Zac Hall

@apollozac

Editor at 9to5Mac + 9to5Google

Zac covers Apple news and product reviews for 9to5Mac. Zac also contributes to 9to5Google.

Email tips, typos, and any feedback to: zac@9to5mac.com

Tweet and follow: @apollozac

Zac Hall's Recommended Gear

August 24

AAPL: 103.12

-2.64
Stock Chart

Apple hasn’t officially confirmed its expected September 9th iPhone 6S event just yet, but we now know where Tim Cook will be at the end of next month. Box announced today that the Apple CEO will be joining Box CEO Aaron Levie for a fireside chat to open the enterprise cloud service’s BoxWorks conference in California. The conference runs September 28-30 at Moscone Center in San Francisco with Cook’s fireside chat set to take place on September 29th.  expand full story

August 23

AAPL: 105.76

-6.89
Stock Chart

Just as many students and teachers around the country are preparing to start or already have started the new school year, Apple is set to announce a new education program that aims to ‘end America’s public schools’ digital divide’. The new plan will be unveiled tomorrow morning with ABC’s Good Morning America program airing an exclusive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook discussing the company’s latest education initiative with Robin Roberts (seen wearing an Apple Watch in the promo shot). expand full story

August 21

AAPL: 105.76

-6.89
Stock Chart

Hip-hop artist Dr. Dre’s controversial and storied past was bound to become an issue for Apple at some point after it bought the company he co-founded for $3 billion last year. Now Apple is hoping it can let the rapper’s history live in the past, which is especially tricky as it promotes the biofilm “Compton” depicting the rapper’s entrance into fame.

The biographical film, which was produced with close cooperation from Dr. Dre, has been criticized for omitting decades old allegations that the artist physically abused women. Today both Dr. Dre and Apple released statements addressing the controversy, Dre saying that he deeply apologizes for his actions 25 years ago and adding that “it has forever impacted all of our lives” while Apple said that “we have every reason to believe that he has changed.” expand full story

August 20

AAPL: 112.65

-2.36
Stock Chart

Apple has long been known to extravagantly deck out its own retail stores with eye-catching window displays featuring flagship products at key times, and unsurprisingly it’s treating the 24 window displays that wrap around Selfridges’ high-end retail store in London just the same. Profiled today by Wallpaper.com, the massive display of detailed floral shots easily catches the attention of window shoppers to advertise the Apple Watch. The profile also shows previous themes used by Apple to advertise the Apple Watch’s availability at the high-end retailer and includes some interesting details about the display as well: expand full story

Adobe announced almost one year ago that it had acquired the team behind the popular image editing app Aviary, and since then the iPhone app has picked up Adobe ID support for syncing editing supplies with Creative Cloud and joined the Creative SDK. Now Adobe is tying Aviary’s tools like text adding and filter adjustments to Adobe Social — which lets social media managers publish content with simple workflows — thanks to tighter Adobe Creative Cloud integration. Adobe highlights what Aviary integration with Social will mean for users: expand full story

A nice update is awaiting 1Password users on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch today as the password management app has enhanced a few key parts of the experience. On the iPhone 5s and later plus iPad min 3/iPad Air 2, 1Password’s login screen now features a Touch ID button under the Master Password field so you can choose to sign in using your finger print even if you accidentally hit cancel on the first request. Tapping the fingerprint button prompts the system Touch ID unlock screen.

Also useful for Touch ID users on iOS is an improvement to how the app can stay unlocked between uses in different apps. Previously 1Password’s extension in other apps required being unlocked by password, passcode, or Touch ID each time, but now the 1Password extension and 1Password app share the same unlock time limits. This makes relying on 1Password to enter passwords in the many of supported apps including Safari a faster experience if security is a lower priority.

Finally, 1Password has enhanced its Apple Watch app with the usual bug fixes that give you a better experience, and credit cards saved to the Apple Watch app now include the important PIN codes that 1Password can save. 1Password’s Apple Watch app lets you selectively sync important passwords to the app with an optional added passcode over the app. You can find the full release notes below: expand full story

Amazon may have been Apple’s target when it unveiled its iBooks Store alongside the iPad in 2010, but the digital retail giant’s latest move is helping fulfill Steve Jobs’ vision of a web without Flash. Amazon Advertising issued an update to its technical guidelines today declaring that it will stop accepting Flash-based ads starting next month. Adobe cited “recent browser setting updates from Google Chrome, and existing browser settings from Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari” that interfere with displaying Flash ads. expand full story

August 19

AAPL: 115.01

-1.49
Stock Chart

The highly popular WhatsApp messaging service owned by Facebook appears to be adding a new feature that allows iPhone users to chat in the browser using a web app. The feature is called WhatsApp Web and became available on various platforms including Android and Windows Phone earlier this year, but the feature was absent for iPhone users at the time “due to Apple platform limitations.” Using the chat service on the web requires running WhatsApp on a corresponding smartphone. expand full story

iPhone 6S hasn’t even been officially announced by Apple yet (although we know a lot about it) and we’re already seeing answers to the ‘does it bend?’ question everyone will inevitably ask after last year’s overly hyped ‘bendgate‘ episode. Following initial analysis of a purported iPhone 6S shell with increased dimensions, presumably for added durability, an in-depth round of testing with the current iPhone 6 casing and expected iPhone 6S casing shows even more differences between the two shells beyond just weight and size.

