The Slimmer-Bezels Edition Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Apple’s New iPad Pro Has Face ID, USB-C, And Slimmer Bezels Than Ever Before, by Chris Welch, The Verge

After months of rumors, Apple has today announced a completely redesigned iPad Pro with slimmed-down bezels, Face ID, a USB-C port, and far more powerful specs than its predecessor. Just like prior years, the new iPad Pro comes in two screen sizes: 11-inch and 12.9-inch. The 11-inch model has essentially the same proportions as the prior 10.5-inch model. And the 12.9-inch model puts the same-sized display into a much smaller form factor.


Both iPad Pros feature Face ID and the TrueDepth camera setup that began with the iPhone X. But unlike the iPhone X, XS, and XR, the new iPad Pro lacks a notch; its Face ID components are housed in the top, flat bezel. On the iPad, Face ID can work when the device is oriented horizontally — when it’s connected to a keyboard, for example.

Apple’s New iPad Pro Keyboard Magnetically Attaches And Includes Two Angles, by Tom Warren, The Verge

The new Smart Keyboard Folio magnetically attaches to the new iPad Pro and protects the front and the back. It also now includes two angles instead of the single one on the existing keyboard.

Apple Introduces A New Magnetic Apple Pencil, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

You can attach it to the tablet and it won’t get in the way if you’re using it in landscape. Even better, you no longer need to remove a cap to plug it to the Lightning port. The Apple Pencil charges when it’s attached to the iPad. It works pretty much like a regular wireless charger.


Apple added a gesture on the Pencil so that you can change the color or the shape of your strokes. You just need to tap twice with your finger.

The iPad Finally Moves To USB-C, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

For instance, you can plug a 5K display to your iPad Pro and show some video on the external display. It’s still unclear how it’s going to work when it comes to software, but it opens up a lot possibilities.

You can also use USB-C dongles to plus all sort of data accessories. SD card readers, Ethernet cables, etc. The iPad Pro is looking more and more like a traditional laptop. Many third-party accessory makers will probably use this opportunity to develop docks and other hubs.

Apple’s New iPad Pros Can Charge An iPhone Over USB-C, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Just plug in your iPhone (or, presumably, any other device that you want to charge up) into the iPad’s USB-C port, and you’ll be able to charge it up. Apple hasn’t said yet what kind of power that iPad will be able to push — you probably won’t be able to charge up another iPad Pro or a Mac, for instance — but if you’re out and about and need some extra juice for your phone, it’s a neat option to have.

The New iPad Pro Doesn’t Have A Headphone Jack, by Stefan Etienne, The Verge

Like it or not, Apple is removing the headphone jack from the new 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros. If you want to use a 3.5mm audio jack with one of the new models, then you will need one of Apple’s USB-C to 3.5mm dongles. That’’s right: the new iPad Pro moves from a Lightning cable to USB Type C.

Updating the Oldest Macs

Apple Finally Updates MacBook Air With Retina Display, Touch ID, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

The updated notebook is still called the MacBook Air and still features a 13.3-inch display, but the borders surrounding that screen are dramatically smaller, and the aluminum bezels that adorned the last MacBook Air are gone. Apple says the display contains "over 4 million pixels" and "48% more color" compared to the prior (and admittedly very dated) model. There's an "HD" front-facing camera above the display.

There's no Touch Bar on the new MacBook Air, but there is Touch ID functionality for signing into the laptop more quickly. There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the notebook's side.

Long-awaited Brand-new MacBook Air Finally Gets Retina Display And Touch ID, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

Unfortunately, Apple has also decided to change the keyboard. While the old Air used a tried and true scissor switch, and my 2012 model still types like a dream, the new model uses the much-criticized “butterfly switch” mechanism.

Apple’s New Mac Mini Includes Six-core Processors And A Space Gray Finish, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple is finally updating its Mac mini. It’s the first time the Mac mini has been updated since the end of 2014, and Apple is adding a quad-core 8th Gen Intel processor instead of the 4th Gen Intel Core i5 dual-core processor that shipped in the device four years ago. There’s even an option for six-core versions, too.

The new Mac mini includes support for up to 64GB of RAM, and every model has flash storage with up to 2TB of space. Apple is also including its new T2 security chip on the new Mac mini.

The New MacBook Air And Mac Mini Are Made Of 100 Percent Recycled Aluminum, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Onstage at today’s hardware announcement event, Apple proudly announced that the 2018 models of its MacBook Air and Mac mini would both be manufactured with 100 percent recycled aluminum. Additionally, it announced that its Mac mini would be constructed from 60 percent recycled plastic.

These are different kinds of recycled materials. Specifically, the recycled plastic is “post-consumer” which means that it’s material that’s previously been used in other products and recycled. Meanwhile, the aluminum is recycled leftovers from Apple’s production of other aluminum products. In other words, you’re not getting a laptop made out of old drinks cans.

Apple Passes 100 Million Active Mac Users, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced during the company’s “More in the Making” event in New York City that the company has hit a new milestone: 100 million active Mac users. He added that 51 percent of Mac buyers are “new to Mac,” and noted that in China, that figure is 76 percent, highlighting growth in the world’s most populous country.

