Mac Power Users 645: Live Q&A with Stephen and David

Stephen and I hosted a live webinar for this week’s Mac Power Users. We talked about the current crop of Apple’s betas and answered listener questions.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don’t have to worry about that anymore. 
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Automators 104: WWDC 2022 Awesomeness

Hooray. It’s a new WWDC and there are new automation features! Join Rose and I on this episode of Automators where we preview them all for you.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • Kolide: Endpoint Security Powered by People. Try Kolide for 14 days free; no credit card is required.
  • DEVONthink: Get Organized — Unleash Your Creativity. Use this link for 10% off.
  • LinkedIn Jobs: Post a job for free by visiting this link.

The Controversial 13″ MacBook Pro

A lot of us (myself included) have been piling on the recently updated 13″ MacBook Pro. You have to admit it really stands out in Apple’s current line as a relic of days gone by. That said, it now has the M2 chip and it is now for sale. Jason Snell wrote a piece for Macworld explaining why it may make sense. Still, it’s weird. The 14″ MacBook Pro is far superior and the new MacBook Air is also a better computer by several metrics for less money.

We’ve been speculating on Mac Power Users now for some time about the idea of a 15″ MacBook Air. There are plenty of people that would like a bigger screen without the MacBook Pro power (and price). In my head, the 13″ MacBook Pro exists as a placeholder for that mythical 15″ MacBook Air.

In the meantime, I stand by my advice, “Friends don’t let friends buy the 13″ MacBook Pro.”

Using AppleScript to Open a Specific Mailbox in Apple Mail (MacSparky Labs)

Shortcuts for iOS 16 is adding a feature that lets you open a specific Mailbox in Apple Mail on your iPhone or iPad. Shortcuts for Ventura, however, doesn’t have that function. What gives? Never fear. Sparky figured out a way to duplicate the feature using AppleScript…

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?

Mac-Savvy Businesses Love Daylite (Sponsor)

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Here are a few productivity-boosting power features that thousands of Mac-savvy businesses couldn’t do without:

Daylite Mail Assistant (DMA)

Direct Apple Mail integration allows you to take action from your inbox and be more productive. Instead of drowning in emails all day, you and your team can capture all email communication, clear out your inbox and stay on top of the next steps. Save emails related to clients, appointments, and tasks, so you have a full history of conversations in one place. Plus, you can create tasks in Daylite right from Apple Mail.

Linking

Its linking capability is what makes Daylite shine. You can link emails, notes, tasks, projects, appointments, and other records to existing contacts in Daylite. This enables teams to quickly and clearly view an organization’s structure and access the information they need in a unique way.

Daylite Calendar

Daylite’s built-in calendar allows you to view your entire team’s schedule in one place. Set reminders for follow-ups and book meetings, so everyone stays in the loop and is always on top of their appointments. Set your calendar to “public” or “private”, so team members can only have access to the information they need.

CRM + Project Management

Daylite’s productivity-focused design helps you and your team get more done throughout the full customer lifecycle. From meeting prospects and winning business to managing the moving pieces on projects, all the way through to following up on referrals and repeat business, it’s all done in Daylite.

Daylite empowers small businesses by improving team efficiency and making collaboration easy—everything is organized, searchable, and accessible (even offline). You can easily access information and segment data tailored to your specific client’s history.

If you live by the Mac, you’ll love Daylite. Start your free 14-day Daylite trial today!

Initial Thoughts on Stage Manager

Mathew Panzarino at Tech Crunch is one of the most intelligent people writing about Apple these days. I was pleased to see he spent time with Craig Federighi (Apple’s Software chief) to talk about Stage Manager.

If you’ve been under a rock the last week, Stage Manager is Apple’s new attempt at multitasking. It uses stacks of related apps (that you create) along the left side of the screen. It works on both iPad and Mac, and taping (or clicking) on any stack of apps minimizes the existing apps and opens the stack of apps in its place.

Stage Manager screenshot

Interestingly, Federighi disclosed that this feature was not designed for both iPad and Mac from the get-go, but instead, both teams had similar designs that approached one another.

