six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

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‘The final 2017 emoji list’

Jeremy Burge at Emojipedia has the details of the final list of new emojis for 2017:

Changes from past drafts include the flags of England, Scotland, and Wales. These join previously approved candidates such as vomit face, orange heart, and T-Rex…. Unicode continues to work on functionality and documentation relating to Emoji 5.0 and Unicode 10.02; however the emoji list is now frozen.

There are some great ones in there, including a curling stone, baseball cap, zombie, bearded face, and socks! Also, while the specification is recommending that flags for England, Scotland and Wales be supported, any national sub-division flag could theoretically be supported, including U.S. states. Send someone a Maryland flag emoji and you might get a vomiting face in return.

Anyway, here’s the complete list of 2017 entries. I’d expect to see most of them supported by the time iOS 11 and the next major macOS release arrive this fall.


Podcast

Upgrade #134: Steal Its Bezel Thunder

Upgrade

This week on Upgrade, the revival of the iPad name leads us to speculate about a new phase in Apple’s product approach, and what it tells us about the future of the iPhone. We also discuss where the iPad Pro might go next, and what Apple’s acquisition of power-user app Workflow means about the company’s approach to iOS for professionals.


By Dan Moren

Apple software updates galore: iOS 10.3, macOS 10.12.4, more

Apple’s released one of its deluge of updates today, with new versions of operating systems for Macs and iOS devices, as well as revisions across the board to the iWork suite of apps. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s out there and what’s new.

macOS 10.12.4: The One with Night Shift

The Mac gets the Night Shift feature introduced in iOS 9.3. Basically, at night it’ll shift to the “warmer” (read: yellower) end of the light spectrum, to go easier on the eyes. As on iOS, you’ll be able to set a schedule. Other additions include cricket scores and stats in Siri, dictation support for Shanghainese, and bug fixes for PDF rendering and annotation problems.

iOS 10.3: The One With Find My AirPods

If you have Apple’s wireless earbuds, you can now use your phone to play a sound on them when you inevitably misplace them, via the Find My iPhone app. It’ll also save the last known location of your iOS device when the AirPods were connected. Also in iOS 10.3 comes the ability for developers to respond to customer reviews, a new settings view for your Apple ID, the ability to report calendar invites as junk, and—trumpets—Apple’s new APFS file system. (So be extra sure to make a backup before you update this time around.)

watchOS 3.2: The One With Theater Mode

Now you won’t annoy those around you while you’re wearing your Apple Watch in the movie theater: enable Theater Mode and the display won’t light up when you move your wrist, though you’ll still get haptic feedback, and you can turn it on by pressing the Digital Crown or tapping the screen. The update also adds SiriKit support for watchOS.

tvOS 10.2: The One With Better…Scrolling?

I guess you can swipe through longer lists more effectively. (MacRumors says a longer swipe on the Siri remote “activates the new scrolling mode.”) Most of the other improvements are under the hood.

Pages 6.1/3.1 for macOS/iOS: The One With Bookmarks

Now you can create bookmarks in Pages, which let you link between different parts of your document. There’s also LaTeX and MathML notation, RTF import/export, and TouchID security for documents. (Obviously you’ll need a new MacBook Pro on the Mac side.)

Numbers 4.1/3.1 for macOS/iOS: The One With Stock Functions

If you’re looking for a way to track your investments, apparently Numbers is now an option. You can now add current or historical stock info to spreadsheets and there’s a new My Stocks template. When collaborating, you can now work with sheets, and on iOS there’s a new action menu and a new editing interface. Plus it gets the same Touch ID security features as Pages.

Keynote 7.1/3.1 for macOS/iOS: The One With Interactive Presentation Posting

Hey, you can now post interactive presentations on Medium, WordPress, and other websites. Schmancy. Plus, presenter notes on a black background on the Mac and an improved rehearsal view on iOS, Keynote 1.0 import support, and the aforementioned Touch ID security features.

Apple TV Remote 1.1 for iOS: The One With iPad Support

Yep, you can now use Apple’s revamped TV Remote app—which came out in August of last year—on your iPad. There’s also a revamped Now Playing interface, with lyrics and playlists for music, plus chapters, audio tracks, and captions for movies and TV shows.

[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]


Jason Snell for Tom's Guide

25 Coolest Things Apple’s Workflow App Can Do ↦

The Workflow app for iOS was always widely recognized as one of the platform’s most powerful apps. And now, it’s a part of the platform, after Apple bought Workflow and made the app available for free. Because of that, there’s never been a better time to give it a try. Here are 25 of the coolest things you can do with Workflow.

