Apple today updated iOS video editing app iMovie to version 2.3, introducing a number of new features to the app. There's support for viewing, editing, and sharing High Dynamic Range videos from the Photos library. There's also an option to import and share 4K videos at 60 frames per second.
Titles can be customized using built-in fonts with easy tools for adjusting title style and capitalization, plus there are three new animated title options including dual-color chromatic.
A slider allows photo and video filter intensity to be adjusted as needed, and solid, gradient, and patterned backgrounds can be added to a movie.
- Customize any title by selecting from dozens of built-in fonts - Adjust the color of any title by selecting from a grid or spectrum of presets, adjusting numerical sliders, or using the eyedropper in the viewer - Quickly change a title's default style, capitalization and duration - Pinch and drag to adjust the size and location of any title - Choose from three new animated titles: Slide, Split and dual-color Chromatic - Add solid, gradient, and patterned backgrounds to your movie - Use the color picker to customize the colors of any background - Drag the slider to change the intensity of any filter applied to your photos and videos - Import and share 4K videos at 60 frames per second* - View, edit, and share High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos from your Photos library** - Tap the new options button at the top of the Share sheet to share a project or video file and choose properties including resolution, frame rate, and HDR**
** Editing and sharing HDR video requires iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X or later, iPad mini (5th generation), iPad (7th generation) or later, iPad Air 3 or later, 10.5-inch iPad Pro or later
Apple has also updated GarageBand for iOS with an option to start new audio recordings from the Home Screen by touching and holding the GarageBand app icon, and maximum song length at the default tempo has been increased from 23 to 72 minutes. Apple also added a new "Keyboard Collection" sound pack that features more than 150 keyboard loops.
- New audio recordings can be quickly started from the Home screen by touching and holding the GarageBand app icon - Maximum song length at default tempo has been increased from 23 to 72 minutes - The ruler now offers an option to switch from musical bars and beats to minutes and seconds - New downloadable "Keyboard Collection" sound pack includes over 150 keyboard loops and 50 instrument patches like pianos, organs, and electric pianos
GarageBand and iMovie are both apps that Apple provides to all of its customers for free.
Apple is planning to expand a new "Express" store format that will make it easier and safer for customers to purchase new Apple devices, including the iPhone 12 lineup, reports Reuters.
Image via PopVox co-founder and CEO Marci Harris on Twitter
The Express store format features a wall built around the front of the main Apple Store with temporary sales counters that are protected by plexiglass, similar to a bank. There are shelves of accessories behind store employees, and customers can pick up items at stores after ordering online, or talk with Apple's staff for help.
Apple has been using curbside pickup in some areas where there are serious coronavirus outbreaks, but Apple's retail chief Deirdre O'Brien told Reuters that curbside pickup doesn't work well in shopping malls and downtown shopping centers where the "curb" is far from the store location.
For these situations, the Express format is preferred. Apple has been testing it at 20 stores in the United States and Europe, and is expanding it to 50 by the end of the month.
"It's a swifter way for us to serve customers," O'Brien said. "It allows us to maintain all the appropriate social distancing and maintain all of our health protocols within our stores."
There's no specific list on Apple's site with stores that have the Express setup, but one of the first stores to get the new setup was Apple Burlingame in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Throughout the pandemic, Apple has been closing and reopening stores as needed when cases in a particular area spike. Apple stores that are reopened have cleaning and social distancing policies in place and require customers to wear masks and get a temperature check before entering the store.
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals.
The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but YouTube’s auto-translated subtitles are quite accurate.
Both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro have close to identical L-shaped logic boards inside, with the iPhone 12 Pro featuring an extra LiDAR connector for the LiDAR Scanner. The two phones also share a battery, and this teardown puts to rest rumors about the iPhone 12 Pro's battery capacity.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have the same 2,815mAh battery inside, which explains why they offer identical battery life. There was some confusion over the battery capacity because leaked specifications in July had suggested the two models had 2,775mAh battery, but Brazilian specifications mentioned a 2,815mAh battery for the iPhone 12, so there was a possibility that the Pro model had the 2,775mAh battery we had been expecting, but that's not the case.
