John Voorhees

2151 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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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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Pixelmator Pro 3.0 Adds Templates

Templates are a great way to speed up your workflow and maintain a consistent design language and branding across everything you create. With Pixelmator Pro 3.0,, you now have over 200 professionally-designed templates for creating a wide range of documents and mockups. I’ve been playing around with the new templates for a few days, and they have a lot of potential.

Templates are organized by type and branding style.

Templates are organized by type and branding style.

When you start a new Pixelmator Pro document, you’re presented with the app’s catalog of templates, which is broken down into several categories for creating social media, print, video, and mockup assets. There’s also a Brand Templates category that cuts across different template types, collecting templates by their branding style. There’s a lot here to browse, but like any app that offers templates, I quickly gravitated to a couple of looks that I particularly liked. You can also define your own templates using the app’s system for creating placeholders for various image elements.

Replacing a placeholder image is easy.

Replacing a placeholder image is easy.

Once you open a new template-based document, tweaking it is easy. The options for each template vary depending on its design, but browsing through the layer navigator in the left sidebar, you’ll find controls to change things like lighting effects, placeholder images, colors, and more. The Pixelmator team says that for actions like replacing placeholder images, Pixelmator Pro uses the app’s machine learning engine to remove backgrounds, resize images, change their resolution, and place them properly in any frame.

Examples of Pixelmator Pro's Document Colors.

Examples of Pixelmator Pro’s Document Colors.

Pixelmator Pro 3.0 also introduces the concept of Document Colors, which are sets of colors that can be applied to a template. Each template comes with a few starter palettes to choose from, and you can create your own too. Click on a set of colors, and your template will be updated with the new color scheme all at once.

Device mockups are limited but look good.

Device mockups are limited but look good.

Overall, I like the new Pixelmator Pro templates a lot. It’s simple to get started and easy to adjust your creation. I also appreciate the wide variety of formats available for social media and other types of documents.

The iPhone, iPad, and MacBook mockups have potential too, but I found the lack of adjustments available for the device frames and backgrounds limiting, A bigger library of mockup styles would help, but more controls to manipulate device frames and backgrounds would be ideal.

Still, I like the direction Pixelmator Pro is heading with its templates. They’re easier to use than the systems used in other apps and should meet the needs of a lot of users.

Pixelmator Pro 3.0 is available on the App Store as a free update to existing customers.


AppStories, Episode 296 – iOS 16 Apps with Great Lock Screen Widgets

This week on AppStories, we cover some of our favorite new apps and updates that feature iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets.

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On AppStories+, I got a new microphone, and both Federico and I contemplate our evolving work setups.

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Victoria Song of The Verge Answers the Question: Who Is the Apple Watch Ultra For?

The Apple Watch Ultra reviews are out and instead of a roundup of all of them, I’m just going to link to Victoria Song’s review on The Verge, which comprehensively covers the watch’s new features, answers all of the questions I’ve had since the Ultra’s announcement, and explains better than anyone who it’s for and who it’s not:

After a week of testing, I don’t think it’s going to bump Garmin, Polar, or Coros watches for the Ironman, thru-hiker, or deep-sea diving crowds, at least not yet. But it’s legitimately good for weekend warriors and intermediate athletes — and very tempting for folks who aspire to that status and a whole lot of people who just want the biggest, baddest Apple Watch they can get.

The size of the Ultra is an area of intense interest, and while it’s big and chunky, Song explains that in practice, it feels smaller to wear:

I don’t normally love big smartwatches. I have petite wrists, and anything over 45mm is generally too uncomfortable for all-day wear, looks ridiculous on my arm, and leads to activity tracking inaccuracies. But I’ve found that some watches “wear small” — the Polar Grit X ProSamsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and Suunto 7 all feel smaller than they look. To my surprise, the 49mm Apple Watch Ultra is one of them.

This is one of those things that’s hard to convey through pictures alone. In photos, the Watch Ultra dwarfs my wrist. In person, it feels smaller than some of the 45mm to 47mm round watches I’ve tested.

Song and The Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel both got better than rated battery life too:

The Ultra’s 36-hour battery estimate is also a bit conservative; if you’re not partaking in a triathlon, you’re likely going to get closer to 48 hours. And that’s without low-power mode enabled.

Although there’s room for improvement and Song doesn’t think Apple is going to take the sports watch category by storm just yet, she concludes that:

All in all, the Ultra is one of the best debuts in a new product category that I’ve seen in a while. A lot of thought was put into the Ultra, and it shows. It’s not enough to make Garmin shake in its boots just yet, but it’s more than enough to pique interest and spark competition. Apple’s officially a viable contender in the rugged watch category — and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

The review is full of real-life, hands-on scenarios that make the case for the Apple Watch Ultra as a device that fits the profile of a fitness enthusiast better than the fitness pro but also someone who wants the most Apple Watch available. It’s an interesting mix that will be interesting to watch develop as the Ultra is delivered to customers and evolves in the future.

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GoodLinks 1.7: New iOS 16 Shortcuts Actions, Focus Filter Support, Lock Screen Widgets, and More

I’m really excited about the latest update to GoodLinks for iPhone. The app has always had some of the best automation support of any link management or read-later app I’ve used. However, with version 1.7, which was released last week, GoodLinks has taken its automation tools to a new level, opening up more ways to customize how you save, manage, and use links than ever before.

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