Apple employees are back to work following a Thanksgiving break, and that means this week saw a number of new operating system updates for both public release and beta testing.
This week also saw some misinformation about Apple's new NameDrop feature making the rounds, while Apple and Goldman Sachs appear to be on the verge of a break-up in their Apple Card and savings account partnership, so read on for all the details on these stories and more!
Apple Releases iOS 17.1.2 for iPhone With Security Fixes
Apple Music Replay is mainly a web-based experience, accessible at replay.music.apple.com. There is also a playlist with your favorite songs of the year.
What to Expect From All-New CarPlay, Still Listed as Coming 'Late 2023'
Apple's website still says the first vehicles with support for next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in "late 2023," but it has not shared any additional details heading into the final month of the year.
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.
Apple today shared a new iPhone 15 ad that focuses on some of the camera capabilities of the device, such as the option to snap an image and then adjust the focus during the editing process.
In the ad spot, a band is working on their album cover. One of the band members is using an iPhone to edit a picture of the trio in the group, and she uses the Portrait subject focus adjustment feature to focus on herself in the foreground, blurring out her bandmates in the background.
She hands the iPhone to her bandmate, who edits the image again to change the focus to himself, blurring the background and foreground and cutting her out of the image. The two bicker about which image to use before getting the opinion of the third band member, who taps to focus in on himself, blurring out the other two. In the end, that's the shot they go with.
"Turn your photos into portraits," reads the tagline of the video.
Standard images captured with the Wide camera on an iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro model support focus editing. In the Edit interface, tapping on the aperture icon allows the amount of blur in the background to be adjusted with a slider. This feature is available even when the image was not originally captured in Portrait mode.
In a photo with multiple subjects, the focus of the photo can be changed by tapping on one of the people or objects in the image.
Apple today announced that it is hosting an event called "Taylor Swift's Eras: The Experience" in order to celebrate Taylor being named the 2023 Apple Music Artist of the Year. Apple at the time said Swift had reached a "new realm of superstardom" in 2023 thanks to the Eras tour and the release of 1989 (Taylor's Version).
Apple Music is inviting "Swifties" to attend Taylor Swift Era's: The Experience in New York City on December 8 and December 9. Apple says this will be a celebration of Taylor Swift as Apple Music's 2023 Artist of the Year. Fans will be able to journey through and interact with 10 set pieces that are representative of Swift's 10 eras.
Through a link provided by Apple, Taylor Swift fans in New York can sign up to get tickets to attend, but it says that Swift will not be in attendance. Entries are available through December 2 at 11:00 a.m., and more than 50,000 people appear to have gotten in the queue to sign up for tickets.
Apple says that requesting tickets early will not increase chances for success, indicating a lottery distribution system, and that only registrations received from the Greater New York City area are eligible for selection. New Yorkers will be assigned a set time slot to visit the experience and will need to arrive during that time. It will take approximately 40 minutes to go through the Taylor Swift Experience.
Tickets cannot be bought or sold, and ID checks will make sure that the person named on the ticket is the person entering the venue.
Confirmation emails for those selected to attend will be sent between December 5 and December 6, and a Ticketmaster account is required to register.
Anker's Black Friday/Cyber Week event is entering its final days this weekend, and it's still offering up to 60 percent off sitewide. There are also a few "mystery boxes" that can include hundreds of dollars in savings, if you're willing to risk not knowing what you're buying ahead of time. All of these sales will end on December 3.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Anker. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
At the bottom of the sale page, Anker also has a few blind boxes on sale, priced at $19.99 (up to $219.99 in value) and at $29.99 (up to $219.99 in value). These mystery boxes include one Anker accessory, but you won't know what you're getting until they arrive. All items in the $19.99 box are worth at least $29.99, and all items in the $29.99 box are worth at least $49.99, so no matter what you'll be getting a deal.
All mystery box items are non-returnable (with the exception of quality issues). These could net you a huge discount with a collection of solid stocking stuffers for the holidays, if you're willing to take the blind box risk.
Be sure to visit our full Deals Roundup to shop for even more Apple-related products and accessories.
