Apple Releases Fourth macOS Catalina Public Beta

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming macOS Catalina update to its public beta testing group, two weeks after seeding the third public beta and a day after seeding the fifth macOS Catalina developer beta.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the macOS Catalina beta through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the proper profile. Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.


Potential beta testers should make a full Time Machine backup before installing macOS Catalina, and it may not be wise to install it on a primary machine because betas can be unstable and often have many bugs.

macOS Catalina eliminates the iTunes app, which has been a key Mac feature since 2001. In Catalina, iTunes has been replaced by Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. The new apps can do everything that iTunes can do, so Mac users aren't going to be losing any functionality, and device management capabilities are now handled by the Finder app.

macOS Catalina has a useful new Sidecar feature, designed to turn the iPad into a secondary display for the Mac. It can work as a traditional second display or with a mirroring feature. Apple Pencil support works with Sidecar, so you can turn your iPad into a drawing tablet using apps like Photoshop.


For those with an Apple Watch set up to unlock the Mac, there's now an option to approve security prompts in Catalina by tapping on the side button of the watch. Macs with a T2 chip in them also support Activation Lock, making them useless to thieves much as it does on the iPhone.

There's a new Find My app that lets you track your lost devices, and previously, this functionality was only available via iCloud on the Mac. There's even a new option to find your devices even when they're offline by leveraging Bluetooth connections to other nearby devices, something that's particularly handy on the Mac because it doesn't have a cellular connection.


Apple is expanding Screen Time to the Mac in Catalina, letting Apple users track their device usage across Mac, iOS, and iPad for a better overall picture of time spent using electronics.

For developers, a "Project Catalyst" feature lets apps designed for the iPad be ported over to the Mac with just a few clicks in Xcode and some minor tweaks. Apple's ultimate goal with Project Catalyst is to bring more apps to the Mac.

Photos features an updated interface that better highlights your best pictures, Safari includes a new start page with Siri Suggestions, Mail has a new feature for blocking emails and another new option for muting threads, and the Reminders app has been overhauled and is now more useful.


Before installing macOS Catalina, be aware that it does not support 32-bit apps, so some older apps that have not been updated in some time may stop working. For more on macOS Catalina, make sure to check out our macOS Catalina roundup.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

'Mac Book' Recommends Surface Laptop 2 in New Microsoft Ad

Microsoft has come out with a new marketing campaign that features a man called Mackenzie Book (read: Mac Book) explaining why a Surface Laptop 2 is a better option than an Apple MacBook, in his humble opinion.


The 30-second ad consists of a quick-fire Q&A session between a voiceover narrator and the man-Mac himself, who proceeds to explain why he thinks the Microsoft machine beats Apple's notebook in various departments.

"So Mac, which laptop lasts longer?" the narrator asks.

"Surface laptop lasts longer," Book responds.

The actor's answers are accompanied by the text "Mac Book says Surface laptop ... [lasts longer / is faster / has a better touchscreen.]" The latter response is qualified by the narrator with the remark "Oh right, because MacBooks don't have touchscreens."

The ad ends with two thumbs up from Mr Book and his recommendation: "You should get a Surface. Trust me, I'm Mac Book." His sign-off is followed by the tagline, "Mac Book says get a Surface Laptop."

Microsoft and Apple have often taken aim at each other over the years with jokey Mac vs. PC ads. From 2006 to 2009, Justin Long played a Mac computer in Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign, alongside John Hodgman, who played a PC.

The commercials always started out with the tagline "Hello, I'm a Mac," and were some of Apple's most iconic ads, featuring Long as the cool, casual Mac and Hodgman as a stuffy PC in a suit and tie.

However, Microsoft's latest effort is a decidedly left-field take on the man/Mac concept.


Last year, Microsoft released a holiday ad promoting its Surface Go over Apple's iPad, using the tagline "Big dreams need a real computer."

Microsoft's 2018 ad was aimed at Apple's own "What's a Computer?" ad campaign, which began in 2016 and showed off some things that the iPad Pro can do as a replacement to a traditional laptop computer.

Microsoft released the Surface Laptop 2 in October 2018 and is expected to launch refreshed Surface Pro and Surface Book models later this year.

