Archive for September 15, 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Apple One

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

  • Individual includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95 per month.
  • Family includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200GB of iCloud storage for $19.95 per month, and can be shared among up to six family members. 
  • Premier, where available, includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 per month, and can be shared among up to six family members.

Update (2020-09-22): Ben Thompson:

To me the biggest hangup is the first one: the degree to which a bundle is compelling is the degree to which it is integrated with and contributes to a company’s core business model, and, in contrast to these other four companies, it’s a bit of a stretch to see how Apple One really move the needle when it comes to buying an iPhone or not.

Update (2020-09-28): Tanner Bennett:

Great ATP segment on the shortcomings of Apple zone by @siracusa

iOS 14 Shipping Tomorrow, Xcode 12 GM

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today announced that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released on Wednesday, September 16.

This makes perfect sense considering that the iOS 14 GM and Xcode 12 GM have been available since this afternoon. So developers have several hours in which to test and submit their updates and get them approved in the App Store.

The download page for Xcode 12 GM says:

Xcode 12 includes everything you need to create amazing apps for all Apple platforms. Includes the latest SDKs for iOS, watchOS, and tvOS, and macOS Catalina. For development on macOS Big Sur or to support Apple silicon, continue to use Xcode 12 beta 6.

Presumably, final development for Big Sur will require a forthcoming Xcode 12.1. I’m not sure why they couldn’t put the Big Sur SDK in Xcode 12.0, though. This makes development more complicated.

Update (2020-09-16): Juri Pakaste:

So “Time Flies” referred to the iOS release schedule, huh

Jesse Squires (Hacker News, also):

Given the increasingly tenuous relationship that Apple has with developers, I do not understand how it could be in their interest to act like such an asshole right now. Not to mention, it is unlikely that they will even be able to review all of these app submissions in time. We already do not feel valued due to the aforementioned issues, and this is an outright negligent response to developer relationships the company has damaged over the past few years. Announcing that iOS 14 ships tomorrow with virtually no notice to developers is yet another breach of trust, another disappointment, and quite frankly feels like a big ‘fuck you’ to developers.

Paul Haddad:

“Dear iOS dev. Because of X we had to make some tough choices and release iOS 14 without enough time for you to prepare. We’ll be doing Y to prevent this from happening again. We’re sorry.”

Would go a long way. Will never happen.

Josh Avant:

Talked to iOS lead at a popular app. Apple made their usual petition to develop new-to-iOS 14 features for launch day. Things were broken in betas, are still broken in GM, and this whole kerfuffle has prevented them from shipping + being day one partner Apple asked them to be.

Peter Steinberger:

Apple removed OSLogStore completely from iOS with the GM release. This is a surprising move and really sad.

The removal of this API will make logging slower and less secure for everyone.

Marco Arment:

I thought I was being smart by submitting an update built with the 13 SDK on Monday, a day before the likely 14 GM release and rush of submissions.

I think it backfired. 14 SDK apps are being prioritized and reviewed in record time. I bet 13 apps are at the bottom of the queue.

Xcode Releases:

The website and API have been updated. To keep things “simple”, 12A7209 has replaced 12A7208.

Seán Labastille:

For posterity: The tale of two Xcode 12 GMs — 12A7208 and 12A7209, built only days apart and yet at least a week before their sudden release.

Interestingly builds from 12A7208 have been approved for the App Store.

Update (2020-09-17): Matt Birchler (also: MacRumors):

Why do devs want to have updates out on the day (and ideally time) new iOS versions come out? Well, customers are going to install the update and hear about things like widgets that are flagship features. Customers are going to look for apps that have widgets, and Apple is going to feature apps that did updates to use the new features. Major sites like 9to5Mac and Techcrunch are going to feature lists of apps that use the new features, also driving sales.


iOS 14 updates need to be built using the final build of Xcode, which was also released yesterday afternoon. That means even if you were done weeks ago, you need to rebuild your app with the new version of Xcode.[…]

Jason Snell:

I’d really love to know why Apple ended up releasing the software in this fashion. I want believe that it was just an unfortunate chain of events that forced this timing. Clearly the App Review team was prepared for an onslaught of app submissions from surprised developers, so someone at Apple knew this was coming.

Juli Clover:

Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad.

Update (2020-09-18): Renaud Lienhart:

Releasing the GMs 24h before the public release is indefensible, if not solely for the fact that Xcode 12.0 crashes simply opening the Documentation Viewer.

