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Original Apple Pencil vs. Apple Pencil 2

Alongside the new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, Apple introduced a second-generation Apple Pencil, which is designed to work exclusively with its latest tablets.

In our latest YouTube video, we took a look at the new Apple Pencil 2 and compared it to the original Apple Pencil to highlight all of the improvements that Apple made with the second iteration of its iPad stylus.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Design wise, the Apple Pencil 2 is sleeker and smaller than the original Apple Pencil because of the elimination of the Lightning connector at the top of the device.

The original Apple Pencil's Lightning connector was always a questionable design choice. It was meant to plug into the bottom of the iPad Pro, but it stuck straight out and was inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst, as an ill-timed drop could cause damage when charging.

Apple's new Apple Pencil does away with the Lightning connector all together because the device is now able to charge via a magnetic connection to the new iPad Pro models. The Apple Pencil 2 snaps right onto the new iPad Pro, which allows for pairing, charging, and storage when it's not in use.

With no Lightning connector, the new Apple Pencil is lighter and easier to hold for longer periods of time, and it has a cleaner look with no metal cap at the top.

While the first Apple Pencil was round and prone to rolling off of flat surfaces, the new Apple Pencil has a flat side for connecting to the iPad, and that flat bit also prevents it from rolling as much.

In addition to these design and function changes, the Apple Pencil 2 introduces support for gestures. With a double tap, the Apple Pencil 2 can switch between tools in apps that support the feature, which is super useful because it allows for quick changes between a pencil and an eraser.

Apple is, unfortunately, charging $30 more for its newest Apple Pencil. The second-generation device costs $130, whereas the original was priced at $100. For users who have a new iPad Pro model, the Apple Pencil 2 is the only available choice as the original Apple Pencil does not work with the new tablets.

Likewise, the second-generation Apple Pencil is compatible only with the new iPad Pro models, so you can't get one and take advantage of the new features without also having a 2018 iPad Pro.

What do you think of Apple's new second-generation Apple Pencil? Is it worth the premium over the original? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

New iPad Pro Models May Be Prone to Bending

Apple's new 11 and 12.9-inch models are its thinnest yet, measuring in at just 5.9mm, and both forum complaints and a new bend test video suggest the two devices have the potential to bend without a huge amount of force.

On the MacRumors forum, there have been a few complaints of bending from MacRumors readers. Forum member Bwrin1, for example, posted a photo of a bent 12.9-inch iPad Pro suggesting it had bent from just a weekend trip in a backpack.


The iPad Pro in question does indeed appear to have a curve to it, refusing to lay flat on a table. At the same time, YouTuber JerryRigEverything has posted a bend test video of the new iPad Pro, which indicates it has the potential to bend with a limited amount of force.


In the video, the iPad Pro snaps in half after what appears to be a moderate amount of pressure is applied to the device.

Despite the video and the forum complaint, this does not appear to be a widespread issue. There are a couple of other complaints from MacRumors readers who were seeing slight curves in their devices and received replacements or sent the tablet back, but there aren't complaints that match the complaints we saw back in 2014 with the original iPhone 6 Plus bendgate.

It's not clear if the new iPad Pro models are more or less bendable than previous devices, and bend tests are not reflective of real world usage conditions. All devices of this size will bend when enough force is applied, so it is no surprise to see the bend in the YouTube video.

If the new iPad Pro models are bending from regular use, that could be a more significant issue, and we'll need to keep an eye out for additional reports of bending to determine whether there's a serious problem with Apple's newest tablet.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Black Friday Preview: Get Ready for the Best Deals on HomePod, iPad, Hue Lights, Audio Accessories, and More

We're now one week away from Black Friday holiday shopping, which will take place on Friday, November 23. Of course Black Friday isn't just one day any more, and sales have already kicked off today at numerous online and physical retailers. To help plan and organize your shopping, we've created this overview of the best deals you can expect to find while you're out and about next Friday, as well as the ones you can get online with a bit less hassle.

As you read, remember that most of these deals are not yet live, and you can find the specific opening times for each store in our full Black Friday Roundup.

