Apple has started testing its revamped Maps experience in Spain and Portugal this week, as noticed by MacRumors reader Jordi Guillamet. This follows the redesigned Apple Maps becoming available in Canada late last year.
During the testing period, the updated maps will only be visible to some users.
The revamped Apple Maps experience provides more detailed views of roads, buildings, parks, airports, malls, and more, along with faster and more accurate navigation. The updated maps started rolling out in the United States in late 2018, followed by the United Kingdom and Ireland in October 2020 and Canada in December 2020.
AirTag, announced this week and shipping on April 30, is Apple's long-rumored Tile-like tracker for locating and keeping a tab on items such as keys, wallets, and more. The iPhone accessory is a new product category for Apple, building on its Find My network. While AirTags won't be in the hands of customers until next week, we continue to learn more about Apple's latest gadget.
YouTuber Rene Ritchie had a chance to speak to Apple's VP of iPhone worldwide marketing, Kaiann Drance, and Apple's senior director of sensing and connectivity, Ron Huang, to discuss AirTags, its features, design, and privacy. The interview covers much of the same ground as another interview the executives gave to Fast Company, but it does include a few other notable tidbits.
Maximum of 16 AirTags Connected to A Single Apple ID
Apple will offer a single AirTag for $29 and a pack of four for $99. Most customers will want to track their keys, wallets, and backpack, not needing more than four. The maximum number of AirTags that can be connected to a single Apple ID is 16, according to Apple's Kaiann Drance.
Low Battery Notfication
AirTags feature a replaceable coin-cell battery that, according to Apple, can last as long as a year. AirTags don't have a screen, or a light, making it hard to understand if the battery is low and needs replacing. As revealed in Ritchie’s interview, iPhone will alert users once the AirTags battery is starting to run low. It's still not clear which specific threshold the battery must reach before an alert is sent. Still, it can reasonably be assumed the AirTag would have enough battery left to allow the owner to purchase and replace it before it completely dies.
Sharing AirTags With Friends and Family
In some instances, users may want to share their car key with a friend or family member, which happens to have an AirTag attached to it. In normal cases, the AirTags safety feature would kick in, alerting the person that an unknown tracking device is on them. Apple's way to prevent this is through Family Sharing.
As Kaiann Drance explains, if an AirTag is being shared with an Apple ID within Family Sharing, the owner of the AirTag can disable the safety alerts to prevent their family or friends iPhone from detecting it as unwanted tracking.
In cases where an AirTag is being borrowed by an individual not in Family Sharing, the borrower can choose to disable the safety alerts.
AirTags will be available for pre-order on Friday, April 23, and will begin shipping on April 30.
Apple today shared a trailer for the whale documentary "Fathom" on YouTube ahead of its worldwide debut on Apple TV+ on June 25. See our original coverage below for more details about the film.
Apple earlier this month announced that it purchased the rights to "Fathom," a documentary that follows two scientists as they attempt to communicate with humpback whales and unravel the mystery of why they sing.
"Fathom" features Dr. Ellen Garland and Dr. Michelle Fournet, who study humpback whale songs and social communication.
As they embark on parallel research journeys on opposite sides of the world, they seek to better understand whale culture and communication. The documentary film uniquely reveals a deep commitment and reverence to the scientific process and the universal human need to seek answers about the world around us. From hypothesis to groundbreaking experiences in the field, "Fathom" showcases the passion, curiosity, collaboration, perseverance and work it takes for leading scientists to make scientific discoveries.
"Fathom" is set to premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, June 25, and it joins several other nature-focused documentaries on Apple's streaming service such as "Tiny World," "The Year Earth Changed," "Fireball," "The Elephant Queen," "Earth at Night in Color," and more.
Following the announcement of AirTags this week, Apple's VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, Kaiann Drance, and Apple's senior director of sensing and connectivity, Ron Huang, spoke with Fast Company about the Tile-like tracker and its design and privacy.