CNBC today shared an in-depth report and video about Apple's chipmaking efforts. While much of the information may be familiar to Apple enthusiasts, the video provides a rare look inside one of Apple's chip testing labs in California, and it includes commentary from Apple's chipmaking head Johny Srouji and hardware engineering chief John Ternus.
The report recaps Apple's in-house chipmaking history, and it also touches on what's next for the company, although Apple predictably had little to say about its future plans. Read the report and watch the video to learn more.
The charger is about palm sized, and it features a flat teardrop-shaped body with a pivoting MagSafe charger on top. The MagSafe charger can lay flat or it can be lifted up and angled to support StandBy on the iPhone. There are a few different angles that it can be set at (0 to 70 degrees), but flat or fully extended are the two most useful.
In the flat mode, you can charge an iPhone or any other Qi device like the AirPods because it's basically just a flat charging surface. When upright, you can only charge a MagSafe-compatible device. At the back, there's a flat Apple Watch charging puck. It's sized perfectly for any of the Apple Watch models, but also the AirPods, so you can charge the AirPods on the Apple Watch charging puck when charging an iPhone.
While this is a 2-in-1 charger, it's versatile and is going to charge up everything you'd want to charge with a similar 3-in-1 charger. I don't think most people charge the Apple Watch, iPhone, and the AirPods all at the same time regularly (at least I don't), which potentially makes this just as useful as a much bigger 3-in-1 charger.
The BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 Dock comes in either sand (a light gray beige) or charcoal, and it's covered in a soft touch silicone material that looks nice on a desk or nightstand. The material is unfortunately a fuzz magnet, but that's the biggest complaint I have about it.
In terms of size, the charger measures in at about 3 inches tall (flat) and 2.5 inches wide, so it's fairly compact and doesn't take up a lot of space. It is the smallest Belkin charger I have (and the smallest multi-device charger from any brand) thanks to the removal of a dedicated AirPods charging spot.
Belkin includes a color-matched braided 1.5m USB-C cable and a 30W power supply. The cable cannot be removed from the charger, which is a downside for me. I'd like to be able to swap in a shorter cable for desktop use, but I don't have that option. On the plus side, I appreciate the power adapter because not every multi-device charger on the market includes one.
The BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 Dock will charge a MagSafe iPhone at up to 15W, and it will also fast charge compatible Apple Watch models. With the fast charger, I typically only charge my Apple Watch in short spurts throughout the day (I sleep with it on), and that's enough to keep the battery level up. That gives me a free spot for charging the AirPods when I need to.
I did test the charging speeds to make sure I was getting the speeds that Belkin advertised. The iPhone charged at MagSafe speeds as expected, and the Apple Watch Series 9 did indeed fast charge.
Weight wise, this comes in at about a pound, and the same grippy material that's on the body is on the bottom to keep it in place so it won't go anywhere when you add and remove devices.
This is a new charger so it's expensive and there are no sales yet, and the price is the major issue. It's as expensive as some 3-in-1 chargers, but arguably, the versatility makes it worth the cost.
I have used a lot of Belkin chargers and a lot of wireless chargers in general, and I think this is my favorite to date. It supports all of the most recent iPhone and Apple Watch features (aka, StandBy and fast charging), it's small, and it can also charge the AirPods from either charging spot.
If you have all of the devices that this charger works with and can take advantage of the features like Apple Watch fast charging, it's worth checking out.
Importantly, these are the second-generation AirPods Pro with a Lightning/MagSafe charging case, originally released in November 2022. Apple updated the second-generation AirPods Pro with a USB-C/MagSafe charging case and a few other changes in September 2023, but those are not yet available on Apple's refurbished store.
Apple says all of its refurbished products undergo "full functionality testing" and are "put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection."
Keep in mind that there are often better deals available from third-party resellers. In the U.S., brand new second-generation AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case were recently on sale for $189.99 on Amazon, although they are currently $237.99.
Philips Hue parent company Signify debuted a new version of the Hue Festavia string lights back in August, with plenty of availability now that the holidays are approaching. If you're up to date with Hue, you might know that the Festavia first came out last year, but the first version was available in limited quantities and was hard to get.
