John Voorhees

1274 posts on MacStories since November 2015

John, who is an editor for MacStories and the Club MacStories newsletters, 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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Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Unboxings and Impressions

Earlier today, Apple began accepting orders for the all-new Mac Pro, which will start shipping to customers in 1-2 weeks. Reminiscent of what Apple did when it released the iMac Pro, the new Mac Pro was provided to a very limited set of reviewers with video production experience in advance of pre-orders.

Marques Brownlee shares his impressions after using the Mac Pro and two Pro Display XDRs to edit all of his YouTube videos for the past two weeks. His main takeaways? “One, it’s really quiet, Two, it’s really fast.” So fast, in fact, that he was able to render 8K video more quickly than the time it would take to watch.

For two unboxings and a look at the setup process, be sure to watch these videos by Justine Ezarik and Jonathan Morrison.

To learn more about what it’s like to edit video on using Final Cut Pro X, a new Mac Pro, and Pro Display XDR, don’t miss Episode 514 of Mac Power Users on Relay FM, on which David Sparks and Stephen Hackett interview Thomas Grove Carter.

Finally, director and photographer Vincent Laforet shares his impressions of Apple’s newest hardware on his blog along with the first project he created with it.

More than anything else, the thing that struck me about each of the impressions shared by this small group is their sense of wonder and amazement at the speed and power of the new Mac Pro. This isn’t a computer for most people, but if you need it, the Mac Pro clearly opens up new possibilities.


Apple Begins Accepting Pre-Orders for the New Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR with Shipping Beginning in 1-2 Weeks

First revealed at WWDC this past June, Apple has begun taking pre-orders for its next-generation Mac Pro and 32-inch Pro Display XDR with in-store availability and shipping beginning in 1-2 weeks.

The new Mac Pro’s specs are a huge step up from the previous cylindrical model. As we reported from WWDC in June:

The system’s processor is an Intel Xeon W available in 8, 12, 16, 24, and 28-core configurations powered by a 1.4 kilowatt power supply. The processors also feature large L2 and shared L3 caches and 64 PCI Express lanes. The 8, 12, and 16-core models support 32, 48, 96, 192, 384, and 758GB memory configurations, with the 24 and 28-core models also supporting 1.5TB of memory using a six-channel architecture and 12 easily accessible DIMM slots. There are also a total of eight PCI expansion slots, four of which are double-wide, three of which are single-wide, and one of which is a half-wide slot preconfigured with Apple’s I/O card. The Mac Pro also supports up to 4TB of SSD storage and features Apple’s T2 chip.

Mac Pro

Mac Pro

The graphics options are similarly impressive:

The system supports two MPX Modules with a total of up to 4 GPUs. Configurations include a single AMD Radeon Pro 580X, single AMD Radeon Pro Vega II, or AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which features two GPUs. Two MPX Modules with AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duos provide 56 teraflops of compute power and 128GB of high-bandwidth memory, for handling the most demanding video compositing and 3D rendering tasks, for example. The new Mac Pro also introduces Apple Afterburner, a hardware accelerator card that can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second, which allows up to 3 streams of 8K ProRes RAW, 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW, or 16 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video all at 30 frames per second.

A look inside the new Mac Pro.

A look inside the new Mac Pro.

The new Mac Pro, which starts at $5,999 and can be configured well into five figures, is available for immediate pre-order on apple.com with in-store availability and shipping beginning in 1.2 weeks. In total, there are two base configurations – tower and rack mounted versions – each of which can be further customized on Apple’s website. Apple’s website also revealed that the optional Mac Pro wheels will cost $400.

As you would expect from a pro-level desktop Mac, there are numerous options for processors, system memory, storage, graphics, and more. Equipped with the most expensive of every hardware option, you can spend over $50,000 on a Mac Pro, which is a very large sum, but one that professionals in industries like film and music will likely be willing to pay to eliminate bottlenecks in their production workflows.


The Pro Display XDR.

The Pro Display XDR.

Apple has also announced availability of the Pro Display XDR, which was shown off alongside the Mac Pro at WWDC.

The new display is 32 inches diagonally with over 20 million pixels, P3 wide color gamut, and 10-bit color, which Apple says results in over 1 billion colors. The display can sustain 1,000 nits of brightness with 1,600 nit peaks and features a 1 million to 1 contrast ratio. The company also offers an optional matte finish that etches the screen’s glass at a nanometer scale, which adds $1,000 to the price.

The Pro Display XDR is available for pre-order now starting at $4,999. A model with a nano-etched anti-glare finish model begins at $5,999. The display’s stand is sold separately for $999, as is the VESA adaptor, which is is $199.


The MacStories Selects Awards Are Just Around the Corner

Last year, we introduced readers to the MacStories Selects Awards, which honored our favorite apps of 2018 in various categories. The MacStories Selects Awards will be back again this year with awards in the following eight categories:

  • App of the Year
  • Best New App
  • Best App Update
  • Best New Feature
  • Best Watch App
  • Best Mac App
  • Best Game
  • Readers’ Choice Award

The response to last year’s awards from readers and developers was fantastic, so this year we’ve decided to expand the MacStories Selects with a few new categories and some surprises that we aren’t ready to reveal just yet.

Club MacStories members can find the link to vote for the Readers' Choice Award in Issue 203 of MacStories Weekly.

