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Apple Releases Tool for Calibrating Apple Pro Display XDR

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 22:05
Apple today released a new Display Firmware 4.2.30 update for the Pro Display XDR, with the software introducing a new Pro Display XDR Calibrator allowing for in-field recalibration.


Alongside the new calibration tool, Apple has provided a support document that walks users through calibrating the Pro Display XDR. There's a walkthrough for measuring the display, fine tuning the calibration through Displays preferences, and using the in-field recalibration.

In-field recalibrations allow the Pro Display XDR to be tuned to a third-party spectroradiometer through the feature added in the firmware update. These calibrations require the new firmware, macOS Catalina 10.15.6, and a supported spectroradiometer.

Apple also provides several tips for measuring and calibrating a Pro Display XDR, such as controlling the ambient lighting, calibrating in cool ambient temperatures, and optimal setup for spectroradiometers.Related Roundup: Apple Pro Display XDR
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Apple Shares Picks for Best Books, Audiobooks, and Podcasts in 2020

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 20:27
At the end of each year, Apple shares its picks for the best App Store apps, podcasts, Apple Music songs, books, and more, and today the company is highlighting the top books, audiobooks, and podcasts of 2020.


Code Switch by NPR was named the Apple Podcasts: Show of the Year, which is a new category for 2020.


Apple also highlighted the top 10 biggest shows of 2020, which include Stuff You Should Know by iHeart Radio, This American Life, The Daily by New York Times, and Crime Junkie by audiochuck.

Apple's favorite podcast picks include California Love by LAist and KPCC, Canary by The Washington Post, Dying for Sex by Wondery, and FANTI by Maximum Fun. Apple also highlighted the biggest new shows of 2020, a list that includes Unlocking Us, Nice White Parents, CounterClock, Red Ball, and others.

The most popular books of the year included "Midnight Sun" by Stephenie Meyer, "American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins, and "A Promised Land" by Barack Obama.

Apple's picks for best books of the year include "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, "28 Summers" by Elin Hilderbrand, "The City We Became" by N.K. Jemisin, and "Long Bright River" by Liz Moore.

Apple named audiobooks that include "Open Book" by Jessica Simpson, "Memorial Drive" by Natasha Tretheway, and "Upstream" by Dan Heath as the best audiobooks of 2020, among others.

Apple's full lists can be found in the Books and Podcasts apps on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.Tags: Podcasts, Apple Books
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Microsoft Teams Getting CarPlay Integration and Device Swapping Support for Calls

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 18:40
Microsoft today updated its Microsoft Teams software to add improvements to Teams Calling, making it easier for organizations and their employees to keep in contact with one another.


The Calls app has been overhauled to bring all of the important phone call info to one space. It includes a dial pad, call history, voicemail, contacts, and settings for a better call workflow.

Call recordings can be shared in OneDrive and SharePoint, and there's a new spam identification tool that earmarks potential spam calls so they can be ignored. Teams will also "digitally attest" outgoing calls to prevent them from being rejected by external recipients.

Of interest to Apple users, Microsoft has added CarPlay support to allow Teams users to place and receive calls in the car. ‌CarPlay‌ will allow Siri and the built-in vehicle controls to place and answer calls. ‌CarPlay‌ integration is coming soon.

Teams in 2021 will support transferring calls between mobile and desktop, a useful feature for those who need to shift locations to finish a call. Other new features include call merging to simplify multiple conversations, a low data mode for data preservation purposes, and an enhanced reverse number lookup feature that displays the name of the caller.

Microsoft has more information on the changes coming to Microsoft Teams on its website.Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Teams
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Apple Inks Deal for English/Spanish Comedy 'Acapulco'

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 18:22
Apple has picked up "Acapulco," an upcoming Apple TV+ Spanish and English-language comedy that is based on the 2017 movie "How to Be a Latin Lover." The TV series will star Eugenio Derbez, who was also in the movie.


"Acapulco" will feature half-hour episodes focusing on the story of a young Mexican man who gets his dream job at the hottest resort in the city. He soon realizes the job is more complicated than he imagined, and his beliefs and morals start to be questioned.

The show takes place in 1984 with Derbez narrating and playing the present day version of the character.

