Everything you need to know about the new Apple File System


APFS arrives in 2017.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s hard to believe that Apple’s speedy Macs are still using a file system that was developed more than 30 years ago, when floppy disks and spinning hard drives were considered cutting-edge technology.

But that’s going to change in 2017 with the new Apple File System, or APFS. Here’s everything you need to know about APFS and how it’s going to make your life better, no matter what Apple device(s) you use.

Headphone jack supported by Apple much longer than most ports


These photos of Lightning EarPods have done the rounds recently.
Photo: Weibo

The iPhone’s 3.5mm headphone jack, rumored to be conspicuous in its absence from the upcoming iPhone 7, has lasted more than twice the length of a regular Apple port.

Having first appeared on the Mac in 1984, the headphone jack has been a staple of Apple devices for 32 years at this point. The average Apple I/O standard, on the other hand? According to a new report, that number averages out at only around 15 years.

Today in Apple history: IBM and Apple team up for the first time


Steve Jobs wasn't at Apple in 1993, but this pic sums up Cupertino's classic attitude to IBM.
Photo: Andy Hertzfeld

Thursday 30 Given its position as the company’s earliest arch-nemesis, Apple’s partnership with IBM was massive news when it was announced a couple of years ago. But it wasn’t the first time the two companies had agreed to help one another.

On 30 June 1993, Apple and IBM shipped their first collaborative product: the catchily-named “SNA.ps 5250” emulation software package, which for the first time let Mac users run software available previously only for IBM PCs. It was the first step in allowing Macs and PCs to talk to each other in a way that didn’t trap their respective users in proprietary ecosystem hell.

Mystery vans likely making 3-D road maps for Apple’s self-driving car

Mysterious unmarked vans roaming the Bay Area have been linked to Apple, and are likely generating detailed 3D maps for robot cars.
Mysterious unmarked vans roaming the Bay Area have been linked to Apple, and are likely generating detailed 3D maps for robot cars.
Photo: Business Insider/Stephen Smith

Some new data-gathering vehicles are roaming the streets of San Francisco. They’re unmarked, but are suspected to be Apple’s. They are laden with sensors, but what kind of data are they gathering, and what for?

Experts contacted by Cult of Mac say the mystery vans are next-generation mapping vehicles capable of capturing VR-style, 360-degree street photos. Plus, the vans use Lidar to create extraordinarily precise “point clouds,” a prerequisite for self-driving cars. Mesh those two databases together and you’ve laid the groundwork for an autonomous vehicle’s navigation system.

Spotify and Elizabeth Warren tag-team for some Apple bashing


Meet Spotify's new nav bar.
Is Spotify being treated unfairly?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Sen. Elizabeth Warren took shots at Apple, Google and Amazon during a speech in Washington today, claiming Silicon Valley’s big fish are making it impossible for the small fry to compete.

“The opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors,” said Warren. During her rant against Apple, the senator specifically mentioned the unfair advantages Apple Music enjoys against its competitors.

After the speech, Spotify rallied behind Warren with some Apple bashing of its own.

Transform your camera from a toy into a tool [Deals]

Learn the skills and concepts necessary to take professional level photos.
Learn the skills and concepts necessary to take professional level photos.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Depending on who’s using it, a camera can either be a plaything or a means of expression, professional or otherwise. If you sprang for a proper digital or film camera but worry you won’t use it to its full potential, this course is for you. It’s 22 modules of professionally-taught, accredited instruction that’ll demystify the techniques and concepts of high-level photography for $19.99. This usually goes for more than $2,500.