Federico Viticci

8995 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, and iOS productivity. He founded MacStories in April 2009 and has been writing about Apple since. Federico is also the co-host of AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps.

He can also be found on his three other podcasts on Relay FM – Connected, Canvas, and Remaster.

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Pixure 3.0 with PanelKit 2.0

I first linked to Louis D'hauwe's pixel art editor for iOS, Pixure, in March, when he introduced PanelKit in the iPad version of the app. If you've never played around with Pixure and PanelKit, imagine the ability to grab iPad popovers or sidebar panels and detach them so they're floating onscreen like tool palettes would on macOS. I was skeptical of this idea initially – I feared it would overcomplicate the iPad's UI – but it works surprisingly well on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I know that after using PanelKit months ago, I tried a few times to grab popovers in iPad apps like Omni's, realizing that they didn't support PanelKit.

D'hauwe is back today with Pixure 3.0, another excellent update that, among various enhancements, brings a version browser (a feature more apps should offer on iOS), drag and drop, and advanced export options. With today's release, Pixure also includes PanelKit 2.0, a major update of the framework that now supports pinning multiple panels to the side of the screen as well as resizing them. Plus, your custom panel configuration is now saved across multiple app launches, so once you set up your workspace in Pixure, the app always remembers it.

Even if you're not interested in editing pixel art graphics, I recommend checking out Pixure 3.0 just to play around with PanelKit 2.0. Support for multiple panels on the side is particularly impressive – try, for instance, to resize and stack the Color Picker and Layers panels on top of each other. It's fun and intuitive, and I bet you're going to wish more pro iPad apps offered this kind of flexible, customizable UI. You can find Pixure 3.0 on the App Store and read more about PanelKit 2.0 here.

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On Ive’s Return to Design Team Management

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Alex Webb reported yesterday on a change in Apple's design team, confirmed by Apple PR with a statement:

Apple Inc.’s Jony Ive, a key executive credited with the look of many of the company’s most popular products, has re-taken direct management of product design teams.

Ive, 50, was named Apple’s chief design officer in 2015 and subsequently handed off some day-to-day management responsibility while the iPhone maker was building its new Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California. “With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” Amy Bessette, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in a statement.

I don't know what to think about this. I never assumed Ive would leave Apple after Apple Park was completed. From the outside, we can only infer that his return to managing the design team is important enough for Apple to issue an official statement and remove Design VPs Dye and Howarth from the Leadership page.

Benjamin Mayo also raises a good point:

It’s hard to parse what this means because nobody on the outside really has a good idea of what the title change two years ago meant. Jony Ive’s elevation to Chief Design Officer felt like the first steps to his retirement with Howarth and Dye taking up the posts of lead hardware and software design.

Yet, Apple never tipped its hand that Ive was on the way out. I expected Howarth and Dye to slowly start appearing in keynote presentation videos, in interviews, and new product marketing. Ive would slowly fade from relevance in Apple’s public relations before he left for real. That simply didn’t happen. If anything, Ive became even more intertwined into Apple’s public image. He has done countless interviews and photo shoots in the intervening years.

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TechCrunch: Apple Is Acquiring Shazam

Ingrid Lunden, writing for TechCrunch:

As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.

We have heard that the deal is being signed this week, and will be announced on Monday, although that could always change.

Assuming that Apple keeps Shazam's standalone app around in the short term, I wonder if the built-in Spotify integration for streaming and saving songs will remain (I wouldn't be surprised if it gets pulled). I'm a fan of Shazam's iPhone and Watch apps, but it'd be great to have Shazam baked into Siri without having to ask any special song recognition command. Shazam's discovery and recommendation features could also tie in nicely with Apple Music.

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Connected, Episode 171: Leave It to Stephen

Apple’s had a rough week, Myke’s office is full of assistants and Federico is back with a new task manager and an iPhone X review.

On this week's episode of Connected, I cover the other half of my experience with Things, and we discuss my iPhone X story. You can listen here.

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One More Step Toward 2018 Emoji List

Jeremy Burge:

Unicode last night announced the beta version of next year's emoji release.

This beta release marks one step closer to toward a softball emoji, as well as a cupcake, redheads, bagel or kangaroo. If they make the final cut, that is.

Other emoji candidates in the beta include a teddy bear, mango, party face, skateboard, and spool of thread.

Unfortunately, the proposed emoji that caused a controversy within the Unicode Consortium – the frowning pile of poo – didn't make the cut for next year. The list isn't finalized yet (it'll be in early 2018), but I already see the party face emoji as a potential new favorite.

Also worth noting: there's a proposal to add support for changing the direction of emoji. If accepted, I wonder if Apple could add a "direction picker" to the existing emoji skin tone menu.

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Instagram Rolls Out Private Stories Archive

Two important updates to Instagram's Stories feature announced today – here's Casey Newton, writing at The Verge:

Instagram is rolling out a private archive of the ephemeral stories you have posted in the app. Starting today, Instagram will begin to add your expired stories to the archive feature, which until now has been used only to house photos and videos you no longer want to display on your public profile. The stories archive, which you will be able to opt out of, is being introduced globally on Android and iOS.

The stories archive represents another feature copied from Snapchat, which introduced its own version of the archive, called Memories, last year. But the archive differs from Snap’s version in one key respect: Instagram will let you post old stories to your profile in a feature the company is calling Highlights. You’ll be able to package old stories together in the archive, give them a name, and share them to your profile, where they will appear above your other posts.

I don't use Instagram Stories as frequently as my friends (all their social updates start via Stories these days), but with an automatic archive feature combined with Highlights, it may be time for me to start posting puppy videos more often.

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