Apple Supporting Thunderbolt in Macs With Apple Silicon

Intel, earlier today:

Today, Intel revealed new details about Thunderbolt™ 4, the next generation of its universal cable connectivity solution, delivering increased minimum performance requirements, expanded capabilities and USB4 specification compliance. For the first time, Thunderbolt 4 will offer docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports and universal cables up to 2 meters in length. Intel’s upcoming mobile PC processors, code-named “Tiger Lake,” will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4. Intel also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, compatible with the hundreds of millions of Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories already available. Thunderbolt 4 developer kits and certification testing are now available.

From an Apple spokesperson, just now:

Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon.

The future is going to be fast.


Should You Get an iPhone 11 Now or Wait for iPhone 12 Later?

Should you get an iPhone 11 now or wait and get an iPhone 12 later this year?

I’m Rene Ritchie and that’s the question you all started asking me pretty much immediately after I posted the video last week on Intel Mac now vs. Apple Silicon Mac later.

And it makes sense, because it’s the same type of problem. Want vs. need. Immediate vs. delayed gratification. A phone in the hand vs. a potentially better one in the future.

So, let’s break it down.


Now, Apple hasn’t released the iPhone 12 yet. They haven’t even announced it. It’s basically a non-existent product. But, Apple has been releasing new iPhones every year since the first one in 2007, so releasing another one in 2020 is just about the safest bet in consumer tech.

Sure, what with the shut downs and all, they could be later than usual, which has typically been September to October for the last few years, but still, we can assume they’re coming.

And based on trends and rumors, at least a partially new design could be coming with them.

The current, rounded iPhone design began with the iPad mini, iPod touch, and iPhone 6 over half a decade ago.

Two years ago, though, the iPad Pro brought back the more squared off sides of the previous iPhone 5 and original iPhone SE design and, rumor has it, the iPhone 12 will follow its lead. The iPhone 12 Pro, maybe even the stainless steel version of the beloved iPhone 4 design.

You know, all retro-future chic, techno-nostalgia, everything old is new and oh so very hot again.

Now, some people loved those squared off sides because they found the way they dug into their hands made for a better, tighter grip.

Others hated them because of the way they dug in and find the more recent curves very much more comfortable.

So, if you like the current curvy design, the iPhone 11 has it ready and right now available for you.

If you prefer the flatter, more retro look, the iPhone 12 may be worth waiting for.


The iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch LCD display and the iPhones 11 Pro have 5.7- and 6.5-inch OLED display.

Apple is so good at color management, from a complete wide-gamut pipeline to individual calibration at the factory, that both look as identical as the very different technologies allow.

The more expensive OLED displays, though, do have deeper blacks, more detailed highlights, and much wider contrast ratio.

But, some people don’t like the way OLED color-shifts off-axis or uses pulse width modulation at lower brightness levels.

Now, rumor has it, the iPhone 12 lineup will be all in on OLED.

Also, that there’ll be a smaller 5.4-inch model and a bigger 6.7-inch model.

So, if PWM bothers you or you just prefer LCD, and you’re fine with the current iPhone 11 size, you may want to stick with that iPhone 11.

If you prefer OLED, and especially if you want a smaller or larger iPhone than what’s currently offered, you’re going to want to wait on the iPhone 12.


Current iPhone 11 models all have Intel modems that, despite AT&T’s so-shady-they-should-be-illegal 5Ge labels, absolutely all cap out at 4G LTE.

Speed is decent. Coverage is decent. But there are still a lot of people, especially outside big cities, that don’t get a lot of signal in a lot of places.

The iPhone 12 is supposed to be getting Qualcomm modems back and ones that can run on the new fangled 5G networks.

The iPhone 12 Pro models are expected to support the fastest standard, mmWave. But it has such trouble penetrating things like walls and, you know, leaves and rain, that I still think it may never become a real consumer facing technology.

All of them, though, are expected to support Sub 6/7/8/9 or whatever the low-to-mid-band standard ends up settling on.

While nowhere nearly as fast, it’s far more robust, and as the networks roll out, should finally give everyone outside big cities all the bars they’ve been promised for all these years.