After the holidays, the Festavia lights seemed to disappear entirely until the new version came out in this year, and that's because this is a new model. The new Festavia lights and the old Festavia lights are similar in design, but there are tweaks to the sizes of the light strings, the price, weatherproofing, the design of the power supply, and a few other features.
Last year's Festavia lights were priced at $160 for 250 LEDs on a 65-foot strand, and this year, the same 65-foot strand with 250 LEDs is priced at $220. I don't know why the lights are priced higher, but there are two new size options, including a 500-LED 131-foot model and a 100-LED 26-foot model. The Hue website sells the two longer strands right now, but not the shorter version.
I tested the 250 LED model, which has the LEDs positioned about three inches apart on the strand. The lights themselves are flat at the top with a circular body, which is the same design that was used last year and the shape you'll also see in smart lights from brands like Twinkly. The cord connecting the LEDs is black, which is one of my complaints about the Hue lights.
Black does not blend in as well with a tree as green does when used on a typical Christmas tree, and I feel that it makes the cord stand out more than it should. It would be nice to have color options for the wires rather than being limited to black. Even in non-tree use, black stands out on white trim or white walls. Nanoleaf and Twinkly are using the same black cord for their lights, so maybe it's a color most people don't mind.
Last year's Festavia lights were designed to be used indoors, but this year's version has weatherproofing and can be used indoors or out. You can use these outside on your porch, outdoor trees, around windows, on eaves, and more, so you're not just limited to inside use. I wouldn't put lights this expensive outside, but I appreciate the versatility for those who do want to use them for outdoor landscaping purposes.
Other than the new weatherproofing rating, the only other difference between the 2022 Festavia and the 2023 Festavia that I found was the design of the power supply. The 2023 version has a 30W plug that you can unscrew from the controller so you can use the Festavia outdoors with other outdoor power you might have.
With traditional holiday lights, you can connect two or more strands together to run off of the same power supply, but that is not an option here. Every strand has its own dedicated power supply and these are bulky, especially when used indoors. I put two strands on my tree, and it's a lot of cabling hefty power supplies to deal with. For a Christmas tree that's about seven feet tall, I can get away with one strand, but two strands covers the front and back more fully at a better density. I wish there was an option for a 65-foot strand with a higher LED density, because 65 feet is the right length for a standard tree, but a single strand doesn't feel like quite enough due to the spacing.
These are low voltage LEDs that don't get warm, so you can use them just about anywhere without worrying about a fire hazard. Since these are string lights meant for holiday decorating, there is a warning in the box that suggests you can only leave them up for 90 days. It's a warning that is required under the UL standard used for this type of light because of the testing parameters used for them. I have kept the prior-generation Festavia lights up for a much longer period of time without issue because I am not packing away such expensive lights for most of the year, but it's something to pay attention to.
Like all Hue lights, the Hue Festavia is controlled through the Hue app. It supports 16 million colors and multiple shades of white as it is a "White and Color Ambiance" product, plus it is a gradient light so the colors blend into one another. The Festavia lights can be used directly in the Hue app over Bluetooth, but it's a better experience if you have a Hue Bridge. A Bridge allows for control away from home, connectivity over Wi-Fi, and of course integration with other Hue products.
With the Hue app, there are a lot of options for color schemes. There are three total zones for each strand of lights, and you can set each one to a separate color on the color wheel to use the gradient effect. Scenes can be created and saved, and the lights work with all of the scenes in the Hue scene gallery for pre-set color arrangements.
There are six special effects available too, including candle, fireplace, sparkle, glisten, opal, and prism. Candle and fireplace are self-explanatory and aren't really designed for this kind of string light. Candle looks okay with just the flickering yellow lights, but fireplace is much oranger and looks out of place.
The other four options are perfect for the Festavia. Sparkle is a white/yellow light scheme that looks like slow twinkling lights. Glisten is similar to sparkle but with more "twinkle," and opal, which looks like its namesake, is by far my favorite. Opal uses soft, pastel lights that are just shy of white and it cycles through them for a soft, but colorful effect that looks something like the lighting equivalent of a nighttime winter snowfall. It's one of the most magical lighting effects I've seen from smart lights.
