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Apple Tells The Verge That iPads Will Continue to Work as Home Hubs When iPadOS 16 Is Released

Last week, MacRumors reported that beginning with iPadOS 16, the iPad would no longer be able to serve as a hub for your HomeKit accessories. MacRumors’ story was based on strings found in the iPadOS beta and was picked up by other websites, including The Verge.

However, it seems that’s not quite right. According to Apple spokesperson Catherine Franklin who contacted The Verge, the iPad will retain its current ability to operate as a home hub, but won’t be compatible with the Home app’s upcoming new architecture. That’s a shame, but at least users who rely solely on an iPad as their home hub won’t lose the features they currently have.

Here’s Apple’s full statement made to The Verge:

Alongside these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for an even more efficient and reliable experience. Because iPad will not be supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who rely on iPad for that purpose do not need to update the Home architecture and can continue enjoying all existing features.

Franklin also said that the upgrade to the Home app’s new architecture will be available in the app’s settings in a later iPadOS 16 update. No details on the new architecture were provided, although, during the WWDC keynote, a presenter mentioned that it is more efficient and reliable, allowing the Home app to handle many more accessories than before.

One aspect of what is going on with the Home app’s mysterious new architecture is undoubtedly the upcoming Matter standard. Matter, which incorporates Thread’s mesh network protocol to improve device connectivity and support over 250 devices at once, is slated to be released this fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is building functionality on top of Matter for HomeKit devices too, but whether that’s the case and what it might entail remains to be seen.

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AppStories, Episode 283 – App Grab Bag

This week on AppStories, we reach into the App Grab Bag and pull out five recommendations for listeners to try.

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On AppStories+, John has some personal news with a tech angle.

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AppStories, Episode 282 – What WWDC 2022 Means for Apple’s Platforms

This week on AppStories, we take a step back to consider the future of WWDC and what this year’s announcements mean for each of Apple’s platforms.

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On AppStories+, we go behind the scenes of MacStories’ WWDC coverage and Federico explains the apps and approach he plans to take with his iOS and iPadOS 16 review this year.

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TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino Interviews Craig Federighi About Stage Manager

Stage Manager is a very different approach to multitasking on the iPad and Mac for different reasons. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino explored the design choices made by Apple on both platforms in an interview with Craig Federighi, the company’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering.

As Panzarino explains, Stage Manager feels very iPad-centric, but Federighi says it’s the result of the Mac and iPad teams meeting in the middle after developing similar approaches to a more streamlined version of multitasking:

“There were many of us who use the Mac every day who really wanted this kind of focused experience that gave us that balance. So we were on the Mac side, picking this idea up and saying we think that’s in reach, we want to make this happen. And separately on the iPad side we were thinking about [it]. And believe it or not two independent teams who are brainstorming and designing converge on almost the identical idea.”

In response to why Stage Manager is only supported by M1 iPads, Federighi pointed to memory, storage, and graphics as factors:

“It’s only the M1 iPads that combined the high DRAM capacity with very high capacity, high performance NAND that allows our virtual memory swap to be super fast,” Federighi says. “Now that we’re letting you have up to four apps on a panel plus another four – up to eight apps to be instantaneously responsive and have plenty of memory, we just don’t have that ability on the other systems.”

It was not purely the availability of memory that led Apple to limit Stage Manager to M1 iPads though.  

“We also view stage manager as a total experience that involves external display conductivity. And the IO on the M1 supports connectivity that our previous iPads don’t, it can drive 4k, 5k, 6k displays, it can drive them at scaled resolutions. We can’t do that on other iPads.”

There’s no doubt that Stage Manager takes some getting used to, and as Federighi acknowledges in the interview, it’s not finished, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen so far. Stage Manager has the potential to make the iPad a more productive device while serving as a bridge for users coming to the Mac from the iPad. That seems to be what Apple is going for, and with some refinements, and although the feature won’t be to everyone’s tastes, I think it could be a great solution for a lot of iPad and Mac users.

