Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Apps we live in every day, whether we pay for premium-priced movie rentals, the smart speakers we use, and providing tech support for our parents.

By Jason Snell

Using gestures inside the Dynamic Island

The Dynamic Island has nuances. As prompted by Jordan Krahn, I’ve been tapping and swiping on it to figure out some of the subtler gestures it accepts.

And then Ryan Jones came along and made a video:

Swiping toward the center of the Island does seem to “minimize” it, though that behavior seems to vary. When I tried it while on a phone call, it made the time and voice waveform disappear, but the phone icon—to indicate that there’s an active phone call—remained. Doing it with playing music caused the music widget to vanish entirely. Swiping back out from the center restored it.

Things get a little more complicated when two items are in the Dynamic Island. Swiping in from the right, over the second, smaller item, caused it to disappear, giving all the space to the main item. Swiping back out brought it back.

Swiping in from the far edges, on the other hand, made the main item disappear and brought the smaller item to the front. Swiping out on the right side of the Dynamic Island, as if trying to send the second item back into its little side bubble, does just that.

By Jason Snell for Macworld

Stage Manager on the iPad is too important to get this wrong

With iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura threatening to arrive later this month, we’re on the precipice of the arrival of one of the biggest new features added to the iPad and Mac in recent years: Stage Manager.

For Mac users, Stage Manager is an optional feature that might or might not improve productivity and organization. No big deal! Use it, or don’t. Meanwhile, for the iPad, the feature is practically an existential crisis.

Put simply, Stage Manager is a big deal for the iPad because it gives it windows for the first time, while the Mac has been a window-based computing device since Steve Jobs first took it out of that bag in early 1984. And that contrast gets to the core of why putting Stage Manager on the iPad is a much bigger job than adding it to the Mac.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

An accidental Sports Corner, understanding Peacock’s slow growth, EPIX becomes MGM+, a “House of the Dragon” / “Rings of Power” check-in, Apple’s “Luck”, Julia and Parrot provide data to creators, and a listener explains Canadian TV quirks.

‘A scarce and unusual image’

So my friend John Siracusa sends me a tweet that took me down a rabbit hole ending in something I worked on 26 years ago:

The link in this tweet goes to a page on Boston Rare Maps highlighting this:

A 1996 “road map” using a cartographic metaphor to explain content available on the Internet, provided as a bonus for purchasers of MacUser magazine and with a decided emphasis on the Apple ecosystem…. In all, a scarce and unusual image of the internet in its early days of development.

Yes, this is MacUser’s Internet Road Map project, an extra (I can’t remember if it was only in newsstand editions or if subscribers got it, or if it was an inducement to subscribe?) that I worked on with my fellow MacUser editor (and current podcast compatriot) Shelly Brisbin back in the mid-90s.

The entry on Boston Rare Maps also highlights Geoff Duncan as our “Net surfer[!]” — their brackets and exclamation. To explain: We wanted every link on the Internet Road Map to be real, representing an actual hyperlink on the Internet from one page to another. To find those, Geoff Duncan wrote (in HyperCard, if I recall correctly) a web crawler that would follow links and mark interconnections. It allowed Shelly and me to find ways to get our favorite pages onto the map without breaking the rules. (We ended up with lots of Yahoo directory pages on the map simply because were the best way to connect a bunch of disparate websites.)

We did a second one of these maps a year later. (Geez, I wonder what it sold for?) It did not follow the same strict rules as the original and was more of a poster than a “real” map of the Internet.

Anyway, Boston Rare Maps is selling this subscriber giveaway for $1750 in “about excellent” condition, which is making me regret not saving more of them. Though I have at least one, and maybe more, tucked away in a box somewhere.

—Linked by Jason Snell

It’s pretty late in the game, but Stage Manager on iPadOS keeps changing—most lately adding support for older iPad Pros while temporarily dropping support for external displays. What’s going on, and where does it go from here? Meanwhile, Apple execs take a European tour, allowing us to marvel at Eddy Cue’s energy and wonder at the surprising company Tim keeps.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

The iPad isn’t a big iPhone or a touch-screen Mac–so what is it?

Of all of Apple’s major product lines, it seems like none has been the subject of such intense debate and scrutiny over the last decade as the iPad. Can one do “real work” on it? Is it a computer replacement? Will it some day replace the Mac for all our computing needs?

While products like the Mac and the iPhone have always had a clear role in our technology lives, the iPad’s place has been more ragged around the edges. It fits into the gaps in our lives, solving problems that neither the iPhone nor Mac are quite equipped to, but without supplanting either.

Still, for all of that, the iPad has continued to live under the shadow of its two progenitors. And as it embarks upon its second decade, the future of the iPad is less than clear: its recent evolution–especially when it comes to the much anticipated Stage Manager feature–seems to suggest it heading in one of two directions.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

By Dan Moren

The Back Page: What’s in a name?

Okay, Apple, listen up. I’m calling you on the carpet.

Stop stealing my gig.

Oh, sure, play innocent. But I’ve been watching for you for years.

Look, it started innocently enough. Time Machine. I get it, it’s a pop culture trope. And the feature lets you go back in time and get your files. Plus, I have to admit, it’s saved my bacon more than a few times over the years so I’ll let it slide; after all, it’s not like you went the whole way and called it DMC DeLorean or TARDIS.

