Apple releases new iOS 12 beta, putting a stop to infuriating update notification

“A new iOS update is now available. Please update from the iOS 12 beta.” If you’ve been running the latest version of Apple’s beta software for OS 12, you’ve likely been pestered by this notification a whole lot over the last 24 hours. Dozens of times? Potentially hundreds? Yesterday, it started showing up every time an iOS device was unlocked — or even if you just pulled down the notification tray a little bit.

Thankfully, just as we enter Labor Day weekend, Apple has shipped another iOS 12 update to restore sanity. If you open up your iPhone’s settings, iOS 12 public beta 10 (developer beta 12) is now available to download. Once you do, the obnoxious, constant alert — about an update that didn’t even exist — will go away.

Guilherme Ramo managed to pinpoint what went wrong with the last iOS 12 beta. The build thought it was about to expire, thus setting off the string of notifications and mass frustration:

This annoying hiccup aside, the iOS 12 beta (especially as of the last few builds) seems to be delivering on Apple’s promises of faster, more fluid performance across the iOS product line. During the company’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said there are over 4 million people running this year’s beta software.

But let me just say: I’m still not a fan of the changes they’ve made to sending a photo in iMessage. Just switch it back, Apple. Please.

Purported iPhone XS image shows gold color and Plus-sized display

The image above, according to 9to5Mac, is the upcoming iPhone XS that Apple plans to announce on September 12th. The leaked marketing image shows a new gold color option — we know Apple had explored releasing a gold iPhone X last year — and the two sizes that the OLED iPhone models will come in.

The image definitely looks like something that Apple would produce, and the phone is positioned at the same angle that Apple often uses for iPhone marketing assets. Again, this is not a mockup or fan render; it appears to be a legitimate image of the new phones direct from Apple.

A similar image for the current iPhone X on Apple’s website lends credence to the leaked marketing asset.

Apple is also expected to launch a third, 6.1-inch LCD iPhone that will share the overall design of these, but with an aluminum frame instead of the stainless steel on the iPhone X and XS.

The courageous iPhone headphone dongle is obviously the most popular Apple accessory at Best Buy

It’s an understatement to say that Apple makes lots of popular products that people like to buy: iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more. But none as apparently as beloved as the 3.5mm headphone jack to Lightning port dongle — at least, if Best Buy’s sale data is anything to go by, according to a report from Ceros (via 9to5Mac).

Yes, as the chart indicates, the humble $9 dongle has dominated as the most purchased Apple product at the blue-and-yellow hued electronics store since Q2 2017, overtaking the previous champion: the three-foot-long Lightning cable.

(As a caveat, Ceros’ data doesn’t include iPhones — which can be explained either by how Best Buy counts different SKUs, the fact that for whatever reason Best Buy may not sell many iPhones, or that including iPhones would have ruined the joke, although it’s unclear which explanation is correct. Either way, it’s still the most popular accessory.)

Now, there are some who might argue that the dongle only tops the chart because of the fact that Apple made the still-frustrating decision to remove an industry-wide standard port from its devices, or because the adapter is easily lost or prone to breaking. But I will say that those people are clearly just stumping for their fallen favorite accessories like the Lighting cable or wired EarPod headphones, and have yet to realize the courageous elegance that the dongle can bring to their lives.

Sadly, though, in the most recent quarter, the mighty headphone jack dongle has all too soon been beaten out by a different Apple product: the AirPods. Because apparently, Apple has been playing us all the entire time.

Apple’s MacBook Air successor will reportedly have slim bezels and high-res Retina display

Apple is nearing the release of a long-awaited, completely redesigned successor to its MacBook Air laptop, according to Bloomberg. The new “low-cost” model reportedly features slimmer bezels and a high-resolution Retina display. It will otherwise “look similar to the current MacBook Air,” though port selection is anyone’s guess.