Continue reading on Tom's Guide ↦


Dan Moren for Macworld

Apple’s acquisition of Workflow could bring automation to iOS ↦

After this week’s news that Apple had acquired iOS power user app Workflow, you’d be excused for being a bit confused about the future of automation on Apple’s platform. After all, it was just last November that Sal Soghoian, Apple’s product manager of automation technologies, left the company when his position was eliminated.

And yet, Apple snapped up Workflow, an app that many had compared to Apple’s own Automator, which was introduced way back in 2005’s Mac OS X Tiger. So what gives? Is there still some life in automation and scripting features on Apple’s platforms, or is this merely a case of Apple acquiring useful talent?

Continue reading on Macworld ↦


Linked by Jason Snell

‘Apple II Forever’

Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle did some of his usual excellent diving through the photo archives and came up with a bunch of gems from the 1984 launch of the Apple IIc:

The April 24, 1984, press and exhibitor gathering was late to start and later to finish. Apple executives sat on the kind of metal folding chairs that one would find at a recreation center singles dance. Steve Jobs — hair feathered gloriously — hadn’t quite settled into his permanent turtleneck-and-jeans uniform yet, choosing a bow tie, suspenders and Velcro-strapped Nike high-tops.

But even at this early public launch of the Apple IIc computer, the marketing panache that would infuse countless future Apple events could be seen.

This is definitely Steve deep in his bow tie phase.


Jason Snell for Macworld

The $329 iPad could be just the thing for the education market ↦

This winter has been packed with speculation about the future directions of the iPad product line, but nobody guessed that 2017’s first iPad announcement would be what we saw on Tuesday: An unexpected return of the original iPad line and the discontinuation of the iPad Air. The move was hardly exciting in terms of technology, but it could prove to be a smart and strategic one for the iPad as a whole.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦


Linked by Dan Moren

Instagram rolls out two-factor authentication for all

Speaking of two-factor authentication, you should really enable it on every service that offers it. And good news! Instagram has rolled out two-factor authentication to all users. You’ll need to add a phone number to your account if you haven’t already done so, and then, whenever you log in, you’ll receive a text to that number with a code, which you’ll have to enter. To set up the option in the Instagram app, tap the icon for your profile in the toolbar, then the gear icon in the top right. You’ll see an entry for Two-Factor Authentication right below Posts You’ve Liked; select that and follow the onscreen directions.


Podcast

The Rebound 129: Look at This GUI

The Rebound

In this week’s episode, the calm before the storm of minor Apple announcements, we talk Apple’s augmented reality plans, the possible futures of the Mac Pro and Mac mini (or lack thereof), Samsung’s new virtual assistant, Apple’s diversity problems, and Dan and Lex’s favorite new game. Also, planning begins on our musical episode.


Linked by Dan Moren

Apple says iCloud and Apple IDs not compromised, despite ransom attempt

There was a story going around the other day that a group of hackers calling itself “Turkish Crime Family” were holding some 500 million Apple email and iCloud accounts ransom unless Apple paid it a bunch of money.

Which sure sounds scary, but in a statement provided to Fortune, Apple says this is untrue:

“There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID,” the spokesperson said. “The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.”

Even if it’s not true, it’s still a reminder to make sure your Apple ID and iCloud accounts are as secure as possible, especially by making sure that you’ve enabled two-factor authentication.1


  1. And, because it’s confusing, let’s remind you that Apple’s newer two-factor authentication is not the same as its older two-step verification. Check the link for more.  ↩


Linked by Jason Snell

Apple acquires Workflow

Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch:

Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow today — a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks. We’ve been tracking this one for a while but were able to confirm just now that the ink on the deal is drying as we speak.

What. WHAT. WHAT?!

Okay, so Workflow is the definitive tool for automation and power-user stuff on iOS. It is spectacularly good. Look at the MacStories Workflow archive for a million examples of how.

So what does this mean for Apple? I’m going to be positive and say that this is Apple acknowledging that this sort of functionality should be core to iOS, and that Workflow (or a successor) could be vastly more powerful if it’s given more power and control than any third-party app ever could. You could, in fact, argue that Workflow is the iOS app that Apple should’ve built itself, but didn’t.

(The pessimist view would be that Apple could acquire the talent of Workflow, let the app wither and disappear, and never really address the need for better automation on iOS.)

I am going to choose to be the optimist here and take this as a sign that Apple’s getting serious about iOS power features.

Federico Viticci shares his thoughts about the acquisition here.


Linked by Dan Moren

iTunes 12.6 enables rent once, watch anywhere

Amongst all its other announcements yesterday, Apple snuck in iTunes 12.6, which most notably enables the ability to rent a movie from the iTunes Store and watch it on any device.1 It does, however, require iOS 10.3 or tvOS 10.2, so those are probably coming sooner rather than later. Kirk McElhearn also notes that iTunes 12.6 restores the ability to open playlists in separate windows from earlier versions. Anybody catch any other changes?


