Everything you need to know about Apple’s iMac Pro in under 6 minutes — AppleInsider goes through every new detail, feature and rumoured specification related to Apple’s upcoming iMac Pro in a video. Apple has already confirmed a major refresh of the Mac Pro coming in 2018, but little is known about the next-generation desktop, which will likely require users to buy a display separately. If you want one as good as the recent 5K iMacs, it’s going to cost upwards of $1,300 just for the screen alone.
Now comes Apple’s brand new iMac Pro, due to release in December.
[It’s pretty quiet in Apple news today as it has been Thanksgiving weekend in the US.]
Apple today also introduced a significant update to its professional video editing app, Final Cut Pro X, featuring incredible new editing features for the Magnetic Timeline, support for the revolutionary Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro and a redesigned interface with full support for wide colour workflows. The Touch Bar replaces the keyboard’s traditional function row with a brilliant, Retina-quality Multi-Touch display that dynamically adapts to Final Cut Pro X by putting intuitive, context-sensitive controls right at the user’s fingertips. Apple also released updates to Motion and Compressor.
With the new Magnetic Timeline in Final Cut Pro X, users can understand their film at a glance with customisable arrangement and colour coding of audio clips based on type or “role” — such as dialogue, music and effects. It’s simple to create and assign roles, and give each one a unique colour. And in a first for pro video software, users can simply drag to instantly rearrange the vertical layout of their timeline or highlight specific audio roles while editing.
Integration with the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro boosts creativity and productivity by dynamically adapting to each task and presenting intuitive controls exactly when and where users need them. While using Final Cut Pro X the Touch Bar lets users instantly switch between editing tools, adjust audio levels and tap into useful commands for trimming and playback. It will even display a colour-coded, interactive overview of the entire timeline so users can navigate their project with the touch of a finger.
A redesigned interface streamlines the layout of Final Cut Pro X to optimise screen space for MacBook Pro users, while a darker, flat look puts the focus on the content. Customisable workspaces lets users adjust window arrangements for different tasks such as organising, editing and colour grading — even across multiple monitors. Full support for wide colour workflows allows users to import, edit and deliver video in standard Rec. 601 and Rec. 709 colour spaces, or in wide gamut Rec. 2020 colour space.
Additional Features in Final Cut Pro 10.3:
• Flow transition creates invisibly smooth jump cuts;
• Remove Attributes allows users to easily delete or reuse select effects across multiple clips;
• Timecode overlay effect and generator allow users to edit with a large view of source timecode;
• Support for ProRes MXF, Panasonic V-Log and export of AVC-Intra;
• Direct video output via Thunderbolt 3 enables high-quality video monitoring on an external display with a single cable.
Motion 5.3features a sleek new interface with support for wide colour workflows and 3D text enhancements that improve the performance and realism of 3D titles. The new Align To behaviour lets users easily connect separate objects to create advanced animations, and Touch Bar support provides easy access to a wide range of interactive tools on the new MacBook Pro.
Compressor 4.3 has a new dark look to match Final Cut Pro X and Motion. Enhancements to iTunes Store Package creation let users easily browse, verify and compress packages so they can be delivered to the iTunes Store faster and fully compliant. Wide colour support ensures end-to-end colour fidelity when delivering files in standard and wide colour spaces, and Touch Bar support simplifies common tasks like setting up batches and adding markers on the new MacBook Pro.
Pricing and Availability — Final Cut Pro 10.3 is available as a free update today for existing users, and for NZD $449.99 inc. GST for new users on the Mac App Store. Motion 5.3 and Compressor 4.3 are also available as a free update today for existing users, and for NZD $74.99 each for new users on the Mac App Store. For more information, please visit Apple’s official Final Cut Pro X site.
With the demise of QuickTime Pro (some people still have it, but if you lose it, it’s pretty hard to rediscover) and the migration of QuickTime into ‘just’ a video Player with a few extras like clips copying and pasting (after you choose Show Clips from the View menu) , third parties have come up with other media players for Mac that offer more features.
