Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By John Moltz

This Week in Apple: Feel the elephant

The M2 Mac mini and MacBook Pro reviews are in, Ivory is here, and details of the Apple headset?! Our collective cups runneth over.

“You made the car too good.”

The new M2-based Mac mini and MacBook Pros fell into the hands of reviewers this week and the results were mostly what you’d expect.

Let me just check the notes here I made from reading several reviews…

Just says “hecka fast”.

Actually it says something different but I changed it to “hecka” because this is a family-friendly site.

(It was “darn fast”.)

Here’s Jason on the MacBook Pro:

These are incredibly fast laptops, and they don’t slow down when they’re running on battery power.

Here’s how Dan described the M2 Pro Mac mini:

…a high-performing machine that will go up against the more expensive products in Apple’s desktop line, like the Mac Studio.

The Verge’s Chris Welch said of the same model:

So far, it’s been an absolute screamer worthy of the “Mac Studio junior” moniker — and then some.

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.



By Dan Moren

New tool generates more useful Mastodon link previews in Messages

Just the other day, I was lamenting one of my big frustations with Mastodon—that links to posts, unlike tweets, don’t display nicely in Messages. Instead you get a preview that shows the poster’s profile image and their name, rather than the actual text or image of the post itself. Not exactly useful.

It was unclear to me exactly who to point the finger at here: Apple supposedly uses metadata from the open source Open Graph protocol to pull that information, so it seemed like it was potentially an issue with Mastodon…only the system’s creator, Eugen Rochko, confirmed in my mentions that they’d provided the appropriate information and it was up to Apple. It seems that Apple was taking additional steps to embed tweet information in their previews beyond the standard metadata.

Mastodon Link previews
Mastodon link previews in Messages currently (left) and using Tyler Hillman’s tool (right).

Well, the ball may be in Apple’s court, but not everybody’s waiting for them to return the serve. iOS developer Tyler Hillman has come up with a workaround: a web service that can provide the necessary metadata to show post content in Messages. Paste in any Mastodon post’s URL and you’ll get a new link, which will display nicely when you paste it in Messages. Not sastified with leaving it at that, Tyler also created a shortcut for macOS and iOS that makes the process even easier.

It’s likely Apple will at some point correct this oversight, making Tyler’s tool no longer necessary—an eventuality that he’s not just ready for, but eager: as he writes on the service’s site, “Please Sherlock me, Tim.” But until then, this is one way to ease the transition to the federated social network.

[hat tip: Lex Friedman]

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]


Whether we spec up our Macs, our philosophy on menu bars, what we use for pointing devices, and our screen sizes of choice.



By Jason Snell for Macworld

M2 Pro vs M2 Max: It comes down to memory–and money

With the release of the 2023 MacBook Pro and the 2023 Mac mini, the shape of the second generation of Apple silicon on Mac has been revealed. It is, unsurprisingly, a bit of a replay of the first generation: Apple has segmented its chips into a few different varieties. 

As with the M1 generation, the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are closely related to each other and to the M2 chip introduced last summer. They’re all based on the same foundation, but each chip has some different characteristics. When it comes time to choose how much to pay for a Mac mini or a MacBook Pro, those differences matter.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦


Netflix shows Disney how CEO transitions happen, as Reed Hastings is elevated to chairmanship and Greg Peters becomes co-CEO. Julia has analysis of Netflix’s earnings report, we discuss streaming Oscar nominees, and we answer your amazing letters!


By Dan Moren

Tapbots’s Ivory client for Mastodon launches for iOS, iPadOS

Ivory for iOS

Sometimes when the universe force quits a Twitter client, it launches a Mastodon client.

Rising from the ashes of the recently departed Tweetbot, developer Tapbots has officially launched its much-anticipated client for the federated social network, Ivory, for iPhones and iPads.

If you’ve been anywhere near Mastodon recently, you’ve probably heard some talk about Ivory, which has been in beta for the last month or two—a beta so popular that when Tapbots opened thousands of new slots they were usually snapped up within seconds.

I’ve been using Ivory for several weeks now, and it’s hands down my favorite of all the Mastodon clients I’ve tried. (Little surprise, given that I was a long time Tweetbot user.) Even in beta, it felt incredibly reliable, offered a bunch of features that many other clients didn’t (timeline syncing, I’m looking at you), and had a slick, polished interface.

While Ivory has been free during the beta period, it will be a paid product within the App Store: you can pay $1.99 per month or $14.99 per year.

Tapbots has said that a Mac version of Ivory is in development, but there’s no current timeline on when it might arrive.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]


By Jason Snell

Apple’s privacy push extends to retail (and Nick Mohammed)

As a part of Data Privacy Week, on Tuesday Apple announced a privacy-themed session at its retail stores and released a video highlighting privacy features in iOS.

