During the month of January 2016, Screenium 3 was featured as one of the best new apps in the Mac App Store. This featured profile may have to do with the new feature that was added that enables you to record your iOS screen. Nonetheless, Screenium 3 is definitely worth checking out.
Screen Recording Options
When you first open Screenium 3, you have four options for recording your screen: record a specific area, record fullscreen, record single window, and record your iOS device. These features are consistent with the leading apps in this category. Below this menu are the configurations for different aspects of the recording, including video (including things like frame rate), desktop (including the ability to show or hide desktop icons, audio (to specify audio source), camera (for the option to include facetime video), mouse (for cursor and mouse click visualizations), and timer. The latter is something I’m not accustomed to seeing; it provides the ability to specify your recording duration.
Recording your screen is the key function of Screenium, and so the document set up is integral to starting new projects. Under file, you can set up a new document or “composition.” The composition by default is 1280 by 720. You can adjust the size by going to composition at the top menu and selecting “canvas size.” Here you can customize the size, and enlarge or reduce it proportionately. If you go with the default size and add an item that is larger (e.g. a video that is 1080p), you will be prompted to “leave as is” or “increase” the size of your composition to match the size of the size of the clip.
The menu bar along the top provides a range of options for adding animations, and effects for audio and video. Templates are quick actions that enable you to add annotations and text. The Video Library gives you quick access to previous recordings and the Pictures tab enables you to import images from the Photos app. Screenium 3 also comes with the ability to add video and audio effects, animations, and voice overs. And one feature that is unique to Screenium is the generated speech option, which enables you to translate text into multiple languages as voice recordings, which can then be used to add multilingual narrations to your presentations. Other languages can also be added to existing audio tracks.
Below the menu, there are three main sections: the viewer, to the left, the inspector to the right, and the timeline below. When a clip (video, photo, or audio) is added to the timeline, the viewer and/or inspector will reveal content or controls that are specific to the media selected. Below the viewer, you will find playback controls, and just to the right options to enable animations, split clips, or to delete them.
Objects in the timeline also come with added controls that provide more flexibility when setting up your animations. For example, when you move the playhead to a specific location, you can hover over your clip to add a split, add a marker, or insert a still. “Split” is equivalent to the cut tool adjacent to the playback controls; “markers” are like keyframes that mark the start and stop point of your animations, and “insert still” is equivalent to what is otherwise known as a “freeze frame.”
There are some specific features that exist under the areas mentioned above that are worth highlighting separately. Under “Video Effects,” you have the option to to use the “chroma key” effect when working with green screen videos. Once selected, the chroma key controls will appear in the inspector on the right. This feature is great for podcasters who prefer more flexibility when juxtaposing the narrator with items that are being reviewed. Screenium 3 also comes with a masking tool that enables you to use any shape to mask sections of your videos or photos.
Screenium 3 is a nice alternative to Screenflow and Camtasia. I encourage you to take it for a spin.
Timothy Brown, Host of My Apple Podcast
by Timothy Paul Brown, My Apple Podcast
According to a variety of sources, Podcasts are experiencing a resurgence, and more people are beginning to appreciate the value of this medium. This is largely due to the success of the iPhone, which has helped to increase accessibility to podcasts.
WHAT ARE PODCASTS?
Podcasts are audio and video recordings attached to a web feed that people can subscribe to. Sources like iTunes function as a portal or aggregator for finding podcasts and subscribing to them. And guess what? They are FREE!
FOR YEARS NOW, APPLE HAS PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN POPULARIZING PODCASTS
On June 28, 2005, Apple issued a press release titled APPLE TAKES PODCASTING MAINSTREAM to announce iTunes version 4.6 and the introduction of PODCASTS which were featured alongside the music selections in iTunes.
Seven years later, in June 2012, Apple introduced PODCASTS, a standalone app for the iPhone and iPad. The significance of this development was largely due to the success of the iPhone, which has been instrumental in bringing podcasts to the masses.
Podcasts now comes pre-installed on iPhones, so potentially every iPhone user has access to podcasts. If you happen to be one of them, this blog post will help you understand the basic features.
The Podcasts app is a purple icon with the familiar broadcasting symbol on the front. When you open the app you will find a menu of options along the bottom.
Let’s start with the FEATURED tab. Here you can browse through featured podcasts by swiping across with your finger or scrolling up and down. If you want to discover the more popular podcasts, select TOP CHARTS on the bottom menu.
When you find a podcast you like, tap on your selection. You will then come to a page that provides a description of the podcast, REVIEWS, and a tab for RELATED podcasts. When you find something you like, click SUBSCRIBE.
If you want to find a specific podcast that is not available in the FEATURED or TOP CHARTS sections, use the SEARCH tab on the bottom menu. Your search results will appear as PODCASTS or PODCAST EPISODES.
Each recording is called an EPISODE because they are typically offered as part of a sequence. On average, podcasters will update their PODCAST FEED on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly basis.
If you want to locate the podcasts you have subscribed to, select the tab MY PODCASTS on the bottom menu. Here you will find a list of your subscriptions. The UNPLAYED tab on the far left will display all unplayed episodes associated with your subscriptions.
When you select a podcast, you will find two tabs, one for UNPLAYED episodes and one for the FEED. The UNPLAYED tab will display the most recent episode. The FEED will list all the episodes associated with that podcast.
To play an episode, select the area that comprises the title and description. The podcast will play as an audio or video recording. If you select a video podcast, a video will begin to play at the top half of your screen, with the title and playback controls on the bottom. To the left and right of the PLAY button, you will find two buttons for fast-forwarding or rewinding the recording in 15 second intervals. The 1X to the far left can be selected to change the pace of the recording to 1/2, 1 1/2, and twice the speed level. The MENU icon on the far right will let you see what is currently playing and what is scheduled to play next.
At the bottom left is the familiar SHARE icon that allows you to share the podcast as an EMAIL, TEXT MESSAGE, or to SOCIAL MEDIA. The MOON icon provides a list of options for adding a timer to your listening experience that ranges from 5 minutes to one hour. When the timer ends the podcast will stop playing.
