Today in Apple history: Microsoft’s first hardware debuts … on the Apple II

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SoftCard
The original ad for the Z80 SoftCard.
Photo: Microsoft

April 2: Today in Apple history: Microsoft Z80 SoftCard, the company's first hardware, debuts on Apple II April 2, 1979: Microsoft releases its first hardware product, a microprocessor card that plugs into the Apple II computer.

Coming several years before the first version of Windows, the Z80 SoftCard becomes a big hit for Microsoft. It lets the Apple II run programs designed for the CP/M operating system, a popular OS for business software.

Apple engineers guide iPhone manufacturing in China through FaceTime

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A Group FaceTime call on the Mac.
Apple hasn't been as directly hands-on as usual.
Photo: Apple

Apple engineers have used FaceTime-style video calling to guide Chinese colleagues through iPhone prototype assembly, a recent report by the Wall Street Journal notes.

The report helps answer one key question about how Apple is able to get iPhone prototypes assembled at a time when travel restrictions stop Apple employees from making their usual trips to China. Apple tested out the process in January.

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Money Unsplash
And coronavirus pandemic isn't likely to hurt it, either.
Photo: Pepi Stojanovski/Unsplash

T-Mobile completes long-awaited mega-merger with Sprint

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere with the Phone BoothE.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere is stepping down as big boss.
Photo: T-Mobile

The T-Mobile and Sprint merger is now officially complete, transforming the third and fourth-biggest wireless carriers in the U.S. into a more giant-sized rival to take on Verizon and AT&T.

The New T-Mobile, as it will be known, will be run by CEO Mike Sievert. Sievert takes over from T-Mobile boss John Legere, who has been chief executive of T-Mobile since 2012. Legere will remain on T-Mobile’s board until June.

Doom and Doom II updates bring even more content to iOS

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Doom cover
With his face mask and aggressive social distancing, Doom's protagonist was ready for lockdown.
Photo: Id Software

Trapped in an oppressive single location, allowing no-one to get within breathing distance of you, while the apocalypse teeters ever closer on the horizon… Life in coronavirus lockdown? Maybe. But it’s also an apt description of Doom and Doom II, the classic first-person-shooters which just got a nifty update on iOS.

With a variety of improvements and more than 30 new levels to enjoy, there’s never been a better (or more appropriate) time to check out or revisit this grisly duo of classic 1990s blasters.

Today in Apple history: Apple is founded by Steve Jobs, Woz and Ron Wayne

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Apple logo
The original Apple logo, designed by Ron Wayne.
Photo: Apple

April 1: Today in Apple history: Apple founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne April 1, 1976: The Apple Computer Company gets its start as founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne set out to sell the $666 Apple-1 computer.

Apple will not officially become a corporation until January 3 the following year. By that time, Wayne is no longer a part of the business.

No delays here: iPhone 12 chipmaker on track for A-series chip production

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Apple chipmaker racing ahead with its next next-gen nanometer process
Apple chipmaker racing ahead with its next next-gen nanometer process
Screenshot: Apple

Apple chipmaker TSMC is reportedly on track to move forward with volume production of its next-gen 5-nanometer chips. This most likely refers to Apple’s next A-series chips for the iPhone 12 series of handsets.

According to a report published Wednesday, this production process is currently on as scheduled. This counters recent speculation that Apple had asked TSMC to defer manufacturing for the new iPhone.

Keep on keeping on: It’s too late to downgrade to iOS 13.3.1 again

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Stop the madness
There's no turning back!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple has stopped signing iOS 13.3.1 after the release of iOS 13.4, stopping people who have upgraded to the latest version from going back again.

Every iOS update Apple introduces is designed to be speedier, more stable, and more secure than its predecessor. As a result, Apple blocks downgrades soon after its latest release has rolled out to everyone. This was the turn of iOS 13.3.1 to go to the big software graveyard in the sky!