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Posts tagged with "accessories"

HiRise 3: Twelve South’s Space-Saving, Three-in-One Charging Solution

Source: Twelve South.

Source: Twelve South.

Not long ago, Twelve South introduced a new 3-in-1 charger for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro called the HiRise 3. I’ve used a Belkin 3-in-1 charger on my desk for a few years and love it, but it takes up quite a bit of space. So, when Twelve South recently offered to send me the HiRise 3 to test, I jumped at the chance to check out its more compact design. After using the HiRise 3 for the past few weeks, I’m happy with it overall and think it’s a great choice for most users, but it comes with a couple of limitations that you’ll want to consider before buying one yourself.

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MacStories Starter Pack: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 Is Perfect for Anyone Whose Paperless Workflow Still Starts with Paper

Fujitsu iX1300.

Fujitsu iX1300.

Editor’s Note: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 Is Perfect for Anyone Whose Paperless Workflow Still Start with Paper is part of the MacStories Starter Pack, a collection of ready-to-use shortcuts, apps, workflows, and more that we’ve created to help you get the most out of your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

I’ve had a couple of different Fujitsu scanners over the years. In the early days, I used my scanner a lot. It helped me cut down on the paper in my life, which was great. However, over time, I found myself using my scanner less and less as banking, taxes, bills, and other paper-heavy areas of life became increasingly digital. As time wore on, and I found myself rarely, if ever, turning to my library of scanned documents, I also realized I didn’t need to scan and keep as much as I’d thought.

So when Fujitsu sent me their latest ScanSnap iX1300 scanner to try, I was skeptical. I wondered if there was still a place for scanners in the home or whether the many excellent scanning apps available on the iPhone and iPad were good enough. For most people who don’t need to scan more than a few pages of paper ever so often, I think apps or a scanner built into a home printer are adequate. However, if you run a business with workflows that involve paper, you’re working from home in a paper-oriented industry, or you simply find yourself needing to digitize paper documents regularly for whatever other reason, the iX1300 is an excellent choice.

The S1300i is a little smaller, but as a practical matter, you need more space or yere will be paper all over your floor.

The S1300i is a little smaller, but as a practical matter, you need more space or yere will be paper all over your floor.

What’s fascinating to me about the ix 1300 is that it’s actually slightly bigger than the ScanSnap S1300i model that I already owned, but I would never have guessed it. That’s because the way the two scanners work is quite different, which makes a considerable difference in how much space they demand. However, that’s not the only edge the newer iX1300 has, so let’s take a closer look at what sets it apart from its predecessor.

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CES 2022 Roundup: TVs, Home Automation, Health and Fitness Devices, and More

The Consumer Electronics Show was back this week as an in-person event in Las Vegas for 2022 despite the current COVID surge, which caused many large companies to pull out of the show or scale back their plans. Still, that hasn’t stopped companies from announcing a wide variety of products planned for the next year and beyond. New TV technology and home automation are big again this year, as are new takes on existing tech.

After sifting through the headlines and press releases, I’ve compiled a roundup of some of this week’s most intriguing announcements. Feel free to skip around to the categories that you find most interesting using the table of contents after the break.

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Shortcuts By SENTINELITE: A Fantastic New Stream Deck Plugin


If you own a Stream Deck and want a better way for adding your shortcuts to it, give Shortcuts by SENTINELITE a try. I’ve only been playing with the plugin for a short time, but this is hands down the best way I’ve found for adding push-button convenience to Shortcuts on the Mac.

I covered the Stream Deck and how I’ve been using it late last year. I’ve also built a variety of utility shortcuts for packaging shortcuts as scripts and applets that make it easier to add multiple shortcuts to your Stream Deck setup. Shortcuts by SENTINELITE significantly improves the process by making it as simple to add a shortcut to the device as it is to add an app.

One of the things that I appreciate about Shortcuts by SENTINELITE is that the plugin preserves the folder structure you use in Shortcuts and sorts shortcuts alphabetically. It’s a small thing, but one that makes the experience of wading through large collections of shortcuts much better, giving the plugin a leg up on many other Shortcuts utilities I’ve tried.

Here's a simple shortcut for grabbing the icons for the shortcuts you want to add to your Stream Deck.

Here’s a simple shortcut for grabbing the icons for the shortcuts you want to add to your Stream Deck.

Just like adding an app to a Stream Deck button, you can add a custom icon and title to the button you create. There’s also a toggle for turning on an Accessibility mode that adds audible cues to the plugin’s interactions for the visually impaired.

If you’ve put off adding shortcuts to your Stream Deck, your procrastination has paid off because Shortcuts by SENTINELITE is the easiest solution that I’ve found so far. That said, I have run into a known bug that occasionally requires the Stream Deck Mac app to be restarted, which is annoying, but on balance, it’s a small price to pay compared to the plugin’s utility.

You can download the Shortcuts for Stream Deck plugin, which also happens to be open-source and free from Stream Deck’s Mac app or on Elgato’s website.