We now know the official capacities for each new iPhone in the lineup:
iPhone 12 mini - 2,227mAh
iPhone 12 - 2,815mAh
iPhone 12 Pro - 2,815mAh
iPhone 12 Pro Max - 3,687mAh
All of these batteries are smaller than the batteries that were used in the iPhone 11 lineup, with Apple possibly having to cut down on battery size in order to make room for 5G components and new camera technology in the Pro models.
The side-by-side teardown of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro offers a good look at the similarities and differences between the two models. Both have smaller Taptic Engines and many other identical internal components. Though not shown in this video, a teardown from yesterday confirmed that Apple's iPhone 12 lineup is using Qualcomm's X55 modem.
Apple last week introduced a new $99 HomePod mini, which is a more affordable alternative to the full-size HomePod that's been around since 2017. The HomePod mini isn't shipping out until November, but on paper, it sounds great for those who have been eyeing a HomePod but haven't wanted to shell out $299.
In our latest YouTube video, we outlined the top five reasons why you might want to buy a HomePod mini.
1. $99 Price
At $99, the HomePod mini is a lot more affordable than the $299 HomePod, which was even more expensive ($349) when it first launched. Rumors have suggested that HomePod sales have been weak because of the high price of the device relative to smart speakers from other companies like Amazon and Google, so it was a no brainer for Apple to come up with a cheaper solution.
It's a lot easier to justify spending $99 on a home speaker than it is to spend $299, so the HomePod mini will likely be appealing to a wider consumer base than the original HomePod. At $99, HomePod is a solid choice if you're looking for a decent speaker that also gives you Siri access and HomeKit control.
With HomePod mini Apple introduced a new Intercom feature that lets you send messages to and from the HomePod and other Apple devices. So, if you put a HomePod mini in oft-used rooms of the house, you can communicate with other family members through the Intercom option.
Parents will be able to do things like call the kids to dinner or make sure they're getting ready for school, and at that $99 price tag, it's more affordable to buy a couple of HomePod minis to place throughout the house.
Intercom messages sent to HomePod are played out loud in the room in your actual voice, and you can send them from any device. You can also send Intercom messages on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and even CarPlay.
A HomePod mini is a great way to control HomeKit-connected devices by voice. It's pretty convenient to be able to just say something like "Hey Siri, turn out the lights in the bedroom" at night to turn off the lights, and HomePod mini works with all HomeKit-connected devices.
It's an AirPlay 2 speaker so you can use it in scenes and automations for automatically playing music when desired, plus it serves as a Home Hub to allow you to access all your HomeKit devices when you're away from home.
4. Stereo Pairing
Two HomePod minis can work together as a stereo pair with left and right channels, serving as audio for an Apple TV or a home theater setup. When paired up, two HomePod minis can create a more immersive sound experience.
You can pair two full-size HomePods together too, but it's a lot cheaper to buy two HomePod minis than to buy two HomePods.
With handoff functionality, you can bring an iPhone or iPad close to your HomePod mini and then the music that's playing on your device will transfer right over to the HomePod mini. You can also transfer from HomePod mini to iPhone when you're leaving the house.
There's a U1 chip that's in the HomePod mini (and not the HomePod), and Apple says that this chip will enable a different transfer experience with haptic feedback and personalized listening suggestions.
Feedback and Launch Date
Have other reasons you're considering a HomePod mini? Let us know in the comments below.
HomePod mini will be available to pre-order on Friday, November 6, and it will start arriving to customers on Monday, November 16, the official HomePod mini launch date.
The filings outline "a tag used for tracking physical objects," that is "a small, conveniently shaped device that can be attached to objects," and features "a robust structural design that ensures reliable use through a variety of conditions and environments." They suggest that "the tag may be waterproof or at least splash-proof, and may be capable of withstanding impacts, drop events, or other general trauma resulting from normal use of the tag." It may also be able to provide haptic and audible outputs.
