Apple soups up Logic Pro X ahead of Mac Pro launch

When it announced the long-awaited Mac Pro relaunch onstage at WWDC last week, Apple settled on creative pro software as the best way to illustrate the desktop’s power. Along with Final Cut, Logic was one of the centerpieces of that introduction.

Today the company issued the update to Logic Pro X illustrated onstage. Version 10.4.5 of the pro-level music production software supports up to 56 processing threads, and up to 1,000 audio tracks and software instrument tracks.

That can be augmented with 1,000 auxiliary channel strips and 1,000 external MIDI tracks. The company says the new version is capable of handling five times as many real-time plug-ins on the software as the last version of the Mac Pro.

There a handful of other smaller updates, as well. Per Apple:

  • The loop browser can filter by loop type and allows drag and drop of multiple loops into your project simultaneously.
  • The redesigned DeEsser 2 plug-in provides more options to reduce sibilance on audio tracks.
  • MIDI beat clocks can be sent to individual ports, each with unique settings like timing offset and plug-in delay compensation.

Version 10.4.5 is out today for $200 or as a free update to existing users. The new Mac Pro, meanwhile, isn’t set to be released until the fall.

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NFC gets a lot more powerful in iOS 13

NFC — the technology that helps power Apple Pay as well other clever features for iOS apps like Launch Center Pro’s tappable stickers — is getting a big upgrade with the launch of iOS 13, due out this fall. Instead of only allowing iPhone apps to read NFC tags, apps will be able to write directly to blank tags, as well as interact with tags through native protocols. This opens up a range of new application possibilities, Apple told attendees at its Worldwide Developer Conference last week, including the ability to create apps that read passports and contactless smart cards and interact with NFC-enabled hardware.

We’ve already seen the potential for NFC that goes beyond just an easier way to check out at point-of-sale in a traditional retail environment, as with Apple Pay.

For example, both Apple and Google recently announced support for Apple Pay and Google Pay-enabled contactless payments for the NYC Subway. Portland offers something similar, as do several other international cities.

With the updates to the core NFC framework, however, the iPhone’s NFC capabilities will get even more powerful.

With iOS 13 (on iPhone 7 and up), users will be able to read a range of contactless smartcards and tags, including NFC-enabled passports and other government IDs.

There are already solutions in the works that will take advantage of this new feature.

For example, both Engadget Japan and Nikkei have reported the Japanese government will add support for NFC tag reading to Japan’s national ID (Individual Number Card) when iOS 13 launches later this year.

The news was confirmed by the Japanese government, via a tweet from an advisor to the government’s CIO:

In addition, the U.K. government’s NFC passport reader … Read the rest

What do subscription services and streaming mean for the future of gaming?

The future of gaming is streaming. If that wasn’t painfully obvious to you a week ago, it certainly ought to be now. Google got ahead of E3 late last week by finally shedding light on Stadia, a streaming service that promises a hardware agnostic gaming future.

It’s still very early days, of course. We got a demo of the platform right around the time of its original announcement. But it was a controlled one — about all we can hope for at the moment. There are still plenty of moving parts to contend with here, including, perhaps most consequentially, broadband caps.

But this much is certainly clear: Google’s not the only company committed to the idea of remote game streaming. Microsoft didn’t devote a lot of time to Project xCloud on stage the other day — on fact, the pass with which the company blew threw that announcement was almost news in and of itself.

It did, however, promise an October arrival for the service — beating out Stadia by a full month. The other big piece of the announcement was the ability for Xbox One owners to use their console as a streaming source for their own remote game play. Though how that works and what, precisely, the advantage remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that Microsoft is hanging its hat on the Xbox as a point of distinction from Google’s offering.

It’s clear too, of course, that Microsoft is still invested in console hardware as a key driver of its gaming future. Just after rushing through all of that Project xCloud noise, it took the wraps off of Project Scarlett, its next-gen console. We know it will feature 8K content, some crazy fast frame rates and a new Halo title. Oh, and there’s an optical … Read the rest

iMovie’s big iOS update adds 80 new soundtracks, green-screen effects, image overlays

Ahead of the public launch of Apple’s revamped suite of first-party apps on iOS 13, the company has rolled out a new version of its popular video editor, iMovie for iOS. With the app’s most recent update, iMovie has received a host of new features — most notably, support for a green-screen effect that lets you remove the background from clips, as well as the addition of 80 new soundtracks across a variety of genres.

The green-screen support, in particular, could make iMovie a better competitor to the third-party video editors that tend to offer more advanced feature sets, while also keeping things simple for less-savvy users.

Apple says users of the new version (2.2.7) will be able to remove backgrounds from any clips shot in front of a blue or green screen, as well as adjust the clip with a four-point mask and strength slider.

Its 80 new soundtracks include genres like pop, chill and sentimental that will automatically adjust to the length of the movie.

In terms of new effects, iMovie will now allow users to add photos as overlays to create picture-in-picture and split-screen effects, as well as opt to hide the border on those. These were some of iMovie’s more requested features, in fact, and one of the reasons people went elsewhere for video-editing apps.

Other new features are designed to make iMovie easier to use. For example, when you switch back to the iOS app from other applications, it will take you right to the edit screen of your project. It has also tucked away access to iMovie Theater from the three-dot ( … ) more menu, as it’s shifting users to share videos to iCloud instead.

And, as part of other classroom-focused updates, iMovie now supports ClassKit, which means students can deliver their … Read the rest

Apple joins the open-source Cloud Native Computing Foundation

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the home of open-source projects like Kubernetes, today announced that Apple is joining as a top-level Platinum End User Member. With this, Apple is joining 89 existing CNCF end-user members like Adidas, Atlassian, Box, GitHub, The New York Times, Reddit, Spotify and Walmart.

Apple, in typical fashion, isn’t commenting on the announcement, but the CNCF notes that end-user memberships are meant for organizations that are “heavy users of open source cloud native technologies” and that are looking to give back to the community. By becoming a CNCF end-user member, companies also join the Linux Foundation .

As part of its membership, Apple also gets a seat on the CNCF’s Governing Board. Tomer Doron, a senior engineering manager at Apple, will take this seat.

“Having a company with the experience and scale of Apple as an end-user member is a huge testament to the vitality of cloud native computing for the future of infrastructure and application development,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “We’re thrilled to have the support of Apple, and look forward to the future contributions to the broader cloud-native project community.”

While you may not necessarily think of Apple as a major open-source company, the company has open- sourced everything from the XNU kernel that’s part of the Darwin operating system to its Swift programming language. The company has not typically participated all that much in the open-source cloud infrastructure community, though, but today’s move may signal that this is changing. Apple obviously runs its own data centers, so chances are it is indeed a heavy user of open-source infrastructure projects, though the company doesn’t typically talk about these.

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