Amazon has returned the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case to their lowest price of $149.98 today, down from Apple's price of $199.00. This accessory is the model that launched in 2019 and includes a Wireless Charging Case that is compatible with Qi-enabled mats.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
Amazon introduced this price point last month, and the sale has come and gone over the past few weeks. If you've been on the hunt for the AirPods in 2020, this is definitely the best entry price for a new version of Apple's AirPods with Wireless Charging Case.
The same AirPods can be found for around $169-$179 at retailers like Adorama and Best Buy, so Amazon's sale is the best you'll find online this week. Sales have also hit the AirPods with Charging Case, priced at $135.99 at Verizon, down from $159.00.
At Verizon, the AirPods Pro also remain at their sale price of $224.99, down from $249.00. Although this discount is just about $24 off Apple's price tag, it remains the lowest we've ever tracked for a new version of the AirPods Pro, and the best online among trusted Apple resellers.
We track sales for every model of the AirPods in our Best AirPods Deals guide, so be sure to bookmark that page while you shop around for the wireless headphones.
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro models with four Thunderbolt 3 ports are compatible with its Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution, according to updated tech specs for the display. The base model with two Thunderbolt 3 ports remains incapable of this.
Apple's Pro Display XDR is a 32-inch 6K monitor with a P3 wide color gamut and true 10-bit color support, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and a super-wide, off-axis viewing angle. It is also compatible with the 2018 and later 15-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2019 Mac Pro, 2019 iMac, and 2020 MacBook Air.
Apple updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier today with a more reliable Magic Keyboard, up to 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and more. Read our announcement coverage for more details.
Best Buy has a new Apple Shopping Event happening today, which includes a return of the HomePod's Black Friday sale price of $199.99. This remains one of the lowest prices we've ever tracked for a new HomePod, and is the best you'll find online this week.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
Apple sells the HomePod for $299.00, making this a solid $99 discount on the original price of the smart speaker. Best Buy offers free next-day delivery for most shoppers in the United States, and there are also options to pick up devices at a local store.
Besides the HomePod, Best Buy has solid deals on the seventh generation iPad. You can get the 32GB Wi-Fi model for $249.99, down from $329.00; the 128GB Wi-Fi model is priced at $329.99, down from $429.00. The cellular versions of the 32GB and 128GB iPad are on sale as well, priced at $379.99 and $459.99, respectively.
In terms of other audio products, the Powerbeats Pro have also returned to their lowest-ever price of $199.99, down from $249.99. This $50 discount is the best deal we've seen on the wireless Beats headphones since they launched, and it's available in all four colors.
If you're on the hunt for more discounts, be sure to visit our Apple Deals roundup where we recap the best Apple-related bargains of the past week.
After years of complaints over sticky or unresponsive keys, Apple has finally finished transitioning its notebook lineup away from its issue-prone butterfly keyboard.
With the new 13-inch MacBook Pro featuring the same scissor switch Magic Keyboard as the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple no longer sells any new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air models with a butterfly keyboard. If you are browsing Apple's refurbished store, however, be aware that many of those models are still equipped with the butterfly keyboard.
First introduced on the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year, the Magic Keyboard features a redesigned scissor mechanism with 1mm of key travel, an inverted-"T" arrangement for the arrow keys, and a physical Escape key next to the Touch Bar.
Models with more reliable Magic Keyboard:
- 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro
- 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro
- 2020 MacBook Air
Apple's butterfly keyboard suffered from issues with sticky, repeating, or nonfunctional keys. The company continues to offer free repairs to affected customers as part of its worldwide service program, and it even apologized over the matter last year, although it downplayed the issue and said that only a "small number" of customers were impacted.
Apple today announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a more reliable Magic Keyboard, faster 10th-generation Intel processor options, up to 80 percent faster graphics performance, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and more.
First introduced on the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year, the Magic Keyboard features a redesigned scissor mechanism with 1mm of key travel, an inverted-"T" arrangement for the arrow keys, and a physical Escape key. After five years, Apple has finally transitioned its entire notebook lineup away from its issue-prone butterfly keyboard.
10th-generation Intel Core processor options are now available, but only on higher-end configurations starting at $1,799. Lower-end configurations still use Intel's older 8th-generation processors like the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The high-end configuration can be customized with a 2.3GHz quad-core 10th-generation Core i7 chip with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is available with up to 32GB of RAM for the first time, compared to a max of 16GB previously, while 16GB of RAM is now offered standard on select configurations. For the 16GB and 32GB RAM options, Apple is using faster 3733MHz LPDDR4X memory, but the base model continues to have 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory.
Apple has doubled the storage across all standard configurations, with the base model now coming with a 256GB SSD, up from 128GB. At the high end, users can upgrade to a new 4TB SSD option for an extra $1,000.
The latest Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics offer up to 80 percent faster graphics performance than the previous generation.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro models are available to order on Apple.com starting today, with pricing starting at $1,299 in the United States. It will begin arriving to customers and will be in select Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Resellers later this week.