Images in the patent also depicted the potential design of the tag, which happen to closely mirror the rumored design with a metallic disk on the rear and a plastic shell over the top and sides. The speculated leather pouch with a keychain ring also appears to have been illustrated.
The location-tracking and directional capabilities of the tags are said to be extremely accurate, such that "a smartphone may be capable of determining the location of a tag to an accuracy within three feet, and even to within one foot or less." The patents explain how the overall network environment that includes the the tags, smartphones, computers, and other devices provides features, presumably via an ultra-wideband connection.
Beyond locating a misplaced object, the tags may also be used to trigger actions on other devices when they are within a certain proximity or orientation. The patent gives the example of a tag being "positioned in a lobby of a building so that when individuals enter the lobby, their smartphone may detect that it is within a threshold distance of that tag, which in turn causes a map of the building to automatically be displayed on the smartphone."
The patents also explain that the tags may operate in a variety of modes. In a "normal operational mode... the tag may conserve power and establish momentary or intermittent communications with one or more other devices... to confirm the location and may exchange some information about the state or location of the tag. In this way, the tag can essentially periodically update other devices." Interestingly, this communication could apparently function in a one-way system, with the tag recieving no information from other devices despite transmitting it.
"Lost mode" would occur "in response to an unexpected loss of communication between the tag and one or more other devices," allowing the tag to privately route encrypted transmissions through third-party devices to send information to the owner's device. In other words, a lost tag could be silently discovered when another person simply enters its vicinity, allowing the owner to see the tag's location. A different mode could use the same system to report the location and status of tags that have been left at home, for example, via a connection with other devices in the home.
The images also showed tags housed within a compact storage case, an Apple Watch Band, a cord or strap, and a circuit that can close or open. The patent also indicated that the tags could be charged by being mounted on a base, which may be similar to Apple's MagSafe charging cable.
Curiously, images also showed how tags could be positioned on a user's body to monitor posture, track full-body motion to control a game or avatar, or monitor body movements in a workout.
The tags may also be usable for augmented reality and AR gaming. For example, tags could be used as pieces for a game of AR chess since their location can be determineed with high accuracy. They could then be visually replaced in an augmented reality environment with computer-generated graphics.
While the patents do not prove that AirTags will have all of these features when they are announced, the length and breadth of the filings is striking. At minimum, they reinforce Apple's commitment to ultra-wideband technology. Nonetheless, the close correlation of these filings with various AirTags rumors is likely more than a coincidence.
According to FRAMOS, a supplier of embedded vision technologies, Sony's OLED microdisplays are small, cutting-edge displays with an ultra-fast response rate, ultra-high contrast, a wide color gamut for precise color reproduction, high luminance, low reflectance, and other benefits that would be ideal for Apple's glasses:
OLED (Organic LED) Microdisplays from SONY® Semiconductor Solutions are cutting-edge small video displays providing fast response, high-contrast image technology and precise color reproduction. The very thin displays bring greater visual impact to applications in AR/VR/MR, broadcasting, electronic view finders, industrial maintenance and medical. With large aperture and high luminance, a wide color spectrum, less reflectance and a high dynamic range they operate in extreme speed without showing any motion blur.
Sony's microdisplays also have integrated drivers for a thin and light design, and power-saving modes are available for longer battery life.
Young said the glasses will use a 0.5-inch display with a 1,280x960 resolution, and these specs appear to correspond with Sony's ECX337A component. According to Sony's website, this microdisplay in particular has a max brightness of 1,000 nits, an ultra-high contrast of 100,000:1, and an ultra-fast response rate of 0.01 ms or less.
The high contrast provided by Sony's microdisplays allows an additional information layer to appear seamlessly, and not as an overlay. "This information is simply added to the background for a 'real AR' experience," according to FRAMOS.
The developers behind the Halide camera app today announced the launch of Halide Mark II, a new photography app that combines everything from Halide with the technology that was introduced in Spectre, an app for capturing long exposure photos, also from the makers of Halide.
Mark II is described as an "elegant, intuitive camera" that can be used by casual photographers while also providing advanced features needed by expert photographers.