As expected based on rumors, the alleged next-gen iPhone shell will reportedly bring to the upcoming iPhone 6S a more durable grade of aluminum and a change to how the iPhone casing is anodized. expand full story

August 18

AAPL: 116.50

-0.66
Stock Chart

Earlier today a new survey over Apple Music usage surfaced with data over Apple’s new venture into the streaming music space, and Apple has decided to respond (vaguely) to at least one data point. MusicWatch’s survey results said that some 61 percent of its participants have turned off the auto-renew function on Apple Music, hinting that they would not be paying subscribers after the three-month free trial period. With the message being potentially interpreted that only 39 percent of current Apple Music users planning to become paid users this fall, Apple has responded to the survey by clarifying (somewhat) that a higher 79 percent of users that started the trial are continuing to use it, leaving only 21 percent of Apple’s 11 million subscribers as defectors. expand full story

Over a dozen more banks and credit unions around the United States have turned on support for Apple Pay in Apple’s mid-August update. The latest additions follow a larger rollout to over 40 institutions around the country earlier this month and Apple Pay’s first international debut in the UK last month. These are the latest banks to support Apple Pay plus the full list so far: expand full story

Fitness device maker Misfit and swim-accessory expert Speedo are hitting the pool together this summer to create a special version of the fitness tracking Shine wearable made especially for swimmers. The Speedo Shine is enhanced for workouts in the pool thanks to “proprietary lap counting algorithms with industry-leading accuracy” that swimmers should appreciate. Data captured by Speedo Shine syncs up wirelessly with Misfit’s iPhone app over Bluetooth for evaluating workouts in the pool and hitting swim goals. And while the water resistant Apple Watch with non-leather bands plays nice with some water, Speedo Shine is made with swimmers in mind and waterproofed to 50 meters. expand full story

August 17

AAPL: 117.16

1.20
Stock Chart

Artwork by shoplemonde.de

While we’ve reported extensively on what to expect from Apple’s next generation iPhone 6S — including Force Touch in May and what enhancements it offers last week — a fresh set of rumors are floating around today regarding the pending iPhone model ranging from expected, known, and spoofed. We’ll unpack each one below: expand full story

August 14

AAPL: 115.96

0.81
Stock Chart

Starting tomorrow, AT&T will be revamping its Mobile Share Value plans by adjusting data tiers and plan prices for new and current subscribers. At the low end, AT&T is consolidating a few data tiers into just two options with different price points. Meanwhile, AT&T’s double digit data tiers are also being reduced, and some subscribers can potentially end up with more data at no extra cost per month or get a better rate on even higher data tiers. expand full story

August 13

AAPL: 115.15

-0.09
Stock Chart

Apple has updated its diversity report with new data about gender, race, and ethnicity hiring at the company. The updated diversity report comes one day after Apple committed to sponsoring a minority-focused technology program and one year after releasing its first report on such data.

While the new data does not show dramatic diversity improvements compared with last year’s report, Apple does highlight some key changes in hiring over the last 12 months. The company is still mostly male with men accounting for 69% of Apple around the world, but that’s moved slightly from 70% a year ago.

The same is true for race, as whites make up 54% of the overall company in the United States, but the new report shows an increase in Asian (18% from 15%) and black (8% from 7%) employees from the previous year.

Apple’s report also breaks out gender, race and ethnicity of new hires over the last year, with 35% of new employees around the world being woman.and in the United States, 19% of US hires being Asian, 13% Hispanic, and 11% black. Apple’s diversity website further breaks out each group by sector, including tech and non-tech jobs, leadership, retail, and retail leadership.

Denise Young Smith, Apple’s VP of Worldwide Human Resources, sent the following memo to employees regarding the latest diversity report: expand full story

Apple has released an official iOS update for all users with iOS 8.4.1 now available. The update follows the major iOS 8.4 release which included an all-new Music app with Apple Music, the new subscription music service, plus Beats 1, Apple’s Internet-based radio station with live DJs. Apple initially started testing the changes in iOS 8.4.1 with developers in mid-July. The maintenance update includes several issue fixes for Apple Music and Beats 1.  expand full story

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