watchOS 7 may add kid-friendly Activity rings to Apple Watch

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Apple Watch Activity
Kids will be able to fill their rings to unlock rewards.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is planning to make some big changes to the Activity Rings on Apple Watch so that it’s more kid-friendly.

Leaked code from iOS 14 reveals that Apple plans to tweak how the move ring works when Apple Watch is in Kid Mode, allowing parents to set goals from their own iPhones. Instead of tracking calories burned though, the feature will focus on just movement.

No, Apple is not throttling its A-series chips for easy upgrades later

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2020 iPad Pro builds on the 2018 model.
The 2020 iPad Pro offers an additional GPU core, but its chip hasn't changed.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A new investigation into Apple’s improved A12Z Bionic chip inside the 2020 iPad Pro reveals that it features exactly the same GPU found in the A12X Bionic for 2018 iPad Pro units. The one big difference is that an additional eighth core is now enabled, making it slightly faster.

Many fans are now criticizing Apple for what seems, at first glance, as intentional throttling. It is assumed Cupertino is disabling features in its newest chips, only to enable them later and market them as improved — even though they’re essentially the same on the inside.

Could it be that this is a scheme to make quick and easy cash? Actually, no. This is standard practice across the semiconductor industry. Others like Intel and Nvidia use exactly the same approach — and there’s a very good reason for it.

Here’s the real reason why an A12Z is just an A12X with unlocked potential.

LiDAR scanner makes 2020 iPad Pro an augmented reality powerhouse

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Look inside the LiDAR scanner in the 2020 iPad Pro
The innovative LiDAR scanner in the 2020 iPad Pro is fast and accurate.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The 2020 iPad Pro is the first Apple computer with LiDAR. This innovation enables the tablet to make an accurate 3D map of its location. Combine it with software improvements and this tablet is, in Apple’s words, “the world’s best device for augmented reality.”

And the LiDAR scanner might be usable for other purposes, as well.

watchOS 7 might bring shareable Apple Watch faces, improvements for parents

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watchOS 5 Face
Got an Apple Watch face you really like? Soon you might be able to easily share it with a friend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A leak from inside Apple indicates the next watchOS version will allow users to share Watch faces. In addition, parents allegedly will be able to set “Schooltime” limits, restricting what a child’s Apple Watch can do during certain hours.

Other changes coming in watchOS 7 have come to light as well.

How to mark email as junk on your iPhone

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junk mail
The inevitable spam:junk-mail metaphor image
Photo: Pau Casals/Unsplash

Your iPhone’s Mail app is pretty good. It does most of what you need, and you can be sure that it doesn’t steal your email password, or send details from your incoming mail to Apple. There are even a bunch of very powerful smart folders and features hidden in its sidebar. But getting basic stuff done is sometimes awkward, thanks to Apple’s insistence on hiding everything in the name of minimalism.

That includes marking an email as spam. It’s actually easy, but you might not know how to do it. Today we’ll look at three ways to mark email as junk mail.

Tim Cook takes wait-and-see attitude toward constantly changing coronavirus; ‘reason for optimism, but we’ll see’

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is optimistic about Apple’s future
CEO Tim Cook says “Apple is fundamentally strong.”
Photo: Fox Business

CEO Tim Cook promises Apple is fundamentally strong and will weather the problems resulting from the coronavirus spreading around the world. He says his focus isn’t on short-term changes in Apple’s share price, despite a recent significant drop.

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox Business recorded Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, Cook also discussed whether his company will move more device production out of China, and his relationship with President Donald Trump.

Low-end AirPods rumor gains traction yet remains ‘lite’ on credible details

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They AirPods Pro fit in their case like nothing ever happened.
These AirPods Pro are full-strength.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Tossed into the swirl of rumors and reports about coronavirus and its impact on Apple production is an alleged new entry to the AirPods lineup called “AirPods Pro Lite.”

The quotes bookending the product name are because no one is sure what to make of what is essentially a rumor first reported by a Chinese website with a mixed record for accuracy.

In the last few days, reports have surfaced in DigiTimes of a second “lite” version supplier, giving further credence to the various reports.

Samsung copies Apple again with AirDrop clone

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Samsung Quick Share is an AirDrop ripoff.
Samsung’s Quick Share is just like a feature iPhones have had since iOS 7.
Photo: Samsung

Quick Share, a highlight of Samsung’s latest handsets, is a feature iPhone owners have been using for over 8 years.  The Galaxy S20 and other new models from this company can wirelessly send files directly between two devices… just like Apple’s AirDrop.

This Siri shortcut scans and translates text on any photo, sign or menu

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translate scan shortcut
What could this possibly mean?
Photo: Jon Tyson/Unsplash

I live in Germany, and even though my German is fine, I often get beaten by notices and signs. In my native England, signs and notices are snappy. They use few words, and often annoying slogans, to get the point across. In Germany, an A4 (legal-size) sheet of paper with densely spaced type is the norm. And that’s just from neighbors complaining about people leaving their strollers on the wrong side of the entrance hall.

So, I decided to do something about it. I wrote a Siri Shortcut that scans one of these German essays using the iPhone’s camera, translates it, and shows it to you. There are apps that can do something similar, but my shortcut is way better, for several reasons.

2020 is the year Apple gets serious about augmented reality

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Apple augmented reality has business potential
Hardware changes in the 2020 iPad and iPhone could noticeably improve augmented reality’s usefulness.
Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook called augmented reality “the next big thing” this week. But he kept quiet about his company’s specific plans for this emerging technology. So Cult of Mac reached out to industry analysts, who predict that this year’s iPhone and iPad will come with AR equipment built in. And, for the future, they’re optimistic about Apple’s rumored AR glasses.