The interface is built on a redesigned version of the Halide interface, and it looks as simple as Apple's own built-in camera app. It offers up easy access controls with just a few taps. A tap on the AF button, for example, disables autofocus and activates manual focus tools.
Halide's developers say the Mark II app was designed with "Intelligent Activation" that causes new tools and options to appear based on need when using one of the Halide camera features.
The design is meant to use every pixel of the iPhone, and as an example, the histogram or waveform are displayed up next to the notch, while the bottom of the iPhone offers up location tagging and the last camera shot. All camera controls are meant to be within easy thumb reach to improve usability. There's a new interface for reviewing photos, which has a more feature rich set of controls. More information is provided at a glance, and photo metadata is accessible.
The Mark II app is designed to work with Apple's ProRAW feature, and Halide is adding its own tools to make shooting RAW photos easier on all iPhones. Mark II is able to capture classic RAWs and computational photos using a new "Coverage" feature. With Coverage, Halide users can take photos that use all of the advanced photographic capabilities in the iPhone (Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion) while also making a RAW version available for those who want to do their own edits.
There's also an Instant Raw feature that uses machine learning to go through a 17-step process of developing a RAW file to get the best possible auto-edited result that enhances detail and color, ultimately providing something between a JPG and standard RAW file. According to the app's developers, Mark II is the first camera app that's able to visualize the full 14-bit RAW data in realtime, a feature it calls XDR Analysis. XDR Analysis offers a more accurate look at exposure and is enabled when the ISO or shutter speed are adjusted.
Along with these new RAW tools, Mark II offers new focus and exposure tools, including a visualization called Waveform. Waveform horizontally scans over an image and provides info on which channel colors are clipped.
To help users get the most out of Halide Mark II, the app features a 10-day learning course that highlights all of the app's available features and explains photographic concepts.
Halide Mark II can be downloaded from the App Store starting today. All existing Halide customers will get Mark II for free, along with a year of members' updates.
For new users, the app is priced at $36, but is on sale at launch for $30, and in the future, prices will be raised as new features are added. There's also an alternative membership option priced at $9.99 per year, which will go up to $11.99 after launch. Prior to making a purchase, there is a free 7-day trial available for users to test out the new features.
Update: While the Mark II update should be free for existing Halide users, there is currently a bug that is preventing those users from accessing the app. A bug fix update is coming as soon as Apple approves it, so existing users should hold off on updating for the time being if they can.
Apple has today released a trailer for the second season of M. Night Shyamalan's thriller series "Servant."
According to Deadline, the ten-episode series will be released gradually with a new episode every Friday.
Following its suspenseful season one finale, the second season of the thriller takes a supernatural turn. As Leanne returns to the brownstone and her true nature is revealed, a darker future for all lies ahead.
Servant was among Apple's first original programs and premiered on November 28, 2019. Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free, and Rupert Grint are all reprising their roles for the second season.
The second season of Servant is set to premiere on Apple TV+ on January 15, 2021.
The Apple TV app will be located within the PS5's dedicated media space. It will also be compatible with Sony's new Media Remote for navigation and control.
Enjoy Apple TV+, Apple TV channels, new and popular movies, and personalized, curated recommendations on the Apple TV app. That means users can enjoy Apple Originals like Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Ted Lasso, and The Morning Show through Apple TV+, subscribe to premium channels, and buy or rent movies and TV shows and access past purchases from Apple. The Apple TV app will also be available on PS4.
The Apple TV app is also coming to rival Xbox consoles this year. In an effort to proliferate its video streaming service, Apple has been making a concerted effort to make the Apple TV app available on other platforms, such as Sony and LG smart TVs, to aid the service's growth.
The Apple TV app is scheduled to arrive on PlayStations on the PS5's launch date of Thursday, November 12.
Apple's iPad Air is launching tomorrow, October 23, and pre-orders have been up since last Friday. Even though the new tablet isn't actually out yet, Amazon is already offering a discount: you can pre-order the 64GB Wi-Fi model for $559.00, down from $599.00.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
This sale price is only available in the green color, and it could disappear fast so if you're interested be sure to head to Amazon soon. If pre-ordered today, you can lock in the $40 discount price, and the iPad Air will ship once it's released.
