Category Archives: Apple

Apple Delays And Modifies Its Return To Office Plans



Apple, in a blow to its efforts to restore normalcy to its operations, has suspended its requirement that employees return to the office this month for at least three days a week because of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, The New York Times reported.

According to The New York Times, the reversal was welcome news for thousands of employees who pushed back against the company’s demand that they begin coming to the office three days a week in early May. Earlier this month, the group which calls itself “Apple Together” published a letter calling on the executive team to allow for a hybrid and flexible work schedule, saying they could collaborate remotely using online tools such as Slack and spare themselves hours of commuting.

Personally, I’m not surprised by this change. Apple has a history of changing its COVID policy based on its assessment of what is the right thing to do. For example, in June of 2021, Apple chose to loosen its face mask requirement in Apple Stores as part of its COVID-19 policies in the United States.

Previously, in December of 2020, Apple closed all 53 of its locations in California. In May of 2020, it started gradually reopening stores in South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. Later, it began reopening stores with COVID-19 safety measures. In June of 2020, Apple closed 11 stores in Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona out of an abundance of caution. The decisions are made by Apple depended upon the number of COVID cases in a particular area.

9to5Mac noted that, as first reported by Bloomberg, Apple is still requiring employees to work in-person two days per week, but it will not ramp that up to three days per week on May 23 as originally planned.The company is delaying that requirement.

The Verge reported that Bloomberg retail employees in about 100 Apple stores were told that they will again be required to wear a mask.

9to5Mac reported the changes to Apple’s plans come as COVID-19 cases have once again started to increase in the United States and other countries. Hospitalizations are also increasing but at a much slower pace, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Personally, I think the changes made by Apple are a step in the right direction. Requiring employees to wear masks in Apple stores, and also requiring employees at Apple to wear masks in common spaces (such as meeting rooms and elevators) can help stop the spread of COVID.

The problem I see with Apple’s plan is that it doesn’t really do much to protect workers who are immunocompromised. As someone who is part of that group, I understand how scary it can be to walk into a building that lacks the proper amount of air filtration to keep people like me safe.


Apple Ends Production Of The iPod Touch



Apple announced in a newsroom post titled: “The music lives on”, that the iPod touch will be available while supplies last. This is the end of the run for iPod touch.

“Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go. Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line – from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac – along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.”

There is a lot of hype in Apple’s newsroom post about all the wonderful things Apple has made – that can be used to listen to music – since the release of the original iPod touch on October 23, 2001. If you’re feeling especially nostalgic about this announcement, there’s a chance you can still buy an iPod touch through apple.com, Apple Store locations, and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.

To me, this news is just the next in the long line of once prominent music playing devices that were very popular for a time – only to be replaced by the next, newest, version.

The original Sony Walkman was a portable cassette player. When it stopped production, Sony had built about 200 million cassette-based Wallkmans. The device was popular in the 1980s. The Walkman was replaced by the Discman which was launched in 1984. This device was able to play CDs and was about as portable as the Walkman. I doubt anyone, other than people who are fascinated will the 1980s, will miss these devices.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the first iPod, which was released in 2001, helped Apple co-founder Steve Jobs remake the company, extending its reach from computers to other personal devices and vastly expanding Apple’s reach in the music industry.

According to The Wall Street Journal, for some consumers, the iPod – which came in various color iterations and models, – was their first introduction to Apple. The iPod helped users usher in a new era for music in which songs could be downloaded for 99 cents – separated from albums by artists – and loaded onto a device about the size of a deck of cards.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that now, as smartphones have grown more sophisticated and music is largely streamed rather than accessed through paid downloads, iPod sales have diminished. Apple hasn’t separated iPod sales for years, but unit sales fell about 24% in fiscal 2014 compared with the previous fiscal year.

As such, the iPod, which replaced the Discman, is in the process of being replaced itself. Those who want to bring their music along with them can easily stream music through their iPhone, or iPad, from whatever streaming services they have access to.