Prism is a slow rainbow gradient that's also quite striking, with the colors shifting so slowly that it's not at all distracting and is even hard to notice if you're not directly paying attention. It's a truly pretty gradient that doesn't overwhelm a room. Cameras have a hard time with string lights, so while I did my best to capture photos and videos, the Festavia looks better in real life. All of these lighting options work with both versions of the Hue Festavia, so there's nothing exclusive to the second-generation release. Opal and glisten are effects that are only compatible with the Festavia, while candle, fireplace, and prism work on some of the other Hue lights.
It is worth noting that the Festavia lights do not get as bright as the Twinkly smart lights, nor do they do the intricate patterns and rhythms that are available with other brands. I find the brightness of the Philips Hue lights to be optimal, and when I use Twinkly lights, I never have them above 50 percent brightness because they're too bright to look at.
Twinkly lights are what I'd want to use for a raucous ugly sweater type of party, while Hue lights are what I'd use for a holiday dinner party. Hue lights are more subtle and have a more elegant, cozy vibe that I think most people will prefer. A major exception is families with children, because the Twinkly app is arguably more fun. You can change each LED to a different color with Twinkly, and that's not possible with Hue. Hue also doesn't support different animation patterns and speeds, so you can't set the lights to do things like blink on and off.
You're supposed to put the Festavia lights on the tree in a certain way (there are instructions on the Hue website), wrapping them from the bottom up in rows that are spaced six inches apart and matching up gradients if you're using two strands. I used that method with the lights last year, but this year I broke the rules and hung my lights vertically. I'm a fan of the vertical look, but it would be nice if the Hue app had a feature like the Twinkly app that let you tell the lights where they were rather than having to hang them in a particular way. Side note, the internet told me to hang lights vertically to make them easier to remove from a tree, but I had to tuck them so far back to hide the black cord that I'm not sure vertical was beneficial.
If you have other Hue lights, you can integrate the Festavia with them. In the room where I have my tree, I have a hanging lamp with multiple Hue bulbs, so the tree and the bulbs can all be color coordinated. Festavia lights can also be included in an Entertainment Area to match lighting to TV content or music. You'll need a Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, a compatible Samsung TV, or a Spotify account to make this work.
The Hue Festavia lights work like any other Hue light in terms of control and automation. You can set up automations to turn them on and off, to change the colors at certain times, or to trigger with motion or other parameters. They can be controlled in the Hue app, in the Home app, and with Siri voice commands.
The Philips Hue Festavia lights are ideal for people who already have Hue lights. If you're entrenched in the Hue ecosystem, you likely won't be too surprised at what Signify is charging for these. A 250-LED strand of standard holiday lights is around $20, and Twinkly charges about $150 for a similar smart version, so the Festavia lights definitely have a premium price tag.
There is no substitute for the aesthetic of the Festavia, the ease of use, or the integration with Hue bulbs, though. Other smart lights seem almost garish in comparison to the soft, ethereal look you can get from the Festavia. I have a mild obsession with lamps, string lights, light strips, and bulbs, so I have tried a lot of the options out there and with Hue, I have few complaints aside from the cost.
Hue products integrate seamlessly with HomeKit and the Zigbee Bridge means that everything just works. For context, I have more than 50 Hue lights (that I bought) because I've learned that Hue just doesn't give me trouble. I hate HomeKit troubleshooting because of the lack of transparency from Apple, so I pay more upfront to not have to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out why a light has disconnected itself from HomeKit and won't reconnect.
If you don't have Hue lights and don't plan to buy any, I don't think this is the best pick because you're missing out on the integration, but you'll still get the benefits of the Hue colors and scenes. Twinkly and Nanoleaf make for better one-off purchases, with Twinkly in particular offering fun effects and controls that children will enjoy.
While the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max are still around 10 months away from launching, there are already several rumors about the devices. Below, we have recapped new features and changes expected for the devices so far.
These are some of the key changes rumored for the iPhone 16 Pro models as of December 2023:
Larger displays: The iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be equipped with larger 6.3-inch and 6.9-inch displays, respectively, according to Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants. The devices are expected to have taller aspect ratios as part of this change. By comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays, respectively.
