Apple unveils all-new, redesigned MacBook Pros with OLED Touch Bar, larger trackpad, USB-C, more

Apple has officially unveiled the new redesigned MacBook Pro at its special event in Cupertino, California. The new design is all metal like the 12-inch MacBook (no plastic along the hinge) and available in space gray (looks darker than 12-inch but we’ll see) and traditional silver. 13-inch and 15-inch options are available. Much more below:
And here’s what we now know:

  • 13-inch is 17% thinner, 23% less volume, 3 pounds, nearly 1/2 pound less than previous version
  • 15-inch is 15.5 mm, 14% thinner, 20% less volume, 4 pounds, 1/2 pound less
  • USB-C ports
  • Force Touch trackpad, 2x larger
  • All-new keyboard with 2nd-gen butteryfly mechanism like 12-inch MacBook (more responsive, improved travel)
  • Function keys replaced with dynamic Touch Bar, a Retina OLED display panel above the keyboard
  • Touch Bar adaptive to specific applications, color display changes based on context
  • Touch ID available on new MacBook Pros, a first
  • Supports log-ins, sapphire crystal, second-gen version like iPhone 6s
  • Apple T1 Chip supports Touch ID, includes Secure Enclave for Apple Pay
  • Siri key added to Touch Bar with default system keys
  • Control Strip lets you manage system controls like brightness and volume
  • Touch Bar supports emoji, QuickType typing
  • Photos use of Touch Bar looks especially promising with scrubber for photos in a collection and finding place in a video
  • Touch Bar can be customized (example includes Finder, Control Strip)
  • Touch ID on new MacBook Pros support profiles (Phil Schiller’s fingerprint logs him into his account, Craig Federighi’s fingerprint pulls up his account)
  • Touch Bar supports most (if not all) Apple apps including Terminal, Xcode
  • Developers can program Touch Bar support
  • MacBook Pro display is 67% brighter, 67% higher contrast ratio, 25% more colors, display as thin as 12-inch MacBook display
  • 15-inch includes Intel Core i7 (6th gen, quad-core, 2133MHz memory), Radeon Pro, up to 4GB VRAM, up to 2.3x faster, Superfast SSD up to 2TB, up to 50% faster, advanced thermal architecture (for fan), all-new speaker design, 2x dynamic range
  • 13-inch includes Intel Core i5 or i7, Intel Iris Graphics, Superfast SSD
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C connector), headphone jack, any of four ports is charging port (RIP MagSafe)
  • Can support two 5K displays externally
  • New version of Final Cut Pro that supports Touch Bar coming, Adobe will also support Touch Bar with Photoshop, and djay Pro from Algoriddim shows support
  • Microsoft Office is working on Touch Bar support for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Skype for Business
  • Affinity Designer and Pixelmator also working on support, Sketch, DeVinci Resolve as well
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life in both models
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch will also be available in a version without Magic Bar
  • $1499 for non Touch Bar version, $1799 for 13-inch Touch Bar model, and $2399 for 15-inch Touch Bar model
  • Today for new models without Touch Bar, 2-3 weeks shipping for Touch Bar models
  • All models available to order starting today!
  • That’s a wrap for MacBook Pro unveiling, stay tuned for more in depth coverage. 

Apple opens special event with focus on Accessibility, announces dedicated website

Apple kicked off today’s keynote with a video highlighting some of the accessibility features of Apple products, such as spoken alerts letting a blind person know when the camera has detected a face and locked focus on it …Tim Cook said that he could not be prouder to share the video as Apple’s teams work so hard to make products accessible to everyone, and the company was highlighting those in a new accessibility website.

The website has separate Accessibility sections for Mac, iOS, Watch and TV. There are also overviews highlighting the focus on vision, hearing, physical & motor skills and literacy & learning.

Apple launches new Facebook page for Beats 1, its free worldwide internet radio station

Apple has launched a dedicated Facebook page for Beats 1, the free worldwide Apple Music radio station run by human hosts, unlike other Apple Music stations which are generated by computer algorithms and require an Apple Music streaming subscription.

The new Beats 1 account is currently highlighting Zane Lowe’s exclusive interview with Lady Gaga, featuring video snippets and quotes. Although the page is not yet verified on Facebook, the account’s legitimacy is confirmed as the verified Apple Music account shared a post from the Beats 1 page.Previously, Apple has communicated marketing for the Beats 1 station on Facebook via its Apple Music account, which has over 2 million likes. To gain traction on the Beats 1 page, the main Apple Music account is sharing its posts for publicity.Beats 1 has been using a dedicated Twitter account for some time (which is approaching 500,000 followers) so the lack of a parallel Facebook presence was strange. It appears Apple previously started a dedicated Beats 1 account in 2015, but let it languish after a mere month of posts.The music division of Apple has embraced social media platforms more than Apple as a whole, but it is slowly expanding its social media outreach. Apple started an Instagram account for iBooks in July.

