MacLife May 2021

Mac|Life is the leading independent magazine devoted to all things Apple. For over five years, Mac|Life has helped both new and veteran users get more out of their iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more, with coverage that cuts through today's glut of apps and accessories to find what matters most. With a bright, clean design and casual tone, Mac|Life offers an easy and enjoyable way to keep up with the latest Apple trends and topics.

United States
Future Publishing Ltd
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
functional & emotive?

By the time this issue lands, Apple will have hopefully blown our minds with some new hardware for 2021. Using my Magic 8–Ball (and, maybe, by reading popular internet news sites and Twitter feeds that are usually pretty reliable) I “predict” that Apple will release a 14–inch and 16–inch MacBook Pro and an all–new iMac and iMac Pro, sporting a next–gen version of the M1 chip (possibly M2?) with way more power to suit, and a total redesign of its exterior. I’m thinking a virtually bezel–less display, slab sides, and flat at the back rather than the conventionally curved design of old. Which gets me thinking: At what point does Apple’s design language get phased out, replaced with pure, unemotive functionality? (Some might say it’s already happened.) I can well…

3 min
latter of the month

Re: “Missing hardware diagnostics” query in Mac|Life’s “Ask” Q&A section, (April 2021, p73):Re: “Missing hardware diagnostics” query in Mac|Life’s “Ask” Q&A section, (April 2021, p73): “My iMac can’t enter hardware Diagnostics. When I hold down the D key during startup, it complains that it can’t load EFI/Driver/TestSupport.efi and I have to restart. How can I check its hardware?” Though the answer to this question was quite good, my first go-to question whenever someone says they can’t access a startup function is: “What kind of keyboard are you using?” Every time (in my experience) it turns out they’re using an aftermarket board. I first encountered this with my wife’s iMac years ago; I had gotten her a Matias board which was at–a–glance nearly identical to the stock iMac board. But Recovery, Internet Recovery,…

2 min
next: imac with apple silicon

APPLE ALMOST NEVER discloses upcoming products ahead of official announcements, but signs are that a new model iMac is coming soon, powered by a next–generation Apple chip and possibly with a new design. In March, Apple said the iMac Pro was being discontinued and would be available only “while supplies last.” It is now no longer available to buy on the online Apple Store, and no longer appears in the product lineup on the site. says remaining references to iMac Pro, on Apple’s support pages for example, have changed from “2017 and later” to “2017,” suggesting no new model is planned for the pro machine. Also, two configurations of the 21.5–inch 4K iMac appear to have been discontinued. The model is no longer available with 512GB or 1TB SSD, although it…

1 min
airpods max struggle despite booming market

HAVE AIRPODS MAX missed the mark? Apple can’t be expecting to sell huge numbers of the premium–priced headphones, but analyst Ming–Chi Kuo forecasts sales of only about one million units in 2021, or at most 1% of AirPods sales in the year. By contrast, according to research firm IDC, the wearables market — which includes AirPods — grew more than 27% in Q4 2020 compared to Q4 2019. Total shipments, IDC estimates, reached 135.5 million devices in the quarter, with Apple shipping 55.6m Apple Watches and AirPods, up from 43.7m in Q4 2019. This gives Apple a dominating market share of 36%. IDC says Apple Watch shipments grew 45% year–on–year. Apple does not disclose unit shipments but did officially report that revenue from its Wearables, Home and Accessories segment reached almost $13bn…

1 min
news in brief

HOMEPOD DISCONTINUED Apple has discontinued the HomePod, although it’s not clear why. The smart speaker — which sounds stunning but cost a hefty $349 at launch, later cut to a still–uncompetitive $299 — recently gained support for Dolby Atmos sound and the intercom functionality introduced in HomePod mini, which enables you to send voice messages to other HomePods, iPhones, iPads, CarPlay, and even AirPods. Officially Apple says it will now focus on the hit $99 HomePod mini, but it’s hard to see why it couldn’t sustain both lines. It’s speculated that Apple plans an all–new speaker with a new design, or even rumored “new speakers with screens and cameras.” OSCAR NOMINATIONS Apple TV+ has received its first–ever Oscar nominations. Wolfwalkers is up for Best Animated Feature, and the epic war movie…

3 min
the shift

AS I WRITE, there are strong rumors that the new MacBook Pros coming soon will drop the Touch Bar as part of a new design, and will revert to using good ol’ fashioned function keys. This may not turn out to be true, but if it’s ever going to be removed a full redesign feels like the time, where it can take a bow quietly while the conversation focuses on what’s new rather than what’s gone. I feel oddly sad about the idea of its removal, considering that I’ve barely used it over the years. I’ve found it to be an interesting idea with lots of theoretical potential, but it has a fatal flaw that isn’t really its fault. Where the Touch Bar shines is exposing options that are hidden in…