Top Stories: Mac Pro and Pro Display Hands-On, New Betas, Smart Home Alliance, and More

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Following last week's launch of Mac Pro orders, the first deliveries have started, allowing us to go hands-on with the new powerhouse workstation and 6K display. And of course, there's lots more to come as we explore Apple's newest Mac.

Aside from the Mac Pro, the pace of news has slowed as we've started getting into the holiday season, but this week did see the start of a new cycle of beta releases for Apple's operating systems, an announcement about a smart home alliance involving Apple, Amazon, Google, and Zigbee, and a few other items of note. Read on for all of the details!

Hands-On With Apple's New 2019 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

After orders kicked off last week, Apple's new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR began arriving to customers over the past few days. MacRumors picked up a base model ‌Mac Pro and a display (and the $999 display stand!)‌, and we've unboxed them and shared some initial first impressions in a couple of our latest YouTube videos.

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Apple designed the new Mac Pro to be modular and upgradeable, making it possible to swap in many new components. In another YouTube video, we've walked through the RAM upgrade process.

Subscribe to MacRumors on YouTube for new Apple videos every week!

iFixit Shares 2019 Mac Pro Teardown: 'A Masterclass in Repairability'

As with any new Apple product, the folks at repair website iFixit have torn down the new Mac Pro, which they describe as "beautiful, amazingly well put together, and a masterclass in repairability."

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Given its modular design, the new Mac Pro unsurprisingly earned a nearly perfect repairability score of 9/10, with iFixit noting that basic repairs and upgrades can be performed with standard tools or even no tools at all.

Apple Releases iOS 13.3.1 Beta 1, AirPods Firmware Update, and More

Apple this week seeded the first betas of iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1, macOS 10.15.3, watchOS 6.1.2, and tvOS 13.3.1 to developers for testing.

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Apple has also released a firmware update for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. Apple does not provide release notes for these firmware updates, so it is unclear what exactly has changed.

Apple, Amazon, Google, and Zigbee Alliance to Develop Open Standard for Smart Home Devices

Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance this week announced a new partnership to develop and promote the adoption of a new IP-based connectivity standard for smart home products, with a focus on increased compatibility, security, and simplified development for accessory makers.

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The new connectivity standard will be open source and royalty free, with code to be maintained on GitHub, according to Apple. The newly established working group has a goal to release a draft specification and a preliminary reference implementation in late 2020.

iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods Named to Time Magazine's Best Gadgets of the Decade

With the decade drawing to a close, TIME has published a list of what it believes are the 10 most important gadgets introduced in the 2010s, and three Apple products have made the cut, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods.

Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010, while the Apple Watch and AirPods are part of the Tim Cook era, having been released in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Apple Arcade Gets $49.99/Year Subscription Option

Apple Arcade is now available with an annual subscription option, priced at $49.99 per year in the United States, providing customers with an opportunity to save nearly $10 per year on the service.

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Apple Arcade provides access to over 100 premium games across the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac, with no ads or in-app purchases.

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.

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Top Stories

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Apple Shares Top 20 Most Downloaded Games and Apps of 2020

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:38 pm PST by
Alongside picks for the top iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and games of the year, Apple today shared charts featuring the Top Games of 2020 and the Top Apps of 2020, revealing the most popular free and paid apps and games during the year. Among Us! was the top free game of 2020, followed by Call of Duty: Mobile, Roblox, and Subway Surfers. Ink Inc. Tattoo Drawing was the number four free app,...
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Developer Delves Into Reasons Why Apple's M1 Chip is So Fast

Monday November 30, 2020 1:57 pm PST by
Apple's M1 chip is the fastest chip that Apple has ever released in a Mac based on single-core CPU benchmark scores, and it beats out many high-end Intel Macs when it comes to multi-core performance. Developer Erik Engheim recently shared a deep dive into the M1 chip, exploring the reasons why Apple's new processor is so much faster than the Intel chips that it replaces. First and foremost,...
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iOS 14.2 Quietly Added FaceTime 1080p Support to iPhone 8 and Later Models

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:21 am PST by
Back in early November, Apple released iOS 14.2 and announced with it a slew of new features for iPhones, but one thing it didn't mention was the apparent addition of support for 1080p FaceTime calls on iPhone 8 and later devices. The little-known fact was discovered by MacMagazine, which found that Apple quietly updated the specs pages for devices like iPhone XR shortly after the release of ...
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AppleCare Memo Hints at Potential Hardware Announcement Next Tuesday

Thursday December 3, 2020 9:12 am PST by
Following a busy fall season in which Apple hosted three events in as many months, the company may have one more product announcement in store this year. In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple ...
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Wakeout! Named Apple's Best App of 2020, While Zoom Earns the Title for Best iPad App

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:26 pm PST by
Apple today shared its App Store Best of 2020 winners, highlighting its picks for the top iOS, iPadOS, and macOS apps and games released over the course of the year. Apple's iPhone App of the Year award went to Wakeout!, which is a family friendly exercise and movement app that encourages people to complete easy exercises while at home. Apple's iPad App of the Year was Zoom, which soared in...
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Kuo: Two Redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and New MacBook Air in 2022, All With Apple Silicon and Mini-LED Displays

Wednesday December 2, 2020 5:46 am PST by
Apple plans to release two redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and a new MacBook Air in 2022, all with mini-LED displays and Apple Silicon chips, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an all-new form factor design are expected to launch in 2021, and a new "affordable"...
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Apple Releases Third Betas of iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday December 2, 2020 10:04 am PST by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 updates to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the second betas and a month after the launch of iOS and iPadOS 14.2. iOS and iPadOS 14.3 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper developer profile has been installed. The iOS 14.3 update brings the...
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$99 Speaker Showdown: HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:12 pm PST by
Apple recently released the HomePod mini, a new $99 version of the original HomePod that's smaller, cuter, and, most importantly, competitively priced. At $99, the HomePod mini can better compete with affordable smart speakers from companies like Google and Amazon. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The HomePod mini has been praised for its high-quality sound at its...
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Apple Developers Now Able to Natively Run macOS Within AWS With Amazon EC2 Mac Instances

Monday November 30, 2020 9:01 pm PST by
As AWS re:Invent kicks off, Amazon Web Services today announced new Mac instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, allowing AWS customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud for the first time. Amazon says that the new feature extends the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers as those creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple...
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MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Now Available for Purchase

Tuesday December 1, 2020 4:15 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the MagSafe Duo Charger that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 models back in October. Priced at $129, the MagSafe Duo offers a MagSafe charging puck for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, along with an Apple Watch charger. Though the accessory was announced in October and was listed as coming soon, it was not clear when it would launch. Orders...