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If you looked around an Apple Store today with all the machines turned off — and all the iOS devices out of sight — everything would look almost the same as it did this time in 2012. And yet, a lot has changed. The Mac Pro may be the only Mac with a huge redesign this year, but under the hood, every other Mac has gotten rather significant spec bumps. Battery life has been the huge winner this year, with the new Air giving an astonishing 12+ hours of battery life. And the new Mac Pro proved that Apple *does* care about pro users still.

On the software front, you could again think nothing had changed in a cursory glance in our imaginary Apple store, since on the surface Mavericks looks little different. And yet, it’s faster and more power efficient under the hood, and has new apps that are each rather nice. Plus, there’s the new iWork, redesigned for better or worse and now free with all new Macs.

So that’s 2013. But what’s next? A redesigned MacBook Air, perhaps, or an iOS 7ified OS X? Or a totally new computing product that’ll surprise us all?

Give us your wildest and most hoped-for predictions for Apple in 2014. We’d love to hear them!

There’s so many things you could get as a gift, but there’s only a few things you’d actually hope to get. Surprises are always the best, but it’s hard to silence the inner child and not wistfully think of what gifts you’d like to get if you could get anything you want.

I know, I know. Every self-respecting Apple fan would kill to have a new Mac Pro — especially in Ive’s signature RED edition — under the tree, but the chances of that — at least without you knowing about it — are rather slim. But there’s still tons of other great gifts, from the practical ones like external hard drives to the surprising ones like hardcover books about Apple or perhaps coding and design that you’d love to have grace your bookshelves.

We’ve already rounded up the Mac gifts we think are the very best, but I’m certain there’s other great geeky gifts we overlooked. So, assuming you were nice and not naughty this year, what geeky Christmas presents are you hoping will be under the tree this year? Or did you already go out and splurge on some geeky gifts for yourself? We’d love to hear about them!

Apple’s brought a number of iOS features back to the Mac, and some of them are really great. I happen to love the new iBooks for Mac (even though, oddly enough, I preferred the old version of iBooks for iOS), and both Reminders and Notes are a nice little addition even if they’re not the apps I use for their respective functions. But some of the new features just aren’t as useful on the Mac — Game Center, for instance, is likely an app you never open on the Mac.

But there’s another OS X addition that’s both useful and not at the same time: Notifications and their home, Notification Center. I like the native notifications for OS X and rely on them throughout the day, and the new interactive notifications are a rather nice addition even if they’re not something I use that much. But Notification Center is simply something I have to clear out every so often since I’m a neat freak. I never go there to check for things I missed, and the few times I accidentally open it I notice dozens of long-past notifications that just need cleared out. Usually, I’ll see a Mac notification and it gives me the info I need, so there’s no reason I’d need to click on it for it to do its job. And yet, that unclicked notification will end up in Notification Center waiting for me to clean it up.

So I wonder: do the rest of you use Notification Center? Do you check it regularly, or would you be just fine with only plain notifications and no Notification Center to keep track of missed ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It’s US Thanksgiving today, the day we set aside to eat turkey, play (or, more likely, watch) American football, and hopefully spend at least a few minutes of reflection about what we’re thankful for from the past year. And so, why not think about the Apps you’re most thankful for at the same time? After all, they’re the tools that have freed you up this year, made your devices come to live in new ways, and perhaps helped you acquire new skills. Why not be thankful for them too?

The app I’m most thankful for this year won’t come as a surprise to faithful Mac.AppStorm readers: Ulysses III. That writing app — especially with its new full-library search — has changed how I write and save text, and holds everything from article drafts to notes to archived published writings. It’s awesome.

There’s so many more great apps that I’ve started using this year or become better acquainted with, from the newly-updated-but-notnew MailMate and Pixelmator to brand-new apps like Ember and ReadKit, it’d take forever to list them all. But then, that’s what our upcoming roundup of the very best apps of 2013 is for.

So today, we’d love to hear what brand new apps you’re thankful for in 2013. Tell us why you love the app, and how you use it – and it just might end up being featured in our best of 2013 roundup.

And while we’re taking about being thankful, hey: thank you for being part of our community!

We’ve each got favorite new features in Apple’s new OS X Mavericks and the new versions of iLife and iWork. The renewed focus on the Mac this year is refreshing, especially in light of the sweeping changes in iOS 7, and the new Mac Pro and power users features in Mavericks yield hope that Apple still is focused on making the very best personal computers, not just touch devices.

And yet, all is not perfect. The new iWork has suffered sharp criticism over its lack of power user features, something Apple is now working to rectify. Mail.app initially had problems with Gmail, though those have already been patched. But there’s been more frustrations, from the seemingly weak implementation of Tags in Finder to battery issues and persisting multiple display frustrations, that we’ve heard complaints about. The dock, of all innocent things, has met complaints over the inability to make it 2D in the bottom position now, combined with complaints from others who don’t like the new side dock.

We’ve already helped out with some issues in the comments on our Mavericks review and more, but are wondering what other issues you’re facing with Apple’s latest software? Leave a comment below, and we’ll try to see if we can find solutions or workarounds for you.

It’s been just over a week since OS X Mavericks was released, and yet our analytics show that over 40% of you have already upgraded to Mavericks. That’s quite the quick switch, but then, Mavericks being free made it an easy jump. Plus, it looks and works practically the same as Lion and Mountain Lion, on the surface anyhow, so there’s not really anything new to learn.

But there is a lot of new stuff under the hood — and even closer to the surface if you look around. There’s the new tags and tabs in Finder, iBooks, Maps, and a new version of Calendar and Contacts without all the leather. Power users will love the new multiple display support, and developers have all kinds of new API goodies to play with. There’s even new fonts, and AppleScript support for Reminders of all things.