The company also ‘launched’ an @Apple Twitter account in early September but has so far only used the account for promoted tweet advertising. The account has accrued more than 600,000 without posting a single public tweet.

 Apple to release new 13 inch MacBook & MacBook Pros at next week’s event, new iMac & 5K Display coming next year

Reliable Apple analyst KGI has published a report on Saturday outlining their predictions for Apple’s Mac roadmap ahead of the media event on October 27th. The report says that Apple will launch three new MacBooks at the event, a new 13 inch MacBook, a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and a new 15 inch MacBook Pro.It goes on to say that new iMacs and the Apple external display will not be shipping this year; those should be expected in the first half of 2017.KGI does not know if Apple will announce early the new iMacs or new Cinema Display (detailed as having a 27 inch panel) at the event, but Ming-Chi Kuo seems confident that they are not ready to release. If you are waiting on a new Mac Pro, then the outlook is still murky: Kuo simply does not mention the product at all.

The news on what KGI does expect Apple to announce and ship is interesting, three new Mac laptops in total across two product lines.The new Retina MacBook Pro, expected to include Touch ID, an OLED function row above the keyboard and new internals, will be debuting in both 13 inch and 15 inch screen sizes.The new OLED screen panel is mocked up in our hero image above; rumor mill suggests the screen will show contextual commands and shortcuts depending on the currently-used app. A Macotakara report says the new laptops will feature only USB-C ports (backed by Thunderbolt 3) and will not use a MagSafe power connector for charging.
The KGI report says the new MacBook Pro will have “many” major upgrades, but does not go into specifics. It is not guaranteed that all the features will be necessarily available across both the 13 inch and 15 inch sizes. If Apple follows tradition, the highest-spec options will be reserved for the 15 inch form factor only. New MacBook Pros are long overdue; the currently-sold models use generations-old Broadwell chips.The other product KGI says is coming is a new “13 inch MacBook”, as a successor to the 12 inch single-port Retina MacBook first released in 2015. By the way, this is not the first time that KGI has said that Apple is developing a 13 inch version of the Retina MacBook. KGI makes no mention of any changes to the MacBook Air line. It would be somewhat strange to have both a 12 inch and a 13 inch Retina MacBook in Apple’s lineup simultaneously as they are so similar. Unfortunately, KGI does not elaborate about what the 13 inch MacBook might bring to the table that the 12 inch does not. Maybe the 13 inch version is more powerful, boasting better internal specs in a slightly larger total chassis.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see for Apple to announce these things for real at a media event on its campus this Thursday. If you believe KGI, we’ll see at least three new Mac products shipping by the end of the month including the long-awaited update to the MacBook Pros … which are likely to be the stars of the show. 9to5Mac will have full coverage of all the announcements as they happen.

Research team develops portable iPhone-powered lab that can detect cancer with 99% accuracy

It’s no secret that Apple has ambitious plans for iPhone and Apple Watch in the health industry, but it’s not the only company looking for ways to integrate smartphones in the medical field. Recently, a research team from Washington State University, under the leadership of assistant professor Lei Li, developed a portable laboratory that’s powered by a smartphone and capable of detecting cancer nearly instantly…Announced on Washington State University’s website, the laboratory is able analyze up to eight different samples at once, giving it unprecedented accuracy.

Li says that the portable laboratory is able to detect human interleukin-6 (IL-6), a known biomarker for lung, prostate, liver, breast and epithelial cancers. It works with a spectrometer analyzing the amount and type of chemicals in a sample by measuring the light spectrum.
Li’s spectrometer could have a huge impact on cancer detection and research around the world. In addition to being useful at hospitals and clinics in the United States, the lab is portable enough that it can be used around the world in areas where accurate cancer detection is hard to come by.
“With our eight channel spectrometer, we can put eight different samples to do the same test, or one sample in eight different wells to do eight different tests. This increases our device’s efficiency,” said Li, who has filed a provisional patent for the work.
“The spectrometer would be especially useful in clinics and hospitals that have a large number of samples without on-site labs, or for doctors who practice abroad or in remote areas,” he said. “They can’t carry a whole lab with them. They need a portable and efficient device.”
While other smartphone spectrometers exist, the ability to measure up to eight samples at once is what sets Li’s apart. This capability gives it a 99 percent accuracy rate. At first, the device was used primarily with standard lab-controlled samples, but now it is being applied in real world situations.Li has tested his design with an iPhone 5, but is working on an adjustable version that will work with any smartphone. The diagram above offers a more detailed look at how the machine works and how the smartphone’s camera is integrated:
More information regarding Li’s research can be read in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

10 handy Safari tips that every iOS user should know

Mobile Safari is the primary way that the majority of people access the Internet on their iPhones and iPads, but are you getting the most out of Apple’s default browser? 

Here are some Tips. 

