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Posts tagged with "mac"

What Happened to 5K Displays?

Adam Engst, writing for TidBITS:

Although the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display and iMac Pro both have 5K displays built in, Apple doesn’t currently make a standalone 5K display, or, in fact, an external display of any sort. When Apple dropped its 27-inch Thunderbolt Display (see “Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display with No Replacement in Sight,” 27 June 2016), the company worked with LG on a replacement: the $1299 LG UltraFine 5K Display.

So you could buy an LG UltraFine 5K Display, but you might not want to. That’s because the availability of that monitor seems to be in decline, with AppleInsider reporting that Apple Stores say it hasn’t been restocked in a while and that it’s not available for in-store pickup when ordered online. With luck, its availability is dropping because LG is replacing it with a new model, but LG could just be running down stock before discontinuing it.

The Wikipedia page for 5K resolution lists a small number of other 5K displays, including screens from Dell, Philips, and HP, but as far as I can tell, none are currently for sale, apart from a handful of ultra-wide monitors with unusual aspect ratios like 64:27 and 32:9. Also on that list is the Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS, but its page on Amazon says it ships directly from Japan and has absolutely no ratings or reviews, which is suspicious.

Good overview of the current state of 5K displays for Macs, which seemingly haven't taken off because the industry has settled on 4K for now and 8K for the next generation.

Toward the end of his post, Engst assumes that the Apple-branded display coming next year with the Mac Pro will likely rely on Thunderbolt 3. My hope, however, is that Apple can figure out a way to offer a 4K or 5K display that works via Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C with support for ProMotion refresh rates at 120Hz. The 2018 iPad Pros can only connect to USB-C displays (not Thunderbolt 3), which is why I ended up buying a 4K UltraFine display that works with both macOS and iOS via a single USB-C cable. I want to believe that Apple's external display comeback will support both pro Macs and pro iPads; as the owner of a new Mac mini and iPad Pro used with the same LG display, an integrated Apple solution would be the dream setup.

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Apple Releases Annual Holiday Ad ‘Share Your Gifts’

Apple has released its annual holiday ad titled ‘Share Your Gifts.’ The video tells the story of Sophia, a creative young woman who uses a MacBook to write but puts her finished work in a box where no one can see it. Set to ‘come out and play’ by Billie Eilish, the story follows Sophia over time as she continues to write and pursue other creative avenues always hiding them from others.

In the heart-warming conclusion of the video, Sophia’s dog pushes her window open causing the pages of her printed writing to blow out the window into the streets. Sophia races outside after the sheets of paper, but can’t retrieve them before townspeople pick them up and start reading with smiles on their faces as they enjoy her writing.

The video was released with an accompanying ‘making of’ video that shows how much went into the piece, which combines hand-built miniature sets and CG graphics. It’s a fascinating look at how much care and work went into making the nearly three-minute video.

I’ve always enjoyed Apple’s holiday ads and this year’s is no exception. The message of sharing your creativity as a way of connecting with others is a great message for the holiday season that also fits well with the company’s products.


Inside MacStadium’s Mac Data Center

If you’ve been around the Apple community a while, you’ve probably heard of MacStadium, but you may not understand the scale at which it operates. Snazzy Labs paid a visit to MacStadium’s data center in Las Vegas to check out some of the company’s roughly 8,000 Mac minis humming away powering websites like MacStories and performing all sorts of other tasks. During the segment, Snazzy Labs interviews MacStadium’s Brian Stucki about the Mac minis, hundreds of Mac Pros, iMac Pros, and even some Xserves that the company uses. Besides the huge number of Macs in operation, the customizations made to the Macs for things like data storage, redundant power, and networking are fascinating.

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Mac mini: The MacStories Overview

Tim Cook introduced the new Mac mini at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House by gesturing to the sky. What followed was a video titled ‘The Arrival’ depicting a Mac mini descending like a UFO from the nighttime sky into the desert, which turned out to be a nighttime wallpaper from Mojave, Apple’s latest macOS update. It was a fun introduction to a computer that was last updated in 2014, and many Mac users had predicted would be discontinued.

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Review: Yoink Adds Support for Latest Mojave and iOS 12 Features

Yoink is the app I use on my Mac every day as a temporary spot to park files, snippets of text, images, and URLs. By itself, Yoink for Mac has been a fantastic time-saver. The latest updates to Yoink for iOS and the Mac, however, have been transformative. There's more that can be done to support the cross-platform use of Yoink, but Handoff support, which makes it simple to move data between my Mac and iOS devices, and several other new features have already added a new dimension to the way I use the app and embedded it deeper into my day-to-day workflow than ever before.