The series was created by Austin Winsberg (known for "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist"), Eduardo Cisneros (known for "Half Brothers" and "Instructions Not Included"), and Jason Shuman (known for "Role Models").

"Acapulco" is one of several international Apple Original TV shows, joining action-thriller "Echo 3" set in South America, "Pachinko" based on the novel by Min Jin Lee, and espionage thriller "Slow Horses."Tags: Apple TV Shows, Apple TV Plus
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Samsung Reportedly Developing 'Galaxy Smart Tag' Rival to Apple AirTags

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 17:37
Samsung is reportedly developing an item tracker called the "Galaxy Smart Tag" that appears to be positioned as a rival to Apple's long-awaited AirTags product (via SamMobile).



In August, alongside the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, the South Korean company explained how its SmartThings Find feature can locate compatible Galaxy products with greater accuracy. It is now being alleged that Samsung is using this software for a tag-like item tracker.

SamMobile spotted a new device with the name "Galaxy Smart Tag" and the model number EI-T5300 in Indonesian Telecom Certification filings. Based on the name, it is assumed that the product will integrate with Samsung's SmartThings Find feature and offer location tracking.

The parallel to Apple's rumored AirTags is striking. There has been an overwhelming amount of evidence, including extensive patent filings, design leaks, premature placement in Apple support materials, and iOS code, that Apple is preparing to launch an ultra-wideband item tracker. For some time, it has been believed that Apple is on the brink of announcing ‌AirTags‌, but after repeatedly failing to appear leaks are now suggesting a March 2021 launch.

Samsung previously launched an LTE-enabled item tracker with GPS under its SmartThings brand in 2018, but it since appears to have been discontinued.

SamMobile suggests that Samsung could be looking to base its item tracking tag on ultra-wideband technology. ‌AirTags‌ are rumored to be based on the U1 ultra-wideband chip, which Apple is reportedly seeking to make the bedrock of its ecosystem.

If the speculation around Samsung's filing is correct, item tracking appears to be set to become another front of direct competition between Samsung and Apple. After Apple's push into consumer lending with Apple Card, earlier this year Samsung followed with Samsung Pay Card. Yesterday, it was reported that Samsung may be withholding patented periscope camera technology from Apple in order to maintain a competitive advantage with its Galaxy smartphones.Tags: Samsung, AirTags
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Deals: B&H Photo's Cyber Week Apple Deals Include Sales on 16-Inch MacBook Pro, 2020 iPad Pro, and More

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 17:28
B&H Photo has extended its Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions into a week-long event, with discounts on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2020 iPad Pro, and more. B&H Photo's sales have been automatically applied so you won't need any special coupon codes to browse the event.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with B&H Photo. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Some of the best discounts in the sale include numerous deals across the 2020 iPad Pro range, starting at $749.00 for the 128GB Wi-Fi 11-inch iPad Pro. You'll find markdowns on both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models, as well as a few lowest-ever prices for Wi-Fi and cellular devices.

UP TO $300 OFFB&H Photo Cyber Week Apple Deals

You can find the highlights of the Cyber Week event from B&H Photo below, but be sure to head to the retailer's website to see the full sale. This includes deals on older model MacBooks, Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, and more.

16-inch MacBook Pro


11-inch iPad Pro (2020)


12.9-inch iPad Pro (2020)
If you're on the hunt for more discounts, be sure to visit our Apple Deals roundup where we recap the best Apple-related bargains of the past week.Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple Adds First iMac Models With Retina 5K Display to Vintage Products List

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 17:09
The first iMac with a Retina 5K display is one of several iMac models that have been added to Apple's vintage products list this week.


In the past, vintage Apple products were no longer eligible for repairs at the Genius Bar or at Apple Authorized Service Providers, but Apple began offering extended repairs of select vintage products in 2018. Many of the iMac models listed below will likely remain eligible for service for the foreseeable future, subject to parts availability.

The full list of iMac models added to Apple's vintage products list:
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)

  • iMac (27-inch, Late 2013)

  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)

  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)

  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Mid 2015)
Apple has also added a notice that owners of new iPhone or Mac notebook products purchased after December 31, 2020 in France may obtain service and parts from Apple or Apple authorized service providers for seven years from the date the product model was last supplied by Apple for distribution into the country.