Google Overtakes Apple to Become Most Cash-Rich Company

Google parent company Alphabet has overtaken Apple to become the world's most cash-rich company, reports The Financial Times this morning.


According to the FT, Apple’s cash hoard has fallen to $102 billion, down from a peak of $163 billion at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, Alphabet's $117 billion cash reserve has risen by almost $20 billion over the same period.

However, as FT notes, Alphabet's new title as "king of cash" may be somewhat of a poisoned chalice, as it could antagonize investors who would rather see the cash being used to reward shareholders with buybacks or dividends.

The leadership switch is said to be a result of Apple's own efforts to reduce its liquidity, by taking advantage of US tax reforms to repatriate overseas reserves and pay out to investors. The company has spent $122 billion on buying back stock and paying dividends in the past 18 months.
Alphabet's stock buybacks, by contrast, have been paltry. In the nearly four years since it began repurchasing its own stock, it has spent an average of only $1.7bn a quarter.

In that time, it has handed out more new shares in the form of employee stock benefits than it has bought back through its repurchase programme. As a result, the payments have done nothing to lift its earnings per share — the reason investors generally welcome buybacks.
Alphabet's new cash-rich status also comes at a time when it is under more intensive scrutiny than ever before. Google and its parent company have received over $9 billion in antitrust fines by the EU in the past two years. It is now facing a new antitrust investigation by the Justice Department.

Alphabet's cash reserves have actually increased despite the parent company's heavy investment in real estate for new office builds and data centers, which will form part of the infrastructure supporting Google's increasing AI endeavors.

In terms of most valuable company on the planet, Apple has been overtaken by both Amazon and Microsoft, with the latter now taking that particular crown. Microsoft is now worth nearly $1.1 trillion, after soaring on the back of optimism about its cloud business.

Tag: Google

Korea's NRRA Certifies MacBook Pro With Model Number 'A2159' [Updated]

Update: One eagle-eyed reader notes that the model number "A2159" appears to reference Apple's recently refreshed entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with two Thunderbolt ports, suggesting the NRRA certification is a post-launch filing.



Signs of Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro redesign continue to mount with news today that Korea's National Radio Research Agency (NRRA) has now certified unreleased MacBook Pro model A2159.


Regular readers may recall that an unreleased MacBook Pro with the same mysterious model number received FCC approval almost exactly one month ago. The identifier was also registered with the Eurasian Economic Commission in June.

First spotted by MySmartPrice.com, Korea's NRRA filing doesn't give away much about the unreleased MacBook Pro, simply describing the model as a "small-output wireless device" while confirming that it is manufactured in China.

The earlier FCC filing rated the notebook as 20.3V - 3A Max (equivalent to 61W), suggesting to some a refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro. However, Apple updated its higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro in May and its entry-level 13-inch model with a Touch Bar last month, but that's not to say it won't refresh the entire line-up in the fall. Apple has refreshed its entire MacBook Pro lineup twice in a year only once before in the Retina era, in 2013.

On the other hand, details from multiple sources have been converging around the possibility that Apple is developing a 16-inch MacBook Pro featuring a new design and a larger display, perhaps enabled through slimmer bezels.


16-inch MacBook Pro rumors began with Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Back in February, Kuo said the notebook would launch at some point in 2019 with an "all-new design." He has not shared any further details since, but a recent supply chain report said mass production would begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Kuo also believes the 16-inch MacBook Pro will debut with a new scissor switch keyboard design, which will eventually be used in to other MacBook Air and Pro models in 2020 and 2021. According to supply chain sources, the 16-inch display will be an LCD panel with a 3,072 × 1,920 resolution, supplied by LG.

Whatever the technical details turn out to be, with the previous EEC, FCC, and now NRRA filings all referencing the same mysterious A2159 number in the last few months, all the indications are that we'll see a new MacBook Pro quite soon.

Apple Details Products Eligible for Upcoming State Sales Tax Holidays

Apple this afternoon sent out emails reminding customers in six U.S. states about upcoming sales tax holidays, which will allow customers in these areas to purchase Macs, iPads, and other products with reduced sales tax or no sales tax.

Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia all have sales tax holidays coming up in August, with Apple outlining which products are eligible for the sales tax break in each state.


