The Shoot-String-Share Edition Friday, April 7, 2017

Apple Launches Clips Video App For iPhone And iPad, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple has released a new app for iPhone and iPad, the previously announced video tool Clips.

Apple describes Clips as an app "for making and sharing fun videos with text, effects, graphics, and more." Essentially it's a stripped-down version of a video editor like iMovie, optimized to make edits fast and user-friendly on mobile. Its key focus is allowing you to shoot seconds-long clips and string them together into a video worth sharing.

Apple’s Clips App Is iMovie For The Next Generation, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Considering that Apple plans to include a Help section in the app when it goes live, I’m guessing I’m not the only person who has given early feedback that [Live Title is] the most confusing part of the app. It’s a cool concept, but I really hope Apple considers seriously simplifying this.

Despite that, making Clips is easy, especially if you ignore Live Titles. I’ve made Clips videos of my cat (of course), a bowl of pho, a recent vacation, and California-esque things I’ve done in a single day. The comic filter is cool, and it renders the effect on photos and videos as you’re capturing them, not after the fact. Individually, the features are reminiscent of the features in other apps — sepia-toned filters, location and time stamps — but combined, it all feels distinctly Apple. Example: one of the text overlays is a familiar blue iMessage bubble.

Apple's New Video-editing App Clips Is Great. I Don't Know Why It Was Made, by Henry Cooke, Stuff

My issue is that I don't know why I would open it up if I wasn't reviewing it. Most of the video I shoot on my phone goes straight into a messaging app like Snapchat, Messenger, or increasingly Instagram. While you can export video from Clips into any of these apps (easily with Messenger or Instagram, awkwardly with Snapchat), they all have video recorders built into them already. They may have far fewer features but they also require far less steps.

Which brings us back to the "why does this exist" question. The live titles makes you think for vlogging - but professional YouTubers require way more advanced features than this, and amateurs are generally trying to compensate and use professional software too.

Apple’s Clips App Is Social Video Editing That’s Simple To A Fault, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Clips does offer a super simple way to pull together videos and images into a single cohesive package you can fire off across a slew of media accounts (and most importantly, for Apple, Messages), leveraging the company’s existing editing software in the process.

Between the package, the press material and the sort of supplementary stickers and emojis Clips features, it’s pretty clear the company is aimed firmly at Snapchat and Instagram’s largely millennial user base. For Apple, it’s a way of showcasing the company’s focus on camera hardware and editing software, while potentially breaking users out of existing social ecosystems, in favor of its proprietary offerings.

Security Matters

Here's Where The Apple Accounts Hackers Are Threatening To Wipe Came From, by Troy Hunt

The list of Apple accounts is not hundreds of millions, it is instead less than 53k and it's compromised predominantly of accounts from the Evony data breach and a small handful of others.

Now, that's not to say there's no risk at hand here, but rather that the risk is no different to the one we're faced after every data breach: a bunch of people have reused their passwords and they're now going to have other accounts pwned as a result. But that's a very different story to the headlines of "hundreds of millions of Apple accounts will be reset and iPhones wiped". It's nowhere near as bad 53k either because a significant chunk of those people won't have reused their passwords. Of those that have, many my no longer even be valid for Apple services and indeed Zack found that when he reached out to people listed in the sample data. But here's something even more significant - Apple has the sample set I've been analysing which puts them well and truly one step in front of TCF. That doesn't necessarily mean they're going to lock accounts out or force password resets, but it does mean they can associate a much high risk rating to these accounts and protect them in other ways. Plus of course there's a small portion of those who will have multi-factor authentication enabled so even a correct password will be useless. Think off all these factors as a funnel which gradually decreases the usefulness of the accounts such that only a tiny fraction of the alleged haul is actually of any use whatsoever.

Does Fill Them All, So Pretty Well

Review: Apple’s $329 iPad Is For People Who Have Never Upgraded Their Tablet, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

So one of the $329 iPad’s goals was to replace the aging iPad Air 2 for all of those audiences. Its second goal was to entice the tens of millions of people who bought one of the first four iPad generations or the first iPad Mini to buy an iPad again. Most of those tablets don’t even run iOS 10, and the one that does run iOS 10 lacks support for all of the iPad’s multitasking features and a bunch of other stuff.

