In April 2021, Apple revealed the second-generation Apple TV 4K, bringing high framerate HDR with Dolby Vision to the Apple TV for the first time and the A12 chip for improved performance, alongside a redesigned Siri Remote. The ‌Apple TV‌ HD was first released in 2015 and has remained in Apple's lineup since then as an entry-level option, and now it comes with the upgraded ‌Siri‌ Remote.

Apple TV HD vs 4K Feature
Should you consider purchasing the ‌Apple TV‌ HD to save money, or do you need the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K? Our guide answers the question of how to decide which of these two ‌Apple TV‌ set-top boxes is best for you.

Comparing the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K

The ‌Apple TV‌ HD and ‌Apple TV‌ 4K share the same design and a number of basic features such as HDMI and the redesigned ‌Siri‌ Remote:

Similarities

  • Design, dimensions, and weight
  • Support for SDR
  • HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Infrared receiver
  • HDMI-CEC, AirPlay, and Bluetooth
  • Second-generation ‌Siri‌ Remote

appletv4kdesign
There are a large number of meaningful differences between the ‌Apple TV‌ HD and ‌Apple TV‌ 4K that are worth highlighting, including their supported resolutions and processors.

Differences


Apple TV HD

  • Support for up to 1080p resolution
  • Support for SDR
  • Support for audio output with 7.1 channels
  • HDMI 1.4
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Apple A8 chip
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB storage only
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi 5
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • $149

Apple TV 4K (Second-Generation)

  • Supports for up to 2160p (4K) resolution
  • Support for SDR, HDR10, and Dolby Vision
  • High framerate HDR up to 60-fps.
  • Support for audio output with 7.1.4 channels with Dolby Atmos
  • HDMI 2.1
  • 2.49 GHz hexa-core Apple A12 Bionic chip
  • 3GB RAM*
  • 32GB or 64GB storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Thread support
  • $179 for 32GB model, $199 for 64GB model

*to be confirmed.

Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both of the available ‌Apple TV‌ models have to offer.

Video

The main difference between the ‌Apple TV‌ HD and the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is the resolutions that they support. The ‌Apple TV‌ HD supports resolutions up to Full HD at 1080p, while the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K supports resolutions up to Ultra HD at 2160p.

Both models support standard dynamic range, but only the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, for richer colors and deeper blacks. The ‌Apple TV‌ 4K also supports high framerate HDR up to 60-fps. High frame rate HDR video enables fast-moving action at 60 frames per second to play more smoothly and appear more lifelike.

apple tv 4k tv hdr
With high frame rate support in ‌AirPlay‌, videos shot on the iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision on the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K. Apple is also working with video providers around the world, including FOX Sports, NBCUniversal, Paramount+, Red Bull TV, and Canal+, as they begin to stream in high frame rate HDR.

In order to make the most of the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K's better video capabilities, you will need to have an accompanying 4K TV with HDR. The video specifications of the ‌Apple TV‌ HD are sufficient for most older or lower-cost TVs, but for the best possible visual experience using technologies like 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision, the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is the better option, providing you have a relevant TV.

Audio

The ‌Apple TV‌ 4K also features more recent audio specifications with support for audio output with 7.1.4 channel surround sound with Dolby Atmos. The ‌Apple TV‌ HD, on the other hand, only supports audio output up to 7.1 channel surround sound.

homepod mini apple tv
Much like the differing video specifications of the two ‌Apple TV‌ models, the extent to which you can take advantage of the different audio specifications depends on your proprietary hardware. Basic home cinema setups will work well with the ‌Apple TV‌ HD, but for more advanced audio setups with Dolby Atmos, the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is the better option.

A8 vs. A12

The second-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K features the A12 Bionic chip. The A12 Bionic chip powered the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR in 2018, as well as the 2019 versions of the iPad Air and iPad Mini, and the 2020 entry-level ‌iPad‌.

a12bionicchip
The A8 chip is considerably older and was first introduced with the ‌iPhone‌ 6 and ‌iPhone‌ 6 Plus in 2014. The A12 is a 2.49 GHz hexa-core chip and is markedly more powerful than the A8, which is a 1.5 GHz dual-core chip.

While processing power is not an absolute priority with a set-top box, the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K's more recent A12 chip will be much more capable than the A8. Whether it comes to playing games, app launch speeds, or simply general responsiveness, the A12 is likely to be much more snappy.

The ‌Apple TV‌ HD also pairs the A8 with 2GB of memory, while the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K likely pairs the A12 with 3GB of memory.

