iPad music app’s overnight success took 10 years of hard work

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StaffPad being used on iPad
This great musical notation app is one of Apple's favorites.
Photo: David William Hearn

Londoner David William Hearn is not a trained programmer. He has no university education when it comes to making software. And yet his musical notation app for iPad, StaffPad, just won a coveted Apple Design Award this week.

The iPad app gives composers and conductors powerful tools for writing and tweaking musical scores, and for sharing their changes instantly with musicians on a stage or in a recording studio. StaffPad places the iPad and Apple Pencil squarely in the center of the collaborative creative process.

Here’s how Hearn and his team created their award-winning music-notation app.

Why Apple still refuses to give the iPad a calculator

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Craig Federighi explained today why there’s no iPad Calculator app.
Apple exec Craig Federighi helped unveil iPadOS 14 at WWDC 2020, but there was still no Calculator app.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple software chief Craig Federighi just answered a question that’s puzzled people for years: Why doesn’t the iPad come with a calculator app?

In a video posted Friday, he also explained why the iPad lacks a weather app.

Stellar writing app Ulysses gets mouse support on iPad, big improvements

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Ulysses-19
Get the update today on Mac and iOS.
Photo: Ulysses

Ulysses, the outstanding writing app for Mac and iOS, just got its big version 19 update. It brings full mouse and trackpad support on iPad, as well as a number of neat improvements to things like keywords and Files integration.

It also boasts a new feature dubbed Material sheets, which allows you to mark sheets you’ve used for brainstorming and research, and have them excluded from counters, goals, and exports.

Amazing Darkroom photo app now does video

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Darkroom, the amazing iOS photo-editing app, now edits video
Darkroom, the amazing iOS photo-editing app, now edits video
Photo: Darkroom

Darkroom, one of the best photo library and editing apps on iOS, is now also one of the best video library and editing apps on iOS. In today’s update, Darkroom adds support for editing your videos. Not cutting and chopping them up, like iMove, but changing how they look, as if you were applying filters and edits to a still photograph. And the along thing is, it’s instant, just as fast as editing a still image.

Facebook Messenger Kids expands its reach, adds new features

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Facebook-Messenger-Kids
Download it from the App Store today.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook Messenger Kids, the free chat app designed specifically for your little ones, on Wednesday expanded its reach to more than 70 new markets and added a number of helpful new features.

It’s now possible for parents to give kids control over their contacts (if they wish), and for kids to join approved groups. The changes come at a time when many children are out of school and unable to see friends.

Facebook beta reveals hidden dark mode for iPhone and iPad

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Facebook-dark-mode
You can't activate it yourself just yet.
Photo: WABetaInfo

A new beta version of the Facebook app for iOS contains hidden resources that suggest a dark mode is on its way to iPhone and iPad.

The feature is expected to work in tandem with the system-wide dark mode settings on iOS for automatic activation and deactivation, but users should be able to toggle it manually, too.

Adobe bundles Photoshop, Fresco for iPad into one affordable sub

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Adobe-Fresco-iPad
Enjoy both apps for just $9.99 a month.
Photo: Adobe

Adobe on Tuesday delivered a new bundle for iPad users that provides access to its Photoshop and Fresco apps for just $9.99 a month. That’s half the price users would have paid for both apps before.

In addition, Photoshop on iPad now has the ability to automatically find and update missing fonts in your work, and there’s a brand-new coloring book to enjoy.