MacMost: News & Notes

Recent news, rumors, and notes of interest about Apple, Macs, iPhones, iPads and technology in general.

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.
A minor update to macOS this week includes a new Battery Health Management feature that can prolong the lifespan of MacBook batteries by reducing the maximum charge of the battery based on your usage. You can choose to switch this feature off in System Preferences, Energy Saver, Battery Health.
Apple released a new 13-Inch MacBook Pro, completing its departure from the troubled butterfly keyboard. The new model is otherwise a minor update of the previous version, with better base storage and a new 10th-generation Intel processor on the higher-end versions.
Apple’s services revenue, driven by App Store sales, subscriptions, Apple Pay and AppleCare set a quarterly revenue record of $13.3 billion. Wearables revenue, including AirPods and the Apple Watch, brought in $6.3 billion.
Apple released new software updates to its major operating systems with new features this week. The main new feature are across all was the ability to share a folder using iCloud Drive. iPhones got new Memoji stickers and the iPad now has upgraded ability to use a trackpad or mouse as a cursor.
Apple announced several new pieces of hardware today. A new MacBook Air improves most product specs and brings the new keyboard to the Air. The new low-end price of $999 includes a 256GB drive. The Mac mini gets a minor update to also have a 256GB drive on the base model.
Apple has published a page of frequently asked questions about their store closures. Most notably, if you have recently purchased a product and are within the 14-day return period, that period now extends to 14 days after stores reopen.
Apple announced that it is temporarily closing all retail stores outside of greater China due to the Coronavirus Pandemic until March 27. Apple is joining other retails who are doing the same to slow the spread of the virus. Employees will continue to receive pay.
Apple has announced that this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference will be online-only, complete with a keynote presentation and live sessions. Brought on by “the current health situation” this isn’t unexpected, as events like SXSW, the Game Developers Conference, Google I/O and Facebook F8 have been cancelled. Apple has also not been shy about taking precautions and cancelling Apple Store events.
Apple released the first beta of iOS 13.4 today and with it an important change to the Apple ecosystem. Starting with that version of iOS and probably the equivalent version of macOS, tvOS and watchOS, developers will be able to offer universal app purchases.
Apple beat Wall Street expectations with a $91.8 billion revenue quarter and $4.99 earnings per share. This was the best quarter in Apple’s history, which is typical for most holiday quarters, though 2018 missed that mark.
Apple released macOS 10.15.2 and iOS 13.3 with a large list of bug fixes. Included in this macOS release is the return of the Column Browser in the Music app, plus the ability to use iTunes Remote to control your Mac’s Music app from your iPhone.
Apple’s new Mac Pro computer is now available for order at the Apple website. The companion Pro Display XDR is also available. Delivery estimates are given at one to two weeks.
Apple has two new features right now that are of note to those looking to buy new Apple products. From now until the end of the year they are offering 6% cash back on specific Apple products. This is double the usual 3% back you get when using and Apple Card plus Apple Pay to buy hardware directly from Apple.
Apple released new battery cases for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max this week. Similar to previous battery cases, these fit around the iPhone and connect through the Lightning port to add a second battery to the iPhone, tightly integrated with iOS so that the user can see the battery levels for both. Connecting the unit then charges both batteries.
As part of yesterday’s announcement of a new MacBook Pro 16-Inch model, Apple added more information about the upcoming Mac Pro desktop tower, giving us an update on the release date: December.
Apple released a new top-end model of MacBook Pro today, with an increased screen size and new keyboard. A base price of only $2,399 includes 16GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD.
While iPhone numbers were down 9 percent from last year, services such as iCloud, Apple Music and the App Store showed continued double-digit growth contributing more than $10 billion.