Alex Guyot

102 posts on MacStories since January 2014

Alex has been writing for MacStories since 2013. As a MacStories editor he covers Apple and related technology on the site and for Club MacStories. Alex also keeps the site running smoothly and works on new technology as MacStories’ senior software engineer.

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Apple Watch Series 7: The MacStories Overview

At this morning’s virtual keynote event, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams announced the Apple Watch Series 7. Packing a brand-new display, a more rounded case design, faster charging, and greater resistance to cracking and dust, the Series 7 is a very nice iterative update.

Display and Durability

By far the biggest feature of the Series 7 is its gorgeous new display. Apple has reduced the bezels on all sides of the device by 40%, resulting in just 1.7mm borders around the screen. The screen itself has been stretched to fill this new area, and is 20% bigger than the screen on last year’s Series 6. To fit the new screen, case sizes have been increased to 41mm and 45mm — a fairly subtle change from the 40mm and 44mm sizes of the Series 5 and 6 Apple Watches. Thankfully, compatibility has been maintained with existing Apple Watch bands.

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Building Calliope: A Technical Journey Through MacStories’ Big Software Project

Last week the MacStories team launched Project Calliope, an enormous new software project that we’ve been working on tirelessly for the last year. If you’ve been following along, you’ve heard us describe Calliope as a CMS; but from a software-engineering perspective, it’s actually a whole lot more. While we introduced Calliope as the foundation of our all-new Club MacStories and AppStories websites, we have much bigger plans for the new platform going forward. This is the foundation for the next generation of MacStories, from the website itself to many special projects in the future.

We’re extremely proud of what we’ve created here, and as the sole developer of Calliope, this post will be my deep dive into the more technical side of the project. Fair warning: this will be easier to follow if you’re a software developer (particularly a web or back-end developer), but I’ll be doing my best to give understandable explanations of the technologies involved. I also just want to talk about the journey we took to get here, the challenges we faced along the way, and the factors that drove us to this particular set of solutions.

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watchOS 8: The MacStories Overview

At yesterday’s WWDC keynote event, Apple’s VP of Technology Kevin Lynch announced watchOS 8. The latest iteration of the Apple Watch operating system includes advancements in health features, a refreshed take on photos, improved text input, and more. Apple didn’t spend much time on watchOS during the event, but there are many quiet, new features sneaking into this release. Let’s take a look at everything Apple has in store for Apple Watch users this fall.

Health and Fitness

No watchOS update is complete without health and fitness changes. This year, Apple has revamped the Breathe app (and renamed it to Mindfulness), added more sleep tracking features, and provided new workout types.

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Craig Federighi Provides Deeper Insight Into iCloud Private Relay

Fast Company’s Michael Grothaus interviewed Craig Federighi this week regarding the suite of new privacy features which Apple unveiled at WWDC. The article includes some notable technical details on how iCloud Private Relay works under the hood. One of the most interesting — and somewhat unfortunate — revelations is that iCloud Private Relay will only work from Safari. Users of other browsers are out of luck here.

The reason for this restriction has to do with Apple’s commitment to unassailable privacy, which happens by ensuring that no party can ever access both your IP address and your destination URL. From what I can gauge, this is actually a three-step process which looks something like this:

  • From Safari, you navigate to a particular URL. Safari encrypts this destination URL locally and then forwards your request to Apple’s iCloud Private Relay servers.
  • Apple’s servers anonymize your IP address so that it can’t be traced back to you, then forward the request to a trusted third-party’s servers.
  • The third-party decrypts the destination URL, then forwards the final request (decrypted URL plus anonymized IP address) to the destination.

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iOS and iPadOS 15: The MacStories Overview

This morning at Apple’s second fully-remote WWDC keynote address, Craig Federighi introduced iOS and iPadOS 15. This year’s updates include significant improvements to core first-party apps, new controls for maintaining focus, system-wide text and object recognition in images, and much more.