The three dots at the far right will bring up a pop-UP menu that presents the following options: PLAY NEXT, ADD TO UP NEXT, DOWNLOAD EPISODE or alternatively REMOVE DOWNLOAD, MARK AS UNPLAYED, SAVE EPISODE, VIEW FULL DESCRIPTION, AND SHARE EPISODE.
And finally, continuing with playback controls is a scroll bar for controlling the volume level and adjacent to that an airplay icon for mirroring your podcast on an Apple TV.
When you select an audio podcast, the audio will begin to play and you will have two options as a visual reference. The first option will be the minimized version, which will display the podcast as a banner along the bottom of the screen with the title and episode information. When you tap on the banner, the audio podcast will launch full screen, displaying the podcast artwork above and the playback controls below. Tap once on the artwork to reveal the episode description and tap again to return to the artwork.
MANAGING YOUR FEEDS
There are steps you can take to make your podcast listening experience more manageable and enjoyable. Let’s revisit the drop down menu that appears when the three dots are selected. The three dotted icon can be found at the bottom right when the podcast is minimized or launched full screen. It can also be found next to each podcast listing under the feed tab.
PLAY NEXT lets you to select an episode from any podcast and schedule it to play immediately after the current episode. If you change your mind and select another podcast to play, you will receive a pop-up message that will give you the option to KEEP UP NEXT or CLEAR UP NEXT. The other option ADD TO UP NEXT allows you to add additional episodes to the UP NEXT LISTING.
Next is DOWNLOAD EPISODE. With this option, you can download an episode for offline listening. This option does not require Wi-Fi or the use of your cellular network; the files are stored locally on your device. After you have downloaded an episode, you will also have an option to REMOVE DOWNLOAD when selecting the three-dotted icon.
MARK AS UNPLAYED will display a tiny full circle in light blue just to the left of the podcast title. The circle will disappear when podcast is completed or appear as a half-moon when partially completed.
SAVE EPISODE is feature that is similar to DOWNLOAD but serves a slightly different purpose. Like the download option, the file will download for offline viewing, yet this option will also add it to a special SAVED tab which will appear as a third option on the menu bar. You will also notice that a tiny iPhone icon will appear to the left of the Podcast title.
You will also notice a settings icon at the top of each podcast. you will find a SETTINGS tab for sorting episodes, and changing the status for SUBSCRIBED and NOTIFICATIONS.
Under the section, ON THIS IPHONE, you can set how often you want to refresh podcasts, limit the number of episodes you want to appear in the unplayed section, download the most recent episode, or you can choose to turn on the option to delete episodes after twenty-four hours.
Podcasts are streamed using an internet connection, and the use of Wi-Fi or your cellular network. If you want to manage how much data you want to use for podcasts, you can choose the option to listen to podcasts offline. And finally, under the MY PODCASTS TAB, you can select the edit button at the top right to remove podcasts by tapping on the red minus button and you can change the order of your podcasts by tapping the three horizontal bars to the right and moving your selection up and down.
And that’s it for my review of Apple's Podcasts app. You can also find my review on YouTube. Try it out! You may discover a ton of resources right at your finger tips.
BY TIM BROWN, HOST OF MY APPLE PODCAST
THE APPLE WATCH WAS RELEASED IN APRIL OF 2015 AND WE ARE NOW IN DECEMBER, RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON. AND NOT SURPRISINGLY THE APPLE WATCH IS ON EVERYBODY’S WISH LIST.
I HAVE A SPORT EDITION AND I LOVE THE CLEAN ELEGANT DESIGN. IT FEELS LIKE A WATCH I CAN WHERE FOR ANY OCCASION. YOU CAN FIND A WIDE ARRAY OF OPTIONS ON APPLE'S WEBSITE. OVERALL THE GRAPHICS AND ANIMATIONS ARE JUST STUNNING. HERE ARE SOME FEATURES I ENJOY THE MOST.
YOU CAN EASILY ACCESS THE APPS ON YOUR WATCH BY PRESSING ON THE DIGITAL CROWN. HERE YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM ALL THE AVAILABLE APPS, WHICH CAN BE CUSTOMIZED WHEN USING THE COMPANION APP ON YOUR IPHONE.
THE WATCH ALREADY COMES WTH A TON OF FEATURES THAT ARE VERY PRACTICAL AND A JOY TO USE. GLANCES GIVE YOU QUICK ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE APPS. FOR EXAMPLE, HERE YOU CAN CHECK YOUR HEART BEAT, CHECK THE BATTERY PERCENTAGE, AND ACCESS OTHER THIRD PARTY APPS LIKE NEWS360 AND INSTAGRAM. YOU ACCESS GLANCES BY SWIPING UP FROM THE BOTTOM AND THEN SWIPING LEFT TO RIGHT TO BROWSE THROUGH THE MENU.
I LOVE THE ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE WATCH FACES, WHICH COME WITH SOME PRETTY COOL OPTIONS INCLUDING A FEATURE CALLED COMPLICATIONS. WHEN YOU FIND SOMETHING YOU LIKE, SELECT THE CUSTOMIZE OPTION. HERE YOU CAN CHOOSE TO ADD OTHER ELEMENTS, LIKE WEATHER OR EMAIL BY TAPPING ON THE PLACE HOLDERS AND USING THE DIGITAL CROWN TO SCROLL THROUGH THE MENU OF OPTIONS.
I THINK I USE THE MESSAGES APP THE MOST AND I’M ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH THE 3D EMOTICONS. A QUICK WAY TO ACCESS MESSAGES IS TO PRESS THE SIDEBAR JUST BENEATH THE DIGITAL CROWN. HERE YOU CAN ACCESS YOUR ADDRESS BOOK, WITH THE OPTION TO GO QUICKLY TO YOUR FAVORITES. WHEN YOU IDENTIFY WHO YOU WANT TO CALL, PRESS ON THE ICON IN THE CENTER. HERE YOU WILL HAVE THREE OPTIONS: PLACE A PHONE CALL, SEND A DYNAMIC DRAWING MESSAGE, SEND A TEXT AND VOICE MESSAGE, OR SEND EMOTICONS.
I LOVE THE ANIMATED EMOTICONS: SMILEY FACE, HAND GESTURES, AND HEARTS. HERE YOU CAN USE THE DIGITAL CROWN TO CUSTOMIZE THE VARIOUS GESTURES AND EMOTIONS. YOU CAN ALSO ACCESS A LIBRARY OF EMOTIONS IF YOU PREFER STATIC IMAGES.
