John Voorhees

1014 posts on MacStories since November 2015

John joined MacStories in 2015. He is an editor and 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 iOS affiliate linking app for the iTunes Affiliate Program.

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Panic’s Transmit Returns to the Mac App Store

In the summer of 2017, Panic released Transmit 5, a top-to-bottom update to the company’s excellent file transfer app for the Mac. At the same time, Panic left the Mac App Store like many Mac apps have in recent years. Panic’s Cabel Sasser explained that the company wanted the ability to distribute a demo version to prospective users, but couldn’t, though it would continue to reevaluate the decision and hoped to be back some day.

Today, just over about 16 months since that announcement, Transmit is back on the Mac App Store. The app’s return to Apple’s newly-redesigned Mac App Store has been anticipated since June when it was previewed at WWDC. As part of the announcement of the redesigned Store, Apple highlighted several apps that would be coming to the Store for the first time or returning, including Microsoft Office 365, Adobe’s Lightroom CC, Bare Bones’ BBEdit, and Transmit.

At WWDC, it wasn’t entirely clear what was being done to entice developers to come back, though changes to sandboxing seemed to be a factor:

No additional information emerged over the summer, and the new Mac App Store was launched alongside the release of macOS Mojave in September with no sign of Transmit or the other apps that appeared onstage at WWDC.

However, today, Transmit was released on the Mac App Store with a subscription-based business model that includes a 7-day free trial. In a blog post about the release, Cabel Sasser confirms that sandboxing played a role in the decision not to release Transmit 5 on the Mac App Store, but has changed to allow Transmit to return to the Store:

…sandboxing has evolved enough that Transmit can be nearly feature-parity with its non-sandboxed cousin.

The FAQs on Panic’s blog elaborate on the differences between the Mac App Store and direct-sale versions of Transmit:

Does it have the same features as regular Transmit 5?
With one small exception — “Open in Terminal” depends on AppleScripting the terminal, which isn’t possible with sandboxing (yet). But even viewing or editing or changing the permissions of files you don’t own is now possible, which wasn’t until very recently.

Transmit Disk is also not part of the Mac App Store version of Transmit.

As Panic indicated back in June, the business model for Transmit on the Mac App Store differs from the direct-sale version available on Panic.com. The Mac App Store version is subscription-only, which is designed to make the app more economical for users who only need to use it for a short time. The subscription costs $24.99/year and includes a 7-day free trial. The direct sale version of the app is still available from Panic for $45.

It’s good to see Transmit back in the Mac App Store and I’m intrigued by the business model. By targeting two very different types of users, the Mac App Store gives Panic a simple end-to-end solution to reach a new set of short-term users who might not have been willing to pay the up front cost of the app before. Meanwhile, the paid-up-front option is still available for heavy users. This is a model that I could see working well for many pro-level apps.


Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X and Other Video Apps with Third-Party Extensions and More

Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor with several new features.

Headlining the update is Final Cut Pro X, which gained support for third-party extensions. The pro video editing app now includes built-in extensions from Frame.io, Shutterstock, and CatDV, which provide access to those apps and services from within Final Cut itself. The extensions, which match the interface of Final Cut are available from the Mac App Store as free downloads. Apple says it expects additional extensions to be made available in the future.

The Final Cut update includes other enhancements to the app too including:

  • Batch sharing of clips and projects
  • A new Comparison Viewer to allow editors to compare footage against a reference image during the color grading process
  • A customizable floating time code window that can display color-coded clip names, roles, project time codes, and other data
  • Video noise reduction for low-light footage
  • Closed captions in SRT format and formats compatible with a wide variety of video websites
  • Improved marquee selection

Motion and Compressor gained new features too. Motion, which is used for adding motion graphics to Final Cut Pro footage, has added the same color grading tools found in Final Cut. That means editors can use those same tools to adjust the colors of their titles and motion graphics. Motion also gained new comic effect and tiny planet filters.

