Black Friday’s boost, security news and the year’s biggest apps – TechCrunch

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all. What are developers talking about? What do app publishers and marketers need to know? How are politics impacting the App Store and app businesses? And which apps are everyone using?

This week we look at how the Black Friday weekend played out on mobile (including which non-shopping category that saw a boost in revenue!), as well as a few security-related stories, TikTok’s latest bad press, plus Apple and Google’s best and most downloaded apps of 2019, and more.

Headlines

80% of Android apps are encrypting traffic by default

Google gave an update on Android security this week, noting that 80% of Android applications were encrypting traffic by default, and that percentage was higher for apps targeting Android 9 or higher, with 90% of them encrypting traffic by default. Android protects the traffic entering or leaving the devices with TLS (Transport Layer Security). Its new statistics are related to Android 7’s introduction of the Network Security Configuration in 2016, which allows app developers to configure the network security policy for their app through a declarative configuration file. Apps targeting Android 9 (API level 28) or higher automatically have a policy set by default that prevents unencrypted traffic for every domain. And since Nov. 1, 2019, all apps (including app updates) must target at least Android 9, Google says. That means the percentages will improve as more apps roll out their next updates.

Black Friday boosted mobile game revenue to a record $70M

U.S. sales holiday Black Friday wasn’t just good for online shoppers, who spent a record $7.4 billion in sales, $2.9 billion from smartphones. It also boosted iOS and Android mobile game revenue to a single-day record of $69.7 million in the U.S., according to Sensor Tower. This was the most revenue ever generated in a single day for the category, and it represents a 25% increase over 2018. Marvel Contest of Champions from Kabam led the day with approximately $2.7 million in player spending. Two titles from Playrix — Gardenscapes and Homescapes — also won big, with $1 million and $969,000 in revenue, respectively.

These increases indicate that consumers are looking for all kinds of deals on Black Friday, not just those related to holiday gift-giving. They’re also happy to spend on themselves in games. Mobile publishers caught on to this trend and offered special in-game deals on Black Friday which really paid off.

Did Walmart beat Amazon’s app on Black Friday?

Sensor Tower and Apptopia said it did. App Annie also said it did, but then later took it back (see update). In any event, it must have been a close race. According to Sensor Tower, Walmart’s app reached No.1 on the U.S. App Store on Black Friday with 113,000 new downloads, a year-over-year increase of 23%. Amazon had 102,000 downloads, making it No. 2.

Arguably, many Amazon shoppers already have the app installed, so this is more about Walmart’s e-commerce growth more so than some ding on Amazon.

In fact, Apptopia said that Amazon still had 162% more mobile sessions over the full holiday weekend — meaning Amazon was more shopped than Walmart.

More broadly, mobile shopping is still huge on Black Friday. The top 10 shopping apps grew their new installs by 11% over last year on Black Friday, to reach a combined 527,000 installs.

Report: Android Advanced Protection Program could prevent sideloading

Google’s Advanced Protection Program protects the accounts of those at risks of targeted attacks — like journalists, activists, business leaders, and political campaign teams. This week, 9to5Google found the program may get a new protection feature with the ability to block sideloading of apps, according to an APK breakdown. What’s not yet clear is if program members will have the option to disable the protection, but there are some indications that may be the case. Another feature the report uncovered appears to show that Play Protect will automatically scan all apps, including those from outside the Play Store. This won’t affect the majority of Android users, of course, but it is an indication of where Google believes security risks may be found: sideloaded apps.

Bug hunter suggests Security.plist standard for apps

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12 gifts for the holidays: Between Apple, Google, DJI, and Amazon there’s something for everyone

12 tech gifts for Christmas: Something for everyone
Jason Perlow and Jason Cipriani cover their top tech gift recommendations this holiday season in this week’s episode of Jason Squared. Read more: https://zd.net/2OV0Xu0

The holidays are upon us, and that means it’s time to go shopping. Tech gifts usually sit near the top of everyone’s list, but if you’re struggling to come up with ideas this year, we’re here to help. 

Below you’ll find 12 gift ideas for the holidays, sprinkled in with some additional gifts for those who want to save a little bit of money or are looking for another recommendation. 

Keep in mind the prices listed below are the usual retail prices, but you’re likely to find some of, if not most, of the tech products on sale leading up to Christmas. 