The video, which the company posted to its YouTube channel, features Nick Mohammed of “Ted Lasso” and is titled “A Day in the Life of an Average Person’s Data.” It’s essentially a humorous infomercial about Apple’s privacy features, as a gentleman in an Apple t-shirt helps Mohammed navigate various privacy-oriented situations. Mohammed, playing a (presumably) exaggerated version of himself, tries to combat his feelings of inadequacy, most notably that he’s apparently the titular “average person” in the video. Along the way he’s introduced to email privacy features, App Tracking Transparency, and more.

Meanwhile, Apple retail stores are gearing up with a new Today at Apple session called “Taking Charge of Your Privacy on iPhone“, which is designed as way for users to walk through their current iPhone settings and get tips about how customize those settings to set an appropriate level.


Jason’s spent most of the last week with an M2 Max MacBook Pro, so it’s time for his full review. We also discuss the M2 Mac mini and the second-generation HomePod. This naturally leads into a discussion of Apple’s future home products and what form the M3 processor might take.


By Jason Snell

Video: M2 MacBook Pro and Mac mini

New Macs are here. We’ve got ’em. Jason and Dan provided a live look at the new hardware on YouTube on Monday afternoon, and answered your questions. Here’s an archived video of the event.


By Dan Moren

Apple ID security key support added in iOS 16.3, macOS 13.2

With today’s release of iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2, Apple added yet another additional security feature, allowing users to secure their Apple IDs with hardware security keys.

If you’re not familiar with hardware security keys, they’re small devices that plug in to a hardware port—usually USB, though Lightning models exist—and provide a means of cryptographic authentication.

Apple says security key support is aimed mainly at those who want extra protection from targeted phishing or social engineering attacks. Adding a security key replaces the existing multifactor verification process, where you’re required to provide a six-digit code that appears on your other devices logged into the same Apple ID. So if you want to log in to a new device, manage your Apple ID on the web, or reset your Apple ID password, you’ll need to present your registered security key instead. (If you want to log in to a device that doesn’t have a way to directly connect to a security key—such as an Apple TV, HomePod, or Apple Watch—you’ll need to authenticate with the key on an iPhone or iPad.)

Notably, this feature does not seem to allow the use of a passkey, the security feature rolled out in iOS 16. Many online services that support security keys treat passkeys as essentially the same thing, but it’s possible that such a usage here could present a security vulnerability if a bad actor got access to a device.

Other restrictions include the inability to log in to iCloud for Windows, no support for older devices that can’t update to an OS that allows for security keys, no child accounts or Managed Apple IDs, and no support for other family members Apple Watches paired with a different phone.

macOS Add Seucrity Keys

I went through the process of adding security keys, which on the Mac can be accessed in System Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security. There’s a new Security Keys section where you can click Add, and the system will walk you through the process. It’s worth noting that Apple requires you have two security keys to set this up, so that you have a backup in case one gets lost. If both your keys are lost, Apple warns that you may be locked out of your account permanently. (In this way, it’s similar to the Advanced Data Protection features for iCloud that Apple added late last year, which put the encryption keys in the hands of users rather than Apple itself.)

Setting up the security keys proved to be straightforward enough, though a bit awkward if you need to connect them to a Mac where the USB ports are out of the way—I plugged mine in to my Studio Display’s ports, but I had to reach behind it to activate the key, which would get old pretty fast if I had to do it several times a day. (I think this is the first time I’ve really wanted a Mac to have an NFC chip built in.)

I’m curious to see how this impacts my day-to-day usage, but I think it will actually be pretty minimal. Now, here’s hoping I can just avoid losing my security keys—maybe it’s time to AirTag them.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]


By Dan Moren

Hi Dock lets you tweak your Mac’s Dock for multiple displays

As someone who’s recently been spending more time with a MacBook Air both hooked up to an Apple Studio Display and on its own, I’ve definitely noticed that what works in one setup isn’t always the best answer for all display configurations.

Enter HiDock, a new app from Rafael Conde, that attempts to deal with this issue when it comes to macOS’s Dock.

HiDock

The idea behind HiDock is simple: based on the current display situation, it can automatically change your Dock’s size; whether it’s positioned on the left, right, or bottom of the screen; and whether it’s shown or hidden. So if you prefer to have a left-mounted Dock when you’re connected to an external display, but a bottom Dock when your laptop’s out and about, you can set those options and have HiDock handle it for you. There’s also a configuration for when you have multiple displays active, as opposed to using the MacBook in clamshell mode.

HiDock is exceptionally simple to use and has a very straightforward interface that lets you preview exactly what your screens will look like in various monitor setups. (There’s no option, of course, to set different Docks for the different displays in your setup, given that macOS generally handles that on its own, depending on whether you’re mirroring or extending your display.)

