MacOS Catalina is here, and with it, a bunch of top-line features: Mac Catalyst, new apps, Sidecar, Screen Time, and Voice Control. But as you might expect, Catalina also includes dozens of small feature changes that are worth investigating. Here are a few of the most interesting hidden features in macOS Catalina.
Adobe is recommending that Photoshop and Lightroom Classic users hold off on updating their computers to macOS Catalina, Apple’s latest desktop operating system software, until all the “known compatibility issues” have been resolved. Support documents published yesterday in conjunction with Catalina’s release highlight various issues related to broken plug-ins and incompatibility with 32-bit applications.
Apple rolled out Catalyst, the technology to transition iPad apps into Mac versions, on Monday. It’s the initial step toward a bigger goal: By 2021, developers should be able to build an app once and have it work on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers through a single, unified App Store. But the first iteration, which appears to still be quite raw and in a number of ways frustrating to developers, risks upsetting users who may have to pay again when they download the Mac version of an iPad app they’ve already bought.
“As a user, I don't want to pay again just to have the same app,” said longtime Apple developer Steven Troughton-Smith. “As a developer, I don't want my users to have to make that decision.”
James Thompson has had to work harder than he expected to get his popular PCalc calculator iPad app running well on Mac computers. Getting paid a second time for that extra work makes sense for developers, but consumers may not immediately understand that after Apple made the porting process sound as easy as checking a box, he said. Kevin Reutter, who has brought his Planny app to Mac computers, called the situation “sad.”
Things that work well with touch, don’t necessarily look or feel great. In fact, I would say that the more an app uses the standard iOS user interface elements, the less it feels right on the Mac.
For something like a game that is all custom UI anyway, you probably couldn’t even tell, although Catalyst currently isn’t a great fit for game developers either.
But while apps from video and comic book streaming service DC Universe and car racing game Asphalt 9 were both removed from the Project Catalyst website this week, both are still planned for a future release, according to a person familiar with Apple's rollout plans. Popular apps including Twitter and TripIt are also still coming to Mac soon, according to Apple's website.
iOS 13 will almost surely be better with the next incremental update of bug fixes and patches, and there’s ultimately no right answer as to which version of iOS 13 is the one that’s right for you. And if you must have the latest and greatest now, iOS 13.1.2 certainly isn’t worse than it was at launch. But it still has plenty of room for improvement.
Graphics in some games like Sonic Racing and Super Impossible Road translate really well to the big screen, with Sonic Racing looking (and playing) like an online Mario Kart knock-off (it actually plays more like traditional Mario Kart than the new Mario Kart Tour). Sayonara Wild Hearts look just as visually impressive at 55 inches as it does on an iPhone.
On other games like Mini Motorways, Oceanhorn 2 or Capcom's Shinsekai Into the Depths, the graphics reminded me of an iPhone or Switch game blown up to a 55-inch 4K TV. They lacked the crispness I saw on the small phone screen.
Signs of mobile-first design are also present in some game interfaces. Mini Motorways and Sonic Racing, for example, have cursors that replicate your finger, either when playing the game or in the menu screens.
Backblaze has always kept a 30-Day Version History of backed up files, but today they are giving you the option to extend your Version History to a year or forever. If you extend your Version History, all versions of your files that are backed up — whether you’ve updated, changed, or entirely deleted them from your computer — will remain in your backup for one year after being modified or deleted on your Mac or Windows PC.
A follow-up to the original MeeBot, which allowed younger iPad users to learn to code, the second-generation kit is a collection of parts that can be put together to create a humanoid robot.
Spotify has updated its iOS and iPadOS app with Siri and Low Data Mode support, in addition to launching an all-new Apple TV app. I’ve spent some time with the update and overall it works as advertised, though it’s worth noting a few limitations.
To examine our inboxes is to examine our lives: our desires and dreams, our families and careers, our status, our networks and our social groupings, our projects, our commerce, our politics, our secrets/lies/fetishes. Inboxes are anthropological goldmines, textual archives, psychological case studies, waiting to be plumbed and probed for the expansive cultural, ethical, epistemological, and ontological insights lurking therein.
On second thought: they are probably not waiting to be probed, but actually being probed, scanned and algorithmatized, by Google, Amazon, the National Security Agency, the Russians, Julian Assange, employers, ex-lovers who remember your password, current lovers who install surveillance software on your laptop to monitor emails to your ex-lover/next lover, hackers who create fake networks on any public wifi you log onto, and/or anyone else who cares to discover whatever “secrets” you are secreting into the tubes.
If a developer can simply write one set of code, hit a button, and publish to two different platforms: is it worthwhile, then, for one company to have that two different platforms?
Thanks for reading.