Search results for "sofa"

Sofa Adds New Design, Widgets, More Themes, and “The Pile”

Sofa is an organization app for media which we last covered earlier this year. It provides a nice interface in which you can store TV shows, movies, books, podcasts, music, and videogames. I’ve been using it mostly to organize media that I’ve already seen, for record-keeping purposes. Another option is certainly to store media that you’re planning on consuming at some point in the future.

This week marked the release of Sofa 2.12, a huge update for iOS 14 which includes a refreshed design, widgets, new themes, an “Activity” list, and a brand new element which has been dubbed “The Pile.”

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Sofa Debuts Modern iPad App, Rich Themes Experience, and More

I suspect I’m not alone in saying that 2020 has been a big year for personal media consumption. The absence of normal social events has meant more time for reading, watching shows and movies, and other forms of relaxation.

At the end of last year I wrote about how I was using Sofa, a media list app, to track the TV and films I’d watched in 2019. I’ve used the same approach throughout 2020, and it continues to work well for me. The only change is that I’ve been testing a big update to Sofa for the last few weeks that’s available now. Previously exclusive to the iPhone, Sofa now offers a rich iPad experience complete with Split View, Slide Over, and multiwindowing, keyboard shortcuts, and mouse and trackpad support. Additionally, today’s update adds a robust theming system to the app and seamless iCloud syncing. It’s a strong step forward for the app, making it more versatile than ever before.

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Using Sofa to Track TV Shows and Movies Watched in 2019

As December comes to a close, now is the perfect time to reflect on how the year was spent, both with deep existential questions but also lighter, fun matters – such as surveying your TV and movie consumption over the year. Until recently I didn’t have a system I was satisfied with for tracking my viewing history, but now I’ve settled on Sofa.

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Sofa Review: A Simple Tool for Tracking Movies, TV Shows, Books, and Podcasts

We live in a time when media options are growing at a fast pace. It’s a golden age for television, with great shows debuting all the time; the film industry is being transformed by the infusion of new competition from streaming giants like Netflix; podcasts are becoming more mainstream by the day; and despite books not being in a similar growth phase, new titles are still being written constantly. In this crowded media landscape, it’s hard to keep track of all the great content waiting to be enjoyed.

In the past I’ve kept notes in Apple Notes containing lists of TV shows, movies, podcasts, and books to check out. Lately, however, I’ve been using an app called Sofa.

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Sofa: Discover New Movies from Curated Collections

Sofa is a new app that launched just last Friday. Sofa does two things: it helps you discover new movies to watch, and it lets you keep a list of movies you want to watch. Despite its rather sparse feature list, Sofa is well worth your time. One of the reasons why is because Sofa’s discover section is populated by hand-curated collections of movies. But Sofa also looks great and, because it isn’t burdened with dozens of features, the app is simple and delightful to use.

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Magic Rays of Light: A Return to Acapulco, Let Loose Predictions, and Constellation

This week on Magic Rays of Light, Sigmund and Devon make their long-awaited return to Las Colinas with Acapulco season three, share their predictions for Apple’s upcoming Let Loose event, and recap Constellation.

Show Notes

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HomeKit Gadgets: The MacStories Team Collection

John: Everyone on the MacStories team is deep into HomeKit devices. For me, smart home gadgets tick all the boxes:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Automation

It’s really as simple as that.

However, as fun as HomeKit devices can be, they can also be frustrating. The best accessories fit comfortably into your household, making life a little easier but falling back gracefully to a simple solution for anyone in your home who isn’t interested in automation. It sounds easy, but it’s a tough balancing act that few companies get right.

We’ve all tried our share of HomeKit and other smart home devices. Some have worked out, and others have fallen by the wayside as failed experiments. Today, we thought we’d pool our collective experience and share with you the MacStories team’s favorite smart home gadgets.

We have a lot of ground to cover, so this story will focus on indoor gadgets. Soon, we’ll shift our focus to the great outdoors.

Table of Contents

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“Reliving My Memories in Apple Vision Pro Almost Brought Me to Tears”

Apple arranged a third round of press previews for the Vision Pro earlier this week, this time with a focus on experiencing spatial videos captured by journalists on iOS 17.2. I particularly liked Raymond Wong’s story, who got emotional while reliving a memory with the Vision Pro:

In one spatial video, my mom and I were having dim sum at a restaurant and I was explaining to her what the Apple Vision Pro is and what it does. It was recorded last weekend so the memory was fresh in my mind. Rewatching the video inside of the Vision Pro, it was as if we were transported back to the restaurant, sitting across from each other over a table of dishes. I kept tilting my head a lot, almost in disbelief at how surreal it was to see my mom talking, laughing, and eating in spatial video. My mom was who got me interested in technology and I don’t think I would have a career writing about new consumer tech if not for her interest in it. To me, these convos are very precious to me, so to see them replayed with a sense of presence really tugged at my heartstrings. At one point, I fought back a few tiny tears if only because there were three Apple reps sitting next to me. Self-aware of EyeSight and the possibility that they might be able to see my tears, I asked if they could see my eyes on the Vision Pro’s outside display. I was told they couldn’t. Pre-release software, you know? I obviously couldn’t confirm that myself as the person wearing Vision Pro.

At a certain distance and window size, spatial videos can look life-sized. But even when I “pushed” the video window farther away (enabled by looking at the bar at the bottom of the window and then pulling it closer toward me), seeing my mom in 3D made me emotional. I even laid back on the sofa and placed the virtual video on the ceiling.

When I tried the Vision Pro in June, I almost got emotional “being” in someone else’s memory with the stock footage Apple had prepared for us. I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like to relive your own memories with the depth and sense of presence that Vision Pro enables. I know I’ll be capturing a lot of spatial videos with friends and family during the holidays.


tvOS 17: The MacStories Review

Apple TV may have received its most surprising update release this year, and I’d argue that tvOS 17 is also Apple’s most impactful. With the launch of Apple TV+ and the expansion of Apple’s TV app to third-party devices, Apple TV the platform had gone through a bit of a confidence crisis. It was hard enough before to get developers and the wider Apple community to talk about its software, but now it had to compete for attention with the likes of Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Ted Lasso.1

Attention then moved onto Apple’s next big platform reveal, a project so steeped in secrecy and excitement that when a tvOS engineering manager made a brief public change to their social media profile indicating they had moved on to work for the company’s AR/VR division, I began to wonder if Apple TV and tvOS would ever get their special moment to shine. That special moment would come exactly nineteen minutes before the debut of Apple Vision Pro, and while it may have been a fleeting moment quickly forgotten by the majority, it’s a moment in Apple TV’s story I’ve been thinking about ever since.

The introduction of FaceTime on Apple TV was more than just a feature announcement. It also represented a realignment in what mattered most for the platform and Apple’s customers and a shift away from a focus previously reserved for the needs of the wider entertainment industry.

FaceTime and Continuity Camera may be the headline acts in this year’s tvOS update, but they’re also supported by a cast of big changes elsewhere. They include a newly redesigned Control Center – Apple’s latest triumph in intuitive interaction – automatic profile switching, Find Siri Remote, third-party VPN support, Shared Spatial Audio, updates to Fitness and Music, enhancements to both audio and video presentations, and a small but meaningful update to the tvOS Home Screen.

After using tvOS 17 over the summer, I’m happy to impart that the new features are all positive additions, even though there remains work to be done. So, without further ado, in a MacStories return to tvOS reviews, let’s dive into tvOS 17.

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  1. Played by the incomparable Jason Sudeikis. ↩︎