Mac Rumors

Apple Suppliers Worried About iPhone Demand, Production Ramp-Up for New iPhones Reportedly Postponed

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 17:56:18 PDT
Most of the factories in China that supply devices and components to Apple are back to churning out products, but Apple suppliers are said to be worried about how much demand there will be for the current iPhone models and the new iPhones expected in the fall.


According to Reuters, a senior official at one of Apple's major supply companies said that orders for quarter ending in March are likely to drop 18 percent compared with the previous year. Production ramp-up for new 5G iPhones has also been postponed, though the official said it is still possible iPhones could launch as scheduled.
"No one is talking about manpower or material shortage (in China) anymore. Now everyone is looking at whether demand from U.S. and Europe could keep up," said the person, who has direct knowledge of the matter. "The focus now is the demand from consumers in the U.S. and Europe."
An Apple display supplier that had anticipated shipping 70 million ‌iPhone‌ displays to Apple is considering lowering that target to 58 million as well as reducing the workforce at its Apple production lines in Vietnam.

One supplier in Malaysia, a country now facing shutdowns, says that things are changing "on a day by day basis" because of ongoing supply chain disruptions.

Some suppliers are not expecting a drop in demand, however. An ‌iPhone‌ sensor supplier told Reuters that the current quarter was better than last year, and that the second quarter will also likely see a higher volume of shipments. "We are still producing as per the forecast given to us," said the source.

A report from Nikkei earlier this week suggested that Apple is considering delaying the 2020 iPhone launch by months, but that no decision had been made yet. The same report suggested that some suppliers have been asked to defer mass production schedules for two to three months, which is also mentioned in Reuters' report.

DigiTimes this morning said that suppliers who make printed circuit boards for the ‌iPhone‌ had not been asked to postpone volume production for components designed for the 2020 ‌iPhone‌, so there seem to be mixed reports coming from the supply chain at this time.

A week ago, Bloomberg said that the iPhone 12 models are still on course for a fall launch, so whether there will be changes to Apple's typical September ‌iPhone‌ launch plans remains to be seen.
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Zoom Updates iOS App to Stop Sending Data to Facebook

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 17:35:20 PDT
Zoom, a video conferencing app that many people are using at the current time to keep in touch with coworkers while working from home, was sending data to Facebook without disclosing the data sharing to customers.


As of today, Zoom has updated its iOS app to remove the SDK that was providing data to Facebook through the Login with Facebook feature, according to Motherboard, the site that first discovered Zoom's data sharing practices.

Zoom was providing Facebook with data that included when a user opened the app, plus their timezone, city, and device details. Zoom's privacy policy did not make it clear that the data was shared with Facebook.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Zoom said that Zoom was unaware that the Facebook SDK was collecting unnecessary device data.
"Zoom takes its users' privacy extremely seriously. We originally implemented the 'Login with Facebook' feature using the Facebook SDK in order to provide our users with another convenient way to access our platform. However, we were recently made aware that the Facebook SDK was collecting unnecessary device data."

"The data collected by the Facebook SDK did not include any personal user information, but rather included data about users' devices such as the mobile OS type and version, the device time zone, device OS, device model and carrier, screen size, processor cores, and disk space."

"We will be removing the Facebook SDK and reconfiguring the feature so that users will still be able to login with Facebook via their browser. Users will need to update to the latest version of our application once it becomes available in order for these changes to take hold, and we encourage them to do so. We sincerely apologize for this oversight, and remain firmly committed to the protection of our users' data."
Motherboard has since verified that the iOS app is no longer sending data to Facebook when it is opened.
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Apple Offering Curated Collections of TV Shows, Podcasts, Books, Movies and More Aimed at Families

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 13:57:45 PDT
Across the United States and other countries, adults and children alike are stuck in their homes for work, school, and more amid the ongoing pandemic, so Apple has is offering a collection of curated content across all of its apps that's aimed at families.


In the Apple TV app, Apple has a Kids tab available that sorts TV shows and content by age, plus there are a number of children's shows on ‌Apple TV‌+, including "Snoopy in Space," "Helpsters" and "Ghostwriter."


In Apple Music, curators have put together a number of playlists and radio stations aimed at children and families, listed below.

Apple Podcasts is featuring a number of podcasts designed for kids, such as "Get Smart, Stay Smart" and "Stories and Adventures."


