Apple Outlines new “Voice” Music Plan →

Apple has an updated chart showing how the new $4.99/month plan differs from a regular Apple Music plan:

Apple Music

From reading the press release, it seems that the Music app will offer a stripped-down experience for these users:

Apple Music Voice Plan subscribers will get a customized in-app experience with suggestions based on the listener’s music preferences and a queue of recently played music through Siri. Within the app there will also be a dedicated section called “Just Ask Siri” where subscribers can learn tips to optimize Siri for Apple Music.

For access to Apple Music’s premium offerings, including Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio, Lyrics, Music Videos, and more, subscribers can easily switch to Apple Music’s individual plan for $9.99 per month or family plan with up to six accounts for $14.99 per month at any time.

Rogue Ameoba Announces Monterey Support →

Paul Kafasis:

Apple’s official release of MacOS 12 (Monterey) won’t be arriving until next week, but our software is already compatible with the new OS. As you can see on our helpful Status page, all seven of our major Mac apps now have compatibility with Monterey. Just make sure you’ve got the latest versions of Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Farrago, Fission, Loopback, Piezo, and SoundSource, and you’ll be good to go on Monterey.

This is fantastic news for those of us who rely on these apps every day. It makes upgrading to Monterey sooner rather than later possible.

A Running List of Small Details About Apple’s New MacBook Pros

There’s a lot to unpack in today’s news, but here are some details I’ve noticed already:

  • The Touch Bar is dead and the display has a notch that the macOS menu bar will wrap around.
  • MagSafe 3 isn’t a new charger; it’s a USB-C cable with the new magnetic attachment at one end. A spare 2 meter one will run you $49, but one comes in the box.
  • One of the new models are thicker than the machines it replaces. The Intel 16-inch MacBook Pro was .64 inches thick, and the new one is .66 inches. The 14-inch MacBook Pro is .61 inches thick, just like the previous 4-port 13-inch Intel MacBook Pro
  • The 14-inch MacBook Pro can be outfitted with a 8 or 10-core CPU with the M1 Pro. The 8-core machine comes with a 14-core GPU and 67W USB-C power adapter, while the 10-core comes with a 96W model charger and a 16-core GPU. The larger MacBook Pro requires a 140W charger. Fast charging requires the 96W or 140W adaptor. Neither come in fun new colors.
  • The 140W charger has some cool tricks.
  • The 14-inch can be equipped with a M1 Max with 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU and 32 GB of unified memory, same as the 16-inch. Both top out at 8 TB of storage.
  • The smaller notebook comes with a 70-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery; the 16-inch has a 100-watt-hour unit.
  • The new design features more prominent feet than before. The sides make me think of the old polycarbonate unibody MacBook in a weird way.
  • The 14-inch is (as expected) slightly larger in area than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The old machine is 11.97 inches (30.41 cm) wide and 8.36 inches (21.24 cm) deep. The new 14-inch MacBook Pro is 12.31 inches (31.26 cm) wide and 8.71 inches (22.12 cm) deep. If you use a form-fitting case of bag, you may need to made adjustments for this new notebook.
  • The new thermal system can move 50% more air than before, but Apple says the fans will remain motionless for most daily tasks.
  • As foretold, the new displays will run at a native 2x resolution by default at 254 pixels per inch. The 13-inch model clocks in at 227 pixels per inch.

I ordered a 14-inch model with these specs:

  • Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 32GB unified memory
  • 2TB SSD storage
  • 96W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

I opted for Space Gray this time around. I usually prefer silver but thought this new size deserved a different color from my soon-to-be-for-sale 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro.

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On the Eve of Apple’s ‘Unleashed’ Event, Some Thoughts on the MacBook Pro Line, Present and Future

By all accounts, we’ll be seeing overhauled MacBook Pros during tomorrow’s event. These will be powered by the M1’s larger sibling. While its name is unknown, this system on a chip should propel the new MacBook Pro to new heights of performance.

After all, we’ve already seen what the M1 can do. The current MacBook Air, Mac mini and two-port MacBook Pro are amazing machines compared to their Intel predecessors. They’re fast, enjoy great battery life and are nearly (or always) silent.

But in a way, they were a bit boring. Picking between a post-2018 Intel MacBook Air and an M1-powered MacBook Air on the same table isn’t easy. The same goes for the MacBook Pro and Mac mini, as long as you don’t see its ports or notice its space gray coloring.1

The 24-inch M1 iMac was the first machine to break the mold of its predecessor, and when it was announced, Apple said it was the first Mac designed from the ground up around Apple silicon.

Chances are the MacBook Pros we’re going to see this week are the first notebooks cut from the same cloth. While they probably won’t come in a bunch of fun colors like the iMac, I would normally expect their design to be influenced by Apple silicon’s particular strengths. “Thinner and lighter” would be the rallying cry of such events normally, but this time, Apple has something to contend with — the 2016 class of MacBook Pros:

2016 MacBook Pro

It’s sometimes hard to judge where history will come down on a product when the products are still for sale, but with this line of notebooks, I think their fate is sealed already. The butterfly keyboard was a disaster. The Touch Bar is lackluster at best, and feels like abandonware already. USB-C is great, but it came at the metaphorical cost of MagSafe and the actual cost of a pile of dongles.

Apple has been working to correct some of these problems already, of course. The Butterfly keyboard is finally gone, and if the 16-inch Intel MacBook Pro is any example, Apple is willing to rework the basic design to accommodate a more powerful computer with better cooling.

…but there’s more work to do, and if you believe the rumors, the new line of MacBook Pros may be a real return to greatness with the return of MagSafe, HDMI and an SD card slot. Ethernet could even show up via a new power brick, like on the 24-inch iMacs. There have even been reports that the displays will run at a true, native 2x by default.

This could be the MacBook Pro that settles all family business, and I couldn’t be more excited for it — especially if there’s a 14-inch model. Even if half of this comes to pass, these MacBook Pros seem like they’re going to be a great upgrade.

Of course, we live in a broken world and there’s almost always a catch.

Or in this case… a notch. There’s an awful lot of last-minute smoke here, so if there is a display notch as part of this new notebook line, I wouldn’t be shocked. I would be a little surprised, though. With the iPad Pro/Air/mini design, Apple has shown how it can pull off thin bezels with an embedded camera. Apple will need a compelling case as to why such an unusual design element is needed.

That said, we’ve all gotten used to the notches on our iPhones; I’m hard pressed to tell that the one my new iPhone 13 Pro Max is smaller than before, honestly. Assuming Apple doesn’t go all OS X Public Beta on this and macOS can handle it gracefully, it may not be a big deal at all.

Public Beta

Either way, I am pumped to see what’s next for the Mac.

  1. One of the most cringe-worthy moments in recent Apple keynote history is when this color was announced. This is a direct quote about space gray coming to the Mac mini: “We know pros are gonna love that.” 

LEGO Dunder Mifflin Scranton Approved for Production →

The LEGO Ideas Blog:

A huge congratulations to Jaijai Lewis (aka LEGO The Office) as his The Office recreation has been selected as the next LEGO Ideas sets. This is a super interesting and entertaining television show that we feel is universally known and loved and Jaijai’s creation captures all the details of that story so well. It’s also very apparent to us how much desire there has been for a set like this after numerous submissions reaching review over the years. This time we had the opportunity and we jumped on it.

If you’d like to learn more about Jaijai then make sure to check out his 10K Club Interview.

I am very excited about getting this set when it comes out.