Ever since Steve Jobs passed away and Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs was published — and then turned into a mediocre film — there’s been a constant onslaught of new books about Apple, its founders, its strategy, and more. There’s some great stuff that’s been published, but for Apple fans who’ve soaked up every bit of Apple trivia and folklore they can get over the years, most books end up just being repetitive.
There’s two authoritative books anyone who wants to learn more about Apple and its founders should read: Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, and Steve Woz’ iWoz. The former is obviously the most detailed book on Apple’s most famous cofounder, while the latter is a surprisingly interesting look at the life of Apple’s more recluse other Steve. And then, for more company lore, you can’t beat the incredible Folklore.org website that tells the stories of the development of the original Macintosh.
That’s obviously far from the only books on Apple out there, but they’re the most authoritative with first-hand accounts you’ll see elsewhere — and none of the hindsight analysis that fills so many other books on Apple and makes them seem more like university business course material. But that’s far from the only great material on Apple. In fact, there’s two new books about Apple that have surprised me with their access, in-depth coverage, and lack of preachy business analysis. They’re just stories about the people behind the Apple products we love.
Here they are, and here’s why you should add them to your collection:
Doxie's range of scanners have enjoyed immense popularity, especially amongst those (like me) who have moved towards a paperless workflow. Their award-winning mobile scanners provide a truly portable scanning solution that makes digitising letters, photos and documents amazingly simple. The Doxie One and Doxie Go are paper-feed scanners, much like how a fax machine (remember those?) works as you feed paper into it, one sheet at a time. This ability to continually feed page after page of content without constantly changing the page on a flatbed scanning surface makes it far easier to quickly scan documents, as well as dealing with multiple pages.
While the Doxie scanners are great for single page scans, anyone wanting to digitise notebooks, fragile photos, books or magazines were out of luck. That is, until now.
Doxie have now released the Doxie Flip, a portable flatbed Doxie scanner, squarely aimed at those wanting to digitise physical media that, otherwise, just won't fit into one of it's paper-feed siblings.
You can’t run iOS in a virtual machine, and you can’t run iPad apps on your Mac. But thanks to AirPlay, you can have the next best thing: iOS apps mirrored on your Mac. And Reflector, our sponsor this week, is one of the most polished ways to do that.
Reflector turns your Mac into an AirPlay receiver so you can mirror your iPhone or iPad on your Mac’s screen. You can stream videos and audio to a Mac, use your iMac’s large screen (or a Mac connected to a projector) to wirelessly stream a presentation from Keynote or other presentation apps, or just demo your new apps to your investors in the boardroom on the big screen, complete with the real look of the iOS devices they’ll run on. You can even mirror multiple devices at the same time to show off multiple apps, or differences between two versions. And if your company happens to run on PCs, you’re still in luck: there’s Reflector for PC as well that’ll give you the same great features.
Reflector then makes it simple to record your iOS devices in action. Whether you’d like to show off your skills in an iOS game or record a demo video for your next app, Reflector gives you simple iOS recording that’ll leave you with beautiful footage of your iOS apps. And it works great with both iOS 6 and 7, so you can get the same features regardless of which version of iOS you’re using.
Get 25% off Reflector This Week!
Reflector usually costs $12.99, but from now until December 2nd, you can get 25% off Reflector, AirParrot (the Squirrels’ app for mirroring your Mac to your Apple TV with advanced features), and their t-shirts and other mercy in the Squirrels Store with the coupon code macappstorm25. That’ll let you pick up a copy of Reflector for just $9.74 — a great deal for mirroring and recording your iOS devices on your Mac or even a PC.
No matter how much developers and users alike have hoped Apple would bring traditional upgrade pricing to the App Store, it’s not going to happen. Traditional upgrades — where you get a discount on version 2 if you already own version 1 — have been deemed too complex. In a world where simplicity rules and everyone is supposed to be treated the same, that’s one confusion too many for Apple.
So, they’ve opted to slash the prices on their own apps — all the way to free for most of their consumer products — and charge full price for new versions. 3rd party developers have been left to do the same, making the App Store the place where apps like Pixelmator get seemingly endless upgrades for free while other apps get full-priced new versions as we’ve seen with so many iOS 7 apps this year.
But that might not be the only way. The Omni Group has been the most bold at trying to find ways to offer traditional upgrade pricing with their OmniKeyMaster, a short-lived attempt to offer App Store customers upgrade pricing on their own store. And now they’re fighting again, with the most brilliant use of in-app purchases yet.
As a photographer brought up in the digital age, the taking of photos, to my mind, has always been inextricably linked with computing. And my computing has always been done on a Mac, and Macs have always had iPhoto to keep pictures neatly organized. Okay, so iPhoto hasn’t been around for ever — it was introduced 11 years ago, alongside OSX 10.1 — but as a child of the OSX period, it’s hard for me to imagine what photo handling looked like, pre-iLife.
However, as the versions of OSX have rolled by, iPhoto has grown and grown, adding more features and a heavier CPU workload along the way. In some respects, this one-time light, nimble, agile photo library is now too large for its own good.
Which is where an app like Unbound ($9.99, beta release free) has an opportunity. It doesn’t edit, it doesn’t let you create cards or calendars, but it does claim to give you quick-time access to your photos. But does Unbound’s simplicity and speed outweigh iPhoto’s heavyweight functionality?
