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Updated: 17 min 44 sec ago

Thanks to our February sponsors

Sat, 2015-02-28 13:00

We'd like to share a special thank you to our weekly sponsors from February and for the fantastic hardware and software they make. If you haven't checked out these terrific products yet, now is the perfect time to do so. Finally, if you're interested in sponsoring Apple World Today, head over to the sponsor page for all the details

Realmac Software

Realmac Software, the developers behind such amazing apps as Clear, Typed, RapidWeaver and Ember. Ember ($49.99) is a powerful Mac app described as a "visual scrapbook for the mind." Taking photos or screenshots,  annotating them, organizing your images, grabbing images from favorite websites automatically -- you name it, Ember can do it.  RapidWeaver ($89.99) is probably the best standalone website creation app on the market. Using customizable templates, incredibly fast upload/update capabilities, and a huge library of over 1,000 add-ons providing extension of the app, RapidWeaver brings ease of use and power to Mac-based web design.

Finally, the group has just extended its Indiegogo campaign for the Typed blogging platform, so you have time to get in on this exciting new publishing solution. 

i4software

We first became familiar with i4software through Vizzywig (US$29.99), a video app for iOS that can be simply described as a full video studio in an app. While at Macworld/iWorld 2014 with TUAW, we were able to shoot video, edit it, add titles and transitions, and then upload the content to our YouTube channel, all from an iPad mini. This was all done on the show floor, making it possible for us to interview developers and publish video content, all without having to run back to the press room every five minutes.

Vizzywig 8xHD is a version of Vizzywig that lets you shoot, edit and share video that’s 8 times the resolution of regular HD video. It’s called Vizzywig 8xHD, available for $49.99 — much less than any ultra-high-definition cameras on the market. 

The company also sells Fast Camera ($7.99), which can be used to take burst mode photos with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus at up to a whopping 1,500 frames per minute

iOS videographers will also find a lot to like with Video Filters ($7.99 with in-app purchases), which provides a hundred video (and photo) filters and effects. You can either record video straight from the app before applying the filters, or import footage from your photo library.

Elgato's new Thunderbolt 2 Dock

The Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock is perfect for connecting everything to your MacBook at once. Using the included 50 cm Thunderbolt cable to connect your MacBook to one of two Thunderbolt ports on the Dock, you then have access to a built-in HDMI port capable of driving a display with up to 4K resolution and three SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. Add access to other Thunderbolt displays and devices through the remaining Thunderbolt 2 port.

A Gigabit Ethernet port gives your MacBook access to high speed wired network connections, while a separate microphone input and amplified audio output supply clear sound for FaceTime and Skype calls.

The three SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports not only provide full speed connectivity to your USB devices, but also 1.5A of power each. Even if your MacBook is not connected, the USB devices are still charging. The free Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Utility makes it simple to eject all storage devices at the same time. 

Finally, thanks to you, our wonderful readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We can't do it without you. 

Sponsor Apple World Today

Backerjack Podcast Episode 8 covers an Apple Watch competitor: Pebble Time

Sat, 2015-02-28 10:00

On a special episode of the Backerjack Podcast with Ross Rubin and myself, we discuss the most serious competitor to the Apple Watch at this point in time. That's the $199 Pebble Time smartwatch, which is well on the way to breaking all crowdfunding records on Kickstarter. 

Not only does the Pebble Time have a much nicer UI than the previous incarnations, but with the more palatable price point it may be just the thing for people who will balk at the minimum $349 price tag for the Apple Watch. 

Subscribe at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-backerjack-podcast/id955301362?mt=2

or you can listen here by pressing the play button below.

Caturday: You can't always be on top...

Sat, 2015-02-28 08:00

Photo by Mark Moschell via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Sometimes despite your cat's insistence on grabbing the warmest spot in the house -- your lap -- you need to get work done. That's when your cat becomes a convenient laptop stand.

Kiska is a lovely tabby belonging to Mark Moschell and we venture that this location is probably the best of both worlds for a cat -- warm above and below. 

Have a picture of your cat soaking up the good vibes of an Apple product? Tell us the back story behind your kitty's photo on the Apple World Today contact page. We don't accept inbound attachments, so please host the photo on Dropbox, Flickr, iPhoto, etc... and then include the link in your message. 

A loud, purring thank you to Kiska and Mark.

Daily Deals for February 27, 2015

Fri, 2015-02-27 18:21

It’s time to save some of your hard-earned money with our Daily Deals, featuring exclusive deals for AWT readers, hardware discounts and our own handpicked iOS and OS X sales. All prices are USD and subject to change. Please check prices before you purchase as some deals may expire quickly.

AWT’s Daily Deals

Simon 4.0 [OS X; On sale for $49.00, down from $99.00] AppleWorld.Today is pleased to offer an exclusive deal on Simon 4.0 by Dejal Systems. Simon is a robust site monitoring tool for OS X that checks servers for changes or failures and notifies you when a change is detected. The app sends a notification via email, sound, speech, Twitter, or a variety of other means.

The native Mac utility can be used to monitor both your own website and servers as well as external sites. You can use it to track your favorite blogs, check for web mail, keep an eye on auctions, and more. Simon is available for US$99, but AWT readers can save 50% off the retail price when they use the promo code “PHOENIX” during checkout. You also can use this Dejal Store link to apply the promo code and receive the $49 discount automatically.

