About the Author

Benjamin Mayo


Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. Benjamin blogs about Apple news and rumors, and posts insightful product and app reviews. Read his work on 9to5Mac and his personal blog.

Benjamin Mayo also creates apps for iOS as a professional indie developer and contractor; more details here. Email to discuss making your iOS project a reality.

Benjamin Mayo's Favorite Gear

March 16

Last month, Twitter announced that it was ending support for its desktop Mac Twitter client today. The app had been abandoned for months (years?) before that, so it wasn’t exactly a huge loss, but it meant that I needed to migrate to a new app.

Believe it or not, I’ve used Twitter for Mac until the very end. Below is my roundup of the best Twitter client apps for Mac currently available: Tweetbot, Twitterrific and TweetDeck. Personal preference is a big factor here, so I separated out some individual impressions too …

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Apple’s line of MacBook laptops is likely to show better year-over-year growth in unit sales than both the iPad and the iPhone, according to a new report from KGI. The analyst predicts Mac laptop unit shipments will rise between 13-16% in 2018, compared to about 7-10% for iPad and a maximum of 6% for iPhone.

Obviously, in absolute unit sales iPhone dwarfs everything else, but it is no longer the growth powerhouse. Wearables have been Apple’s best growth area in recent quarters, and KGI estimates that Mac sales will rise steadily this year compared to 2017.

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March 14

The Information has published a lengthy report today covering the development of Siri. The article documents Siri’s tumultuous changes in leadership and management over the last few years, indicating that Siri 1.0’s infrastructure was very creaky, which held back the service.

One of the most interesting anecdotes is the claim that Apple’s HomePod team didn’t meet with the Siri group until 2015 (Amazon Echo first debuted in late 2014). The story says Apple had originally considered launching the speaker without Siri.

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March 13

In iOS 11, Markup is a system-level feature able to annotate and draw shapes over images and PDFs. It lets you draw with a pen, a marker and some basic squares and circles over photos. Apple doesn’t really advertise Markup as a redaction feature, to cover up information, but it feels like it is up to the job and I’ve seen many people on social media use it to do just that.

However, you have to be careful as the Markup tools can be deceptive, particularly the marker. Even if it looks like the personal info is obscured, some basic photoshop work easily reveals what is underneath …

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March 12

Digitimes is reporting that Apple will release a brand new ‘entry-level’ 13-inch Retina MacBook in June, with a lower cost than the current 12-inch MacBook. According to the report, the 13-inch MacBook will feature a 2560×1600 panel, with a 226 PPI density – the same as the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

This sounds like a compelling product, with better specs at a significantly cheaper price. The report says the 13-inch Retina MacBook will be priced around the current MacBook Air’s $999 price tag.

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March 9

Barclays has released its latest analyst report. The analysts, who have a mixed track record of accuracy, indicate continued iPhone 8 and iPhone X ‘weakness’ is being partly offset by continued sales of iPhone 7. Most interestingly, the report says to expect new AirPods in early 2019 with noise cancelling features.

Due to the small form factor of AirPod earbuds, noise cancelling is very unlikely to rival bigger cans with active noise cancellation like the Beats Studio 3. However, Barclays suggests that there will be design changes and improvements over the current AirPods.

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March 8

Perhaps fearing competition from Amazon’s acquisition of Ring last month, August today announced they are adding free cloud storage for customers of August Doorbell Cam and August Doorbell Cam Pro.

With the new ‘Basic August Video Recording’ subscription, the doorbells will save the last 24 hours of video to August’s servers, with access to view it through the August app. Premium paid plans offer larger storage quotas.

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March 7

Don’t panic about Tweetbot disappearing from the App Store, it’ll be back soon

Update: As expected, the apps are now back in the App Store!

A raft of readers noticed that the popular third-party Twitter app Tweetbot had disappeared from the App Store. In fact, all of Tapbot’s software vanished from both the iOS and Mac App Stores. Don’t panic … an Apple Developer program bug was the cause of the issue. The apps should be back soon.

March 6

Apple has teamed up with Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler to offer a new perk for customers buying certain CarPlay-equipped cars. From May, eligible vehicles will come with a 6 month Apple Music trial, which typically runs $9.99 per month.

