Sebastiaan de With & Ben Sandofsky, makers of the insanely good camera apps for iPhone — Halide & Spectre, have just published their deep-dive and Technical Readout of the LIDAR sensor and the read cameras on the new 2020 iPad Pros.

A fantastic look at the new LIDAR sensor, its capabilities, and (current) possibilities. I sure hope Apple has some big plans for it in the near future, and doesn’t just intend to use it for their AR push.

Don’t miss the QnA at the end.

PDF Expert’s New Reading Mode Makes it Easier to Read PDFs on iPhone

We, at Readdle, have just shipped a massive update to PDF Expert for iOS that introduces Reading Mode — a feature that improves the experience of reading PDFs on iPhone. Reading Mode makes it easier to read the text from PDFs on the tiny iPhone screen. I’ve been playing around with this feature for a few weeks now as part of the marketing team, and have been terribly excited about its release. With Reading Mode, reading PDFs on iPhone is a delightful experience now.

Read PDFs on iPhone

PDFs are usually hard to read on the small screens of iPhones, especially the ones that are formatted in multiple columns. You have to constantly keep zooming in & out, panning in all four directions to make sense of the content. The Reading Mode reformats and adjusts the text and images in these PDF files and displays them on the screen in a single column, presented in a beautiful way. It’s like activating the Reader view in Safari or using Read Later apps like Pocket or Instapaper. Here’s what that looks like in practice.

You can change the theme from the default ‘Day‘ theme to ‘Sepia‘, ‘Night‘ or ‘Auto‘. You can also adjust the font-size and toggle the ‘Keep iPhone Awake‘ and ‘Crop Header and Footer‘ settings.

My dad loves to read, and spends several hours in the day reading e-papers, PDF books & magazines, blogs, etc. on his iPad. For many months now, he’s been asking me, complaining in fact, why he can’t enjoy reading PDFs on his Android phone. I think it’s time to switch him to an iPhone.

There are a lot more exciting features that we’re working on at Readdle, and I can’t wait to talk about our feature-packed upcoming releases. Stay tuned to our PDF Expert, Spark Email, and Readdle blogs in the coming weeks.

Now go grab the latest update of PDF Expert for iOS from the App Store to try out the Reading Mode on your iPhone. I’m happy to hear your feedback.

Arq Backup Version 6 is Now Available

Haystack Software has announced the release of Arq Backup Version 6 — a major update to the backup app for macOS.

Michael Tsai has a written a fantastic overview about this release, so you should go ahead and read that first. Although I’ve been a SuperDuper! user for the longer time, I had been considering making a switch to Arq every now and then. Both apps are vastly different, and I was looking to use Arq to back up selective data from my primary machine, which is the 2016 MacBook Pro. However, Version 6 is a strict no-go for me, as Michael notes:

The bad news is that the app you interact with is now built with Electron. (The background agent process that does the work remains Objective-C.) The problems with Electron range from the superficial (everything just looks and feels off) to the functional (you can’t navigate outline views with the arrow keys or type-selection).

A lot of people are unhappy with the switch to Electron:

Marc Edwards tweets:

Agreed. This is absolutely a dealbreaker for me. If Electron stays, I go.

Peter Steinberger tweets:

Arq 6 is now Electron-based? ?

Joseph P. Hillenburg tweets:

Long time user: Use of @ElectronJS is a severe impediment to usability. Example: https://josephg.com/blog/electron-is-flash-for-the-desktop/

René Fouquet tweets:

Another crappy electron replacement for a once native Mac app. This just makes me sad, both as a user as well as a developer. This cross-platform disease has to die. Needless to say I’m not going to upgrade to Arq 6. I’ve been using Arq for ten years, but I’m not supporting this.

Now, I understand that the switch to Electron is just for the main UI, while the core backup agent is still Obj-C on the Mac. And the developers, who need to build both a Windows and Mac app, probably picked a method that they thought was best for them. But being a native app was what was so good about Arq.

Moreover, version 6 is also a big departure in terms of the familiar UI. Arq just doesn’t look and feel like the Arq everyone knew and loved. There are several complaints on Twitter about bugs and missing features. The makers are inspired by an improved mockup of the UI and are considering making improvements.

I’m very grateful to @mohrstudio for mocking up some ideas about an Arq UI. Very inspirational. Planning to rework Arq 6 so the layout is more like Arq 5, but more usable

As for me, Arq 6 was going to be my first dive into the app, and I just don’t want to make my first few interactions with the app through the utter shit that is Electron. I’ll definitely be waiting it out for a few updates and releases. Thankfully, the developers are hard at work releasing bug fixes and improvements to Arq 6.

Satechi has launched this pretty cool charging dock for the Apple Watch that can be used without a cord. It has a USB-C port that is attached directly to the dock, allowing you to plug it directly into your iPad Pro or Mac devices and rest your Apple Watch right onto it.

I’m not sure if I’d use it attached to the iPad Pro like that, but on the Mac, hell yes! Long cords are so unnecessary and need to die.