2015 is nearly upon us, but before you pop the bubbly, listen up for the tech, apps, movies and TV shows that delighted us in 2014. You’ll get it all in this very special, far too long, last-episode-of-the-2014 … CultCast.
Our thanks to lynda.com for sponsoring this episode! Learn virtually any application at your own pace from expert-taught video tutorials at lynda.com.
DockPhone is the phone dialer Apple should have included with Yosemite. Photo: DockPhone
One of the best features launched with OS X Yosemite this year was the ability to make and receive phone calls from your Mac, provided it is paired with a compatible iPhone.
But while it’s usually great receiving phone calls with the feature, making outgoing calls yourself is not so straightforward: You must launch the FaceTime app, turn on your webcam and then maneuver through an interface that’s clearly more complex than it needs to be.
Thankfully, this is where DockPhone app comes to the rescue. If you use your Mac to makes calls with any regularity whatsoever, consider this an early Christmas present to yourself.
Developed by former Apple engineers, Duet Display is the first iPad app that lets you use the tablet as a secondary display for your Mac via a Lightning cable. Other apps have tried streaming over WiFi to turn the iPad into an extended display, but then you usually have to deal with bad lag and poor frame rate.
Because you connect the iPad via a 30-pin or Lightning cable, Duet Display claims to be capable of powering a Retina display at 60 frames per second with zero lag.
Its developers claim that the app works with all iOS devices on iOS 6 and up along with all Macs capable of running OS X 10.9. I wasn’t able to test it because my Mac is running the 10.10.2 Yosemite beta, which is currently super buggy.
Duet Display sounds like a great tool for making use of an old iPad you may have lying around the house. Support for older iOS 5.1.1 devices is being worked on for a future update in the App Store.
Algoriddim is known for making Djay, the most popular consumer DJ app out there. While the software already supports professional-grade turntables and DJ gear, Algoriddim has taken another big step into the world of pro DJing with the release of Djay Pro, it’s new Mac app.
This app is a powerhouse with 64-bit support, multi-core track analysis, a design that look great on Retina and 5K displays, and 60 frames-per-second graphics rendering.
The design looks pretty similar to what existing Djay users know, expect now there are even more features, like the ability to mix four tracks at once. The biggest feature addition by far is integration with Spotify. Premium Spotify subscribers have full access to their playlists, saved music, and the entire service’s catalog. Djay Pro is the first app to integrate with Spotify this closely, and it shows. It’s pretty cool to be able to switch seamlessly between your iTunes and Spotify libraries inside the app.
Djay Pro is trying to be the Final Cut or Logic of DJ software, Algoriddim CEO Karim Morsy told Cult of Mac in an interview. This new app is aimed squarely at the pros out there who also want a simplistic, powerful design. “This is what they’ve been waiting for,” he said.
Available on: Mac
Price: $49.99 introductory price (will eventually go up to $79.99)
If you’re someone who lives and dies by group texting, this is a great app to try out. From the same developers behind Launch Center Pro, Group Text+ allows you to “mix and match contacts, groups, images, and text snippets to quickly compose messages.”
You can add things like current location, the content of your clipboard, or a song to the group text as well. What you get with this app is an experience tailored to group messaging that’s built on iMessage and SMS, so you don’t have to worry about signing people up for some proprietary messaging service.
The interface is pretty simple, and there’s a handy extension to use the app throughout iOS.
Made by the same people behind the previous app, Email+ is the same group messaging approach applied to email. If you live in group email threads all day, this app could be the breath of fresh air you’ve been waiting for.
Amazon is determined to be the one-stop shop for just about anything you could need, and it’s new Prime Now app is for getting those things to you as quickly as possible.
With “tens of thousands” of items available for sale, Prime Now will ship to Amazon Prime subscribers within one to two hours.
The experiment is similar to Prime Pantry, Amazon’s same-day grocery deliver service that’s being slowly rolled out across the country. Prime Now is only available in Manhattan right now, but Amazon has plans to bring it to other cities.
Available on: iPhone
Price: Free with Prime subscription (One-hour deliveries cost $7.99 and two-hour deliveries are free)
The holidays are upon us, but never fear: we’re here for you with another amazing issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Cover design: Stephen Smith
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us, with Christmas arriving next week and Hanukkah already in full swing.
Our very own Leander Kahney weighs in this week with a fantastic gift guide for all those crazy Apple users in your world. This clever gift guide will help you find that special stuff your fanatic probably doesn’t have.
That, plus a fairly tasty gift guide for the cooks in your family or friend group from resident foodie Lewis Wallace, a quick and easy How To on reformatting your Mac’s hard drive from video and graphics whiz Stephen Smith, and some news on the recent spotlight aimed at Apple’s continued problems with Asian labor conditions.
Be sure to see below for these engaging stories and more. And Happy Holidays!
App Santa is back for the holidays with a very impressive collection of over 40 discounted iOS and Mac apps. You can score up to 80% off on some real gems, including Clear, Tweetbot, Day One, and Deliveries.
Organized by Realmac Software, App Santa represents an extremely high caliber of indie app developers. And if you’ve been holding out on buying any of their apps, now is the time to pounce. The promotion lasts today through December 26th.
The app, from beloved Mac and iOS developer Panic, allowed you to upload content from iCloud Drive, which is seemingly obvious functionality for a file transfer and FTP app like Transmit to have. But Apple objected, and not only made Transmit pull the “Send to iCloud” option, but the ability to send documents to other services and apps.
But good news! Transmit’s back on the App Store with the “Send to iCloud Drive” functionality restored.
A new app called Workflow aims to close the divide between the power of OS X and the convenience of iOS. By offering curated and custom workflows, the app can automate just about anything you’d want to do on the iPhone or iPad — along with actions you probably haven’t thought of before, like calling an Uber car to take you to your next meeting with one tap.
It’s an ambitious undertaking for any developer, but what makes Workflow even better is that it was created by two brilliant teenagers with great aspirations for making mobile devices as powerful as they can be.
iOS 8.2 beta is here. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple surprised us with the untested iOS 8.1.2 update yesterday, but this morning Cupertino is dropping something a bit more exciting with the second beta release of iOS 8.2 that brings WatchKit to the iPhone.
The iOS 8.2 beta is available now in the Dev Center along with an Xcode 6.2 beta. The release notes don’t mention any new features, but there are tons of bug fixes, plus some improvements made to WatchKit. We’ll let you know if we find anything new once we install it.
Developers can pick up the beta as an over-the-air update if you’re already on the iOS 8.2 beta 1, or you can get it from the direct download links below:
Seriously, I don’t want to have to ignore your call on three devices. Photo: Alex Heath/Cult of Mac
I love the idea of being able to answer a phone call on my Mac, or even on my iPad. The convergence of this communication technology seems like it has great potential.
In reality, though, I end up getting three rings for every call, each slightly time-shifted from the rest, as I sit in my office/living room with my iPhone, iPad and Mac. You’d think that such an intelligent system would know that I had all three devices in one room, and only ring through to one specified device. Until Apple figures that out, maybe in an iOS update or OS X 10.11, there’s only one thing you can do: Disable the heck out of it.