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple AirPods Pro (regularly $250)

The AirPods Pro is arguably the best wireless earbuds you can get for an Apple user, and to Jason Cipriani, they’re worth every penny of the $250 asking price. Jason Perlow likes Anker’s Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro, currently priced at $110 (with a regular price of $150). 

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple iPhone 11 (regularly $699)

Apple’s iPhone 11 may be the least expensive iPhone, but it’s still more than enough phone for most users. From battery life to its two-camera setup, the iPhone 11 is one of the best deals you’ll find on an iPhone this year. If you’re looking for an Android phone, Samsung’s Galaxy S10, ZTE’s Axon 10 Pro, or Motorola’s Moto G7 are all respectable — and affordable — options. 

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple Watch Series 5 (regularly $399)

The Apple Watch Series 5 is the best smartwatch on the market, with the latest hardware available from Apple right now. At $399, it’s expensive, but will be supported for years to come. If you’d rather save some money on an Apple Watch, the Series 3 starts at $199. 

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple iPad (regularly $329)

Apple’s iPad is the best tablet available right now and has been for some time. The latest base model has a slightly larger display and now works with Apple’s Smart Keyboard Cover. At $329, it’s hard to beat. 

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DJI

DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo (regularly $499)

The DJI Mavic Mini is a steal. It’s a fully capable drone with a range of up to 4km, a good camera, and a battery life of nearly 30 minutes. The Fly More Combo includes the drone, a controller three batteries, a charging pack, extra propellers, and a charging case. Or if you only want the drone and a controller, you can get the basic package for $399.

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Nintendo

Nintendo Switch (regularly $299)

The Nintendo Switch is a powerful gaming device that’s fully portable, or it can be connected to your TV. The Nintendo Switch Lite is slightly cheaper at $199, but it can’t be connected to a TV. If you’d rather not get a dedicated gaming device, the iPod Touch is a versatile device that comes with the iOS ecosystem of games, including Apple Arcade. 

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Disney+ subscription (regularly $70 for a year)

Disney+ is one of the hottest streaming services that launched in 2019, with a content library that never seems to end. Not to mention Baby Yoda has all but taken over the internet. You can sing up for an account for a loved one, or purchase a Disney gift card in a Disney store to cover the cost of a year’s subscription. Jason Perlow is a Star Trek fan, so he recommends doing the same for a CBS All Access subscription.

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Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (on sale for $35, regularly $60)

The Echo Dot with clock gives your gift recipient an Alexa-powered speaker for controlling smart home devices or asking random questions, as well as a constantly visible clock. Amazon keeps adjusting the price, but right now it’s $35 down from $60. Jason Perlow recommends spending a little more and getting the standard Amazon Echo with a better speaker for listening to music for $99. 

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Image: Google

Nest Hello for (regularly $229)

Nest’s Hello Doorbell provides peace of mind and helpful alerts while monitoring your door. It’ll let you know when a package has been left, or when it sees someone it recognizes (or doesn’t recognize). Jason Perlow likes Ring’s $249 Video Doorbell Pro, which if you watch for the right promotion can also get you a free Echo device. Right now, for the same price, you can get a free Echo Show 5. 

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Image: Goal Zero

GoalZero Sherpa 100PD (regularly $136)

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD is a portable battery pack that does it all. It has Power Delivery of up to 60W, a wireless charging pad and multiple USB ports. It’s a little pricey, but worth it. Jason Perlow recommends the Zendure SuperTank USB-C PD and SuperPort 4.

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

1Password subscription (regularly $60)

Not enough people take password security serious enough, but with a little nudging and guidance, you can help get them on track. 1Password is a password managing service with apps for nearly every platform. It creates and stores random passwords and will even enter them for you. A family plan that includes five users is $60 a month, and it just so happens 1Password sells digital gift cards. 

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Sonos Beam (regularly $399)

See it now: Amazon

You can’t go wrong any of the Sonos lineups. Sonos speakers connect wirelessly to each other and the internet allowing you to stream your music library from nearly every streaming service, and if you opt for something like Sonos Beam it acts as a soundbar for a TV. Jason Perlow has been testing the Anker Nebula Soundbar and recommends it, partly because of its sound quality but also because it pulls double-duty as a Fire TV device.

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Apple: Here’s why iPhone 11 uses location data even though you’ve told it not to

Owners of an iPhone XS: Is it worth upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro?
Apple just announced the first iPhone with a Pro name. But is it really that much better than the iPhone XS?

Apple has finally explained why the iPhone 11 continues to use location data even after its owner denies all apps and system services access to it. 

