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Apple Silicon Mac speculation: The good, the bummer, and the ugly at tomorrow's event – ZDNet

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Will we see Macs with color choices? Maybe. Maybe not.

Tomorrow is Apple’s “One More Thing” event. If you’re a long-time Apple watcher, the “one more thing” idea probably holds a special place in your heart because of how the phrase was used in the yearly Stevenotes. At the end of a keynote, Jobs often paused and then teased, “One more thing.”

Apple Silicon

The first “one more thing” was the announcement in 1998 that the then-beleaguered Apple had returned to profitability. One of the earliest Wi-Fi routers, the AirPort, was introduced in a “one more thing.” Year after year, just as the keynote ended, Steve came out and used the magic phrase, “One more thing.”

The “one more thing” promise has only showed up three times since Jobs’ death in 2011. In 2014, Apple announced the Watch. In 2015, Apple announced Apple Music. And in 2017, to almost nobody’s surprise, Apple announced the iPhone X. That was the last “one more thing” we’ve seen.

Until now. This time, the entire event is titled “one more thing.” And, given Apple’s earlier announcement of plans to completely replace Intel in Macs with its own silicon, we can reasonably expect this announcement to be all about new Apple silicon-based Macs.

The good

Let’s start with the three vectors of goodness that should eventually come from Apple’s transition to its own processor architecture.

The first is battery life. Apple has put billions of research dollars into extending battery life for its phones and tablets, all of which live on top of Apple-designed chips. Apple designed its chips with battery life in mind, so they’re strongly optimized for energy utilization. All that research will be inherited by Macs running Apple silicon.

Next is speed. The Apple chipset is pretty impressive when it comes to speed. We’ve seen amazing capabilities in iPad Pros and we’re starting to see some early numbers from the new A14 Bionic chips in this year’s phones.

While you can get fast on Intel, heat and power consumption has always been an issue. Those issues will be less of a concern with Apple Silicon, so it might be possible to take the processor as far as it can go on Macs.

Finally, there’s price. Apple pays Intel for its chips. That includes a built-in profit for Intel. No one would ever say that Apple is going to forgo profit, but Apple Silicon chips will come to Apple at cost, which will definitely save Apple money.

Will any of those savings be passed on to consumers in the form of lower-cost Macs? Probably not. But Apple may well produce higher-performing and more feature-rich Macs at price points similar to historic norms.

So that’s the all good. Let’s move onto the possible bummers.

The bummer

While no tea leaves are required to tell you that Apple is likely to introduce an Apple Silicon-based Mac, the overall design is likely to remain the same.

Don’t go expecting a touch screen-based MacBook Pro, just because the iPad and the new Mac use the same chip architecture. While there’s a chance Apple might finally add touch screen Macs, they’ve never shown the inclination. (It differentiates the iPad and Mac.)

More to the point, it’s never a good idea to make too many changes in one release. Apple is already making a huge change with processors, which necessitates completely reengineering the internal hardware and adding all sorts of emulation capabilities. It’s therefore unlikely that the company would also change much of anything else.

That leaves out the possibility of a new look. Most likely, the Macs introduced at “One More Thing” will be of exactly the same design as we’ve seen before. On the other hand… well, see my guesses, further on in the article.

The ugly

The ugly, of course, begs the question: “How will they suck?”

Wait! Don’t start banging away “You suck, too!” comments and tweets. I’m not being negative just to troll y’all. It’s just that when an entire computer line transitions from one processor architecture to another very different architecture, there will be compromises and compatibility issues. Some stuff will suck, at least for a while.

Let’s start with the newest MacOS release, Big Sur. Big Sur is late. Normally, Apple announces a new OS release at WWDC in June and ships it right after the Apple event in September. Big Sur did not ship in September. It could be because of all the interruptions due to COVID, or it could be because Big Sur needs to support an entirely different architecture (as well as Intel Macs) and that’s a heavy lift.