Update (2020-09-22): Howard Oakley:

As millions of users were upgrading their iPhones to iOS 14, its third-party developers were in for another of Apple’s treats: suddenly, the first beta of iOS 14.2 was released to them for testing. Not 14.1, which presumably fixes some of the bugs already known to have missed the premature release of 14.0, but 14.2. In just three sleepless days and nights, iOS developers had been shot from 14.0 beta to 14.2 beta.

Somehow Apple managed to expedite product review for tens or even hundreds of thousands of apps, although I suspect that review wasn’t as thorough (pernickety, according to many developers) as usual.

Technology Evangelist:

This [documentation crash] affects Xcode 12 when downloaded from the Mac App Store. We’re aware of the problem and we’re working on a fix.

As a workaround in the meantime, documentation is available on, or if necessary, Xcode 12 can be downloaded from the More Downloads area.

Update (2020-09-28): See also: Will Hains, The Talk Show.

Xcode Releases:

This version appears to fix the issue with the documentation window crashing the app.

Still no sign of a 12.0.1 direct download.

iPad 8 and iPad Air

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today introduced the eighth-generation iPad, featuring the powerful A12 Bionic chip that brings the Neural Engine to the entry iPad for the first time. Starting at just $329, the upgrade packs even more value into the most popular and affordable iPad, featuring a stunning 10.2-inch Retina display, advanced cameras, and great all-day battery life.

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today introduced an all-new iPad Air — the most powerful, versatile, and colorful iPad Air ever. Now available in five gorgeous finishes, iPad Air features an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic for a massive boost in performance, making this by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made.


Wi-Fi models of iPad Air will be available with a starting price of $599 (US) and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $729 (US). The new iPad Air, in 64GB and 256GB configurations, will be available in five beautiful finishes including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue.

Here’s the event coverage.


Update (2020-09-16): Gene Munster:

Biggest news saved for last: iPad Air priced at $599 is up from previous $499 price. Evidence that Apple continues to experience huge iPad demand and company confident that the 20% price increase won’t slow that down. We estimate iPad is 11% of total revenue and iPad Air is 4%.

David Ruddock:

Re: Education

iPad being 6x faster than the “best selling chromebook” is meaningless as long as iPads are comparatively expensive ($300 + keyboard + case), fragile, and ridiculously difficult to administer on the IT side.

Nothing about today changes any of that.

Update (2020-09-17): John Gruber:

But what’s most remarkable about the new iPad Air are two technical firsts: it’s the first device with an A14-series SoC and the first Apple device with a Touch ID sensor in the power button.


Touch ID in the iPad Air’s power button raises the question of whether that might be true for the iPhone 12 as well — not as a replacement for Face ID but as a face-mask-friendly supplement to it. I’m going to guess no. I think this pandemic struck far too late for ubiquitous face-mask-wearing to factor into Apple’s design for the iPhone 12. But it’s interesting to think that the mid-range iPad now has a feature millions of people would rather see in high-end iPhones.

Mark Wilson:

The button looks like just the sort of micro engineering feat that Apple is so good at. It’s comprised of a laser-cut sapphire top (a hard glass, essentially), a tiny stainless steel frame, and a rectangular sensor underneath. But on the outside, it looks and works pretty much like the Apple power button always has. There’s no aesthetic compromise or new gesture for the user to learn. It’s simply a boring old component given an apropos upgrade. (In fairness to who did it first, Samsung has a similar button in its Galaxy S10e.)

Craig Grannell:

Now the iPad Air has USB-C out, Apple’s seeming reluctance regarding full external display support for iPad is increasingly baffling. Surely the ideal should be to position the iPad as a fully modular device that promotes strong ergonomics?

Jason Snell:

But in scrupulously adhering to the comparisons to the A12, Apple is not telling us how much faster the base A14 processor—likely the foundation of the next generation of iPad Pro models and possibly even the first round of Macs running Apple Silicon—is compared to its immediate [predecessor].


I don’t think Apple’s doing this because it’s not proud of the A14. (On the contrary, Apple seems very aware of how important this chip is, including the fact that it’s Apple’s first to be manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor’s new 5-nanometer process.) No, this is about leaving some space for Apple’s forthcoming iPhone launch event to boast a bit more about the A14.

Apple Watch Series 6, SE, and Fitness+

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today announced Apple Watch Series 6, introducing a revolutionary Blood Oxygen feature that offers users even more insight into their overall wellness. Apple Watch Series 6 delivers many notable hardware improvements, including a faster S6 System in Package (SiP) and next-generation always-on altimeter, along with its most colorful lineup yet, featuring a beautiful palette of new case finishes and bands.


