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

January 19

AAPL: 96.66

-0.47
Stock Chart

It’s easy to miss out on sports entertainment when you cut the cord and just rely on Apple TV, but ESPN president John Skipper tells The Wall Street Journal that may change in 2016. When asked about the potential streaming network Apple reportedly hopes to offer on its set-top box, the ESPN exec says that Apple has been “frustrated” with the process of building a service but that ESPN has been in past talks and continues to work with the company:

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There’s a new iOS 9.2.1 update within the Settings app awaiting all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users today. Apple released the first developer beta version of the software update in mid-December after shipping iOS 9.2 earlier in the month. The second iOS 9.2 beta was later released at the start of January. Apple has since started testing iOS 9.3 with developers and public beta testers.

As the version number suggests, iOS 9.2.1 so far hasn’t included any major feature changes or enhancements, and the official release notes only reference bug fixes, security improvements, and an MDM server issue fix.

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9to5toys 

Heads up to all El Capitan users: OS X 10.11.3 is now available through the Mac App Store. Apple released the first developer beta version of the software update in mid-December after shipping OS X 10.11.2 earlier in the month. The second OS X 10.11.3 beta followed at the start of January. Apple has since started testing OS X 10.11.4.

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My cheap headphone jack-less iPhone mockup

It’s been widely reported that the iPhone 7 is destined to ditch the dated headphone jack in favor of wireless audio solutions and a Lightning adapter for wired headphones and speakers, and now internal iOS software code seems to all but confirm the rumor. Jailbreaker @kyoufujibaya claims to have discovered a reference to ‘Headphones.have.%sinput.NO.’ within the latest iOS 9.3 beta 1.1 software release, which would appear to be related to the transition from 3.5 mm headphones to alternative solutions on iPhones. The same jailbreaker also has another interesting discovery based on the iPhone’s codebase …

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Recent software updates have really turned me on to the new Apple TV by adding features previously available on the last generation set-top box. The new Apple TV has redesigned apps and a whole App Store for finding new channels and games, a new Siri Remote with voice search that pulls in content from a handful of services, and there’s the full Apple Music experience too. The tvOS 9.1 update added Siri search for Apple Music ahead of schedule and brought support for Apple’s Remote app on iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. The upcoming tvOS 9.2 update goes even further by bringing over an updated Podcasts app and adding app folders and a refreshed app switcher user interface. But there’s still just one more piece of low-hanging fruit left for the Apple TV to grab …

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9to5google 

January 18

AAPL: 97.13

-2.39
Stock Chart

Today we’re taking a quick look at two Incase sleeves made specifically for Apple’s 12″ Retina MacBook. Neoprene Classic Sleeve ($39.95) comes in five colors and zips the 12″ MacBook in a low-profile soft carrying case. ICON Sleeve ($69.95) has a slightly larger profile that makes it thinner and ditches zippers for a tight-fitting opening at one end.  We compare both MacBook sleeves in detail below:

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January 17

AAPL: 97.13

-2.39
Stock Chart

January 16

AAPL: 97.13

-2.39
Stock Chart
electrek 

January 15

AAPL: 97.13

-2.39
Stock Chart

Apple’s strong position on privacy and encryption has been at odds with the United States government’s pressure to step up its national security efforts in the wake of recent terrorist attacks across the globe. In short, iPhones are encrypted to protect customer data from prying eyes, and law enforcement agencies believe that gives criminals a safe haven for communication that can’t be traced.

The Obama administration including the former and current attorney general and FBI director have strongly voiced opposition to Apple’s position, and Tim Cook reportedly pressed the White House to back strong encryption as recently as this week. So it’s no surprise that Tim Cook and Apple came up at the end of last night’s Republican presidential debate hosted by the Fox Business channel where at least one candidate was asked to address his position on the subject.

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I’ve been all in on iCloud Photo Library since Apple replaced iPhoto with the new Photos app on the Mac last year and I haven’t looked back since. I pay $2.99/month to sync my 13,206 photos and 1,087 videos (plus iOS device backups) with iCloud, and this allows me to take or save photos and videos from any device and have them appear across the others including the web, edits, albums, and all. I even have a system to help ensure to if something in the cloud gets hosed that everything will be fine at home (and if the house burns down hopefully the cloud is still there).