Apple today will announce a refresh of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, according to Jon Prosser of the YouTube channel Front Page Tech. Rumors have suggested that the new model could be a 14-inch MacBook Pro with slightly slimmer bezels around the display, in line with the 16-inch MacBook Pro replacing the 15-inch model last year.
The new 13-inch or 14-inch MacBook Pro is also expected to feature faster 9th-generation or 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, increased RAM and storage options, and a more reliable Magic Keyboard with scissor switch keys.
Prosser accurately leaked the April 15 launch date of the new iPhone SE.
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 4, 2020
The single-lead ECG function on Apple Watch isn't meant to be as informative or as sensitive as the multi-lead ECGs you might get in a doctor's office or hospital, which use several points of contact. However, a new article in The European Heart Journal tells the story of an 80-year-old woman whose Apple Watch detected evidence of a heart condition that was missed by a hospital ECG (via 9to5Mac).
According to the article, the woman presented at University Medical Center Mainz, Germany, complaining of chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, and lightheadedness. When doctors at the hospital performed a 12-channel ECG, it revealed "no evidence for ischemia," which occurs when blood flow to the heart is reduced, preventing the heart muscle from receiving enough oxygen.
However the woman then showed doctors her Apple Watch ECG results, which included "tracings with marked ST-segment depression." After studying the Apple Watch results, doctors did indeed see evidence of myocardial ischemia, and the woman was transferred to the catheterization lab for a "left main stem stenosis and a left anterior descending/diagonal bifurcation lesion," and treatment with coronary artery stenting.
Essentially, the Apple Watch ECG recordings showed evidence of a heart condition that the hospital's specialized equipment failed to pick up, and that convinced the doctors to treat the patient, who left the hospital the next day.
The report concludes that the Apple watch may be used to reliably detect myocardial ischaemia.
The development of smart technologies paves the way for new diagnostic possibilities. In the case of the Apple Watch, after the mobile application is installed, the records an ECG when a finger is placed on the watch’s digital crown. A 30-s tracing is stored in a PDF file that can be retrieved from the application.
Thus, the Apple Watch may be used not only to detect atrial fibrillation or atrioventricular-conduction disturbances but also to detect myocardial ischemia. An apple a day may keep myocardial infarction away.
You can read the full report here. Rumors regarding the Apple Watch Series 6, expected to launch later this year, suggest additional health-related features mental, including blood oxygen detection, sleep tracking, and stress detection.
Tim Cook to Ohio State University graduates:
Graduates, I’m sorry that we’re not celebrating together today. Your class is a special one marked by history like few others in OSU’s 150 years. And while we aren’t shoulder to shoulder in the Horseshoe, filling it to the rafters, I know your parents, your loved ones, your friends and teachers are no less overwhelmed with the pride in you and in what you have achieved.
It can be difficult to see the whole picture when you’re still inside the frame, but I hope you wear these uncommon circumstances as a badge of honor. Those who meet times of historical challenge with their eyes and hearts open, forever restless and forever striving, are also those who leave the greatest impact on the lives of others. In every age, life has a frustrating way of reminding us that we are not the sole authors of our story. We must share credit, whether we’d like to or not, with a difficult and selfish collaborator called our circumstances.
The event featured Cook's commencement speech, musical performances, and university officials in traditional commencement regalia at the Ohio Stadium, which was empty of students.
The full Ohio State University Commencement livestream can be viewed here.
In this week's App Recap, we've highlighted two new apps that are worth checking out. We've also compiled a list of apps that received major updates this week.
- Views 4 ($4.99) - Views 4 is a news and podcasts app that presents content tailored to the interests of the user. Upon downloading the app, users are presented with a series of screens that allow for the selection of popular interests, fonts for an optimal reading experience, and six color themes that can be used around the app. The app's easy to navigate interface is complemented with the integration of Haptic Touch when tabs and in article arrows are tapped. Aside from the ability to read articles from a personalized feed, Views also allows users to search, favorite, and download podcasts directly. The podcast interface is simple and even allows users to set a sleep timer. Views 4 is one of the latest apps to take advantage of Apple's universal purchases feature, so buying the app once will allow you to have access to it across all of your devices.
- CleanMyMac X (Free) - Popular desktop cleaner app CleanMyMac X this week made its debut on the Mac App Store. Previously, the only way to use the software was to download it directly from its website. It is worth pointing out that the Mac App Store version of CleanMyMac X does not have all of the features available from the version available directly on its website. The Photo Junk, Shredder, Updater, and Maintenance features are only available from the website version of the app. Although the app is free to download, a yearly subscription fee of $34.99 is required to get access to all of the app's features.
- Apple Support - The Apple Support app was revamped this week with a new customized user interface with support for Dark Mode, guided step-by-step troubleshooting, new and improved chat and call experiences, and more.
