Intercom will enable family members to communicate with each other wherever they are in the home, with the ability to send and receive spoken messages via HomePod speakers. If a family member is in the garden or away from home, they can still use Intercom on their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even CarPlay.
No mention of Mac there. From Apple’s official HomePod mini release, in the section called “Smart Home Controls and New Intercom System”, there’s no mention of the Mac.
When it comes to the iPhone 12, AT&T is getting aggressive to both court new customers and keep existing ones locked in to its network. On Tuesday, the day of the latest Apple event, the nation’s third-largest wireless provider announced new deals tied to Apple’s latest device that enable both new and current customers to get the new iPhone for free.
To get the deal, new and existing customers will need to buy the device on an AT&T 30-month installment plan, subscribe to a recent AT&T Unlimited plan and trade in an iPhone 8 or later (or any device that AT&T values at $95 or more) in “working condition.” AT&T’s recent unlimited plans — called Unlimited Starter, Extra and Elite — are required to access the carrier’s 5G network, with those on older plans capped at 4G LTE.
5G is the Wild West right now. Different carriers, different experiences. And the vast amount of customers do not have a 5G phone, do not have a service plan that includes 5G data. The carrier war for these customers is just getting started.
Aggressive deals like this are even rarer at the launch of hotly anticipated new devices like the latest iPhones. Installment plans, however, are a good way to keep people tied to a network and push them toward newer plans. If you switch carriers before the 30 months are up, the discounts stop and the remaining balance owed becomes due (though currently most carriers will pay off any installment fees owed when you switch).
If you plan on buying an iPhone 12, especially one that preorders this week, might be worth your time to check with your existing carrier to see if there’s a deal for you to stay.
HomePod can be used as an alarm clock replacement to wake you up in the morning or remind you of something, and soon HomePod owners with an Apple Music subscription should be able to set alarms on the smart speaker that play their favorite songs instead of the default alarm sound.
Changes uncovered by MacRumors in the latest HomePod beta software reveal that Apple Music subscribers will soon be able to do just that.
The beta software includes a revised interface for adding alarms to HomePod in the Home app that provides a choice of playing a tone or media as the alarm sound.
Tiny, welcome new feature. Nice to see HomePod getting more attention. Looking forward to what else the HomePod team has up its sleeve.
With the release of the HomePod mini at Apple’s event today, many people have been asking if you can pair the mini with the original HomePod.
The short answer is no. You can’t make a stereo pair of a HomePod and a HomePod mini. You can make a stereo pair of two HomePods or two HomePod minis, but you can’t mix and match the two products.
Now, if you have a HomePod and a HomePod mini in your house, they will work together so you can play music throughout the house or use the intercom feature. So, they do work together.
There is an update coming for HomePod that will add features announced today as part of the HomePod mini launch. Those new features include Intercom from one HomePod to another, personal update, Maps continuity, multiuser support for Podcasts, support for third-party music services as they become available.
A new feature is coming for only for the HomePod that will add an immersive home theater experience when paired with an Apple TV 4K. To get the 5.1, 7.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, you need to pair one or two HomePod speakers to the Apple TV. This feature requires the spatial sound support of HomePod, so it isn’t available for the HomePod mini.
You can’t have a HomePod and HomePod mini connected to Apple TV simultaneously, but you can have two HomePod minis connected to Apple TV to create stereo sound. That’s a great option if you’re not interested in the new home theater experience.
Apple had a big day, announcing four new iPhone models and a HomePod mini at its virtual event this morning. There’s certainly a lot to like about all of the products, but let’s start with the iPhone.
All iPhone models are packed with features, with only a few saved for the higher-end Pro and Pro Max models. That means that no matter which iPhone you choose, you will get a lot of new features and power.
All models come with 5G, Ultra Wide and Wide cameras, the ability for Dolby Vision HDR video, the A14 Bionic chip, Ceramic Shield front, compatibility with MagSafe accessories, and plenty more features.
Some of the higher-end models’ pro features include the ability to shoot Dolby Vision HDR at up to 60 fps instead of 30 fps, 4X optical zoom instead of 2x, longer battery life, and a LiDAR Scanner, among others.
Of course, the screen sizes varies too, ranging from 5.4-inches on the iPhone 12 mini to 6.7-inches on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
One of the features that people seem most excited about is 5G, and on the surface, it offers some incredible performance bumps. Sadly, not all 5G networks are the same, which may explain why Apple choose to have Verizon on stage at this morning’s event.
With Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, you can reach incredible speeds, but it’s not available everywhere just yet. If you’re not in one of the cities with Ultra Wideband or you’re with another carrier, you may see speeds just a bit faster than what you currently have on LTE.
This isn’t an Apple problem; it’s a carrier problem. If you’re on AT&T like me, you’ve seen the horrendous marketing hype of 5Ge and other things they do to trick you into believing you’re getting the latest technology. I’ll be honest, I’m sick of it, but hating on AT&T is for another article.
The latest batch of iPhones ensures one thing: there is an iPhone for everyone. If you like the smaller form factor, the iPhone 12 mini is the perfect iPhone. For those that want the largest screen, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a beast that will give you all of the best features with the largest screen available.
There is enough of a difference in price and features to make the choice of your next iPhone fairly simple. No matter which one you choose, you’ll get the same base features mentioned above. If you need LiDAR or a better camera, you can move up a level and get those options. If not, you have a powerful device that will suit your needs perfectly.
I have a HomePod in my living room and use it all the time. The sound is magnificent and plenty loud for the space it’s in (and I crank up my Ozzy and Van Halen, believe me).
However, when I saw the HomePod mini during the event, I smiled. I need several of those for the rest of the house, and at $99, it won’t break the bank to get them.
Being familiar with the sound quality of the HomePod, I do not doubt that Apple packed enough technology into the mini that it will sound great as well.
If you put two minis in a room, they will create a stereo pair, making the sound even better. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that with my HomePod and a mini, though. I’ll follow up with Apple on that.
HomePod is also one of the only devices where I haven’t had any issues using Siri. As I mentioned before, this is probably because HomePod limits what Siri can do on the device, so Siri can control it fairly easily.
The new intercom system looks very interesting too.
A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard or on their way home.
I can’t see any missteps in the products Apple released today. From iPhones to HomePod mini and the MagSafe accessories, the company seems to have given the market exactly what it needed.
Apple today announced iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, introducing a powerful 5G experience and advanced technologies that push the boundaries of innovation for users who want the most out of iPhone. iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new design and edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays, the largest ever on iPhone, protected by the all-new Ceramic Shield front cover, which provides the biggest jump in durability ever on iPhone. The Apple-designed A14 Bionic chip, the fastest chip in a smartphone, powers impressive computational photography features including the all-new Apple ProRAW for more creative control in photos, and enables the first end-to-end Dolby Vision video experience, up to 60 fps. The reimagined pro camera systems include an expansive Ultra Wide camera, a Telephoto camera with an even longer focal length on iPhone 12 Pro Max, and new Wide cameras to capture beautiful professional-quality images and video in bright and low-light environments. iPhone 12 Pro models also introduce a new LiDAR Scanner for immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences and MagSafe, which offers high-powered wireless charging and an all-new ecosystem of accessories that easily attach to iPhone.
To me, big discriminators between the Pro and the non-Pro line: Camera/ProRAW/Dolby Vision video, stainless vs aluminum finish, LiDAR, Super Retina XDR display. If those things have value to you (they do to me, especially the camera), go Pro.
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models in graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue starting at $999 and $1,099, respectively.
As to availability:
iPhone 12 Pro pre‑order starting at 5:00 a.m. PDT this Friday, available starting one week from Friday
iPhone 12 Pro Max pre-order starting at 5:00 a.m. PDT November 6th, available November 13th
As to 5G:
Featuring the most 5G bands on any smartphone, iPhone 12 Pro models offer the broadest 5G coverage worldwide. Models in the US support millimeter wave, the higher frequency version of 5G, allowing iPhone 12 Pro models to reach speeds up to 4Gbps, even in densely populated areas. iPhone 12 Pro models also feature Smart Data mode, which extends battery life by intelligently assessing 5G needs and balancing data usage, speed, and power in real time.
Not clear to me that there is any difference between 5G on the iPhone 12 models and the iPhone 12 Pro models.
Apple today unveiled iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini with 5G technology, ushering in a new era for the world’s best smartphone. The newly designed iPhone 12 models feature expansive edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays for a brighter, more immersive viewing experience, and a new Ceramic Shield front cover, providing the biggest jump in durability ever on iPhone. The Apple-designed A14 Bionic, the fastest chip in a smartphone, powers every experience on iPhone 12, and coupled with an advanced dual-camera system, delivers meaningful new computational photography features and the highest quality video in a smartphone. iPhone 12 models also introduce MagSafe, offering high-powered wireless charging and an all-new ecosystem of accessories that easily attach to iPhone.
