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Posts tagged with "iPadOS"

Procreate Dreams First Impressions

Artwork source: Procreate.

Artwork source: Procreate.

I’ve been playing with Procreate Dreams for about a week. The brand new animation app from Procreate shares a lot of DNA with the company’s flagship drawing and painting app. As a result, despite my limited time and scant artistic talents, I expect Procreate Dreams will be a hit.

Procreate made a name for itself with artists with its gesture-driven, hands-on approach to art. By focusing on gestures, the company’s first app puts your artwork front and center, providing the maximum context for what you’re working on and reducing distractions. The approach also encourages interacting with the app’s canvas in a natural, fluid way.

Artwork source: Procreate.

Artwork source: Procreate.

That same approach is the hallmark of Procreate Dreams. The app tackles animation in much the same way Procreate reimagined drawing and painting on an iPad. The tools at your fingertips are deep and sophisticated but get out of the way of your creation. At times, the discoverability of features suffers a little as a result, but after spending some time tapping UI elements, long-pressing to reveal context menus, and experimenting with multi-finger gestures, Dreams reveals itself, rewarding the curious who take the time to learn what it can do.

All of the familiar Procreate brushes and tools are available in Dreams. Artwork source: Procreate.

All of the familiar Procreate brushes and tools are available in Dreams. Artwork source: Procreate.

Procreate Dreams, which has been in development for five years, offers multiple ways to create 2D animation. The full suite of Procreate brushes and tools is available to artists. For anyone who has used Procreate before, this is the perfect place to start with Dreams because it will immediately feel like home. However, underlying those familiar brushes is a new and more powerful painting engine that allows for larger canvases and more complex artwork, giving the app room to grow into the future.

Dreams also introduces a new way to animate called Performing, which allows artists to record the movement of their creations using touch. Tap record and drag a selected item on the app’s stage, and Procreate Dreams will add keyframes and paths automatically, simplifying the process of bringing your artwork to life.

Artwork source: Procreate.

Artwork source: Procreate.

Other edits can be accomplished from the timeline, which supports multiple layers, manual keyframing, cel animation, video editing and compositing, and more, all using gestures to access features and select content. When you put it all together, there’s a lot going on, but it works smoothly thanks to Apple’s Metal framework running on Apple silicon.

You’re not limited to hand-drawn animation on a blank canvas, either. Dreams supports video, to which you can add an animation layer and edit, crop, zoom, pan, and more. Separate audio tracks can be added, too.

I plan to spend some quality time in Procreate Dreams over the holidays. Drawing apps has never been my forté, and drawing on a timeline adds an additional element of complexity. However, Dreams isn’t like any other animation app I’ve tried before. My familiarity with Procreate gave me a head start, easing me into unfamiliar territory. That’s a big advantage for the app and an even bigger one for anyone who has ever wanted to try their hand at animation.

Procreate Dreams is available on the App Store as a one-time purchase for $19.99.


Apple Updates Logic Pro for iPad and Mac

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple announced updates to Logic Pro for the iPad and Mac. Both platforms gain support for 32-bit float recording and Mastering Assistant, which the company says “can instantly analyze the audio and make expert refinements to the sound, adjusting elements such as the dynamics, frequency balance, timbre, and loudness.” Mastering Assistant’s processing can be manually tweaked by musicians, too.

The update to Logic Pro for Mac adds Sample Alchemy and Beat Breaker, two tools that debuted on Logic Pro for iPad when it was introduced earlier this year. Apple also added new sound packs to Logic Pro for Mac:

The Hybrid Textures sound pack includes a collection of 70 patches, as well as over 80 Apple Loops featuring Sample Alchemy, while the Vox Melodics sound pack contains a diverse collection of over 475 lyrical phrases, hooks, layered harmonies, FX, and one-shots.

On the iPad, Logic Pro now supports Split View and Stage Manager, allowing musicians to work in multiple apps at once and take advantage of drag and drop between them. The app also has a new Recorder mode for recording sounds with the iPad’s microphone and a Quick Sampler plugin to create instruments from sounds. Samples can be previewed with gestures in Logic Pro’s Browser, and new in-app Lessons are available to help users learn the app’s new features and more.

It’s great to see Apple continue to expand Logic Pro’s capabilities and bring the Mac and iPad’s feature set closer together. More than anything, though, I’d like to see iPadOS-level audio routing added to enable the iPad to handle multiple audio inputs and outputs so I could participate in a Zoom call and simultaneously record a separate microphone input.


TV Remote: Control Your TV From Your Lock Screen, Home Screen, and Live Activities

Developers have come up with endlessly clever uses for interactive widgets. I love testing them all, but one type is beginning to stick more than others. It’s the widgets for apps that require quick interactions when you’re in the middle of something else. Turning off the lights in my home office when I’m finished working for the day, toggling work timers as I switch from task to task, and then checking off those tasks as I complete them are all perfect interactions for widgets that require minimal switching away from whatever I’m doing. Hopefully, that means fewer distractions and, in turn, a more productive day.

But not everything is about peak efficiency and checklists. Sometimes, you just want to relax, which widgets can help with, too. One of my favorite apps to help with that, which recently added interactive widget support, is TV Remote by Adam Foot. Foot’s app is one I already used with my LG C2 TV, but it’s the app’s new widgets that have graduated it to a regular part of my TV routine.

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Longplay 2.0: An Album-Oriented Apple Music Player with Loads of New Features

Longplay 2.0 by Adrian Schoenig is out, and it’s a massive update of the iOS and iPadOS album-oriented music app.