Since September iPhone users have complained on Apple’s user forum about a “privacy location bug” affecting iPhone 11 devices. 

Apple didn’t bother responding to user reports and offered a sparse answer to security reporter Brian Krebs for his report earlier this week about a “possible privacy issue” affecting iPhone 11 devices. 

SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF)    

An Apple engineer said Apple didn’t see “any actual security implications”, adding that it was “expected behavior” for the Location Services icon to appear at the top of the phone screen when Location Services is enabled. 

The engineer explained: “The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings”. However, Apple offered no further explanation for the presence of the icon, even though all individual location services are disabled. 

Apple now has offered a more detailed explanation to Krebs. However, the answer is so mundane it doesn’t make sense that Apple didn’t provide it immediately, other than it possibly contradicts the company’s advertised promise of the iPhone delivering simple privacy. 

At the same time, the explanation shows that iOS is transparent about when the device shares location data – even when Apple can’t explain it.  

According to Apple, the location data is being used by iPhone 11 devices due to a feature called Ultra Wideband (UWB), which is available on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max in most countries, but not Russia, Iran, Argentina, and Indonesia. 

SEE: Tech turkeys: Apple and Google dominate the year’s menu of failures

The feature enables a better experience with the AirDrop file-sharing feature, allowing iPhone users to just point the device at another compatible device. The location icon appears because the iPhone periodically checks to see whether it is being used in a country where Apple hasn’t received approval to use UWB. 

“Ultra Wideband technology is an industry-standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations,” Apple said. 

“iOS uses Location Services to help determine if iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable Ultra Wideband and comply with regulations. The management of Ultrawide Band compliance and its use of location data [are] done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.”

In a future iOS update Apple will include a dedicated toggle in System Services to disable the UWB activity.

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Google’s AI-powered voice recorder and transcription app comes to older Pixel phones – TechCrunch

Google’s AI-powered voice recorder app introduced at Google’s October hardware event was one of the company’s more impressive demos. The new app taps into advances in AI, speech processing and speech recognition in order to automatically transcribe a voice recording with few mistakes, in real time as the person is speaking. Unfortunately, Google’s Recorder app was locked to Pixel 4 devices at launch. That has now changed.

As first spotted by Android Police, the Recorder app is available to Android users with older Pixel devices, including Pixel 2, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. The updated support was added to the app today, Sensor Tower also confirmed. But the lack of publicity around the launch has led it to see fewer than 1,000 downloads so far.

voice recorder

Google had previously announced its intention to make the app more widely available. In a recent Reddit thread, a company representative said the app would become available to more Pixel users in the future via a software update. They didn’t say when that update would arrive, though.

While there are many voice recorder apps on today’s market, there are few that offer real-time transcriptions. And of those that do — like Otter.ai, for example — the resulting text is often half-garbled. While these services can still be useful as a way to quickly find a section of a recording to then play back and manually transcribe, the lack of accuracy can limit adoption.

Google’s Recorder app was demonstrated at Google’s fall event as capable of taking a far more accurate transcription. Of course, the app was being not put to real-world use at the time — with different types of voices, accents  and background noise, it may not be as accurate. In addition, the app lacks the ability to identify and label different speakers, which could make it more difficult to use in situations like meetings or interviews.

That being said, the app held up well in initial tests in a review by The Wall St. Journal’s Joanna Stern, though it stumbled with accents. Other reviewers found the app to be fairly powerful, too, if a little basic in its overall design. TechCrunch’s review said the transcription was pretty good, but noted also it lacked some features other apps have.

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However, Recorder does have an advantage over some of its rivals: it doesn’t require an internet connection to work. Instead, all the recording and transcription capabilities take place directly on the device. That means you could even use the app while in airplane mode.

In addition, a built-in advanced search feature lets you search for sounds, words and phrases and then see a visual depiction of where the search term was spoken in the playback bar so you can go to the recording you need.

Google has put its real-time speech transcription technology to work in a number of ways, besides Recorder. It also introduced live caption technology for Android devices, for example, which brings transcriptions to things like video or audio saved on your device, or video playback outside of YouTube.

The Recorder app is a free download on Google Play.

We’ve reached out to Google for any update on its plans to make Recorder more broadly available across Android . The company hasn’t responded to our questions at this time.

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Your next iPhone may not have a Lightning port

How attached are you to your iPhone’s Lightning port? Do you use it to connect to devices and peripherals, or perhaps even your car? Well, you might have to live without it if analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is right.