  1. I do rent movies on my Apple TV fairly often, but I don’t really jump between devices, which explains why I was rather surprised to find that this wasn’t already a thing. ↩


By Dan Moren

Go Play: Typeshift

I love word games. Delight in them. I may even go so far as to say I adore them. But I confess that I’ve never been the best at anagrams—it just seems to require a totally different part of my brain from, say, crossword puzzles. But TypeShift from Zach Gage has got me hooked nonetheless, thanks to a few very clever conceits. Gage is an experienced game developer, whose previous titles include popular games like SpellTower, Ridiculous Fishing, and Really Bad Chess.

typeshift

TypeShift is, at heart, an anagram game. Each puzzle gives you columns of letters that you can slide up and down—think of it like one of those horizontal combination locks, but with letters instead of numbers. Your goal is to form words from those letters. The good news is that it doesn’t really require rearranging letters, as in a true anagram.

Within each puzzle, your aim is to use all the letters in the puzzle in at least one word. There are generally a handful of core words that you can use to complete this puzzle, as well as a bunch of extra words that you can discover.1 (Even better, when you’ve solved the puzzle, you can tap on any word to get a definition of the word, right from Merriam-Webster, whose dictionary Typeshift licenses. You can then favorite those words just in case you want to look them up later.)

I really appreciate TypeShift’s Daily Puzzle, which—as with the New York Times crossword puzzle—gets harder as the week goes on, but my heart truly belongs to the game’s Clue Puzzles, which combine TypeShift’s normal play with crossword puzzle mechanics. You’re given a list of clues and must find words among the letters that correspond to those clues. It’s definitely a more Dan-friendly sort of puzzle.

TypeShift’s simple, bold graphics focus on easy readability—you can pick from a few different color schemes—and it makes delightful use of haptics on the iPhone 7 series, giving you little rewarding taps when you find a word, or “clicking” as you spin through the letter options. One thing I found myself wishing as I played was that I could go back and finish Daily Puzzles I’d missed, but if that’s possible, I haven’t found out how yet.

The game is itself free and includes a few packs of puzzles as well as the daily puzzle, but you can buy additional puzzle packs for a dollar or two. If you enjoy words and puzzles, it’s well worth your time.


  1. I seem to usually end up finding a ton of extra words rather than the core words, so I’m definitely no speed demon.  ↩

[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]


Linked by Dan Moren

Apple sneaks in new Watch bands

Amongst the hubbub of today’s announcements, one thing went unmentioned: new Apple Watch bands! (Well, new colors, anyway.) You can now grab a $49 Sport Band in Camellia, Pebble, or Azure; $49 Woven Nylon bands in Orange (and blue), Berry, Red (and yellow/gray), and, uh “Pollen”1 (blue/yellow/green). Also, the Nike+ Sport bands in Anthracite/Black, Pure Platinum/White, and Black/Volt, are now available as $49 options—previously, you could only get them by buying the Nike+ edition of the Watch.


  1. Seriously, guys? I’m allergic to pollen. Come on.  ↩


By Dan Moren

Apple introduces Clips app to create and share videos

iphone-clips

Well, if your wildcard bet for today’s Apple announcements was an app for making short videos on your iOS device, I applaud your predilection for preternatural prediction. The company announced Clips, an app that lets you combine video, photos, and music into videos to share through Messages or on social media like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.

As you might expect from an app that seems pretty clearly aimed at something like Snapchat or Instagram Stories, the app includes a number of filters, like comic book styles, as well as speech bubbles, shapes, and full-screen animated posters. There’s also a new Live Titles feature, which lets users make animated captions and titles from voice alone; it sounds as though it leverages Apple’s Dictation skills to create captions as people speak, but it can also synchronize them with your video. It supports different text styling, editing, and even inline emoji, in 36 different languages.

Clips isn’t available yet, but will be on the App Store in April for free, working with the iPhone 5s and later, the new 9.7-inch iPad, all iPad Airs and Pros, the iPad mini 2 and later, and the sixth-generation iPod touch. You’ll need iOS 10.3 or later. (Which, hey, you’ll notice isn’t out yet, so at least we’ve got an idea when that appears.)

[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]


Linked by Dan Moren

Apple makes Swift Playgrounds available in Chinese, four other languages

Apple’s development learning tool, Swift Playgrounds, is expanding its global reach. Unsurprisingly, that starts with making the tool available in Simplified Chinese, so as to appeal in the Greater China market that the company does so much business in. The company’s also adding Japanese, French, German, and Latin American Spanish. Programming lessons are localized across all five additional languages, and the company says they are optimized to look better and run faster too.