Speaking about the design of AirTag, Drance says Apple wanted to create a simple yet unique design for the tracker, keeping in mind it wanted to create something that "no one else in the industry’s ever done before." One of the biggest selling points for AirTag is its user privacy. Apple is stressing that AirTag uses encrypted networks, and Apple or other third parties can't read their location.
Huang says that even if someone happens to find your lost AirTag, they will not be able to pair it with their iPhone and continue to use it. Both executives stressed during the interview that AirTag uses Apple's Find My network, which hosts almost a billion Apple devices, keeping the whole experience secure and private.
This entire process is end-to-end encrypted so that no one but the owner of the AirTag—not the owners of the crowdsourced devices picking up the AirTag’s location or even Apple itself—ever has access to the AirTag’s current or past location. And the Bluetooth identifiers that AirTags emit are not only randomized but “are rotated many times a day and never reused so that as you travel from place to place with the AirTag, you cannot be re-identified,” Huang says.
Drance and Huang are also keen to note that though almost a billion Apple devices act as a crowdsourced monitoring network that helps keep track of AirTags, the AirTag owner can never see which devices its AirTag’s location is pinging off of or who owns those devices.
Earlier in March, Apple introduced a new safety feature in its Find My app within the iOS 14.5 beta that will notify users if the iPhone detects an unknown tracking device, such as AirTag, being used to track them. The purpose of the feature is to prevent incidents in which someone may slip an AirTag into a user's backpack and use it to stalk them.
In the case that it does happen, users will receive a notification stating "AirTag Found Moving With You," and will then have the ability to disable it physically. Speaking about the safety feature, Drance says that users should contact local law enforcement if they feel their safety is at risk.
“If you are concerned that there’s a risk of your being tracked you could contact law enforcement,” Drance notes. “What the [AirTag’s] serial number is used for is when you first set up your AirTag it is paired with an Apple ID along with some additional information such as your name, your email address, your date of birth, and things like that, which [Apple] could provide to law enforcement if asked for, with the proper warrants and process.”
Apple is marketing AirTag as a smart and capable way to track items. Questions have arisen, however, if AirTag can be used to track children and pets. When asked, Apple's VP of iPhone product marketing says the company designed AirTag to track items, not children. The executive suggests parents use an Apple Watch with Family Setup to locate their children. In the case of tracking pets, Drance says they need to be in range.
When I asked Drance about parents using AirTags to track their small children (such as during an outing at an amusement park) or pets (we know you’re up to something shady, Fluffy) she was quick to stress that the company designed the AirTag to track items, not people or pets. If parents would like to safely track their young children, she suggests an Apple Watch with Family Setup might be a better choice.
As for strapping an AirTag to a pet, Drance says, “If people do that, they just have to make sure that their moving pet gets into range of a device in the Find My network” so its location can be tracked.
The embargo has lifted on reviews of Apple's new AirTag item tracker, although they are more like first impressions given that media outlets and YouTube channels had less than 48 hours of hands-on time with the small new device.
Image Credit: The Verge
AirTag will be available to order starting this Friday, April 23 at 5 a.m. Pacific Time in most countries, and it will begin arriving to customers on Friday, April 30. Priced at $29 each or $99 for a four pack, users can attach AirTags to personal belongings like a wallet, keys, purse, or backpack and then keep track of the location of those items in Apple's built-in Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
We've already rounded up some AirTag unboxing videos, and below we've gathered some more in-depth opinions from AirTag reviews.
Really, the AirTag is the Most Apple Product I've seen in a while. It's just a little more expensive than the competition. It's beautifully designed, but its hardware still somehow fails to actually take the practical realities of our dirty, messy world into account. It's very privacy-focused. It really only works with Apple devices. It offers features that no third-party device can really match thanks to Apple's tight integration (or tight grip on its APIs, depending on your point of view). And since there's no Android version of Find My, it's another piece of the Apple ecosystem that's going to keep you from switching.
An AirTag is a very Apple-y thing for Apple users who already live in Apple's ecosystem. They work great — and will be great at keeping you in Apple's world.
