Federico Viticci

8685 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 mobile software. He can also be found on his three podcasts – Connected, Canvas, and Remaster.

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Copied 2.0

There's a great update to Copied, my favorite clipboard manager for iOS, released on the App Store today.

I've been using Copied since version 1.0 and it's a good example of an iCloud-based app that has always worked reliably (same with Ulysses). I use Copied to store bits of text and images and keep them synced across devices. Just this past week, I stored several shortcode templates in Copied for the special formatting of my iOS 10 review. I love the app.

I haven't had time to properly test the new version yet, but based on a few minutes of playing around with it, I think it has some terrific enhancements. The widget has been redesigned for iOS 10 and it can show more clippings at once. You can now create text formatters (with templates or JavaScript) to reformat text in specific ways before pasting it. There are rules to save clippings into lists based on text matches. There's a built-in Safari View Controller browser and both extensions (action and custom keyboard) have been rewritten with text formatter integration.

There's a lot to try in the latest Copied, and I'm already considering some text formatter scripts for my Markdown workflows. Copied 2.0 is a free update on the App Store.

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Connected, Episode 108: Confusion as a Discovery Mechanism

iOS 10 is here, and Federico has written the definitive review of it.

On the latest episode of Connected, we talk about the launch of iOS 10 and how my review was finalized. You can listen here.

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How RAW Changes iPhone Photography

Ben McCarthy, writing for iMore:

Editing RAW files feels like a huge leap forward in terms of mobile photography: With iOS 10, the iPhone is evolving from a great camera for taking casual photos with into a capable professional tool. It still has plenty of limitations, but I suspect we've passed a tipping point.

But shooting while out and about is one thing. What about using the iPhone in a studio? I gathered together a couple of friends to do a little impromptu photoshoot to see how the iPhone would hold up.

Ben is the developer of Obscura, which I featured in my review yesterday because of its native RAW support on iOS 10. He makes some good points on the limitations and advantages of shooting RAW on iPhone.

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Austin Mann’s iPhone 7 Plus Camera Review in Rwanda

I consider the iPhone a computer with a camera more than a computer that makes phone calls. Therefore, Austin Mann's annual iPhone camera review is my favorite of the bunch. I've been linking them for the past couple of years, and I find Austin's approach always fascinating and well-presented.

This time, Austin has outdone himself. To properly test the iPhone 7 Plus' camera with optical zoom, they've flown to Rwanda in collaboration with Nat Geo Travel and Nat Geo Adventure to track gorillas and take close-up pictures, timelapses, test wide-color gamut photos, and more.

He writes:

As many of you know, in the past I've created this review in Iceland twice, Patagonia and Switzerland, but this year I wanted to really change things up. With indicators pointing toward possibilities of optical zoom I asked myself: where's the best place in the world to test optical zoom? Africa of course.

So this year, in collaboration with Nat Geo Travel + Nat Geo Adventure we’ve set out to get you the answers. I'm writing you from deep in the Nyungwe rain forest in southwest Rwanda… we've been tracking gorillas in the north, boating Lake Kivu in the west and running through tea plantations in the south… all with the iPhone 7 Plus in hand.

I've had a blast playing with the wide spectrum of new features and tech but as always, our mission is to find out the answer to one question:

How does all this new tech make my pictures (and videos) better than before?

The result is beautiful. The video "review" is a mini-documentary/short film about tracking down mountain gorillas, and it's 9 minutes long. Seeing how they found the gorillas brought a big smile on my face, and you can notice how the zoom interface of the iPhone 7 Plus was useful for that purpose.

Watch it below, and go check out Austin's photos and summary of the experience here.

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WhatsApp Adds Siri and CallKit Integration for iOS 10

CallKit and Siri in the latest WhatsApp update.

CallKit and Siri in the latest WhatsApp update.

There are two iOS 10 features I wish I could have covered with more examples in my review: SiriKit and CallKit. It was tricky to get my hands on Siri-enabled apps this summer (I only tested one); I couldn't try any CallKit app.

WhatsApp didn't miss the opportunity to support the latest version of iOS with new features ready at launch this time. With an update released today, WhatsApp has brought Siri integration to send messages and CallKit support to elevate VoIP calls to a native experience on iOS 10.

I've been playing with both features tonight, and they work just as well as Apple advertised. You can ask Siri to send messages on WhatsApp and it'll show you a preview of the message with WhatsApp's UI before sending it. It's fast and it works from anywhere. Same for CallKit: WhatsApp calls take over the Home screen and Lock screen with the regular interface of phone calls on the iPhone – they're not basic push notifications anymore.

You can even add a button to start a WhatsApp call to a person's contact card (try to long-tap the 'Call' button and you'll see) or to your Phone's Favorites. WhatsApp calls feel like part of iOS now thanks to CallKit and Intents – and other VoIP services can take advantage of the framework, too.

I had a rough idea of how Siri would work in everyday scenarios (I think it's going to be a great addition to messaging apps on iOS), but I've been genuinely impressed by CallKit and contact extensibility so far.