As Apple announced earlier this month, the Apple Books app also has a number of free books and audiobooks that are for children, including "Winnie the Pooh," "The Secret Garden," "Sesame Street Classics," and more.


The App Store also has quite a few apps that offer free content that can keep children entertained.

  • Kinedu - A baby development app that's free until April 15th.

  • Epic! - Offers more than 35,000 ebooks, audiobooks, videos, and more for kids 12 and under. Free until the end of the school year.

  • Kahoot! - Learning and trivia app Kahoot is offering its premium version for free. It lets users create practice quizzes for learning new content.

  • Headspace - Meditation app Headspace is offering free access to all K-12 teachers, school administrators, and supporting staff in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. A selection of content called "Weathering the Storm" is also available.

  • GoNoodle - A fitness app for kids, GoNoodle offers ad-free content.

  • Cosmic Kids - Cosmic Kids is a free app offering yoga routines for children.

  • Khan Academy - A free app that offers classes on math, science, history, economics, and tons more.

  • Quizlet - Lets students study and practice what they're learning with create-your-own flashcards.


All of the above listed content can be found in Apple's ‌App Store‌, Music, Books, Podcasts, and TV apps.
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Chris Lattner Talks Swift, WWDC and More on This Week's ATP Podcast

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:42:02 PDT
Chris Lattner, known for his work on Xcode and Swift during his time at Apple, this week joined the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP) hosted by Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa.

In a two hour and thirty minute long conversation, Lattner and the ATP team talked about Swift, the work that went into preparing for WWDC while he was at Apple, Apple's 2020 digital WWDC event, and more.

Lattner said that he's very interested to see how Apple handles the online version of WWDC, which is set to take place sometime in June.
Apple's a very strategic and very smart company and has a lot of very smart people. I'm sure they're looking at how to turn this into a new opportunity and what new things they can do with the format and how they can delight people in new ways.

As to whether the virtual WWDC event might result in physical WWDC events canceled in future years, Lattner speculated that it was a wait and see kind of situation.
I think that if they do WWDC virtually this year and it sucks then it's probably going to go physical again. I don't know. I would wager that it doesn't return to its original format. If it does, if there is an in-person event, I think it will be significantly different than what the historical events have been.
Chris Lattner was at Apple for 11 years before he left in 2017, and he also spent time at Tesla working on autopilot software and at Google working on TensorFlow. He's now the SVP of Platform Engineering at SiFive.

Lattner's full discussion about WWDC, TensorFlow, SiFive, Swift, and more can be listened to on the web.
Tag: Swift

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Apple Watch Series 6 Could Feature Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Pulse Oximetry and Sleep Tracking Support

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:28:08 PDT
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 set to be released this fall could include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the crown of the device, according to Israeli site The Verifier, which cites "senior sources" who have worked with its staff for a "number of years" as the source of the rumor.


It's not clear how the alleged ‌Touch ID‌ fingerprint sensor would be implemented, as the Digital Crown is already used for capturing an ECG in the current ‌Apple Watch‌ models with an included electrode.

A ‌Touch ID‌ fingerprint sensor sounds like somewhat of an odd feature to add to the ‌Apple Watch‌, but it could potentially alleviate the need for a PIN when putting on the ‌Apple Watch‌ in the morning. The ‌Apple Watch‌ already unlocks when the iPhone is unlocked, but unlocking it on a standalone basis requires a numerical code to be entered.

The ‌Apple Watch‌ itself also uses skin contact as a biometric authentication option for Apple Pay payments and other functions. In the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 7, The Verifier claims that the ‌Touch ID‌ fingerprint sensor will be relocated to the display, but two drastic ‌Touch ID‌ tweaks in two years may be questionable as Apple tends to make fewer changes to ‌Apple Watch‌ hardware.

Apple's next-generation ‌Apple Watch‌ is also said to include an improved battery, broader support for LTE, and support for WiFi 6.

The Verifier also outlines some of the features coming to watchOS 7, many of which we've heard before. watchOS 7 will allegedly include a "fresh design," updates to built-in apps, and improvements to Siri, with little other information included.

Echoing other rumors, The Verifier says Apple is working on pulse ox monitoring for the ‌Apple Watch‌ and sleep tracking capabilities. Pulse oximetry support would allow the ‌Apple Watch‌ to measure the oxygen levels in the blood, making sure a person's oxygen saturation does not drop to a dangerous level, which can be indicative of a serious and immediate problem that needs to be addressed.

