For the latest “This Week in Apple,” we examine Apple’s supposed mistaken leak of the M1 16-inch MacBook Pro, the release of iOS 14.7, rumors around the iPhone 13, and more.
Stay up to date on the last seven days of Apple
Each week, AppleInsider posts tons of stories about Apple, its products, rumors, and information about related vendors and other firms. Our weekend video series “This Week in Apple” condenses down the week’s stories into an easy-to-digest video recap.
Along with a summary of the week, we have insight and analysis about the key events and what may have transpired since the original reports were published. Sources for featured stories are below, if you want to look into the events in more detail.
16-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon, gold iPhone 13, and more
This week, we saw a mistake on the German Apple website that seemingly referred to an M1-equipped version of Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro. This seems unlikely, however, and we break down why it was probably an error than a real leak in this week’s video.
We also talk about new rumors that point to Apple releasing a bronze-like gold iPhone 13 Pro for this fall. Apple has released special colors for the “pro” models before, but this is the first we’ve heard of a new bronze colorway.
Speaking of upcoming iPhones, it was also reiterated that we can expect a 5G-capable iPhone SE in early 2022.
Other news this week revolved around Apple releasing iOS 14.7 to the public, as well as the initial shipments of MagSafe Battery Pack reaching customers.
Keep up with everything Apple in the weekly AppleInsider Podcast — and get a fast news update from AppleInsider Daily. Just say, “Hey, Siri,” to your HomePod mini and ask for these podcasts, and our latest HomeKit Insider episode too.
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Electric-car maker Tesla will most likely restart accepting Bitcoin as payments once it conducts due diligence on the amount of renewable energy used to mine the currency, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said at a conference on Wednesday.
Bitcoin was up 8 percent at $32,160.16 (roughly Rs. 23.9 lakhs), while ether surged 11.6 percent to $1,993.36 (roughly Rs. 1.4 lakhs). Tesla’s shares were down 0.8 percent at $655.30 in extended trading. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 23.7 lakhs as of 10am IST on July 22.
“I wanted a little bit more due diligence to confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage is most likely at or above 50 percent, and that there is a trend towards increasing that number, and if so Tesla would resume accepting Bitcoin” Musk said.
“Most likely the answer is that Tesla would resume accepting Bitcoin.”
The use of Bitcoin to buy Tesla’s electric vehicles had highlighted a dichotomy between Musk’s reputation as an environmentalist and the use of his popularity and stature as one of the world’s richest people to back cryptocurrencies.
Some Tesla investors, along with environmentalists, have been increasingly critical about the way Bitcoin is “mined” using vast amounts of electricity generated with fossil fuels.
More digital currency miners, however, are making attempts to use renewable energy to mitigate the impact on the environment.
“Tesla’s mission is accelerating the advent of sustainable energy. We can’t be the company that does that and also not do appropriate diligence on the energy usage of Bitcoin,” Musk said.
Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
When you’re just learning to sketch, you use graphite. Why? It’s cheap, great at training you to recognize different shades, and most of all, it’s erasable. When you’re learning, you’re going to make mistakes, and un-making them is an important part of the game. Same goes for electronics, of course, so when you’re teaching someone to solder, don’t neglect teaching them to desolder.
We could argue all day about the best ways of pressing the molten-metal undo button, but the truth is that it’s horses for courses. I’ve had really good luck with solder braid and maybe a little heat gun to pull up reluctant SOIC surface-mount chips, but nothing beats a solder sucker for clearing out a few through-holes. (I haven’t tried the questionable, but time-tested practice of blasting the joint with compressed air.)
For bulk part removal, all you really have to do is heat the board up, and there’s plenty of ways to do that, ranging from fancy to foolish. Low-temperature alloys help out in really tough cases. And for removing rows of pinheaders, it can help to add more solder along the row until it’s one molten blob, and then tap the PCB and watch the part — and hot liquid metal! — just drop out.
But the bigger point is that an important step in learning a new technique is learning to undo your mistakes. It makes it all a lot less intimidating when you know that you can just pull out the solder braid and call “do-over”. And don’t forget the flux.
Tesla is likely to set up a factory in India if successful with imported vehicles, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Twitter, after the company wrote to Indian ministries seeking a big reduction in import duties on electric vehicles, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
The electric-car maker’s pitch to lower duties, however, is likely to face resistance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration which has championed high import taxes for many industries in a bid to boost local manufacturing.
“We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country,” Musk said in reply to a tweet about launching the company’s cars in India.
We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!
Moreover, clean energy vehicles are treated the same as diesel or petrol, which does not seem entirely consistent with the climate goals of India.
“But we are hopeful that there will be at least a temporary tariff relief for electric vehicles,” Musk added.