According to a research note by Kuo, seen by 9to5Mac, CNBC, and MacRumors, big changes could be on the way.

Must read: Weird and super useful gadgets that make great gifts

The first change Kuo is bracing for — based on supply chain chatter — is a high-end iPhone that does away with the Lightning port. Apple dumped the headphone jack, so it’s not that much of a stretch to see Apple dumping the Lightning port and moving on to a completely wireless iPhone.

This could mean dumping a whole raft of hardware that uses Lightning — maybe even your car is you use it for CarPlay. But that’s Apple’s way.

But don’t panic yet, as Kuo isn’t expecting this to land until 2021. But if you were expecting high-end iPhones to make the switch to USB-C, well, you should probably stop holding your breath.

But this is just one of the many changes that Kuo is predicting. Another release Kuo says is incoming in 2021 is a follow-on to the iPhone SE. According to the research note, an iPhone SE 2 featuring a 4.7-inch LCD display and a form factor similar to the iPhone 8 will land in during the first half of 2020, and this will be followed by an iPhone SE 2 Plus I 2021. What does the “Plus” mean in this context? According to the report, it will feature a 5.5- or 6.1-inch display in an all-screen design with no Home button, but no Face ID. Instead, the Touch ID sensor will be built into the on/off button.

But there’s more.

Kuo expects Apple to release five new iPhones over 2020, with Apple staggering the releasee, with the budget iPhone SE 2 launching early in the year, followed by four models featuring OLED displays and different combinations of cameras — 5.4-inch OLED with dual-rear cameras, 6.1-inch OLED with dual-rear cameras, 6.1-inch OLED with triple-rear cameras, and 6.7-inch OLED with triple-rear cameras — landing during the usual fall slot.

According to Kuo, Apple’s motivation for this switch to two launches is to even out sales throughout the year. I would also expect this to take the pressure off the supply chain and allow Apple to better accommodate changes in demand.

Kuo makes no predictions related to pricing, and this could be key as Apple is at present ignoring the budget end of the sales spectrum, and this could be important in keeping sales buoyant and keeping the ecosystem growing.

See also:

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Android’s ‘Focus Mode’ exits beta, adds new scheduling features – TechCrunch

Google is expanding its suite of “Digital Wellbeing” tools for Android devices with a new feature, Focus Mode, launching today. This feature allows users to turn off distractions — like social media updates or email notifications — for a period of time, so you can get things done without interruption. Focus Mode was first announced at Google’s I/O developer conference this May, and has been in beta testing until now, Google says.

Unlike Do Not Disturb, which can mute sounds, stop vibrations and block visual disturbances, Focus Mode is only about silencing specific apps.

Within the Digital Wellbeing settings, users select which apps they find most distracting — like Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, games or anything else that tends to steal their attention. These apps can be paused temporarily, which stops those apps’ notifications. Plus, if you try to open the app, Focus Mode reminds you they’re paused.

During beta testing, Google said tester feedback led to the creation of a new enhancement for Focus Mode: the ability to set a schedule for your app breaks. This allows you to continually block app notifications for the days and times you choose — like your 9 AM to 5 PM working hours, for example.

There’s also a new option to take a break from Focus Mode, which allows you to use the blocked apps for a time, then return to Focus Mode without entirely disabling it to do so. In addition, if you finish your work or other tasks early one day, you can now turn off Focus Mode for that day without breaking its ongoing weekly schedule.

The Focus Mode feature is one of now many investments Google has made into its comprehensive Digital Wellbeing feature set, which was originally introduced at Google I/O 2018 but initially only on Pixel devices. Since then, Google has expanded access to Digital Wellbeing features and further integrated its features — including parent control app Family Link — into the Android OS.

It has also developed digital well-being apps outside of its core Digital Wellbeing product, with October’s launch of a handful of well-being experiments. This set of apps included a notification mailbox, unlock clock and even an easy way to print important information from your phone so you don’t have to keep checking your device throughout the day, among other things.

Elsewhere across Google’s product line it has developed settings and controls devoted to well-being, like YouTube’s reminders to “take a break,” automations for Gmail, downtime settings for Google Home and more.

Google says the new version of Focus Mode exits beta testing today and is rolling out to all devices that support Digital Wellbeing and parental controls, including Android 9 and 10 phones.