- Mactracker - Mactracker is an app that provides detailed information on every Mac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone ever made. The app also details specific information about each product such as processor speed, memory, graphic cards, price, and more. There's also a tab that allows users to obtain information about every software version issued by Apple for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and more. Mactracker received an update this week with the addition of Apple's new Magic Keyboard, an updated support status for Apple's vintage and obsolete products, new GeekBench 5 performance scores, and general bug fixes.
- Pandora - Pandora this week updated its Apple Watch app with Siri support. Siri can now be used to play stations, songs, albums, and podcasts. The app also now allows asking Siri to dislike or like a song to help in tailoring songs to the likes of the user. Pandora has also updated its iOS app with a new Shuffle Stations feature, a more personalized discovery for better music recommendations, and more.
- Ulysses - Popular writing app Ulysses was updated this week to add native support for Apple's iPad trackpad and mouse support which was first introduced in iOS 13.4. Along with the ability to embed external folders from the Files app and edit the contained files with Ulysses 19, the app has introduced several other new features that are worth checking out.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week published a new Apple patent application that details features for editing sent messages, an improved application launcher and many other possible features. (via AppleInsider)
The patent application specifically describes features of "a messaging user interface of a message application" that are not currently in iOS. These include ways to easily acknowledge messages, display private messages, synchronize viewing of content between users, translate foreign language text, and combine messages into a group. The document suggests improvements to some familiar Messages features such as bubble and full-screen effects, as well as sending and receiving money with Apple Pay.
Among the most striking new features presented is full text-editing capability for sent messages. A simple means of selecting a message with a predefined touch input could lead to a menu with an option for editing, resulting in "a message editing interface" and display of "a revised version of the message" for all recipients. The included drawing shows a "Show Edits" button that could show a history of changes.
iMessage apps were introduced in iOS 10 with some limitations, and many messages apps are reliant on existing third-party apps on a user's device. The patent, however, details fuller apps within Messages and new "Application Management Interfaces". The enclosed illustrations appear to show a dynamic application dock that would work alongside "input affordances" to guide the user to find the correct app. There is also the suggestion that applications in Messages could be more well-integrated and interactive.
Improving applications in Messages and text-editing features would allow Apple to better compete with other more fully-featured popular messaging apps such as WeChat. When these features will be included in iOS remains to be seen.
If you've just picked up Apple's new Magic Keyboard for your 2018 or 2020 iPad Pro, here's a list of our favorite tips and tricks that you need to know.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
1. Use Your Free USB-C Port
Apple made a neat design decision to integrate a USB-C port into the side of the Magic Keyboard. This lets you power your connected iPad Pro via pass-through charging, leaving your tablet's onboard USB-C port free to plug in other accessories like an SD card reader or a digital camera. You could even charge an Apple Watch from the free USB-C port, or connect your iPad Pro to an external display.
2. Reclaim the Escape Key
The Magic Keyboard for ?iPad Pro? lacks an Escape key, but there are a couple of ways you can get around this. Try hitting the Command key and the period key in combination. If that doesn't work in the context that you need an Escape function, you can use an option in iPadOS 13.4 that lets you remap modifier keys for various actions.
To do so, first make sure your Magic Keyboard is connected to your iPad Pro, then launch the Settings app and select General -> Keyboard -> Hardware Keyboard. Select the Modifier Keys option, then choose the modifier key that you'd like to use as an Escape key. Choose the Escape action on the next screen, and you'll be good to go.
3. Gain Quick Access to the Virtual Keyboard
If you need to use the onscreen virtual keyboard to do things like type accented characters or use dictation, tap the down arrow key on your Magic Keyboard, then touch and hold the downward-facing chevron in the bottom-right corner of the iPad's screen. To hide the keyboard again, tap the key in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
4. Control Touchscreen Actions With Keys
If you have difficulty using your iPad Pro's touchscreen, you can replicate many of the functions and actions using the keys on a Magic Keyboard. With the Magic Keyboard connected, launch the Settings app and select Accessibility -> Keyboards -> Full Keyboard Access.
Toggle on the switch next to Full Keyboard Access, and you'll be able to control and customize several keyboard shortcuts to replicate a range of functions, movements, interactions, gestures, and more.
5. Adjust Backlight Brightness
Perhaps the only drawback of the Magic Keyboard is that its layout lacks a row of function keys. That leaves users with no dedicated keys for adjusting some system settings, including keyboard backlight brightness.
The Magic Keyboard actually uses the iPad Pro's sensors to detect the lighting in your environment and will adjust the backlit keys accordingly. But if for some reason you find it too bright or too dim, you can adjust this manually. Granted, it's not as convenient as tapping a key when you want to watch a video with the lights out, but at least it's there.
Launch the Settings app and select General -> Keyboard -> Hardware Keyboard, then simply drag the Keyboard Brightness slider to the right or left to make the keys brighter or dimmer.
MacStories' iOS Shortcut magician Federico Viticci has also created a handy shortcut that launches the Hardware Keyboard section of Settings directly. As Viticci suggests, the most convenient way of using it is as a widget on the iPad Home screen.
