John Voorhees

453 posts on MacStories since November 2015

John joined MacStories in 2015. He is a regular contributor to MacStories and the Club MacStories newsletters, co-hosts AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps, with Federico, and handles sponsorship sales for MacStories and AppStories. John is also the creator of Blink, an iTunes affiliate linking app for iOS.

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This week's sponsor

SaneBox

Clean Up Your Inbox Today (and Keep It That Way Forever)


Screens 4.0 for macOS Adds Curtain Mode, Drag-And-Drop File Transfers, Touch Bar Support, and More

Screens 4.0, which was released today, is a complete rewrite of the screen sharing app from the ground up that adds features previously available only in the iOS version as well as some exclusive macOS-only features. What’s made Screens my favorite way to connect to a remote Mac is that it has managed to abstract away the complexity that accompanies many VNC apps. That hasn’t changed with Screens 4.0, which is even easier to use and more versatile than before.

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Anker Is Building an Electronics Accessory Empire

Nick Statt of The Verge has a profile of Anker, the company known for selling quality portable chargers, USB charging hubs, cables and other items for reasonable prices. Anker, founded by a former Google software engineer, is a great example of a company that has found a niche that’s underserved by bigger companies like Apple and Samsung. As Statt’s profile explains, deep knowledge of how to sell through Amazon effectively combined with setting up shop in China to closely manage his supply chain helped founder Steven Yang build Anker into a trusted brand.

Anker’s PowerIQ technology has helped too:

Most Anker charging products have one signature: the PowerIQ logo. Launched in 2013, the company’s proprietary charging standard is now present on nearly all of its batteries and wall plugs. The technology, carried by a small chip inside each charger, identifies whatever device is being plugged in, be it an iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel, or an iPad Pro 9.7-inch, in order to detect and deliver the maximum current the product allows. Anker says the technology can shave hours off the amount of time it takes to reach a full charge. A next-generation version of the chip, called PowerIQ 2.0, is slated to start shipping in new Anker charging products this month, allowing for smaller and lighter accessories.

Earlier this year, I bought Anker’s largest portable battery to power my Nintendo Switch and Apple gear on long flights and extended trips. The PowerIQ feature is fantastic, letting my family and me simultaneously plug into one big battery to charge multiple devices quickly. Looking through my Amazon order history, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. A couple of other recent additions are a 60-watt USB-A and USB-C wall charger and USB-C to USB 3.0 braided cables. Anker has become my go-to brand for cables and charging accessories, and Statt’s profile makes it easy to understand why.

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Apple’s New Switch to iPhone Ad Campaign

Apple posted a series of five short videos to YouTube today encouraging consumers to switch to the iPhone. The spots, which are each just 16 seconds long, take place on a two-tone stage. The left side of each set is a plain gray color and represents ‘your phone.’ The more colorful, right-hand side of the stage is the iPhone.

The ads make the case that:

  • It’s easy to move your photos from another phone to the iPhone;
  • Moving to the iPhone from another phone is straightforward;
  • The iPhone is faster than your current phone;
  • Your privacy is protected by the iPhone; and
  • Switching to get a better music experience is simple.

None of the ads have any dialogue. Instead, they use humorous skits and music to make each point.

You can check out all five spots after the break.

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Clean Up Your Inbox Today (and Keep It That Way Forever) with SaneBox [Sponsor]

What if you had someone to go through your email and find just the important messages? SaneBox does exactly that. Once set up, it leaves your important messages in your inbox and moves the rest to a SaneLater folder for reviewing later. That initial inbox purge is powerful because it reduces your inbox to a manageable number of messages. With additional training to tell SaneBox what’s important to you, it only gets better at dealing with your daily deluge of messages.

There’s much more to SaneBox than shuffling unimportant messages into a designated folder, though. If there’s something you never want to see ever again, send it to the SaneBlackHole, which is much easier than unsubscribing to unwanted messages.

You can also set up SaneReminders by sending messages to an address that sends a reminder to you at a later date if the recipient of your message hasn’t responded after a certain amount of time. Or forward messages to SaneReminders to have it pop back into your inbox at a later date when you are ready to deal with it.

SaneBox works on top of your existing email setup. There’s no particular app to download or new email account to set up. It all works server-side so you can use any email client you want.

Sign up today for a free 14-day SaneBox trial to take back control of your email. MacStories readers can receive a special $25 credit automatically by using this link to sign up.

