Apple’s highly anticipated Mac Pro won’t be released this year

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Mac Pro Release

For years, Apple let its relatively ancient trashcan Mac Pro languish on the sidelines without any updates. Indeed, Apple’s seeming ambivalence with respect to the Mac Pro led many to believe that Apple might axe the product altogether. In turn, a narrative claiming that Apple no longer cared about its demographic of pro users and creative professionals quickly emerged and began to take hold.

In an effort to assure the Mac faithful that Apple hasn’t forgotten about its pro users, Apple last year invited a handful of journalists down to Cupertino where a number of executives — including Phil Schiller — revealed that Apple was working on a brand new Mac Pro design.

“With regards to the Mac Pro,” Schiller explained at the time, “we are in the process of what we call ‘completely rethinking the Mac Pro’. We’re working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.”

The news was music to many people’s ears, though Apple, in typical fashion, didn’t provide us with any sort of timeline as to when this new Mac Pro might see the light of day. Indeed, Schiller added that Apple’s Mac Pro team was instructed to come up with something truly great as opposed to focusing on coming up with a product as soon as possible in order to meet some arbitrary deadline.

Consequently, there’s been a bit of speculation as to when Apple’s new Mac Pro will hit store shelves, with some of the more optimistic users holding out for a launch sometime in 2018. Alas, it turns out that anyone eagerly anticipating a next-gen Mac Pro will have to wait until 2019 to see what Apple has been cooking up in its secretive lab.

Recently, Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch was invited to Apple’s new spaceship campus for an update on Apple’s “renewed pro product strategy.” There, Apple senior director of Mac hardware product marketing Tom Boger said that the highly anticipated machine will, in fact, ship sometime in 2019.

“We want to be transparent and communicate openly with our pro community so we want them to know that the Mac Pro is a 2019 product,” Boger told Panzarino. “It’s not something for this year.”

Interestingly enough, we also learn that Apple in recent years created a team focused solely on developing Pro level hardware and software.

Now, it’s a year later and Apple has created a team inside the building that houses its pro products group. It’s called the Pro Workflow Team and they haven’t talked about it publicly before today. The group is under John Ternus and works closely with the engineering organization.

Moreover, the Pro Workflow Team works closely with creative professionals to ensure that the company’s products more adequately suit the needs of the broader professional community.

“We’ve gone from just you know engineering Macs and software to actually engineering a workflow and really understanding from soup to nuts, every single stage of the process, where those bottlenecks are, where we can optimize that,” says Boger.

“We’re getting a much much much deeper understanding of our pro customers and their workflows and really understanding not only where the state of the art is today but where the state of the art is going and all of that is really informing the work that we’re doing on the Mac Pro and we’re working really really hard on it.”

The entire piece is well worth a read and can be viewed over here. Suffice it to say, Apple has certainly not forgotten about developers and creative professionals.

Apple – BGR

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Highly questionable video claims to show ‘iPhone SE 2’ with iPhone X styling

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A dubious video has started to circulate on Weibo that claims to show the upcoming ‘iPhone SE 2’ using the same design language as the iPhone X, but the smartphone appearing in the brief clip is probably not the follow-up to the iPhone SE, for a number of reasons.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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Acoustic testing finds HomePod’s adaptive audio tech delivers highly consistent sound

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In its advertising push for HomePod, Apple has touted its smart speaker as capable of delivering consistent sound to listeners positioned anywhere in a given room. New testing backs up those claims, and offers insight into how the company accomplished such a feat.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

China is Launching Their Highly Classified Reusable Spaceplane in 2020

Designed for the Future

Officials from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) released a statement on Tuesday saying they’ll be ready to launch the next-generation spaceplane by 2020, according to a report by state news service Xinhua. If the statement is any indication, China seems to be have made significant headway on the development of a highly-secretive advance spacecraft.

At first glance, it may not seem to be a remarkable feat: reusable space rockets have been making headlines consistently since SpaceX successfully launched a used Falcon 9 earlier this year. The company has been flying missions aboard reusable Falcon 9 rockets to the International Space Station, as well as to ferry satellites from private corporations and even several nations.

China’s new space plane — note, not space rocket — is expected to be different. CASTC researcher Chen Hongbo said that unlike traditional spacecrafts, this new spacecraft “will fly into the sky like an aircraft,” Xinhua reports. This would, then, differentiate it from rockets, hence the name spaceplane. Supposedly, the spaceplane will take off from a runway, then fire its ramjet propulsion once high in the atmosphere. At that point, the plane will shift to rocket motors in order to reach orbital space, according to reports noted by Ars Technica.