Every state has different rules for products that can be purchased during the tax holiday, so customers in Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia should check out Apple's tax holiday website for specifics. Dates are as follows:
  • Florida - August 2-6
  • Massachusetts - August 17-18
  • Missouri - August 2-4
  • New Mexico - August 2-4
  • South Carolina - August 2-4
  • Virginia - August 2-4
Many Apple products are eligible for the promotion in each state, including Macs, iPads, the iPod touch, and accessories like the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, though there are varying dollar value caps in each state. Virginia's tax holiday is the most limited, applicable only to cell phone batteries and chargers with a value of $60 or less.

There were also sales tax holidays in Tennessee and Alabama, but those took place in July and are now over.

Xbox Co-Creator Nat Brown Joins Apple

Following a four-year stint at Valve, Xbox co-creator Nat Brown has now taken on a role at Apple, announcing his new position on Twitter.

Brown said that he has an obsession with platform ecosystems and systems engineering, and he's looking forward to continuing his work in these areas at Apple. Brown says that he will be "focusing on all applications of graphics" and working with developers using graphics on Apple platforms.


Prior to joining Apple, Brown was working as a VR engineer on Valve's VR team, but Valve laid off its VR team earlier this year. Before he was at Valve, Brown was one of the first engineers to join the Xbox project back in 1999.


Back in 2013, Brown shared a blog post arguing that the Apple TV had the potential to destroy console gaming thanks to its support of third-party apps. Microsoft and other gaming platforms now support indie games, but at the time, Brown argued that Apple could have killed the Playstation and the Xbox by introducing a game ecosystem for the Apple TV. From Brown's 2013 blog post:
Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS - I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I'll make money. I would for xBox if I could and I knew I would make money. Maybe a "console-capable" Apple-TV isn't $99, maybe it's $199, and add another $79 for a controller.
Apple did not do so in 2013, but later did open up the Apple TV to apps and games with a dedicated Apple TV App Store. Unfortunately, the Apple TV App Store hasn't exactly been a console killer.

It's not clear what specific graphics applications Brown will be working on at Apple, and it's not known if he will be joining Apple's rumored AR/VR team.

Apple Joins Data Transfer Project With Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter

Apple has joined the Data Transfer Project, an initiative launched in 2018 to develop an open-source service-to-service data portability platform to allow people to easily move their data between online service providers.

As The Verge notes, Apple is now listed as a contributor alongside Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and others.


Apple will build systems that will make it easy to add and remove data from iCloud, similar to Google Takeout and Facebook's Access Your Information tool, which are compatible with one another and allow data to be downloaded to your hard drive.
Data Transfer Project is an open source initiative to encourage participation of as many Providers as possible. DTP will enhance the data portability ecosystem by reducing the infrastructure burden on both service providers and users which should in turn increase the number of services offering portability. The protocols and methodology of DTP enable direct, service-to-service data transfer with streamlined engineering work.
Eventually, the Data Transfer Project hopes that data will be able to be transferred directly from service to service with no need to download the data first.

Since the Data Transfer Project launched in July 2018 with Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft on board, 18 contributors from a combination of partners and the open source community have inserted more than 42,000 lines of code and changed more than 1,500 files, and new framework features and APIs have been added.

Donald Trump Says Apple Won't Be Granted Tariff Relief on Mac Pro Parts Made in China: 'Make Them in The USA, No Tariffs!'

In a tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump has said that Apple will not be granted tariff exemptions or relief on Mac Pro parts made in China.


Earlier this month, Apple requested the Trump administration to exclude components for the new Mac Pro and various accessories like the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad from being subject to a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports, according to filings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


In all of its exclusion requests, Apple indicated that "there are no other sources for this proprietary, Apple-designed component."

The new Mac Pro will be assembled in China by contract manufacturer Quanta Computer, according to The Wall Street Journal. The current Mac Pro, released in 2013, has been assembled in Texas since its release and is Apple's only major hardware product manufactured in the United States.

Last month, an Apple spokesperson said "final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process," adding that the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in the United States and includes some U.S.-made components.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy)

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 88 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced three years ago in March 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 88 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for JavaScript, WebRTC, Web API, Pointer Events, Rendering, Accessibility, WebGL, WebGPU, and Web Inspector.