The vintage and obsolete products list has been renamed to "Obtaining service for your Apple product after an expired warranty."Related Roundup: iMacTag: vintage and obsoleteBuyer's Guide: iMac (Caution)
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Deals: AirPods Pro Available for $189.99 on Woot ($60 Off)

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 16:03
Woot is continuing to offer a solid discount on Apple's AirPods Pro, which are available for $189.99, down from $249.00. This isn't as good as the $169 price tag we saw at Walmart and Amazon over Black Friday, but those sold out quite fast and Woot's deal remains ongoing and in stock into December.

AirPods discountNote: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

AirPods Pro are Apple's high-end Bluetooth headphones, offering active noise cancellation and many more features. The included charging case also supports Qi wireless charging, so you can recharge the headphones via any compatible Qi mat.

$60 OFFAirPods Pro for $189.99

We track sales for every model of the AirPods in our Best AirPods Deals guide, so be sure to bookmark that page while you shop around for the wireless headphones.Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple Lists Deadlines for Ordering Holiday Gifts, Offers Discounted Same-Day Delivery on In-Store Items

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 15:38
Apple today added a shipping fulfillment page to its website in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and many other countries. The page provides a list of "order by" deadlines for products like the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, and AirPods to arrive by December 24.


Apple has also announced it is offering same-day delivery of eligible in-stock items ordered from an Apple Store for a discounted $5 fee through December 8 in most metropolitan areas across the United States. The fee is normally $9.

Customers will see a same-day, two-hour delivery window available during checkout on Apple.com or in the Apple Store app for in-stock iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomePod models, as well as AirPods, AirPods Pro, Beats, and more. For emphasis, this applies only to products that are in stock at a nearby Apple Store.

Apple's extended holiday return policy remains in effect. For eligible products received between November 10, 2020 and December 25, 2020, customers have until January 8, 2021 to initiate a return. These dates vary slightly in some countries.Related Roundup: Apple Stores
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BlueMail Antitrust Case Against Apple Dismissed

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 15:08
An antitrust lawsuit leveled at Apple by Blix Inc. has been dismissed by a federal judge, in what appears to be a major setback for developers accusing Apple of malpractice with its App Store (via Bloomberg).



BlueMail was removed from the Mac App Store in June 2019 after Apple found the app to be in violation of several ‌App Store‌ Review Guidelines, including "proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users' computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy." Just days later, BlueMail was restored to the Mac App Store.

Blix Inc., developer of the email app BlueMail, then filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of manipulating search results in its iOS and macOS App Stores to suppress third-party competition and push consumers towards Apple's own apps. Blix also alleged that Apple copied patented messaging technology for its "Sign In With Apple" feature before removing BlueMail from the ‌App Store‌.

Judge Leonard P. Stark of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware dismissed the claims, concluding Blix had failed to offer direct or indirect evidence of Apple's monopoly power or anticompetitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Act.

"Allegations that Apple has the power to restrict competition aren't equivalent to allegations that the company actually did restrict competitors' output", Judge Stark wrote. "Even if Blix had plausibly alleged that Apple held a monopoly over apps, its failure to allege anticompetitive conduct provides an independent reason to dismiss its claims."

Judge Stark said Blix's anticompetitive-conduct claims failed because the company itself demonstrated that the ‌App Store‌ isn't essential to BlueMail's success. Blix told the court that BlueMail had achieved success on a range of platforms, and was sold on the market for five years before becoming available on the ‌App Store‌.

Moreover, Judge Stark dismissed the claims of patent infringement on the basis that they do not fall under an exception to patent eligibility that allows for abstract ideas to be patented if they describe a "unique and inventive concept."

The case may set a precedent for similar antitrust lawsuits against Apple by developers, such as the ongoing case brought forward by Epic Games against Apple.Tags: lawsuit, antitrust, Patent lawsuits, BlueMail
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Zens Launches Modular Wireless Charging System for iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 14:35
Zens today announced a new modular charging station for iPhone, AirPods, Apple Watch, and more. There are five separate pieces that you can buy individually, and attach together via magnets to build your preferred charging station.


To start, you need one of the "Main Station" bases as the core of the modular system. This includes a Modular Dual Wireless Charger Main Station (€99.99), Modular Stand Wireless Charger Main Station (€69.99), or a Modular Single Wireless Charger Main Station (€59.99).

