This week’s highlights include audio workstation FL Studio 20 released for Mac, Evernote for iOS allowing Bluetooth headphones to be used for audio note recording, and Procreate Pocket 2 for iOS.
DEVONthink 2.10 & DEVONthink To Go 2.6
DEVONthink is a management tool for documents and notes. Users can pull from sources like email and scanned paper documents, and view and edit files, for instance annotating PDFs.
The latest mobile and desktop versions add iCloud to their list of sync options, which until now have included Dropbox, WebDAV, LAN, and removable media. The Mac client has also gained optional automatic sync whenever a user switches apps or quits, drag-and-drop inclusion of pages in a PDF file, and new scripts for archiving email.
DEVONthink To Go improvements include the ability to manually deactive sync locations, searching from the database list on the homescreen, and more.
Get it for iOS: $14.99. Requires iOS 9.1 or later.
Get it for macOS: $49.95. Requires OS X Yosemite or later.
FL Studio 20
Actually a successor to FL Studio 12, the latest version of the digital audio workstation (DAW) is the first to become a native 64-bit Mac app, compatible with AU and VST plugins, and projects originated on Windows PCs. The software now also supports unlimited time signature changes, on-the-fly rendering of clips, and multiple Arrangements in the Playlist.
The Plugin Delay Compensation feature has been rebuilt, supporting simultaneous manual and automatic uses. Other improvements include new recording options and a smoother workflow.
Get it for macOS: $99. The software is free for existing FL Studio owners.
The email app now lets teams discuss emails using private, in-line comments below a message, making it easier for colleagues to understand references. Expanded sharing can create links to emails and message threads, with adjustable permissions for the sake of privacy.
Other upgrades let users participate in group email composition, and invite peers to email threads directly instead of relying on forwarded emails. New third-party integrations on iOS include Reminders, Files, Wunderlist, Todoist, Trello, Things, 2Do, Asana, and Bear. The Mac client has a new calendar interface.
Get it for iOS: Free. Requires iOS 10 or later.
Get it for macOS: Free.
Thrones of Britannia: A Total War Saga
Coming to Macs on May 24, Thrones of Britannia takes the Total War series to Britain in 878 as the Saxons, Welsh, Vikings, and Gaelic clans fight for land. Gameplay consists of turn-based strategy and diplomacy, switching to real-time 3D on the battlefield.
The main campaign puts players in charge of one of 10 factions with a branching storyline that can change historical events. Multiplayer supports up to 8 people.
Get it for macOS: $39.99. Requires macOS 10.13.4, a 1.8GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and 15GB of hard disk space. Most recent iMacs, Mac Pros, and MacBook Pros are supported, but gamers will need the best possible configurations to maximize 3D fidelity.
PopChar X 8.3
PopChar X adds an item to the macOS menu bar that makes it easier to insert special characters that might otherwise require unusual keyboard combos.
The 8.3 update adds an option to show font names in their own fonts, much as in software like Microsoft Word. Users can also insert HTML characters in hexadecimal, disable version checks in fullscreen mode, and choose whether to remember the selected font for all apps, instead of on a per-app basis.
Get it for macOS: 29.99 euros. Requires macOS 10.6 or later.
Castro Podcasts 3.0
Castro attempts to simplify large podcast collections through an “inbox” system. As new episodes pile into the inbox, users pick which ones they want to add to the Queue, a playlist which is automatically downloaded and can be reorganized at will. Other inbox items are archived, which makes it easier to find and listen to old material without downloading every file.
The 3.0 update uses a rebuilt engine, with more responsive controls and faster stream launches. The player screen sports a new layout, as well as a shortcut to AirPlay, and the option to star an episode by double-tapping its artwork. A companion Apple Watch app can be used to control playback and pick from queued episodes.
For our CarPlay users, Castro does support CarPlay, which makes podcast listening on the commute that much better.
Get it for iOS: Free. Requires iOS 11.3 or later.
Evernote for iOS 8.12
People with mic-equipped Bluetooth headphones, such as Apple’s AirPods, can now use them to record audio notes. Evernote has also restored the Context feature for Premium and Business customers, and made adjustments to the note list view so it’s always clear which date users are on and how to jump from month to month.
