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Telegram flames
Telegram is under fire. And Apple as well.
Photo: Telegram/Cult of Mac

Today in Apple history: Unauthorized Apple II clone sparks big legal battle

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The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
Photo: Bugbookmuseum

January 18: Today in Apple history: Franklin's unauthorized Apple II clone, the Franklin Ace 1200, sparks legal battle January 18, 1983: Computer manufacturer Franklin Electronic Publishers takes the wraps off its Franklin Ace 1200 computer, an unauthorized Apple II clone that triggers an important legal battle.

Cupertino will soon target Franklin’s line of unlicensed Apple clones with a lawsuit. In the resulting trial, a U.S. court will decide whether a company can protect its operating system by copyright.

Tim Cook won’t comment on Apple Car, talks suspending Parler from App Store

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CEO Tim Cook photo via Fox Business
Tim Cook talked with Fox News over the weekend.
Photo: Fox Business

Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to take the bait about Apple Car during a Sunday interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. After Cook commented that Apple continues “making the best products in the world,” Wallace asked if that would include an Apple Car.

Cook responded by laughing, and said he “can’t comment on rumors and so forth.” Wallace then pushed back, saying that Cook could comment, he was just choosing not to. “You’re right,” Cook said, ending the exchange. “I choose not to. Touché.”

Today in Apple history: Mac’s ‘1984’ ad debuts in theaters

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1984
Before it won the Super Bowl, Apple's iconic Mac ad invaded theaters.
Photo: Chiat/Day/Apple

January 17: Today in Apple history: Mac's '1984' ad debuts in theaters January 17, 1984: A week before its famous airing during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple’s iconic “1984” ad debuts as a trailer in movie theaters.

To hype its revolutionary new Macintosh computer, Apple buys several months of promotion from theatrical ad distributor ScreenVision. Cupertino’s sci-fi-tinged “1984” spot — which depicts a sledgehammer-wielding freedom fighter taking on a Big Brother figure supposed to represent IBM —
gets such a favorable audience reaction that some theater owners continue to roll the ad after Apple’s contract ends.

Today in Apple history: Macintosh Plus brings big changes to Mac

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The MacIntosh Plus was arguably the first truly great Mac.
The MacIntosh Plus was arguably the first truly great Mac.
Photo: Rama/Wikipedia CC

January 16: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Plus brings big changes to Mac January 16, 1986: Apple introduces the Macintosh Plus, its third Mac model and the first to be released after Steve Jobs was forced out of the company the previous year.

The Mac Plus is also the first Macintosh to include a SCSI port, the main way of attaching a Mac to other devices until Apple abandoned the tech on the iMac G3 upon Jobs’ return. The Mac Plus also boasted an expandable 1MB of RAM and a double-sided 800KB floppy drive.

Apple Watch could spot COVID-19 symptoms a week before it strikes

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Apple Watch Series 6
Two studies suggest Apple Watch could be a useful diagnostic tool.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Smartwatches such as Apple Watch could detect COVID-19 infections a week before the wearer feels sick or would test positive for the novel coronavirus, two medical studies suggest.

Since such devices can identify subtle changes in heart rate that might indicate an early infection, they could spot asymptomatic individuals, who make up a sizable proportion of COVID-19 cases.

MagSafe charger could make triumphant return to MacBook Pro this year

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MagSafe
MagSafe was a great Apple innovation.
Photo: Gordon Mei/Flickr CC

Apple’s MagSafe branding technically made a return last year with the iPhone 12. But the MagSafe fans most fondly recall — the neat magnetic charging system for the MacBook — is also gearing up to make a comeback.

According to a Friday report from Bloomberg, Apple is bringing back MagSafe for this year’s MacBook Pro refresh. The connector will reportedly be similar in design to the “elongated pill-shape” original MagSafe. It will provide faster charging for the MacBook.

A16 Bionic: TSMC gears up to produce first 3nm chips for future iPhone

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Apple A14 is made with an amazing 5nm production process.
Ready to see the A14 look like old hat?
Screenshot: Apple

Apple’s A14 chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is gearing up for “risk production” of its next-gen chips, Digitimes reported Friday.

The chips in question are TSMC’s 3-nanometer chips, expected to be the eventual successor to the current 5-nanometer chips. Risk production refers to the dress rehearsal process for manufacturing, in which things appear ready to go, but are not quite ready to go into mass production just yet.

Apple may drop the Touch Bar from its next MacBook Pro

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You got the touch. Here's how to master your MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
Apple introduced the context-sensitive Touch Bar in 2016.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

According to reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the next-gen MacBook Pro will come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, feature more ports and bring back the MagSafe charger in some form (!). And, of course,  the high-end laptops will run on new Apple Silicon chips.

But the first big MacBook Pro redesign in half a decade also do away with the Touch Bar, the controversial — and never entirely successful — innovation Apple debuted back in 2016.

Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes ‘world’s thinnest notebook’

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A plain manila envelope became a key stage prop for selling the MacBook Air.
A plain manila envelope became a key prop for selling the MacBook Air.
Photo: Apple

January 15: Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes 'world's thinnest notebook' January 15, 2008: Steve Jobs shows off the first MacBook Air at the Macworld conference, calling the revolutionary computer the “world’s thinnest notebook.”

The 13.3-inch laptop measures only 0.76 inches at its thickest point and 0.16 inches at its tapered thinnest. It also boasts a unibody aluminum design: An Apple engineering breakthrough allows the crafting of a complicated computer case from a single block of finely machined metal.

In a brilliant piece of showmanship, Jobs pulls the super-slim laptop out of a standard interoffice envelope during his keynote. (You can watch his introduction of the MacBook Air below).