Apple


Although Apple itself doesn't offer great Black Friday discounts, Apple devices and accessories will see many discounts this Black Friday.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

iPhone
If you're on the hunt for an iPhone, Walmart will offer a $400 Walmart gift card when you buy the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X; and a $300 Walmart gift card when you buy the iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR. All iPhones must be purchased on qualifying AT&T Next, Sprint, or Verizon device payment plans, and this offer is valid in Walmart's retail stores only.

At T-Mobile, you'll be able to get the iPhone XR at no cost if you add the smartphone onto an existing line and trade in an eligible device towards the XR.

Those shopping for older model iPhones should keep an eye on Best Buy's iPhone 6s deal, which will discount the 2015 smartphone to $199.99 on both Simple Mobile and Total Wireless. At Walmart, you'll be able to buy the iPhone SE for just $79.00 on Walmart Family Mobile plans. Meijer will match this offer for the 32GB iPhone SE on Simple Mobile.

iPad
Target and Best Buy will discount the 128GB iPad mini 4 to $249.99 this Black Friday, savings of $150 from its regular price of $399.99.


Another popular iPad discount is for the sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad (32GB) from earlier this year (with Apple Pencil support), which will be available for $249.99, down from $329.99 at Target, Walmart, Costco, and Jet. If you want the same iPad with a little bit more storage, check out Best Buy's Black Friday discount on the 128GB 9.7-inch iPad, available for $329.99, down from $429.99.

For the brand new iPads, MacMall has already kicked off a sale today, offering the 11-inch iPad Pro (64GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular) for $899.00, down from $949.00; and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (64GB, Wi-Fi) for $949.00, down from $999.00. Otherwise, we haven't seen any indication of other discounts on the latest iPad Pros on Black Friday.

Apple Watch
Target and Macy's have the best deal for Apple Watch Series 3 this year, with the GPS models starting at $199.99 for the 38mm Aluminum version, down from $279.99. 42mm models will run for $229.99.

If you prefer GPS + Cellular, both retailers will also offer savings on the upgraded Series 3 models, starting at $299.99 for the 38mm models and $329.99 for the 42mm models.


Best Buy has an inferior deal of only $50 off Apple Watch Series 3 instead of $80, but it will have 25 percent off select Apple Watch bands, which should provide a great combo deal if you buy a new Apple Watch elsewhere.

Also of note for Meijer shoppers, if you buy one Apple Watch Series 3 for $279.00 (full price for the 38mm Aluminum) or more, you'll get one Meijer coupon worth $100 to put towards your next purchase (expiring December 24, 2018). While not a straight discount, frequent Meijer shoppers may find a preference for the in-store credit.

Mac
Best Buy has a few notable MacBook sales, starting with the 2017 MacBook Pro (8GB RAM, 128GB HD) at $1,149.99, down from $1,299.99. One of the best deals in this sale is for the MacBook Pro (16GB RAM, 256GB HD) at $2,149.99, down from $2,399.99.


The MacBook Air (2017, 8GB RAM, 128GB HD) will be on sale for $799.99, down from $999.99. Lastly, the 21.5-inch iMac (2017, 8GB RAM, 1TB HD) will be marked down to $899.99 from $1,099.99.

MacMall has the new 13-inch MacBook Air (1.6 GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) for $1,149.00, down from $1,199.00, and the Mac mini (3.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) for $764.00, down from $799.00. These sales are already live.

HomePod


The best deal on Apple's smart speaker this Black Friday -- not to mention of all time -- will be at Best Buy. You'll be able to pick up Apple's HomePod for $249.99, down from $349.99.

AirPods
In one of the only Black Friday discounts known so far on Apple's AirPods, Newegg will have the wireless headphones for $139.99, down from $159.99, with the promo code BFAD155.

App Store and iTunes Gift Cards


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Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Nike Launches New Apple Watch Sport Bands and Sport Loops in Olive, Teal, and Mauve

Nike today launched a new series of Sport Bands and Sport Loops for the Apple Watch on its website, introducing three unique colors: Celestial Teal, Olive Flak, and Smokey Mauve.

The bands are priced at $49 and are available in 40 and 44mm to fit all Apple Watch Series 4 and earlier models. Though sold by Nike and designed for the Nike-branded Apple Watch models, these bands will work with all Apple Watches.


