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Pixelmator 2.6 Adds Pointer Support and More Than 70 Keyboard Shortcuts for iPad Users

The modernization of Pixelmator continues apace with the addition of more iPad-friendly features in version 2.6. Earlier this year, Pixelmator 2.5 added the native iOS and iPadOS document browser along with nine categories of preset image templates.

The latest version picks up where 2.5 left off with iPadOS pointer support. Whether you’re using the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad with your iPad or another trackpad or mouse, Pixelmator 2.6 fully supports pointer interaction with all UI controls, transforming to indicate available actions when performing actions like editing an image, in which case it turns into a double arrow for resizing.

Pixelmator 2.6 includes pointer support throughout.

Pixelmator 2.6 includes pointer support throughout.

The Pixelmator update also includes a long list of keyboard shortcuts. There are over 70 shortcuts, which are catalogued on Pixelmator’s website. There’s little that isn’t covered by the shortcuts. You can enter the app’s various editing modes to do things like crop an image, use the app’s selection tools, and arrange layers. There are also shortcuts to view an image at its actual size or zoom in so it fills the screen, and when you’re finished editing, there’s a keyboard shortcut for exporting too.

Pixelmator Photo is one of my favorite image editors on the iPad, but it’s strictly a photo editing app. To composite images, I rely on Pixelmator, which is why I’m so glad to see that it continues to get the sort of updates that make working with images on my iPad easier than before.

Pixelmator 2.6 is available on the App Store and is a free update for existing users.


MacStories Unwind: A Fitness App Preview, Bear Extends Its Linking Feature, and iPad Software Keyboard Frustrations

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This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • Monthly Log
    • Ryan’s fall hardware wishes
    • Stephen on considerations for a Work From Home Mac setup and how Apple could improve it
    • John reviews the Powerbeats Pro
  • Unplugged:
    • Bad design leads to a burned burrito
    • Widget and sidebar app wishes plus an App Clip diversion
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AppStories

Unwind


External Keyboards, iPadOS 14, and Obscuring Tab Bars

iPadOS 14 apps use sidebars, but only in certain size classes, so tab bars still get hidden behind the keyboard row.

iPadOS 14 apps use sidebars, but only in certain size classes, so tab bars still get hidden behind the keyboard row.

I love using the iPad as my primary computer, but a long-standing frustration I’ve had involves the keyboard row that lines the bottom of the screen when an external keyboard is attached. I like the row itself, as it usually offers valuable utility such as in Apple Notes, where a text formatting menu is available in the keyboard row. The problem is that iPadOS doesn’t adapt apps’ UI to account for the keyboard row, rather it simply hides the bottom portion of an app – which in many cases means hiding the app’s tab bar or other important controls.

This is mainly an issue when using Split View or Slide Over, not full-screen apps. But most of my iPad use does involve Split View and Slide Over, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to manually hide the keyboard row so I could access an app’s tab bar. This is a regular occurrence when writing articles, for example, as I’ll keep Ulysses and Photos in Split View, and the keyboard row that appears when working in Ulysses obscures Photos’ tab bar so I can’t switch tabs in Photos without manually hiding the keyboard row. The row also hides the share icon when viewing a photo, which is what I press many times when writing an article so I can run shortcuts via the share sheet. So as a workaround I have to manually hide the row, a short-lived fix because it then reappears after typing a single keystroke in Ulysses.

In iPadOS 14, Apple is halfway solving this problem. Because apps are being encouraged to switch from a tab bar-based design to one that involves a sidebar, there are fewer occasions when tab bars will be visible. In the iPadOS 14 beta, if I have Ulysses and Photos in a 50/50 Split View, there’s no longer a tab bar for the keyboard row to obscure, because Photos uses a sidebar instead where I can easily navigate to the view I need.

