Apple donates millions of masks and face shields to Zambia

As part of its long-running (PRODUCT)RED efforts, Apple reports that it has been supplying personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Health in Zambia.

Since its first PRODUCT(RED) efforts in 2006, Apple claims to have raised almost $250 million to support the Global Fund AIDS charity. As the coronavirus pandemic continued, Apple and Global Fund have redirected the support to a COVID-19 Response Mechanism, to support Zambia in particular.

Apple reports that that PRODUCT(RED) proceeds, including those editions of the iPhone 12, and iPhone SE, will be sent to the Response Mechanism until June 30, 2021. Separately, the company has announced that it has donated millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Zambia’s Ministry of Health.

“This provision of PPE will go a long way in cutting the transmission of infections,| says Prosperina Mwanza, who runs the Mwembeshi Rural Health Centre. “The biggest challenge right now is that people stopped coming for [HIV] follow-ups because they felt they would interact with people that had COVID-19.”

Apple’s donation includes face masks that it says it sourced from its supply chain. The company also designed and produced face shields itself.

“The Global Fund has been a game changer,” says Yoram Siame, head of Advocacy, Planning, and Development with the Churches Health Association of Zambia. “We were able to repurpose some of the money for personal protective gear for health workers, we ramped up our [COVID-19] testing capacity, and we were able to respond at a community level to make people understand what COVID-19 meant for them and their families.”

Apple’s efforts to help the worldwide fight against COVID-19 comes alongside its work with Google on contact tracing technology. Apple has also been among the first to close its retail stores ahead of lockdowns around the globe.

Amazon introduces native Mac instances for AWS, powered by Intel Mac mini

At AWS re:Invent, Amazon introduced new Mac instances for its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), enabling developers to natively run macOS in Amazon Web Services for the first time.

Announced late Monday, the new capability harnesses Intel-powered Mac mini hardware to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud.

Developers building apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari can use the service to provision and access macOS environments, dynamically scale capacity with AWS, and take advantage of pay-as-you-go pricing, Amazon says. Basically, app makers can create and test in the AWS cloud. In addition, customers can consolidate development of cross-platform Apple, Windows, and Android apps using Amazon’s cloud.

“Apple’s thriving community of more than 28 million developers continues to create groundbreaking app experiences that delight customers around the world,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s VP of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With the launch of EC2 Mac instances, we’re thrilled to make development for Apple’s platforms accessible in new ways, and combine the performance and reliability of our world-class hardware with the scalability of AWS.”

The system integrates Mac mini devices running Intel’s 3.2GHz Core i7 CPU and 32GB of RAM. Mac’s built-in networking hardware is leveraged to connect to Amazon’s Nitro System to provide up to 10 Gbps of VPC network bandwidth and 8 Gbps of EBS storage bandwidth through Thunderbolt 3 connections.

Amazon is entering an arena dominated by small companies like MacStadium and Mac Mini Vault. If they opt for Amazon’s solution, developers will be granted access to more than 200 AWS services including Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), and Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), not to mention the sheer scalability offered by a large cloud provider.

“The speed that things happen at [other Mac mini cloud providers] and the granularity that you can use those services at is not as fine as you get with a large cloud provider like AWS,” VP of EC2 David Brown told TechCrunch. “So if you want to launch a machine, it takes a few days to provision and somebody puts a machine in a rack for you and gives you an IP address to get to it and you manage the OS. And normally, you’re paying for at least a month — or a longer period of time to get a discount. What we’ve done is you can literally launch these machines in minutes and have a working machine available to you. If you decide you want 100 of them, 500 of them, you just ask us for that and we’ll make them available.”

Amazon is working to integrate M1 Mac mini units into its data center, with current plans targeting a go live date sometime in the first half of 2021, according to TechCrunch. Big Sur support is also in the works, though EC2 will be limited to macOS Mojave and Catalina at launch.

Mac instances are available On-Demand or with Savings Plans at a rate of $1.083 per hour. Supported regions include the U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. East (Ohio), U.S. West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Singapore) with more to come.

Holiday coupon: save $120 to $150 on these upgraded M1 MacBook Air laptops

The best MacBook Air deals are available exclusively at AppleInsider where readers can save $120 to $150 instantly on upgraded models with coupon.

Cyber Week deals

The exclusive MacBook Air discounts are courtesy of Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama when you shop through this special pricing link and enter promo code APINSIDER during checkout. With the coupon, holiday shoppers can save anywhere from $120 to $150 on the popular configurations highlighted below, including those with 16GB of memory and/or extra storage.

M1 MacBook Air promo code deals

  • MacBook Air 7C GPU (M1, 8GB, 512GB) Space Gray: $1,079 ($120 off)
  • MacBook Air 7C GPU (M1, 8GB, 512GB) Silver: $1,079 ($120 off)
  • MacBook Air 7C GPU (M1, 16GB, 512GB) Space Gray: $1,249 ($150 off)
  • MacBook Air 7C GPU (M1, 16GB, 512GB) Silver: $1,249 ($150 off)
  • MacBook Air 8C GPU (M1, 16GB, 512GB) Space Gray: $1,299 ($150 off)
  • MacBook Air 8C GPU (M1, 16GB, 512GB) Silver: $1,299 ($150 off)
  • *Price with coupon code APINSIDER using the pricing links above. Offers are link and promo code activated.

