Top Stories: New Mac Pro Orders Begin, Apple Card iPhone Installments, iOS 13.3 Released

This week's big news was obviously the launch of the new Mac Pro, and we had tons of coverage about Apple's new professional desktop machine and accompanying display. The first orders will begin arriving next week, and we'll have much more coverage to come.

In other news, Apple launched its interest-free iPhone installment plan for Apple Card users in the United States, we saw the release of iOS 13.3 and other related updates for Apple's various platforms, and we may have at least a partial fix for some of the issues related to popping noises coming from the speakers of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro.

New Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Now Available to Order


After over two years of waiting, Apple is now accepting orders for its all-new Mac Pro, with pricing starting at $5,999 in the United States. With an impressive selection of upgrade options and optional $400 wheels, a fully maxed out Mac Pro runs over $52,000.


Apple says a rack-mounted version of the computer is also "coming soon," with pricing starting at $6,499.

The new Mac Pro is complemented by the Pro Display XDR, which is also now available to order for $4,999. Both products are in the process of shipping to customers, with deliveries expected to begin early next week.

New Mac Pro Accessories Added to Apple Store Along With Logitech 4K Webcam for Pro Display XDR


Apple has added a selection of accessories for the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR to its online store, including graphics and storage modules, a lock adapter, an AUX power cable kit, and more.


For the Pro Display XDR, there is an optional $999 stand, a VESA mount adapter, and Logitech's new 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam for $199.95.

Meanwhile, on our YouTube channel this week, we've shared a video highlighting useful accessories for the new 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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Apple Card's 24-Month Interest-Free iPhone Installment Plan Now Available


Apple Card Monthly Installments are now available in the United States, allowing customers to purchase a new ‌iPhone‌ with ‌the Apple Card‌ and pay for it over 24 months with no interest.


For each iPhone purchased with the Apple Card, you will receive 3% Daily Cash. If the iPhone is purchased between December 10 and December 31, it is eligible for a doubled 6% Daily Cash as part of a holiday promotion.

We've put together an explainer on how Apple Card Monthly Installments work, including how to view and make monthly payments.

Apple Releases iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3


Apple this week released a series of software updates, including iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3, macOS 10.15.2, watchOS 6.1.1, tvOS 13.3 for the Apple TV, and an update for the HomePod speaker.


The latest iOS and iPadOS versions introduce Communication Limits for Screen Time, letting parents control who their children are able to contact, with the feature covering FaceTime, Phone, Messages, and iCloud Contacts.

iOS 13.3 and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.3 also add support for NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compliant security keys in Safari. That means physical security keys like the Lightning-equipped YubiKey can be used for more secure two-factor authentication in place of a software-based two-factor authentication option.

In related news, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has uncovered references of unreleased "Powerbeats4" headphones in iOS 13.3 code.

Initial Reports Suggest macOS Catalina 10.15.2 May Fix 16-Inch MacBook Pro Popping Sound Bug for Some Users


Following last week's news that Apple was investigating a popping sound issue with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, it looks like Apple might have made some progress in addressing the problem.


Some users have suggested the just-released macOS 10.15.2 update may resolve the issues, although not everyone agrees. Apple's original support document about the issue did state that a fix would come in future software updates — plural.

MacRumors Newsletter


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.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!


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iTunes Remote App Gains Dark Mode and macOS Catalina Support

Apple today updated its iTunes Remote app with support for Apple Music and the Apple TV apps in macOS Catalina, enabling a feature that was first introduced earlier this week in ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.2.

Following today's iOS update and the macOS 10.15.2 update, the iTunes Remote app can be used to control playback in the Music and TV apps in ‌macOS Catalina‌.


The new version of the iTunes Remote app also supports Dark Mode in iOS 13 and later, enabling a darker theme when ‌Dark Mode‌ is turned on.

iTunes Remote is a free app for controlling music libraries and other content on the Mac with the iPhone. It can be downloaded from the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]


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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Set of Cable Organizers From Fuse

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Fuse to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a set of cable organizers for Apple device cables from Fuse.

Fuse in November added to its Mac cable wrangling options with a whole set of cable organizers designed for Apple's entire iPhone, iPad, and Mac lineup.


From the Side Winder for keeping the MacBook Pro's USB-C cable organized to the Watch Side Winder for rolling up the Apple Watch cord, Fuse has something for everyone. Below is a quick overview of all that Fuse has to offer.

Snap Backs for ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and MacBook


Priced at $13.99, the Snap Backs are available for the 12W ‌iPad‌ charger, the 18W iPad Pro/‌iPhone‌ charger, the 5W ‌iPhone‌ charger, and the 29/30W MacBook charger.


