Posts Tagged

iCloud

In order to help improve password security, Apple just recently introduced iCloud Keychain in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7. The service is designed is to sync passwords, credit card information, wifi passwords, and account login information across devices.

Though it appears to do those tasks relatively well, it is Apple’s first foray into this field, and there are several well-established contenders already. Today, we’ll compare and contrast iCloud Keychain to LastPass.

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The Realmac team's LittleSnapper was the Mac screenshot tool of choice for anyone who wanted to save more than just individual image images to Finder. LittleSnapper turned made it simple to keep a library of everything you've ever snapped, and then annotate and tweak the shots all from one app. And then they decided to start over and make a new app: Ember.

Ember was designed from the ground up to be the best way to organize all of your design inspirations — not just for geeks managing screenshots of apps, even though it's still awesome for that as well. Essentially, you throw all the pictures you want — screenshots, sure, but also photos of architecture or crafts or web design mockups — into your library to easily find them later. Throw in tags and descriptions, and you've got a whole new way to manage those images that otherwise would get lost in Finder.

And now, with the Mavericks-focused v1.2 upgrade, Ember is smart enough to help you find just what you want from your library, and keeps your image assets backed up in iCloud.

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Finder’s demise has long been foretold. It hasn’t received much love since Snow Leopard’s release, and the addition of iCloud seemed to spell doom for the way we’ve always managed files. And then, WWDC 2013 happened, and the lowly Finder was back in the spotlight (ahem).

Some of OS X Mavericks’ most exciting new features are in Finder and the ways it can help you find and manage your files more easily. There’s tabs in Finder at long last, along with tags that happen to make iCloud files more accessible to other apps of all things. It’s time to take a deep look at the essential underpinning app to the Mac: Finder.

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We’re used to syncing — so used to it, in fact, that it’s more strange when an app doesn’t sync on its own or over iCloud these days than anything. But for native apps, that’s typically where it ends. Even in new “cloud” offerings for the Mac, such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the only part of the app that’s online is the file and setting sync (and the fact you can download apps, but that’s anything but new). Web apps, even ones with native app counterparts, have the advantage of always running online, so they can often have nice extras like collaboration and options to add stuff via email and more.

The Omni Group is well known for their Mac and Web apps, but they also make a little free extra online service for their apps: the Omni Sync Server. It’s what powers OmniPresence, their new iCloud-like document sync service, and is also the default way to sync OmniFocus if you don’t choose to use your own server for syncing. And they’ve now taken that sync server and added something you’d expect from an online productivity app: Mail Drop.

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Apple may have its hands full with iOS 7′s redesign (and the almost forgotten OS X Mavericks upgrade and new Macs like the brand-new Mac Pro), but it still found time in its schedule to give their stable of iCloud web apps a solid upgrade. They’ve been beta testing a new version of iCloud’s web apps for some time now, and today, the new apps are ready for you to try out.

There’s the iWork for iCloud apps that we’ve already looked at, but there’s also fully redesigned Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, and Notes apps as well — plus a new launchpad that includes the iOS 7 animated blue background. And the apps don’t just look nice, but they also work very nice.

If you’ve never gotten into using the iCloud apps online, here’s why you should start using them today — if for no other reason than to give your Mac some of the update love before Mavericks comes out.

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We reviewed iDocument earlier this year and whilst it was a very capable app, some of our readers weren’t able to get on with it, whether it was due to the way it handed their documents or ongoing performance issues.

The developers, Icyblaze, seem to have been taking all the feedback on-board and have recently released iDocument 2 — a complete reworking of the original app. I’ve been taking it for a spin to see just how different iDocument 2 really is from its predecessor.

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We all expected to see iOS 7 at the WWDC keynote. That one was a given. The next version of OS X was also practically a given, but didn’t seem nearly as anticipated. New Macs were a nice extra, that both weren’t surprising to see but none of us would have been that surprised if they hadn’t been included. A new version of iWork and iLife were hoped for, but again, we’d almost given up hope that Apple would have time for anything besides iOS 7.

But practically no one was expecting that Apple would spend a serious amount of time during the keynote talking about web apps. And yet they did. Apple, the company that almost entirely makes software just for its own devices took the time to show us how great their new iWork for iCloud apps worked in Chrome on Windows 8. iWork has always been seen as a distant runner-up to Microsoft Office, the 900lb gorilla in the room whenever you talk about apps for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. The very fact that the iPad doesn’t have Office has been used as an advertisement point for Microsoft’s Surface ads. But we all thought the discussion was long-since beyond Office, and we’ve all learned to get along very well without it, thank you very much.

Apple isn’t in the business of leaving well enough alone, though, and they’re taking their own Office competitor directly to Microsoft’s homefront. If you’ve stuck with Office simply because others won’t be able to preview your files if you use iWork — or if you’ve stayed away since you occasionally need to edit from a PC — here’s why iWork for iCloud just might be the best thing to happen to iWork yet. It’s a bold foray into Microsoft’s territory, just as Microsoft launches its own Office apps on the iPhone. (more…)

It’s the eve of WWDC 2013, and Apple’s cloud sync platform, iCloud, is one of the highest priorities in every developer’s mind. It’s been 603 days since iCloud‘s launch and exactly 1 year 5 months after the App Store burst onto the Mac scene, and yet both feel like they’ve hardly moved forward at all.

Sure, they’re both widely successful, and the App Store especially has change the way we approach buying apps. But the App Store has also made it tough for developers to make upgraded versions of apps economically feasible, leading them to add in-app purchases for new features, or add their own subscription-based services to make money. Of the two, though, iCloud has been the most problematic, leading developers like The Soulmen to have to rewrite major parts of iCloud sync code to get it to work in their apps (Ulysses III, in this case).

We’re all hoping Apple significantly improves iCloud this year, and perhaps there’ll be major announcements about both it and the App Store next week. But there’s also alternates now. Aside from just relying on Dropbox for sync, the Omni Group has built their own iCloud competitor, OmniPresence, and Paddle is making it simpler for indie devs to sell their own apps with in-app purchases, outside of the App Store. (more…)

I sincerely believe that one of the reasons for the slow descent of information managers, or anything buckets, has been the absence of modernization. Opening an application of this sort is often a strike from the past. A visit to old design trends and a user experience that didn’t catch up with the evolution. We ended up with powerful applications with plenty of features, without a reasonable way to manage them.

Among them all, Together stood up on their previous versions, overcoming as one of the better thought-out information managers for the average user. Yet it held its share of issues. The new version is a wave of change that came out of nowhere to improve our data library organizations. This refreshing update covers several disabilities and lights up the path to the use of iCloud sync, a long expected getaway card from the Evernote servers.

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It’s old news now that Google Reader is being shut down on July 1st. It’s also old news that finding the perfect news reading apps for your Mac and iPhone is a bit harder than you’d think at first. There’s a ton of options, but if you just want an easy way to get your news fix and keep your read status and subscriptions synced between your devices, it’s not so simple.

Most of the best options today are new web apps, some of which sync with native iOS apps but few of which have native Mac apps. Stalwart Mac RSS apps like NetNewsWire and Reeder are working on their own syncing solutions which will hopefully come before the July 1st deadline.

But NewsBar, a simple Mac and iOS RSS reader, has its own native RSS engine and can keep your subscriptions, read state, and favorited articles synced between your Macs and iOS devices via iCloud. Today. We’ve looked at NewsBar before, but let’s take another look and see what a year — and iCloud sync — has brought to the equation.
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