THE ACTIVITY MONITOR IS ARGUABLY THE MOST POPULAR APP, AND ONE I USE DAILY. PERIODICALLY, YOU WILL RECEIVE NOTICES TO STAND UP. THIS ENCOURAGES YOU KEEP MOVING, AND KEEP YOUR HEART RATE PUMPING. HERE YOU CAN ALSO LEARN ABOUT THE CALORIES YOU’VE BURNED, THE NUMBER OF EXERCISE MINUTES YOU HAVE ACCUMULATED , AND THE NUMBER OF MINUTES STANDING. THERE IS ALSO THE WORKOUT APP WHICH ENABLES YOU TO TRACK YOUR EXERCISES, SUCH AS RUNNING AND WALKING INDOORS OR OUT.
THE APPLE WATCH ALSO COMES IN HANDY WHEN YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO MUSIC. WHEN YOU OPEN THE MUSIC APP, YOU WILL SEE OPTIONS FOR CONTROLLING MUSIC REMOTELY ON THE PHONE OR DIRECTLY ON YOUR WATCH. IF YOU CHOOSE YOUR WATCH, YOU CAN LISTEN TO BEATS1, YOUR MUSIC LIBRARY, OR PLAYLISTS USING A BLUETOOTH HEADSET OR SPEAKER SYSTEM. IN YOUR IPHONE SETTINGS, YOU CAN DESIGNATE WHAT PLAYLIST YOU WANT TO ACCESS. YOU CAN USE THE SETTINGS APP ON YOUR WATCH TO ESTABLISH A BLUETOOTH CONNECTION WITH YOUR DEVICE.
THIRD PARTY APPS
APPLE’S NATIVE APPS ARE FANTASTIC, YET THIRD PARTY APPS EXTEND AND ENHANCE THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE. MY FAVORITES INCLUDE NEWS READERS LIKE FLIPBOARD, LINKEDIN PULSE, NEWS360, AND FEEDLY. THE APPS LET YOU READ, SAVE AND LIKE ARTICLES. SOME APPS ALSO MAKE THE WATCH SURPRISINGLY PRACTICAL TO USE LIKE MICROSOFT'S TRANSLATOR APP AND JUST PRESS RECORD. THE FORMER ENABLES YOU TO TRANSLATE TEXT INTO A WIDE VARIETY OF LANGUAGES, AND THE LATTER PROVIDES THE ABILITY TO RECORD AUDIO ON YOUR WATCH AND SEND THE RECORDINGS TO YOUR PHONE
OF COURSE, THERE ARE MANY MORE LIKE PACEMAKER, FOR DJAING, OUTLOOK FOR CHECKING EMAIL AND CALENDARS, GOOGLE MAPS, AND AROUND ME FOR QUICKLY LOCATING STORES AND RESTAURANTS NEAR BY. THE SOCIAL MEDIA APPS LIKE TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM FUNCTION AS GREAT ALTERNATIVES FOR LIKING AND RETREATING POSTS RIGHT FROM YOUR WATCH.
THE APPLE WATCH IS A JOY TO HAVE AND HAS A LOT OF PRACTICAL VALUE FOR SENDING MESSAGES, READING NEWS, USING SOCIAL MEDIA, AND GETTING WORK DONE. IT WOULD MAKE A GREAT PRESENT FOR YOURSELF AND/OR THOSE YOU CARE ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT MY REVIEW OF THE APPLE WATCH ON YOUTUBE.
Charles Bell, guest writer
Earlier this year when reports were coming out of CES 2015, Forbes wrote about Apple's emergence as an IoT competitor. For those who may not be as familiar with the term just yet, the IoT refers to the so-called "Internet of Things," which is essentially the automatic connectivity of different devices for the sake of safety, security, convenience, and/or efficiency. The simplest example of this implementation that the average tech user is increasingly familiar with is fitness tracking, whereby a smart watch or phone can automatically track your exercise data and plug it into a computer program that helps you to analyze your fitness.
But the IoT's potential goes much further than personal fitness tracking, and now stretches across a range of industries. Just how far into the whole concept Apple will get remains to be seen, but the aforementioned Forbes article was referring mostly to the in-home IoT, where Google and Apple are laying the foundation for a fierce competition. In-home IoT can mean anything from a smart thermostat to control over home security, and Apple appears to be involved with all of it. Devices for controlling locks and garage doors, maintaining data on home energy, and other uses were all visible at CES 2015, and all compatible with Apple and iOS.
Somewhat shockingly, several months after CES a poll in Fortune revealed that 48% of responders identified Apple most closely with the IoT (over Samsung, Amazon, and Google, in that order). The same study found that despite those numbers, "consumers lack a clear understanding of IoT devices currently available and the benefits provided by each." In other words, people associate Apple automatically with a concept they view as cutting edge—most likely because of Apple's general reputation. There doesn't even need to be a clear understanding of products for a consumer to assume Apple is leading the way.
This begs the question of just where Apple has the capacity to go with its IoT projects. The company has a leg up in personal health and fitness tracking, and they're making progress in the in-home product market as well. One thing that could conceivably be around the corner is expanding their IoT reach into transportation, should rumors of an Apple Car prove true.
Thus far, the only real model for transportation-based IoT integration is on an industry level, where companies use wireless connectivity to track and manage entire fleets of vehicles. Networkfleet's system measures vehicle diagnostics, and it also implements GPS tracking of vehicles and automatic, cost-free roadside assistance, and the benefits are easy to understand for an entire company. Shipping routes are made more efficient, drivers are safer, and vehicle repair costs are lowered. But a similar model can also be beneficial for individual drivers. IoT in transportation can mean automatic GPS routing, vehicle maintenance tracking and alerts, and the same automatic roadside assistance. Essentially, your car can manage itself, and it's difficult to imagine a hypothetical Apple Car not implementing these features.
This is just one example of where else Apple could go if it does manage to seize control of the consumer-facing IoT market. In all likelihood, we'll see Apple continue to explore this market (even if it's through other companies, as we saw at CES) in the coming years. However, it's also worth mentioning that co-founder Steve Wozniak has been somewhat hesitant to dive in fully on the IoT trend. Wozniak suggested there may be an IoT bubble because "there is a pace at which human beings can change the way they do things." That's probably a fair outlook, though one also has to consider that the IoT is less about humans doing new things and more about humans doing less.
by Timothy Brown
Podcasts offer a convenient way to deliver digital content for free via a subscription to a web feed, and Soundcloud provides a cloud-based delivery system for streaming audio content straight from a browser. Actually, Soundcloud provides a way to do both. Before I begin, let me provide you with a little background about podcasting.
iTunes and Podcasts
Not surprisingly, Apple played a key role popularizing podcasts, and podcasters like Adam Curry, otherwise known as the "podfather," was one of the first to use the technology. iTunes was introduced at Macworld on January 9, 2001, after Apple purchased SoundJam MP, from the developers (and former Apple employees) Jeff Robbin, Bill Kincaid, and Dave Heller. On June 28, 2005, Apple introduced iTunes version 4.9 which offered built-in support for podcasts.
What exactly is a podcast?
A podcast is a form of digital media (audio, video, digital radio, pdf) that is presented in a series and streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The podcast producer maintains a list of digital files or assets on a server as a web feed that can be accessed by third-party software like iTunes, which functions as a directory for accessing the podcasts - otherwise known as an “aggregator” or “podcatcher.” Web feeds are set up using RSS (Really Simple Syndication), an XML file format that ensures compatibility with many different computers, devices, and programs. RSS feeds enable users to subscribe to audio and video recordings and receive them in a series, automatically, removing the need to manually check the website for new content.
For example, when you open iTunes on your computer, you will find podcasts as a menu option, alongside music and movies. When you access podcasts from the iTunes Store, you will find a directory of podcasts that you can browse by categories, including highlighted sections like “new and noteworthy” or “featured collections.”
Soundcloud was established in Berlin in August 2007 by a Swedish sound designer Alexander Ljung and Swedish artist Eric Wahlforss. Soundcloud provides an online resource for accessing music and audio recordings directly from a browser. Content producers are provided with individual channels that users can follow, like, repost, and add to customized playlists. Soundcloud can be accessed through a mobile application, which makes it easy to stream recordings from a smartphone. Content that is distributed through Soundcloud can also be shared and distributed through other websites using a code embed option, enabling content producers and consumers to feature songs and playlists across the web.
I guess you can say that Soundcloud is like Flickr for audio streaming.
Soundcloud and Podcasts
Soundcloud provides a convenient way for combining its cloud-based service for hosting and delivering audio content with podcast technology, which automatically delivers content to you. For example, music and audio recordings that are set up on a channel or in a playlist can be selectively added to a RSS feed that is generated by Soundcloud. Soundcloud generates a unique url or RSS feed that can be submitted to “podcatchers” or directories like iTunes. The podcasts or audio recordings are accessed through various applications, including Podcasts by Apple, Overcast, Downcast, Stitcher Radio, and Podcast Addict, to mention a few).
The marriage or integration of Soundcloud with podcast technology helps to provide broad access to audio recordings, most of which are free to consumers. Content producers that are interested in using Soundcloud as a delivery system have the option to sign up for a Pro account at $6 a month or a Pro Unlimited account at $15 dollars a month, if they prefer to have advanced access to analytics and web statistics.
If you are unfamiliar with podcasting, I recommend that you visit iTunes and explore the directory of podcasts, or check out Apple’s Podcasts application, which comes pre-installed on iPhones. Likewise, if you are unfamiliar with Soundcloud, visit soundcloud.com, search Soundcloud’s directory, download the Soundcloud application, and/or start your own Soundcloud account. You will discover a whole new world of content right at your finger tips.
This article was written by Timothy Paul Brown, host of My Apple Podcast
Since the release of iOS 7, Apple introduced radical new changes to iMovie for iOS and the Mac. The new version came with a sleek minimalist design, and a comparative list of features for a more continuous experience. Titles, themes, and transitions began to have the same look and feel and the interfaces from the iPad surface to the computer trackpad were barely distinguishable in terms of ease of use. However, the steps toward a more unified experience have been slow and incremental. Steadily, we witnessed improved performance with iCloud and enhanced editing features like the inclusion of new filters. Yet, in spite of the gradual improvements, Apple had yet to offer the ability to share projects between iOS and the desktop. Until now.
iOS Meets OS
With the latest upgrades to iMovie, projects created on your iPhone and iPad can now be accessed and edited in the desktop version. This is a significant development. Inside the iOS version of iMovie, you will notice some subtle changes. When you select the share button beneath your iMovie project, you will find several options: "Save Video," "iTunes," "iCloud Drive," and "AirDrop." When selecting the last three options, you can either export your video or save your project to these locations. You are therefore given three options to access your project files, so that they can be imported into the desktop version of iMovie. The new iCloud application, now available for iOS, is arguably the greatest asset for improved accessibility and integration. The only limitation is the lack of reciprocity. Projects created with the desktop version of iMovie cannot be imported to the iPhone or iPad–at least, not yet. The desktop version still offers additional features (adjustment tools, backgrounds, etc) that are not available for the iOS version. Nonetheless, If you love iMovie or you are new to Apple's longstanding video editor, you will love the new update, which promises to be an enjoyable user experience.
You know, I just realized something. I seem to spend a lot time focusing on iOS but today, I’m going to focus on the Mac, more specifically, a photo editing application for the Mac called PhotoScape X.
I chose PhotoScape X because it’s an application that contains a boat load of features, what you might call an all-in-one desktop photo editor.
When you first open the app, you will find a menu of options along the top: Photoscape X, Viewer, Editor, Batch, Collage, Combine, CreateGif, Print, Tools, and Store. Combined, this menu comes jam-packed with a lot of functionality.
Running your cursor across the corresponding thumbnails along the bottom, you will get a glimpse of the wonderful features that come with PhotoScape X: Shape and Text, Collage, Combine, Sticker and Frame, Point Color, Cellophane, Film Effect, Light Leak, Miniature Effect, and Illusion and Reflection. This section is mainly an overview of what you can expect when you delve deeper into this amazing application.
The Viewer, simply put, is where you can view all the photos accessible on your Mac - not only what you see, but how you can view them. For example, you can view them in tile view, list view, and/or full screen. When you click on the drop down menu at the bottom right, you can organize files, alphabetically, by size, date, and so forth. You can also use the slider along the bottom to control the size of your thumbnails. The Settings icon provides some additional hidden gems. For example, you can customize your view by filling the thumbnails, or showing the file name, number, and frame. You even have the option to tilt images so they appear less uniform.
Under the Editor, you have access to your images on the left, and on the right, you have a range of menu options: Edit, Adjust, Film, Effect, Frame, Insert, and Brush. This menu is the most extensive, with a plethora of effects and alterations.
Edit is where you can make adjustments to the structure of your image, including Crop, Resize, Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical, Rotate CW, Rotate CCW, Rotate (general), and Straighten. All of these features are pretty straightforward, but let’s take a closer look at the Crop and Resize options.
When selecting one of the aspect ratios, say 1:1 or square format, the cropping tool will automatically take on the form of a square. The same occurs when you choose 16:9. A unique option includes the ability to add a circular crop, which can then be used to add a color, pattern, or transparent background.
The resize tool enables you to increase the pixel dimension of your photo, with options to preserve the aspect ratio or to adjust the size manually by 300 percent.
The adjustment tools in PhotoScape X are what you would expect to find, the ability to control brightness, color, levels, curves, color balances, sharpen, blur, and white balance.
Color emphasis is how you can control point color. For example, you can select one of the color swatches to decide what color you want to emphasize; the rest of the photo remains neutral. For better control, you can use the eye drop tool to pull a color directly from the photo. You will notice throughout the option compare your changes to the original photo.
Still under the Editor menu is the option to add Film Effects. Here you can select a long list of thumbnails, each one representing a different film overlay; the slider along the bottom allows for further refinements. The Film Menu also includes Duotone and Light Leak options. Duotones appear monochromatic, but have hints of warm and cool colors reminiscent of different film processes. Light Leaks are quite common among photo editors, but in PhotoScape X, you can make further adjustments by using the tools below to flip and/or rotate the effects.
The Effect tab goes beyond film replications. The Effects include Miniature Effect, Bloom, Vignetting, Edge, Watercolor Pencil, Colored Pencil, Cellophane, Fisheye, Newsprint, Jitter, Crystallize, Illusion, Reflection, Dilate, and Erode.
The Miniature Effect is what is commonly referred to as “Tilt Shift.” By tilting the focus of your images, you can isolate the focus on certain parts of your photos, while blurring the rest. As you will find in common applications like Instagram, you have a radial and linear option.
Crystallize enables you to break your image into cubist abstractions, ranging from fine and minute rearticulations of the image to larger more abstract forms.
The Editor Menu also includes the ability to frame your images, with a subset of menus that include Frame, Shape, and Border. What I find most impressive is the extensive menu of options, and the ability to add colors, patterns, and transparent backgrounds.
The Editor Men also includes the ability insert stickers, Images or logos, text, and various annotation markers. Each additional element that you add to your photo can be removed by clicking the “X.” An inspector menu enables you to customize colors, opacity, and line types.
I found the brush menu to be surprising, and refreshing. For example, when you select painting at the top left, a long list of options appear, which you can brush onto your photo, including the ability to paint, add greyscale and sepia tones; brighten, deepen, darken, blur, defocus, clear skin, or apply mosaic effects. You can also correct red eye, remove mole, and/or clone sections of your photo.
PhotoScape X also comes with a Batch feature. Essentially, you can import multiple photos, and make adjustments to all of them at the same time. These adjustments include resizing, adjusting lighting, contrast, and clarity of the images, adding effects and even adding frames and shapes - all of this done to multiple photos at the same time.
Another feature that typically comes in the form of a stand-alone app is the Collage feature. Rather than provide this feature as a simple add-on, PhotoScape built in a full-fledge collage creation tool. As you can see there are so many templates at your disposal that your options are limitless. Not only do you have ten menus to choose from, but each collage comes wth the ability to customize the size of the collage, control corners and margins, adjust colors, as well as, customize backgrounds. You can also add layers in the form of stickers, images, and text. Wow!!
Combine is another menu option that is a variant on the collage feature. For example, you can import multiple photos and combine them, either in vertical and horizontal displays or in tile view. Furthermore, the combo feature comes with the same adjustment tools as the collage feature, refining the margins, rounding the corners, adding a background color, and changing the canvas size of your final export. Think of how handy this feature could be when updating header images for your social media pages or personal websites.
With PhotoScape X, you can also create Gifs. I kid you not. And the features are quite impressive. Let’s take a look. Select a group of images from your library and drag them onto the stage. On the righthand side, you will find several ways to customize your Gif. By default, each image will begin to flash at intervals of 0.50 seconds. You can easily change this by selecting “Change Time” and then “Change All Frames.” “No Effect” is selected by default, but you can change this by clicking on “Change Effect” and adding the “Slide” transitions” or “Fade” and “Zoom.” Text can also be added to your Gif, including the ability to control the size and position of the text.
Print is the next menu option. This seems pretty straight forward at first, but on closer inspection, you will notice that even this feature comes with levels of customization that you would not expect from a photo editor. From the this menu, you can select the printer, paper size, portrait or landscape, and/or print a portrait shot or thumbnails. You can choose paper or image full, even select the DPI, ranging from 72 to 1200.
I know what your thinking. Have I moved on to another application or am I still describing PhotoScape X. Trust me, I thought the same thing.
Next on the Menu bar is “Tools.” Here you can take screenshots, which can import into PhotoScape X, select a built-in color picker, and rename files in bulk. And last, but not least, the Store enables you to upgrade to the Pro version and/or buy additional stickers and photo decorations.
And that is PhotoScape X, the all-in-photo editor for the Mac. Check it out. The app is free (which is absolutely crazy), but comes with in-app purchases, if you want to upgrade to pro, and that is exactly what you should do because this app is amazing!!
Matter by Pixite LLC is an application for iOS that enables you to create stunning photos and videos with 3D objects. Consistent with the quality of applications that make up Pixite's repertoire (Fragment, Union, Lorey Stripes, Shift, and Tangent), Matter is highly original, creating 3D objects in the form of organic, geometric, architectonic, and modular configurations that will heighten your imagination.
The Structure of Matter
Matter is a universal application that comes with built-in rotations, making it easy to work in vertical or horizontal formats (rotation is only made for the iPad, although this may be available for larger iPhones as well). Upon opening Matter, you will be prompted to import an image from your library, use the camera to take a picture, or browse through Pixite's vast inventory of images. After selecting an image, you will be given the option to choose an aspect ratio for your composition (1:1, 5:4, 3:2, or 16:9) or you can choose "none" to keep the default dimensions.
The Tool Bars
The toolbar is comprised of three horizontal bands, consisting of menus and positioning tools, 3D library, and adjustment tools. The top layer contains a menu icon for accessing 3D collections that range from "Primitive Objects" to "Future Machines" (some of which are acquired through in-app purchases). The tools adjacent to the menu option enable you to quickly rotate and re-position objects. The second layer is where you access the library of 3D objects that coincide with the particular portfolio or inventory you have selected (e.g. "Forms in Orbit)." The bottom layer provides four menu options for making adjustments and enhancements to your 3D objects, including the ability to add styles, shadows, and/or apply masks.
Matter also provides additional tools for making adjustments to animations that will be included in videos. For example, when you select the triangle icon at the top right corner, the "video" button will bring up another menu of tools. The tools enable you to adjust rotations of your object, vary the pace or speed, and/or add pulse and hover effects,
Introduced in Version 1.3, Pixite offers the ability to add music to your 3D animations. Soundtracks are not uncommon, but the makers of Pixite designed this feature to influence and inform the movement of your 3D creations. Choosing from a menu of tracks that range from "club" and "funk" to "lounge" and "martini," objects that rotate in space form unique motion paths in accordance with each song. You can even import songs from your iTunes library (I recommend DRM free samples, not the songs you purchased from iTunes).
At first glance, the exporting option appears generic and straight forward. Consistent with most photo/video creation tools, you have the option to save, share, share to Instagram, and open in other applications. However, the export option also comes with the ability to add additional objects. For example, once you have added a 3D object and you've made all the necessary adjustments, you can add another 3D object or element on top of an existing one. Considering the variations that are at your disposal, layering various 3D objects can produce complex and surprisingly original results. When using this feature with video. the previous animation will become static, merging with the original photo, allowing for new animations to emerge.
Matter is arguably one of the most original applications available for iOS. The photos and videos you create will impress and inspire your friends and colleagues. If you would like to see Matter in action, check out my video review below. Note: The introductory video for this episode was made with Matter.
Author: Timothy Paul Brown, Host of My Apple Podcast
One year after Apple purchased Beats Music for 3 billion dollars, the tech giant released Apple Music, the tech company's major leap into the music streaming business. Since its inception, iTunes epitomized the way people consumed music, but the successful streaming models presenting by Spotify and Pandora led to a new paradigm shift, and to Apple's entirely new approach to music delivery.
On a larger scale, the transition began with Apple's iCloud service, which laid the foundation for cross-platform integration, OS X and iOS. Introducing iTunes Match in 2011, Apple customers began moving their music into the cloud, laying the seed for Apple's giant leap into the streaming music industry. The current three-month trial period for new Apple Music subscribers functions as an open door that will become for many of us an endless sea of musical opportunities. What is most impressive is the design, the way Apple manages to present a multitude of content across multiple platforms in a consistent and visually appealing manner (see diagrams below). Let's take a closer look at Apple Music.
The Continuous Experience
Apple's iCloud service provides a central locus for how we access - well, everything! Everything we own, applications, music, data collection and Siri integration, can now be accessed and synchronized across all Mac computers and iOS devices. The seamlessness of this integration is what led to the inevitability of Apple Music. Whether you are on a Mac computer or iOS device, the Apple Music experience is now continuous, codified by five major sections: My Music, Playlists, Connect, Radio, New, and For You.
My Music is literally your music, a concept that has been greatly expanded with the full integration of streaming music. The foundation for this development was established with iTunes Match, which enabled users to upload CD content and other digital files right into the cloud to be integrated with songs purchased through iTunes. The "actual" possession of digital files reinforced the idea of a certain proprietary sense of ownership, but with music now stored on Apple's servers, the emphasis is placed less on ownership and more on services. Once you invest in Apple's new streaming service, access to music will become endless and ownership will take on an entirely new meaning.
Once you have invested in the streaming music model, every song you discover in iTunes is yours for the taking. New Music, for example, is where you can access new releases by leading artists today. Future, by DS2, is one album you may discover in this section. If you happen to be drawn to Where Ya At, featuring Drake, tap on the three dots and select "Add to My Music" and, voilà, the song is added to your library. It's that simple. You are no longer required to pay $10.99 for the complete album or $0.99 for a single. Ownership and possession of music takes on a whole new meaning in the streaming business, and Apple is ideally situated to deliver this kind of service. If you still prefer products over services, the iTunes store is still available for those who want to physically own the digital file. However, the dichotomy between streaming and file ownership is blurred. For example, with every song you add to your music library, you have the option to "Make Available Offline." This option is equivalent to downloading or "owning" the actual file. For example, I discovered Yesterday by The Black Eye Peas and added the song to My Music. On my Mac, I control-clicked on the file and selected the option to view offline. I control-clicked once again and discovered the option to "show in finder," evidence that the actual file was now in my possession.
And you thought radio was dead. With Beats One, Apple may have single handedly revived the radio business. Beats One is Apple's greatly expanded initiative that took iTunes radio and made it live. A twenty-four hour radio service, Apple features qualified radio hosts who are scheduled to appear live throughout the day. Surprisingly, a beautiful display of the Beats One schedule can be found on Tumblr, where you can find the leading radio hosts, Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga who top Apple Music's line up. Check them out! You will be impressed! In addition, the radio section also provides a wide menu of stations classified by various music genres (Country, Hip-Hip, Dance, Pop, Electronic, Rock and Blues, and Alternative), to list some examples. Radio stations can also be created from any song that is found in iTunes, a feature that was first introduced in iTunes Radio. Are you lamenting your stations formerly set up with iTunes Radio? No worries. They are still available under "Recently Played."