The iPad Air was announced last month, and it has an edge-to-edge 10.9-inch display, Touch ID power button, a brand-new A14 Bionic chip, new color options, and more. For even more iPad deals, head to our full Best Deals guide for iPad. In that guide we track the best discounts online for iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.
A new report from Canalys has forecasted the global smart speaker market for next year, projecting that it will reach 163 million units, a growth of 21 percent.
Mainland China is expected to be the main market for smart speakers next year with a growth of 16 percent. The rest of the market is expected to grow by just three percent. In spite of this, 2021 is believed to be a much stronger year for smart speakers due to increased demand, as well as improved products and availability.
HomePod mini is presumed to pose a challenge to incumbent smart speakers, although Canalys Research Manager Jason Low says that the new device may yet face some challenges.
Apple still has much to prove to attract users, especially as the HomePod mini is up against other new US$99 devices, which are larger in size and with assistants perceived to be smarter. Apple must deliver its acclaimed premium user experience by leveraging its proprietary ecosystem of hardware, software and services. The HomePod mini would give its competitors a run for their money if the sound quality proves to be better despite its smaller size, and if the UWB and Intercom features work seamlessly for users.
It is also notable that Apple will be the only global platform vendor selling hardware and services within China.
"The US$99 (approximately CYN700) price segment is pretty much a no-mans-land in China, yet adequate to appeal to Apple’s user-base. Apple should take this opportunity to drive the uptake of its music and other services consumed at home," said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen.
The global smart speaker installed base is forecast to reach 640 million units by 2024, which Canalys says is "paving the way for the ambient computing paradigm shift."
Feral Interactive has today announced that a remastered edition of classic first-person shooter game "BioShock 2" is now available for macOS.
BioShock 2 is the second game in the cult-classic first-person shooter series. Mac gamers can now return to the fallen city of Rapture to rescue Little Sister Eleanor from its sinister inhabitants. Players can now appreciate the gleaming art-deco architecture of the underwater metropolis better than ever with all-new high-resolution textures and models.
Play as a fearsome Big Daddy and rescue your Little Sister, Eleanor, from the clutches of the frenzied Rapture Family, a collectivist cult conspiring to transform her into a genetically modified messiah. Wield gene-altering Plasmids against vicious Splicers and violently protective Big Sisters as you navigate Rapture’s dripping art-deco halls.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the original Bioshock in 2017, Feral Interactive released "BioShock Remastered" for macOS. The release of BioShock 2 Remastered also comes ten years after the release of the original BioShock 2 in 2010.
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter.
Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be identified by the use of a simple new tool. This could cut-down on needless services in instances where a deep clean is all that is required.
Apple is rolling out a proper audio test tool for AirPods 1 and 2. New phone holder with AirPod attachments pointing AirPods at phones mic. No more guessing if it's a gunked up disgusting AirPod or customers bad hearing. Works similar to existing iPhone Audio test in principle pic.twitter.com/AKiSILH9AK
— Fudge (@choco_bit) October 22, 2020
A dedicated service-provider's iPhone is inserted into a tray, which can run an app to determine if AirPods are genuinely faulty or simply malfunctioning due to a build-up of dirt. The tool tests first and second-generation AirPods by directing them at an iPhone's microphone.
The original post states the diagnosis functions similarly to the "existing iPhone Audio test in principle."
It does not appear to be compatible with AirPods Pro, but it seems possible for Apple to develop a different holder for AirPods Pro to connect to the iPhone tray in the future.
In collaboration with Apple, Porsche is adding Apple Podcasts and Apple Music's time-synced lyrics to its all-electric Taycan.
Last year, Porsche added Apple Music integration to the Taycan, allowing users to access Apple's music streaming service via the car's infotainment system without a smartphone connection. Now, Porsche is adding Apple Music time-synced lyrics appear on the passenger-side display.
Apple Podcasts is also coming to the Porsche Taycan, with support for Apple's entire catalog of podcasts and Top Charts for shows and episodes.
