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Offsite Siri Shortcuts Video

Automation for AirTags: what the U1 chip means (beyond finding lost devices)

Apple’s new AirTags are their cheapest standalone product, yet I think they’re one of the most interesting released in a while.

And that’s because of the U1 chip inside – now the fourth Apple product besides iPhone, Apple Watch, and HomePod mini to include one.

This ultra-wideband technology has super-precise tracking technology, which I think could enable a whole new wave of automation capabilities for Apple devices.

I made a video that explains my thoughts on what I’m calling “Spatial Awareness for Siri” – you can watch the whole thing on YouTube in under 3 minutes:

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Newsletter Offsite

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 31

Originally posted as What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 31sign up for the newsletter here.

Hello folks,

Yesterday, Apple announced a new iPad Pro, new iMacs, an upgraded Siri remote alongside a new Apple TV, and AirTags – lots to digest.

I’m super excited about Apple bringing the M1 chip to the iPad Pro – it means there’s more power coming to iPad, it shares a chip architecture with Macs, and that means more attention as well as opportunities for users.
I’m hoping that also means Shortcuts for Mac is less a question about how it’d work being built for iOS instead of Mac, which I thought would be preventative in the past… very interesting times we’re in right now.

There wasn’t a mention on-stage or in the one-shot slide of AirTags features whether there’s any type of Automations support for AirTags, so I’m hoping that’s a feature we’ll figure out or get later on.
Until pre-orders kick off this Friday, here’s what’s new in Shortcuts this week:

🆕 NEW FROM ME THIS WEEK

Lots of member materials this week (I’ve got a slew of public shortcuts coming soon), so sign up to get the goodness:

Categories
Newsletter

“What’s New in Shortcuts?” Issue 28

This originally appeared in Issue 28 of “What’s New in Shortcuts?”

After last week’s outage with Shortcuts links shared online, I received a statement from Apple on the manner:

“We are aware of an issue where previously shared shortcuts are currently unavailable. Newly shared shortcuts are available, and we are working to restore previously shared shortcuts as quickly as possible.”

Since then, they seem to have begun restoring access to previous iCloud links (according to Federico Viticci’s tweets).

It was good to see Apple give a proper response to the situation as well as promptly begin fixing things – although I haven’t received any official statement as a follow-up, so it’s unclear whether it has been fully resolved yet.

I hope Apple also reconsiders making .shortcut files available to install locally so users don’t have to rely on links instead of actual files for the multitude of programs that they spend time and effort creating with this app.

Despite the issues, the Shortcuts community didn’t stop this week – and I put together a fun Overcast shortcut for members:

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Apps Links Offsite Video

Walking through the Home app (with Joey Banks)

On Thursday March 25, I streamed with my designer friend Joey Banks and walked him through some of the oddities of the Home app, working on scenes, grouping devices, and HomeKit automations:

Catch the replay on YouTube – and add my livestream calendar to tune into future streams.

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 14

View the original issue.

This is the week! Once iOS 14.3 drops, millions of people will update their smartphones and suddenly be able to create their “app ideas” by adding them as shortcuts to their Home Screen.

The main change? The limitation where “custom icons always open into Shortcuts first” is now gone!

Shortcuts added to the Home Screen actually behave like you’d expect, opening into apps immediately – plus they run all the scripting actions perfectly, just like the Shortcuts widget.

I’ve tried to capture my excitement in a video – look for it soon on YouTube. But until then, here’s what’s new in Shortcuts this week:

Categories
Newsletter

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 10

Originally posted as ”What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 10”sign up for the newsletter here.

Welcome to Issue 10 of “What’s New in Shortcuts?”

Hello all – the big news this week is the return of Set Wallpaper in the iOS 14.3 beta!

It was present in a handful of betas in early iOS 13 days, but was removed and hadn’t come back… until now. Hopefully Apple’s resolved any issues and smoothes out the process in future betas, but I’m excited for it to roll out to the wider community – I have a feeling it’ll be popular.

Other than that, I’ve got new tools for new devices, links to the beta actions on my site, and shortcuts for my new favorite app Craft – enjoy:

🍎 APPLE GEAR: ROUND 3

‘Tis the season for product releases and this last week (and the next) are no exception – here’s a handful of shortcuts for people with big phones and HomePod minis:

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Offsite Podcasts Siri Shortcuts

Appearance – Clockwise #353: “Shortcuts Concierge”

I had the pleasure of being a guest on episode 353 of the Clockwise podcast from Relay FM, joining Brianna Wu, Jason Snell, and Dan Moren for a 30-minute round table discussion of the week’s news.

We talked about Apple silicon and what it means for gaming as well as whether we’ll be buying the first round of Macs, our beta-installation strategies, and how to use Shortcuts for public good.

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Links

What is Spatial Audio, Why Does it Matter, and What’s Apple’s Plan?

Em Lazer-Walker, Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, on what she’s calling the “audio version of ARKit” in iOS 14:

They talked about this largely in context of playing movies with multi-channel surround sound, but that’s probably the least interesting application of spatial audio.

As someone who’s been working in the field for a long time — my research at the MIT Media Lab in 2015 and 2016 focused on location-based storytelling in public spaces using spatial audio — I wanted to try to give some context around why this is interesting and what it might enable.

Fascinating summary of Apple’s new Spatial Audio feature and its potential – this covers what it is, how it differs from surround sound, and goes into detailed applications for this like wayfinding, vocal content, and real-world play/gaming experiences.

Read the full post on dev.to.

Categories
Links News

Apple execs talk updates on The Talk Show, WVFRM with MKBHD

Every year for the past few years, John Gruber of Daring Fireball has interviewed an Apple executive or two on his podcast The Talk Show, just after WWDC and often in a venue right nearby the conference.

This year, as with everything else WWDC, it was done online, with special guests Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Apple, and Greg Jozwiak, Apple’s Vice President of Product Marketing.

Federighi and “Joz” filmed from Apple Park (in seemingly separate rooms, as one does nowadays) over the web with Gruber for over an hour and a half, which you can watch on YouTube:

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

14 Accessibility shortcuts for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

On episode 30 of Smart Tech Today, I spent about 10 minutes describing a series of shortcuts I put together that take advantage of the accessibility actions found in the Shortcuts app ahead of today, May 21, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

Accessibility features are incredibly important for modern technology to provide, making it possible for everyone to utilize their hardware & software regardless of their personal situation – you either have direct accessibility needs that require specific use of your technology, you’ll one day need them yourself, or you benefit from those features anyway (think Dark mode).

The Shortcuts app has always been an Accessibility priority for Apple, with them declaring as much in their confirmation story when they acquisition of the Workflow app before it became Shortcuts1:

“The Workflow app was selected for an Apple Design Award in 2015 because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision.”

In iOS 13, Apple went further and added a set of actions to Shortcuts for controlling Accessibility features, available to use inside the shortcut editor in Apps > Settings.