Through progressive updates to tvOS, the A12 will guarantee better performance over time, and the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K's A12 will be much more future-proof than the A8 in the ‌Apple TV‌ HD.

Storage

While there was originally a 64GB storage configuration for the ‌Apple TV‌ HD, there is now only a 32GB option available. The ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is available in both 32GB and 64GB configurations.

If you plan on downloading a large number of applications or storing lots of content on the ‌Apple TV‌ itself, then the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K with 64GB of storage will be the best option.

As most media content on the ‌Apple TV‌ is streamed and not stored on the device itself, the amount of storage will not be particularly important to most buyers.

Connectivity

Wired Connectivity

The ‌Apple TV‌ 4K features the most recent version of HDMI with version 2.1, while the ‌Apple TV‌ HD uses the much older HDMI 1.4. HDMI 2.1 facilitates many of the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K's added video capabilities like high-framerate HDR.

The ‌Apple TV‌ 4K also has a gigabit ethernet port, which is able to reach much faster speeds than the ‌Apple TV‌ HD's 10/100 ethernet port.

appletv4kports

Wireless Connectivity

The ‌Apple TV‌ HD features Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.0, but the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K raises these specifications to the more recent Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The ‌Apple TV‌ 4K also supports the Thread open standard, like the HomePod mini, for improved integration into smart home setups.

Siri Remote

Alongside the second-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K, Apple introduced a completely redesigned ‌Siri‌ Remote. With a thicker, one-piece aluminum design, the new ‌Siri‌ Remote fits more comfortably in a user's hand.

The new ‌Siri‌ Remote features a clickpad control that offers five-way navigation for better accuracy and is also touch-enabled for fast directional swipes. The outer ring of the clickpad supports an intuitive circular gesture that turns it into a jog control.

The new ‌Siri‌ Remote also has a power button that controls a TV's power directly, and another for mute. The ‌Siri‌ button has also been relocated to the side of the remote for convenience.

apple tv 4k siri remote
Although the new ‌Siri‌ Remote was introduced with the second-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K, Apple includes it with both of the current ‌Apple TV‌ 4K and ‌Apple TV‌ HD models, so users need not choose one model over the other to get the better remote.

Final Thoughts

Most customers should buy the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K. There is only a $30 price difference between the ‌Apple TV‌ HD and ‌Apple TV‌ 4K. Even for customers for whom the ‌Apple TV‌ HD would be adequate, the $30 upgrade to the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is excellent value and worth it in almost all circumstances due to the plethora of small but significant upgrades it has across the board.

apple tv 4k design

Even if you cannot take advantage of the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K's better video and audio capabilities, you will receive a faster processor, more RAM, and faster connectivity. Likewise, users with an HD TV and a basic audio set-up may upgrade their devices in the future, in which case the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K would be able to remain and make use of any upgraded hardware.

Since the second-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is a 2021 model, it is six years newer than 2015's ‌Apple TV‌ HD and will be much more long-lasting, especially due to its faster processor and added memory.

The only people who should consider the ‌Apple TV‌ HD are individuals on a strict budget, those with no intention of upgrading their setups, and those with no interest in technologies like Ultra-HD 4K, HDR, or Dolby Atmos.

For standard HD, SDR TVs and basic audio setups, the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K is greatly limited by the video and audio specifications of the hardware connected to it. The ‌Apple TV‌ HD may also appear to be a good option for existing ‌Apple TV‌ users looking to buy an additional ‌Apple TV‌ for another room for activities such as Apple Fitness+.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Brydge, known for its range of keyboards designed for Apple's iPads, today introduced its latest keyboard offering, the Brydge Air MAX+, which is compatible with 10.9-inch iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Pro models.

brydge keyboard ipad air
Priced at $149.99, the Brydge Air MAX+ features a full keyboard along with a large multi-touch trackpad that's designed to turn an ‌iPad Air‌ or ‌iPad Pro‌ into a more laptop-like machine. The Brydge Air MAX+ features a row of shortcut keys for controlling screen brightness, accessing media controls and emoji, and more.

There's a detachable Magnetic SnapFit Case that the iPad fits into to keep it safe from scratches and other damage, with the case offering 4-foot drop protection. Brydge added an antimicrobial agent to the case to protect against bacteria and viruses.

Unlike Apple's own Magic Keyboards, the Brydge Air MAX+ connects to an ‌iPad‌ over Bluetooth, so it does need to be charged now and then. Brydge offers an "Instant-On" feature that's designed to allow the ‌iPad‌ to connect to the Max+ seamlessly when active.