The Dual Wireless Charger supports 30W output (one for each device on the mat), while the Single Wireless Charger supports 15W output, similar to the Stand Wireless Charger. They each include a 65W power adapter.


With one of these mats, you can add up to four extensions to the modular system. The two extensions available include the Modular Apple Watch Charger Extension (€49.99) and the Modular Single Wireless Charger Extension (€39.99). The Single Wireless Charger Extension supports a 10W output, and is aimed at the AirPods.

The new Zens modular charging accessories are available to purchase today from the company's storefront. Zens ships worldwide, and the shipping cost for deliveries to Europe is €7.99, while the cost to North America is $9.99.Tag: ZENS
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Swiss Apple Reseller Suggests MagSafe Duo Charger Launches This Month

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 12:51
When Apple revealed the MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12 in October, it also announced a ‌MagSafe‌ Duo Charger that would be coming in the future, but it didn't specify a release date. However, a Swiss Apple authorized reseller claims the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo Charger will officially launch as soon as this month.


Digitec Galaxus is a popular store in Switzerland and is allowing customers to pre-order the $129 MagSafe Duo Charger, which pairs a ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ iPhone charger with an Apple Watch charging puck.

The website's disclaimer currently says that orders made today will be delivered between December 16 and 23, and that these dates also go for in-store pickup. However, 9to5Mac first reported that the site said December 21, so it appears to have changed since then.

Apple hasn't provided an update on when the product will be available, so it's hard to know just how "official" the December dates are, but it's not impossible that the authorized seller is correct and that we'll see the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo Charger in stores before the year is out (Apple has already supplied review units to the press.)

Despite the $129 price tag, the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo Charger doesn't come with a power adapter. This alone has caused some consternation among the Apple users, but it was compounded recently after it was revealed that the ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ portion of the charger doesn't even charge at the full 15 watts supported by the standalone ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ charger. Tag: MagSafe
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WhatsApp Update Adds Custom Wallpapers for Individual Chats, Sticker Search, and More

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 11:57
WhatsApp has released a major update to its iPhone app that brings unlimited custom wallpapers to individuals chats for the first time.


The new ability to set custom wallpapers for different chats is an effort to make it easier for users to distinguish and identify them in the blink of an eye. WhatsApp says there's no limit on the number of custom wallpapers users can assign to different chats.
"Your WhatsApp chats hold a special place in your life, which is why we're introducing custom chat wallpapers. Make your chats personal and distinguishable by using a custom wallpaper for your most important chats and favorite people, and you never need worry about sending the wrong message in the wrong chat ever again."WhatsApp is also rolling out the current default "doodle" wallpaper in more colors, and significantly increasing the selection of wallpapers with more images of nature and architecture from around the world.

Notably, users can now also set a separate wallpaper which activates when their phone switches from light to dark mode.

In addition to the new wallpaper options, WhatsApp says it is making it easier to quickly search and find stickers with text or emoji and browse through common categories. The update includes new sticker packs, too, including The World Health Organization's "Together at Home" animated stickers.

WhatsApp Messenger is a free download for ‌iPhone‌ from the App Store [Direct Link].Tag: WhatsApp
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Apple Expands Partnership With (RED) to Combat HIV/AIDS and COVID-19

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 11:08
This World Aids Day, Apple has announced an expanded partnership with (RED) to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa while simultaneously protecting those communities from COVID-19.

Apple says it will direct 100 percent of eligible proceeds from (PRODUCT)RED purchases to the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response to help provide services and treatment to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

In 2006, Apple joined (RED)'s mission to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last 14 years, Apple's partnership with (RED) has led to almost $250 million in donations for the Global Fund's HIV/AIDS programs that offer prevention, testing, and counseling services. Since 2006, Apple-supported grants have provided over 10.8 million people with care and support services, helped with distribution of more than 167 million HIV tests, and provided 13.8 million people with ongoing access to life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.