Apple Announced Self Service Repair



Apple announced that Self Service Repair is now available, providing repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools through the Apple Self Service Repair Store. Self Service Repair is available in the US and will expand to additional countries – beginning in Europe – later this year.

The new online store offers more than 200 individual parts and tools, enabling customers who are experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices to complete repairs on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups and iPhone SE (3rd generation), such as the display, battery, and camera. Later this year the program will also include manuals, parts, and tools to perform repairs on Mac computers with Apple silicon.

iFixit reported that Apple is “finally rolling out self-service repair, the DIY repair parts they promised last November.”

This is a reasonable assertion, considering that Microsoft announced in December of 2012, that repair tools to iFixit independent repairers, Microsoft Authorized Service Providers, Microsoft Experience Centers, and Microsoft Commercial customers. Those groups can purchase Microsoft service tools for Surface directly from iFixit. Google announced in April that genuine Pixel spare parts would be available for purchase at iFixit for Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro, as well as future Pixel models.

The iFixit article continues: Starting today, US fixers can buy iPhone 12, 13, and SE 3 parts and tools from Apple. Parts are available for the battery, bottom speaker, camera, display, SIM tray, and Taptic Engine. Over the next year, the program will extend to M1 MacBooks and from there to Europe, with other products on the horizon. It is unclear whether Apple will support older iPhone models like iFixit does.

“We are really happy to see Apple making repair manuals available for everyone for free online,” iFixit wrote. “Like, seriously happy. Like, we’ve-been-asking-for-this-for-twenty-years happy.”

In addition, iFixit pointed out that as of today, you can buy an official Apple iPhone 12 screen and install it yourself, on your own device, with no fuss. Previously, DIY repairs relied on keeping the Face ID speaker and sensor assembly intact, then very carefully moving it to your new screen, and finally ignoring some gentle warnings. If your assembly was damaged or defective, you were out of luck.

The right to repair is important. At first glance, Apple appears to be joining the other companies that have already allowed consumers to repair their phones and/or computers. According to iFixit, Apple’s program doesn’t do what Right to Repair legislation around the world aims to do. “Unfortunately, this program expands the freedom to repair with one hand, while locking the door with the other.”


Apple Unveiled its Studio Display



Apple announced its Studio Display. The all-new Studio Display perfectly complements Mac Studio and also beautifully pairs with any Mac. In a class of its own, it features a gorgeous 27-inch 5K Retina screen, plus sensational camera and audio, delivering that integrated experience Mac users love.

Slim Aluminum Design

Studio Display brings a stunning all-screen design with narrow borders and a refined, all-aluminum enclosure that houses an advanced set of features in a slim profile. Its built-in stand allows the user to tilt the display up to 30 degrees,

To meet the needs of a variety of workplaces, Studio Display also offers a tilt-and height-adjustable stand option with a counterbalancing arm that makes the display feel weightless as it is adjusted. A VESA mount adapter option is also available, and supports landscape or portrait orientation for even more flexibility.

Immersive 27-inch 5K Retina Display

Studio Display features a 27-inch 5K Retina screen with over 14.7 million pixels. With 600 nits of brightness, P3 wide color, and support for over one billion colors, images come to life with spectacular detail. True Tone technology automatically adjusts the display’s color temperature as the environment changes for a more natural viewing experience.

An industry-leading anti-reflective coating enables incredibly low reflectivity for better comfort and readability. And for workspaces with bright light sources, including sunlight, Studio Display offers an innovative nano-texture glass option. Nano-texture glass, first introduced on Pro Display XDR, scatters light to further minimize glare while delivering outstanding image quality.

Sensational Camera and Audio System

Featuring the A13 Bionic chip, Studio Display delivers amazing experiences with its highly advanced camera and audio system. The ultimate video conferencing display, it includes a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage, a feature that automatically keeps users centered in the frame as they move around for even more engaging video calls.

