Apple One Subscription Bundles Launch

A jury today ruled that Apple owes VirnetX $502.8 million for patent infringement in an ongoing legal battle that has spanned 10 years. The dispute started in 2010, when VirnetX accused Apple's FaceTime feature of infringing on VirnetX patents.


According to Bloomberg, the jury in the case was asked to determine how much Apple owes VirnetX in royalties for VPN on Demand, an iPhone feature that lets people access virtual private networks.

VirnetX wanted Apple to pay $700 million, while Apple argued that it should pay $113 million, based on a royalty rate of 19 cents per unit. The jury instead decided on the 84 cent per unit total.

There are two separate lawsuits in the VirnetX vs. Apple legal battle, pertaining to older and newer Apple devices. Earlier this year, Apple was ordered to pay VirnetX $454 million, so this second award will be in addition to that first payment. When it comes to this case, VirnetX was originally awarded $502 million, but the ruling was partially overturned in 2019 and sent back to the lower courts to determine new damages.

Apple today announced the launch of a new service program for AirPods Pro sound issues, which is designed to address ‌AirPods Pro‌ units experiencing static or crackling sounds or problems with Active Noise Cancellation.


Faulty AirPods exhibit the following problems, according to Apple:

  • Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone
  • Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Affected ‌AirPods‌ were manufactured before October 2020, and those who have ‌AirPods‌ experiencing issues can take them to Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for service free of charge. Apple says that the ‌AirPods Pro‌ will be examined prior to service to verify that they're eligible for the program. ‌AirPods Pro‌ earbuds demonstrating the issue (left, right, or both) will be replaced.

The program applies only to the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and not other ‌AirPods‌ models. It covers ‌AirPods Pro‌ for two years after the first retail sale of the unit.

‌AirPods Pro‌ users have been complaining about issues with crackling/popping sounds during movement and problems with Active Noise Cancellation for months now. Affected users see the crackling or popping sound appear over time, and it appears to occur when something causes the earbud to move or vibrate.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Neutral)

For those still trying to make a decision between an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 12 Pro, we picked up both models and in our latest YouTube video, did a hands-on comparison between them. Our video highlights the similarities and the differences so you can which one is the best fit for you and whether the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ is worth an extra $200.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

When it comes to design, the ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Pro are the exact same size with the same OLED display, but the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ has a higher-quality stainless steel frame and matte glass back while the ‌iPhone 12‌ uses an aluminum frame and a glossy glass back.


The ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌'s stainless steel is heavier and prone to fingerprints, but it looks higher-end, while the ‌iPhone 12‌ is noticeably lighter and comes in a wider variety of colors (blue, red, green, white, and black vs. graphite, silver, blue, and gold for the Pro).


There are also three cameras and a LiDAR Scanner on the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌, while the ‌iPhone 12‌ features a dual-lens camera setup. The ‌iPhone 12‌ has the exact same Wide and Ultra Wide lenses available on the 12 Pro, but it lacks a telephoto lens and of course, the LiDAR Scanner.

The loss of the telephoto lens isn't a huge deal unless you frequently used it for zoomed in 2x photos, but most people probably stick primarily to the Wide lens. The LiDAR Scanner is a bit more of a loss because it does bring improvements to low light photography, enabling Night Mode portraits and speeding up autofocus when lighting is poor, but that's not going to matter to people who primarily take daytime photos.


The LiDAR Scanner has uses for augmented reality apps because it can provide an accurate depth scan of the area around you, plus it can do things like measure a person, but these are somewhat niche uses that most people can likely do without.

If you don't care about AR apps and just want a camera that's going to take great photos in standard lighting conditions, the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ probably isn't worth the upgrade.

Both iPhones use the same A14 chip, but the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ has 6GB RAM while the ‌iPhone 12‌ has 4GB RAM. You're not going to notice a huge difference in 6GB vs. 4GB RAM in everyday use, but it's something to keep in mind and could be a reason for those who want the maximum performance and device longevity to upgrade.


Storage is a consideration when choosing which iPhone to buy. The $799 ‌iPhone 12‌ only has 64GB storage, which may not meet some people's needs. Upgrading to 128GB costs another $50, putting you at $850, which narrows the gap a bit between the ‌iPhone 12‌ and the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌, which has 128GB at the entry-level $999 price point.

We're still talking about an extra $150 for the upgrade, but for those who pay monthly through a carrier or through Apple, it's less of a hit to the wallet and equates to somewhere around $6 per month, so it could be worth it to some to get the extra features by shelling out just a bit more money.

OLED displays with Ceramic Shield, TrueDepth camera with Face ID and notch, 5G, battery life, water resistance, and A14 chip are available on both models, so there's less than ever before separating the standard ‌iPhone 12‌ from the Pro model. Most people will be more than happy with the ‌iPhone 12‌, but those who want maximum performance and better camera hardware in a 6.1-inch package should choose the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌.