In the video below, Bohn provides a closer look at the AirTag setup process and then goes on a hide-and-seek adventure in New York City to test out its capabilities:
TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino said it often took 30 seconds or more to get an initial location from an AirTag in another room, but he said location tracking was extremely accurate down to a few inches:
In my very limited testing so far, AirTag location range fits in with that basic Bluetooth expectation. Which means that it can be foiled by a lot of obstructions or walls or an unflattering signal bounce. It often took 30 seconds or more to get an initial location from an AirTag in another room, for instance. Once the location was received, however, the instructions to locate the device seemed to update quickly and were extremely accurate down to a few inches.
Mashable's Brenda Stolyar was less excited about the AirTag, but she did praise their Precision Finding feature that uses the built-in U1 chip and accelerometer from the AirTag, along with ARKit and the gyroscope from the iPhone, to guide you towards the AirTag with an on-screen arrow, haptic feedback, and sound.
Bluetooth trackers aren't new. Companies like Tile, Chipolo, and Orbit have been pumping them out for years — but leave it to Apple to turn them into a must-have accessory.
Sure, for iPhone users it means seamless connectivity that works with Apple's Find My app. But at its core, it's still nothing more than a Bluetooth tracker.
Precision Finding is limited to Apple devices with the U1 chip for Ultra Wideband, including all iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.
The first reviews of the iPhone 12 in Apple's newly-introduced Purple color option for the spring have now been shared by various media outlets and YouTubers, and the overall consensus is that the new color is more of a lavender shade than purple.
It's a lightish shade of purple. One might be tempted to call it lavender, but to me it's a bit more like a lilac or maybe a wisteria. It lacks the redness you'd expect in a mauve or the blue tones you'd see in a violet. There are many shades of purple, but this one is what Apple went with and I like it. It's unmistakable even at a distance, whereas the light green iPhone 12 models could be mistaken for off-white in certain light. I am also glad it doesn't have a fancy name. It's just "purple."
Mashable's Brenda Stoylar said that the new color is "very pretty," and similarly noted that it is "more of a periwinkle or a lavender" than purple.
Chris Velazco of Engadget also noticed the more subdued nature of the purple, but interestingly observed that it is "roughly the same pastel shade that last year's purple iPhone 11 came in."
Apple continues to sell the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in existing colors, including Black, White, Blue, Green, and (PRODUCT)RED. Pricing starts at $699 for the iPhone 12 mini and $799 for the iPhone 12 in the United States.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in the new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in the new purple color will ship with iOS 14.5, according to Apple.
Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, which are all available to order now.
Apple's new AirTag item tracker will be available to order starting this Friday, April 23 at 5 a.m. Pacific Time, and it will begin arriving to customers on Friday, April 30. Priced at $29 each or $99 for a four pack, users can attach AirTags to personal belongings like a wallet, keys, purse, or backpack and then keep track of the location of those items in Apple's built-in Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Ahead of AirTag orders beginning tomorrow, Apple has provided some YouTube channels and media outlets with an early look at the item tracker. We've rounded up some unboxing videos and first impressions below.
Apple will introduce several new features and enhancements in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 later this year, including a redesigned Home Screen for iPad, an updated Lock Screen, and new notification preferences for users, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Apple Inc. is readying a major revamp of its mobile software that will include an upgrade to how users handle notifications, a redesigned iPad Home Screen, an updated Lock Screen, and additional privacy protections for its flagship devices, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The company is planning a new feature that will allow users to set different notification preferences, such as if the phone makes a sound or not, depending on their current status. The enhancement will come in the form of a new menu that lets users select if they are driving, working, sleeping or custom categories of their choosing. The menu will be shown on the updated Lock Screen and in Control Center, the iPhone and iPad's menu for quickly accessing settings.
There will also be an option to set automatic replies to messages depending on their status. That will be an improvement over the current auto-reply feature, which is only currently available while driving. Apple has added some unique notifications features such as Do Not Disturb and Sleep Mode, but this will mark the first time the company offers a systemwide feature for changing notifications depending on a user's status.