On the iPad-only side of things, Apple has announced a variety of new multitasking interface elements, feature parity with the iPhone’s Home Screen, quick note capturing available at any time in any app, and an overhauled Swift Playgrounds which supports building and shipping complete SwiftUI apps to the App Store.

As usual, developer betas are available today, with final versions scheduled to ship to all users this fall. Let’s take a look at all the details that Apple has in store for us this year.

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Apple Introduces New Spring iPhone 12 Finishes and Accessory Colors

In celebration of spring, Apple is releasing a very nice new purple finish for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini. Purple joins the existing 5 colors and continues to make the 12 Apple’s most colorful iPhone lineup since the iPhone 5c.

The new purple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are available for preorder starting this Friday, April 23, and will arrive the following week on Friday, April 30.

As mentioned in our All the Little Things post, there are also new spring colors for iPhone 12 accessories. With availability beginning today, you can order Apple’s MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, their MagSafe Leather Wallet in Arizona, and their Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst.


You can follow all of our April event coverage through our April 2021 Event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Apple Announces Apple Card Family

At this morning’s keynote, Apple announced an update to Apple Card in which family members can be co-owners of a single card. Apple Card Family accounts will have merged credit lines so that all members can build their credit equally on shared purchases. The feature ties into Apple’s Family Sharing feature, and is available for sharing Apple Cards with children as well.

Apple Card Family includes parental controls like credit limits to help teach healthy credit card habits. For adults, all members of the family can track and manage their spending habits together.

Up to five people can be added to an Apple Card Family account, but all of them must first be part of an Apple Family Sharing group. While children can be added too, they must be at least 13 years of age. Existing Apple Card users can merge their accounts together into a new Apple Card Family account. Merging accounts will combine their credit limits, but the resulting APR will just be the lowest of the merged accounts.

Apple Card’s usual 1%-3% Daily Cash benefits are unchanged for Apple Card Family, but now even more merchants are part of the 3% Daily Cash program. These include Uber (and Uber Eats), Walgreens, Nike, Panera, T-Mobile, and ExxonMobil. You can find the full Daily Cash benefits and more information on Apple Card on Apple’s website.

Apple Card Family is launching this May.


You can follow all of our April event coverage through our April 2021 Event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Apple Announces Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

During today’s keynote event, Apple announced their new Apple Podcasts Subscriptions service. Launching in May in over 170 countries, the service will allow users to subscribe to premium podcasts directly from the Apple Podcasts app. Premium shows will offer access to various perks for users, such as removing ads, releasing shows early, or providing exclusive content.

Podcast creators can participate in the service for $19.99/year, and can use the redesigned Apple Podcasts Connect website to manage their subscription offerings. Apple has partnerships set up with some creators and companies to kick things off, including NPR, The Athletic, Tenderfoot TV, and Pushkin Industries.

Accompanying the new subscription service is an update to the Apple Podcasts app. The updated app will allow subscribing to premium podcasts, and will also display new “channels.” Podcast channels are groups of shows curated by creators, and can be either free or paid.

While the integration into Apple’s ecosystem means users can easily subscribe using their existing App Store accounts, it also means that Apple will be taking its usual 30% of revenue from podcast creators. This will drop to 15% after the first year, the same way it does for in-app purchases.


You can follow all of our April event coverage through our April 2021 Event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Nova Review: Panic’s Code Editor Demonstrates Why Mac-like Design Matters

I’ve been writing code for nearly a decade, and throughout all of that time, I’ve never quite been satisfied with a code editor. Each one I’ve tried has annoyed me in various ways, and eventually, I find myself looking elsewhere.

My code editor is the app I use more than any other. I spend hours in it nearly every day and often keep going deep into the night. The code editor is the main tool of my trade, and I want to be using the best one that I can.

One of my main frustrations with pretty much all of the popular code editors out there (and I’ve tried most of them, including Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Atom, IntelliJ, and Eclipse) is that none of them are Mac-assed Mac apps. They’re all clearly cross-platform apps with design senses that differ significantly from those of Mac-first developers.

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