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10 things you didn't know about the App Store
It's the App Store's birthday. Here's some trivia.
Photo: Malvern Graphics/Cult of Mac

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.

This visual guide to WWDC 2020 hits all the high points

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The virtual WWDC 2020 keynote packed in loads of exciting revelations. Breeze through the highlights in sketchnotes!
The virtual WWDC 2020 keynote packed in loads of exciting revelations. Breeze through all the highlights in these very visual sketchnotes!

WWDC 2020 Monday’s WWDC 2020 keynote was very polished and a little fast-paced for me. This year, the entire Worldwide Developers Conference is virtual due to COVID-19, and the presentations flowed seamlessly from presenter to presenter, leaving little time for someone drawing to catch a breath. I ended up with five pages of drawings in my notebook.

I sketched out the important new features coming in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7 and more. For a quick visual recap of the highlights of the WWDC 2020 keynote, check out my sketchnotes below.

Redesigned iMacs to iOS 14: Everything we expect to see at WWDC 2020

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WWDC 2020: What to expect at Apple's big developer conference.
Get ready for some big revelations!
Image: Apple & Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WWDC 2020 Apple execs won’t get to feed off the usual live audience’s energy during next Monday’s WWDC 2020 keynote, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to get excited about.

As usual, Apple will stream the big event for all the world to see. But, due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire Worldwide Developers Conference will take place online this year. Read on for our rundown of what we expect to see during the WWDC 2020 keynote, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific on June 22.

HealthKit needs a health check at WWDC

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HealthKit on iCloud: Apple needs to step up its Health game.
Apple needs to step up its Health game.
Photo: Julia Ballew/Unsplash CC

As a fitness writer and app developer, there’s just one thing I’m hoping to see at WWDC next week: a major upgrade to HealthKit.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Apple’s health-tracking framework is great, but there’s so much more it could do. Moving HealthKit to iCloud would finally set Apple Watch free from its iPhone dependency, launch a brand-new Apple subscription service, enable users to access health and fitness data on all their devices, create a whole new class of TV fitness apps, and much, much more.

Is Jon Prosser the new Mark Gurman?

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Jon Prosser, the up-and-coming Apple reporter.
Jon Prosser, the up-and-coming Apple reporter.
Photo: Jon Prosser/Front Page Tech

In the space of three short months, Jon Prosser went from an obscure YouTube nobody pumping out videos barely anyone watched to becoming one of the hottest Apple reporters on the internet.

On Twitter and YouTube, he’s unspooled a string of accurate predictions, including the exact dates and launch times of two of Apple’s newest products, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 2020 iPhone SE. That’s no mean feat, given Apple’s obsessive secrecy.

Prosser’s latest leak — revealed on last week’s episode of Cult of Mac’s podcast, The CultCast — claims Apple is working on a special pair of Steve Jobs Heritage Edition AR glasses. That wild revelation drew skepticism from none other than über-Apple reporter Mark Gurman.

“Do I even need to say that this (along with the rest of the Apple AR glasses stories in the past week) is complete fiction?” Gurman tweeted.

Jon Prosser makes headlines

Perhaps Gurman, who made his bones at 9to5Mac before moving up to Bloomberg, is feeling the heat. Prosser is starting to nip at his heels.

What exactly does coronavirus tracking in iOS 13.5 do? Clearing up the confusion

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contact.tracing.5
Contact tracing could help slow spread of coronavirus.
Photo: World Health Organization

iOS 13.5 dropped Wednesday, introducing a slew of upgrades — including, most notably, the API for Apple’s coronavirus contact-tracing tool, developed in conjunction with Google.

But, despite what you might hear online, this is neither an “app” or an update that means downloaders are being tracked without their knowledge. Let’s correct a few popular misconceptions.

Why it’s taking so long for apps to add Dark Mode

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Has your favorite app embraced the dark side yet?
Has your favorite app embraced the dark side yet?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

This week, I finally got around to adding Dark Mode support to Reps & Sets, the iPhone bodybuilding app I develop as a side hustle. That’s almost a year after Apple first announced the feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

What took me so long? Supporting Dark Mode is not as simple as it seems. It’s not just indie devs like me who have struggled with it, either. WhatsApp only recently added Dark Mode support, and Facebook is still beta-testing it.

So if you’re waiting for your favorite app to switch to the dark side, here’s why it might be taking so long.