If you’ve tried Longplay before, the update will be familiar. The first time it launches, it quickly checks your Apple Music library (about six seconds for over 1200 albums in my case), finds all the nearly complete and complete albums, and displays them in a grid of album art. I’ve always loved this interface because it does such a great job of emphasizing album art. However, what’s different is a long list of new features, but since we’ve only covered the app for Club MacStories members and AppStories listeners, I’m going to cover everything and call out the updated features as I go.

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Obscura 4 Features A Refreshed Design, New Features, and A Different Business Model

Ben McCarthy’s career as a developer coincides almost exactly with mine as a writer. As a result, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Obscura evolve from little more than an idea to one of the best camera apps on the App Store. As with so many apps, what sets Obscura apart from others is Ben’s attention to detail, impeccable design taste, and deep knowledge of the app’s subject matter – photography.

Today, Obscura 4 is out, less than two years since I reviewed version 3 with a refreshed design and a handful of new features. The update includes a change in Obscura’s business model, too. In the past, the app was paid up front, with each major release being a new purchase. Going forward, Obscura is free to download, with certain advanced features, known as Obscura Ultra, requiring a subscription.

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Mercury Weather 2.0 Adds Trip Forecasts

If you’ve ever found yourself repeatedly checking the weather of a trip destination in the days leading up to your travels, you’ll appreciate Mercury Weather 2.0, which was released today for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The update’s marquee feature is Trip Forecast, which lets you set up a trip once and keep tabs on your destination’s weather as your travel dates approach. I reviewed Mercury Weather a couple of weeks ago, so for more on the app’s other features, be sure to check out that review.

From Mercury Weather’s Locations view, there’s now an option to add upcoming trips. Just add your destination and the dates of your trip, and it will appear in a separate, collapsable ‘Upcoming Trips’ section, along with the current conditions and dates of the trip. You can also name your trip and add a custom icon.

You can switch between home and upcoming trips in the Daily Forecast section of Mercury Weather.

You can switch between home and upcoming trips in the Daily Forecast section of Mercury Weather.

As your departure date approaches, your destinations will appear along the top of the Daily Forecast graph. Tap a trip’s name to see that location’s weather forecast or the ‘Home’ button to return to your home location’s weather. Once your trip dates pass, the forecast for your destination just disappears from the app unlike destinations you might otherwise save in a weather app’s list of locations.

Trip Forecasts have been incorporated in Mercury Weather’s small and medium-sized ‘Daily Forecast (Customizable)’ widgets too. The widget includes a summary forecast for the next eight days, and if any of those days are part of your upcoming trip, it will show the forecast for that location instead of your current location.

Mercury Weather on the Mac.

Mercury Weather on the Mac.

Trip Forecast is an excellent addition to Mercury Weather. I love that I can set up a trip once and forget about it, letting the app show me the upcoming forecast as my travel day approaches and staying out of the way until then. One thing I still miss from other weather apps is radar data, but aside from that, I’ve loved using Mercury Weather this summer.

Mercury Weather is free to download on the App Store, with Home and Lock Screen widgets, the Apple Watch app, historical data, and more than one saved location available to subscribers for $1.99/month or $9.99/year, with a $34.99 lifetime purchase option. A Family Sharing subscription is $3.49/month, $16.99/year, or $59.99 for a lifetime purchase.


TimeWave: Stacked Timers Delivered with a Clean, Spare Interface

Timers are a staple of productivity systems, which is why there are so many of them on the App Store. My favorite timer apps are the ones that are the most flexible. A little structure goes a long way if you’re casting about for a system that works for you, but I prefer timer apps that can be adapted to multiple scenarios. That’s why I’ve enjoyed playing around with TimeWave so much.

The app, which works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, plus Apple Silicon Macs in compatibility mode, isn’t new, but in a sea of timer apps, its focused black-and-white design and regular updates caught my eye. TimeWave is pitched as a focus timer that can be used with the Pomodoro time management system, which is a good use of it. However, what’s best is that TimeWave can also be used as a habit tracker, cooking timer, exercise routine timer, and more.

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Mercury Weather: A Crystal Clear Design for Every Apple Device

There’s something for everyone in the weather app category. There are incredibly technical, complex apps, apps with a narrow focus, ones junked up with ads that don’t respect your privacy, and everything in between.

One of my favorite newer entrants in the category that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while is Mercury Weather, a weather app that’s available as a universal purchase on all of Apple’s platforms. The app, by Triple Glazed Studios, is a pleasure to use, combining a clear, simple design with coverage on of all of Apple’s platforms.

In some ways, Mercury Weather is a spiritual successor to Weather Line, a graph-centric weather app that was sold to an unnamed purchaser a couple of years ago, which some suspect was Fox Weather based on the app’s 2023 redesign. The comparison is apt but sells Mercury Weather short because its design is superior to what Weather Line’s ever was. The app uses beautiful gradient backgrounds to convey the temperature and conditions, along with a modern layout and clear typography to make it fast and easy to check current conditions and the forecast.

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Zenitizer: An Simple, Elegant Way to Practice and Track Meditation Sessions

Zenitizer 1.2, an iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS meditation app by Manuel Kehl, was released yesterday, adding iCloud sync support. The update means that progress toward your meditation goals and routines you create on any version of the app will sync across all devices for the first time. I recommended Zenitizer to Club MacStories readers not long ago when version 1.0 was released, but it’s such a well-designed and thought-out app, I wanted to go a little deeper today on everything it has to offer.

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