6. Customize Cursor Behavior
iPadOS includes options that let you customize the appearance and behavior of the trackpad's round cursor. These include increasing the cursor's contrast, changing its color, making it bigger or smaller, changing scrolling speed, and disabling the auto-hide after inactivity. These settings can be found in the Settings app under Accessibility -> Pointer Control.
7. Tap-to-Click and Two-Finger Secondary Click
If you own a Mac, you're likely already familiar with Tap to Click. It lets your trackpad register a tap with a single finger as a virtual click, allowing you to do things like launch apps and open menus without physically clicking the pad.
Apple has included the same feature in iPadOS 13.4, so you can use it with your Magic Trackpad. Launch Settings and choose General -> Trackpad, then switch on the toggle next to Tap to Click. Now you can tap the trackpad's surface with one finger to register a click, instead of having the physically depress the trackpad.
You can also make a two-finger tap or click behave as a secondary click (or right-click, if you're used to a two-button mouse). Simply enable the Two Finger Secondary Click toggle in the same Trackpad settings screen above.
8. Trackpad Gestures
As you'd expect, the Magic Keyboard supports the new trackpad gestures in iPadOS 13.4. For example, you can enter the Slide Over multitasking interface by moving the cursor over to the right side of the screen or dragging an app over from the Dock.
You can also use two- and three-finger gestures. On the Home screen, for example, a two-finger swipe downwards on your trackpad will bring up Spotlight search. When you're using Photos, you can pinch in and out to control picture zoom. You can also use two fingers to scroll up or down when navigating a web page in Safari.
Try swiping downwards with three fingers to be taken back to the Home screen no matter what you're doing on the iPad. Likewise, a three-finger swipe up on the trackpad will open up the iPadOS multitasking interface. And swiping to the left or the right with three fingers will also switch between your open apps.
9. Access Emoji Keyboard
It's easy to access emoji while using the Magic Keyboard. Whenever you're in typing mode, press the globe key in the bottom-corner of the keyboard layout.
As long as you're using only English, the emoji keyboard will appear on the screen. To make it disappear again, simply tap the globe key on the keyboard once again.
10. "Easel Mode" and Other Orientations
Hold your iPad Pro in landscape orientation, prop the bottom side against the ridge below the keys, and rest its top side against the Magic Keyboard cover. Now you have a stable elevated drafting stand or "easel," perfect for drawing.
You can also try this stand trick in portrait orientation for some FaceTime, or whenever you want to have the screen closer to you. It's not quite as stable, but it works. (Hat tip to MacRumors forum member GrindedDown for this one.)
Alternatively, with the iPad Pro attached in the normal way, try flipping the Magic Keyboard over backwards, then take your iPhone and slip it in between the keyboard and the top of your iPad, and you'll have another decent angle for drawing.
It was another big week for Apple news and rumors as we learned more about the new iPhone SE, heard some new rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, and saw that Apple's financials have been holding up reasonably well despite the current global crisis.
This week also saw a new iOS 13.5 (yes, 13.5!) beta release with support for upcoming exposure notification apps, as well as some tweaks to make it easier to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask and to turn off the sometimes annoying tile behavior on Group FaceTime calls.
Read on below and check out our video above for recaps of all of this week's most important stories!
Camera Comparison: 2020 iPhone SE vs. iPhone 8 and iPhone 11 Pro
Apple's new iPhone SE is now available, and after going hands-on with the budget phone last week to share our impressions, this week we did a deep dive on the iPhone SE's camera, comparing it to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 11 Pro to see how it stacks up.
On the technical side, we've seen several teardowns of the iPhone SE, including comparisons to the iPhone 8 and even some tests of which components can be swapped between the two devices.
If you're a current owner of an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 7, make sure to check out our guide to help you decide whether it's worth upgrading to the new iPhone SE. (Spoiler: It almost certainly is.) There is one warning though: If you're a frequent user of 3D Touch or Haptic Touch to help process notifications on your Lock screen, you'll find that it doesn't work on the iPhone SE.
iPhone 12 Lineup With OLED Displays Predicted to Start at $649, Breaking the $999 Barrier
We're starting to hear information about possible pricing for the iPhone 12 lineup later this year, with Front Page Tech's Jon Prosser quoting a source stating pricing will start at $649 for the 5.4-inch model, while the larger 6.1-inch model will start at $749.
Stepping up to the more advanced iPhone 12 Pro lineup, Prosser says the 6.1-inch model will start at $999 and the 6.7-inch model will start at $1,099. With Apple reportedly shifting to an all-OLED display lineup for the iPhone 12, that means you'll be able to get a new iPhone with an OLED display for under $999 for the first time, and well under at that.
Looking at availability, we're continuing to hear that at least some models may see delayed launches, with The Wall Street Journal saying that mass production has been pushed back a month. So we'll have to see how things play out as we get closer to the traditional September announcement.
