New Apple products include iPhone 11 and Watch Series 5

Apple announced the upcoming release of several new products at its September 10th 2019 event, including:

Update: The new 16-inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard was released in November 2019.

Apple battery recall of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro models

Apple has a voluntary recall and free battery replacement program for certain 15-inch MacBook Pro models sold between 2015 and 2017.  These units can be identified by serial number at support.apple.com/15-inch-macbook-pro-battery-recall.

This recall is currently one of the programs available at Apple’s Exchange and Repair Extension Program page.

Apple also announced a partnership with Best Buy which designates their stores as Apple authorized repair locations.

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) announcements

Apple made several major announcements at its Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2019, including:

Apple announces release of new Mac and iPad products at October 2018 event

Apple announced the release of several new products on October 30th 2018, including new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models with Retina display, and a new Mac Mini.  These devices use a more secure Apple T2 chip, use Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports, and are made of environmentally-friendly recycled aluminum.  They will be publicly available for retail sale on November 7th.

Apple has a comparison of all iPad models on its website.

A new Apple Pencil will also be available at the same date.  This pencil will magnetically snap to the iPad for storage and wireless charging.

iOS 12.1 will be available on October 30th and includes Group FaceTime for up to 32 users, camera depth control, dual SIM card support, and new emojis.

Airtable is a cloud based hybrid of spreadsheets and databases

Airtable is a cloud database that allows users to design databases in a spreadsheet-like format.  It allows collaboration with multiple users and can be accessed from MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devicesMultiple templates are available to download including calendars, project management, etc.

Airtable can be accessed for free for databases smaller than 1200 records.   Paid versions with additional features are also available.

Apple announces release of new iPhone series and other products

On September 12th 2018, Apple announced the upcoming release of iPhone XS and iPhone XR series smartphones with Super Retina display, as well as the new Apple Watch Series 4.  iPhone XS and Apple Watch series 4 will be available on September 21 and iPhone XR will be in stores on October 26th.

The Apple Watch Series 4 Health app can monitor your heart rate, and also includes Fall Detection and Emergency SOS capability.   An ECG app that has output similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram will be available at a later date.  Update: the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification is available as of December 6th 2018.

New watchOS 5 features include walkie-talkie functionality and listening to podcasts.

iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad will be available for download by September 17th.  The iOS 12 new features list includes a Measure app that can automatically detect dimensions of rectangular objects.   Apple Books is the replacement for iBooks and allows you to read downloaded books and listen to audiobooks.

Devices that support iOS 11 generally can be updated to iOS 12.  An iOS device should be backed up before installing this update.  iOS can then be installed by selecting Settings > General > Software Update.

macOS Mojave will be available on September 24th for newer MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro computers.

Meltdown and Spectre security flaws forces tech companies to release updates

Two recently detected security flaws currently named “Meltdown” and “Spectre” are causing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, and others to release security updates to fix any potential problem.  The flaws potentially affect all recent computers, smartphones, and tablets that use a CPU performance feature called speculative execution.  There is no evidence that the flaws have been exploited at this time.  The general recommendation is to download updates for all devices.

Current Apple products may have the security flaws with the exception of the Apple Watch.  Apple is continuing to work on updates and released a statement at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208394.

Microsoft issued guidance for Windows users, SQL Server, Windows Server, and has updated most of its Azure infrastructure and will continue to do so.  Security update KB4056890 also updates Internet Explorer and Edge browsers.   Microsoft also issued update KB4056892 for various Windows versions but notes that some AMD processor machines to stop working after installing it.

Google recommended that Chrome users should turn on site isolation.  Google also responded with these blog posts:
https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/7622138
https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2018/01/reading-privileged-memory-with-side.html

Mozilla is working on updates and a fix is available in Firefox 57.0.4 version.

Amazon has updated its servers already and will continue to do so.

Intel released a statement as well and is releasing updates.  It also reported some systems rebooted more frequently after the updatesAMD also released a statement on their CPUs and speculative execution.

Oracle issued updates for MySQL, Java, PeopleSoft and other products that it maintains.

The CERT Vulnerability Notes Database has logged this issue as Vulnerability Note VU#584653.

eWeek reported that Linux 4.15 was released with Meltdown and Spectre patches and that further patches would be made for this issue.

More information can be found at https://spectreattack.com.

Apple announces release of 2016 MacBook Pro notebook

Apple has announced the release of the 2016 series of MacBook Pro, consisting of three versions:

  • 13 inch MacBook Pro
  • 13 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
  • 15 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The Touch Bar is a new interface that replaces the row of function keys.  It changes its appearance dynamically based upon which application is currently running.

A comparison of the different MacBook models is available at http://www.apple.com/mac/compare/.

Technical specifications can be found at http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/.