The lower end of today’s Apple iPhone 12 lineup, the mini and iPhone 12 both offer the A14 Bionic processor and 5G compatibility. Definitely a lot of value in this pairing.
These are the aluminum finishes, with your choice of colors: blue, green, black, white, and (PRODUCT)RED. The mini is 5.4″ and the iPhone 12 is 6.1″.
Both models feature a sleek new flat-edge design with an aerospace-grade aluminum enclosure and combined with the Ceramic Shield front cover, which goes beyond glass by adding a new high temperature crystallization step that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, increases drop performance by 4x.
The new Ceramic Shield and improved drop performance adds to that value, especially if you don’t use a case.
MagSafe improves wireless charging for a better, more efficient experience, and introduces an ecosystem of easy-to-attach accessories that beautifully complement iPhone 12 models.7 MagSafe delivers a unique experience to iPhone, featuring an array of magnets around the wireless charging coil, optimized for alignment and efficiency, that perfectly connects to iPhone every time. MagSafe chargers efficiently provide up to 15W of power, while still accommodating existing Qi-enabled devices.
MagSafe is a new ecosystem, including a MagSafe charger and a MagSafe Wallet. Both are ideally suited to the iPhone 12 and Apple’s iPhone 12 cases. According to Apple’s web site, the MagSafe Wallet is compatible with all 4 iPhone 12 models. In the paragraph above, it says “while still accommodating existing Qi-enabled devices”. Thinking that last means you’ll get the charge, but maybe not the magnetic snap?
Apple today unveiled HomePod mini, the newest addition to the HomePod family that delivers impressive sound, the intelligence of Siri to get things done, and a smart home experience that offers comfort and convenience without complexity. At just 3.3 inches tall, HomePod mini is packed with innovative technologies and advanced software that together enable computational audio to deliver breakthrough audio quality wherever it is placed. HomePod mini will be available in white and space gray at a great price of just $99.
Great pricing. Preorders start on November 6th, shipping starts November 16th.
There are two kinds of 5G networks: mmWave, which is the super-fast 5G that most people are talking about when they talk about 5G speed improvements, and sub-6GHz, the 5G that most people are going to experience for the time being.
This is a great explainer, to help you wrap your head around what’s coming, the terribly named mmWave and sub-6GHz.
Apple employees that have been testing the 5G iPhones recently (and confidentially) told Bloomberg that the 5G speeds have been disappointing as the current 5G networks are not “improving connection speeds much.” Most people who are expecting their iPhones to deliver super-fast mmWave speeds will likely end up similarly disappointed when they find that mmWave networks just aren’t available in most places.
Set your expectations accordingly. At least in the US. The way I read it, this is about telecomm infrastructure rollout, not Apple’s hardware.
The “five nanometre process” involved refers to the fact that the chip’s transistors have been shrunk down – the tiny on-off switches are now only about 25 atoms wide – allowing billions more to be packed in.
Moving to smaller transistors helps because they use less power than larger ones, meaning they can be run more quickly. On this basis, TSMC has said that its 5nm chips deliver a 15% speed boost over the last 7nm generation while using the same power.
Apple has already claimed its A14 chip will do machine learning tasks “up to 10 times faster” than the A13.
All of this is important, important across the product line, including the up and coming Apple silicon powered Mac, said to ship by the end of the year.
What makes this article so interesting is that it gets into the details on how the 5nm process was achieved, using a technique called “extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography”. Great read.
Covering 13,000 miles over 100 days through 16 border crossings and 13 countries, starting from the city of Ushuaia at the tip of South America, Ewan and Charley journey through the glorious and underexposed landscapes of South and Central America in their most challenging expedition to date, using cutting-edge technology on the backs of their prototype electric Harley-Davidsons in order to contribute to the sustainability of the planet.
If you’ve not yet given Long Way Up a look, check out the video embedded below. It gives enough of a taste that you’ll know if it’s for you. I found the series riveting, each episode better than the last.
Long Way Up takes us on an epic journey, one where the risk of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, or taking a spill at high speeds, has your nerves on knife edge throughout the ride. At the same time, it rewards the senses, with thrilling panoramas and visits to exotic locales, exploring cultures a long way from home.
