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Live Text is no longer exclusive to M1 Macs - but what is it?

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The latest beta release of macOS 12 Monterey has made the Live Text feature available to Macs running on Intel hardware, as well as Apple’s own M1 chip.

Apple’s newest macOS version brings more refinements to the Mac, such as SharePlay and Shortcuts to further improve your workflow. It builds on last year’s redesign with macOS 11 Big Sur, but also looks to improve how you use and share your content, which is where Live Text comes in.

While it was generally accepted that certain features would only be possible on an M1 Mac, Apple has seemingly answered the prayers of some Intel users and made Live Text available to all.

What is Live Text?

When you view a document, you may want to highlight the text and copy it into an email or even a tweet, but as it’s an image, you’re reduced to manually transcribing it, wasting time.

With Live Text, if you’re using your iPhone or iPad, you can take a photo of a menu, for example, and Live Text will let you copy and paste the menu’s text into another app.

It’s similar to Google Lens, and now that it’s going to be available in the Intel version of macOS 12 Monterey, due out in the end of 2021, it gives even more users an opportunity to copy and paste text from an image with ease.

According to prolific YouTuber Rene Ritchie, Apple had heard the requests and in-turn found a way for Live Text to work without the M1 chip.

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Analysis: Still life in the Intel Macs yet

Apple is still committed to releasing new Macs with Intel chips – for the next few years, at least. While the PowerPC transition in 2005 lasted under a year, this time it looks like it will be much longer, especially with the pandemic delaying plans across the industry - Apple included.

It was surprising to already see features exclusive to M1 Macs only a year after the transition was confirmed, but with further rumors of an M1X MacBook Pro being delayed until October this year, users are curious to see if there’s other exclusive features heading to Monterey that we don’t know about.

After my 2013 MacBook Air finally gave up the ghost in May, I’ve been waiting for a new MacBook Pro with baited breath, especially with the rumors that slots for HDMI and SD cards are returning, alongside the phasing out of the Touch Bar.

However, for those still contently using Intel Macs, it’s encouraging to see Apple go the extra mile to make Live Text work on these machines, and it may be a small hint that the Apple Silicon transition may take a little longer than the 2022 date that was previously announced.

Via MacRumors

Date

29 Jul 2021

Sources


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    Jim Szafranski never really wanted to become a CEO; it was something that seemed to happen to him, rather than something he deliberately made happen. But as it turns out, he has a knack for it.

    Szafranski took over at visual communications company Prezi roughly eighteen months ago to preside over a change of direction, replacing founder Peter Arvai. Previously, the firm had specialized in design and presentation software, but has now turned its attention to video presentations.

    Prezi had already begun to lay the foundations for this shift before the pandemic, but remote working saw demand skyrocket for a service that could help people create and deliver professional virtual presentations. The company put its foot on the gas and Prezi Video is now its flagship product.

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    Although he has now acclimatized to the level and breadth of responsibility that falls on the shoulders of a chief executive, Szafranski told TechRadar Pro he sometimes found himself doubting his suitability for the role.

    While he had always been a student of both business and technology, and had racked up many years of experience at an executive level, he was to some extent blindsided by the opportunity when it presented itself.

    “I love to learn, so I always tried to put myself in a position where I could learn from my environment and the people around me. And I kind of let the growth take care of itself,” he explained.

    “But when I joined Prezi, the plan wasn’t that I would someday take over from Peter [Arvai] - that wasn’t even a discussion. The focus was on scaling the business and building out functions like sales and marketing.”

    After some consideration, Szafranski agreed to take on the post, giving himself and Arvai three months to put the necessary measures in place. The best piece of advice Szafranski received during this time, he says, was simply to be himself, and not to emulate the archetypal CEO of the movies.

    “Obviously, the board of directors and previous CEO thought about this carefully and chose to elect me for the role. This advice was an important reminder to approach situations in the same way I have always done; to do what felt natural.”

    Mercifully, stepping into the CEO role at Prezi has not required Szafranski to tear it all up and start again, because he had inherited the foundations of a healthy business. His task is only to steer in a slightly different direction.

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    Szafranski is often quizzed about what makes Prezi Video different from regular virtual presentation services. With words alone, this question can be a little difficult to answer, but the difference becomes immediately apparent when you see the product in action.

    Prezi Video sits like a veneer on top of video conferencing services (Zoom, Teams, Meet etc.), adding a layer of gloss and interactivity that makes presentations much more attractive to the eye.

    Unlike with traditional screen-sharing, which conceals the presenter’s video feed, users can bring content onto the screen alongside them in the style of a news anchor. In turn, the presenter is able to see more of the other attendees, which is supposed to help them read the room in the same way they might in-person.

    Prezi Video also allows users to interact with on-screen content in real-time, which makes presentations feel slick and polished. There’s no more “next slide, please”; the presenter becomes more like a conductor.

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    “Ultimately, Prezi Video is about creating a greater level of engagement,” he told us. “People are talking a lot about Zoom fatigue at the moment, but will still log off in the evening to watch a couple of hours of Netflix. Prezi brings TV-like engagement into your business.”

    Prezi

    Prezi video in action. (Image credit: Prezi)

    Szafranski also sees products like Prezi Video playing a fundamental role as businesses emerge from the pandemic, by creating a stronger feeling of connection between meeting attendees spread across multiple locations. 

    “The office was the great productivity hack, because it forced everyone into the same space at the same time. But we’re not going back to that,” he said.

    “What has permanently changed is that there will be somebody outside the room at all times, and we’re all going to have to figure out how to hold effective meetings under these conditions.”

    Further down the line, Szafranksi envisions Prezi moving into areas like virtual reality, which could open up a new realm of opportunity for interactivity, as well as bringing everyone into the same arena once again.

    Looking to the future

    As the world climbs out from underneath the pandemic, which brought about a period of extreme and unexpected growth for Prezi, Szafranski is thinking closely about how he can carry momentum forward.

    His first step, he explained, has been to surround himself with an executive team capable of putting his vision into action. For example, his new CTO is an expert in content ingestion, having cut his teeth at image library Shutterstock, and Szafranski recently brought onboard a new SVP for Product Management to explore opportunities in immersive video and 3D.

    These appointments were designed to prepare the company for a shift in gear. In addition to targeting SMBs and design departments, Szafranski says the goal is now to take Prezi organization-wide at some of the largest companies on the planet.

    However, an important question hangs over these ambitions: why don’t the video conferencing giants, with all their money and resources, go out and develop identical functionality? The early warning signs are there; Microsoft recently rolled out a new reporter mode for Teams that allows users to appear in front of shared content.

    But Szafranksi says copying Prezi is far more difficult than it might seem. He describes the company’s intellectual property as much more like a game engine (such as Unity) than a piece of software.

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