Studio Display also includes a studio-quality, three-way microphone array with an especially low noise floor for crystal-clear calls and voice recordings. It also features a high fidelity six-speaker sound system, the best ever created for Mac, delivering an unbelievable listening experience.

Four force-canceling woofers minimize distortion and produce bold, articulate bass, and two high-performance tweeters create accurate miss and crisp highs. The speakers also support spacial audio for music and video with Dolby Atmos, creating a truly cinematic viewing experience. Altogether, Studio Display has the best combination of camera and audio ever in a desktop display.

Seamless Connectivity

Studio Display has three USB-C ports that deliver speeds up to 10Gb/s to connect high-speed peripherals, storage, and networking right into the display. A Thunderbolt port enables users to connect Studio Display and any connected peripherals to their Mac with a single cable.

The same cable also delivers 96W of power to a Mac notebook, allowing Studio Display to even fast-charge a 14-inch MacBook Pro. And up to three Studio Displays can be connected to MacBook Pro, creating a powerful edit bay or animation workspace.


Apple Introduces the Mac Studio



Apple introduced Mac Studio. It will be available starting March 18, 2022, and is priced starting at $1,999. Mac Studio is 7.7” across and 3.7” tall.

Mac Studio is an entirely new Mac desktop. It packed outrageous performance, extensive connectivity, and new capabilities into an unbelievably compact form, putting everything you need within easy reach and transforming any space into a studio. And it all starts with your choice of the ferociously fast M1 Max of the all-new M1 Ultra – the most powerful chip ever in a personal computer.

The incredible power and efficiency of Apple silicon has allowed us to completely reimagine the high performance desktop. The design inspiration for Mac Studio was simple: to let M1 Max or M1 Ultra – and your creativity – run completely unrestrained, within the smallest possible footprint. It fits perfectly under most displays, putting prodigious power and connectivity at arm’s reach, right on our desk.

Within the 7.7-inch square Mac Studio enclosure lies a groundbreaking thermal system designed to let M1 Max or M1 Ultra fly through heavy workloads at screaming-fast speeds – and say whisper quiet.

Mac Studio lets you create the studio of your dreams with an array of 12 high-performance ports, located front and back for convenient access. Easily connect – and disconnect – your camera, external storage, and other devices from the front. See the bigger picture by plugging in up to four Pro Display XDRs and one 4K TV. There’s also a headphone jack with advanced support for high-impedance headphones or line out for amplified speakers.

The front of the Mac Studio has two USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 ports and 1 SDXC port. The back of the Mac Studio has four Thunderbolt 4 ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 10GB Ethernet port 1 3.5 mm port, two USB-A ports and a headphone jack.

The M1 Max brings power to tackle challenges of almost any size. Whether you’re running multiple apps, sorting and editing thousands of photos, recording and mixing professional-quality music, or discovering a new exoplanet, the screaming-fast M1 Max has your back.

M1 Max has:

Up to 2.5X faster CPU performance
Up to 3.5x faster GBU performance
Up to 2.2x faster machine learning

Built from two M1 Max chips, M1 Ultra lets you power through workflows on an unprecedented scale. So you can run complex particle simulations or work with massive 3D environments that were previously impossible to render. And with twice the media engine resources, M1 Ultra can support up to 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video playback – something no other personal computer can do.

M1 Max has:

Up to 3.8x faster CPU performance
Up to 4.5x faster GBU performance
Up to 3.9x faster machine learning


Apple Unveils the M1 Ultra Chip



Apple announced M1 Ultra, the next giant leap for Apple silicon and the Mac. Featuring UltraFusion – Apple’s innovative packaging architecture that interconnects the die of two M1 Max chips to create a system on a chip (SoC) with unprecedented levels of performance and capabilities – M1 Ultra delivers breathtaking computing power to the new Mac Studio while maintaining industry-leading performance per watt.

