Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple introduces a redesigned, thicker MacBook Pro

November 13th, 2019

Today, Apple begins taking orders on a new version of its largest MacBook Pro laptop. While its basic design is similar to that of the Touch Bar models the company has made since 2016, it is slightly larger and heavier, the screen is bigger thanks to reduced bezels, and it has new keyboard and speaker designs. The Pro has faster graphics and new upgrade options, such as a 64GB RAM configuration and larger default SSD sizes.

This 16-inch MacBook Pro (the inches here refer to diagonal screen size) replaces the 15-inch in Apple's lineup. Its display has a pixel density of 226 ppi at 3,072 x 1,920 resolution—that's slightly higher than the 2,880 x 1,800 resolution and 220 ppi of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Apple says that pro video editors will now be able to adjust the refresh rate of the display to match content they're working with. Little else has changed about the screen. It's worth noting, by the way, that the prior model's screen actually measured 15.4 inches, not 15; this new model measures 16 inches.

Dimensions are 0.64 x 14.09 x 9.68 inches—up marginally across the board from its predecessor's 0.61 by 13.75 by 9.48 inches. It weighs 4.3 pounds, compared to 4.02 for the prior model. Chances are it will fit in most existing cases intended for the 15-inch model.

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Posted in apple, Mac, Mac Pro, Macbook, MacBook Pro, MacOS, Pro Display XDR, Tech | Comments (0)

Two years later, Apple’s AR/VR headset plans reportedly pushed back two years

November 12th, 2019
An image <a href=',605,008.PN.&OS=PN/8,605,008&RS=PN/8,605,008'>from a patent Apple filed back in 2008</a> shows exactly what Apple's VR/AR headset will look like, 100%, with no changes if/when it launches over 15 years later.

Enlarge / An image from a patent Apple filed back in 2008 shows exactly what Apple's VR/AR headset will look like, 100%, with no changes if/when it launches over 15 years later.

Right around this date in 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on a pair of augmented reality glasses for a planned 2020 launch. Now that it's late 2019, The Information is reporting (and Bloomberg is largely confirming) that Apple is now planning to launch a combined VR/AR headset in 2022, following up with a lightweight pair of AR glasses in 2023.

Apple's perpetually three-or-more-years-away headset plans have "a focus on gaming, watching video and virtual meetings," Bloomberg reports, and now include a new 3D sensor that builds off of Apple's existing FaceID sensor. A 1,000-person team inside the company—reportedly led by former Dolby Labs engineer Mike Rockwell and involving former Virginia Tech professor Doug Bowman—is still reportedly working on a completely new operating system for the headset dubbed rOS (reality operating system).

The market for VR and AR headsets looks very different today than it did back in 2016, when reports first started leaking out regarding Apple's plans in the space. Back then, expensive PC-tethered VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were launching to a lot of fanfare but generally disappointing sales. Today, improvements in technology have moved the focus to cheaper "all-in-one" untethered headsets like the $400 Oculus Quest, which has reportedly sold a decent-but-uninspiring 400,000 units since its launch in May (a relatively poor showing when compared to other recent portable gaming-focused hardware).

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Posted in apple, ar, augmented reality, Gaming & Culture, virtual reality, VR | Comments (0)

NY regulators investigating Apple Card after viral complaint of sexism

November 11th, 2019
Apple Card dashboard

Enlarge / A dashboard built into iOS on iPhones lets you manage your card. (credit: Apple)

Apple launched its own branded MasterCard nationwide in August. In the months since, the digital-first payment system has won some fans for its easy integration into the iPhone and Apple ecosystem, and it more or less seemed to work about as well as any other credit card. Now, however, financial-services regulators want to know what's going on under the hood amid accusations that the software determining the card's terms has a sexist slant.

What happened?

Software developer and entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson took to Twitter late last week to complain about his wife Jamie Heinemeier Hansson's experience with AppleCard.

"The @AppleCard is such a fucking sexist program," his lengthy thread began. "My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time. Yet Apple's black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does. No appeals work."

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Posted in algorithms, apple, discrimination, Policy | Comments (0)

Antitrust 101: Why everyone is probing Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

November 5th, 2019
Maybe this textbook is from the Ma Bell era? #ThanksStockGettyImages

Enlarge / Maybe this textbook is from the Ma Bell era? #ThanksStockGettyImages (credit: designer491 / Getty Images)

Once upon a time, there was a phone company—or rather, the phone company. AT&T Corp., the venerable "Ma Bell," provided nearly all telephone service to nearly all Americans for decades... until it didn't. The company infamously broke up on New Year's Day in 1984, splitting into the seven "Baby Bells," regional carriers that could compete with other long-distance providers for consumer dollars.

The split wasn't just for funsies. The baby Bells were the ultimate result of a settlement between AT&T and the Justice Department, the culmination of an antitrust case that began nearly a decade earlier. It was the first time the feds broke up a communications company for antitrust reasons—and 35 years later, it retains the dubious distinction of being the last.

The decades of deregulation since the Reagan administration have brought us to a whole new era of massive corporate consolidation and the rise of a new wave of conglomerates in sectors that didn't even exist 40 years ago. The growth at the top in tech has been particularly stratospheric: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and a handful of others that have risen since the turn of the century now dominate our economy and our communications in a powerful way.

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Posted in amazon, antitrust, apple, big tech, DOJ, Facebook, Features, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, google, Justice Department, Policy | Comments (0)

Apple wants affordable housing in California—but laws stand in the way

November 4th, 2019
Enormous, circular complex surrounded by suburban sprawl.