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Finally, an official Craigslist app – TechCrunch

Fancy websites and services come and go, but Craigslist endures. And now one of its main shortcomings is fixed: there’s an official app. Currently available for iOS and in beta for Android, the app provides a true-to-form Craigslist experience: useful, unfussy and anonymous.

There isn’t much to say about the app beyond that it faithfully replicates the website, down to the color scheme. All categories of posts are available to browse or search; you can favorite things, save searches and change the way results look. Different categories have their pertinent settings, so when you look for a car you’ll get odometer, model year and so on the way you do on the site.

No account is required at all to browse listings or contact sellers, and conveniently all their contact info pops up easily, letting you email, text or call as desired.

Obviously the web app is still perfectly serviceable, and some may even prefer it. But it’s nice to have a native app, if only to deter the imitation Craigslist apps that piggyback on the popularity of the original no-frills listings.

The app was released yesterday and is already climbing the charts. Grab it today and start looking for free furniture!

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Xiaomi launches app to offer credit to millennials in India – TechCrunch

Xiaomi, the top smartphone vendor in India, today joined a growing wave of fintech startups in the nation that are offering credit to aspirational young professionals and millennials.

The Chinese electronics giant said today it is launching Mi Credit, its curated marketplace for digital lending, that offers users credit between Rs 5,000 ($70) and Rs 100,000 ($1,400).

Xiaomi said it has partnered with a number of startups such as Bangalore-based ZestMoney, CreditVidya, Money View, Aditya Birla Finance Limited, and EarlySalary to determine who should get a credit and then finance it.

Users are required to let Mi Credit app access their texts and call logs to look for transactional information and some other details to assess whether they are credit worthy. This whole process takes just a few minutes and eligible users can walk out with some credit, said Manu Jain, Vice President of Xiaomi, at a conference in New Delhi.

He added that having multiple partners for the crediting platform ensures that the likeliness of a user securing a loan is high. Once a user has secured a credit from the app, they can avail more credit in the future with a single click, the company said.

For startups that have partnered with Xiaomi, the big draw is access to a large user base, an executive with one of the partner startups told TechCrunch.

Xiaomi, which has been the top smartphone vendor in India for nine consecutive quarters, has an install base in tens of millions in the country. The company has shipped more than 100 million smartphones in the country, it recently revealed.

Xiaomi said the Mi Credit app will be preinstalled on all Xiaomi smartphones running Android -based MIUI operating system. The app is also available for non-Xiaomi Android smartphone users from the Google Play Store. (It’s not available for iPhone users.)

A wave of fintech firms have emerged in recent years in India to help millions of users secure credit and other financial services for the first time in their lives. The penetration of credit card remains very low in the country (roughly three in 100 people in India have a credit card.) This has meant that very few people in the nation have a traditional credit score.

This void has created an immense opportunity for startups to explore a range of other data points to determine who should get a loan. In emerging markets such as India, where the laws are lax, nobody appears to be alarmed with the idea of a company gleaning a lot of personal details.

As of today, Mi Credit is available to users in 1,500 zip codes, or 10 states in India. The company said it plans to extend the credit service to all of India by March next year.

Partner startups involved declined to comment on the financial arrangement they have with Xiaomi. The aforementioned unnamed executive said the agreement would vary with partners and the kind of product they are bringing to the table.

Xiaomi said it has deeply integrated its partners’ offerings into the app. As a result, users are able to see details such as disbursement of loans, lower interest, and credit score in real time.

The company began testing the app with some users in India last month. During the trial, it disbursed loans of over 280 million Indian rupees ($3.9 million).

For Xiaomi, the new offering would help it make its services ecosystem more engaging to consumers. The company, which recently posted one of its slowest growing quarterly reports, has been attempting to cut its reliance on hardware products and make more money off its internet services and through ads.

In March this year, Xiaomi launched Mi Pay, a UPI-powered payments app, in India. The company said the app has already amassed over 20 million registered users in the country.

Hong Feng, co-founder and senior vice president of Xiaomi, said the company understands the consumption behaviour of its 300 million users. “It is one of the strengths we aim to leverage to build a stronger Mi Finance business globally. We see a huge opportunity for consumer lending in India with estimations reaching up to $1 trillion dollars in digital lending by 2023, as per a report from BCG. This makes us believe that our Mi Finance business, based on solutions such as Mi Pay and Mi Credit can truly revolutionise the Indian FinTech industry.”

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Don’t buy these Apple products — Holiday 2019 edition

Apple has updated a whole swathe of products in its store over the past few months, but there are still plenty of shiney gadgets that are a bit old and aging that you should avoid.