In any case, Big Sur for Intel Macs did not come out in September, which may indicate that it needed some more time to bake. That could be trouble, because Apple doesn’t exactly have a track record of great initial releases.

There will also undoubtedly be software compatibility issues. Before I talk about that, let’s give Apple credit where credit is due. Apple has an amazing track record of OS migrations. Apple has done this twice before and built up tremendous institutional knowledge in the process.

But since there will be some combination of Rosetta 2 processor emulation along with newly compiled apps for the new architecture, expect some growing pains.

There will be some programs that just won’t work, some hopefully that will work just fine, and probably more than a few that are simply a little bit more cranky than you’d like — I’m looking at you, Adobe Premiere.

I am hoping that Apple will have ported and optimized a couple of showcase apps — Logic and Final Cut come to mind — that can demonstrate the benefits of Apple Silicon when optimized properly. It would be nice to see something blazingly fast along with what will undoubtedly be some somewhat clunky apps running in emulation.

Of course, Apple being Apple, there could be something else that goes horribly wrong. It could be taking a much-beloved keyboard and replacing it with an unmitigated disaster. It could be a rash of battery explosions. It could be removing a particularly useful and universally loved headphone jack from the machine. It could be removing almost all the ports. Whatever it is, Apple does have a history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

We won’t know about these worrisome issues in Tuesday’s keynote, which will undoubtedly be presented in a warp bubble sustained by a reality distortion field. So, if there’s gonna be suck, you probably won’t know until after you pays your money and you takes your chances.

My guesses

Most of the event will be devoted to the announcement of new Apple Silicon Macs. The rumor mill seems to think those will be a 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, along with a 16-inch MacBook Pro. You can pretty much expect a renewed discussion of Big Sur’s capabilities, and possibly a new iPad.

But what’s the “One More Thing”?

It could be a new Intel Mac. Yeah, seriously. Apple says that the Apple Silicon migration will take two years and we’re only a few months in. That seems to imply that there will be more Intel Macs. My bet is on another Intel MacBook Pro or an upgraded Mac Pro. But I could be wrong. It could be the new 14-inch MacBook with small bezels, because if Apple were to innovate on design, it would be on a known quantity like Intel Macs.

It could be AR glasses but, no, it couldn’t. Let’s not kid ourselves. That’s not a this year thing.

It could be an upgraded iPad. Okay. Sure. But that’s not really exciting.

It could be Apple AirTags, which have been rolling around in the rumor mills for a while now. They’re not at all exciting and they’ve been done before, but that’s never stopped Apple.

It could be something none of us suspect, like an Appleified self-levitating hover scooter. I know it’s not probable, but Apple might want to get in on the growing $41 billion scooter market. No, I’m not making this up. The scooter market is actually projected to grow that big. But yeah, I am making up the idea that Apple might be going there. After all, an iScoot would interfere with the Apple Car project (which is probably quite dead, to be honest).

No, I think I know what the One More Thing event’s “one more thing” will be. I think it will be Macs in multiple colors. After all, Apple has to differentiate the Apple Silicon Macs from the Intel Macs somehow. They use darker gray to indicate Pro gear. So why not blue or green or (PRODUCT)RED as colors?

Anyway, that’s my thinking. That and possibly an Apple Silicon Mac mini. They’ve already shipped one of those to developers, so it’s not much of a stretch.

What do you think? What will be the “one more thing” at One More Thing? Let us know in the comments below.


You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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Five new Covid cases in Arviat; Kivalliq recoveries from virus rise to 123, including all cases in Rankin Inlet – NNSL Media

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Although five more Arviat residents have been identified as having Covid-19, the community’s active cases have fallen to 68.

The only other community with active cases is Whale Cove, with seven, as all Rankin Inlet residents who contracted the virus are now considered to be recovered.

