Ryan Christoffel

441 posts on MacStories since November 2016

Ryan is an editor for MacStories and co-hosts the Adapt podcast on Relay FM. He most commonly works and plays on his iPad Pro and bears no regrets about moving on from the Mac. He and his wife live in New York City.

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Twitter Now Allows Images, Videos, and GIFs in Quote Tweets

Chris Welch of The Verge, reporting on a new Twitter feature rolling out today:

Beginning today, Twitter users can add images, videos, and GIFs to their retweets / quoted tweets. The company is rolling out this new feature across Android, iOS, and Twitter’s mobile website; it’s not on desktop quite yet, however. Adding media to a retweet works just like you’d expect: tap the “retweet with comment” option and then choose the image or GIF icon in the toolbar.

This feature is long overdue for the service, and Twitter’s design implementation appears solid. Displaying media when quoting a tweet that doesn’t have any seems like it wouldn’t have been particularly hard, but the real challenge is in media tweets quoting media tweets. Twitter’s solution works well: when a tweet containing media is quoted, and you add media to your retweet, the original tweet’s content is condensed to fill a space that’s not much bigger than before, ensuring timelines don’t get too cluttered with endless stacks of media tweets quoting media tweets.

Left: Twitter, Center: Tweetbot, Right: Twitterrific

Left: Twitter, Center: Tweetbot, Right: Twitterrific

Presumably, third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific will be granted the ability to create quote tweets with media as well. Currently, each app has its own way of displaying these tweets: in tweets with media that quote more media, Tweetbot shows the original media, while Twitterrific shows that of the retweet; however, Tweetbot does display both forms of media when viewing a tweet’s Detail screen.

In addition to bringing media retweets to more platforms, it sounds like Twitter has some other enhancements already in the works for the new feature, such as increased interactivity with quoted tweets.

Twitter already enables you to tap media thumbnails in quoted tweets to load that media in full, so it will be interesting to see what other interactivity the company plans to add in the future.

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Kernel Review: Modern Movie Tracking

Most of the apps I cover for MacStories relate in some way to productivity, a theme that extends to the apps normally dominating my iPhone’s home screen. Writing and note-taking apps, task managers, communication apps, and tools like Shortcuts all help me get things done each day. However, sometimes what I want from my phone isn’t a productivity tool, but an app that specializes in something related less to work and more to fun. For example, a movie tracker. Kernel is a new app that does just that.

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HomeRun Launches Advanced Daily Routine Feature for Complications and Siri Face

HomeRun 1.2 was released today from developer Aaron Pearce, the latest evolution of the Apple Watch app for controlling HomeKit scenes from your wrist. Its last big update introduced the ability to create custom complications on the Watch, which was a fantastic addition because it enabled users to implement the complications that work best for them personally. Today’s update extends the theme of user customization and programmability, but takes it to a whole new level – exceeding anything I’ve seen from another Watch app before now.

Version 1.2 of HomeRun revolves around one main feature – daily routines – which takes a couple different forms. In each manifestation, however, daily routines equip users to program which actions the app surfaces on their wrist during the course of a normal day.

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Marvis Review: The Ultra-Customizable Apple Music Client

Marvis is a music player that launched on iPhone just two months ago, yet in a 3.0 update today expands its usefulness immensely thanks to a major new feature: full Apple Music integration. With today's release, Marvis joins the growing list of third-party apps that use Apple's MusicKit API to offer access to and control of your Apple Music library.

Marvis follows in the footsteps of Soor, which Federico reviewed earlier this year, in prioritizing layout customization as one of its hallmark advantages over Apple's first-party Music app. Pushing beyond what even Soor accomplished though, in Marvis customization is taken to a whole new level, with fine-grained design options that no other app can compare with.

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MindNode 6 Review: Refined Mind Mapping

When MindNode debuted its last major version, it brought a major revamping and modernization of the core app experience. The update was a resounding success in my view: adopting the document browser, an adjustable panel system, and drag and drop made MindNode a shining example of modern iOS design; at the same time, additions like quick entry mode and a slate of new, easy to decipher iconography made MindNode more accessible to the mind mapping novice.

Where MindNode 5 brought major evolution and a fresh foundation, today's version 6 for iOS and the Mac is able to build on that foundation with refinements and advancements that make the app more versatile and expand existing features in new ways. I've grouped those improvements into two categories: focus aids and efficiency aids.

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Apple Launches Dedicated YouTube Channel for Apple TV

Over the last few weeks Apple has quietly debuted a new YouTube channel dedicated to one of its services: Apple TV. The Apple TV channel is home to a variety of videos, like trailers for upcoming films and TV shows, exclusive behind the scenes clips and interviews tied to popular shows and movies, and, of course, videos highlighting Apple's own original content efforts, like an Apple TV+ trailer and Carpool Karaoke previews.

Every video on the channel appears to be ad-free, which could offer a compelling reason to watch trailers for upcoming films, such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, through the Apple TV channel rather than a competing channel where ads are commonplace.

