John Voorhees

2146 posts on MacStories since November 2015

John, MacStories’ Managing Editor, has been writing about Apple and apps since joining the team in 2015. He also co-hosts MacStories’ podcasts, including AppStories, which explores of the world of apps, MacStories Unwind, a weekly recap of everything MacStories and more, and MacStories Unplugged, a behind-the-scenes, anything-goes show exclusively for Club MacStories members.

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David Smith Tests the Apple Watch Ultra on a Three-Day Hike in Scotland

David Smith, the developer of Widgetsmith, Watchsmith, Pedometer++, and many other apps, put the new Apple Watch Ultra through its paces on a three-day hike through the Scottish Highlands. Dave confirmed what I’ve suspected all along. The Apple Watch isn’t so much an extreme sports watch as it is an Apple Watch with expanded capabilities that make it work better for strenuous activities like a three-day hike but also make it the best Apple Watch for the things an Apple Watch already does. As he puts it:

While I was putting together this review I kept coming back to the analogy that the Ultra is like a pick-up truck. Useful in regular, daily life but capable of heading offroad or carrying gravel from the garden store. It still drives like a regular car, but can do more.

Dave’s post is accompanied by a video journal of his trip shot on an iPhone 14 Pro. The video is full of great insights into the Ultra’s hardware, a couple of criticisms of its software, and loads of beautiful footage of the Scottish Highlands.

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LockPod Adds Apple Music and Spotify to the iOS 16 Lock Screen

So far, the big players in music streaming are leaving it to indie developers to create iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets that tie into their services. One of my favorite examples is LockPod, by Rishi Malhotra, which was released this week.

The app works with both Apple Music and Spotify, allowing users to create circular and rectangular Lock Screen widgets that serve as shortcuts to their favorite music. The details are a little different depending on whether you’re using Apple Music or Spotify, so let’s take a closer look.

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iPhone Gaming with the Razer Kishi V2 and Backbone One

Razer Kishi V2.

Razer Kishi V2.

When I look at the innovation happening in handheld gaming at all levels with devices like the Analogue Pocket and Steam Deck, I can’t help but wonder, “What if Apple really jumped into the videogame market and put the power of its hardware and software design teams behind devices that could play everything from Candy Crush Saga to Elden Ring?” Apple hasn’t, and I don’t expect it will, but every time I use my iPhone, I look at its gorgeous ProMotion OLED display and want to use it for more than the gaming experiences that the App Store offers.

That said, there is still gaming fun to be had on the iPhone. For me, that occasionally takes the form of an Apple Arcade game like the excellent Shovel Knight Dig that was released on the service last week, and I’ll cover this week on MacStories Unwind. Other times, it’s an indie platformer like the Dadish series or a classic Nintendo handheld game via Delta. With a fast enough WiFi connection, I’ve even found myself streaming games from my Xbox Series X, Microsoft Game Pass, and PlayStation 5. It’s not everything I think gaming could be on the iPhone, but it’s not bad either.

Despite Apple’s perplexing relationship with videogames, the last few years have seen the company expand controller support, which has gradually led to an increase in support among developers. That, in turn, has prompted me to try a lot of different controllers and conclude that with the iPhone, nothing beats an integrated Nintendo Switch-style controller solution.

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AppStories, Episode 297 – Lock Screen Widgets, Focus Filters, Shared with You Apps

This week on AppStories, we tour third-party apps with new iOS 16 features, including more apps with Lock Screen widgets and apps with support for Focus Filters and Shared with You.

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On AppStories+, I have thoughts on Lock Screen widgets and the Always-On display. Plus, we revisit Apple’s place in gaming from the perspective of the growing handheld gaming market.

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More iPad Models Will Get Stage Manager, but External Display Support Is Delayed and Will Be M1 iPad-Only

Earlier today, Apple released iPadOS 16.1, developer beta 3, which adds Stage Manager support for 2018 and 2020 12.9” iPad Pros as well as the 11” iPad Pro. However, external display support will remain an M1 iPad-only feature that will be released in a future iPadOS update later this year.

In a statement to Engadget reported by N. Ingraham, Apple said:

We introduced Stage Manager as a whole new way to multitask with overlapping, resizable windows on both the iPad display and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps on screen at once. Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with iPad Pro 3rd and 4th generation have expressed strong interest in being able to experience Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have worked hard to find a way to deliver a single-screen version for these systems, with support for up to four live apps on the iPad screen at once.

External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.

In preliminary testing of the update, our Federico Viticci says that the latest beta also clears up many of the bugs users have experienced:

It’s excellent to hear that Apple is expanding the availability of Stage Manager based on the feedback from iPad users. I’m also glad to hear that iPadOS has stabilized. I’ve been using my iPad Pro more often lately and, like many others, have run into frequent crashes and visual glitches in the iPadOS 16.1 betas. It shouldn’t be too much longer before iPadOS 16.1 is released publicly.

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Last Week, on Club MacStories: iPad App Management and Customizing Your iPhone and Apple Watch Using Focus Modes

Because Club MacStories now encompasses more than just newsletters, we’ve created a guide to the past week’s happenings along with a look at what’s coming up next:

MacStories Weekly: Issue 337




iOS 16.0.2 Fixes iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max Camera Shake, Pasting Alerts, and More

As reported by MacRumors’ Juli Clover, Apple released iOS 16.0.2 today to fix unspecified security issues along with several bugs. Among the bugs fixed are two that have been making headlines recently. One caused the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max’s cameras to shake when using some third-party camera apps, while the other displayed frequent alerts asking for permission to allow pasting from one app to another.

The full release notes are as follows:

  • This update provides bug fixes and important security updates for your iPhone including the following:
  • Camera may vibrate and cause blurry photos when shooting with some third-party apps on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Display may appear completely black during device setup
  • Copy and paste between apps may cause a permission prompt to appear more than expected
  • VoiceOver may be unavailable after rebooting
  • Addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone X, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 displays after being serviced

Although Apple characterized the frequent alerts about pasting between apps as a bug, I have to wonder whether it was actually the intended behavior. It’s not as though nobody was talking about the issue throughout the beta period. In any event, it’s good to see all of these bugs being addressed so soon after the release of the phones.

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