Watchsmith

Enhance Apple Watch Complications with Watchsmith

Introducing Watchsmith – David Smith:

Watchsmith is an application that seeks to give you complete control over the appearance and utility of your Apple Watch.

First, it provides a wide array of complications. Each of these is completely customizable, with controls for things like font, color, hand type and location. The initial set is just over 50 unique complications, with dozens more planned down the road. My goal is to provide a complication for just about every use and let you make it look just how you want. In the absence of 3rd-party watch faces, this is the closest I can get to making my own watch faces.

Second, rather than simply providing a static display of the complication you configure, Watchsmith lets you dynamically schedule the complications to appear on your watch face. This is done using time based triggers (with plans for additional trigger types down the road).

In a world where Apple Watch third-party Watch Faces are non-existent, it is refreshing to see a Dev pushing the envelope of what is possible to modify existing functionalities available on the Watch Face in such an astounding way. Such capabilities give users some semblance of Watch Face customisation they so desire. For those that like to have more granular control over the customisation of their Apple Watch complications, Watchsmith is here to fulfil that desire with 96,605 permutations of complication styles and settings1.

My favourite feature in Watchsmith is the ability to schedule complications.

LumaFusion

LumaFusion Video Editing Tutorials

Doing work on the iPad is a hotly debated topic, subjective and objective, depending on what your work is, of course. When it comes to video and audio media productions, some YouTubers, filmmakers, and podcasters, for example, are performing all work involved with their creative media processes using just the iPad, from start to finish, with professionally-looking results.

Chris Wilmshurst, a videographer, has put together a few LumaFuison tutorials (with more to come) aiming to help you learn and utilise some of the primary and more advanced features in LumaFusion. The tutorials are very well put together, easy to follow along and digest. Videographers and filmmakers will benefit from these tutorials.

LumaFusion by LumaTouch is one of the more popular and preferred pro video editing and effects app available on iOS that provides a robust set of features that in many respects rivals some of the more common counterparts found on traditional PC’s.

The 11-inch iPad Pro

Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup:

Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro is, quite simply, a joy to pick up and hold. It’s wonderfully light and the edges are rounded off and soft, making for a great couch and lounge chair device. This, and the narrower aspect ratio, combine to make the 11-inch iPad Pro the ultimate device for watching movies, reading books, and browsing the web — all the tasks Mr. Jobs proudly pounded into our shimmering eyeballs back in 2010.

Somehow, I think this 11-inch iPad Pro is the exact device he envisioned all along.

My dedicated use for the iPad Pro has always been for desktop use, primarily, hence why I have forever gone for the 12.9-inch model since the iPad Pro debuted in 2015. I have, however, over the years, pottered around with the idea of switching to the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro which offers more ergonomic flexibility for tasks — like Josh described — that doesn’t involve the constant use of an external keyboard so that I can utilise the iPad more in those environments. But somehow, using the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in a traditional desk setup environment instils a discipline of concentration and energy in me.

Using the iPad this way deviates from the intended inception of the iPad as a touch-first device, I know! It is why I still keep a folio case around for moments I want to battle the lackadaisical feeling of lounging with the bigger, heftier iPad — which also helps maintain the familiarity of the software keyboard and use of touch to interact with the iPad.

Using the folio case to prop up the iPad makes it easier to deal with the cumbersome size and reduces the awkward nature of wielding the 12.9-inch iPad. Still, it sure doesn’t come close to the comfortability the 11-inch iPad Pro offers when casually using the iPad.

Third-party Cookies now Fully Blocked by Default on Safari

John Wilander, Webkit Blog:

Cookies for cross-site resources are now blocked by default across the board. This is a significant improvement for privacy since it removes any sense of exceptions or “a little bit of cross-site tracking is allowed.”