There’s people who know that using Comic Sans is an invitation to mockery and that Helvetica Neue is the official designer font of record, and then there’s people who have meticulously curated libraries of hundreds and thousands of fonts. For the former, the built-in Font Book app has typically been enough — there’s the tools to add and preview fonts that most people need. There’s more advanced font management tools, but they’re simply too much for most of us.
Bohemian Coding, the team behind the incredibly popular design tool Sketch and the now-unsupported font management tool Fontcase, has just released a beautiful new font app aimed at the casual user and designers alike: Fonts. It’s the first font app that’s designed for the vast majority of Mac users, with a UI that’s reminiscent of what we can only imagine an iOS 7 inspired OS X redesign would look like.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve used Firefox on a daily basis. It simply hasn’t felt that Macish in a while, especially since Apple gave us the minimal scrollbars and multitouch gestures in Safari with OS X Lion. And if you want the latest apps and extensions, Google Chrome’s the browser with the most action these days. Firefox seemed left to being the default browser on Ubuntu, and not much else.
Yet, Firefox — the descendant of Netscape — was the original alternate browser for most of us back when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was king of the land. In today’s Webkit-dominated landscape, it’s still the leading alternate that’s paving its own path to rendering the web. It’s hard to want to lose that.
That’s why Australis, the new Firefox redesign that’s coming in Firefox 28, is so exciting. It’s got UI innovations that keep Firefox unique and exciting, along with more OS X integration that ever that make it feel a perfect part of your Mac. And it’s ready to use today if you’re brave enough to rely on nightly alpha releases of a browser.
Videos can be annoying to view from all of your devices, since there’s so many different formats and aspect ratios in use. If you want all of your videos to look great on the devices you use most, you’ll need a tool to make it simple to convert all of your videos to the format you want. This week, you can get a copy of MacX Video Converter Pro for free to converting your videos as simple as it could be.
MacX Video Converter Pro is designed to help you convert any video you want into the formats you want. You can convert videos you’ve downloaded, ripped from DVDs, or from your phone or cameras into any format you want, complete with the quality and aspect ration settings you’d expect if you want to tweak the settings. You can even download YouTube and other online videos and convert them to the formats you want, record video from your Mac’s FaceTime camera, and turn your photos into a beautiful slideshow, all from MacX Video Converter Pro.
Normally $49.95, MacX Video Converter is currently free for their Thanksgiving promotion. You can get a full copy for free, with the license key included in the download, and convert all your videos to the formats you want and download online videos for your offline viewing pleasure before you have to travel for the holidays. Then, when you get home, you can use it to convert your videos into the formats you need for sharing, and turn your holiday photos into beautiful photo slideshows to share with your family and friends.
Get Your Copy of MacX Video Converter Pro for Free!
Hurry and get your free copy or MacX Video Converter Pro — or a discounted copy of MacX DVD Ripper Pro or MacX Video Converter Pro Pack — before their promotion ends on December 6th!
Your Mac and iOS devices include the oddly named “Find my iPhone” service that’ll let you track and remotely wipe any of your Apple devices from your iCloud account. It’s a great service that’s already helped many work with law enforcement to get their devices back, and many more protect their data even when their device isn’t recoverable. But, of course, you’ve invested hundreds and even thousands of dollars into your devices, so it’d only make sense to do the best you can to make sure you can recover your devices if they’re ever stolen.
Hidden is a device tracking service we’ve reviewed several years ago, and found that it worked really great for tracking your device and more if it ever happened to get stolen. It automatically takes pictures of the thief and screenshots of what they’re doing on your Mac, and lets you see them online from anywhere along with a map of where your device currently is located. And now, with the just-released Hidden 2, it’ll track keystrokes and active processes on your stolen Mac, and works great on OS X Mavericks.
Most interestingly, it also works on iOS devices, so you can track your Mac, iPad, and iPhone all from the same Hidden account. On the Mac, of course, Hidden can run as a background process, but on iOS it doesn’t have the same freedoms. Instead, it uses the background location service on your iOS device to track your device if you report it as stolen, and then triggers a fake alarm notification on the device. When the thief tries to turn the alarm off, it’ll launch the app and take a photo of the thief, just like it would on the Mac. It’s an ingenious solution to track all of your devices with a bit more features than you’d get from Apple’s Find my iPhone.
And, this month, you can sign up for Hidden for 15% off — that’d let you track 1 device for just $1/month, or 5 devices for $3 month. Just sign up for the free trial, and use the coupon code NOVEMBER15 to keep your devices safe on the cheap. That’s a great way to keep your devices a bit safer.
We just closed our giveaway; congrats to our winners m13, Alaeddin, Edi, rjko, and loopion!
It’s so easy to lose track of your stuff. Sure, you’re unlikely to actually lose your fridge — if so, you’ve got bigger problems than an app can solve — but what’s the odds you’ll forget when your warranty’s up or how much everything in your office cost originally? When a spreadsheet doesn’t cut it, you need an app that makes it simple to track your stuff. That’s exactly where the new Compartments 2 excels.
Compartments 2 is a new OS X Mavericks-focused upgrade to one of the best Mac apps for keeping track of your stuff. It can keep track of everything you own, remind you when your warranties are almost up, and make it easy to print out a list of all your stuff organized by room. It’s great — and this week, we’ve got 5 copies to giveaway free to our readers!
All you’ve got to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment below and let us know why you’d love to get a copy of Compartments 2. Then, you can optionally share the giveaway on your social networks and leave a second comment below with a link to your shared post for an extra entry.
Hurry and get your entry in — our giveaway closes on Friday, November 22nd!
Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.