Tech entrepreneurs are in an all-out race to cash in on our collective addiction to social media. It’s a fight that started in Silicon Valley that’s now gone global. In the newest season of Wondery’s Business Wars, TikTok vs Instagram, they track the war between two social media giants.
Within the last couple years, TikTok has become one of the most popular apps around the world. It’s even garnered the power to completely reinvent the music industry.
And despite political constraints the app has recently faced, TikTok has still managed to pose a serious threat to its American counterpart: Instagram.
This season of Business Wars will touch on the history behind and founding of both apps, and what they’ve done in recent years to become two of the largest social media platforms to exist.
I stared listening and am really enjoying the backstory behind these companies and their rise to prominence. I’m also a big fan of documentaries and docuseries an the storytelling and recreations in Business Wars are really sucking me into the show.
Listen to the latest season of Business Wars, TikTok vs Instagram, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or listen ad-free by joining Wondery Plus in the Wondery app.
Apple’s AirPods Max
As expected Apple had one more thing for 2020 and it turned out to be dang expensive Apple headphones
Actually called AirPods Max, and not AirPods Studio
I guess it’s “on brand”, sort of? Why not “Pro Max”?
Studio sounds SO much better
The AirPods Max are over the ear headphones with a Apple-esque retro styling
They include two Apple H1 chips (one in each ear cup) for “computational audio”
Each chip has 10 audio cores to power audio processing.
They use 40mm Apple-designed dynamic drivers
Supports high-fidelity audio, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio
No U1 chip
Don’t work with the Find My app
They have a “digital crown” fro physical control of playback and volume and a button to control the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes
Digital crown is larger than the one found on the Apple Watch
There are nine microphones. Eight for Active Noise Cancellation and three (two shared) are used for voice
Optical sensor in each ear cup
Position sensor in each ear cup
Case-detect sensor in each ear cup
Accelerometer in each ear cup
Gyroscope, left ear cup
The ear cups are aluminum. The headband is a "breathable knit mesh" with stainless steel telescoping arms with a ball joint
They are pretty heavy at 394 grams (13.6 ounces)
The headband is supposedly designed to distribute the weight evenly and reduce pressure according to Apple
They come with a “Smart Case”
Jokes about it looking like a purse here
Has a magnetic clasp that puts them into “low power” mode
So far reviewers pretty much “hate” the case
Doesn’t offer protection (especially for the band)
Apple claims they have a 20 hour battery life.
Charging is via a Lightning to USB-C cable
No charger in box.
Apple says you can get a 90-minute charge in 5 minutes
Can get an optional Lightning to 3.5mm cable (USD $35) to use with analog input
Come in five colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink
Color match the new MacBook Air colors
The ear cups are magnetic and replaceable (for USD $69 a set)
They are available to order now, though backordered into March next year, for USD $549.00
AppleCare+ for AirPods Max is USD $59
USD $79 out of warranty battery service
There was a typo in the UK that noted it £309, it’s actually £75
Can use them with non-Apple products via Bluetooth 5.0
Won’t get spatial audio features or auto pairing, but do get ANC
Apple’s M1 is just the beginning
But you knew that already right?
Still Bloomberg claims to have some info on that amazing things that are in Apple’s pipeline for future Macs
Apple is working on successors to the M1 with up to 20 CPU cores, made up of 16 high performance and 4-efficiency cores
They say expect to see both consumer and high-end Mac desktops with Apple Silicon next year along with an ARM version of the higher end MacBook Pros.
An Apple Silicon version of the Mac Pro is not expected until 2022, but there they mentions a new half-sized Mac Pro that could have as many as 32 high-performance cores
They do say, depending on how development on the chips goes, that we might not get to 20 cores at first. There could be fewer high performance cores, like 12, if things don’t work out as well.
Still anything above the current 4 in the M1 is going to be a major leap forward.
On the GPU side they say we might expect to see 16 or maybe even 32-core GPUs in some of the higher end laptops and mid-range desktops. With higher-end desktops possibly going as high as 64 or even 128 GPU cores.
Apple Fitness+ will launch December 14th
Possibly by the time you hear this you might have already done your first Apple Fitness+ workout
Jay Blahnik, who servers as Apple’s senior director of fitness technologies did an interview with WSJ Magazine and shared some details
Apple has been developing Fitness+ for more than five years
If you don’t have an Apple Watch, you can’t use Apple Fitness+.
He said the metrics will react to things the trainer says and that you do and that’s part of the motivation
The service will offer workouts for all sill levels
It will also try to focus on personalization and offer a “Try Something New” section to help you find workouts.
Fitness+ includes workouts for yoga, cycling, dance, strength, core, HIIT, rowing, and more.
It also syncs information from your Apple Watch with the workout video played on your Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone
It should be available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand at launch
Apple changes leads on car project
According to Bloomberg John Giannandrea has taken over the Apple Car project from Bob Mansfield who has now “fully” retired
Day-to-day operations are still being handled by Doug Field
Ming-Chi Kuo has noted in the past that Apple is designing their own self driving car chips for the vehicles.
Digitimes reported this week that Apple is working with TSMC on developing self-driving chip technology and will “set up factories” in the United States for its self-driving car project
They also claimed that the “Apple Car model is similar to Tesla,”. Whatever that means?