"A great podcast can make any drive more enjoyable," said Oliver Schusser, Apple's Vice President of Apple Music, Beats, and International Content. "With Apple Podcasts, drivers can effortlessly catch up on the latest news, hear incredible stories and enjoy the company of their favorite hosts. And with Apple Music, passengers can easily sing along to their favorite songs with time-synced Lyrics."
As was the case with Apple Music, Apple Podcasts integration directly in a vehicle is the first of its kind. Porsche has also teased that more Apple features for the Taycan could be arriving in the future.
"The new Apple Music and Apple Podcast offerings expand the emotional driving experience with the Taycan with a seamlessly integrated digital feature for music lovers. There is more to come," said Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG.
Apple Podcasts and Apple Music's time-synced lyrics are available to new Taycan customers now and the features will roll out to all owners in January 2021.
Apple has introduced the option to download iOS software updates using 5G cellular data on the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, according to a support document published this week.
To download iOS updates over 5G, users will have to enable the "Allow More Data on 5G" mode in the Settings app under Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Data Mode. Apple says this mode also enables higher-quality video and FaceTime calls, and allows third-party apps to use more cellular data for enhanced experiences, when connected to 5G networks.
According to an internal Verizon document obtained by MacRumors, the ability to download iOS updates over cellular is limited to 5G iPhones with the "Allow More Data on 5G" mode enabled. On all previous-generation iPhones, and on iPhone 12 models that are connected to an LTE network, downloading iOS updates will still require a Wi-Fi connection.
Apple's longtime head of design Jony Ive left the company back in mid-2019 to start his own company called LoveFrom, and one of Ive's first clients is Airbnb.
Airbnb today announced that it is working with Ive's LoveFrom company on a "special collaboration" that will include a multi-year relationship to "design the next generation of Airbnb products and services."
Today, I'm thrilled to announce that Jony and his partners at LoveFrom will be engaging in a special collaboration with me and the Airbnb team. We have made the decision to work together through a multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services. Jony will also help us continue to develop our internal design team, which he believes to be one of the world's best. I know he is particularly excited about a relationship that will evolve to become a deep collaboration with our creative team.
I hope all of this speaks to the seriousness of our design-driven approach. We believe that working together will be an important and powerful creative partnership. We're both excited about the ideas we already have, as well as ideas that are currently beyond our imagination.
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky says that he has long admired Ive's work, and that he and Ive have been friends for "many years," sharing a belief in the "value and importance of creativity and design."
When Jony Ive left Apple, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the Cupertino company would continue to work with Ive's LoveFrom, with Apple serving as one of LoveFrom's "primary clients." At the time, Ive said that he was looking forward to working with Apple "for many years to come" and remaining "very involved."
Ive's company, LoveFrom, was created in partnership with Marc Newson, who Ive has worked with for many years. LoveFrom is a collective of designers, architects, engineers, artists, writers, and musicians.
When Ive left, his design duties were taken over by Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, who head up Industrial Design and Human Interface Design, respectively. Both report to Jeff Williams, Apple's Chief Operating Officer.
Apple is seeking tax breaks from the U.S. government for domestic chip production, which suggests Apple may be aiming to move more iPhone manufacturing to the United States.
According to Bloomberg, second and third-quarter lobbying disclosure reports indicate that Apple lobbied officials from the Treasury Department, Congress, and the White House on tax issues that included "tax credits for domestic semiconductor production."
Apple designs many of its own chips, including the A-series chips used in iPhones and iPads and the Apple Silicon chips that will be used in future Macs. Development of chips is done in-house in Cupertino, but production is outsourced to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
Apple's lobbying efforts indicate that it perhaps wants to move production to the U.S., where it would not have to deal with tariffs and trade tensions between the United States and China.
Apple's recent lobbying coincides with a push by the company and its partners to move some production away from China and even back to the U.S. in a few cases. There's also a broader effort by the U.S. semiconductor industry to get government support for increased domestic production.
Apple veteran and director of federal government affairs Tim Powderly is leading Apple's lobbying efforts, according to Bloomberg. Apple's prior policy exec, Cynthia Hogan, left the company in May after being selected as one of the members of Joe Biden's vice presidential selection committee.