One of the best of these is Elmedia Player. This multifunctional free media player for Mac supports a wide range of common (AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, MPG ) those for Flash (FLV and SWF) plus Windows media (WMV) and not-so-common audio and video formats like DAT, FLAC, M4V, MKV and more.
Playback — For HD (high definition) video, Elmedia Player has hardware accelerated decoding which helps to avoid video slowdown and sound-sync problems. Like QuickTime, the online controls disappear for clutter-free viewing until you put your cursor back over the video (but you can turn this function on and off). You can drag this control around too, for better viewing. An AirPlay icon (Pro version only) lets you direct the video immediately to Apple TV, and Open Online Video lets you watch YouTube videos in player without ads; these abilities are enhanced further in the Pro version (see below).
Extra tools — Elmedia Player also offers quick aspect ratio change and allows adjusting the speed of playback. The usual controls are there (play, pause, volume) but you can also flip or rotate video, which can be quite a mission in iMovie and even Final Cut. This is available from the View menu.
The Pro version —Paying US$19.95 (about NZ$28) gets you the more sophisticated version which lets you save videos, including RTMP streams, and external resources required by SWF animations.
You can download videos and soundtracks from YouTube, too – Elmedia Player Pro has a built-in web-browser and Open URL option to allow you to watch online videos from within the Player’s app window.
The Open Online Video option lets you access YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion videos directly from the app, meaning you can avoid the ads that plague YouTube these days – just find the video in YouTube (or wherever), copy the link and paste it into the Open Online Video option from the File menu (the shortcut is Command U). Elmedia checks the link and seconds later, the Open button becomes active and the video appears in the Player window. This also bypasses the option of paying for a YouTube Red subscription, which also lets you play videos without ads. There is no obvious way to ‘save’ videos you find online to your Mac, but Elmedia adds them to your Playlist and it stays available here; it’s a sort of transparent saving. To download and keep a video, select the file you want to download from the list under the video, then click Download.
Elmedia can download a video with its subtitles, but it also lets you set up encoding, font, size, font colour, and border colour for them. In case subtitles are not in perfect sync with the video, you can use Increase/Decrease Subtitles Delay. You can load the subtitles file automatically (.srt, .ass, .smil, etc.) or manually with Elmedia, a feature that might be very handy, for example, to educators.
You can grab a still from a video or make a set of images (your Mac has this anyway, of course, with Command-Shift-4) and convert Projector EXE files into SWF format. It has AirPlay support so you can stream music and videos from Elmedia Player to other devices with AirPlay support and vice versa, and extra Playback options including A-B loop, 10-band audio equalizer with presets (in the Window menu, strangely, rather than the Audio menu), and video and image layout adjustments.
You can run this player in English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Czech, Chinese and Russian.
Conclusion — The free Elmedia Player is an attractive, capable video player with some great features, and that’s even in the Free version. For those wanting more, the Pro version gives you extra conversion features making wither one a handy jack of all video trades. It’s also a robust player that runs on most Macs, and it can play most if not all of those weird video formats that strange PC people sometimes send you, or that you find with Eltima’s Folx software that lets you find those things (not strictly legally, sometimes, so don’t take this as an endorsement!).
What’s Great — Even the free version gives you a lot. Nice, smooth, high-definition playback of good-quality video.
What’s Not — A few interface quirks include having some of the audio controls, like the EQ, in the Window menu instead of in the Audio menu.
Needs — Those a bit miffed by the limits of Apple’s gratis QuickTime Player and who want something to dive into fast (i.e., not iMovie) do carry out some quick, effective video tasks.
1/ Edit a movie — The Projects tab in iMovie is where you’ll do most of your editing. The first tab, Video, displays all the video clips stored on your iOS device or in iCloud – it’s the warehouse of raw video clips. The next tab, Projects, is where you do all the work. To make a movie, you’ll need to create a project, stir in some clips from the Video tab, then start editing.