(*) How to apply the APINSIDER coupon at Adorama

  1. Make sure you’re using a browser with cookies enabled that isn’t in private mode.
  2. Click on the price link to the desired configuration from this article or the Adorama price links in our Price Guides. You MUST click through our links in the same shopping session that you use our coupon. If you try to save a link for late, the coupon WON’T WORK. Once you click through a price link, you’ll see a price that’s higher than advertised (we’ll fix that in a moment).
  3. Add the MacBook Air to your cart anyway, and when you’re done shopping, begin the checkout process.
  4. Look for a link that says “Do you have a gift card or promo code?” next to the gift icon. Click that to bring up a coupon code field.
    Where to find Adorama coupon code field
  5. Enter the coupon code APINSIDER in the field and click apply. The discount should appear under “Promo Savings” above the order total.
  6. That’s it. As always, if you have any issues, you can reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll try and help.

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Swiss Apple reseller claims MagSafe Duo Charger to arrive Dec. 21

While Apple has yet to announce an official launch date for its MagSafe Duo Charger, an authorized reseller in Switzerland is taking orders for the device with a ship date of Dec. 21.

Digitec Galaxus is now accepting online orders for the MagSafe Duo, a dual-charging device capable of simultaneously powering an iPhone 12 and Apple Watch.

According to the reseller’s website, deliveries of the accessory are expected to ship between Dec. 21 and Dec. 29, though the dates could be temporary placeholders as the world awaits an official announcement from Apple.

Unveiled at this year’s iPhone event in October, the MagSafe Duo Charger has been listed as “coming soon” on the online Apple Store for weeks. With 2020 quickly coming to an end, however, the promised launch is in the offing.

Korea’s National Radio Research Agency gave Apple the green light to start sales of the charging accessory in early November, a decision that was followed by a similar proclamation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. For electronics, regulatory approvals typically signal imminent release.

The MagSafe Duo Charger is designed to deliver 15W of power to iPhone 12 series devices. Apple’s support documents reveal that the certain models, specifically the iPhone 12 mini, is restricted to a maximum of 11W or 14W depending on the adapter.

New Patreon project seeks to bring Linux to M1 Macs

Developer Hector Martin, also known as “marcan,” on Monday launched a Patreon to fund solo work on a Linux port for Apple silicon Macs.

According to Martin, Apple’s M1-powered Macs are capable of running Linux, but creating a working port is a major undertaking; a near Herculean effort for one developer. He says he is up to the task, though the project would require dedication equivalent to a full-time job, thus the Patreon.

Martin has experience with open source code, from projects involving Nintendo’s Wii console to more recent Linux ports for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. The Patreon’s goal, according to the developer, is to massage Linux on M1 Macs “to the point where it is not merely a tech demo, but is actually an OS you would want to use on a daily driver device.”

Whether the operating system can actually run, and do so with stability, on Apple silicon is up for debate. In a series of posts to Real World Technologies forum earlier this month, creator Linus Torvalds said he would “absolutely love” to own an M1-powered Mac if it ran Linux, but is uncertain such a premise is feasible.

“The main problem with the M1 for me is the GPU and other devices around it, because that’s likely what would hold me off using it because it wouldn’t have any Linux support unless Apple opens up,” Torvalds told ZDNet last week.

Martin agrees that the custom GPU will be a major hurdle, along with effective power management.

Running Linux on things is easy, but making it work well is hard,” Martin says in the Patreon description. “Drivers need to be written for all devices. The driver for the completely custom Apple GPU is the most complicated component, which is necessary to have a good desktop experience. Power management needs to work well too, for your battery life to be reasonable.”

Patreon tiers range from $3 to $48 per month, with perks including the ability to vote on the development of upcoming features, patron-only livestreams and more. Martin estimates he needs about $4,000 a month to take on the project, and that goal is 91% complete at the time of this writing.

If the developer takes on the venture, he plans to collaborate with other developers and “anyone else who wants to contribute.” A timeline for completion was not discussed.

12-hour flash deals: $799 MacBook Air, $300 off MacBook Pro, $150 off 2020 iPad Pro

Cyber Monday deals and steals continue on Apple products, with B&H matching the lowest price ever recorded on the 2020 Intel MacBook Air. Holiday shoppers can also save hundreds of dollars on MacBook Pros and grab the best price on a spacious 2020 iPad Pro.

Apple Cyber Monday deals continue

With inventory constraints plaguing the Apple space, now is the time to pick up holiday gifts at discounted prices before supply runs out.