This also enables me to access my 155 GB photos library in the Photos apps on iPhones and iPads that otherwise couldn’t fit that much content. Thumbnail previews are available at all times, and full resolution versions download on the fly as needed. When you’re iPhone, iPad, or Mac needs more local storage, Photos can remove full-res images and downloaded videos to make more space using an optimize storage option. This works pretty well especially on higher capacity devices, but there’s one problem…

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January 14

AAPL: 99.52

2.13
Stock Chart

Late last year Square released its updated Square Reader for accepting contactless and chip payment methods on iPhones and iPads, which means small businesses and pop up shops can take Apple Pay payments from iPhones and Apple Watches without expensive terminal systems. The new Square Reader goes for $49 with transaction fees set at 2.75% so you keep $97.25 out of every $100 sent through Square. Square’s app lets you create mobilized businesses on iPhones and iPads, and we’ve tested the new Apple Pay-ready reader to see just how easy it all is.

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Public beta testers can now try the new OS X 10.11.4 prerelease that first hit developers earlier this week. New features include Live Photo viewing and sharing in Messages, secure password protection for individual notes in Apple’s Notes app, and other improvements. Check out our full coverage of OS X 10.11.4 and other betas released earlier this week below:

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9to5toys 

The public beta version of iOS 9.3 for non-developer testers is now available. The first iOS 9.3 beta was first released earlier this week to registered developers and includes a number of new mid-cycle features and enhancements. These include secure passwords and Touch ID protection for Notes, a new Night Shift feature to adjust display temperate in the evening, and expanded 3D Touch quick actions on the latest iPhones. iOS 9.3 Beta 1.1 is also available for registered developers.

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[Update: Apple’s system status board has been updated to acknowledge the blip and note the issue is over.]

If you’re having issues getting started with Apple Music this morning, you’re not alone. The iOS app started the day by asking subscribers to sign up and join Apple Music (a force quit fixed for me but the problem persists) and iTunes on the Mac is also serving up error messages for a great number of users.

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9to5google 

January 13

AAPL: 97.39

-2.57
Stock Chart

If you’ve ever wanted a little something more out of the Contacts app on iOS, you may be in for a treat with the latest app from Agile Tortoise, which makes the popular Drafts text actions app. Interact is a new contacts app on the iPhone and iPad made for power users. The app includes an iOS extension for creating contacts from information found in other apps, a scratchpad feature for parsing details you jot down for creating new entries, better group management than the built-in contacts app, and much more. Check it out below:

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Sharing and viewing Live Photos shot on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus on the Mac has been tricky if not impossible until now. Previously the enhanced photos could only be viewed in Apple’s Photos app on the Mac, which limited sharing to iCloud Photo Sharing. Starting with the new OS X 10.11.4 beta released earlier this week, Live Photos can now be shared and viewed over iMessage using Messages on the Mac for the first time.

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Apple’s rocky iAd advertising platform is about to see some major changes, says Buzzfeed’s John Paczkowski. According to the report, Apple plans to dismantle its iAd sales team and stop its role as a middleman between publishers and customers:

While iAd itself isn’t going anywhere, Apple’s direct involvement in the selling and creation of iAd units is ending. “It’s just not something we’re good at,” one source told BuzzFeed News. And so Apple is leaving the creation, selling, and management of iAds to the folks who do it best: the publishers.

Apple is phasing out its iAd sales force entirely and updating the iAds platform so that publishers can sell through it directly.

The big news, Buzzfeed notes, is publishers that play ball will take home 100% of the ad revenue generated rather than a 70/30 split with Apple.

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electrek 

It’s no secret that former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a huge fan of his Apple Watch. Since the Apple Watch launched, the Republican presidential candidate has gone after the youth vote by showing off his Apple Watch and calling it a better option than Obamacare, despite labeling it unintuitive and power-hungry a few months later.

Jeb’s “iWatch,” as he often calls it, wasn’t dead earlier this week during an interview with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board, USA Today points out, as the presidential hopeful accidentally either placed or answered a phone call on it unknowingly. Jeb explained it away to the Iowa paper by declaring that he’d never had his “bat phone” turn on. Thankfully there’s video of this genuinely amusing moment.

And on the other side of the political aisle, Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi gave her own Apple Watch an equally entertaining product endorsement during President Obama’s State of the Union address last night …

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