Brydge also recently introduced the Brydge 12.9 Max+, which is compatible with the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ models and offers all of the same features as the Brydge Air MAX+. We reviewed that model earlier this month and were impressed with its design and functionality.

The Brydge Air MAX+ can be preordered from the Brydge website for $149.99, and it will ship out in June.

Tag: Brydge

Nomad today announced a new accessory for Apple's AirTag, called the Rugged Keychain, which begins shipping in August and costs $29.95 to pre-order ($39.95 regular). Similar to other keychain accessories, Nomad's Rugged Keychain protects the AirTag in a polycarbonate shell that can be attached to keys, bags, and -- in Nomad's advice -- pet collars.

rugged keychain 2
The Rugged Keychain includes two enclosure options: an IP67 waterproof back and a speaker-hole back. Nomad is also including an optional add-on feature that lets you engrave your pet's name and your phone number onto a stainless steel insert, turning the AirTag and Rugged Keychain into a Pet ID tag.

Nomad rugged keychain
While an AirTag can be used to track a pet, Apple VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, Kaiann Drance, has reminded users that the AirTag was built to find inanimate objects and not pets or kids. When asked about this, Drance said, "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.

Nomad already sells a few AirTag accessories, including a Leather Loop and Leather Keychain at $19.95 and $29.95 respectively. You can also purchase a Glasses Strap for AirTag on Nomad for $29.95, which attaches to any pair of glasses or sunglasses.

rugged keychain 3
If you're interested in the new Rugged Keychain, you can pre-order the accessory today in Black or White on Nomad's website for $29.95. Nomad will begin shipping the Rugged Keychain to customers in August.

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

Related Forum: AirTags

Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro.

m1 ipad pro chip
Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of 1,718 and 7,284, respectively. By comparison, the fourth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the A12Z chip has average single-core and multi-core scores of 1,121 and 4,656, respectively, meaning that the M1 iPad Pro is around 56% faster.

Geekbench 5: Average Multi-Core Results

  • M1 MacBook Air: 7,378
  • M1 iPad Pro: 7,284
  • Core i9 16" MacBook Pro: 6,845
  • A12Z iPad Pro: 4,656

It's worth noting that the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the A12X chip has a higher average multi-core score of 4,809, likely due to statistical variation, but this still results in the M1 iPad Pro being 51% faster, which lines up with Apple's marketing claim that the M1 iPad Pro is up to 50% faster than the previous generation.

The benchmark results reveal that the M1 iPad Pro has virtually identical performance as the M1 Macs released last fall. The M1 MacBook Air, for example, has average single-core and multi-core scores of 1,701 and 7,378, respectively. Impressively, this means the M1 iPad Pro is faster than a maxed-out 16-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor, which has average single-core and multi-core scores of 1,091 and 6,845 respectively.

As for graphics performance, the M1 iPad Pro currently has an average Metal score of 20,578, which is up to 71% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro with the A12Z chip and roughly equal to the graphics performance of M1 Macs.

The new iPad Pro became available to order starting April 30, with a launch expected on May 21. Reviews of the device are expected to drop next week.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

The Connectivity Standards Alliance, which includes major tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google, today announced the launch of "Matter," a new interoperable, secure connectivity standard designed for smart home devices.

matter smart home connectivity
Formerly known as "Project CHIP," Matter is a unified IP-based connectivity protocol that will be used to build and connect Internet of Things ecosystems. It is royalty-free and enables communications between a wide range of smart devices, plus it serves as a seal of approval to ensure that items built on this standard are reliable, secure, and able to work together.

With Matter, consumers and businesses can choose the brands they want in their smart home or commercial building and be confident they will work seamlessly. Homeowners, and especially those living in a smart home with multiple devices like smart locks, thermostats or smart speakers, can easily add new devices with a Matter mark using a simple setup code to connect their home as one. Businesses, particularly those that rely on connectivity, can count on one network to keep their operations running smoothly.

Matter ensures that smart home devices are compatible with smart home and voice services like Amazon Alexa, HomeKit, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and more, with the first specification of Matter running on existing networking technologies like Ethernet, WiFi, Thread, and Bluetooth Low Energy. Matter was designed with several key attributes in mind:

  • Simplicity - Easy to purchase and use. Simplifying connected experiences.
  • Interoperability - Devices from multiple brands work natively together. Providing greater compatibility.
  • Reliability - Consistent and responsive local connectivity.
  • Security - Maintaining secure connections. Robust and streamlined for developers and users.
  • Flexibility - Matter makes it easy for users to set up and control their devices with multiple ecosystems simultaneously.