There is, of course, the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ Max coming with even better camera equipment so those who are interested in the Pro for the camera upgrade will need to decide if the further Pro Max upgrade is worthwhile, which is something we'll explore in a future video when the entire ‌iPhone 12‌ lineup is available.


We have a buyer's guide that goes into even more detail on the differences between the ‌iPhone 12‌ and ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ if you want to supplement the video, plus we have detailed iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro roundups with everything you need to know about each phone, both of which are worth checking out if you're still undecided.

Did you choose an ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ over an ‌iPhone 12‌? Let us know why in the comments.

Related Roundups: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro

Apple today seeded "Release Candidate" versions of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to developers and public beta testers, 10 days after seeding the fourth betas and a month and a half after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates.


iOS and iPadOS 14.2 can be downloaded by developers through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper developer profile has been installed, while public beta testers can download the update with the proper certificate. Notably, today's update will fix the "A new iOS update is now available" bug that users were seeing with the previously available beta.

Apple in iOS and iPadOS 14.2 is adding new Emoji 13 emoji characters, with options that include smiling face with tear, ninja, pinched fingers, anatomical heart, black cat, mammoth, polar bear, dodo, fly, bell pepper, tamale, bubble tea, potted plant, piñata, plunger, wand, feather, hut, and more, with a full list available here.


The iOS 14.2 update also brings a new Music Recognition control for the Control Center, which enhances the integration of the Apple-owned Shazam app in the iOS operating system. Music Recognition lets you discover music playing around you and it can recognize music playing in apps even when you're wearing AirPods.


The Shazam Music Recognition feature can be added to Control Center through the Control Center options in the Settings app. To use the feature, open up Control Center and then tap on the Shazam icon to initiate a single recognition. While Apple devices have been able to use Shazam through Siri or the Shazam app for some time, the Control Center option makes it easier to get to the music recognition tool.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The new update includes a redesigned Now Playing widget for the Control Center, which lists recently played albums that you might want to tap into and listen to when you have no music playing. There's also a redesigned interface for AirPlay, making it easier to play music across multiple ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled devices in the home.


For those who are blind or have low vision, Apple added a "People Detection" feature in the Magnifier app that uses the camera to let iPhone users see what's in front of them, including people, which is useful for social distancing purposes.

People detection has also been added to iPhone 12 Pro, ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ Max, and fourth-generation iPad Pro. The feature detects when a person is near the device, sends a notification, and then provides audible, visual, and haptic feedback in real time about how close or far the other person is.


For the Apple Watch app on the ‌iPhone‌, Apple tweaked the design slightly, updating the watch with one of the new Solo Loop Apple Watch bands.


For Apple Card users, the iOS 14.2 update adds a yearly spending history option so ‌Apple Card‌ holders can see how much they've spent in the current calendar year and how much Daily Cash they've earned. Prior to iOS 14.2, ‌Apple Card‌ offered spending activity information in a weekly or monthly summary.


With the HomePod 14.2 software, the iOS 14.2 update introduces the Intercom feature that turns ‌HomePod‌, HomePod mini, and other devices into intercoms that can be used throughout the household.

Intercom lets family members communicate with one another in the home by sending and receiving spoken messages through ‌HomePod‌ speakers or through ‌iPhone‌, iPad, Apple Watch, ‌AirPods‌, and CarPlay. Intercom can be activated by saying "Hey ‌Siri‌, Intercom" to activate it, followed by a message. Intercom can even be used when people are away from home.


You can choose specific HomePods or devices in the home to send a message to everyone in the household or send a reply to an Intercom message sent by someone else. On devices like ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, Intercom messages are shown as notifications with the option to listen to an audio message.

There are new wallpaper options in iOS 14.2, with several new wallpapers available in both light and dark mode.


The update introduces Optimized Battery Charging for the ‌AirPods‌ to slow battery aging by reducing the amount of time that ‌AirPods‌ spend fully charged, and it allows the ‌HomePod‌ to be connected to the Apple TV 4K for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio.


Apple's release notes for the update are included below:

iOS 14.2 includes the following improvements for your ‌iPhone‌:
- Over 100 new emoji, including animals, food, faces, household objects, musical instruments, gender-inclusive emoji, and more
- Eight new wallpapers in both light and dark mode versions
- Magnifier can detect people nearby, and report their distance using the LiDAR sensor included in ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ Max
- Support for iPhone 12 Leather Sleeve with MagSafe
- Optimized battery charging for ‌AirPods‌ to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your ‌AirPods‌ spends fully charged
- Headphone audio level notifications to alert you when audio level could impact your hearing
- New ‌AirPlay‌ controls to stream entertainment throughout your home
- Intercom support with ‌HomePod‌ and ‌HomePod mini‌ using ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, Apple Watch, ‌AirPods‌, and ‌CarPlay‌
- Ability to connect ‌HomePod‌ to ‌Apple TV‌ 4K for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio
- Option to provide statistics about Exposure Notifications, without identifying you, to participating Public Health Authorities

