News

iPad Pro Updates

| In Depth, News

It’s been about a month now since Apple unveiled their latest generation of iPad Pros, so today we wanted to detail some of the impact that these devices’ unique characteristics has had on forScore and what effect it will have as we look to the future.

Aspect Ratio

The most important change Apple made to this round of iPads is that they changed the aspect ratio of their screens. The 11″ iPad Pro is taller and skinnier in portrait orientation, or squatter and wider in landscape. The 12.9″ iPad Pro’s screen has the same dimensions as previous generations, but the addition of the home indicator area along the bottom of the screen has its own implications: apps can display roughly the same amount of information on screen, but a strip along the bottom of the screen is non-interactive—touches that you make in this zone are reserved for system gestures like returning to the home screen.

These changes are important because, until now, forScore has always run on devices with roughly the same proportional screen size. Unless you’re using Split View, the app’s usable screen area is usually equivalent to an 8.5×11″ piece of paper. PDF pages are rendered within that area, with gaps added to the left and right if needed (for skinnier pages like A4) or below the bottom of the page (as with landscape-oriented pages). Regardless of how much visible area your page occupies on screen, forScore has always allowed you to annotate anywhere on the screen so your markings don’t suddenly stop working when you move past invisible page boundaries.

Now, forScore runs on two unique devices: one that has more space at the bottom and another that has the same amount of visible space but less interactive space.

Challenges

When your device is held in portrait orientation, forScore displays full pages and allows you to flip through them with a single tap or swipe. In landscape orientation, forScore increases the size of the page to fit the longer edge of your screen and navigation adapts to allow for scrolling up and down as needed before turning pages. iOS 9’s multitasking modes make things a little more complicated, so forScore considers “portrait” to be any app size that allows it to display a full page without cutting off the bottom, while “landscape” is the opposite.

The first problem we encountered in updating forScore for these new devices was that the screen size of the 12.9″ iPad Pro, minus the area required for the new home indicator, meant that forScore assumed traits normally intended for landscape orientation even when the device was held in portrait orientation. Tapping to turn the page scrolled up or down by a tiny amount, and two-up mode inappropriately replaced half-page turns. On this device forScore can display a full page but the app’s interactive space is slightly smaller than what’s expected. So we added an exemption in forScore 10.5, and another in 10.5.2 for users with iOS’ Display Zoom feature enabled.

On the 11″ iPad Pro, a side effect of the screen’s aspect ratio change is that, when in landscape orientation, scrolling from the top of the page to the bottom leaves very little overlap and may not display each system of music fully. In forScore 10.5.2, we added a setting that’s specific to this device so you can choose whether forScore scrolls by half or by a third of a page.

Another change new iPad Pro owners quickly noticed was that iOS displays its home indicator at all times, potentially obscuring a very small portion of the bottom of your page if you’re using a 12.9″ iPad Pro. While iOS doesn’t allow developers to access or modify this indicator in any way, it does allow apps to declare that they prefer the indicator bar be hidden if possible. As of version 10.5.2, forScore does exactly that. When the home indicator appears or disappears is entirely up to iOS, but generally if you’re not touching the screen the home indicator will now get out of your way so you get an unobstructed view of your music.

The Future

Soon after these new devices were released, we started getting questions from purchasers of the 11″ model who were confused by the fact that, in portrait orientation, forScore doesn’t use the full height of the screen to display pages. This has to do with aspect ratio: making a page taller stretches it and makes the music look wrong, and zooming in on a page cuts off the left and right sides of your music. Even if you’re using pages with skinnier aspect ratios (like A4 pages), the fact that forScore has always allowed you to annotate within a canvas equal to the original iPad screen’s dimensions means that zooming in could still obscure your notes, links, text annotations, and more.

A few customers who asked about this have followed up by asking if cropping could be handled differently: that forScore display pages just as it does on older devices, but that cropping be adapted to allow pages to get bigger on the screen. This presents its own challenges, however, such as when sharing these files with colleagues who might be using older devices, or when using iOS’ Split View. It gets incredibly complicated and tough to do in a thoughtful, natural, and reliable way.