"Capture" button: Apple is rumored to be planning a new "Capture button" for all iPhone 16 models. The button would be located below the power button, which would require the mmWave 5G antenna window to be relocated on U.S. models. The button's purpose is unknown, but it has been speculated that it could be a dedicated shutter or spatial video recording button for the camera. The button might have a solid-state design, but rumors are conflicting.
48-megapixel Ultra Wide lens: The iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Ultra Wide camera lens for higher-resolution photos with more detail when shooting in 0.5× mode, according to Jeff Pu, a tech analyst at Hong Kong investment firm Haitong International Securities.
Wi-Fi 7 support: The iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will also support Wi-Fi 7, according to Pu. This would enable the devices to send and receive data over the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands simultaneously, resulting in faster Wi-Fi speeds, lower latency, and more reliable connectivity. Wi-Fi 7 is expected to offer peak data transfer speeds of over 40 Gbps, a 4× increase over Wi-Fi 6E.
5G Advanced: iPhone 16 Pro models will be equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X75 modem for faster and more power efficient 5G connectivity, according to Pu. The modem supports the "5G Advanced" standard, which has been described as "the next phase of 5G" and an "evolution towards 6G."
5× optical zoom for iPhone 16 Pro: The iPhone 15 Pro Max's tetraprism Telephoto lens system with 5× optical zoom will expand to the regular iPhone 16 Pro, according to supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 16 Pro models in September 2024. Additional details about the devices should surface over the coming months, so be sure to keep tabs on our iPhone 16 Pro roundup for the latest information.
Best Buy is discounting a collection of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models to all-time low prices today. We're tracking these deals below in addition to great discounts on the Apple Pencil 2 and Apple Watch Ultra 1.
Note: 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 13-inch M2 MacBook Air, Best Buy has the 256GB model for $899.00 in Starlight, down from $1,099.00. This is a match of the best price we've ever seen on this model, and right now it's only available in one color.
For more storage, you can get the 512GB 13-inch M2 MacBook Air for $1,179.00, down from $1,399.00. This is just about $30 away from the all-time low price, and it's available in all four colors on Best Buy.
Finally for MacBook Airs, the 512GB 15-inch M2 MacBook Air is down to $1,299.00, from $1,499.00. Both this model and the 256GB MacBook Air are just about $50 off from their all-time low prices and still solid second-best options.
There's only one MacBook Pro model on sale right now at an all-time low price: the 1TB 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro. This model is on sale for $1,599.00 on Best Buy and Amazon, down from $1,799.00. If you have My Best Buy Plus/Total, you can get an additional $50 off and knock the notebook down to $1,549.00, a new record low price.
In another sale, Best Buy is discounting nearly every model of the first generation Apple Watch Ultra. You can get many of these wearables for $639.00, down from $799.00, while a few other models are on sale for a slightly higher price of $659.00.
This beats the best sale seen on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 by about $100, so if you're willing to adopt a previous generation model it's the best way to save the most amount of money. You'll find Trail Loop, Alpine Loop, and Ocean Band models all on sale right now.
Valve's Steam gaming store will drop support for macOS High Sierra and macOS Mojave early next year, effectively ending support for the last versions of macOS that could run 32-bit games.
After the change comes into effect on February 15, 2024, Valve said existing Steam Client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind from Steam, including security updates, and technical support for issues related to macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) and 10.14 (Mojave) will not be offered.
Unfortunately, macOS 10.14 was the last version to support running 32-bit games on macOS. Apple chose to drop support for 32-bit applications in macOS 10.15 (released 2019), and since many developers have not updated their games to support 64-bit executables, some games will effectively stop functioning on macOS.
As a result, Valve said the Steam store will stop considering games that offer only 32-bit macOS binaries to be Mac compatible at the end of 2023.
On the plus side, the change won't affect the majority of Mac users, since 98%+ of Steam customers on Mac are already running macOS 10.15 or newer. As Valve points out, "this means 32-bit only games and applications no longer run on your current operating system."
Valve's decision to end support was not independent. As ArsTechnica notes, it is in fact related to Google's ending of macOS 10.13 and 10.14 support in Chrome, several parts of which the Steam UI relies on.
Apple ended security updates and technical support for macOS 10.13 in December 2020 and for macOS 10.14 in October 2021. Future versions of Steam will require macOS features and security updates only present in macOS 10.15 and above. Despite this, however, Valve says it says it still expects "the Steam client and games on these older operating systems to continue running for some time."