This release also fixes the following issues:
- Apps could be out of order on the Home Screen dock
- Camera viewfinder may appear black when launched
- The keyboard on the Lock Screen could miss touches when trying to enter the passcode
- Reminders could default to times in the past
- Photos widget may not display content
- Weather widget could display the high temperature in Celsius when set to Fahrenheit
- Next-hour precipitation chart description in Weather could incorrectly indicate when precipitation stops
- Voice Memos recordings are interrupted by incoming calls
- The screen could be black during Netflix video playback
- Apple Cash could fail to send or receive money when asked via ‌Siri‌
- Apple Watch app may unexpectedly close when opened
- Workout GPS routes or Health data are prevented from syncing between Apple Watch and ‌iPhone‌ for some users
- Audio is incorrectly labeled as “Not Playing” in the ‌CarPlay‌ Dashboard
- Devices could be prevented from charging wirelessly
- Exposure Notifications is disabled when restoring ‌iPhone‌ from iCloud Backup or transferring data to a new ‌iPhone‌ using ‌iPhone‌ Migration

There are also separate release notes for iPadOS 14 with iPad-specific changes such as camera improvements for the iPad Air's camera, which is gaining A14 photography features that were also brought to new ‌iPhone 12‌ models.

iPadOS 14.2 includes the following improvements for your ‌iPad‌:
- Over 100 new emoji, including animals, food, faces, household objects, musical instruments, gender-inclusive emoji, and more
- Eight new wallpapers in both light and dark mode versions
- Magnifier can detect people nearby, and report their distance using the LiDAR sensor included in ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch (4th generation) and ‌iPad Pro‌ 11-inch (2nd generation)
- Scene Detection in Camera uses intelligent image recognition to identify objects within a scene and automatically improves the photo on ‌iPad Air‌ (4th generation)
- Auto FPS in Camera automatically reduces the frame rate when recording video to improve low light capture and to optimize file size on ‌iPad Air‌ (4th generation)
- Optimized battery charging for ‌AirPods‌ to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your ‌AirPods‌ spends fully charged
- New ‌AirPlay‌ controls to stream entertainment throughout your home
- Intercom support with ‌HomePod‌ and ‌HomePod mini‌ using ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, Apple Watch, ‌AirPods‌, and ‌CarPlay‌
- Ability to connect ‌HomePod‌ to ‌Apple TV‌ 4K for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio

This release also fixes the following issues:
- Camera viewfinder may appear black when launched
- The keyboard on the Lock Screen could miss touches when trying to enter the passcode
- Reminders could default to times in the past
- ‌Photos‌ widget may not display content
- Weather widget could display the high temperature in Celsius when set to Fahrenheit
- Voice Memos recordings are interrupted by incoming calls
- The screen could be black during Netflix video playback
- Apple Cash could fail to send or receive money when asked via ‌Siri‌

There's no word on when the iOS 14.2 update will see a public launch, but with the golden master now available, it could be released as soon as next week.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, iPadOS 14

Apple on Thursday reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, including Mac revenue of $9 billion, a new quarterly record. Apple ended the year with annual Mac revenue of $28.6 billion, an all-time high.


In its annual Form 10-K report [PDF], filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today, Apple said increased Mac sales in fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019 were primarily due to higher sales of the MacBook Pro. Apple introduced a new 16-inch MacBook Pro in the first quarter of the fiscal year, followed by a refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro in the third quarter, both with faster Intel processors and a more reliable Magic Keyboard.

Apple's financial chief Luca Maestri said the company also saw "amazing customer response" to the new MacBook Air during the back to school season.

Apple has thrived during the pandemic in spite of economic uncertainty, with both Macs and iPads recording strong sales as many people continue to work, learn, and connect with family and friends from home. During its earnings call Thursday, Apple said that its products outside of the iPhone grew a combined 30 percent last quarter, despite supply constraints impacting the iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch throughout the quarter.

Apple's Form 10-K also revealed the following details:

  • As of September 26, 2020, Apple had approximately 147,000 full-time equivalent employees, an increase of 10,000 employees from one year prior.
  • Apple spent $18.75 billion on research and development in the 2020 fiscal year, up approximately 16 percent from $16.21 billion in the 2019 fiscal year. Apple said this increase was primarily due to "headcount-related expenses."
  • Apple spent $2.95 billion on warranty claims in the 2020 fiscal year, down approximately 23 percent from $3.85 billion in the 2019 fiscal year.
  • Amid mounting scrutiny over its App Store practices, Apple acknowledged that if the commission it collects on certain purchases were to decline, the company's financial results could be "materially adversely affected."

For more, see our coverage of Apple's earnings report.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Choetech to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Qi Wireless Charging Pad that's meant to be used with the AirPods Pro.


Available for under $20 with a special deal at the current time (use code T5501030 when checking out), Choetech's Charging Pad features a simple rectangular squircle shape with rounded edges and rubber pads designed to hold the ‌AirPods Pro‌ case securely in place while also providing guidance on where to place the ‌AirPods Pro‌. There's also a non-slip material on the bottom to keep the charger in position on a desk or nightstand.


