The Connection-And-Protocols Edition Friday, November 4, 2016

Explaining Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, And Everything In Between, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

The first Mac with Thunderbolt 3 is now available, the non-Touch Bar 13-inch model from Apple’s new series of MacBook Pro laptops; the rest of the models ship soon. Thunderbolt 3 relies on the USB-C physical connector and, with the appropriate adapters, supports nearly all common peripheral-connection and networking protocols, including USB 2, USB 3, FireWire, Thunderbolt 2, Ethernet, and DisplayPort, and by extension, HDMI, DVI, and VGA. [...]

The summary for potential late 2016 MacBook Pro owners is that all current USB-C devices, cables, and adapters will work when plugged into a MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, Thunderbolt 3-specific devices won’t work with computers and other devices like the 12-inch MacBook whose USB-C ports are less capable. Now, let’s drill down into details.

New MacBook Pro Models Lack Optical Audio Out Via Headphone Jack, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple appears to have removed optical audio output support from the headphone jack on its new 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys, suggesting it is unlikely to have made the transition in the Touch Bar equipped models either.

Optical audio output is used to link Macs to home theater setups and A/V systems capable of multi-channel surround sound, by way of a mini TOSlink adapter connected to the 3.5mm jack.

It’s Not You, iTunes 12.5 Keeps Updating, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

We have no idea how these three versions might differ, but it isn’t related to anything you’ve done — Apple bears full responsibility for the confusion.

If you installed iTunes 12.5.2, it’s almost certainly worth installing the latest version of 12.5.3, under the assumption that whatever the changes may have been, they were so small that it wasn’t even worth moving the version number to 12.5.4.

Predictive Text And Your Phone Number, by Dave Mark, The Loop

When you hit a space after the “is”, predictive text will supply your phone number as a single tappable option.


Mic Launches A News App That You Might Never Need To Open, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

Anthony Sessa, the company’s vice president of product and engineering, told me that one of the big goals was to take advantage ofthe new rich notifications in iOS 10, allowing Mic to provide a full newsreading and viewing experience without having to open the app.

Auxy, The Killer Music-making App For iOS, Now Offers An Array Of Sweet Piano Sounds, by Michael Calore, Wired

One of the best music-making apps for iOS is getting an update today, one that should make it easier for creators to add distinctive and professional sounds to their songs.


How The 12-inch MacBook Prepared Us For New MacBook Pros, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While there has been some skepticism surrounding the new MacBook Pros, I am incredibly excited for mine to arrive. And that’s partly because of my love for the 12-inch model.

How Apple’s Stock Apps Will Use The Touch Bar On The New MacBook Pro, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro replaces the physical function keys on the keyboard with a touchscreen panel, allowing apps to display custom, unique and contextual interfaces like buttons, sliders, tabs and other controls. We’ve already covered some general details about how the Touch Bar works and what developers can do with the API, but it will take some time for third-party developers to add integration.

Apple is leading the charge, however, adding extensive Touch Bar support to many macOS apps with 10.12.1. Using the Xcode developer tools, we’ve gathered screenshots from all of Apple’s apps that already include Touch Bar features.