This year, communities around the world are grappling with HIV/AIDS as they also work to respond and protect against COVID-19, particularly for vulnerable populations. COVID-19 has created challenges in accessing care, diagnostics, and supplies, often disrupting crucial HIV/AIDS programs. To alleviate these challenges and ensure continuity in life-saving HIV/AIDS services, Apple's contributions were redirected to the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response at the onset of the pandemic earlier this year. Thanks in part to support from Apple and Apple customers, the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response has been able to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the communities most affected by HIV/AIDS and provide critical support in health systems threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak.Apple has a wide range of new (PRODUCT)RED devices and accessories available this holiday season, including iPhone 12 (PRODUCT)RED, ‌iPhone 12‌ mini (PRODUCT)RED, and Apple Watch Series 6 (PRODUCT)RED.

Through June 30, 2021, Apple says it will direct all eligible proceeds from these purchases to the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response. In addition, through December 7, Apple is donating $1 for every purchase made with Apple Pay on apple.com, in the Apple Store app, or at an Apple Store to the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response.

The World AIDS Day collection in the Apple TV app lets viewers explore stories that reveal the human cost of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
To raise visibility for World AIDS Day and the ongoing effort to eradicate HIV/AIDS, hundreds of Apple stores are marking the day with red logos or window displays. Meanwhile, on Apple Music, listeners can tune into the debut of "Jaiye" ("Time of Our Lives") by Nigerian musician LADIPOE, remixed by DJ Sigag and Aluna — the first single off "DANCE (RED) SAVE LIVES Vol. III." Users can also listen to the interview with LADIPOE, Aluna, and Don Jazzy on The Ebro Show on ‌Apple Music‌ 1, or check out curated music and more in a special ‌Apple Music‌ feature.

In the ‌Apple TV‌ app, Apple is also running a World AIDS Day collection in the Watch Now tab that explores stories that reveal the human cost of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Elsewhere, the App Store is highlighting Medisafe (MediSafe), an app that helps users manage their medications, and OkaySo (Tincan Labs), which provides an anonymous place for people to ask sensitive health questions and get expert answers.Tags: (PRODUCT)RED, World AIDS Day, COVID-19 Coronavirus
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Apple Highlights PPE Donations to Zambia in Fight Against COVID-19 and HIV

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 10:42
Apple has published a feature highlighting its PPE donations to Zambia and how it has been redirecting PRODUCT(RED) proceeds to help the Global Fund's efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and HIV in sub-saharan Africa.

This year, COVID-19 drastically changed the landscape of healthcare, and the Global Fund, which coordinates these shipments to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, had to react quickly to respond to this second pandemic. It established the COVID-19 Response Mechanism, which is adapting existing Global Fund programs so that people receiving lifesaving treatments, including lifelong antiretroviral therapy, can continue to do so safely.

Apple began working with (RED) in 2006 and has launched dozens of products and accessories through the campaign, including the latest iPhone 12 and iPhone SE (PRODUCT)RED models. As a result of those sales, Apple and its customers have raised almost $250 million toward the Global Fund’s efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. As COVID-19 spread across the world, Apple redirected (PRODUCT)RED proceeds toward the Response Mechanism and will continue to do so until June 30, 2021. Apple also donated millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Ministry of Health in Zambia. That includes both surgical face masks Apple sourced from its supply chain as well as face shields designed and produced by Apple.

The article highlights the impact that the PPE provision has made in cutting the transmission of coronavirus infections among patients at HIV clinics in Zambia. COVID-19 disproportionately kills people with preexisting conditions, meaning patients have been afraid to go to health facilities for their daily antiretrovirals (ARVs), supplied through the Global Fund. PPE provision has physically and mentally helped protect both workers and patients, allowing the fight against HIV/AIDs and coronavirus to continue.Zambia has seen significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last two decades. In 2003, 61,000 Zambians were dying from AIDS-related illnesses every year. Because of the work of the Global Fund, in partnership with the government of Zambia and healthcare providers, AIDS-related deaths have declined by over 70 percent and new infections have been cut in half since their peak. The Global Fund also supports a larger goal that’s spearheaded by the United Nations: End the AIDS epidemic by 2030.Apple's newsroom feature includes more information, pictures, and video covering the work of the Global Fund in sub-Saharan Africa.Tags: (PRODUCT)RED, COVID-19 Coronavirus
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Apple Developers Now Able to Natively Run macOS Within AWS With Amazon EC2 Mac Instances

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:01
As AWS re:Invent kicks off, Amazon Web Services today announced new Mac instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, allowing AWS customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud for the first time.


