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MacStories Unwind: Apple Event Roundup, Epic Versus Apple, and Shazam

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This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • A collection of John’s favorite Apple event moments
    • Accessorizing the new iPad mini
    • AppStories will be recorded live in the Club MacStories+ Discord community next Monday, September 20th at 5:30 PM Eastern

AppStories

Unwind

  • John’s Pick:

AppStories, Episode 240 – A Look at the HomeKit and tvOS Updates Coming Soon

This week on AppStories, we look at Apple’s evolving approach to the way HomeKit devices and entertainment features are incorporated into the company’s OSes.


On AppStories+, Federico covers WidgetPod and Marvis Pro and John gives Federico Apple Maps homework and explains something fun he received in the mail.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.

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Apple’s September 14, 2021 Keynote: By the Numbers

As usual, Apple sprinkled facts, figures, and statistics throughout the keynote today. Here are highlights of some of those metrics from the event, which was held online from Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

iPhone 13 Lineup

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

  • 28% brighter display
  • 800 nits outdoors
  • 1200 nits peak brightness for HDR content
  • The A15 Bionic has 15 billion transistors and 6 cores, 2 high-performance and 4 efficiency cores, making it 50% faster (than the competition)
  • 4-core GPU that’s 30% faster
  • 16-core Neural Engine that handles 15.8 trillion operations per second
  • The Wide camera has a 12MP sensor, 1.7 µm pixels that gather 47% more light, a ƒ/1.6 aperture, a 7-element lens, and a 26mm focal length.
  • The Ultra Wide lens has a 12MP, a ƒ/2.4 aperture, 13 mm focal length, 5-element lens, and 120-degree field of view
  • The iPhone 13 mini gets 1.5 and the iPhone 13 gets 2.5 more hours of battery life than the iPhone 12 models they replace.
  • Storage is available in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • 50% faster graphics
  • 1000 nits peak outdoor brightness and 1200 nits peak brightness for HDR content
  • 10 - 120 Hz screen refresh rate
  • Telephoto camera has a 77mm focal length and 3x optical zoom
  • Ultra Wide camera has ƒ/1.8 aperture, 6-element lens, and 92% better performance in low light
  • Wide camera has ƒ/1.5 aperture, 1.9 µm pixels, and up to 2.2x improvement in low light
  • The iPhone 13 Pro gets 1.5 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max gets 2.5 more hours of battery life than the iPhone 12 models they replace
  • Storage is available in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB
  • .25 mm thicker than the iPhone 12 Pro models and slightly heavier

iPads

iPad mini

  • 40% faster CPU
  • 80% faster GPU
  • 8.3” display
  • 500 nits of screen brightness
  • 2x faster machine learning
  • 10x faster data transfers with USB-C
  • 5G delivers up to 3.5 Gbps download speeds under ideal conditions
  • 12MP camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • 20W power adapter
  • .31” shorter than the mini it replaces and very slightly lighter

10.2” iPad

  • 20% faster
  • 3x faster than the top-selling Chromebook
  • 6x faster than the leading Android tablet
  • 12MP camera with 122-degree field of view

Apple Watch

  • 40% thinner borders
  • Up to 70% brighter in low power mode
  • WR50 water resistance
  • 33% faster charging than Series 6

You can follow all of our September Apple event coverage through our September 2021 event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Apple Updates the iPad mini and 10.2” iPad

At today’s Apple event, the company unveiled updates to the iPad mini and the 10.2” iPad. The 10.2” version continues to serve as Apple’s entry-level iPad at the lowest price point of any iPad, while the mini takes a more pro-like turn compared to its predecessor.

iPad mini

The new iPad mini was my favorite announcement of today’s Apple event. In the 18 months since I wrote The Mighty mini: Adapting Apple’s Diminutive Tablet to Work and Play, I’ve heard from many MacStories readers who have the same affection for Apple’s most portable tablet that I do. However, the trouble was that that iPad, which was released about 2.5 years ago, came with a lot of compromises compared with any other iPad you could buy until today.

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Apple Watch Series 7: The MacStories Overview

At this morning’s virtual keynote event, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams announced the Apple Watch Series 7. Packing a brand-new display, a more rounded case design, faster charging, and greater resistance to cracking and dust, the Series 7 is a very nice iterative update.

