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Apple Highlights Apps and Games Updated for iPad Pro

In yesterday's weekly refresh of the App Store's front page, Apple launched a new section highlighting apps updated to support the iPad Pro with design optimizations and new features.

Creativity and productivity soar when you pair great apps with iPad Pro. We've compiled some of our favorites that take advantage of its expansive Retina display and astounding performance. On iPad Pro, everything from drawing to multitasking to watching videos is a stunning experience.

The section is organized in six sub-categories, each grouping apps that have been updated with integrations for specific iPad Pro and iOS 9 features, such as 'Enhanced for Apple Pencil', 'Powerful Multitasking', or 'Desktop-Class Apps'. Featured apps include well-known names such as Evernote, 1Password, Slack, and OmniGroup apps, but also apps from smaller indie studio like Numerics (which takes advantage of the Pencil in an interesting way), LiquidText, Curator, and Workflow.

With the exception of Apple Pencil, apps featured by Apple in this section don't have access to iOS features that are exclusive to the iPad Pro, and they're not iPad Pro-only apps. Instead, Apple is highlighting apps that optimize for the iPad Pro's hardware and bigger screen to augment existing iOS 9 functionalities. Thanks to the 12.9-inch display, multitasking on the iPad Pro is more powerful than its counterpart on the iPad Air 2; with the four speaker audio system, video apps can be more immersive.

In a separate section, Apple is also highlighting games for iPad Pro – which include titles like The Room Three, Broken Age, and Geometry Wars 3. You can find the section here.

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

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Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Apple Airs New iPad Pro Commercial, ‘A Great Big Universe’

Earlier today, Apple aired a new commercial for the iPad Pro, with a focus on the Retina display, iOS 9 Split View multitasking, and drawing with Apple Pencil on the new device.

There's a great big universe in the new iPad Pro. It's the largest iPad ever and takes your creativity and productivity to an epic scale.

In the ad, featuring Alabama Shakes' Sound & Color as the background song, Apple starts by showcasing the space-themed imagery that's been on marketing materials for the iPad Pro since its introduction in September. Then, the video zooms out to reveal Sky Guide and Procreate, working simultaneously in multitasking on the iPad Pro. Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro's stylus accessory to draw and annotate, is also showcased in the commercial with annotations in Procreate – one of the apps that has been updated with early iPad Pro support.

Today, Apple confirmed that the iPad Pro is launching this Wednesday, November 11, for online orders, with retail availability to follow later in the week. You can watch the ad below.

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Apple Confirms iPad Pro Is Launching This Week

In a press release, Apple has confirmed that the iPad Pro, the company's new 12.9-inch tablet, will be launching this week. Online orders will begin on Wednesday, November 11, and the iPad Pro will be available at retail stores, select carriers, and authorized resellers later this week.

“The early response to iPad Pro from app developers and our customers has been incredible, and we’re excited to get iPad Pro into the hands of customers around the world this week,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad Pro is the most powerful iPad we’ve ever made, giving users the ability to be even more creative and more productive with the epic 12.9-inch Retina display, powerful 64-bit A9X chip and groundbreaking Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard. We can’t wait to see what they do with iPad Pro.”

In the press release, Apple has quoted several developers of iPad apps that will be updated to take advantage of Apple Pencil, a new stylus built specifically for iPad Pro with support for pressure sensitivity, tilt, and high precision.

iPad Pro features a bigger display than the iPad Air 2, a new four speaker audio system, and nearly double the CPU performance and double the graphics performance of previous iPads. You can read more in our original overview from September here.

Apple Adds Categories to the Apple TV App Store

Jeff Benjamin on iDownloadBlog notes that the Apple TV App Store now has a Categories section:

Good news for Apple TV owners looking for better ways to discover new apps on the App Store. After adding Top Charts, Apple has added a new Categories section to the App Store as well. As of now, the Categories section appears to be a bit limited, so far listing only Games and Entertainment.

On Monday it was the introduction of Top Charts to the Apple TV's App Store, and today it's the introduction of Categories (albeit limited to just two at the moment). Apple's listening and (thankfully) moving quickly to address concerns about app discoverability. The next thing that should be on their list, in my opinion, is the ability to link to Apple TV apps and preview them on the web. And whilst we're on the topic of Apple TV wishes, let's hope a few developers at Apple have also been re-allocated to quickly update the iOS Remote app to support the new Apple TV.

Although the Categories section appears to be US-only for the moment, this will likely roll-out internationally within a few days. Top Charts was also limited to the US at first, but is now available internationally.


Inbox by Gmail to Add New Smart Reply Feature This Week

Inbox by Gmail is about to get a whole lot smarter this week with a new feature called Smart Reply. Bálint Miklós on the Official Gmail Blog explains:

Smart Reply suggests up to three responses based on the emails you get. For those emails that only need a quick response, it can take care of the thinking and save precious time spent typing. And for those emails that require a bit more thought, it gives you a jump start so you can respond right away.