Safari continues to pave the way for privacy on the web, this time as the first mainstream browser to fully block third-party cookies by default. As far as we know, only the Tor Browser has featured full third-party cookie blocking by default before Safari…

Jasper Patterson, 1Password Blog:

Starting in Safari 13.1 for Mac and iOS 13.4, there are some additional changes to Intelligent Tracking Prevention. Information a website stores in local storage will now be erased if you don’t visit that website at least once every 7 days. This affects full-featured web apps like 1Password that use local storage for legitimate purposes. For example, 1Password stores your Secret Key in local storage. If your Secret Key is removed from Safari and you don’t have it stored anywhere else, you won’t be able to access your account.

iPad Pro desk setup

The 2020 iPad Pro

Mike Rockwell, Initial Charge:

But I can say with certainty that the iPad Pro is an excellent computer. It’s the most powerful I’ve ever owned and runs the most exciting operating system on the planet alongside my favorite applications.

I’m still using my 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro and won’t be upgrading to the 2020 model, but this sums up my exact sentiments towards the iPad Pro, even at near two years old.

Ulysses Writing and Text Editor App

In celebrating the iPads upcoming tenth anniversary since launch, the MacStories team is having a week-long write-up covering various aspects of the iPads ten-year history. Three articles have been published so far including one where the team ‘explore the most impactful iPad apps of the decade’.

One of the apps featured in that article is the writing and text editor Ulysses, where Ryan Christoffel wrote:

Ulysses offers a unique twist on Markdown editing, offering full Markdown support but opting to hide certain syntax – most notably URLs – behind visual content blocks. This approach isn’t for everyone, but I absolutely love it. I have a hard time using traditional Markdown editors now because I’ve grown so spoiled by the way Ulysses hides links, displays image previews automatically, and by some of its other design choices. The editing interface is clean, minimal, and enables customization of key details like font, font size, and text spacing. When you write for a living, the last thing you want to do is stare at a displeasing editor design, so this is very important.

Another strength of Ulysses is its top-notch export features, several of which I use all the time. Exporting to PDF provides an array of beautiful style options, more of which can be downloaded online or even customized yourself on the Mac. I also export to plain text Markdown regularly so I can save my drafts in Working Copy when collaborating with Federico and John. The most crucial export option for me, however, is WordPress publishing. This feature works flawlessly, offering access to all the tools you’d want such as tags and categories, and it’s something you just won’t find in practically any other Markdown editor.

There is no shortage of excellent text editors on iOS and iPadOS, thankfully. I have dabbled with some, and used some extensively: Bear, iA Writer, and Ulysses, with each offering their unique interfaces and feature-sets. Ulysses has been the text editor I used the most and Ryan has outlined all the reasons why I stuck with it in the quote above.

Although I don’t write for a living, I certainly enjoy writing Chambyte and in doing so, seek out the best tools for the job that fits my use-case and preference. For now1, Ulysses is the text editor that ticks all the boxes for me, especially when it comes to the way it handles linked URL’s in a visual content block as you write, which helps maintain a clutter-free interface. I too, love this feature amongst many of its comprehensive list of features it has to offer.


  1. I took advantage of Ulysses’ 50% Off Sale and subscribed for a year, which is due for renewal in August 2020. In my efforts to limit app subscriptions, I will decide whether to renew or use other apps like iA Writer that offer similar capabilities.

Apple Acquires Dark Sky Weather App with its API

Adam Grossman, Dark Sky Blog:

Today we have some important and exciting news to share: Dark Sky has joined Apple.

Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy.

There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone.

Dark Sky Weather app to this day remains the longest third-party weather app I’ve used on iOS. What drew to me to Dark Sky was its rich collection of meteorological conditions and granular custom notifications that enables you to receive down-to-the-minute alerts on various weather change patterns. For example, users can set a custom notification as follows; notify me at 7 pm if the temperature falls below/rises above 10° at any time/during the day/overnight.