The launch of an Apple TV channel on YouTube is no big surprise, particularly as Apple moves further into the video and entertainment space. However, the channel does have an odd, yet interesting relationship with Apple's own TV app. While the channel serves to promote the Apple TV service, its videos by and large aren't available on that service's app. The behind the scenes clips and interviews found on this new channel are not currently available in the Apple TV app, only on YouTube – though it's certainly possible that will change in the future. Similarly, most of the trailers on YouTube are unavailable in the TV app, since unreleased films and shows don't exist in TV's content database.

Trailers for unreleased films have historically been served through Apple's iTunes Trailers platform, which is still alive though somewhat stagnant – the iOS app hasn't been updated for a year and carries many dated design conventions. However, the launch of an Apple TV YouTube channel may indicate Apple's plans to slowly shutter that service.

As Apple's redesigned TV app launches next month as part of tvOS 12.3 and iOS 12.3, and we draw nearer to the launch of Apple TV+ this fall, it will be interesting to see what kind of content Apple funnels through this new YouTube channel rather than the TV app itself. Will most videos continue to be YouTube-exclusive, simply serving to promote films and shows that can be watched in the TV app? Or will the TV app eventually house all of this content as well, with YouTube merely serving as a means of greater exposure for Apple's TV efforts? We shouldn't have to wait long to find out.


How MacStories Instigated My iPad-First Journey

When I started reading MacStories, the site had already shifted its focus from the Mac to the iPad – and that's what drew me in.

I've been an Apple admirer for as long as I can remember, but in my younger years the company's products were simply outside my budget. It wasn't until the age of 18 that I owned my first Apple device, an iPod, which was followed a couple years later by a second-hand MacBook. In both of these cases, it was the surprisingly short lifespans of my previous non-Apple MP3 player and laptop that led me to finally splurge and pay the Apple premium. I quickly discovered that, for me at least, it was well worth it.

Despite loving my iPod and MacBook, I didn't start diving deeper into the Apple ecosystem until after the iPad's release in 2010. At that point the iPhone had been around for a few years, but in frugality I had stuck with a cheap flip phone and evaded the smartphone era as long as I could. After the iPad, though, things quickly changed.

Shortly following the launch of Apple's tablet, my boss at the time purchased that very first iPad for me, which was the gateway that led to an iPhone 4 later that year, a MacBook Pro the year after that, and many more Apple products since then. The iPad catalyzed my deepening interest in Apple, and it was the iPad that also, several years later, led to my discovery of MacStories.

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New Club MacStories Perk: 6 Months of 1Password Families Free for New Subscribers

It's been a special week for us. In reflecting on the first decade of MacStories, two things have stood out to me as being crucial elements' of the site's continued flourishing: an enthusiastic, supportive base of readers, and a steady stream of great apps to cover. It was those two things that led to the formation of Club MacStories, where we get to highlight even more of the best apps the App Store has to offer, for a base of readers who value getting more out of MacStories.

As part of our anniversary week celebrations, we've teamed up with 1Password for a special perk for Club members: 6 free months of 1Password Families for first-time 1Password customers. Details on eligibility and how to sign up will be in this Friday's MacStories Weekly newsletter.

Longtime MacStories readers will know that 1Password has consistently been one of our favorite and most trusted utilities (the app even has its own site tag). A few years back 1Password transitioned from a paid up front business model to that of subscriptions, with various plans and tiers available. The Families plan includes full access to 1Password apps across all platforms (iOS, Mac, and even Windows, Android, and the web) for up to five family members, plus 1GB of secure document storage for the family. We're grateful that the team at 1Password has made this special offer available.

If you're not a Club MacStories member, you can join the Club today to score this special offer on Friday, as well as gain instant access to our members-only MacStories Unplugged podcast, the full back catalogue of over 200 previous newsletters, and other perks. Membership is $5/month or $50/year and directly contributes to helping us continue doing what we love.



Latest iPad Pro Ads Highlight the Device’s Versatility

Today Apple published six new videos that focus on the iPad Pro. Five of them are continuations of the 'A New Way' series that debuted in January, highlighting the device's versatility in tasks like video creation, wedding planning, and serving as the perfect travel companion. The final video, titled 'Life on iPad,' follows a man around town as he uses the iPad Pro during what's presented as an average day – he uses the device to make a Group FaceTime call, do illustrative work while connected to an external monitor, email a file, and draft a document during a flight.

All five 'A New Way' videos do a great job showcasing real-life tasks being tackled on the iPad. Most are focused on getting things done, but the video about travel also highlights the iPad's strengths as a video player and even coloring book. The task-focused videos offer step-by-step examples of workflows that can be helpful to users aiming to stretch their use of the iPad Pro.


As with the prior round of 'A New Way' ads, these all end by highlighting how they were filmed, edited, designed, and made entirely on iPad Pro, no doubt with similar workflows to the ones Apple previously documented.

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