Though clearly designed for the ‌AirPods Pro‌, the Wireless Charging Pad also works with the standard second-generation AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, iPhones that support wireless charging, and other Qi-based devices.


It can provide up to 15W of power, so it is able to charge the ‌AirPods Pro‌ at full wireless charging speed. For iPhones, it is capable of providing 7.5W of power, and for Android smartphones, it provides 10 to 15W depending on the device.

There's a green LED at the front that lets you know when a product is charging, which is useful when the room's dark at night. The LED flashes for a couple of seconds, stays lit for 60 seconds, and then turns off completely so it's not disturbing when you're trying to sleep.


The Wireless Charging Pad is shipped with a QC 3.0 power adapter and it connects through the charger's USB-C port and the included USB-A to USB-C cable.

According to Choetech, the Charging Pad includes built-in heat dissipating metal and an integrated Smart Excellence chip to prevent overheating, overcharging, and short circuiting to ensure the charger is safe to use.


We have 20 of the Choetech Wireless Charging Pads to give away to MacRumors readers. To enter to win, use the Gleam.io widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, following us on Instagram, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the ‌giveaway‌ restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

Choetech Giveaway
The contest will run from today (October 30) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on November 6. The winners will be chosen randomly on November 6 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Through the Apple One subscription service that launched this morning, iCloud customers can get a maximum of 4TB of storage to use, up from the 2TB maximum available without an ‌Apple One‌ bundle.


Customers who subscribe to an ‌Apple One‌ plan get 50GB, 200GB, or 2TB of storage included with the service based on the plan chosen, with 50GB provided for the $14.95 per month plan, 200GB supplied with the $19.95 per month plan, and 2TB supplied with the $29.95 per month plan.

According to an Apple support document, those who need more storage than is provided through ‌Apple One‌ can purchase additional ‌iCloud‌ storage separately, which means with the most expensive ‌Apple One‌ bundle, a maximum of 4TB is available.

After you subscribe to ‌Apple One‌, you can buy more ‌iCloud‌ storage if you need more. With both ‌Apple One‌ and an ‌iCloud‌ storage plan, you can have up to 4TB of total ‌iCloud‌ storage.

Customers who subscribe to ‌Apple One‌ can also choose other storage amounts for a different mix, such as 50GB with ‌Apple One‌ and 200GB through a separate ‌iCloud‌ purchase, but a total of 4TB is available. That would cost $29.95 for the ‌Apple One‌ plan with 2TB storage and then an additional $9.99 for the 2TB ‌iCloud‌ plan.

Those who have separate Apple IDs for media and ‌iCloud‌ can use both those accounts with ‌Apple One‌, but there's no option to stack the storage in the same way. In this situation, the ‌Apple One‌ storage plan replaces the current storage plan, as explained by Apple:

If you already pay for an ‌iCloud‌ storage plan and apply the ‌iCloud‌ storage included in ‌Apple One‌ to the Apple ID you use with ‌iCloud‌, the storage included with ‌Apple One‌ will replace your current storage plan. Your current storage plan is canceled and you'll receive a pro-rated refund.

If you have applied the ‌iCloud‌ storage included in ‌Apple One‌ to the ‌Apple ID‌ you use for ‌iCloud‌ then buy additional ‌iCloud‌ storage later, the storage included with ‌Apple One‌ will be moved back to the ‌Apple ID‌ you use for media subscriptions

Apple's support document explains the different scenarios that happen with various amounts of ‌iCloud‌ storage and various ‌Apple One‌ plans.

  • If Apple One provides more storage than your current plan - Your existing ‌iCloud‌ storage plan is canceled and you receive a pro-rated refund. Total ‌iCloud‌ storage is the amount in the ‌Apple One‌ subscription.
  • If Apple One storage is equal to your current storage - During any free trial, you will keep the current ‌iCloud‌ plan and the ‌iCloud‌ storage through Apple one. When the trial is finished, the current ‌iCloud‌ storage plan will be canceled and total ‌iCloud‌ storage is the amount included in ‌Apple One‌.
  • If Apple One storage is less than your current plan - You keep both the ‌iCloud‌ storage plan and the ‌iCloud‌ storage in ‌Apple One‌, with the plans stacking. Those who want to use only the storage in ‌Apple One‌ will need to downgrade or cancel.

Family members who are part of a Family Sharing group can purchase storage separately for themselves or choose to use the storage made available through an ‌Apple One‌ Family or Premier plan. If the entire family group needs more storage, the family member who purchases ‌Apple One‌ can purchase more storage, for the same 4TB maximum.

We've begun tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27.

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

This year we're starting with Best Buy, which announced its Black Friday sales earlier in the week while simultaneously kicking off a notable early sale on a huge variety of products, including Apple devices.

Best Buy's Black Friday Schedule

Every Best Buy location in the United States will be closed on Thanksgiving in 2020, so the focus on November 26 will be online deals. Best Buy's full schedule for the week of Black Friday can be seen below, and you can check out the Best Buy Black Friday newspaper ad right here.

  • Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) - Closed
  • Black Friday (Nov. 27) - 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time
  • Saturday, Nov. 28 - 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time
  • Sunday, Nov. 29 - 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time

Of course, these dates won't be the only times to snag deals at Best Buy in November, with a total of four extra discount events planned by the retailer next month. We don't know specifics of the early November sales yet, but the important sale here is on November 16, when My Best Buy Members will be able to shop thousands of deals from the Black Friday ad one week early.

  • Nov. 5 to 8 - The Wish List Sale
  • Nov. 11 - The Treat Yourself Sale
  • Nov. 12 to 15 - Our Coolest Deals Sale
  • Nov. 16 to 17 - My Best Buy Member Early Access Sale
  • Nov. 22 - Black Friday Starts Now! Sale

Covid-19 Safety Efforts: Best Buy is requiring all employees and customers to wear face coverings if they plan to shop in stores on Black Friday (and in general). There will be a limit to the number of people within each location, and social distancing efforts will be in effect.

For anyone who doesn't want to shop inside a Best Buy store during the holidays, contactless curbside pickup is available at all Best Buy stores. Orders are ready within an hour, and an employee can safely bring it out and place it inside your car. Next-day and same-day delivery options are also expanding to include more items on Best Buy's website.

Of course, there's also the Early Black Friday event running right now, which you can read about in more detail in the next section.

Early Black Friday - Oct. 28 through Nov. 1

There are quite a few categories covered in the early Black Friday sale, including video games, TVs, Apple products, headphones, small kitchen appliances, printers, vacuums, and much more. Head to Best Buy's landing page for the sale to shop the entire sale.


Below we've gathered some of the more notable items being marked down in Best Buy's early Black Friday sale. In regards to Apple, this mainly includes deals on Apple Watch SE and Series 6.

Headphones

Bluetooth Speakers

Apple Watch

Miscellaneous

Best Buy Black Friday - Weeklong Savings Begin Nov. 22

Like most retailers, Best Buy's Black Friday is really a week-long event that starts the Sunday before Thanksgiving: November 22. This will stretch through to Thanksgiving day with an online-only set of deals, and then end on Black Friday, November 27, with the expected selection of doorbusters.

Similar to years past, you'll find a lot of markdowns on quality TV sets, Blu-Rays, smartphones, Dyson vacuums, smart speakers, video games, and much more. Many of the sales listed below are available thanks to Best Buy's early Black Friday event that runs through November 1, but after that ends you won't be able to get the discounts again until November 22 (or November 16 if you're a My Best Buy member).

Laptops

Tablets

Streaming Devices

Computer Accessories

Storage

Gift Cards

Video Games
This year will see the launch of a new generation of video game consoles. While the PS5 and Xbox Series X won't have any deals, you'll definitely be able to save with solid markdowns on previous generation consoles and a wide assortment of video game software.


We don't know much about hardware deals yet, but Best Buy is showcasing a deal on the Nintendo Switch bundle with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and three months of Nintendo Switch Online for $299.99.

To keep track of these Black Friday sales and more, head to our full Black Friday Roundup as well as our separate Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

iFixit has discovered that it is not possible to repair the iPhone 12's camera without access to Apple's proprietary, cloud-linked System Configuration app, raising questions over the repairability of the device.

iFixit says that it conducted exhaustive testing, compared notes with multiple repair technicians, and reviewed leaked Apple training documents to reach the conclusion that the ‌iPhone 12‌'s camera "is entirely unreliable when swapped between iPhones."

After detecting "extremely odd results" when conducting a camera repair, iFixit found that the ‌iPhone 12‌ camera, when transferred to another ‌iPhone 12‌, appears to work on launch, but fails in actual use. It reportedly refuses to switch to the ultrawide camera, responds only to certain camera modes, and occasionally becomes completely unresponsive.

iFixit also recalled that until now, cameras have "generally been easy" to swap between iPhones of the same model. Although similar, resolvable issues occurred with the iPhone 7 and ‌iPhone‌ 8's LCD screens and Taptic Engines, iFixit believes that there is now more cause for concern.

Apple's internal training guides for the ‌iPhone 12‌, seen by iFixit, reportedly said that starting with the 12, authorized technicians will need to run Apple's proprietary, cloud-linked System Configuration app to fully repair cameras and screens.

Although it may theoretically be possible to complete camera and screen repairs without Apple's proprietary technology, iFixit is pessimistic about what the move means for independent repairs.

Apple, by design or neglect or both, is making it extremely hard to repair an ‌iPhone‌ without their blessing... It doesn't look good for independent repair. Apple is putting yet another question mark on a core component of the ‌iPhone‌. Why? Why does a camera need to have its serial number authorized remotely by Apple just to let someone take pictures with their phone?

It is possible that Apple could address the ‌iPhone 12‌'s camera swap behavior with a future software update, but iFixit believes this is unlikely.

Taken together with the System Configuration document, and all the other bugs, tricks, and intentional lock-outs that Apple has put in the way of fully functioning iPhones, we take this as a sign that things won't get any better unless there is major change—from within, from customer demand, or from the law.

