Photoshop Elements 2023, which focuses on photo editing projects, features a long list of new features. The centerpiece of the update is the ability to select an area of a photo and animate it, applying a dynamic effect to parts of an otherwise static image. The update to Elements also allows users to add photo overlays that can be used to frame shots, replace image backgrounds and skies, and brushes to add patterns to images.

Premier Elements' new slideshow designs. Source: Adobe.

Premier Elements’ new slideshow designs. Source: Adobe.

Premier Elements 2023, Adobe’s video creation app, includes new effects that can be applied to video to add artistic effects to video. The app also has new collage and slideshow templates with modern designs and more than 100 new soundtrack options.

Both apps have been rebuilt to take advantage of Apple silicon Macs. Adobe also announced a browser-based beta version of Elements.

Both apps are available now for $99.99 or as a bundle for $149.99 from Adobe’s website and other retailers.

David Smith Tests the Apple Watch Ultra on a Three-Day Hike in Scotland

David Smith, the developer of Widgetsmith, Watchsmith, Pedometer++, and many other apps, put the new Apple Watch Ultra through its paces on a three-day hike through the Scottish Highlands. Dave confirmed what I’ve suspected all along. The Apple Watch isn’t so much an extreme sports watch as it is an Apple Watch with expanded capabilities that make it work better for strenuous activities like a three-day hike but also make it the best Apple Watch for the things an Apple Watch already does. As he puts it:

While I was putting together this review I kept coming back to the analogy that the Ultra is like a pick-up truck. Useful in regular, daily life but capable of heading offroad or carrying gravel from the garden store. It still drives like a regular car, but can do more.

Dave’s post is accompanied by a video journal of his trip shot on an iPhone 14 Pro. The video is full of great insights into the Ultra’s hardware, a couple of criticisms of its software, and loads of beautiful footage of the Scottish Highlands.


Creating Lock Screen Widgets for Specific Notes via the Apple Notes URL Scheme

All I wanted was a widget.

All I wanted was a widget.

A few days ago, as I was playing around with my Lock Screen on iOS 16, I wondered: would it be possible to use the hidden Apple Notes URL scheme to create widget launchers to reopen specific notes in the Notes app?

That led me down a fascinating rabbit hole filled with hidden Shortcuts tricks and discoveries I thought would be useful to document on MacStories for everyone to see.

You know, for posterity.

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LockPod Adds Apple Music and Spotify to the iOS 16 Lock Screen

So far, the big players in music streaming are leaving it to indie developers to create iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets that tie into their services. One of my favorite examples is LockPod, by Rishi Malhotra, which was released this week.

The app works with both Apple Music and Spotify, allowing users to create circular and rectangular Lock Screen widgets that serve as shortcuts to their favorite music. The details are a little different depending on whether you’re using Apple Music or Spotify, so let’s take a closer look.

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