Unfortunately, this is only a partial solution because iPadOS 14 apps still revert to using a tab bar in a compact size class (i.e. when they’re an iPhone-like size). So all Slide Over apps retain tab bars for navigation as before, meaning those important tabs will be hidden any time you’re also working in an app that uses text and thus presents a keyboard row. The same is true for Split View when an app is the smaller app in your multitasking setup. If the app you’re writing in is the larger app in your Split View, the smaller app will have its tab bar obscured by a keyboard row. This is especially problematic for writers, who live in a text editor all day, but it also applies to anyone working in a note-taking app, messaging app, or anything else involving text. iPadOS 14 improves things via sidebars in certain situations, but in many multitasking contexts the years-old problem remains.

But there’s a happy ending of sorts, at least for me. My inspiration for writing about this issue was the discovery of a feature in Ulysses that fixes the problem for me. The app’s View Options inside its Settings panel contains a toggle that has been there for quite a while, I simply never thought to activate it: Hide Shortcut Bar. What this does is perpetually hide the keyboard row whenever a hardware keyboard is attached to your iPad. No keyboard row means no hiding tab bars in other apps while I write.

Ulysses does place some important shortcuts in the keyboard row, but most if not all of them can be triggered via keyboard shortcuts instead, making the keyboard row unnecessary (for my uses at least).

After making this discovery, I dug around in a few other apps’ settings to see how common this feature is. iA Writer offers it, as does Drafts, and possibly many other apps I haven’t tried. It seems more common in text editors than note-taking apps. It’s a shame that the whole keyboard row needs to be hidden just to account for an iPadOS design flaw, but I’m thankful that third-party developers have stepped in to address the issue themselves.

Ulysses is the app I multitask in most frequently, so the ability to keep its keyboard row hidden forever has truly made my day. I tried explaining to my wife why I got so happy all of a sudden, and she didn’t really get it. I don’t blame her.


Apple Refreshes the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a New Keyboard, More Storage, and Updated Processors and RAM

Apple has updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a redesigned keyboard, more storage, and updated processors and RAM. The new model replaces the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro and starts at $1299 like its predecessor and is available in the education market beginning at $1199.

In a press release, the company said:

Apple today updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook and doubled the storage across all standard configurations, delivering even more value to the most popular MacBook Pro. The new lineup also offers 10th-generation processors for up to 80 percent faster graphics performance1 and makes 16GB of faster 3733MHz memory standard on select configurations. With powerful quad-core processors, the brilliant 13-inch Retina display, Touch Bar and Touch ID, immersive stereo speakers, all-day battery life, and the power of macOS, all in an incredibly portable design, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is available to order today, starting at $1,299, and $1,199 for education.

The new MacBook Pro comes in new CPU configurations and improved graphics capabilities. According to Apple:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro lineup now offers up to 10th-generation quad-core Intel Core processors with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.1GHz. Customers who are upgrading from a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a dual-core processor will see up to 2.8 times faster performance. The integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics deliver up to 80 percent faster performance over the previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro for 4K video editing, faster rendering, and smoother gameplay. The new graphics also enable users to connect to Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution.

The MacBook Pros that today’s machines replace had base configurations with a 1.4GHz quad‑core Intel Core i5 and 2.4GHz quad‑core Intel Core i5, both of which supported Turbo Boost and had 128MB of eDRAM.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Like its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro has a 13.3-inch diagonal display that uses IPS technology that supports 2560‑by‑1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch. The display also supports P3 wide color, Apple True Tone technology, and 500 nits of brightness.

The new model follows in the footsteps of the 16-inch model with a new keyboard too. In addition to using a scissor mechanism like its 16-inch sibling, the new 13-inch model also includes an inverted-T arrow key layout and a physical Escape key.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Storage has been doubled across all configurations, starting at 256GB and offering up to a 4TB SSD. RAM is faster too. Some base-models of the updated laptop start at 16GB of 3733MHz memory, which can be upgraded to as much as 32GB.

As for ports, the new MacBook Pro hasn’t changed. The computer has two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports that also support USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 depending on which model you buy, plus a headphone jack. The speakers and microphone array appear to have been upgraded to something similar to the 16-inch model too.

Also, weight and battery life remain nearly identical. The new MacBook Pro weighs a slightly heavier 3.1 pounds compared to the model it replaces which was 3.01 pounds. Regarding the battery, Apple says users can expect similar performance compared to the models that the new laptops replace.

