About the Author

Zac Hall

@apollozac

Lead Editor at 9to5Mac

Zac Hall has covered Apple news for 9to5Mac since 2013. He also hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts on the 9to5Mac Podcast Network.

Zac has also been published in the Clarion-Ledger newspaper, part of the USA Today network, and covers space news and history at SpaceExplored.com.

Zac lives in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, with his wife and two kids, where he enjoys running, cycling, and his dog Apollo.

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

Follow: Twitter @apollozac + Instagram @apollozac

Zac Hall's Favorite Gear

May 25

HomeKit doorbells are like unicorns. Mythical and make-believe, yet they still hold a place in our imagination. But what if they were real? HomeKit doorbells, not unicorns, that is. Turns out they do exist, and they’re as magical as any HomeKit enthusiast would expect. Especially if you’ve been waiting for years to get your hands on one.

Yobi B3 is the star of the HomeKit doorbell category. With an affordable price tag and a consumer-friendly design, Yobi is made to fill the massive gap left by Ring and other popular smart doorbells.

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May 22

Benjamin and Zac unpack the release of iOS 13.5 and the Apple/Google Exposure Notification API app adoption, Apple Watch 2020 Pride bands and faces, Ming-Chi Kuo’s prediction that iPhone 12 won’t include EarPods in the box, Apple TV+ potentially buying a back catalog of content, a new Tom Hanks film coming to the service, and much more.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Friday: 🟣 Apple Podcasts 🟠 Overcast 🟢 Spotify

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May 21

Apple and Google announced plans to build COVID-19 tracing into iPhone and Android operating systems on April 10. The move marked a major partnership between the top two mobile operating system competitors in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Platform updates to enable the COVID-19 contact tracing feature on iOS and Android were publicly released 40 days later on May 20.

So how do you participate in COVID-19 contact tracing efforts with your smartphone?

In this story, 9to5Mac is tracking which U.S. states are committed to supporting the Exposure Notifications API in iOS and Android apps, which states are against using the contact tracing method, and which states are undecided.

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May 19

Zac is joined once again by special guest David Smith (@_DavidSmith) to discuss key opportunities for Apple’s upcoming watchOS 7 software update for Apple Watch, David’s personal fitness journey and a recent milestone, and much more.

9to5Mac Watch Time is a podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how the Apple Watch is affecting their lives. Subscribe now to catch up with each episode and automatically hear new episodes as soon as they’re released every two weeks: 🟣 Apple Podcasts | 🟠 Overcast | 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Monowear Design: Check out the latest collections of premium bands and accessories for the Apple Watch from Monowear.

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

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May 18

A few years ago I replaced my 2005 Honda Civic from high school with a 2017 model. The car itself felt twelve years newer in every way but one.

My old car stereo was replaced with an aftermarket Wireless CarPlay head unit. The tenth generation Honda Civic included standard CarPlay, and I wasn’t interested in replacing the stock entertainment system in a brand new car.

Three years later, it’s now possible to add both Wireless CarPlay and Qi charging for around $200 — all without replacing any hardware.

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May 15

Apple closes deal to buy NextVR, Logic Pro X gains Live Loops, exclusive new details on AirPods Studio, Kuo on iPad size updates, iPhone 12 features, and much more.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Friday: 🟣 Apple Podcasts 🟠 Overcast 🟢 Spotify

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May 14

Update: NextVR has replaced its website with a landing page announcing a ‘new direction’ without its existing service.

Update 2x: Apple has confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg.

It’s no secret that Apple has ambitious plans for augmented reality and a future AR-focused headset. Apple is practically building the platform for its future headset out in the open with ARKit. What’s new is that Apple is believed to be in the process of acquiring a California-based virtual reality company called NextVR, 9to5Mac has learned.

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May 8

Benjamin explains a recent Facebook bug, iOS 13.5 beta 4 brings changes to Exposure Notification, Apple unveils WWDC 2020 dates, 13-inch MacBook Pro switches to Magic Keyboard, Zac recaps recent HomeKit updates, Apple TV+ reaches half a year, and much more.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Friday: 🟣 Apple Podcasts 🟠 Overcast 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

Sponsored by Bitrise: iOS Continuous Integration and Delivery for building better applications, faster. Sign up for free and learn more here

Sponsored by ExpressVPN: Take back your Internet privacy today and get 3 months free with a 1-year package at ExpressVPN.com/HappyHour.

Sponsored by Sun Basket: Save $35 off your order when you go to sunbasket.com/happyhour and use promo code happyhour.

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May 6

Zac and Rahul talk quarantine goals, Tempo for Apple Watch, the all-new Activity Stats app for iPhone, and the upcoming 9to5Mac Watch Time virtual 5K in June.

