This week on AppStories, we discuss the emerging trend of app customization, which along with app modularity, lets users control how apps work and look.
- Instabug – Ship Quality Apps with Real-Time Contextual Insights.
- DEVONthink by DEVONtechnologies – The one place for storing and working with all your documents, snippets, and bookmarks.
- Pillow – Sleeping better, made simple.
This week on AppStories, we continue the MacStories Summer OS Preview Series by interviewing Marcos Tanaka, the creator of MusicHarbor and MusicSmart about the latest changes to Apple’s music-related frameworks, his apps, and more.
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This week on MacStories Unwind:
- Monthly Log
- Safari Tab Groups
- Flexible Work Environments
- MacStories Weekly
- Command Browser
- Five things you may have missed in the iOS and iPadOS 15 betas
- Unabridged versions of three developer interviews from our developer debrief feature story
This week on AppStories, we walk through all the changes coming to Shortcuts this fall, including changes to the Shortcuts editor and the new actions you’ll find in Shortcuts on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
- Pillow – Sleeping better, made simple.
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Sami Fathi, writing for MacRumors on an API change spotted in the second developer beta of iOS 15:
Currently, apps are limited to the amount of RAM they can use, regardless of the amount available on the device. For example, despite the highest-end M1 iPad Pro featuring 16GB of RAM, on iPadOS 14, apps are limited to only use 5GB. 16GB of RAM is the highest amount of RAM ever offered in an iPhone or iPad, and the 5GB limitation means that apps aren’t able to utilize even half of what the iPad Pro has to offer.
In the second betas of iOS and iPadOS 15, released to developers yesterday, Apple is introducing a new entitlement that developers may request that will expose their apps to more memory. Apple says that this entitlement will inform the system that an app “may perform better by exceeding the default app memory limit.” Apple’s developer documentation doesn’t specify how much extra RAM an app may be exposed to and also says this is limited to “supported devices.”
I’ve rarely found myself in a scenario where my iPad Pro needed more than 5 GB of RAM, but I’m also not a professional user of apps such as video or graphic editors that may take advantage of more RAM. This is an entitlement that Apple will need to grant developers who request it, and I’m curious to see how many apps will receive it later this year (or if this option will convince more developers of pro apps to finally bring them to iPad). I find it fascinating – but not surprising at all – that Apple is introducing this possibility while they’re pushing adoption of multiwindow and modern multitasking in iPadOS 15.
This week on AppStories, we dig into the latest iteration of the research and note-taking setup that Federico is using to prepare his annual iOS and iPadOS review, a big part of which features Obsidian.
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- Genius Scan – A scanner in your pocket.
- Pillow – Sleeping better, made simple.
We speculated for years about whether Shortcuts would come to the Mac and, if so, in what form. In 2019, Dr. Drang wrote about his concern that Shortcuts would come to the Mac as a Catalyst app that couldn’t interoperate with existing Mac automation tools. It was a legitimate concern, especially given the state of Mac Catalyst apps at the time.
As Drang explains in a post today, those early concerns haven’t materialized. Shortcuts for Mac isn’t limited by Mac Catalyst, and Apple has directly plugged the app into the existing Mac automation ecosystem. Drang concludes that:
All in all, this is looks like everything I wanted in Mac Shortcuts. As I said in the post two years ago, the ability to run every kind of automation from every other kind of automation is key to making a fluid system, where you can use each tool for what it does best. Also, it means that third-party automation tools like Keyboard Maestro, which has a good AppleScript dictionary for running its macros, will fit in well with the new environment even before they incorporate Intents that are directly accessible from Shortcuts.
As Drang notes, Shortcuts for Mac’s ability to run AppleScript and for shortcuts to be run from AppleScript or from the command line is an important feature that promises to significantly increase the app’s utility from day one. Even before existing Mac automation apps do anything to support Shortcuts, they will work with it if they support AppleScript or shell scripting. That will allow users to build shortcuts that incorporate workflows created in apps like Keyboard Maestro and for Keyboard Maestro to run shortcuts from the very start.
However, before automation fans run out and install Monterey to start building new automations, it’s worth noting that Shortcuts for Mac is a brand new app in the first beta of Monterey. As Drang notes, some functionality isn’t enabled yet, and there are significant bugs that need to be worked out throughout the app. That’s to be expected, and there are still good reasons to be excited about Shortcuts for Mac. For now, though, adventurous automators should approach Shortcuts for Mac with realistic expectations about what they will be able to create.
Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors about one of the new keyboard-related additions to iPadOS 15:
In iPadOS 14, if you hold down the Command key, you can see a list of app-specific features and their key equivalents. It’s like a quick-reference card for keyboard shortcuts. In iPadOS 15, it’s been expanded to become more like the iPad equivalent of the Mac menu bar—not only does it list keyboard shortcuts, but it can list every command in the app, and you can click any of them to execute them. iPad apps that build out the Mac menu bar for their Catalyst version can pick this feature up for free. It’s another way that the Mac and iPad are trading features and complementing one another.
Then there’s the Globe key. Hold it down in any app in iPadOS 15, and you’ll see a different set of commands, all of which can be applied globally. (Get it?) These menus are full of shortcuts to switch to the home screen (Globe-H), open a Quick Note (Globe-Q), activate Control Center (Globe-C), and pretty much any other system-level area.
I particularly like Snell’s suggestion regarding these new global keyboard shortcuts and the Shortcuts app in the future. As I explained on Connected this week, I’ve been using iPadOS 15 since the first beta came out at WWDC, and I’m still learning all kinds of new keyboard shortcuts that are now supported by the system. Impressively, the new Globe modifier has been associated with all sorts of system functions, including Siri and Control Center.
If you use a third-party hardware keyboard that doesn’t have a Globe key, you can always remap another one in Settings ⇾ General ⇾ Keyboard ⇾ Hardware Keyboard ⇾ Modifier Keys. And while the keyboard shortcuts menu can be dismissed by holding the Globe key (or ⌘, for app-specific commands) again or clicking outside of it, you can also press the ⌘. shortcut (which is the equivalent of an Escape button on iPadOS) to instantly close it. Lastly, you can start typing while the menu is shown to quickly filter commands by name.
Everyday Robots, a podcast by Jonathan Ruiz, released a two-part episode today featuring developer reactions to WWDC. Ruiz’s guests include Becky Hansmeyer, Frank Foster, Marc Aupont, James Thomson, Zack Becker, Kim aka kaydacode, Ish Shabazz, Christian Selig, and Jeff Rames.
In a year without an in-person WWDC, it was fun to hear which of the announcements this year excited developers and what they felt was missing. I always enjoy Apple’s keynote, and there are a lot of additional details in the WWDC sessions, but there’s nothing like getting a sense of both the big announcements and practical everyday updates that developers are excited about to get a sense of where apps will be headed in the fall.
Both episodes are available on the Everyday Robots website and on Apple Podcasts: