Apple Notes for Journaling and Blogging?

    As is common with many Apple nerds, I like to play with text apps. My primary purpose is blogging which has also served as a journal of sorts. For quite a long time I used ByWord for this. Then Ulysses then iA Writer. iA Writer stuck longer than almost anything else. Then a brief dalliance with Obsidan, Taio, and Notebooks. I’ve spent the past few months with Notebooks which has served pretty well.

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    My Affinity Publisher for iPad Review

    Serif has set a high bar with the Affinity apps on the iPad and Publisher allows all three to work together seamlessly. And at a time when Apple pundits continue to doubt the potential of the iPad as a powerful tool for creative work, Serif demonstrates what is possible.

    If only those pundits could occasionally step away from churning the rumor mill for a bit they might actually discover there are still innovative…

    Apparently debunking iPad misinformation has become one of my hobbies. Sometimes I’m able to just walk away but the lure of “someone is wrong on the internet” is strong. So, here I am. The latest is Michael Gartenberg at Business Insider.

    These articles really are just filler text for clicks, all repeating the same narrative and offering little in the way of actual thought. And they get paid for this. Let’s get this over with…

    Apple Pundit: The iPad is Doomed

    Apple Pundit: The iPad is Doomed

    Apparently debunking iPad misinformation has become one of my hobbies. Sometimes I’m able to just walk away but the lure of “someone is wrong on the internet” is strong, so, here I am. The latest is Michael Gartenberg at Business Insider. Of course, it begins with a pure link-bait title: I Was a Die-Hard Apple iPad Fan. Not Anymore — Here’s Why. . It’s behind a paywall but you can use Safari’s Reader Mode to get around that.

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    While the Files app on the iPad did start out as a pretty basic app that was far short of the Finder on the Mac it’s come a long way since then. With each version of iPadOS it has gained new features, slowly bringing it closer to the Finder. Exploring the Files App on iPadOS 16

    Exploring the Files App on iPadOS 16

    I mentioned recently that I’d noticed a post on Mastodon by someone who was complaining how difficult it was to resize an image using iPadOS. I replied to point out that it was the exact same process and done with the same ease as it is on the Mac using the same app. With Files it’s simply two taps (or clicks with a trackpad). It seems a fairly common thing for Mac users these days to complain about the many ways that the iPad is not a Mac or is otherwise lacking.

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    The iPad, Apple pundits and reality

    Once a year Jason Snell puts out a survey to a group of prominent Apple pundits and they grade Apple in a variety of areas. The Apple Report Card is generally a summary of the hot-takes that have been shared on podcasts and in articles for the past year. The 2022 report comes days after Apple released it’s quarterly results and the consensus that the iPad is floundering seems at odds with the ongoing popularity of the device.

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    I started writing yet another post about iPad and the Apple pundits' hot takes. That post has now turned into two posts one of which is comparing today’s Apple-oriented online culture to the late 90s and early 2000’s. And now a third post writing about the other two posts. 🤣🤓

    Some iPad users really should just use a Mac

    And so it goes, Federico Viticci continues to be unhappy with the iPad. With that article as wall as his other recent posts and podcasts and I can’t help but conclude that it’s probably time for him to move on to the Mac. Same for many of the other comments I’m seeing on Mastodon, etc. There’s also this post by Hey Scotty, a fellow micro.blogger. And really, I don’t think it’s all that confusing.

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    Whatever happened to the Apple oriented news media

    I just realized something about the Apple oriented “press”: I don’t think it really exists anymore. We’ve got lots of podcasts and websites… but jiminy, go to any of the big Apple oriented news websites and the content is increasingly just garbage hot takes on the latest rumors, hot deals, and general fluff designed to with the primary purpose of driving affiliate links. Just a few minutes ago John Voorhees on Mastodon posted about the current episode of Appstories podcast was about peering “into the future to try to imagine the apps that will define Apple’s rumored VR headset.

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    Maybe I should be embarrassed but yeah, when I'm working on a podcast transcript I like to arrange a Keychron keyboard on top of the Magic Keyboard. Helps to have the media keys. I can even use the trackpad. But, as you can see, I'm procrastinating. 🤣

    A mechanical Keychron keyboard rests in front of an iPad, set on top of the Magic Keyboard. On the screen is the Mona Mastodon app as I'm currently taking a break.

    Celebrating 20 Years of Apple's Safari and Keynote

    On January 7, 2003 Apple introduced two new apps, both of which proved to be significant steps for the still young Mac OS X platform. The apps were a surprise to the public and press and were important steps in a much larger process of Apple building it's own ecosystem of applications which it continues today. Of the two, Safari was likely the most significant. Apple's press release: MACWORLD EXPO, SAN FRANCISCO—January 7, 2003—Apple® today unveiled Safari™, the fastest and easiest to use web browser ever created for the Mac®.

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    Freeform, the new kid on the Apple block I’ve always enjoyed using Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps so was eagerly awaiting Freeform. I think it’s going to be a useful app for a lot of folks.

    Freeform, the new kid on the Apple block

    Freeform, the new kid on the Apple block In first use I immediately felt a comparison to Apple’s Pages, Keynote and Numbers would be in order as Freeform seems a natural companion to those apps. In fact, one of Apple’s own marketing images demonstrates a potential use of Freeform as a collection point for digital assets including Pages and Keynote documents. In this marketing image a Freeform document is being used to organize an issue of a school newspaper and contains various embedded documents including PDF, Pages, Keynote, web links and images.