Quickly open a new tab

Instead of tapping the Tab Switcher button to access the New Tab button, simply long-press the Tab Switcher button to reveal a quick New Tab shortcut.

Close all tabs

iOS 10 brought about a new feature that we’ve desperately needed for quite some time — the ability to close all open tabs in one fell swoop. To close all tabs, simply tap and hold the Tab Switcher button followed by the Close Tabs button.
Access recently closed tabs

Accidentally close a tab that you don’t mean to? You can easily access recently closed tabs by tapping the Tab Switcher button and long-pressing the New Tab button.
Access back and forward history

Safari allows you to quickly access back and forward history via a long-press on either the Back or Forward buttons in the bottom left-hand corner of the Safari interface.

Paste and Go/Paste and Search

If you have a URL or a term that you’d like to search for stored in the iOS clipboard, a simple long-press on Safari’s address bar will reveal either a Paste and Go option (for URLs) or a Paste and Search option (for search terms).
Request Desktop Site

To quickly request the desktop version of a website you’re currently visiting, long-press the Refresh button on the right side of the address bar and tap Request Desktop Site at the bottom of the screen.
Find on Page

You can search for specific terms on a website you’re currently visiting by using the handy Find on Page option located in the Share Sheet. You can also invoke Find on Page by typing search terms directly in the address bar, and scrolling down to the end of the list to see if any results were yielded.

Quick Website Search

If you use a website’s built-in search option, Safari will intelligently make it possible to search the website directly from the address bar.
Quick Website Search, which can be accessed in Settings → Safari → Quick Website Search, allows you to quickly search the contents of your favorite sites, even when you’re not currently on that site. For example, just type “9to5 iPhone 7” to show 9to5Mac search results for “iPhone 7”. Remember, you must search the website via its built-in search at least once, before it’s added to Quick Website Search.
Quickly add sites to Bookmarks, Reading List, or Shared Links

If you’re visiting a page that you’d like to access later, a long-press on the Bookmark button will lend direct access to the Add Bookmark, Add to Reading List, or Add to Shared Links options.
Shared Links

Safari’s Shared Links feature is almost like a mini RSS application built right into the web browser. You can subscribe to your favorite blogs to aggregate posts, and subscribe to links shared via social media channels like Twitter. It’s an unheralded and underused feature in mobile Safari.
To add a new website to your Shared Links, tap the Share button and tap Add to Shared Links, or long-press the Bookmark button and tap Add to Shared Links. Shared links can then be accessed by opening the bookmark interface and tapping the Shared Links section in the upper right-hand corner.

Of course, there are many other Safari tips and tricks to be shared, such as the ability to use Safari Split View on iOS 10-equipped iPads. We’ll be back with more tips in a later installment. In the meantime, feel free to share some of your favorite iOS tips and tricks in the comments below.

British Prime Minister bans Apple Watches from cabinet meetings over hacking fears

The Telegraph reports that British government ministers have been banned from wearing Apple Watches during cabinet meetings, over fears that they could be hacked by the Russians.Under David Cameron, several cabinet ministers wore the smart watches, including Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary. 

However, under Theresa May ministers have been barred from wearing them amid concerns that they could be used by hackers as listening devices. The previous Prime Minister, David Cameron, allowed the Watches to be worn in the high-level meetings, and the change of policy is attributed to recently-installed PM Theresa May …It appears that the change is not driven by any concerns specific to the Apple Watch, but rather an extension of the existing policy of banning mobile phones. That ban was also introduced over fears that hackers might be able to eavesdrop on cabinet meetings.

One source said: “The Russians are trying to hack everything.”

While the Telegraph report refers specifically to the Apple Watch, it’s likely that the policy also bans other smartwatches.Former Home Secretary Theresa May is a controversial figure who has vowed to repeal the Human Rights Act, which explicitly lays out 15 fundamental rights, among them the right to free speech. She plans to replace it with more limited rights under a new Bill of Rights.

Photo: Mark Richards/WPA Pool via Politico

New ios 10 beta 2 features and changes.

As we noted earlier, Apple released a new developer beta for iOS 10.1. Join us as we go hands-on to showcase what’s new in iOS 10.1 beta 2.The headlining feature of the iOS 10.1 beta is, of course, Portrait mode. Portrait mode is an iPhone 7 Plus exclusive that wields the new iSight Duo camera module to create stunning portraits with shallow depth of field.Portrait mode doesn’t appear to have changed at all between iOS 10.1 beta 1 and iOS 10.1 beta 2. However, there are some new Messages app-related changes that users will be no doubt happy to see.

Developers who install iOS 10.1 developer beta 2 will find the following new changes related to the Messages app:

  • The ability to replay text effects using a handy Replay button beneath the message bubble
  • The ability to enjoy text effects while using the Reduced Motion accessibility option
  • A cleaner App Drawer for iMessage apps
  • Bug fixes