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Introducing MacStories Dark Theme and Telegram Channel

Seven years ago today, I published my first post on MacStories.

I had no idea back then that this website would become my job one day – in fact, I really had no idea what I was doing. Every day, I'm incredibly thankful for the luck and privilege to have found friends, colleagues, and an audience that have guided us with their honest advice, help, and daily support.

MacStories wouldn't be possible without you.

To celebrate the occasion, I'm thrilled to announce two changes that I think are going to make the MacStories experience more enjoyable for everyone.

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Stanford’s iOS 9 Class Has Started on iTunes U

Stanford University has published an iOS programming course (CS193P) on iTunes U annually since the very first iPhone SDK was released. Back then, the course was taught by Apple engineers, which was unheard of at the time, and a perhaps a sign of greater openness to come. There are still a lot of good basic lessons on Objective-C, model-view-controller patterns, and other fundamentals in that first lecture series, even though Cocoa Touch APIs have changed substantially over the years. But, perhaps my favorite lecture from that first class is a short talk Loren Brichter gave on the development of Tweetie, his Twitter client that was the first app to feature pull-to-refresh and was eventually purchased by Twitter.

Now, seven years later, Stanford has begun posting lectures for Developing iOS 9 Apps with Swift. It helps to have some basic object oriented programming experience before taking on this class, but don't let that discourage you. When I started teaching myself programming I watched that first lecture series over and over, stopping to research things I didn't understand as I went. And even if you're not interested in learning to program for iOS, go back and watch Loren Brichter's talk, it's a fascinating time capsule of how far iOS has come and the clever tricks programmers used in 2009 to get around the technical limitations of early iPhones.

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Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

We all struggle with productivity. We are constantly pressured to accomplish more, and to do it quicker. There is no one definitive way to accomplish that, and we have all devised our own little method to make things work.

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Work has evolved and your tools should too. Never email yourself a file again. Bring your company into the 21st century - send your IT guy to try Igloo Software for free.

Igloo is an intranet you’ll actually like.

Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Fall Developer Conference Organizers Offer Discounts

There is no doubt that San Francisco is an expensive place to visit for a week, which puts WWDC out of reach financially for some developers. Fortunately, there are a lot of other Mac and iOS conferences held throughout the year that cost less and provide an opportunity to learn and meet fellow developers. To highlight their events, a group of Fall conference organizers have gotten together to offer a discount on admission to their events:

For the next 24 hours the following iOS / Mac community conferences are offering a 10% discount on the price of admission:

  • 360|iDev | August 21–24 | Denver, Colorado
  • try! Swift NYC | September 1–2 | New York, New York
  • Indie DevStock | September 16–17 | Nashville, Tennessee
  • Release Notes | September 27–29 | Indianapolis, Indiana
  • CocoaLove | October 14–16 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Úll | November 1–2 | Killarney, Ireland

Use the coupon code “COMMUNITY” before April 20th at 9am Pacific Time time to receive the discount.

I attended the inaugural Úll and Release Notes conferences and highly recommend both.

The cost of admission to any of these conferences is already less than a ticket to WWDC, but if you want to save an extra 10%, act fast because the offer is good for only 24 hours.

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App: The Human Story Team Shoots for June Premiere and Launches Quantify

Last week, Story & Pixel announced that it is pushing to release the upcoming documentary App: The Human Story in early June, just before WWDC. I remember being at The Talk Show live recording at WWDC in 2014 when Jake Schumacher and Jedidiah Hurt, the team behind Story & Pixel, captured some of their first footage for the film. That was followed by a successful Kickstarter later that summer, and a whole lot of work since then. This past Fall, Story & Pixel debuted fifteen minutes of opening footage for App at XOXO Fest in Portland.

During production of App, the Story & Pixel team needed a discrete way to timestamp footage while they were filming as a sort of bookmarking system that would allow them to quickly jump to certain footage during the editing process. They tried things like taking notes, but found that it disrupted interviews. To solve the problem, Story & Pixel, working with developer Ryan Newsome, created an iPhone app with four large buttons that can be discretely tapped while filming to create up to four different types of bookmarks. The bookmarks can be exported into Adobe Premiere Pro (subscription required) when you're ready to edit your footage.1

Quantify

Quantify

The app, called Quantify, launched last week and is free with a choose-your-own-price subscription model. Subscribing adds the ability to export to Adobe Premiere Pro and premium support.

App has been in production for almost two years now and it's great to see that Story & Pixel are in the final home stretch. Judging from the footage that has been previewed so far, I think we are in for a real treat.


  1. One thing that immediately occurred to me when playing around with Quantify is that something like this would be handy for podcasters who want to mark portions of audio that need editing, contain information that should be added to show notes, or where a chapter marker could be added. ↩︎

Apple Updates MacBook: Faster, Longer Battery Life, Rose Gold Option

Apple has today updated its MacBook line with faster processors, an extra hour of battery life and the option to pick a Rose Gold finish. The MacBook now comes with the sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors that go up to 1.3GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz. It also now comes with faster PCIe-based flash storage and faster 1866MHz memory.

“MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac we have ever made and it’s our vision for the future of the notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are going to love this update to MacBook, with the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish.”

Graphics performance has also been improved by up to 25 percent on the refreshed MacBooks as a result of the inclusion of an Intel HD Graphics 515 card. With the improved battery life, the refreshed MacBook should last up to 10 hours for web browsing and up to 11 hours of movie playback.

US Prices for the MacBook are unchanged and start at $1,299 for a MacBook with a 1.1 GHz Intel Core m3 processor, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage.

The MacBook Air has also received a minor refresh, with 8GB of memory now standard across all configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Air.

You can read Apple's full press release here.


Apple Pay Expands to Singapore Through American Express Partnership

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors, reports that Apple Pay has today launched in Singapore:

Apple today updated its website and its Apple Pay support document to note the expansion of the Apple Pay payment service to Singapore. With the addition of Singapore, Apple Pay is now available in six countries, including Canada, China, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Apple Pay is available in Singapore through a partnership with American Express, first announced by Apple in October of 2015. By partnering with American Express, Apple has brought Apple Pay to Singapore, Canada, and Australia and will expand it to Hong Kong and Spain later this year.

Unfortunately, Apple's partnership with American Express is once again limited to those who have a credit card issued by American Express for now. Those with an American Express card issued by their local bank will not be able to use Apple Pay – it is the same situation to Apple Pay in Australia and Canada. However, things may soon change, as Apple has listed on the Singaporean Apple Pay website that Visa support is "coming soon", as well as support for DBS, UOB and Standard Chartered.

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Apple Launches Developer Insights Webpage

Alongside yesterday's WWDC 2016 announcement, Apple also added a new webpage providing tips and insights from other developers.

The App Store makes it simple for users around the world to discover, download and enjoy your apps. Grow your business with resources designed to help you create great apps and reach more users.

The featured developers and topics are Seriously (focusing on building a brand), Grailr (bringing CARROT Weather to Apple Watch), Evernote (localising its app for Japan), and Smule (growing a thriving community of loyal users).

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