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Posts tagged with "macOS"

Pixelmator Pro Updated with Machine Learning Auto Enhancement, Light and Dark Modes, and Automator Actions

Pixelmator Pro for the Mac was updated to version 1.2 today with a handful of enhancements centered around macOS Mojave.

The update includes light and dark modes, which can be set in Preferences to follow the mode picked in System Preferences or full-time light or dark mode. Dark mode closely resembles Pixelmator Pro’s existing UI, but its light mode is brand-new.

Pixelmator Pro's new light mode.

Pixelmator Pro's new light mode.

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 has also added a new auto-enhance feature for images that applies machine learning to automatically adjust white balance, exposure, hue and saturation, lightness, color balance, and selective color. Previously auto-enhancement was available individually for some of the categories in Pixelmator’s Adjust Colors tab. The new ML Enhance feature, which the Pixelmator team says was trained with millions of professional photos, adjusts all of the categories listed above at once. If you don’t like the results, the adjustments can be turned off on a per category basis or adjusted manually.

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App Bundles Are Coming to the Mac App Store

In a brief post on Apple’s Developer news site, the company announced that it is adding support for app bundles to the Mac App Store. According to the post:

…now, you can create app bundles for Mac apps or free apps that offer an auto-renewable subscription to access all apps in the bundle.

The post points to developer documentation on creating app bundles that that has been revised to mention Mac apps. The process for setting up a bundle, which will allow developers to offer up to 10 Mac apps as a single purchase, appears to be the same as it is for iOS developers. Unfortunately for those developers with iOS and macOS apps, it does not appear possible to create a mixed bundle of iOS and Mac apps.

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Preserving macOS History: The 512 Pixels Aqua Screenshot Library

Having just gone through the exercise of trying to find screenshots and other information about apps from the dawn of the App Store, I have a greater appreciation for how difficult that can be and the need to preserve the historically significant aspects of our digital world. Today, Stephen Hackett revealed a project he’s been working on for nearly a year: a collection of screenshots highlighting macOS from its debut in the Public Beta 17 years ago through today.

Hackett’s Aqua Screenshot Library, which you can find on 512 Pixels, was an enormous undertaking that currently includes 1,502 images that take up 1.6 GB of storage. I particularly like that all of these images were captured from Macs in Hackett’s collection. As Hackett explains:

These images came from the OS, running on actual hardware; I didn’t use virtual machines at any point. I ran up to 10.2 on an original Power Mac G4, while a Mirror Drive Doors G4 took care of 10.3, 10.4 and 10.5. I used a 2010 Mac mini for Snow Leopard and Lion, then a couple different 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros to round out the rest.

When you have a moment, browse the collection. It’s fascinating to see the evolution of macOS from its origins through today.

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The Case for Low Power Mode on MacBooks

Marco Arment has revisited MacBook Pro battery life tests that he first ran in 2015 to see how his new 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.7 GHz i7 processor and his 2015 2.2 GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro would fare under similar conditions. In 2015, Arment used an app called Turbo Boost Switcher to disable Turbo Boost on his laptop. This time around, he replicated disabling Turbo Boost on his 2015 MacBook, but on his 2018 model, he also limited the laptop’s power consumption using Volta.

Based on the results Arment concludes that:

the gain in battery life is about as large as the loss in heavy-workload performance. That’s a trade-off I’d gladly make when I need to maximize runtime.

The best bang-for-the-buck option is still to just disable Turbo Boost. Single-threaded performance hurts more than with wattage-limiting, but it’s able to maintain better multi-threaded performance and more consistent thermals, and gets a larger battery gain relative to its performance loss.

Running an app like Turbo Boost Switcher is worth considering when you have work to get done because it can mean the difference between your MacBook’s battery making it through a long flight or not. However, I’m with Arment – I’d prefer to run an iOS-like Low Power Mode for Macs that is implemented at the OS level and makes intelligent choices about what activities to stop or slow down. To get an idea of the sorts of things that might be throttled in a macOS Low Power Mode, check out the long list compiled by Arment.

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Apple Releases New App Design Resources for the Mac and Apple Watch

As tweeted by Mike Stern, Apple’s Platform Experience and Design Evangelism Manager, Apple has updated its AppKit design resources with a comprehensive set of UI elements for making Mac apps. The UI elements come in both Aqua and the Dark Aqua variants for designing Dark Mode Mac apps.

The update, also announced on Apple’s developer news website, includes new watchOS UI elements too, including ‘dozens of new UI elements for watchOS apps, watch face templates for designing complications, a color guide, and new text styles.’

