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AppStories, Episode 251 – Obsidian In Depth: The Basics (Part 1)

This week on AppStories, we introduce part one of a new series on Obsidian, explaining what the app is and does, why it’s important, the compromises that come along with using a non-native app, and how we are using it.


On AppStories+, John says goodbye to his M1 iMac review unit and reflects on how it has changed the way he uses the Mac, and Federico explains how he’s using Spark with Apple’s Reminders app.

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David Smith Tests the Apple Watch Series 7’s Battery Life in the Scottish Highlands

David Smith recently spent three days hiking in the Scottish Highlands. He took his Apple Watch Series 7 along to see how its battery life fared on long hikes.

Smith, who recently wrote about the battery sipping Coros Apex Pro, a dedicated ‘adventure watch,’ put the Series 7 in Theater and Airplane modes to conserve battery life and hit the trail. The Apple Watch performed better than expected:

The result was surprisingly solid. For a day where I tracked a 16mi hike over the course of 5½ hours, the watch only used around 27% of its battery. This was using the built-in workout app with route recording active. So it uses around 1.7%/mile. On my second day I put it in ‘Power Saving Workout’ mode, which doesn’t record heart rate data as quickly. This used 23% for a 14mi hike, or around 1.6%/mi…which was actually less of a difference that I’d have guessed. So I just left it in regular workout mode from then on.

For comparison the Coros watch I was wearing on my other wrist did the entire 3 days/45miles of the trip using only 20% of its battery (around 0.4%/mile) so still dramatically better.

As Smith concludes, Apple’s investment in improving the brightness of the Series 7’s always-on display has had the nice side effect of making multiple-hour workouts possible without immediately needing to recharge the watch. Also, even if you don’t have an all-day hike planned, Theater and Airplane modes are good to keep in mind when you want to extend the battery life of your Apple Watch.

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AppStories, Episode 248 – Our iPad mini Home Screen and Focus Setups

This week on AppStories, we go into detail on our iPad mini Home Screen setups, including how they differ from other devices and how we use widgets, Focus modes, and Shortcuts to manage the setups.


On AppStories+, John brings a little bit of strange American culture along with him to Rome, surprising Federico with a Thanksgiving Dinner Candy Corn taste test.

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Michael Flarup Announces The iOS App Icon Book

Source: Michael Flarup.

Source: Michael Flarup.

Four years in the making, designer Michael Flarup has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finalize, print, and ship The iOS App Icon Book.

Source: Michael Flarup.

Source: Michael Flarup.

As Flarup explains, the iPhone sparked a golden era of icon design. The iOS App Icon Book is a 150-page art book that traces the history of iconography on iOS, with full-color, detailed reproductions of some of the best icon work from the past decade. In addition to the artwork, the book also includes a primer on Flarup’s approach to icon design and profiles of leading icon designers. The book traces the evolution of notable icons too.

Source: Michael Flarup.

Source: Michael Flarup.

The book is also meant to preserve the history of iOS iconography. As Flarup explains, the history of iOS icons is:

A history that is quickly fading. Many apps featured in this book aren’t around anymore or have evolved — which means the work we’ve been doing to capture this artwork have borded on internet archaeology. If we don’t preserve these things now, while we still have the opportunity to, they will be gone forever.

Flarup says the book is about 90% complete and should be finished by late January 2022, with the final product shipping in April 2022.

I’ve been following Michael Flarup’s progress on The iOS App Icon Book since its earliest stages, and I’m excited that it’s nearly finished. Icons are an important piece of iOS history, and I can think of no better person to chronicle its evolution.

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Kotaku Collects the Beautiful Artwork of Apple TV+’s Foundation

Source: Kotaku.

Source: Kotaku.

The Apple TV+ show Foundation has been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve really enjoyed the first season so far, and yesterday, we hosted a live audio discussion in the Club MacStories+ Discord community, where we were joined by a few Club members to dig into the show’s first seven episodes. The discussion was part of AV Club, a channel in our Discord community where we pick media to enjoy as a group each month. It was a lively and fun discussion that is available to Club members as a podcast too.

