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Mac Power Users #571: Catching up with Jeff Richardson »

This week on Mac Power Users:

Writer and lawyer Jeff Richardson returns to the show to update Stephen and David on how he’s working at a 12.9-inch iPad Pro most of the time, even when needing to use Windows.

In More Power Users, we spoke about Project Titan, Apple’s heavily-rumored car project.

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Panic Revives Audion »

Michael, writing on the Panic blog:

Once upon a time, we made one of the earliest MP3 players for the Mac, Audion. We’ve come to appreciate that Audion captured a special moment in time, and we’ve been trying to preserve its history. Back in March, we revealed that we were working on converting Audion faces to a more modern format so they could be preserved.

Since then, we’ve succeeded in converting 867 faces, and are currently working on a further 15 faces, representing every Audion face we know of.

Today, we’d like to give you the chance to experience these faces yourself on any Mac running 10.12 or later. We’re releasing a stripped-down version of Audion for modern macOS to view these faces.

I can’t tell you how much self control it has taken not to spend a day fiddling with this.

Bloomberg: New iMac Design, External Display and Two Mac Pros Underway »

The current iMac design hails from 2012, so it’s no big surprise that Apple is readying a new, modern iMac, but Gurman has two other interesting things in his report:

Apple is also working on a pair of new Mac Pro desktop computers, its priciest Mac machines that don’t come with a screen included, the people said. One version is a direct update to the current Mac Pro and will continue to use the same design as the version launched in 2019. Apple has discussed continuing to use Intel processors for that model rather than moving to its own chips.

The second version, however, will use Apple’s own processors and be less than half the size of the current Mac Pro. The design will feature a mostly aluminum exterior and could invoke nostalgia for the Power Mac G4 Cube, a short-lived smaller version of the Power Mac, an earlier iteration of the Mac Pro.

Updating the 2019 Mac Pro with new Intel chips would indicate to me a couple of things. First, that Apple knows not all high-end users are ready to switch to Apple silicon, and secondly, that Apple’s chips that could rival the Xeons currently in use aren’t going to be ready super soon.

I would be really surprised if Apple ships both of these concepts at the same time, so maybe the full-sized Mac Pro comes out, then is replaced with the smaller one.

Every time the company has made a small pro desktop, things have gone terribly wrong. The Cube was a real miss, and we all know how the 2013 Mac Pro turned out. Hopefully the third time is the charm.

Also in his report is a bit on a new external display geared to normal humans. I’m all for it.

Rumors Say Apple Readying 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with Apple silicon, MagSafe and More — With No Touch Bar 

It is no secret that more Apple silicon Macs are on their way. For the first three models, the new versions are more or less the same as their Intel counterparts, just way faster and better. The Mac mini, MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 all look just like the older models.

That may be changing soon, and for the better.

Juli Clover, writing at MacRumors:

According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as “similar to the iPhone 12” with no curves like current models. It will be the most significant design update to the MacBook Pro in the last five years.

There will be no OLED Touch Bar included, with Apple instead returning to physical function keys. Kuo says the MagSafe charging connector design will be restored, though it’s not quite clear what that means as Apple has transitioned to USB-C. The refreshed MacBook Pro models will have additional ports, and Kuo says that Most people may not need to purchase dongles to supplement the available ports on the new machines. Since 2016, Apple’s MacBook Pro models have been limited to USB-C ports with no other ports available.

Mark Gurman has more:

A major change to the new computers will be how they charge. Over the past five years, Apple has relied on USB-C ports for both power and data transfer on its laptops, making them compatible with other manufacturers’ chargers. But the company is now bringing back MagSafe, the magnetic power adapter that means any accidental yanking of the power cable would simply detach it from the laptop rather than pull down the entire computer. It was a favorite feature of the company’s portable PC lineup that was first introduced in 2006 and most recently revived for its latest lineup of iPhones.

The return of MagSafe with the next MacBook Pros will also allow those laptops to charge at a faster rate, the person said. The connector will be similar to the elongated pill-shape design of the older MagSafe port.

Any time I plug in a laptop with MagSafe, I get sad that Apple dropped the connector. It was just so damn clever I still can’t believe the company killed it off. But the news keeps getting better, as Gurman and Kuo both report that the Touch Bar may be removed from these new models.

People are all over the place on how they think and feel about the Touch Bar, but Apple’s lack of meaningful updates to how it interacts with macOS makes me think it hasn’t been the hit the company wanted it to be. That said, if Apple was going to fully drop the Touch Bar, the M1 MacBook Pro I am typing this one sure seems like an outlier, as it has a Touch Bar. I could see a world where it becomes optional.

Additionally, Kuo writes that these new machines — due sometime in Q3 2021 — will come with additional ports that would mean users would need fewer dongles. While this could just be more USB-C ports, the return of USB A would be welcome. I’m not holding my breath for much more.

I love that these rumors are so exciting again. 2021 is going to be a fun year to be a Mac nerd.

Connected #328: Sir, I Believe That’s Not Your Suitcase »

This week on Connected, Federico, Myke and I gathered to discuss Apple’s new Racial Equity and Justice Initiatives, some things at CES that caught their eyes and how they feel about the Apple Watch.

On Connected Pro, the 5-second rule is discussed as is Federico’s switch to Spotify.

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Apple Launches Racial Equity and Justice Initiative »

Apple PR:

Apple today announced a set of major new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color. These forward-looking and comprehensive efforts include the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); an Apple Developer Academy to support coding and tech education for students in Detroit; and venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs. Together, Apple’s REJI commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of color across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.

“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long. We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple.”

As part of this, Apple is supporting the launch of the Propel Center, which is designed to support students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country. The company is also opening an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit, as well as invest in venture capital firms working with entrepreneurs of color.

Ungeniused #120: Sandboarding »

This week on Ungeniused, a sport I never knew I wanted to try:

If shredding fresh powder is just too mainstream for you, this could be the sport for you.

Think snowboarding, but down a dune.

My thanks to our sponsor this week:

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