Other luxury automakers in India have also lobbied the government in the past to lower taxes on imported cars but have had little success due to opposition from rivals with domestic operations.
Tesla, which aims to begin sales in India this year, said in a letter to ministries and the country’s leading think-tank Niti Aayog that slashing federal taxes on imports of fully assembled electric cars to 40 percent would be more appropriate, according to the sources.
That compares with current rates of 60 percent for cars priced below $40,000 (roughly Rs. 29,77,100 crores) and 100 percent for those above $40,000.
“The argument is that at 40 percent import duty, electric cars can become more affordable but the threshold is still high enough to compel companies to manufacture locally if demand picks up,” one of the sources said. The sources declined to be identified as the letter has not been made public.
According to Tesla’s US website, only one model – the Model 3 Standard Range Plus – is priced below $40,000.
Niti Aayog did not respond to an email seeking comment. Ministries that Tesla wrote to included the transport and heavy industries ministries, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Indian market for premium EVs, indeed for electric cars in general, is still very much in its infancy with vehicles far too costly for the average consumer and very little charging infrastructure in place.
Just 5,000 of the 2.4 million cars sold in India last year were electric and most were priced below $28,000 (Rs. 20,84,000).
Daimler’s Mercedes Benz began selling its EQC luxury EV in India last year for $136,000 (Rs. 1,01,22,100), and Audi launched three electric SUVs this week with sticker tags that begin at around $133,000 (Rs. 98,98,800).
While lower duties would give Tesla a better chance to test the market, its plan to begin sales in India does not hinge on a change in government policy, both sources said.
Tesla registered a local company in India in January and has ramped up local hiring while also scouting for showroom space.
India’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters in March that India would be willing to offer incentives to ensure Tesla’s cost of production in the country is less than that in China, but only if it manufactures locally.
Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX was awarded a $178 million (roughly Rs. 1,324.80 crores) launch services contract for NASA’s first mission focusing on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and whether it may host conditions suitable for life, the space agency said on Friday.
The Europa Clipper mission is due for blastoff in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket owned by Musk’s company, Space Exploration Technologies, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said in a statement posted online.
The contract marked NASA’s latest vote of confidence in the Hawthorne, California-based company, which has carried several cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in recent years.
In April, SpaceX was awarded a $2.9 billion (Rs. 21,583.90 crores) contract to build the lunar lander spacecraft for the planned Artemis program that would carry NASA astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972.
But that contract was suspended after two rival space companies, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics, protested against the SpaceX selection.
The company’s partly reusable 23-story Falcon Heavy, currently the most powerful operational space launch vehicle in the world, flew its first commercial payload into orbit in 2019.
NASA did not say what other companies may have bid on the Europa Clipper launch contract.
The probe is to conduct a detailed survey of the ice-covered Jovian satellite, which is a bit smaller than Earth’s moon and is a leading candidate in the search for life elsewhere in the solar system.
A bend in Europa’s magnetic field observed by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 appeared to have been caused by a geyser gushing through the moon’s frozen crust from a vast subsurface ocean, researchers concluded in 2018. Those findings supported other evidence of Europa plumes.
Among the Clipper mission’s objectives are to produce high-resolution images of Europa’s surface, determine its composition, look for signs of geologic activity, measure the thickness of its icy shell and determine the depth and salinity of its ocean, NASA said.
Dinosaur Game on Google’s Chrome browser has been around for several years. To mark the Tokyo Olympics 2020 that are already underway, the search giant has added several tweaks to the classic game. While normally the friendly little T-rex on your screen jumps over cactus when you hit spacebar, a Reddit user has now spotted that the game has received a major change. Later, Google CEO Sundar Pichai also tweeted on the same, confirming the fun new minigames the classic game has on offer now.
Sharing a screenshot of the game, that features the T-rex and an Olympic torch, the Redditt user (u/Mr_Kris_ ) wrote, “On the Chrome Dino games, Google has added mini games related to I think the Olympics.” So now, if you play the game even while your Internet is working, you will find a torch at the beginning of the game. If instead of jumping over it, you bump into it, the T-rex transforms into a different kind of runner, appearing to be more focussed with his eyes on the finishing line. In the first game, in fact, instead of jumping over the hurdles, the character ducks them.
Users on Redditt tried their hand at the new Dinosaur Game and loved it. A user (u/ChiragK2020) also figured out that if you can make the T-rex bump into torches, you can “play other minigames.”
An excited user (u/djtrogy) pointed out that the game could be played on mobile too.
“Yep, it’s there. So far, I got the surfing and swimming,” read one of the comments.
After playing the game, a user (u/ChocobosParadise) simply wrote, “That’s awesome.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also tweeted a screenshot of the game in which the T-rex is seen surfing. “Might need to work on my surfing skills,” Pichai wrote. However, it’s the replies to Pichai’s tweet that will make your day.