Club MacStories members can find the link to vote for the Readers’ Choice Award in Issue 203 of MacStories Weekly.

One of the new categories that deserves a special mention, though, is the Readers’ Choice Award, which will be awarded to an app chosen by Club MacStories members. If you’re a Club member, please take the time to use the link in Issue 203 of MacStories Weekly that was sent to members last Friday, December 6th to vote for your favorite iOS or iPadOS app from a third-party developer. You can find Issue 203 in the MacStories Weekly Archives. We’ve had a tremendous response so far, but would love to have an even broader group of members participate.

Every year, we look at hundreds of terrific apps on all of Apple’s platforms, and MacStories Selects is our way to call out a handful of our absolute favorites. It’s the perfect way to cap off the year as the new one approaches. We look forward to sharing our selections and our Club members’ pick very soon.


Lightroom 5.1 Adds Direct SD Card Importing on iPad and iPhone, Plus New Export Options

As promised this fall, Adobe has updated Lightroom for iPad and Lightroom Photo Editor for the iPhone with the ability to import image files from SD cards directly inside the app. The company has added new options when exporting your photos too. I’ve been using the beta of Lightroom 5.1 for the past couple of weeks, and the update has worked exceptionally well, reducing the friction of getting images into the app and adding flexibility to getting them back out again.

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Mac Power Users, Episode 513 – Catalyst Apps on the Mac, with John Voorhees

It was a pleasure to spend time with David Sparks and Stephen Hackett talking about Catalyst apps on the Mac for episode 513 of Mac Power Users. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and covering Catalyst for the past 18 months since Apple gave developers a sneak peek at it during WWDC in 2018, so it was a lot of fun to join Sparks and Hackett to take stock of where Catalyst stands today and where it’s heading. Of course, we also covered a long list of our favorite Catalyst apps.

To listen, you can subscribe in your favorite podcast player or head over to Relay FM.

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Procreate 5 Review: A Rebuilt Graphics Engine Drives Fantastic Animation, Color, and Brush Tools in an Art App Perfectly Tailored to the iPad

Procreate 5 for iPadOS is out with an impressive roster of new features. The update by Savage Interactive includes a new graphics engine, an updated color picker and color management tools, an incredibly deep and flexible brush studio, and a fun new animation assistant that brings your creations to life. Remarkably, these robust new features don’t clutter the app’s UI or add undue complexity. Instead, Procreate 5 delivers its added flexibility and power gracefully and in a manner that I expect both veterans of the app and newcomers alike will appreciate.

Procreate has been around since the earliest days of the App Store and has been used to create fantastic art. Over the years, we’ve covered stories of artists using the app to create everything from the Stranger Things poster art and a photorealistic portrait of Morgan Freeman featuring 285,000 brush strokes to a recent Apple ad. Procreate’s capabilities are impressive, but also a little intimidating.

I don’t consider myself much more than a doodler at best, which made me question whether the app was for me and whether I should tackle reviewing it at all. Here’s the thing, though: you don’t have to be a professional artist to enjoy drawing. Art is for everyone, and the key to Procreate’s success over its long history is that it too is for everyone. The app’s UI is a model of simplicity and progressive disclosure that stays out of the way, revealing its powerful tools only if and when you need them. Combined with a reasonable $10 price tag, Procreate is a fantastic choice for dabblers or pros alike, and with version 5 out today, Procreate is more powerful than it has ever been, but just as easy to use.

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Club MacStories Makes a Terrific Holiday Gift 

As you shop for holiday gifts for friends and family, we wanted to remind everyone that Club MacStories memberships can be given as gifts year-round. The Club extends what we publish at MacStories, which makes it the perfect gift for someone who wants more of the kind of app, automation, and other coverage you find on the site.

Club MacStories offers exclusive content every week including:

  • MacStories Weekly, a newsletter that is sent on Fridays and packed full of our favorite apps, themed collections, tips, Shortcuts automations, answers to reader questions, featured Home screens, interviews, and much more.
  • The MacStories Unplugged podcast, a monthly show featuring a discussion of what’s going on behind the scenes at MacStories, articles we’re working on, the gear we’ve been testing, and more.
  • The Monthly Log, a monthly newsletter that includes long-form and behind-the-scenes stories.
  • Access to giveaways, discounts, and other treats like eBook versions of Federico’s annual iOS review and other long-form stories.
  • The full archive of over 250 issues of MacStories Weekly and the Monthly Log.

All told, that’s around 60 newsletters and lots of other perks over the course of a year.

Now is also a great time to join the Club because we have a lot planned for 2020, including a special issue coming in January that will be packed with goodies for members.

So, if you have a MacStories reader on your holiday shopping list this season, consider a Club MacStories membership that they can enjoy all year long. Monthly ($5/month) and annual ($50/year) memberships can be given using the following links:

Also, thanks to all our loyal Club members who have joined since the Club’s debut in 2015. You’re an essential part of what we do here at MacStories, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the Club as much as we enjoy creating its special content for you every week.

Happy Holidays!

- The MacStories Team


AppStories, Episode 141 – Pick 2: Reeder for the Mac and iOS

This week, we cover one of our favorite RSS clients for the Mac and iOS: Reeder by Silvio Rizzi.

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