From Federighi, “There were many of us who use the Mac every day who really wanted this kind of focused experience that gave us that balance. So we were on the Mac side, picking this idea up and saying we think that’s in reach, we want to make this happen. And separately on the iPad side we were thinking about [it]. And believe it or not two independent teams who are brainstorming and designing converge on almost the identical idea.”

The Stage Manager on iPad requires an M1-equipped iPad. While that’s a bummer if you are using older hardware. I don’t believe this is Apple trying to get you to buy a new iPad but instead what it seems: a feature enabled by new, more powerful hardware and additional memory. Federighi explains at length in the Tech Crunch article, “It’s only the M1 iPads that combined the high DRAM capacity with very high capacity, high performance NAND that allows our virtual memory swap to be super fast …”

I’d also note that Stage Manager lets you run four simultaneous iPad apps (or eight if you have an attached external screen). We’ve all been asking Apple to take advantage of the powerful iPad hardware. Now it has.

I’ve been using Stage Manager now for a week. I have opinions from two angles, the iPad and the Mac. For the iPad, Stage Manager is what I would call vertical improvement. It substantially improves multitasking and adds options that weren’t there before. Moreover, it is immediately accessible. I think many folks who don’t pay any attention to things like WWDC and MacSparky are going to latch onto Stage Manager on their iPad and suddenly start multitasking. I’ll be shocked if this one isn’t a winner. Already, I have stacks on my iPad of communication apps, research apps, and writing apps that I can jump between with just a tap. It changes the way I use the iPad.

On the Mac side, I would call it a horizontal improvement. Stage Manager isn’t necessarily better than some of the other options, like Spaces or using automation. It’s simply different; It’s another option. It’s better in some ways, like how accessible it is. It’s worse in other ways. You do lose some screen real estate, and at this point, it isn’t particularly keyboard friendly. I’m unsure where I will land with Stage Manager and the Mac. I think of someone like my wife, who finds Spaces completely baffling, will easily be using Stage Manager on both her iPad and her Mac.

And I think that is part of the point. Using the same paradigm on the iPad and Mac makes it much easier for most users to adopt and use the paradigm. People who figure it out on the iPad will want it on their Mac and vice versa. Not everyone is nuts enough to write an AppleScript to set up their writing applications.

In my initial testing, Stage Manager feels like the best window management system Apple has ever put on the iPad and perhaps the most accessible window management system Apple has ever proposed on the Mac. The trick is holding everything to that one screen. In the TechCrunch article, Craig Federighi also explains that the Stage Manager system is still evolving and will change throughout the betas. I am looking forward to its evolution.

Mac Power Users 644: Some Cool Mac Utilities

Stephen and I are catching up on some recent updates to some stalwarts of the macOS utility landscape on the latest episode of Mac Power Users. We’re also talking about some other apps that make our Mac setups complete.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • SaneBox: Stop drowning in email!
  • TextExpander: Get 20% off with this link and type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander.
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DEVONthink Gets You All the Metadata (Sponsor)

This week MacSparky is sponsored by DEVONthink. DEVONthink has been offering AI-based research tools for years on the Mac, but it has hardly stood still. DEVONthink is now on version 3 for the Mac and version 3 of DEVONthink to Go for iPad and iPhone. The apps are modern and take full advantage of the most recent and powerful tools available in the Apple Ecosystem. They just keep evolving right alongside Apple.

DEVONthink Metadata

But when it comes to metadata, DEVONthink is leaving Apple (and the Finder) in the dust. DEVONthink has its own systems for organizing, tagging, sorting, automating, and updating all sorts of metadata for your files. One example is that I store contracts I’m writing for clients in DEVONthink. I use the app’s Annotations metadata to store notes on drafts of contracts. These are notes that only I see but prove invaluable when I come back a month later and ask, “why does this exist?” DEVONthink runs circles around the metadata tools available to you with the native Finder. Using the full array of DEVONthink metadata tools I’m able to cut through my files and get to what matters most fast.

And better metadata is just one of many features you’ll get with DEVONthink. To learn more head over to DEVONthink and download the trial and check it out for yourself.