The design assets are available to download in both Photoshop and Sketch formats from the Resources section of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines website. A full list of all the changes is available here.


A Close-Up Look at macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode

One of the marquee features that Apple showed off for macOS Mojave at WWDC is Dark Mode. As the company demonstrated during the WWDC keynote, Dark Mode is a far more ambitious feature than the dark theme added to macOS Yosemite in 2014. The new look extends much deeper into the system affecting everything from app chrome to window shadows and Desktop Tinting.

There is a lot more to Dark Mode than you might assume. To help developers navigate when and how to implement Dark Mode, Apple has provided developers with guidelines, which Stephen Hackett covers on 512 Pixels:

The biggest is that not all apps should always follow the Appearance that has been set by the user. As before, Apple believes that media-focused tools should be dark at all times. I don’t foresee something like Final Cut Pro X gaining a light theme anytime soon.

Apple has also given developers the ability to use the Light Appearance in sections of their applications. One example is Mail, which can use the Light Appearance for messages, but the Dark Appearance for its window chrome, matching the system[.] This lets text and attachments be viewed more easily for some users. I think it’s a nice nod to accessibility for text-heavy apps, and I hope third-party developers take advantage of this ability.

Hackett also covers Accents, an adaptation and expansion of what is currently called Appearances that affect the look of things like drop-down menus, and how Accessibility features affect Dark Mode.

I like the look of Dark Mode a lot and hope third-party developers adopt it quickly. I expect the pressure to add Dark Mode to existing apps will rapidly increase as more and more third parties begin to use it and hold-out apps become bright, glaring reminders among a sea of muted windows.

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macOS Mojave: A Roundup of All the Little Things

Now that people have had a chance to dig deeper into macOS Mojave, a number of smaller features have been discovered that didn’t get mentioned during the keynote on Monday and weren’t included in our initial overview of the updated OS that will be released in the fall. Here are a few of our favorite discoveries:

macOS Updates in System Preferences. What Apple didn’t explain when it updated the Mac App Store is that macOS updates have been moved from the Mac App Store to System Preferences.

HomeKit Support for Siri. Among the iOS apps ported to macOS as part of the upcoming release of Mojave is Home. The app does not currently support AirPlay 2, but control of HomeKit devices is not limited to the Home app itself; Siri can also be used to control devices.

System-Wide Twitter and Facebook Support Removed. In High Sierra, users could log into Twitter and Facebook from the Internet Accounts section of System Preferences and share content using the share button in apps like Safari. Like iOS did in iOS 11, the Mojave beta has removed system-level support for sharing content via Twitter and Facebook.

The Final Version to Support 32-Bit Apps. During the State of the Union presentation, Apple confirmed that Mojave will be the last version of macOS to support 32-bit apps. When a user tries to open a 32-bit app, Mojave currently displays a one-time warning that the app will not work in future versions of macOS.

Favicon Support in Safari Tabs. Unlike Google’s Chrome browser, macOS doesn’t currently support favicons in Safari tabs. According to an article by John Gruber last summer, that led a significant number of people to use Chrome and third-party solutions like Faviconographer, which overlaid favicons on Safari’s tabs. When Mojave ships, Safari will add support for tab favicons, which are coming to iOS too.

Apple Mail Stationary Removed. According to the release notes for the macOS Mojave beta, Stationary, the HTML email feature that allowed users to choose from pre-built email templates, has been removed from the app.



You can also follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2018 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2018 RSS feed.


Apple Redesigns Mac App Store with iOS-like Editorial Focus, New Product Pages, and More

During the WWDC keynote today, Apple announced a redesigned Mac App Store, elements of which leaked this past Saturday in a 30-second Mac App Store preview video for Xcode 10.1 The video was discovered by Steve Troughton-Smith:

Unlike the iOS App Store, the Mac App Store has never included preview videos, which indicated additional Mac App Store improvements were likely.

Those suspicions were confirmed during the keynote this morning when Apple revealed an ambitious redesign of the Mac App Store. The update takes several cues from the iOS App Store, implementing lessons learned from that store’s successful update in iOS 11.

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macOS Mojave: The MacStories Overview

During its WWDC keynote presentation today, Apple took the wraps off macOS 10.14, also known as Mojave, which will be released this fall. One of the marquee features of the update is a completely redesigned Mac App Store, which we will cover in a separate article. In addition to a previously-leaked Dark Mode, the update will also include Finder, screenshot, and Desktop updates, the addition of several apps previously-available only on iOS, which Apple ported to the Mac using new frameworks under development for release in late 2019, and other new features.

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