About the Author

Parker Ortolani

Parker Ortolani is a marketing strategist and product designer based in New York. In addition to contributing to 9to5mac, he also oversees product development and marketing for BuzzFeed. A longtime reader, Parker is excited to share his product concepts and thoughts with the 9to5mac audience.

January 12

Alongside the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple announced a ton of new watch faces. One of those faces just so happened to be a collaboration with artist Geoff McFetridge. Apple had previously made a few watch faces in collaboration with Disney in the form of the Mickey and Mini Mouse face and the Toy Story face. But the Artist face is the first one that truly breaks the mold.

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Alongside the introduction of the iPhone 12, Apple released a wave of new accessories compatible with the MagSafe ecosystem. If you have or you’re planning to get an iPhone 12, you probably want a case. Apple’s first-party offerings are far and away my top picks.

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January 6

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Apple has introduced a limited-edition pair of AirPods Pro available in multiple Asian countries, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia. This coming new year is the Year of the Ox, and Apple has created an adorable new emoji character to celebrate. On these countries’ home pages, Apple has also added a new custom logo to commemorate the occasion.

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January 5

With iPadOS 13, Apple introduced the ability for apps to have multiple instances. In other words, you can have multiple Safari windows open or multiple notes, for example. It’s an incredibly useful feature and it turned the iPad into a much more powerful computer. We think it would turn the iPhone into a much more powerful phone, too.

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January 4

One of the new watch faces introduced in watchOS 7 was the Memoji face. To be honest, it felt like an afterthought. It’s really just a digital clock with Memoji and Animoji that already existed slapped on top. Nevertheless, it’s a really fun watch face with tons of potential. In fact, there’s a rather obvious way to supercharge it.

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December 23, 2020

One of the first third-party MagSafe battery packs for iPhone 12 is now available to order

We’ve been anxiously waiting for third party accessory manufacturers to create new kinds of MagSafe accessories for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Last month we shared a concept detailing ideas for a MagSafe battery pack to replace things like chunky battery cases. Now, we’re starting to see real products come to life. Charge Fast has debuted the one of the first MagSafe power banks.

We’ve known that Apple has been working on a car for around six years now. Apple always tries to do their work in secret, but whenever they attempt to enter an entirely new industry it inevitably leaks out. We haven’t heard much about ‘Project Titan’ as we believe it’s been dubbed internally, in quite some time. In fact, I thought the project had finally been axed after countless reorganizations. But just a few days ago, Reuters released a new report about Apple’s automotive efforts and it’s starting to sound like ‘Project Titan’ is back on and in full force.

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The Wall Street Journal reports that film studio MGM Holdings Inc. is putting itself up for sale after years of difficulty. MGM has had trouble selling itself in the past, reportedly because its asking price was just too high. The new pricing was selected in an effort to gather more interest from studios that may make a nice home for MGM’s franchises.

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December 22, 2020

Developer @daeken on Twitter has gotten Nintendo Switch games to run on Apple Silicon Macs. The implementation is not quite perfect yet due to the technical limitations of the MoltenVK runtime library, which “maps Vulkan to Apple’s Metal graphics framework.” Even with these limitations, the emulation looks very promising.

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December 21, 2020

Unlike the smartphone market, the streaming box market is chock full of competition. Apple joined the fray in 2007 with the first generation Apple TV but things didn’t really pick up until the second generation model in 2010. Along the way, Apple had to contend with new competitors like Roku, Amazon’s Fire streaming devices, Google’s TV efforts, and other smart TV operating systems like webOS on LG TVs. This isn’t even to mention indirect competition from game consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. In 2020, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD are by far the most expensive streaming boxes. But unlike other Apple products, the Apple TV doesn’t do much to justify the premium.

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December 18, 2020

Popular flight tracking app ‘Flighty’ comes to M1 Macs

More apps have slowly been trickling in for Apple’s latest M1 machines. The latest addition is popular flight tracking app, Flighty, from developer Ryan Jones. The app is universal, so if you are already a Flighty user you can simply go to the Mac App Store listing and redownload it from iCloud.

December 17, 2020

Check out this tool that lets you create AirPods Max color combos

If you don’t already know, Apple’s new over the ear AirPods Max are customizable. Similar to MagSafe accessories that snap on and off, AirPods Max have built-in magnets that let users swap out the ear cushions. Ear cushions aren’t sold separately yet, but Apple has listed them on the Apple Store as coming soon.

December 16, 2020

Apple has been releasing smart accessories at a rapidly increasing rate. Many of them are accessories designed to not just work with your Apple devices, but require you to use an Apple device. Currently, Apple has settings and management tools for their accessories all over the place. Apple Watch has its own management app, AirPods are buried in Bluetooth settings and peripherals customization exists deep in the Settings app. There’s got to be a better solution and I think it’s turning the dedicated Watch app into an Accessories app.

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Burgeoning newsletter platform Substack launched a new web app today that brings together all of your subscriptions in one convenient inbox. The new web app is in beta, but it already shows lots of promise. It offers rapid access to all of your subscriptions in a sidebar on the left, and even lets users throw their favorite RSS feeds into the mix. It’s a much cleaner experience than sifting through your email inbox.

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December 14, 2020

By the time you are reading this, Apple Fitness+ will have probably launched. It’s not Apple’s first foray into social fitness but it is a giant opportunity for them to expand the Apple Watch’s user base. Apple Watch is the best selling watch in the world, but there are still tons of people who either want to wear a traditional watch or don’t want to spend the money on a new Apple Watch. The latter tend to purchase Fitbits or other popular fitness bands that still have basic smartwatch features and track their fitness.

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With the public release of iOS 14.3 today, Apple has made the experience of using custom home screen icons much better. Now custom icons created through the Shortcuts app launch right into your desired app instead of opening the Shortcuts app first.

Below you can find a roundup of some beautiful and unique custom icon packs to spice up your iOS or iPadOS device. If you don’t already know how to add these icons to your Home Screen, you can check out our how-to guide.

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December 11, 2020

Nearly all of Apple’s MagSafe accessories for iPhone 12 provide a decent amount of value. But one of them has so much underutilized potential coupled with an astronomical price tag. Of course, I’m talking about Apple’s new MagSafe Sleeve.

Apple has been making really high-quality leather sleeves for various products for a couple of years now but the MagSafe Leather Sleeve is unique. Not only does the MagSafe Sleeve include a card slot, it also has a window that displays the clock and occasionally pertinent information. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t taken full advantage of what it’s created.

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