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Apple Drops Prices on MacBook Air and Mac Mini SSD Upgrades, Lowers Cost of 64GB Mac Pro RAM Price

As we reported this morning, Apple today cut the prices of higher-end MacBook Pro SSD upgrades by up to $400, and as it turns out, there have been pricing changes to components in other Mac machines as well.

For the MacBook Air, released in 2018, upgrading to a 1.5TB SSD on either base model is now $100 cheaper, with the SSD upgrade pricing options listed below.


Entry-level MacBook Air SSD options:
  • 256GB SSD - +$200 (No change)
  • 512GB SSD - +$400 (No change)
  • 1.5TB SSD - +$1,100 ($100 off)
Higher-end MacBook Air SSD options:
  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)
  • 1.5TB SSD - +$900 ($100 off)
Apple has also dropped the price of the 2TB SSD upgrade option in the Mac mini by $200, with the new SSD upgrade pricing options listed below.

Entry-level Mac mini SSD options:
  • 256GB SSD - +$200 (No change)
  • 512GB SSD - +$400 (No change)
  • 1TB SSD - +$800 (No change)
  • 2TB SSD - +$1,400 ($200 off)
Higher-end Mac mini SSD options
  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)
  • 1TB SSD - +$600 (No change)
  • 2TB SSD - +$1,200 ($200 off)
Apple has also quietly dropped the price of the 64GB RAM upgrade in the Mac Pro, which is the 2013 model that has not seen an update in many years.

Prior to today's update, upgrading the base Mac Pro configurations from 16GB RAM to 64GB Ram cost $1,200, but Apple has dropped the price by $400. It now costs $800 to upgrade from 16GB RAM to 64GB RAM. Upgrading to 32GB RAM continues to cost $400 over the base 16GB option.

Related Roundups: Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Air
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Code in Latest iOS 12.2 Beta Suggests AirPower Launch Coming Soon

Apple's long-awaited AirPower could be launching in the near future, based on coding changes that 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo says he found in the latest iOS 12.2 beta, released yesterday morning.

There have been "significant changes" to the wireless charging code in the beta update, including "code responsible for identifying that two devices are charging on the same mat," which could indicate that Apple is planning an AirPower launch soon.


Apple's AirPower charging mat will be able to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods (with a new wireless charging case) all at once. The AirPower charging mat was first announced in 2017 alongside the iPhone X, but has seen production difficulties that led to multiple delays.

In the iOS 12.2 beta specifically, there are changes to the 3D animations that are displayed on the largest of the charging devices to let you know charging levels.

Apple has been silent on the AirPower ever since announcing it, but there have been continual signs that the Cupertino company is still working on it, including multiple recent rumors that a launch is happening in the spring.

Apple on Monday introduced a new iPad Air and an iPad mini 5, and today introduced refreshed iMacs, suggesting it is perhaps aiming to roll out all of its spring hardware updates ahead of its services-focused event on March 25.

Ahead of when the iPads and iMacs launched, we heard from a source that suggested Apple would debut new products on Monday through Wednesday, with a new iPod touch set to be announced tomorrow. We haven't heard word of an AirPower launch or an AirPods launch with new wireless charging case, but that doesn't mean it's not going to happen.

There's a chance we will see AirPower and AirPods this week, but if not, it certainly seems like we're at least a bit closer to a debut.

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Eddy Cue Says Apple Isn't Interested in Exclusive Rights to Live Sports Games

A new Sports Illustrated article offers a look inside Apple's so-called sports surveillance room at its Results Way office complex in Cupertino, California, where a team of Apple employees have been monitoring sports events for newsworthy and unpredictable moments for almost a year now.


The report says the team manages the sports subsection in Apple's TV app and its Apple TV interface, highlighting what's available around the clock and sending notifications about exciting moments like a playoff game reaching triple overtime.

Apple's services chief Eddy Cue reflected on the company's broader goal of curating sports, using retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance in an otherwise unremarkable Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors game in the 2006 NBA playoffs as an example of a sports moment worth highlighting.

