We know a fair amount about what to expect from WWDC next week — software heavy with Siri as a star and light on hardware — yet there is still plenty of room for surprises like HomeKit and Apple News from previous years. Expectations are especially light on watchOS and tvOS, the software that runs on Apple Watch and Apple TV, and there are plenty of new features that could improve the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Here’s my Feature Request for each of Apple’s software platforms, WWDC 2016 edition.
June 6, 2016
May 26, 2016
The team behind Pixelmator has today released yet another free update to its Mac photo editor, Pixelmator version 3.5 ($29.99 in the Mac App Store). Alongside the usual round of performance improvements and bug fixes, the app includes a few handy new end-user features. There’s a smarter Auto Selection tool and a brand new Magnetic Selection tool to accurately and quickly cutout objects from a scene in a photograph. There’s also a brand new Retouch extension for the native OS X Photos app, integrating refined brush-style edits into iCloud Photo Library. Video demo after the break …
May 13, 2016
March 20, 2016
With Apple’s Special Event being live tomorrow, and with iOS 9.3 most likely being released shortly after, it’s worth taking a look at how you should prepare your device for the feature-packed update. Before installing the update, it is recommended that you have a backup of your data. This tutorial is going to walk you through backing up your iOS device and how to perform a software update when available.
March 2, 2016
Apple’s Cards app introduced in 2011 and discontinued two years later remains one of my favorite iPhone apps to date. The service was fantastic: snap photos on your iPhone, then turn them into personalized letterpress cards sent through the mail to friends and family. Stamp and envelope included, you’d pay $2.99 for anywhere in the US or $4.99 for anywhere around the world. You can still send personalized letterpress cards using Photos on the Mac, but the service was perfect for me as an iPhone app.
I’ve tried a handful of similar iPhone apps since Cards shut down with Postly being the latest and perhaps most modern. Available for iPhone and iPad, Postly lets you create personalized postcards from your iPhone that deliver worldwide for $1.99.
January 15, 2016
I’ve been all in on iCloud Photo Library since Apple replaced iPhoto with the new Photos app on the Mac last year and I haven’t looked back since. I pay $2.99/month to sync my 13,206 photos and 1,087 videos (plus iOS device backups) with iCloud, and this allows me to take or save photos and videos from any device and have them appear across the others including the web, edits, albums, and all. I even have a system to help ensure to if something in the cloud gets hosed that everything will be fine at home (and if the house burns down hopefully the cloud is still there).
This also enables me to access my 155 GB photos library in the Photos apps on iPhones and iPads that otherwise couldn’t fit that much content. Thumbnail previews are available at all times, and full resolution versions download on the fly as needed. When you’re iPhone, iPad, or Mac needs more local storage, Photos can remove full-res images and downloaded videos to make more space using an optimize storage option. This works pretty well especially on higher capacity devices, but there’s one problem…
December 23, 2015
Tim Cook teased Apple’s product pipeline to investors back in October 2013 by saying the company would enter new categories with releases that fall and “across 2014.” This set the expectation that the next year would include new releases in each quarter rather than staying mostly quiet until WWDC in June, then saving new iPhones, iPads, and Macs for the fall.
Perhaps that was a promise better made a year later as most new products in 2014 were once again kept for the fall, but 2015 has been one where Apple has truly released new products all across the year. So many, in fact, that it’s probably difficult to recall every single new hardware and software product without referencing the history books.
December 7, 2015
2015 proved to be a gigantic year for Apple in terms of shipping totally new products and seeing services go live for the first time. Apple Watch is a brand new category for the iPhone maker, the new Apple TV delivers on long-awaited update to the streaming box, and iPad Pro is every bit the giant tablet that was rumored for so long. My two absolute favorite new things from Apple this year, however, aren’t new hardware products but instead two services that have been criticized but have made a meaningful difference in my everyday life… expand full story
November 12, 2015
If you own an iPhone or Mac, you’re probably a photographer — either with your iPhone’s camera or a standalone camera you connect to your Mac. Just as iPhoto’s simple editing and storage tools helped Apple sell iMacs, photography has become a major marketing focus for iPhones, empowering people to capture increasingly beautiful images and videos with the one device they’re always carrying.
Over the past year, I’ve reviewed some of the very best hardware, software, and services available to Apple-loving photographers. And I’ve spent the last month adding new choices to the list. So just in time for the holidays, I’ve put together 9to5Mac’s Holiday Gift Guide with top photography picks, at price points ranging from $2.99 to $2,200. From basic accessories to smart photo backup solutions to amazing photo-to-wall art printing services, there’s something for everyone inside…
October 8, 2015
When Apple ceased development of Aperture, a lot of serious photographers were very unhappy about Apple’s attempt to palm them off with Photos instead. Many headed instead to Lightroom, the photo cataloging and editing app Adobe created from the ground up specifically for photographers.