Hardware and Accessory Deals

  • Speck Accessories [Speck; 50% off] 50% off Speck accesories. Sale ends 12AM on March 1st. While supplies last!
  • Seagate 6TB SATA III 6Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive STBD6000100 [Microcenter (In Store Only); On sale for $199.99, down from $299.99]The Seagate Desktop HDD (formerly Barracuda hard drive) is the industry standard hard drive for mainstream desktop computing, delivering both exceptional reliability and performance.
  • SteelSeries 64090 Zboard StarCraft II Keyboard [Newegg; On sale for $19.99, down from $69.99] The SteelSeries Zboard for StarCraft® II offers players the ultimate gaming tool as they jump back into the epic struggle between the Protoss, Zerg and Terran races in StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty™.
  • Beats Studio Wired Over-Ear Headphones (Titanium) [Amazon; On sale for $229, down from $299] An Icon Remastered. The world's most famous headphone has been completely redesigned and reimagined. Now lighter, sexier, stronger, and more comfortable, with precision sound, Adaptive Noise Canceling, a 20-hour rechargeable battery, and RemoteTalk.
  • Elgato Thunderbolt™ Drive+ 256GB [OWC; On sale for $358, down from $499] Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ utilizes a Solid State Drive (SSD) to store your data, dramatically outperforming other portable drives. With transfer speeds up to 420 MB/s, it's a worthy companion for your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or Ultrabook with built-in flash storage.
iOS Software Discounts
  • Writebox [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $1.99] Get the best text writing experience on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch!!

  • The Fourth Dimension [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $2.99] The Fourth Dimension is a 30-page interactive book that explains a single mathematical idea in language that anyone can understand.

  • Actions for iPad [iPad; Now free, down from $1.99] Actions transforms your device in a smart and customizable controller for your Mac or PC, revolutionizing the axioms of computer interaction.

  • iOOTP Baseball 2014 Edition [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $1.99] Guide your favorite baseball team to glory! Out of the Park Baseball, the most realistic and best-selling baseball management game ever created.

  • Cradle of Egypt (Premium) [iPad; Now free, down from $4.99] Meet the astonishing Cradle of Egypt – a gorgeous mash-up of fulfilling match–3 pleasure and splendid city-builder that will up-end everything you knew about puzzles!

  • NFL Kicker 15 [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] Become an NFL Kicker! Choose your favorite team and kick off the ultimate kicker challenge for 2015!

  • NFL Quarterback 15 [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] Choose your favorite team and start the official NFL QB challenge for 2015! Get the Super Bowl XLIX Update today!

  • Alertic - Weather Alerts [iPhone; Now free, down from $0.99] Get all the weather alerts into your notifications centre in advance.

  • Toca Hair Salon [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $2.99] Cut, color, comb and blow-dry lifelike hair on six different cute characters.

  • Printer Pro - print documents, photos, web pages and email attachments [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $6.99] Print attachments, documents, web pages and more right from your iPhone and iPad to any Wi-Fi or USB printer.

  • iThoughts (mindmap) [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $9.99] iThoughts is a mindmapping tool for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (Mac version also available.)

  • How to Cook Everything [iOS Universal; On sale for $6.99, down from $9.99] This first-of-its-kind app of the bestselling cookbook—How to Cook Everything® from New York Times columnist Mark Bittman—has 2,000 recipes, 400 how-to illustrations, and a host of features that appeal to cooks on the go.

  • Duet Display [iOS Universal; On sale for $7.99, down from $15.99] Duet Display allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display. Developed by a team of ex-Apple engineers, duet is the first high performance solution that has zero lag.

OS X Software Discounts
  • ReadKit [OS X; One sale for $2.99, down from $9.99] ReadKit is a full-featured read later and RSS client that supports services from Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, Pinboard, and others.

  • Duplicate File Cleaner - Find and Delete Your Duplicates [OS X; Now free, down from $2.99] Free up GIGABYTES of valuable HD space using Duplicate File Cleaner! Just drag and drop your folders to detect and remove all of your duplicates.

  • LEGO Star Wars Saga [OS X; On sale for $9.99, down from $19.99] Play through a fun Star Wars galaxy that combines the endless customization of LEGO with the epic story from all six episodes of Star Wars.

  • Machinarium [OS X; On sale for $4.99, down from $9.99] Machinarium is award-winning independent adventure game developed by the makers of Samorost and Botanicula.

  • BioShock Infinite [OS X; On sale for $9.99, down from $29.99] BioShock Infinite puts players in the shoes of U.S. Cavalry veteran turned hired gun Booker DeWitt. Indebted to the wrong people and with his life on the line, DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean.

Today in the App Store -- the best free apps, new apps and app updates

Fri, 2015-02-27 17:20

Here are some of the best free apps, app updates and new apps that have landed in the App Store recently. All app prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly, so grab them while you can.

Apps Now Free

Actions for iPad [iPad; Now free, down from $1.99] Actions transforms your device in a smart and customizable controller for your Mac or PC, revolutionizing the axioms of computer interaction.

iOOTP Baseball 2014 Edition [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $1.99] Guide your favorite baseball team to glory! Out of the Park Baseball, the most realistic and best-selling baseball management game ever created.

