Category Archives: Apple

Apple Announces App Store Small Business Program



Apple announced the App Store Small Business Program. It will launch on January 1, 2021. The new program reduces App Store commission to 15 percent for small businesses earning up to $1 million per year.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea. Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.”

Apple says the comprehensive details about the program will be released in early December. It has revealed the essentials of the program’s participation criteria.

  • Existing developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, can qualify for the program and the reduced commission.
  • If a participating developer surpasses the $1 million threshold, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year.
  • If a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15 percent commission the year after.

According to MacRumors, “The fee cut won’t benefit some of the developers that have been the most vocal about Apple’s commission rates, such as Epic Games, but it will relieve some of the pressure on the small business owners that need the most help.”


Apple Responded to macOS Privacy Concerns



It is clear that Apple’s macOS Big Sur installation had problems. The Verge reported that many Mac users had trouble opening apps after installing the update. You may have read an extremely detailed blog post by Jeffrey Paul titled “Your Computer Isn’t Yours”, in which he discussed a security problem involving the macOS.

It appears that iPhone in Canada was the first to report that Apple updated its support document titled: “Safely open apps on your Mac”. The update is under the Privacy protections header, which is the last header on the document.

Gatekeeper performs online checks to verify if an app contains known malware and whether the developer’s signing certificate is revoked. We have never combined data from these checks with information about Apple users or their devices. We do not use data from these checks to learn what individual users are launching or running on their devices.

Apple continued by stating: “These security checks have never included the user’s Apple ID or the identity of their device. To further protect privacy, we have stopped logging IP addresses associated with Developer ID certificate checks, and we will ensure that any collected IP addresses are removed from logs.”

In addition, Apple is making changes to their security checks over the next year. Specifically:

  • A new encrypted protocol for Developer ID certificate revocation checks
  • Strong protections against server failure
  • A new preference for users to opt out of these security protections

It is not entirely clear if Apple’s update is in response to Jeffrey Paul’s blog post, but I suspect it may have influenced Apple to provide more clarification. I think the issue became a controversy because Apple’s developers understood how the security in the macOS functioned – but failed to realize that consumers might need more context in order to understand what was happening.


Apple Launches Apple Music TV



Apple has launched Apple Music TV, an all access experience on all your devices. Apple is launching it with a free trial, and states that you can cancel at anytime. Variety reported the following:

Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows as well as chart countdowns and guests”, according to the announcement.

Features include:

  • Listen Now is the easiest way to play what you love and discover something new.
  • An all-new Search serves up the best music for the genres and activities you love.
  • Autoplay creates a continuous stream of music based on what you listened to last.
  • Sing along, tap ahead, or just listen with lyrics view – now always on unless you turn it off.
  • Tune into three live radio stations hosted by artists playing today’s hits, classics, and country.
  • Dial in local broadcast radio stations by call sign, name, or frequency – or just ask Siri
  • Watch top music videos and check out curated music video playlists.
  • Now you can search for music by lyrics right in the app – or just ask Siri.
  • Tap into Apple editors’ picks with curated playlists featuring rap to country, new hits to classics.
  • Keep track of what’s hot all over the world with global charts.
  • Just ask Siri to play songs by any artist, mood, or genre.
  • Play your favorite artist’s latest collaborations, releases, and playlists all from one page.
  • Add your favorite songs to your library and listen on any device – online or off.
  • Stream Apple Music to AirPlay-enabled speakers or Apple TV effortlessly.

To me, this sounds like it could be Apple’s way of competing with Spotify, which has become the go-to for listening to music. Spotify has a free service, as well as a subscription service. Apple Music TV offers Apple Music, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country for free without a subscription.

There are three subscriptions for Apple Music TV. Student is $4.99/month. (It is for college students only, and verification is required). Individual plans are $9.99/month. Family plans are $14.99/month. Variety reported that Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app.


Apple All-New iPad Air with A14 Bionic Chip Available to Order



Apple announced that its most powerful, versatile, a colorful iPad Air ever is here. Starting today, alongside the new iPhone 12, customers can order the all-new iPad Air, with availability beginning Friday, October 23.

Offered in five gorgeous finishes, iPad Air features an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic for a massive boost in performance, making this by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made.

The new iPad Air features a completely new thin and light design in five gorgeous finishes: silver, space gray, rose gold, green and sky blue. The new all-screen design brings a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display for a stunning visual experience, with 3.8 million pixels and advanced technologies, including full lamination, P3 wide color support, True Tone, and an anti-reflective coating.

To allow the display to extend on all sides, a next-generation Touch ID sensor is integrated into the top button, providing the same fast, easy, and secure way to unlock iPad Air, log into apps, or use Apple Pay.

iPad Air is compatible with Magic Keyboard and its floating design with built-in trackpad, the Smart Keyboard Folio, and new Smart Folio covers, as well as Apple Pencil (2nd generation), which attaches magnetically to the side of iPad for easy paring, charging, and storing.

The iPad Air delivers a massive boost in performance with Apple’s most advanced chip ever made. Handling even the most demanding apps, A14 Bionic makes iPad Air even better for editing 4K video, creating gorgeous works of art, playing immersive games, and more.

Using breakthrough 5-nanometer process technology, A14 Bionic is packed with 11.8 billion transistors for increased performance and power efficiency in nearly every part of the chip. This latest generation A-series chip features a new 6-core design for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics.

A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second. A14 Bionic also includes the second-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU for 10 times faster machine learning calculations.

The new iPad Air ships with iPadOS 14, which brings new features and designs that take advantage of the unique capabilities of iPad, such as its large Multi-Touch display, and versatile accessories. iPadOS 14 further integrates Apple Pencil into the iPad experience for better note-taking capabilities, and new ways to work with handwritten notes.

