Mac shipments shoot up an amazing 36%

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Apple iMac 2019
Mac shipments went through the roof last quarter.
Photo: Apple

Shipments of Apple Macs increased a full 36% year-over-year during the second quarter of 2020, according to a market-research firm. The growth is pegged to individuals, companies and schools buying computers to make remote work and learning possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple retail stores launch one-on-one ‘Shop with a Specialist’ service

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TO deal with COVID-19, Apple Store offer ‘Shop with a Specialist’ service.
“Shop with a Specialist” puts you one-on-one with a salesperson at Apple Stores.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Schedule a visit to an Apple Store and you’ll have an expert standing by just to answer your questions. That’s the promise of the “Shop with a Specialist” program that launched Wednesday.

While this is a touch of luxury, it’s also a necessity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple is trying to keep its retail locations from being overcrowded. That apparently means limiting the number of customers to one per salesperson.

Apple re-closes retail stores in Melbourne, Australia after coronavirus spike

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Apple Chadstone store
Apple Chadstone is one of the stores to re-close.
Photo: Apple

Apple is re-closing four more of its Apple Stores in Melbourne, Australia as coronavirus cases spike again in the region.

Apple Chadstone, Apple Southland, Apple Doncaster, and Apple Fountain Gate will all be temporarily closing down, along with Apple Highpoint, which closed its doors last week. Australian Apple Stores began reopening two months ago, after having been shuttered since March 14.

Apple Card users can defer July payments if pinched by COVID-19

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Even Apple Card charges interest.
Cardholders might be able to defer their July Apple Card payment without accruing interest.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The novel coronavirus continues to hurt the U.S. economy, with unemployment about 13%. With so many out of work, or earning far less than they usually do, Apple and Goldman Sachs are offering to let people people struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic skip their July Apple Card payment without being hit with interest fees.

UK flip-flops on Apple and Google’s contact-tracing API, will now use it

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contact.tracing.5
UK's contact-tracing app has been delayed.
Photo: World Health Organization

The U.K. government, which clashed with Apple and Google over its approach to contact tracing, has reportedly done a U-turn and will now adopt the tech giants’ privacy-conscious framework for fighting COVID-19.

The BBC reported the change of heart Thursday, one day after revealing that a former Apple executive, Simon Thompson, has taken charge of the delayed project. Thompson, who works as chief product officer at online retailer Ocado, supervised Apple’s e-commerce efforts a decade ago.

Apple Park staff will begin returning to work on June 15

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Apple Park overhead.
But most employees won't return for months.
Photo: Apple

Apple Park staff have been told that they will begin returning to work in phases starting Monday, June 15, a new report claims.

A “very limited” number of workers will be allowed in the office on certain days, depending on their role — and there will be restrictions. Apple has reportedly warned employees that most won’t go back for several months.

These are the changes Apple Park is making as employees return from lockdown

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Apple leases new offices near to Apple Park
Apple Park is starting to get back to normal.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Just as it has with reopening Apple Stores, Apple is putting protective measures in place to keep employees safe as they return to Apple Park after lockdown.

These measures include optional COVID-19 swab testing, temperature checks, closed kitchens, social distancing measures, and an insistence on face masks.

Adonit stylus both sterilizes your iPad and writes on it [Review]

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Adonit Note-UVC review
Adonit Note-UVC does two jobs. It’s both an iPad stylus and a UVC sterilizer.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adonit Note-UVC is certainly a product for its time. While this stylus lets you take handwritten notes on a range of iPad and iPad Pro models, the standout feature is a pair of ultraviolet lamps that kill the germs and bacteria on your tablet screen (or any other object). The release is timed just right, with COVID-19 making so many people worried about potential infections.

I tested the Note-UVC as a stylus, and looked into how effective it is at sterilizing surfaces. The results of both might surprise you.

3 Apple Watch studies you can join to help fight COVID-19

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Stanford COVID-19 Wearables Study is open to Apple Watch and Fitbit wearers.
The Stanford COVID-19 Wearables Study looks to see if your Apple Watch or Fitbit can detect a coronavirus infection before you know you have it.
Photo: Stanford University

Scientists want to know if the health data an Apple Watch collects can be used to diagnose COVID-19. There are multiple research studies currently open to those with Apple’s wearable.

Participants contribute to the goal of detecting the illness before the wearer knows they’re sick.

100 more US Apple Stores will open soon … sort of

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Apple plans to start the slow process of reopening its U.S. retail stores next week.
Apple plans to start the slow process of reopening its U.S. retail stores.
Photo: Open Grid Scheduler/Flickr CC

Apple said Tuesday it intends to open its retail locations in 21 U.S. states. But some stores will reportedly only offer curbside service, with customers not allowed to go in. The dates these Apple Stores would reopen were not announced.

Virtually all of Apple’s storefronts have been closed since March to slow the spread of COVID-19.