John Voorhees

Managing Editor

Twitter: @johnvoorheesEmail: voorhees@macstories.net

John, MacStories’ Managing Editor, has been writing about Apple and apps since joining the team in 2015. He also co-hosts MacStories’ podcasts, including AppStories, which explores of the world of apps, MacStories Unwind, a weekly recap of everything MacStories and more, and MacStories Unplugged, a behind-the-scenes, anything-goes show exclusively for Club MacStories members.

Using Due as a Work Habit Tracker

THE EXTENSION

Exploring topics beyond our day-to-day coverage.

Using Due as a Work Habit Tracker

I’ve used habit tracking apps for years but don’t usually stick with them for too long. There are lots of great apps in the category to choose from that are flexible enough to work with any sort of task. However, the apps usually focus on personal goals like reading more, eating better, or exercising. Habit trackers are effective, but I think the reason I have a hard time sticking with habit trackers is that they feel too much like a parallel task management system, and I have enough tasks to look after already.

Still, there’s a lot to be said for the sort of reminder systems habit trackers offer. The entire premise is to form habits through repetition and reminders, and it works. That got me thinking about how the same sort of workflow could be used to reinforce scheduled work tasks, which led me to begin using Due on the Mac and iOS/iPadOS more.

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App Debuts

APP DEBUTS

Noteworthy new app releases and updates, handpicked by the MacStories team.

Ancient Board Game Collection

I enjoy history and videogames, so Ancient Board Game Collection immediately caught my eye when I heard from its developer recently. The game is a collection of board games created thousands of years ago around the world. There’s a game played by the Vikings called Hnefatafl, another from Ancient Rome called Latrunculi, and others, all recreated for the iPhone and iPad (and playable on M1 Macs) and designed with artwork from the country that originated the game. In total, there are nine challenging games with more planned for the future.

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6 Lessons From 6 Years Using HomeKit Devices

MACSTORIES COLLECTIONS

6 Lessons From 6 Years Using HomeKit Devices

I’ve lived with a wide variety of HomeKit accessories for over six years. I love tinkering with home automation setups, but I’ve learned to be more cautious than when I first started testing new devices. That’s in large measure because the promise of home automation devices doesn’t always live up to the hype, especially when those devices collide with the realities of everyday life. I’m still a fan of home automation, but today, I thought I’d share some things to keep in mind as you build out a home automation setup for yourself that have kept me from repeating some of my past mistakes.

1. Avoid Hubs When Possible

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App Debuts

APP DEBUTS

Noteworthy new app releases and updates, handpicked by the MacStories team.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a new utility for generating wallpapers for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV that offers multiple styles. I love gradient wallpapers, and Acrylic’s are some of the nicest I’ve seen. There’s also a 3D scene generator that can create images for interesting 3D effects that are eye-catching on a Lock Screen. Everything syncs over iCloud, and the app also includes Shortcuts support for incorporating wallpaper generation into your shortcuts. For the first month from the app’s release, 70% of the $1.99 app’s proceeds are being donated to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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Interesting Links

App Debuts

APP DEBUTS

Noteworthy new app releases and updates, handpicked by the MacStories team.

ReelTime

ReelTime, which debuted last fall, is a TV show and movie tracker for the iPhone and iPad that just released an update that integrates with Trakt’s sync service, so your watchlists, ratings, and other information is synced between multiple devices. One of the app’s more interesting features is its ability to monitor release dates for changes and then notify you of the new dates. The app also added JustWatch integration, which lets you know which services carry the shows and movies you want to watch. These are all excellent additions to a tightly integrated system for keeping track of everything you watch in one place.

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Combining Apple's TV Ambitions with Gaming

THE EXTENSION

Exploring topics beyond our day-to-day coverage.

Combining Apple's TV Ambitions with Gaming

By all accounts, 2022 is likely to be a busy hardware year for Apple, with rumors of new Macs, AirPods, and HomePods, along with an AR headset all rumored. That may make other new products unlikely, but it can’t stop me from imagining new hardware and services I’d like to see Apple release.

Ever since Federico and I recorded this week’s episode of AppStories about the state of gaming on Apple devices, I’ve been thinking about ways Apple could do more with videogames. The videogame industry is enormous, and although the competition is stiff, there’s plenty of room for Apple to carve out a unique corner in the market that would complement its video streaming efforts. And even a small percentage of a large market has the potential to generate a lot of revenue for the company.

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