Zac Hall

@apollozac

Editor at 9to5Mac + 9to5Google

Zac covers Apple news and product reviews for 9to5Mac, contributes to 9to5Google, and hosts the weekly 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast.

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

Tweet and follow: @apollozac

February 6

AAPL: 130.29

1.21
Stock Chart

Apple is launching its annual Back to School promotion on Macs and iPads this week in New Zealand and Australia. Localized as ‘Back to Uni’, this year’s promotion runs from February 7 to March 16 and includes Apple Store credit for qualified purchases. Apple’s Back to School promo is also live in Japan.

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9to5toys 

February 3

AAPL: 129.08

0.55
Stock Chart

This week Benjamin and Zac discuss an update with LG’s UltraFine 5K Display problems, Apple Watch’s new Theater Mode, how dropping 32-bit app support could affect iOS, Apple’s record breaking quarter, and more. 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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9to5google 

During Apple’s Q1 earnings call this week, Tim Cook used HomeKit as an example of how the iPhone is expanding Apple’s ecosystem into new areas where it can innovate:

Our ecosystem is broadening to more and more of the areas where people spend their time. At the gym, on the go, in the home, and on the job. […]

And we are leading the industry by being the first to integrate home automation into a major platform with iOS 10.

As our resident HomeKit enthusiast, Cook discussing the feature during Apple’s earnings call caught my attention. Cook even describes how he’s personally using HomeKit. Below I’ll unpack exactly what Cook said about HomeKit, a bit about how I’m using it as well, and some helpful HomeKit resources.

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February 2

AAPL: 128.53

-0.22
Stock Chart

Apple has been working with India over the past several months on plans to make iPhones in the country, and now it appears a location for manufacturing has been decided: Bengaluru. Formerly called Bangalore, Bengaluru is known as the ‘IT capital of India’ and serves as the home of Apple’s 40,000 square foot iOS app development accelerator office space.

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When Apple refused to compromise iOS security last year and unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to the San Bernardino shooter, the FBI turned to an Israeli mobile forensics firm called Cellebrite to find a way in to the encrypted iPhone. Now Motherboard reports that a hacker has released files allegedly from Cellebrite that demonstrate how cracking tools can’t be kept private.

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electrek 

United Airlines is the latest company to work with IBM through their MobileFirst partnership with Apple to develop a suite of enterprise iOS apps. IBM says the enterprise iOS apps will be analytics-driven and run on over 50,000 iPhones and iPads used by “front-line employees” of United Airlines.

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February 1

AAPL: 128.75

7.40
Stock Chart

Fantastical has a new update out today for iPhone and iPad that delivers new iOS 10 features and enhancements plus a brand new iMessage sticker pack for the Messages app. Aside from fun and cute, Fantastical’s sticker pack is actually useful for communicating schedule-related messages.

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January 31

AAPL: 121.35

-0.28
Stock Chart

Apple has announced holiday quarter results including $78.4b in revenue and $17.89 billion in profit from 78.3m iPhones, 13m iPads, and 5.3m Macs sold. In addition to holiday sales, Apple’s first quarter for fiscal year 2017 includes the bulk of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus sales, Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2, AirPods, as well as the launch of new MacBook Pro models.

FY17 Q1 results compare to $46.9 billion in revenue, $9 billion in profit, 45.51 million iPhones, 9.28 million iPads, and 4.89 million Macs reported in the previous quarter. Apple’s last record quarter occurred a year prior, Apple reported $75.9b in revenue, $18.4b in profit, 74.8m iPhones sold, 16.1m iPads sold, and 5.3m Macs sold. Analysts predicted a return to growth after three quarters of declining sales which we see in today’s results.

Full press release after the break, and stick around for our earnings call live blog at the top of the hour:

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9to5toys 

Apple appears to be planning to drop support for 32-bit apps in an upcoming version of iOS. The alert dialog presented when launching a 32-bit app on iOS 10.3 beta 1 now warns users that the app needs to be updated to continue working on future versions of iOS. This suggests that iOS 11 expected later this year could be the first version to only support 64-bit apps.

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January 30

AAPL: 121.63

-0.32
Stock Chart

Apple Watch is gaining a helpful new feature called Theater Mode with watchOS 3.2. You could already mute alerts easily, and now Theater Mode lets you both mute alerts and disable raise-to-wake which easily activates the screen.

Theater Mode is intended to be used at the movie theater where lighting up a small screen accidentally when you raise your wrist can be distracting. Theater Mode may be useful in other situations despite its name. With a few tweaks, Theater Mode could be especially ideal for drivers.

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After first detailing the software update in developer documentation, Apple has now released the first beta version of watchOS 3.2 for developer testing on Apple Watch. watchOS 3.2 is the first version of the Apple Watch software that works with SiriKit, enabling developers to tap in to Siri in the same way as apps on iOS 10.

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9to5google 

Square already makes it possible for small businesses to easily accept Apple Pay at checkout with their latest payment terminal, and now Square is working with Apple on a new promotion to discount Square Readers and make processing fees free for businesses that use Apple Pay.

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Apple discontinued its Thunderbolt Display last summer after five years on the market, and now Apple recommends the LG UltraFine 5K Display ($974 through March 31, regular $1299.99) for new MacBook Pro customers. While the industrial design doesn’t match Apple’s hardware, the UltraFine 5K screen is Retina resolution like 5K iMacs and connects using the new Thunderbolt 3 I/O.

LG UltraFine 5K Display has a critical usability issue, however, that doesn’t affect other external monitors: the hardware can become unusable when located within 2 meters of a router.

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January 27

AAPL: 121.95

0.01
Stock Chart

Incase is launching a new laptop backpack this week called ICON Lite ($99, pictured right) that packs MacBooks up to 15-inches, any iPad, and more for under $100. ICON Lite joins Incase’s existing lineup of ICON backpacks that also includes ICON ($199, pictured left) and ICON Slim ($149) to create three sizes at three price points. Check out our hands-on with Incase ICON and the new ICON Lite below:

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electrek 

Satechi is launching a new USB-C Power Meter that can detect faulty cables, batteries, and chargers before they damage your MacBook or other hardware. USB-C Power Meter measures voltage, current, and power input over time so you can tell if an accessory is working as advertised or misbehaving.

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