Reading is a topic that a lot of us get fired up about, mainly because we all do so much of it. It’s a field many of us are very experienced in. When people make decisions about buying a hardcore or a softcover book, they’re using their experience to make that choice. That’s why talking about the perfect reading experience is so tough — no two people have the same tastes.
That’s my word of warning as I enter into this: the following article, even more so than usual, is nothing more than my opinion. But let me be the one to tell you, and I hope you’ll agree, my opinion is certainly the most correct one. I’ll start by saying that the new iBooks for iOS 7 is terrible. Whereas before, choosing between iBooks and Kindle was tough, the decision just got a whole lot easier. Quite simply, I’m about to tell you why I prefer the Kindle experience over iBooks.
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!
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.
When in the flow, concentrating hard and making progress (or not), I, for one, find it difficult to quantify the passing of time. When I’m messing about, tweeting and generally procrastinating, it’s even harder. And that can be frustrating; for the freelancer or pro rata worker, the slipperiness of the seconds, minutes and hours can be very costly.
As always, technology is ready and waiting to help. But time-keeping apps so often fall by the wayside because we just can’t be bothered to use them. And even if you can be bothered, remembering to start and stop the digital timer at the precise moment you begin work, or put down your tools, is a task of nagging tedium.
Maybe that is why nulldesign (aka Lars Gercken), the developer of freshly hatched time-keeping app Tyme (retailing at $4.99), feels the need to entertain users with snazzy graphics and in-depth analytics. But are a few pretty bar charts really enough to keep you focused on your time management?
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.
There’s Droplr and CloudApp for simple file sharing, Minbox for large private file sharing, and Dropbox for rather complex individual file sharing and simple folder sync. They’re all well know, and you likely use at least one of them already — and you’re likely convinced you don’t want to switch to another file sharing app.
Get ready to want to switch. The new Jumpshare is the nicest file sharing app yet, ready for both private and public file sharing, with features that no other file sharing app has. And it’s still dead-simple to use.