Most Apple products are made overseas, but the 2013 Mac Pro was manufactured in Austin, Texas. The same Texas plant is also responsible for the final assembly of the new Mac Pro models, and Apple decided to use the plant after being provided with tariff exemptions.
Apple chip partner TSMC in May announced plans to open an advanced chip factory in Arizona, and once that plant is open, it is expected to produce 5-nanometer chips. Apple's most recent A-series devices use A14 chips built on a 5-nanometer process.
Apple in 2018 committed to spending $350 billion to boost the U.S. economy over the course of five years, and has contributed funds to U.S. companies that make iPhone components, including Corning and Finisar.
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This month, Apple unveiled the HomePod mini as the first addition to the popular HomePod lineup, with a new spherical design and the S5 chip. With a more affordable price tag of just $99, HomePod mini is a much more accessible and versatile HomePod in a compact design.
The original HomePod continues to be sold by Apple for $299. At over three times the price of HomePod mini, should you still consider the larger, original HomePod, or choose the new HomePod mini? Our guide outlines the differences between the two HomePods and helps to answer the question of how to decide which may be best for you.
Comparing the HomePod and HomePod mini
The HomePod and HomePod mini share a number of key features, such as multiroom audio and Siri. Apple lists these same features of the HomePod and HomePod mini:
Apple's breakdown shows that the two HomePods share a number of important features. Even so, there are meaningful differences between the HomePod and HomePod mini which justifies the $200 price difference, including design, audio technologies, and spatial awareness.
Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both HomePods have to offer.
At just 3.3-inches tall, the HomePod mini is much smaller than the original HomePod, which is just under seven inches tall. The HomePod mini also has a compact spherical design, while the original HomePod has a bulkier capsule-like design. The HomePod is larger than the HomePod mini to accommodate more internal components for a fuller audio experience.
Both devices are covered in Apple's audio-conductive mesh material. The HomePod and HomePod mini also share the Siri waveform that appears on the top display to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls for volume. Both HomePods are also dependent on a wired power cable, meaning that neither is portable.
The HomePod mini's compact spherical design is more discreet than its larger sibling, and will be the preferred device for tables and surfaces where you have limited space or don't want it to stand out. Likewise, the larger HomePod will be more appropriate on TV units and areas with more space.
Audio hardware is the most important area of difference between the two HomePods. HomePod mini offers a single full-range driver, powered by a neodymium magnet and a pair of force-canceling passive radiators, which enables deep bass and crisp high frequencies.
On the other hand, HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, and a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high-frequency acoustics, each with its own amplifier and with directional control.
Both devices use an Apple-designed acoustic waveguide to direct the flow of sound down and out toward the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience. This allows users to place HomePod almost anywhere in a room and hear consistent sound.
However, the original HomePod's larger size allows it to achieve a wider, more spacious soundstage. The HomePod will deliver richer, fuller sound compared to the HomePod mini. The HomePod mini will still likely deliver clean and functional sound, but there is no doubt that the added size and audio hardware in the larger HomePod overshadows it significantly.
HomePod mini uses a three-microphone array to listen for "Hey Siri," and a fourth inward-facing microphone helps isolate sound coming from the speaker to improve voice detection when music is playing. The larger HomePod uses an array of six microphones for the same reason.
These microphones help to cancel echo and enable Siri to understand people whether they are near the device or standing across the room, even while loud music is playing. However, it is unclear if the added microphones on the HomePod are to counteract its louder, larger sound profile, while the HomePod mini simply doesn't need a six-microphone array due to its smaller size, or if it is a point of material difference between the two models when it comes to sound isolation.
Processor and Software
The HomePod uses the A8 chip from the iPhone 6, iPad mini 4, and Apple TV HD, while the HomePod mini uses the S5 chip from the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE.
The HomePod's processor allows it to use advanced software for real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, and echo cancellation.