David Smith’s iOS 10 and watchOS 3 App Updates

I'm a fan of David Smith's apps for the Apple Watch. He gets what makes an app great on the Watch, and his focus on health and fitness resonates with me. David shipped some solid iOS 10 and watchOS 3 updates today – but Background Refresh in Sleep++ is my favorite:

Sleep++ has been updated to take advantage of the new Background Refresh mechanism in watchOS 3. Now rather than performing all of the sleep analysis in the morning when you wake up, instead it is able to analyze your night while you are sleeping. So when you wake up only the last few minutes of the night need to be processed. The end result of this is that you should barely seen the Analyzing Night progress dialog any more.

I have a feeling that Background Refresh will make me re-evaluate several Watch apps I stopped using (except David's – one of the very few apps on my Watch).

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iOS 10: The MacStories Review

Sometimes, change is unexpected. More often than not, change sneaks in until it feels grand and inevitable. Gradually, and then suddenly. iOS users have lived through numerous tides of such changes over the past three years.

iOS 7, introduced in 2013 as a profound redesign, was a statement from a company ready to let go of its best-selling OS' legacy. It was time to move on. With iOS 8 a year later, Apple proved that it could open up to developers and trust them to extend core parts of iOS. In the process, a new programming language was born. And with last year's iOS 9, Apple put the capstone on iOS 7's design ethos with a typeface crafted in-house, and gave the iPad the attention it deserved.

You wouldn't have expected it from a device that barely accounted for 10% of the company's revenues, but iOS 9 was, first and foremost, an iPad update. After years of neglect, Apple stood by its belief in the iPad as the future of computing and revitalized it with a good dose of multitasking. Gone was the long-held dogma of the iPad as a one-app-at-a-time deal; Slide Over and Split View – products of the patient work that went into size classes – brought a higher level of efficiency. Video, too, ended its tenure as a full-screen-only feature. Even external keyboards, once first-party accessories and then seemingly forgotten in the attic of the iPad's broken promises, made a comeback.

iOS 9 melded foundational, anticipated improvements with breakthrough feature additions. The obvious advent of Apple's own typeface in contrast to radical iPad updates; the next logical step for web views and the surprising embrace of content-blocking Safari extensions. The message was clear: iOS is in constant evolution. It's a machine sustained by change – however that may happen.

It would have been reasonable to expect the tenth iteration of iOS to bring a dramatic refresh to the interface or a full Home screen makeover. It happened with another version 10 beforetwice. And considering last year's iPad reboot, it would have been fair to imagine a continuation of that work in iOS 10, taking the iPad further than Split View.

There's very little of either in iOS 10, which is an iPhone release focused on people – consumers and their iPhone lifestyles; developers and a deeper trust bestowed on their apps. Like its predecessors, iOS 10 treads the line of surprising new features – some of which may appear unforeseen and reactionary – and improvements to existing functionalities.

Even without a clean slate, and with a release cycle that may begin to split across platforms, iOS 10 packs deep changes and hundreds of subtle refinements. The final product is a major leap forward from iOS 9 – at least for iPhone users.

At the same time, iOS 10 is more than a collection of new features. It's the epitome of Apple's approach to web services and AI, messaging as a platform, virtual assistants, and the connected home. And as a cornucopia of big themes rather than trivial app updates, iOS 10 shows another side of Apple's strategy:

Sometimes, change is necessary.

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    Our thanks to MacStadium for sponsoring MacStories this week.


    Club MacStories, Year One: Celebrating with Club MacStories Anniversary Month

    When I announced Club MacStories almost a year ago, I wrote:

    But, at the same time, I'm also ready for more – something a bit more focused and dedicated to our biggest fans, built with care every week and delivered with the same passion that we put into MacStories every day. Club MacStories is a new challenge for us, but I know that I, Graham, and the rest of the MacStories team can pull it off consistently and with the quality you expect from MacStories.

    If you love MacStories as much as we love making it, I hope you'll consider becoming a Club MacStories member. This isn't just about good feelings and supporting MacStories directly (although that's pretty great): you'll receive what I believe are useful and informative newsletters every week, plus a recap of everything MacStories and more every month.

    A year later, I couldn't be happier with the progress of Club MacStories and the response from Club members. In twelve months, we've delivered 60 newsletters (if you're counting: 48 issues of MacStories Weekly out of 51 weeks). We've featured discounts, giveaways, and eBook downloads exclusive to members, and our team has grown thanks to John's contributions to the Club.

    I'm happy, signups to the Club keep growing on a weekly basis, and we continue to think about how to offer even more content for Club MacStories. I'm extremely thankful to everyone who's considered the Club and signed up.

    I don't like dwelling on self-celebrations, but a year of weekly content in addition to the site is an important milestone for us. And so, as the anniversary date was approaching, I thought it'd be appropriate to give back to our readers, show our appreciation, and celebrate the first year of Club MacStories together.

    What better way than discounts on great software, exclusively for Club MacStories members?

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