About the Author

Zac Hall

@apollozac

Senior 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 founded the space news and history website SpaceExplored.com.

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

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

Follow: Twitter @apollozac + Instagram @apollozac

Yesterday

Apple Watch is at the top of its class, but it isn’t a perfect product. The hardware and design is space age compared to the competition, and the software experience meets Apple’s mark. It’s also very personal because you wear it. Apple has known this from the start, so it designs personalization into the product. From watch colors and materials to strap choices and watch faces, it’s easy to make the Apple Watch uniquely yours.

How you use the Apple Watch is even more personal. The tech enthusiast in me wants to find a use for every Apple Watch feature, but this can create an overwhelming experience if you’re not intentional about your approach. It’s possible to want to reduce your reliance on the iPhone through the Apple Watch, only to find yourself even more annoyed by interruptions on your wrist.

Identifying utility from the Apple Watch while toning it down when the watch becomes too much has been something I’ve been working through recently. I’ll share where I’ve landed as well as a few feature requests for managing the experience for the better.

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April 7

Apple may not have found the right time to launch its long-rumored AirTags locator products yet, but the infrastructure behind the scenes is expanding today. Apple has officially announced the launch of support for using its Find My network with third-party accessories.

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April 1

Eve has fully invested in Apple’s HomeKit smart device platform over the years, and now the company is continuing its push into the next phase of connected devices. The second-generation Aqua hose and sprinkler controller with HomeKit is receiving a firmware update that activates Thread compatibility.

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March 31

The sixth developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will be able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering once this update goes public.

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This year I’ve had the opportunity to handle all four models in the flagship iPhone lineup: 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. Each iPhone is best at something that makes the variety in the lineup logical, but four phones also makes the buying decision trickier than ever.

I usually favor the most iPhone that Apple has to offer, so I really appreciate the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is the first year Apple has brought the iPhone X design to a smaller screen, however, and how cool I find the iPhone 12 mini has been a huge surprise for me.

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March 23

The fifth and hopefully last developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will be able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering once this update goes public.

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A great perk of working with 9to5Mac from age 22 to 30 and counting is the privilege of revisiting writing from years ago with the perspective of time. My first Apple Watch review is something I’ve been thinking about rereading recently with the perspective of six years of progress. Let’s take a look at where we are now versus where we started, and how my perception in 2015 has aged in 2021.

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March 16

Apple’s Friday night move to suddenly pull the plug on HomePod after three years has created a messaging problem. Is everything OK at home, Apple? That’s the question being asked by customers who have invested in Apple’s smart home pitch.

You can trust that Apple will continue to make new iPhones and Macs for the foreseeable future, but Apple’s home products resemble Google’s betting strategy more than Apple’s usual commitment to focus and delivery.

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March 15

The fourth developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will especially appreciate this update as it allows the Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering.

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March 8

watchOS 7.3.2 security update with WebKit fix drops for Apple Watch

There’s a new software update awaiting Apple Watch users. watchOS 7.3.2 is now available as the latest version of watchOS 7.

[Update: Live today] Apple Watch users can workout to unlock a virtual trophy on International Women’s Day

Apple is hosting its next global competition for Apple Watch users on International Women’s Day in March.

Update: The International Women’s Day Challenge is now active!

March 5

Update March 5, 2021: watchOS 7.4 beta 3 is also now available to public beta users as well.

The third developer beta version of the upcoming watchOS 7.4 software update for Apple Watch is now available. iPhone users will especially appreciate this update as it allows the Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering.

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March 4

As Jeff Benjamin noted in 9to5Mac’s video coverage, iOS 14.5 will use Siri intelligence to select music services based on listening behaviors. While the feature falls short of actually allowing you to set a default music service, it will open Siri to easier music control for more services without having to specify which service to use. Apple has now described in more detail how it intends the new behavior to work.

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We’ve been fans of CarPlay at 9to5Mac since 2014, and I started riding motorcycles in my free time last summer. So it’s an understatement to say I was intrigued when news of a new model of Indian Motorcycle with Apple CarPlay crossed the wire.

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March 3

YouTube will soon require AirPlay for video playback on older Apple TV streaming boxes. This means users will need to start video playback on another device like an iPhone or iPad to view content on the Apple TV.

Update March 3: YouTube playback on Apple TV (third-gen) requires AirPlay starting today. Learn more about the change here. Original story from February 3 below.

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Apple Watch can help you stay motivated to exercise and improve your health, and smart scales that sync data to the iPhone can be a fun and useful way to track your progress. If you want to easily collect your weight and other measurement data in the Health app on iPhone, the trick is to find a scale that works with HealthKit. Here are some of the current options on the market:

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Shrinking the notch has been a top design request ever since Apple introduced the expansive display on the iPhone X. Now a reliable source claims Apple will completely replace the iPhone notch with a Samsung-style “punch-hole” design on at least some iPhone 14 models. If Apple actually makes this change, do you consider it a design improvement or a visual misstep? Voice your opinion in our poll and comments!

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March 2

The third-generation Apple TV streaming media box continues to lose access to its limited collection of apps, and there’s no replacement product from Apple in the sub $100 part of the market.

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Apple launched three research studies in September 2019 that use the iPhone and Apple Watch to learn more about hearing health, women’s cycle tracking, and movement’s effect on wellbeing. A year and a half later, Apple has published what it describes as new insights gathered from the Apple Hearing Study.

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March 1

Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities has published a new report for Apple supply chain investors in which the reliable analyst predicts a bold design change for what could be the iPhone 14 Pro. Kuo also expects the next iPhone SE release to bring 5G cellular connectivity to the entry-priced models. Here’s what they predict to come across 2022.

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