For World AIDS Day today, Apple highlighted its long-standing partnership with (RED), which has raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars since 2006, and is promoting (PRODUCT)RED versions of a range of products.
PRODUCT(RED) products include Apple Watch Series 9, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 13, and iPhone SE, and accessories, including the Silicone Case with MagSafe for the entire iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 lineups. A portion of the proceeds from every (PRODUCT)RED purchase goes to the Global Fund to combat AIDS and COVID-19.
This year, Apple is also donating all proceeds from in-app purchases for three games — MONOPOLY GO!, Gardenscapes, and EA Sports FC Mobile — to the Global Fund, including playful avatars, cool shields, and star soccer players. From the press release:
Today through December 4, all proceeds from exclusive in‑app purchases in three popular games on the App Store will be donated to the Global Fund. Order Apple Watch Series 9 (PRODUCT)RED by December 21 to gift in time for the holidays.
Additionally, now through December 8, Apple says it will donate $1 for every purchase made using Apple Pay on apple.com, through the Apple Store app, or at an Apple Store location.
To raise visibility for World AIDS Day and the ongoing effort to eradicate HIV and AIDS, hundreds of Apple Store retail locations are marking the day with new window and product displays. The company is also spotlighting ways for customers to learn about AIDS in the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Music, and Apple TV app.
Apple and Paramount have discussed bundling their TV streaming services at a discount, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.
The companies have talked about offering a combination of Paramount+ and Apple TV+ that would cost less than subscribing to both services separately, according to people familiar with the discussions. The discussions are in their early stages, and it is unclear what shape a bundle could take, they said.
The report notes that the discussions between Apple and Paramount come at a time when competitive pressures have seen services increase their prices to bring them to profitability, while also having to deal with customers increasingly canceling subscriptions or switching services.
Apple in October announced that it was increasing the prices of some of its subscription-based services, including Apple TV+, which went from $6.99 per month to $9.99 per month, a $3 rise. For those who subscribe to Apple TV+ on an annual basis, the price has increased from $69 per year to $99 per year accordingly.
The rationale behind offering multiple services as part of one package is that it is thought to reduce the likelihood that subscribers will cancel on any given month. The strategy has already been put in place by Netflix and Max, which are being bundled together as part of a deal with Verizon.
According to a new report by The Elec, Apple will add LG Innotek as another supplier of the folded zoom module used in the technology, in an attempt to secure production yields for the increased number of units required.
The iPhone 15 Pro has a 12-megapixel Telephoto camera that offers 3x zoom, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max is using an upgraded Telephoto system that allows for 5x zoom. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a folded glass structure below the lens, which Apple refers to as tetraprism technology. It reflects light four times over, allowing for a longer focal length of 120mm.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has repeatedly said he expects the tetraprism lens with up to 5x optical zoom to expand to both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max next year. It has been rumored that the iPhone 16 Pro will feature a larger 6.3-inch display, compared to the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro. This change would increase the overall size of the device, which would provide additional internal space for a tetraprism lens.
The release of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max saw the introduction of an entirely new user-configurable button known as the Action button, and now, MacRumors has seen extensive evidence confirming Apple is planning to include the Action button on the entire iPhone 16 range.
Designs and plans for the Action button date back to at least 2021, as the button was intended for release alongside haptic volume and power buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro. While the haptic volume and power buttons were abruptly canceled due to unresolved technical issues, the Action button remained, eventually making its way onto final mass production units of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
On the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, the Action button replaces the mute switch previously found on all iPhone models. Unlike the mute switch, which only served a singular purpose, the Action button provides iPhone users with a variety of uses. It can be configured to perform a range of functions, such as:
Silent Mode: Toggle silent mode, which mutes/unmutes the ringer and alerts much like the Ringer switch on older iPhone models.
Flashlight: Turn the iPhone's flashlight function on or off.
Camera: Launch the Camera app to your choice of photo, selfie, video, portrait, or portrait selfie mode.
Shortcuts: Open a shortcut from the Shortcuts app, allowing for a range of powerful functions.
