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AppStories, Episode 138 – Rethinking Apple’s TV App in Light of TV+

On this week’s episode of AppStories, we share our thoughts on Apple’s new TV+ video streaming TV app, including what works, what doesn’t, and ways we think it could be improved.

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Apple Renews ‘The Morning Show’, ‘See’, ‘For All Mankind’, and ‘Dickinson’ for Second Seasons

Cynthia Littleton, reporting for Variety:

Apple TV Plus has given second season orders to the four scripted drama series that launched the streaming service last week.

Dramas “See,” “For All Mankind,” “Dickinson” and “The Morning Show” have been greenlit for sophomore seasons. “Morning Show,” led by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, already had a two-season order and is already at work on its next season of 10 episodes.

Apple has yet to release any specific details about subscribers or viewership activity on the service, which bowed Nov. 1. Sources close to Apple say the service to date has drawn millions of users who are spending on average more than an hour on the Apple TV Plus platform. It’s unclear how many of those are paying subscribers rather than those taking advantage of the service’s seven-day free trial. A knowledgeable source said Apple insiders were impressed by the volume of activity on the platform, which spiked by triple digits this past weekend after the fanfare for the Nov. 1 debut.

Worth keeping in mind that, as part of Apple’s launch promotion for Apple TV+, it’s very likely that the majority of early viewers aren’t paid for the service yet.

As I noted last week (and elaborated on this week’s episode of Connected), I’ve been pleasantly surprised by The Morning Show, despite its less-than-stellar reviews. I’m currently watching For All Mankind and I’m captivated by its fascinating premise as well. As always with new series, it’s good to know second seasons are already in the works.

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Connected, Episode 268: Executive Spaghetti

On this week’s episode of Connected:

Federico is joined by a better Hackett to talk about Apple’s range of earbuds, then Stephen butts in to discuss Adobe’s big week and what Apple should do in the wake of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina’s buggy releases. Then, they fire the spoiler horn and review “The Morning Show” and “For All Mankind.”

You can listen below (and find the show notes here).

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Connected, Episode 268

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Twitter Launching Topics Feature Soon

Source: The Verge

Source: The Verge

Casey Newton reports for The Verge on a new Twitter feature coming soon:

Recently, a friend told me he wanted to spend more time using Twitter, but he didn’t quite know how. His primary interest is comedy, he told me, and he hoped to find a way to see comedians’ best jokes on Twitter as they were posted. But when he followed comedians, he mostly saw a lot of self-promotion — tour dates, late-night appearances, and that sort of thing. No matter your personal interests, there are countless good and relevant tweets on Twitter. But where are they?

Topics, a new feature from Twitter that is starting to roll out this week, represents a significant effort to answer that question. You will be able to follow more than 300 “topics” across sports, entertainment, and gaming, just as you are currently able to follow individual accounts. In return, you’ll see tweets from accounts that you don’t follow that have credibility on these subjects.

Topics represent a major new addition to the Twitter timeline, easily one of the most significant changes the service has ever introduced. Though topics have the potential to improve a person’s timeline, they could also have the opposite effect if not done well. Based on this report, it sounds like Twitter’s team has all the right checks in place to ensure tweets from topics are things you’ll actually care about. Here’s Newton on how the process works:

First, Twitter scans incoming tweets for keywords like “WWE,” “pro wrestling,” and so on. (It can’t search for those terms in images and videos, at least not yet.) Second, Twitter searches to see if the tweet is from someone who normally tweets about that topic as a measure of credibility. Finally, Twitter looks at engagement: how many other people who care about this topic liked, retweeted, or replied to a tweet? The more people are interacting with the tweet, the more likely it is to make the cut.

I’m eager to try following a few topics to see whether they have a positive or negative impact on my timeline. I think the feature will be a clear win for users who are new to Twitter, and don’t already have a well-curated collection of follows; for those who have used the service for years, though, it may not be as appealing. And there’s no word on whether topics you follow will appear in your timeline in third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific.

We won’t have to wait long to find out: topics are starting to roll out this week with a full global launch next Wednesday, November 13th.

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AppStories, Episode 137 – Our Third Annual Apple Watch Check-In

On this week’s episode of AppStories, in what has become an annual tradition, we talk about how how we’ve set up our Apple Watches, including the complications we use, the third-party apps on which we rely, and what’s in our Watch docks.

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Adapt, Episode 12: Conversational Shortcuts and Recreating the Mac’s Desktop

On this week’s episode of Adapt:

Conversational shortcuts make Siri a programmable assistant, and Federico details how that works. Then Ryan commends Federico with a (symbolic) trophy for his creation of a Mac-like desktop environment on the iPad, complete with file and folder launchers.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here), and don’t forget to send us questions using #AskAdapt and by tagging our Twitter account.

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Adapt, Episode 12

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Connected, Episode 267: Something Stuck in Your Ear

On this week’s episode of Connected:

Federico and Myke break down the new features of iOS 13.2 and watchOS 6.1, before giving their first impressions on the AirPods Pro.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here).

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Connected, Episode 267

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Sebastiaan de With Explains Why the iPhone 11 Camera Is Such a Big Leap Forward

Sebastiaan de With, part of the team behind the camera app Halide has published part 1 of a multi-part breakdown of the iPhone 11 camera. It’s a fantastic analysis of what makes the new camera different from past versions and goes into great depth while remaining accessible, even if you have only a passing familiarity with photography.

To put this year’s camera into perspective, de With recaps what Apple did with last year’s iPhone cameras explaining how Smart HDR works and its shortcomings. The iPhone 11 features Smart HDR too, but as de With explains, Apple has significantly improved how it handles the dynamic range of an image.

Another aspect of the improvement is in the camera sensor hardware. Despite its diminutive size, the iPhone 11’s image sensor can resolve more detail than any iPhone camera before it.

However, many of the iPhone 11’s camera improvements come down to better software. The new camera post-processes each component of an image differently, applying different noise reduction to the sky, a face, hair, and clothing, for example. Apple calls the feature Photo Segmentation, and it’s aided by machine learning.

One of my favorite features of the new camera is Night Mode. As de With notes:

In the iPhone 11 Night Mode, you can also see detail vanish in some areas. Except that it really seems to only affect parts of the image that you don’t really care that much about. Night Mode has a remarkable if not uncanny ability to extract an image that is sometimes even sharper than the regular mode, with strong sharpening and detail retention occurring in areas that are selected by the camera during processing.

The iPhone 11’s camera is also the first one de With thinks rivals standalone cameras:

In the past, iPhones made great photos for sharing on social media, but blown up on a big screen, the shots didn’t hold up. It’s why I frequently still pack a ‘big’ camera with me on trips.

With these huge improvements in processing, the iPhone 11 is the first iPhone that legitimately challenges a dedicated camera.

There are many more details in de With’s article, including a close look at the iPhone 11’s ultra wide lens. Every section of the post has photos and side-by-side comparisons that illustrate the analysis too, which makes the full post a must-read].

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AppStories, Episode 136 – GameClub and a Shortcuts Update

On this week’s episode of AppStories, we talk about GameClub, the classic iOS game service that launched last week, and some of the shortcuts we’ve been working on lately.

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