Cradle of Egypt (Premium) [iPad; Now free, down from $4.99] Meet the astonishing Cradle of Egypt – a gorgeous mash-up of fulfilling match-3 pleasure and splendid city-builder that will up-end everything you knew about puzzles!

NFL Kicker 15 [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] Become an NFL Kicker! Choose your favorite team and kick off the ultimate kicker challenge for 2015!

NFL Quarterback 15 [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] Choose your favorite team and start the official NFL QB challenge for 2015! Get the Super Bowl XLIX Update today!

Alertic - Weather Alerts [iPhone; Now free, down from $0.99] Get all the weather alerts into your notifications centre in advance.

Toca Hair Salon [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $2.99] Cut, color, comb and blow-dry lifelike hair on six different cute characters.

Printer Pro - print documents, photos, web pages and email attachments [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $6.99] Print attachments, documents, web pages and more right from your iPhone and iPad to any Wi-Fi or USB printer.

Apps On Sale

iThoughts (mindmap) [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $9.99] iThoughts is a mindmapping tool for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (Mac version also available.)

How to Cook Everything [iOS Universal; On sale for $6.99, down from $9.99] This first-of-its-kind app of the bestselling cookbook—How to Cook Everything® from New York Times columnist Mark Bittman—has 2,000 recipes, 400 how-to illustrations, and a host of features that appeal to cooks on the go.

Duet Display [iOS Universal; On sale for $7.99, down from $15.99] Duet Display allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display. Developed by a team of ex-Apple engineers, duet is the first high performance solution that has zero lag.

Machinarium [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] Universal (iPad+iPhone) version of the award-winning adventure game from the makers of Samorost and Botanicula.

Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $3.99]Space Age is a game of cosmic adventure. Set in the retro-futuristic sci-fi world of 1976, it follows a small but determined band of intergalactic explorers who land on a seemingly uninhabited planet, Kepler-16.

Botanicula [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] Botanicula is a humor-filled adventure game created by the makers of award-winning Machinarium, studio Amanita Design and Czech band DVA.

New and Notable Apps

Mayhem! [iOS Universal; $0.99] MAYHEM! is the frantic, frenzied 2D arcade game.

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf Complete) [iOS Universal; $9.99] Lone Wolf is back, as a video game series with a brand-new story, a new combat system, stunning graphics and much more!

Updates you don't want to miss

PicStitch [iOS Universal; Free] Quickly combine multiple photos into one beautifully framed picture. Version 4.8 brings the following changes:

  • You can now swap images by simply dragging an image into another frame
  • The stitch you are currently working on is auto-saved locally so you won't lose your work
  • Other new features
  • Border thickness is now controlled from a slider giving you more control
  • Create your own layout

MLB.com At Bat [iOS Universal; Free] MLB.com At Bat returns for the 2015 season with live Spring Training baseball from the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. MLB.com At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball. Version 8.0.0 brings the following changes:

  • New UI for all 30 team pages & the league-wide scoreboard (iPhone only)
    • Player search expanded to include all active and historical MLB player cards (iPhone only)
    • Re-designed UI for the newsreader (iPhone & iPad)
    • Team-by-team statistical data filters (iPhone only)
    • Native resolution to optimize At Bat for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
    • Easy access to every game with new team schedule navigation (iPhone only)
    • Application available in Spanish language, requires device language set to Spanish (iPhone & iPad)

AWT News Update: February 27, 2015

Fri, 2015-02-27 16:20

This is NOT an Apple Watch...

The Apple World Today News Update podcast is now in the iTunes Store. Click here to subscribe, and be sure to give us a rating and share the address with friends. On today's podcast:

  • Tim Cook visited the Covent Garden Apple Store in London today, providing personal demos of the Apple Watch 
  • Google is planning a new headquarters just down the road from the Apple Campus 2 now under construction in Cupertino, California
  • Steve Sande and Backerjack.com's Ross Rubin discuss what could probably be the biggest competitor to the Apple Watch, the new Pebble Time
  • Apple is ranked the top online retailer in terms of fast delivery and efficiency in operations.

I'll be back Monday with even more stories about the world of Apple.

MLB At Bat gets an update just in time for Spring Training

Fri, 2015-02-27 15:00

Photo for Apple World Today © 2015, Steven Sande All rights reserved

Pitchers and catchers are already warming up in anticipation of the start of Major League Baseball Spring Training on Tuesday, March 3 2015, which means it's time for another spring tradition -- the update of the MLB At Bat app.

According to the release notes, MLB At Bat 8.0 includes these new features: 

 

  • New UI for all 30 team pages & the league-wide scoreboard (iPhone only)
  • Player search expanded to include all active and historical MLB player cards (iPhone only)
  • Re-designed UI for the newsreader (iPhone & iPad)
  • Team-by-team statistical data filters (iPhone only)
  • Native resolution to optimize At Bat for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
  • Easy access to every game with new team schedule navigation (iPhone only)
  • Application available in Spanish language, requires device language set to Spanish (iPhone & iPad)

As in past years, the app is free to download but offers some pricey in-app purchases. For $19.99 per season, you get coverage of live MLB games all season. You can also choose to pay $2.99 monthly, and you can get all of the features for free if you're a subscriber to MLB.TV Premium.

