18th September 2018

Yesterday was iOS 12 release day, and it was a pretty good day overall, so I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights.

Of course, iOS 12 and the new Shortcuts app was released, so it was good to see everyone discover the new features that some of us developers and beta users have been playing around with for a while.

I released version 1.3 of Text Case which includes support for Siri Shortcuts. It was covered by John Voorhees at MacStories, which was great! And it was met with a good response from quite a lot of people. It’s by far my favourite app I’ve developed, and it’s been super fun seeing where I can integrate the functionality of Text Case throughout the system.

Then, of course, there’s the annual event for nearly everyone in the Apple community, Federico Viticci’s iOS review! He puts so much work into it, and you can always see that when you read it. This year it’s packed with some great Siri Shortcuts information and even more if you’re a Club MacStories member (which I am!).

There was also a bunch of other apps that released updates with support for Siri Shortcuts, this was great to see from a developer and user perspective. My favourites so far are PCalc, Bear, Ulysses, Citymapper, Overcast, CARROT Weather, and Things. And now that password managers can integrate properly into iOS, I’m also going to look at using 1Password, LastPass, or even one of the many others that have been updated

The best part of the day was probably Twitter, and while it hasn’t received a lot of praise recently, the Apple community is a major reason why I can’t see myself stopping using it. Everyone was happy about the updates, there was a bunch of conversations about Shortcuts, and generally everyone having a good time! I even made a little snark about Mastodon users. Phil Schiller even shared some unfortunate news about the Squirrel from the 4S Introduction event.

Now I just need to wait until my XS arrives on Friday, so I can try out the parts of iOS that I’ve been missing. Like Animoji, Memoji, Portrait Lighting, the new Depth Control, and even FaceID!

17th September 2018

It’s been under two weeks since Text Case received its 1.2 update, which contained improvements to title case formatting, and a couple extra formats.

Well in this update, Text Case will now be accessible via Siri! And you will also get to set a different accent colour in the app.

Accent Colour

There’s not that much UI in Text Case, as it’s been intentionally kept rather simple. However there are now 6 colours, that will be used for the navigation bar, switches, and buttons:

  • Pink (Default)
  • Orange
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Black

Siri Support

With iOS 12 now being released, Siri has gotten a whole lot more powerful, and you’ll expect quite a lot of apps to try and make use of it. Which meant I just had to add support to Text Case.

There’s only one function in Text Case, and that is to convert text into various different formats. And that means it’s also really easy to use! The formats will be applied to any text that you have copied, and the formatted text will replace it on the clipboard, ready for you to paste anywhere.

From Settings, you will find the “Add to Siri” option at the bottom. If you tap this, you will then get to select a format, and then record a custom phrase.

Siri Shortcuts

That’s not all the ways you can use Text Case with Siri. Because as you use Text Case, iOS will learn what formats you are using, and begin to suggest them to you.

These suggestions will also appear in the new Siri Shortcuts app, where you will be able to automate them with everything else!

Here’s just a few examples:

Download the Shortcuts:


You can find Text Case on the App Store.

05th September 2018

It’s time for the second major update to Text Case!

The first update added the ability to pick only specific formats to enable in both the app, and the action extension. It also added 5 extra formats.

The change in 1.1 to limit formats was partially due to the fact more formats could be added in the future, and it wouldn’t inadvertently affect users that didn’t want to use them.

In 1.2, the biggest update is the added flexibility in the title case format. As formatting titles isn’t a necessarily fixed style, but rather there are many different ones that writers use. The ones I’ve selected to include are:

  • Associated Press (AP)
  • American Psychology Association (APA)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS)

And of course there are two new formats, sentence case, and Pascal case.

I hope you all enjoy the new additions, and if you ever have an issue with the app, or even have a suggestion, let me know by email or on Twitter.

You can find Text Case on the App Store.

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30th August 2018

As usual, Apple can’t seem to keep things secret anymore. Leaks are now emerging of the new iPhone XS that will be announced at the event on the 12th September.

I have completely mixed feeling about it this time. It’s a real shame that some of the surprise from the event has been somewhat spoiled. I don’t mind a few bits of information being leaked, but when it’s marketing images of a new product, it feels like someone has really screwed up.

Some people will surely point the blame at the people like 9To5Mac that make these things public, but that’s their job, to release interesting news. And it will certainly interest a lot of people.

I’ve read one article from 9To5Mac which includes an image of the iPhone XS, with new sizes and colour, and I’ve seen a few photos of a new Watch face, but I’m going to try and stay away from anything else. It will be pretty hard, seeing as I follow a lot of blogs that will cover it, and it will be all over Twitter, but I’ll manage.

Guilherme Rambo‏, the main investigator of Apple related leaks nowadays, said that a lot of information is coming from some test streams that Apple clearly didn’t think people were watching:

Apple just can’t seem to keep it in their pants anymore.


I would like to note that I won’t be writing about these leaks, or sharing other links to anything else that may come out. I don’t hold anything against anyone that reads, shares, or does anything with the information. I’ll just try and wait until the official announcement.