Recent reports mention Apple working on LiDAR barrier detection systems and touch-sensitive dashboards.
Based on recent patent applications
“Barrier detection” can use LIDAR to detect obstacles in a path.
Another patent mentions "Light-based devices with light guide arrays,”and says they could display images or other light output to a user along with gathering user input through touch.
Even mentioning that a wood dashboard could be treated in a chemical bath for use in a light guide array
Right now it’s not expected that the public will see anything on the way of a roll out of an Apple Car until at least 2023 or later
Apple is serious about privacy features
Apple had given developers more time to get ready for their announced App Tracking Transparency rules in iOS 14 and with the release coming this summer they’re issuing serious warnings to developers
Craig Federighi said recently developers will be kicked off Apple's App Store if they fail to "play by the rules" of the iPhone's new anti-tracking policy
The new policy requires that apps ask for permission to use a unique digital identifier to track users or before providing information to data brokers.
Companies like Facebook have criticized Apple for the policy saying it will “kill” advertising revenue and make ads essentially ineffective.
Recent surveys have shown it’s likely 85% of users would refuse permission
In the interview Federighi also outlined Apple’s “four key principles” on protecting users privacy
Data minimization, basically only collecting the minimal amount of data needed and nothing more
Keep data on the device, processes as much of your data on your device as possible
Be transparent. Tell you what’s being collected and allow you to control how the data is used
Security is the foundation of privacy. If your data isn’t secure, it’s not going to stay private.
New iPad this Spring
Rumors from a Chinese website that Apple is looking to update their entry level 10.2-inch iPad this Spring
It’s expected to keep the design, but gain a few minor improvements including:
A larger 10.5-inch LED display
An update to an A13 Bionic Chip
4GB of RAM
And a thinner / lighter design
It will retain the Home button w/ Touch ID and a Lightning port
The report also claims pricing could be lowers slightly to start at $299 USD for a 64GB model (double the current model).
The iPad was just spec’d bumped in September, so getting another update so soon feels a bit odd.
Next for iPhone
Bloomberg says Apple is developing its own cellular modem to replace the ones from Qualcomm
We had heard these rumors before Apple dumped Intel and went back to Qualcomm
This latest info is reportedly from statements made to Apple employees in a town hall meeting.
When Intel closed up shop on their cellular modems Apple purchased a majority of that business along with a lot of the talent
When will it happen? It’s not clear, but Apple had signed a six-year licensing agreement with Qualcomm
Ming-Chi Kuo thinks the 2021 iPhone 13 with an A15 chip will get back on Apple’s “regular” fall release cycle and not be delayed.
Apple TV+ News
Collider says that Apple may be working with Matt Tolmach, the producer on Venom, on a series based on the “Dark Matter” novels written by Blake Crouch
The report says the writer himself is adapting the novels for Sony Pictures Television
Irish lawmakers are proposing clauses in a new bill that would require streaming services, like Apple TV+, Netflix, and Disney+, to host at least 30 percent European content
If passed, failure to meet the requirement, would result in the services being shut down in the EU
Compared to other services, like Netflix, Apple has almost no European content. In fact just one show, Trying, out of 42 movies and series so far.
According to Variety, "Extrapolations," an upcoming anthology series about climate change, is coming to Apple TV+
Scott Z. Burns, “An Inconvenient Truth”, is the creator of the series and will serve as writer, director, and executive producer
The series will be comprised of 10 interconnected episodes.
And plans to use drama, comedy, mystery and every other genre to move beyond science to allow viewers to consider how every aspect of our world is going to be changing in the years ahead.
According to Deadline Apple has given straight-to-series order to "The Last Thing He Told Me" which will star Julia Roberts
It will be produced by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine and is based on an upcoming novel by author Laura Dave
The story follows a woman who forms an unexpected relationship with her sixteen-year-old stepdaughter while trying to discover the truth behind why her husband has mysteriously vanished
The novel comes out May 4th, no information on when the series will come to Apple TV+
Trust me, you need one of these - they are super handy and super convenient.
No worrying about different USB drive for different devices, just flip and connect
And if you’re looking for a perfect holiday gift that your family and friends will actually use, then you should get this for them too!
I’ve been using mine as physical source of backing up for my Photo Library on iOS
It’s also been really great fro using with my iPad using the Files app
I can take important documents like my show notes and podcast episodes and easily move them between computers and devices while having a backup copy I can cary in my pocket.
Did I also mention how satisfying the USB-C one is as a fidget devices. It’s metal, solid, and makes a great click when you flip it.
Options for the iXpand Flash Drive range from 128 to 256 gigabytes of storage
Start using Sandisk’s iXpand Flash Drive Go to free up space on your phone...
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Yeah, Apple’s Voice memos app seems to be a fairly capable mini audio editor as well
I was playing with the trim and delete features.
There is also an “enhance” button that seems to clean up the audio, including removing background noise.
Where are multi-port USB-C Chargers?
Question from Marco
It’s technically difficult due to the power density limits of the silicon in the chargers.
USB-A typically only delivers up to about 15W max.
USB-C has to supply up to about 100W.
Vendors are looking at moving from Silicon to Gallium Nitride (GaN) components. This has the promise of allowing more ports, but right now it seems like even with that technology the limit is about two USB-C ports per brick.