How to make music like the Apple fan who made Steve Jobs dance

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How to make music like the Apple fan who made Steve Jobs dance
Jonathan Mann has written a song every day for the last 11 years. That's more than 4,000 songs.
Photo: Jonathan Mann

Few of us know what it’s like to have our music played at an Apple keynote. Thirty-seven-year-old Apple fan Jonathan Mann does. Way back in the days of the iPhone 4, he composed a song about Apple’s Antennagate PR disaster. Not only did it get played at an Apple event, it actually made Steve Jobs dance.

For the past 11 years, Mann has recorded a new song every day, using his trusty Mac setup. That’s more than 4,000 songs in total. Now he’s launched a new podcast revealing his creative process. And, true to form, the latest episode features a song about the Mac Pro.

macOS Catalina is out with new apps, Apple Arcade, Sidecar and more

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macOS Catalina is here. But proceed from Mojave with caution.
macOS Catalina is here. But proceed from Mojave with caution.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s big update for Macs, macOS Catalina, is finally out today bringing with it a host of new features, apps, privacy improvements, and much more.

Developers just received the gold master version of macOS Catalina last week, but today’s launch was a bit of a surprise. Anyone that has a compatible Mac can grab the new update from the Mac App Store for free.

Pocket Casts goes free with optional ‘Plus’ subscription

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Pocket-Casts-iPhone
Download it today!
Photo: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts, one of the best third-party podcast apps on iOS, is now available for free.

It won’t cost you anything to download the app anymore, and you’ll get to enjoy some of its best features — like cross-platform syncing and the dark theme — for absolutely nothing.

An optional Pocket Casts Plus subscription, priced at just $0.99 a month, gets you even more.

How to search podcast transcripts in iOS 13

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Podcast transcripts search
Podcast searches are set to get way better in iOS 13.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple added full transcript search to its podcast directory in iOS 13. Even though you can’t actually read the podcast transcripts, this is still huge. You can search across the content of podcast episodes the way you can search websites with DuckDuckGo (or other search engines) today.

Overcast adds fantastic new podcast recommendations feature

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News, iPhone apps, iPad apps, podcasts
News, iPhone apps, iPad apps, podcasts
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Overcast, the podcast app of choice for lovers of good design, powerful-yet-straightforward features, and the color orange, just added a brand-new recommendations feature.

Previously, Overcast used a Twitter-based recommendation engine. But developer Marco Arment says almost nobody used it. Now, he’s replaced it with recommendations based on users’ personal listening habits, and the result is amazing. I already added a few new podcast subscriptions based on its suggestions.

Apple explains iTunes changes in macOS Catalina

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Apple Music in macOS Catalina
So long, iTunes!
Photo: Apple

Apple’s plan to ditch iTunes starts this fall with the release of macOS Catalina, which will offer standalone apps for Music, Podcasts, and TV.

WWDC offered a brief glimpse at how other things — like syncing iOS devices — would work after the update. Now Apple has published a new support document that explains everything for those who are still confused.

The document promises that “all of your favorite iTunes features” will still be available in Catalina. And it tells you where they will be.

How to subscribe to a podcast from the beginning

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Rewind lets you listen to a podcast from the very beginning.
Rewind lets you listen to a podcast from the very beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

With a podcast like the CultCast, you can drop in and start listening at any time. News-based podcasts are meant to be listened to, and then discarded. Another one will be along soon. But what about more structured podcasts? Podcasts that work episodically, like a TV series? With those, you want to listen from episode one, and listen in order — episodes 2, 3, 4, etc.

But podcast apps don’t let you do this. They’re geared towards disposable, periodically-updated podcasts. They may show you a list of previous episodes, so you can tap to download them manually, but then it’s no longer a podcast.

What you need is a service that takes any podcast feed and rejigs it, serving you a new episode each week as if the series had just started.

How to share podcast clips with Overcast

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Overcast clip sharing
Share podcast clips in Overcast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’re listening to an awesome podcast, and one of the hosts makes a super-smart point about a fascinating subject. It’s so good that you just want to share it with people. But how? Tweet a link to the podcast along with a timecode so folks can hunt down that pithy quip themselves? Good luck! People on Twitter are too lazy to… well, they’re just too lazy.

But if you use the Overcast podcast player app, then you can now share a short audio or video clip of any podcast, to Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else. It’s dead easy, and it might be the best thing to happen to podcasts in quite a while.