Sleep tracking is a feature that we've heard a lot about in recent months, with Apple expected to introduce sleep monitoring capabilities in the near future. Sleep tracking would measure metrics like time asleep and sleep quality.

According to The Verifier, watchOS 7 will be compatible with the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 3 and later, with Apple planning to drop support for the Apple Watch Series 2 and earlier.

The Verifier last week claimed that tvOS 14 will feature a new Kids Mode with content geared towards children and a Screen Time feature to measure time spent watching TV.

In the past, The Verifier has shared some questionable information that has not panned out, so it's worth viewing these rumors with some skepticism until confirmed by another source.
Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Deals: Nomad Offering 50% Off Kevlar Lightning and USB-C Cables With Purchase of Wireless Charging Base Station

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:10:54 PDT
Nomad has a "Power Combo Sale" going on this week, providing 50 percent off any one of Nomad's Kevlar charging cables when you purchase a Base Station. Nomad Base Stations are sturdy wireless charging hubs that can charge iPhones, AirPods, and Apple Watches starting at $99.95.

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

Nomad sells the regular Base Station at $99.95, which can wirelessly charge two devices at the same time. It also comes in a Walnut option at $139.95. Both of these chargers also have two out ports (one USB-A and one USB-C) and a padded leather surface to protect your devices.

If you want to add your Apple Watch onto the stand, the Base Station Apple Watch Edition includes an Apple Watch Charger that supports Nightstand Mode, priced at $149.95. This leaves room for two devices to wirelessly charge on the mat, as well as two additional devices via USB-A and USB-C.

When you purchase one of these Base Stations, you can choose from nearly a dozen charging cables at half off. Nomad sells USB-C to Lightning cables (from $39.95), USB-A to Lightning (from $34.95), universal cables (from $24.95), and USB-C to USB-C (from $29.95).

As long as you have a compatible Base Station in your cart, you can add any of these Kevlar cables into your cart and you'll see the 50 percent discount automatically applied. Nomad's cables feature double-braided Kevlar and are built for extreme durability and heavy everyday use.

Under this sale, you can get the 3 meter Lightning to USB-C Cable for $22.48, which is about $13 cheaper than Apple's first-party 2 meter cable at $35.00. Nomad also has a new "Work From Home" collection that highlights some of its best products for anyone who is practicing social distancing.
Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station From Jackery

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:06:08 PDT
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Jackery to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win an Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station, which is Jackery's highest-capacity power station option. Jackery makes a range of UL-certified power stations at varying price points.


The Explorer 1000, priced at $999.99, features a 1002Wh capacity, 1000W rated power, and 2000W surge power so it's robust enough to meet the power supply needs of most electrical appliances, making it perfect for emergency backup situations in the home, RV use, camping, and more.

There are multiple ports available for charging several devices at one time. There are two 18W PD USB-C ports, two 12W USB-A ports, one DC carport and three AC outlets. It can power cameras, TVs, computers, communication devices, grills, and medical equipment like CPAP machines.


Design wise, the 22-pound Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station has a handle to allow it to be easily transported, and there's an LCD screen that features charge/discharge info and battery life.


With an optional solar charger, the Explorer 1000 can be recharged even when power is not available. It recharges in seven hours from an AC outlet or within eight hours using two 100W SolarSaga panels from Jackery. It can be stored, and should be charged every three to six months when used as an emergency backup solution.

We have one of the Explorer 1000 Portable Power Stations to give away to a MacRumors reader. To enter to win our ‌giveaway‌, use the Gleam.io widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, following us on Instagram, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the ‌giveaway‌ restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

Jackery
The contest will run from today (March 27) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on April 3. The winner will be chosen randomly on April 3 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Jackery is also offering a five percent discount on its Explorer 500 Power Station, dropping the price to $474 with promo code XWPETM6S.
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Apple Launches COVID-19 Website and App With Screening Tool and Resources

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 09:00:12 PDT
Apple today announced that it has released a new COVID-19 website and iPhone app with a screening tool and other resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple partnered with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA on this initiative.


The website and app allow users to answer a series of questions regarding risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms and receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.

Apple says its screening tool does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.

The website and app also offer access to COVID-19 resources to help people stay informed and get support. Users will receive answers to frequently asked questions about the virus, including who is most at risk and how to recognize symptoms.

