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Updated: 5 hours 31 min ago

Apple Declines to Sign up in French Big Tech Initiative… For Now

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 21:07

Apple has, for the moment, not signed up to a French initiative trying to united Big Tech behind a set of principles. Amazon has, likewise, declined to sign up at this time, Reuters reported. According to the French government, 75 tech executives have though have put their names to the principles. These include Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg.

Apple And Amazon Not Amongst Signatories to French Big Tech Initiative

There had been no public comment from Apple at the time of this writing. However,  French officials said that talks were ongoing and the company could still take part in the non-legally binding initiative. Called Tech for Good Call, it is set to be officially launched on Tuesday. Issues taken up by the initiative include, of course, tax. “The goal is also to… observe objectively those who decide to play ball and align their interest with individuals and societies and those who stay out of this joint movement,” said French presidential adviser.

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New Wallpapers to Celebrating Opening of Second Apple Store in South Korea

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:57

The new Apple Store in South Korea, the company’s second in the country, is set to open soon. To celebrate, Apple has made new wallpapers for Macs, iPhones, and iPads available. Click on the link at the bottom of the outlet’s page and you can use it as the wallpaper for whichever device you’re on.


Apple Black Friday – Cyber Monday Shopping Event Closes Today – Offering Gift Cards Worth up to $150

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 16:15

The Apple shopping event that started on Black Friday closes today, Monday 30. The company is offering gift cards of up to $150 with the purchase of various products, including MacBook Pros, iPhones, and iPads.

Products That Qualify for Gift Card at The Apple Black Friday- Cyber Monday Shopping Event

Various products will get you an Apple Gift Card during the event. These can be used for anything in the Apple store or App Store. Customers can get reductions on the products they’re buying by trading in old devices. Furthermore, three percent daily cashback is available if purchases are made with Apple Card.

  • 16-inch MacBook Pro – $150
  • 21.5-inch iMac – $150
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro – $50
  • MacBook Air – $50
  • SE – $50
  • 11 – $50
  • XR – $50

Pro – $100
mini –  $50

Audio, Apple TV, and Apple Watch
  • HomePod – $100
  • Apple TV 4K – $100
  • Apple TV‌ HD – $50
  • Beats headphones – $50
  • Apple Watch Series 3 – $25
  • AirPods Pro or AirPods (with or without Wireless Charging Case) – $25

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Last Chance to Get iMazing With a 50% Discount

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 15:25

iMazing is an all-in-one device manager for your iPhones and iPads. Use it to transfer files, back up your devices, save/export/print your messages, transfer your music, export your photos and videos, manage contacts, back up and transfer app data, export Safari data, transfer ringtones, transfer eBooks, export calendars, transfer your data to a new device, and a whole lot more. The team is offering new purchasers a 50% discount with multiple tiers. For example, use it to manage two devices for US$22.49 (reg. US$44.99).

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Quick Tips, Cool Stuff Found and Your Questions Answered: A Traditional MGG — Mac Geek Gab 846

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 13:30

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the comfort of old traditions, and this week’s Mac Geek Gab has three of them for you: Quick Tips, Cool Stuff Found, and your questions answered. Press play and enjoy learning five new things as John and Dave, your two favorite geeks, steward us all through this week’s episode.

SPONSOR: ExpressVPN – Surf with TrustedServer, Speed, and HD quality using

SPONSOR: Other World Computing’s Thunderbolt Hub adds the ports you need to your Big Sur-equipped Mac!

SPONSOR: Headspace: Feel happier! Headspace is Meditation made simple. Get a free one-month trial at

SPONSOR: Download their FREE White Paper Report and learn how you can generate more growth through their payment platform. It has a ton of great information and statistics that will show you how the future of payment solutions is strategic and for scale.

SPONSOR: Business Wars from Wondery: Listen to the latest season of Business Wars, TikTok vs Instagram, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or listen ad-free by joining Wondery Plus in the Wondery app.

Note: Shownotes are in progress... Chapters/Timestamps/Stuff mentioned:

The Official Trailer for Mariah Carey’s Apple TV+ Christmas Special is Here. It Might Just be What 2020 Needs.

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 13:04

I think we can all agree that we deserve a little bit of cheer towards the end of this year. Luckily, Apple TV+ and Mariah Carey have teamed up for a holiday special to help get us in the festive spirit. The trailer landed over the weekend and it’s… well…. exactly what you might expect! The show will be available from December 4, and TDO listeners will know that I am unreasonably excited about it.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 03:23

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., so that means The Mac Observer is taking Thursday and Friday off to celebrate the holiday. We’ll be back with our regular news, analysis, tips and podcasts on Monday, November 30th. We hope everyone has a great weekend, wherever you are in the world!

