John Voorhees

1431 posts on MacStories since November 2015

John, who is the managing editor of MacStories and Club MacStories, joined MacStories in 2015. With Federico, he co-hosts AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps, and Dialog, a seasonal podcast about the impact of technology on creativity, society, and culture. John also handles sponsorship sales for MacStories and its podcasts.

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Apple Reveals Substantial Update to the 27-inch iMac with Smaller Updates to the 21.5-inch iMac and iMac Pro

Today, Apple revealed an update to the 27-inch 5K Retina iMac with faster processors, updated graphics, more storage, and new display features. Although the new 27-inch iMac’s design is identical to the existing model, this is still a significant update compared to the iMac it replaces.

According to Apple’s press release:

“Now more than ever, our customers are relying on the Mac. And many of them need the most powerful and capable iMac we’ve ever made,” said Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing. “With blazing performance, double the memory, SSDs across the line with quadruple the storage, an even more stunning Retina 5K display, a better camera, higher fidelity speakers, and studio-quality mics, the 27-inch iMac is loaded with new features at the same price. It’s the ultimate desktop, to work, create, and communicate.”

Last updated in March 2019, the new iMac features 6 and 8-core 10th generation Intel CPUs that can reach speeds of up to 5.0GHz with Turbo Boost. Storage is all SSD now with transfer speeds up to 3.4GB/s when launching apps and large files. There’s also an 8TB SSD option for the first time, which is four times the storage available in the previous model. Until today, the standard configurations of the 27-inch iMac came with Fusion drives.

The new iMac has been upgraded to AMD Radeon Pro Series 5000 graphics. The display of the iMac is the same resolution as before, but now, it comes with a new nano-texture option first seen in the Pro Display XDR, which provides a low-reflection, matte finish, and it supports Apple’s True Tone technology. The new all-in-one desktop also includes a T2 chip for boot and data security, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and improved speakers and microphones.

Apple’s other iMacs received smaller updates today too. SSDs are now standard in the 21.5-inch model, although a Fusion Drive is still an option. Also, a 10-core Intel Xeon processor is now standard in the iMac Pro.

Today’s updates are in line with Apple’s statements during WWDC that the company had additional updates to Macs based on Intel CPUs in the pipeline. Although Macs with ARM processors are on the way later this year, Apple has not revealed which models will be converted to ARM first. Consequently, if you need a new desktop Mac, it’s still worth considering the Intel-based models, especially the new 27-inch iMac, which is substantially improved over its last iteration.


MacStories Unwind: Mac Catalyst, Due Reminders on Mac, and a Fiery Feeds Update

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Sponsored by: Concepts – Sketch, Note, Draw

This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • Monthly Log
    • Federico explains how his use of MindNode has changed for his iOS and iPadOS 14 review
    • John imagines what a perfect cross-platform outlining app would look like
    • Ryan shares his favorite features from iPadOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS
  • MacStories Weekly
    • Federico explores the Apple Watch automation enabled by Shortcuts in the iOS and iPadOS 14 betas
    • Ryan covers the Nighthawk Twitter client
    • John explains why he’s returning to MindNode after a failed search for an outlining app
    • A GameClub subscription giveaway
  • Join Club MacStories

AppStories

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Apple Q3 2020 Results - $59.7 Billion Revenue

Apple has just published its financial results for Q3 2020. The company posted revenue of $59.7 billion. Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Apple’s record June quarter was driven by double-digit growth in both Products and Services and growth in each of our geographic segments,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “In uncertain times, this performance is a testament to the important role our products play in our customers’ lives and to Apple’s relentless innovation. This is a challenging moment for our communities, and, from Apple’s new $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to a new commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, we’re living the principle that what we make and do should create opportunity and leave the world better than we found it.”

Estimates and Expectations for Q3 2020 and the Year-Ago Quarter (Q3 2019)

Due to the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, Apple did not provide financial guidance for Q3 2020 during its last earnings call.

Going into today’s call, Yahoo Finance said that:

Much of the earnings focus, however, will be on whether Cook and company will provide guidance for fiscal Q4, which could offer a hint about any potential delays to the launch of the firm’s upcoming iPhone 12.