And every bit of it done with strong bonds of friendship, laughter and charm. A great series.
Eddie Van Halen died this week at the age of 65. He was one of the best guitarists the world has ever seen, so Dave and I wanted to talk about his impact. We also touched on the upcoming Apple event, which should give us a new iPhone, as well as talking about the new Mac, and how to check your Apple TV subscriptions.
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If you started a free year of Apple TV+ between November 1st and January 31st, your end date for your free trial will now last until the end of February, giving you up to an extra three months of free access. If you signed up in February or later, there will be no change as your trial already lasts beyond the February date.
There’s more to this (read Benjamin’s post), but in a nutshell, the soonest your free year of Apple TV+ will expire is February 28th. Especially good news for folks who grabbed their free year back when Apple TV+ first started, last November 1st.
Upon claiming the offer, you commit to a $4.99/month subscription that starts immediately after the 1 year free and automatically renews until cancelled.
Presumably, this part of the terms will be updated and your commitment won’t start before March 1st. But that aside, there’s a line in the sand for all free Apple TV+ subscriptions to translate into a paid monthly sub.
Here’s where bundles come in. We know the bundle pricing. What we don’t know is when they will start. I originally thought we’d see bundles turn on by November 1st so everyone would have the bundle option when faced with their subscription flipping to paid.
When I heard about the February extension, my immediate thought was that this had something to do with bundles and season 2. The availability of both the bundle and the appearance of new seasons of favorite content would ratchet up the pressure to make the leap to paid. Bundles are a no brainer for some, and the actual availability of new seasons of shows you love gives more immediate value to the equation, more so than if you had to make a decision in 2020, before the new seasons drop.
Side note: Jim and I talk about this issue on the Dalrymple Report episode that will drop later today, but it was before we knew about the extension, so keep that in mind if you are a listener.
As an Apple software engineer, I worked on the first two releases of watchOS, so I’m familiar with many of the Apple Watch’s internal trade-offs. While I don’t have any inside information about current versions of watchOS and Apple Watch hardware, there are at least four reasons to think Apple won’t support third-party watch faces any time soon, if ever.
Read for the details, but:
In a nutshell, handing control of Apple Watch faces over to developers would put the Apple Watch quality experience at risk.
On the only road trip I’ve taken since the whole world situation went to pot, we ran into a strange issue where Google Maps wanted to take us on a bizarre route that would have taken an hour longer than the normal route, for reasons that we still don’t understand. I encouraged my wife, who was driving, to use Apple Maps instead, but she was annoyed by the way the Apple Watch taps her wrist to alert her even though CarPlay is already showing the directions onscreen.
While I was pretty sure that there was an easy way to turn off those alerts altogether, I felt like they could still be useful sometimes, so disabling them entirely seemed like it might be throwing the baby out with the bath water. But, lo and behold, Apple has—at some point in the past—improved its options, and you can now disable the alerts on a granular basis, depending on what kind of directions you’re using.
If you use Apple Maps and wear an Apple Watch, take a read for the setting changes. Worth knowing about.
Between the period of July 6th to October 6th myself, Brett Buerhaus, Ben Sadeghipour, Samuel Erb, and Tanner Barnes worked together and hacked on the Apple bug bounty program.
During our engagement, we found a variety of vulnerabilities in core portions of their infrastructure that would’ve allowed an attacker to fully compromise both customer and employee applications, launch a worm capable of automatically taking over a victim’s iCloud account, retrieve source code for internal Apple projects, fully compromise an industrial control warehouse software used by Apple, and take over the sessions of Apple employees with the capability of accessing management tools and sensitive resources.
As of October 6th, 2020, the vast majority of these findings have been fixed and credited. They were typically remediated within 1-2 business days (with some being fixed in as little as 4-6 hours).
This is a fascinating read, filled with detail. Work like this finds the vulnerabilities before they can be used against us. There’s also a bit of insight on Apple’s bug bounty program.
Gallaudet University has always been a center of advanced learning and teaching approaches. From its founding in 1864 with 8 students who are deaf, to its thriving university community of over two thousand students and faculty today, Gallaudet has become the premier higher education institution for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
With that as background:
This summer, Gallaudet University students and faculty received a special welcome kit. Inside, they found some essential Bison gear — the school’s mascot — including a sweatshirt, stickers, and a notebook. There were also a few powerful learning tools that would be essential for the remote fall semester. Every student and faculty member was equipped with a new iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard Folio.