Apple also makes particular note that Swift Playgrounds is “a perfect companion” for the new 9.7-inch iPad, which starts at a more affordable price, showing the company’s clear positioning of the new tablet as an educational tool.


By Dan Moren

New 9.7-inch iPad replaces Air 2; iPad mini 4 increases capacities

iPad

In addition to a red iPhone, Apple also introduced a new version of the 9.7-inch iPad—no, not the iPad Pro. Called simply “iPad”, this low-cost model appears to replace the iPad Air 2, and starts at a cheaper $329 price point for 32GB and $429 for 128GB. (As usual, cellular-enabled models are $130 extra.) It comes in silver, gold, and space gray versions and will be available this Friday, March 24.

Though this new model is the same height and width as the iPad Air 2, it’s slightly thicker—0.29 inches compared to 0.24 for the iPad Air 2—and slightly heavier, weighing in at 1.03 lbs, compared to the iPad Air 2’s 0.96. It has a Retina display, which Apple describes as “brighter” (presumably compared to the Air 2) and the same A9 chip found in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus; that’s an improvement over the A8X in the Air 2, if not quite as powerful as the A9X in the Pro line. It features no Smart Connector, so no compatibility with the Smart Keyboard, and it won’t work with the Apple Pencil either.

There’s an 8-megapixel camera, that is probably the same unit found in the 12.9 inch iPad Pro and the iPad mini 4, with no support for Live Photos and no True Tone flash, and it can record video at 1080p. There’s also a standard 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, two speakers, Touch ID (no indication if it’s the first or second generation of that sensor), and support for Apple Pay.

The new iPad is clearly intended as a budget model, in the same way that Apple long kept around the iPad 2. While it has most of the “standard” features of the iPad, the line gets drawn between the Pro models, which have the Smart Connector, Apple Pencil support, even better displays, and faster processors.

As with the iPhone SE, Apple also snuck in a capacity bump for the iPad mini 4, which is now available in only a 128GB configuration for $399 (or with cellular for $539). That replaces the previous $399 model, which offered just 32GB of storage.

New Smart Covers round out the announcement, in charcoal gray, white, midnight blue, pink, and Product (RED) colors.

[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]


By Dan Moren

Apple introduces Product(RED) versions of iPhone 7, 7 Plus, doubles iPhone SE capacity

Product(RED) iPhone

If you’ve been craving an iPhone in a color beyond silver, two versions of gold, or two versions of black, it is your lucky day. After ten years of teaming up with Product(RED) to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa and releasing red versions of iPods, Apple’s releasing both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in a red aluminum finish. The red version of the iPhone 7 is available in two capacities: 128GB for $749 or $849 for 256GB, while the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $869 for 128GB and $969 for 256GB. (In other words, basically the same as the Jet Black iPhone). They’re also available for purchase via the iPhone Upgrade Program. The new iPhones go on sale this Friday, March 24, at 8:01 a.m. Pacific and will be available worldwide.

Buried deep down in its iPhone press release, Apple also notes that it’s bumping the storage on the iPhone SE, which will now be available in 32GB and 128GB models, but at the same prices of $399 and $499 respectively. (This replaces the previous configurations of 16GB and 64GB.) Those two will be available for order on March 24.

Finally, Apple also briefly mentioned new silicon iPhone 7/7 Plus cases in azure, camellia, and pebble, as well as new leather cases in an audacious taupe, sapphire, and berry.

[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]


By Jason Snell

Is Apple releasing new products Tuesday?

So, new Apple products tomorrow, released via press release rather than media event?

MacRumors reported last week that new products could arrive this week. 9to5 Mac points out that the Apple Store will be down early tomorrow morning.

John Gruber speculates that a 10.5-inch iPad isn’t coming soon, but thinks small updates to the existing iPad line (which hasn’t been updated in a year) could be coming. Federico Viticci says that makes sense.

It would be interesting for Apple to release updated iPads without an event, but if this is a specs update and there’s no entirely new product like that rumored 10.5-inch iPad, update via press release seems perfectly reasonable.

Will there be an iMac update, too? It’s past due, so it’s possible—especially if it’s also just a minor spec increase with nothing new beyond faster processors. Apple’s media events are a good way for the company to tell its story when it’s got something big to unveil, but people will pay attention to any new product Apple introduces, whether or not there’s an auditorium and a live video stream involved.

Then again, maybe someone just needs to change the oil in the WebObjects server that runs the Apple Online Store, and that’s why it’s going to be offline tomorrow for a few hours. We’ll find out soon.