The first devices that use Matter could be released in late 2021, and smart home device manufacturers are working on Matter-compatible light bulbs, plugs, outlets, thermostats, door locks, sensors, window coverings, TVs, and more.

Matter early adopters include Amazon, ASSA ABLOY, Comcast, Espressif Systems, Eve Systems, Google, Grundfos Holding A/S, Huawei, Infineon Technologies, LEEDARSON, Legrand, Nanoleaf, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Qorvo, Resideo, Schlage, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Tuya Smart, ubisys, Wulian, and Zumtobel Group.

Apple designed the AirTags without any kind of hole or attachment point to connect them to keys, bags, and other items, which has opened up a whole new market for AirTag accessories.

belkin airtag holder feature
Apple's own AirTag add-ons are priced starting at $29, which is the same price as a standalone AirTag, so it's quite an investment to use one of those. Luckily there are plenty of third-party AirTag accessories that are already available on the market, and Belkin is one of the first companies to come out with an ‌AirTags‌ solution.

Belkin has the Secure Holder With Keyring and the Secure Holder with Strap, both of which are priced at $12.95 and come in black, white, blue, and pink.

belkin airtag holders
The Key Ring and the Strap actually feature identical designs, but one has a key ring to attach to a set of keys or a zipper and the other has a loop type nylon strap that can be used for backpacks, luggage, and other items.

airtag holder backpack
Each Secure Holder comes out of the packaging in two halves that are designed to twist together and lock in place. The Secure Holders are made from a hard plastic material rather than a soft material, and there's an opening at the top of each one that serves as an attachment point.

airtag holder open
You need to line the AirTag up in the middle of the holder and them slide the two halves of the holder into place. From there, you can attach either the key ring or the strap to the top and use it as normal.

airtag holder halves
There are grooves at the top of the Secure Holder that serve as a guide for how to twist it apart to get the AirTag out. Some people who have used these have noted that they're difficult to get separated, especially if you put the two halves together without putting an AirTag in first, but I haven't had an issue so far.

airtag holder twist
I put one of my thumbs on each groove and then twist one side up and one side down to get the Secure Holder apart. I have not had the holder come apart without deliberately trying to take it apart in my testing, so it seems durable enough to house the AirTag.

The design of the Secure Holder leaves a bit of a plastic lip around all sides of the AirTag, which Belkin says is for scratch protection. I think you're potentially still going to see scratching on the stainless steel side of the AirTag over time just because these are meant to be exposed to keys and other items, but the lip may help cut down on the worst of the scratching.

airtag holder zipper
I have no issues with the strap or the key ring, and both seem durable enough. The key ring is a standard silver key ring you might see attached to any keychain, while the strap is made from a braided material with a plastic lock at the top holding the two ends together.

I don't think it's a great idea to hang an AirTag outside of a piece of luggage, a bag, or a backpack when there's ample room inside for storage purposes, but the strap will come in handy if you need to use it for something where internal storage is not an option. The key ring is of course ideal for keys, though you could also stick it on a zipper on a bag or jacket.

Bottom Line

If you're looking for an affordable and effective accessory to attach your AirTag to various items, I think Belkin's Secure Holders are worth checking out.

How to Buy

The Secure Holder with Key Ring and Secure Holder with Strap can be purchased from the Apple online store for $12.95, and will ship out by June.

Tag: Belkin

Apple today announced that, through a combination of automated technologies and human review processes, the company protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020.

app store blue banner
Apple said secure payment technologies like Apple Pay and StoreKit (In-App Purchase) play an essential role in keeping users safe:

With online data breaches frustratingly common, these protections are an essential part of keeping users safe. But users may not realize that when their credit card information is breached or stolen from another source, fraudsters may turn to online marketplaces like the App Store to attempt to purchase digital goods and services that can be laundered or used for illicit purposes.

Apple focuses relentlessly on this kind of fraud as well. In 2020 alone, the fusion of sophisticated technology and human review prevented more than 3 million stolen cards from being used to purchase stolen goods and services, and banned nearly 1 million accounts from transacting again. In total, Apple protected users from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020.

Apple shared a variety of additional statistics that aim to emphasize the security and privacy of the App Store, amid a high-profile trial with Fortnite creator Epic Games, which has described the App Store as a monopoly and anti-competitive. Apple said thanks to its "industry-leading antifraud efforts," the App Store is "the safest place to find and download apps," citing Nokia's 2020 Threat Intelligence Report.

