About the Author

Benjamin Mayo


Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. Benjamin blogs about Apple news and rumors, and posts insightful product and app reviews. Read his work on 9to5Mac and his personal blog.

Benjamin Mayo also creates apps for iOS as a professional indie developer and contractor; more details here. Email to discuss making your iOS project a reality.

Benjamin Mayo's Favorite Gear


The download link for the Intel Power Gadget, which reports info like Mac CPU temperature and current clock speed, has been conspicuously removed from the Intel website today. There’s no explanation on the page as to why the company suddenly removed the download, although it sure is convenient timing. The utility has been used by many tech reviewers to highlight possible thermal problems with the 6-core 2018 MacBook Pros.

Perhaps Apple or Intel have discovered inaccuracies in the tool’s reporting and is now in the process of updating it.

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July 19

iFixit has followed up on its initial teardown with some focused testing on a the new third-generation keyboard present in the 2018 MacBook Pro. How well does the silicone membrane protect the butterfly mechanism? Pretty well. iFixit showered a 2017 and 2018 MacBook Pro in dust particles and then compared the result.

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Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

An internal Apple repair document obtained by MacGeneration appears to be the most direct evidence yet that the silicone covers found underneath each keycap in the 2018 MacBook Pro really is intended to make the keyboard more reliable, rather than ‘quieter’ as Apple marketed it.

In an article targeted at repair technicians, Apple writes ‘the keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism’. It also explains that spacebar design has changed and will require a new repair process.

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July 18

In the last day or so, Apple has updated its list of HomeKit accessories with some seemingly bad news: all references to HomeKit doorbells have been removed. The page previously featured the August Doorbell Cam as ‘coming soon’.

Infamously, August first promised HomeKit support in 2016, and the Ring Video Doorbell has said that it has been ‘testing’ HomeKit integration for many months. It’s not clear what has caused Apple to remove the listings.

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July 16

The TrueDepth camera system in iPhone X includes a small Infrared laser called a VCSEL that sprays dots onto the user’s face, which another sensor in the device then reads to create a 3D depth map and enables Face ID to function.

Digitimes reports companies in the VCSEL supply chain are reporting positive outlooks thanks to Apple’s upcoming fall lineup. The company is preparing to debut three new iPhones and two new iPads with Face ID.

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July 13

Apple files for 2018 iPhone lineup in Eurasian database ahead of fall release, two additional iPad models

The Eurasian database continues to be a good indicator of Apple’s forthcoming product releases. Some of the model identifiers unearthed earlier this month were unveiled yesterday as the new MacBook Pro laptops. Consomac today noticed that Apple has now registered a fleet of new iPhones running iOS 12, almost certainly destined to be the 2018 iPhone lineup launching in September.

Bloomberg reports that Adobe is currently developing a cross-platform Photoshop app for iOS, described as a ‘full version’ of the popular desktop image editing suite. Adobe’s Creative Cloud product officer confirmed the plans and wants to get them ‘on the market as soon as possible.’ Bloomberg’s sources indicate the new app will be demoed in October, targeting a 2019 debut.

Adobe currently has several mobile ‘Photoshop’ apps on the App Store, but they constitute small slices of the full desktop app feature-set. The new app will compete against upcoming platform rich photo-editor apps like Affinity Photo. Photoshop for iPad would be included as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which starts at $9.99 per month.

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July 12

Apple is discontinuing its Photo Print Products service, which has been integrated into iPhoto since its launch in 2002. The service expanded from simple prints, to albums, photo books, and calendars. It stayed around on the Mac when iPhoto was replaced with the Photos app a couple of years ago, but the service never made the leap to iOS.

Later this year, Apple will stop offering the service altogether. A new message in macOS 10.13.6 Photos app says that final orders for Apple’s built-in service must be placed by September 30, 2018.

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Apple stops selling 2015 MacBook Pro

In the wake of the new 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar models today, Apple has stopped selling the much-beloved 2015 MacBook Pro. For people who despised butterfly keys, or mourned the lack of legacy ports on the 2016 and later MacBook Pro, until today Apple Store stocked a 15-inch 2015 model as an alternative. It may not have been as fast or as svelte as the latest models, but for people who had become disenchanted with Apple’s latest direction, it was their favorite computer. Whilst supplies last, Apple is selling some 2015 models in its clearance section.

Apple has today updated the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with a spec bump refresh. The laptops feature Intel’s latest eighth-generation processors, with a six-core option on the 15-inch model. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro can also be specced with up to 32 GB RAM, with a DDR4 configuration. The new 13- and 15-inch models are available to order today, starting at $1799 and $2399.

The new laptops also bring Apple’s True Tone display technology to the Mac lineup for the first time, as well as a third-generation butterfly keyboard. Apple says the new keyboard enables quieter typing, although hopefully there are reliability improvements as well. There are no changes today to the non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro.

