Give your videoconferencing calls killer audio quality

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Not every videoconference audio setup has to be as janky as this.
Not every videoconference audio setup has to be as janky as this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve probably made more video calls in the last few weeks than you’ve made in the previous few years combined. And if they were on your iPhone or iPad, then they probably sounded great. But what if you’re using a Mac, with its prehistoric mics1?

No worries. Through the magic of technology, you can use a better mic with your Mac’s Skype or FaceTime. (As a bonus, it also might make you feel more comfortable during videoconferences.)

Apple engineers guide iPhone manufacturing in China through FaceTime

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A Group FaceTime call on the Mac.
Apple hasn't been as directly hands-on as usual.
Photo: Apple

Apple engineers have used FaceTime-style video calling to guide Chinese colleagues through iPhone prototype assembly, a recent report by the Wall Street Journal notes.

The report helps answer one key question about how Apple is able to get iPhone prototypes assembled at a time when travel restrictions stop Apple employees from making their usual trips to China. Apple tested out the process in January.

Apple’s latest updates kill FaceTime on older iPhone, iPad models

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Group FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends during coronavirus quarantine.
It's not a good time to lose FaceTime.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s most recent software updates have reportedly broken FaceTime compatibility with older iPhone and iPad models, leaving many users unable to make voice or video calls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The issue affects devices running iOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4 when they attempt to connect with devices running iOS 9.3.5 or iOS 9.3.6 — or vice-versa. There is no fix for now.

Quarantined photographer executes fantastic FaceTime fashion shoot

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Alessio Albi FaceTime model shoot
Alessio Albi makes screenshot magic on FaceTime.
Screenshot: Alessio Albi/Instagram

Quarantined photographers across the internet have used the lockdown to come up with personal projects they could shoot within the same confines of their home.

Condé Nast shooter Alessio Albi has one of the more interesting bodies of work to emerge from staying at home. He is using FaceTime for remote fashion shoots.

Beats 1 DJs move to FaceTime for musician interviews

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Zane
Zane Lowe will interview musicians over FaceTime for the foreseeable future.
Photo: Apple

Beats 1 DJs on Apple Music are being forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic and while they’re stuck inside, they’re turning to FaceTime to get the job done.

Apple revealed Monday that its radio show hosts will record interviews with musicians and other artists from their homes by using FaceTime on iPhone.

FaceTime humor amid coronavirus is the laugh we all need

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FaceTime coronavirus
FaceTime has been handy but is no replacement for face-to-face time.
Screenshot: Eva Victor/Twitter

With COVID-19 lockdowns walling us off from friends and family, the FaceTime feature on iPhones and iPads is saving our social lives.

But glitchy audio and periodic freezing of the video stream add to our mounting self-isolation frustration.

Apple pays up in patent case involving FaceTime technology

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Facetime
Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.
Photo: Mathieu Thouvenin/Flickr CC

Out of appeals, Apple cut a check to VirnetX for more than $454 million to end a lengthy patent infringement case.

VirnetX, which sued Apple over patents relating to FaceTime, iMessage and VPN technologies, announced the payment in a one-paragraph press release Friday.

Court denies Apple’s appeal in VirnetX patent-infringement case

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Apple wants patent trolls to stop ‘gaming the system’
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Cupertino’s seemingly neverending legal battle with patent troll VirnetX Holding Corp. took another turn this week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple’s request to reconsider an original patent-infringement decision.

VirnetX and Apple have been fighting in courts for a decade over patents related to FaceTime and other secure communications. VirnetX, which doesn’t produce any products, previously won more than $503 million in damages, but courts subsequently threw out the award.

iOS 13.3 finally lets parents set limits on texting, FaceTime and more

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Screen Time Communication Limits
Screen Time Communication Limits is a boon to digital parenting.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Parents will soon be able to limit when their children use an iPhone or iPad to talk to their friends, thanks to a long-awaited new Screen Time feature. Communication Limits were supposed to come earlier, they debuted in the first iOS 13.3 beta that launched today.