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Cardhop 1.1 Adds Smart Groups, Printing, and More

Cardhop from Flexibits got an update to version 1.1 today, and it packs in some pretty great improvements for an incremental update.

If you missed it before, Cardhop is the app from the makers of Fantastical that does for contacts what Fantastical did for calendars. All your contacts are managed from your menu bar, and you're never more than a few keystrokes away from sending an email, making a call, sending a text, or anything else contact-related. Type "email elle" and it will find Elle's card, pick the first email address, and hitting enter will fire up a new email in Mail (or your favorite mail app). Type "call mom home" and handoff a call to Mom's home phone number. It's far more powerful than that, but I'll refer you to John Voorhees' great writeup back in October for the overview.

Cardhop 1.1 comes with some fixes and improvements, not least of them being parsing and formatting support for French, German, Italian, Spanish, English, and Japanese. But the two updates that I personally find the most useful are Smart Groups and printing support.

Smart Groups are what you probably imagine – a group of contacts based on a set of criterion that automatically updates as contacts change to match (or fail to match) those criteria. It opens up a few interesting organization and productivity schemes, but my first interest is in pseudo-tagging. I can now add @tags in contact's notes field and have them sorted into one or more smart folders, reducing my need for a large number of "actual" contact groups. And if I stop using Cardhop and need to access those groups in another app such as Apple's Contacts, I can always just do a search for the @tag and drag them into a regular group.

The printing features are elegant. Much like those in Apple Contacts, but with a few extra touches in the print dialog, as well as the convenience of printing right from Cardhop. Being able to pull up a contact or an entire contact group and print envelopes with return addresses, or spit out address labels for the whole bunch with just a few keystrokes is a wonderful convenience. All you have to do is type "print [name]" or "print [group]" (or use a Quick Action).

Print from Cardhop

Print from Cardhop

When the print dialog comes up, make sure that you've clicked "Show Details."

Show Details

Show Details

From there you can choose a list, envelopes, or labels, and define which fields to use and other particulars for each type. (You can also switch type with ⌘1-3.)

Envelope printing setup

Envelope printing setup

Other new features include template preferences to control which fields are shown when entering new contacts, an “Add Notes with Timestamp” option to add dated notes to a contact, and typing in the "related contact" field now autosuggests other names from your contacts.

I've been loving Cardhop, and I think it's worth anyone's time to grab the free trial and give it a go. Cardhop costs $19.99 US and is available on the App Store and direct from Flexibits.

Apple Q2 2018 Results: $61.1 Billion Revenue, 52.2 Million iPhones, 9.1 Million iPads Sold

Apple has just published its financial results for Q2 2018. The company posted revenue of $61.1 billion, an increase of 16% from the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 9.1 million iPads, 52.2 million iPhones, and 4.1 million Macs during the quarter.

“We’re thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearables,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter. We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20% growth in Greater China and Japan.”

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Halide 1.8

Lovely update to Halide, my favorite third-party iPhone camera app, released today on the App Store. Among other improvements (such as an Apple Watch app and self-timer), I'm a fan of the new grid-based photo reviewer (try swiping down slowly on the grid to dismiss the view) as well as the advanced setting to prevent attaching location metadata when sharing a photo to social networks. I wish more apps offered an explicit preference like Halide does.

The focus on Accessibility in this release is also commendable:

We care deeply about Accessibility and have improved Halide with every update to make it easier to use for all users, but this update is our biggest push yet. With support for Dynamic and Bold Type throughout, VoiceOver support and many more enhancements. Even our 30 second timer option was included with Accessibility in mind, offering users with limited mobility more freedom to take photos.

That being said, we’re not done: this year we’ve worked with noted accessibility specialist Sommer Panage. She advised us on this release, and and helped set goals for accessibility in the year ahead.


CardioBot: Heart Rate and Activity Tracker for Apple Watch [Sponsor]

Make sense of the heart rate data the Apple Watch collects with CardioBot. The Apple Watch measures your heart rate throughout the day. In fact, the Watch captures your heart rate every four minutes. That adds up to a lot of data very quickly. With CardioBot’s beautifully-designed charts and graphs, understanding what it all means is easy.

Collecting data is simple. The hard part is recognizing patterns in the data that help you make healthy lifestyle choices. CardioBot, which has been featured in the App Store in over 85 countries, combines heart rate data collected throughout the day, workout data, and sleep analysis to provide you with a comprehensive dashboard that includes data for individual days, detailed timelines, and day-over-day comparisons. The app also categorizes your heart rate data into low, resting, high-resting, and elevated levels assigning a separate color to each making it simple to spot trends.

Just this past week, CardioBot was updated to support Heart Rate Variability (HRV) analysis. HRV is the the variation in intervals between heartbeats. It’s believed that high HRV readings are good and that an increasing HRV trend indicates improved fitness, whereas declining HRV can indicate overtraining and accumulated fatigue. With its all-new HRV tracking, CardioBot has even more tools to track your fitness and health, which makes it a must-have addition to your iPhone and Apple Watch.

CardioBot is available on the App Store for just $2.99.

Our thanks to CardioBot for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Apple Discontinues AirPort Routers

With a statement provided to iMore earlier today, Apple confirmed what Bloomberg's Mark Gurman first reported in late 2016 (not a typo): the company is officially exiting the WiFi router business by discontinuing the AirPort line of products.

From Rene Ritchie's story:

Routers are different. They're infrastructure. They're behind televisions, underneath desks, and in closets. For some people, especially people who appreciate Apple's design and manufacturing, and its unequivocal stance on security and privacy, the loss of the AirPort line will still be a blow.

I'm one of those people.

But I'm also reminded of a comment Steve Jobs once said to one of his direct reports: Sure, Apple could do that and make some money at it, but was it really a business Apple had to be in?

As much as I've tried to understand the argument that Apple needs to focus on fewer products, I just can't buy into the idea that they had to stop making WiFi routers.

My stance is pretty straightforward: everybody needs a WiFi router and the vast majority of routers suck. They are unsightly pieces of plastic that feature an assortment of meaningless blinking lights which you have to manage through terrifyingly confusing web apps intentionally designed to resemble accounting software from the late 90s. Sure, you could buy one of the fancy modern mesh systems, but they're expensive, and some of them are not available in all regions, and people who live in small homes don't need them. Doesn't an elegant, integrated, affordable, and modern router sound like something that Apple should continue to offer as an option for its users?

I guess that WiFi routers don't generate as much good PR as recommitting to Pro displays. But if there's an aspect of modern technology that could use great hardware and software design, a focus on privacy and security, and user-friendly controls for families, that would be WiFi routers. I'm disappointed to learn that Apple has chosen to give up instead.


Connected, Episode 190: The Robot Should Keep Its Mouth Shut

Federico is gone, but the show had to to go on, so Stephen and Myke talk about the death of Liam, whatever is happening with Flickr and Amazon’s future robotic army.

I wasn't on Connected this week, but I really enjoyed the discussion on robots – both those that passed away and the ones who may become our home assistants in the future. You can listen here.

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