Voice Memo: Start or stop recording a voice memo.
Focus: Enable or disable a specific Focus mode.
Accessibility features: Enable or disable any of a variety of accessibility features and settings for users with impaired vision or hearing.
Magnifier: Use your iPhone's camera as a magnifying glass through the Magnfier app.
Translate (coming in iOS 17.2): Quickly translate speech between two languages.
With the iPhone 16 lineup, Apple plans to add even more functionality to the Action button by changing the button from mechanical to a capacitive-type button. The revamped Action button, developed under the codename Atlas, is expected to function similarly to the Touch ID Home button on older iPhone models, or the Force Touch trackpad on found on more recent MacBooks.
According to internal documentation, the updated Action button will feature a force sensor, which detects changes in pressure, as well as "tact-switching functionality," although exactly what the latter entails is currently unclear. The new "Capture" button planned for the iPhone 16 lineup is also set to include the same functionality as the improved Action button.
As with the iPhone 15 Pro, even the earliest known designs and prototypes of the base model iPhone 16 featured an Action button. The presence of the Action button has remained constant across different development stages and even different hardware configurations.
Apple has also experimented with different sizes for the Action button, with certain hardware configurations featuring an Action button larger than the one currently found on the iPhone 15 Pro, and more closely resembling the volume buttons in size. The Action button has been seen on multiple iPhone 16 prototype units, and has also appeared in internal documentation related to the new devices.
The Action button is also set to appear on the next iteration of the budget-oriented iPhone SE fourth-generation reportedly planned for a 2025 launch, thereby effectively eliminating the dedicated mute switch from all future iPhones currently in development.
While it remains unlikely that Apple's plans will change, it is important to consider that the information presented here is pre-production information, and may not necessarily reflect what eventually ships on mass production units as we are still many months away from finalized hardware designs.
Apple today released updates for its Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Motion, Compressor, and Logic Pro software, introducing new features and optimizations. Apple announced the Final Cut Pro updates for iPad and Mac earlier this month and has now launched them.
Final Cut Pro on the Mac has been updated with organizational refinements like automatic timeline scrolling. Users will be able to keep their clips in view during playback, with the view able to be adjusted using keyboard shortcuts or the Zoom option.
The organization of the timeline is viewable at a glance, and it is easier to differentiate clips by assigned role using distinct colors. Apple also added tools for cleaning up complex timeline sections and fine tuning edits by combining overlapping connected clips into a single connected storyline.
On Apple silicon Macs, exporting projects in H.264 and HEVC is faster than before as Final Cut Pro is able to send video segments to available media engines for simultaneous processing.
On the iPad, the updated version of Final Cut Pro includes voiceover capabilities that let creators record narration and audio directly into the timeline with the iPad. In pro camera mode, stabilization now improves shaky footage for smoother video, and there are new options for combining connected clips. Editing is being sped up through new keyboard shortcuts for voiceover and grouping clips, plus there are new color-grading presets and titles.
iMovie and Compressor include the same file exporting optimizations on M1 Max, M1 Ultra, M2 Max, M2 Ultra, and M3 Max machines. iMovie also includes new options for creating stereoscopic packages for the iTunes Store, and support for JSON and XML when batch exporting submissions using the command line.
Motion has improvements to the Object Tracker on Macs with Apple silicon, and for Logic Pro, Apple has added bug fixes.
Final Cut Pro for Mac is priced at $300, and Final Cut Pro for iPad is priced at $4.99 per month or $49 per year. Compressor and Motion for Mac are priced at $50 each, Logic Pro is $200, and iMovie is free.
Apple today released iOS 17.1.2 and iPadOS 17.1.2, small updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating systems that Apple introduced in September. iOS 17.1.2 and iPadOS 17.1.2 come a few weeks after the release of iOS 17.1.1, another bug fix update.
iOS 17.1.2 and iPadOS 17.1.2 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
According to Apple's release notes, iOS 17.1.2 includes important security fixes. Specifically, the update addresses vulnerabilities that may have been exploited in earlier versions of iOS.
Processing web content may disclose sensitive information. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited against versions of iOS before iOS 16.7.1.
Processing web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited against versions of iOS before iOS 16.7.1.