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Posts tagged with "apps"

Vision Pro App Spotlight: HomeUI Enables Spatial Control over HomeKit Lights, Switches, and Outlets

The Apple Vision Pro doesn’t have a native version of the company’s Home app. You can launch the iPad version in compatibility mode, which I’m glad is available, but that means it doesn’t offer any spatial computing features beyond a window floating in your environment. Fortunately, HomeUI by Rob Owen fills the gap with a native visionOS app focused on lights, electrical outlets, and switches.

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: My Favorite Ways to Take a Quick Note

One of the advantages of working with the Vision Pro is the flexibility of using your surroundings to spread out. Your entire room becomes your workspace, and if you’re in an Environment, your workable space expands even further. That makes it easier to keep a note-taking app open at all times than on any other device. In turn, that makes having an app to quickly jot down your thoughts all the more useful.

There are already quite a few interesting note-taking apps on the App Store, so I wanted to highlight a handful I like, each of which has something unique to offer.

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Wallpaper Frenzy: A Roundup of My Favorite Wallpaper Apps, Tools, and Artists in 2024

Wallpapers have always been a reflection of my often chaotic energy. I can sometimes spend months, or even years, without ever changing my wallpaper, and I can spend that same amount of time just frenetically changing it every day until I’m completely satisfied. A lot of that decision process is completely irrational, but I do know what I’m looking for when choosing a new wallpaper. It must be high-resolution, vibrant, colorful, and it mustn’t look too busy.

Early this year, I once again started going through a frenetic wallpaper-hunting phase. It turns out, high-quality wallpaper apps in the App Store are not that easy to find. I have frequently come across wallpaper apps that are filled with scammy ads, and sometimes even seem to contain stolen artwork. So I am seizing this opportunity to round up and highlight some of my favorite high-quality wallpaper apps, tools, and artists on Apple’s platforms in 2024.

Let’s check them out.

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The Best Way to Take Screenshots on Apple Vision Pro

Taking good-looking screenshots on the Apple Vision Pro isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. I’ve already spent many hours taking screenshots on the device, and I thought I’d share my experience and some practical tips for getting the best screenshots possible.

Although I’ve only had the Apple Vision Pro for a week, I’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about and refining my screenshot workflow out of necessity. That’s because after I spent around three hours writing my first visionOS app review of CARROT Weather and Mercury Weather, I spent at least as much time trying to get the screenshots I wanted. If that had been a review of the iOS versions of those apps, the same number of screenshots would have taken less than a half hour. That’s a problem because I simply don’t have that much time to devote to screenshots.

Taking screenshots with the Apple Vision Pro is difficult because of the way the device works. Like other headsets, the Apple Vision Pro uses something called foveated rendering, a technique that’s used to reduce the computing power needed to display the headset’s images. In practical terms, the technique means that the only part of the device’s view that is in focus is where you’re looking. The focal point changes as your eyes move, so you don’t notice that part of the view is blurry. In fact, this is how the human eye works, so as long as the eye tracking is good, which it is on the Apple Vision Pro, the experience is good too.

However, as well as foveated rendering works for using the Apple Vision Pro, it’s terrible for screenshots. You can take a quick screenshot by pressing the top button and Digital Crown, but you’ll immediately see that everything except where you were looking when you took the screen-grab is out of focus. That’s fine for sharing a quick image with a friend, but if you want something suitable for publishing, it’s not a good option.

Fortunately, Apple thought of this, and there’s a solution, but it involves using Xcode and another developer tool. Of course, using Xcode to take screenshots is a little like using Logic Pro to record voice memos, except there are plenty of simple apps for recording voice memos, whereas Xcode is currently your only choice for taking crisp screenshots on the Vision Pro. So until there’s another option, it pays to learn your way around these developer tools to get the highest quality screenshots as efficiently as possible.

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: NowPlaying

NowPlaying by Hidde van der Ploeg has come a long way since its start. It’s always been an excellent companion to Apple Music, packed with music discovery features that fill a big gap in Apple’s system app. But, with the visionOS version, van der Ploeg has taken NowPlaying to a new level. visionOS allows users of the app to spread out, focus on the music, and absorb the rich catalog of metadata and editorial content about their music in a beautiful, relaxing atmosphere.

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: Day Ahead

Day Ahead is an interesting approach to visualizing the events on your calendar. It’s a visionOS-only app that uses what looks like a transparent tube filled with drops of colored liquid that represent the events of your day. It’s strange, but I think there’s something to it that we’ll be seeing from other visionOS developers as they explore the unique characteristics of the Apple Vision Pro.

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: Juno

Leading up to the release of Apple Vision Pro, there was as much, or perhaps more, talk about which apps wouldn’t be on the platform on day one as there was about which would. To be sure, there are some very notable holes in the Vision Pro’s catalog, and one of the biggest is YouTube. However, as we’ll see over and over with the Vision Pro apps we’ll be covering at MacStories, the gap isn’t nearly as bad as you’d think, thanks to developers like Christian Selig, the former maker of the Reddit client Apollo and his brand new app, Juno.

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: CARROT Weather and Mercury Weather

We’re going to be covering a lot of visionOS apps over the coming weeks, so I thought a fitting place to start would be with two of our favorite weather apps from other Apple platforms: CARROT Weather and Mercury Weather. Both apps are past MacStories Selects award winners. CARROT Weather won the Best Watch app in 2020 and the Readers’ Choice award in 2022, and we named Mercury Weather the Best Design winner of 2023. So, I expect a lot of readers are already familiar with both apps. However, if you’re not, be sure to check out these past stories for more on what makes them two of our favorite weather apps on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch:

So today, my focus is solely on the visionOS versions of both apps, which fill the gap left by Apple’s curious omission of its own Weather app from Vision Pro.

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feeeed: Embracing Feed Diversity and Personal News Curation

With The Iconfactory launching Project Tapestry this week, I was reminded of an indie app that I first started testing a few months ago. feeeed – that’s with four ‘e’s – by Nate Parrott is a feed reader app unlike any other I’ve seen on iOS.

Today, with our favorite content scattered across social media platforms, apps, blogs, and newsletters, it’s honestly really hard to keep up, and there is clearly a demand for an app that could juggle with all of them. feeeed is an attempt at embracing that diversity, and letting you build your own feed, merging all those sources into one continuous and beautifully designed stream.

I was excited about this app when it originally came out, and for the past week, I have once again given it a prime spot on my iPhone Home Screen to properly try it out as my main reading app.

Let’s jump in.

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