Nike is requiring customers who wish to purchase one of the new bands to sign up to be NikePlus members, but signing up for the site is free.


Nike's new Apple Watch bands are limited to the Nike website and are not available for purchase from the Apple online store.

These three new band color options join the new Sport Loop that Apple introduced earlier this week in a (PRODUCT)RED colorway.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Discontinued AirPort Extreme and 2TB Time Capsule Finally Disappear From Apple Online Store

Apple back in April ended development on its AirPort line of products, which includes the $99 AirPort Express, the $199 AirPort Extreme, and the $299 AirPort Time Capsule.

At the time the accessories were discontinued, Apple said that it would continue selling existing stock until available supply was exhausted. It appears that point has been reached for both the AirPort Extreme and the 2TB AirPort Time Capsule, which have been removed from the Apple online store.


There are no longer any AirPort products available for purchase from the online store or Apple retail locations, with the exception of some refurbished AirPort devices that may continue to be available on the refurbished site.

Apple had not updated its AirPort products since 2012 (Express) and 2013 (Extreme and Time Capsule), and rumors in 2016, which ultimately turned out to be correct, suggested Apple had stopped development on the product with AirPort engineers reassigned to other devices.

In lieu of its own line of AirPort products, Apple is now offering third-party routers like the Linksys Velop mesh Wi-Fi system.

Apple's AirPort base stations provided some unique benefits that are not available through third-party options like built-in Time Machine backup support in the Time Capsule and AirPlay functionality for the AirPort Express.

Though the AirPort devices have been discontinued, Apple plans to provide service and parts for the current generation models for the next five years.

Related Roundup: AirPort

Apple Highlights Photos Shot on iPhone XR

Apple today highlighted "Shot on iPhone" photos captured with its latest smartphone, the iPhone XR. Apple shared portraits, landscapes, and more that iPhone XR users posted on social networks like Instagram and Twitter.

Apple's iPhone XR is equipped with the same 12-megapixel wide-angle lens that's in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and it has all of the same features like Smart HDR and Depth Control for adjusting the amount of blur in a Portrait mode photo.

Image via photographer Austin Mann

The iPhone XR is unique among iPhones because its rear-facing Portrait mode option doesn't require a two-lens camera setup.

Instead of relying on a telephoto and a wide-angle lens to separate the subject of a photo from the background, the iPhone XR uses software to create a similar effect. As a result, Portrait mode photos captured on the XR only work with people and aren't available for other subject matter like pets and food.


As a bonus, though, because rear Portrait mode on the iPhone XR uses the wide-angle lens with wider f/1.8 aperture instead of the f/2.4 telephoto lens used by the iPhone XS and XS Max, its Portrait photos can come out better in low lighting conditions.


The iPhone XR, like the XS and XS Max, uses a TrueDepth camera system for the front-facing camera with a 7-megapixel setup. TrueDepth on iPhone XR is identical to TrueDepth on Apple's pricier iPhones, allowing for a full front-facing Portrait mode with Portrait Lighting options.


Apple previously shared a series of images that were shot on iPhone XS and XS Max following the launch of those two devices. The company's full selection of iPhone XR photos can be seen in its Apple newsroom article.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

Apple Hires Indie Studio A24 to Produce Films

Apple has hired indie entertainment studio A24 to produce a "slate of films" for the Cupertino company, reports Variety.

Apple said it has signed a multiyear agreement with A24 that will involve multiple films, but further details are unavailable. It is not known if movies made by A24 will be released in theaters or limited to a future digital platform.


A24 is responsible for movies like "Moonlight," "Room," "The Witch," "Ex Machina," "The Spectacular Now," "It Comes at Night," "Lady Bird," "The Disaster Artist," "Hereditary," and more.

A24 has existing deals with DirecTV and Amazon, and those deals will remain in effect even though the entertainment company has now entered into a partnership with Apple. A24 will continue to produce and release movies outside of its partnership with Apple.

Apple's deal with A24 is a sign that the Cupertino company also plans to delve into films as well as television shows. Apple has more than a dozen original high-profile TV shows in the works, but has thus far signed few movie deals.

