Apple Announces New Features in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey

It’s a bumper year for new features in Apple’s operating systems, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey. Monday’s preview at the Worldwide Developer Conference lasted nearly two hours, with a wide range of features from Safari to Mail, and from productivity to privacy. Apple’s operating systems are getting a big update this fall, with more features that work together across devices, and refinements to key apps and features that could make using Apple devices smoother. Here’s an overview of what’s new.

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Apple’s New Privacy Features for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey

Apple made its first presentation yesterday of its 2021 vintage of operating systems: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. In addition to some new features to increase productivity, there are many new privacy features that give users more control over their data. And Apple has announced iCloud+, a privacy-focused service available to all users who pay for additional iCloud storage.

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Hands On with Apple’s New M1 iMac and M1 iPad Pro

We’ve finally got the second delivery of Apple’s M1 Macs, after the first salvo, last fall, with updated versions of the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and 13″ Mac Pro. But these models were simply new gets in old clothes; the new 24″ iMac has a totally new design, replacing the older 21.5″ model. This new iMac increases the display from 4K to 4.5K, with only small changes in the computer’s size. We also now have Apple’s M1 chip powering the latest iPad Pro models, both at the same size as previously, 11″ and 12.9″.

Here’s what’s new in these devices.

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Apple Announces New iMacs, iPads, AirTags, and More

After the first flurry of Macs running Apple’s own processors, in November of last year, Apple has made another step toward transitioning the entire Mac line to these new chips. The new iMac, announced yesterday, not only features Apple’s own M1 processor, but is the first Mac to benefit from a redesign along with this upgrade. At the same time, Apple announced new iPad Pros, AirTags, and a refresh of the Apple TV 4K.

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Apple’s Mac mini: The Long Story of a Small Computer

If we look back at the history of Apple, there have been Macs in many shapes and sizes: from the original all-in-one Macintosh to the thin-edged iMac; from the short-lived PowerMac G4 Cube to the “trashcan” Mac Pro. There have been towers and cheese graters and pizza boxes; there have been drab beige corporate Macs and bulbous, colorful iMacs.

One Mac stands out for its unique size, and its name describes it perfectly: the Mac mini. Introduced 16 years ago, and touted, at the time, as “the most affordable and compact Mac ever,” the $499 Mac mini was marketed as a gateway Mac. The first Mac without a display in many years, the Mac mini allowed users to connect existing monitors, and this feature was used to attract “switchers,” people moving from Windows to Mac at the time.

Over the years, the Mac mini has remained a stalwart of the Mac lineup. While it’s never been on of the most popular Macs, it has its fans, and is ideal for a number of use cases. And today’s Mac mini is one of the fastest Macs ever.

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iTunes at 20: How One App Changed Apple’s Course

On January 10, 2001, Steve Jobs went on the stage at Macworld Expo in San Francisco and presented a new app that would change the course of Apple. iTunes would become Apple’s most important app, not only because it was the companion of the iPod that would be released later that year, but also because it would become the framework for all of the company’s future online stores. (Watch the original presentation: part 1, part 2.)

iTunes was far from the first app of its kind; during the presentation, Jobs showed a few competing music player apps, and said “We’re late to this party and we’re about to do a leapfrog.” Apple’s late catch-up would prove to be one of their best decisions.

Jobs explained the process of ripping and burning CDs, since, for many, this was new. He ripped a CD – the B 52s’ Time Capsule – then he imported a folder with 1,000 songs to his library. He then showed how to play music, how to sort the library, how to search for songs, and how to create a playlist; all of these were techniques that were new for most people.

Most important, iTunes was free.

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A Week with the New Apple M1 MacBook Air

Apple’s new M1 Macs – the first Macs with Apple’s own chips in them – have started shipping, and users are finding that the company’s claims of speed and battery life were not exaggerated. Benchmarks have shown that single-core performance – which is the majority of what computers do – outstrips every available Mac, and multi-core performance is behind only the three fastest Mac models. Single-core performance using Rosetta emulation (which allows you to use apps compiled for Intel processors, not for the new Apple chips) also beats all Intel Macs. (If you want some technical details on why this system on a chip is so fast, read this article.)

But it’s not just about the speed; in most cases, we don’t need speed. Most of our computing involves using trivial tasks, such as browsing the web, writing and reading emails, and other non-processor intensive operations.

Battery life also outperforms other Apple laptops by up to 25%, meaning that the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro really have all-day battery life.

Specs and benchmarks aren’t everything. What is most important is real-world usage. Here’s an overview of my first week with a new MacBook Air.

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How to manage iTunes Store and App Store Subscriptions

There are lots of subscriptions you can purchase from Apple. They may be for services that Apple sells, such as Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, or the new Apple One bundle, as well as any subscription you have for additional iCloud storage above the free 5 GB that you get. You may have subscriptions for specific apps that function on a monthly or annual payment. Or you may have subscriptions to third-party services — such as HBO NOW, Hulu, Pandora, or Spotify — that you’ve purchased through the iTunes Store.

It’s easy to manage these subscriptions once you find where to go. In this article, I’ll show you how to access information about your iTunes Store and App Store subscriptions, and how to cancel them.

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Apple Announces First Macs with Apple Silicon

I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I’m used to every new generation of computer being 20% or 30% faster, but when Apple said that their new M1 chip is more than three times faster, and battery life on new Macs the double of existing models, I have to say I gasped a bit. With the introduction of “system on a chip” Macs, where all the key chips in a computer are on a single processor, Apple seems to have come up with performance updates the likes of which we have never seen.

Apple has announced three new Macs with its own processors: a MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. On the outside, none of these Macs look any different; there was no mention of them being thinner or lighter, as is usually the case. But under the hood, these are revolutionary computers.

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