Each Snap Back fits over one of Apple's chargers and then the reel at the bottom can be used to wind up the cord, so you can use as much cord as you need with no excess. It's also ideal for travel because you can roll up the entire cord to keep it organized.

Side Winders for Cables of All Sizes


Priced starting at $9.99, Fuse makes little Side Winders for ‌iPhone‌ cables, headphone cables, ‌iPad‌ cables, and more. The Side Winder is donut shaped and lets you roll the cord around it before securing the end using the included groove.


The Side Winder Mini ($9.99) is perfect for ‌iPhone‌ cables, micro-USB cables, corded headphones, and more. It can be used with cables one foot to five feet in length.

The Side Winder Max ($10.99) is identical to the Side Winder Mini but it's bigger in size so it works with USB-C cables and can wrap up cables between one foot and 10 feet in length.


The Side Winder Watch ($12.99) is designed specifically for the ‌Apple Watch‌. It wraps up the ‌Apple Watch‌ cable and has a cutout in the center for the watch so it can be used as a charging base for the ‌Apple Watch‌.


The Side Kick


The Side Kick, priced at $19.99, is designed to work with Apple's MacBook, MacBook Air, and ‌MacBook Pro‌ chargers. It's a little socket that attaches to the side of a MacBook power adapter using adhesive.


When popped out, it can be used to wrap up a MacBook's cord neatly, allowing it to be transported with no cable mess. When you're using the cord, the Side Kick pops back in so it adds little bulk to a power adapter.

The Side Winder


Priced at $29.99, the Side Winder is designed for the ‌MacBook Air‌ and ‌MacBook Pro‌ models, and it's meant to wind up both the USB-C (or MagSafe) cable of a MacBook along with the extension cable.


The MacBook's power adapter goes in the center and the two cables wrap up in the reel around it. You can pull out just the right amount of cable so you never have excess cable to deal with.

Make sure to check out our review of Fuse's product lineup for more info on all the cable organizing options that are available. 15 winners will be able to choose any three products from Fuse for the ‌giveaway‌.

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.

Fuse Giveaway
The contest will run from today (December 13) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on December 20. The winners will be chosen randomly on December 20 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.


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Last-Minute Holiday Deals: Shop the Best Sales on Apple Accessories From Pad & Quill, Twelve South, and More

With Christmas under two weeks away, we're now entering last-minute holiday shopping season. Although some of the best deals may have already come and gone this year, many brands and retailers still offer solid discounts online and in stores, giving shoppers a chance to finish off their shopping lists just in time.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

For this reason, in this article we've accumulated as many notable Apple-related sales we could find across the internet, ranging from accessory brands like Mophie and Twelve South, to discounts on Apple products like the HomePod. Of course, shipping estimates and costs will vary greatly from store to store, but if you place an order soon, most of these retailers are still ensuring delivery by Christmas day.

We also have a few exclusive discounts mixed into the sales below, letting our readers save a little extra at places like Mophie, Twelve South, Pad & Quill, Nimble, and more. These sales allow our readers to save on portable chargers, iPhone battery cases, screen protectors, and much more. Be sure to check out all of these deals in the lists below.

Pad & Quill


MacRumors has partnered with Pad & Quill to give our readers a chance to save on Apple accessories all the way through Christmas day. With our first discount code, you can save 20 percent on any Apple related product, including those for iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and MacBook. Enter the code MR20 to access this sale.


Otherwise, you can use the code MR15 to take 15 percent off Pad & Quill's other products, like its premium leather bags, wallets, and desk accessories. These two codes essentially cover the entirety of Pad & Quill's website, and are a perfect opportunity to shop for anyone on your holiday list who loves high-quality accessories for their Apple devices.

Nimble


Eco-friendly brand Nimble is offering our readers 30 percent off sitewide this holiday season with the exclusive promo code MACRUMORS30. With this promotion you can save on Nimble's portable chargers, wireless chargers, iPhone cases, and more.


Nimble's products are made from highly sustainable materials and come inside plastic-free packaging. The company also runs a one-for-one tech recovery project, placing a disposable bag with every product it sells. In these bags, customers can send back their old or unused tech so that it can be recycled responsibly.

In terms of shipping, Nimble offers free two-day shipping and returns, so be sure to browse the retailer's website soon to place your order in enough time before Christmas.

Twelve South


At Twelve South, you can get 15 percent off your entire order with the promo code MacRumors15. This promo code will last through December 31 at 11:59 p.m. ET for users in the United States.