Having been a MLB season ticket holder since 1993, I get a thrill every spring knowing that we're about to start hearing the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd. MLB At Bat just keeps getting better every year, and this year I hope to finally be able to use that wonderful battery life on my iPhone 6 Plus to listen to the games at the ballpark. Play ball!

Tim Cook reveals Apple Watch may replace key fobs, offer exercise rewards

Fri, 2015-02-27 10:00

Ahead of the expected Apple Watch announcement next month, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked to the Telegraph's Allister Heath about the Watch and how it will change people's lives once it is launched. 

"This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons."

Cook expects the Watch to kick off an explosion of innovation as developers and other companies develop novel ways of using the wrist-worn device. 

There will be lots of other potentially revolutionary uses. The watch is designed to be able to replace car keys and the clumsy, large fobs that are now used by many vehicles, Cook told The Telegraph. 

Besides car integration, the Watch also will reward exercise via a credit system and filter messages, bringing urgent communications to the forefront.  The watch will deliver all-day battery life and will charge using a magnetic charger that Cook called "incredible." 

Our take on the news:

The more I hear about the Apple Watch, the more excited I am for the device. As long as the Watch performs as expected, I believe Apple will have another blockbuster product on its hands. 

A first look at Avatron Software's Air Display 3.0

Fri, 2015-02-27 09:00

Avatron Software's Air Display iOS app has been around since 2010, providing a way for Mac and PC users to use an iPhone or iPad as a second screen over a Wi-Fi connection. That method of connection was fine... although there was a bit of lag due to network latency and the connection sometimes outright failed. In January of 2015, a competitor -- Duet Display (US$7.99) --  hit the scene, and immediately captured the minds and wallets of a lot of users simply because it used a fast Lightning connection rather than Wi-Fi, allowing instantaneous updates with no lag. Avatron has wasted no time bringing Air Display up to snuff with Air Display 3.0 (US$14.99), which also bakes in features formerly found in the company's Air Stylus app.

To work properly with a Mac (Air Display 3 doesn't work with Windows... yet), you need to first install the free driver application onto your desktop or laptop computer, and then reboot. Once that's done, plugging a Lightning cable into your iOS device enables the display connection and your iPad or iPhone (running Air Display 3.0, of course) becomes a second display for your computer -- complete with touch control.

Unlike Duet Display, you can still use the Wi-Fi connection for wireless control of your Mac if you'd like. Air Display 3.0 also includes the features of Air Stylus, which means that you can pair a pressure-sensitive stylus like the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Fineline or Adonit Jot Touch to your Mac, then use your iPad or iPhone as a graphics tablet for your Mac. I tested the Wacom Bamboo stylus as a pointing device on my Mac, and it worked beautifully. For artists or graphics designers, this is a wonderful and inexpensive way to get a pressure-sensitive graphics tablet.





I ran some streaming video to an iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 Plus over both the Wi-Fi and Lightning connections; both worked, but there was a bit of hesitation and latency with Wi-Fi that disappeared when I was connected over Lightning. 

You can actually add up to four iOS "displays" to your Mac provided you have enough free ports and Lightning cables. That's not particularly practical, but it is cool... When using your iPad or iPhone as a second screen, it's quite easy to use an on-screen keyboard for typing into a Mac app. 

I should note that I was running a late beta version of Air Display 3.0 and that I had some issues, particularly when using the app with an iPhone 6 Plus. The Mac-based host app crashed a few times, taking my menu bar buttons with it. A reboot cleared that issue. 

Fellow veteran tech blogger James Kendrick had a really good point about Air Display 3.0 on his iPad and MacBook Air in a personal tweet the other day, saying "It is so useful to have a 2-monitor system that fits in a tiny bag." That to me is the point behind apps like Air Display 3.0 and Duet Display.

So, what's the best of those two apps? Well, if you don't need the "pressure sensitive graphics tablet" or Wi-Fi capabilities of Air Display 3.0, the smaller price tag of Duet Display is more attractive. If having a wireless second monitor is important, then by all means spend the extra $7 on Air Display 3.0

Vogue Paris profiles the Apple Watch, calling it a "small revolution"

Fri, 2015-02-27 08:30

Apple is beginning to court the fashion world with a two-page spread in the French edition of Vogue magazine, Vogue Paris. Spotted by French site Mac4Ever and PomPomComedy (Via AppleInsider), the article profiles the Watch, calling it "a small revolution."

Apple's Watch also recently graced the cover of women's lifestyle magazine Self, and reportedly is slated for a 12-page advertisement push in the March issue of Vogue US.

Our take on the news:

Apple realizes that it needs to have the blessing of the fashion press for the Watch to be accepted by a whole different type of consumer. We expect Apple's fashion-focused advertising campaign will grow exponentially as the Watch launch draws near.

Apple to live stream its March 9th special event

Fri, 2015-02-27 08:05

After sending out invitations to its March 9th "Spring Forward" event, Apple updated its Events web page with details about the live stream of the event. Apple will be streaming the entire presentation starting at 10AM PDT on March 9th. Similar to previous events, the stream will require you to watch via Apple TV or Safari for the Mac or iOS.

Our take on the news:

Apple is expected to announce the final launch details for the Watch, so this will be an event you shouldn't miss. We will watching (no pun intended) and blogging the event, so join us for real-time news and commentary.