So, if you’re fine with LTE speeds and connection quality, you’ll be fine with an iPhone 11.

But, if you’ve been waiting for something not just faster but way more reliable, waiting on 5G should have you covered. Like literally.


The iPhone 11 already has beyond industry leading performance and efficiency with the A13 Bionic chipset as well as really good battery life, and will likely get software updates for another 4 years at least.

I mean, the 2015 iPhone 6s is getting iOS 14 this year, in 2020, and that tends to be the rule more than the exception.

But, the iPhone 11 is expected to get an even higher performance, higher efficiency, even more silicon-feature packed A14. What that means for battery life we just don’t know yet, but it should mean updates for another 5 years at least.

If you don’t really care about an extra year of chipsets or updates, then the iPhone 11 will still be better than any other phone you can get for 12-24 months still.

If you want the most advanced silicon you can get and updates for as long as you can get them, the iPhone 12 will give you that.


If there’s one thing you can count on, year after year, iPhone after iPhone, is that the camera is going to get better and better.

The iPhone 11 added better sensors, a new ultra-wide angle camera to the system, and Night Mode and deep fusion to the computational models.

It doesn’t have the big glass of Samsung or Huawei, or the big algorithms of Google, but it has better algorithms than the first two and way better glass than the last one, making it capture photos as good as anything else on the market and video arguably best of all.

The iPhone 12 should be more of the same and then some.

Rumors focus on LiDAR, the same depth-sensing scanner the iPad Pro got this spring, going onto the Pro-level iPhone 12s this fall. That’ll be big for augmented reality. Basically like getting a TrueDepth camera on the back.

But we should also see improvements across the board for all the cameras, the image signal processor in the A14, processes like Smart HDR and Night Mode, just… everything.

So, if you’re perfectly fine with the iPhone 11’s state-of-the-2019-art camera system, then you’re perfectly fine with the iPhone 11. Especially the Pro with its telephoto.

If you want the absolute latest and greatest, though, especially if photos and videos are the most important part of your phone to you, then you’ll want to wait on the iPhone 12.


When it comes to pricing, Apple’s strategy may be to try and maintain average selling price and margins over time, but they’ve also proven kind of canny at how they go about it.

Most recently, they’ve been pushing premium prices up with redesigns and more expensive technologies, like OLED and TrueDepth cameras. But, they’ve also been pushing technology down to offer more compelling, less expensive entry levels.

The iPhone XR was more expensive but the iPhone 11, less expensive and the new iPhone SE less expensive again.

Now, normally, OLED displays and 5G are more expensive technologies and both of those are supposed to be making their way to the base model iPhone 12.

But, rumor has it, the new 5.4-inch will be slightly less expensive again, with the 6.1-inch gets slightly more expensive, while the Pro models stay the same. Dropping the cost of entry but balancing everything out overall.

So, unless you want the next, smaller iPhone, you won’t lose any money getting an iPhone 11 now.

If you do want that smaller iPhone, and OLED on it, you can save a few bucks waiting for the iPhone 12.

Also, Apple may keep the base model iPhone 11 around for $100 less once the iPhone 12 is announced, if that’s meaningful for you.


I’m going to repeat my always advice here, because it’s still my best advice:

Wait as long as you possibly can to buy, then buy when you absolutely need to buy, buy the best you can afford at the time, and then enjoy the hell out of it, because there will always be something new and something next.

In other words, if you really need an iPhone now, get an iPhone 11 or even iPhone SE now. If you don’t, wait and see what the iPhone 12 models have to offer and, when you need to buy, buy the one that best suits your needs.

Then enjoy the hell out of it, because there will always be something new and something next.


I Was Wrong About Touch Screen Macs…

Almost two years ago I did a video about how Apple could add multitouch to the Mac — the benefits, the costs, the challenges, all of it.

Because, in the age of the iPad, for a lot of people, a screen without multitouch not just feels but effectively is… broken.

And, while I think I got a lot of it right… I also think I got a few things wrong.

So, with Apple Silicon on its way — and just hit the subscribe button and bell right now so you don’t miss any of my coverage on that — with Apple silicon on the way, I want to revisit it, especially the wrong part.