According to the report, Apple is working to bring parity to the iPad Home Screen, by allowing users to place widgets in any part of the screen, iPhone-style, rather than the current setup that limits placement to the Today View column on the left-hand side. The company also plans to allow users to replace the entire app grid with only widgets, for additional customization.
Codenamed "Sky," Apple's planned software updates otherwise read like selective enhancements rather than major changes. For example, today's report indicates that Apple is working on upgrades to iMessage, with the eventual goal of acting as more of a social network that is in a better position to compete with WhatsApp, although details are scant on what those changes could be.
Elsewhere, Apple is said to be working on introducing a new privacy menu that will show users which apps are silently collecting data about them. The move sounds like an additional bulwark against apps which attempt to skirt protections that Apple is introducing in iOS 14.5, such as its App Tracking Transparency rules.
According to Gurman, Apple is planning a more minor update to macOS after its redesign last year with macOS 11 Big Sur, alongside updates to watchOS and tvOS.
Apple typically releases new versions of iOS and iPadOS around September, near to the launch of new iPhones, but the company likes to preview upcoming software features during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
With the release of iOS 14 and macOS 11, Apple introduced a new way for users to review places of interest and upload photos to Apple Maps that doesn't rely on third party integrations like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Users who tap a marker for a place on the map that they have physically visited are offered the ability to recommend a place using a thumbs up/thumbs down rating that can also distinguish between relevant categories, such as ratings for the quality of products and services in a shop, for example. An "Add Photos to Maps" option in place cards also lets users upload pictures directly to Apple's Maps servers.
As it stands, Apple's rollout of native ratings in Maps has been patchy, with users in the United Kingdom, Australia and a handful of other regions able to recommend places they've visited. Apple's in-house ratings remain unavailable for places of interest in the United States, for both users in and outside the country.
However, a brief shot from Tuesday's "Spring Loaded" Apple event, spotted by an eagle-eyed Redditor, suggests that could be set to change very soon. During the iMac announcement, Apple showed a macOS desktop screen with the Maps app open and a thumbs up/thumbs down recommendation option for Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.
Notably, the image shows that Yelp reviews are still listed, indicating that Apple is continuing to provide third-party recommendations alongside its own ratings system as it works to build up a database of crowdsourced reviews across the States.
While we can't be certain, the likelihood is that Apple will make native Maps ratings available for U.S. places of interest with the release of iOS 14.5 and macOS 11.3 sometime next week.
Apple is seemingly expecting high demand for its new M1-powered iPad Pro as the company has asked its main chip supplier, TSMC, to ramp up production of the chip for its new iPad, and newer Mac computers, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes.
The M1 chip first started shipping in November, and amid an ongoing global chip shortage, demand for the chip is even more pronounced thanks to the new iPad Pro. DigiTimes reports that TSMC had a previous goal of 120,000 chip wafers per month for the second half of the year. Thanks to a strong push from Apple, TSMC now has its eyes set on 140,000 to 150,000 monthly chip waters from the second to the fourth quarter of the year.
Even though the new iPad Pro and 24-inch iMac were announced this week, they won't begin shipping until the second half of May. The significant delay between announcement and shipments is likely due to strain put on Apple's suppliers.
Research cited by another DigiTimesreport today suggests that the new higher-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro which features a new Liquid Retina XDR Display, will reach 5 million shipments this year. The new iPad Pro and 24-inch iMac will be available for pre-order starting Friday, April 30.
After several false dawns, Apple Pay looks finally ready to come to Israel early next month, based on local reports.
According to Hebrew-language site Calcalist, barring a last-minute change, Apple is expected to launch its digital payment system in the country in the first week of May.
Several previous reports over the last year have hinted at an imminent Apple Pay launch in Israel, but so far it hasn't come to pass. According to today's report, the infrastructure for Apple Pay has been ready in the country for some time, and the delay has been due to closures in the economy and the need to make sure that enough businesses can accept the payment method.
Apple Pay payments go through Apple's digital Wallet app for mobile iOS devices, therefore any financial entity that wants its customers to pay using the method must sign an agreement with Apple.
