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 Watch Time podcast.

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

Tweet and follow: @apollozac + Instagram @apollozac

Zac Hall's Favorite Gear

December 6

iPhone 11 has a privacy concern, Ming-Chi Kuo forecasts a whole new wave of iPhone releases with major changes, Zac takes the Apple Watch Series 5’s always-on display for a half marathon, Zac and Benjamin talk more about the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and much more.

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

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December 4

Great news for Apple Watch users who workout with Peloton. There’s now a new way to use your Apple Watch while you exercise.

Peloton already worked with Apple Health on the iPhone and workouts could be tracked from the watch, but the new app gives more control and data during sessions.

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December 2

Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro is easy to recommend for replacing a MacBook Pro from 2015 or earlier. It has a reliable keyboard (unlike 2016 to 2019 15.4-inch models), significantly better microphones and speakers, and a more immersive display.

But unlike MacBook Pros from a few years ago, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro has the same (lack of) ports as recent MacBook Pros. The good news is the market for adapters and cables has expanded over the last four years, and there are plenty of must-have accessories for professionals.

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November 27

Apple’s annual special holiday ad is out alongside Black Friday through Cyber Monday promotions, Benjamin and Zac take a retrospective look at Group FaceTime and how it’s perfect for the holidays, the prospect an using a cellular Apple Watch with kids, and much more.

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

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November 25

How do you shop for a tech-savvy person who buys the latest of everything before the holidays arrive? I am totally that person for my family when it comes to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods.

There are some Apple products that I can never have enough of like App Store gift cards and another HomePod, but stocking stuffers and expensive smart speakers aren’t always the right gift.

That’s why I’m approaching my gift recommendations this year a bit different. Last year I covered an area of great interest and expertise with smart home products, and most of those picks are still applicable.

But there’s also a lot of new technology out this year as well as gadgets I’ve received for testing — new technology that I’m super glad to see exist. Read on to see my favorite picks for new tech that I’m grateful for this year.

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November 22

Apple has a ‘special event’ dedicated to apps, the WWDC app has been rebranded, iPhone 11 has an all-new Smart Battery Case, Zac has hands-on experience with HomeKit Secure Video, and Apple TV+ has some unexpected movie drama.

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

Sponsored by Bitsbox: A crazy-fun subscription box that teaches kids how to code — save $25 with promo code HAPPYHOUR.

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November 20

Tom, Vincent, and Chris from the Apple Watchcast podcast join Watch Time to discuss the origin of their Apple Watch-focused podcast, the Apple Watch Series 5, maintaining health goals with the Activity app, running with technology from the Walkman to the Apple Watch, 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.

9to5Mac Watch Time is available on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, and your favorite podcast player through RSS. Subscribe now to catch up with each episode and automatically hear new episodes as soon as they’re released every two weeks during season one.

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November 19

HomeKit Secure Video officially arrived last week starting with Logitech Circle 2 cameras. While my early impressions are positive for Apple’s new smart security camera feature, the very first version of HomeKit Secure Video leaves out some familiar features.

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November 15

HomeKit Secure Video from Apple is a real feature that you can actually use with iOS 13 thanks to Logitech Circle 2 cameras.

Logitech promised an update for Logi Circle 2 Wired cameras earlier this summer right after Apple unveiled its new approach to home security camera software. A new app update and beta camera firmware released this week fulfilled that promise, making Logitech Circle 2 Wired cameras the only hardware to work with the new HomeKit Secure Video.

Apple’s Home app has supported home security cameras for years, but HomeKit Secure Video raises the bar for privacy while introducing new recording features for certain iCloud subscribers. Here’s what you should know about HomeKit Secure Video now that the feature is in the wild.

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Apple has a brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro with a ‘Magic Keyboard’, the new Apple Research app with two new health studies debuts, Apple Music has a new ‘Replay’ year-in-review playlist, and lots of news about Apple Services bundles, TV+, HomeKit Secure Video, and much more.

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

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November 13

Peloton bikes and treadmills already work with Apple’s Health app on iPhone, but there’s no Apple Watch app integration yet. That could soon change according a new report on the company’s rumored rower machine and cheaper treadmill.

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Hooray! Apple has a new MacBook Pro with what we all surely hope will turn out to be an actually reliable keyboard! If you’ve been using a MacBook computer introduced in the last four or five years, this is really great news.

We’ll have to test the new keyboard out for ourselves before we reach a final verdict, but the key change here is higher travel and the return to scissor switch keys versus problematic butterfly key switches.

So does that mean it’s safe finally safe to buy an Apple laptop again without concern about durability? It’s complicated, but in short, I wouldn’t recommend my family spend $1000 and up on a new MacBook just yet.

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November 11

Where is the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro? Apple hasn’t officially announced the larger entry in the notebook lineup, but there’s growing evidence that we could finally be on the cusp of an unveil as soon as this week.

This is the MacBook Pro that’s expected to be the first to replace the failure plagued butterfly switch keyboard with more reliable scissor switch keys. The rumored MacBook Pro update also appears to have slightly slimmer bezels around the sides of the larger display and changes to the Touch Bar layout.

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November 8

We’re seeing more and more extraordinary stories from Apple Watch customers who credit the device with saving their life. Now there’s one feature intended for life-saving that can add ‘comedic TV cameo with James Corden’ to its résumé.

During a trivia segment from last night’s episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden, a special Apple Watch feature designed to detect sudden falls and call emergency services was unexpectedly triggered by a guest in the audience.

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In the tenth episode of 9to5Mac Watch Time, Zac goes solo to share his experience with running a half marathon race at Disney World with the Apple Watch Series 5 and newly released AirPods Pro.

9to5Mac Watch Time is a seasonal podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how the Apple Watch is important in their lives.

9to5Mac Watch Time is available on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, and your favorite podcast player through RSS. Subscribe now to catch up with each episode and automatically hear new episodes as soon as they’re released every two weeks during season one.

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Roku streaming devices gained the Apple TV app last month for viewing Apple TV+ shows as well as content from HBO, Showtime, and other Apple TV Channels. Now Roku customers are gaining a convenient new way to control the viewing experience from the Apple Watch.

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HomePod has a great holiday price and new features, Zac tested AirPods Pro at a Disney World Half Marathon, iOS 13.3 introduces new improvements, and Benjamin gives his take on the launch of Apple TV+.

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

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November 7

My original review of Apple’s HomePod smart speaker leaned heavily on optimism for future features that seemed so obvious, they were inevitable. Some features like calendar access and multiple timers showed up after several months. More recently, HomePod has gained multiple user support — a feature glaringly missing at launch for a smart speaker with home in its name.

HomePod was a tough recommendation at the start, tuned only for customers deep in the Apple ecosystem with Apple Music, Podcasts, and HomeKit control. A lower $299 retail price and more creative features like integration with Shortcuts automation and Handoff support make HomePod more interesting.

Take $100 off and HomePod is aggressively competitive with other AirPlay 2 speakers feature-wise, arguably best in its class sonically, and downright tempting.

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November 6

Apple doesn’t just vaguely tout privacy as a feature in its products. It also has a dedicated website at apple.com/privacy that explains exactly how privacy features work in detail. Apple is updating its user-friendly privacy site today for the fourth year in a row with a focus on new benefits in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, watchOS 6, and more.

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November 5

I signed up for this year’s RunDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon seven months ago without realizing I would be moving into a new house throughout the month before race day. It’s been a busy few weeks!

I also didn’t know Apple would have an all-new version of AirPods released just five days before the 13.1-mile race! The run around Disney World would be my fourth half marathon race, but my first of that distance using Apple Watch Series 5 and AirPods Pro.

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