Apple tests fix for Bluetooth fault afflicting Apple Silicon Macs

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macOS 11.2 is right around the corner.
macOS Big Sur might take care of a pesky Bluetooth problem bothering M1 Mac users.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple seeded a macOS Big Sur‌ 11.2 release candidate to developers on Thursday. Among other changes, it promises to improve Bluetooth reliability, which is probably music to the ears of those using the recently released Macs built around Apple’s first-generation M-series processor.

Controversial anti-tracking feature is about to go live in iOS 14

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Your iPhone will soon offer a bit more privacy.
With iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4, applications will have to ask if they can track you.
Graphic: Apple

Apple seeded to developers the release candidates for iOS 14.4 and the iPad equivalent on Thursday. It’s probably the last step before a public release. Among other changes, these new versions will apparently give iPhone and iPad users the option to block third-party applications from tracking them.

Devs can also install watchOS 7.3 RC and tvOS 14.4 RC, which became available Thursday too. But macOS Big Sur 11.2 is still on Beta 2.

Trump snagged the very first 2019 Mac Pro

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Apple CEO Tim Cook talked Mac Pro with President Trump
“Mr. President, we have some lovely parting gifts for you.”
Screenshot: White House

It’s good to be the president. People just give you things, like the first 2019 Mac Pro assembled in Austin, Texas. Tim Cook gave this pricy computer to Trump, probably after the president toured the factory.

Today in Apple history: Letterpad gives us a preview of Apple Watch gaming

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Letterpad was one of the first games we got to see on Apple Watch.
Letterpad was one of the first games we got to see on Apple Watch.
Photo: NimbleBit

January 21: Today in Apple history: Letterpad gives us a preview of Apple Watch gaming January 21, 2015: Months before the first Apple Watch goes on sale, users get a glimpse at what playing games might look like on the wearable.

Thanks to Apple making the WatchKit API available to third parties, game developer NimbleBit releases a mockup of its simple work-in-progess word game, Letterpad. Suddenly, we get a desire to play games on our wrist that we haven’t had since the days of the Nintendo Game & Watch three decades earlier.

Beeper app promises to bring iMessage to Android and Windows

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Beeper brings iMessage to Android and Windows
15 different chat platforms in one.
Photo: Beeper

Beeper is a new all-in-one chat app that merges 15 different platforms into one. That sounds pretty interesting already, but what makes Beeper really exciting is its promise to put iMessage on Android and Windows.

The app, from Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky and his team, is “using some trickery” to make the impossible possible. But you’ll have to cough up a monthly subscription fee if you want to take advantage of it.

Apple’s first VR headset could be an expensive disappointment

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Apple VR headset could look like Oculus Quest
Apple's first headset could be around the same size as Oculus Quest.
Photo: Oculus

Don’t expect too much from Apple’s first virtual reality headset. A new report warns that Cupertino’s first stab at a wearable VR system, which could come in 2022, will be expensive with a limited set of capabilities.

The device is believed to be designed primarily as a “niche precursor” to more ambitious AR/VR glasses that Apple plans to launch later.

Next iPhone lineup may bring smaller notch, better sensor-shift cameras

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iPhone 12 review
We're used to the notch now, but we wouldn't say no to a smaller one.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple will finally shrink iPhone’s notch for its next-generation devices, according to a new report citing sources in the company’s supply chain. Plus, all of the devices will pack even greater sensor-shift stabilization cameras.

It is believed design changes and upgrades to the iPhone’s front-facing Face ID camera and sensors will make the notch shrink possible.

You can now run Ubuntu Linux on an M1 Mac via USB

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Linux on an M1 Mac
Download all the files you'll need today.
Photo: Corellium

It’s now possible to run Ubuntu Linux on an M1 Mac, thanks to an early build made available by Corellium. The operating system is booted from a USB stick, leaving macOS completely unchanged.

All the files you need can be downloaded now from GitHub, and Corellium says an installation tutorial is on the way.