Apple has partnered with Volkswagen in Europe and Fiat in the US to giveaway these extended trials. New Apple Music subscribers will be able to take advantage of the full six month free offer, existing subscribers can get 3 months free. More details after the jump …

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March 5

A group of Stanford students protested outside the Palo Alto Apple Store this weekend, campaigning for Apple to do more to help address technology addiction. The group referred to research that showed addiction to iPhones (and smartphones in general) hurts relationships, productivity and causes stress. They want Apple to add new iOS features to let users easily see how much time users spend using their phone, and a ‘distraction free’ toggle akin to Airplane Mode.

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February 28

watchOS 4.2 included new APIs for tracking snow sports. Several third-party apps have today been updated with support for the new features. Apps including Slopes, snoww, Squaw Alpine, Snocru and Ski Tracks will be able to report metrics like vertical descent, distance, number of runs, average speed and calories burned.

Snowboard and skiing tracking requires Apple Watch Series 3 as it uses the new built-in altimeter to determine elevation.

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As part of the latest update to Sketch, a popular design tool for app development, the company announced that they have partnered with Apple to integrate the official iOS 11 design templates inside the app.

Sketch users can now simply download the Apple iOS UI Library in one click, and get automatic updates when new resources are added.

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February 24

KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo today reports that Apple will release ‘high-end over-ear’ headphones in late fall ‘at the earliest’. Apparently featuring an all new design, it sounds like this is not a successor to the Beats Studio 3, but it will be Apple’s AirPods equivalent for premium over-ear headphones.

The analyst also corroborates the release of upgraded AirPods with a new case to support wireless charging and an improved W1 chip.

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iPhone accessory maker Shure claims iOS 11.3 to be released next week, includes fix for their mics

Shure, a company that makes mics for iPhones with Lightning connectivity alongside their range of professional audio gear, claims on Twitter that iOS 11.3 is due out for everyone next week. This is in response to a customer complaint about failed recordings; the company says iOS 11.3 includes a fix for these accessories.

February 22

App developers can now show up to 10 screenshots per device on their App Store product page

Apple has upped the screenshot limits for developers today, as announced on the Apple Developer News blog. Apps can now have up to 10 screenshots per device form factor, increased from the previous limit of 5 per device. This change applies to the iOS App Store, tvOS App Store, and watchOS App Store.

Apple is working on a new version of the AirPods truly wireless earbuds for release later this year, featuring a new wireless chip and support for ‘Hey Siri’ activation, according to a report from Bloomberg today. This is despite the fact the first-generation model continue to be supply constrained on Apple.com, more than a year after release.

This would mean users would be able to interact with Siri hands-free, an improvement over the current AirPods hardware which requires an awkward double-tap gesture. The report says that Apple is also developing a future model with water resistance.

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February 21

There is a major Apple Music presence at the BRIT music awards today, with large banners dominating the Apple Music Browse pages for UK users, with an Apple Music playlist listing the performers and winners.

Apple is also playing a few commercials during the televised ceremony’s ad breaks, including the debut of a new Animoji karaoke advert: ‘Panda’. Watch the new ad after the jump …

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Apple has registered a handful of new devices in the Eurasian commission database earlier this week, as discovered by Consomac. Legal obligations require devices that use encryption to be registered ahead of release. In the past, similar filings have tipped the hat on new MacBook models, the iPhone 7 and AirPods.

The latest entries represent two new devices, with model identifiers A1954 and A1893, which are described as Apple tablets running iOS 11. This suggests that new iPads are coming sooner rather than later.

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Sequel to the hit title Alto’s Adventure, Alto’s Odyssey is now available in the App Store ($4.99) for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV … a day earlier than planned. The game went up for preorder earlier this month with a Feb 22nd date, but it’s definitely downloadable right now.

I’ve been testing the game for the last few weeks and it really is a beautiful sequel to the original game. Endless runners tend to be generic, dull and almost algorithmic. Alto’s Odyssey is the opposite with rich music and visuals and an incredibly engaging progression of missions and tasks, as well as the endless quest of getting an ever-higher score for the run. The game shines on the iPhone X’s wide-aspect ratio display.

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February 20

Snapchat is launching a new library of animated stickers to place onto snaps, in partnership with GIPHY. To see all the animated stickers, open the Sticker Picker and tap into the search field. Then select the GIPHY header, or type something into the search field if you are looking to find something specific. The feature is rolling out, so it might not show up for you just yet.

As ever, you can combine stickers with other effects and place more than one anywhere in the photo. Press and hold on a sticker, then drag it to the trash, to remove it.

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