When taking notes on iPad, Smart Selection uses on-device machine learning to distinguish handwriting from drawings, so handwritten text can be easily selected, cut, and pasted into another document as typed text using the same familiar gestures. iPadOS 14 also brings Scribble to iPad, allowing Apple Pencil users to handwrite directly in any text field.

The new iPad Air is available to order today on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app in over 30 countries and regions, including the US, and begins arriving Friday, October 23. Wi-Fi models of iPad Air are available with a starting price of $599 (US) and Wi-Fi+ Cellular models start at $729 (US).


Apple Announced iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini



Apple unveiled iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini with 5G technology. 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.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini deliver an advanced 5G experience on a global scale, engineered with a seamless integration of world-class hardware and world-class software. 5G on iPhone boasts improved speeds for faster downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming, more responsive gaming, real-time interactivity in apps, FaceTime in high definition, and more. Customers will also be able to enjoy a secure, fast connection, reducing the need to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Featuring the most 5G bands on any smartphone, iPhone 12 models offer the broadest 5G coverage worldwide. Models in the US support millimeter wave, the higher frequency version of 5G, allowing iPhone 12 to reach speeds up to 4Gbps, even in densely populated areas. iPhone 12 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.

A14 Bionic is the first chip in the smartphone industry built on 5-nanometer process. Faster and more efficient than ever, A14 Bionic has the fastest CPU and GPU by up to 50 percent compared to the fastest competing smartphone chips, enabling console-quality gaming experiences, powerful computational photography, and more while delivering great battery life. It sounds to me like this chip will make iPhone 12 really good for playing mobile games on.

I think it is cool that Apple is making iPhones with 5G technology. That will definitely be good for playing mobile games. The only problem I see is that not everyone who wants to buy iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini lives in an area that has 5G.

IPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models in blue, green, black, white, and (PRODUCT)RED starting at $799 and $699. Customers can also get iPhone 12 for $22.87 a month or $549 with trade-in and iPhone 12 mini for $18.70 a month or $449 with trade-in from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations.

Customers in Australia, China, Germany, Japan, the UK, the US and more than 30 other countries and regions will be able to pre-order iPhone 12 beginning at 5 a.m. PDT on Friday, October 16, with availability beginning on Friday, October 23. iPhone 12 mini will be available for pre-order beginning at 5 a.m. PST on Friday, November 6, with availability beginning on Friday, November 13.


Apple Introduces HomePod Mini



Apple has introduced 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.

HomePod mini is designed to work with Apple Music, podcasts, radio stations from iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn, and in the coming months, popular music services including Pandora and Amazon Music. Multiple HomePod mini speakers work together to stream music or podcasts to multiple rooms, all in perfect sync. By placing two HomePod mini speakers in a single room, a stereo pair can be created for a wide soundstage, filling the space with rich, enveloping sound.

With the intelligence of Siri, HomePod mini delivers a personalized and deeply integrated experience for iPhone customers. Siri can identify who is speaking and tailor music and podcasts to their preferences, and respond to personal requests, like accessing messages, reminders, notes, and calendar appointments, or making and answering phone calls. Users can ask Siri “What’s my update?” to hear the latest news, weather, traffic, reminders, and calendar appointments.

HomePod mini integrates with other Apple devices. You can use HomePod mini to pick up an incoming call, listen to music on the Mac, or upgrade the TV experience by taking the sound from Apple TV to the next level. When listening to music on iPhone, customers can bring their device close to HomePod mini and seamlessly hand off the music without missing a beat.

HomePod mini also has an intercom system that can be used to control smart accessories. It can be used to turn off the lights, change the temperature, lock the doors, or set a scene.

The intercom system can be used as an easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an intercom message from one HomePod to another, and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods and CarPlay.

Perhaps the most reassuring part of HomePod mini is that it was designed with privacy and security in mind. With HomePod mini, only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally on the device, or the user activates Siri by touch, will any information be sent to Apple servers. Requests are not associated with the user’s Apple ID, and personal information is not sold to advertisers or other organizations.

HomePod mini will be available in white and space gray for $99 (US) from apple.com., in the Apple Store app, and Apple Store locations.

Customers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan Spain, the UK and the US are able to order HomePod mini beginning at 5 a.m. PST on Friday, November 6, with availability beginning the week of November 16. HomePod mini will be available in China, Mexico and Taiwan later this year.


Apple Extends Apple TV+ Free Trials Through February 2021



People who purchased a new Apple device from September 2019 were automatically eligible for a free year of Apple TV+, 9To5Mac reported. Those free trials were set to expire at the end of October 19, 2020. People who bought a new Apple device within that timeframe will have their Apple TV+ free subscription extended through February 2021.

TechCrunch provided details on this deal:

  • If your Apple TV+ subscription ends on November 1, 2020, through January 31 of 2021, Apple is extending the free year to your sub date in February of 2021.
  • The yearly subscriber extension applies to people who subbed prior to January 31, 2020.
  • If your sub was set to end November 15th, 2020, then your first billing date would now be February 15th, 2020.
  • If people signed up for subs without a new device purchase during that same date period, they will also get their free subscription extended through February 2021.
  • If you have signed up for a monthly subscription before November 1, 2020, you’ll get a $4.99 credit per month.
  • The new device program where you get a year of Apple TV+ free will still continue.
  • Customers will get emails about this.

It is always nice to get something for free! The timing of the freebie puts it right into the holiday season when the weather is getting colder and people tend to want to stay indoors. Typically, people tend to travel during the holidays, but that might not be a good idea this year because of COVID-19. Those who are eligible for the extended Apple TV+ free trial will have something interesting to watch while stuck at home.