There is an argument to suggest that warning an ‌iPhone‌ owner about non-genuine parts, especially if the phone was bought used, is useful information, but iFixit notes that the camera module is not a security component.

It's a part prone to malfunction and damage, and can be harvested from otherwise-broken iPhones. Putting an authentication check on a simple camera swap poisons the ‌iPhone‌ repair and resale market. With no obvious benefit for ‌iPhone‌ buyers, it reeks of greed. Or worse: planned obsolescence.

Last week, iFixit scored the iPhone 12 a six out of ten for repairability. In response to this discovery about the camera module, iFixit is now actively reevaluating how its repairability scale scores iPhones going forward.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Tag: iFixit
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Buy Now)

Apple One bundles are now available in the United States and over 100 other countries, allowing customers to subscribe to multiple Apple services through a single plan, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, and more.


To sign up for Apple One on an iPhone:

  1. Open Settings App
  2. Tap on Your Name at the top
  3. Tap on Subscriptions
  4. Tap on Apple One

The prompt for Apple One is still in the process of showing up for all users, so keep checking if you don't see it right away. Alternatively, see this for more detailed instructions:

In addition to getting unified billing, customers can save money by bundling services together with Apple One. At the low end, the Individual tier offers savings of $6 per month, while the Family plan offers a savings of over $8 per month, and the Premier plan offers a savings of over $25 per month, compared to standard monthly pricing.

An overview of the three tiers of Apple One available:

  • Individual: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95 per month
  • Family: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200GB of iCloud storage for $19.95 per month, can be shared among up to six family members
  • Premier: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 per month, can be shared among up to six family members

At launch, the Premier tier is limited to the United States, Australia, Canada, and the UK, as these are the only countries where Apple News+ is currently available. And while the Premier tier includes Apple's new Fitness+ service, which will offer workout videos and more, the service does not launch until later this year.

Apple One includes a 30-day free trial for any Apple services that customers do not already have. Once subscribed, customers can use the services included in their bundle on any platform where the services are available, such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and more.

To save even more, customers in the United States can pay for their Apple One subscription plan with the Apple Card to receive 3% Daily Cash per month.

Apple's new Leather Wallet with MagSafe for iPhone 12 models is available for pickup today or tomorrow at select Apple Stores in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. We've yet to see any pickup availability in the United States or Canada, but we'll update this story if that changes.

A few customers have started sharing photos of the Leather Wallet on Twitter after completing a pickup at an Apple Store today.

Photo shared by Leonard on Twitter

As noted by 9to5Mac, it also appears that some customers are beginning to see their online orders marked as shipped earlier than expected. Many of these customers are seeing an estimated delivery range of November 2-9.

Priced at $59 in the United States, the MagSafe Wallet is designed to magnetically attach to the back of iPhone 12 models, allowing customers to carry a few credit cards or IDs with their device. The wallet is designed with tanned European leather and is offered in four colors: Baltic Blue, California Poppy, Saddle Brown, and Black.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Apple has shipped 10.6 percent fewer iPhones year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020, meaning that it has been overtaken by Xiaomi for the first time, according to new data shared by IDC.

The report details how Apple is now ranked as the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer by market share. This is the first time that Apple has ranked fourth, with Xiaomi, Huawei, and Samsung exceeding Apple's 11.8 percent share.

In total, Apple is believed to have shipped 41.2 million devices in the third quarter, which is five million less than the same time last year.

The drop was expected on the back of the delay in launching the iPhone 12 lineup, which usually appears in the third quarter. Irrespective of the belated arrival of the ‌iPhone 12‌, the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE contributed to the majority of Apple's volume and performed "exceptionally well."

Going forwards, IDC expects Apple to grow in coming quarters due to strong early demand for the ‌iPhone 12‌ and solid trade-in offers from major carriers, particularly within the United States.

Samsung reclaimed the top position with a market share of 22.7 percent, shipping over 80 million smartphones. Huawei followed with a 14.7 percent share, and this was a significant reduction of 40 percent year-on-year. vivo also returned to the top five with a market share of 8.9 percent.

Xiaomi overtook Apple for the first time with a market share of 13.1 percent, achieving a 42 percent growth. The rise is supposedly due to strong gains in India and China.

Overall, the global smartphone market declined by only 1.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020. The results were stronger than IDC's previous forecast of a nine percent year-over-year decline. An important trend was the strength of shipments in India, which is the second-largest market globally, and other emerging markets, such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia.

Apple's new Apple One series of services bundles launches on Friday in over 100 countries and regions, but the top Premier tier will be limited to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.


The limited rollout of the $29.95 Premier tier is down to the fact that Apple News+ is currently only available in the above countries. Apple News+ is exclusive to the Premier tier, along with Apple Fitness+, which isn't expected to arrive until later in the year.