And you can read all about it in my weekly column at iMore:


iOS 14 Widgets for iPhone — Explained!

iOS 14 borrows a page from Apple Watch complications to totally reboot widgets on the iPhone, the iPad, even the Mac.

James Thomson, the developer behind PCalc, who once shoved an entire calculator into an iOS 8 widget, joins me to discuss how the new version, announced at WWDC 2020, works — and doesn’t.


Should you Buy an Intel Mac Now or an Apple Silicon Mac Later?

At WWDC 2020, Tim Cook announced that the Mac was leaving Intel and transitioning to Apple Silicon — made by the same team responsible for the A-Series chipsets that have been powering iPhones and iPads for a decade.

Now, Cook said the transition would take roughly two years but that the very first Apple Silicon Macs would be release later this very year.

So, if you’re in the market for a new Mac, do you buy now and get the Intel you know, or do you wait and get the Apple Silicon that’s next?


We know all the current Intel Mac designs. Most of them haven’t really changed in years. The MacBook Air is still a wedge. The MacBook Pro is still squared off. The Mac mini is still a little rounded box. The iMac is still a giant display on a stand and the iMac Pro very much the same. Only the Mac Pro is new and, even then, a bit of a throwback to cheesegrators past.

They’re known quantities. Sleek, elegant, if a little too long on the shelves now to truly still be considered inspired.

Apple Silicon Mac design, though, is an unknown quantity. Mostly.

Based only on what we know about Apple Silicon and how it’s been reflected in iOS device design over the years, we can make some educated guesses.

First, that it could well be thinner and lighter. Unlike Intel, which has been struggling for years to get down from a 14 nanometer process to a 10 nanometer process for its chips, Apple’s already shipped a very similar die-shrunk design on TSMC’s 7 nanometer process and is rumored to be Ant-Man’ing their way down 5 nanometer already. That means less power consumption and less heat.

To compensate, Intel’s reverted to throwing cores at their problems, which means more power consumption and more heat. In enclosures that were designed expecting the exact opposite.

Which is pretty much why you see so many thumbnails with fire emoji complaining about Mac thermals. But not about iPad Pro thermals, which can be just as fast and in an enclosure not even half as thick.

There’s a lot of apple’s to Apple’s… other apples in what I just said, but the bottom line is if you’re fine with Apple’s current Intel Mac designs, if they fit your desk or your bag, and you like the classic, sleek look, you absolutely know what you’ll be getting.

But, if you’re itching for something that’s likely to be even sleeker, and you’re not concerned about it potentially being even thinner, then new Apple Silicon Mac designs are probably right around the corner.

And, if you can’t wait for an iMac as retro future cool as the iPad Pro, go ahead and drop a like below.


The displays on the current Intel Macs range from good on the MacBook Air to great on the MacBooks Pro and iMacs to… obscene on the Pro Display XDR.

With the Apple Silicon Macs they may get even better. Partially, because Apple won’t have to work around Intel’s limitations anymore with custom timing controllers and the like, and do what they’ve been doing with iOS devices for years now, and that’s build chipset features to directly support and optimize display features.

Partially because technologies like mini LED are also rumored to be on the way that’ll give some of the higher contrast ratios of OLED without the uniform brightness and other problems that come with OLED on Mac-sized screens.

It’s possible Apple will sneak mini LED into one of Intel Macs they’ll still ship before the transition is over, but it’s not in any Intel Mac they’re shipping now.

Ports remain part of the great unknown when it comes to Apple Silicon Macs as well. Current Intel MacBooks have USB C with Thunderbolt 3 ports and headphone jacks, while desktop Macs retain some mix of USB-A, HDMI, SD-Card, and ethernet.

Apple Silicon devices currently max out at USB-C, with no PCIe lanes for Thunderbolt 3.

Apple Silicon Macs could license Thunderbolt from Intel or could go with USB 4.0 which can also support Thunderbolt, but will they support the same older ports as current Intel Macs?

Aside from the iMac Pro, cameras on current Intel Macs are… a disgrace. Nowhere near the amazing cameras Apple ships on iPhones and iPads.