Apple introduces free, web-only version of iWork for the public

Fri, 2015-02-27 07:00

Apple launched a web-only version of iWork that allows anyone to use Pages, Numbers and Keynote as long as they have an Apple ID. This online-only version is free, includes 1GB of storage and does not require the user to have an Apple device.

“Web-only access is a free level of iCloud service that’s available to anyone, including people who don’t own or use Apple devices. It includes access to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud and 1 GB of free storage for any documents you create.” — Apple

Our take on the news:

Kelly:

Brillant move by Apple to increase usage of iWork for iCloud by opening it up to people who may not have an iPhone, iPad or Mac. I will recommend it to my friends and family as a free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Dave:

Also, this will introduce a lot of people who previously didn't have Apple IDs to iCloud and the company's ecosystem in general. A good move.

Ericsson files patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, seeks US ban

Fri, 2015-02-27 06:12

Ericsson today announced that it is suing Apple for patent infringement after the Cupertino company refused Ericsson's licensing terms. Apple had been paying royalties to Ericsson, until its license agreement expired in January. Attempts at re-negotiation failed, triggering the patent infringement lawsuit.

““We have offered them a license; they have a turned it down,” said Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson’s chief intellectual property officer. “We’re not a company that’s planning to extract more than the value we put on the table.”” — Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson

According to Bloomberg, Ericsson is filing seven new lawsuits that span 41 patents. Also, the will ask the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the sale of Apple products in the U.S. market.

When negotiations broke down in January, Apple sued Ericsson, claiming the company's royalty demands were excessive.

Our take on the news

Like it nor not, this lawsuit is part of the negotiation process as two high-profile companies battle it out in the world of intellectual property.

Building AWT: Talking head videos

Fri, 2015-02-27 06:09

Steve Sande, Kelly Hodgkins and I are building AWT into what it will be. There have been decisions to make and ideas to test. In this series, we'll provide an honest, behind-the-scenes look at the construction of what we know will be a vibrant community.

Last week I wrote about my desire to make gameplay videos to accompany game app reviews. This time I'll look at the "talking head" videos I've shot, for lack of a better term. Actually, I've only shot one, for reasons I'll soon explain. But first, a bit of Ira Glass.

The gap

I admire Ira Glass tremendously. He's an American Public Radio personality and, among other things, the producer of the fantastic This American Life.* He's gifted and so very bright, as the following quote illustrates (it's long, but stick with it):

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."

The first video I made is good, but not great. It doesn't have the special something that I envision. For one, the sound isn't ideal. I need to order an external mic for my iPhone.

Second, lighting is hard.

I have this green screen lighting kit, and I'm figuring out how to use it. The three-point lighting setup makes sense but is harder to pull of than the diagrams make it look. I'm still working on reducing shadows behind myself.

I must admit that, after watching the first Province video over and over, I succumbed to the gap between my taste and my output, exactly as Ira describes it. But upon reflection I know I won't improve without doing it over and over. An external mic will be a huge improvement, and I'm going to buy one. After that, it's more education on lighting and practice, practice, practice.

Next week I'll be back with another entry into the "Building AWT" series that addresses a question that several of you have asked: Why Squarespace?

*If you haven't listened to the episode Fiasco, stop what you're doing right now and listen to it. Years later it's still my favorite episode. Hilarious, heartwarming and all too relatable.

Today in the App Store -- the best free apps, new apps and app updates

Thu, 2015-02-26 18:30

Here are some of the best free apps, app updates and new apps that have landed in the App Store recently. All app prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly, so grab them while you can.

Apps Now Free

Business Card Reader Plus : scan, OCR contact information from visiting cards and save in contacts [iPhone; On sale for $0.99, down from $9.99] ABBYY BCR is a powerful multi-function contact data management application which provides easy access to your contact details. Seamlessly capturing contact information from business cards in 21 languages.

Alertic - Weather Alerts [iPhone; Now free, down from $0.99] Get all the weather alerts into your notifications centre in advance.

Toca Hair Salon [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $2.99] Cut, color, comb and blow-dry lifelike hair on six different cute characters.

iDownloader Pro - Downloads and Download Manager! [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] We believe that downloading to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad should be as easy as it is on your computer. That is why we created iDownloader Pro.

Weightbot — Track your Weight in Style [iPhone; Now free, down from $1.99] Weightbot is a weight-tracking robot. Whether you are trying to lose (or gain) weight, tracking your progress has never been more fun.

Printer Pro - print documents, photos, web pages and email attachments [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $6.99] Print attachments, documents, web pages and more right from your iPhone and iPad to any Wi-Fi or USB printer.

Apps On Sale

Duet Display [iOS Universal; On sale for $7.99, down from $15.99] Duet Display allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display. Developed by a team of ex-Apple engineers, duet is the first high performance solution that has zero lag.

Printability - print Safari page to PDF [iOS Universal; On sale for $0.99, down from $1.99] Here is a powerful utility for convert web pages to PDF document directly from Safari browser.

Machinarium [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] Universal (iPad+iPhone) version of the award-winning adventure game from the makers of Samorost and Botanicula.

Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $3.99]Space Age is a game of cosmic adventure. Set in the retro-futuristic sci-fi world of 1976, it follows a small but determined band of intergalactic explorers who land on a seemingly uninhabited planet, Kepler-16.

Botanicula [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] Botanicula is a humor-filled adventure game created by the makers of award-winning Machinarium, studio Amanita Design and Czech band DVA.

New and Notable Apps

Switch Drop [iOS Universal; Free] Switch, drop and match colors to clear the blocks in this new kind of puzzle game.

Rocket Joust [iOS Universal; $1.99] Battle your friends for aerial supremacy in Rocket Joust! Jump in with up to 4 human or AI competitors on the one device, in a wild contest to knock each other from the sky.

Air Display 3 (with USB and Wi-Fi) [iOS Universal; $14.99] Air Display 3 turns your iOS screen into a wireless (or USB!) display for your Mac. Increase your productivity with extra screen real estate or mirror your Mac computer display to your iOS device. (Windows users, stay tuned. For now, you want Air Display 2.)

Updates you don't want to miss

Kingdom Rush Origins HD [iPad; $1.99] The most addicting tower defense game returns in an all-new prequel adventure - welcome to Kingdom Rush: Origins! Version 1.4 brings the following changes:

  • A new tyrant has risen to power and he’s using a massive army to destroy the Kingdom. We’ve sacrificed too much already to be defeated now!
  • Get ready to face the fearsome ogre hordes and make them regret the day they decided to fight you!
  • Fight alongside new Heroes!
  • Durax the crystal elemental with a no-nonsense attitude!
  • And a new free hero: Razz & Rags, a brave gnome riding his massive friend into battle.
  • Lead your armies in 3 new stages filled with action in the Howling Moors!
  • Fight against 4 brand new enemies, each more dangerous and challenging than the other!
  • Face Bram the Beheader and try to keep your head about it!
  • Also tons of easter eggs, specials, legendary creatures and much more for you to discover!

Spillo [OS X; $9.99] Spillo is a powerful, magnificent and amazingly fast Pinboard client for OS X. Spillo lets you browse and organize your bookmarks in a stunning modern interface. Version 1.5 brings the following changes:

  • Spillo can now show the latest bookmarks in the Today view in Notification Center
  • Display an Unread and Private status button in the bookmark list
  • Add support for (optionally) showing the unread count badge in the Dock icon
  • Add support for searching through bookmarks description
  • Fix a refresh connection error that could be shown when it shouldn’t have
  • Fix an issue where the title and unread/private buttons status in the toolbar would not update when the bookmark is edited
  • Fix a bug where the Sharing extension was not available in some apps such as Pocket

Daily Deals for February 26, 2015

Thu, 2015-02-26 18:00

It’s time to save some of your hard-earned money with our Daily Deals, featuring exclusive deals for AWT readers, hardware discounts and our own handpicked iOS and OS X sales. All prices are USD and subject to change. Please check prices before you purchase as some deals may expire quickly.

AWT’s Daily Deals

Simon 4.0 [OS X; On sale for $49.00, down from $99.00] AppleWorld.Today is pleased to offer an exclusive deal on Simon 4.0 by Dejal Systems. Simon is a robust site monitoring tool for OS X that checks servers for changes or failures and notifies you when a change is detected. The app sends a notification via email, sound, speech, Twitter, or a variety of other means.

The native Mac utility can be used to monitor both your own website and servers as well as external sites. You can use it to track your favorite blogs, check for web mail, keep an eye on auctions, and more. Simon is available for US$99, but AWT readers can save 50% off the retail price when they use the promo code “PHOENIX” during checkout. You also can use this Dejal Store link to apply the promo code and receive the $49 discount automatically.

Hardware and Accessory Deals

  • Speck Accessories [Speck; 50% off] 50% off Speck accesories. Sale ends 12AM on March 1st. While supplies last!
  • APC - Back-UPS 700VA UPS - Blackr [Best Buy; On sale for $59.99, down from $99.99]Help keep your equipment running during a power outage with this APC BN700MC UPS that features a rechargeable battery to provide up to 62 minutes of power. The 5' power cord allows flexible placement.
  • Crucial 960GB SATA 6Gbps Internal SSD M500 [OWC; On sale for $315, down from $599] Dramatically faster than a hard drive, the Crucial / Micron M500 SSD isn't just a storage upgrade - it's a complete system transformation.
  • Up to 70% Off Select Samsung NX Digital Camera Sale [Woot via Amazon; On sale for $190-270, Up to 70% off] There are so many wonderful things you can photograph with a Samsung camera! Your beautiful wife and children. The breathtaking landscape of this glorious home of ours, planet Earth.
  • WD My Book 3 TB External Hard Drive for Mac [Buy.com via eBay; On sale for $99, down from $119] The WD 3TB My Book Hard Drive is a high-capacity digital storage unit that can keep all your important files in one place. This external hard drive features data protection that will keep your files safe from unauthorized access.
  • BUFFALO WHR-1166D AirStation AC 1200 (AC866 + N300) Dual Band Wireless Router [Newegg; On sale for $39, down from $49] Use coupon code "EMCANNT37". Offering simultaneous wireless operation on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, AirStation AC 1200 is perfect for streaming HD movies and music and emailing from multiple devices at the same time.
iOS Software Discounts
  • Kingdom Rush Origins HD [iPad; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] The most addicting tower defense game returns in an all-new prequel adventure - welcome to Kingdom Rush: Origins!

