Archives For TidBITS

Talking about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on the MacJury podcast last week brought up battery life and how initially the new machines suffered from a problem where the discrete graphics processor (GPU) was running when it shouldn’t. A system update fixed that problem, but sometimes an application might be forcing the GPU into use, even in the background.

For TidBITS this week, I wrote a short article explaining how to determine which applications are using significant energy, and how to tell whether the discrete GPU is in use instead of the power-saving integrated graphics. This advice applies to any Mac laptop with a secondary GPU, not just the Touch Bar models.

Read it here: How to Identify High-Performance GPU Apps on the MacBook Pro

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My esteemed colleague Julio Ojeda-Zapata knows that you should buy an iPad Pro if you’re in the market for a new tablet, but which model? The 12.9-inch model has a beautiful screen and faster performance, while the 9.7-inch model is a bit lighter and offers the True Tone display (and a wider color gamut).

In this TidBITS article, Julio breaks down the differences and spotlights the advantages of each: Comparing iPad Pro Technologies and Intangibles.

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Birdhouses

Over at TidBITS, I write in more depth about the changes in Lightroom for iOS 2.4, and they’re doozies: Lightroom for iOS 2.4 Changes Mobile Photo Workflow.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, adding native raw file format support to Adobe’s mobile photo editor is a big deal, especially for people who are looking to use just an iPad or iPhone on photo shoots to minimize the gear they carry.

It means you don’t end up with separate edited copies of photos that are synced with Lightroom on the desktop—a raw file editing in Lightroom mobile is synced to your main library with edits intact. And the editing power takes a big leap in quality, pulling detail out of shadows without blocking up sections where JPEGs just don’t hold up.

For example, here’s an underexposed raw photo edited entirely in Lightroom on my iPad:

LRm24 raw before after

There’s a better example in the article that shows extreme pixelation in a JPEG.

I also talk about the new local selection tools, which are great for adjusting selected portions in linear or gradient areas. Here’s another before-and-after, showing the radial tools at work; I was able to bring up the exposure for just the birdhouses without overexposing the background.

Lightroom m24 local original

Lightroom m24 local radial

Overall, this is an exciting release, something I’ve been looking forward to for years. It streamlines the mobile photo workflow and does what I envisioned in 2011 when I wrote the first edition of my iPad for Photographers book.

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AppleWatch AL Colors

Today was a busy day: Apple introduced the iPad Pro, a new Apple TV, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and announced release dates for iOS 9 and watchOS 2 for the Apple Watch (both September 16), and for OS X El Capitan (September 30). You can watch the keynote video here.

I followed along from home and pitched in to help TidBITS write up content while they were short-staffed. My contributions were an article about the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus and Apple Watch news:

I’ll be writing more about all of Apple’s news and products—it’s the Apple Crazy Season now—and eyeing that iPad Pro and Apple Pencil…

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Myphotostream interface

Over the weekend I published a short review of MyPhotostream at TidBITS, a simple application on the Mac that lets you view your iCloud Photo Stream photos without having to open iPhoto or Aperture (the only official methods for viewing them on a Mac). I like the app’s approach, although it has some interface oddities. The fact that it exists in the first place is a sign that Apple’s photo situation is still currently a mess.

Read more here: View iCloud Photo Stream Photos on Your Mac with MyPhotostream.

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Aperture sunsetIt seemed fitting that I heard the news that Apple is sunsetting Aperture while I was attending a photo seminar. Aperture has been largely dormant for the past three years, and as I commented to Jackie Dove in an article at The Next Web, “I have to admit, on one level I’m a bit relieved that we finally know what’s happening with Aperture, instead of the limbo it’s been in for the last few years.” (Is it weird to quote myself on my own blog?)

What does this news mean for photographers who’ve invested countless hours and gigabytes of photos to Aperture? In short, we need to wait and see what Apple’s new Photos for OS X application will bring, but I’m not optimistic it will meet everyone’s needs, especially right away.

I explain in more detail at TidBITS in a new article: “Aperture’s Golden Hour.”

In photography, the “golden hour” is that slice of time just before and after sunset when the sun is low in the sky and the light is often bronze-hued and dramatic. It’s one of the best times of the day to capture photos, but the good light too soon rolls over into darkness.

Apple’s professional photo-management application, Aperture, has enjoyed an extended golden hour. Although Adobe Photoshop Lightroom long ago dominated the market, Aperture has held on in development limbo — working fine (but sludgy, in my experience) for those who use it, but not updated in any meaningful way. Now, its light is close to winking out: Apple announced last week that it will soon halt development of Aperture.

Two Mac-related articles of mine were published this week:

My latest Practical Mac column at the Seattle Times celebrates the 30th (!!) birthday of the Macintosh, looking back at the original model and how much of its appearance and influence have continued to the present: Mac is still with us, even thriving 30 years later.

At TidBITS, I look at the new OmniOutliner 4, an update that’s been almost 9 years in the making. OmniOutliner is one of the few apps that I’ve set up to load whenever my Mac starts, and I use it almost every day: OmniOutliner 4 Refines the Outlining Process.

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