A Game Changer?

Not much is known about this new spacecraft, which Chen said is meant to transport both crew and cargo into orbital space. The technology behind the space plane would also allow for easy maintenance, Chen added, which China envisions will lower the cost of future launches, while at the same time increasing their frequency. This will significantly improve China’s space efforts, which now include plans for both the Moon and Mars.

“Currently, China is developing its own reusable earth-to-orbit space vehicles that can take off and land horizontally,” Liu Shiquan, China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation vice director, previously said in June, speaking to the press during the Global Space Exploration Conference in Beijing. “We have already finished several crucial ground tests for engines and [other key components], yielding remarkable achievements.”

China wasn’t the first to consider horizontally launched spacecraft; that was the original idea NASA intended for the space shuttle in the 1970s. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic has SpaceShipTwo and XCOR has the Lynx (although it has been suspended due to lack of funding) but both are designed only for suborbital flight. If China succeeds in 2020, it’ll become the first to fly an orbital spacecraft launched from a runway and designed to land back again on one.

The post China is Launching Their Highly Classified Reusable Spaceplane in 2020 appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Outlook for Android is adding highly requested calendar features, including better event management and shared calendar syncing

Microsoft’s Outlook team has been hard at work going through user requests recently, and upcoming updates to the Android app will add some of the most in-demand features. Using the feedback and votes collated on Outlook UserVoice, the team is bringing a number of enhancements to the calendar so that it now functions more like its desktop counterpart.

The most notable addition is the ability to sync shared calendars in the Android app.

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Outlook for Android is adding highly requested calendar features, including better event management and shared calendar syncing was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Live: Watch as Lockheed Martin Reveals Their Highly Anticipated Mars Lander

Leaders in Space

Elon Musk might be generating the most hype thanks to his teasing tweets, but SpaceX isn’t the only company with plans to deliver big announcements at this year’s International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia. Lockheed Martin has their own major updates to share with the world.

If SpaceX is the young upstart of the space industry, Lockheed Martin is the weathered veteran. While Musk’s company boasts roughly 5,000 employees, Lockheed Martin has nearly 100,000 spread out across dozens of nations. For decades, they have been a leading innovator in everything from energy to military operations, and their contributions to space have been invaluable.

Through partnerships with NASA, the U.S. government, and others, Lockheed Martin has developed powerful space telescopes and launched more than 100 commercial satellites, helping disseminate information across the globe. They had a hand in the creation of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Jupiter-orbiting JUNO space probe, and the Phoenix spacecraft that landed on Mars in 2008.

Their next big goal is a follow-up of sorts to Phoenix, but instead of putting robots on Mars, they want to deliver people to the Red Planet.

Mission to Mars

NASA’s very first Mars lander was built by Lockheed Martin, and now, the company believes they can help the agency and their partners make the dream of a human Mars colony a reality.

Lockheed Martin first revealed their plans for a Mars Base Camp orbiter last year, and before Musk takes the stage to talk about SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System, they’ll present their own mission to Mars updates, sharing the latest news on their Deep Space Gateway and unveiling the reusable lander they believe will change how we think about surface exploration.

Lockheed Martin’s presentation will be livestreamed below, and we will be updating this article live throughout to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

The post Live: Watch as Lockheed Martin Reveals Their Highly Anticipated Mars Lander appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Analyst Says ‘Bleak’ iPhone 8, 8 Plus Launch Was Highly Exaggerated

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus sales are doing well and are in line with expectations, according to renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

That’s obviously contrary to the bleak picture that many analysts and media analysts painted of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus launch weekend. News outlets said that lines were noticeably shorter on launch day, and data from engagement platform Localytics suggested that adoption of the two new devices was much slower than average. But Kuo wrote in a research note distributed to clients Tuesday that reports of underwhelming sales have largely been exaggerated and overplayed by an “excessively negative” market.

Kuo agreed that the shorter lines and seemingly slower sales were due in part to the delayed iPhone X launch, but added that Apple is likely expecting a 50/50 split in demand between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. With the iPhone X’s launch taken into consideration, Kuo contends, sales of the other two devices are actually in line with Apple’s production plans. This lines up with consumer demand since adoption of the iPhone 8 lineup is roughly half that of the iPhone 6s and 7 launches. The other half will be made up by the iPhone X.