Apple's original television shows and movies are expected to be included in an upcoming rumored streaming service, which could debut in early 2019.

Apple may be planning to bundle its service with Apple Music and an Apple News subscription service for magazines, and at least some of the content could be made available for free through the TV app.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

Final Cut Pro X Updated With Support for Third-Party Workflow Extensions

Apple today announced a new update for Final Cut Pro X, which introduces support for workflow extensions that will allow professional video editors to use third-party apps and services directly within the Final Cut Pro app.

Workflow extensions have been designed to match the look of Final Cut Pro, offering tight integration with the app. Media can be dragged into Final Cut Pro libraries, playback can be synced between extensions and the timeline, and more.


Extensions include Frame.io, which enhances post-production, Shutterstock, which allows for browsing and purchasing stock footage, and CatDV for media asset management.


Workflow extensions for Final Cut Pro can be downloaded from the Mac App Store starting today, with Apple planning to add additional third-party FCP extensions on an ongoing basis.

Along with extensions, the new version of Final Cut Pro introduces batch sharing for exporting multiple clips or projects in one step, a new Comparison Viewer window is available for letting editors view reference images while working on color grading, and marquee selection has been improved to make it easier to select individual clips.


Apple has added a new floating timecode window to make it easier for video editors to follow along with color-coded clip names, roles, project timecode, and source timecode, all presented in a customizable display.


New noise reduction tools are designed to minimize artifacts in low light footage, and editors can create closed captions in an SRT format or burn them into a video for wider compatibility with various websites.

Motion, the motion graphics companion app for Final Cut Pro, is also being updated today. It gains a comprehensive set of color grading tools that match the color correction features available in Final Cut Pro along with new filters for comic and tiny planet effects.

Compressor, another FCP companion app, now uses a 64-bit engine that better takes advantage of all of the memory in a user's Mac and it supports SRT closed captions.

Final Cut Pro can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $299.99. [Direct Link]

Motion can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]

Compressor can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]

Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 12.1.1 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 12.1.1 update to developers, a little over one week after seeding the second beta and two weeks after the release of iOS 12.1, a major update that brought multiple new features to iOS.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.1.1 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


The iOS 12.1.1 update reintroduces the feature that lets you take a Live Photo while on a FaceTime call, and it brings improvements for the FaceTime user interface.

Following the update, FaceTime features a reworked bottom bar that includes quick access buttons for muting a call and flipping the camera. Sliding up on the bottom bar brings up additional options with conversation participants. Previously, FaceTime users were required to tap on three dots to access a secondary menu with these features.

For the iPhone XR, iOS 12.1.1 allows Haptic Touch to be used to expand notifications on the Lock screen. iPhone XR owners are able to long press on a notification banner to see additional content, much as other iPhone owners can 3D Touch on a notification to expand it.

iOS 12.1.1 also adds a new option in Apple News to hide the side bar on the iPad when using the app in landscape mode, it introduces an option to turn off the physical SIM in the device in favor of the eSIM, and it tweaks the icon of the Apple Watch app so it looks like the Apple Watch Series 4.

Update: Apple has made a new public beta of iOS 12.1.1 available to its public beta testers.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

Apple Hunting for Wireless Modem Engineers Near Qualcomm's San Diego Headquarters

According to a new report out today by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Ian King, Apple is aggressively hiring engineers in San Diego, the headquarters of Qualcomm. Apple is looking for designers in San Diego who will help develop wireless components and processors for its iPhones, a move that would further weaken Qualcomm.

Apple posted 10 job listings in San Diego over the past month, looking for engineers to work on the company's Neural Engine artificial intelligence processor and wireless modems. This is the first time Apple has publicly recruited for these types of jobs in San Diego.

Apple is said to be working on building its own wireless chip for future iPhone models, but as of yet the company has relied on companies like Qualcomm and Intel for such technology.

Following the dispute with Qualcomm, Apple made Intel the exclusive supplier of wireless modems for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR in 2018.

The two companies have been embroiled in a legal dispute since early 2017, with the most recent news suggesting that Apple is not in talks "at any level" to settle the dispute. Next, Apple is gearing up for a full legal trial with Qualcomm.