Finally, a rumor out of left field claims that at least some of the iPhone 12 models will include an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display. We're not putting much stock in this rumor, although it's something we may see in 2021.
iOS 13.5 Beta Makes It Easier to Unlock an iPhone With Passcode When Wearing a Mask
Apple this week threw a bit of a curveball by releasing the third beta of iOS 13.5. Yes, you read that correctly...iOS 13.4.5 has been renamed iOS 13.5 midstream in order to accommodate the new exposure notification functionality that will support apps designed to notify you if you've been in proximity to someone who later tests positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. For more on exposure notification, check out our guide covering every aspect of it.
The new beta also includes a couple of other tweaks related to the new reality we've all been living in, with Face ID on devices running iOS 13.5 quickly recognizing if you're wearing a mask and switching to passcode entry for authorization.
And for those of you who have been using Group FaceTime a lot more lately, there's a new option to turn off Automatic Prominence, the feature that expands the tile of whoever is speaking at the moment. It can be a bit annoying, especially if there are a lot of people on the call, so the new option will be a welcome addition when iOS 13.5 officially launches in a few weeks.
Apple Reports 2Q 2020 Results: $11.2B Profit on $58.3B Revenue, All-Time Record for Services Revenue
After announcing back in February that it wouldn't meet its financial guidance for the March quarter due to coronavirus impacts, Apple this week released its earnings for the quarter and they weren't as bad as many as feared. Revenue and earnings per share were actually up slightly compared to the year-ago quarter as Apple's booming services and wearables segments helped maintain momentum.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company has its "head down and working" on upcoming products and is well-positioned to recover. As with many other companies, Apple didn't provide any financial guidance for the current quarter, but said it expects to see growth in iPad and Mac as people have focused on working and learning from home.
Intel Unveils 10th-Generation 'Comet Lake' Processors Appropriate for Updated iMacs
Amid some rumors of an update for Apple's iMac lineup at some point this year, potentially including a redesign and a new 23-inch size option, Intel has released its latest 10th-generation "Comet Lake" processors appropriate for Apple's mainstream desktop.
A number of the new chips are natural successors to the ones currently found in the iMac lineup, but it remains to be seen how things might change for the family with a potential refresh. The new chips continue to be manufactured on Intel's 14nm++ process, so performance gains are likely to be modest.
Newly Discovered macOS Image Capture Bug Can Fill Up Hard Drives With Empty Data
A recently discovered bug with Apple's Image Capture app for macOS could lead to users seeing gigabytes of storage space disappearing when transferring photos from an iOS device.
The issue occurs when Image Capture or any other app using the Image Capture framework converts HEIF photos taken on an iOS device to the more standard JPG format. If the option to "Keep Originals" is selected upon copying, 1.5MB of empty data is added to each and every file.
Apple has been notified about the bug, but it's not clear when we can expect a fix to be rolled out.
Apple Expecting to Reopen 'Many More' Stores in May
All of Apple's retail stores outside of Greater China have been shuttered since March, with the exception of the company's lone store in South Korea which reopened in mid-April, but the company is looking toward opening "many more" of its stores as the calendar flips over to May.
Apple's vice president of retail and people Deirdre O'Brien shared the news in a weekly update to employees, and Tim Cook followed up in an earnings-related interview to note that Austria and Australia would likely be the next countries to see store reopenings.
As stores reopen, Apple will take into account local conditions and recommendations, likely focusing on repairs and purchase pickups while limiting browsing and customer counts and enforcing social distancing.
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 updated its COVID-19 screening app, which was created to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The new version of the app includes updated symptoms and recommended actions that align with the CDC guidelines. The CDC this week added several new symptoms that can be signs of the coronavirus, including chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of smell or taste.
Apple's updated COVID-19 app also includes tips for wearing a cloth mask to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. The mask section includes tips on creating a mask, how to wear it, where to wear it, and how to sanitize it.
Apple has also updated its accompanying COVID-19 website to provide the same information.
Apple developed the COVID-19 app and website in partnership with the CDC, White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA. Along with the features introduced today, the tools provided by Apple let users answer a series of questions on risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms to receive CDC recommendations on the next steps that they need to take.
The screening tool is available to anyone who is 18 years or older in the United States. Data provided in the COVID-19 app and on the website is not shared with Apple, the CDC, or other government agencies.
Nanoleaf has been working on new hexagon-shaped lighting panels to add to its triangle and square-shaped lighting panel options, and the Hexagons are now available for limited pre-orders.
Customers who signed up to be notified when the Hexagons became available were this week sent emails allowing them to place a pre-order. Pre-orders are set to open for everyone on Friday, May 15, and the Hexagons will be available for regular purchase towards the end of June.
The Nanoleaf Hexagons are the first panels that are part of Nanoleaf's new Shapes line, which will feature shape interconnectivity.
Like the Nanoleaf Canvas and Aurora, the Hexagons can be tiled together to create unique patterns using a small number of lights or multiple packs of light panels. The panels are designed to attach to the wall in an interlocking pattern using adhesive.