In the past year, several banks and credit card companies in Israel have signed such an agreement, and as part of the contract, they must pay Apple a commission derived from the amount of the transaction, estimated to be 0.05%.
Apple's iPhones command a 20% share in Israel's smartphone market, so there's plenty of scope for Apple Pay to become a popular payment method in the country. First introduced in 2014, Apple Pay is now available in over 50 countries or regions around the world.
Microsoft Teams for macOS has been updated so that other people on a video call are able to hear a Mac's system audio when another user is screen sharing.
Teams for Windows has always offered users the option of system audio sharing. Today's update brings parity to the Mac app by including the optional feature, which is likely to be welcomed by teachers and businesses.
Microsoft also says that support for native macOS system notifications will be enabled for Teams with an upcoming app update. Microsoft started rolling out native notifications to Windows 10 users in early April, and the feature is expected to come to the Mac app imminently.
Currently, Teams for Mac uses its own notification system instead of being integrated with Apple's macOS Notifications Center. The next update to Teams should fix that, although no specific date has been given.
Apple is planning to boost its advertising business through a new ad slot on the App Store search page which will allow developers to promote their apps across the entire platform, rather than just when users search for a specific app, according to a new report from the Financial Times.
Apple already boasts an App Store advertising business where it allows developers to pay for the top result spot when users search for a specific app on the platform. Apple says these ads are "an efficient and easy way to help people discover your app at the top of App Store search results," and now the company wants to expand on it.
According to the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, the company plans to roll out a second ad slot within the App Store, but this time directly within the Search page, by the end of the month. The new ads will appear alongside the current "Suggested" section on the page and will be visible to users across the whole platform.
The report lacks specific details on the mechanism behind the new ad slot. For example, Apple's current search ads include careful features that ensure smaller developers can bid and pay for ads and not get dominated by large developers and corporations. The new ad slot comes as the advertising industry is bracing for impact from the fallout of the upcoming iOS and iPadOS 14.5 update.
Beginning with the new update rolling out to users next week, apps will be required to ask for users' permission to access their IDFA or identifier for advertisers. By accessing the IDFA, developers can track a user's activity across other apps and websites, even those owned by different companies, to provide personalized ads to users.
The new requirement, called App Tracking Transparency, has received heavy criticism from companies such as Facebook, who are concerned that the new requirement will result in a majority of users opting out of ad tracking. A large portion of Facebook's business comes from selling ads across its platform, and ATT could cut into its revenue by making it harder to provide personalized, relevant ads to users.
In the Apple TV and Apple Books app, Apple will highlight special content in its Earth Day collections that "explores the science and human cost of climate change and its impact on wildlife, and offer hope for the future." Also, Apple TV+ subscribers can enjoy streaming the newly premiered "The Year Earth Changed" documentary and new seasons of "Tiny World" and "Earth At Night In Color."
Apple will place apps that target sustainable shopping, food waste reduction, and donations in a Today App Store story. The new story, Apple hopes, will encourage people to donate to different causes and "find a wealth of information on how to make a positive environmental impact."
On Apple Music, Apple will highlight "earth-inspired music" such as "Sounds of Nature" and a "Mixtape for Mother Earth" playlist. Apple Music will also feature a "special editorial space that features a peaceful soundscape of the seven continents and exclusive motion covers."
Remaining in the audio space, Apple Podcasts will offer content and shows that provide "insight and education on environmental issues, providing inspiration for active participation in the fight against climate change and underscoring the power and importance of nature itself."
Additional new content will include special new curated guides within Apple Maps in partnership with the National Park Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Red Tricycle, Culture Trip, FATMAP, and Lonely Planet. Apple Watch owners can also earn a special Earth Day Award by completing a 30-minute work on Earth Day.
macOS Big Sur 11.3 includes a hidden "Hello" screen saver that appears to be designed for the new iMac models, but which can also be installed on any Mac that's running the 11.3 update.
As outlined by 9to5Mac, the new screen saver is not available by default, but with a simple set of instructions, can be accessed on even non-M1 iMac machines.