24th August 2018
Permalink

Stephen Hackett on his latest project:

I’m really glad to be announcing a project that started at the end of last year. I have worked my way through every major release of macOS since the Mac OS X Public Beta and catalogued them in an extensive collection of screenshots.

Currently, the library includes 1,502 images. That’s 1.6 GB worth of screenshots.

This is something really only he could do. I’ve had a look through some of them, and it’s fun to see how the OS has evolved, and to see the iterations between big changes.

18th August 2018
I just need the sun to turn down about 20% so I can read this book without squinting. 👀 📖
Also on:

15th August 2018
The annual message from my Apple Watch! ⌚️ 🎈
Also on:

14th August 2018
Permalink

Roger Mitchell, Chairman of GiveMeSport, and former SPL CEO, writing for GiveMeSport:

Two events this week alluded to Hemingway’s bell.

In reality, these separate incidents, in different ways, suggest the death knell for the end of the amateur and meritocratic soul of European football.

Overly melodramatic for impact? I don’t think so.

Simply, we are witnessing the ruthless elimination, by stealth, of the financial and sporting uncertainty which has been at the core of Association Football, since it was invented in the 1870s, (a mere 100 years after America became a nation.) More from our American cousins later.

There is a case to argue that we are moving, nae, have moved, to the hated franchise commercial model.

Fans weren’t asked. Probably because we would never have agreed. Indeed, fans and their mega clubs are increasingly uncomfortable bedfellows. But the new reality is here, and most of us were asleep at the wheel. Shame on us.

This amateur sport, the most popular game in the world, grew its DNA and developed its soul from British clubs of deep working-class tradition, like Celtic and Arsenal. So, it is neatly appropriate that the clanging chimes of doom this week came from Parkhead and Highbury.

It’s very true that football is becoming more and more commercialised, and I’m not talking about the wages, or transfer fees, but how the clubs are ran nowadays. With all these foreign investors slowly buying the football clubs, they’re turning them into plain businesses. No need to worry about trophies, or about the actual fans, but instead how it can boos their portfolio.

As an Arsenal fan myself, I’m experiencing this quite a lot with the majority shareholder, and soon to be full owner of the club, Stan Kroenke. This will mean no more transparency, no more AGM, no input at all.

Read the full post on GiveMeSport.

13th August 2018

I started a note a while ago to list out the things I want in the next iPhone, but there’s honestly not much that I can think of. I may really want these things, but there’s not many of them.

Just for some perspective, I’m currently using an iPhone 7 Plus, and I’m still really happy with the device. But I got it on release day, so after two years I think I’m due an upgrade. However, taking into consideration the improvements made in the iPhone X, there are just a few things I’d like the next model (whatever it’s going to be called) to improve upon.

The first has to be the battery. I don’t really ever get a full days use out of a single charge, but I do understand that I am a bit of an edge case. I use my phone a lot, whether it’s at work when I’m using it as a test device, or when I’m travelling and I’m constantly taking photos. I would like the battery life to be great for all types of users, not just when it’s new, or for someone who uses it less than me.

Following on the photography side of my iPhone use, I wouldn’t mind the camera getting a bit better. It’s a pretty good camera, and I get some good shots, but I don’t think there has been any major leaps in a while. I know this isn’t a great metric to use as a comparison, but the iPhone 6 had a 12MP camera, and so does the iPhone X. Sure, quite a lot of other things have changed, and the lens makes a lot of difference on it’s own. But I would like to see an aperture lower than f/1.8, improvements to macro photography, and general improvements to sharpness.

One thing that I expect to see, and I kind of really need in my next device, is the ability to use Face ID in any orientation. I’m still unsure about facial recognition, seeing as how reliable and fast Touch ID is, and the fact the iPhone X has to be in portrait for it to be unlocked would be pretty annoying. But with the rumours of this coming to the iPad, I don’t see why the next iPhone wouldn’t also receive it. Maybe even the iPhone X could retroactively gain support for this as well.

My next wish is something I’ve been wanting for a long time now, and it’s a reason why I’ve been tempted to buy a Google Pixel before, colourful hardware. In the past, Apple have offered multiple colour options for quite a lot of their products, the early iMacs, iPods, the iPhone 5C, and of course the Apple Watch straps. I really want a phone that isn’t just a boring slab of monochrome, (I don’t accept the gold options, and the RED edition takes ages to be launched). Why not something with a bit of character? What about adding a few accents to the side buttons like the Pixel, or going for whole colour changes, like the rumoured orange version (😍). And I don’t want any interesting options to be relegated to the cheaper models. I remember when I purchased a 5S, I really wanted the design of the 5C so I could get a bright colour for once, but I wasn’t going to buy one with old hardware. With a $1 trillion market cap, you’d think there’d be room for some more colour options for arguably their main product.

To round up my wishes, there’s just one more thing (yeah, I wrote that) I want Apple to include. Nothing big or extravagant, just a USB C to Lightning cable in the box as standard. The USB C market clearly isn’t as big as Apple predicted it would be by now, and I’ve written about how the iPad could improve this, but another push would be if the iPhone connected via USB C.

Anyway, I’ll sit back with everyone else, and await what device we’re all going to be purchasing.