It’s nice to see the 13-inch MacBook Pro updated in line with what we saw when the larger model was updated last November. The keyboard update is especially welcome. I’ve been using a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro and the keyboard has been a constant source of frustration. With this update, I expect Apple’s most portable pro laptop to serve users that need its power well.


Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro: A New Breed of Laptop

The Magic Keyboard and my iPad Pro, featuring the iVisor matte screen protector.

The Magic Keyboard and my iPad Pro, featuring the iVisor matte screen protector.

Following the surprise early release of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Apple’s highly anticipated accessory and evaluate it from the perspective of someone who uses the iPad Pro as a tablet, laptop, and desktop workstation.

I received the Magic Keyboard for my 12.9” iPad Pro yesterday afternoon; fortunately, I was able to order one in the US English keyboard layout from the Italian Apple Store last week, and the keyboard arrived three days ahead of its original scheduled delivery date. Obviously, less than a day of usage isn’t enough time to provide you with a comprehensive review; however, given that plenty of iPad users are still waiting for their Magic Keyboards to arrive, I thought it’d be useful to share some first impressions and thoughts based on my initial 24 hours with the keyboard.

Let’s dive in.

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Adapt, Episode 22: Cursors and Keyboards in iPadOS 13.4

On this week’s episode of Adapt:

It’s been a big two weeks for iPad news. Federico and Ryan discuss the new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, then go deep on mouse and trackpad support and full keyboard access in iPadOS 13.4.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here), and don’t forget to send us questions using #AskAdapt and by tagging our Twitter account.

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Adapt, Episode 22

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 with iPad Cursor Support and Keyboard Improvements, iCloud Drive Shared Folders, and More

Today Apple released the latest updates for its suite of software platforms, most notable of which are iOS and iPadOS 13.4. Timed with the release of the latest iPad Pro models, the hallmark features include brand new systemwide support for mouse and trackpad on iPad, plus a handful of external keyboard enhancements. Shared folders for iCloud Drive is the other big addition – first announced at WWDC last June then delayed out of the initial 13.0 release, iCloud users may finally be able to consider reducing their Dropbox dependency. Beyond those highlights, Apple has also included smaller OS tweaks in a variety of areas.

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Logitech Introduces Combo Touch Keyboard Case, Bringing a Trackpad to the iPad, iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Today following Apple’s debut of the new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, and cursor support coming to all iPad models that can run iPadOS 13.4, Logitech has announced a brand new accessory coming in May: the Combo Touch, which brings a keyboard case with trackpad to the iPad (7th generation), iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro. From the product listing on Apple’s online store:

Logitech’s Combo Touch for iPad combines a precision trackpad with a full-size backlit keyboard…Enjoy comfortable typing on a full-size keyboard with backlit keys that are perfect for working in dark environments like on an airplane or late at night. And the flexible design supports four use modes for extra versatility.

Despite all modern iPads gaining full cursor support, Apple currently only offers a first-party keyboard with built-in trackpad for the iPad Pro, not any other iPad model. Filling that gap, Logitech’s Combo Touch will be available for $149.95 as a great solution for users of other modern iPads. The Combo Touch covers the front and back of the iPad, includes a full keyboard and trackpad, and even offers a dedicated holder for the Apple Pencil. Notably, the device’s trackpad will also support all the same multitouch gestures that Apple’s Magic Keyboard offers.

Between Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, and Logitech’s Combo Touch covering the iPad, iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the only modern iPad where a keyboard case with trackpad isn’t being offered is the iPad mini.


The New iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard with Trackpad: The MacStories Overview

The new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard.

The new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard.

With a press release published earlier today, Apple officially announced the fourth generation of its iPad Pro line. The new iPad Pro models – available, as with the current generation, in 11-inch and 12.9-inch flavors – feature the all-new A12Z Bionic chip, a new camera system that includes an ultra-wide camera and LiDAR scanner for augmented reality, and integration with a long-awaited accessory, which will become available starting in May: the new Magic Keyboard with trackpad.

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