Using a new dual-core processor based on A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, the upgraded S6 SiP runs up to 20 percent faster, allowing apps to also launch 20 percent faster, while maintaining the same all-day 18-hour battery life. Additionally, Apple Watch Series 6 features the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband antennas, which will enable short-range wireless location to support new experiences, such as next-generation digital car keys. Apple Watch Series 6 offers faster charging, completing a full charge in under 1.5 hours, and improved battery life for tracking certain workouts, such as indoor and outdoor runs.


Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499.

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today announced Apple Watch SE, packing the essential features of Apple Watch into a modern design customers love — all at a more affordable price. The largest and most advanced Retina display allows customers to easily see more details and the information that matters most, right on their wrist. Apple Watch SE features the same accelerometer, gyroscope, and always-on altimeter as Apple Watch Series 6, and with the latest motion sensors and microphone, it offers robust health and safety capabilities including fall detection, Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, and the Noise app.


Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at $279 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at $329.

Juli Clover:

With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple has discontinued the higher-end premium ceramic Apple Watch models that were previously available.

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today unveiled Fitness+, the first fitness experience built for Apple Watch, arriving later this year. Apple Fitness+ intelligently incorporates metrics from Apple Watch for users to visualize right on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, offering a first-of-its-kind personalized workout experience. Everyone from beginners to committed exercisers can access studio-style workouts delivered by inspiring world-class trainers and underscored by motivating music from renowned artists, making it easier and more rewarding for customers to exercise, whenever and wherever they like.


Fitness+ will be available to Apple Watch customers as a subscription service before the end of 2020 for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Everyone can try Fitness+ free for one month.


Update (2020-09-16): Darshan Shankar:

Did anyone notice Apple further flexing their monopolistic powers today?

3rd-party fitness apps need to pay 30% tax to Apple, while Apple launch their own first party competitor (Apple Fitness+)

Same issue with Spotify & Apple Music

Facebook is doing the same to Bigscreen in VR

Update (2020-09-17): Jason Snell:

If replacing the old model with a new “SE” model is the Tim Cook doctrine, how do we describe what happened on Tuesday? Tim Cook Plus? He brought in the new model and kept the old one.

Good, Better, Best. The $199 model gets people to consider an Apple Watch… but once you compare the three models side by side, that $279 model starts to look a lot more interesting. Perhaps that Series 3 will still bring people in to the Apple Watch world who might otherwise have passed it by for a FitBit or some other fitness band, but my guess is that it will ultimately be more important as a “good” product that makes potential buyers curious about the Apple Watch but then drives them toward the “better” end of the spectrum.

John Gruber:

There’s nothing spectacular or game-changing about Apple Watch Series 6, but it’s a perfect example of Apple’s incremental product update strategy. What’s new in Series 6 compared to Series 5?


The Apple Watch SE is best thought of as a cut-down Series 5 watch. Apple has an excellent comparison page, and it’s pretty clear from that page that the difference between a Series 6 and SE comes down to three things the SE lacks: no always-on display, no ECG sensor, no blood oxygen sensor. Also, adding cellular connectivity to an aluminum Series 6 is a $100 upsell; on the SE adding cellular costs only $50. (The stainless steel and titanium Series 6 models all have cellular included.)

Update (2020-09-22): Benjamin Mayo:

I have no problem with Apple rolling out new services, as long as they are made with purpose and care. Fitness+ fits the bill. It’s a really nice integration of Apple’s ecosystem to bring something new to home fitness courses. The interaction between the recorded video and the user’s on-screen health metrics is useful and simple for prospective subscribers to understand.


[The] only criticism I have is that the service will require a Watch. […] This seems like an unnecessary artificial limitation.


Fitness+ is a fixed cost service, but it has higher-rate pricing. From the business side, Apple is going to singing for the hills if they can accrue millions of Fitness+ subscribers. It will easily be their most profitable service per customer. In the scheme of things, producing a set of fitness videos on a weekly basis is relatively inexpensive. Their outlay on a single TV+ show will easily cost more than running the entire the Fitness+ service for years.

That being said, it doesn’t matter how much it costs to make, it’s what the market can bear. At $9.99, Fitness+ is legitimately competitive with other workout plans.

Apple Leadership Bubblegum Cards

John Gruber:

My biggest question and deepest concern regarding Apple’s leadership, especially now that Ive is gone and Phil Schiller has moved on to a fellowship with only the App Store and events on his plate, is whose taste is driving product development? We know the actors, we know the writers, we know the cinematographers, but who is directing? Who is saying “This isn’t good enough” — or in the words of Apple’s former director, “This is shit”? When a product decision comes down to this or that, who is making that call?