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    What to expect from Apple’s September 14 “California Streaming” event / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 8 September, 2021 - 22:01 · 1 minute

Futuristic glass-walled building permits views of surrounding forest.

Enlarge / The waiting area of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's Cupertino campus. (credit: Samuel Axon)

On September 14 at 10 am PDT (1 pm EDT), Apple will host its first product-launch event in several months. Once again, it will be an online-only event . But as with other recent online events from Apple, we expect it to be as jam-packed with announcements as ever.

It's likely to focus on the iPhone, but revelations about the Apple Watch, AirPods, and maybe the iPad are likely, too. We'll be liveblogging the event as it happens on Tuesday, of course, but until then, consider what you're about to read our best attempt at setting expectations and making predictions about what's coming.

In so many ways, Apple has gotten easier to read and predict in recent years—certainly compared to the years during Steve Jobs' second tenure as CEO. Apple has settled into something of a cadence with its main product lines, making it a bit easier to see what may be coming. The company's products are still disruptive, but now they do it in a subtle, iterative ways and often in areas that aren't as flashy as what we saw in the 2000s—like health care, for example.

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    Report: Big new health features are coming to the Apple Watch—just not this year / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 1 September, 2021 - 22:08

Apple Watch Series 6 on a reviewers wrist, showing the striped watch face

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 6. (credit: Corey Gaskin )

Analysts and reporters have published conflicting reports about what to expect from the next Apple Watch. Some, like Nikkei, claimed it will have new health sensors, but others like Bloomberg's Mark Gurman have said that this year's model will offer no major new hardware features amidst production constraints.

Topping off a week of debate on the subject, The Wall Street Journal today published a report that claims that several major new health-sensing features are coming to the Watch—just not this year's model.

According to the Journal's sources, a future Apple Watch that is not this year's Series 7 model will include more advanced sleep tracking, like the ability to detect sleep apnea. To accomplish this, Apple is looking into ways to allow the Apple Watch to obtain sensor data overnight without taxing the battery, which has been a barrier for the Watch in competing with sleep-tracking wearables from Fitbit and others.

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    Apple will finally let devs tell users about non-App Store purchase options / ArsTechnica · Friday, 27 August, 2021 - 04:59

iPhone home screen with the App Store icon displayed.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

Apple will finally let developers tell users about purchase options available outside the iOS App Store. The iPhone maker agreed to this and other concessions—including $100 million in payments to developers—in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by two app developers in 2019.

Apple and the developer plaintiffs who sued the company filed motions today urging a federal judge to approve the settlement. The case is in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

"Apple has agreed to revise its App Store Guidelines to permit developers of all app categories to communicate with consenting customers outside their app, including via email and other communication services, about purchasing methods other than in-app purchase... This injunctive relief is extremely valuable. By informing customers of alternative payment options, developers can avoid paying Apple's commissions and, moreover, exert competitive pressure on Apple to discipline its pricing," the plaintiffs' brief said.

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    As office returns get postponed, workers say they’d take pay cut to work from home / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 25 August, 2021 - 21:54

An enormous ring-shaped building on a green campus.

Enlarge / Apple's global headquarters in Cupertino, California. (credit: Sam Hall/Bloomberg via Getty Images )

As Apple and other big tech companies postpone their planned returns to physical offices, a survey has found that workers around the United States would give up a lot to stay remote.

As previously reported by ZDNet, GoodHire published a survey this week of 3,500 workers in the US and found that just over two-thirds of them would prefer to work remotely rather than in an office.

Further, 70 percent of those said they would give up most or all of their benefits like health insurance and holidays to be able to work remotely. Sixty-one percent they would take a pay cut to make it happen. Most said they'd take a 10 percent pay reduction, but some claimed they'd even accept half their current salary in exchange for remote work.

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    Apple’s M1 is a fast CPU—but M1 Macs “feel” even faster due to QoS / ArsTechnica · Monday, 17 May, 2021 - 20:09 · 1 minute

Multiple Apple promotional images are piled on each other.

Enlarge / The Apple M1 is a world-class processor—but it feels even faster than its already-great specs imply. Howard Oakley did a deep-dive investigation to find out why. (credit: SOPA Images via Getty )

Apple's M1 processor is a world-class desktop and laptop processor—but when it comes to general-purpose end-user systems, there's something even better than being fast. We're referring, of course, to feeling fast—which has more to do with a system meeting user expectations predictably and reliably than it does with raw speed.

Howard Oakley—author of several Mac-native utilities such as Cormorant, Spundle, and Stibium—did some digging to find out why his M1 Mac felt faster than Intel Macs did, and he came to the conclusion that the answer is QoS. If you're not familiar with the term, it expands to Quality of Service—and it's all about task scheduling.

More throughput doesn’t always mean happier users

There's a very common tendency to equate "performance" with throughput—roughly speaking, tasks accomplished per unit of time. Although throughput is generally the easiest metric to measure, it doesn't correspond very well with human perception. What humans generally notice isn't throughput, it's latency—not the number of times a task can be accomplished, but the time it takes to complete an individual task.

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    Apple Music subscribers will get lossless and spatial audio for free next month / ArsTechnica · Monday, 17 May, 2021 - 19:26

Today, Apple announced that its Apple Music streaming app will get two major new audio features next month: lossless audio support and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos for a wide range of supported headphones and speakers.

Apple Music will play songs in Dolby Atmos automatically when users play the music over the built-in speakers in "the latest versions" of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as well as through a connected Apple TV 4K or AV receiver. Songs will also automatically use Atmos when played on AirPods or Beats headphones that have Apple's H1 or W1 chips. Users will be able to manually enable Atmos on other headphones by tweaking the app's settings.

Spatial audio will be limited to certain songs, but Apple says "thousands of songs" across numerous genres "including hip-hop, country, Latin, pop, and classical" will support it at launch, with more to come.

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    Why Roblox’s definition of “games” is key to the Epic vs. Apple case / ArsTechnica · Monday, 17 May, 2021 - 15:31

Just some of the characters that don

Enlarge / Just some of the characters that don't star in games anymore, according to Roblox.

Roblox, the massively valued user-created gaming platform, has removed any mention of "games" from its user interface. It's a seemingly small semantic change that nonetheless could have some major implications in the ongoing Epic Games v. Apple trial .

The Verge notes that what was once the "Games" tab on the Roblox website is now listed as "Discover" (though the URL still retains the old address). Individual games are now referred to as "experiences" across the website and the mobile Roblox apps, while the word "game" seems to have been scrubbed altogether.

"The term 'experiences' is consistent with how we’ve evolved our terminology to reflect our realization of the metaverse," a Roblox spokesperson told The Verge. "Roblox is an online community where people do things together in virtual worlds, and over the years, we began referring to these worlds as experiences, as they better represent the wide range of 3D immersive places—from obbys [obstacle courses] to virtual concerts—that people can enjoy together with their friends."

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