As we look to the future, however, we absolutely understand that this is a downside for people hoping to get the most out of their new device’s large screens. All we can say now is that we’re exploring a variety of possible ways we can better work to the strengths of each new device. Just like we did with the Apple Pencil, we move from getting the basics working right before we press onward to determining how best to take full advantage of major shifts in Apple’s hardware. It takes a little bit of time to get right, and we appreciate your patience.

forScore 10.5

| News

Today we’re thrilled to announce the immediate release of our latest major update to forScore, version 10.5. It’s a big update in more ways than one: we’ve optimized forScore for the latest iPad Pros with ultra slim bezels, Face ID, and no home button. The expansive screens on these new devices are incredible and we know the forScore experience will grow right along with it.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, because forScore 10.5 also supports the new Apple Pencil and its double tap gesture. While annotating, use this gesture to switch between the current tool and the eraser, between the current and last used tool, or to show the current tool’s detail view. When you’re done annotating, assign the gesture to one of forScore’s other functions or tools for instant access from anywhere.

Whether you’re upgrading to a new iPad on day one or not, there’s a lot more for everyone in this update. New shapes and shape settings, a streamlined “prevent finger drawing” option, the ability to move multiple pages at once in the Rearrange panel, filter improvements, and the ability to recover recently deleted scores and setlists make this the most incredible version of forScore yet. Learn more about all of these changes and more here.

And, just as always, it’s completely free for all existing users. Check out forScore 10.5 and forScore mini 3.5 today on the App Store, and thanks once more to all of our amazing beta testers who helped us get this release ready for prime time.


forScore 10.5

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.5

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

forScore Backup Utility

| News

Earlier this year we introduced 4SB Archives which let you export all of your scores, bookmarks, setlists, annotations, settings, and more as a single file that can be copied to a computer or uploaded to your preferred cloud service. Since archives duplicate all of your files they’re much larger than 4SB Backups. If your device is running low on storage space you may not always be able to create them, and that’s where our newest app comes in.

We’re very excited to introduce forScore Backup Utility, a free app for macOS 10.13 or later that lets you archive your forScore library directly to a Mac using your device’s USB cable. Since forScore securely transfers your information one chunk at a time, the complete archive is never actually stored on your device. If you need to restore from a backup, the process works similarly but in reverse. It works with forScore 10.5 or later and forScore mini 3.5 or later, both available now.

It’s fast, easy to use, and completely free. You can learn more about it here, and if you missed it be sure to check out everything else that’s new in today’s forScore updates.


forScore Backup Utility

Available now for macOS 10.13 or later

iOS 12

| News

Today is release day for iOS 12, and we’ve been working hard all summer long to get our apps ready. On Friday we rolled out a bunch of minor updates for most of our apps, adding support for all of the latest iPhones, and today we’re finishing up with some nice upgrades to forScore and forScore mini. If you’re thinking about updating, here’s the latest word regarding forScore’s iOS 12 compatibility:

We aren’t currently aware of any issues when running recent versions of any of our apps on devices with the final iOS beta installed. The version Apple releases to the public today may be different than what we’ve had access to in testing, however, so things can always change at the last minute. As usual, our advice is to hold off on installing major updates like these for a few weeks if you rely on forScore professionally. Otherwise, make sure you manually back up your forScore library and feel free to upgrade when you’re ready.

forScore 10.4.7

| News

Today we’re happy to announce the release of forScore 10.4.7 and forScore mini 3.4.7. These are technically minor updates that focus on optimizing our apps for iOS 12, but they’ve got a few exciting features and a lot of under-the-hood upgrades. Here are just a few quick highlights:

First, we’ve added the ability to create 4SB Archives using forScore’s backup panel. Like backups, archives include forScore’s information about your files, but they also include a copy of every file you’ve stored in forScore’s Documents directory. That means Archives take up significantly more space, but they can be used on their own to migrate or recover your forScore library. While 4SB backups are still recommended when copying your files back to a computer through iTunes’ File Sharing panel, 4SB Archives are a better choice when backing up to a cloud storage provider.