Could Apple Silicon Macs see an improvement there? Current Intel Macs have the equivalent of an A10 image signal processor and Apple Silicon Macs should have something closer to what Apple ships with the A14 later this year, but the bottom line is silicon alone can’t fix this. Apple needs better camera hardware in the casings and all we can do is wait and see if and how they deliver it.

So, if you have specific, especially legacy desktop port needs, like the current displays, and the cameras aren’t deal-breakers, the Intel Macs are again a known quantity for you.

If you’re waiting on a better display, praying for better cameras, and don’t care so much if the Mac deletes or changes even more ports, you can wait on Apple Silicon.

Either way, let me know your specific port and camera needs in the comments below.


We’ve already seen some benchmarks leak out about Apple Silicon performance, probably because people don’t realize benchmark apps suck up whatever they run and post it online without even asking permission first. But they’ve been based on a chipset that will never ship for the Mac, run on emulation, with an app not all designed to work with that chip.

So, they’re far more noise than signal.

What we do know is that iPad Pro silicon is already competitive with Intel silicon, without consuming anywhere nearly the power or generating anywhere nearly the heat.

In other words, for MacBooks, they should stay cooler and get way better battery life at the same size, or the same battery life at an even smaller, lighter size.

My guess is that’s what we’ll see with the first few Apple Silicon Macs — slightly better, much more Mac-specific variants of the current A-series versions for iPad, that impressively out perform at their size, power, and temperature, and it’s just going to go up from there.

How Apple scales silicon is also an open question. Some think they’ll start small and stay iPad-like with a new 12-inch. Other rumors suggest they dive right in with a new MacBook Pro and iMac.

Last time, it took until the end to get to the Mac Pro.

If you need what you need now, and you’re ok with the amount of cores, the power, and the heat, then you’ll be ok with Intel.

If you’re hoping for something better, cooler, and longer lasting than what Intel currently provides, you probably want to wait on Apple Silicon Macs.

I’ll be covering all the new Macs, Intel and Apple Silicon, as they come out, so seriously, make sure you hit that subscribe button and bell.


Not everything is going to be optimized for Apple Silicon at first.

Apple’s stuff will be, of course, as well as indy developers who always seem to code rings around the giant internet and software houses.

But, there’s already software on Intel Macs that’s barely supported and takes forever to update, and that probably won’t change.

So, if you work in production and depend on mission-critical workflows, you probably want to stick with an Intel Mac for as long as you possibly can and see just how much of the software you depend on gets updated to work with Apple Silicon and how fast… or if not at all.

That includes Windows, since Bootcamp won’t exist on Apple Silicon Macs and neither Apple nor Microsoft have announced anything in terms of Windows for ARM, much less good old-fashioned Windows for Intel being available for emulation.

We’ll hear something, it just might take a while.

If you’re a hobbyiest, you also know what you can and can’t do on an Intel Mac, including home brew and booting into alternate operating systems.

Apple has said you’ll be able to go into reduced security mode on Apple Silicon Macs and do things like run versions of macOS that are no longer signed, and the open source community will work on updating tools and the like, but we still don’t know how all of that is going to play out.

So, if you depend on software the way it currently works for you, get a Mac that can run it for as long as possible and wait and see how everything else sorts itself out.

If you mostly use Apple apps and web apps and are fine with computers just being the boxes you do that stuff with, you should be fine with an Apple silicon Mac. And if you’re an early-adopter, you should be thrilled.

Let me know which way you’re leaning in the comments below.


We have no idea what Apple Silicon Macs are going to cost. If we draw examples from iOS, the cost savings when Apple makes their own silicon compared to when they have to buy it from Intel has been considerable.

Intel chips alone can cost what a base level iOS device cots. How much of that gets passed along to customers we’ll have to wait and see.

My guess is, on high end Macs, Apple will spend that budget on adding extra and batter features, so the costs stay about the same.

My hope is, on entry level Macs, Apple does what they did with the iPad, iPhone SE, and Apple Watch 3, and that is introduce versions that cost considerably less than what the standard products have traditionally cost.

Additional memory, storage, IO — things like that will raise the prices somewhat, but we could get to a point where Macs don’t cost that much more than iPads for similar performance.

And that would be incredibly disruptive.