On a Mac running macOS Big Sur 11.3, follow these instructions:
Open the System folder.
Click on Library.
Click on Screen Savers.
Drag the "Hello.saver" file to the desktop.
Rename the "Hello" file to something else.
Double click the file.
Follow the instructions to install it.
From there, you should see the "Hello" screen saver added as an option in the list of Mac screen savers available in System Preferences > Desktop > Screen Saver > Screen Saver.
The Hello screen saver cycles through various colors, and there are several themes to choose from including "Soft Tones," "Spectrum," and "Minimal." Soft Tones uses the pastel colors introduced with the new iMacs and matching colored text, while Spectrum uses more saturated shades with lighter text. "Minimal" shows the "Hello" wording in black, white, and gray.
By default, the screen saver will display "Hello" in multiple languages, but you can force it to use only your native language by toggling off "Show 'hello' in all languages in the Screen Saver Options.
A "match system appearance" toggle is also available for use to match light and dark mode preferences.
At an App Store antitrust hearing that took place today, Spotify and Match Group (the company behind Tinder) accused Apple of abusing its App Store powers to to disadvantage rival services, reports Bloomberg. Spotify chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said that Apple's rules are "nothing more than an abusive power grab."
"Apple abuses its dominant position as a gatekeeper of the App Store to insulate itself from competition and disadvantage rival services like Spotify," Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify's chief legal officer, told lawmakers. Apple's restrictions on developers, he added, "are nothing more than an abusive power grab and a confiscation of the value created by others.
Spotify has had an ongoing feud with Apple since the debut of Apple Music. Apple Music is priced at $9.99, a price point that Spotify is unable to match due to the 30 percent cut that Apple takes, as it does not leave enough margin for Spotify to make money. Spotify has complained that it has no choice but to charge more on iOS devices and no alternative as Apple does not allow it to offer alternative signup or payment options in its app.
Match, meanwhile, complained that it had wanted to add ID verification rules to boost the app's safety in Taiwan, but Apple would not allow it to do so. Match contacted an Apple executive, who allegedly told the company that it should be glad Apple was not taking all of its revenue. "You owe us every dime you've made," the Apple executive reportedly said.
The "Antitrust Applied: Examining Competition in App Stores" hearing is examining App Stores and mobile competition, and is focused on Apple and Google. Apple's Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer was in attendance to defend Apple.
Andeer stuck to Apple's standard talking points about how the App Store revolutionized software distribution and made it easier for developers to reach new users. Andeer said that Apple's strict App Store rules are designed to meet privacy, safety, and performance standards.
Apple's App Store rules are also facing a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation, and Apple is currently gearing up for a showdown over its App Store policies with Epic Games.
Twitter today announced that iOS and Android users are now able to view and upload 4K images when using the mobile Twitter apps.
To view and uploaded images in 4K, Twitter users can opt for high-quality images under the "Data Usage" setting in the Twitter preferences.
Time to Tweet those high res pics –– the option to upload and view 4K images on Android and iOS is now available for everyone.
To start uploading and viewing images in 4K, update your high-quality image preferences in “Data usage” settings. https://t.co/XDnWOji3nx
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) April 21, 2021
Twitter has been testing higher resolution photo uploads with a limited number of Twitter users since March, but the feature has now rolled out for everyone. Twitter already supports high-resolution images on the web.
While the Touch ID sensor on the new Magic Keyboard is compatible with all M1 Macs, including the new iMac and last fall's 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, MacRumors has confirmed with Apple that the Touch ID sensor will not function with the new iPad Pro, even though it also has an M1 chip.
The new Magic Keyboard can still be used with the iPad Pro and other devices, like Intel-based Macs, with the exception of Touch ID.
Apple will be offering three versions of the Magic Keyboard, including a standard version with Touch ID, a standard version without Touch ID, and an extended version with Touch ID and a numeric keypad. However, the new Magic Keyboard will only be available with the new iMac and not sold separately, at least initially, according to Apple.