The screening tool can be used by anyone who is 18 years or older in the United States. Apple says any data that users provide on the COVID-19 website or app will not be shared with Apple, the CDC, or anyone without explicit permission.
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Deals: Huge Refurbished iPhone Sale Discounts iPhone 7, 8, X, XR, and XS (From $120)

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 05:47:51 PDT
Woot is back today with a big sale on refurbished iPhones, including markdowns on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.

Note: 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.

As with every Woot purchase, those interested in the iPhone sale today should note that these devices are expected to have a moderate level of wear and tear that could mean scratches, dents, and dings. But, besides their physical appearance, each iPhone has been tested to be in full working condition, and batteries are tested to function at minimum 85 percent capacity.

Sales start with the 32GB iPhone 7 at $119.99 and the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus at $189.99. In the United States, the iPhone 7 launched at a price of $649 for 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus started at $769 for 32GB, so these are savings of up to $580.

The iPhone 8 discounts start at $209.99 for 64GB, while you can get the iPhone 8 Plus for $299.99 for 64GB. Back in 2017, the iPhone 8 started at $699, while the iPhone 8 Plus started at $799, representing markdowns of up to $500 for these iPhone models.

You can get a 64GB iPhone X for $359.99, while the 64GB iPhone XR is $399.99. Lastly, the newest iPhones on sale today are the iPhone XS family, and you'll find the 64GB iPhone XS for $449.99 and the 64GB iPhone XS Max for $559.99.

Every iPhone on sale at Woot has even more storage capacity options and color choices as of writing, so be sure to head to Woot's iPhone sale page before stock dwindles. The sale will officially end tonight at 12 a.m. CT.
Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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WhatsApp and Amazon Alexa Launch Coronavirus Information Services

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 05:39:38 PDT
The British government this week launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp to help users access information about the disease from their smartphones.

WhatsApp users in the U.K. can access the service by tapping this link. Alternatively, start a new chat in WhatsApp, select New Contact, and add the number (+44) 7860 064422 to the Mobile field. The number will appear at the bottom of your contacts. Tap it, and when the chat window opens, text the word "hi" to activate the service.

Along with providing links to the U.K. government's latest COVID-19 guidance and the NHS website for health advice, the service allows users to reply with a number from 1 to 9 to find out more about the following topics related to COVID-19:
  1. What is coronavirus?

  2. Prevention.

  3. Symptoms.

  4. Stay at home.

  5. Travel.

  6. Latest numbers.

  7. Mythbusters.

  8. Share.

  9. More information.
In the U.S., Amazon says Alexa users can now use the voice assistant to help initial diagnosis of possible COVID-19 cases. Queries like "Alexa, what should I do if I think I have coronavirus?" prompts the voice assistant to ask about symptoms, travel history, and possible exposure to the virus. Based on your responses, Alexa will provide guidance based on official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information.

As we reported last week, iPhone users who ask Siri about coronavirus can complete a questionnaire about their symptoms and potential exposure to the virus to better understand their health situation. Apple says the answers are sourced from the CDC and U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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How to Enable or Disable Apple Music's New Release Alerts in iOS

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 04:20:49 PDT
Apple on Thursday began rolling out a new Apple Music feature on iPhone and iPad that alerts users to new albums, EPs, and videos from artists included in their music library.

The alerts show at the top of the Library tab in the Music app, and given that they relate to content that's available in Apple Music, they're likely to be welcomed by most subscribers to the streaming service.

But even if you don't subscribe to ‌Apple Music‌, these alerts are still pushed by default to your device's Lock Screen and Notification Center, and may quickly become a source of annoyance. Whatever your preference, the steps below show you how to enable or disable these new release alerts.
  1. Launch the Music app on your ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌.

  2. Select the For You tab.

  3. Tap Notifications.

  4. Toggle the switch next to New Music to suit your preference.

Apple Music
Alternatively, you can turn off all notifications from the Music app by launching the Settings app, selecting Notifications -> Music, and switching off the toggle next to Allow Notifications.
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Sources in Apple's Supply Chain Dismiss Reports of iPhone 12 Launch Delay

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 02:50:35 PDT
Taiwanese makers of iPhone-bound printed circuit boards (PCBs) have denied reports that Apple has asked them to postpone volume production of Apple's 2020 iPhone by two months, according to a DigiTimes paywalled article.