But there's also a third goal Apple didn't talk with me about, the elephant in the room any time Apple does anything with the iPad: we’re now entering our third straight year of sales decline, both in terms of units sold and in revenue earned. The iPad Pro showed some signs of helping with the problem last year, but none of the iPads Apple has put out since 2014 has halted the product's downward slide.

This unassuming iPad has a lot of roles to fill. The good news is that it does fill them all, and it does so pretty well. The bad news is that it doesn’t speak very well about any of the extra stuff the iPad Pro brings to the table, particularly the 9.7-inch model.

Apple iPad (2017) Review: No Alarms And No Surprises, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

There is a time for innovation, and this wasn't it. This time, Apple was just trying to build the best iPad it could for the masses. In that respect, it did a great job, even if the result isn't as exciting as everyone hoped.

I feel for people who wanted something a little sleeker or more powerful: They have no other choice than to pay up for the Pro line. For everyone else, though — people who have never had iPads or people stuck with really old ones — this thing is a tempting buy that won't let you down.

Crafting the Future

Why Pro Matters, by Sebastiaan de With, Medium

The same kind of huge leaps are happening in gaming and game development; a powerful modern GPU is a requirement for working on and using VR and AR, one area Apple is said to be working on. Demand and interest in 3D work, for design, game and software development, and video is bigger than ever and growing exponentially.

Without a truly top-tier workstation, Apple will miss out on a huge segment of digital creatives that can craft the future of human-machine interaction — something way beyond tapping a piece of glass. It would lack a Mac workstation with the raw computing power to prototype VR and AR interactions, build game worlds, simulate complex models and render the effects of tomorrow’s great feature films all the while offering those same creatives a platform to create for its own mobile devices.

Transcript: Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi And John Ternus On The State Of Apple’s Pro Macs, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

You have already read the news. But we thought we would also use this opportunity to share a transcript of the interview with Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing; Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering; John Ternus, Vice President of Hardware Engineering. Bill Evans from Apple PR was also in attendance.


Adobe Updates Illustrator CC And InDesign CC With New Features, by AppleInsider

Illustrator CC takes a cue from users by incorporating a number of highly requested features like straightforward image cropping, a function previously accomplished by offloading documents to other apps.


The Twitter API Platform’s Future, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Although it may be some time before we see today's announcements bring specific benefits to third-party apps, Twitter has had a rocky relationship with developers in the past, and today's announcement is a sign of commitment to its API platform and developers.


Tim Cook Discusses Diversity, Inclusion With Students, by Corey Williams,

Cook spoke about how Apple Inc. – the world's largest information technology company – benefits from inclusion.

“We believe you can only create a great product with a diverse team,” Cook said. “And I’m talking about the large definition of diversity. One of the reasons Apple products work really great – I hope you think they work really great – is that the people working on them are not only engineers and computer scientists, but artists and musicians.

It’s this intersection of the liberal arts and humanities with technology that makes products that are magical.”

The Future Of Driverless Cars Is A Bus, by Nicole Kobie, The Outline

Better buses and trams might not be as sexy as a Tesla that takes over the wheel or a driverless Uber, but it solves one heck of a lot more problems.

Lifehack Friday

I Tried 'Ten Life Hacks That Will Change Your Life' To See If They Actually Did, by Oobah Butler, Vice

I've always hated life-hack listicles. And by that, I mean I once read one in 2012, and I didn't like it. But once you've read one, you've read them all: the same ancient photos of some phone chargers slotted into a paperclip, rehashed when it's been a low-yielding week on the content farm.

Mind you, I could probably benefit from paying some attention. With my lack of storage, my lack of most common household appliances, and my lack of any products to help me stay on top of my multiple loose phone chargers—I recognize these issues but don't have the time, imagination, or money to do anything about them.

So maybe—just maybe—following the life hackers' advice could be the answer I've been looking for all along?