Next, forScore now defaults to using Apple’s PDFKit framework to render pages. When PDFKit debuted on iOS devices last year we wanted to make sure it provided the best possible results for the wide range of PDF files out there, so we let users opt in when they were ready. Now that we have a year’s worth of positive feedback it’s time to enable it for everyone.

You can now Drag and Drop a PDF file from another app directly into the Rearrange panel to insert its pages without importing the file into your forScore library first. Its pages are added to the end of the document you’re working with, and you can move them around and duplicate, rotate, or remove them as needed from there.

Speaking of Drag and Drop, some people have found that the new gestures get in the way more than they help so we added a new “Drag and Drop” option in the Accessibility section of forScore’s settings panel. This disables most of forScore’s Drag and Drop interactions while preserving the ability to import files from other apps by dropping them into forScore.

These improvements and more are available now with forScore 10.4.7 and forScore mini 3.4.7, free updates for all existing users and still the same great price for newcomers. Thanks once again to our amazing beta testers for all of your help, we sincerely appreciate it!


forScore 10.4.7

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.4.7

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

Logitech Crayon

| News

Things have been quiet this summer as we’ve worked to get all of our apps ready for iOS 12, but as Apple puts the final touches on their annual fall event (scheduled for September 12th this year) things are starting to get exciting.

Today, Logitech announced that Crayon, their Apple-sanctioned stylus that offers much of the same technology as the Apple Pencil but in a more rugged package, is now available for the general public to purchase. The Crayon was originally introduced earlier this year as an accessory designed for and sold exclusively to the Educational market. It was and still is offered to educational institutions at $49.99, a discount from the new standard price of $69.99. That’s a notable drop from the Apple Pencil’s $99 price tag.

The Crayon works exclusively with the iPad (6th generation), although that may change next week if new iPad models are introduced. Unlike Apple Pencil, the Crayon doesn’t support pressure sensitivity but the rest of the experience and technology are similar: it reportedly offers the same palm rejection and precision as the Pencil and provides angle measurements so that apps like forScore can emphasize drawings made with the side of the drawing tip.

The Apple Pencil is a fantastic product that we continue to strongly recommend for all owners of compatible iPads, and it sounds like the Logitech Crayon will help expand that incredible experience and bring it to even more people. We can’t wait to get our hands on one and try it out. Visit Logitech’s website to learn more about the Crayon and to order it.

forScore 10.4.3

| News

It’s been a few weeks now since our latest big updates, and we’ve continued to improve things with minor revisions that fix bugs and provide small usability improvements. Generally these minor updates don’t include notable new features, but today we’re making an exception with forScore 10.4.3 and forScore mini 3.4.3 so we can bring you a few tweaks and upgrades that didn’t make it into the big release milestone.

First, the Rearrange tool’s Insert function has gotten a boost, allowing you to select multiple documents at once and giving you access to the Templates feature so you can insert pages of staff paper with just a few quick steps.

Next, we’ve added support for the Turn Touch remote. This handheld, four-button Bluetooth Smart remote is made mostly of wood and held together using strong magnets. It’s inviting to hold and works beautifully: simply connect to it using forScore’s Devices panel, then visit forScore’s settings panel to assign up to eight actions (each of the remote’s four buttons can perform one action with a click and another action with a click and hold).

Last but not least, we updated the Metadata panel’s audio file picker to provide standard Quick Look previews so you can hear your tracks and make sure you’re selecting the correct one. We’ve also replaced the basic playback controls in the Recordings browser with Quick Look previews to provide a more consistent experience.

Our work is never done—there will always be big ideas, iOS updates, and hardware revisions to account for, and while bug fixes are always our first priority we love to be able to provide new capabilities and make forScore’s functions just a little more useful. They also usually come directly from our customers as suggestions, so if you’re one of the musicians who asked us about these tweaks, thank you! We hope you enjoy them.

Important Changes

| News

This week we released forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4, and these updates bring some important changes to our apps that we wanted to take a few minutes to underscore.

