News from Six ColorsThe latest in the world of Apple
Six Colors Apple, technology, and other stuff by Jason Snell & Dan Moren
- (Podcast) Upgrade 335: Repudiation of a Decadeby Jason Snell on January 18, 2021 at 9:20 pm
If reports are to be believed, 2021 is shaping up to be a year where the Mac takes two steps forward—but only after taking one step back. We analyze the rumors of new MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Pros. A new Apple display? The death of the Touch Bar? Magsafe returns to the Mac? Is it 2015 again or are we just dreaming?
- (Sponsor) Magic Lasso Adblock: Block ads, trackers and pop-upsby Jason Snell on January 18, 2021 at 6:00 pm
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It’s as if Apple themselves had designed an ad blocker.
- Will 2021 be the year Apple’s U1 chip goes wide? (Macworld/Dan Moren)by Dan Moren on January 18, 2021 at 3:41 pm
Apple’s no stranger to introducing and popularizing new technologies. The original iMac wasn’t the first to use USB, but it drove adoption of the standard. Multitouch displays existed before the iPhone, but it was the first real commercial product offering it. Sometimes those technologies take a while to gestate, though. And there may be no better example in recent years than Apple’s take on ultra wideband, or UWB.
Like those other technologies, ultra wideband isn’t new as a concept, but it’s something that hasn’t really found a home in the consumer market. In 2019, Apple released the iPhone 11 series and included a custom chip dubbed the U1. During the introduction, Apple talked up the amazing properties of the U1, and how it could be used to not only track the location of objects with amazing precision, but even has the ability to point you in the right direction towards them.
But almost a year and a half later, U1 remains a technology without much of an application. Yes, it’s built in to AirDrop to show you which other devices are closest, but that only works with other U1-enabled iPhones and it’s more of a proof of concept than an actual feature to tout. Other than that, there’s really not much there there—yet. With a few U1-enabled technologies waiting in the wings, 2021 finally be the breakout year for this technology.
- Safari 14 added WebExtensions support. So where are the extensions?by Jason Snell on January 15, 2021 at 9:25 pm
At WWDC 2020, Apple announced it was going to support Chrome-style browser extensions (the WebExtensions API) in Safari. But with a catch, as Dan pointed out:
Apple’s approaching this in an unsurprisingly Apple-like fashion. If you want to distribute a web extension, it’s got to be wrapped in a native Mac application designed in Xcode. Installing the app from the app store will also install the web extension.
At the time, it seemed to me like it might all amount to nothing if extension developers didn’t want to do the extra work to get up and running in Safari:
That’s a lot of barriers just to reach Mac users running Safari who could just as easily open a different browser to get that functionality…. If you’ve got a favorite Chrome extension that you’d like to see come to macOS, you may need to write to the developer and try to convince them.
I hope Apple makes this work and Safari gets a much richer extension library out of this, but there’s also a scenario where plug-in developers just don’t bother with Safari. That would be a shame. We’ll see.
Months after Safari 14’s release, are developers “bothering with Safari?”
The answer seems to be largely no—at least, not yet. The Mac App Store’s Safari extensions library seems to be largely populated with the same stuff that was there before Safari 14 was released, though there are some exceptions.
- Major spoilers for the Mac in 2021 ↦by Jason Snell on January 15, 2021 at 8:08 pm
If you like to be surprised about what new products Apple is planning, you might want to avert your eyes. On Friday there were two major reports about Apple’s forthcoming Mac plans.
First off, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reported about new Mac desktops.
Gurman reports that Apple will (finally) redesign the iMac, launching two new versions that are styled more like the Pro Display XDR, with small bezels and a flat back, and using a next-generation version of the M1 processor.
On the Mac Pro side, Gurman says that Apple is planning an update to the Mac Pro that might actually retain Intel processors, but is also designing a half-sized Mac Pro (he likens it to the Power Mac G4 Cube) that would run on souped-up Apple silicon chips.
And then Gurman drops this news:
As part of its revived Mac desktop efforts, Apple has started early development of a lower-priced external monitor to sell alongside the Pro Display XDR. Apple’s current monitor debuted in 2019 and costs $5,000 — before factoring in the $1,000 stand.
It’s hard to imagine Apple releasing a new Mac Pro mini without an external monitor, but it still boggles my mind that Apple only sells a $5,000 monitor right now.
In laptop news, supply-chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is at it again, with details about forthcoming Mac laptops, as reported by Benjamin Mayo at 9to5Mac.
Kuo’s report says that Apple will release two new MacBook Pro models in the second half of the year, both using those next-generation Apple silicon processors that more capable than the M1. He says these laptops won’t have Touch Bars, but will use a new version of the old-fashioned MagSafe plug to charge.
Kuo also says the laptops will offer more diverse IO options to reduce the need for dongles, which is a little perplexing—SD card slot? USB-A port? HDMI port? What does it mean?
In any event, 2021 is shaping up to be an eventful year for the Mac.