Shoppers today can save $200 on Apple’s 2020 Intel MacBook Air in your choice of Space Gray, Silver or Gold. Now priced at $799 for the 256GB Core i3 processor — or $899 for the quad-core Core i5 model — these deals match the record low prices we saw during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Also available is a $300 cash markdown on Apple’s Mid 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro. This configuration features a multitude of uprades, including a quad-core 2.0Hz Intel Core i5 10th Gen proc, 16GB of memory and a spacious 1TB SSD.

Last, but certainly not least, is a $150 cash discount on Apple’s newest iPad Pro. The spacious 256GB Wi-Fi model in Silver is currently on sale for $949, with limited supply available at the reduced price.

Each of these Apple deals includes free expedited shipping within the contiguous U.S.

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New Apple TV+ thriller series 'Surface' to star Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Apple is partnering with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company to develop “Surface,” a psychological thriller series set to star Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Apple TV+Created and written by Veronica West, known for co-creating Hulu’s adaptation of “High Fidelity,” the series is slated to include eight episodes and will begin production next year, reports Variety.Details are currently unknown, though the show is being billed as a psychological thriller.

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Apple's proposed changes to Uighur Forced Labor Prevent Act leak

Some of the changes that Apple proposed to a bill that seeks to prevent forced labor in China have surfaced in a new report, and include keeping some supply chain information from the public and extending a compliance deadline.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, among other provisions, prevents imports of goods manufactured in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang unless companies can guarantee they weren’t produced by coerced Uighur minorities in the region. Apple was said to be among the companies lobbying against the bill.

In a document reviewed by The New York Times, some of Apple’s proposed changes include extending compliance deadlines; releasing certain supply chain information to Congress and not the public; and requiring Chinese entities to be “designated” by the U.S. government as helping to surveil or detain Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Apple disputed the claim that it tried to weaken the bill, the Times reported. In a statement, the company said it had the strongest supplier guidelines in the industry and added that it regularly audits its supply chain partners.

“Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct and any violations of our policies carry immediate consequences, including business termination,” Apple said. “Earlier this year, we conducted a detailed investigation with our suppliers in China and found no evidence of forced labor on Apple production lines and we are continuing to monitor this closely.”

Earlier in 2020, Apple supplier O-film Tech was accused by the U.S. Commerce Department of human rights violations through the use of forced Uighur labor.

In March, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute identified Apple and other major U.S. companies as entities that have potentially benefitted — either directly or indirectly — from abusive labor transfer practices tied to Xinjiang. That report accused O-Film of receiving Uighur workers that were in a program aiming to “gradually alter their ideology.” It also tied other suppliers, like Foxconn, to similar programs.

Apple in July said that ongoing investigations and audits of potential supply chain abuses have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. And during a congressional hearing in July, Apple CEO Tim Cook called forced labor “abhorrent,” and said Apple would no tolerate it in its supply chain.

In addition to Apple, other companies said to be lobbying against the bill include Coca-Cola, Nike, Costco, and Patagonia, among others.

Apple drops to fourth in global smartphone race during rough Q3

Apple’s share of the global smartphone market contracted in the third quarter of 2020 as part of a wider slowdown blamed on coronavirus worries, dropping the iPhone maker into fourth place.

According to new estimates from research firm Gartner, Apple shipped 40.6 million iPhones during the quarter ending in September to capture an 11.1% marketshare. Year-over-year growth dipped 0.6%, pushing the company from third place to fourth.

First place Samsung was one of two firms to record growth in the third quarter with sales topping 80.8 million units, up 2.2% from the same time last year. The performance was good enough to take 22% of the market and nearly double Apple’s iPhone shipments.

Despite a massive 21.3% year-over-year contraction, Huawei held onto the second spot with 51.8 million smartphone sales and a 14.1% marketshare.

Xiaomi was the quarter’s biggest mover, jumping 34.9% to unseat Apple for the first time. The Chinese upstart sold 44.4 million handsets to take a 12.1% share of the market.

Oppo rounded out the top five with 29.9 million units sold and an 8.2% marketshare, down 2.3% from the year ago period.

Overall, global smartphone sales declined 5.7% year-over-year as consumer spending stalled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The situation is improving, however, as economies slowly churn back to life following government-mandated lockdowns.

“Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Global smartphone sales experienced moderate growth from the second quarter of 2020 to the third quarter. This was due to pent-up demand from previous quarters.”

It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate.

Apple was particularly hard hit during the third quarter. The tech giant typically debuts new iPhone models at the end of September, a refresh cycle that buoys sales figures moving into the lucrative holiday quarter. This year, however, development and production ramp of iPhone 12 series devices was delayed as the virus forced Chinese partner suppliers to slow or suspend operations.

The iPhone maker ultimately launched its current-generation handset lineup in mid-October.

Some early Apple One subscribers run into billing, renewal issues

A number of users who signed up for an Apple One free trial on day one are having billing issues as the free 30-day period ends.

Credit: AppleCredit: Apple

It’s been exactly one month since Apple One debuted on Oct. 30. And since Apple offered a one-month free trial for new subscribers of the service, that means the trial is automatically rolling over to a paid subscription for many users.

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