Getting Started with Shortcuts for Mac and the Stream Deck

The Stream Deck has been a favorite of Mac users who are into automation for a while now, but the device’s utility has grown substantially for a couple of reasons. First, you can use the Stream Deck to run Shortcuts, which expands the device into an entirely new realm of automation.

Second, the Stream Deck opens up new ways to approach all automation on your Mac that aren’t possible with any single Mac app, allowing you to mix and match different kinds of automation in one interface. It’s a powerful combination that unlocks the ability to organize the automation tools you use to fit with the way you think and work.

To get you started, I’m going to cover:

  • What the Stream Deck is and how it works
  • The many ways to run your Shortcuts from the device
  • Approaches for organizing your shortcuts and other automations with the Stream Deck
  • An alternative to the Stream Deck

Let’s dig in.

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The New iPhone 13 Lineup: The MacStories Overview

Today, Apple debuted its iPhone 13 lineup consisting of four new models:

  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

Similar to the iPhone 12 family of devices, the iPhone 13 and 13 mini are the more affordable options, while the two Pro models add premium features at a premium price. All four devices share the A15 Bionic processor, 5G networking, camera updates, MagSafe, and more.

Also, all four devices will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 17th, with availability beginning one week later on Friday, September 24th.

Here’s a complete overview of everything new coming to the iPhone 13 lineup.

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Apple Releases New Mac Keyboards and Pointing Devices

Apple has updated its online store with new accessories that first debuted with the M1 iMac. The updated accessories were spotted by Rene Ritchie, who tweeted about them:

Among the items listed, which each come with a woven USB-C to Lightning cable and come in white and silver only, are:

  • Magic Keyboard ($99). The Magic Keyboard features rounded corners and some changes to its keys, including a dedicated Globe/Fn key and Spotlight, Dictation, and Do Not Disturb functionality mapped to the F4 - F6 keys.
  • Magic Keyboard with Touch ID ($149). Along with the design and key changes of the Magic Keyboard, this model includes Touch ID, which works with M1 Macs only.
  • Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad ($179)
  • Magic Trackpad ($129). The corners of the new Magic Trackpad are more rounded than before, but it’s functionally the same as prior models.
  • Magic Mouse ($79). The Magic Mouse is listed as new, too, although apart from the woven USB-C to Lightning cable in the box, there don’t appear to be any other differences between this model and the prior model.

I’ve been using the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Mouse for a couple of months with an M1 iMac. Based on my experience, the trackpad and mouse haven’t changed enough to warrant purchasing one unless you need one anyway. However, if you’ve got an M1 Mac mini or M1 laptop that you run in clamshell mode, the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a nice addition to any setup. Having Touch ID always available is fantastic, and I’ve grown used to using the Do Not Disturb button along with the Globe + Q keyboard shortcut for Quick Note, the new Notes feature coming to macOS Monterey this fall, which is the same when using an iPad running the iPadOS 15 beta with a Magic Keyboard attached.


Apple Quietly Releases MagSafe Battery Pack

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple today released a $99 MagSafe Battery Pack accessory for the iPhone mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The white battery pack connects to an iPhone using Apple’s MagSafe connector to deliver 5W of power to your iPhone on the go. The battery pack can be charged by itself using a Lightning connector and power supply. Alternatively, the battery pack and an iPhone can be charged together using a Lightning cable and power supply, which delivers 15W of charging power when a 20W or higher power supply is used. There’s no official word on how much charge the battery pack holds, though MacRumors reports that images suggest it is a 1,460mAh battery, which is less than a single charge.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple’s battery widget can be used to monitor the charge held by the MagSafe Battery Pack. Apple’s support document for the accessory says that:

When you’re using your MagSafe Battery Pack to charge your iPhone, you might get a notification that says your iPhone will charge only up to 90%. To charge past 90%, open Control Center, press and hold the Low Power Mode icon*, then tap Continue.

Apple also says iOS 14.7 or later is needed to use the MagSafe Battery Pack.

The MagSafe Battery Pack has been rumored for a while, and with travel becoming an option for more people around the world and iPhones having aged since the release of the iPhone 12, the timing seems right for this accessory. Although the total charge the battery pack can deliver is less than a larger power brick, I like the portability of the MagSafe version and the fact that it will work with any current or future MagSafe-compatible iPhone.


Kensington Releases Two-Piece StudioCaddy Charging Station and Organizer for Apple Devices

Today, Kensington released the StudioCaddy, a $179.99, two-piece charging station and device organizer for Apple devices. Kensington sent me a review unit, which I’ve been using for about a week, so I thought I’d share my first impressions.

The StudioCaddy has a unique two-piece design. One half features Qi charging stations for an iPhone and AirPods, plus USB-A and USB-C charging ports. The other half is a weighted stand with slots to hold a Mac laptop and iPad vertically. The two parts can be used separately or connected magnetically.

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