Taiwan's PCB makers in the supply chain of 5G iPhones have denied reports claiming they have been asked to postpone volume production by two months in line with a likely launch delay for Apple's new-generation devices amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry sources.
The rebuff follows a report earlier this week from Japanese news site Nikkei that claimed Apple was preparing to delay the launch of its 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup "by a few months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation.

Nikkei's report suggested supply chain sources also foresaw "practical hurdles" that could push back the launch date, which was scheduled for September, and that the engineering development of the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup had been affected by travel restrictions to the United States, China, and elsewhere.

In a separate DigiTimes report filed today, ‌iPhone‌ supplier Pegatron's CEO SJ Liao also cited travel restrictions as a factor impacting the supply chain which manufacturers were working to overcome, although he stopped short of referring to Apple by name:
Commenting on whether the supply of its US-based client's 5G smartphones has been disrupted, Liao noted that the client at the moment is having trouble visiting the factories to make direct supervision of manufacturing and as a result, the supply chain will need to have the new smartphones built without the client's supervision.

However, Pegatron will keep communicating with the client to resolve any concerns it has. As for the market rumor that the client's 5G smartphone development has also been seriously delayed because of the pandemic, Liao noted that both the client and supply chain players at the moment are mainly looking to shorten the front-end processing work for the handsets.
A recent report from Bloomberg suggested that the iPhone 12 models are still on course for a fall launch despite disruptions to Apple's supply chain, and Foxconn this week said that it now has enough workers to meet "seasonal demand."

Rumors point to four new ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models for 2020, which will be available at various price points. All models are expected to have 5G capabilities and A14 chips, and higher-end models are expected to be equipped with new 3D camera systems like the LiDAR Scanner in new iPad Pro models.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 20:19:12 PDT
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap, reduce processor costs by 40 to 60 percent, and provide Macs with more hardware differentiation from Windows PCs.


Earlier this month, Kuo said Apple's first Mac notebooks with Arm-based processors will launch in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.

Kuo expects ASMedia Technology to become the exclusive supplier of USB controllers for Arm-based Macs, adding that the Taiwanese integrated circuit designer will benefit from Macs gaining support for USB4 in 2022.

USB4 converges the Thunderbolt and USB protocols as part of Intel's goal to make Thunderbolt available on a royalty-free basis, which should result in wider and cheaper availability of Thunderbolt accessories like docks and eGPUs.

As USB4 is based on Thunderbolt 3, it offers data transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps, which is twice as fast as the bandwidth of the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification. USB4's underlying Thunderbolt 3 protocol also means the specification supports up to two 4K displays or one 5K display over a single cable.

The simplest way to view USB4 is as Thunderbolt 3, but royalty free for manufacturers. Intel will continue to offer Thunderbolt 3 on a standalone basis with a few advantages over USB4, including more support with reference designs and technical issues for manufacturers.

The new USB4 specification was published in September 2019, giving Apple plenty of time to implement it in time for 2022 Macs.
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A12Z Bionic Chip in iPad Pro Allegedly a Renamed A12X With Extra GPU Core Enabled

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:35:51 PDT
Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models are equipped with an A12Z Bionic processor that's remarkably similar to the A12X chip in the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models, offering little in the way of performance improvements.


The A12Z does, however, feature an 8-core GPU while the A12X includes a 7-core GPU, which sets them apart, but new evidence shared by NotebookCheck suggests that the A12Z Bionic is simply a renamed A12X chip with a latent GPU core enabled.

According to NotebookCheck, teardown site TechInsights confirmed that the 2018 A12X chip physically has 8 GPU cores and not the 7 GPU cores that Apple includes in tech specs. One of the cores of the A12X is disabled.

The A12X and the A12Z appear to be the same physical chip on the surface, with the same number of physical CPU and GPU cores rather, suggesting the A12Z is not a new design. AnandTech has also speculated that the A12Z is a re-binned variant of the A12X.
There can be several speculative reasons as to why Apple chose to do this. It is not uncommon to see chip makers disabling physical cores and enabling them in higher SKUs. For instance, the NVIDIA Titan RTX has all 4,608 CUDA cores enabled while the RTX 2080 Ti offers only 4,352 cores despite both using the TU102 GPU.

