Top Stories: Unreleased MacBook Pro, Improved Keyboard Design for Future Notebooks, FaceTime Attention Correction

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Following last week's big news that Jony Ive will be departing Apple, this week saw a slew of Mac-related rumors including evidence of an upcoming MacBook Pro model, word that Apple is abandoning the troublesome butterfly keyboard used on its notebooks for the past several years, and logic board problems with a "very small number" of MacBook Air units.

Read on for all of the biggest news of the week, including a clever new iOS 13 feature to make your FaceTime video calls feel more natural and another controversy surrounding Xiaomi copying Apple.

Apple Receives FCC Approval for Unreleased MacBook Pro

The Federal Communications Commission this week briefly published documents related to an unreleased MacBook Pro, generating significant discussion about what the machine might be and when it could be released.

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The A2159 model number was one of seven recently registered with the Eurasian Economic Commission, but this was the only one to appear at the FCC. Based on the machine's power requirements, it appears to be a 13-inch MacBook Pro, which could be a new version of the non-Touch Bar model that wasn't updated alongside the other MacBook Pro models in May.

New machines typically appear in the FCC's database just about at the moment of launch, which could mean a debut is imminent, although it appears to have been a premature publication by the FCC as Apple has yet to release the new model and the documents were quickly pulled from the FCC's website.

Kuo: Apple to Use New Scissor Switch Keyboard in Future MacBooks, Starting With 2019 MacBook Air Refresh

Apple's much-maligned butterfly keyboard on its notebooks may be headed out the door, with prominent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming Apple will be including a new scissor-style keyboard on future models, starting with a MacBook Air refresh later this year.

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Kuo says the scissor style keyboard is likely to be a bit thicker than the butterfly design, but would be cheaper and could offer a better user experience including greater key travel and a glass fiber-reinforced structure that's more durable and less sensitive to dust and debris preventing keys from working.

Attention Correction Feature in iOS 13 Beta Enables Appearance of Eye Contact During FaceTime Calls

Apple this week seeded third developer betas of its upcoming major operating system updates, and the new iOS 13 beta includes a clever feature called FaceTime Attention Correction.

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The feature uses ARKit to capture a depth map of your face during FaceTime video calls and adjusts the position of your eyes to make it seem like you're looking at your device's camera when you're actually looking at the screen.

We went hands-on with the feature, which is only available for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, as well as the latest iPad Pro models, and can be toggled off in Settings if you prefer not to use it.

Apple Identifies Logic Board Issue With 'Very Small Number' of 2018 MacBook Airs, Will Fix Free of Charge

Apple this week notified its retail stores and authorized repair centers that it has identified a logic board issue affecting a "very small number" of 2018 MacBook Air units and will repair affected computers free of charge for up to four years from the date of purchase.

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The program hasn't been announced publicly, so it seems that it should affect only a limited number of machines, and Apple will be notifying users with affected machines.

The internal repair program for the latest MacBook Air comes shortly after a more significant recall and repair program for 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro units that could experience overheating and even fire safety issues with their batteries. Dramatic photos showing the aftermath of one of these incidents demonstrate why owners of affected machines should take this recall seriously.

Xiaomi Clones Apple's Memoji With New 'Mimoji' Avatars

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi is preparing to launch its latest smartphone, which will support animated avatars known as "Mimoji."

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These 3D avatars are incredibly similar to Apple's Memoji introduced with iOS 12, with even the Mimoji name bearing a remarkable similarity to Apple's feature. Incredibly, Xioami was even caught using Apple's own Memoji ads to promote the Mimoji feature, allegedly by accident.

This isn't the first time Xiamoi has been accused of cloning a feature from Apple, as the company's animated emoji from last year were similar to Apple's Animoji, and they debuted on a phone that looked nearly identical to Apple's iPhone X. Xiaomi has also released wireless earphones that have some strong similarities to Apple's AirPods.

Five Mac Apps Worth Checking Out - July 2019

Over on our YouTube channel, we've released the latest installment of our popular series looking at some of our favorite third-party Mac apps.

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This month's list includes Pock for customizing your MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, One Switch for adding toggles for various options and settings to your menu bar, Microsoft To-Do for keeping track of tasks across your devices, Flotato for turning some of your favorite websites into web apps, and Spotmenu for accessing information on your Spotify and iTunes content from the menu bar.

As always, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you don't miss out on any of our videos!

MacRumors Newsletter

Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!

Top Stories

Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
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Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
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Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
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iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
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Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
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Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
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Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...