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Getting Behind the Mac as a Productivity-First Platform


Apple's recent Behind the Mac series is one of my favorite marketing campaigns of late. I find the visual of people sitting behind their Macs so romantic and nostalgic. It's a sight that's ever-present whenever I spend time in a coffee shop, and the series' tagline, "Make something wonderful behind the Mac," causes me to now wonder in public: what are these people making as they sit behind the iconic Apple logo's glow?

Following WWDC earlier this year, I shared that one of the things I least expected from the conference was that it would get me excited about the Mac. I've been iOS-first for three years now, with no regrets whatsoever. During that time, while the Mac has received incremental improvements, its growth has lagged significantly behind iOS and the iPad. While I never expected the same level of innovation on macOS that iOS received – since the Mac didn't need as much work, frankly – it was frustrating to constantly see iOS score new apps and technologies before the Mac.

It has long seemed to me like the Mac was on its way to an eventual death. But WWDC breathed new life into the platform, with Apple doubling down on the Mac's strengths as a productivity tool, and the prospect of ported iOS apps starting next year. Each of these changes will bring, I believe, genuine excitement back to the platform.

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Black Pixel Transfers NetNewsWire to Brent Simmons

Today, Brent Simmons and Black Pixel announced that NetNewsWire will be returning to Simmons, the original developer of the app.

NetNewsWire is a Mac RSS reader created by Simmons in 2002. Simmons sold the app to NewsGator in 2005, which subsequently sold it to Black Pixel, where it’s been developed for the past 7 years. During that time, Black Pixel released version 4 for Mac and iOS and created an Apple TV version. Black Pixel also implemented a sync system to keep users’ feeds up to date on each platform.

Separately, Simmons has been working on a free, open source RSS reader for the Mac called Evergreen. According to Simmons’ post on inessential.com, Evergreen will be renamed NetNewsWire 5.0. The project is available on GitHub, and a beta version for testing will be released soon. Black Pixel has removed NetNewsWire from sale and will shut down its sync server in 60 days. Simmons plans to support a variety of third-party RSS sync solutions in NetNewsWire 5.0 starting with Feedbin.

As I’ve noted on AppStories before, RSS readers have stagnated on the Mac in comparison to iOS in recent years, which is why I’m glad to see that Simmons is rebooting NetNewsWire based the work on Evergreen that he’s already done. RSS is still my first stop for most of the news I read every day. Although reading on iOS devices may be the most natural platform for RSS, I’m optimistic that we’ll see a revitalization of RSS on the Mac between projects like Simmons’ and the prospect of Marzipan versions of iOS RSS readers coming to the Mac in the future.


Apple Announces September 12 Event

As first reported by Tim Bradshaw Apple has announced a media event for September 12, 2018 at 10:00 am. The event will be held at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.

Based on widespread speculation, Apple is expected to introduce new iPhones based on the iPhone X design. Rumors also point to the introduction of new iPad Pros with smaller bezels, no home button, and Face ID, a revised Apple Watch with a larger display, and perhaps a new Mac mini and MacBook Air replacement.

In addition to hardware, Apple is expected to announce release dates for updates to its operating systems, including iOS 12, macOS Movjave, and watchOS 5. As in the past, Apple should release a Gold Master of iOS 12 and Mojave shortly after the event with a public release date within approximately 10 days.

Update: Apple has announced that the September 12th event at the Steve Jobs Theater will be live-streamed.


Affinity Publisher Beta for Mac Available

Serif, the maker of Affinity Photo and Designer, announced the launch of a public beta for Affinity Publisher, a desktop publishing app that it is developing for the Mac and Windows. In a press release today, Serif says that the feature set will include:

  • Advanced typography
  • Linked text frames
  • Master pages
  • Facing page spreads
  • Dynamic photo frames
  • Tables
  • Baseline grids
  • Linked resources
  • End-to-end CMYK

Of course, Serif cautions that it is not ready to use in production work, but you can download the app from Affinity’s website and take it for a spin to get a sense for what is coming and provide input to Serif. The final product is expected to ship in ‘a few months’ according to the Publisher preview webpage.

In addition to the signup page, Serif has published a series of 16 short video tutorials explaining the basic functionality of the app. There is also a sample brochure you can download to use as a playground for experimenting with the app’s features.

From my initial look at the beta and tutorials, Publisher is an ambitious effort to build an integrated suite of creative apps by leveraging Affinity Photo and Designer, which will be accessible directly from within Publisher. Those integrations are not yet available in the beta but will be activated in a later build.

It’s been interesting to watch Serif invade an app category, in which Adobe has been the dominant player for so long, with sophisticated but cost-effective alternatives that suit the needs of many users. Publisher looks like an app that could round out the Affinity suite of apps nicely, making the trio of apps appealing to an even greater audience.