  • Kingdom Rush Origins [iPhone; On sale for $0.99, down from $2.99] The most addicting tower defense game returns in an all-new prequel adventure - welcome to Kingdom Rush: Origins!

  • Printability - print Safari page to PDF [iOS Universal; On sale for $0.99, down from $1.99] Here is a powerful utility for convert web pages to PDF document directly from Safari browser.

  • Alertic - Weather Alerts [iPhone; Now free, down from $0.99] Get all the weather alerts into your notifications centre in advance.

  • Toca Hair Salon [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $2.99] Cut, color, comb and blow-dry lifelike hair on six different cute characters.

  • iDownloader Pro - Downloads and Download Manager! [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] We believe that downloading to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad should be as easy as it is on your computer. That is why we created iDownloader Pro.

  • Weightbot — Track your Weight in Style [iPhone; Now free, down from $1.99] Weightbot is a weight-tracking robot. Whether you are trying to lose (or gain) weight, tracking your progress has never been more fun.

  • Printer Pro - print documents, photos, web pages and email attachments [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $6.99] Print attachments, documents, web pages and more right from your iPhone and iPad to any Wi-Fi or USB printer.

  • Battleheart Legacy [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] The spirit of Battleheart returns, re-imagined! In Battleheart Legacy, you will explore a rich and detailed fantasy world, customize your unique hero with dozens of powerful skills and items.

  • Rules! [iOS Universal; On sale for $0.99, down from $2.99] RULES! is a cute puzzle game that’s challenging, fast-paced and fun.

  • Machinarium [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] Universal (iPad+iPhone) version of the award-winning adventure game from the makers of Samorost and Botanicula.

  • Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $3.99]Space Age is a game of cosmic adventure. Set in the retro-futuristic sci-fi world of 1976, it follows a small but determined band of intergalactic explorers who land on a seemingly uninhabited planet, Kepler–16.

  • Botanicula [iOS Universal; On sale for $1.99, down from $4.99] Botanicula is a humor-filled adventure game created by the makers of award-winning Machinarium, studio Amanita Design and Czech band DVA.

OS X Software Discounts
  • InstaReel for Instagram [OS X; Now free, down from $4.99] InstaReel is a beautifully crafted app that makes it easy to browse your Instagram feed, like/comment on images/videos and more.

  • Money by Jumsoft [OS X; On sale for $19.99, down from $39.99] Money by Jumsoft presents a powerful, comprehensive, and intuitive system designed to help you keep control of your financial life.

  • WidgeTunes [OS X; On sale for $0.99, down from $2.99] Play your favorite music from Yosemite’s Notification Center and menu bar.

  • Crow [OS X; On sale for $0.99, down from $4.99] Crow is the critically acclaimed, story-driven action-adventure developed by Sunside.

  • WALTR Audio/Video Uploader for Mac & iOS [OS X; On sale for $20, down from $30] WALTR makes it as easy as ‘drag & drop’ to allow any music or video file to play on your iOS device. WALTR is the only app that makes MKV, AVI & FLAC files play natively on iOS devices ( iPad, iPhone or iPod touch) without the need for 3rd party iOS apps.

AWT News Update: February 26, 2015

Thu, 2015-02-26 15:16

On the AWT News Update podcast today: 

  • Apple announces an event for March 9, which we will be liveblogging
  • MacRumors reports that Apple Watches will be moved to US distribution points in the first few days of April, making an early April launch date a distinct possibility
  • LA-based Brikk will be selling Apple Watches encrusted with gold or platinum and diamonds... lots of diamonds. Of course, these will be very expensive
  • Firehouse Subs began accepting Apple Pay today
  • Apple adds some fun animations to the Flyover maps of London, England

Listen to the AWT News Update every weekday for a quick overview of stories we may not have published on the blog. The podcast has been approved by Apple, and we'll have an iTunes subscription link for you tomorrow.

iPhone survives five days in the ice and snow

Thu, 2015-02-26 14:15

Imagine that your lost iPhone spent five days in the ice and snow, only to be returned by a total stranger in working condition. That's exactly the scenario we came across while browsing Facebook today. 

Brooklyn's Michael McWatters (@mmcwatters on Twitter) shares this incredible story. While walking to his car, one of his six-year-old twins spied what he thought was an iPhone case embedded in some ice on the street.  Michael bent down to investigate. "I looked down at the pile of ice (that was previously snow)," he told AWT, "and saw the iPhone. I got [my son] in the car, opened the trunk, and used a shovel we keep for digging the car out to scrape the phone out." 

He removed the ice as carefully as possible. Upon examining the freed iPhone, Michael didn't have much hope for it. "It had no protective case, and the Home button was actually frozen solid. It had salt crust, water and ice chips stuck to it, and it was dead as a doornail."

Once at work, Michael connected it to a charger via an old 30-pin cable. About thirty minutes later, he checked on it and was surprised at what he saw. "About half an hour later I checked and sure enough I got the default message saying this phone was lost with a phone number to call."

He spoke to a woman who revealed that the phone belongs to her son, who lost it on Saturday. The craziest part of all is that the woman lives in the apartment building as Michael, just two floors down. He has since arranged to deliver the phone to its owner. 

