Federico Viticci

9110 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.

| Instagram: @viticci |

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Halide 1.8

Lovely update to Halide, my favorite third-party iPhone camera app, released today on the App Store. Among other improvements (such as an Apple Watch app and self-timer), I'm a fan of the new grid-based photo reviewer (try swiping down slowly on the grid to dismiss the view) as well as the advanced setting to prevent attaching location metadata when sharing a photo to social networks. I wish more apps offered an explicit preference like Halide does.

The focus on Accessibility in this release is also commendable:

We care deeply about Accessibility and have improved Halide with every update to make it easier to use for all users, but this update is our biggest push yet. With support for Dynamic and Bold Type throughout, VoiceOver support and many more enhancements. Even our 30 second timer option was included with Accessibility in mind, offering users with limited mobility more freedom to take photos.

That being said, we’re not done: this year we’ve worked with noted accessibility specialist Sommer Panage. She advised us on this release, and and helped set goals for accessibility in the year ahead.

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Apple Discontinues AirPort Routers

With a statement provided to iMore earlier today, Apple confirmed what Bloomberg's Mark Gurman first reported in late 2016 (not a typo): the company is officially exiting the WiFi router business by discontinuing the AirPort line of products.

From Rene Ritchie's story:

Routers are different. They're infrastructure. They're behind televisions, underneath desks, and in closets. For some people, especially people who appreciate Apple's design and manufacturing, and its unequivocal stance on security and privacy, the loss of the AirPort line will still be a blow.

I'm one of those people.

But I'm also reminded of a comment Steve Jobs once said to one of his direct reports: Sure, Apple could do that and make some money at it, but was it really a business Apple had to be in?

As much as I've tried to understand the argument that Apple needs to focus on fewer products, I just can't buy into the idea that they had to stop making WiFi routers.

My stance is pretty straightforward: everybody needs a WiFi router and the vast majority of routers suck. They are unsightly pieces of plastic that feature an assortment of meaningless blinking lights which you have to manage through terrifyingly confusing web apps intentionally designed to resemble accounting software from the late 90s. Sure, you could buy one of the fancy modern mesh systems, but they're expensive, and some of them are not available in all regions, and people who live in small homes don't need them. Doesn't an elegant, integrated, affordable, and modern router sound like something that Apple should continue to offer as an option for its users?

I guess that WiFi routers don't generate as much good PR as recommitting to Pro displays. But if there's an aspect of modern technology that could use great hardware and software design, a focus on privacy and security, and user-friendly controls for families, that would be WiFi routers. I'm disappointed to learn that Apple has chosen to give up instead.

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Connected, Episode 190: The Robot Should Keep Its Mouth Shut

Federico is gone, but the show had to to go on, so Stephen and Myke talk about the death of Liam, whatever is happening with Flickr and Amazon’s future robotic army.

I wasn't on Connected this week, but I really enjoyed the discussion on robots – both those that passed away and the ones who may become our home assistants in the future. You can listen here.

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Connected, Episode 189: Nah, Hummus!

Stephen and Myke are still recovering from a trip to Atlanta, and it shows in this discussion of the future of iOS and digital magazines. Federico thankfully saves the episode by sharing some about Drafts 5.

On this week's episode of Connected, we try to understand the role of digital magazines in the modern web landscape and talk about Drafts 5. You can listen here.

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Things 3.5 Brings UI Refinements, Tagging and Automation Improvements, Clipboard Integration

It's been a busy 2018 so far for Cultured Code, makers of Things for Mac and iOS. Earlier this year, the company shipped Things 3.4, which, thanks to app integrations and a toolkit for third-party developers, propelled the task manager into the elite of automation-capable apps on iOS. It doesn't happen very often that a task manager becomes so flexible it lets you build your own natural language interpreter; Things 3.4 made it possible without having to be a programmer by trade.

Today, Cultured Code is launching Things 3.5, a mid-cycle update that refines several aspects of the app and prepares its foundation for other major upgrades down the road. There isn't a single all-encompassing change in Things 3.5 – nor is this version going to convince users to switch to Things like, say, version 3.4 or 3.0 might have. However, Things 3.5 is a collection of smaller yet welcome improvements that are worth outlining because they all contribute to making Things more powerful, intuitive, and consistent with its macOS counterpart.

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Serenity Caldwell’s 2018 iPad Review

Serenity Caldwell, writing on iMore:

To me, the 2018 base-model 9.7-inch iPad is a special beast: It hits a line drive right through the company's fabled intersection of technology and liberal arts — and at the right price point. The iPad Pro did it first, but at a cost unattainable for all but the tinkerers and serious artists, and without iOS 11's crucial multitasking features. At $329, the iPad offers a low-end tablet experience unlike any other on the market. Add an extra $99 for Apple Pencil, and Apple has created the best device for all-purpose education, period.

But it's easy to make that claim, and a whole other thing to explain why I believe it so whole-heartedly. As a result, I decided to try and prove it: Starting with a blank page in Procreate, I created an entire iPad review video by just using my 2018 iPad, Apple Pencil, and third-party apps. My Mac came into play only once — when I uploaded my video to YouTube.

I know what you're thinking – the new iPad is "boring" compared to the iPad Pro and you don't need to watch another video about it. But trust me, you'll want to watch Serenity's review because it's unlike anything you've seen for a new iPad. Only Serenity could put this together – including the music, which she composed in GarageBand; everything was drawn, assembled, and edited on a "boring" 2018 iPad. You can watch the video below and read Serenity's technical notes here.

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Connected, Episode 188: A Better Thing Than a No Thing

Apple has launched a (kinda) new iPhone, discussed the Mac Pro and saved the world. Big week!

A variety of topics on this week’s episode of Connected, including a discussion on what “pro” means on different platforms. You can listen here.

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Eventail 2.2: A Compact and Customizable Calendar Widget

Eventail, developed by Jozef Legeny, is a handy utility for visualizing upcoming calendar events in a widget. Instead of building an alternative client to compete with Apple's Calendar app, Fantastical, or Week Calendar, Legeny created just a widget that you can use as a companion app alongside the calendar client of your choice.

Eventail has been updated to version 2.2 today, which brings a new vivid color scheme for events, a true black theme for the iPhone X, and other visual tweaks. I've been testing the updated app for a couple of weeks and I liked it so much, it's now got a spot at the top of my widget list on both the iPhone and iPad. In a compact and customizable widget, Eventail tells me everything I need to know from my calendar at a glance: which days are going to be busy and the time of my first appointment. There's a fair amount of personalization that you can apply in the app's settings (the app itself – pictured above – is a list of preferences): you can choose the number of days to display, whether you want to highlight weekends or not, and even if you want to display reminders alongside calendar events. Then, once you're looking at the widget, you can tap individual days to expand them and tap again to go back to the main column view. It couldn't be simpler.

Eventail's widget will not scale for busy individuals who have dozens of events going on each day. However, as someone with only a couple of appointments on a daily basis, I find Eventail's approach to be good enough for my needs and pretty to look at. I'm still using Week Calendar as my primary iPhone calendar client, but I now frequently open the Eventail widget when I need to know what my week looks like in a couple of seconds.

Eventail 2.2 is available on the App Store.