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AppStories, Episode 123 – Is Competing with Apple’s iOS Apps Getting Tougher?

On this week’s episode of AppStories, we consider the state of Apple’s built-in apps and whether it’s getting harder for third-party developers to compete with them.

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Connected, Episode 254: Hot Salt

On this week’s episode of Connected:

Stephen is back from repairing Macs and ruined the intro. Federico explains what’s going on with iOS 13 Beta 5, and Myke is excited about the second coming of the Galaxy Fold. Then, the guys discuss Apple’s Q3 results.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here).


Connected, Episode 254

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The Omni Group Adopting Standard iOS Document Browser

Ken Case, writing for The Omni Group:

In 2019, we think it’s time to retire our custom document browser in favor of using Apple’s built-in document browser—and with our iOS 13 updates this fall we’ll be doing just that. Instead of seeing our custom file browser, you’ll be presented with the standard iOS document browser—just like in Apple’s own iWork apps. Using Apple’s browser, you’ll be able to store and sync your documents using Apple’s built-in iCloud Drive, or third-party commercial options like Box—or even in cloud- or self-hosted collaborative git repositories using Working Copy.

Syncing through OmniPresence will still be an option, but it will no longer be the only integrated option. In fact, it might be the least privileged option: since OmniPresence isn’t its own separate app, it won’t be listed in the document browser’s sidebar where you find your other document storage solutions. Instead, it will present itself on iOS much like it does on Mac—as a folder of synced documents. We’re not trying to drive people away from using OmniPresence—but in 2019 we don’t think it makes sense to push people towards it either. OmniPresence is not a core part of our apps or business, and in 2019 there are lots of great alternatives. Seamless document syncing is essential to our apps—but exactly where and how those documents are synced is not!

This is an excellent change and one I hope more apps move toward. The document browser in iOS is essentially a special view of the Files app which is used as the root file management UI in document-based apps that adopt it. As Case points out, all of Apple’s iWork apps support the document browser, and several key third-party apps do too such as PDF Viewer, MindNode, and Pretext. The document browser not only enables users to store an app’s files in any file provider they wish, but its other primary benefit is offering a single unified file browsing experience for users on iOS. As more apps adopt the document browser, that unified experience becomes more a reality for iPad and iPhone users.

The timing of the Omni Group implementing the document browser is surely no surprise: this fall Apple’s Files app is being upgraded with support for external storage devices like USB drives, a new Column view, shared iCloud Drive folders, and more. By adopting the document browser in apps like OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle, the Omni Group gets the advantage of having all these new Files features built right into their apps.


Apple Now Selling LG UltraFine 5K Display with iPad Pro Compatibility

Benjamin Mayo at 9to5Mac noticed a new addition to the Apple Store today:

Apple is now selling a new generation of the 5K LG UltraFine display. For the first time, the 5K UltraFine is now compatible with the iPad Pro, finally offering a 5K display option for 2018 iPad Pro users.

Previously, the 5K UltraFine display would only work over Thunderbolt. Now, it can output 5K over USB-C DisplayPort, which means it can now work with any of Apple’s current Mac and iPad Pro lineup.

Earlier this year the previous UltraFine 5K was mysteriously discontinued. Many assumed that move was in preparation for Apple introducing its own display option at WWDC. When the Pro Display XDR was unveiled, however, its $4,999 base price meant it clearly didn’t target the same market as LG’s UltraFine. While it’s possible Apple will introduce a lower-cost first-party display at some point in the future, for now the UltraFine is a nice alternative option to have. It’s priced at $1,299, and while nothing else about the monitor has changed, the ability to output from the iPad Pro is a valuable addition.

Update: Since originally publishing, 9to5Mac has discovered a support document from Apple which clarifies that, in fact, this new monitor can only work with the iPad Pro at 4K resolution - 3840 x 2160 at 60Hz – rather than the full 5K available with many Mac models. A disappointing discovery, but perhaps not altogether surprising.


Creating the World of Red Rising with Author Pierce Brown (Part 1)

Today on Dialog, we are joined by author Pierce Brown the creator of the Red Rising series of novels. In this first part of a two-part interview, we talk about the lead up to the release of Dark Age, Brown’s latest book that will be released tomorrow, how he got started writing, the themes and influences behind the Red Rising series, the business of writing, social media, and interacting with fans.

You can find the episode here or listen through the Dialog web player below.

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Billboard Profiles Apple Music Lead Oliver Schusser

Billboard has an in-depth profile of Oliver Schusser, who has been running Apple Music for the past 15 months. You may not have heard Schusser’s name before, but he’s been at Apple since 2004, first working to expand iTunes in Europe. With Jimmy Iovine taking on a consulting role at Apple Music and Robert Kondrk moving to a product and design role, Billboard explains that Schusser was tapped to grow the streaming service.

The profile, which also includes interviews with Jen Walsh, the director in charge of Shazam and Beats 1, and Rachel Newman, the global senior director of editorial, emphasizes the service’s focus on editorial over algorithmic content:

“You hear Tim talk a lot about humanity – how we’re at the crossroads between the liberal arts and technology,” says Oliver Schusser. “It’s got to be both.” The new leader of Apple Music (the Tim in question would be his boss, Apple CEO Cook) is relaxing in his sun-drenched corner office at the company’s Culver City, Calif., headquarters on a June morning, explaining – in his typically measured way – why the service he oversees hasn’t gone all-in on algorithms. “That’s just not the way we look at the world,” continues Schusser. “We really do believe that we have a responsibility to our subscribers and our customers to have people recommend what a playlist should look like and who the future superstars are.”

Among other changes Schusser has implemented since taking the reigns of Apple Music, Billboard emphasizes the shift away from annual feature releases timed around Apple hardware releases noting the mid-year of top 100 charts and new personalized playlists. Those changes caught my eye in particular because unlike software tied to hardware advances or operating system changes, services, which have become increasingly important to Apple, demand ongoing attention to remain in the forefront of the public’s mind to retain existing customers and sign up new ones.

The approach is a departure for Apple, but one we’ve begun to see more often with ongoing improvements to Siri and mid-year updates to Shortcuts, for example. Apple Music’s advances may not get a lot of attention from the software and hardware-focused tech press, but in my experience, Apple Music has steadily improved since its debut, developing into an excellent way for me to enjoy my favorite bands and discover new ones.


Connected, Episode 253: Jeff Would Absolutely Destroy Me

On this week’s episode of Connected:

Federico and Myke are interested in expanding their smart home devices, wondering if Apple will buy a chunk of Intel, and considering the possible new features of the iPhone 11.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here).


Connected, Episode 253

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