Must read: Four must-have travel essentials

#1: HomePod

Why you should avoid: The current HomePod is a first-generation device that was released over 18-months ago to offer a challenge to devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home speaker. But a year-and-a-half in the tech industry is a long time, and so it might be worthwhile holding out on buying one until we get a clearer idea of whether Apple is planning a refresh. 

Hardware last updated: February 2018.

#2: Apple TV fifth-gen

Guidance: Probably not going to see a refresh this year, so it’s worth it if you feel like paying top dollar for last year’s tech. 

Apple’s 5th-generation Apple TV, built around the A10X Fusion processor and coming with a choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage, was last updated over a year ago. It’s still a great device, but the starting price of $179 feels hefty for something over a year old.

Don’t be confused between this and the 4th-generation Apple TV (without the 4K branding) which is also still for sale. This was first released in October 2015.

Hardware last updated: The 5th-generation Apple TV 4K was launched in September 2017.

#3: Mac Pro

Why you should avoid: Old, outdated, and Apple has already teased us with a replacement due in 2019.

Once the apex of Apple’s computer line, the Mac Pro is now a dinosaur.

Now that Apple has unveiled the new Mac Pro, and slated it for release later this month (if all goes well), the old Mac Pro should be off everyone’s list (unless you rely on it and you have to replace one that’s been taken out of action).

Hardware last updated: Price cut April 2017, but the Mac Pro has been unchanged since December 2013.

#4: iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch

Why you should avoid: The current iPad Pro line was updated a year ago, and a year is a long time in technology. What’s worse is that the memory management in iOS 13 has made multitasking on this supposed laptop replacement frustrating and annoying.

Hardware last updated: October 2018.

#5: Mac Mini

Guidance: Getting old, but a unique Mac that’s super useful and affordable.

The last Mac Mini was four years in the making, so we could be having to wait three more years until we see the next Mac Mini update. However, the Mac Mini is unique in the macOS ecosystem in that it is a gateway system into the macOS ecosystem for people currently on Windows. It’s also a low-cost way to get a macOS workhorse for those times when another beefier system would be overkill.

Hardware last updated: July 2019, but there could be a 16-inch MacBook Pro in the pipeline.

#6: Apple Lightning cable

Why you should avoid: Buy something cheaper that will last you longer!

I would never buy another Lightning cable from Apple, as there are far better alternatives on offer from companies such as Anker, Amazon, Nomad, and Paracable.

But what about USB-C-to-Lightning I hear you ask? Well, for the first time you have an option outside of Apple now that Anker has released its Powerline II USB-C-to-Lightning cable, which is fully compliant with Apple’s Made For iPhone (MFi) standard.

Status: Too expensive!

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Jony Ive, iPhone designer, has now left Apple

Apple without Jony Ive: Are massive overnight changes coming?
ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes sits down to discuss with Karen Roby, what does the future look like for Apple now that its Chief Design Officer has left? Will there be massive changes overnight, or will Ive’s presence be felt for years to come? Read more: https://zd.net/2JvNk1W

Apple’s chief product designer Jony Ive has now departed the company, and his profile has been removed from the Apple leadership page. 

Apple announced in June that Ive would be leaving the company “later this year” to form his own design outfit, which would include Apple as a primary client. Ive at the time revealed plans to create LoveFrom along with fellow Apple designer Marc Newson.        

Ive and his design team helped create Apple’s best-selling devices, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, and MacBook. In recent years he’s also worked on Apple’s $5bn spaceship campus, Apple Park.

“Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time. 

SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF)

Apple’s software and hardware design team now report to chief operating officer Jeff Williams.  

Ive joined Apple in 1992 and was seen as instrumental in Apple’s revival after Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997. Since 1996, Ive has led Apple design as its senior vice president of design – a role he retained until Apple in 2015 gave him the newly created position of chief design officer. 

The move allowed him to step back from management duties and a make a slow exit from Apple without negatively impacting its share price.       

Ive is no longer on Apple’s leadership page, however his profile is still on Apple’s investor-relations page. 

Apple says Ive as chief design officer was “responsible for all design at Apple, including the look and feel of Apple hardware, user interface, packaging, major architectural projects such as Apple Campus 2 and Apple’s retail stores, as well as new ideas and future initiatives”. Ive also holds over 5,000 patents. 

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Apple’s leadership page used to list Jony Ive as the company’s chief design officer.


Image: Apple

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