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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Doing the Math on Apple’s New Apple One Bundle

Apple today introduced Apple One, an offer of three different bundles of Apple services. There is an individual plan, a family plain, and, in countries that offer Apple News+, a premium plan. (That’s the US, Canada, Australia, and UK.)

Here are the services available in the bundle:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV+
  • Apple Arcade
  • Apple News+
  • Apple Fitness
  • iCloud storage

The family plan, which provides Apple Music, TV+, Arcade, and 200GB iCloud storage is a great deal: at $20 a month, you can share it with up to five other people, which means that, with a family of six (or a group of friends), it comes to $3.33 per month.

The individual plan can be good for some people, if they use Apple Music and at least one other service, and if the 50GB iCloud storage is enough. But for me, the math doesn’t work out.

I currently pay for Apple Music annually; that’s $100, or $8.25 per month. I also pay $3 a month for 200GB iCloud storage; the 50GB in the Apple One bundle isn’t enough. And I may continue to pay for Apple TV+, after the free period runs out early next year. To get the additional iCloud storage, I’d have to pay $18 a month.

If I stay with my annual Apple Music plan, add Apple TV+, and continue to pay for the iClouds storage, that’ll only cost me $16.25 per month. I have no reason to want to pay for Apple Arcade, so the bundle is more expensive. Even if I was paying monthly for Apple Music, I’d be paying $18 a month whether it’s a bundle or individual services, and, while I don’t know how it will work in the future, it might not be that easy to drop the bundle and return to individual subscriptions.

My other option would be to pay for the premium bundle. To be honest, while I don’t think Apple News+ is worth the $10 monthly price, I’d be willing to pay, say, $5 a month. With the premium bundle I’d save on the $3 iCloud storage fee, because it comes with 2TB storage (of which I really have no need). And I don’t think Fitness+ will be for me. So I’d pay $30 a month for extra services I don’t need.

I don’t know why Apple doesn’t have more options for the individual bundle, such as offering one which includes Apple News+. Apple will most likely tweak these bundles over time, and perhaps offer annual pricing for them. (Apple Music, Arcade, and Fitness+ currently offer annual prices; News+ and TV+ do not.) It’s in Apple’s interest to get more individuals into the prorgam.

But in the meantime, if you have two or more people wanting these services, either family plan is a no-brainer.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #157: Apple’s New iPhone 12 and HomePod mini

Josh and Kirk talk about Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 12, and whether they plan to upgrade. They explain the point of the HomePod mini, and discuss what Siri can do with this new home device from Apple. We also look at the new MagSafe charging system on the iPhone 12.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple Announces iPhone 12 and HomePod mini

Every new iPhone has a marquee feature that Apple focuses on in its new product announcement. In recent years, Apple has repeatedly highlighted improvements to the camera system, spending the majority of time in their new product presentation showing the beautiful photos that the phone can take. While the camera in the iPhone 12 gets a bump, this year‘s marquee feature is a new mobile technology that most people won’t be able to benefit from: 5G.

The iPhone 12 also sports a new design, with narrower bezels, and a new, more robust type of glass, as well as being “the fastest iPhone ever,” which is the case every year. Apple also announced the HomePod mini, which is more of a smart speaker with Siri features than an audio device, like its older sibling.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.