Apple to Hold Media Event on December 2 ‘Honoring Favorite Apps and Games of 2019’

Apple today send out invites for a surprise media event that's set to be held on Monday, December 2 in New York City, with the event kicking off at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Invitation image via Lance Ulanoff

According to the media invitations, Apple will be honoring its favorite apps and games of 2019. There is no word on just what that means, and Apple has never held a similar event.

More details to come...


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YouTuber Compares Original 2007 iPhone to New iPhone 11 Pro

Popular YouTuber MKBHD today shared a video that compares Apple's original iPhone released in 2007 with the new 2019 iPhone 11 Pro, which was released 12 years later.

The video goes over details like camera quality, design, feature set, and more, offering an interesting look at just how much the iPhone has changed over the course of the last decade.


There are no surprises here given the impressive number of technology updates that have been implemented over the years, but it's still a fun look back at how different things were in 2007.

Compared to the 5.8-inch ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌, the 3.5-inch original iPhone almost looks like a toy because of its small size, though there are undoubtedly some iPhone fans who miss the tiny screen and the ability to easily use a device one-handed.

Some of the biggest iPhone upgrades have come in the form of camera improvements. The single-lens 2-megapixel camera available in 2007 was decent back in the day and can still put out web cam-quality photos, but today we have 12-megapixel triple-lens cameras with features like Portrait Mode and Night Mode that can rival some DSLRs.

As MKBHD points out, the comparison between the original iPhone and the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ is also interesting because it leaves us imagining what kind of technology changes we might be seeing in another 12 years. It's impossible to see that far ahead, but folding technology, super fast 5G connection speeds, and more could be coming in the not too distant future.


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Apple Announces Expanded Employee Benefits for New Parents

Apple today announced a new employee benefit that's designed to ease the transition back to work for new parents, expanding on the 16 weeks of leave that parents are already provided with an additional four-week grace period.

Apple's head of retail and human resources shared details on the changes with Fast Company.

"What we find a lot of times is people are really excited to get back to work," says O'Brien, Apple's head of retail and human resources. "At the same time, [they] feel like they need to make sure things are really stable and successful at home. And that weighs heavy on people's minds, I think."
Apple's new policy will give parents a four-week period after returning from leave where they'll be paid like full-time employees but will have the flexibility to work part-time or set their own hours with a manager's oversight.

The updated transition period will be available to all new parents, including those who adopt or take in foster children (non-birth parents are allowed six weeks of paid leave rather than 16). Retail workers are also able to take advantage of the parental leave changes.

Along with the new transition period, Apple is expanding leave for adoptive parents by four weeks through a Paid Family Care benefit that lets parents take time off for family illness. Apple is also tripling its financial assistance for families that choose to adopt, providing up to $14,000 towards an adoption.

For all employees, Apple is improving its mental wellness benefits and will double the number of free counseling sessions available to employees per year along with providing telemedicine options.

According to O'Brien, Apple is hoping to make it easier for parents to ultimately return to work after a period of leave. "I think many times working parents feel like they need to deal with that quietly and make it seem perfectly seamless," O'Brien told Fast Company. "We all know life is complicated. So [we're] making it really clear that we're supporting them in that journey."


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Apple Commits $2.5 Billion to Fight California Housing Crisis

Apple on Monday announced that it would commit $2.5 billion to easing a housing shortage that has seen property prices skyrocket across California.


Apple's commitment includes $1 billion in affordable housing investments, $1 billion in mortgage assistance for first-time homebuyers, and $300 million worth of Apple land opened up to affordable housing projects.
"Before the world knew the name Silicon Valley, and long before we carried technology in our pockets, Apple called this region home, and we feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure it remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution."
Apple is also launching a new $150 million affordable housing fund with Bay Area partners including Housing Trust Silicon Valley to support new affordable housing projects. The fund will consist of long-term forgivable loans and grants.

‌Tim Cook‌ and California Governor Gavin Newsom, discussing the land Apple is freeing up for affordable housing
"This unparalleled financial commitment to affordable housing, and the innovative strategies at the heart of this initiative, are proof that Apple is serious about solving this issue. I hope other companies follow their lead," said Gavin Newsom, governor of California. "The sky-high cost of housing — both for homeowners and renters — is the defining quality-of-life concern for millions of families across this state, one that can only be fixed by building more housing. This partnership with Apple will allow the state of California to do just that."
In addition, Apple will donate $50 million to support Destination: Home's efforts to address homelessness in Silicon Valley. Apple says it will focus its contribution on driving systemic change across the many factors affecting homelessness. Apple will also be identifying similar efforts in Northern and Southern California, focusing on strategies that both end and prevent homelessness.


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Apple Seeks Tariff Waivers on iPhone Components, Apple Watch, AirPods and More

Apple has asked the United States government to exclude Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, iPhone components, and other devices and parts imported from China from the 15 percent tariff that went into effect on September 1, reports Bloomberg.