The lights can be controlled with Scenes in the Nanoleaf app, and a Rhythm option lets the lights shift based on the music that's playing. As with the Nanoleaf Canvas, the Hexagons are touch-enabled and will change colors when touched, allowing for games and other interactions.
More information about the Hexagons can be found on the Nanoleaf website.
Automatic, a company that made the Automatic Adapter that plugs into a car's OBD-II port to provide vehicle information like distance traveled, gas used, time spent in the car, and more, is shutting down.
The imminent shuttering of the company was announced on the Automatic website, which says that the global health crisis has impacted its business.
The Automatic connected car product, service, and platform are shutting down at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on May 28.
All services, including crash alerts, roadside assistance, and real-time location and sharing will stop when the shutdown occurs. Automatic recommends that non-functional adapters be recycled using standard electronic recycling procedures.
Automatic released several adapters over the course of the last several years, and its products were popular among those who wanted to use an iPhone to monitor vehicle diagnostics and sign up for services like crash alerts. Service plans were priced between $2 and $5 per month.
For this week's giveaway, we've once again teamed up with Plex to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a cord-cutting bundle that includes a lifetime Plex Pass, an antenna, and a TV tuner for creating a live TV setup that provides all kinds of content that can be watched without the need for a cable subscription.
Plex is an all-in-one media hub that organizes your existing library of content from TV shows and movies to music and photos, plus it offers a whole slew of additional free content even if you don't have an existing media library.
Plex provides live news, Podcasts, live TV content, and ad-supported movies and TV shows made available through partnerships with Warner Bros, Lionsgate, Legendary, and more. Just today, Plex debuted support for TV shows and movies from Crackle, adding tons of new content that can be watched for free.
With the addition of Crackle, Plex users in the United States have access to more individual movies than can be streamed on Netflix, with no monthly fees, plus it includes original Crackle content.
One of the most useful parts about Plex is that it learns about your viewing preferences based on what you watch, so it can recommend new TV shows, movies, podcasts, and web shows that you might not otherwise have known about.
To use Plex, you can set up a Plex Media Server on a Mac, which makes all of your media content accessible on your devices through the Plex iOS and Apple TV apps, along with the Plex apps for consoles, Android devices, and other set-top boxes.
Plex's Live TV service, which can replace cable for basic television watching, doesn't require any kind of cable subscription. It can be set up with just a digital tuner and digital antenna, which lets you access HD content from channels available over-the-air like ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and the CW, plus local programming that includes sports and news.
Plex's website has a full rundown on which DVR tuners and antennas are compatible with Plex's over-the-air service, which is worth checking out if you're thinking of cutting out cable. For our giveaway, Plex is offering a Mac-compatible SiliconDust HDHomeRun Tuner with multi-room multi-user support, and a Clearstream Eclipse TV Antenna.
Plex's Live TV functionality requires a Plex Pass subscription, priced at $5 per month, $40 per year, or $120 for a lifetime subscription, all of which are more affordable options than a standard cable subscription. Plex is including a lifetime Plex Pass in the giveaway, providing our winners with lifetime access to Plex's premium service.
Plex's free content, which includes all of its ad-supported TV shows and movies, can be watched with a free Plex account.
We have two Plex cord-cutting bundles to give away, which include a tuner, antenna, and Plex Pass. To enter to win our giveaway, use the Gleam.io widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, following us on Instagram, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.
Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.
Apple has signed a two-year content creation deal with writer and producer Annie Weisman, who has worked on "Desperate Housewives" and is the creator of upcoming Apple TV+ show "Physical," reports Deadline.
"Physical," which stars Rose Byrne, is a dramedy set in 1980s Southern California. Byrne plays a quietly tortured housewife who gets into the world of aerobics. Weisman is showrunner on "Physical" and she will also work on other projects exclusively for Apple TV+.
Prior to inking a deal with Apple, Weisman was at Universal TV. In addition to "Desperate Housewives," she also worked on "Almost Family," "The Path," "Suburgatory," and "About a Boy."
Apple has signed similar content creation deals with a number of high-profile writers and producers, including Alfonso Cuaron, Jason Katims, Lee Eisenberg, Justin Lin, and more. Details on Apple's content deals and shows that are in the works can be found in our Apple TV Shows guide.
Apple in the iOS 13.5 beta introduced an exposure notification API, which will let apps from public health authorities and governments worldwide help people figure out if they've been exposed to COVID-19, and if so, what steps to take next to minimize the spread of the virus.
Exposure Notification Explained
Exposure notification started out as contact tracing, an Apple-Google initiative that was announced in early April to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Apple and Google created an API that is designed to allow iPhones and Android smartphones to interface with one another for contact tracing purposes, so if and when you happen to be nearby someone who is later diagnosed with COVID-19, you can get a notification and take the appropriate steps to self isolate and get medical help if necessary.
