Recent news, rumors, and notes of interest about Apple, Macs, iPhones, iPads and technology in general.
Apple released the first major update to macOS Big Sur today. It is available in System Preferences, Software update for Macs already updated to Big Sur. Changes include support for the new AirPods Max headphones, updates to the TV app and more.
Apple surprised many by releasing a product in December, something they rarely do. The new AirPods Max are an over-the-ear addition to the AirPods line. Priced at $549, and available on December 15, these are meant to be top-of-the-line headphones for audiophiles.
Apple announced three new Mac models today, the first Macs to use Apple’s on CPU chips. This new M1 chip is similar to the chips in the iPad and iPhone. Each has 8 cores, 7 or 8 graphics cores, 16 neural network cores and a secure enclave.
Apple today launched three options for those that wish to bundle services like Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News and iCloud storage. The bundles will mean simplified billing instead of multiple small charges, and also a discount over paying for the services individually.
Despite Apple posting record revenue for the last quarter, profit dipped and the stock declined somewhat in after-hours trading. Services revenue also hit another new high with double-digit growth. One notable item for Mac fans is that the work-at-home situation for many drove Mac sales to a record $9 billion, up for $7 billion a year ago.
As expected, Apple announced the new iPhone 12 today, with a new “mini” member to the line-up. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are essentially the same phone, with the mini just being smaller. All four phones feature 5G connectivity and a new MagSafe connector allowing chargers, cases and other items to magnetically connect to the back of the phone.
Apple released new minor versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote this week for both iOS and macOS. Each app gets some new shapes. On iPadOS, you can use the new Scribble feature to write in text with an Apple Pencil and have that writing converted to text.
In a surprise move, Apple has released the new major version of iOS for iPads and iPads. It is generally expected that new releases come closer to the availability of new iPhones, but new iPhones are delayed this year.
In a special event today, Apple announced a new Apple Watch Series 6, plus a low-priced Apple Watch SE model. The main feature of the new Apple Watch 6 is a blood oxygen level monitor. You can now also get a band that is a single loop, without a buckle or clasp.
Apple released the first public beta test versions of the new macOS Big Sur, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 operating systems for anyone to install. To get these early releases of the new operating systems, start by going to https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/ to sign up.
The new 27-inch 5K iMac is an all-around improvement on the previous version, but not a new design. The new Intel processors are faster, and new GPUs are also available. The FaceTime camera is now at 1080p and there is an option for the same Nano Texture screen finish as the Apple Pro Display XDR. Fusion drives are now completely gone as an option, with SSDs ranging from 256GB to 9TB.
Apple’s June quarter financial report is out and is shows significant growth with $59.7 billion revenue and $11.25 profit, compared to $53.8 billion and $10.0 billion for the same quarter last year. This is certainly due to high demand for computers and mobile devices as people around the world work from home. Mac and iPad sales saw double-digit growth, and online services as well.
This week Apple released new versions of iOS, iPadOS and watchOS. iOS iPadOS 13.6 introduces Audio Stories, a new feature of the News app that provides a podcast-like summary of the day’s news.
At today’s WWDC event, Apple announced that it will be ditching Intel processors for Apple-created ARM processors similar to the ones used in iPads and iPhones. The transition will start with a model later this year and continue over two years when all Macs will be updated.
At today’s WWDC keynote event, Apple focused on new features of upcoming operating systems for iPhones, iPads, Macs and other devices. The next version of macOS will be named Big Sur and will have some major design changes to look a lot more like iOS and iPadOS.
Monday morning will kick off Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, this time completely online. Instead of gathering in San Francisco, developers can watch and participate in live events using Apple’s Developer app on Mac and iOS. The keynote presentation will also be live-streamed in various places.
Each year Apple offers a special promotion during the summer for students looking to get new devices for the next school year. This time Apple is offering free AirPods with some purchases, the first time AirPods are being offered instead of Beats products.
Apple expanded its Apple Card purchasing program today to offer interest-free monthly installments for Macs and iPads. At checkout you can now choose 12 monthly payments instead of paying all at once as long as you are using your Apple Card. And the final amount would be the same as a one-time payment.