Here's how the Individual, Family, and Premier tiers stack up:

  • Individual: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95 per month
  • Family: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200GB of iCloud storage for $19.95 per month, can be shared among up to six family members
  • Premier: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 per month, can be shared among up to six family members

Apple One's Individual tier offers savings of $6 per month, while the Family plan offers savings of over $8 per month, and the Premier plan offers a savings of over $25 per month, compared to standard monthly pricing. Apple One includes a 30-day free trial for any services that customers do not already have.

New adventure game "South of the Circle" arrived on Apple Arcade today. Made by State of Play, developers of developers of "Kami," "INKS," and "Lumino City," the title is notable for its unique aesthetic inspired by mid-century screen printing.


South of the Circle has a narrative focus set in 1964 in Antarctica. Following an aircraft crash, Cambridge academic Peter must fight for survival as he crosses desolate terrain in an attempt to reach British, Norwegian, and Soviet Antarctic bases. As conditions deteriorate, the past and the present blur together, and Peter is forced to come to terms with survival, reality, and the consequences of his past.

State of Play used full 3D motion capture for added realism, and the game features a host of award-winning actors such as Gwilym Lee, Olivia Vinall, Richard Goulding, Anton Lesser, Adrian Rawlins, and Michael Fox. South of the Circle is out now on ‌Apple Arcade‌ with controller support, and comes as a 2.3GB download on iOS.

There are now more than 125 games available on ‌‌Apple Arcade‌‌, with Apple adding new titles regularly. ‌‌‌Apple Arcade‌‌‌ is priced at $4.99 per month, and that price point allows the whole family to play games without ads or additional in-app purchases. In a currently running promotion, Apple is also offering new iPhone 12 owners three free months of ‌Apple Arcade‌.

Many users running iOS 14 beta are reporting that they are seeing a dialog box pop up repeatedly asking them to update from the latest ‌iOS 14‌ beta.

Threads in our forums, Reddit, and Twitter are reporting the issue. The dialog has been appearing for a few days now, but as of tonight has started appearing more frequently, every time an iPhone is unlocked. There's been further discussion in our iOS 14.2 Beta 4 thread.

Getting the notification to update my iOS every time I unlock my ‌iPhone‌.
This issue was present like 5 years ago with one beta, the only way to stop it was by Apple having to push an emergency update, I remember it was the only time I was updating ‌iPhone‌ in the morning (in the EU) as they pushed it late night in Cali.

Previous betas have reportedly seen the same issue, according to postings in our forum.

Update: There's a new golden master version of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 available to developers and public beta testers, which fixes the issue. Simply upgrade to 14.2 GM and the notices should stop.

Apple last week released the iPhone 12 Pro, which is being sold alongside the iPhone 12, 12 mini, and 12 Pro Max. The Pro Max has the best camera of the bunch, but since it's not out yet, we thought we'd take a look at the improvements introduced in the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and see how camera quality compares to the iPhone 11 Pro.


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The ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ has the same triple-lens camera setup as the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro with a Wide lens, Ultra Wide lens, and Telephoto lens, but there are improvements across all three cameras plus the addition of the LiDAR Scanner, which improves low-light performance. The faster A14 chip and new image signal processor also bring new photographic capabilities, ultimately introducing quite a few improvements.

TrueDepth Camera

When it comes to the front-facing camera, it's still using the same f/2.2 12-megapixel lens with no real improvements to the hardware, but thanks to the A14 chip, it now supports Night Mode selfies, ‌Night Mode‌ time-lapse videos, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3, and Dolby Vision HDR video recording, none of which are available in the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro.


Deep Fusion's addition to the front-facing camera allows it to pull out the best pixels from multiple exposures to make one crisper image with more detail and less noise, and it primarily activates in medium lighting conditions.

Smart HDR 3 improves highlights, shadows, and white balance so you get more natural lighting that looks truer to real life, and Dolby Vision HDR recording lets you record and edit HDR video from the front-facing camera for selfie videos that look better than ever.

In practice, you need specific conditions to see the improvements that the software brings to the front-facing camera, and so you might not always see huge differences between the 11 Pro and 12 Pro, with most changes being subtle. ‌Night Mode‌ selfies are where you'll see the most noticeable updates.

Rear Camera Improvements

Smart HDR 3 and improved Deep Fusion have also been added to the rear cameras of the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌, plus there's a new 7-element Wide lens with an f/1.6 aperture that lets in 27 percent more light for improvements to low-light photography.

A Wide lens comparison

Auto stabilization is improved, and there's a new f/2.0 telephoto lens with a 52mm focal length, and while the Ultra Wide lens hasn't changed, it does offer a Lens Correction feature to account for distortion that can come from a wider-angle lens, and it supports ‌Night Mode‌ thanks to the LiDAR Scanner. Deep Fusion works across all lenses for improvements to color and texture, and Smart HDR 3 includes scene recognition that allows the iPhone to recognize everyday scenes and adjust accordingly to make photos look more true to life.