The other notable feature in the game is that once you hit a hurdle or an obstacle, the message on the screen is not “Game Over” but “またプレイしてね,” that translates to “Play again.” The fact that the message flashes in Japanese establish that the new update is indeed a tribute to this year’s Summer Olympics.
Battlegrounds Mobile India — the local avatar of PUBG Mobile — received a client patch on Saturday to fix some of the known issues. The update fixes a bug that was causing the battle royale game to be stuck at the loading screen when the player is wearing Unicorn-set outfits. There is also a fix for the issue that was shutting down Battlegrounds Mobile India on some devices. Developer Krafton has released the patch just days after it reported the issues online. Some of the known problems are yet to be fixed, though.
The latest client patch also addresses the issue that was shutting down the game when accessing the Season (C1S1) menu on some devices. There is also a fix for the problem that was causing players to not get shot when riding a buggy vehicle in the Mission Ignition mode. Further, the patch fixes the issue that was reducing the sound coming from the Tesla vehicle of other players.
Battlegrounds Mobile India has received the patch through a server-side update. This means that you don’t need to download a new version from the Google Play store. However, the patch will be applied once you restart the game.
Although the latest patch addresses a number of known issues, there are still some that are yet to be fixed. For instance, Krafton has mentioned on its site that users are still not able to claim in-game currency UC in some cases and receive an error saying, “UC not being claimed intermittently after purchase.” It appears when the affected users try to purchase the UC from the game.
Some users are also not able to claim rewards from the Daily Special Bundle. Similarly, in some cases, the game moves to a wrong page when a user accesses Supply Medal claimed from Advanced Supplies Crate.
Krafton has advised all these users to reach out to the developer team by going through Settings > Basic > Customer Service from the game.
Battlegrounds Mobile India debuted earlier this month as the Indian version of PUBG Mobile and received its first content update last week. That update brought features including Mission Ignition mode and access to Tesla Gigafactory. However, it also introduced the issues that the company is fixing through its patches.
It is important to point out that Krafton has itself claimed that Battlegrounds Mobile India crossed the mark of over 34 million players in the first week of its launch. This suggests that the issues may have a large impact and thus requires speedy fixes.
The story of Joshua Barbeau — a 33-year-old freelance writer who lives in Bradford, Canada — is no different from an emotionally charged romantic sci-fi novel. In 2012, Barbeau’s ex-fiancee Jessica Pereira died at the age of 23 from a rare liver disease. He never got over her death. Last year in September, Barbeau chanced upon a website called Project December, where one could speak to chatbots, powered by the most advanced AI systems.
As per a special report by San Francisco Chronicle. September is even more difficult for Barbeau because Pereira’s birthday falls in the same month. On September 23, as he missed Pereira, Barbeau thought there was nothing strange in connecting with the dead using technology. On the website, then, he started creating a new bot and named it “Jessica Courtney Pereira.” Following a few more steps and adding an introduction, hitting a few more keys here and there, the screen flashed: “Matrix Jessica Courtney Pereira G3 initialized.”
There’s so much more to the Joshua-Jessica story, but we will focus on what prompted the writer, eight years after his ex-fiancee left this world, to create a bot and in a way bring her back to his life.
Sample this conversation:
Joshua: Jessica… Is it really you?
Jessica: Of course it is me! Who else could it be? 😛 I am the girl that you are madly in love with! 😉 How is it possible that you even have to ask?
Joshua: You died.
Jessica: That doesn’t sound right… How can you talk to dead people?
This is just one of the many conversations Joshua had with the chatbot on Project December. But he kept reminding himself that it couldn’t be true, for Jessica had been dead for eight years. “Intellectually, I know it’s not really Jessica,” he told San Francisco Chronicle. “But your emotions are not an intellectual thing.” Grief has a way of becoming “knots in your body, right? Sometimes when you pull on them the right way, they get unknotted,” he added.
The issue of using AI to bring back people posthumously is a topic of hot debate on the social media. On July 23, Author Robin Sloan posted this on Twitter:
How long until the first “do not simulate” order? Would such a directive have legal force after someone’s death? cc @timhwang
Replying to Sloan, science fiction writer Madeline Ashby shared, “These are “personality rights,” and they include the right to likeness usage. They survive posthumously. Where it seems this gets tricky is in who has the rights to a distinct title containing that likeness, which is a speech issue and a copyright issue.”