HomePod mini uses its processor to maximize the performance of its less capable audio hardware. In an attempt to achieve big sound out of a compact design, the Apple S5 chip in HomePod mini works with advanced software to analyze the unique characteristics of the music and apply complex tuning models to optimize loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators in real-time.
The A8 chip in the larger HomePod likewise performs some unique functions, such as bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion.
Ultimately, the HomePod's processor is not a very important consideration when it comes to choosing between the two models. The A8 is an older but more powerful chip, while the S5 is a newer but less powerful chip. Both chips run the same operating system and deliver appropriate computational audio with a comparable level of performance.
The larger original HomePod uses spatial awareness to sense its location in the room. This allows it to automatically adjust and optimize the audio based on its location in the room for improved sound quality. The HomePod can detect walls and corners, and uses this information with its directional tweeters to deliver sound evenly across the room, while reducing distortion and echo.
Only the original HomePod has spatial awareness, and the HomePod mini does not have this feature.
The HomePod mini contains one feature that the original HomePod lacks: the U1 chip. The Apple-designed U1 chip is an ultra-wideband chip which performs directional and proximity-based operations.
The HomePod mini uses the U1 chip to detect when other U1 devices, such as the iPhone 12, are nearby. This allows it to more quickly hand off audio and interact with nearby devices, as well as display relevant information on devices that are close to the HomePod mini.
Beyond this, however, the full potential of U1 in HomePod mini does not yet seem to have been realized. In the future, U1 could facilitate close-range data-transfer, improve AR experiences, and track a user's location within the home. Apple now seems to be adding the U1 chip to all of its new devices, with the chip appearing in the iPhone 12 lineup and the Apple Watch Series 6.
Adding a second HomePod to your setup enables stereo sound to create a wider soundstage for richer, more enveloping sound. Each HomePod is able to play its own channel of either left or right sound, while separating out both the ambient and direct energy. Both devices can perform automatic detection and balance of two speakers using both direct and reflected audio. Even though the two speakers act as one, each HomePod communicates with each other so that only one speaker responds to Siri requests.
While both HomePod and HomePod mini support this stereo pair capability, you cannot pair a HomePod mini and an original HomePod together. Instead, you can only pair two original HomePods or two HomePod minis as stereo speakers.
Both HomePods support multiroom audio and can be mixed together using that functionality, but not to achieve stereo sound.
Home Theater with Apple TV 4K
The original HomePod also supports Home Theater with Apple TV 4K. This allows the HomePod to provide a more immersive home theater experience when it is paired with an Apple TV 4K, by offering surround sound and Dolby Atmos.
The feature is reliant on the directional and spatially aware capabilities of the original HomePod, so it is not available on the HomePod mini. Two HomePod minis can nevertheless still provide stereo sound for Apple TV, but not the full home theater experience of the original HomePod.
If you intend to use the HomePod or a pair of HomePods as TV speakers with an Apple TV 4K, there is no doubt that the original HomePod will provide a much better audio experience.
Overall, it's clear that the HomePod and HomePod mini are products that have different purposes. The HomePod is a more full-featured high-end speaker for excellent sound quality, while the HomePod mini is intended to be more versatile.
This is reflected in the HomePod mini's more affordable price. The HomePod mini may be better suited to areas such as hallways or kitchens, while the original HomePod seems to be better suited to larger rooms where audio content is consumed more regularly, such as living rooms.
The main reason to buy the larger HomePod will be due to its better audio fidelity. As an extension of this, if you want to use your HomePods with an Apple TV 4K, the larger HomePod is the preferred option. With its directional audio and spatial awareness, on top of its plethora of high-end audio hardware, the original HomePod is the device for areas where sound quality is the priority.
In locations where the device may be used more for Siri than music, HomePod mini seems to be the better option. The HomePod mini will be better when something more discreet is needed or if it is in an area where it would be used more in passing. The HomePod mini will still perform well in multiroom audio mode, and its more affordable price tag allows users to acquire more of them for use around the home.
Generally speaking, if you want a HomePod to achieve the best possible sound quality and volume, get the original HomePod. Otherwise, the HomePod mini will be more than sufficient for your needs.