In my latest column for The Seattle Times, I take the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for a spin and also look at how this week’s expected announcements are making Apple’s devices more interconnected:

Plus size iPhone too much, but device synergy impresses

Ritzville Moonrise

The moon emerged from behind clouds during a drive from Seattle to Spokane, so I couldn’t help but pull off the highway and grab a few quick long-exposure photos. (It’s pretty grainy at 1000 ISO on my trusty old Nikon D90, but not bad for an impromptu photo capture.)

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Imovie splitscreen 3

iMovie for iOS has come a long way in a short time. Over at the Peachpit Press site, I reveal the best hidden (or at the very least undiscovered) features of the mobile editor: The Best Hidden Features of iMovie for iOS. Did you know you can crop video clips, create picture-in-picture and split-screen effects, and apply audio fades within a clip? You do now!

Those are just three non-obvious features of iMovie for iOS. You can find more, plus a thorough look at shooting and editing video using iOS devices, in my book iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way.

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TheMagazineBookTwoAfter two years, Glenn Fleishman is shuttering The Magazine:

The sad truth has been that, while profitable from week one, the publication has had a declining subscription base since February 2013. It started at such a high level that we could handle a decline for a long time, but despite every effort — including our first-year anthology crowdfunded a bit under a year ago — we couldn’t replace departing subscribers with new ones fast enough. We’re a general-interest magazine that appeals to people who like technology, and that makes it very hard to market. “Pivoting” to a different editorial focus would have lost subscribers even faster.

First of all, it’s damn noteworthy that The Magazine was profitable from the very beginning. That’s typically not the way of magazine publishing. And it’s still profitable—just not sustainable.

But I want to point out something that Glenn didn’t, and which I think is exceedingly important: He’s shutting down The Magazine because it can’t stay profitable as it currently exists. And as it exists is impressive for the following reasons:

  • There are no advertisers. No pop-up ads or full-screen interstitials that crater the reading experience. When you read The Magazine, you’re reading the articles, not wading through other stuff.
  • The writing has been exemplary. These articles aren’t little ditties dashed off in a few minutes. They include fascinating explorations, personal memoirs (maybe my favorite piece), and even a three-part feature by a Pulitzer Prize winner.
  • The Magazine paid well: up to $800 for a feature article. In all it’s paid about half a million dollars to writers over two years.
  • Just as important: writers were paid quickly, as soon as their articles appeared. I can’t tell you how wonderful that is.
  • The Magazine retained exclusivity for articles for 60 days, but after that, the author was free to use the piece however they wanted. It wasn’t locked up by the publication for eternity.

I would guess that Glenn could have started accepting advertisers, paid less, or looked for link-bait filler. But that wouldn’t have been The Magazine. So Glenn is ceasing publication (at the end of this year; it’s not dead yet!) without succumbing to ploys that would have propped it up for a short time at the expense of destroying its (and maybe his) soul.

The Magazine isn’t going to disappear: Glenn launched a Kickstarter today to make a second The Magazine: The Book happen:

But in the meantime, we’re going to go out with a bang by producing another beautiful offset hardcover book drawn from our second year in publication, which we’re celebrating today. Funding this Year Two book means we can pay all the writers reprint fees and get their work and the stories of people they tell out to a bigger audience, too.

Help us make this book by backing it and get a gorgeous hardcover book. You can even pledge at a patron or angel level and get signed copies — I and all the contributors will sign those editions.

We’re also giving away the digital editions of the Year One book to help raise awareness of this new project, and we’re pledging — if funded — to give away the digital editions of this new collection as well!

[Related recommended reading: Cult of Mac talked to Glenn and wrote about areas that pushed The Magazine out of publication: 9 hard lessons from a top iPad publisher who’s calling it quits]

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Ipad call from iphone ios8

One new feature in iOS 8 is the ability to answer incoming phone calls on your iPad if it’s in range of your iPhone and both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. When OS X Yosemite ships, most likely later this month, you’ll be able to answer calls on your Mac, too. It’s great if you keep your phone in a bag or purse, or if you want to see who’s calling before reaching for the phone.

In the last day, though, I’ve had two frustrated people ask me how to make the iPad stop ringing when a call comes in. It is a feature you can turn off, but the setting isn’t obvious. Here’s how to do it:

  1. On the iPad (or other iOS device) running iOS 8, go to the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to the FaceTime settings and turn of iPhone Cellular Calls.

Facetime settings ios8

Now, when a call comes in, you can ignore one device instead of two or more.

Middle Falls, BW

September and October are turning out to be extremely busy for me, work wise, so as a quick distraction/mental escape here’s another photo of Middle Falls near McCloud, California. (Here’s an earlier shot I posted.) The falls are easily accessible after a short hike, and I imagine the autumn colors are starting to look really good there now.

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Apple has had a great and terrible week. It announced 10 million new iPhones sold during the first weekend they were available, but then got blindsided by a bug in iOS 8.0.1 that killed cellular connections and TouchID for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices. That would seem like something that would come up in testing, and yet, it went out into the wild.

At iMore, Nick Arnott, who also does quality assurance for a mobile development company, explains how this sort of thing happens:

I’ve experienced the gut-wrenching unpleasantness of being part of a team that was responsible for shipping a major bug. For development and QA teams, I can’t think of anything worse than pouring your heart and soul into a project you’re passionate about, working tirelessly night after night to meet impossible deadlines, feeling relieved and euphoric to have finally shipped, only to have the rug pulled out from under you with a horrible bug that somehow got missed. It’s awful. It’s heartbreaking. And even once you’ve pulled a few more days of insane hours remediating the bug, you’re still left unable to stop beating yourself up. You can’t stop thinking “how could I have missed that?” While I don’t know how the issues in 8.0.1 made it out the door, I do know that it wasn’t the result of a lack of intelligence, skill, or care.

(Hat tip to Jason Snell at Six Colors for pointing to the article; if you haven’t seen Jason’s new site and/or subscribed to his newsletter, get on over.)

Stop motion bard

It’s a double-article day for me today! In addition to the piece I published at TidBITS about why Apple is offering a 16 GB storage configuration for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, another article of mine is now up at Lynda.com.

In that piece, I look at how easy it is to create stop-motion animations using iStopMotion for iPad. The app has a counterpart for the iPhone, iStopCamera, that lets you control the iPhone’s camera from the iPad (so you don’t accidentally bump the iPhone while shooting, and to take advantage of the iPhone’s better camera). iStopMotion isn’t the only option, but it’s the one I like the best.

Read it here: Make a Stop Motion Movie on Your iPhone or iPad. It’s Easy!

I also wrote about iStopMotion and many other aspects of creating video on iOS devices in my book iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way.

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I’ve published an analysis at TidBITS about why Apple offers 16 GB of storage in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus instead of 32 GB, as expected. The reason is profit, of course, but it’s not just a matter of sourcing components. The real reason is a psychological situation that makes everyone happy.

Read it here: Why Apple Kept the 16 GB iPhone in Favor of 32 GB

Iphone 16gb storage

[Video by Dan Provost]

Dan Provost at Studio Neat (the inventors of the Glif tripod mount for iPhones) took a closer look at the Time-Lapse feature in the Camera app under iOS 8. If you’ve tried it out, the mode is dead simple; there are no configuration options, you just start recording and the app’s “dynamically selected intervals” do all the work.

Studio Neat also makes a time-lapse app called Frameographer, so Provost experimented to see what the Camera app is doing. Turns out it’s pretty cool. Read all about it: How Does the iOS 8 Time-Lapse Feature Work?