We have big thanks to Michael for sharing his story and photos. And for the young man who lost the phone -- twice now, it turns out -- we say, buy a case!

Zirx for iPhone summons a human to park your car

Thu, 2015-02-26 13:00

The tagline of Zirx for iPhone (free) is "never park your car again." It's an on-demand valet service that's currently available in in San Francisco and Seattle. The way it works is this: after creating an account (including credit card information), you use the app to tell an agent where you'll be when you no longer need your car. That agent then meets you, identities are confirmed, and your car is driven to a secure garage.

Need your car back? Let the app know when and where you'll be, and your car is delivered to where you stand. Zirx agents will even wash your vehicle or gas it up for an additional fee.

I live in Massachusetts, so I was unable to test this out. But as a person who's had to park in Boston and Manhattan, I appreciate the option of being able to hand that task over to someone else. If you have experience with Zirx, let us know. It's an interesting idea, and I'm curious about the execution. 

Apple Watch: What the Apple World Today staff is choosing, and why

Thu, 2015-02-26 12:00

Image from Apple.com website

Rene Ritchie over at iMore did a fun thing today -- he polled all of the writers at the site about their choices of options for the Apple Watch and wrote a post about it. It was such a great idea that I'm appropriating it for Apple World Today! Here are the same questions that Rene asked his team, answered by Kelly Hodgkins, Dave Caolo and myself:

Which size Apple Watch will you be getting?

Kelly: I have small wrists and will be getting the smaller 38mm sized watch.

Dave: I’ll be getting the smaller 38mm size, as I’m afraid the larger model will be just a bit too bulky.

Steve: I'm old and have lousy eyesight. Give me the 42mm size, thank you. I think that extra tiny bit of screen space might help. 

Aluminum, stainless steel, or gold?

Dave: Certainly aluminum. I’m not made of money!

Steve: Stainless steel. My existing watch -- which I rarely wear, by the way -- is a Tissot T-Touch that's made of stainless steel. It has survived numerous collisions with tables, chairs, and other obstacles and just has a few tiny scratches to show for it. Since I will probably hold onto the Apple Watch for at least five years before thinking about getting a replacement, I want it to last. The sapphire face on the stainless steel model will keep it from being scratched, too. 

Kelly: My first choice is the silver aluminum case as I will be wearing it mostly for sports and not for fashion. 

Which band will you get with your Apple Watch?

Steve: Bright blue leather loop, thank you. I don't like metallic bands either, which is why I don't wear that expensive T-Touch I bought years ago. 

Kelly: The green sport band as I love that green neon color. 

Dave: This is a tough one and I’m still not entirely sure. Most likely a sport band, but not a flashy color. Metallic bands are right out, as I know they’ll drive me crazy.

Will you get additional bands, if they're sold separately?

Kelly: Nah, just the green one as I plan to put it on my wrist and hardly take it off. I'm not interested in coordinating it with my outfit, just want it to track everything I do. 

Dave: Probably not. The bands aren’t very important to me. Note: this will be the first watch I ever own, much like the original iPhone was the first mobile phone I had ever owned. 

Steve: It depends. I might consider getting a Milanese Loop band for those few occasions where I really dress up. It would go better with my tux (yes, I do own one). But it depends on just how easy it is to change out the bands, and how expensive a separate band would be.

What other accessories would you want with your Apple Watch?

Dave: I like the charging stand from DODOcase. It’s an unnecessary luxury, but…well, I’ll let you finish that sentence for yourself. 

Steve: Yeah, the DODOcase stand is nice looking. However, the good people at Pad & Quill say they will have an Apple Watch accessory coming out, so I'd like to see what they're offering.

Kelly: The only accessories I want are those that provide support for third party devices, such as a wrist-control for a GoPro or a remote sensor that turns on my lights when I enter the house. 

How much on-board storage would you want on your Apple Watch?

Steve: I really don't know just how much space things like songs, photos, and "apps" are going to take up on the Apple Watch, but I'm guessing that 8 GB would be a decent amount. 

Kelly: I don't see myself needing a lot of storage as I see the Watch as a conduit to my services and other devices and not the central hub to store my digital existence. I would expect that 4-8GB would be more than enough to meet my needs. 

Dave: Not being sure how much I’ll use it, I’ll go with the minimum amount. I can’t imagine I’ll be working with large files on it.

What's the maximum price you'd feel comfortable paying?

Kelly: I'm expecting to pay $349, but would pay up to $499 to get the color, style and storage options that I want. 

Dave: The base price. :-)

Steve: If I assume that I'm going to get five years of service out of the watch before I get a new one, I think $1,000 isn't unreasonable. I'd like to pay less, of course, but in doing a comparison with other stainless steel watches I think laying down a cool grand for one of these would be worth it.

Will you be buying immediately or will you wait and see?

Dave: Immediately! There is much testing, writing and reporting to be done!

Steve: Immediately! If I have to sit at my computer for hours some night to order one, I will. Tech bloggers are in the odd position of actually needing to have these new devices right away. And hey, 

Kelly: I will buy immediately, staying up to 3AM ET to pre-order or waiting in line on day one if needed. 

Let's hear your answers, AWT readers! The comments are on and we're listening!