Key Statistics

  • In 2020, Apple protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions.
  • In 2020, nearly 1 million problematic new apps, and an additional nearly 1 million app updates, were rejected or removed from the App Store.
  • In 2020, more than 48,000 apps were rejected for containing hidden or undocumented features, and more than 150,000 apps were rejected because they were found to be spam, copycats, or misleading to users.
  • In 2020, about 95,000 apps were removed from the App Store for fraudulent violations, predominantly for bait-and-switch maneuvers.
  • In 2020, over 215,000 apps were rejected for privacy violations.
  • Apple terminated 470,000 developer accounts in 2020 and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrollments over fraud concerns.
  • In the last month, Apple blocked more than 3.2 million instances of apps distributed illicitly through the Apple Developer Enterprise Program.

Apple said its goal is always to get new apps onto the App Store, with the company's App Review team assisting more than 180,000 new developers in launching apps in 2020. In some cases, an app might be unfinished or not functioning properly when it's submitted for approval, or it might not yet have a sufficient mechanism for moderating user-generated content. In 2020, nearly one million problematic new apps, and an additional nearly one million app updates, were rejected or removed for a range of reasons like those, according to Apple.

A smaller but significant subset of these rejections were for more egregious violations that could harm users. In 2020, Apple said its App Review team rejected more than 48,000 apps for containing hidden or undocumented features, while more than 150,000 apps were rejected because they were found to be spam, copycats, or misleading to users in ways such as manipulating them into making a purchase.

Some developers perform a "bait and switch" by fundamentally changing how the app works after the review process to evade the App Store Review Guidelines, according to Apple. When such apps are discovered, Apple said they are rejected or removed immediately from the App Store, and developers are notified of a 14-day appeals process before their Apple Developer Program accounts are permanently terminated.

In 2020, about 95,000 apps were removed from the App Store for fraudulent violations, including bait-and-switch maneuvers, according to Apple.

Apple said it terminated 470,000 developer accounts in 2020, and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrollments over fraud concerns. The company also deactivated 244 million customer accounts due to fraudulent and abusive activity.

As for App Store reviews and ratings, Apple said it relies on a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and human review by expert teams to moderate these ratings and reviews to help ensure accuracy. Since 2020, Apple said it has processed over one billion ratings and over 100 million reviews, and over 250 million ratings and reviews were removed for not meeting moderation standards.

Apple said it also recently deployed new moderation tools to verify rating and review account authenticity, to analyze written reviews for signs of fraud, and to ensure that content from deactivated accounts is removed.

During its trial against Epic Games, Apple has argued that a single, curated App Store is necessary to protect the security, privacy, reliability, and quality that customers have come to expect from the company. Epic Games, meanwhile, has argued that Apple should allow third-party app stores and direct payment options on the iPhone and iPad.

Apple will soon ship out 11 and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro models, according to multiple Twitter users and MacRumors readers who have seen their orders shift to "Preparing to Ship" status.

iPad Pro Feature
So far, we haven't seen any shipment notifications, but that's the next step and is likely to happen in the near future. Apple has not provided an exact delivery date to those who ordered a new ‌M1‌ ‌iPad Pro‌, but the tablets will start delivering on May 21.

ipad pro preparing to ship
Many users who preordered early received estimated delivery dates ranging from May 21 to May 28, and if orders ship out as early as this week, some users will indeed receive their tablets on the May 21 date.

Orders that have shifted over to Preparing to Ship are no longer able to be canceled, though the products can be returned once delivered.

The ‌M1‌ iMac models and the second-generation Apple TV 4K orders that were placed at the same time could also soon shift to a Preparing to Shift status, though we're not seeing reports about them just yet.

Supplies of the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ have been constrained, and orders placed now have delivery estimates ranging into July. 11-inch models are easier to come by, with Apple planning to deliver new orders in late May or early June.

The ‌M1‌ ‌iPad Pro‌ models are identical to the previous-generation ‌iPad Pro‌ models in design, but inside, they're equipped with the same ‌M1‌ chip that's in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, plus they support Thunderbolt connectivity. The 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ also has a mini-LED "Liquid Retina XDR" display that makes the device slightly thicker.