"It was amazing to watch, but the vast majority even of Lakers fans didn't see it," said Cue. "As a fan, I've always looked at it as an opportunity."

For now, though, Apple doesn't appear to have any larger ambitions with sports. Asked how much he thinks about competing against Facebook and Amazon, both of which have experimented with airing live sports games on their platforms with exclusive rights, Cue responded "not a lot, honestly."

From the report:
"That's not to say we would never do sports, because who the heck knows," he said. "Never is a long time, but I don't think that's a problem right now." Sports rights are deeply fragmented, with different owners split by platform and region. "You really can't own all the rights, so therefore at some point you need to solve some other problems," Cue said. "You can't design for owning the rights because if that's the only thing you're doing you're always going to be tiny."
In other words, don't expect Apple to have its own sports broadcasts in its widely expected streaming video service, although it could provide sports content from partnered networks.

Read the full Sports Illustrated article for a deeper dive into Apple's sports content efforts.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)
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Apple Lowers Price of MacBook Pro's High-End SSD Upgrade Options

Alongside a refresh of the iMac and new Radeon Pro Vega graphics options for the iMac Pro, Apple today quietly lowered the price of some of the storage upgrade options for the MacBook Pro.

2TB and 4TB SSD upgrade options for 13 and 15-inch machines are now more affordable, with Apple dropping prices as much as $400.


Upgrading to 2TB of storage on the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models is now $200 cheaper, while upgrading to 4TB on the 15-inch MacBook Pro is $400 cheaper.

SSD upgrade pricing for the MacBook Pro models is below:

Entry level 15-inch MacBook Pro:
  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)
  • 1TB SSD - +$600 (No change)
  • 2TB SSD - +$1,200 ($200 off)
  • 4TB SSD - +$3,000 ($400 off)
Higher-end 15-inch MacBook Pro:
  • 1TB SSD - +$400 (No change)
  • 2TB SSD - +$1,000 ($200 off)
  • 4TB SSD - +$2,800 ($400 off)
Entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro:
  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)
  • 1TB SSD - +$600 (No change)
  • 2TB SSD - +$1,200 ($200 off)
Higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro:
  • 1TB SSD - +$400 (No change)
  • 2TB SSD - +$1,000 ($200 off)
It's not unusual for Apple to adjust storage prices for its products, especially at the higher end, as prices fluctuate and come down over time after a machine has been released. Apple has changed storage prices for various Macs multiple times over the years.

Apple's MacBook Pro models are not designed to have the SSD upgraded after purchase as the storage is soldered to the motherboard, so the price drop is nice to see for those who want to purchase more storage to futureproof their machines.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)
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Apple Courting Publishers by Comparing News Service to Apple Music, but Most Say Logic is Flawed

With less than one week to go until Apple's "It's Show Time" media event, the company is said to still be courting major news companies to join its revamped Apple News subscription service (via Business Insider). The debut of this service is expected to occur alongside the big focus of the event, Apple's streaming TV service.


During Apple's meetings with news publishers, the company is reportedly pointing to Apple Music to showcase evidence of its previous subscription success and convince partners to join. One source said that the company is pitching itself as a savior to the publishing industry, but some publishing executives have said that Apple's logic is flawed.
"Based on our experiences with Apple Music, we're very good at running a subscription business," said one publishing exec, describing how Apple pitched the service. "We know how to build a subscription business, and we're going to do that for news."

But the critics say that comparison is flawed. Music, along with entertainment, is inherently different from news. A lot of news articles are interchangeable in a way that music artists or movies aren't. Plus, most people don't want 100 magazines; they just want the ones they're already fans of.
The revamped Apple News service is rumored to use Apple's acquisition of Texture to combine subscriptions to magazine and news sites for one monthly fee. But, one digital publishing executive went so far as to say that "no one wants an all-you-can-eat magazine service." The executive, whose company won't be participating with Apple in its new enterprise, went on to say that "magazines are passion points, whereas music, you do want a library."