The once-revered MacBook Air has languished in update limbo ever since Apple shifted its focus to the MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook. Some viewed the latter’s introduction as Apple moving on from the Air. But its starting price is hundreds of dollars more expensive, which has led the company to keep the $1,000 Air around — with its low-res screen and outdated specs — for customers on a budget and for the education market.

Apple is also said to be working on an update to the Mac Mini, its miniature desktop computer that has been even more neglected in the company’s update plans. Bloomberg writes that “new storage and processor options are likely to make it more expensive than previous versions” because Apple is optimizing the next Mac Mini for the loyal customers that have used it as a home theater PC, server rack, or for software development purposes.

Last October, Tim Cook signaled that Apple hasn’t forgotten about the Mac Mini despite the several-year pause since its last substantial hardware upgrade. “We do plan for Mac Mini to be an important part of our product line going forward,” he wrote in an email to a customer.

Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhone models and a redesigned iPad Pro with Face ID next month. One or both Mac computers could also debut at the September event, but it’s also very possible that Apple will hold back their reveal until a month later in October.

Apple delays FaceTime group chats from iOS 12 to a ‘future software update’

Apple is delaying its FaceTime group chats feature. While FaceTime group chats were originally scheduled for the iOS 12 release, developer Guilherme Rambo has revealed the feature has been removed in the latest iOS 12 beta 7 release today. “Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12,” reads a note from Apple to developers, posted by Rambo. Apple says the feature “will ship in a future software update later this fall.”

Group FaceTime chats will allow 32 participants in a video call, with tiles of people’s faces where you can manually select people to highlight them in the main interface. Apple’s delay to group FaceTime chats comes after the company delayed its AirPlay 2 introduction in iOS. Apple is late to group video chats with FaceTime, and WhatsApp just launched its own group video calling feature that supports up to four people in a video call. Facebook’s own Messenger app also supports group video chats, alongside Skype and others.

iPhone supplier TSMC shut down factories after virus attack

Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. shut down several of its factories last night after it its systems were hit by a computer virus, reports Bloomberg.

TSMC is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, and supplies components for companies like ADM, Apple, Nvidia, and Qualcomm. The company told Bloomberg that the virus infected a “number of its fabrication tools,” but that the “degree of infection varies” from factory to factory. Several have resumed their operations, but others won’t come back online until tomorrow. The company indicated that its factories weren’t infected by a hacker.

“TSMC has been attacked by viruses before,” CFO Lora Ho told Bloomberg, “but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines.” She didn’t disclose whether or not the affected lines were producing processors for Apple, nor what revenue has been lost as a result.

The slowdown comes at a critical time for the company, as many tech firms are working to release their next generation of products this fall. In May, the company began manufacturing Apple’s A12 chip, which is expected to be used in this year’s line of iPhones, and which is the first to use a new 7nm process that should make the chips more smaller, faster, and efficient.

iPhone dual-SIM references discovered in latest iOS 12 beta

Rumors of a dual-SIM iPhone first emerged earlier this year, and now Apple’s own iOS 12 is backing up the reports. A new “iPhone X Plus” is rumored to include a 6.5-inch OLED display and dual-SIM support in certain regions. 9to5Mac reports that iOS 12 developer beta 5, released yesterday, includes references to dual-SIM support. The operating system even mentions a second physical SIM tray, meaning an iPhone with dual-SIM support might not be restricted to a single SIM tray and eSIM support.

If the iOS 12 beta software is accurate, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has revealed future hardware or software support in a beta operating system. Apple’s HomePod firmware revealed the iPhone X screen design, and beta builds of iOS 11 included Face ID, Animoji, and updated AirPods before Apple even announced them. The latest iOS 12 beta has also revealed the new AirPods wireless charging case might be ready to be released.

Apple is expected to hold its annual iPhone event in September, where the company is rumored to be launching three new iPhones this fall. A new “iPhone X Plus” is rumored to include a 6.5-inch OLED display, alongside a 6.1-inch LCD model and a refresh to the 5.8-inch iPhone X.