Twelve South has numerous accessories that are specifically made for Apple products, like AirSnap for AirPods, HiRise Wireless for iPhone, and BookBook Vol. 2 for iPad Pro. You can browse for some holiday shopping ideas of your own in Twelve South's gift guide.

Mujjo


At Mujjo, MacRumors readers can save 15 percent by using the coupon code MacRumors15. This code will last through December 19. Mujjo offers a collection of leather Apple accessories, including iPhone cases and iPad sleeves, so be sure to head to Mujjo.com to check out their products before Thursday.

Best Buy


Best Buy still has Apple's HomePod at its current best price of $199.99, down from $299.99. This is the discount we previously saw on Black Friday last month, and Best Buy has brought the sale back just in time for Christmas.


The retailer also has some discounts on Beats headphones, Apple Watch Series 4, and more in its ongoing 12 Days of Discounts sale event. More information on the event can be found on BestBuy.com.
Continue reading "Last-Minute Holiday Deals: Shop the Best Sales on Apple Accessories From Pad & Quill, Twelve South, and More"

iFixit Shares Mac Pro Uncasing and First Impressions

Repair site iFixit managed to get a Mac Pro on Friday, and has kicked off its traditional teardown with an uncasing and first impressions video.

The video shows the process of removing the ‌Mac Pro‌'s aluminum case and it takes a look at some of the internal components.


For those interested in a quick look at what's inside the ‌Mac Pro‌ and how the different components work, the video is worth checking out.

iFixit plans to share a full ‌Mac Pro‌ teardown next week, likely on Tuesday.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)

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Apple Offers Free Genetic Testing to Cupertino Employees

Through Apple's AC Wellness services that offer health benefits to Cupertino employees, Apple has begun providing its staff with free genetic testing, reports CNBC.

AC Wellness operates on-site health clinics on and near Apple's Cupertino campuses, and through a partnership with Color Genomics, employees are able to get genetic screenings for diseases.


Genetic testing is expected to help employees uncover health problems that could turn into risks later in time, allowing patients to take preventative steps. Color's test is able to look for gene mutations associated with cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The test created by Color is not sold directly to consumers and is instead ordered by clinicians at AC Wellness, with a follow up appointment required to discuss the health results.


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With Apple’s New Austin Campus Underway, Is Apple Still Looking at North Carolina?

A year to the day after Apple announced plans to spend $1 billion on a new corporate campus in Austin, Texas, to initially support 5,000 employees with the potential to grow to 15,000, television station WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, has shared an update and a few new details related to North Carolina's attempts to attract the new campus.

Rendering of Apple's upcoming Austin campus

While it didn't conduct a public competition like Amazon, Apple was open about its plans to construct a new corporate campus, announcing its intentions in January 2018. A number of cities emerged as top contenders to land Apple's new campus, but by May 2018, sources were reporting that it was all but a "done deal" that the new campus would be located in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park (RTP) near Raleigh and Durham, with a temporary location for up to 1,000 employees planned for an existing office building in nearby Cary.

Months went by without an official announcement from Apple, and with Apple ultimately revealing the campus would be built in Austin, many have wondered what went wrong in what appeared to be late-stage negotiations between Apple and North Carolina.
The December announcement seemed to surprise the governor and state legislative leaders, who hours later released a joint statement touting economic growth in North Carolina and pledging to "keep doing everything we can" to attract jobs. [...]

Since then, there's been little explanation about how or why the deal dissolved by year's end.

But given the company's notorious penchant for secrecy, [North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Harry] Brown said, media coverage of the potential plans for North Carolina didn't help.

"Apple and companies like it are very sensitive to information getting out, and there's a possibility that could have hurt the negotiations with Apple a year ago," he said.
Even since the Austin announcement, there have been some curious developments in North Carolina that have hinted Apple may still have plans for the area. Most notably, in December 2018 just weeks after the Austin announcement, a mysterious entity known as Acute Investments purchased several tracts of land in RTP totaling around 280 acres, a massive investment that did not come with any public announcements. The Acute Investments representative listed on the deeds for the properties is local attorney Bruce Thompson, who is registered as a lobbyist for Apple, among other companies.

Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by Acute Investments and "controlled by Apple"

As a result, Apple has long been suspected of being the mystery buyer in RTP, and today's report from WRAL indicates that North Carolina Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland has finally confirmed that the land is indeed "controlled by Apple."
In an interview with WRAL News last week, Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland declined to provide specifics about the state's active recruitment of Apple. But he did point to a purchase of about 280 acres of Wake County land in Research Triangle Park for almost $50 million in late December 2018, just weeks after Apple's Austin announcement. [...]

Reached this week by phone, Thompson declined to comment.