The lawsuits started when Apple in January 2017 sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, accusing Qualcomm of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and failing to pay quarterly rebates. Apple and its suppliers stopped paying licensing fees at that time.

Qualcomm eventually filed a countersuit claiming that Apple had infringed on several of its patents, and attested that its technology is "at the heart of every iPhone." Since then, both companies have filed multiple lawsuits against one another, and Qualcomm even sought import and export bans on some iPhones in the United States and China.

iPhone XR Now Available SIM-Free in the United States

Apple has made the iPhone XR available SIM-free in the United States, allowing customers to purchase the phone unlocked and unassociated with any carrier. Customers can then choose to obtain a SIM from any carrier of their choice.


SIM-free iPhone models typically debut in the United States up to several months after the initial product launch as Apple prioritizes supplies for upgrade users already tied in with its carrier partners. The iPhone XS was a bit unusual in that SIM-free models were available from launch day, but that was not the case with the iPhone XR.

SIM-free iPhone XR models are compatible with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and other carriers.

The iPhone XR starts at $749 for 64 GB models available in white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and (PRODUCT)RED. Higher-capacity models are available for $799 (128 GB) and $899 (256 GB).

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

Apple's New 2018 MacBook Air vs. Old MacBook Air

Apple in October gave us a major surprise with the launch of an entirely revamped, updated version of the MacBook Air, its most popular and affordable notebook option.

We went hands-on with the MacBook Air last week, and this week, we picked up an older MacBook Air to compare the new model to see just what's different and whether it's still worth buying the old version, which sells for $200 less than the current model.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The previous-generation MacBook Air is a 2015 design, but in 2017, Apple introduced 1.8GHz Broadwell-generation chips that were a slight upgrade from the 1.6GHz chips the machine had previously used. No other changes were made, so technically, Apple's old MacBook Air is outdated by several years.

Design wise, the new MacBook Air features a smaller, slimmer body that weighs a bit less, and the slimmer design is noticeable. It continues to feature the same tapered design as the previous models, and we didn't think the weight difference of a quarter of a pound stood out.

Along with a slimmed down body, the new MacBook Air comes in three color options: Space Gray, Gold, and the traditional Silver. Space Gray and Gold are colors that are new to the MacBook Air lineup.

The biggest change to the 2018 MacBook Air models is the display, which is now Retina and a huge improvement over the low resolution display in the previous MacBook Air. The MacBook Air used to be the sole Apple device sans Retina display, but now Apple uses higher-resolution displays across its entire product lineup.


We thought the MacBook Air's new display offered a significant improvement over the previous MacBook Air's display, but it doesn't quite measure up to the display of the MacBook Pro because it's just not that bright. Brightness can be an issue outdoors in sunlight, so that's something to be aware of.


Design wise, the front of the MacBook Air has been overhauled. Those thick silver bezels from the previous version have been replaced with sleek, slim MacBook Pro-style black bezels that look much, much nicer.

Several other MacBook Pro features have been brought to the new MacBook Air and are upgrades over the previous model. There's a larger Force Touch trackpad, a third-generation butterfly keyboard, better speakers, a Touch ID button for authentication purposes, and a T2 chip for improved security.


Inside, the new MacBook Air is sporting a 7W 8th-generation 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and unsurprisingly, it's much speedier than the three-year-old processors used in the prior MacBook Air. Apple used to use 15W chips in the MacBook Air models, but this new, lower power 7W chip is both fast and efficient, allowing for longer battery life than ever.

The last super notable change is to the port setup. The new MacBook Air has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, with Apple eliminating the USB-A ports and the SD card slot from the older model. The addition of Thunderbolt 3 brings the MacBook Air in line with the rest of the Mac lineup and allows it to connect to 4K and 5K displays, faster Thunderbolt 3 storage, eGPUs, and more.


All of these changes have raised the base price of the MacBook Air. Prior to the October update, the MacBook Air sold for $999, but now the base model sells for $1,199, a $200 premium. Given the scope of the revamp, the $200 upgrade fee is well worth paying for anyone thinking of purchasing a MacBook Air.

Apple is still selling the older model at the same $999 price point, but it's just not worth purchasing because the components are so outdated at this point.

What do you think of Apple's new MacBook Air? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)