Apple filed for exclusions on 11 products or components on Thursday, which was the first day that companies were able to ask for relief from tariffs.


During Apple's earnings call earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that Apple is already paying tariffs on some of its products. Cook also said that Apple is hopeful the United States and China will resolve the trade dispute.

"I don't know every chapter of the book, but I think that will eventually happen," Cook said. "I certainly hope it happens during the quarter, but we'll see about that."

In its request for tariff waivers, Apple said that it has been unable to find a source outside of China able to meet the U.S. demand for products or components in the coming year.

Apple asked for tariff exemption for Mac Pro components earlier this year, and though Trump initially said Apple would not be granted tariff relief, Apple did indeed receive exemptions for some of the Chinese made components, and in turn agreed to manufacture the new Mac Pro in Texas.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple Promotes Multiple Senior Directors to Vice President Roles

Over the course of the last few weeks, Apple has promoted several of its senior directors and given them vice president titles, reports Bloomberg.

Paul Meade has been promoted to vice president of hardware engineering, while Jon Andrews is Apple's new vice president of software engineering. Meade has been leading hardware development for Apple's future augmented reality headset, while Andrews oversees the architecture of Apple's operating systems under Craig Federighi.


Gary Geaves, who runs audio technology development for AirPods and HomePod, has been named to a new acoustics vice president role, and Kaiann Drance, who was on stage during the iPhone 11 announcement, is now a vice president of marketing, reporting to Greg Joswiak.

Bob Borchers, a former iPhone executive who worked at Google and Dolby, has also returned to Apple to take on a vice president of marketing role. Borchers was around for the early days of the iPhone, serving as a spokesperson and appearing in Apple tutorial videos about the device.

According to Bloomberg, he will now oversee iOS, iCloud, and privacy marketing matters, also under Greg Joswiak.

None of these new appointments made Apple's Leadership page, which is reserved primarily for senior vice presidents and some key VP roles. In total, Apple has around 100 vice presidents who report to its executive team.


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ShopRunner Offers Free Two-Day Shipping From Select Retailers When Using Apple Pay

ShopRunner, a paid membership service that offers free two-day shipping from dozens of online brands, today announced that it is offering its shipping service free to customers who check out with Apple Pay at some ShopRunner retailers.

ShopRunner's service normally costs $79 per year, but it is a perk offered with many credit cards, including the Apple Card.


The benefit to the ‌Apple Pay‌ checkout is that no ShopRunner account is required to get the two-day shipping offer - you simply need to use ‌Apple Pay‌ as the payment option when checking out.

Retailers that include Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Chico's, White House Black Market, and Soma will begin offering free two-day shipping from ShopRunner with ‌Apple Pay‌ purchases starting next week, while additional popular brands like Cole Haan and Alice + Olivia will begin supporting the feature in December.

Customers will also be given the option to sign up for a complimentary ShopRunner membership by using the Sign in with Apple feature, which will presumably give ShopRunner access even on sites where ‌Apple Pay‌ is not a payment option.

‌Apple Pay‌ vice president Jennifer Bailey said that Apple is "thrilled" to work with ShopRunner on this new benefit.
"With ‌Apple Pay‌, customers can make easy and secure purchases with just a glance or touch on their iPhone, iPad and Mac," said Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of ‌Apple Pay‌. "We're thrilled to work with ShopRunner and leading retailers so that even more customers can quickly and conveniently shop online at their favorite brands as we head into the holidays."
ShopRunner works with hundreds of online shops for major brands like Adorama, Fresh, MacMall, Bloomingdales, Lancome, Jockey, American Eagle, Peets, and more, with a full list of partners available on the ShopRunner website.


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Images of New Smart Battery Cases for iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Found in iOS 13.2

Apple is working on new Smart Battery Cases designed for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro according to assets found by MacRumors in the latest version of iOS 13.

There are three different model numbers for the battery cases, and each battery case image found by MacRumors has a slightly different look, indicating Apple will release separate Smart Battery Cases for ‌iPhone 11‌, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.


Design wise, the battery cases are similar to the cases created for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, but with a larger square-shaped camera cutout to accommodate the new dual and triple-lens camera design.

There's no word on when Apple plans to release new battery cases for its latest iPhones, but last year, Apple launched battery cases designed for the ‌iPhone XS‌, ‌iPhone XS‌ Max, and iPhone XR January following the September/October debut of the devices.

The appearance of battery case images in the iOS 13.2 beta suggests this year's release could perhaps come earlier, maybe even before the end of the year.


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AirPods Pro Launching on October 30 for $249

Apple today announced that it is releasing new AirPods Pro earbuds on October 30. As rumored, updated new accessory features an all new-design with an AirPods-style shape and silicone ear tips to support active noise cancellation technology, along with a $249 price point.


Apple says that the AirPods Pro have been engineered for "comfort and fit" and each earbud ships with three different sizes of silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of the individual ear, offering up a comfortable fit and a "superior seal."