If you’re new to Lightroom, our review covers the process of converting from Aperture – everything from importing your existing photo libraries to where to find equivalent features. This piece is about getting the most out of Lightroom – especially when it comes to speeding up your workflow – via some recommended tweaks and tips.
Let’s start with my recommended settings … expand full story
September 24, 2015
Adobe is out with its annual Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements updates, which let you quickly edit and share your photos and videos from the desktop. The consumer friendly Photoshop Elements 14 and Premier Elements 14 includes handy new features that everyday photographers will appreciate including dramatic camera shake and haze removal tools for enhancing images plus motion titles for creating profession looking movies. expand full story
September 16, 2015
With iOS 9 launching later today, it’s worth taking a look at how you should prepare your device for the new operating system. Before installing the update, it is recommended that you have a backup of your data. This how-to is going to walk you through backing up your iOS 8 device and transitioning it over to iOS 9:
July 20, 2015
History will remember the early 21st Century as a turning point for photography — the point at which mainstream photos transitioned from chemical to digital, thereby becoming “print optional” for the first time. Although digital photography has taken small annual steps for 20 years, those steps have collectively evolved early, uselessly low-resolution digital cameras into superior alternatives to their film-based predecessors. Even the tiny cameras built into iPhones take much better-quality photos than Kodaks and Polaroids, and more of them, too: the days of 12-, 24-, or 36-exposure film cartridges and fading exposures are long gone, replaced by all but infinite burst-mode photos that can live on your computer forever.
But some photos deserve a more prominent display in your home than a vault in your computer’s photo library. Apple has known this since the dawn of digital photography. Since iPhoto launched in 2002, Apple has offered photo and book printing services, a feature later added to Aperture and OS X Photos. Yet even though Canon, Sony, and Nikon have introduced high- and ultra-high-resolution cameras capable of creating huge prints, Apple hasn’t updated its apps with new large-format print options. That’s where this How-To series comes in.
It’s possible to use Photos to create large paper prints, but there’s a lot of exciting large-format photo printing work being done now with other materials, including metal, glass, and canvas. Part 1 of this How-To guide looked at large-format metal prints, and Part 2 looked at canvas and glass prints, with tips on composing large-format images. This third and final part looks at several additional options: turning your photos into hand-painted art, printing on brushed silver aluminum, and large-format “behind acrylic glass” photo printing. Each is different from the prior prints we covered, and one is the most beautiful large photo-to-wall art process I’ve yet seen…
July 13, 2015
Your digital photos were never intended to remain trapped on your computer’s hard drive. Apple’s original 2002 version of iPhoto proudly included physical book and photo printing services, adding new books and various types of cards every 2-3 years. Since early digital cameras took low-resolution photos, Apple’s services focused primarily on small prints. But over the past decade, cameras have really evolved: there are now 36-Megapixel Nikons, 42-Megapixel Sonys, and 50-Megapixel Canons. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t update iPhoto or its later Aperture and Photos apps with additional large-format printing options to keep up with the higher-resolution cameras many people are using.
Even if you don’t have a high-end DSLR, there are ways to turn more typical 20-Megapixel images into large pieces of wall art — if you’re willing to look outside Apple’s photo apps for printing services. And amazingly, even recent iPhones and iPads can create 43-Megapixel ultra-wide panoramas that will look stunning on one or more large canvases, as shown in the photo above.
What’s the best large format to choose for your photos? That depends on the type of images you have, and the results you’re looking for. To illustrate the options, I reached out to a number of popular photo printing services to see how digital photos would look on metal, glass, and canvas — large-format alternatives Apple doesn’t offer. Part 1 of this How-To guide looked at metal prints that apply dyes and gloss directly onto aluminum surfaces. Today, Part 2 looks at large-format canvas and glass prints. And the last part, coming next week, will look at several additional options that provide unique twists on these options. Inside, you’ll see how each process has its own unique appeal…
July 4, 2015
Apple knew it had something special to share with the world when it released iPhoto in 2002: in addition to printing 20″ by 30″ poster-sized photos, the original iPhoto’s “most stunning feature” (according to Apple) was a page layout tool that quickly turned digital photo collections into printed hardcover books. These were Apple’s acknowledgements that tangible photos still had value in a digital era, and it subsequently added calendars, greeting cards, softcover books, and letterpress cards to iPhoto. Apple’s newer app Photos for Mac hides these options under the File menu at the top of the screen, and hasn’t expanded on them, a shame considering how nice the results look.