Connect is Apple's way of integrating social media into the music listening experience. Apple's first attempt to get social was introduced with Ping in September 1, 2010, a feature built into iTunes but which never took off. After two years, Apple cancelled the service and replaced it with Facebook and Twitter integration. Connect is a bit difficult to grasp, but this initiative has a lot more promise than it's earlier initiative. The future success of Connect will derive its impetus from the overall effectiveness of Apple Music as a whole, creating a wholistic and total music experience. Connect is a collection of playlists designed by Apple's D-Jays, classified as Apple Music Dance, Apple Music Hip-Hop, and Apple Music Electronic, to name a few. These playlists are distinct from your playlists, functioning primarily as a way to highlight Apple's own initiative in this area. Listeners can choose to select the heart symbol to show their support, leave comments, or share on social media.
For You is Apple's way of customizing your listening experience. Those of you who are used to the iTunes experience, customized songs and playlists have long been a part of the Genius option. For every song that was purchased through iTunes, Apple would offer recommendations of other songs that matched your song choice. With the advent of Apple Music, songs that are recommended For You acquire a much stronger degree of personalization, a process that begins under your profile. In the top left corner of the music app, you will find a portrait icon. Click on this icon and select "Choose Artists For You." Under the heading "Tell us what you're into," you will be greeted with an array of floating red bubbles with the names of artists, genres, and pictorial icons, Press once if you like them, press twice if you love them, or press and hold if you don't like them. The size of the bubbles will reflect your music preferences. Your selections are revealed under the heading "For You," in the form of additional playlists that more closely align with music you have in your library. For example, I have a strong collection of hard bop and progressive jazz albums, which resulted in numerous playlists that feature my favorite musicians, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Eric Dolphy. I used to enjoy the genius feature in iTunes, but this feature is infinitely better.
Apple Music is an impressive music service with tons of musical resources at your disposal. At first, you may feel confused or overwhelmed. This is to be expected. Apple has simply exceeded our expectations, providing a complex array of features that would typically be rolled out over time. So often, Apple is criticized for how long it takes to introduce new features. With Apple Music, the company exceeded our expectations. In my estimation, Apple should receive credit where credit is due. Apple Music is an ambitious attempt to take the music industry by storm, and with Apple's first break-through into the streaming business, they knocked this one out of the park.
During the 2015 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple introduced new features and updates for Mac OS X (EL Capitan), iOS 9, and the Apple Watch. Overall. the announcements were aimed at improving experience and performance. Apple Music, the company’s new venture into the streaming business, was highly anticipated, following last year’s purchase of Beats Music, but the announcement that garnered the most surprise was Apple News.
In order to understand the significance of this development, it is worthwhile revisiting Apple’s earlier developments in the areas of software and cloud-based services.
When you consider Apple’s long and productive history, there is one service that has stood the test of time: iTunes. iTunes was introduced at Macworld on January 9, 2001, after Apple purchased SoundJam MP, acquiring as well the developers Jeff Robbin, Bill Kincaid, and Dave Heller. Without a doubt, iTunes transformed the way consumers purchased and downloaded music. Yet, fours years later, Apple introduced another feature in iTunes that would deliver news and educational content from major news organizations and individual bloggers: Podcasts.
"Podcasting started out as wayne's world for radio" - steve jobs
On June 28, 2005, Apple introduced iTunes version 4.9, which added built-in support for podcasts. Users could submit podcasts to iTunes through an RSS feed, incorporating album artwork and a special section in iTunes for browsing content. iTunes functions as a vehicle or aggregator for generating the content, and presenting it in a user friendly and visually appealing manner. When Steve Jobs presented this new iTunes feature on AllthingsD, he stated that "podcasting started out as Wayne's World for radio." The significance of offering podcasts through iTunes, continued Steve, was to make this medium more accessible by subscribing to them and getting updates to those feeds automatically. Today, podcasts are still very popular, buttressed by iTunes U (introduced on May 30, 2007) and the Podcasts App (released during the summer of 2012 in anticipation of iOS 6). Unlike the music store, the most significant feature of podcasts is that the service is FREE.
While podcast RSS feeds, and associated assets, are stored on the users web server (not Apple’s), Apple was slowly developing ways to provide cloud hosting services to enhance the user experience. On January 10, 2006, Apple introduced iWeb during the Macworld conference and Expo. iWeb, part of the iLife suite, was a WYSiWYG website creation tool that enabled you to set up web pages with an easy drag-and-drop interface, including podcasts and a RSS feed that could be published through iTunes.
Apple began their journey into cloud-based services through the introduction of iTools (introduced January 5, 2000) .Mac (introduced on July 17, 2002), and followed by MobileMe, introduced on July 9, 2008. With iWeb receiving support through Apple’s MobileMe cloud service, the future seemed very promising, as technology trends began to place greater emphasis on the Cloud as a cost effective and productive way to produce and share content.
In general, the success of cloud-based services grew so quickly that it became burdensome for companies like Apple to become wedded to particular services and applications. It soon became apparent that everything could be stored in the Cloud (photographs, music, videos, web content, and data), a code-word for server farms with massive potential for storing digital assets and information. With its eyes on the future, Apple suspended iWeb on June 30, 2012, with plans for using cloud-based services to integrate all content consumed and produced by Apple computers and devices.
On January 27, 2010, Apple introduced the iPad, along with the e-book application, iBooks. iBooks became an application for accessing digital books from the iBook Store, but users also had the ability to sync personal EPUBs and PDFs through iTunes synchronization. Moving from product creation to product consumption, iBooks offered the greatest potential for accessing published content, entering a market dominated by Amazon. The demise of iWeb was also anticipated by the introduction of iBooks Author on January 12, 2012, a publishing platform that enables the user to create interactive books, including slideshows, audio, video, 3D graphics, maps, html content, quizzes, vocabulary terms, and beautiful templates adapted to a range of subject matter. Highlighted as a special “education event” in New York City, the introduction of iBooks Author appeared to catapult Apple into the sphere of cloud-based publishing that successfully combined content creation with consumption.