My Big Sur Upgrade was Painless

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 03:06
Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #411

Last month I dedicated an entire column to the myriad reasons to avoid the first (and possibly second and third) releases of operating system upgrades. More specifically, I urged you not to install the first release of Big Sur, which became available last week.

Do As I Say, Not as I Do

If I weren’t a tech writer, I would have waited a few weeks before installing Big Sur, scouring the Internet for news and information on potential issues until it felt safe to upgrade. But, since my first obligation is to you, gentle reader, I ignored my own advice and installed Big Sur on my primary Mac a couple of days ago.

Of course, I made a Time Machine backup and a Carbon Copy Cloner clone of my Catalina drive and then tested both backups before pulling the trigger. Still, I’ve been running Big Sur for a couple of days, and I’m pleased to report that everything seems to work as well as or better than it did under Catalina.

Installation took around an hour. After my Mac restarted into Big Sur, I found a handful of onscreen notifications directing me to upgrade apps that included Microsoft Office, Turbo Boost Switcher Pro, Bartender, and SoundSource. I upgraded them and have had no real issues using Big Sur or any of the apps and utilities I rely upon every day.

But Wait…

Even so, I still urge you to wait a while before you install Big Sur. While I’ve had no issues personally, if you search the web for “Big Sur Installation Issues,” you’ll see plenty of reports of problems experienced by others. For example, former USA Today columnist Ed Baig, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of co-writing nearly two dozen books, had his first two Big Sur installation attempts fail. And, The Verge (and many other sources) have reported that some older MacBook Pros are being “bricked” during installation, getting stuck on a black screen of death and no known way to fix it.

Fix the Translucency Issue

I like the way Big Sur looks and feels for the most part, with one big exception: I don’t care for its super-translucent menu bar and Dock. Fortunately, the annoying transparency can easily be disabled by enabling Reduce Transparency in the Accessibility System Preferences pane’s Display tab.

If you prefer even more control over the menu bar’s appearance, such as separate settings for Light and Dark mode and a choice of solid background colors, check out Boring Old Menu Bar (BOMB) ($9.95 from

B.O.M.B. gives you more control over Big Sur's annoying translucency.

Despite my having no trouble with Big Sur so far, my advice remains the same: Unless Big Sur offers a feature you can’t live without (which I consider unlikely), I recommend you wait for one or two bug-fix releases before you pull the trigger.


Retro TV Game Console: $35.95

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 03:01

We have a deal on a retro gaming console. It comes preloaded with 620 classic games and retro controllers. I’m linking to the version of the deal with AV outputs for $35.99. The deal listing also has a 2-pack option, and then options with HDMI outputs.

Apple Goes to Hollywood – Media+

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 23:49

Charlotte Henry and her guests bring focus — and a little something extra — to discussions about digital media in today’s world. She is joined by Tom Merritt to discuss Hollywood’s excitement at the new M1 Macs and Apple’s potential purchase of Wondery.

How John Evelyn Created ‘The College Atlas’ Game for Apple Arcade

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 22:48

Developer John Evelyn created a hand-drawn, first-person shooting game for Apple Arcade called The College Atlas. In this interview he shares his story.

In broadly creative terms, and on a more positive note, there is a dizzyingly big market out there and the last 20 years have seen a huge diversification in terms of what kinds of games players will engage with. In decades gone by, I think I would have been laughed off the face of the Earth for my extremely low-poly approach – not to mention lack of scores or traditional narrative structure – but not now.

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Apple Should Leave TikTok to The Experts – Its Users

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 22:41

Apple has had a TikTok account for a few months. Now though, reported 9to5 Mac, it is starting to use it. Last week, it posted videos of influencers using the iPhone 12 mini. It’s a slow, steady, move, no more than Apple dipping its toe into the water.

Apple Testing Out TikTok With iPhone 12 Mini Videos

On the face of it, it makes perfect sense for Apple to be publishing on TikTok – it attracts a young audience who want mobile devices that they can create content on. If nothing else, the company obviously needs to have the official account so nobody else gets hold of it. However, its products are already being readily promoted on the short-form video platform without it having to do anything. As I wrote previously:

TikTok is, quite frankly, one of the best adverts for Apple around. Whether it is teenage girls talking into their mirrors holding up an iPhone, or an influencer talking into their EarPod’s mic (they’re both things…) countless videos on the platform show Apple products.

It’s worth noting that there are official Apple TV and Music TikTok accounts, neither of which had published any content at the time of this writing. I suspect that will change in the near future. It’s not a very Apple move, but it would have been bold, and possibly more effective, for it to have ceded control and just left users to demonstrate how much they love its products.