Display and Durability

By far the biggest feature of the Series 7 is its gorgeous new display. Apple has reduced the bezels on all sides of the device by 40%, resulting in just 1.7mm borders around the screen. The screen itself has been stretched to fill this new area, and is 20% bigger than the screen on last year’s Series 6. To fit the new screen, case sizes have been increased to 41mm and 45mm — a fairly subtle change from the 40mm and 44mm sizes of the Series 5 and 6 Apple Watches. Thankfully, compatibility has been maintained with existing Apple Watch bands.

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The New iPhone 13 Lineup: The MacStories Overview

Today, Apple debuted its iPhone 13 lineup consisting of four new models:

  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

Similar to the iPhone 12 family of devices, the iPhone 13 and 13 mini are the more affordable options, while the two Pro models add premium features at a premium price. All four devices share the A15 Bionic processor, 5G networking, camera updates, MagSafe, and more.

Also, all four devices will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 17th, with availability beginning one week later on Friday, September 24th.

Here’s a complete overview of everything new coming to the iPhone 13 lineup.

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Replay Apple’s September 14, 2021 Keynote and Other Videos

If you didn’t follow the live stream or announcements as they unfolded today, you can replay it on Apple’s Events site and catch the product videos on Apple’s YouTube channel.

The keynote video can be streamed here and on the Apple TV using the TV app. A high-quality version is also available through Apple Podcasts as a video and audio podcast. There is also an American Sign Language version of the event, which is available here.

More videos after the break.

Read more


Apple Announces New iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch Availability

Today Apple announced the following pre-order and availability dates for the products announced today:

iPhones

  • iPhone 13 mini
    • Pre-order: September 17
    • Availability: September 24
  • iPhone 13
    • Pre-order: September 17
    • Availability: September 24
  • iPhone 13 Pro
    • Pre-order: September 17
    • Availability: September 24
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
    • Pre-order: September 17
    • Availability: September 24

iPads

  • 10.2” iPad
    • Pre-order: Today
    • Availability: September 24
  • iPad mini
    • Pre-order: Today
    • Availability: September 24

Apple Watch 7

  • Pre-order: Later this fall
  • Availability: Later this fall

iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8

  • Availability: September 20

You can follow all of our September Apple event coverage through our September 2021 event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


Shazam Crosses 1 Billion Songs Recognized from Control Center

Today, Shazam surpassed 1 billion songs recognized using its Music Recognition control available in iOS and iPadOS’s Control Center. That’s a huge number, especially considering that the feature was first added in iOS and iPadOS 14.2 less than a year ago.

The Music Recognition control can be added to Control Center from the Settings app. When tapped, the feature creates a digital fingerprint of the audio and sends it over the Internet for matching against Shazam’s database of songs, securely and privately making a match without sending the actual audio. In addition to recognizing songs playing around you, the feature can recognize songs played in any app and even while you’re wearing AirPods.

According to Apple, the ten most Shazamed songs from Control Center are:

  1. “Talking To The Moon” - Bruno Mars
  2. “Astronaut In The Ocean” - Masked Wolf
  3. “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” - Lil Nas X
  4. “Beggin” - Måneskin
  5. “Another Love” - Tom Odell
  6. “Runaway” - AURORA
  7. “Dick” - StarBoi3 Feat. Doja Cat
  8. “Arcade” - Duncan Laurence
  9. “Stay” - The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber
  10. “drivers license” - Olivia Rodrigo

Earlier this summer, the Shazam app crossed 1 billion daily songs recognized and a lifetime total of over 50 billion. With the release of iOS and iPadOS 15, developers will be able to incorporate song recognition into their own apps using ShazamKit, which will undoubtedly accelerate the number of songs recognized even further.

Viewing recently recognized songs from Control Center.

Viewing recently recognized songs from Control Center.

The Music Recognition control doesn’t save songs it recognizes to the Shazam app, which I wish it did, but when iOS and iPadOS 15 are released, users will be able to touch and hold the control to reveal a list of recently-recognized songs. Selecting a song from the list opens it in the Shazam app. Alternately, you can swipe left on an entry to delete it.

I’ve used Shazam since long before it was acquired by Apple, and the Music Recognition control has become one of my most-used Control Center features since it launched. Whether I’m out somewhere and hear a song I like or watching a TV show with an interesting soundtrack, quickly swiping down to access Control Center has become an ingrained habit at this point.