Tech round-up for March 27: Apple's content play, Apple hardware refreshed, reset your Facebook password, Tesla's Model Y crossover

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Apple updates some hardware, Facebook seems not to understand security, and Tesla announced a new vehicle. But first, all the content that’s coming at you from Apple.

Everything you want to know about Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Arcade

Oprah said it best when she explained why she’s signed a deal with Apple to create content for the new video service: “They’re in a billion pockets, y’all. A billion pockets. The whole world’s got them in their hands.”

Apple is leveraging the billion or so people it has connected to its devices. In a way, the content play the company announced on Monday began with Apple Music in 2015. Now, Apple wants to provide people with their video (Apple TV+) and print (Apple New+) content, too. And it’s finally giving gaming some recognition with Apple Arcade.

And while pricing for Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade haven’t been announced, all three of the new services are part of Apple’s Family Sharing program, so up to six people can share a single subscription.

Apple TV+

Coming this fall, Apple TV+ is a subscription service (pricing has not been announced) that will deliver original programming, ad-free and on demand, and all content can be downloaded for viewing offline.

At the press event in Cupertino, there were a bunch of celebrities who took to the stage to talk about what they’ve got in the works. Some of them, like Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s The Morning Show we already knew about.

Others, like See, the new action drama from Steven Knight, starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard and filmed in Vancouver, were surprises.

Apple is also adding channels to Apple TV giving you a chance to subscribe to other streaming services through it. The company name checked HBO, Showtime, and Starz, but those are unlikely to be available in Canada, as Bell Media has rights to programs from those networks and they are in the Crave service.

Netflix was notably missing.

Apple News+

The print subscription service, Apple News+ is available now. For Cdn$13 a month you get access to all the reading you want.

Publications that have signed up include magazines such as the Atlantic, Chatelaine, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Wired, and the Hockey News. News organizations participating include the Wall Street Journal, the Toronto Star, Bell Media, and Global News.

Obvious missing entities include the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe & Mail.

Apple Arcade

While video games have been the biggest selling software in Apple’s App Store, the company has largely ignored the medium until now. Apple Arcade promises more than 100 games, ad-free and playable offline, when it launches this fall.

Your subscription will get you the games on all of your Apple devices, and you’ll be able to move from device to device and pick up where you left off. Apple made sure to point out that the games you play in the Apple Arcade will not be streamed, but will be full apps downloaded to your devices.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but among the developers working on exclusive titles are Vancouver’s Klei Entertainment (Hot Lava), Toronto’s Snowman (Where Cards Fall), and ustwo, creators of Monument Valley. Bigger publishers including Konami and Sega are also listed as partners (Sonic the Hedgehog is visible in the Apple Arcade trailer).

Apple refreshes iMac, iPads, AirPods

In the weeks leading up to this week’s big press event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in California, Apple announced that the technology in its iPad mini, iPad Air, and iMac computers was being updated, and revealed updated AirPods.

The new iMacs are faster, with 8th- and 9th-generation processors and Radeon Pro Vega graphics processors, and the new iPads get Apple Pencil support, the A12 Bionic chip, and Retina displays with Apple’s True Tone technology.

The iMac is priced starting at $1,399 for a 21.5-inch display, and $2,399 for a 27-inch display.

The new iPad mini is priced at $529 (Wi-Fi) and $699 (Wi-Fi and cellular) for the 64 GB version, and $729 and $899 for the 256 GB version.

The iPad Air is $649 and $819 for 64 GB of storage, and $849 and $1,019 for the 256 GB model.

The second generation AirPods, meanwhile, sport a new H1 chip designed for the earphones and promise better battery life and faster connections. And they come with a wireless charging case, which you can place on a Qi-compatible charging mat instead of plugging it in.

The new AirPods cost $219 with a standard case or $269 with a wireless charging case. They are available now.

Time to change your Facebook password

Oh, god. Can it get any worse for Facebook? Now the company has admitted that it stored “hundreds of millions” of user passwords without any encryption at all.

Facebook vice president Pedro Canahuati said in a statement that there is “no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed” the data.

Yeah, you should change your password anyway. Do it right now.

Tesla’s Model Y is the company’s new . . . car? SUV?

The Model Y, revealed by Elon Musk at an event last week (the video below is a supercut of the event from the Verge compressed into three minutes) is the auto manufacturer’s fifth production vehicle and the latest since the Model 3, which was designed for the average consumer.

The new vehicle is a crossover with seating for up to 7 in a cabin with fold flat back seats. It’s got the versatility and space of an SUV with the compact frame of a sedan.

There will be four trim packages, starting at Cdn$64,000 before incentives. The Long Range edition has a range of nearly 500 km, while the Dual-Motor All-Wheel-Drive and Performance packages get 450 km. These are all expected in fall 2020. A Standard edition, with a range of 370 km and a starting price of about $50,000 is planned for 2021.

It’s very pretty, and the 500 km range is solid. That’s pretty close to what I get with my Honda Pilot. And while the purchase price is at a premium for most, there are significant savings in gas and maintenance.

The company is still struggling to get up to pace building the Model 3 to meet demand.


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