Print Plugins for Apple Photos

Printing Photo Projects on a Mac

In the latest update to the Mac Photos App, Apple has enabled third parties the ability to write photo project plugins. Until now only editing plugins were available ie to retouch or add filters to your images.

Now there are a range of plugins available for printing your images and turning them into photo books.

Some of you may remember that there was the option of doing this in Aperture (rest in peace), however the selection available at the moment are very much consumer focused services and not the likes of Queensbury or Couture Books et al.

All you need to do is head to the App Store to find the appropriate app (links below) and it will install itself. When you launch the apps all that will show is a splash screen as the apps themselves are installed into the photos app as a project option in the sidebar on the left.

This is a little clumsy and I think the need to have an external app to do this is a bit confusing but nonetheless that’s how it’s done.


Available Now

1. Whitewall

Whitewall is a popular service for creating framed prints at lots of different sizes with lots of customisable options.

2. Mimeo

Mimeo has a similar offering to Apple’s own range of printable products but its always good to have a choice right?


Coming Soon...

3. Motif

Motif is actually a plugin that was created by the company that used to print all of apples print products and as such means that the products will be quite familiar to anyone who used to use Apples print services. At the moment they are Ireland and a few other European Countries only but I have been assured that they are making their way over to Europe very soon. These guys definitely look like the easiest option and feature slightly more sophisticated designs.


 


Exploring iOS 12: Screen Time

Screentime: A Wake Up to Tech Addiction

For quite some time now we have all been commenting on the increase in technology addiction and how people using social media and phone apps engage less and less with the “Real” world and those around them. Screen time is out to change that.

Apple have put together the Screen Time app that easily and clearly shows us how much time we are spending on each and activity. Prepare to be shocked by your own habits! It goes one step further than just showing us, it allows us to actually set an allowance of how much time you want to spend in each app each day.

So if your an instagram addict or a facebook fanatic and you want to get some control over how much of your life you invest in these apps you can set your own limits an get warned when you are approaching them.

When you hit your limit you’ll be met with a blank screen with a warning and a button to let you extend your time in the app -which means that any extension of time is an affirmative action by you - so you only have yourself to blame!

We think its a really positive step that, despite at first appearance seems to fly in the face of what a tech company’s normal motivations are, could end up improving Apple’s reputation and bringing back some Humanity to the technology we use.


So what's a HEIF anyway?

HEIF or High Efficiency Image Format is the new format that Apple is going all in on for their devices and products from the release of iOS 11 onwards (any day now). It will replace JPEGS as the standard format for iPhones (which happen to be the most used cameras in the world).

Of course any changes like this tend to cause panic amongst those used to doing things a certain way so we will take a moment to explain what HEIF is and how it will (or won't) affect you.

What is it?

HEIF is actually the still image form of the H.265 video format that is now a go to standard. The biggest advantage to you and me is that a HEIF file will take up roughly half the space of an ordinary JPEG but will actually be higher quality in terms of clarity and colour reproduction. This will mean you will free up a huge amount of space on your iPhone, as it is generally photographs that take up the majority of space on our devices these days, this is particularly useful for those who opted for a 16gb iPhone (I couldn't cope!).

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) has been around a very long time and significant advances have been made in imaging technology so it seems only right that it should now be replaced with a superior and more efficient format.

So other than space what else can this new format do?

The efficiency of HEIF means that it should also be less taxing on your devices processor and ultimately the battery too. Encoding of the format is hardware accelerated on Apple devices.

The other point is rather than being just a filetype, a HEIF is actually a container. What this means is that it can be more than just a simple image. It can be a collection of images and include sound. If that sounds familiar it should, Apple's Live Photo feature has these elements and this is partly why Apple are choosing this format as it allows them to experiment with photography on their phones with greater flexibility. It can also handle transparency like a GIF file.

The only way is up! Right?

There are no downsides I can think of in using HEIF over JPEG. Currently JPEG is king in the world of photography. Apple has made it clear that when using HEIF in iOS 11 - you won't notice any difference in what you do. The images are taken in HEIF but when you need to send them to someone or upload them somewhere they are dynamically converted to JPEG to ensure complete compatibility.

So you don't need to worry about converting anything or incompatibility. Basically until the rest of the world catches up and switches over, you will benefit from extra space and speed. When the world (and indeed the web) switches over to this format browsing websites will be much faster and that can only a good thing.


Is Apple working on an actual TV?

Some blurry shots surfaced today that seemed to suggest Apple may be working on creating a full blown television screen - jumping beyond the set top box market.

They seem to be in an acoustics testing facility.

It is said to be a 60 inch display completely encased in aluminium with cameras and microphones with all the electronics in a small area in the stand and featuring an OLED screen.

It may, of course, also be a next generation display for the upcoming Mac Pro redesign but at 60 inches it may be pushing the practicality a bit far.

Of course, many products Apple test never see the light of day but it would mark an expansion into consumer electronics that has been on the rise since the acquisition of Beats Audio and the release of AirPods, Apple Watch and the upcoming Homepod due to be released in December.

Do you think an Apple TV would be worth the inevitable premium? Would you queue for one?

P.s. What are these images always so blurry? HD cameras have been around for a while now. What gives?


Sapphire to make your tech sparkle!

So according to reports it looks like Apple may be looking to replace the Gorilla Glass on its devices with Sapphire. At the moment Sapphire glass is 10-30 times more expensive than Gorilla Glass from Corning, however, it appears that Apple has invested heavily in the development of the production process of Sapphire glass (which is already used for the home button on the iPhone 5s).

Apple has made a deal with the manufacturer, GT Advanced Technologies, and together with a Solar Panel Company Apple acquired to access its Ion Particle Accelerator technology, it will be able to manufacture the thin slices of sapphire at a much lower price. This may mean that before long the entire screens of our devices will be super hard waring.

Personally, I look forward to the day that I don't have to apply one of those awful bubble blighted screen protectors.