Also, MacBook Pro

New MacBook Pros With Radeon Pro Vega Graphics Coming Next Month, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The updated MacBook Pros will deliver up to 60 percent faster graphics performance, which will aid in video editing, 3D design and more.

At The Stores

Apple Widens 'Today At Apple' In-store Classes With 60 New Video, Music And Design Programs, by Joan E. Solsman, Shara Tibken, CNET

Apple announced 60 newly designed sessions to its "Today at Apple" in-store tutorial program. It expands sessions focused on video, music and design, and adds walks and labs to categories, and they launch next year.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's head of retail, said the program will include sessions like Small Screen Magic to learn how to shoot and edit using the Clips app, a Music Lab called Advanced Beat Making with Logic Pro, and Photo Lab for Kids and Fun Family Portraits to teach more photography skills. Apple will also introduce a Design Lab called Drawing Treehouse created with architects Foster + Partners, who redesigned Apple Stores.


A Few Thoughts On Apple Watch Series 4, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

Yes, the thing is finally fast enough to make some apps viable. And again, the larger screen makes a big difference. That mixed with the fact that the initial round of crummy Apple Watch apps have largely fallen by the wayside, while many that remain finally understand how to actually leverage the device, means actually useful apps!

Nisus Writer Pro 3.0 Hits New Levels Of Word-Processing Power, by Joe Kissell, TidBITS

This upgrade is a big deal, and I’m incredibly happy about it. If you already use Nisus Writer Pro, you should buy the new version immediately because it will make your work easier and solve problems, saving you time and effort far out of proportion to its cost. And if you’ve been tempted to buy Nisus Writer Pro but weren’t sure that the previous version was quite good enough, you can put those doubts behind you now.

There are those, of course, whose modest word processing needs are adequately met by TextEdit or Google Docs, or to whom it never occurred that Pages or Microsoft Word might have any deficiencies or usability issues. If that describes you, there’s nothing to see here—I’m not going to convince you that you need a better tool. But if you make words dance for a living, you deserve the best word processor you can get, and Nisus Writer Pro is it.

Halide Camera App Updated For iPhone XR, Enables Portrait Mode Effects For Pets And Objects, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The headlining feature is support for Portrait mode effects for everything, not just people, which is currently the limiting factor of Apple’s built-in camera app on iPhone XR.

Updated Aerial App Brings Apple TV Screensavers To Mac With Dusk/dawn Mode, New ISS Footage, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

In addition to the new aerial screensavers that came along with tvOS 12, like footage from the International Space Station, Aerial now features sunset/sunrise, dusk/dawn modes, advanced brightness controls, and margin adjustments.


Apollo For Reddit Removed From App Store Over Push Notification Implementation, Despite Guidance From Apple, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

After a feature-rich update over the weekend, Apollo for Reddit has today been removed from the App Store. Developer Christian Selig took to Reddit to explain that he received an email from the App Store Review team explaining that his app violates App Store Guidelines by offering push notifications as an in-app subscription upgrade.


What makes Apple’s approval and subsequent rejection puzzling, however, is that Selig worked directly with Apple to ensure the update did not violate the App Store Guidelines. He was originally told by Apple that so long as he bundled realtime push notification support with other features, such as theming and custom app icons, the update would be approved and not in violation of the guidelines.


Mac Users Burned After Nuance Drops Dragon Speech To Text Software, by Shaun Nichols, The Register

For some users, however, the software is much more than a convenience. Hughes explains that, for him and others whose conditions leave them unable to type with a keyboard, voice dictation software is a line to the outside world.


"I have followers on Twitter who are in employment and run businesses and they say this news will hit their productivity hard," Hughes explains.

"Blind people, people with dyslexia are also likely to be affected adversely along with severely physically disabled people like myself."

The Great New Fitness App That Really Sheds Weight - From Your Credit Card, by John Birmingham, Sydney Morning Herald

The Android store is famously full of toxic software but Apple’s app stores have, until recently at least, enjoyed a cleaner reputation. It’s weird because Apple’s customers are known for being much easier to monetise (i.e. shake down) than el Goog’s.

It makes sense for scammers to target them.

The Last Format, by David Turner, Real Life

Holding music, either in your hand or on a personal hard drive, is a relic of Obama-era music consumption. Though vinyl sales incrementally increase year-over-year, the rapid freefall of CD sales continues, joined now by digital downloads. While over 223 million songs were digitally sold over the first half of 2018, overall numbers dropped over 27 percent in that same time period. This climate gives rise to the oft repeated (though never substantiated) rumor that Apple will shut down the iTunes store.

The rumor’s persistence highlights an unspoken anxiety among longtime supporters of digital music ownership. People who once saw a collection of mp3s as an ideal way to consume music relatively unbonded by the constraints of the record industry. An mp3 could be downloaded, copied, remixed; all without a tangible corresponding product it offered the music fan a nearly unencumbered way to access music. At their most radical, mp3s were supposed to break the record business.

In his book How Music Got Free, Stephen Witt recounts how Karlheinz Brandenburg and the German team of engineers who developed the mp3 format struggled for years to find investors. The issue wasn’t that prospective parties from within the music industry didn’t understand the technology; it was that they quickly saw how outsiders might tap into the format’s potential and undermine a business built on selling discrete objects. But before the broader music industry could wrap its head around how to market and sell the mp3, the internet freed it to the masses.