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Apple Posts ‘Sway’ Holiday Ad Featuring AirPods and Apple Music

Just ahead of Thanksgiving in the United States, Apple posted their annual holiday ad on YouTube earlier today. The company's holiday commercials have become a tradition in recent years, and they tend to carry a message that goes beyond advertising the specific features of Apple products.

This year's ad, titled Sway, is all about AirPods and Apple Music. The video is set on Tuesday, December 19, and follows a woman who starts dancing and walking down a street as she listen to Sam Smith's Palace on her AirPods. The performance continues after she bumps into a man walking by and the two start dancing together in the snow while sharing AirPods. The ad cuts back to reality and the tagline "move someone this holiday" appears. As with holiday ads in previous years, Apple picked a beautiful song to accompany the video; the incredible choreography nicely complements the idea of sharing a moment with someone through music.

Apple's 2017 holiday commercial follows last year's 'Frankie's Holiday' and 2015's 'Someday at Christmas' featuring Andra Day and Steve Wonder. You can watch the video below.

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Connected, Episode 169: Really Regular Nightstand

Stephen is struggling with a lot of things and makes a task management confession, but Federico broke his iPhone X, so it all comes out in the wash. Oh, and Myke is gone, so don’t tell him he was right about the HomePod being delayed.

On this week’s Connected, Stephen and I talk about the iMac Pro, task managers and smart speakers (again), and my broken iPhone X. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

  • TextExpander, from Smile: Communicate smarter with TextExpander. Get 20% off your first year when you tell them you came from this show.
  • Timing: The automatic time tracking app for macOS. Use this link to get 10% off your purchase of Timing.
  • Simple Contacts: Contact lens prescriptions from home: Use offer code Connected for $30 off your contact lenses
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#MacStoriesDeals Black Friday 2017: The Best Deals for iPhone & iPad Apps, Games, and Accessories

Every year, thousands of iOS and macOS app deals are launched for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. At MacStories, we handpick the best deals for iOS and Mac apps and collect them in a single roundup with links to buy or share discounted products directly. You don't have to be overwhelmed by app deals; we take care of finding the best ones for you.

This year, in addition to app deals, we’re expanding our Amazon coverage with deals on accessories that work with Alexa, HomeKit devices, 4K TVs (great for modern gaming and the latest Apple TV), and more. You can find hardware deals (with links to Amazon.com) at the end of the list.

Bookmark this post and come back to find updated deals starting today through Monday. Updates will be listed as new entries at the top of each section; iOS apps are organized in sub-categories for easier navigation.

For real-time updates, you can find us as @MacStoriesDeals on Twitter.

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What Face ID Means for Accessibility

Steven Aquino on the accessibility implications of Face ID on the iPhone X:

The way Apple has built Face ID, hardware- and software-wise, into iOS quite literally makes using iPhone a “hands-free” experience in many regards. And that’s without discrete accessibility features like Switch Control or AssistiveTouch. That makes a significant difference to users, myself included, whose physical limitations make even the most mundane tasks (e.g., unlocking one’s device) tricky. As with so many accessibility-related topics, the little things that are taken for granted are always the thin

The combination of Face ID with Raise to Wake (or, arguably, the simplicity of Tap to Wake) truly sounds like a remarkable improvement accessibility-wise, perhaps in a way that we didn’t foresee when we started speculating on Apple abandoning Touch ID. Hands-free unlocking is one of my favorite aspects of the iPhone X experience so far.

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Animal Crossing Debuts on iOS a Day Earlier Than Expected

This past Friday, Nintendo America announced via Twitter that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp would be available on iOS worldwide on November 22nd.

Instead, the game showed up unexpectedly early on November 21st. This isn’t the first time Nintendo has surprised fans with an early release. In September, after announcing a release date for a major update to Super Mario Run on the App Store, Nintendo released that game a day early too.

In a move that may be in response to complaints that some levels of Super Mario Run required an in-app purchase, Animal Crossing is up front about its pricing, imposing a popup during the setup process that explains that Leaf Tickets, which are an in-game currency, can be purchased, but are optional. Before you can get started, there are also other instructions and a 99 MB update to download. It’s a laborious process but doesn’t take long if you have a good Internet connection.

Animal Crossing is based on Nintendo’s 3DS title Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo and includes some of the same characters. You play as the manager of a campground, building your campsite and interacting with animals you meet. As you play, you collect items and complete tasks for the animals you meet. The materials you collect are used to craft items to decorate your campsite. Leaf Tickets, which you can earn in-game or purchase as an In-App Purchase can be used to purchase accessories for your campsite or speed up the construction of items.

I have only just scratched the surface of Animal Crossing, but it looks great, especially on an iPhone X. The game’s colors are vivid, and it takes full advantage of the iPhone X’s display. While not as deep as the Animal Crossing games available on Nintendo’s hardware, Pocket Camp looks like a fun way to spend some time over the long Thanksgiving weekend in the US. I’m also looking forward to connecting with friends who have Nintendo accounts to see what kinds of campsites they build.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is available on the App Store as a free download.


Scrivener 3 for macOS Is More Flexible and Powerful Than Ever for Long-Form Writing

Many text editors are just that – text editors. They take a document-focused approach to writing that centers on creating text. It’s an approach that works for most kinds of writing. However, long-form writing is a different animal altogether that benefits from a project-based approach that also includes tools for planning, organizing, researching, and tracking. Today, Literature and Latte released version 3.0 of Scrivener for macOS with a long list of new features that cements its spot as one of the premier project-focused apps available on the Mac for long-form writing.

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HabitMinder: The Healthy Habit Reminder and Tracker [Sponsor]

Forming good habits can be hard, but if you do, it can change your life. HabitMinder makes it easier to form new, healthy habits than ever before.

Each goal you set in HabitMinder has a dedicated screen. There are so many built-in habits that you’re likely to find one that suits your needs, but you can set up your own too. Next, personalize your habit by picking from dozens of colors and hundreds of icons. To stay on track, set reminders for yourself, so you never forget about your new goal.

From HabitMinder’s Today view, you can swipe left on a goal to reveal quick actions, so you can get in, log a habit, and get out in seconds. HabitMinder has a widget and an Apple Watch app too. When you want to see where you stand, check the Statistics screen for an overview of your progress.

Up next for HabitMinder is iPad support and iCloud support. HabitMinder has a pure black mode coming for iPhone X users too.

Habits are hard to form but can lead to meaningful change like Sally Rooney’s recent story in The New Yorker of how her fainting spells were cured by tracking her water intake with our other app, WaterMinder. So whatever your goal, download HabitMinder today to get started.


Special Offer: Sign up for our newsletter with this link by December 1, 2017 and you’ll be entered to win one of 25 promo codes to create an unlimited number of habits in HabitMinder.

Thanks to HabitMinder for sponsoring MacStories this week.