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July 10

iOS 11.4.1 (and iOS 12) include new line of defence against a type of security hack aimed at brute-forcing access to iPhones and iPads. The Grayshift boxes plug into the Lightning port and remove prolonged delays between PIN code attempts, allowing law enforcement (or criminals) to brute-force an unlock.

The new USB Restricted Mode in iOS 11.4.1 simply prevents any USB accessories from connecting if the phone has not been unlocked in the last hour. As it typically takes more than an hour to get a warrant for police to be allowed to use a Grayshift box, this is quite a significant roadblock. However, ElcomSoft note that the behaviour can be worked around in some cases …

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July 9

The iOS 11.4.1 update includes a new security feature that restricts the way USB accessories can interact with iPhone and iPad devices. If the phone has not been unlocked within the last hour, iOS will disable the Lightning port so USB accessories cannot communicate with the device. After unlocking, any accessories will stay connected.

USB power chargers are not affected, but some USB accessories that provide power may not charge the device until the device has been unlocked. Apple has detailed in a new support article exactly what this means for users ….

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July 5

Ming-Chi Kuo released a report today that ups his estimates for the new 2018 iPhone sales, as well as detailing a few changes to expect. Kuo says that the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone model should be priced around $1000 like the current iPhone X, and will feature dual SIM capabilities. The 6.1-inch LCD iPhone X style device should retail for around $700.

Perhaps, most excitingly, Kuo says the new iPhones will come in a plethora of colors. The 6.5-inch phone will be offered in black, white and a (new!) gold. The entry-level 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will apparently debut in “grey, white, blue, red and orange”.

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We are expecting significant updates to the iPad and Mac lines later this year, and Apple appears to be getting in the admin work early as five new iPad and five new Mac models have turned up in the Eurasian Economic Commission database as found by Consomac.

The filing says that these new devices are running iOS 11 and macOS 10.13, which is unusual as we’d typically expect Apple to ship these hardware updates with the new flagship software releases, iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. Indicators from this source had a solid track record of accuracy last year, but it’s notable that an April filing on new iPhones is yet to see payoff in new products.

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July 4

Offline maps app Sygic teases iOS 12 CarPlay integration

At WWDC, Apple announced support for navigation apps integration into CarPlay with iOS 12, opening the floodgates for third-party maps apps in CarPlay for the first time. Sygic is a relatively-popular maps app for iOS, that focuses on downloadable maps for offline use as its central feature. It has announced that it will be bringing its offline maps to CarPlay.

July 3

A Geekbench benchmark has surfaced that appears to reveal an upcoming MacBook Pro revamp. Note that Geekbench scores can be fabricated relatively easily, so this isn’t confirmation of an imminent revamp — but it’s certainly fuel on the fire.

The new MacBookPro15,2 model features an Intel Core i7-8559U Coffee Lake CPU. This CPU runs up to 28W and is yet to ship in any product, so it would represent a modern update to Apple’s MacBook Pro line. The quad-core CPU has a 2.7GHz base frequency and can turbo up to 4.5GHz …

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July 2

Photos purporting to depict an engineering prototype of the rumored Apple 18W USB-C charger, expected to be bundled with the 2018 iPhone and iPads have surfaced (via Macotakara). This charger is expected to come in the box with the new iPhones, in addition to a USB-C to Lightning cable, for customers to take advantage of fast-charging without having to buy additional accessories.

These images show the design of the new charger, although the labelling differs from Apple’s standard style. The 18W power throughput is denoted, and the USB-C connector hole is clearly visible.

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Citi: AAPL predicted to hit $200 with compelling holiday season iPhone lineup and continued services growth

For those that follow the stock market, Apple’s share price dropped from record highs over the last month, falling from $194 to circa $185 levels amidst trade war jitters and some news of lower iPhone production levels. Tim Cook says he doesn’t worry about short-term stock price moves, but investors certainly do. Citigroup today released a report that expects AAPL to crest the $200 mark in 2019.

Apple’s smart home standard, HomeKit, is gradually picking up steam as more accessory manufacturers get on board. However, the availability of HomeKit accessories is still much smaller outside of the US.

For smart lightning, bulbs like Philips Hue are great for a quick-and-easy way to add HomeKit into your home, but ideally you want to make your light switches themselves smart. Lutron Caseta has been available in the US for some time. Now, there’s a (great) choice for UK homes too: the LightwaveRF Light Switch. Read on for my full review.

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MediaTek is a possible alternative modem manufacturer Apple is considering for future iPhones. Amidst its disputes with Qualcomm over patent royalties, Apple has turned to Intel to reduce Qualcomm’s market share over iPhone modems. However, it has been reported that Apple is also considering to bring MediaTek onboard as a second supplier.

Digitimes says that Apple is yet to commit to orders with MediaTek. For the 2018 iPhone lineup, Apple is currently expected to source about 70% of modems from Intel, with Qualcomm receiving the minor share of orders.

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