The other likely explanation is that Apple's decision to disable one GPU core in the A12X could have been deliberate. Enabling the latent core in an interim refresh like the A12Z would save them from having to develop an A13X and instead, directly focus on the (5 nm?) A14X that is slated to debut with the 5G ‌iPad Pro‌ later this year.
In the future, TechInsights is planning to conduct a floorplan analysis to determine for certain whether there are any differences between the A12X and the A12Z in the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

NotebookCheck speculates that Apple is saving an updated chip design for future ‌iPad Pro‌ models, and there are indeed rumors of a second ‌iPad Pro‌ refresh this fall that could bring mini-LED displays and 5G connectivity.
Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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CarKey Screenshots Reveal Digital Keys in Wallet App, BMW Likely to Support Feature at Launch

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:03:46 PDT
MacRumors recently discovered that Apple is developing a new "CarKey" feature that will allow an iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock, lock, and start an NFC-compatible vehicle. Just like credit cards and boarding passes, users will be able to add a digital car key to the Wallet app, eliminating the need to use a physical car key or key fob.

CarKey will allow users to approach their vehicle, hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near an NFC reader in the vehicle, authenticate with Face ID, and have the vehicle unlock automatically. Similar to Apple Pay at transit turnstiles, Express Mode would be an option, eliminating the need to authenticate with Face ID or a passcode.

Earlier this week, screenshots of what appears to be the CarKey interface surfaced on Twitter, providing us with our first look at the upcoming feature.

Source: DongleBookPro

As expected, a digital car key appears as a card in the Wallet app. Tapping on the card reveals info such as the car model, issuing automaker, a toggle switch for Express Mode, and an option to share a car key with other users. When sharing a car key, the primary user can provide others with three levels of access, including the ability to unlock the trunk only, unlock the vehicle, or unlock the vehicle and drive it.

MacRumors uncovered that users will be able to share CarKeys using the Messages app. Shared access to CarKeys can be permanent for trusted individuals, such as a family member or friend, or temporary for someone like a valet driver.

It appears that Apple will be partnering with automakers for this initiative, suggesting that CarKey could roll out in a similar manner as CarPlay. Based on the screenshots above and iOS code strings seen by MacRumors, it looks likely that luxury car brand BMW will be one of the first automakers to support the feature, as 9to5Mac noted earlier.

BMW teased the future of digital keys in a press release last year:
Today, it is already possible to lock and unlock the vehicle, start the engine and share the key with others using the BMW Digital Key as part of BMW Connected on the smartphone. But this is only the first step in a global technological transformation being shaped and led by the BMW Group.
Apple is a member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, which recently announced an NFC-based Digital Key 2.0 specification that it said would be made available by the end of 2019. The consortium said this specification establishes a secure connection between mobile devices and vehicles using NFC, even when a compatible device's battery is low.

Next, the consortium is developing a Digital Key 3.0 specification based on both Bluetooth LE and Ultra Wideband to enable passive, location-aware keyless access. This would allow you to leave your iPhone in your pocket or backpack when accessing or starting your vehicle. iPhone 11 models are equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband support, so Apple could choose to offer this functionality.

It is unclear when Apple plans to make CarKey available to the public. The feature is not activated in iOS 13.4, released earlier this week. CarKey could be introduced in a future update to iOS 13 or held until iOS 14, which should be previewed in June.
Tag: CarKey

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Apple Extends Deadline for Several Upcoming App Requirements for Developers

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:09:48 PDT
Apple today announced that it is extending several deadlines that will eventually require apps to be built on SDKs designed for the most recent iOS and watchOS updates and incorporate iOS 13 features.

Apple will not require developers to meet the below requirements until June 30, 2020.

- Apps for iPhone or iPad must be built with the ‌iOS 13‌ SDK or later and use an Xcode storyboard to provide the app's launch screen.
- ‌iPhone‌ apps must support all ‌iPhone‌ screens and all ‌iPad‌ apps must support all ‌iPad‌ screens.
- Apps for Apple Watch must be built with the watchOS 6 SDK or later.
- Apps that authenticate or set up user accounts must support Sign in with Apple if required by guideline 4.8 of the App Store Review Guidelines.
- Apps in the Kids category must be in full compliance with guideline 1.3 and guideline 5.1.4. of the ‌App Store‌ Review Guidelines.
- Apps using HTML 5 must be in full compliance with guideline 4.7 sections 4, 5, and 6 of the ‌App Store‌ Review Guidelines.
Notably, apps will not be required to adopt ‌Sign in with Apple‌ or comply with new guidelines for apps designed for children until the end of June.

