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Posts tagged with "mac"

Mac App Subscription Service Setapp Goes Live

MacPaw, makers of CleanMyMac, Gemini, and other apps, launched a public beta subscription service of hand-picked Mac apps last December called Setapp. Today the service, which aims to become the ‘Netflix of apps,’ was officially launched with a stable of 61 Mac apps.

For a flat subscription fee of $9.99 per month, customers can download any of the 61 apps and use them as long as they continue to make monthly payments. After MacPaw receives a 30% cut of customers’ subscription fees, developers who participate in Setapp are paid based on a formula that accounts for the price their apps are sold for outside the service and whether customers use the apps each month, which MacPaw tracks.

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The Mac mini Family Tree

Four members of the Mac mini family.

Four members of the Mac mini family.

"The Mac mini is BYODKM," Steve Jobs said, in front of a crowded and slightly confused audience at Macworld 2005.

"Bring your own display, keyboard and mouse," he continued. "We supply the computer, you supply the rest."

The Mac mini was designed to lure switchers to the platform. A new customer could simply unplug their desktop PC and hook a new Mac mini up to their existing peripherals.1

The original machine started at just $499, making the Mac mini the lowest-cost Mac Apple has ever sold.

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App Extensions Are Not a Replacement for User Automation

Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form app teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications.

In such a scenario it may seem logical to retain application features common to both platforms and to remove those that were perceived to require extra resources. Certainly Automation would be something examined in that regard, and the idea might be posited that: “App Extensions are equivalent to, or could be a replacement for, User Automation in macOS.” And by User Automation, I’m referring to Apple Event scripting, Automator, Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.

Let’s examine the validity of that conjecture, beginning with overviews of App Extensions and User Automation.

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Apple Highlights Wallpapers Created with Its Products to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

In anticipation of the Chinese New Year, which begins January 28th, Apple commissioned wallpapers for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone from five artists. Apple describes the wallpapers, which are available on its websites in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, as ‘new interpretations of traditional Chinese New Year Nianhua folk art.’

Each of the wallpapers was created using a variety of Apple products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple Pencil and third-party apps, like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Procreate. The artists who designed the wallpapers will also be participating in ‘Meet the Artist’ programs at Apple Stores in China and Hong Kong.

The wallpapers are available to download here.

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Our Favorite Mac Apps of 2016

What becomes a favorite app is personal, complicated, and evolves over time. Favorites can be brand-new apps that debuted this year, old standbys that you go back to over and over, or newly-discovered apps that have been around for a while. With the end of the year in sight Alex, Jake, and I got together and each picked a handful of our favorite Mac apps that we used in 2016 to share with you.

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The Story Behind “I’m a Mac,” “I’m a PC”

Douglas Queneua of Campaign US has put together an extensive oral history of Apple's famous "Get a Mac" ad campaign. Written in two parts, the history is told by actors Justin Long (Mac) and John Hodgman (PC), as well as many of the creative minds that birthed the campaign.

In September 2005, Steve Jobs gave his advertising agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, an assignment: Come up with a campaign that clearly demonstrates the Mac's superiority to the PC. There was no deadline.

Seven months, dozens of tense meetings and countless discarded ideas later, the agency produced "Get a Mac." It would go on to become one of the most succesful and admired ad campaigns in Apple's history, no small feat when "1984," "Think Different" and "Silhouette" are the competition. Among those legendary ads, "Get a Mac" stands out as the most overtly comedic and one of the most expansive: The team shot 323 spots over three years just to get the 66 that made it on air.

To mark the 10-year anniversary, Campaign US asked members of the creative team, the crew and the actors to share the untold stories of how the campaign came to life. What follows is their recollections—inconsistencies, errors, biases and all—lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

There are plenty of great stories shared here from a memorable campaign.

One of my favorite tidbits from the article is that Justin Long initially assumed he would be playing the PC role, because up until then he had been playing primarily nerdy parts. "Nerdy parts," he says, "suited my natural personality."

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Setapp From MacPaw Enters Beta Testing

MacPaw, makers of popular Mac utilities CleanMyMac, Gemini II, and other apps, wants to become the Netflix of the Mac app world. MacPaw’s new subscription service called Setapp, which entered public beta today, gives users access to a wide variety of macOS productivity apps for $9.99 per month. Developers who participate in Setapp are paid based on a formula that accounts for the price of the app outside the service and the number users after MacPaw takes a 30% cut.

I’ve spent time with a preview version of Setapp, and it couldn’t be easier for users to set up. After signing up and installing Setapp, it appears as a folder in Finder with icons for each of the apps that are part of the service, but the apps aren’t installed until you are ready to use them. When you’re ready, double-clicking an app’s icon opens a preview with an app description and screenshots so you can take a closer look at what the app does before installing it.

Double clicking an app in Setapp opens a summary of the app so you can check it out before installation.

Double clicking an app in Setapp opens a summary of the app so you can check it out before installation.

For developers, Setapp is an opportunity to stand out in a much smaller store than the Mac App Store, albeit one with competition from very well-known, quality apps like Ulysses, iThoughtsX, iStats Menu, Marked, TaskPaper, and MacPaw’s own apps, CleanMyMac and Gemini II, to name a few of the nearly 50 available as of the beta launch. By teaming up, the service should also help developers avoid subscription fatigue among customers who can pay one monthly fee for the apps they want instead of a number of small fees to several developers.

Setapp is an interesting option for consumers and, based on the lineup of apps already in place, appears to be an attractive one for developers too. We will continue to use Setapp during the beta period and take a closer look at the service when the final version launches.

Note: We will be giving away immediate access to the Setapp beta to 50 Club MacStories members in this week’s issue of MacStories Weekly, which will bypass the usual period between signing up for the beta and receiving access to the app.


Sal Soghoian Leaves Apple

Sad news for the Mac automation community: Sal Soghoian, Product Manager of Automation Technologies since 1997, has left Apple. Details from Soghoian himself:

Q. I hear you no longer work for Apple; is that true?

A. Correct. I joined Apple in January of 1997, almost twenty years ago, because of my profound belief that “the power of the computer should reside in the hands of the one using it.” That credo remains my truth to this day. Recently, I was informed that my position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies was eliminated for business reasons. Consequently, I am no longer employed by Apple Inc. But, I still believe my credo to be as true today as ever.

Soghoian's work on AppleScript and other macOS automation, scripting, and accessibility technologies has always been inspiring – we wouldn't have apps like Workflow today hadn't Soghoian pushed the boundaries of user automation at Apple.

I don't know what this means for automation on macOS going forward, but it doesn't feel like a good sign to me. I love his determination, though:

Q. Are you still upbeat about the future of user automation?

A. Absolutely. The need for user automation is a constant. I've seen the benefits and power of individuals being able to automate critical and repetitive tasks. Solution apps are great, emojis are fun, but there's nothing like really great automation tools. I have faith in this community, and that makes me optimistic about what we can do together.

More than ever before, I'm going to keep an eye on Soghoian's website and future projects.

See also: the transcript of Soghoian's WWDC 2016 session on using macOS dictation to perform specific actions (unfortunately, Apple's session video URL doesn't seem to be working anymore).

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