Apple has designed an Ear Tip Fit Test to make sure that users get the best audio experience. After putting the ‌AirPods Pro‌ in each ear, Apple's software will leverage the built-in microphones to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what's coming from the speaker driver. Apple says that in just seconds, its algorithm will be able to tell whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit or should be adjusted for a better seal.


Inside, there's an "innovative vent system" that's designed to equalize pressure to minimize discomfort common with other in-ear designs. Apple also says that the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are both sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating. That means they'll hold up to some light splashing and sweating, but submersion should be avoided.

Despite rumors of multiple color options that include black and green, it appears that Apple is selling the ‌AirPods Pro‌ only in white. Due to the larger in-ear design, the ‌AirPods Pro‌ also feature a larger, redesigned charging case to accommodate them.
AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. The one-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product, and with ‌AirPods Pro‌, we’re taking the magic even further,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new in-ear ‌AirPods Pro‌ sound amazing with Adaptive EQ, fit comfortably with flexible ear tips and have innovative Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. We think customers are going to love this new addition to the ‌AirPods‌ family.”
The ‌AirPods‌ feature an Active Noise Cancellation feature that uses two microphones (one outward facing to detect environmental noise and one inward facing towards the ear) combined with "advanced software" to adapt to each ear and headphone fit and customize sound signal 200 times per second. Apple says that this setup removes background noise for a "uniquely customized, superior noise-canceling experience."


A built-in Transparency mode offers users the option to listen to music while still hearing the environment around them, for situations like biking in traffic or listening for an important train message. Transparency mode takes advantage of the vent system in the ‌AirPods‌ to leave just the right amount of noise cancellation.


Swapping between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode can be done using a new force sensor system that Apple has added to the stem of the ‌AirPods Pro‌. This force sensor can also be used to play, pause, or skip tracks and answer and hang up phone calls. The mode can also be controlled through the Control Center on iPhone and iPad, or by tapping the AirPlay icon on Apple Watch while music is playing.


According to Apple, ‌AirPods Pro‌ have been engineered to deliver superior sound quality with Adaptive EQ, a feature that automatically tunes the low and mid frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual's ear for what Apple says is a "rich, immersive listening experience."

There's a custom high dynamic range amplifier that's able to produce clear sound while also extending the ‌AirPods Pro‌ battery life, plus it powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver designed to optimize audio quality and cut down on background noise.

‌AirPods Pro‌ are equipped with the Apple-designed H1 chip featuring 10 audio cores able to power real-time noise cancellation and deliver high-quality sound while also processing "Hey Siri" commands. Battery life is the same as the ‌AirPods‌ 2, lasting for up to five hours in standard mode. When Noise Cancellation is active, ‌AirPods Pro‌ offer up to four and a half hours of listening time and three and a half hours of talk time.


The H1 chip also supports hands-free "Hey ‌Siri‌" commands and it allows for Audio Sharing so two people who have ‌AirPods Pro‌ can watch the same movie or listen to the same song with an iPhone or ‌iPad‌.

The included Wireless Charging Case (which does indeed support Qi-based wireless charging) can deliver more than 24 hours of listening time and over 18 hours of talk time. A USB-C to Lightning cable is also included in the box for charging purposes.

The ‌AirPods Pro‌ can be ordered immediately from Apple.com and the Apple Store app and will be arriving to Apple retail locations on Wednesday, October 30. The first orders are offering up Thursday, October 31 arrival dates.

Apple plans to continue to sell the ‌AirPods‌ with Charging Case ($159) and the ‌AirPods‌ With Wireless Charging Case ($199) alongside the ‌AirPods Pro‌.


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Widespread AT&T Voicemail Outage Affecting iPhone Users in the US

Swathes of AT&T customers in the U.S. are said to be experiencing problems accessing voicemail, based on reports on social media and the network's support forums.


The issues have apparently been going on for several weeks, but while AT&T says it's aware of the problem, the company hasn't yet provided a detailed explanation or given an indication of when it might be fixed.

Late on Wednesday, The Verge highlighted a 40-page thread in AT&T's support forums that's full of users relating their experiences trying to access voicemail, to no avail. Android users are being met with error messages, while iPhone users are unable to view the Visual Voicemail feature to manage their recordings. People have also reported problems on Google Pixel phones and Motorola phones.

The first reports date back to October 1, and customers are said to be affected in several states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and North Carolina. AT&T representatives responding to the complaints have claimed that the issues are due to a "vendor server problem," but it's still unclear which manufacturer is being referred to, while a statement given to The Verge similarly lacks detail:
"A recent software update to some devices may be affecting our customers' voicemail. We are working with the device manufacturer to issue a patch to resolve this and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused."
The current AT&T advice for affected customers who need immediate access to voicemail is to create a new mailbox by calling customer service. However, customers who go down this route are being warned that they will lose all saved and unheard messages. The only alternative, it seems, is to simply wait it out and hope AT&T resolves the issue sooner rather than later. We'll update this article if we learn of any developments.


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