The sharing menu should be easier to use, and bugfixes solve problems with the app’s widget, bullet formatting in previews, and miscellaneous sync and copy/paste functions.
Get it for iOS: Free. Requires iOS 10.3 or later.
Procreate Pocket 2
A major update to Procreate Pocket, version 2 of the art app has a brand new interface designed for iPhone X and iOS 11, including 136 handmade brushes, large canvases, and an advanced layer system, all using the same graphics engine used in Procreate for iPad.
Pressure-sensitive painting using 3D Touch is available, with the Smudge tool upgraded to sample 64 bits per pixel, and practically every major feature of iPad’s Procreate makes the transition over to the updated Pocket 2.
Two new features are also included in Pocket 2 that aren’t available on the iPad yet, with Brush Set export and import allowing users to share their brushes with others. The other, the 30 Second Time-Lapse Export, records every change to an artwork to a frame of video, which after non-essential frames are removed, can be shared on social media to show the artwork being produced.
Get it for iOS: $4.99, but as a free update for existing users. Requires iOS 11 or later.
HomeScan for HomeKit
HomeScan is a tool for diagnosing signal issues between HomeKit devices that use Bluetooth. The iOS app is able to monitor the signal strength of nearby devices, allowing them to be optimally placed within range of other items in the home, in an attempt to reduce latency and signal interference problems.
For example, you could check the strength of the HomeKit Hub using your iPhone, then placing the iPhone running the app where you think another HomeKit device would be ideal to place, before properly installing the hardware.
Peak and average signal strengths are provided on a per-device basis, and can be graphed to show changes over a set period of time. There is also an Apple Watch app for on-the-wrist signal measuring.
Get it for iOS: $0.99. Requires iOS 11.3 or later.
Find Me GF
This is somewhat controversial, but shouldn’t be: There are a large number of people who suffer from Celiac Disease, which is the inability to process Gluten. There are also people who have real, legitimate allergies to wheat (not the gluten, but the wheat), as diagnosed by allergists with labwork. Unsurprisingly, people with these conditions need to eat. For a sufferer of Celiac Disease, exposure to gluten can tear up the esophagus and cause scarring, (eosinophilic esophagitis can be related) and it takes as much as a month to heal. Knowing what to eat, and how to avoid cross-contamination or accidental exposure is very difficult. Add to that the mixed blessing that is the GF fad diet, where people who don’t need a gluten-free diet adhere to one anyway, and it all creates a dangerous situation for these sufferers. It’s a mixed blessing because it’s made it easier than ever to get safe foods in stores and restaurants, but it has also led to a backlash from restaurants and non-sufferers which causes cross-contamination risk to be increased.
A person who suffers this basically had to choose to not eat out, stay home, and prepare all foods themselves, or run a huge risk. That’s changed, with the information in Find Me GF, which catalogs celiac friendly, dedicated GF, restaurants by best rated, closest, address, category, and whether or not lunch is served. It’s free to get started, but if you need to search those which are celiac friendly, there’s a yearly subscription of 19.99 USD. This subscription allows them to keep putting in the work to keep the information up to date. Purchasing the subscription also allows you to apply filters to the search results, making it really handy.
Get it for iOS: Free, 19.99 in app purchase. Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
It’s also available as a website, at findmeglutenfree.com
The Gluten Free Scanner
The Gluten Free Scanner exists to solve the same kind of problem while shopping. There are different certification organizations for verifying a product is gluten-free, and to which standard (20ppm, the US federal standard, or 10ppm as the gfco tests to.) When shopping, it’s hard to tell what products really are safe, and the Gluten Free Scanner app makes it easier. They claim to have a team of registered dietitians, nutritionists and researchers that work on the accuracy of the database. They have over 500,000 products in the database, so it’s definitely a valuable resource.
Get it for iOS: Free, 3.99 to unlock full version. Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Is That Gluten Free?
Solving the same kind of problem, but without the barcode scanner, Is That Gluten Free? has a list of 34,000 products and 1650 brands, making it easy to find out quickly if something is on the list or not. They also have a Is That Gluten Free companion app, which works similarly. Both are highly regarded and make the difference in what otherwise can be a tough meal-planning exercise.
Get it for iOS: $7.99 Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.