Enlarge / The Apple Park campus stands in this aerial photograph taken above Cupertino in October 2019. (credit: Sam Hall/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Apple has pledged $2.5 billion to help address California's affordable-housing crisis, the company announced on Monday. In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area has become the most expensive housing market in America. Los Angeles also suffers from housing costs far above the national average.

Apple's $2.5 billion package includes several different initiatives. Apple will offer a $1 billion line of credit to organizations building housing for low-income people.

Another $1 billion will be used to help first-time homebuyers—especially "essential service personnel, school employees, and veterans." In communities like Cupertino, where Apple is based, cops and schoolteachers often struggle to afford housing near their jobs.

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Posted in affordable housing, apple, California, Policy, Silicon Valley | Comments (0)

Apple earnings Q4 2019: Tim Cook says health will be what Apple is remembered for

October 30th, 2019
The new Apple Watch Series 5.

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 5 has an always-on display thanks to new and improved display internals. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Apple's quarterly earnings calls have fallen into a predictable pattern for the past year or two: iPhone revenues are declining year-over-year, and the Mac mostly remains stagnant, but every other one of Apple's businesses—wearables and services most notably—are ballooning.

That was the case again with Apple's Q4 2019 earnings report today; iPhones were down, but the company posted its highest revenue ever in a September quarter thanks to good performance from services like the App Store, AppleCare+, and Apple Pay, as well as strong iPad and Apple Watch sales. Total revenue was $64 billion.

Apple revealed during the proceedings that the iPhone 11 (sans Pro) is now its best-selling phone, and that iPhone revenue was $33 billion—a 9% decline over the same quarter the previous fiscal year, albeit an improvement over the 15% decline the company saw in the previous three quarters this year. (That improvement is very likely accounted for by the launch of the iPhone 11 and its ilk mid-September, just before the quarter ended.)

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Posted in apple, earnings, Q4 2019, Tech, Tim Cook | Comments (0)

Apple releases macOS Catalina 10.15.1 and watchOS 6.1

October 30th, 2019
No operating system is an island, but macOS Catalina is named after one.

Enlarge / No operating system is an island, but macOS Catalina is named after one. (credit: Apple)

Apple's habit of late has been to release most of its operating system updates for each platform all on the same day. But in one recent instance, though, macOS and watchOS came a single day after iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS updates.

The macOS update mainly adds features we already saw yesterday in iOS and iPadOS 13.2. That includes support for AirPods Pro, the ability to opt in or out of sharing Siri recordings with Apple, new emoji, and new HomeKit feature support. There are also a number of macOS-specific bug fixes and the restoration of some lost Photos features.

Here are Apple's update notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.1:

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Posted in apple, MacOS, macOS Catalina, macOS Catalina 10.15.1, Tech, watchos, watchOS 6, watchOS 6.1 | Comments (0)

Guidemaster: Our favorite accessories for iPhones and iPads

October 30th, 2019
Guidemaster: Our favorite accessories for iPhones and iPads

Enlarge (credit: Sitthiphong Thadakun / EyeEm)

With the popularity of the iPhone and iPad comes a sea of accessories for both devices. While iPhones and iPads are powerful devices on their own, they can be enhanced by accessories that protect them, let you use them in different ways, and make them work harder for you.

But sifting through the plethora of cases, cables, keyboards, adapters and other accessories available today is a daunting task. It's made even harder thanks to all the different companies making accessories—while that means you can find iPhone and iPad accessories to fit any budget, it also means that not all of those accessories are worth buying (the cheapest option isn't always the way to go, nor is the most expensive option the best out there).

To make things easier for you, Ars has spent the fall testing a slew of iPhone and iPad accessories in order to find the best and most useful ones that are worth your hard-earned dollars.

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Posted in accessories, apple, Features, guidemaster, iOS, ipad, iphone, mobile accessories, Tech | Comments (0)

Everything you need to know about iOS and iPadOS 13.2

October 29th, 2019

Today, Apple released iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2, and tvOS 13.2 for supported iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV devices. The company also released a minor update labeled iOS 12.4.3 for iPhones and iPads that saw end-of-support with last month's iOS 13 release.

iOS and iPadOS 13.2 represents the first major new feature release since iOS 13 came out several weeks ago. Up to this point, Apple's unusually frequent updates have been focused on either bug fixes or on introducing features that were originally planned for the first version of iOS 13.

There's a mixture of new and previously planned here, but it marks the biggest update yet for iOS 13 users. Additions include Deep Fusion computational photography for better low- and mid-light photos on the latest iPhones, the ability to opt-out or opt-in to sharing Siri voice recordings with Apple, support for AirPods Pro and the Announce Messages with Siri feature, a bunch of new emoji, new smart home features, and a number of bug fixes.

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Posted in apple, iOS, iOS 13, iOS 13.2, iPadOS, iPadOS 13.2, Tech, tvos, tvOS 13.2 | Comments (0)

Apple announces AirPods Pro

October 28th, 2019

Today, Apple published a surprise press release announcing the imminent arrival of AirPods Pro, the company's long-rumored, noise-canceling, in-ear headphones.

AirPods Pro will sync with Apple devices in exactly the same way as AirPods, and they will use the H1 chip found in the second-generation AirPods and some Beats headphones. The H1 is a successor to the W1, a chip that allowed for some creative workarounds for the limitations of Bluetooth for easier syncing with devices. H1 moves from Bluetooth 4.2 to Bluetooth 5, and it enables "Hey Siri" hands-free voice commands.

The new headphones will include an additional feature called "Adaptive EQ," which will tune low and mid frequencies to match the shape of your ear—similar to how speakers like the Sonos One scan the room and adapt their output accordingly.

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Posted in airpods, AirPods Pro, apple, audio, earbuds, headphones, Tech | Comments (0)