The new Safari Technology Preview update is available for both macOS Mojave and MacOS Catalina, the newest version of the Mac operating system that was introduced at the June Worldwide Developers Conference.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Parallels Toolbox for Mac Adds New One-Click Shortcuts: Clipboard History, Sleep Timer, Energy Saver, and More

Parallels Toolbox for Mac has been updated to version 3.5 with a handful of new one-click shortcuts, including clipboard history, a sleep timer, an energy saver tool, and the ability to hide some menu bar icons.


From the press release:
New Tools in Parallels Toolbox 3.5 for Mac:

- Clipboard History: Captures what's copied to the Mac clipboard, including plain and formatted text. It also offers full text search, favorites and settings to collect content for up to 30 days. You can also pause the collection or exclude applications, allowing users to further customize the tool.

- Hide Menu Icons: Allows users to hide some icons from the Mac menu bar by creating two sets of menu-bar icons, visible and invisible. Less important icons only become visible when the user clicks the tool's control in the Mac menu bar. Hidden icons automatically hide when the user goes back to working with applications from the control menu.

- Energy Saver: Activates several settings, including hidden ones that reduce system-resources usage and increase battery life, saving up to eight percent in power consumption. It automatically detects your computer's state when it's running on battery and activates options for users to enable or disable.

- Sleep Timer: Allows you to set a timer for the computer to either go to sleep or shut down from the moment you press "Start," helping you save energy. Time options range from 15 minutes to six hours.

New Enhanced Versions of Existing Tools in Parallels Toolbox for Mac:

- Clean Drive: Users can now see files that will be deleted, with the ability to find them in Finder for improved transparency.

- Find Duplicates: Ability to mass-select multiple duplicates for better total-size representation and simplified sorting options.
Parallels Toolbox adds a dropdown menu to the macOS menu bar with a collection of tools and shortcuts that simplify common tasks to just a click or two, such as taking screenshots, resizing images, hiding the desktop, recording audio, switching resolutions, creating password-protected archives of files, and more.


Parallels Toolbox for Mac is priced at $19.99 per year for new users. The annual subscription includes free updates with new and enhanced tools as they become available over time, such as this version 3.5 update.

Note that while Parallels is best known for its virtualization software that allows for Windows and Linux to run within macOS, its Toolbox software can be used natively on any compatible Mac or Windows PC.

Apple Asks U.S. for Import Tariff Exemption on Parts for New Mac Pro After Shifting Assembly to China

Apple has asked the Trump administration to exclude components for the new Mac Pro and various accessories like the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad from being subject to a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports, according to filings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative uncovered by Bloomberg.


The administration has promised relief if companies can show that parts or products can only be obtained in China, among other factors, according to the report. In all of its exclusion requests (search for Apple), Apple indicates that "there are no other sources for this proprietary, Apple-designed component."

The new Mac Pro will be assembled by contract manufacturer Quanta Computer in China, according to The Wall Street Journal. The current Mac Pro, released in 2013, has been assembled in Texas since its release and is Apple's only major hardware product manufactured in the United States.

Last month, an Apple spokesperson said "final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process," adding that the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in the United States and includes some U.S.-made components.

Trump's administration has threatened to impose another $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, which would impact nearly every Apple product, but it has so far held off. In a recent letter, Apple warned that these tariffs would reduce its economic contributions and threaten its global competitiveness.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Tag: China
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy)

Twelve South Launches 'StayGo' USB-C Hub With Eight Ports

Twelve South today launched a new product called the "StayGo," which is a portable hub that connects to USB-C MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

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

According to the company, the hub restores all eight legacy ports and connections to modern Mac notebooks. This includes: three USB-A ports (USB 3.0), one 4K HDMI port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB-C ports (one for power input and one for connecting to the computer), and independent SD and Micro-SD card ports.


The StayGo comes with a 1-meter cable that is long enough to hide the accessory and its connected cables out of sight when you're working at home. The company is pitching the new device as a combination home and travel companion, which means that it also includes a 6-inch travel cord (seen below on the right) that stores inside the hub.


StayGo is available for $99.99 on TwelveSouth.com and at Amazon.