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Hundreds of text designs.

Phil Schiller on the iPhone XR

Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, was interviewed by Engadget about the iPhone XR, which will begin arriving on doorsteps and in stores on Friday.

Engadget’s Chris Velazco asked Schiller about the meaning behind the new iPhone’s ‘XR’ moniker. According to Schiller, XR doesn’t stand for anything in particular, but he associates XR with cars:

"I love cars and things that go fast, and R and S are both letters used to denote sport cars that are really extra special," he said with a smile.

Velazco, who clears up some confusion about the screen, which detects and tracks touches at 120Hz but doesn’t refresh at that rate, also asked about criticisms that the LCD panel in the XR isn’t as high-resolution as some other premium mobile phones. Schiller responded:

"I think the only way to judge a display is to look at it," he told me, adding that Apple calls these screens "retina displays" because your eye can't discern individual pixels unless you press your face up right against the glass. "If you can't see the pixels, at some point the numbers don't mean anything. They're fairly arbitrary."

I’m looking forward to trying the XR, especially the camera. I ordered one for my youngest son, which arrives Friday. One of the conditions when my kids get an Apple product that I don’t buy for myself is that I get first crack at it for MacStories, so I plan to do some side-by-side photo tests with the XR and XS Max soon. If the early indications are correct, I expect the XR will hold up reasonably well to the dual-lens models.

For more from Schiller about the XR, be sure to check out Velazco’s full interview on Engadget.


Letters: Hundreds of Text Designs [Sponsor]

Letters is a free graphic design app for Mac. Providing hundreds of text design templates, Letters helps anyone feel like a graphic designer by creating stylish text designs in seconds.

Every template includes beautifully-stylized text with a unique texture and background. A wide range of seamless photo-realistic textures sets Letters apart from other text design apps.

Users of the app include small businesses producing their own promotional graphics, pro designers that are looking for a quick solution, and social media content creators who need fresh, new graphics on a daily basis for Facebook and Twitter covers, YouTube channel art, YouTube thumbnails, and Instagram posts.

The app’s template collection reflects most current design trends, including:

  • Photorealistic 3D Texts
  • Watercolor
  • Retro & Vintage
  • Photos with Captions
  • Grunge Style
  • 2D Calligraphy
  • Neon & Glowing Effects
  • 3D Transformed Texts

Users can experiment with template colors, while preserving the style color scheme, and change text or background color separately, replace background images, and set any document size. Text settings allow users to change the font easily, adjust color, control geometry (chamfer, thickness, depth, and perspective), apply shadow and glow, and tune lighting. All the textures are seamless and scalable.

Letters allows anyone, from average computer users to graphic design pros, to fulfill their text design dreams and make beautiful texts available for everyone. Download Letters today for free and make your text designs stand out from the crowd.

Our thanks to Letters for sponsoring MacStories this week.

iPhone XR Hands-On Videos Offer Best Look Yet at Apple’s Latest Flagship

Today a variety of YouTube videos have been published featuring hands-on looks at the iPhone XR, which becomes available for pre-order tomorrow and ships Friday, October 26th. We've embedded several of the best videos below.

One common message across multiple videos is that the iPhone XR doesn't feel at all like a budget phone. Despite its similarities, this isn't the iPhone 5C all over again; instead, the iPhone XR feels very much like a premium device, just at a much lower cost than the iPhone XS and XS Max.

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Apple Announces October 30th Event

As first reported by Neil Cybart, Apple has announced a media event for October 30, 2018 at 10:00 am Eastern. The event will be held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House.

To announce the event, Apple sent invitations to members of the press with a wide variety of artistic renderings of the Apple logo. The designs are also used on Apple's event website. Here's a sampling collected by Sebasiaan de With on Twitter:

Based on rumors that have circulated for months, Apple is expected to introduce new iPad Pros with edge-to-edge screens and Face ID and external display support. There has also been speculation of a redesigned Apple Pencil that will pair with the new iPads using proximity sensing technology and a redesigned magnetic connector on the back of the iPad. It’s possible Apple might use the event to introduce the long-expected AirPower charging mat and new Mac hardware too.

Reigns: Game of Thrones Review

With Game of Thrones on hiatus before its eighth and final season, fans can get their fix of their favorite characters and join in the intrigue with Reigns: Game of Thrones, which was developed by UK-based Nerial and published by Devolver Digital. The announcement of the game in August came as something of a surprise because it’s not often that a media company the size of HBO entrusts the characters and story behind one of its most popular shows to a small independent game studio. At the same time, however, the combination felt like a perfectly natural evolution of the Reigns series. Reigns: Game of Thrones, which was released today, doesn't disappoint.

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Pixelmator Pro Updated with Machine Learning Auto Enhancement, Light and Dark Modes, and Automator Actions

Pixelmator Pro for the Mac was updated to version 1.2 today with a handful of enhancements centered around macOS Mojave.

The update includes light and dark modes, which can be set in Preferences to follow the mode picked in System Preferences or full-time light or dark mode. Dark mode closely resembles Pixelmator Pro’s existing UI, but its light mode is brand-new.

Pixelmator Pro's new light mode.

Pixelmator Pro's new light mode.

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 has also added a new auto-enhance feature for images that applies machine learning to automatically adjust white balance, exposure, hue and saturation, lightness, color balance, and selective color. Previously auto-enhancement was available individually for some of the categories in Pixelmator’s Adjust Colors tab. The new ML Enhance feature, which the Pixelmator team says was trained with millions of professional photos, adjusts all of the categories listed above at once. If you don’t like the results, the adjustments can be turned off on a per category basis or adjusted manually.

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Why Photoshop on iOS Is A Huge Win for the iPad Pro

Jason Snell, writing for Macworld on the announcement of Photoshop coming to iPad next year:

Adobe’s move to iPad instantly makes everyone who knows, loves, or relies on Photoshop a possible candidate for an iPad Pro. And make no mistake, the iPad Pro is already plenty powerful enough to run Photoshop, and with the Apple Pencil it’s got an input method that will satisfy most graphics pros. Even better, Adobe has said that it will be building in cloud syncing for Photoshop files, so that you’ll be able to seamlessly hand off projects directly from one device to another.

A lot of the criticism of the iPad Pro as a flawed tool for doing real work comes down to software. The hardware is capable—but where’s the software? These arguments have been weak for a while now—I think Microsoft Office for iPad is aces, and Apple’s iWork apps are remarkably capable, too—but with every major app that arrives on the platform, the quieter that criticism has to get. Adobe’s also bringing a simplified version of Premiere, called Premiere Rush, to the iPad. I wonder if Apple’s considering just how Final Cut and Logic might work on the iPad?

As I've been arguing for a while now, I believe we're witnessing a shift in how tech companies – both platform owners and development studios – approach desktop and tablet software. Multiple factors – from better-looking displays and more powerful GPUs to cloud-based file management and subscriptions – are converging to make it possible to have a consistent app experience on every device you have without compromise. In this transition, iPad versions of desktop apps will be treated less like "companion" apps to a "real" desktop one and more like the same app, with the same features, optimized for touch and capable of adapting to the kind of computer it is running on (and adaptivity becomes especially important when you start considering external display output, for instance).

Photoshop, as Snell writes, is a first step. If Apple is truly pushing this vision forward, perhaps it's time they also start treating the iPad as a place for real pro apps, not just companion utilities of macOS apps.