Apple iTunes is dead. Long live Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. That’s right, after 18 years of service, Apple is killing iTunes off. Finally. Much to the relief of anyone who has struggled to get to grips with the bloated mess we call iTunes.
A Brief History of Apple iTunes
In 2001, Apple launched iTunes, which it described at the time as “the world’s best and easiest to use jukebox software.” It was created to help Mac users create and manage their music library, and it did exactly that. And at the time it was revolutionary.
Apple built iTunes to be a one-stop-shop for your entertainment needs. Unfortunately, that meant iTunes became increasingly bloated as people’s digital habits evolved. And as iTunes became more bloated it became less usable. Hence Apple’s decision to kill iTunes.
The End Is Nigh for Apple iTunes
Apple announced the end is nigh for iTunes at WWDC 2019. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, actually cracked a funny by suggesting Apple was going to add even more bloat to this already bloated piece of software.
Thankfully, he was joking, and Apple is actually splitting iTunes up into three separate apps. These being Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. These are all new apps built from scratch, so they look and feel like they’re from 2019 rather than 2001.
Apple Music will be solely focused on music, be based on iTunes, and boast some of its best features. You’ll be able to access your own library of music, or (if you pay for a subscription) discover the millions of songs available to stream.
Apple TV will be the new home for your movies, TV shows, and (when it launches) Apple TV+. You’ll be able to watch all of your content in the app, and pick up where you left off across your devices. On Mac, the Apple TV app will also support 4K content.
Apple Podcasts will bring “700,000 of the best entertainment, comedy, news, and sports shows” to your Mac. You’ll be able to search by podcasts “by title, topic, guest, host, and more,” and subscribe to specific shows to be notified about new episodes.
One of the more ambitious projects Apple had in the works was its AirPower charging mat. The wireless charging mat promised to charge three devices at a time by simply having the devices placed on it.
While exciting, the mat was also one of Apple’s most mysterious devices, as the company has been more or less quiet on it since the initial announcement back when the iPhone X was revealed in 2017. Since then, the device has come up a few times during presentations, but there was never a release date given.
Today, Apple finally threw in the towel on the device, citing an inability to meet its high standards.
What Happened With Apple’s AirPower?
Apple’s Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering, sent a statement to TechCrunch with a short statement breaking down what happened with AirPower:
After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have canceled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.
Because the device was being designed to charge multiple pieces of hardware at the same time, it was clearly complicated to get up and running.
Additionally, Apple used different wireless charging systems for the iPhone and the Apple Watch, which would make charging both at the same time even more complicated. That very well might explain why Apple had to give up on the charger.
There has been no shortage of rumors about the fate of AirPower, and at least Apple fans who were waiting for the device will get some closure!
Thankfully, AirPower isn’t the only way to wirelessly charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. There are tons of Qi wireless charging pads out there on Amazon that support Apple devices, so even without the official option, your choices are anything but limited.
It looks like Nokia phones are finally going to be available in the United States thanks to HMD Global and wireless carriers Cricket and Verizon. Two models are set to release later this month, so Nokia fans won’t have to wait too long to get their hands on the Nokia 3.1 Plus and the Nokia 2 V.
And best of all, they’re both budget-friendly phones, so you won’t need to break the bank to get your hands on one!
The Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 2 V
Starting with the higher-end Nokia 3.1 Plus, buyers will find an impressive 5.99-inch screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It comes with a beefy 3500mAh battery that should last around two days before needing a charge. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor, which is pretty solid for a budget phone. It’ll have 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which is pretty standard for a cheaper phone.
The Nokia 2, which will be called the Nokia 2 V in the US comes with a 5.5-inch HD screen. Its main selling point, outside of being cheap, is the giant 4,000mAh battery that will be able to run for an extended period before needing a charge. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, which is pretty modest. However, it should be powerful enough for budget smartphone shoppers. It only comes with 8GB of storage out-of-the-box but has support for MicroSD cards up to 128GB.
The Nokia 3.1 will be available from Cricket Wireless starting on January 25, 2019, for a very reasonable $ 159.99. The Nokia 2 V, will be available through Verizon on January 31, and HMD Global didn’t announce a price for that device just yet. However, the entry level phone is listed for $ 99 elsewhere.
The Future of Nokia In North America
In a press release, Florian Seiche, Chief Executive Officer of HMD Global commented on the releases and Nokia’s plans for the future in North America.
We are extremely excited and committed to build long-term strategic partnerships with the leading carriers in North America. Our Nokia phone promise is distinct and built on consumer insight – European design and craftsmanship, excellent quality, latest Android and purposeful innovation that enhances your everyday user experience. We want consumers in North America to love and trust their Nokia phones.
Pushing that idea further, Maurizio Angelone, Vice President Americas of HMD Global said, “In 2019 and beyond, we will continue to give consumers a versatile line up of Nokia phones they can use unlocked or with their preferred wireless providers.”
It sounds like these won’t be the last Nokia smartphones to make their way to North America, as the company appears to have big plans going forward.
You’ve spent years talking about how you wanted to write a novel. It’s time to finally make that happen, with the help of a few apps that show you how to get started, keep going, and break the book into achievable goals.
These apps and sites attack different aspects of writing. Some focus on forming a habit of writing regularly, which is what most beginners find difficult. Others are strong writing tools that break down your novel by characters, scenes, chapters, and so on, and let you add ideas accordingly.