Despite the lack of guidance, Yahoo Finance says that Bloomberg’s research shows that analysts expect the following results:

Revenue: $52.2 billion expected versus $53.8 billion in Q3 2019.

Earnings per share: $2.06 expected versus $2.18 in Q3 2019.

Graphical Visualization

After the break, we’ve compiled a graphical visualization of Apple’s Q3 2020 financial results.

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Mac Catalyst 2.0: Doubling Down on the Alignment of the Mac and iPad

WWDC 2020 brought Mac Catalyst into sharper focus than ever before. Introduced as an unnamed ‘sneak peek’ in 2018, Mac Catalyst offered the promise of a simple and efficient way for iPad developers to bring their apps to 100 million Mac users. The reality was that it can be hard to transition an app from an iPad to a Mac, and the results weren’t always great.

The trouble was the result of a confluence of multiple factors, including:

  • The first iteration of Mac Catalyst used iPad design conventions in places that felt out of place on the Mac
  • There was too little documentation
  • Excitement surrounding SwiftUI left developers wondering whether Apple was committed to Mac Catalyst

WWDC 2020 was different. Apple introduced what was effectively Mac Catalyst 2.0 with its Optimized for Mac initiative, a separate Mac Catalyst path that follows Mac conventions more closely but requires more work. The company also built Messages and Maps, two of its flagship apps, using Mac Catalyst, demonstrating a deeper commitment to the technology than ever before. The result is a brighter future for Mac Catalyst that clearly has a role to play alongside SwiftUI and Apple’s other frameworks.

To understand where Mac Catalyst is heading, though, we first need to understand where it has been over the past two years.

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Due for Mac Modernized with New Design and Features

A full-fledged task manager is terrific for many projects, but if you dump your entire life into one, it can quickly become a cluttered mess. At the same time, if you’re focused on a big project, it’s easy to let everything that’s not in your task manager slip through the cracks. One strategy for attacking the problem that has worked well for me is using a separate, lightweight app for tasks like remembering to take out the garbage, pick up medicine at the pharmacy, or publish an article when an embargo lifts.

In the past, I’ve used Due on the iPhone and iPad for these sorts of tasks. There has been a Mac version of Due for years too, but it hadn’t been updated in about two years and was showing its age. However, with today’s update, Due for Mac joins the iOS version with a fully-modern design and slate of new features, putting it on par with the outstanding iOS version, which I’ve covered in the past.

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Concepts: Sketch, Note, Draw [Sponsor]

Concepts is a powerful creative tool to help you think, explore, and sketch your ideas. Stretch your mind past the limits on an infinite canvas using liquid pens and brushes in designer COPIC colors. Used by creative professionals for visual thinking, note-taking, drawing, storyboarding, graphic design, product iteration, and architectural planning, Concepts lets you sketch, communicate and present your ideas with a flexible, customizable toolset.

Built from the ground up for iPad’s touch sensitivity, Concepts combines vectors with natural finger gestures to enhance your creative workflow. Everything you draw can be edited, moved, and reorganized, allowing you to interact with your ideas at a deeper level. Drag+drop images and objects for fast ideating, use layers and grid layouts to organize your work, and apply real-world scale for professional design work.

Concepts comes with a built-in Presentation Mode that lets you connect to a large display for graphic discussion and live sharing during events. It works with apps like Zoom for instant virtual whiteboarding. Once your work is final, export and share standard, high resolution, and vector file types for flexible work between teams and apps.

The app comes free as a basic sketching tool, with the ability to unlock 200+ libraries of brushes, objects, and services via subscription or one-time purchase. Sketch, explore, and share your ideas infinitely with Concepts.

Download Concepts today for free and give it a try. To learn more about how Concepts can help you explore your ideas, visit concepts.app.

Our thanks to Concepts for sponsoring MacStories this week.


MacStories Unwind: Dark Noise, Soor, and Game Reviews, Plus a Developer Debrief

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Sponsored by Overdrop Weather – Weather Simplified

This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • iOS 14 tips from Federico
    • A Collection of John’s favorite first-gen Catalyst apps
    • Ryan on why the iPadOS update is a bigger deal than it appears
    • An interview with Spend Stack developer Jordan Morgan
  • Join Club MacStories

AppStories

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