“At first glance, the combined first-week adoption rate for the iPhone 8 / 8 Plus might appear low (about half that of iPhone 6s / 6s Plus and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus),” Kuo wrote. “However, this is due to the fact that the iPhone X is not included, not because iPhone 8 / 8 Plus first weekend sales have been weak.”

Part of the reason for the market’s negativity, Kuo adds, is that analysts are overly reliant on sales data for unlocked and SIM-free channels, like Apple Stores, rather than sales via carriers. While Kuo indicated that lines outside of Apple retail outlets were indeed shorter, demand for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus was much more stable from carrier and contract channels.

Part of the reason for that, Kuo said, is that the people who stand in line to purchase new devices straight from an Apple Store are “presumably hardcore Apple fans and heavy users.” Those are the type of people who are likely holding out for the premium iPhone X. That could have contributed to the perceived lack of excitement for the iPhone 8 lineup.

KGI Securities’ research also indicated that demand for the larger iPhone 8 Plus is higher than the standard-sized iPhone 8. This corroborates data from Localytics, who reported that — though sales were lower overall — the iPhone 8 Plus saw the highest first-weekend adoption rate of any Plus-model iPhone to date.

But while sales of the iPhone 8 lineup are on track with exceptions, Kuo warned that the shipment momentum could begin to slip and that sales need to be closely monitored as the iPhone X launch looms.

iDrop News

LIFX Tile Kit boasts highly customizable LED panels with HomeKit support

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Smartbulb producer LIFX has introduced another way to light up a room, with the Tile wall panels able to change color into a variety of different light patterns, all of which can be controlled via the company’s companion app or through smarthome frameworks, including Apple’s HomeKit.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Highly Atmospheric Zombie Shooter ‘Aftermath’ Updated with 64-Bit Support

Aftermath [$ 2.99] is a very atmospheric dual-stick zombie shooter that’s near and dear to my heart, and I’m so thrilled to be reporting today that this incredibly niche little game has received iOS 11 support in its first update in nearly four years. This probably ties with Rogue Touch as the most surprising updates in my collection. Anyhoo, we first talked about Aftermath way back in March of 2010 just after it launched, when our own TouchArcade co-founder Arn reviewed that version of the game. Boy, our review process sure was different back then!

That was just a few weeks before I began writing for TouchArcade, and Aftermath was one of the games I adored during that time. It’s no wonder then that I’ve been the torch bearer for covering the game in the years since. The first major update to Aftermath arrived in October of 2011. The game originally launched a few months before the announcement of the iPhone 4 and the arrival of the Retina Display resolution. It took more than a year but Aftermath finally did get in on the high-resolution goodness with that update, and it added in 5 brand new levels, a new control scheme, and some other nice additional features making an already good game even better. Our main gripe with the original release was that it was too short, and even though it still was on the shorter side, the additional levels really helped alleviate that feeling.

Aftermath’s next update would come a little over a year later when full Universal iPad support was added. Being that it launched in March of 2010, it just missed out on the arrival of the iPad, and much like the Retina Display support even though it took a while to come having full support for the iPad meant the game could appeal to an entirely new segment of the iOS gaming audience. Also the then-new widescreen of the iPhone 5 was also supported with this update, and it also added in some more new quality of life features and replaced the defunct OpenFeint with Game Center.

The game’s last update prior to today’s was a simple no-frills compatibility update for the latest devices of the time. I guess looking back it’s not that crazy that Aftermath ended up being updated for the 32-Bit Appocalypse, seeing as how there was precedent for compatibility updates, but it had been SO LONG since we’ve heard anything from developer TwoHeads Games and in the back of my mind I kind of thought this would be the end for my buddy Aftermath, especially as it was taken off the App Store at some point this year. Updates like this make me so happy, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding the longevity of games amidst Apple’s plans with their platform and the ability for developers to continue support.

One fun fact about TwoHeads Games is that the studio is in fact developer Peter Pashley who works for Ustwo games and has worked on such titles as Whale Trail and Monument Valley. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing Aftermath might be a passion project of Pashley which might be what has pushed him to keep it updated over the years, even though I highly doubt it makes much money. So, if you’ve missed out on Aftermath these past 7(!) years and enjoy a good old-fashioned creepy zombie shooter, I can easily recommend picking this one up for three bucks not just to say thank you for a developer going above and beyond in terms of supporting his product but also because it’s still one of my favorite games on my iPhone.

TouchArcade