The last tab, Theater, is where your projects go once they’re fully edited. Once you’ve “exported” a project to the Theater tab (aka iMovie Theater), you’ll be able to play your new movie on all iCloud-connected devices, stream it to an Apple TV, or upload it to YouTube.
2/ Create a new project & pick a theme —Once you have a general idea of how to make a movie in iMovie, go to the Projects tab and tap the big “+” button to create a new project. Pick a theme for your movie, anything from Modern to CNN iReport. (You can change the theme later.) You have two choices: make a movie, or create a trailer. Making a trailer involves collecting just-right sequence of action shots, profiles, landscapes, two-shots, and more, so it’s more complicated than it may seem.
3/ My Movie — Once you’ve created a project, you go into the My Movie interface. Tap the Media button (the one that looks like a film strip) and tap the Video tab. (If you’re using iMovie on your iPad, the Media window will already be sitting in the top corner of the My Movie screen.) Just tap the curved arrow to add a video to your iMovie project. Now tap a clip, then tap the curved arrow – when you do, the clip flies into the My Movie interface. Go ahead and tap the Media button again, and add another clip to the mix. Back on the My Movie screen, tap the Play button to watch your two video clips cut together, complete with a “dissolve” transition between them. In the bottom half of the screen, try dragging your new movie back and forth with your fingertip; the vertical line in the middle of the display shows the exact point in the clip that’s being displayed in the preview area above. You can add stills to your video too – just pick them from the Media tab. You can trim a still image just as you would a video clip.
4/ Trim your clips and change the transition — Tap the first clip in the lower editing section; it’ll be outlined in yellow. Go to the beginning or the end of the clip, tap-and-hold the thick yellow side, then drag to snip out this portion of the clip. (Don’t worry, you are not trimming the original video. This is ‘non-destructive editing’.) If you want to trim the second clip in your project, repeat the process.
Notice the little square with the bow tie between your two clips – that’s your transition, same as in iMovie for Mac. Tap it, and you’ll see a series of transition styles at the bottom of the screen, including Dissolve, Slide, Wipe, Fade etc. Tap one and press Play to see how each transition looks; you can also pick the None option for a ‘hard’ or ‘razor’ cut.
5/ To change your theme — Tap the Settings button (the one that looks like a gear), then pick a new theme from the list.
Extra … Fade-in, -out — To add fade-in/out effects to the beginning and end of your iMovie, tap Settings, then flip the switches next to “Fade in from black” and “Fade out from black.”
Apple starts shipping first wave of Apple Watches — Apple Watch is coming in many countries (now New Zealand), and for many, it will arrive as soon as Friday. Lucky Apple Watch buyers who saw an April 24-May 8 estimated shipping date on their pre-orders earlier this month have received notice that April 24 is the big day.
Apple posts final Watch video — Apple added the final three videos to its Apple Watch guided tour series on Thursday. The short videos show how to use Apple Pay as well as the fitness-related Activity and Workout apps.
Apple Watch runs ‘most’ of iOS 8.2, may use A5-equivalent processor — The Apple Watch is using ‘most’ of iOS 8.2, with a new subsystem called Carousel in place of the Springboard homescreen found on iPhones and iPads, developer Steve Troughton-Smith said on Thursday, also suggesting the Watch’s S1 processor appears to be equivalent to the Apple A5.
Apple beefing up Siri, speech and language teams with wave of new openings — Apple on Wednesday and Thursday opened up several job listings related to speech technology, Siri, and language recognition, suggesting intensified work on natural input for future products, AppleInsider has discovered.
Behind Alto’s Adventure — Here’s the interesting story behind the development of Alto’s Adventure, (AWT’s review + gameplay video here) the delightful snowboarding game that has been featured by Apple several times. The story starts when co-creators Ryan Cash and Jordan Rosenberg were just kids playing in the snow, and ends some amazing fan art and other accolades recognising their wonderful game.
Apple under fire once again for inconsistent App Store rule enforcement — Apple’s App Store review policies have found yet another unwanted spotlight after the company allegedly rejected an iOS app update because its developer mentioned Pebble’s competing smartwatch in the app’s metadata.