Determining whether you've come into contact with someone relies on your iPhone, which, using the exposure notification API, interacts with other iPhones and Android smartphones over Bluetooth whenever you're around someone else who also owns a smartphone, exchanging anonymous identifiers.
Apple and Google are developing the underlying APIs and Bluetooth functionality, but they are not developing the apps that will use those APIs. Instead, the technology will be incorporated into apps designed by public health authorities worldwide, which will be able to use the tracking information to send notifications on exposure and follow up with recommended next steps.
The APIs have been created with privacy and security in mind, and app usage is opt in rather than mandatory.
How Exposure Notification Works
Almost everyone has a smartphone, which makes them ideal for determining who you've come in contact with. Exposure notification has a self-explanatory name, and in a nutshell, the feature is designed to send you a notification if you've been in proximity to a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Here's a detailed, step-by-step walkthrough on how it works:
- Two people, Ryan and Eric, are both at the same grocery store shopping for food on a Tuesday afternoon. Eric has an iPhone and Ryan has an Android phone, both with a health app that uses the exposure tracking API.
- There's a long line, so Eric and Ryan are standing in the checkout line together for approximately 10 minutes. During this time, each of their phones is transmitting entirely anonymous identifier beacons, and picking up the identifier beacons transmitted by the other person. Their phones know they've been in contact and store that information on the device itself, transmitting it nowhere else.
- A week later, Ryan comes down with COVID-19 symptoms, sees a doctor, and is diagnosed with COVID-19. He opens up his health app, verifies his diagnosis using documentation from a healthcare provider, and taps a button that uploads his identifier beacon to a centralized cloud server.
- Later that day, Eric's health app downloads a list of all recent beacons from people that have contracted COVID-19. Eric then receives a notification that he was in contact with someone that has COVID-19 because of his interaction with Ryan at the grocery store.
- Eric does not know it was Ryan who has COVID-19 because no personally identifiable information was collected, but the system knows Eric was exposed to COVID-19 for 10 minutes on Tuesday, and that he was standing close to the person who exposed him based on the Bluetooth signal strength between their two phones, allowing the app to provide the appropriate information.
- Eric follows the health app's steps on what to do after COVID-19 exposure.
- If Eric later comes down with COVID-19, he follows the same steps listed above to alert people he's been in contact with, allowing everyone to better monitor for potential exposure.
Apple and Google also created a handy graphic that explains the process, which we've included below:
What You Need to Do to Use Exposure Notification
Apps that use Apple's exposure notification API will be available when Apple releases iOS 13.5, a beta update that has the API to allow public health authorities to begin incorporating the API into their COVID-19 apps.
Exposure Notification is a feature that's on by default in the iOS 13.5 beta, and it may be enabled automatically when the update is released, but actually using the API requires you to download an app from a verified health authority. Many countries are developing country-specific apps that you will be able to download.
At the current time, there are no apps that use Apple's API available, but once these apps are released, you will need to download one and consent to using it before Exposure Notification becomes functional on your smartphone.
Without an app that you explicitly download and opt in to using, the Exposure Notification API on the iPhone doesn't do anything at this time.
Cross-Platform App Communication
Apple and Google have both worked to create APIs for exposure notifications that work together so iPhone and Android smartphones can interface with one another and you'll receive notifications if exposure happens even if the person you've been in contact with has an Android smartphone.
Exposure Notification Opt-In
In the iOS 13.5 beta, Exposure Notification is a privacy setting that is on by default, but using the feature is still opt-in rather than opt-out because you need to download an app and consent to sign up for the exposure notification system.
If you do, at some point, get COVID-19, there's a separate consent process for anonymously alerting people that you've been in contact with. The app needs express consent to inform others of the diagnosis, and nothing happens automatically.
Exposure Notifications can be turned off in the Privacy section of the Settings app. As you can see in the demo screenshot below, users will need to tap "Allow" after installing an app to allow the app to collect and share random IDs with nearby devices.
Disabling Exposure Notification
You can disable Exposure Notification entirely by following the steps in our how to, and there will also be options to toggle off the feature on a per-app basis if multiple apps that use the API are installed. Apps that you have installed that use the API will be listed in the Privacy settings on your iPhone.
Exposure Notification Verification
When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, before an alert is sent out to the people they've been in contact with, the apps that are using Apple and Google's exposure notification APIs will require verification that a person has tested positive for the disease.
This will prevent people from using the system maliciously to trick others into believing exposure has happened when it has not.
As an example, a person who tests positive for COVID-19 might receive a QR code with their test results, which could be scanned into an exposure notification app for verification purposes. The verification process will vary by region, according to Apple.
How Exposure Notifications Will Work
As explained above, with a health app that uses the exposure notification API installed, your smartphone exchanges anonymous identifiers with each person you come in contact with that also has an app that uses the API.
Your phone keeps a list of these identifiers on it, and this list remains on your device - it is not uploaded anywhere. The exception is if you're diagnosed with COVID-19 and then follow the steps to send out notifications to the smartphones that have been in contact with yours.
