iPad App of the Year ‘Affinity Photo’ Updated With RAW Improvements and Limited-Time Free Add-On Brush Packs

Affinity Photo, which Apple named the iPad App of the Year for 2017, was today updated with a suite of “more powerful professional features,” according to developer Serif. To celebrate the new update, users can also download three add-on brush and filter packs for free starting today.

Specifically, version 1.6.7 of Affinity Photo lets users shoot direct in RAW or HDR video from within the iPad app, and introduces upgrades for RAW processing so that the clarity of RAW images has improved. There’s direct integration from the iOS Files app, enhancements to Drag and Drop, the ability to add personalized fonts, and much more, which you can glimpse in the Version History on the iOS App Store.


We’ve listed a few updates below:

– Save overwrites back to the same location, without needing to create a copy
– A new ‘Solo Layer View’ mode, allowing you to isolate individual layers instantly
– A new ‘Show Touches’ option to create more detailed screen captures – great for users who create tutorials
– Added ‘Average blur” filter from desktop
– Brand new shadows / highlights algorithm in Develop
– Brand new clarity algorithm in Develop
– New “Solo” layer option in layer properties panel
– New preferences option to show touches – good for screen recording
– Enhanced angle / tilt support for Apple Pencil
– Snapping candidates can be selected by hovering over them whilst in a drag

Starting today and lasting for the next two weeks (expiring March 8), Serif is also offering a trio of packs for free, available for Affinity Photo owners to download on the web. These include the Luminance Brush Pack (normally $9.99) with 13 light effect brushes, the Retouch Brush Pack ($9.99) with 20 retouch brushes, and Live Filters Macro Pack (already free) with 28 “non-destructive” live filter layers.

The base Affinity Photo for iPad app costs $19.99 on the iOS App Store [Direct Link] and is compatible with the 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad from 2017. For users with an iPad Pro, Serif notes that the app has been optimized for use with the Apple Pencil.

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Apple Pay Used on 16% of Active iPhones Worldwide, Widespread Adoption Still Expected in 3-5 Years

This morning, Loup Ventures shared new information on Apple Pay adoption, estimating that there were 127 million global Apple Pay users by the end of 2017, a jump from 62 million the previous year. Given that there are about 795 million active iPhones around the world, this means that about 16 percent of iPhone owners have activated Apple Pay.

Of that 16 percent base, five percent are located in the United States and 11 percent are international users. Loup Ventures broke these numbers down further, pointing out that around 38 million people use Apple Pay in the U.S., and 89 million use Apple’s mobile wallet globally.


The Apple Pay review also has a few other tidbits of research, including that the number of banks globally supporting Apple Pay have increased in the past year by 41 percent, to total 2,707 banks. Loup Ventures checked the top 100 retailers in the U.S. for Apple Pay compatibility as well, and found consistent growth of adoption across many online resources. In the last year, Apple Pay adoption in these retailers’ apps grew 9 percent, mobile sites grew 85 percent, and desktop sites grew 56 percent.

We completed our annual Apple Pay review and found year over year growth has been impressive with active users more than doubling (source: Apple), transactions more than tripling (source: Apple) and online merchant adoption increasing by ~50% (source: Loup Ventures). That said, we believe only 16% of global iPhone users have turned on Apple Pay. We remain optimistic that Apple Pay will gain widespread adoption over the next 3-5 years given integration OS and iOS makes it the easiest to use digital wallet.

Apple first debuted Apple Pay in the fall of 2014, and although many retailers joined in support of the platform it has faced push back from companies like Target and Walmart as each try to develop their own digital wallet service. Last spring, Apple said it wasn’t worried about the slow adoption of Apple Pay because it saw the mobile wallet as on track to soon become its customers’ “primary payment system.”

In an interview around the same time, Eddy Cue said, “Does it matter if we get there in two years, three years [or] five years? Ultimately, no.” Although Apple executives have remained in vocal support of Apple Pay, at the time of the launch consumer reticence to support Apple Pay was said to have permeated within the company, to the point where some executives “were reluctant to promote it.” Recent ads for iPhone have been heavily focused on the iPhone X’s new features, and the latest Apple Pay-focused commercials date back to 2015.

Despite the slow adoption, Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster said he and the researchers “remain optimistic” that over the next three to five years, Apple Pay will see ongoing, gradual growth and eventually “gain widespread adoption.” Although the report doesn’t discuss rival mobile wallets specifically, it states that Apple Pay is “the easiest to use digital wallet” because of its deep integration into iOS.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple Shares New Photos of First Store in Austria, Opening February 24

Apple’s first store in Austria is set to open on Saturday, February 24, and ahead of the store’s official launch date, Apple has shared some photos that showcase the new location.

Apple Kärntner Straße is located on Vienna’s Golden Quarter, in the famous pedestrian shopping street between St Stephens Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. The two-level store features a corner entrance and reinstated exposed columns with large window openings that seamlessly connect it to the public gathering space outside. 

“We can’t wait to join the bustling city of Vienna, a European crossroads so rich in history and culture,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail. “Apple Kärntner Straße brings the best of Apple together with our products, services and educational programs. Everyone is welcome to connect, be inspired to learn, and unlock their creativity.”

Like all Apple stores, Apple Kärntner Straße will offer customers free “Today at Apple” sessions – daily workshops focusing on photography, coding and app development, music, art and design, and more. Each session is hosted in an area of the store called The Forum that boasts a dynamic 6K video wall, recreating the same layout found in many of the company’s retail stores around the world.

Apple says the store will include its entire line of products, while new owners can get help customizing their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac from the store team of 150 employees, which together speak 44 languages.


So long as no additional stores open between now and Saturday, Apple Kärntner Straße is likely to be Apple’s 501st retail store. Apple currently has 500 retail stores around the world, not counting Apple Watch boutiques and factoring in the two store closures in Simi Valley, California and Sapporo, Japan.

Apple began posting job listings for Austria’s first Apple store in February of 2017 and announced its opening plans late last month. Apple Kärntner Straße will open up at 9:30 a.m. local time, and Apple is already accepting Genius Bar appointments and Today at Apple signups.

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How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud

If you’ve been maintaining and migrating the same Contacts list across Macs over the years then you’ve probably come across your fair share of duplicate contact cards. They can also appear seemingly out of nowhere after setting up iCloud Contacts on your Mac for the first time.

Unless you intentionally keep certain information for the same contact separated out for whatever reason, duplicate cards will add nothing but irritation to your day, so here we’re going to show you how to merge and/or remove them, whether you’re sat at your Mac or not.
Continue reading How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud

Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 11.3 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.3 update to its public beta testing group, one day after providing the third beta to developers and two weeks after releasing the second tvOS 11.3 public beta.

The new tvOS 11.3 public beta can be downloaded by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under “System.” “Get Public Beta Updates” will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.


Earlier versions of tvOS 11.3 introduced support for AirPlay 2, allowing the Apple TV to be added to the Home app as part of a HomeKit setup and enabling multi-room audio across multiple Apple TVs.

In tvOS and iOS 11.3 beta 3, all AirPlay 2 functionality has been removed. It is not yet clear if Apple plans to re-add these features to the beta, so it remains to be seen if AirPlay 2 will be coming in iOS 11.3.

Other new features in tvOS 11.3 include enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV (a feature that was added to Apple TV 4K in a past update), and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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