Pricing on the 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ starts at $799, while pricing on the higher-end 12.9-inch model starts at $1099.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

Apple is working on a Nintendo Switch-style handheld games console, according to a sketchy new rumor coming from Asia.

nintendo switch
According to a post on a Korean forum, shared by Twitter user @FrontTron, Apple is developing a portable hybrid games console, comparable to the Nintendo Switch. While the sourcing of the rumor is suspect, it has gained some visibility in larger news outlets over the past day or two, so we figured it was at least worth acknowledging.

The device will apparently feature an entirely new Apple-designed application processor, neglecting to use an A-series or M-series chip. This chip appears to be specifically designed for gaming and is said to feature enhanced GPU performance and improved ray tracing.

Apple is purported to currently be in negotiations with a number of well-known video game studios, including Ubisoft, the maker of popular titles such as "Assassin's Creed," "Far Cry," and "Watch Dogs," about developing games for the new device.

It is unknown where this console would be placed between devices such as the iPad and the Apple TV, which both offer integration with Apple Arcade and support for a host of external controllers, including some that take cues from the Nintendo Switch's design.

Late last year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that Apple was working on a new ‌Apple TV‌ model with a stronger gaming focus and the leaker known as "Fudge" said that Apple was developing a gaming-focused Apple TV with an A14X chip.

It is unclear where these rumors now stand given the recent launch of the second-generation Apple TV 4K, which seemed to take a step back in terms of gaming with its older A12 Bionic processor and the redesigned Siri Remote, which lacks the accelerometer and gyroscope present in its predecessor.

Apple did launch its own games console in 1996 with the Apple Bandai Pippin, which was largely unsuccessful and discontinued following Steve Jobs' return to the company. Rumors about the company re-engaging with the console gaming market have circulated intermittently ever since but have never come to fruition.

The reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" said last year that Apple was working on its own gaming controller, and after a spate of rumors about a gaming-focused ‌Apple TV‌ product, it is not completely out of the question that Apple could be working on some sort of games console. Even so, without more concrete information it is important to take this rumor with a heavy pinch of salt.

Apple has added a number of features to its Podcasts app in the third beta of iOS 14.6, seemingly in an attempt to address some of the useability problems introduced in iOS 14.5.

Podcasts Feature
MacRumors contributor Steve Moser spotted the Podcasts app changes in iOS 14.6 beta 3 and its source code, which include new features for marking all episodes as played, removing downloads, and recovering episodes.

iOS 14.5 redesigned the Podcasts library so that all episodes of a show are now displayed by default, which gave the impression to some users that hundreds of episodes stretching back years had been added to their libraries.

It is no longer possible to delete or remove individual episodes from the library in iOS 14.5, leaving users with the only option of selecting "Hide Played Episodes" and then manually marking every unwanted episode as played individually, one by one.

To make matters worse, users reported that many old episodes that had been listened to were not being marked as played correctly, making the new episodes view troublesome even where the "Hide Played Episodes" option in Settings had been enabled.

Apple's new "Mark All As Played" or "Mark All As Unplayed" options for shows in iOS 14.6 will help users deal with the multitude of episodes now seemingly lingering in libraries, and will make it possible to hide old episodes from view when used with the "Hide Played Episodes" option.

In spite of this improvement, users will still have to mark every episode of a podcast that they do not want to listen to as played in order to remove it from view. This is a particular nuisance when listening to podcast episodes in "oldest to newest" order. In addition, there is no longer the option to only retain a certain number of unplayed episodes of a show in the library.

In the iOS 14.6 beta, Apple also added the ability to remove all downloads in a single action, rather than obliging users to do this individually for each desired episode. This may also help some users that said the Podcasts app in iOS 14.5 was hemorrhaging mobile data by downloading all of the episodes that have now been moved directly into libraries.

The other new feature in the Podcasts app relates to recovering episodes in the Library. There are cautions in iOS 14.6 for removing recovered episodes, which suggests, although it was not visible within the code, that there may be an option to recover episodes. It is also unknown whether this feature is macOS-only.

It is not clear what exact function this serves, but it is reasonable to speculate that it relates to recovering episodes of shows, presumably ones that were not subscribed to, that were added to the library prior to iOS 14.5. These episodes are currently inaccessible under the design of the Podcasts app in iOS 14.5 due to the changes to the way the library works.

Given the raft of criticisms about the redesign of Apple's Podcasts app in iOS 14.5, it is difficult to not see these changes as a purposeful attempt to go some way to rectify these problems. Even so, there still seems to be more work to do on the Podcasts app to fully address users' complaints about bugs and sorting episodes in the library.