In this situation, the list of random identifiers that your iPhone has been assigned over the course of the previous 14 days will be sent to a centralized server. Other people's iPhones check this server and download that list, checking it against the identifiers stored on their own iPhones. If there's a match, they receive a notification about exposure with more information about the steps to take next.
Matches are made on device rather than on a server in a central location, which preserves privacy while also making sure people know about possible exposure.
For a more simple explanation, here's a step-by-step walkthrough on how it works:
- Ryan and Eric interact at the grocery store. During this interaction, Ryan's Android phone has a random identifier number, 12486, which is unique to Ryan's phone (and which changes every 15 minutes).
- Eric's iPhone records Ryan's random identifier number, 12486, and sends Ryan his own random identifier, 34875. Both Ryan and Eric are in contact with a dozen people at the grocery store, so their smartphones download random identifiers from all of these phones.
- Ryan contracts COVID-19, confirms his diagnosis in the app, and consents to upload all of the identifiers his phone has used for the last two weeks (including 12486) to a central server accessible by Eric's COVID-19 app. At this point, Ryan's identifier is shared with a central database, but these random identifier numbers are not associated with any personal information and don't include location data.
- Eric's phone downloads the list of identifiers of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, which includes Ryan's identifier, 12486, and compares it against the list of identifiers that have been stored based on Eric's interactions.
- A match is made, so Eric receives a notification that he has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and he receives info on what steps to take next.
Health apps will have access to information that includes the amount of time that Eric and Ryan's phone were in contact and the distance between them, as determined by Bluetooth signal strength, which can be used to estimate distance.
Based on this information, the app can deliver tailored notifications to Eric, perhaps letting him know his exposure level and potential danger based on those factors. The system will know the day he was exposed, how long the exposure lasted, and the Bluetooth signal strength of that contact. No other personal information is shared.
When Data is Shared
For the most part, the exposure notification system runs on your device. Identifiers are collected and matched entirely on your smartphone and are not shared with a central system. There are two exceptions to this:
- When a user is diagnosed with COVID-19 and chooses to report that positive diagnosis to the contact tracing app, the most recent identifier beacons (from the last 14 days) will be added to the positive diagnosis list shared by a public health authority to allow others who came in contact with that identifier to be alerted.
- When a user is notified through their app that they've come into contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, the day the contact occurred, how long it lasted, and the Bluetooth signal strength of that contact will be shared.
Exposure Notification Privacy Details
First and foremost, full privacy details on exposure notification are available on Apple's website, but we'll cover some important frequently asked questions about privacy below.
- No identifying info - Your name, Apple ID, and other information are never shared in or associated with apps that use the exposure tracking API.
- No location data - The app does not collect, use, or share location data. Exposure notification isn't for tracking where people are, but for determining whether a person has been around another person.
- Random identifiers - Your iPhone is assigned a random, rotating identifier (a string of numbers) that is transmitted using Bluetooth to other nearby devices. Identifiers change every 10 to 20 minutes.
- On-device operation - Identifiers that your phone comes into contact with, or phones that come into contact with your identifier, are stored on device and are not uploaded anywhere without consent.
- Consent-based sharing - If you do test positive for COVID-19, the people you have been in contact with will not receive an alert without express permission.
- On-device identifier matching - If you contract COVID-19 and consent to share that information, your identifier list from the last two weeks will be uploaded to a central server that other devices can check to identify a match on their iPhones.
- Opt-in - Exposure notification is entirely opt-in. You do not need to use the feature, and it does not work unless you download an app that uses the API. It also does not work if you turn off the Exposure Notifications option in the Settings app.
- Data sharing with Apple/Google - Apple and Google will not receive identifying information about the users, location data, or any other devices the user has been in proximity of.
- Data monetization - Apple and Google will not monetize the exposure notification project.
- Verified health apps only - Apple's APIs will only be able to be used by verified public health apps from public health authorities around the world. Apps must meet specific criteria around privacy, security, and data control. Apps will be able to access a list of beacons provided by users confirmed as positive for COVID-19 who have opted in to sharing them, but no personally identifiable information is included.
- Disabling exposure notification - Apple and Google can disabled the exposure notification system on a regional basis when it is no longer needed.
Apps That Use the Exposure Notification API
Right now, there are no apps that use the Exposure Notification API because it's not publicly released yet. Apple plans to release iOS 13.5 with exposure notification support in mid-May, and at that point, we'll see the first apps that use it and will list them here.
The Future of Exposure Notification
Apple and Google are releasing an API for apps to use in May, but eventually, later in the year, exposure notification will be introduced at the operating system level to ensure a broader adoption, which is necessary for contact tracing to succeed in cutting down on the spread of COVID-19.
When the feature is built into the operating system, it will continue to work the way it does with an app right now, but no app will need to be installed for identifier information to be exchanged.
Have a question about the exposure notification system, know of something we left out, or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.