All formerly infected individuals in Rankin Inlet are now considered to be recovered from Covid-19, the Department of Health stated Thursday.
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“While Rankin Inlet has successfully flattened the Covid-19 curve, I ask residents there to remain strict in their commitment to continue on this path and follow the current public health restrictions,” said chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson. “Covid-19 is not over in Nunavut. Everyone needs to ensure they do their part to bring us to zero active cases in the territory and remain committed and prepared for a potential resurgence of the virus.”

Contact tracing in all impacted communities is ongoing and public health staff are monitoring everyone in isolation, according to the Department of Health.

As of Dec. 2, 223 tests have been done in Rankin Inlet with negative results.

Arviat testing has yielded 643 negative tests.

Testing in Whale Cove yielded 125 negative tests.

Monitoring in Sanikiluaq continues.

Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to Covid-19 is advised to call the Covid hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days. Please do not go to the health centre in person

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Samsung begins rollout of Android 11 and One UI 3.0 to latest phones – The Verge

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Samsung is starting to roll out updates to Android 11 and One UI 3.0, its customized interface, to some of its latest phones. The first up are Galaxy S20 series devices in the US, Korea, and most of Europe, which will start receiving updates today. Updates for the Note 20, last year’s Note 10 and S10, and the Z Fold, Z Fold 2, and Z Flip are planned to arrive in the “coming weeks.” Updates for the Galaxy A series will arrive in the first half of 2021.

The updates come three months after the launch of Android 11. Samsung has historically been slow to deliver Android updates even to its latest phones. Three months isn’t a huge wait (it maintains the same pace as last year), but a number of other phone manufacturers, including OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo, managed to deliver Android 11 on day one this year. Samsung’s updates take longer in part because it heavily customizes Android with its own interface.

One UI 3.0 mostly brings visual refinements to Samsung’s existing interface. Menus and widgets are now presented with a frosty, translucent background, rather than the grayish look they previously had. Samsung has also added some richer lock screen widgets and a redesigned volume menu, and it says animations should be smoother, and camera autofocus should be faster. Android Police has a thorough rundown of the changes.

It’s not entirely clear how soon any given phone will get these updates, even though the rollout is starting today. Samsung’s software rollouts often start slowly, and they’re frequently held up on a carrier-by-carrier basis. To illustrate just how chaotic it can be: Verizon preempted Samsung’s announcement and started rolling out this update to the Galaxy S20 5G UW yesterday.

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Samsung begins rollout of Android 11 and One UI 3 on Galaxy S20 series in US – ZDNet

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Image: Samsung

Smartphones

If you use one of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 phones, be it the
S20, S20 Plus or S20 Ultra,

then today is a good day for you. Samsung announced on Thursday that it’s officially starting the rollout of
Android 11

, which includes the company’s One UI 3 interface, for those three phone models in the US. 

The update includes Samsung’s own improvements, such as a more minimal interface and new widgets for the home and lock screens. The new widgets add controls for things like music directly to the screen. 

The camera app has also seen its share of improvements, with autofocus and auto-exposure leading the way. 

Also called out by Samsung is an update to the share sheet, which you use to select an app where you want to share documents, links or photos. You can now customize the share sheet, tailoring it to your preferred apps and contacts. 

Samsung is also launching Samsung Free, an app where you’ll find news, games and Samsung TV Plus content on your device. This takes the place of Samsung Daily, a similar app, that can be found by swiping to the right on your home screen. 

I almost always disable Samsung Daily the moment I set up a Galaxy phone, so I’m not sure renaming the feed and adding some of its own subscription services to it will entice me to leave it on, but I’m willing to give it a try. 

There’s no exact word on when the update will start showing up on devices. Typically carriers will release the update in waves, with unlocked devices randomly getting the update during that time. 

As for other Samsung devices, the company has said that the Note 20, ZFold 2, Z Flip, Note 10, Fold and S10 series will all get the update in the “coming weeks.” Based on previous release schedules, that timing can and will easily slip into months. 

If you see the update on your Galaxy phone, be it an S20 or another device, leave a comment and let us know which device and carrier you have.

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