Zombie TUAW

This week, Jason Snell wrote about someone getting the IP for the now-retired Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW). It’s sad to see something that was once so beloved now zombified. In the age of AI, I expect this won’t be the last instance of these shenanigans we see.

Get Organized with DEVONthink (Sponsor)

official application icon for DEVONthink

I often hear from listeners/readers looking for a research solution in the Mac ecosystem. My favorite app for this, without a doubt, is DEVONthink. DEVONthink is the most professional document and information management application for the Mac. It’s the one place for storing all your documents, snippets, or bookmarks, and working with them.

The integrated AI engine assists you with filing and searching, while the extensive search language includes advanced Boolean operators.

DEVONthink features a flexible sync system that supports many cloud services — or lets you synchronize over your local network — with everything securely encrypted. This gives you the choice for whichever syncing works best for you!

It has Smart rules and flexible reminders that let you automate all parts of your workflow and delegate boring, repeating tasks. Let DEVONthink automatically organize your data with rules you define!

DEVONthink’s AppleScript dictionary is one of the best on the Mac. There’s no part of DEVONthink that can’t be automated. Extend DEVONthink’s functionality with your own commands by adding them to its Scripts menu.

Even templates can have scripts inside and you can set up new documents with data from placeholders, or inserted using your own AppleScript code.

DEVONthink just continues to get better. In the latest update they improved PDF annotation, Evernote import, Markdown functionality, and added even more AppleScript and JavaScript automation.

I find DEVONthink’s combination of innovative features and automation support irresistible. Interested? MacSparky readers can get a 20% discount on DEVONthink.

Apple’s iPhone Testing Lab

I found this video fascinating. Of course, Apple’s testing facility looks like something from a science fiction movie.

An interesting point here is the tradeoff between reliability and repairability. As Apple tries to make its devices more repairable, how does it maintain reliability? This is interesting because an iPhone is not a washing machine. What I mean is that a washing machine should lean toward repairability. Ideally, a 10-year-old washing machine should be something you can repair and keep running. A 10-year-old iPhone, however, is not something you’d want to repair given the rate of advancement in technology (i.e. faster processors, new features, better cameras). There isn’t an easy answer here. Nevertheless, Apple’s space-aged testing lab is worth checking out.

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Update Brings Improved Audio on Calls

When it comes to talking to my Mac, the audio quality for me is feast or famine. I’ve got a great podcasting microphone that I can turn on at any point and start talking to my Mac with very high-quality audio.

The flip side is that I’m using a Mac Studio, which does not have a built-in microphone. Neither does my Pro Display XDR, and I’ve never been particularly excited about putting a USB microphone on my desk when not talking into my podcasting mic. So, I’ve been solving this problem for the longest time by using AirPods.

If you put an AirPod in your ear, it records your voice to your Mac just fine. Well, let me make that sort of fine. The audio quality has never been anything worth writing home about. Making calls is particularly bad.

However, while making a call on my Test Mac running macOS Sequoia the other day (using AirPods Pro) I noticed the voice quality was much better. After a little sniffing around on the Internet, I discovered that this is thanks to a new beta firmware update on AirPods Pro.

Historically, the max audio quality would turn to garbage the moment you’re on a call using AirPods Pro’s microphones. But this latest beta firmware update allows for a sampling rate of up to 48 kHz.

I’m not sure how they pulled that off, but it is a vast improvement if you pay attention to that sort of thing.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

The new Microsoft Surface Arm laptops are in the wild now and getting properly tested. The Verge did a full set of benchmarks that conclude with a few relevant points:

  • It runs a little faster than a MacBook Air and quite a bit slower than a MacBook Pro. These really are aimed at the MacBook Air.
  • Battery life is behind the MacBook Air’s. This isn’t a surprise, as I suspect they have a lot of experience with the MacBook Air.

Together, these two points make sense. They upped the clock cycle count to outperform the MacBook Air — which is an admittedly sexy headline for Microsoft — at the expense of some battery life. Regardless, I think it’s great news that people running Windows now have an option that’s competitive with MacBook Air performance and battery life. Now, if it just ran a better operating system…