‘Coppice’ is a New Mind Mapping App for the Mac

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 22:34

Coppice is the latest app from Martin Pilkington. It’s a mind mapping app to help your organize your ideas, thoughts, and projects. You organize your thoughts on the Canvas where each one is represented as a Page. You can add text or images to Pages and resize them as you need. Pages can be added to multiple canvases, and even fill your window for when you want to focus on that one particular thought. Pages can be linked together to show the relationships between them, and when you combine Pages, Canvases, and Links, you can see your thoughts branching out. Clicking a link will show the relationship between those Pages on the Canvas. If you close a branch, Coppice will remember all the pages that were opened and how you arranged them, meaning that entire trains of thought are always just a click away.

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Twelve South Products on Sale for Black Friday 2020

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 21:30

Apple accessory maker Twelve South has officially announced its five-day-long Black Friday 2020 sale. You’ll find deals on everything from a BookBook vol. 2 iPhone case to a Curve desktop stand for MacBooks.

Twelve South Black Friday 2020

Here are some of the product deals happening on the website:

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The iPhone 12 Pro Costs Apple $406 to Manufacture

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 20:48

In a teardown of the iPhone 12 Pro, an estimation of the device’s components suggest it costs about US$406 to manufacture.

iPhone 12 Pro Cost

A breakdown of components reveal that South Korean parts account for 26.8% of the iPhone 12 Pro’s value, while components from the United States are valued at 21.9$ of the price. Compared to the iPhone 12, the number of South Korean components increased by 9.1 percentage points and U.S. parts dropped 3.9 points. The chart below lists all of the component providers for the iPhone 12 Pro.

Four of the providers are based in Asia and this underscores how important the region remains to Apple, despite moves to bring its manufacturing to other countries. It is notable that Chinese parts only account for 4.6% of the iPhone 12 Pro, although Chinese companies accounts for most of the final assembly.

Chart of iPhone 12 pro component providers

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First Look at ‘Cherry’ – Heading to Apple TV+ March 12

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 20:45

Cherry, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Tom Holland, will arrive in theaters on February 26 and on Apple TV+ on March 12. Vanity Fair got a first look at the upcoming feature.

“We do think about it as an epic film, and it is very much a person’s life journey,” said Anthony Russo. “But it does have a little bit of a split personality between being this character study and an epic life cycle.” They described Cherry as six movies in one, spanning from the mid 2000s to the present. “He travels a great distance over a 15-year period,” Joe Russo said. “The movie’s broken up into six chapters that reflect those different periods, and each one has a different tone. It’s shot with different lenses, different production design. One’s got magical realism. Another chapter is absurdism. Another is horror…There’s a bit of gonzo in it. It’s raw in its tone. He’s a character in existential crisis.”

Tierra Whack Stars in ‘The Magic of Mini’ Apple Ad

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 20:29

Apple uploaded a new video on Wednesday starring rapper Tierra Whack. It includes using a HomePod mini and how music can improve a person’s mood. Two songs featured in the ad are “feel good” and “Peppers and Onions” both by Ms. Whack.


Ming-Chi Kuo: Redesigned Apple Silicon MacBooks Launching H2 2021

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 20:21

Apple fans can look forward to Apple silicon-powered, redesigned, MacBooks in the second half of 2021, according to a note by Ming-Chi Kuo. The analyst’s note, seen by MacRumors, also suggested various other new devices are on the way.


Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he previously claimed that redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Apple Silicon would launch in the late second quarter or third quarter of 2021… Kuo also expects third-generation AirPods to launch in the late second quarter of 2021… Last, Kuo predicted that the “new Apple Watch shipment’s momentum in 2021 will benefit from innovative health management functions and improved form factor design,” but it is unclear if he is referring to the Apple Watch Series 6’s new casing options like blue aluminum or to redesigned Apple Watch Series 7 models.


Twitter Client ‘Tweetbot’ Supports M1 Macs, macOS Big Sur

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 20:15

Tweetbot is a popular client for Twitter and the team recently updated it to support M1 Macs and macOS Big Sur. There is also a new icon to fit with the Big Sur design.


So why is is Tweetbot a good Twitter alternative? Here are some of its features:

  • Create and use Twitter Lists as multiple timelines.
  • Filter any timeline via keywords or predefined criteria (like tweets with media or links only) and save for future access.
  • Second column on iPad to view other content like a list, mentions, search results, and etc at the same time.
  • Sync your unread status and timeline position across all of your devices running Tweetbot (Mac, iPhone, iPad).
  • No inline ads.

You can download Tweetbot from the Mac App Store for US$9.99.

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