On the heal of this extraordinary announcement, the Justice Department began procedures to investigate a price-fixing scheme involving Apple Inc. and five major book publishers. This development became a huge blow for Apple, resulting in millions of dollars in restitution for consumers, and a huge win for Amazon, who continued to offer discounted rates for e-books. iBooks Author, arguably the most innovative publishing tool available for the Mac (or any computer), slowly receded from public recognition. Furthermore, Apple’s ambition to provide cloud-based services that incorporated product creation with increased accessibility for consumers (most importantly educators) received another blow when the Los Angeles school district suspended its use of iPads as a curriculum-based tool for students and teachers.
Laying the Foundation
Today, iCloud is now used to back up all content and data associated with Macs and iOS devices. As a central portal for storing and accessing information, Apple can now introduce new products and services with greater efficiency, enhancing experience and performance. Now entering the most mature phase of its development, iCloud, along with Apple’s superb team of designers and developers, provides the perfect foundation for Apple News, a new publishing platform scheduled to be released this Fall.
Apple News: The Dawn of a New Day
With Apple News, Apple has the potential to combine many of the features associated with its previous initiatives into one platform. The popularity of news readers like Flipboard are heavily dependent on RSS feeds to deliver content to subscribers in a way that far exceeds proprietary platforms. Apple has long recognized this potential through its commitment to podcasts as a free tool for publishing news and educational material in the form of audio and video content. In contrast to the way podcast feeds interface with iTunes, with content and feeds stored by third party services, through Apple News, Apple will enable users to manage RSS feeds and related assets right through iCloud. As a result, businesses, as well as, individual bloggers, will have the ability to create and publish content, combining the delivery of podcasts with the technology that gave rise to iWeb, iWork, and iBooks Author.
Apple News: A Challenge for Competitors
Apple News presents a huge challenge to its competitors by excelling in areas they have yet to fully develop. In general, news readers enable iOS users to save and organize content generated by RSS feeds. The feeds can be organized by categories, enabling the user to save articles locally within the app or to third party services like Instapaper, Readability, and Pocket. The most successful news readers provide access to content across a range of subject areas, customized content, functional and intuitive user interfaces, and something unique that separates them from their competitors (such as grid layouts and flipping and swiping gestures).
Since the inception of the iPad, the dominant news readers have been Flipboard, LinkedIn Pulse (formerly Pulse), USA Today (one of the first news apps for the iPad) Early Edition 2, Zite (purchased by Flipboard), Feedly, Prismatic, News360, Something, NPR News, and Paper by Facebook. All of them provide a range of content, customization, dynamic interfaces, and something unique that sets them apart. Flipboard, the most prominent among news readers, provides a feature called “My Magazines,” which enables the user to organize stories into personalized magazines that can be shared and followed by other members of the Flipboard community. Flipboard is also distinguished by its tile interface and flipping motion that is used to navigate through news articles. Shortly following Apple’s announcement of Apple News, Flipboard recently introduced the ability to add personal content to magazines in the form of written statements or quotes, pictures, and web links. What will continue to make Flipboard unique is the ability to access news content from a browser. Yet, this idea did not originate with Flipboard.
Pulse was also one of the first news readers to be made available for the iPad (with other apps like Flud, which no longer exists). Pulse developed a beautiful U.I. with a tile interface that utilized scrolling and swiping gestures for easy navigation. Pulse also made it very easy to organize articles by categories, share articles, and PulseMe, enabled you to save articles within the app. Most significantly, Pulse was the first news app to successfully create a web-based version of the app that mirrored the same design and U.I. as the iOS version. What makes Pulse unique? In the spring of 2013, LinkedIn purchased Pulse as a news platform to enhance the social, educational, and professional services it offers (a smart investment by LinkedIn). Flipboard and Pulse (now LinkedIn Pulse) are the leaders in this market, yet there are other news readers that offer unique features as well. Prismatic is strongly identified by the great emphasis placed on web design, iOS and Mac applications; News360 is recognized by its rich content, smooth U.I. and large tile interface that makes easy to explore and share content; Something is unique because the stories it generates are derived from Twitter feeds; Feedly (which soared to the top following the demise of Google Reader) is recognized for its speed and economy of design; NPR (another news app that has been around since the beginning) provides audio podcasts as a complement to the printed word; Early Edition 2 (which introduced a radical new design that differed drastically from its original version) is unique for its skeuomorphic designs (the model that inspired Apple's original concepts for iOS before iOS 7 flattened everything), a virtual newspaper layout, and virtual storage compartments; and Paper by Facebook, which introduced one of the most beautiful U.I.'s of any news reader, combining intuitive swiping and scrolling gestures with edge-to-edge design for easy navigation. The Facebook app is unique because it is intended to be used in conjunction with Facebook profiles and business pages.
The most significant developments over the past few years have been led by social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, who had the foresight to incorporate the technology of news readers into their platforms. Recognizing the power of this medium, Apple had to rethink how this technology could best be used to enhance its existing services.
At WWDC 2015, Susan Prescott, Apple’s Vice President of Application Product Management, introduced Apple's new strategy for integrating news and RSS feeds into the ecosystem of Apple mobile OS. Starting now, businesses and individual bloggers can begin submitting RSS feeds to Apple to be featured in Apple News in the fall of 2015. However, this is just the beginning. When Apple News is released, Apple will also release a publishing platform called “News Publisher.” This will enable content creators to publish news stories with custom typography, animations, video, and photo galleries that are displayed in a beautiful responsive layout that is formatted for the iPad and iPhone. In contrast to the impressive innovations introduced by the leaders in this market, News Publisher will set Apple's service apart from its competitors.
Apple News will include all the features we have come to expect from news readers (diverse content, customization, saving articles, etc) but integrating those features into iCloud, supported by a software tool for designing and laying out original content. Furthermore, Apple News will be accessed from the home screen of your iOS device, making the integration of news a seamless part of the iOS experience.
The leading news readers have already established a precedent for what is possible with this exciting medium, and the uniqueness of their platforms (e.g. LinkedIn and Facebook) will continue to sustain them for years to come. Yet, Apple News, combining Apple's unique ability to integrate hardware, software, and cloud-based services, could be a game changer. Stay tuned for the release of Apple News Format, which will provide a publishing platform to laying your news content. It will be free to anyone with an Apple I.D.
Host of My Apple Podcast.