As I was collecting my thoughts on Foundation in preparation for our group conversation, one of the aspects of the show that I kept coming back to was its visuals. It’s a sci-fi epic that doesn’t look like any sci-fi show I’ve watched before. From the elegance of Trantor’s surface, which is home to Empire, to the gritty reality of the planet’s subterranean levels, the inhospitable environment of Terminus, and the watery Synnax, every planet has a unique and authentic feel of its own that creates an immersive experience for viewers.

If you haven’t watched the show before or are a fan already and interested in learning more about Foundation’s unique style, I highly recommend browsing through the gallery of concept art for the show that is collected on Kotaku in a story by Luke Plunkett. The gallery of dozens of images includes costume design, landscapes, spaceships, weaponry, and more. Foundation is a big budget production that has more in common with the scale I’m used to seeing in movies. What the artwork spotlighted by Plunkett shows is that beyond the mountain of money spent on Foundation, an extraordinary amount of care has been taken by a group of incredibly talented artists to bring the story to life.

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Apple Releases Hooked, an Apple Original Podcast with No Ties to Other Properties

Benjamin Mayo writing for 9to5Mac reports that Apple has published its first podcast that isn’t tied to a TV+ property or Apple News. The show, called Hooked, is a true-crime story featuring career bank robber Tony Hathaway. As Mayo notes, the show is listed as an ‘Apple Original podcast.’

Perhaps more notable is that there doesn’t seem to be a standard RSS feed associated with the show. Instead, the show’s first four episodes and trailer are available only via the Apple Podcasts app. Of course, a feed could be added, but if one isn’t, this would mark Apple’s first foray into exclusive audio content, something which Spotify has been doing for quite some time.

During an investor call last week that Podnews reported on, Spotify declared itself the number one podcast provider in the US and over 60 other countries based on an Edison Research report. As a result, it would come as no surprise if Apple has begun competing head-to-head with Spotify with its own exclusive audio content in the highly-popular true-crime category. At the same time, though, one of podcasting’s strengths has always been its open nature, and it would be a shame to see that further eroded by Apple, which has been a steward of the format for so long.

Update: Although not indexed and available in all podcast apps yet, Hooked does have a traditional RSS feed, which can be found here.

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Austin Mann on the M1 MacBook Pros

Pro photographer Austin Mann has been testing a new MacBook Pro M1 Max with 64GB RAM and an 8TB SSD in Arizona. As always, his review includes beautiful images that required substantial computer power to create. After running the highest-end version of the MacBook Pro through its paces, Mann came away impressed by the laptop’s fast charging and power efficiency, as well as its overall performance:

In summary, the most impressive performance from the new MacBook Pro M1 Max wasn’t just speed (it was about twice as fast), but it was insanely efficient in how it managed both its power and heat, which matters as much or more than pure speed.

Mann’s review does an excellent job capturing how the new MacBook Pros work as a package. It’s not just that they are power efficient or fast, but the combination of multiple advances that has enabled such a substantial leap forward over previous models.

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AppStories, Episode 246 – macOS Monterey: The MacStories Review

This week on AppStories, we dive into John’s review of macOS Monterey and what it means for users and the future of the platform.

On AppStories+, John explains how he and Silvia helped James Thomson and Jason Snell pull off a prank on Relay FM’s Connected.


On AppStories+, John explains how he and Silvia helped James Thomson and Jason Snell pull off a prank on Relay FM’s Connected.

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AppStories, Episode 244 – iOS and iPadOS 15 Top Tips

This week on AppStories, we share a long list of iOS and iPadOS 15 tips, highlighting lesser-known features that we are using to get the most out of the latest versions of the OSes.


On AppStories+, John tries to convince Federico to try a robot vacuum cleaner and Federico explains the technique he’s using to bring localization to his popular Apple Frames shortcut.

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