The feature will be rolling out to the Inbox by Gmail app on iOS and Android later this week, but will only work in English for now. Smart Reply uses machine learning to recognize which emails need responses and then generate three appropriate responses for the user to pick from. The Google Research Blog also has some more details on how the researchers got the feature to work.

And much like how Inbox gets better when you report spam, the responses you choose (or don't choose!) help improve future suggestions. For example, when Smart Reply was tested at Google, a common suggestion in the workplace was "I love you." Thanks to Googler feedback, Smart Reply is now SFW :)


AgileBits Announces 1Password for Teams

AgileBits yesterday announced 1Password for Teams:

1Password for Teams allows you to share the convenience and security of 1Password with everyone in your life. It gives you the tools you need to control and manage access to your most important information.

New to 1Password for Teams is the Admin Console, a central location to manage your team, vaults and items. The Admin Console makes teamwork a breeze and it completely changes the way you use 1Password in a group environment. It’s packed with features you’ve been asking for, and several new ones you didn’t know you needed :)

Agile Bits is currently accepting sign ups for the 1Password for Teams beta, which will run for the next couple of months. 1Password for Teams is free during the beta period, but when it launches it will cost $4.99 per user per month (which will include licences for all of the native 1Password apps).

I've been using 1Password for years and this seems like a fantastic product for any business or team that needs to share logins between users. Just the ability to easily control who has access to which passwords and easily remove access to employees who leave the company will be invaluable. You can view all of the features of 1Password for Teams here.


Plex Now Available on Apple TV, and Apple Adds Top Charts to Apple TV App Store

The highly anticipated official Plex app for the new Apple TV is now available on the App Store as a free download. The Plex Apple TV app can play all of your video, music, TV and photo collections from any computer or NAS device that you install the Plex Media Server on. You can view more screenshots of the Plex Apple TV app on the Plex Blog.

There truly isn’t any other platform we’ve wanted to be on for as long as we have the Apple TV. Today’s the day, and we’re celebrating. The app is free in the app store for everyone, and requires the latest media server.

Meanwhile, Apple appears to have listened to some of the complaints about the lack of discoverability in the Apple TV App Store and added a Top Charts section. Just as it does on iOS, the Top Charts section is broken down into Top Free, Top Paid and Top Grossing lists.

Top Charts is currently limited to the US App Store, but it seems likely that the feature will roll out to international stores over the coming days. Unsurprisingly, the lists for the Top Paid and Top Grossing apps are dominated by games, whilst the Top Free list is mostly occupied by media and entertainment apps. If you don't have access to an Apple TV or live outside the US, you can see the top 10 apps in each list on MacRumors.

Perhaps in another effort to increase the discoverability of Apple TV apps, Apple has refreshed the App Store Featured page and is now highlighting some new apps. Typically on the iOS App Store they only refresh the App Store Featured page once a week on Thursdays. Hopefully this happens more frequently on the Apple TV App Store, at least until they introduce categories or some other ways to discover apps that aren't featured or trending.

Ministry of Supply: Inventing Apparel [Sponsor]

Dress shirts should be smarter by now. They should be designed to work with your body, not against it, and keep you comfortable throughout the entire day. From the crowded train, to the cold office, to your favorite nightspot, we should expect more from the clothes that we wear everyday.

This is the vision that drives Ministry of Supply, a performance menswear company that launched out of MIT three years ago. The company uses the latest in apparel technology to make clothes that fit better and provide technical benefits, like body temperature regulation to keep you from overheating, moisture management to keep you dry, and wrinkle resistance to keep you away from an iron. Each product begins with a problem statement and comes to life through a human-centric design process that involves studying the human body, prototyping, testing, and iterating based on ongoing feedback. Once a product launches, they start the process all over again, continuously refining and evolving the products to perform better.

That process led to the Apollo and Gemini Casual dress shirts. The Apollo is their most tech-forward dress shirt, optimized for temperature management and mobility. It’s made with moisture-wicking polyester fibers that are infused with NASA-engineered phase-change material for temperature regulation. A light knit construction with four-way stretch enhances the Apollo’s breathability and mobility. The Gemini Casual is a tailored button-down designed to be worn untucked. It’s made with a more traditional cotton/spandex blend for a full range of motion that is also infused with phase-change material. The laser-cut chest pocket, button holes, and shirt panels round out the shirt’s clean, sleek aesthetic.

You can shop Ministry of Supply online – and risk-free, with free shipping on all US orders and any international orders over $250, free returns, and a 100-day return policy. Alternatively, you can visit one of their retail locations in Boston, San Francisco, and New York City.

Our thanks to Ministry of Supply for sponsoring MacStories this week.