Will Apple’s Mini LED MacBook Pros avoid the the iPad Pro’s downsides?

When Apple announced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Mini LED backlighting earlier this year, I knew it was time to upgrade from my 2018 model. And I wasn’t disappointed. The improved brightness (especially when watching movies in HDR) and superior contrast have made the purchase worthwhile — even if iPadOS continues to underwhelm and disappoint in other ways. It’s a wonderful screen that makes me want to use the iPad wherever I can instead of my laptop.

© Image: Apple

As a refresher of what Mini LED is, there are thousands of tiny LEDs behind the display — much smaller than those in conventional TVs or LCD displays — that allow for more precise backlighting. In turn, this leads to deeper black levels and all of the other benefits mentioned above. Apple’s iPads and MacBook already had excellent displays with accurate, wide color reproduction. But Mini LED takes their display quality to the next level. Add a smoother 120Hz refresh rate on top of that, plus all those glorious ports, and you can see why people are excited and these machines are already heavily backordered.


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But at least with the iPad Pro, this transition to Mini LED didn’t come without any downsides. And with the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros now adopting the same Pro Display XDR (Mini LED) technology, it’s worth tracking whether those same downsides have come along to Apple’s laptops.

Video: IPod Inventor Tony Fadell: ‘M1 Macs Are Absolute Innovation’ (Bloomberg)

IPod Inventor Tony Fadell: ‘M1 Macs Are Absolute Innovation’



Dieter addressed one of the issues, blooming, in his review. Particularly if you’re using the iPad Pro in a dark room, you’ll sometimes notice a halo of light around bright objects on screen when they’re surrounded by a black background. This is a tradeoff that’s inherent to full-array local dimming, and while it bothers some people, I’ve rarely found it annoying in my time using the iPad Pro. Either way, I think it’s occasionally worth dealing with for the other gains you get in brightness…


Apple’s latest iPads, Kindle Paperwhite and more are on sale

You can score great savings on several tablets over at Amazon.com, starting with the latest Apple iPad Pro. For instance, you can get up to $200 savings on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that packs 256GB storage space with WiFi-only support. In other words, you can get yours for just $1,000 after a 17 percent discount. This is amazing, considering that the 128GB storage model now sells for $999 after a $100 discount. The 512GB model is also getting a $100 discount so that you can get one for $1,299.

If you want the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro, you can get $50 savings on the WiFi-only model with 128GB and 256GB storage, leaving them available for $749 and $849. However, you can get $99 savings with you opt for the 512GB variant that can be yours for $1,000. The 1TB and 2TB models are getting $100 savings, so that you can get one for $1,399 and $1,799, respectively. The smaller 10.9-inch iPad Air is also on sale, and you can get yours for $539 after a $60 discount on its 64GB storage model with WiFi-only support.

    12.9-inch iPad Pro
    11-inch iPad Pro
    iPad Air

You can also score nice savings on the previous Kindle model that comes with built-in Front light, and you can get one for $60 after a $30 discount that represents 33 percent savings. You can also pick up the Kindle Paperwhite for $80 after receiving a massive 38 percent discount that will help you save $50. And, if you want a Kindle for your offspring, you can get the Kindle Kids for $70 after a $40 discount. This model comes with a Rainbow Birds Cover and parental controls to give you peace of mind.

You can also set the perfect mood to get lost in your favorite stories with the Philips Hue 548610 CFH Smart Light A19 that’s getting a 15 percent discount, meaning you can grab a 2-pack for $68, which means each of these would cost you $34, or $6 savings per bulb. And you can also opt for the 3-pack that sells for $85 after an initial 26 percent discount that leaves them at $100 and the extra 15 percent savings that will reflect at checkout.

Samuel Martinez

A former bilingual teacher that left the classrooms to join the team of Pocketnow as a news editor and content creator for the Spanish audience. An artist by nature who enjoys video games, guitars,…


Apple takes a page from the Google Nest playbook, but isolated HomePod still faces big challenges to wider adoption


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The news: While MacBook Pros and the new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors were the big announcements at Apple’s fall event, the company also refreshed its popular AirPods wireless earbuds and announced new colors and capabilities for its HomePod mini smart speakers.

How we got here: Apple was late to the smart speaker party with the $350 HomePod in 2018. 

It sold poorly and was discontinued in favor of the smaller and cheaper $100 HomePod mini in 2020. One year later, Apple added colors and voice features like the ability to “broadcast” messages across various HomePods—features that Google’s $35 Home mini speakers offered years ago.

  • A report from CIRP in August said the US smart speaker market hit 126 million devices as of June 2021, with Amazon owning the lion’s share of the market at 69% and Google coming in second at a 20% share.  
  • HomePod penetration grew slightly to 7 million units in 2021, putting it at less than 10% of the US smart speaker market.
  • Unlike its competitors, which offer cross-platform functionality, HomePod is tied to the Apple ecosystem and won’t work with Android devices or PCs. Apple also only has one smart speaker model, while Amazon and Google have multiple form factors.