9to5Mac Watch Time is a podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how the Apple Watch is affecting their lives. Subscribe now to catch up with each episode and automatically hear new episodes as soon as they’re released every two weeks: 🟣 Apple Podcasts | 🟠 Overcast | 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

Sponsored by Monowear Design: Check out the latest collections of premium bands and accessories for the Apple Watch from Monowear.

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Apple is moving quickly to release new software features that improve lives during the COVID-19 health pandemic. One new feature that’s aimed to help first responders will be useful for iPhone and Apple Watch users even after we reach the other side of the coronavirus outbreak. The change is coming in iOS 13.5 and watchOS 6.2.5 later this month.

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May 4

A few years ago my wife and I purchased two new Hondas. My Civic came with Apple CarPlay, but her HR-V had a basic entertainment system. We were both used to driving with CarPlay by then, so we upgraded her system with an Alpine unit with Wireless CarPlay. I really wanted Wireless CarPlay, but replacing my entertainment system was too disruptive.

Now there’s a solution for turning standard CarPlay into Wireless CarPlay, at least for some models, and it actually works!

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May 1

It’s not everyday that a new app comes around and meets two very different interests. The brand new Pocket Rocket app does that for me, however, mixing SpaceX rocket launches with augmented reality on the iPhone using ARKit.

The new Pocket Rocket app from Tim Isenman, Aaron Abentheuer, and Kimi Talvitie is super polished in a style die-hard SpaceX fans will appreciate. It’s also easy-to-use and approachable so brand new space explorers can jump in and start using it.

The use of AR in Pocket Rocket adds a playful element to it that makes learning about current space missions more engaging. If you are a space fan, the opening animation is worth the price of admission alone. expand full story

iOS 13.5 arrives in beta, Apple’s Exposure Notification API is ready to combat COVID-19 risks, Face ID and Group FaceTime are making changes, Zac has more thoughts on the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, iPhone SE has a missing feature, Ming-Chi Kuo predicts new AirPods, Apple announces earnings results, and much more.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Friday: 🟣 Apple Podcasts 🟠 Overcast 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

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April 24

Zac has hands-on impressions with the Magic Keyboard for iPad, Benjamin has an update on the Logitech trackpad, Apple has a new Mac battery feature, and there’s a 23-inch iMac update rumored.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Friday: 🟣 Apple Podcasts 🟠 Overcast 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

Sponsored by Intego: Get 9to5Mac’s deal of the month with 50% off Intego’s Mac Internet Security X9 bundle.

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April 23

Tyler Hayes joins Zac this week to talk about how the Apple Watch has become the ultimate iPod, the best apps for finding new music and playing audio, and much more.

9to5Mac Watch Time is a podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how the Apple Watch is affecting their lives. Subscribe now to catch up with each episode and automatically hear new episodes as soon as they’re released every two weeks: 🟣 Apple Podcasts | 🟠 Overcast | 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

Sponsored by Monowear Design: Check out the latest collections of premium bands and accessories for the Apple Watch from Monowear.

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April 22

[Updated April 22 with version 1.1 release notes.]

Apple Watch faces are highly customizable compared to watches that came before it. There’s still room for opportunity for a watch as smart as the iPhone, however, and that’s what David Smith’s cleverly titled Watchsmith app wants to prove.

Watchsmith lets you create dynamic Apple Watch complications that change throughout the day. Want a complication to check the weather in the morning, show your work calendar during your 9 to 5, and show your activity data before bed?

Watchsmith can do that all with a single complication, potentially freeing up slots for other complications.

Subscribe to 9to5Mac’s Watch Time podcast to hear an in-depth interview with Watchsmith developer David Smith later today: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Overcast.

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April 17

XLaunch is the latest SpaceX rocket launch tracking app to land on the iPhone this month. Where Pocket Rocket shines with model rockets using ARKit and personalized launch alerts, XLaunch is starting from a different launchpad for space enthusiasts.

Developer Travis Stanifer is releasing the app for free at launch with new paid features coming in the future. XLaunch also has a focus on delivering space news from a variety of sources inside the app.

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Apple releases its Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, Logitech starts selling its own, Mac Pro feet and wheels are rolling off the shelves, Apple has a brand new iPhone SE available to order, Bloomberg reports new details about Apple’s high-end, over-ear headphones, and we explain how Apple’s contact tracing works.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Friday: 🟣 Apple Podcasts 🟠 Overcast 🟢 Spotify

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

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April 15

An aggressively priced iPhone SE isn’t the only new hardware coming from Apple today. Apple is also selling replacement kits for Mac Pro feet and wheels, and they’re aggressively priced in a totally different way.

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The wait is finally over for Apple’s new state-of-the-art, entry level iPhone. The long rumored model often referred to as the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2 is officially called iPhone SE as 9to5Mac previously reported. The new model retails from $399 and comes in three color and storage options.

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