Amazon says that the new feature extends the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers as those creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari are able to provision and access macOS environments within seconds and take advantage of the pay-as-you-go pricing of AWS.

AWS customers are also able to consolidate development of cross-platform Apple, Windows, and Android apps onto AWS, and as with other Amazon EC2 instances, customers can use EC2 Mac instances with AWS services and features like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, Amazon Elastic Block Storage, Amazon Machine Images, and more.

In a statement, Apple vice president of worldwide product marketing Bob Borchers said that Apple is "thrilled" to make development for Apple's platforms accessible "in new ways.""Apple's thriving community of more than 28 million developers continues to create groundbreaking app experiences that delight customers around the world. With the launch of EC2 Mac instances, we're thrilled to make development for Apple's platforms accessible in new ways, and combine the performance and reliability of our world-class hardware with the scalability of AWS."Amazon vice president of EC2 at AWS David Brown said that developers can focus on creating apps rather than managing infrastructure."Our customers tell us they would love to have their Apple build environment integrated with AWS services. With EC2 Mac instances, developers can now provision and access on-demand macOS compute environments in AWS for the first time ever, so they can focus on creating groundbreaking apps for Apple's industry-leading platforms, rather than procuring and managing the underlying infrastructure."The new EC2 Mac instances are powered by Intel-based Mac mini machines with 3.2GHz processors and 32GB RAM, along with the AWS Nitro System for 10Gb/s VPC network bandwidth and 8Gb/s storage bandwidth.

EC2 Mac instances can be purchased On-Demand or with Savings Plans and are available now in the US East (Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Singapore) regions.Tags: Amazon, AWS
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Notable Developer Starts Patreon to Fund Apple Silicon Linux Port

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 01:23
Developer Hector Martin, who describes himself as someone who "likes putting Linux on things," has launched a plan create a Linux port for Apple Silicon Macs.


Martin, also known as "Marcan," has created a Patreon with the goal of earning enough funding to be able to take on the complexities of bringing Linux to Macs equipped with an M1 chip. Creating a Linux port is no easy task, and Linux creator Linus Torvalds has even said that he doesn't think it's a possibility.

Martin has experience getting Linux running on unusual platforms and has been able to create a Linux port for the PlayStation 4 but he acknowledges that an ‌Apple Silicon‌ Linux port is a much more serious undertaking. Creating a Linux port for Apple's Macs is a full time job, and Martin says that it's not viable without financial support. He's started a Patreon that's asking for $4,000 per month with $3, $6, and $12 pledge tiers. He's 88 percent of the way funded and doesn't plan to start the project unless he gets the full amount.

So you *can* run your own OS on ‌M1‌ macs - if such an OS exists.

But getting a Linux you would *want to use* working on Macs is a huge amount of work. Not something any single person could seriously tackle -and succeed at- on their spare time.

It's a full-time job.

— Hector Martin (@marcan42) November 29, 2020
According to Martin, he's qualified to take on the project because of his experience working on Linux ports for other devices like the PlayStation 4. From the FAQ on his website:I've been reverse engineering devices for over half of my life, since the early 2000s. I've worked to build unofficial open software support for platforms such as the Nintendo Wii (where I am one of the largest contributors to hardware documentation, open libraries, "jailbreaking" software (The Homebrew Channel), recovery tools (BootMii), etc), the Sony PS3 (where I wrote AsbestOS and a Linux patchset to enable Linux to work on the PS3 Slim as well as up-to-date PS3 units after the original Linux support was removed), the PS4 (which I ported Linux to, to the point of being able to run Steam games with full OpenGL/Vulkan graphics support), and other smaller platforms.

I always strive to write clean and robust code that is safe, puts the user first, and is upstreamable. I support open hardware and software development. I've gone through the Linux kernel patch process multiple times and I know what it takes to get stuff upstreamed.Martin says that he wants to create a Linux port for ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs that people "actually want to use" with all basic hardware working, decent power management, and more. The "big time sink" will be GPU support, which is necessary to make the port happen. Martin was able to get the PS4 version up and running because it's using a GPU that's only slightly customized, but ‌Apple Silicon‌ will be more difficult. There's proof of concept, though, in Nouveau, a GPU driver project for NVIDIA cards.