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    I could have waited another week for the final release of iPadOS 16.2 but the temptation to download the RC beta was too much. Spent the afternoon enjoying the experience of proper second display support! Next on the list: try out Freeform.

    Tim Chaten invited me to join him on his podcast iPad Pros to talk about the new Affinity 2.0 creative suite. Affinity previously set a high bar for design apps on the iPad and Publisher raises it even higher. It was a fun conversation and my thanks to Tim for inviting me on!

    Serif recently released the long anticipated major updates to it’s Affinity suite of creative apps bringing them up to version 2.0 and adding in a new Publisher app for the iPad bringing it up to full parity with the desktop app suites.

    A screenshot of Affinity Publisher for iPad

    I’ve used Affinity Publisher for the iPad for a week during which time I’ve imported several of my regular, client projects, mostly, newsletters. And yesterday I just finished off a marketing one sheet and a newsletter. For the newsletter importing from the Mac version of Publisher 1 was easy, no issues. Importing from a pdf also worked very well with various images, text, shapes, etc mostly intact. Exporting the final pdf was fast and as expected. Exporting a Publisher package also went without a hitch with the expected folder of linked images, fonts, and the package file.

    Publisher on the iPad works exactly as it does on the Mac with the exception that instead of the top level menu the iPad has the touch, optimized tools and what Affinity refers to as “Studios” on the right side of the window: Layers, Pages, Colors, Text, Stock Photos, Assets, Text Wrap, etc.

    Using the “more space” option in the display settings on the 13 inch iPad Pro has the effect of making some of the touch points fairly small, even in full screen. Fine for using with a trackpad or Apple Pencil, but a little bit difficult with the fingers when, for example, selecting layers.

    Somewhat surprising to myself is that I did most of the two projects yesterday in tablet mode using the Apple Pencil and my fingers to select text from documents provided by client to place or paste into the publisher document. It works very well and I am reminded why I enjoy using the iPad so much for this kind of work. It’s a very smooth and quick experience alternating between a pencil and fingers as needed to select, move, copy, drag and drop from Files, est. Oh, and notably, moving between pages, and using touch to zoom in and out of details on a page was super smooth just as it’s always been on the Photo and Designer apps by Affinity.

    Looking forward to trying it out on an external display when 16.2 is released. I tried the trackpad a bit while importing and updating some of my other projects and it also works very well (as expected).

    Not too much of a surprise for a new app there are a few issues. In my case I noticed a few font issues which others are also reporting. I also had a few app crashes though I’m using Stage Manager so it’s possible that might have been related. With the next project I’m going to use it without SM to compare. Oh, and the top toolbar is hampered by Apple’s 3 dot window dropdown widget. Totally get’s in the way of any button underneath it. Hoping I do find that 3 dot window widget useful but hope Apple increases the window chrome just a small bit at the top of windows because it’s something I accidentally tap far too often in every app. Guessing I’m not alone there. So, not really an Affinity app specific problem.

    All in all, I think Serif has done an excellent job and with Publisher on iPad my full workflow is now possible on that device. My Mac will be officially retired to file/media server backup. For Mac users I have no doubt that the 3 new Mac apps are all solid upgrades. And I expect Serif will be fairly reliable in releasing bug fixes for all the platforms as they’ve done so in the past. For a one-time purchase it’s a fantastic deal if you’re someone that needs these kinds of apps.

    Quick Start Guide for Affinity Publisher 2 for iPad

    The Universal license provides access to all the V2 apps on all the operating systems: Mac, iPadOS and Windows is 40% off for a few weeks, only $100. A bonkers good deal!

    Affinity Publisher for iPad mini-review

    Serif recently released the long anticipated major updates to its Affinity suite of creative apps bringing them up to version 2.0 and adding in a new Publisher app for the iPad bringing it up to full parity with the desktop app suites. I’ve used Affinity Publisher for the iPad for a week during which time I’ve imported several of my regular, client projects, mostly, newsletters. And yesterday I just finished off a marketing one sheet and a newsletter.

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    Exciting day for users of the Affinity suite of creative apps, especially #iPad users. Serif have released the new 2.0 suite which includes Publisher for iPad. Publisher was previously only available for Mac/Windows. So, now all 3 desktop apps have been updated and all three are also updated and available on the iPad. I’ve already imported a project from my Mac into Affinity Publisher on the iPad and it’s fantastic.

    Screenshot showing an iPad screen with an Affinity Publisher document open

    If you’re not familiar with the Affinity apps, they are Photo, Designer and Publisher and are similar to Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I dropped Adobe several years ago and have never regretted it. The Affinity apps have met my needs. Not only are they fully featured but in my opinion are far more responsive than the Adobe apps. The apps on the iPad set the bar for what professional creative apps can and should on iPadOS.

    No subscription and they’re offering a launch special, all of the apps (a universal license), desktop and iPad, for $100. I think that includes Mac and Windows apps as well. Or buy the individual apps at 40% off the future full price. I don’t think I’ll use the Mac apps much but bought the universal license anyway.

    As a part of my ongoing effort to reduce the number of paid apps I rely on, I used Apple’s Numbers app to create a bank/financing ledger tracking multiple accounts. Pretty easy to export csv files from iFinance to get it started. Blog post here.

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