Apple donates money to battle COVID-19 in India

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covid.19.coronavirus.graphic1
Apple is donating funds to help battle coronavirus around the world.
Photo: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Apple is donating money to support relief efforts in India as the country grapples with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Tim Cook said.

“Amid a devastating rise of COVID cases in India, our thoughts are with the medical workers, our Apple family and everyone there who is fighting through this awful stage of the pandemic,” Cook wrote in a tweet sent to his 12.8 million Twitter followers.

Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock changes your freakin’ face-mask life

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Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Being able to to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask is the best reason yet to get an Apple Watch.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

iOS 14.5 is the best update of the pandemic era because it works with your Apple Watch to remove the hassle of unlocking your iPhone while wearing a face mask. You don’t have to type in your passcode every single damn time. The phone just unlocks. Like it’s supposed to.

But the trick does require an Apple Watch. If you’ve been on the bubble about getting one, this feature should go a long way toward convincing you. It serves as yet another elegant example of how Apple’s ecosystem offers users simple solutions to modern life’s annoyances.

Seattle study will loan participants Apple Watch to see if it can help predict COVID

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Apple Watch Series 6
This could prove to be a game-changer for Apple Watch capabilities.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Can the iPhone and Apple Watch help predict illnesses like COVID-19? That’s the question being asked by researchers from Apple, the Seattle Flu Study, and the University of Washington — and you can help them answer it. And get loaned an Apple Watch for the duration of the six-month study for your troubles.

The study is currently recruiting for participants who live in the greater Seattle area. Participants must have “higher than normal risk of respiratory illness because of frequent exposure to other people through work or other activities, health conditions, or other factors.”

Apple and Google block UK contact-tracing app update over privacy concerns

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The NHS COVID-19 app relies on a framework jointly developed by Apple and Google.
Apple and Google teamed up to build their contact-tracing API last year.
Screenshot: NHS

Both Apple and Google have blocked an update to England and Wales’ Department of Health contact-tracing app, built using the tech giants’ API.

The update was intended to be released to coincide with the relaxation of lockdown measures in the United Kingdom. However, it apparently breached one of Apple and Google’s main rules: Apps built with the contact-tracing technology are not allowed to gather location data that could track users.

Mythic Quest crew dives into post-pandemic life in bonus episode next week

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You don’t have to wait until May for new ‘Mythic Quest.’
“Everlight” is a bonus pre-season Mythic Quest episode premiering in April. It takes a funny look at returning to work after the pandemic.
Photo: Apple TV+

Fans of Mythic Quest won’t have to wait until May for season two of the comedy series to return to Apple TV+. A special pre-season episode will debut Friday, April 16.

It will explore the challenges the quirky characters experience returning to their office after the COVID-19 pandemic. Anthony Hopkins will have a voice role.

Apple could announce another record-breaking quarter on April 28

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Apple leases new offices near to Apple Park
Apple just finished its first financial quarter of 2021, and we’ll soon find out how it did.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Apple will announce the financial results of its winter quarter on April 28. So far, people forced to work and learn from home have been very good for the Mac-maker’s bottom line. We’ll soon see if that carried through to the beginning of 2021.

Apple Maps begins offering COVID-19 airport travel guidance

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Apple Maps begins offering COVID-19 airport travel guidance
Finding out the rules your local airport has in place to fight COVID-19 is as easy a checking Apple Maps.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple Maps now displays airport COVID-19 health measures data, making it easier for travelers to find airport health guidance.

With vaccinations becoming more widespread, air travel is picking up. But airports still have requirements for passengers. Finding out what they are for each airport is now as simple as opening Apple Maps.

Tim Cook tackles COVID-19 and racial justice in pandemic essay

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“The Big Night In” was raising funds for charity, and Tim Cook dropped by the help.
Tim Cook has penned a new editorial for the Wall Street Journal.
Photo: BBC TV

Apple CEO Tim Cook reflects on COVID-19 and how it heightened racial injustice in the United States in an op-ed he wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

Cook’s opinion piece, published Thursday, is titled “The Urgency of Racial Justice.” It’s just one of several — written by big names like actor Tom Hanks and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson — published in the Journal’s “What I’ve Learned From the Pandemic Year” package.

Easily find COVID-19 vaccine locations with Apple Maps

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Apple Maps now shows COVID-19 vaccine locations.
A quick search in Apple Maps displays nearby COVID-19 vaccine sites on a map.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

An update to Apple Maps adds COVID-19 vaccination locations. Users can find nearby businesses and organizations providing the life-saving injections from the Search bar in Apple Maps by selecting COVID-19 Vaccines in the Find Nearby menu.

Rejoice! Every US Apple store is open again

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Fifth Avenue Apple Store
The Apple store is back in the US.
Photo: Apple

All 270 Apple retail stores in the United States opened on Monday. Many had been shuttered for months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not any more.

This is a boon not only for shoppers but for those looking for repairs and tech support for their Mac, iPhone or other Apple gear. But don’t jump in the car quite yet.