Apple says the modular Mac Pro won’t arrive until 2019, but it’s still listening

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A little under a year ago, Apple tried to assuage everyone’s fears that it had given up on the Mac Pro for good. At the time, it said the device wouldn’t arrive until 2018 at the earliest, and gave us the beastly iMac Pro to whet our appetites in the meantime. Now the company has made it clear we won’t get our hands on the top-of-the-line, modular Mac Pro until 2019. The company recently invited TechCrunch back to its campus to discuss the new Mac Pro, and Apple’s strategy for creating the new device. The entire piece is worth a read if you’re…

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Apple working on AR displays for the driver and passengers of a self-driving car

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Apple’s work on augmented reality could find a place in its long-rumored ‘Project Titan’ car, with the company considering ways to use AR to show information about the road ahead, including things that are out of the driver’s vision.
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Apple Opens Gorgeous New Retail Store in Tokyo, Japan

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There never seems to be a moment when tech giant Apple isn’t renovating its facilities or opening stunning retail stores across the world. Now, the firm has opened the doors to its new store in the Shinjuku region of Tokyo, Japan. Since 2003, more than 70 million people have visited Apple’s Japanese outlets. The store is […]
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Twelve South first to put Apple Watch on your arm [Watch Store]

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Note: We’re happy to announce that Twelve South is now featured in our Watch Store! Check out their great accessories for Apple Watch and read up on the ActionBand armband. Twelve South does not ship outside of the United States.  The Apple Watch is an ideal workout partner, but it’s not a good idea to […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Bank Support Expands for Apple Pay in U.S., Canada, and France

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Earlier this week, Apple Pay officially launched in Brazil, adding yet another region’s support for the mobile payment option. Continue reading
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Best drawing apps for iPad and Apple Pencil

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The age of the digital sketchbook is here.

I’ve been wanting a true digital sketchbook ever since I first discovered you could (poorly) draw circles on the Newton. Almost two decades later, I got my wish: The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are just about the nicest tools for digital sketching I’ve ever tried. (And I’ve tried a lot of styluses, computers, and Wacom tablets.) And now that the base-model iPad has Apple Pencil support too, everyone can sketch up a masterpiece.

Even if you’ve never had an art background, the iPad and Pencil make it pretty easy to start sketching — and better, continue sketching. When I started doodling, one of my first friends in that industry told me that drawing “skill” essentially amounted to just doing it over and over and over and over again; the iPad is a pretty great tool with which to do that. (And you don’t have to spend continuous money on ink, pens, and sketchbooks!)

But first! Let’s talk about the drawing apps you should check out. If you want to use your iPad to make some digital artwork, these are the best of the best.

Notes: Just the basics

Apple’s default Notes app is limited in both tools, canvas textures, and color picking, but it’s a nice starter app for anyone looking to have a little fun with their Pencil without picking out a paid application. It also offers the least lag time from Pencil to line of any app on the market, thanks to Apple’s implementation. (Surprising no one, it helps to have your app, device, and accessory all designed to work together from the start by Apple.)

Linea: All-purpose drawing

While I love Paper’s tools, the Iconfactory’s Linea app has supplanted it to become my favorite all-purpose sketching application. Linea offers similarly well-crafted pencil, ink, and marker options to Paper’s fare, but it builds on that by giving users a starting set of layers, split screen, easily customizable export options, a beautiful color palette, and my favorite eraser implementation of any drawing app out there.

Linea is truly best if you’re looking for a digital sketchbook replacement rather than a full-featured Photoshop clone. And because Linea can export to PNG, JPG, or layered PSD, it’s also the perfect app to start a project in before bringing it to one of the iPad’s heavier hitting graphics programs — or your Mac.

$ 9.99 – Download now

FiftyThree Paper: Another all-purpose option

If you want a variety of tools for doodling or taking notes, Paper is another excellent (and free) starting point beyond Notes. It offers an assortment of options for starting a pencil, ink, or watercolor sketch, and works beautifully when paired with the Apple Pencil. Better still, Paper can sort all these doodles in separate digital sketchbooks, and you can even share certain drawings to the public Paper feed, or to Adobe’s Creative Cloud or OneNote.

The downsides to Paper aren’t many, but they’re worth noting: The Pencil’s lag time isn’t great when compared to some other apps on the market, and Paper lacks a good way to fill edge-to-edge on the screen without accidentally closing the application. It also doesn’t provide options for layered or transparent export.

Free – Download now

iWork: For school- and work-based sketching

The iWork suite of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote were never high on my list for “fun apps to use with Apple Pencil,” but Apple’s most recent update changed all that: All the apps can now sketch with the Pencil in various ways, including making tiny drawings, annotating atop photos (and video!), and using new Keynote tools that allow for rudimentary animation using Line Draw and Match Move.

These apps won’t beat the more nuanced tools found in other sketching apps — they essentially use the Notes palette — but they’re an excellent option for anyone working on papers, slideshows, video presentations, and other multimedia projects. (And you can make hand-drawn ebooks, too!)

Pages – Download now

Numbers – Download now

Keynote – Download now

Procreate: For the pros

While Notes, Paper, and Linea can help you flush out ideas and organize them, Procreate is the true master and commander of making those ideas reality. It’s one of the few apps that rivals the experience of working in Photoshop on the Mac, offering a truly ridiculous number of layers, customizable brushes, and templates.

