Apple’s Notes App for Mac to Add Support for Evernote File Imports

Mikey Campbell, writing for AppleInsider, reports on the upcoming update to Notes on OS X 10.11.4, which is set to bring support for native Evernote imports:

The new Evernote compatibility comes as part of Apple's Notes buildout, a project that most recently resulted in substantial feature upgrades on iOS 9 and OS X last year. Adding to a rich in-app note-taking toolset, .enex file support means enhanced flexibility for those invested in Evernote's platform. […]

Apple marketing VP Brian Croll mentioned the forthcoming Mac feature in an interview with Japanese publication PC User, saying Evernote "capture" support would arrive for OS X Notes "soon." The report was spotted Mac Otakara on Monday.

I just tried it on my MacBook Air running the latest beta seed of 10.11.4 released earlier today, and it worked like a charm. I exported a handful of notes from Evernote, each containing rich text formatting (links, lists, fonts with different sizes and colors, inline images, etc.) and, despite it being a beta, the results were very good. The app displays an alert warning the user that notes may not look the same once imported – some formatting will always be lost in the transition from one proprietary platform to another – but, as a start, this should be more than enough to move everything out of Evernote without having to use scripts or other workarounds (you can import multiple .enex files at once, of course).

This is going to be an important addition for those who are thinking about moving from Evernote to Notes. I did last summer, and I continue to be impressed by the simplicity and functionality of Notes on iOS 9.

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Apple Rejects ‘The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’

Owen S. Good, writing for Polygon:

An iOS version of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was rejected by Apple on grounds it depicts violence toward children, the game's publisher said Saturday evening.

Tyrone Rodriguez, the founder of Nicalis and a producer and developer for the game, tweeted this image of Apple's rejection notice, which notes that "Your app contains content or features that depict violence towards, or abuse of, children, which is not allowed on the App."

You know your App Review has a problem when even Nintendo has accepted the same game a year ago. This wouldn't be the first time Apple's App Review team has shown less respect for mature themes expressed through videogames (the same themes being generally okay for other types of entertainment) and I hope this rejection gets reversed. The Binding of Isaac is a fantastic game and Apple should be thrilled to have these kinds of indie titles on the App Store.

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Remaster – State of the Union: iOS

The Platform State of the Union series continues. This week your hosts focus on how Apple has fared in 2015, taking a look at all of their current platforms and where games fit within them. They also take a look at Apple's overall attitude towards gaming, and how this could be improved.

A very special episode of our State of the Union series on Remaster this week, in which we talk about Apple, their approach to gaming, the new Apple TV, and games on the App Store. Don't miss this one. You can listen here.

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tvOS 9.2 to Bring Support for Dictation

Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors on the the third beta of tvOS 9.2 seeded to developers earlier today:

There's now support for onscreen text entry via dictation in countries where Siri is available. When updating to tvOS 9.2 beta 3, users will be prompted to enable or disable dictation. With dictation, Apple TV users can dictate text and spell user names and passwords rather than typing them. With dictation enabled, the tvOS search bar alternates between a blank search field and an option to hold the Siri button to dictate text.

Feels like another feature that should have been there since tvOS debuted. Maybe the ability to actually link to tvOS apps will be next.

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Canvas, Episode 3: Photo Management

Federico and Fraser go in-depth on modern photo management on iOS devices.

Photo management is traditionally one of the trickier areas to deal with in an iOS-only lifestyle. This week, we focus on the modern era of photo management by looking in-depth at iCloud Photo Library, which can minimise or even eliminate many of the difficulties in handling a large library of photos. We also discuss apps that work well with iCloud Photo Library and tell you how to spot ones that don't.

As listeners of Connected (and, before that, The Prompt) may remember, photo management is a topic very dear to me. It only felt appropriate to tackle it in one of the first episodes of Canvas. This week, we started with the basics of iCloud Photo Library, alternative backup solutions, and more. You can listen here. (Next up: editing photos on iOS.)

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Khoi Vinh Is Done with MacBooks

Khoi Vinh:

I’ve been using laptops for decades. The first one I ever owned was a PowerBook 3400c, and I’ve never not owned one since then. But now, in contrast to my iPad, my laptop seems altogether much more cumbersome than I prefer to deal with. It’s much, much heavier and bulkier than my iPad, especially when you factor in its power supply and a carrying case.

It’s much more fragile, too—I regularly toss my iPad around in ways that I would never do with my MacBook—and as a result, it’s much less versatile, at least for me. This is partly because the MacBook also restricts my movement; I have to be sitting or standing in a way that accommodates typing, whereas I have so much flexibility with my tablet that I’ve become accustomed to using it while positioned in just about any variant of laying down, sitting, standing or even walking.

He's not done with OS X – an important distinction.

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CloudKit Gets Server API

A notable addition to CloudKit announced by Apple today – an API for server-to-server requests:

In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key.

Benjamin Mayo explains what this means in practice:

Until now, interaction with CloudKit has been limited to the APIs Apple provided in apps. Although this was useful, it lacked the options for more advanced use — most modern apps rely on servers to perform tasks whilst users are away. With the addition of the web API, developers can create many more types of applications using CloudKit as the backend. For instance, an RSS reader app can now add new feed items to the CloudKit stack from the server. Before, this action could only occur when a user opened a CloudKit-powered app, which was essentially impractical and meant developers had to use other tools.

Somewhat coincidentally, the announcement follows the news of Facebook shutting down Parse, the popular backend-as-a-service tool for developers. I've tried a few CloudKit apps over the past year that would have benefitted from a web counterpart checking for changes in the background – hopefully this change will enable more functionality for those types of apps. A feed reader built entirely off CloudKit with timely updates would be interesting.

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Touch ID and Error 53

Christina Warren has a good roundup of Error 53 – an iOS system error that makes an iPhone unusable (bricked) if it detects a third-party Touch ID module when performing a software update:

Thousands of iPhone users have been left with bricked devices after having their home buttons repaired by non-Apple authorized technicians.

The Guardian on Friday reported on the issue, known as "Error 53" that apparently affects the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus.

The basic problem happens if you get your iPhone's home button repaired anywhere other than an Apple Store or Apple-authorized repair center. If the home button — which includes the Touch ID sensor — is replaced, you run the risk of getting a dreaded "Error 53" on your phone.

What is Error 53? Well, it basically turns your iPhone into a brick. Why? Well it all ties into the Touch ID sensor on your phone.

As Apple notes in a support document (and in a statement provided to the press today), "iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor matches your device’s other components during an update or restore", but the check could also fail because of an unauthorized or faulty screen replacement.

The problem isn't Apple's underlying reasoning, which makes sense from a security perspective, but the fact that a device gets bricked by an obscure error. Future versions of iOS should change this behavior and Apple should do a much better job at explaining what's going on. A bricked device is an extreme measure (and a badly communicated one) when trying to save money by not going to an Apple retail store is so popular.

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Using Classic Mechanical Keyboards on Modern iPads

Kevin MacLeod, following up on one of the geekiest photos I've seen on Twitter in a while:

You found a mechanical keyboard. An old Apple keyboard, or Dell, IBM, Focus, Acer, Cherry - doesn't matter. It has good mechanical switches, and you want to use it with your iPad.

The good thing is, once you connect your keyboard to the iPad, iOS is fully capable of using it - the keys all work, you don't need to install any drivers, jailbreak anything, or take any special steps. The tricky part is actually connecting these keyboards to your iPad.

I've never tried a mechanical keyboard myself (I probably should, given that I write at my desk quite a bit?), but I know this is going to be a fun weekend project for many.

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