No such luck for the ‌M1‌, but we at least have the fact that it's a legacy-free architecture, comes from the mobile space (where GPUs are historically less insane than PC ones), and I trust their engineers a bit more than AMD or Nvidia ones :-)

— Hector Martin (@marcan42) November 29, 2020
The project is not sanctioned by Apple, but so long as Martin does not use code from macOS to build Linux support, he says it is legal for him to distribute to users. Apple also allows for the booting of custom kernels on ‌Apple Silicon‌, which paves the way for Linux support, but Martin will need to reverse engineer Apple drivers.

Linus Torvalds earlier this month said that he'd love an ‌M1‌ Mac if it ran Linux, but that he doesn't feel it's possible without Apple's cooperation. "The main problem with the ‌M1‌ for me is the GPU and other devices around it, because that's likely what would hold me off using it because it wouldn't have any Linux support unless Apple opens up," said Torvalds. He went on to say that he thinks it "seems unlikely" Apple would open up its chipsets, but "you can always hope."

If the project is funded, and it's looking like it will be, Martin plans to develop in the open with regular pushes to GitHub, and he will accept help from anyone who wants to contribute.Tags: Apple Silicon, M1, Linux
This article, "Notable Developer Starts Patreon to Fund Apple Silicon Linux Port" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Upcoming Apple TV+ Show 'Surface' to Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 00:14
Apple has given a straight to series order to upcoming Apple TV+ series "Surface," which is set to star Gugu Mbatha-Raw, reports Deadline.


The eight part series was created by Veronica West, known for co-creating "High Fidelity." The show is described as a psychological thriller, but little else is known about it at this time.

"Surface" comes from Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine and Apple Studios. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has also starred in "The Morning Show" alongside Reese Witherspoon, playing the role of Hannah Shoenfeld.

"Surface" is set to go into production starting in 2021. Apple has worked with Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine on several projects, including "The Morning Show," "Truth Be Told," and upcoming country music talent show "My Kind of Country."Tags: Apple TV Shows, Apple TV Plus
This article, "Upcoming Apple TV+ Show 'Surface' to Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Hands-On With the Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 23:13
Apple this year came out with a handful of accessories for the new iPhone 12 models, and in addition to the standard Silicone and Leather cases, there's also a new Leather Sleeve that recently went on sale.

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We picked up one of the Leather Sleeves to check it out to see if it's worth the $129 that Apple is charging. The Leather Sleeve is available for the ‌iPhone 12‌, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, with all of the Sleeves priced the same.


Design wise, it's not a traditional case and covers the front and back of the iPhone with the exception of a small cutout at the front. It comes in Baltic Blue, Pink Citrus, Saddle Brown, and (PRODUCT)RED, with the high price point due to the material that it's made of. Apple says it's crafted from a "specially tanned and finished European leather" that "feels soft to the touch," and that's true. The ‌iPhone 12‌ mini version we have feels nice in the hand.


A lanyard attaches to the bottom of the Leather Sleeve, and that lanyard can be used to connect the sleeve to a bag or a purse, or it can be worn over the wrist as a simple ‌iPhone‌ holder. When held or attached to a bag, the Leather Sleeve is upside down so there's little risk of the ‌iPhone‌ slipping out accidentally.


The ‌iPhone‌ fits tightly into the Leather Sleeve to keep it secure for the most part. There are also several card slots inside, which is handy, because you can keep credit cards and ID there. The card slots are snug too and feel like they'll keep cards in place without slippage. You can fit two to three cards inside, similar to the MagSafe Leather Wallet Apple also sells.


There's a cutout at the front of the Leather Sleeve that's designed to show the time. The time on the ‌iPhone‌'s screen displays thanks to the MagSafe connection between the Leather Sleeve and the ‌iPhone‌, allowing for a special display. The color of the time is designed to match the color of the Leather Sleeve, which is a unique feature.

Other than the time, that little display cutout will show incoming phone calls, which is handy, but you can't answer a call while the ‌iPhone‌ is in the Leather Sleeve. It has to be taken out. The window does not display any other incoming notifications, even for Apple apps like Messages, which makes it of limited utility.