Apple is said to still be courting major newspapers, but The New York Times and The Washington Post have yet to join according to sources. Some publications do see a benefit to Apple's service, however, and are working on deals to join, like The Wall Street Journal.

In general, publishers also have many questions that Apple has yet to answer, a sentiment that seems to be a running theme for the March 25 event, as the exact same concern was raised by Hollywood insiders partnering with Apple's streaming TV service. For the news side, publishers wonder about how much reader data they will see, brand visibility, loss of direct subscribers in favor of the Apple News bundle, if the service will have a presence on Android, and more.

The reveal of the Apple News and streaming TV services isn't too far away now, as Apple's "It's Show Time" event will kick off at 10:00 am Pacific Time on Monday, March 25.

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New iPod Touch Expected as Early as Tomorrow

Apple may have plans to announce a new seventh-generation iPod touch in a press release as early as tomorrow.

MacRumors received a tip earlier this month claiming that Apple would announce new iPads, iMacs, and iPods on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, and so far this information has proved to be accurate with the arrival of new iPad Air and iPad mini models on Monday and an iMac refresh today. Naturally, we now expect Apple to introduce a new iPod touch tomorrow.


If accurate, this week's series of hardware announcements suggest that Apple may be clearing its docket to primarily focus on its widely expected news and video services at its March 25 event at Steve Jobs Theater.

Last month, oft-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects a new iPod touch with an upgraded processor to launch in 2019, while developer Steve Troughton-Smith uncovered references to a new iPod touch model in iOS 12.2 code back in January, so there is evidence to suggest a refresh is upcoming.

The iPod touch is certainly due for an update. The current model was released back in July 2015 with a 4-inch Retina display, A8 chip, 8-megapixel rear camera, and a home button sans Touch ID. To ensure the iPod touch remains capable enough to receive iOS updates for at least a few more years, an upgrade to an A10 Fusion or A11 Bionic chip would be appropriate.

Beyond that, it is unclear if the new iPod touch would have many new features, as the device has become a niche product used mostly by children and some developers as an affordable testing device. All other iPods were discontinued in 2017.

The current iPod touch remains available in six colors with 32GB and 128GB of storage for $199 and $299 respectively.

Related Roundup: iPod touch
Buyer's Guide: iPod Touch (Don't Buy)
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Prototype Development Board of Original iPhone Surfaces in Never-Before-Seen Photos

The Verge has obtained never-before-seen photos of a development board for the original iPhone, providing an interesting look back at the measures Apple took to ensure the smartphone remained as much of a secret as possible.


The large circuit board contains nearly all of the original iPhone's components, including its processor, memory, storage, 30-pin dock connector, camera, home button, SIM card slot, and antennas for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There are also some non-iPhone parts such as two Mini-USB connectors for accessing the baseband.

While this particular Engineering Validation Test (EVT) prototype has an iPhone display attached, the report notes that some boards were even supplied without the screen, meaning that many Apple engineers working on the original iPhone back in 2006-2007 had no idea what the handset would eventually look like.


The Verge's Tom Warren:
If an engineer inside Apple received a development board like this without a screen, component video and RCA connectors on the side of the board could be used to connect it to a display. Engineers could also test headphone connectivity, thanks to stereo line out ports on the side. Even the iPhone's main camera is mounted on the board for testing, and there's a giant space left to test the battery. If engineers didn't have a battery connected, a DC connector at the top can be used for external power. Apple also left room for what is marked as "prox flex" for proximity sensor testing.
Nowadays, Apple uses security shields for iPhone prototypes, but this early board is a fascinating look back at Apple's secrecy leading up to Steve Jobs' famous introduction of the iPhone. The full article is a worthwhile read.

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iMac Pro Updated With 256GB RAM and Radeon Pro Vega 64X Graphics Options

Alongside a spec bump to standard iMac models, Apple today quietly added 256GB RAM and Radeon Pro Vega 64X graphics options to the iMac Pro.