For specific projects, you can even create your own tools, as my pal Jessie Char did for her makeup blog:

Procreate can export truly large images as PSD, JPG, PNG, or in the Procreate file format, where you can then send or share them with your friends, clients, or web pals. It also offers a live-streaming option and print-ready export formats.

$ 5.99 – Download now

Graphic: For vector art

I’ll be honest: Until Autodesk’s Graphic showed up on the scene, I hadn’t worked with vector illustration since the death of Macromedia FreeHand in the early 2000s. Illustrator makes me want to throw things at my computer, and since my art hobby was just that — a hobby — I left it well enough alone.

But Graphic makes vector art fun for me again, and it does so in a completely approachable way. You can draw vector lines directly with the Apple Pencil or place nodes by hand, or combine both. You can change fills, colors, and group vector pieces. All of the fun of drawing with vectors, none of the Illustrator stress. Graphic isn’t perfect for professional work, but it’s a pretty darn good start.

$ 8.99 – Download now

Affinity Photo: The nearest thing you’ll get to Photoshop on iOS

If you need more tools than the average app can supply — even Procreate — check out Affinity Photo. The iPad version of Serif’s popular Mac app offers a truly staggering number of controls and options for drawing, vector work, gradients, perspective projection, and more. It’s a little denser to dive into than Procreate or Linea, but the $ 19.99 app is an excellent tool for pros looking to do some print-ready work on the iPad without compromise.

$ 19.99 – Download now

Animation Desk Cloud: Create animations

Disclaimer: I am a terrible, terrible animator. But the animation folks I trust suggest that if you want to try your hand at animating on the iPad, Kdan’s Animation Desk is one of the only half-decent options out there. Most of the other animation apps available on the App Store are too limited for budding artists — unless you want to make clip-art dance, that is — and the few that do offer traditional animation tools have user interfaces that predate iOS 7, or aren’t optimized for the iPad.

Kdan’s Animation Desk Cloud is the company’s iPad successor to Animation Desk, and it strips the clunky skeuomorphic interface while keeping a bevy of tools for animating pros. Like Graphic, there’s a huge opportunity for Kdan — or another company — to improve upon the app’s foundation and add key tools, but if you want to animate something by hand on your iPad, this is the app to do it with.

Free – Download now

uMake: For 3D modeling

Like animation, 3D modeling is not, shall we say, my forté. But if you want to build some 3D models on the iPad Pro, uMake has very quickly made a name for itself as one of the best programs on the App Store. It offers extensive tutorials on building custom 3D shapes or importing 2D images and making them into 3D models; while I haven’t had time to study more than a few of them, they’re incredibly detailed and helpful. If 3D modeling is a skill you’d like to learn, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better app for it on the iPad.

Free – Download now

Pigment: Adult coloring books

When I was in high school, I had a pretty standard “keep myself from falling asleep in class” routine: I’d doodle vast webs of intercrossed dark lines, then slowly color them in. It was usually good for an hour of entertainment — and provided my brain with just enough stimulation to remain awake while listening to lectures.

Pigment takes my high-school doodling to an extreme, offering thousands of pages of intricately-drawn shapes for you to color in — whether you’re listening to a lecture, or just want something to do with your hands while watching TV. The app is free to download and view, but you’ll need a monthly in-app subscription to actually sketch on the patterns.

Free with subscription model – Download now

Astropad and Astropad Studio: Use the iPad to draw with your Mac

If you drew digitally before the age of iPads, you probably used a Wacom tablet at least once in your life: The tablet and pen combination allowed users to draw naturally within apps like Photoshop, either by using a plastic tablet or drawing directly on the screen via the company’s more expensive Cintiq line.

Astropad essentially lets you turn your iPad and Pencil into a Wacom Cintiq — with or without wires. A wired connection to your Mac results in almost no lag and a supremely comfortable sketching experience, but going wireless is also fantastic: I have a couch set up across from my iMac and standing desk, and with Astropad, I can sketch in Photoshop on my retina iMac from 4 feet away. If you want to use your iPad on-the-go but also integrate it into your desktop drawing workflow, Astropad is an incredible resource to have in your app library. For true pros, there’s also a subscription-based version of the app available, Astropad Studio, which offers better Apple Pencil input, Magic Gestures, faster latency, and more.

$ 29.99 – Download now

Your favorites?

What drawing apps do you think are fabulous? What programs aren’t worth your time? Let me know in the comments.

Updated April 2018: Updated this list for the 2018 iPad.

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Apple officially confirms that its next-generation modular Mac Pro is set to launch in 2019

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Apple’s overhauled, modular Mac Pro is coming in 2019…. Read the rest of this post here


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Apple Pay gets more US, Canadian & French card issuers, new app- & Web-based promotions

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Apple on Thursday updated its roster of banks and credit unions with Apple Pay, adding more entries for Canada, France, and the U.S.
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4 Reasons Why ONLY Apple Should Fix Your Broken iPhone Screen

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Going to a third-party vendor for iPhone screen replacements (or doing the repair yourself) may seem like a great idea. But trust us, it’s not. Despite the fact that it’s probably cheaper, getting your iPhone’s screen replaced by a third-party will instantly void your warranty and might damage your handset if it’s not done properly. […]
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Apple modular Mac Pro launch coming in 2019, new engineering group formed to guarantee future of hardware

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A redesigned modular Mac Pro — teased in April 2017 for professionals that want to upgrade faster — won’t ship until 2019, Apple declared on Thursday.
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