And, for all that, the app is free to download and use, though the developer welcomes donations via his website if you’re so inclined.

[via the old Mac Gemster himself, Dan Frakes]

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]


By Jason Snell

2023 MacBook Pro Review: More of the same, in a good way

Here’s what the new M2 MacBook Pro is not: new. Yes, it’s powered by a new generation of Apple silicon, but it’s very much the same laptop that was updated for the Apple silicon era in 2021. If you’ve seen an M1 MacBook Pro, you know what the M2 MacBook Pro looks like.

But when it comes to professional workhorse computers, novelty can be overrated. The M2 MacBook Pro is the product of Apple’s repentance from its confused mid-2010 laptop designs and offers all the benefits of running on Apple’s own processors. The new M2 Pro and Max processors are an incremental improvement over their predecessors but an enormous one over all Intel-based models.

Of course, what makes the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops appealing goes beyond the processor running inside them. From their bright HDR displays to an array of ports and slots, they’ve got functionality that separates them from the lower end of Apple’s laptop line.

I’ve been able to spend nearly a week with a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Max processor, and it’s been a great experience. But how you view these laptops will depend on who you are, where you’re coming from, and what you’re looking for.

Continue reading “2023 MacBook Pro Review: More of the same, in a good way”…


By Dan Moren

M2 Mac mini Review: Whatever you want it to be

In 2005, when Apple first introduced the Mac mini, it was a carefully designed, strategic product: a low-cost computer aimed primarily at luring customers from the Windows PC hegemony with the promise that they could save even further by using all of their existing accessories, thus putting a dent into the argument that investing in the Mac was by necessity expensive.

Eighteen years after its debut, the Mac mini is, surprisingly enough, still going strong. At its core, however, it remains a machine of contradictions: it has become a bastion of Apple’s lineup, but it’s been updated more sporadically than any other Mac. It was one of the first Macs to make the jump to Apple silicon back in 2020, but at the same time, a more expensive model lingered as one of the last remaining Intel Macs. It’s an entry-level machine, but it’s also been deployed in server farms and modded and smushed into any number of applications.

With the most recent update to the M2 family of processors, the Mac mini is once again doing more than just one thing at the same time. In its base configuration, with an 8-CPU-core/10-GPU-core M2 processor, it’s a respectably performing desktop that can now be had for just $599, a $100 price drop from the M1 mini, solidifying its status as the cheapest Mac around. But bump the mini up to an M2 Pro, and it’s also a high-performing machine that will go up against the more expensive products in Apple’s desktop line, like the Mac Studio.

It’s hard to argue that the mini’s versatility isn’t the biggest part of why the product is still going strong, nigh on two decades after its debut. If the iMac, the Mac Studio, and the still-waiting-in-the-wings Apple silicon Mac Pro are the bricks of Apple’s Mac lineup, the Mac mini is the mortar, with its various configurations filling the gaps in between.

Continue reading “M2 Mac mini Review: Whatever you want it to be”…


By Dan Moren for Macworld

Are Apple’s Macs getting too powerful?

Bear with me: this is, on the face of it, a weird idea. But is it possible Apple is making its Macs too powerful?

Okay, okay, I know: how could having a computer that’s too powerful be a bad thing? But after this week’s announcement of the new MacBook Pro and Mac mini, I found myself wondering whether the company has painted itself into a corner, vis-a-vis its impressive hardware.

It is, admittedly, a strange state of affairs when you find yourself wondering if Apple has maybe gotten too good at making computers that are so powerful they are overkill for the purposes of most tasks, but you don’t have to look too far to see another example of this same phenomenon.

This is a struggle that Apple’s long contended with on the iPad. Ask any user pushing the envelope of an iPad Pro and the consensus will likely be that the hardware is awesome and incredibly powerful–if only the software could keep up.

Continue reading on Macworld.


By John Moltz

This Week in Apple: Non-events

This week answered the philosophical question: what if they held an Apple event and nobody came? Even if it was because nobody was invited. And speaking of not invited, some favorite apps have been uninvited to the Twitter party.

Apple event

Apple decided to make the announcement of new M2-based MacBook Pros and Mac minis, in which the new M2 Pro and Max chips were unveiled, an online-only affair which meant reporters could cover it in their PJs. The company still produced a video featuring talking execs (if not its most senior), lots of camera swooshes through the company’s headquarters, and videos. Yes, videos inside the presentation video. Videos of people making videos.

It’s like a video turducken.

The virtual event was not entirely Tim-less (Apple’s VP of Platform Architecture Tim Millet represented the Tims of Apple) but it was Cook-less. Still, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t sizzle.

The new M2 Pro Mac mini beats the M1 Max.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.



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