New iPhone 15 Pro and Action Button Poll

Happy Friday!

It’s shipping week! This week, we got the release of all of Apple’s operating systems, and today, I’m guessing a bunch of you are taking delivery of new iPhones and Apple Watches. The new iPhone Pro is the one that has me the most interested.

The iPhone Pro always leads the way with Apple’s design and features. While it looks similar to last year’s model, some significant differences exist. The body material has changed to titanium. All early reviewers are commenting on just how much lighter it feels, and Dr. Drang has an interesting explanation as to why. Not only is titanium a lighter material, but it’s also because that weight change occurs at the edge of the device, where we most acutely notice weight changes.

In addition to the weight loss, people will naturally be attracted to the texture, feel, and look of titanium over the prior stainless steel. That’s certainly been my experience with the watch.

Titanium isn’t the only design change. This new phone is more rounded than the prior square-edged generation. It’s a small change (and not as extreme as the “bar-of-soap” design from three years ago), but you will perceive it when you hold one.

Likewise, the new iPhone Pro is the introductory platform for significant changes in computational photography. Apple’s cooked up a way to combine the light gathering of a 12-megapixel image with the detail of a 48-megapixel image to give users a superior-to-both 24-megapixel image. The iPhone camera sells iPhones, which motivates Apple to make strides each year, but I also think it is a point of pride. They want to make the best camera. Period.

The other significant change is the removal of the Ring/Silent switch and the addition of an Action button. I am very interested in ways to use this button, and I’ll be publishing more on this going forward. However, I’d like to hear your intention for the Action Button. So, I’ve made a short poll. I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to reply so we can see how power users are looking at this new feature.

The New Action button on iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max

Either way, many of us will get our hands on the future today.

In the News

  • This week is all about the new hardware and software. Next week will be similar as macOS Sonoma gets released on Tuesday. That very fact is notable news. It’s been a while since Apple could ship all of its operating systems in such proximity. All of this while they are also heads down on visionOS. Impressive.
  • The other news item that made me grin this week was Intel announcing they need “another year” to make chips like Apple. And they’re not kidding. They’re talking about chips similar to Apple silicon, with combined memory and graphics (like Apple silicon). If you can’t beat them, join them. I think it is a smart move by Intel, though I doubt they’ll catch Apple soon. Apple is not standing still here.

Regardless, enjoy your new software and hardware, gang.

Your pal, David

p.s. The Obsidian Field Guide Plus Edition webinars are coming out great! We’ve already done two of them, and those videos are getting added to the course soon. There are a bunch more coming. If you’d like to get in on it, use code OBSIDIANGO for 10% off my new Field Guide through the weekend.

Discover the New PDF Fill-in Feature in macOS Sonoma (MacSparky Labs)

Filling in PDF forms just got a lot easier on the Mac. This new feature reliably and quickly adds fill-in fields to your PDFs in Preview and Apple Notes.…

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

The MacStories iOS 17 Review

Today Federico Viticci published his now legendary annual iOS and iPadOS review. Something that a lot of folks don’t realize is that over the years, Federico has gotten a lot better at this. Specifically, in the early years, Federico’s opus felt like it was written for developers. Now it’s written for users (at least to my eyes).

I find these reviews more informative and enjoyable each year. This year is no different.

Don’t Forget About the watchOS Update

Today, Apple publicly released iOS 17 and iPadOS 17. I’ve got plenty of content coming about the new releases, but if there is one thing you should check out that you may have missed, it’s watchOS 10.

This year, Apple made some significant changes to the way watchOS works, and it may end up being divisive. You no longer swipe up for Control Center but instead, you press on the Side Button. When you turn the Digital Crown up from the main screen (or swipe up from the bottom edge of the display), you get you a dynamic scrolling list of Widgets (Apple calls it Smart Stack) with information like upcoming events, running timers, and whatnot. Long pressing on an app’s card in this view allows you to pin it at the top this list.

A bonus is that because good, contextual information is now a dial spin away, you don’t have to rely on information-dense watch faces anymore.

Grab Any Text Anywhere with TextSniper (Sponsor)

This week MacSparky is sponsored by a killer Mac utility, TextSniper. TextSniper is a Mac OCR app that can extract text anywhere on your Mac’s screen and automatically save it to your clipboard, so you can paste it anywhere you need it. It can even read the text to you. The whole thing works a lot like the built-in screen capture on the Mac, just way more powerful. You know those websites that won’t let you copy text? With TextSniper, you can. Do you know the pain of getting a phone number out of a document? It’s easy with Text Sniper.

That’s not all. With TextSniper, you can:

  • Quickly get text from PDFs, Zoom calls, Presentations, and Videos. 
  • Read QR codes and barcodes.
  • Get text out of just about any image format, including JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP.

I use this app often. It’s made by a developer who spends much time making it the best capture utility on the Mac. You can even use your iPhone or iPad camera to take a photo for TextSniper to perform its magic.

Moreover, in an era where so much software is more about data mining than giving you a service, TextSniper doesn’t collect your data. The text recognition is processed on your Mac and does not require an internet connection. 

I personally use this app multiple times a week. My uses for it in the last week include: getting a UPS number without a link for package tracking (hooray!), getting a different number out of a “locked” PDF for my accountant to help pay my taxes (ugh.), and grabbing some clever chisel sharpening instructions from an ancient website that POSTED TEXT IN A JPG IMAGE! TextSniper can be just as helpful to you.

TextSniper works with macOS Catalina and later and also works with Parallels Desktop

Get TextSniper now and enjoy the fastest way to copy uncopyable text, wherever you find it. Use promo code TSMS2023 to get an additional 25% off.

Merlin’s Wisdom Project

I have always been a Merlin Mann fan. We’ve become friends over the years, but first, I was a fan. I think of Merlin in the way that I imagine contemporaries thought of Mark Twain. He’s observant, good-hearted, and can do amazing things with a pen or, in Merlin’s case, Markdown. 

For some time now, Merlin has been collecting little bits of wisdom that range from helpful advice, “Buy the nicest screwdrivers you can afford.“, to paradigm-shifting deep thoughts:

Your kids are not little versions of you; they are little versions of themselves. So, don’t be sad or alarmed whenever they are becoming something different from you. Because, they will become lots of things that are different from you, and that’s arguably the whole point. It is inarguably a thing that you need to cheerfully celebrate and support.
Merlin Mann, The Wisdom Project

The best part is that he’s sharing them with the world.