Compressor, which is used for encoding video, has added a 64-bit engine for improved performance, while maintaining support for 32-bit codecs. Like Final Cut Pro, Compressor now supports SRT closed captioning too.

Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor are free updates for existing users that are available on the Mac App Store. New users can purchase Final Cut for $299.99, Motion for $49.99, and Compressor for $49.99.


La Roche-Posay Debuts My Skin Track UV, a Solar-Powered UV, Pollution, Pollen, and Humidity Wearable

La Roche-Posay has introduced a new wearable device today called the My Skin Track UV. As the name suggests, the device tracks ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) exposure, but there’s more to it than that.

The company says its new device also tracks pollution levels, pollen, and humidity. That’s a combination that should provide users with a much broader set of data about their environment as they move throughout the day. The device is tiny and water resistant too at just 12mm wide, 6mm high, 17.4 grams, and with an IP67 water resistance rating (the same as the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and 8 Plus).

Another nice touch is that the My Skin Track UV is solar powered so it doesn’t need to be recharged. Clip it to your clothing or something you carry with you every day and La Roche-Posay says the device will remain powered, collecting data.

La Roche-Posay’s website describes the technology behind the device:

The light emitting diode (LED) is used as a detector to capture UV light. This energy will be read by transferring data from the sensor to your phone using Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology. Based on your UV exposure and environmental factors, the app uses an intelligent algorithm backed by over 25 scientific studies to warn you when your environmental exposure is at a level recognized to contribute to your specific skin concern.

One downside of the device’s use of NFC is that it requires users to manually scan it periodically using the companion app to transfer the collected data to the iPhone. The app, which integrates with Apple’s Health app, also offers skin health recommendations.

The My Skin Track UV is available exclusively at select Apple Stores and apple.com for $59.95. We will have a complete hands-on review of the My Skin Track UV device on MacStories soon.


AppStories, Episode 87 – Pick 2: Grocery and HomeRun

On this week's episode of AppStories, we go in-depth on two apps we’ve been using a lot recently: Grocery, a grocery shopping list app, and HomeRun, an Apple Watch app for triggering HomeKit scenes.

Sponsored by:

  • Luna Display - The only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless display for your Mac. Use promo code APPSTORIES at checkout for 10% off.
  • Vectornator - Graphic design for the iPad and iPhone reimagined! Visit vectornator.io to learn more.

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Austin Mann: A Photographer’s Review of the iPad Pro

Source: austinmann.com

Source: austinmann.com

Austin Mann has published a review of the new iPad Pro for photographers. Mann, a professional photographer, is in Iceland shooting 100-megapixel images with a Hasselblad H6D-100c that generates 216MB RAW files that are a great test of Apple’s new hardware. Mann demonstrates how well the iPad Pro handles those images by zooming in and out and panning around with little lag in a video demo of Adobe Lightroom CC.

Beyond the sheer performance of the hardware though, Mann has been impressed with the versatility and portability of the device. As he explains:

I was working with Mavic Pro 2 in the black volcanic deserts of south Iceland. While sitting in the car (in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere), I decided to offload my images and review them.

I pulled out the iPad Pro and a card reader, and within only a few moments I was reviewing them on screen. Next thing I knew I was editing them with the Pencil in Lightroom CC and then I shared one with my wife—all within just a few moments.

It’s really easy to sit just about anywhere (even with a steering wheel in your face) and not just use it, but use it to its full extent. Another cool feature in this scenario is eSIM. Because the iPad Pro is connected to cellular, even in the middle of nowhere Iceland, I could quickly share the images without even thinking about my connection, WiFi, hotspots, etc. Time wasn’t mission critical on this shoot, but in a scenario where time is of the essence, this kind of workflow could be a game-changer.

That’s a sort of power the iPad Pro brings to bear that can’t be measured in chip speeds or other specs. It’s a flexibility that allows photographers and other creative professionals to work in more contexts and with greater efficiency. It’s hard to quantify but just as important.

Be sure to check out Mann’s review for more on his iPad Pro photography workflow and his beautiful photos of Iceland.