But apart from including the poster options in 2002, Apple never added “large-format art” to the list of things its photo apps could produce. Back in 2002, digital cameras were so low-resolution that they struggled to produce pixel-free 4″ by 6″ photos, so it’s no surprise that Apple wasn’t trying to build a market for large prints. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. Canon currently sells two 50-Megapixel cameras, Sony has one 42-Megapixel camera, and Nikon offers four 36-Megapixel cameras. iPhones and iPads can create up to 43-Megapixel ultra-wide panoramas. A large, properly-composed print from any of these cameras (or even the more common 20- to 25-Megapixel cameras people are using today) will look amazing hanging on the wall of your home or office… if you know how to do it.
I wanted to see what the best options were for large-format photography, so I reached out to a collection of excellent art print services to see how digital photos would look on metal, glass, and canvas — materials Photos doesn’t offer. In Part 1 of this How-To guide, I’m looking at large-format metal prints that apply dyes and gloss directly onto aluminum surfaces, with results as saturated as Apple’s famous “nanochromatic” iPod nanos. A new Part 2 looks at large-format canvas and glass prints. Read on for all the details…
July 1, 2015
June 30, 2015
In addition to iOS 8.4, Apple has now publicly released OS X 10.10.4 to all users. The point update focuses on security and stability improvements with a fix for notable networking issues with OS X Yosemite as well as fixes for Mail, improvements to Photos migration from iPhoto and Aperture, and more. Apple first began testing the update to the Mac with developers in late April. expand full story
June 16, 2015
Alongside the updates to its mobile apps yesterday, Adobe has also updated its entire suite of Creative Cloud desktop apps and launched a new Adobe Stock images service integrated within those apps – something the company says “radically simplifies” the process of buying and using stock images.
“Adobe Stock extends Creative Cloud’s value as a vibrant global marketplace,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president, Digital Media, Adobe. “Eighty-five percent of customers who purchase stock images use Adobe creative tools. The deep integration with our latest Creative Cloud desktop apps, including Photoshop and InDesign, makes buying and using stock photos incredibly easy. At the same time, our customers – the best photographers and designers on the planet – will have the opportunity to contribute millions of new photos and images to Adobe Stock. This is really going to raise the bar in the world of stock content.”
Single images cost $9.99 for existing Creative Cloud subscribers, but Adobe offers two volume subscriptions offering significantly better deals … expand full story
May 29, 2015
My relationship with Apple’s hardware is simple: I’m happily locked in, and not changing platforms any time soon. But my relationship with Apple’s software is complex: I want to love it, but every time Apple decides to “throw everything away” and “start over” with an app, it’s disruptive — and for many users, unnecessary. From my perspective, users weren’t complaining that Apple’s popular photo apps iPhoto or Aperture were hopelessly broken or even deficient in major ways, yet Apple discontinued both of them last month to release Photos, a bare-bones alternative no one seems to love. On the relationship scale, I didn’t abandon Aperture; Aperture abandoned me (and a lot of other people).
So yesterday’s announcement of the free cross-platform photo and video storage app Google Photos couldn’t have come at a better time. Apple has struggled to explain why it now offers two separate photo syncing services, neither with the virtually unlimited photo and video storage Google is now giving users — notably all users, including Mac and iOS users. Moreover, Apple has offered no sign that it’s going to drop the steep fees it’s charging for iCloud photo storage. With WWDC just around the corner, Apple has a big opportunity to match Google’s photo and video initiative, thrilling its customers in the process. If that doesn’t happen, I’m moving my collection into Google Photos, and not looking back…
May 12, 2015
When Apple was designing the Mac app iDVD, then-CEO Steve Jobs directed his development team to build a dead-simple DVD-burning application: instead of a mess of options and windows, Jobs wanted one window with one button marked “Burn,” which would be pressed once the desired video file was dragged-and-dropped into the window. Years later, when Jobs wanted Apple’s iOS devices to be even simpler, he dumped the Mac’s windows and drag-and-drop file system in favor of a grid of icons. There wasn’t even a trash can to worry about — instead, iOS would automatically discard unused files as needed.
While that’s great in theory, the reality is that iOS actually leaves bits of trash sitting around on your device, and there’s no easy way to clean everything up at once. iTunes aggregates various types of lingering files as “Other,” but doesn’t have a trash can, nor does it provide direct access to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch file system so you can purge trash on your own. Consequently, your device may be holding a large collection of junk that could be dumped to free up gigabytes of space.
Below, I’ll show you how to clean your iOS device for free using two apps, one of which you definitely already have installed…