MacMost: News & Notes

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

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.
Appleā€™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.
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.