1/ Found a lost iPhone? Siri can help you find its owner — There’s a way for you to be a Good Samaritan, and that way’s name is Siri. Simply activate Siri on the phone, as this can be done even if the device is locked,and ask Siri “who does this phone belong to?”
Siri will give you the owner’s contact information from phone number to email depending on the user’s settings. Now you know exactly how to contact the phone’s owner, earning yourself some karma in the process.
2/ Save your hearing with the Late Night EQ option — Within iOS, there’s a setting that’s been around since iOS 6: a special EQ option that compresses whatever audio you’re listening to so that the loud stuff will be quieter and the quiet stuff louder. With this, you don’t have to turn your volume up so much when you’re on public transportation or in some other noisy place. For podcasts or iTunes movies, it’s pretty handy.
Open the Settings app, and then tap Music. Under that heading is EQ: pick that. Here you’ll see all sorts of audio adjustments you could try, includingTreble Booster, Small Speakers and Rock. Most only apply to music you’re listening to, but Late Night works on video output, too.
Once you tap Late Night you’ll see the small checkmark appear next to it. Just remember to turn the EQ setting to another option when you’re wanting to listen to music.
3/ Hide iCloud iBooks — Sometimes under iOS 8 you don’t seem to be able to delete purchased books. When you try, you may see the book cover still there, except with a ‘download from iCloud’ symbol at the upper-right corner of the book. This is pretty annoying if you want to get rid of books after reading them. Here’s how to fix is: first go out to your main library view (by tapping Library if you’re in the middle of reading a book, or by tapping My Books at the bottom if you’re anywhere else). Then ‘All Books’ at top centre. On the next screen you’ll see your collections, but down at the bottom, the option you need is Hide iCloud Books.
Toggle that on, and you’ll only see the items you’ve actually downloaded to your device.
4/ Auto-delete old Messages — Once you’ve been using your iPhone for a while, you build up quite an archive of text messages. This can take up unnecessary space (do you really need those texts and pictures from two years ago?). iOS 8 now allows you to automatically delete these old messages after either 30 days or one year, potentially freeing up gigabytes of storage.
Tap Settings>Messages and scroll down to Message History – here you can select how long you’d like to keep your old messages: forever, 30 days or one year.
5/ Create custom repeating events in Calendar — Launch the Calendar app, create a new event, tap the Repeat setting, then tap Custom. Here, choose the frequency with which you’d like the event to repeat: daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Next tap Every, and make a selection: once a month, for example. You can choose twice a month, three times a month and so on.
Tap ‘Each’ if you want to create an event that repeats on a certain day, say, the 10th of each month, or tap ‘On the…’ to pick a specific day of the week, such as the first Thursday of every month.
Once you’ve made your selections, just back up to the New Event screen, then tap the Done button when you’re finished editing.
Finally, how do the new iPhones do in video? One of the new features is a really fast refocus. This is thanks to what Apple calls ‘Focus Pixels’ which are sensitive to distinct angles of incoming light, and work together to determine the focus direction and how far to move the iSight lens.
Exposure — The same exposure controls you can use in photos exist for video. You can lighten or darken a photo or video on your viewfinder by up to four f-stops in either direction by tapping on the screen, then sliding your finger up and down to the right of the yellow focus/exposure area that appears.
Optical image stabilisation — Unlike the 6, the bigger iPhone 6 Plus has optical image stabilisation. It uses the A8 chip, the gyroscope, and the new M8 motion coprocessor to measure motion data and provide precise side-to-side lens movement to compensate for hand shake in low light. The 6’s new iSight camera also takes both long- and short-exposure images, which also helps reduce subject motion. That means on a pan-sweep, where you start filming and change the viewpoint of the iPhone Plus results in pretty smooth video, almost as if you have a steadycam, as you can see in the linked videos. (Note these all got sampled down to 720P when uploaded to Vimeo.) The videos were shot from the same point and light conditions within a 20-minute time frame. You can see that the iPhone 5 doesn’t refocus on the shed on the right, whereas the other two do.