The new SoC consists of 114 billion transistors, the most ever in a personal computer chip. M1 Ultra can be configured with up to 128GB of high-bandwidth, low-latency unified memory that can be accessed by the 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, and 32-core Neural Engine, providing astonishing performance for developers compiling code, artists working in huge 3D environments the were previously impossible to render, and video professionals who can transcode video to ProRes up to 5.6x faster than with a 28-core MacPro with Afterburner.

Groundbreaking UltraFusion Architecture

The foundation for M1 Ultra is the extremely powerful and power-efficient M1 Max. To build M1 Ultra, the die of two M1 Max are connected using UltraFusion, Apple’s custom-built packaging architecture. The most common way to scale performance is to connect two chips through a motherboard, which typically brings significant trade-offs, including increased latency, reduced bandwidth, and increased power consumption.

However, Apple’s innovative UltraFusion uses a silicon interposer that connects the chips across more than 10,000 signals, providing a massive 2.5TB/s of low latency, inter-processor bandwidth – more than 4x the bandwidth of the leading multi-chip interconnect technology. This enables M1 Ultra to behave and be recognized by software as one chip, so developers don’t need to rewrite code to take advantage of its performance. There’s never been anything like it.

Unprecedented Performance and Power Efficiency

M1 Ultra feature an extraordinary powerful 20-core CPU with 16 high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. It delivers 90 percent higher multi-threaded performance than the fastest available 16-core PC desktop chip in the same power envelope. Additionally, M1 Ultra reached the PC chip’s peak performance using 100 fewer watts.

That astounding efficiency means less energy is consumed and fans run quietly, even as apps like Logic Pro rip through demanding workflows, such as processing massive amounts of virtual instruments, audio plug-ins, and effects.

macOS and Apps Scale Up to M1 Ultra

Deep integration between hardware and software has always been at the heart of the Mac experience. macOS Monterey has been designed for Apple silicon, taking advantage of M1 Ultra’s huge increases in CPU, GPU, and memory bandwidth. Developer technologies like Metal let apps take full advantage of the new chip, and optimizations in Core ML utilize the new 32-core Neural Engine, so machine learning models run faster than ever.


Apple Cracks Down On Dating Apps Using Alternative Payment Systems



Apple will charge dating app developers in The Netherlands, who are using an alternative payment system, a “reduced” commission that is set at 27% net of tax 9to5Mac reported. Apple typically charges 30% commission on purchases made using its In-App Purchase system.

According to 9to5Mac, the 27% commission was something Apple had to do to comply with a ruling from The Netherland Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Apple is still going to charge a commission on these purchases regardless. In short, Apple is doing the bare minimum of what The Netherland authorities required. 9to5Mac also reported that Apple is appealing the decision on the grounds of customer safety.

Apple provided information on its Developer blog with more specific details. It includes the following:

…Apple allows developers distributing dating apps on the Netherlands App Store to choose to do one of the following: 1) continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system, 2) use a third-party payment system within the app, or 3) include an in-app link directing users to the developer’s website to complete a purchase…

Apple notes that developers of dating apps (again, specifically in The Netherlands) who want to continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system may do so and no further action is needed. Things get complicated for those who want to use a different payment system. There appear to be a lot of hoops for developers of dating apps to jump through. If they get through all that, their dating app will still only be available on the App Store in the Netherlands.

Among those “hoops” involves requiring developers to provide a report to Apple reporting each sale of digital goods and content that has been provided monthly within 15 calendar days following the end of Apple’s fiscal month. Qualifying developers will receive an invoice based on reporting and will be required to remit payment to Apple for the amount invoiced within 45 days following the end of Apple’s fiscal month.

Overall, it sounds like Apple is intentionally making it harder for dating app developers in The Netherlands, who want to use a third-party payment system, to make money. They would have to pay Apple a commission price that is just barely under Apple’s typical commission price. Their dating app would only be available through The Netherlands App Store, further reducing the amount of people who could find it.