Over the course of an hour this afternoon, Apple announced new iMac and iPad models powered by the same Apple M1 chips used in the latest MacBook Air and MacBok Pro laptops, as well as a bunch of other things. There’s a new Apple TV 4K with a faster processor and new remote control. And there’s a new version of iOS 14.5 that will give users a little more control over their privacy while causing headaches for app developers that rely on tracking their users for advertising and analytics purposes.
The company also revealed a new version of Apple Podcasts that could shake up the podcasting business in ways that are a little tough to wrap my head around at the moment… particularly since Apple is still one of the biggest players in the podcasting space, but no longer the only 800-pound gorilla in the room.
And then there’s AirTags, Apple’s version of Tile’s Bluetooth trackers which could be extraordinarily useful for customers… but which could also lead to questions of anti-competitive behavior at a time when US regulators are looking pretty closely at big tech.
Of course, not all of today’s news is Apple related. There are also leaks pointing to a new fitness-oriented VR headset from HTC and a new Windows app store experience. And we’re not the only ones reminiscing about netbooks.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Apple launches AirTags
Apple’s AirTags are like Tile trackers… but for Apple products. Price at $29 or $99 for a 4-pack, they work with the Find My app on iPhones with U1 chips to guide you to your stuff whether it’s nearby or far away (thanks to an encrypted, private network that leverages other iOS devices to help locate your tags).
- Tile bashes Apple’s new AirTags as unfair competition [TechCrunch]
The folks who maker Tile trackers and maintain a network that lets you find your lost stuff aren’t too happy that Apple has cloned their product and service for AirTag and Find My. This happens all the time, but regulators are looking at big tech now.
- Apple unveils the next generation of Apple TV 4K [Apple]
More details about the new Apple TV 4K with an Apple A12 Bionic chip. It supports HDR and Dolby Vision at 60 frames per second. You can tune the color balance using the light sensor on an iPhone. And the Siri Remote has a clickpad with jog wheel functions.
- Apple leads the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions [Apple Podcasts
The new Apple Podcasts app with a new UI and new features including Apple Podcasts subscriptions for creators that want to charge for premium content (whether people want to pay remains to be seen). Personally I’m not unhappy about new ways for podcasters to monetize their work. But the growing fragmentation of the podcasting space is going to make things complicated for smaller creators – do you release exclusive content only for subscribers if they have iOS devices?
- iOS 14.5 will roll out next week [Engadget]
iOS and iPadOS 14.5 roll out next week w/support for unlocking iPhone and Apple Watche while wearing a face mask, the new Apple Podcasts app (with subscription support), options for choosing Siri voices, more Apple Pencil features, and privacy enhancements
- Yes, bring back netbooks [BoingBoing]
Liliputing commenters aren’t the only ones who miss being able to find small, cheap, but reasonably decent Windows or Linux laptops.
- HTC Vive Air VR headset (IF World Design Guide]
Unannounced HTC Vive Air VR headset shows up at the IF World Design Guide website, with an emphasis on VR exercise. It features breathable, quick-drying knitted fabrics for improved ventilation while wearing the headset during workouts. Update: HTC says it’s just a concept and there are no plans to release the Vive Air. But some of the elements of this design could make their way to future products.
- Microsoft is building a new app store for Windows 10 in major revitalization effort
Report: Microsoft plans to revamp the Windows 10 app store with a new version featuring an updated user interface, monthly updates, and new developer rules including support for unpackaged Win32 apps & 3rd-party in-app payment systems.