Apple’s helping hand aids swab-maker in shipping 15 million COVID-19 test kits


Apple didn't just offer money to produce COVID-19 test kits. It lent Copan Diagnostics engineers and product designers, too.
Apple didn't just offer money to produce COVID-19 test kits. It lent engineers and product designers, too.
Photo: Apple

Apple assisted nasal swab-maker Copan Diagnostics in shipping 15 million COVID-19 test kits to hospitals in California, Texas and elsewhere, the company said Monday.

Apple awarded $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to support Copan in May 2020. Cupertino also sent engineers and product designers to help Copan overhaul its manufacturing processes. Thanks to the Apple boost, production supposedly increased by nearly 4,000%. Copan also opened a new facility and hired 250 employees.

iOS 14.5 bypasses Face ID, unlocks iPhones with Apple Watch [Updated]


iOS 14.5 beta 1 lets
iOS 14.5 beta 1 lets Apple Watch wearers unlock their iPhone without Face ID.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple has a solution for the hassle of unlocking an iPhone while wearing a face mask. iOS 14.5 beta 1, which was seeded to beta testers in the general public on Thursday, enables users to unlock their iPhone when their Apple Watch is nearby.

Plus, there are other new features. And this wasn’t the only fresh beta introduced. The first pre-release versions of iPadOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 are also available for the public and developers to begin testing.


Corona Control Game
Too hot for the App Store? That's what temperature checks are meant for.
Photo: Florian Mueller

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


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.

New lockdown measures close all Apple stores in the UK

It's not clear when Apple Stores in the UK will open again.
Photo: Richard Shrum for Cult of Mac

Apple temporarily closed all its brick-and-mortar stores in the United Kingdom on Tuesday as a result of new COVID-19 lockdown measures imposed by the government.

Twenty of the 38 U.K. Apple stores were already closed due to coronavirus. However, new national lockdown measures that came into place Tuesday shuttered the other 18.

Despite pandemic, 2020 was Apple’s best year ever [Year in Review]


Apple products on a table
The big story for Apple in 2020, was, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: Elena Mozhvilo/Unsplash

In spite of a devastating pandemic, a moribund economy, widespread unemployment, factory and store closures, and a workforce toiling from home, Apple in 2020 had one of its best years ever.

The company released a raft of new products, saw its stock soar, enjoyed a record valuation, made record amounts of money, experimented with virtual product launches and events, released great advertising, and mostly skated through government antitrust hearings.

The company even killed off a hated product feature, to widespread plaudits from fans.


Vybe Together
No longer to be found in the App Store.
Photo: Vybe Together

Apple closes all 53 stores in California as coronavirus cases spike


Stonestown Apple Store iPhone
Stores like San Francisco's Apple Stonestown are closed due the pandemic.
Photo: Apple

Apple revealed over the weekend that it is once again shuttering some of its stores as COVID-19 cases continue to climb. All 53 Apple Stores in the company’s home state of California, alongside those in Mexico, Brazil and London will shut their doors temporarily.

Apple has not announced when they will reopen. In the United Kingdom, nonessential stores in Greater London are closed until at least December 30, when guidance will be reviewed.

How to control COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone


Manage COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone
There's no good reason not to have exposure notifications enabled.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

COVID-19 contact tracing is finally available in California — and in many other states and countries around the world. And if you have an iPhone running iOS 13.7 or later, you can now get an alert whenever you have been exposed to someone carrying the virus.

We’ll show you how to take control of COVID-19 exposure notifications on your device.

Remote-working Apple engineers use AR to guide technicians in China


Apple augmented reality has business potential
Photo: Apple

Apple engineers used remote control robots and iPads equipped with custom augmented reality software to guide technicians in overseas factories, due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Usually Apple engineers make frequent visits to places like China, where Apple carries out manufacturing. However, this year’s coronavirus lockdown has made this impossible — leading to Apple having to make some tech-savvy adjustments.