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Apple Updates GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, and Keynote

As new iPad Pros are delivered worldwide today, Apple has released updates to GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, and Keynote.

GarageBand adds support for keyboard shortcuts for the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard and other Bluetooth keyboards. The app also adds a Wah stompbox pedal and Face Control for the Smart Guitar.

Pages can now publish straight to Apple Books from both the iOS and Mac versions of the app.

iMovie adds support for mirroring and video previewing from the new iPad Pros to external displays. The video previews added to iMovie are not surprising given the press shots published by Apple last week demonstrating the feature and can handle uncompressed 4K output. The Mac version of iMovie also removes the option to publish directly to Facebook. Instead, the app can export to a Facebook-compatible format.

Finally, Numbers and Keynote also received updates, which are described merely as ‘stability and performance improvements.’


Phil Schiller and Anand Shimpi Discuss the iPad Pro’s A12X Chip

Ars Technica interviewed Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, and Anand Shimpi, from Apple’s Hardware Technologies group, about the new iPad Pro’s A12X system on a chip. The article also benchmarks the iPad Pro against other iOS devices, Macs, and competing products. The results of Ars Technica’s tests are impressive. The iPad is not only the fastest iOS device available, but it also compares favorably with Apple’s pro Mac lineup.

In the interview, Samuel Axon of Ars leads off by asking about the iPad’s CPU. Shimpi explains how the chip outperforms the A10X:

“We've got our own custom-designed performance controller that lets you use all eight at the same time,” Shimpi told Ars. “And so when you're running these heavily-threaded workloads, things that you might find in pro workflows and pro applications, that's where you see the up to 90 percent improvement over A10X.”

Regarding the GPU, Shimpi says:

“It's our first 7-core implementation of our own custom-designed GPU," he said. "Each one of these cores is both faster and more efficient than what we had in the A10X and the result is, that's how you get to the 2x improved graphics performance. It's unheard of in this form factor, this is really an Xbox One S class GPU. And again, it's in a completely fanless design."

Apple is predictably tight-lipped about the Neural Engine, which powers machine learning tasks. In response to why the company keeps pushing its chip technology forward so rapidly despite its lead, Schiller pointed to Apple’s culture:

We don't care if they're doing something that isn’t interesting to us. We don't care if we're lapping them. Good. We’ll lap them ten times. It doesn't matter because it's in service to the user, not the competition.

It’s not surprising that Apple was unwilling to share much detail about how and why it’s pushing so aggressively with its custom silicon solutions. What’s clear, however, is that the company is well aware of the advantage its custom solution provides and is moving forward as fast as ever to improve it even further.

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MacBook Air and Mac mini Review Roundup: Welcome Updates to Apple’s Mac Lineup

Tomorrow, Apple will begin delivering new MacBook Airs and Mac minis to customers around the world. It’s been a long time since either computer was updated; too long many would say. John Gruber of Daring Fireball asked around about the period between updates:

Behind the scenes last week in New York, I asked a few folks from Apple for any sort of hint why these two Macs — the MacBook Air and Mac Mini — went so long between updates. One thing I was told is that Apple wants to focus on “meaningful updates”. The days of “speed bump” updates are largely over. The value just isn’t there.

That may not be a message that long-time Mac users want to hear, but it’s consistent with recent history and seems to be supported by the reviews published today. Regardless of the backstory though, both new Macs are substantial updates that have received generally favorable reviews.

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AppStories, Episode 86 – Apps and the New iPad Pro

On this week's episode of AppStories, we talk about the new iPad Pros announced at the event held by Apple in Brooklyn, New York, the apps announced onstage and that Federico tried in the hands-on area, Apple’s dubious comparison of the iPad GPU to the Xbox One S, and the first-party apps we expected but didn’t see.

Sponsored by:

  • Linode: High performance SSD Linux servers for all of your infrastructure needs. Get a $20 credit with promo code ‘appstories2018’
  • Luna Display: The only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless display for your Mac. Use promo code APPSTORIES at checkout for 10% off.

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