Apple releases iOS 12.4, watchOS 5.3, macOS 10.14.6, and more

Apple releases iOS 12.4, watchOS 5.3, macOS 10.14.6, and more

Enlarge / The Apple Watch series 4 running watchOS 5. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

As it often does, Apple has released updates for all of its device operating systems at once. iOS 12.4, watchOS 5.3, macOS 10.14.6, and tvOS 12.4 all arrive on supporting devices today.

iOS 12.4’s tentpole feature is the ability to directly and wirelessly transfer all your data from one iPhone to another when setting the latter up. Onlookers are also speculating that it includes yet-to-be-activated support for the Apple Card credit card. This Goldman Sachs-driven consumer credit card will have a number of smart features and iPhone tie-ins, and, per Apple’s announcement earlier this year, is due to launch by the end of the summer.

There are also some quality-of-life and UX improvements for Apple News+. These are Apple’s iOS 12.4 release notes:

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Catalyst deep dive: The future of Mac software according to Apple and devs

Catalyst deep dive: The future of Mac software according to Apple and devs

Enlarge / Twitter returns to the Mac via Apple’s Project Catalyst. (credit: Apple)

SAN JOSE, Calif.—When Apple revealed macOS Catalina at WWDC this month, one related announcement drew considerable interest from Mac users and developers alike: a new way to turn iPad apps into fully native Mac apps.

Dubbed Project Catalyst, it promised to increase the number of quality native apps on the Mac platform by leveraging developers’ existing work in the arguably more robust iOS (and now, iPadOS) app ecosystem. But it does raise questions: what does this mean for Mac users’ future experiences? Will this change the type of software made for Macs? Is Apple’s ecosystem a mobile-first one?

Then there are developer concerns: is Catalyst just a stepping stone to SwiftUI? What challenges can devs expect when adapting their iPad apps for the Mac?

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Apple introduces a recall program for some MacBook Pro laptops with faulty batteries

Apple introduces a recall program for some MacBook Pro laptops with faulty batteries

Today, Apple sent out a press release and published a customer support document announcing a new voluntary recall-and-replace program for certain MacBook Pro models that contain batteries that may overheat, and which may have the potential to be a fire risk.

The recall program is limited to certain 15-inch MacBook Pros from 2015, which were sold “primarily” between 2015 and 2017, Apple says—so pre-Touch Bar, Retina models from near the end of that form factor’s life cycle. The company’s support page offers a field wherein a consumer can input their serial number to find out if their laptop is affected.

“Because customer safety is a top priority,” Apple wrote, “Apple is asking customers to stop using affected 15-inch MacBook Pro units.” The company hasn’t provided details about the nature of the problem other than to say, “in a limited number

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Our first-look photos of Apple’s new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR

Our first-look photos of Apple’s new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR

Enlarge / Okay, from this angle, it really does look like an ultra-shiny cheese grater. (credit: Samuel Axon)

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Today, Apple introduced two very expensive pieces of pro-targeted hardware: the Mac Pro, and the Pro Display XDR. While we were not offered an opportunity to get any hands-on time with them, we did see behind-closed-doors live demonstrations and get an opportunity to photograph them both.

Apple is positioning these as direct competitors to the sort of video editing bay hardware that costs tens of thousands of dollars, not as mass-market consumer products. Judged on that scale, these seem like great bargains, albeit only for a few people in specialized fields.

The big surprise is the modular Mac Pro, so let’s start there.

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Apple will soon kill off iTunes and, with it, an entire era of music history

Apple will soon kill off iTunes and, with it, an entire era of music history

Enlarge / The new Apple Podcasts app for Mac. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

SAN JOSE, Calif.—As part of a slate of upcoming software updates, Apple will close the door on one of its most iconic pieces of software: iTunes. The company will split the application up into multiple, more-focused apps on the Mac: Apple Music for music, Apple TV for TV and movies, and Apple Podcasts for podcasts.

iTunes—a program for managing your media library, listening to songs, and buying new content—played a key part in the digital revolution of the 2000s after it first launched in 2001. Its impact started with music. iTunes was partly credited with slowing the severe bleeding to piracy the recording industry faced amid the popularity of the MP3 boom on peer-to-peer file-sharing applications like Napster. And the program was also the home base for the iPod, one of the first of many products

