Lilbits: Apple’s different stuff (AirTags, Apple TV 4K, Apple Podcasts subscriptions and iOS 14.5)

Over the course of an hour, Apple announced new iMac and iPad models this afternoon that feature the same Apple M1 chips used in the latest MacBook Air and MacBok Pro laptops, as well as a host of other things. There’s a new Apple TV 4K with a faster processor and a new remote control. And there’s a new version of iOS 14.5 that gives users a little more control over their privacy, giving app developers a headache who rely on tracking their users for advertising and analytics.

The company also unveiled a new version of Apple Podcasts that could shake up the podcasting business in ways that are hard to think of right now … especially since Apple is still one of the biggest players in podcasting but no longer the only 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Then there are AirTags, Apple’s version of Tile’s Bluetooth trackers, which could be extremely useful to customers … but could also raise questions of anticompetitive behavior at a time when US regulators are scrutinizing big tech.

Of course, not all of the news today is related to Apple. There are also leaks pointing to a new fitness-focused VR headset from HTC and a new Windows App Store experience. And we’re not the only ones who remember netbooks.

Here is a summary of the latest technical news from across the Internet.

  • Apple launches AirTags
    Apple’s AirTags are like tile trackers … but for Apple products. At $ 29 or $ 99 for a pack of 4, they work with the Find My app on iPhones with U1 chips to guide you to your stuff, whether it’s near or not Remotely (thanks to an encrypted private network that other iOS devices use to help locate your tags).
  • Tile criticizes Apple’s new AirTags as unfair competition [TechCrunch]
    The folks who make tile trackers and maintain a network to find your lost belongings aren’t too happy that Apple cloned their product and service for AirTag and Find My. This happens all the time, but regulators are now betting on big tech.
  • Apple introduces the next generation of Apple TV 4K [Apple]
    More details about the new Apple TV 4K with an Apple A12 Bionic Chip. It supports HDR and Dolby Vision at 60 frames per second. You can adjust the color balance using the light sensor on an iPhone. And the Siri remote has a clickpad with jog wheel functions.
  • Apple leads the next chapter in podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions [Apple Podcasts
    The new Apple Podcasts app with a new UI and new features including Apple Podcasts subscriptions for creators that want to charge for premium content (whether people want to pay remains to be seen). Personally I’m not unhappy about new ways for podcasters to monetize their work. But the growing fragmentation of the podcasting space is going to make things complicated for smaller creators – do you release exclusive content only for subscribers if they have iOS devices?
  • iOS 14.5 will roll out next week [Engadget]
    iOS and iPadOS 14.5 are rolling out next week with support for unlocking iPhone and Apple Watche with face mask, the new Apple Podcasts app (with subscription support), options for selecting Siri voices, other Apple Pencil features, and privacy enhancements
  • Yes, bring back netbooks [BoingBoing]
    Liliputing commentators aren’t the only ones missing out on finding small, cheap, but reasonably decent Windows or Linux laptops.
  • HTC Vive Air VR headset (IF World Design Guide)
    The unannounced HTC Vive Air VR headset will be featured on the IF World Design Guide website with a focus on VR exercises. It features breathable, quick-drying knitted fabrics for improved ventilation when wearing the headset during exercise.
  • Microsoft is building a new App Store for Windows 10 as part of extensive revitalization efforts
    Report: Microsoft plans to revamp the Windows 10 App Store with a new version that includes an updated user interface, monthly updates, and new developer rules, including support for non-packaged Win32 apps and third-party in-app payment systems.

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The latest news on open source phones can also be found on our sister site Linux Smartphones on Facebook and Twitter.

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