Amazon and B&H Photo are offering solid deals on Apple's 2020 iPad Air lineup, with up to $74 off the 10.9-inch tablet in multiple colors. We're tracking record low prices for both the 64GB and 256GB Wi-Fi models.

ipad air arrive feature 74 OFFNote: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Starting with the 64GB Wi-Fi iPad Air, this model is priced at $559.00, down from $599.00. This sale is available in all colors, and they're all in stock and ready to ship today on Amazon. You'll find matching prices on B&H Photo in all colors.

Next, you can get the 256GB Wi-Fi iPad Air for $675.00, down from $749.00, and this one is only available in Rose Gold. This is a match of the best price for this model of the iPad Air, and it's only available on Amazon. Otherwise, you'll have to pay $699.00 for all the other colors on Amazon, which are in stock and ready to ship today.

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.

Related Roundups: Apple Deals, iPad Air
Buyer's Guide: iPad Air (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

Amazon's podcast subscription service Wondery+ will be available through the Apple Podcasts Subscriptions platform, which launches in over 170 countries later this month, according to a report today from The Hollywood Reporter.

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Wondery+ offers dozens of ad-free podcasts, with early access and exclusive episodes for subscribers, making it a natural fit for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. The report says Wondery+ pricing will be the same through Apple as it is elsewhere, at $4.99 per month or $34.99 per year. Wondery's free, ad-supported podcasts will remain available.

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will allow users to subscribe to premium podcasts with a variety of benefits, such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series. Launch partners will include NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and many more, according to Apple.

In late 2020, it was reported that Apple held acquisition talks with Wondery, but Amazon ultimately purchased the company.

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will likely launch with iOS 14.6.

Apple today shared the official trailer for "Lisey's Story," a thriller series based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King.


Hailing from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television, the original series follows Lisey Landon (played by Julianne Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (played by Clive Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind, according to Apple.

All eight episodes of "Lisey's Story" were personally written by King, with Pablo Larraín directing. The series premieres on Apple TV+ on June 4.

Visa has announced that starting today, customers in Japan will be able to use their Visa debit or credit card with Apple Pay.

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Customers with Visa cards issued by Aplus, SMBC Finance Service, NTT DoCoMo, Credit Saison, JACCS, Mitsui Sumitomo Bank Card, and Rakuten cards will be able to add their card to their Wallet on iPhone and Apple Watch.

Japan has set an ambitious goal of achieving 40% of all daily transactions via digital, cashless methods by 2025. With expanded support for Visa cards, more customers will have access to the ease and convenience of ‌Apple Pay‌, which should help the country move towards its goal within the next four years.

‌Apple Pay‌ earlier last week launched in Isreal, and in Feburary made its long-awaited debut in Mexico.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Japan

iPhone 12 production at a Foxconn factory in India has been cut by more than 50% amid a lockdown, and multiple reported cases of COVID-19 infections for workers at the plant, according to a new report from Reuters.

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The main factory located in Tamil Nadu, a state under extreme lockdown measures, has been forced to significantly cut back on production. According to sources who spoke to Reuters, employees at the Foxconn facility have only been able to leave, but not reenter.

More than 100 Foxconn employees in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 and the company has enforced a no-entry ban at its factory in the capital of Chennai until late May, one of the sources said.

"Employees are only allowed to leave but not to enter the facility since yesterday," the person said. "Only a small part of output is being kept."

More than 50% of the plant's capacity had been cut, both sources said, declining to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Foxconn stopped short on providing specific details but said in a statement that is it providing all infected employees with medical assistance.

"Foxconn places the health and safety of our employees as our highest priority and that is why we have been working closely with local government and public health authorities in India to address the challenges that we and all companies are facing in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis," it said in a statement to Reuters.

Earlier this year, Apple began production of the iPhone 12 in India as part of its continued push to remove reliance on suppliers and production in China. The significant slowdown of production for iPhones in India comes amid a wider global chip shortage, which so far has not impacted Apple's iPhone line, but is causing delays for the Mac and iPad.

Tags: Foxconn, India

Apple plans to merge its iCloud Documents and Data service with iCloud Drive starting in May of 2022, according to a support document published late last week (via MacGeneration).

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‌iCloud Drive‌ and ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data share the fundamental ability to backup data from apps. However, ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data was often a cumbersome, confusing experience. In contrast, ‌iCloud Drive‌ is more unified, with users able to access their files and content through the Files app across all their devices.

As Apple explains, starting in May of next year, users who are using ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data will have their accounts automatically migrated to ‌iCloud Drive‌. However, users must manually enable ‌iCloud Drive‌ to view their files once the merger occurs.