But sometimes, the things we thought were most exciting don’t end up being what we use the most. I was terribly excited over Finder Tabs, then ended up not using them nearly as much as I thought I would. iBooks, on the other hand, is my new go-to place for some inspiration and down-time distraction, and I’ve loved having it around as much as I thought I would. Apple even seems to think it’s a pretty big addition, and is featuring iBooks on the first screenshot in Mavericks’ App Store page.

So how about you? What’s your favorite feature in Mavericks after spending some time in it? We’d love to hear how you’re using the new Mavericks features in your work and play!

It’s been a busy week for Apple fans. We knew Apple had a lot more to cover with this week’s announcement, and were rather certain that OS X Mavericks would be released sometime this week. There was the hint at WWDC of a new iWork and possibly iLife, but we wouldn’t have been way too surprised if the new versions hadn’t been announced. And yet they were, along with upgraded MacBook Pros — with the Mac Pro’s release date left as the final known Apple puzzle of the year.

Price was the theme this time, with Mavericks, iWork, and iLife all going free, the MacBook Pro and Retina Display MacBook Pro both had $200 shaved off their price, and the Mac Pro’s announced price of $2,999 is cheaper than you can build a similar PC right now. And yet, everyone’s not happy. OS X Mavericks is pretty great, but some of its includes apps such as iBooks weren’t quite as power user friendly as we would have hoped. That trend continued, with GarageBand X gaining nice new features but losing its pro tools, and Pages and Keynote looking sharper than before but losing AppleScript and most OpenType support, among other issues. The new Mac Pro would make anyone think Apple was more interested in pro users than ever, and yet their software choices make us question that pro users commitment.

All in all, I happen to like most of the new software, and am hopeful Apple will bring back some of the currently missing pro features. They’ve done that before with Final Cut Pro X, and they just might again. But what’s your thoughts on the new apps this week? Are you enjoying Mavericks and the new iWork, or sticking to your current apps for now? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

It’s finally here. After Apple kicked off WWDC ’13 with OS X Mavericks and the brand-new Mac Pro, it’s been months since Apple did anything major for the Mac. iOS 7 and the new iPhones — plus brand new web apps and Logic Pro X, both for the Mac, we can’t forget — have taken up all of Apple’s public attention since then. But tomorrow, Apple’s promised that they “still have a lot to cover”, and we couldn’t be more excited.

There’s likely to be new iPads released, of course, and perhaps new covers (that suspicious word pops up in their invite), but at Mac.AppStorm we’re most excited about what tomorrow means for the Mac. We’re almost certain that OS X Mavericks will either be released tomorrow or very soon after — there’s almost no way it’ll be released later than this week, at this point. But then, back at WWDC, Apple promised a new iWork, and we’d sure love to see a redesigned and vastly improved iWork ’13 and perhaps a companion iLife ’13 to boot. Plus, the MacBook Pro Retina Display is due for a spec bump, as is the Mac Mini — and the new Mac Pro is still supposed to be coming out this year. And, there’s the ever tantalizing prospect of absolutely brand-new products from Apple, though somehow it doesn’t seem too likely we’ll see that tomorrow.

Ok, your turn: what are you looking forward to most tomorrow? Any predictions for Apple’s fall announcement this year?

And stay tuned this week: we’ve got a ton of OS X Mavericks content ready for your reading pleasure as soon as Apple releases the first non-cat-named version of OS X.

Amazon jumpstarted the eBook revolution with its Kindle devices and companion apps for every platform, and Apple’s kept up with the trend with its polished iBooks apps for iOS. The Mac has lagged behind mobile devices with eBooks reading, but there’s at least been the Kindle app and a number of half-way decent apps for DRM-free eBooks.

This year, though, that’s all changing. There’s the new Clearview that’s a very nice app for DRM-free eBooks, and Apple’s finally bringing iBooks to the Mac with OS X Mavericks. And for tech eBooks, the new Safari Flow web app makes it easier than ever to learn from eBooks without spending all day reading. It’s an exciting time for eBook fans.

That’s why we’re wondering how many eBooks you read per month. I tend to read at least 2 or so a month, more some months, but how about you? Leave your answer in the poll, then let us know if you’re excited about iBooks coming to the Mac this year in the comments below.

Some keys get used more just because they’re more common, but for keyboard fiends, there’s a whole different set of keys that get worn out. If you’ve ever worn out the ⌘, Ctrl, or alt keys on your keyboard, chances are you couldn’t get by with just a mouse.

If anything, keyboard shortcuts are one of the best things in OS X. There’s the usual suspects, like ⌘+C and ⌘+V for copy and paste, or ⌘+tab for switching between apps, but you get those everywhere. Then there’s the ones that make OS X especially nice for writing: Alt+left/right to jump between words and ⌘+left/right to jump to the beginning/end of a line, with the addition of holding shift down to select text. There’s even more obscure text editing shortcuts, like Ctrl+T to swap the two letters your curser’s currently between.

Then, there’s the even more powerful keyboard shortcuts: those like ⌘+space to open Spotlight search or the default Alt+space to start Alfred. Those — combined with app specific shortcuts, and those you can setup yourself from your Keyboard’s system preferences — are the most powerful tools to keep you from having to revert to your mouse or touchpad all day. They’ll get so ingrained in your muscle memory, a computer without them feels broken.

For me, Alt+space is that killer shortcut that I invoke over a hundred times a day to use Alfred. What’s your favorite keyboard shortcut?

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