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Apple shares its vision for macOS 10.15 Catalina: Cross-platform apps are key

Apple shares its vision for macOS 10.15 Catalina: Cross-platform apps are key

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The next major operating system update for Apple’s Mac computers will bring new apps, a handful of quality life improvements, and, most importantly, a far-reaching initiative to (at least partially) unify the app-development process across devices running iOS and macOS. This new initiative is at the heart of Apple’s future macOS strategy and is a cornerstone of the newly announced macOS 10.15 Catalina update.

Here’s what we learned at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference today.

Apple hopes the initiative will rejuvenate a slow-moving Mac app store and native software ecosystem. The initiative will do so by making it easier for developers for the iPhone and iPad App Store—one of the most robust software platforms in the world—to release their iOS applications on the Mac with minimal additional development time. Currently, developers have

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It’s really real: Apple unveils the all-new Mac Pro

It’s really real: Apple unveils the all-new Mac Pro

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Today, Apple announced a new Mac Pro desktop computer—the first new product in that line since 2013.

The device will start at $5,999 for a configuration that includes an eight-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of 2666MHz memory, a 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics. If that doesn’t make it obvious, this is very much not a device for casual consumers. Apple says the Pro will be available to order later this fall.

The new Mac Pro offers a vastly different design than the oft-maligned “trash can” design of the previous Mac Pro, which released nearly 2,000 days ago. This new model has more of a traditional tower design that is a closer analogue to the “cheese grater” Mac Pro models that existed before the latest machine. Its housing is largely made of aluminum, with stainless steel handles for

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Guidemaster: Ars picks the best wireless keyboards you can buy in 2019

Guidemaster: Ars picks the best wireless keyboards you can buy in 2019

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Sometimes the default just doesn’t cut it, and that’s often true when it comes to keyboards. Whether you’re working on a desktop or a laptop, the keyboard you were given or the keyboard built into the machine may not be the best for your working style. If that’s the case, you may benefit from re-organizing your workspace to fit a wireless keyboard that connects to your machine via Bluetooth or a USB receiver.

But there are scores of wireless keyboards to choose from these days. Big PC companies as well as big accessory manufacturers all make wireless keyboards for various kinds of uses from stationary desk typing to on-the-go working. Luckily, we recently dove into the vast world of wireless keyboards head first. Maybe a modern wireless keyboard will never be as beloved as your old Model M, but there are good options out there—and

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Apple releases iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3

Apple releases iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3

Enlarge / Apple announced some of these features at its services-and-TV-focused event on March 25. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Today, Apple began rolling out new versions of its iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS operating systems for iPhones and iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs, respectively.

The updates are largely focused on the video services that Apple announced at its March 25 event—namely, a revamped Apple TV app, Apple TV Channels, and an expansion of AirPlay 2 to devices produced by Apple’s partners. A handful of bug fixes, performance optimizations, and other small tweaks are also included in the updates.

And no doubt deliberately timed with these updates, AirPlay 2 and Apple TV app support has finally rolled out to supporting Samsung TVs as planned. Apple says they’ll roll out to supporting LG, VIZIO, and Sony smart TVs “later this year.”

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Blackmagic eGPU Pro mini-review: Quiet, fast, and extremely expensive—like a Mac

Blackmagic eGPU Pro mini-review: Quiet, fast, and extremely expensive—like a Mac

There are many criticisms of Apple’s Mac products, but one of the most commonly cited is that they often don’t have graphics power that’s comparable to what you’d see in similarly priced Windows machines. Unfortunately, the company currently offers no desktop tower in which you could, say, slot two super-powerful gaming graphics cards, either.

Some of that could change soon when Apple moves to its own silicon on Macs or when it introduces a new Mac Pro. But for now, the company’s official answer to this line of criticism is doubling down on external GPU support in macOS. Support for this began during the High Sierra cycle and was expanded upon in some helpful ways in last year’s Mojave OS release.

In addition to providing software support for eGPUs, Apple has developed what is more or less its official-ish eGPU

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