But then you couldn’t help yourself: you just kept going. Deep Fusion? Really? A16 Bionic? The Photonic Engine?

Is your marketing department just two people with a set of darts and a copy of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual?

I get it, I do. Naming is an important part of product development and not every product is going to be as instantly iconic as the Macintosh or the iPod or the iPhone 14 Pro Max with Super Retina XDR display.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

Scott doesn’t like the Kobo Sage

I’m a big fan of the Kobo e-reader line, but it’s only fair that I post a link to a negative review of the Kobo Sage by my pal Scott McNulty:

If you’re looking for a premium ereader get a Kindle Oasis. The Kobo Sage feels cheap (things that cost $300 should never produce that “creaky plastic” sound under normal use) and worst of all: the page turn buttons sometimes just don’t work. Given the whole point of the device is to turn pages, that’s a dealbreaker. Don’t get this thing.

Furthermore, the official case, which can be used as a stand whilst reading, is an abomination that Kobo should just stop selling.

I will say, however, that it charges via USB-C which is nice and I look forward to getting a Kindle that does the same (I’m not getting another Kobo, you see).

Some quick responses:

  • Yes, the Sage’s case not having a power button cut-out is a real head-scratcher.
  • Scott’s right that the Kobo hardware is a cut below Amazon’s in terms of fit and finish. The Kindle Oasis, while smaller than the Sage, has a metal back and doesn’t do the creaky-plastic thing.

  • As Scott writes, the gap between Kindle and Kobo software has closed substantially. Kobo had a huge lead over Kindle, but Amazon has closed the gap quite a bit. And while I enjoy the fact that the Kobo software is better integrated with Overdrive for library books, I do most of my library searching and checking out on an iOS device with the Libby app, making Kobo’s advantage less relevant.

  • I’m mystified at Scott’s story about the Sage’s buttons not working. I’ve never had an issue with nonworking buttons on any of my Kobos and if I were Scott, I’d probably send the Sage back and get a refund or a replacement.

Anyway, my preferred e-reader of the moment is still the Kobo Libra 2, which is $120 less than the Kindle Oasis, but is the same size and also offers physical page-turn buttons. The Oasis is much nicer hardware—the Libra 2 is all plastic and has a recessed screen—but it’s also $120 cheaper, so…

—Linked by Jason Snell

Our thoughts on a slidable, resizable laptop, our countdown events, our iPhone photography habits, and our favorite pinball games

Apple makes some changes to Stage Manager which gets us talking about glitches.

Relay FM Campaign for St. Jude

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and once again, my friends at Relay FM are raising money for St. Jude. A lot of money. Members of our community have already given more than half a million dollars this month, and more than two million dollars since Relay began doing this four years ago.

My friend James Thomson has made a completely bananas macOS screensaver for this campaign, and everyone who donates $60 or more will get it. It is… extra. And then there’s extra on top of that. And when you think there’s nothing extra left, there’s extra.

I strongly suggest you donate if you can.

—Linked by Jason Snell

Jason reviews the iPhone 14, we speculate about how Apple could make an October Mac event worth having, Myke solves his iPhone migration problems, and we answer your Dynamic Island questions!

Angel Island. (A crop of a 48MP image from an iPhone 14 Pro.)

By Jason Snell

iPhone 14 Pro Review: No phone is an island

Since the near-simultaneous arrival of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017, Apple has been on a mission to split the iPhone product line into two distinct sets of models: a more expensive set that incorporates all the cutting-edge features Apple can dream up, and a set that trades some of that high-tech flash for affordability.

This year’s iPhone 14 and 14 Pro feel like the final resolution of that mission. The iPhone 14 is a very mildly updated version of the iPhone 13, down to it being powered by last year’s A15 processor. But while the iPhone 14 has stood (almost) still, the iPhone 14 Pro has rocketed further ahead. The result is that Apple’s new iPhones for the fall of 2022 are more distinct from one another than ever before.

That’s a good thing for Apple, because the more that users are tempted to spend bigger on the extra features, the more money for Apple. But I’d argue that it’s good for potential buyers too, in the sense that if they’re choosing to spend money on the more expensive phone, they’d want to know what they’re getting for their money. And if those features don’t impress, you can save your money.

Continue reading “iPhone 14 Pro Review: No phone is an island”…

By Dan Moren for Macworld

3 can’t-miss features in iOS 16 and watchOS 9 that you may have missed

There are dozens–if not hundreds–of new features strewn across the major software updates Apple releases every fall. But for every one that gets top billing (iOS 16’s new customizable Lock Screens, for example) there are a whole slew that get little, if any attention. It’s hardly fair, but hey, that’s life: we can’t all be the stars of the show.

Fortunately, the massive number of people looking at these updates helps ensure that no new feature stays unknown for long. Having myself spent a large amount of time with iOS 16 and watchOS 9 over the past several months, I’ve developed my own feelings on which are the best features that you might not immediately try right away—the ones that are often squirreled away in an app you haven’t opened for a while, or buried under several levels of menus. And because I want you to enjoy them too, I’m going to share three of my favorites.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

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