There are a few other animations when attaching ‌MagSafe‌ accessories like chargers to the back of the Leather Sleeve, but that's about it. Speaking of ‌MagSafe‌, the ‌iPhone‌ can be charged with a ‌MagSafe‌ charger while in the Leather Sleeve, just like it can in a standard case.

The Leather Sleeve is a design choice that's going to be more polarizing than Apple's traditional cases just because of the limited functionality and the need to take the ‌iPhone‌ in and out of the sleeve prior to using it. It's not an accessory that many of us here at MacRumors would pick up, but for those who like the appeal of a simple carrying case that also includes wallet functionality, it's potentially worth checking out.Tags: MagSafe, MagSafe Accessories
This article, "Hands-On With the Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Developer Delves Into Reasons Why Apple's M1 Chip is So Fast

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 22:57
Apple's M1 chip is the fastest chip that Apple has ever released in a Mac based on single-core CPU benchmark scores, and it beats out many high-end Intel Macs when it comes to multi-core performance. Developer Erik Engheim recently shared a deep dive into the ‌M1‌ chip, exploring the reasons why Apple's new processor is so much faster than the Intel chips that it replaces.


First and foremost, the ‌M1‌ isn't a simple CPU. As Apple has explained, it's a System-on-a-Chip, which is a series of chips that are all housed together in one silicon package. The ‌M1‌ houses an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU (7-core in some MacBook Air models), unified memory, SSD controller, image signal processor, Secure Enclave, and tons more.

Intel and AMD also ship multiple microprocessors in a single package, but as Engheim describes, Apple has a leg up because rather than focusing on general purpose CPU cores like its competitors, Apple is focusing on specialized chips that handle specialized tasks.

In addition to the CPU (with high-performance and high-efficiency cores) and GPU, the ‌M1‌ has a Neural Engine for machine learning tasks like voice recognition and camera processing, a built-in video decoder/encoder for power-efficient conversion of video files, the Secure Enclave to handle encryption, the Digital Signal Processor for handling mathematically intensive functions like decompressing music files, and the Image Processing Unit that speeds up tasks done by image processing apps.

Notably, there's also a new unified memory architecture that lets the CPU, GPU, and other cores exchange information between one another, and with unified memory, the CPU and GPU can access memory simultaneously rather than copying data between one area and another. Accessing the same pool of memory without the need for copying speeds up information exchange for faster overall performance.

All of these chips with specific purposes speed up specific tasks, leading to the improvements that people are seeing.This is part of the reason why a lot of people working on images and video editing with the ‌M1‌ Macs are seeing such speed improvements. A lot of the tasks they do, can run directly on specialized hardware. That is what allows a cheap ‌M1‌ Mac Mini to encode a large video file, without breaking sweat while an expensive iMac has all its fans going full blast and still cannot keep up.Specialized chips have been in use for years, but Apple is taking a "more radical shift towards this direction," as Engheim describes. Other Arm chip makers like AMD are taking a similar approach, but Intel and AMD rely on selling general purpose CPUs and for licensing reasons, PC manufacturers like Dell and HP are likely not able to design a full SoC in house like Apple is able to do.

Apple is able integrate hardware and software in a way that's just not possible for most other companies to replicate, which is always something that's given the iPhone and iPad an edge over other smartphones and tablets.Sure Intel and AMD may simply begin to sell whole finished SoCs. But what are these to contain? PC makers may have different ideas of what they should contain. You potentially get a conflict between Intel, AMD, Microsoft and PC makers about what sort of specialized chips should be included because these will need software support.Along with the benefits of an in-house designed System-on-a-Chip, Apple is also using Firestorm CPU cores in the ‌M1‌ that are "genuinely fast" and able to execute more instructions in parallel through Out-of-Order execution, RISC architecture, and some specific optimizations Apple has implemented, which Engheim has an in-depth explanation of.

Engheim believes that Intel and AMD are in a tough spot because of the limitations of the CISC instruction set and their business models that don't make it easy to create end-to-end chip solutions for PC manufacturers.

Engheim's full article is well worth reading for those who are interested in how the ‌M1‌ works and the technology that Apple has adopted to take a giant leap forward in computing performance.Tags: Arm, Apple Silicon, M1
This article, "Developer Delves Into Reasons Why Apple's M1 Chip is So Fast" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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