Prolifiko (Web): Guide to Writing Sprints and Daily Goals
Prolifiko recognizes that the biggest obstacle to writing a book is writing itself. Authors get caught up in thinking about their big idea, and re-thinking, and over-thinking. The act of writing takes a back seat.
The app’s purpose is to make writing a regular habit, and it uses multiple productivity methods to do this. It makes you set short-term goals, and provides motivational messages as well as tips on how to achieve them. It doesn’t include a word processor, so you’ll have to rely on Microsoft Word or the best alternative word processors.
In the free version of Prolifiko, you can try out what they call a “writing sprint”, which is a 7-day course to write as much as you can. It incorporates everything you’ll get in the final product, including the daily boosts and tips. If you like it, Prolifiko costs £5.99/month or £59.99/year, and works on desktop and mobile.
Given how difficult it is to form the daily habit of writing, you might feel like a failure whenever you don’t do it. But there are thousands of people like you. And just talking with them at 200 Words A Day (2WAD) can help you get back in the groove.
This isn’t the first app of its type, as we have seen others like 750 Words with a similar concept among apps to break writer’s block. But 750 words might be a bit much for a daily writing exercise. Plus, 200 Words seems about the right amount if you want to write about something that’s not about your novel. Pen your thoughts, talk in the community, or go on a random rant. As long as you are typing a minimum of 200 words on the screen, it counts as progress.
Your posts can be private or public. 2WAD also has an active Slack channel where its members help each other with motivation, relaxation, or general distraction.
YWriter (Android, iOS, Windows): Jot Notes on Different Parts of Novel
Writing a novel isn’t easy. You won’t always write it linearly, from the first chapter to the last. You’ll need to make notes about characters, places, plots, scenes, and so on. Ywriter makes all of that easy on your mobile.
You can break the entire novel into different chapters. Each chapter has multiple scenes as well. And characters get their own pages with character details. Any time you get a new idea, jump into that section with a few taps and start writing whatever you think of.
I find YWriter to be best as a mobile app, but there is a robust Windows version too with all of these features. But remember that YWriter isn’t a word processing software, it’s more to keep all your ideas in one place.
True Novelist (Web): Free Online Novel Writing App With Statistics
True Novelist is a free web app that addresses most of the needs of any novel writer. This includes a full-fledged word processor, along with plenty of organizational features.
The novel is, by default, broken up into categories (like story and research) and sub-categories (chapters, characters, places, scenes, etc.) You can rename any of the sub-categories, and you are free to add as much or as little as you want.
True Novelist also makes you accountable. It keeps a track of how many words you have written on any day, as well as how long you took for it. Over time, this provides a good snapshot of your productivity and writing streaks. The app also includes the option to set a daily goal for how many words you will finish each day.
Don’t worry about privacy or copyrights. True Novelist encrypts your entire novel before storing it online, and only you can access it with your password. And yes, you own 100% of your work.
Edward (Web): Robust Online Book Writer and Organizer
True Novelist is great because it is simple. For some people with an epic tale in their head, that might not be enough. Edward is a more robust online tool for authors to organize their thoughts and write the novel.
Edward divides the writing process into four steps: plan, outline, write, and analyze. Each tab has its own tools to help you organize your thoughts into something more coherent than the mish-mash of ideas in your head. One of the best ways to do this is by creating tags in Edward, which can then be applied in any of the four categories so you can cross-reference them.
The free version of Edward is a good place to start your novel and trial the software at the same time since it has most of the features of the paid version. If you find it useful, you can pay to get online storage and backup of all your ideas. If you don’t find it useful, just download everything you’ve written and move to a different app.
Brainstorm With Mind Mapping
For any beginner writer, these apps will guide you to take the first few steps into writing your magnum opus. You won’t magically become a good writer with them, but they will help you do what needs doing most: the act of writing.
Let me guess. Feeling chronically overwhelmed and stressed is not a habit you want to carry over to 2019. Instead, you want to stop feeling rushed. You want to feel free to do your best work, rather than battling to stay on top of your to-do list.
You’re far from alone. But it’s too easy to delude yourself into thinking that, if only you worked a little harder now, then next week, next month, everything will finally be under control. It rarely works like that.
Instead, you need to figure out and implement the systems that will keep you on track, save you time, and reduce your chronic overwhelm once and for all.
By doing this, you’ll finally find the free time to pursue the projects and hobbies you’ve been putting off for so long. Sounds tempting, right?
The tablet is available directly from Google and Best Buy starting at $ 599 for the Celeron-based entry-level model and going to up to $ 1599 for the Core i7-toting top-of-the-line variant.
What Is the Pixel Slate?
The Pixel Slate is a high-end tablet from Google that runs Chrome OS. It comes in five different configurations with everything from a basic Intel Celeron processor, up to a high-end model with the latest Intel Core i7.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the five models on offer:
A key thing to point out is that, like Microsoft’s Surface line, the keyboard isn’t included with any of the models. Instead, it’s available as an almost necessary accessory for $ 199, so buyers should plan on adding that to their initial investment if they want to make the most of their purchase.
Also, buyers who want to take advantage of the writing features will need to purchase the $ 99 Pixelbook Pen, further increasing the total barrier to entry.
When Will the Pixel Slate Ship?
As mentioned from the onset, the device is available for preorder, which means buyers won’t receive one right away.
Fortunately, the wait isn’t too bad, Google says the Pixel Slate will ship in two or three weeks. Best Buy says preorders will receive free shipping and that the device will arrive on November 22. This means it’ll be ready to go in time for the holiday shopping season.