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Not to be outdone by Instagram, Snapchat unveils custom Stories of its own

Just a few hours following Instagram’s announcement regarding all-new location and hashtag-based Stories in the app’s Explore tab, rival Snapchat just announced custom Stories of its own. Now there’s a new way to create Stories in Snapchat 10.9 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

You can create a custom Story in a specific location or with your cherry-picked friends. “It’s perfect for a trip, a birthday party or a new baby Story just for the family,” notes Snap.

Tap the Create Story icon in the top-right corner of the Stories screen to get started.

Song: “Sunroof” by courtship

Of course, you have the tools at your disposal to control who can add to your Story and who can view it. And by using geofencing, you can attach your Story to a specific location. Your custom Story disappears automatically if no one has contributed to it in the past 24 hours.

Aside from custom Stories, this edition of Snapchat puts your own Bitmoji selfie inside your Snapcode. To change the mood of your Bitmoji, just tap the Edit Bitmoji command.

Grab Snapchat for free on App Store.

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Instagram rolls out location and hashtag Stories in Explore tab

Photo-sharing service Instagram today announced that all-new location and hashtag-enabled Stories are now available through the app’s Explore tab. These newly added Stories features require Instagram version 10.22 for iPhone and iPad, available at no charge via App Store.

“Now you can see what’s happening around you and find stories related to your interests,” says Instagram. Location-based Stories appear in a new Story ring at the top of Explore.

Additionally, you can now search for any location around the world.

When you search for a location, you’ll see a Story ring for that place at the top of the location page. Location and hashtag-enabled Stories appear at the top of the Explore tab only if their creators have used location stickers or a new hashtag sticker.

“We’re also beginning to introduce hashtag stories on Explore to help you find Stories related to your interests,” added the company. “When you search for a hashtag, you may see a Story ring at the top of the page filled with Stories using that hashtag.”

If your location or hashtag-enabled Story was included in the larger Story on Instagram, you’ll see a line at the top of your Stories viewer list which tells you how many people saw your Story as part of the larger Story. To use a location or hashtag sticker without your Story appearing on the Explore tab, tap the “X” on your Stories viewer list.

Instagram’s previous update brought out Snapchat-like face filters for your selfies, an eraser brush and a new hashtag sticker. Location stories on Explore are available on iOS and Android as part of Instagram version 10.22 in App Store and Google Play.

Hashtag stories will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

You can learn more about these features in Instagram’s Help Center.

Instagram for iOS is a free download from App Store.

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Duet Display brings even more desktop power to your iPad drawing experience

Duet Display, an app billed as the first solution to turn your Apple tablet into a second display and a high-performance drawing tablet for your Mac or Windows PC, was updated on App Store today with some new features.

The new Duet Display now lets you have the drawing experience on your iPad with the speedy rendering and sheer hardware power of a desktop.

The update brings out a number of enhancements and new customizations, including a customized pressure curve, advanced gesture support, a more fluid drawing experience, improved color quality and more.

Here are the key highlights in this release of Duet Display:

  • Customized pressure curve—You can now change the way macOS or Windows receives the data, allowing for a personalized drawing experience.
  • Advanced gestures—We have added a lot of gestures to both standard and pro users. This should make drawing and using your iPad as the primary device much simpler.
  • Line lead—To provide a faster drawing experience, we have spent some time making a line preview to predict where the Pencil is before macOS or Windows knows where it is. We plan to continue improving this to create an instant drawing experience.
  • Touch Bar—We implemented Touch Bar support last Christmas. Pro users have really benefitted the most as they are using their iPad more than their computer, so it makes quick interactions much faster. We have improved the stability and speed of it, and many more apps support Touch Bar now.
  • Improved color quality—We have improved rendering quality and speed for pro users under the Pixel Perfect setting, delivering a higher quality display in less time. We plan to continue improving performance as much as we can.

Duet Display works wirelessly or over USB connections and features a speedy rendering engine with lower latency than Apple’s AirPlay technology. The app has proven to be very valuable to artists, designers and video editors as it essentially replaces a Wacom drawing tablet with your iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (it supports finger drawing, too).

Aside from drawing support, Duet Display can be used to turn your iPad into a second screen for your Mac or Windows PC. For instance, you could use your iPad Pro to keep tabs on your social media feeds while editing a document on your Mac’s primary display.

The ability to turn a supported iOS device an external monitor for a Mac should be especially handy while you’re traveling or if you cannot afford an eternal display for your computer.

Duet Display for iOS is currently $19.99 on App Store.

A pro-level upgrade to Duet Display is a $19.99 value via the In-App Purchase mechanism.

Duet Display 2.0 for Mac or Windows is available directly from the official website.

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YouTube TV app gains AirPlay support

Google today updated its official YouTube TV app with support for AirPlay, an Apple technology that lets you play video streamed from your iPhone or iPad on a TV set through your Apple TV.

“Announcing AirPlay! There are a few bug fixes and minor improvements in this thing, too. But mostly AirPlay,” reads the changelog for YouTube TV on App Store.

Prior to today’s update, YouTube TV only supported broadcasting content from the app to a television set via Google’s Chromecast HDMI dongle.

Google launched its new streaming television service back in April 2017.

In exchange for $35 per month, cord-cutters can enjoy live TV streaming from Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and other popular cable networks along with content from an additional 39 local broadcast networks and channels, like ESPN.

Some sports channels like Fox Soccer Plus, as well as premium networks such as Showtime, are available for an additional monthly charge. DVR with unlimited storage is included in the subscription at no additional charge.

YouTube TV can be used with up to six accounts in a single household without needing to share passwords between family members.

YouTube TV is separate from the YouTube Red service, which costs ten bucks per month.

YouTube TV is currently limited to select cities, like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, visit

You can try YouTube TV free for 30 days by signing up at

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Microsoft refreshes OneNote apps with new design and accessibility features

Software maker Microsoft on Friday rolled out new versions of its note-taking apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, Android, Windows 10 and the web. OneNote’s interface has been tidied up and navigation improved in the latest release.

The app now includes new assistive features to help users with disabilities.


OneNote’s revamped interface makes organizing your notes easier than before with an improved layout. You’ll notice that the reworked interface puts your content front and center, with all of the notebooks, sections and pages moved to columns on the left side of the app.

This allows for efficient organization of your notebooks.

The company celebrated the redesigned OneNote launch with the following video.

The newly implemented accessibility features, available across iOS and macOS, let people with various disabilities efficiently navigate the app with screen readers, improved keyboard shortcuts and other assistive technologies.

And with the left-hand navigation controls, screen readers can easily navigate through the app.

OneNote is now available with a consistent experience across devices: with this update, says Microsoft, your experience will be the same regardless of what device you happen to be using.

The new redesign for OneNote is rolling out for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android and on the web over the coming weeks so check back later if it’s not live yet.

OneNote for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is available free on App Store.

OneNote for Mac is available free on Mac App Store.

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