Pictures in Ideal Lightning

In practice, standard photos in good lighting from the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ look fantastic, and Smart HDR 3 does an excellent job with white balance and preserving important image details for photos that look crisper and slightly more realistic than those that come out of the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro. The new lens ekes out a bit more sharpness and detail by cutting down on noise and getting a better balance between varying lighting in photos.

A Wide lens comparison

While images do look a little bit better out of the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌, it's subtle. Comparatively, photos from the 11 Pro and 12 Pro look a lot alike unless you're pixel peeping and zooming in for detail. The ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro could put out some sensational images in ideal lighting conditions, so it's no surprise to see only subtle improvements here.

A telephoto comparison

Portrait Mode Images

Apple's A14 chip and the LiDAR Scanner (which takes a depth map of the scene) improve Portrait Mode photos by better separating the subject from the background, and this is noticeable in the fine details. Edge detection is better than before, especially for fur and hair.


The LiDAR Scanner even allows for ‌Night Mode‌ Portrait images, so you can get some incredible low-light portrait shots that just aren't possible to capture in the same way with the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro.


Low Lighting and Night Mode

In lower lighting conditions, there are more noticeable improvements in the photos coming from the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌, again thanks to the A14 chip and LiDAR Scanner. ‌Night Mode‌ photos capture more detail, are sharper, and are just a bit more vibrant.


‌Night Mode‌ photos can also be taken with the Ultra Wide lens for the first time, for impressive night time wide-angle shots, and LiDAR brings much faster autofocus in poor light.


Video Capture

The camera improvements introduced for photos also apply to videos, and there are some improvements to the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ over the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro. In our testing the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ was able to focus faster because of the LiDAR Scanner, and HDR Dolby Vision is a new A14-enabled feature that's not possible on the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro.


HDR Dolby Vision recording looks great as you can see in the video up above, but it's limited right now. Video you capture is easiest to edit right on the ‌iPhone‌ because of a lack of Mac compatibility for editing Dolby Vision video, and playback needs to be on a Dolby Vision-compatible device like your ‌iPhone‌ or a Dolby Vision TV.


If you capture a video in Dolby Vision on the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and then play it back on the ‌iPhone‌ it looks fantastic. Elements in the video are bright, crisp, and well-defined, but again, you need the right device to see the improvements over ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro video. Dolby Vision HDR comes on by default so keep in mind video you're recording might not look as great to someone you send it to. Dolby Vision HDR is a big deal for those who want to capture movies on their iPhones and do serious ‌iPhone‌ video recording, but it's less useful for the average ‌iPhone‌ user.

For video mode, there's a new ‌Night Mode‌ Time-Lapse option that's fun if you want to take longer exposure night sky videos, but most people likely won't get a ton of use out of this because it requires a tripod.

Bottom Line

The ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ definitely offers camera improvements over the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro, but the differences aren't super major except for when it comes to new features and some low-lighting photography, so camera tech alone probably isn't a reason to upgrade except for the most dedicated ‌iPhone‌ photographers.


This year's ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ Max has even more improvements than the ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌, so we'll be doing another comparison when the larger model is released. Let us know in the comments what you think of the 11 Pro and ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ comparisons and whether you're seeing image improvements in your own usage.

Related Roundups: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro

Multiple Apple products are seeing supply constraints, including the new iPhone 12 models, Macs, iPads, and some Apple Watch models. Apple CEO Tim Cook today told investors that Apple is "working really, really hard" to remedy the supply issues.

If you look at iPhone, we're constrained today. Not a surprise at the front end of the ramp, and how long we'll be constrained is hard to predict. We haven't taken orders yet for ‌iPhone 12‌ mini or Pro Max, so those are coming and we shall see. Right now we are supply constrained, and for avoidance of confusion, we're constrained on Mac and iPad and some Apple Watches.

A fair number of areas of focus right now and we're working really, really hard to remedy those as quickly as we can. At this point, I can't estimate when we'll be out of that.

Several of Apple's ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Pro models sold out within a few hours of launch, and many new orders are now shipping out later in November. We can likely expect to see similar constraints for the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 mini, as these devices were held back due to rumored production issues that required Apple to wait to build up enough supply.

Given the situation with ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Pro pre-orders, those planning to purchase a 12 mini or 12 Pro Max should plan to do so right when pre-orders go live on Friday, November 6 at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

As for the Mac and ‌iPad‌, there have been long shipping delays on some models throughout the last several months, and many Apple Watch models also sold out quickly after launch in September.

During today's earnings call covering the fourth quarter of 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about Apple's payment services, where he said that contactless payment usage could see growth in the United States due to the pandemic, where people are aiming to use cash less and less.

As you can imagine in this environment, people are less wont to hand over a card. Contactless payment has taken on a different level of adoption and I don't think we'll go back. The United States has been lagging in contactless payments and I think the pandemic may very well put the U.S. on a different trajectory there. We are very bullish on this area and there are more things that Apple can do in this space so this is an area of great interest to us.

Cook also said that Apple in general continues to be enthusiastic about payment services. Apple Card is "doing well," and Apple Pay is "doing exceptionally well."

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