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AppStories, Episode 281 – WWDC 2022: App Shortcuts, New Actions, and What We Didn’t Get

In the latest installment of AppStories’ special WWDC series, we talk about how we use the Developer app before diving into Shortcuts with a closer look at App Shortcuts and some of the new actions Shortcuts has to offer and considering some of the wishes that didn’t come true in 2022.

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On AppStories+, we answer questions from Club MacStories+ listeners who listened to the episode live, and continued our conversation about some of iPadOS’s most interesting features.

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AppStories, Episode 277 – WWDC 2022: Keynote Overview and Reactions

In today’s first special WWDC 2022 episode that was recorded live in the Club MacStories+ Discord community, Federico, John, and Alex cover the highlights of Apple’s keynote, including iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and watchOS 9.

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On AppStories+, we answered Club MacStories members’ questions about the keynote announcements live in our Discord community.

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AppStories, Episode 275 – Our iPadOS 16 Wishes

This week on AppStories, we tackle iPadOS and the changes we’d like to see come to iPad this year, and we revisit some of our Shortcuts wishes for 2022.

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On AppStories+, we consider ways that Apple could adapt trends in cross-app linking into a more universal, user-friendly feature.

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UI Browser for macOS to Be Retired in October 2022

Longtime MacStories readers may be familiar with UI Browser, an incredible scripting tool for macOS created by Bill Cheeseman. UI Browser lets you discover the AppleScript structure of an app’s menu system, taking advantage of Apple’s Accessibility APIs to make it easier to script UI, which is not – how do I put this – normally “fun”, per se. UI Browser developer Bill Cheeseman, having turned 79 years old, has decided it is now time to “bring this good work to a conclusion”, and the app will be retired in October.

Here’s what John Gruber wrote about UI Browser last week:

Long story as short as possible: “Regular” AppleScript scripting is accomplished using the programming syntax terms defined in scriptable apps’ scripting dictionaries. If you ever merely tinkered with writing or tweaking AppleScript scripts, this is almost certainly what you know. But as an expansion of accessibility features under Mac OS X, Apple added UI scripting — a way to automate apps that either don’t support AppleScript properly at all, or to accomplish something unscriptable in an otherwise scriptable app. UI scripting is, basically, a way to expose everything accessible to the Accessibility APIs to anyone writing an AppleScript script. They’re not APIs per se but just ways to automate the things you — a human — can do on screen.

A great idea. The only downside: scripting the user interface this way is tedious (very verbose) at best, and inscrutable at worst. Cheeseman’s UI Browser makes it easy. Arguably — but I’ll argue this side — “regular” AppleScript scripting is easier than “UI” AppleScript scripting, but “UI” AppleScript scripting with UI Browser is easier than anything else. UI Browser is both incredibly well-designed and well-named: it lets you browse the user interface of an app and copy the scripting syntax to automate elements of it.

I first covered UI Browser in 2019, when I published a story on how I could control my Mac mini from the iPad Pro using Luna Display and some AppleScript, which I was able to learn thanks to UI Browser. I then mentioned UI Browser twice last month for Automation April: it was thanks to the app that I managed to create shortcuts to toggle the Lyrics and Up Next sidebars in the Music app for Monterey. Maybe it’s silly, but I think there’s something beautiful in the fact that the last thing I did with UI Browser was bridging the old world of AppleScript with the modern reality of Shortcuts.

Gruber argued that Apple should acquire UI Browser and make it part of their built-in scripting tools for macOS; while I don’t disagree, I think it’s more realistic to hope another indie developer or studio picks up UI Browser and continues developing for as long as possible. There’s nothing else like it on the market, and I’d like to thank Bill Cheeseman for his amazing work on this application over the years. It’ll be missed.

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AppStories, Episode 271 – Apps with Great Shortcuts Support

This week on AppStories, we share our favorite third-party apps with deep Shortcuts integration.

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On AppStories+, we conclude the episode with a bonus round of apps with great Shortcuts support.

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