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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: A Tour of System Preferences in Big Sur

Any time there is a big set of UI changes in macOS, I like to see what Apple has done to the System Preferences app. As you can see, Catalina and Big Sur’s versions of the app are pretty different:

Big Sur is still pretty early in its beta lifecycle, so some of these decisions could change over time (and I’m sure the Notifications icon will be swapped for a high-resolution one) but I think we can get a good feel for where Apple is going here.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Life After WWDC

WWDC 2020 has come and gone, and for the first time in the event’s 31-year history, the conference was entirely online.

In the Ye Olden Days, developers could get copies of WWDC sessions on VHS or DVD, and eventually watch them online. Over the last few years, Apple has worked hard to get session videos online faster and faster.

Of course this year, none of those edit-and-upload-as-quickly-as-possible skills were needed, as the entire conference was done in advance, ready to stream online like content from Netflix or Hulu.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: The battle for the next iPhone connector

Since USB-C first appeared on the 2015 MacBook, Apple users have seen it appear on more and more products, usually with its more powerful friend Thunderbolt 3 along for the ride into battle.

USB-C met a fierce adversary on its road to total control, though: the Lightning port.

Lightning first appeared on the iPhone 5, and quickly took over as the default connector on just about everything Apple sells that isn’t a computer. On my desk alone, I have Lightning ports on my keyboard, Trackpad, AirPods case and iPhone.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Revisiting Twitter.app

For the last month of so, I’ve been using Twitter’s official apps for iPhone, iPad and Mac. I’ve used Tweetbot for years, but as Twitter has continued to hamstring third party clients, I can’t help but think that sooner or later, the company will pull the plug on them altogether.

I have found the experience of Twitter’s official apps to be a pretty mixed bag. One on hands, I can see polls and create threads easier than ever, and when I’m in the mood to see what’s trending, the experience is much richer than in Tweetbot.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: After five years, Apple has restored MacBook clarity

iPad with trackpad

Five years is a long time, especially in consumer electronics. The iPhone went from the original model to the iPhone 5 in as many years. Just think about how many changes took place in that time frame; the iPhone 5’s screen was both larger and more dense than the original, and it packed in LTE, a Lightning port, a much better camera and shockingly better performance in a chassis that weighed less, was thinner and much better built.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Changing the Virtual Channel

For All Mankind

I watched and enjoyed both The Morning Show and For All Mankind. In fact, I’m excited to see where the shows go in their second season this year.

…and I haven’t looked at Apple TV+ since.

My wife and I are going to start the second season of Jack Ryan sometime soon, so the Amazon Prime app will see the light of day for a little while, and if something pops up on Netflix, we’ll then spend time there.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Room for a larger MacBook Air

Apple’s laptop lineup is in a very different place than it was just a few years ago, when the largest notebook you could get was 15.4-inches in size, and the smallest came with a 12-inch display and just one lonely USB-C port.

Both of those machines are gone. The 16-inch MacBook Pro looks like a great option for those who need a lot of power on the road. If you were a 12-inch MacBook kind of user … well … uhhh.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: The year of Macintosh

With the holidays here, it’s always a good time to reflect on what we’re thankful for, remembering the blessings in our lives.

As a Mac user, there’s a lot to celebrate this year. Apple remains dedicated to meeting the hardware needs of Mac users all across the spectrum, from those buying their first MacBook Air to take to college, to the professional who is about to order a Mac Pro next month.

Then there is Mac Catalyst, which should usher in a new era of app development atop macOS, unlocking the riches of the iOS ecosystem for Mac users.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Apple, the Media Company

When Apple dropped “computer” from it name the morning of the first iPhone keynote, it was jarring for some, and upsetting for others. Mat Honan wrote this for PCWorld and Macworld at the time:

Formerly Apple Computer, the name change reflects the company’s newfound emphasis on consumer electronics. Jobs revealed the change following announcements on the new Apple TV and iPhone, with no new Mac configurations announced whatsoever.

You can sense the saltiness about the lack of Mac announcements.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: Amazon’s iOS problem and opportunity

Amazon recently held an event in which the company announced a whole bunch of products, ranging from a new high-end Echo to take on the likes of Sonos, to a pair of glasses that contain a Bluetooth headset and microphone.

The majority of these products are either powered by, or provide access to, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Take the glasses, for example. Here are Dan Seifert and Chris Welch at The Verge:

The glasses pair with your Android phone and can read out notifications, make phone calls, and play audio, including music and podcasts.

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: What Sidecar says about the future of the Mac

Coming with macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13, Sidecar bridges the Mac and iPad experience, turning for latter into an external display for the former.

For full details, be sure to check out John Voorhees’s article on the subject, but today, I want to talk about Sidecar through the lens of what it could mean about the future of the Mac.

Sidecar will allow you to mirror your Mac’s display on an iPad or use the iPad like a traditional external display.…

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: On the possible return of the six-color Apple logo

There’s a (somewhat sketchy) rumor going around about a very specific detail about (possible) future Apple hardware. Here’s Joe Rossignol at MacRumors:

Apple may be planning to reintroduce its classic rainbow logo on some of its new products as early as this year, according to a well-connected MacRumors tipster, who in turn cites a corporate Apple employee in Cupertino.

When I said this one is a bit shaky, I wasn’t joking. Rossignol goes on:

To be clear, this rumor could very well be untrue.

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