Apple says the deadlines are being extended to accommodate developers who may need additional time to update their apps on the ‌App Store‌. Apple was previously requiring developers to meet these deadlines in April 2020.
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Apple Offering 90-Day Free Trials for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:58:52 PDT
Apple is offering new free trial options for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, its video and audio editing software designed for professional projects, giving customers 90 days to try them out prior to a purchase.


The new longer trial options will be beneficial to those who are working from home, including students who are no longer able to work in a classroom environment, and those who are looking to try learning a new skill. The 90-day free trial options are available to all customers around the world.

Prior to now, Final Cut Pro X had a 30-day free trial, while Logic Pro X had no free trial option at all, so this will be a welcome change for everyone who has wanted to try out Logic Pro X before making a purchase. The 90-day extension period will be available for a limited time, reverting back to 30 days in the future. The free trial options are available for both new customers and those who have already downloaded the prior 30-day free trial of Final Cut Pro X.

The 90-day free trial for Final Cut Pro X is available now, while the free trial for Logic Pro X will be available in a few days. The free trial options can be downloaded from Apple's dedicated websites for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X.
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Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:45:10 PDT
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update.

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Design wise, there are no real external changes to the ‌MacBook Air‌'s body, though to accommodate the new keyboard, it's just a bit thicker. It's 0.63 inches thick at its thickest point, up from 0.61 inches.

It still comes in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, and it uses the same Retina display that was first introduced in the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ redesign. Most of what's new is internal, but there is an all-new Magic Keyboard with scissor switches, which is the same keyboard added to the 16-inch MacBook Pro released last October.


Scissor switches are more reliable than butterfly switches and aren't prone to the same failure due to dust and other small particulates. In fact, scissor switch keyboards were used in MacBooks prior to the 2015 and 2016 MacBook and ‌MacBook Pro‌ refreshes that brought us the butterfly keyboard, so Apple is returning to an old favorite.

The new keyboard feels nice with its 1mm travel, but the keys are a bit softer, quieter, and mushier, so for some, it's not going to be as satisfying of a typing experience as the butterfly keyboard, but most people will appreciate the change and the reliability improvements.


There are inverted T arrow keys to make it easier to find them by feel, plus the keys have the same backlighting as the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ model. Next to the function keys, there's a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for unlocking the Mac with a finger.

The ‌MacBook Air‌ still features just two Thunderbolt 3 ports, but 6K displays are now supported, so it works with Apple's Pro Display XDR if you feel like getting a $5,000 display to go with your $999 machine.

The rest of the changes to the ‌MacBook Air‌ are internal. It uses Intel's 10th-generation chips, maxing out at a quad-core Core i7 option that Apple says doubles CPU performance compared to the previous-generation ‌MacBook Air‌ models.

That Core i7 chip is a high-end upgrade, though, and the base model that we have on hand features a 1.1GHz dual-core 10th-generation Core i3 processor, and performance gains are a lot more modest.


GPU performance with the Intel Iris Plus Graphics is up to 80 percent faster than GPU performance with the previous Intel UHD Graphics 617, which is a bigger jump for the base model.

Apple also boosted the storage, so the ‌MacBook Air‌ now supports up to 2TB storage space and the base model comes with 256GB of storage instead of 128GB of storage, which is a great deal given the new lower $999 starting price. Entry-level machines still come with 8GB RAM, though, and the 16GB upgrade is $200.

With the price drop, storage upgrade, GPU refresh, and new chips, the 2020 ‌MacBook Air‌ is a great entry-level machine ideal for people who need something for office work, web browsing, content consumption, light photo editing, and similar tasks that don't require the power of the ‌MacBook Pro‌.

For most consumers, the entry-level 2020 ‌MacBook Air‌ is more than adequate, and for a few hundred dollars, it can be futureproofed with some boosted CPU speed and additional RAM.

What do you think of the 2020 ‌MacBook Air‌ refresh? Let us know in the comments.
Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

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Optical Thunderbolt 3 Cables Begin Rolling Out in Lengths Up to 50 Meters

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:42:48 PDT
The Thunderbolt 3 standard has been available for roughly four years now, but cable lengths have so far generally been limited to a couple of meters due to signal degradation over long distances of copper wiring. While the use of copper Thunderbolt 3 cables limits their length, it does allow for additional features like the ability to carry power and fallback use of USB modes at slower speeds.