So... All this to say, wait as long as you possibly can to buy, then buy when you absolutely need to buy, buy the best you can afford at the time, and then enjoy the hell out of it, because there will always be something new and something next.

In other words, if you really need a Mac now, get an Intel Mac now. If you don’t, wait and see how the Apple Silicon Macs compare and, when you need to buy, buy the one that best suits your needs.


Can Apple really leave the plug out of the iPhone 12 box?

Rumors are making the rounds that the iPhones 12 will launch not just a little later but a little leaner than usual this year. Namely, there won’t be any wired EarPods in the box. Or USB to AC power adapter. You know, the brick. The charger. Not even the measly 5 watt one we’ve been griping about for years. Nadda. Nothing.

The rumors about the EarPods started back in late May, with supply chain exfiltrator extraordinaire, Kuo Ming Chi saying Apple was axing them from the box.

Then, earlier this week, Barclays repeated the same rumor, then I’ll-do-you-one-better’d Kuo by saying the USB and AC power adapting was also being deleted.

Kuo came back a couple of days later matching and calling — no EarPods, no charger, but also that the old 5 and 18 watt chargers would be purged from this reality completely and Apple would instead be offering a new 20 watt charge sold separately.

Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech commented on Twitter that it’s not what he’d heard.

But, if these rumors are true — always a big if — what’s going on here and why?

The Costs

So, probably the first thing that’s going to go through anyone’s head on hearing “Apple’s deleting the EarPods and charger” is just “no. Oh hell-to-the-no. Intolerable. Unacceptable. Cancel Apple.” Something to that effect.

And for sure. We, as people, have a real, visceral reaction to things being taken away from us. We had it with the headphone jack. Some of us had with with the Home button. More recently with the 3.5mm to Lightning adapter they gave us when they took the jack. Just… stop taking our stuff!

Like the 5 stages of grief but jumping straight to the anger part. But then still bargaining.

So, the next reaction is, well, then, if Apple is taking this stuff away, then they better give us something back. Cash back. Drop the price by the cost of the parts.

By 30 bucks for the EarPods and another 20 bucks for that miserable little 5 watt USB-A charger still included with the base model iPhones and 40 bucks for the 18 watt USB-C charger Apple just started including with the iPhones Pro. Teases.

So, something something math — by 50 bucks for the iPhone 12 and 70 bucks for the iPhone 12 Pro.

Of course, those are retail prices. Apple doesn’t pay anywhere nearly that much for EarPods and power adapters. Apple doesn’t even pay wholesale. Apple makes them so Apple gets them at cost. Components, manufacturing, assembly, packaging, and R&D long since scaled up and paid down. A few bucks.

Though, yes, sure, at iPhone scale that’s still a hundred million few bucks in total.

Still, I don’t think anyone would be thrilled if the next iPhone sold for $692 instead of $700. Apple, because that price would just look hella ugly, and us because if we have to go buy those accessories separately, we’ll be paying that full retail price regardless.

Now, there is a school of thought that Apple will be reducing prices… kinda… in a way. Or, rather hedging against a price increase.

See, the iPhone 12 series is supposed to be getting 5G cellular networking. Sub-6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or whatever the hell that range finally settles on, for all of them, and mmWave for the Pro models.

And, if Android phone maker’s prior rollout is any indication, Qualcomm is charging a pretty penny for those modems, or the systems-in-package they include them on, especially the rumored next-generation versions Apple may be using.

Pretty enough that we’ve seen those phones go up in price by $100 or more. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S20, enough to make even the iPhone 11 seem cheap.

Apple, by contrast, is rumored to be maintaining the current pricing on the iPhone 12 Pro models, and splitting the pricing on the iPhone 12 models, slightly less for the smaller one, slightly more for the current-sized one.

I mean, picture Phil Schiller on stage, picture the slides on the big screen — And, even with the better coverage and signal and speed that 5G offers, things that competitors are charging way more for, at Apple we’re thrilled to tell you that iPhone Pro prices are staying exactly the same.

In other words, even though Apple uses their own SoC, they’ll be eating the cost of the much more expensive 5G modems. And maybe, just maybe, killing the EarPods and charger is way to eat just a little less cost.

But, even if true, I’m not sure most people will notice or, frankly, care.