In-Place Editing

Throughout most of forScore’s history, sharing files using iOS’ “open in” function has worked one way: it duplicated your file and sent a new copy to the receiving app. Any changes that app made to the file were only reflected within that app, and the original file remained untouched in forScore.

With forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4, that’s changing slightly. With these updates our apps integrate more closely with iOS 11’s Files app which has a few important implications. First, you can now view all of forScore’s documents through the Files app, and any changes you make to forScore’s documents directory within the Files app will be permanently made to forScore (just like they currently are when you use iTunes’ file sharing panel). Next, and more importantly, sharing files with other apps may now give them read/write access to those files.

We’ve put together a page that outlines how all of this works and what you can expect if you use an app that supports in-place editing, so be sure to check it out when you have a few minutes. These changes give you far more flexibility in how you work, and as long as you understand the implications of them they’re incredibly helpful and exciting.

Legacy Features

The best way for new users to learn what forScore can do is for them to add some content and then explore on their own. We encourage this because we design forScore to be as approachable as possible from the start, organizing more complex tools into a clear hierarchy so that more focused, precise capabilities open up to people only once they need them.

Our apps also serve a wide range of musicians, some of whom are new to the latest version on the most powerful hardware, and others who are still relying on their trusty iPad 2 and expect the app to work the way it always has. We know how important it is to be able to rely on a familiar workflow, so we preserve functionality whenever possible while updating for each new version of iOS and each iteration of iPad.

These two goals can sometimes be at odds, however, and new users sometimes learn to rely on these older features instead of taking advantage of their modern replacements. So with forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4 we’re hiding certain features by default and discouraging their use. Things like the original TV Output mode that was designed for the iPad 1, WebDAV and FTP support in the Services panel, and the Bluetooth panel are being retired in favor of iOS-level features like AirPlay screen mirroring, the Files app, and AirDrop.

If you use one of these features, it’s important to know that they aren’t being removed yet (if at all), so if you still rely on them you can use the “Legacy Settings” section of forScore’s settings panel to re-enable them. Our goal is to make forScore more approachable for new users by removing things they generally don’t need.

Each year a new version of iOS brings new capabilities to the iPad and, by extension, apps like ours. These changes always take a little bit of time to get comfortable with (some more than others) but in the end we think they will help move our apps forward and give you the tools you need to work smarter and faster than ever before.

forScore 10.4

| News

Today we’re very excited to announce the release of our latest big updates, forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4 on the App Store. These versions include some big new features like annotation layers and significant improvements to tools like Dashboard, but the biggest story is our integration with Musicnotes.com.

Since we launched version 1.0, it has been obvious to us that the biggest influence on each user’s experience with forScore is the content they use. We can add dozens of features, improve overall efficiency, and augment music with conveniences and display tweaks, but at the end of the day we just can’t fix bad PDF files. Having great content is key, and we want to do whatever we can to make sure every musician has access to the songs they need in a format that works for them.

That’s why we were thrilled when Musicnotes approached us and why we’ve worked with them over the past few months to bring their high quality, fully-licensed content to you. Purchases you make (or already made in the past) through their website can now be downloaded directly into forScore through our Services panel, giving you unprecedented access to digital sheet music without sacrificing the tools and workflow you’re used to.

There’s a lot more to these updates, though, so head over to our feature page on everything that’s new in 10.4 if you haven’t had a chance to do so already. These updates are completely free for all existing users, as always, and only made possible by the hard work of our beta testers and the tireless support and passion of our customers. We couldn’t do it without you.


forScore 10.4

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.4

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

Badger 1.0

| News

Today we’re happy to announce the release of our latest app, Badger: PDF Negotiator. Badger is a PDFKit-based property viewer and editor for the badly-behaved PDF files on your device or stored in the cloud. It integrates seamlessly with the Files app, supports in-place editing with many different apps (including the upcoming updates to forScore and forScore mini), and includes three action extensions so you can access its features from just about anywhere.

Badger is available now exclusively on the App Store at a special introductory price, so if you’ve got PDF files that need a stern talking to be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!

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