Upgrading to 256GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 ECC memory will set you back a steep $5,200, more than the $4,999 price of the base iMac Pro itself. Radeon Pro Vega 64X graphics can be added for $700. Both are configure-to-order options.

Apple has also lowered the prices of some existing iMac Pro upgrade options. As examples, 64GB of RAM dropped from $800 to $400, 128GB of RAM dropped from $2,400 to $2,000, Radeon Vega Pro 64 graphics dropped from $600 to $550, and 4TB SSD storage dropped from $2,800 to $2,400 in the United States.

A maxed out iMac Pro now runs $15,699.

(Thanks, Mark Little!)

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Neutral)
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Apple Updates iMac Lineup With Up to 8-Core 9th-Gen Intel Processors and Radeon Pro Vega Graphics Options

Nearly two years have passed since Apple last refreshed the iMac, but updates are finally here for both 4K and 5K models.


Apple today announced that its iMac lineup has been updated with Intel's latest 8th-gen and 9th-gen Core processors, including up to a 3.2GHz six-core 8th-gen Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz for the 21.5-inch 4K iMac and up to a 3.6GHz eight-core 9th-gen Core i9 with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz for the 27-inch 5K iMac.

You'll of course have to pay to get peak performance, as processors range from a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-gen Core i3 to a 3.7GHz six-core 9th-gen Core i5 in standard configurations of the new 4K and 5K iMacs.

Apple says the new 21.5-inch iMac models deliver up to 60 percent faster performance than the previous generation, while the new 27-inch iMac models deliver up to 2.4 times faster performance than the previous generation, narrowing the gap between the high-end standard iMac and the iMac Pro workstation.

Following in the footsteps of the 2018 MacBook Pro, Radeon Pro Vega graphics options are now available across the new iMac lineup, including Vega 20 for 21.5-inch models and Vega 48 for 27-inch models. Apple advertises up to 80 percent faster graphics performance compared to the previous iMac lineup.

The new iMac lineup offers up to 64GB of faster 2,666MHz DDR4 memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage. The base model 21.5-inch 4K iMac in particular has new 32GB memory and 1TB SSD upgrade options for the first time.


Beyond the performance improvements, there is a lot of familiarity. The new iMac models have the same design used since 2012 and the same 4K and 5K displays as the previous generation. I/O also remains unchanged with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB 3 ports, a SD card slot, a headphone jack, and Gigabit Ethernet.

While the iMac Pro and the latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini models are equipped with Apple's T2 security chip, we've confirmed with Apple that the new iMac models do not have a T-series chip of any kind.

Unlike the iMac Pro in space gray, Apple says silver remains the sole color option for standard iMac models.

Pricing before upgrades remains unchanged. The new 21.5-inch 4K iMac models start at $1,299 and the new 27-inch 5K iMac models start at $1,799. Both are available to order starting today on Apple.com and the Apple Store app, with availability in Apple Stores and select resellers starting next week.

Apple's senior director of Mac product marketing Tom Boger:
Customers are going to love the huge boost in iMac performance. With up to 8-core processors and powerful Vega graphics, the iMac lineup is stronger than ever. With its stunning Retina display, amazing design, twice the performance, and macOS Mojave that our customers love, iMac is by far the best desktop in the world.
The non-4K entry-level model 21.5-inch iMac was not updated today and remains available from $1,099.

Related Roundup: iMac
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Buy Now)
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Apple Updates Events App for Apple TV Ahead of March 25 'It's Showtime' Event

Apple today updated its Events app for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV in preparation for the March 25th "Show Time" event that's expected to focus on the company's upcoming TV and Apple News services.


The updated Events app can be downloaded from the tvOS App Store, and features the same darkened movie theater style from the media invites that were sent out last week.

In terms of event announcements, Apple is known to be working on a $9.99 per month subscription news and magazine service that would give Apple News users unlimited access to stories from paywalled sites like The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Apple is also working on a streaming TV service that will include the more than two dozen TV shows and movies that it has in the works, along with access to subscription content from other cable providers.

