About the Author

Zac Hall

@apollozac

Lead Editor at 9to5Mac

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the weekly 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast and 9to5Mac Daily podcast.

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

Tweet and follow: @apollozac

Zac Hall's Favorite Gear

April 19

Apple Watch has a curvy history with the color gold and accompanying straps. The original 18K gold Apple Watch Edition paired with a range of straps before being discontinued. Aluminum models have included three shades of gold (rose gold, gold, and “new” gold) with Sport and (now discontinued) Woven Nylon bands using gold hardware. Gold variations aren’t sold separately either which makes them somewhat rare.

Apple Watch Series 4 comes in two flavors of gold — aluminum and new stainless steel — but the gold band variety is still limited. While there are few perfect matches, these are some of my favorite pairings.

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Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

April 18

This week Benjamin and Zac discuss 9to5Mac’s scoops on iOS 13’s dark mode, multiple window apps and panels, redesigned volume HUD, macOS 10.15’s project sidecar, Apple’s possible plans to unify Find My Friends and iPhone, potential hardware tracker accessories, Apple’s settlement with Qualcomm and what it means for 5G iPhones, and much more.

9to5Mac Happy Hour is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneInGoogle Play Music, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by CapterraVisit Capterra.com/HappyHour today and join the millions of people who use Capterra each month.

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April 17

Apple Music subscribers can now control music playback on Sonos speakers using voice control through Amazon Alexa. The feature works in the US and UK on the Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers, joining Amazon Echo speakers, based on the Apple Music skill in the Alexa app.

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Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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April 15

Apple Music has a strong foundation of handpicked playlists and curated music collections, and changes to the music service’s ‘For You’ section is dramatically improving Apple Music’s recommendation features.

Apple Music’s upgraded ‘For You section is now organized around music themes that are more personalized for each member, and updates to ‘For You’ are now much more frequent.

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Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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April 12

This week Benjamin and Zac discuss 9to5Mac’s report that standalone Music, Podcasts, TV, and Books apps will replace functions in iTunes on the Mac this fall, Apple’s rare price drop on the HomePod, the latest iPhone 11 rumors, potential Mac Pro release rumors, and much more.

9to5Mac Happy Hour is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneInGoogle Play Music, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by PDFpen: PDFpen is the ultimate tool for editing PDFs on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Sponsored by Luna Display: Get an exclusive 10% discount on Luna Display, the only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless second display for Mac. Go to www.lunadisplay.com and enter promo code HAPPY at checkout.

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[Update 4/12: 9to5Mac is giving away free copies of Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level. Details below!]

There’s a new behind-the-Apple-scenes book coming to shelves next month. The author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products now has his sights set on Apple’s CEO with the follow-up nearly five years later.

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April 11

The big news this week is that this fall may finally be the beginning of the end for iTunes. 9to5Mac’s Gui Rambo independently confirmed that the next major version of macOS will introduce standalone Music and Podcasts apps on the Mac. iTunes is expected to stick around for now, which suggests Apple’s new apps won’t include every legacy feature, but iPad-based versions of Music and Podcasts would actually introduce features to the Mac that aren’t available yet.

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April 9

Where is the new iPod touch? It’s been 1,364 days since the last update that broke the 1,036 day streak of the previous iPod touch being sold. That’s an age that’s given new meaning to the clever caption engraved on the iPod touch in Apple’s marketing material: “You’re only as old as your playlist.”

If Apple doesn’t plan on replacing the aging iPod touch hardware with a new model, we’re entering the point in its product life where it should probably be discontinued. Fortunately, there’s hope for future iPod touch customers …

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Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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April 8

Apple made a rare pricing move last week when it reduced HomePod from $349 to $299, establishing a new base price and even lower sales prices for the AirPlay 2 smart speaker.

Normally an Apple price cut would be met with applause, but few saw the 15% drop as meaningful. Why? There’s still a clear opportunity for a HomePod mini … or HomePod Air … or anything smaller, quieter, and more affordable with similar features.

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April 5

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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watchOS 6, the next major version of Apple Watch software, will be an interesting operating system update. In recent years, the Apple Watch OS has focused on health and fitness features matched with software that uses new hardware like streaming Apple Music and Podcasts over LTE and the ECG app.

Apple Watch Series 5 hardware rumors are already extremely light, limited to the return of the ceramic Edition casing, and watchOS 6 rumors are even more sparse. With several Apple Watch features complete and built-in sleep tracking not expected until late 2020, what should we expect to see in watchOS 6?

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April 4

This week Benjamin and Zac unpack AirPower’s demise including Apple’s statement on the cancellation and alternative recommendations, our first week with new AirPods including “Hey Siri” and wireless charging, newly announced Beats Powerbeats Pro specs, and the latest iPhone 11 rumors, and much more.

9to5Mac Happy Hour is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneInGoogle Play Music, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by Luna Display: Get an exclusive 10% discount on Luna Display, the only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless second display for Mac. Go to www.lunadisplay.com and enter promo code HAPPY at checkout.

Sponsored by OWC: For a limited time, OWC is giving Stacktrace listeners that buy the new 10-Port USB-C Dock a free 5-port OWC USB-C Travel Dock normally valued at $49. Just use promo code “9TO5DOCK” with both items in your cart.

Sponsored by LinkedIn Jobs: Go to LinkedIn.com/HAPPYHOUR and get $50 OFF toward your first job post!

Sponsored by Keeps: To receive your first month of treatment for free, go to Keeps.com/happyhour. Keeps. Hair today. Hair tomorrow.

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Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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BBEdit from Bare Bones Software has officially returned to the Mac App Store. Apple first teased out that the HTML and text editor software would join the new Mac App Store last summer as part of macOS Mojave’s reveal.

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April 3

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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Apple’s first real competitor to AirPods has finally arrived: Beats Powerbeats Pro. Apple has owned Beats since 2014, of course, which explains much of the magic behind the latest truly wireless earphones.

So what are Powerbeats Pro? A serious evolution of the wireless-but-with-a-cord version of Powerbeats earphones. Beats describes Powerbeats Pro as ‘totally wireless’, replacing the microUSB-charged corded hardware with a totally cordless version that has its own Lightning-powered charging case.

Powerbeats Pro also retains the connectivity and intelligence of Apple’s new AirPods thanks to the Apple-designed H1 chip inside, driving reliable wireless connectivity and even voice-activated “Hey Siri” control. There’s more to Powerbeats Pro too…

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