Again, we have this almost instinctive, feral reaction to being nickel-and-dimed.

Like when our favorite bag of chips stays the same size even though the amount of chips in it seems to go down every year.

So, I’ll ask you — if Apple ditches the EarPods and the charger, but keeps iPhone prices the same even with 5G, is that any more acceptable? Or still no, hard no?

Let me know in the comments below.

The Environment

Another theory being bandied about to explain or justify Apple deleting the EarPods and power adapters from the box is that it’s better for the environment.

Specifically, that putting headphones and power adapters in boxes has caused an incredible amount of eWaste over the years. That people, knowing they’ll get new ones for quote unquote free in the box just carelessly, callously throw away old or extra ones.

As part of ongoing efforts to cut down on eWaste, the European Union, always more vigilant about this sort of thing than North America, is reportedly considering regulations that would require charges not be put in the boxes and only sold separately for people who really want and need them.

We’ve already seen the EU try to mandate universal charger standards for the same reason, though whether they’ve meant cables or just plugs hasn’t always been clear or reported clearly over the last couple of years.

Apple has resisted moving away from Lightning on the iPhone end but has recently started moving to USB-C on the charger end, at least on the Pro models.

So would they suddenly start caring about what the EU wants now?

Well, maybe when Lightning or not Lightning isn’t the issue.

See, Apple has been super serious about the environment in general, with Lisa Jackson leading that charge, and with Phil Schiller delivering a report card at every iPhone and device launch for as long as I can remember.

So, it’s easy to see Apple just folding this in with a set of slides that provide stats on how many headphones and chargers they’ve shipped since the advent of the iPod, how everyone upgrading or switching to iPhone already has chargers, and how much eWaste could be saved by no longer assuming everyone needs a new one by just no longer putting them in the box.

If that’s the reason Apple gives for deleting the EarPods and power adapter, would that make any difference to you? Or, my preferred option here to keep any of this any kind of acceptable, if there was a discount or option to get one of the fancy new 20 watt charges free with purchase if you really do need it? Especially for the first couple of years, like the adapter bandage on the headphone jack wound.


Google’s Buying North, the Smart-Glasses Company — But Seriously Why Though?

Canadian smart-glasses company, North, is being bought by global internet powerhouse, Google:

We couldn't be more thrilled to join Google, and to take an exciting next step towards the future we've been focused on for the past eight years.

Google’s one of the biggest companies in the world. They shouldn’t need Fitbit to make a wrist computer or North to make an eye computer.

Given Fitbit, even Pixel post-HTC, I can’t bring myself to even be excited about this.

I just want Google-level products to ship already.


Apple’s Cecilia Dantas and Katie Skinner Talk iOS 14 and Privacy

Apple’s Cecilia Dantas, from iOS Product Marketing, and Katie Skinner, user privacy software manager (who you may recall from last week’s keynote) join me for some post WWDC 2020 chat.

We talk iOS 14’s new home screen experience, including widgets and the App Library, and touch on Messages and Maps, then dive into Apple’s vision for privacy and how it’s continuously being implemented for users.

Grab some coffee or tea. Make it a double. This is going to be good!


What Apple Didn’t Answer at WWDC 2020

Even after 5 videos in 5 days, you still had so many questions, questions about everything Apple announced at WWDC 2020 and about everything they left unsaid.

Here are some answers.


Does Google Still Care About Android and Pixel?

John Gruber, writing on Daring Fireball:

Do you get the sense that Google, company-wide, is all that interested in Android? I don’t. Both as the steward of the software platform and as the maker of Pixel hardware, it seems like Google is losing interest in Android. Flagship Android hardware makers sure are interested in Android, but they can’t move the Android developer ecosystem — only Google can.

The iPhone was made because Apple execs wanted something better than their current phones, and iOS to power that.

Android was bought because Google was afraid Microsoft would lock them out of Mobile and the Pixel was made for several conflicting reasons.

Because of its modular, multi-vendor nature, Android will always be a burden to Google in a way iOS-just-for-iPhone won’t be to Apple.

Likewise, until Pixel as testbed, revenue generator, or halo product is sorted out, the results will always be less than the sum of the agendas.