We're still expecting minor updates for a number of Apple products, including the AirPods and iPod touch, and potentially the launch of new iMacs and the long-awaited AirPower, although given that Apple announced new iPads on Monday, it's likely any further hardware launches will come separately before or after the event via press release.

Apple's Events app, along with the Events section of Apple's website, will be used to live stream the unveiling of the new services. The March 25 event will take place at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time (1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 5.00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time) at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus.

For those who are unable to watch Apple's live stream, MacRumors will have live coverage of the event on MacRumors.com and on our MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

(Thanks, Anna!)

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Netflix CEO Confirms Netflix Won't Be Part of Apple's Upcoming Video Service

Apple is set to unveil its long-rumored TV service next Monday, and ahead of the event, Netflix has confirmed that it won't be participating in Apple's streaming offering.

At a briefing at the company's headquarters in Hollywood, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that while Apple is a "great company," Netflix isn't interested in offering its content on other platforms. "We want to have people watch our shows on our services," he said, according to Recode.


Netflix has never embraced Apple TV features like "Up Next" designed to allow Apple TV users to see all of their watched TV shows at a glance, so it's no surprise to hear that Netflix does not plan to offer its content through Apple's upcoming streaming service.

Set to be launched next week, Apple's TV offering will feature both its original content and add-on content from other cable providers like Showtime and HBO. Apple will allow customers to sign up for subscriptions to third-party services like HBO right within the TV app, which will serve as Apple's TV content hub.

Apple's video hub will be similar to what Amazon offers through its Prime Video app. Amazon provides original TV shows along with options to subscribe to premium content through a Channels feature.

In response to a question about how Netflix will compete with Apple and Amazon going forward, Hastings said the company will do so "with difficulty," though he pointed out that Netflix has already been competing with Amazon for years.

"You do your best job when you have great competitors," he said, before admitting that the increased competition has led to higher prices when sourcing content.

Apple is going to give us a first look at its video service on Monday, March 25, at an event set to be held at its Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. Multiple celebrities that are starring in Apple shows, like Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon, will be present.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)
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A12 Bionic in New iPad Paired With 3GB RAM, Clocks in at Same Speed as Latest iPhones

Apple's new fifth-generation iPad mini and resurrected iPad Air were announced this morning, and both of the new tablets are equipped with Apple's latest A12 Bionic processors, initially introduced in the 2018 iPhones.

The first Geekbench benchmark of one of the new iPad models (11,2) surfaced shortly after Apple's announcement, confirming a 2.49GHz clock speed, identical to the iPhone's clock speed. The benchmarked iPad also features 3GB RAM, 1GB less than the iPad Pro and 1GB more than the 9.7-inch iPad. 3GB RAM is also the amount of RAM in the iPhone XR, while the XS and XS Max feature 4GB.


At this point in time, we don't know if iPad 11,2 is an iPad mini 5 or a 10.5-inch iPad Air, but given the similarity in specs between the two tablets, we suspect that both models are using the same clock speed and RAM.

The iPad 11,2 earned a single-core Geekbench score of 4806 and a multi-core score of 11607, which, unsurprisingly, is right on par with iPhone Geekbench results, though a bit faster, perhaps due to improvements in iOS 12.2.

While the iPad Air and the iPad mini 5 appear to feature similar specs and may include the same amount of RAM, we'll need to wait for further Geekbench scores to confirm. We'll update this post when more information is available.

The new iPad Air and the iPad mini 5 are both available for purchase from Apple today and will arrive to customers at the end of March. The iPad Air, which features a 10.5-inch Retina display, Touch ID, a headphone jack, and Apple Pencil support, is priced starting at $499 for 64GB storage.

The fifth-generation iPad mini with a 7.9-inch Retina display, Apple Pencil support, Touch ID, 8-megapixel rear camera, and a headphone jack is priced starting at $399 for 64GB storage.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad Air
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