The problem: Apple, which traditionally comes from behind in more mature market segments before dominating them (e.g., iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch), is going to have a hard time making a bigger dent in the smart speaker space.

Apple’s HomeKit smart home ecosystem is similarly small compared with Amazon’s and Google’s burgeoning arrays of smart cameras, doorbells, sensors, and lights. 

  • Market leader Amazon is creating an echo device for every corner in consumer’s lives, including smart TVs, connected car speakers, and even karaoke microphones.
  • And Google’s Nest isn’t sitting around idly. More Nest smart speakers (4.1 million) were shipped than Amazon Echos (3.3 million) in the US during Q2 2021, per Omdia. 

The bigger picture: HomePod mini’s limitation is that it is locked into Apple’s ecosystem and relies on a tiny HomeKit smart home platform.

  • Smart speaker pricing is also a race to the bottom, with competitors flooding the market with cheaper options—a…


The Case of the Missing iPad Pro: Find My for the Win

In a situation that may be familiar to many TidBITS readers, I’ve recently found myself providing technical assistance to an elderly neighbor—call her Beverly. I suspect that she’s in her 80s, and while she claims otherwise, everything I’ve observed suggests that she’s plenty sharp mentally. What she’s not, however, is expert in the use of her Apple devices: an iPhone 12, a 12-inch iPad Pro, and an Apple Watch Series 6. And she does lose things—on my second visit a few weeks ago, I helped her order a new sport loop-style Apple Watch band so she would be less likely to take the watch off and forget where she’d put it. At the time, I didn’t realize this might be a trend.

Nevertheless, it’s rewarding to help her solve problems and show her what her gear can do for her, partly because doing so gives me insight into places where Apple’s interfaces are confusing or overwhelming for someone like her. And because she thanks me with pie. You can’t go wrong with pie.

Beverly called me Monday in a panic. Over the weekend, she had been at a dog obedience competition with her poodles on the other side of the state, staying overnight at a small hotel. When she got home, she couldn’t find her iPad Pro anywhere, so she assumed that she had left it in the hotel. When she called the hotel, the people at the desk weren’t helpful or reassuring. Hence her phone call to me.

Most of the time, when someone calls me with a problem, they’re overreacting, but there were two facts about her iPad that caused me to worry for real. I hadn’t previously internalized that she traveled with it or I would have said something on my previous visit.

  • The iPad’s passcode was 1234, which is so common that the very first person who heard this story interrupted, “And let me guess, her passcode was 1234.” If you or anyone you know has a passcode that’s sequential numbers or all the same number, encourage them to change it immediately—those are way too easy for anyone to guess.
  • On the inside flap of her iPad case, she had taped a piece of paper that listed all her passwords. Writing down passwords is far from ideal, but as long as the paper is securely stored, it’s not the end of…


Apple Releases Urgent iPhone and iPad Updates to Patch New Zero-Day Vulnerability


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Apple on Monday released a security update for iOS and iPad to address a critical vulnerability that it says is being exploited in the wild, making it the 17th zero-day flaw the company has addressed in its products since the start of the year.’

The weakness, assigned the identifier CVE-2021-30883, concerns a memory corruption issue in the “IOMobileFrameBuffer” component that could allow an application to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Crediting an anonymous researcher for reporting the vulnerability, Apple said it’s “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

Technical specifics about the flaw and the nature of the attacks remain unavailable as yet, as is the identity of the threat actor, so as to allow a majority of the users to apply the patch and prevent other adversaries from weaponizing the vulnerability. The iPhone maker said it addressed the issue with improved memory handling.

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Security researcher Saar Amar shared additional details, and a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit, noting that “this attack surface is highly interesting because it’s accessible from the app sandbox (so it’s great for jailbreaks) and many other processes, making it a good candidate for LPEs exploits in chains.”

CVE-2021-30883 is also the second zero-day impacting IOMobileFrameBuffer after Apple addressed a similar, anonymously reported memory corruption issue (CVE-2021-30807) in July 2021, raising the possibility that the two flaws could be related. With the latest fix, the company has resolved a record 17 zero-days to date in 2021 alone —

  • CVE-2021-1782 (Kernel) – A malicious application may be able to elevate privileges
  • CVE-2021-1870 (WebKit) – A remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution
  • CVE-2021-1871 (WebKit) – A remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution
  • CVE-2021-1879 (WebKit) – Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to universal cross-site scripting
  • CVE-2021-30657 (System Preferences) – A malicious application may bypass Gatekeeper checks
  • CVE-2021-30661 (WebKit Storage) – Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution
  • CVE-2021-30663 (WebKit) – Processing maliciously…