Category Archives: Apple

Apple Temporarily Closes Stores (Again) Due to COVID-19



Apple has temporarily closed nearly one-fifth of its stores due to new COVID-19 restrictions, 9To5Mac reported. This is not the first time that Apple closed stores that were located in areas where there were spikes of COVID-19 cases. 95 Apple Stores across the globe have re-closed since Monday, December 14, 2020.

Apple announced closures of all its stores in California and Tennessee this weekend, adding to just over a dozen closures of Los Angeles stores announced on December 18. On Friday, California broke its record for most new COVID-19 cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

Bloomberg reported that Apple closed all 53 of its locations in California, one day after saying it would close stores in the Los Angeles area. The closures now cover major locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

MacRumors reported that all retail locations in California have a notice letting customers know that the stores are temporarily closed, though some are allowing for order pickups and genius bar appointments through December 22. There’s no word on when the stores will reopen, but they will remain closed through the holidays.

Stores in Tennessee were closed this weekend, MacRumors reported. Stores that are located in the UK’s Tier 4 restrictions shut down today. Apple closed 18 stores in Germany and the Netherlands last week, and stores in Mexico and Brazil are closing this weekend.

I think Apple is doing the right thing by temporarily closing these stores. It is a good way to help prevent their workers from being exposed to COVID-19. Doing so also prevents last-minute shoppers, who are in areas where COVID-19 is surging, from gathering in stores and potentially spreading the virus.


Apple Responded to Facebook’s Anti-Tracking Criticism



Apple has responded to Facebook’s criticisms about Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 update. Specifically, Facebook appears to be angry that the update will require people to opt-in to targeted advertising and tracking.

Apple provided a statement to MacRumors about the update:

We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites – and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires that they give users a choice.

Personally, I think that Apple’s decision to allow users to know when their data is being collected – and to have the choice to allow it or not – is a good one. I live in California, which enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). It requires that business that collect a consumer’s personal information must inform consumers about the categories of personal information to be collected and the purposes for which is it used. This must be done before the point of collection. It also allows people to tell a business not to sell their personal information to third parties.

Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 update sounds like it is in compliance with the CCPA. It might also comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which also regulates data protection.

One of the best things about Apple’s iOS 14 update is that the default setting is to alert all users about how a specific app will use their data. Users don’t have to figure out how to prevent data collection and tracking – Apple already does that for them. That said, if you really want Facebook (and other apps) to collect your data, and sell it to third-parties, you will have the ability to opt-in to that.


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.