I’m excited about such functionalities coming to the native iOS Weather app which hasn’t seen any significant improvements since iOS 7. This is good news as I continue my shift to using native apps on iOS and iPadOS.

iPadOS Cursor Support with Magic Trackpad 2

Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2
Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2

I have used a Bluetooth mouse as a pointing device since iPadOS added compatibility through AssistiveTouch as part of the Accessibility features. I recently got the Magic Keyboard to complete the pairing for my desktop mode external pointing and typing input peripherals, and they both worked amazingly well. Using an adaptive accessory via AssistiveTouch to replicate touch was a taster to the possibilities of full mouse cursor support on iPadOS. iPad users like myself longed for full native cursor support and the interest kept growing over time. Apple took notice.

Steven Aquino:

It’s my understanding the development of the iPadOS 13 AssistiveTouch pointer feature was “handed off” internally, from the Accessibility group to the broader iOS team for more expansive integration. This is good—if anything, it shows Apple has noticed the AssisitiveTouch pointer feature has gained traction for “mainstream” users. To wit, iPad aficionados saw that you can use a mouse with an iPad and they pounced on it.

Many have tried imagining the direction and approach of how Apple will implement full native cursor support on the iPad. Most imagined outcomes limited to borrowing cues from macOS, because it is the platform that uses a traditional pointer, and also based on the belief of the two platforms expected convergence.

Apple has done a tremendous job rethinking cursor support with new enhanced ways of interacting with navigational and other UI elements along with new rich visual feedbacks that respects the touch-first environment of iPadOS. The implementation befits the current paradigms of a touch interface, which helps maintain familiarity. These new behaviours have breathed new life and much-needed excitement on iPadOS.

The new extensive cursor support redesigned specifically for the iPad is one of the most consciously designed feature additions the iPad has ever seen.

Magic Trackpad 2

During my initial trial of the new cursor support using the Logitech mouse, Immediately I knew I needed a compatible peripheral built to more precisely accommodate the native functions without the need for AssistiveTouch. For that, there’s currently no better than the Magic Trackpad 2.

Using gestures on Magic Trackpad 2 to interact with elements on iPadOS brought me close to the touch interactions I’m familiar with when using the iPad without external peripherals. This alone makes the Magic Trackpad 2 the best companion for the iPad in maintaining the interactive familiarity with the OS when in desktop mode. Whether or not I’ll get the upcoming Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro will depend on my in-store trial when it is released. For now, I am a Magic Trackpad convert happily joining the many iPad users it is delighting.

The compatibility of external peripherals such as keyboards, mouse and trackpads extends the iPads flexibility and gives more options to use the iPad in full desktop mode. iPad Pro stand, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 is now my default desk setup going forward. And I love it.

Fortune’s 100 Iconic Designs of Modern Times Features Eight Apple Products

Fortune Magazine is celebrating the 60th anniversary of putting together a project aimed at discovering and listing the 100 best-designed products of the ‘modern era’ by recreating the same survey in 2019. The survey, according to Fortune, took over a year to complete, again partnering with the IIT Institute of Design (ID) to compile the list of the top 100 iconic designs of this modern era.

Top of the list, is yours truly, the original Apple iPhone (2007):

“An iPod, a phone, an Internet communicator” was how the late Steve Jobs announced the iPhone to the world in 2007. At the time it was an impressive claim. Now it seems like a massive understatement for a device that changed how we live.

Followed by the Macintosh (1984) in second place:

Apple started the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, but the Macintosh defined the category.

“The Macintosh was not the first personal computer, nor was it the first one with a graphical user interface, but it was the first complete product that took all these ideas and more into a complete package. It became a computer one could understand and interact with using both language and vision, typing and drawing. It changed the way we relate to a computer.” — Johan Redstrom, professor, Umeå University.

The rest of the Apple products featured on the list are scattered but all remain in the top 65:

  • Original iPod (2001)
  • MacBook Pro (2006)
  • App Store (2008)
  • iOS (2007)
  • Apple Watch (2015)
  • Apple Pay (2014)

You can see the full list from the source below.

Source: Fortune