It’s been a week filled with new Apple hardware, with entirely new iMacs, new iPad Pros, and even a new iPhone, even if it was only a new purple color. Apple also announced a new spin on podcasts — a subscription service. Meanwhile, NASA’s Mars rover has been crafting Oxygen on the red planet, messaging app Signal hacked back and Mortal Kombat is also, well, back. And if you're shopping for a mirrorless camera, we've updated our guide for 2021.
- Mat Smith
The new 24-inch model is only slightly larger than the last 21.5-inch.
Apple's M1 chip is finally making its way to iMacs, along with a slew of other long-awaited upgrades. The new design has far slimmer bezels on their 4.5K Retina Displays, as well as a completely flat rear case.The new iMacs feature updated 1080p FaceTime cameras with larger image sensors. They'll be able to work together with the M1 processor to handle white balance, noise reduction and exposure settings. There are also three microphones that can use beamforming to reduce background noise.
The new 24-inch iMac is available starting at $1,299 with a 7-core GPU. The more powerful 8-core GPU, with three USB 3 ports, starts at $1,499. Continue reading.
More money is good, but only if you can command it.
During Apple's “Spring Loaded” event on Tuesday, alongside all that hardware, the company confirmed that it would soon offer paid subscriptions for podcasts — a potentially significant change for the ever-growing industry.
Starting next month, podcasters can set their own price and Apple will take 30 percent of the first year of each subscription, dropping to 15 percent thereafter. Apple is pitching the service as a way to enable creators to offer either a vanilla paywall, early access or unique premium content. It’s a big change by arguably one of the biggest podcast players. James Trew breaks it down. Continue reading.
There’s more going on than just drone test flights.
Along with a family portrait of its robotic siblings, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab fitted Perseverance with an instrument called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment or MOXIE for short. On April 20th, it successfully pulled carbon dioxide from the planet's atmosphere and converted it into oxygen.
The toaster-sized tool allowed Perseverance to separate oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules by heating the gas at approximately 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit and creating carbon monoxide as a byproduct. During the instrument's first test, it produced about five grams of oxygen or about enough to give a lone astronaut approximately 10 minutes of breathable air in their suit. Continue reading.
They may look familiar, but what's inside is very different.
We’ve touched on the addition of the M1 chip, but when it comes to the bigger 12.9-inch model, the screen tech is possibly a bigger change. It has a Liquid Retina XDR panel, with a new mini-LED backlighting system. Because each lighting element is much smaller, this means more tightly controlled lighting for better contrast and significantly higher brightness overall. The new bigger iPad Pro can reach 1,000 nits of brightness, compared to just 600 nits in last year's model.
With the M1 chip inside both iPad Pro models, these are iPads that truly pack desktop power. To complement that, the new iPad Pro's USB-C port doubles as a Thunderbolt port with USB 4.0 support. Apple says the bandwidth for wired connections peaks at around 40Gbps, ensuring power users with high-speed external storage should be satisfied. Both models will go up for pre-order on April 30th. Continue reading.
The company may update its messaging app to stymie future attempts.
After the cellphone hacking company Cellebrite said it had figured out a way to access the secure messaging app Signal, the company announced it had done the same in retaliation. The app's creator Moxie Marlinspike claimed his team obtained Cellebrite's hacking kit and discovered several vulnerabilities. He added that Signal may well update its app to thwart any law enforcement attempts to hack it. Continue reading.
Or you can buy a four-pack for $99.
Apple’s Airtags have landed. The fobs can be customized with engravings of characters, letters and emoji, while there will also be a Hermes edition if you’re feeling particularly glamorous. You'll be able to use the Find My app to locate your AirTag and any Apple phone with a U1 chip (like the iPhone 11 and 12 series) can give you AR overlays to direct you to your lost item.
The company is calling this feature Precision Finding, which combines camera, accelerometer, gyroscope and ARKit data, along with ultra-wideband tech, to hone in on your lost item. When your belongings are further away, Apple says it will use the Find My network, which is approaching a billion devices, to locate it. It will detect Bluetooth signals from lost AirTags and "relay the location back to its owner, all in the background, anonymously and privately." We’ve already given them a quick test, too. Continue reading.