Apple is also giving students opportunities in technology after they graduate from Gallaudet. Apple Carnegie Library, in Washington, D.C., holds several recruiting efforts with Gallaudet, and currently employs more than 30 team members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Many are Gallaudet alumni.
This is a side of Apple that I absolutely love. Sure, it’s good business, good publicity, but I believe the drive to do this is what sets Apple apart from so many other companies. Good on you Apple.
It was a hot summer morning in Taipei when several officials from the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy, visited the top management of a major tech company, a key supplier to Apple.
It was immediately apparent that this was unlike previous courtesy visits, where U.S. officials stop in from time to time to hear what’s happening in the industry. This time, they cut the chitchat and threw out a blunt question soon after they sat down: “Why aren’t you moving more of your production capacity outside of China?” they asked. “Why aren’t you moving faster?”
Participants described the conversation as “serious and unsettling.” “We felt uneasy,” said one. “They asked many questions that we didn’t know if we could answer. The answers would have involved unreported strategies about ourselves and our clients.” But the message was unambiguous: The U.S. government was directly appealing to his company to cut its ties to China, he said.
The idea of unpicking the sophisticated tech supply chain that has grown up in China over the last two decades would have been unthinkable just two years ago. But pressure from the Trump administration has made this a reality, with companies from Apple to Google decamping from China to Vietnam, India, Thailand and Malaysia in the last 36 months. For the global tech industry, the question is whether the alternative supply chain that emerges can match the efficiency of the one in China that builds more than 200 million iPhones a year.
Apple walking a bit of a tightrope here:
A number of the biggest companies are doing their best to straddle the widening chasm between Beijing and Washington, in an effort to avoid picking a side. Apple, for one, has adopted a two-sided strategy to balance itself from the tech war. While it has been pushing suppliers to accelerate their shift away from China since late 2018, it has also been aggressively cultivating Chinese homegrown suppliers to play a more important role inside China, and secure continuous access to the 1.4 billion strong market.
Fascinating read. My gut reaction is that diversification is incredibly important, minimizing dependence on China is good for Apple, as long as they can still reach China’s billion-plus market.
I recently have been in a mode of deep (Windows-based) user interface focus at work, and was describing Panic to someone recently when something came over me. I love these guys. I love the attention to detail of every large, small and medium thing, the time put into making an application that feels right and flows right, that’s easy to use, that has just enough user interface that you can get done what you need to get done, that has style, function and whimsy.
The Mac gets a lot of flack from people who are nose deep in technical specifications and price matchups. What they don’t see — or aren’t interested in — is the intangible: the culture that people with big dreams and small means have made the unconventional available, the complex seemingly simple and the advanced accessible. This culture doesn’t live or die by Apple in particular, although the original Macintosh being a product of a similar mindset helped set the tone. This culture produces things that are hard to find elsewhere, not because it’s technically impossible to do, but because the values that drive those other platforms produce different outcomes.
This entire post is a love letter and perfectly captures how I feel about the Mac and Apple in general, warts and all. I love the culture, love the attention to detail, in spite of the flaws. In spite of the App Store madness, Sherlocking, Steve Jobs horror stories, broken keyboards, etc. That love is just deeply, deeply ingrained.
Apple TV+ has ordered “The Supermodels,” an unparalleled event docuseries that will feature exclusive access to and interviews with Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, who will revisit their iconic modeling careers and collective disruption of the ‘90s fashion scene, which continues to reverberate today.
Hailing from Imagine Documentaries, the project will be directed and executive produced by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County, USA,” “American Dream,” “Shut Up and Sing”), and executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista and Turlington, who have joined in an unprecedented partnership on the series.
Interesting slice of the fashion industry, definitely something I’d watch.
Eddie Van Halen, whose innovative and explosive guitar playing kept the hard rock band that bore his family name cemented to the top of the album charts for two decades, died on Tuesday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 65.
This is just heartbreaking news. Eddie was one of the few guitarists that literally changed the way we think about how the instrument is played. My condolences to his family.
Apple on Tuesday announced it will have a special event being held on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. While the iPhone wasn’t specially mentioned it is widely accepted that the iPhone would be announced in mid-October.
The event invitation itself just says “Hi, Speed,” so there isn’t a lot to go on in terms of clues for what exactly will be announced.
With the times we’re in it’s not surprising this will be a virtual event to be watched online.