But Copeland confirmed in the interview that the land is "controlled by Apple."
In addition, the state of North Carolina continues to refuse to release any information regarding its negotiations with Apple for the new campus, claiming that the project remains "open." Governmental authorities are typically required to release information to the public about their corporate recruitment efforts once a given project has ended, but North Carolina continues to insist the Apple project, known by its code name of "Project Bear," has not been closed.

So given that the new campus has been announced for Austin and ground has now been broken there, it's unclear what Apple's plans are for North Carolina. Are negotiations actually still underway for yet another Apple campus to be located in RTP, or is the continued "open" status of the project simply a ploy by Apple to try to keep its negotiations secret for as long as possible? And why spend tens of millions of dollars on RTP land when Austin had already been chosen?

Is Apple looking at yet another significant campus in the near future, or is it banking land and leaving negotiations with North Carolina open as a backup plan or to provide options for much further down the road? It's not clear when we'll have answers to these questions, but given Apple's appetite for office space, it would not be surprising if the company finds itself looking to expand again in the not too distant future.


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Amazon Echo Devices Gain Support for Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts are now available on Alexa-enabled devices as of today. Amazon announced the news earlier this morning, confirming that Alexa device owners in the United States can now ask the smart assistant to play Apple Podcasts.


Customers can link their Amazon accounts in the Alexa app to their Apple ID, and afterwards any progress they make on an Apple Podcast will be synced with their Amazon devices.
Pause the subscribed episode you’re listening to in the Apple Podcasts app on your commute, and continue listening with your Alexa device at home by asking Alexa to resume the podcast.

It’s easy to find and play your favorite podcasts with Alexa—all you have to do is ask for the episode you want to hear.
Apple Podcasts can also be set as the preferred podcast provider within the Alexa app. Users can visit Settings > Music and Podcasts > Link/Manage New Services to find this setting.

On Apple devices, Apple Podcasts can be listened to on iPhone, Mac, HomePod, and more. The service houses more than 750,000 shows and lets users download episodes to watch later on ‌iPhone‌, with listening history synced across devices, now including Amazon products.


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iMac Pro Works With Apple’s New Pro Display XDR, But Limited to 5K Resolution

Shortly after the Pro Display XDR became available to order this week, Stephen Hackett of Relay FM noted that the iMac Pro was not included in the list of Mac models compatible with the display on Apple's website.


Fortunately, video editor Thomas Grove Carter has since demonstrated that the iMac Pro can in fact drive the Pro Display XDR, but only at a 5K resolution. This is likely because the iMac Pro uses Intel's older "Alpine Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 controller without enough bandwidth to drive a 6K display.


To use the Pro Display XDR at its full 6K resolution, the display must be connected to the new Mac Pro with MPX Module GPUs, a 2018 or later 15-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch MacBook Pro, or a 2019 iMac. To our best knowledge, all of these models are equipped with Intel's newer "Titan Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 controller.

The Pro Display XDR also works at full 6K resolution with any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports paired with a Blackmagic eGPU or Blackmagic eGPU Pro. Those external GPUs are equipped with the "Titan Ridge" controller as well.

The Pro Display XDR is aimed at professional users, with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. It is priced at $4,999 and up.

(Hat tip to Myke Hurley!)

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)

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AT&T Launches 5G Network in 10 Cities

AT&T today announced that it has launched its 5G network in its first ten markets: Birmingham, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rochester, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. AT&T has PDF maps of coverage areas within these cities in its press release, and the carrier is aiming for nationwide 5G coverage in the first half of next year.


For the time being, customers with the new Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G will be able to access AT&T's 5G network, with more devices coming in the future. Apple is expected to launch its first 5G iPhones next year, likely in its usual September timeframe.

The 5G network AT&T is launching today is for the sub-6GHz spectrum, which offers broad coverage at speeds that are a step up from LTE. A separate flavor of 5G operates on the mmWave spectrum and offers even faster speeds but with shorter range, and is thus best suited for very dense, highly trafficked areas. AT&T refers to its mmWave 5G service as 5G+, and it launched in pockets of 12 markets almost exactly a year ago.

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes there will be four flagship 2020 iPhones next September, with all of them capable of supporting both sub-6Hz and mmWave 5G technology in select markets such the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Other countries will see only sub-6Hz support, while 5G may be disabled entirely in other countries where 5G isn't widely available, in order to reduce Apple's costs.

AT&T was of course notorious for branding some of its enhanced 4G LTE network as "5G Evolution" or "5GE," which began appearing in the iPhone status bar with iOS 12.2, confusing some users who thought they were able to access true 5G networks.

Tags: AT&T, 5G

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