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Posts in stories

My MacStories Story: How iOS Automation Changed My Life

Six years ago I was a senior in high school – a laughably short timeline compared to the immensity of growth and change which took place within it. Graduation, all of college, and a lonely move across the country; a career imagined, pursued, and achieved; friends and relationships come and gone. Not many threads of life make it all the way from the start of your late teens through the end of your early twenties, but those that do feel special in a way not much else can. MacStories is one of mine.

This week we're celebrating MacStories' 10th anniversary, and this year marked the fifth anniversary of my first article on the site. It boggles my mind to think that I've been part of this incredible team for more than half of MacStories' life, but that's nothing compared to the feeling of when it all began.

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A Brief History of The Prompt and Connected

"I think we should talk to Federico about joining the show."

With that, my podcasting career – and life – got a lot better.

This was the spring of 2013. Myke Hurley and I were packing our bags at Myke's original podcast network, heading over to 5by5. He and I had been publishing a weekly Apple show named "The 512 Podcast," but we wanted to do something bigger and better, and Myke had the idea to wrangle Federico into things.

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How MacStories Instigated My iPad-First Journey

When I started reading MacStories, the site had already shifted its focus from the Mac to the iPad – and that's what drew me in.

I've been an Apple admirer for as long as I can remember, but in my younger years the company's products were simply outside my budget. It wasn't until the age of 18 that I owned my first Apple device, an iPod, which was followed a couple years later by a second-hand MacBook. In both of these cases, it was the surprisingly short lifespans of my previous non-Apple MP3 player and laptop that led me to finally splurge and pay the Apple premium. I quickly discovered that, for me at least, it was well worth it.

Despite loving my iPod and MacBook, I didn't start diving deeper into the Apple ecosystem until after the iPad's release in 2010. At that point the iPhone had been around for a few years, but in frugality I had stuck with a cheap flip phone and evaded the smartphone era as long as I could. After the iPad, though, things quickly changed.

Shortly following the launch of Apple's tablet, my boss at the time purchased that very first iPad for me, which was the gateway that led to an iPhone 4 later that year, a MacBook Pro the year after that, and many more Apple products since then. The iPad catalyzed my deepening interest in Apple, and it was the iPad that also, several years later, led to my discovery of MacStories.

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MacStories’ Heart

Ten years is a long time on the Internet. So many companies have come and gone in that time, making it worth considering what it is about MacStories that has endured.

Having worked with Federico for roughly a third of that time, I can’t claim to be objective, but before I joined the team, I was a long-time reader of MacStories and a developer who pitched an app to Federico. That’s given me a perspective on MacStories that goes beyond my current role, so it will probably surprise no one that I have a few thoughts on the matter.

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The Perfect Side Gig

MacStories was a big part of my life for over five years, from January 2011 through November 2016. I only vaguely recall emailing Federico about the possibility of writing for MacStories, though I do remember sending him two sample articles – one of which was about the iPad (naturally!). Federico was happy to give me a go and I started pretty much straight away.

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10 Years of MacStories

Later this week on Saturday, April 20, MacStories will turn 10 years old.

It was Monday, April 20, 2009 when, fresh out of a job from which I had gotten fired, I decided to publish the first official post on my self-hosted blog after a few weeks of running a free WordPress.com website. I was 21. My English was terrible and, at the time, MacStories was written in two languages, English and Italian – probably to hide my discomfort as a non-native English speaker. If you want to hear this story (and my entire background) in much greater detail, John interviewed me on this week's special episode of AppStories.

Since that first post about web browsers, MacStories has been on my mind every day and it remains the most important thing I've ever built in my adult life. In many ways, MacStories has come to define me.

As you might guess, I've struggled to come to terms with the meaning of this anniversary. I don't like celebrating work-related anniversaries. I don't think our readers appreciate excessive self-congratulatory content and I'd rather focus on getting work done every day. I prefer to let other people compliment us if they ever feel compelled to do so; otherwise, I just want to focus on providing a service to our audience, because that's what I'm ultimately here to do: to make sure that MacStories and our related properties can be useful and inspiring for our readers around the world.

Ten years, however, does feel like an extremely long time in Internet years. For this reason, when I started thinking about this looming milestone sometime last year, I knew I had to do something special for this anniversary – just this once – to look back at the past decade of MacStories, reflect on the things I've learned along the way, and plan ahead for the future.

Here's the short version: this week is going to be extra special on MacStories. We're launching our first official merchandise today (macstoriesmerch.com) and there will be a series of retrospectives published on MacStories throughout the week (keep an eye on this tag). In addition, we will be launching a couple of new perks exclusive to Club MacStories members.

Now, allow me to share some thoughts about creating MacStories and what this website has meant for me over the past 10 years.

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The New TV App: Our Hands-On with Channels, the Redesign, and More

Apple's TV app is getting a makeover, and just in time for its expansion to smart TVs and third-party streaming devices. The new app is coming first, of course, to Apple's own hardware: the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad will be updated in May with the new TV experience; the Mac will follow this fall.

I've used Apple's TV app as my primary video hub since it launched in late 2016, so I was eager to get my hands on the updated app. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long – an early version of the new TV app is available now as part of the iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 beta releases. Here are full details on all the ways it's new and improved.

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New AirPods First Impressions: Wireless Magic

I don't think I need to extol the virtues of AirPods in 2019. Over two years after their debut, Apple's truly-wireless earbuds, in addition to providing users with a convenient, seamless way to stream music and podcasts to their ears, have become a cultural phenomenon that has spurred some of the greatest memes of Tech Twitter in recent history. Everybody loves AirPods – provided their unique size and design fit their ears – and, most of all, everybody likes to say how much they love their AirPods.

This article is no different, but there's a small twist in the usual narrative that prompted me to write this story after receiving my second-generation AirPods yesterday.

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The Case of the Late-2012 iMacs

The recent iMac updates brought additional power and flexibility to Apple's all-in-one desktop, but didn't redesign or modernize the iMac as we've known it for many years.

As the 21.5- and 27-inch machines are here to stay for at least a while longer, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the first of their kind, introduced at a press event in October 2012. You probably can't tell if the press image above is from 2012 or 2019.

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