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

April 4

AAPL: 111.12

1.13
Stock Chart

It’s been a year and a half since iFixit tore into the flagship 9.7-inch tablet from Apple, and now it’s finally time to look inside the smaller iPad Pro and see what it’s really made of. What you’ll find is your typical mix of components from Samsung, Bosch Sensortec, NXP Semiconductors, and others, plus a whole lot of battery. Cutting to the chase, iFixit rates the smaller iPad Pro’s repairability at a low 2 out of 10, which is the same as the iPad Air 2 it replaces but one point below what it rated the 12.9-inch iPad Pro last year. Here’s what’s inside the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and why iFixit says it’s not so repairable…

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April 1

AAPL: 109.99

1.00
Stock Chart
9to5toys 

March 31

AAPL: 108.99

-0.57
Stock Chart

My experience with using every iPhone and iPad screen size to date has taught me two things: one size does not fit all, and you can usually get used to using any screen size if you use it long enough. The tricky part is that it’s not super easy to know immediately which screen size is right for you, and using any one screen size for an extended period of time tends to make it feel normal.

iPhone displays were at first large by most standards at 3.5-inches diagonally in 2007; BlackBerry “smartphones” had tiny displays and large keyboards. Android handsets gradually raised the scope of what qualified as a phone, pressuring Apple to go bigger with the 4-inch iPhone 5 in 2012. Then even bigger and much bigger in 2014 with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

I spent just a few days with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus before I decided I needed to exchange it for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, but after a year with that screen size I decided to size up with the iPhone 6s Plus last September. The experience has been mostly okay as I really think we can all get used to any screen size (even 3.5-inch!), but extended use this go around has made the drawbacks for me very clear. More on that below, but as promised I’m venturing over to the 4-inch iPhone SE at least until the new iPhones come out in September. These are my day one observations after making the jump:

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March 30

AAPL: 109.56

1.88
Stock Chart
9to5google 

Fantastical has long been my go-to calendar on Mac, iPad, and iPhone, and today the Fantastical 2.2 update is hitting the Mac App Store. The intelligent calendar and reminders app started out as a menu bar utility with really, really good natural language detection for creating appointments and entries, plus a streamlined list view of upcoming items. Then a year ago Fantastical 2 debuted on the Mac, which graduated the menu bar app to a full-fledged calendar that easily competes with the built-in calendar app. The latest 2.2 update builds on that release by adding a handful of useful features including native Exchange support.

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March 29

AAPL: 107.68

2.49
Stock Chart

Snapchat is changing how you communicate with friends in a major way through what it’s calling Chat 2.0. The social network says it focused two years ago on making chatting more like face-to-face conversation with features like letting you know when your friends were present and “listening” to what you were typing, and the latest Snapchat update refocuses on the 1-to-1 chat aspect of the app with new features around voice and video calling plus stickers and more. How you watch Stories is also getting a change in the new update.

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March 28

AAPL: 105.19

-0.48
Stock Chart

We’ve been rounding up the latest cases and accessories for the new 4-inch iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro since they were unveiled last week, and today both Zagg and Pad & Quill have shared their lineup of accessories for the new hardware hitting stores this Thursday. Zagg is offering a selection of screen protectors for the iPhone SE and iPad Pro plus a lineup of keyboard cases for the new iPad as well; Pad & Quill has a collection of well-crafted protective cases for both the iPhone SE and new iPad Pro.

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electrek 

March 24

AAPL: 105.67

-0.46
Stock Chart

Well, I did it. After absorbing the March event on Monday and unpacking it with Benjamin on the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast this week, I set my alarm for 1:58 am last night and pre-ordered the iPhone SE. Based on Mark’s reporting, I had an early feeling that the iPhone SE would be compelling (aside from color, the iPhone 5c never was to me) and overall Apple delivered.

The FaceTime selfie camera is a bit disappointing and the display contrast is weak, but the price points for 16GB and 64GB had a surprise and delight effect that I wasn’t expecting. So in one week I’ll make the giant leap back down from a 5.5-inch iPhone to a 4-inch one. Expect my thoughts on that experience in a couple of weeks. I’ll also share my iPhone SE review after some testing so send any questions or ideas over; I’m primarily interested in comparing it to the iPhone 5s and measuring the differences.

And now that I’ve had a few days to digest this year’s March Apple event, I have a few thoughts on everything it contained including Apple’s new Woven Nylon bands, the differences between the two iPad Pros, and a comment on tech spring cleaning …

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March 23

AAPL: 106.13

-0.59
Stock Chart

On Monday at its special event, Apple introduced a new set of nylon Apple Watch bands that we first reported earlier this year. The new straps come in both 38mm and 42mm versions with seven color options available. Officially called Woven Nylon, these bands which are paired with either aluminum and stainless steel models or sold separately mark the first time Apple has introduced new entry level strap options. Check out our hands-on below for our early impressions and more photos.

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9to5toys 

Apple has a new Classroom app and some nice education features like sharing iPads between classrooms starting with iOS 9.3, but the app that lets teachers make it all work it getting hit with some early negative reviews mostly because it’s not something you just install and start using. But this one-star review entitled ‘My School Day Is [a] Ruined’ by A Sad Sophomore really caught my attention:

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March 22

AAPL: 106.72

0.81
Stock Chart

Small iPhone fans, rejoice! Apple has finally updated its 4-inch iPhone for the first time since the iPhone 5s in 2013. Dubbed the iPhone SE, Apple’s 2016 4-inch iPhone could pass for the iPhone 5s if you weren’t looking too close (save for the rose gold version), but how does it compare to its predecessor as well as the rest of the current iPhone lineup? We break it down below:

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Apple isn’t the only strap maker expanding the Apple Watch band lineup with new leather colors this week. Nomad is introducing two new Strap colors for its leather Apple Watch bands: amber gray and rustic brown. The two new Nomad Straps join classic tan which debuted last fall, and all three Apple Watch bands come in 38mm and 42mm versions with either silver or black stainless steel lugs and buckles. Check out the new rugged Italian leather bands below:

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9to5google 

March 21

AAPL: 105.91

-0.01
Stock Chart

The fourth generation Apple TV has even been on the market for less than six months and there’s already a massive update ready for it. The new tvOS 9.2 software update is now available and includes several features that previously hadn’t made it from Apple TV 3 as well as features totally new to the platform.

You can now use Siri Remote to dictate text for search queries, usernames, and even passwords, and Bluetooth keyboards are once again supported for easier text entry. Apple TV apps can now be grouped into folders so you can keep games together, and iCloud Photo Library subscribers can view complete photo and video collections on the big screen. Here’s the full rundown on everything new in tvOS 9.2 for the new Apple TV:

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Alongside iOS 9.3 today, Apple has released watchOS 2.2, the latest software update for all Apple Watch owners. Starting with watchOS 2.2, iPhones running iOS 9.3 or later can pair and swap between multiple Apple Watch models; changing between Apple Watch models previously required a lengthy unpairing and re-pairing process. Apple Watch users will also notice an enhanced Maps app and more starting with the watchOS 2.2 update.

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electrek 

Apple has officially released the OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan update through the Mac App Store. The software update is available for all Macs capable of running OS X 10.11. The Mac update delivers new features including Live Photo viewing and sharing through iMessage using the Messages app as well as secure password support for individual notes in the Notes app.

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