Areca's 30-meter optical Thunderbolt 3 cable

There is an alternative to copper cables that allows for longer cable lengths, and that's optical fiber cables, which use light to transmit signals over long distances with high fidelity. While there have been optical versions of Thunderbolt 1 and 2 cables, the Thunderbolt 3 standard has been very slow in seeing optical cables come to market.

The market for optical Thunderbolt cables is relatively small given their expense and the fact that the vast majority of users have no need to run cables longer than a couple of meters, but for those who do need long cables, the wait for Thunderbolt 3 cables has been a long one.

That wait finally appears to be coming to an end, however, as we're starting to see signs of the cables coming to market. Taiwanese company Areca has recently launched optical Thunderbolt 3 cables, available in 10-, 20- and 30-meter lengths. The cables are available through B&H, but with pricing coming in at $559, $699, and $799 respectively, these are obviously only for pro-level users who absolutely need the highest performance over long distances. And remember that these cables can only carry Thunderbolt 3 data and don't fall back to USB or provide power to or from connected devices.

B&H currently lists expected availability of 7-10 business days on all three cable lengths, and Areca told me a few weeks ago that supplies were somewhat constrained as its factories were still trying to ramp production back up. Areca tells me that beyond the cables that have shown up at B&H, the company is also planning a special-order 50-meter cable and has also been considering a shorter 5.5- or 6-meter cable, although the minimal price difference between that and the 10-meter version may not make it worthwhile.

Corning's optical Thunderbolt 3 connectors

One of the major optical cable manufacturers users have been looking to for Thunderbolt 3 cables is Corning, and it appears its cables may be close to coming to market as well. One MacRumors reader let us know that Corning's cables have started appearing on websites of some European resellers like MacConsult in lengths ranging from 5.5 meters to 50 meters. Based on these listings, Corning's pricing looks like it will be starting at around the equivalent of $400 in the U.S., a bit less than Areca but still out of the range of the average consumer.

Corning tells me that while samples of its optical Thunderbolt 3 cables have been shown at trade shows over the past couple of years, it's not quite ready to officially launch them and shared the following statement:
Corning’s Thunderbolt 3 cables have not yet been launched publicly, although we have shown preliminary samples at industry events. We look forward to their launch, although a date has not been scheduled.
It seems likely that Corning is still awaiting final certification from Intel and that a distributor may have gotten a bit ahead of itself in pushing out preliminary listings to some resellers, but hopefully we can expect Corning's cables to hit the market fairly soon.

The annual NAB show in April would have been a good opportunity for Corning to launch its cables if final certification from Intel was imminent, but as with nearly every other trade show, NAB 2020 has been canceled, so we'll have to wait and see what Corning's plans are.

Optical Thunderbolt 3 cables are hitting the market just as Intel has started teasing Thunderbolt 4, although it's unclear what the differences between the two versions will be, as they appear to offer the same maximum transfer speeds. USB4 is also coming to market in the relatively near future and will essentially unify Thunderbolt 3 and USB with Thunderbolt 3's theoretical maximum 40 Gb/s speeds.
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Apple Music Rolling Out Feature That Displays New Music Notifications From Favorite Artists in Your Library

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:14:33 PDT
Apple today is rolling out a new feature to Apple Music users, prominently displaying new albums, EPs, and videos from their favorite artists at the top of the Library tab in iOS.


The new feature first appears as a splash page in ‌Apple Music‌ on iOS, telling users that they can "see new music from artists you like." This will let you get updates about new releases from artists you listen to, with notifications appearing above your library of albums and playlists.

In settings for the feature, it appears that you can't specify exactly which artists you want notifications from. You can only choose to turn these notifications on or off, and whether you want to see these notifications in your Library tab or not.

The updated notifications feature is not available on a wide scale as of writing, but a select group of users do appear to have the update so far. To check, you can visit ‌Apple Music‌ on iPhone or iPad; the splash screen will appear for those people who can use the new feature.

‌Apple Music‌ has offered push notifications about new albums and music from artists you stream in the past, but these are fairly unreliable. Now that Apple is placing notifications directly within the ‌Apple Music‌ app, the company appears to be trying to offer more dependable information about new album launches.

(Thanks, Joshua!)
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