In May 2022, the ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data service, our former document synchronization service, will be interrupted and completely replaced by ‌iCloud Drive‌. Therefore, if you use ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data, your account will be migrated to ‌iCloud Drive‌ after that date.

If you use the ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data service, you must activate ‌iCloud Drive‌ by following the steps below to view your files. Upgrading to ‌iCloud Drive‌ does not change the storage space used by your files saved in ‌iCloud‌.

‌iCloud Drive‌ launched in 2014 as a unified, seamless way for Apple users to keep all their files, documents, and more synchronized across all their devices. To activate it, users on iOS or iPadOS devices can go to Settings -> ‌iCloud‌ and enable ‌iCloud Drive‌, or through System Preference -> ‌iCloud‌, and select ‌iCloud Drive‌ on macOS.

Spotify has announced the availability of podcast timestamp sharing, a new feature of its mobile app that lets users share podcasts beginning at a particular moment.

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Previously, it was only possible to share a podcast link to an entire episode on Spotify. Timestamp sharing means the shared podcast will play for the recipient from the time that the sender chooses, allowing them to highlight specific content.

To share a timestamp, users can tap the Share button while listening to an episode, use the "switch to share" feature at the current playtime, and then select how they want to share the content. Tapping the shared link jumps to the chosen playtime.

In another development, Spotify is unveiling an updated sharing menu in its mobile app, including a way to preview what's being shared, and an improved destination list based on the social apps the user has installed. The changes are linked to Spotify's decision to bring its Canvas feature to Snapchat.

Previously limited to sharing on Instagram Stories, Canvas turns static song pages in Spotify into video-art showcases with the help of eight-second visual loops. By previewing a Canvas being shared on Instagram or Snapchat, users will be able to see ahead of time how it will look on their social channel.

Late last month, Spotify announced a new paid subscription platform for podcasts that allows podcasters to mark episodes as "subscriber only" without taking revenue from their paid-for content. Spotify unveiled the platform just a week after Apple announced its own upcoming podcast subscription service, for which Apple will collect 30% of podcast subscription fees that creators generate in their first year.

Tag: Spotify

A new legal case filed with the U.K.'s Competition Appeal Tribunal has accused Apple of breaching competition law by overcharging nearly 20 million customers for App Store purchases.

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The collective action case alleges Apple's 30% commission on app sales and consumers' forced use of its own payment processing system generates "unlawfully excessive levels of profit," and calls for the company to compensate iPhone and iPad users in the U.K. for years of alleged overcharging, with damages of up to £1.5 billion being sought.

The collective action has been brought by Dr Rachael Kent, an expert in the digital economy and a lecturer at King's College, London, who claims that because the ‌App Store‌ is the only way to get apps on to an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, it is acting like a monopoly.

"The ‌App Store‌ was a brilliant gateway for a range of interesting and innovative services that millions of us find useful, myself included," she said. "But 13 years after its launch, it has become the only gateway for millions of consumers.

"Apple guards access to the world of apps jealously, and charges entry and usage fees that are completely unjustified. This is the behavior of a monopolist and is unacceptable."

In opt-out cases such as this, the claim can be brought on behalf of a defined group, and aggregate damages awarded to the group, without the need to identify all the individual claimants and specify their losses. Claimants within a class are automatically included in an action unless they take specific steps to opt-out.

On this basis, anyone in the U.K. who has bought paid apps, paid subscriptions, or other in-app purchases on an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ since October 2015 is included in the claim. The rest of the team behind the case includes law firm Hausfeld and Co and Vannin Capital. However, the collective action needs to be approved by the tribunal before proceeding.

Apple in a statement called the lawsuit "meritless."

"We believe this lawsuit is meritless and welcome the opportunity to discuss with the court our unwavering commitment to consumers and the many benefits the ‌App Store‌ has delivered to the UK's innovation economy," Apple said. "The commission charged by the ‌App Store‌ is very much in the mainstream of those charged by all other digital marketplaces. In fact, 84% of apps on the ‌App Store‌ are free and developers pay Apple nothing. And for the vast majority of developers who do pay Apple a commission because they are selling a digital good or service, they are eligible for a commission rate of 15%."

The case echoes similar allegations made in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, in which Epic alleges that the ‌App Store‌ and associated developer commission rates are anti-competitive and monopolistic.

In April, Apple was also charged by the European Commission with abusing its dominant position in the music streaming market with regard to ‌App Store‌ rules on in-app payments. The charges followed a complaint by rival streaming service Spotify.