Our thanks to SaneBox for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Game Day: Old Man’s Journey

Old Man’s Journey by Vienna-based Broken Rules is equal parts game and story. You play as an old man who receives a letter that seems to upset him. He immediately grabs a backpack and walking stick and sets out into the countryside on a journey. Along the way, you clear a path for the traveler by manipulating the landscape to solve a series of puzzles. The puzzles aren’t difficult, but they help draw you into the beautiful interactive environment and pique your curiosity about the man’s story. Before long, I found myself completely absorbed by Old Man’s Journey.

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Airfoil for macOS Regains Full Apple TV Compatibility

When Apple released tvOS 10.2 in late March, it broke audio streaming to the Apple TV from Rogue Amoeba’s macOS app, Airfoil. Since then, Rogue Amoeba has been working on two fronts to restore streaming to the Apple TV. The first results of those efforts were seen last month when Rogue Amoeba released a tvOS app called Airfoil Satellite TV that restored streaming as long as the app was running on your Apple TV.

Today, Rogue Amoeba announced that it has restored full Apple TV streaming functionality to Airfoil for macOS.

We’ve got a great update for Airfoil for Mac today which enables it to once again send audio directly to all versions of the Apple TV. Airfoil for Mac 5.6 is a free update, available immediately by selecting “Check for Update” from the Airfoil menu. We strongly encourage all users to move up to Airfoil 5.6 immediately.

With the Airfoil update, Airfoil Satellite TV is no longer necessary to stream to the Apple TV, but Rogue Amoeba plans to maintain it as a fall-back in case future tvOS updates break Airfoil streaming again.

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Tim Cook Interviewed For Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Early last year, James Rath, a young filmmaker who was born legally blind, created a video about the impact Apple products have had on his life. That video caught the attention of Apple:

In the ensuing months, Rath’s YouTube career has taken off and he’s become a strong advocate for the blind.

To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Tim Cook spoke with Rath and two other YouTubers, Rikki Poynter and Tatiana Lee about accessibility. Cook and Poynter, who is deaf, discussed closed captioning and how accessibility is a core value at Apple. Lee talked to Cook about the Apple Watch and its ability to track wheelchair use. Rath and Cook explored the history of Apple’s commitment to accessibility and the democratization of technology. The interviews follow the release of a series of videos made by Apple spotlighting the accessibility features of its products.

The interviews, which were filmed in the courtyard at Apple’s Infinite Loop campus are available after the break.

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Today at Apple Launches and Angela Ahrendts Talks About the Future of Retail with LinkedIn

Apple has opened registration for its Today at Apple classes that were announced last month as part of the redesign of its retail stores. The presentations and hands-on sessions, which feature topics like photography, programming, design, art, and music, are available in hundreds Apple retail stores.

Apple has created a new website called ‘Today at Apple’ to spotlight special sessions and let users search for topics that interest them. If you have locations services turned on, Today at Apple uses your location to find nearby events. Users can also filter sessions by topic and date.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail, was interviewed by Daniel Roth of LinkedIn about the future of retail and the new Today at Apple concept. Retailers have been failing at an increasing rate in the US, in part due to competition from online stores. According to Ahrendts, retailers need to adapt by focusing more on shoppers’ experiences. Ahrendts also detailed some of the store changes being rolled out to support Today at Apple, including additional seating, audio equipment modifications, and the installation of 50,000 beacons in 30 countries.

You can watch LinkedIn’s interview with Angela Ahrendts after the break.

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Apple Pay Debuts in Italy

Apple Pay continued its global expansion today adding three Italian banks, Carrefour Banca, Unicredit, and Boon. Each financial institution’s credit and debit cards can be added to Apple Pay and used in a variety of retail shops and with online retailers. The addition of Italy to the list of countries with Apple Pay support had been widely anticipated since March when the payment service was first listed as ‘Coming Soon’ to Italy. In total, Apple Pay is now available in 16 countries worldwide.

Later this year, more financial institutions will be added to Apple Pay in Italy. According to Apple’s Italian Apple Pay website, American Express, CartaBCC, ExpendiaSmart, Fineco Bank, Hype, Mediolanum Bank, N26, and Widiba will be adding Apple Pay support. The site also lists some of the major retailers that have signed up to accept Apple Pay in Italy, including H&M, Eataly, Auchan, Carrefour, Simply Market, OVS, Limoni, Sephora, Esselunga, and others.