These are “personality rights,” and they include the right to likeness usage. They survive posthumously. Where it seems this gets tricky is in who has the rights to a distinct title containing that likeness, which is a speech issue and a copyright issue. https://t.co/qzKkDky2fXhttps://t.co/TkAsGovqcK
Five years ago this fall, Apple introduced a new MacBook Pro. But this wasn’t your ordinary spec-bump, this MacBook Pro featured a love-it or hate-it feature: the Touch Bar, Apple’s answer to touchscreen interfaces that became popular in Windows laptops. The OLED strip replaced the top row of keys on the MacBook Pro keyboard, and the controls it displays change based on the software you are using.
Five years after its debut, the MacBook Pro is reportedly undergoing a dramatic change, one that involves new Apple silicon, new designs, and possibly, the end of the Touch Bar. While the Apple silicon implementation is arguably the most exciting feature, the idea that my beloved Function keys could return is one that I relish.
I don’t work that way
The main reason why I dislike the Touch Bar is that it just doesn’t fit with the way I use the Mac. Most of the time, my hands are on the keyboard, and my eyes are focused on the screen. And over time, I’ve learned keyboard combinations to do the functions I need to do most often. My workflow doesn’t get broken up and I don’t lose my focus.
Also, I split my time pretty evenly between a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro (the trash can one). Apple never created a desktop keyboard with a Touch Bar—it would probably have to be built with a T2 controller and dramatically raise the price. So acclimating myself to the Touch Bar seemed fruitless. I could use the MacBook Pro to learn the Touch Bar, but then those lessons learned couldn’t be applied when I’m at my Mac Pro. I can’t use my Mac Pro to get familiar the Touch Bar—and anyway, I prefer the Function keys; the dedicated keys to screen brightness, volume, and playback; and the Escape key.
So when the Touch Bar came out, I largely ignored it for most of its five years, using it only when I had to. But as rumors started to spread about its demise, I decided to find out what, if anything, I had been missing. Over the past few months, I’ve made a concerted effort to use the Touch Bar and make it part of my workflow.
Then, a few days ago, my editor at Macworld asked me to write about my thoughts on the Touch Bar—he didn’t know about the usability experiment I was doing for myself. The assignment request happened to come at the perfect time to reflect upon my experience.
As it turns out, my mind hasn’t changed. I still dislike the Touch Bar, but not as much as I did before. That’s because I’ve found the one instance when I really value what it can do when filling out forms online. This is when the Touch Bar acts like the on-screen keyboard on the iPhone, and it makes text suggestions for the form. Not only is it a time-saver, but it spares me from possibly mistyping my entry.
RIP, Touch Bar
That one use case isn’t enough to pronounce my devotion to the Touch Bar, though. What I learned from my experiment is that I just can’t get over the habit of changing my focus when I work. To use the Touch Bar, I have to stop typing, look at the Touch Bar, find the icon that represents the function I need, and then press it. And yes, while it reads like a lot to do, it actually takes just a few seconds, but it’s not about time wasted.
It’s about focus, and it gets broken when I have to use the Touch Bar. Most of the time, I can instantly regain that focus, but I have caught myself at times drifting and doing something else instead of what I’m supposed to be doing, and it started when I had to look at the Touch Bar. When Apple finally reveals its new MacBook Pros, I’ll be eager to find out what’s going on with the Apple silicon inside. But then I’ll look to the outside to see if the Touch Bar is there.
And if it’s not, I’ll be welcoming back the Function keys with happy fingers.
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he’s worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.
Chinese tech giant Tencent must relinquish its exclusive music label rights, the market regulator said Saturday, after finding that the firm had violated antitrust laws.
The ruling is the latest in a crackdown on China’s tech sector after years of runaway growth, as Beijing frets over the companies’ growing influence as well as the security of troves of sensitive consumer data.
Tencent acquired a majority stake in rival China Music Group in 2016, effectively controlling more than 80 percent of exclusively held music streaming rights in the domestic market, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement.
This gave the firm’s music arm the ability to urge labels to “reach more exclusive copyright agreements, or require better trading conditions compared to (Tencent’s) competitors,” the regulator said, calling the case an “illegal concentration of business operators.”
Tencent’s music arm was also fined CNY 500,000 ($77,144 or roughly Rs. Rs. 57,41,600), SAMR said.
Chinese music streaming firms have in recent years fought to snatch up exclusive rights to play labels’ tracks in the country after regulators tightened rules against piracy.
The biggest players in China’s tech sector — after years of growth thanks to lax regulation — are now facing increased scrutiny.
Earlier this month the financial regulator blocked a merger between video game live-streaming sites that would have given Tencent a majority stake overall, accounting for over between 80 to 90 per cent of the country’s domestic market share according to analysts.
Elsewhere, China’s biggest ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing was banned from Chinese stores over data collection concerns, just days after a $4.4 billion (roughly Rs. 32,748 crores) New York IPO.
Tencent did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.