Apple Delays AirPods Release

In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said that it is delaying the introduction of AirPods:

The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers.

Beyond the statement to TechCrunch, Apple has given no indication of the reason for the delay. Perhaps we will hear more during the Apple event tomorrow.


PDF Viewer Delivers Free PDF Viewing and Editing Tools

PDF Viewer's name belies the power under its hood. This is more than just a viewer app. PDF Viewer includes powerful PDF editing tools on par with, and in some cases more extensive than, some of the best PDF apps I’ve tried. That's not to say that there aren't a few rough edges and limitations, but for a free app, PDF Viewer should suit the PDF viewing and editing needs of most people.

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Pocket Launches Explore Page on the Web

Interesting announcement from Pocket today: the company has launched an open Explore section to browse and search for the best content saved on Pocket:

For the first time, we are opening up Pocket’s understanding of what’s good and worthwhile on the Internet, and making it easy for anyone to search and discover the best of the best on any topic. No Pocket account necessary.
When you first visit Pocket Explore, you’ll be greeted with a question: What interests you?

While Google is great at helping to answer a question, and Pinterest is a great place to search around an idea or thing to do, never before has there been a specific and intentional place to go when you want to satisfy a curiosity or surface the best content around a specific topic you care about.

I switched to Pocket late last year, and their recommendations have been, by far, the best article recommendations I've ever been given by a read-later service of this kind. There's no shortage of great articles and longform stories nowadays, but being able to browse the best options in a single place seems convenient. Potentially, this could also become a better research tool than Google for specific topics.


iThoughts 4.0 Adds Markdown Formatting

When I have to research and outline longform feature stories such as my iOS reviews, I use iThoughts. I wrote about my mind-mapping workflow in the Club MacStories newsletters before: essentially, iThoughts allows me to have finer controls over the way my mind maps look and how they work with external keyboards on the iPad.

I love the way I can structure a mind map in iThoughts to my needs, and several touches such as pasting images into nodes or quickly creating parallel or nested nodes speed up editing and collection of research material. Without iThoughts, my iOS 10 review wouldn't have been possible.

Today, iThoughts developer Craig Scott launched version 4.0 of the app with native Markdown formatting. Markdown was already supported in the iThoughts URL scheme to create templates; now, you can format text inside individual notes with standard Markdown and iThoughts will display it as rich text when you're done editing.

I took Markdown formatting for a spin today, and it's exactly what I hoped it would be (for instance, I like how links are automatically converted after pasting them in a node). This is going to be extremely useful in June 2017, but I also think it'll help me use iThoughts more regularly alongside my text editor.

Stress-Testing iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode

Brian L.W. Moore on iOS 10.1's Portrait mode:

While a lot is super good, there are a couple areas where the Portrait Mode just ain’t gonna cut it. Complicated foreground and background combinations seemingly overwhelm it and the blur edges get confused throughout the photo.

Portrait Mode doesn’t even begin to successfully work with translucent or shiny objects. Though this is pretty understandable considering the hardware — attempting to detect depth on objects like these is probably difficult. Not sure if Apple will ever be able to get over this one unless their machine learning becomes near-perfect.

He concludes:

People have asked me what camera I used to take these photos, which is I’d call a good sign. I like how they look, and this is a camera I can keep in my pocket all day as I walk all over a beautiful country. That’s a win for me.

Check out his examples here and here. They're not technically perfect, but I think they're beautiful, and they were made on a portable computer. Impressive.


Apple Q4 2016 Results: $46.9 Billion Revenue, 45.5 Million iPhones, 9.2 Million iPads Sold

Apple has just published their financial results for Q4 2016, which covered the three months from July through to September 2016. The company posted revenue of $46.9 billion with a quarterly net profit of $9 billion. Apple sold 9.2 million iPads, 45.5 million iPhones, and 4.8 million Macs during the quarter.

“Our strong September quarter results cap a very successful fiscal 2016 for Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, as well as the incredible momentum of our Services business, where revenue grew 24 percent to set another all-time record.”

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Remaster, Episode 21: The Nintendo Switch

After months of speculation, Nintendo's next big console has been unveiled and named. This week on Remaster, we discuss whether the Nintendo Switch is shaping up to be what we always wanted.

On the latest episode of Remaster, we talked about our first impressions of the Nintendo Switch and what a hybrid console means for the future of Nintendo games. You can listen here.


Screens Updated with Mobile Trackpad and Dark Mode

Screens 4, which I reviewed in April, improved the process of logging into and controlling a desktop computer remotely with a long list of features that eliminated hassles inherent in trying to control a desktop computer from a touchscreen display. Screens 4.2 continues down the same path offering a host of smaller refinements along with two headline features – Mobile Trackpad, which lets you use an iPhone as a trackpad for the computer you are connected to remotely, and Dark Mode.

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The iPod at Fifteen

I remember my first iPod well. It was a third generation model and I loved it. It was commuting salvation packed into what seemed like an impossibly small package.

The iPod was a transformative device for Apple that laid the groundwork for future devices like the iPhone. Although it synced with a computer, the iPod marked Apple’s first major foray into consumer electronics. In some ways, the introduction of the iPod seems like an impossibly long time ago, but when you look back at its evolution, it’s amazing just how far technology has come in such a short time.

To mark the fifteenth anniversary of that first iPod, The Verge published a visual history of the iPod. I enjoyed scrolling through the product shots and picking out the ones I owned. For a little more history and context on where the iPod fits into Apple’s past, I recommend watching Stephen Hackett’s video on the 512 Pixels YouTube channel. Also, in piece of almost-forgotten history, Nobuyuki Hayashi tells the story of twenty CDs that Steve Jobs and his iPod team chose and put on the iPod prototypes given to journalists for testing (via Daring Fireball). The CDs included an interesting mix of classical, jazz, blues, classic rock, then-current hits, and other selections, each of which is linked in the article.