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Apple confirms Apple Silicon Macs will support Thunderbolt connection

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Apple announced last month the transition from Intel processors to its own ARM chips, which the company calls “Apple Silicon.” Today Apple has confirmed another important aspect of this transition regarding the future of the Thunderbolt connection, which will continue to be present in Apple Silicon Macs.

With the big change to the Mac lineup coming later this year, users were concerned whether these new Mac models will be compatible with Thunderbolt devices — which is a hardware interface developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple.

The company has now told The Verge that it’s committed to maintaining Thunderbolt compatibility in the future on its new ARM Macs.

“Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,” commented an Apple spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

That means users will be able to continue using Thunderbolt accessories such as external drives and displays with Apple Silicon Macs. The news comes the same day Intel announced the Thunderbolt 4 standard, which is based on the USB-C connector that will certainly remain present on upcoming ARM Macs.

More details on Thunderbolt support in Apple Silicon Macs are still unclear, but we’ll probably learn more about it in the coming months. According to Apple, the first Mac with an ARM chip will be launched later this year, while the transition of the entire Mac lineup is expected to be completed by 2022.

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Hands-on: Incase x BIONIC collection turns recovered ocean plastics into high quality backpacks and cases

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Incase and BIONIC have teamed up to bring a new collection of backpacks, MacBook sleeves, and organizers to help combat the 8 million metric tons of plastic that end up in the ocean. 91% of plastic is not recycled and just discarded due to poor recycling practices.

For this reason, Incase created its new collection with help from BIONIC, a devoted materials company taking plastics out of the ocean and putting them into products meant for creatives. Protecting the oceans from plastic pollution, BIONIC materials are made with plastic recovered from marine and coastal environments.

Head below for our hands-on video look at the new collection, and an exclusive offer for 15% off site-wide with code “9to515”.

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The movement of BIONIC’s plastic recovery is tied to community activation efforts with Waterkeeper Alliance.

Waterkeeper Alliance advocates for clean water as the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to this cause. BIONIC partners with the alliance to set up the local infrastructure to collect and clean the plastic needed.

This creates fully traceable, high-grade textiles created from marine and coastal plastics.

This infrastructure supports plastic debris recovery and processing operations that help create local jobs in coastal communities.

The partnership between the two gives reliable revenue for local communities while supplying BIONIC® with raw materials with the benefit of cleaning up our coasts and waterways.

Supply chain

The flow of the supply chain goes like this. BIONIC and Waterkeeper Alliance set up infrastructure in communities where the resources do not exist. These communities are responsible for collecting the debris from their local waterways.

This is all collected, cleaned, sorted, and then processed into pellets. The pellets are then woven into the BIONIC FLX yarn. This yarn is used to create lightweight, abrasion-resistant, micro-ripstop products for today’s creatives.

BIONIC yarn is durable but also makes the products by Incase look stunning and yields a variety of performance and aesthetic properties ideal for these form factors. Incase wanted to repurpose material that is thrown out every day into products you can use every day.

This is a step in the right direction that Incase customers can take in reducing the waste and pollution of coastal plastics. Using 100% recycled plastics gives the backpacks, sleeves, and organizers lightweight, smooth, and features abrasion-resistant micro-ripstop qualities.

Premium quality, positive effort

As you’ll see in the hands-on video above, the result of this is high caliber products with a look and feel you would normally never believe are created from discarded plastic that was once polluting our water. The collection includes:

  • The Compact Sleeve doesn’t add much weight to the laptop, has models for both the 13” and 16” MacBook Pros, and has an additional front pocket for dongles, a charger, or other accessories
  • The Commuter Backpack can hold up to a 16” MacBook Pro, has plenty of internal storage for accessories, and even includes a water bottle pouch with a magnetic seal on the side
  • The Accessory Organizer has a quick access zipper on the front, opens up to have the space to hold most accessories you will need while on-the-go, and elastic straps for easy cable management

You can get the Accessory Organizer and Compact Sleeves for $49.95 and the Commuter Backpack for $99.99. 9to5Mac readers can also enjoy an exclusive 15% ‘site-wide’ discount when using the code “9to515” at checkout.

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Podcast of the Week: Park Predators

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Park Predators is a new crime podcast, but it’s not your typical crime podcast. It’s shot up the charts on Apple Podcasts, and I’ve really enjoyed the past few weeks of new episodes.

9to5Mac’s Podcast of the Week is a weekly recommendation of a podcast you should add to your subscription list.


Sometimes the most beautiful places hide the darkest secrets.

Episode one is “The Hunter (Vogel State Park)”

Gary Michael Hilton went on a killing rampage in national parklands across three states that left a 4-victim body count for authorities to piece together. He used the cover and isolation of park trails and campgrounds to stalk and murder his victims.

Episode two is “The Hitchhiker (Glacier National Park)”

Scott David Steel’s hopscotch pattern of crimes throughout the 1980s and the 2000s that leed investigators down a dark road of robbery, renegade behavior and remorselessness that spanned almost 40 years.

I’ve got the most recent episode at the top of my list to listen to, and I can’t wait to finish it. Park Predators covers crimes in national parks that range from Canada, Hawaii, and everywhere in between. If you are looking for a new show to get started on, subscribe to Park Predators on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castro, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or RSS.

Don’t forget about the great lineup of podcasts on the 9to5 Network.

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WSJ profile of Tim Cook offers new insight into the life and leadership style of the Apple CEO

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A new profile from The Wall Street Journal offers an inside look at how Apple has evolved under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook. The report highlights the differences in leadership between Cook and Steve Jobs, including Cook’s more hands-off approach to product engineering and design.

The profile emphasizes that Cook kept a lot of his routine the same when he took over as Apple CEO in 2011:

From when he took over in 2011, Mr. Cook followed the advice of his predecessor: Don’t ask what I would do. Do what’s right. He continued waking up each morning before 4 a.m. and reviewing global sales data. He maintained his Friday meeting with operations and finance staff, which team members called “date night with Tim” because they stretched hours into the evening. He seldom visited Apple’s design studio, a place Mr. Jobs visited almost daily

Citing Cook’s colleagues and acquaintances, the report describes the Apple CEO as “a humble workaholic with a singular commitment to Apple.” He is said to keep his calendar clear of personal events, painting the picture of a relatively lonesome position — which is something Cook has even said himself in the past.

An anecdote from the WSJ profile explains:

Around Thanksgiving two years ago, guests saw him dining by himself at the secluded Amangiri Hotel near Zion National Park. When a guest later bumped into him, he said he came to the hotel to recharge after a hectic fall punctuated by the rollout of Apple’s latest iPhone. “They have the best masseuses in the world here,” he said, the guest recalls.

Current and former employees cited in the piece say that Cook has “created a more relaxed workplace” than the environment created under Steve Jobs. Nonetheless, Cook is “similarly demanding and detail oriented.” The report points to a specific example when Apple “mistakenly shipped 25 computers to South Korea instead of Japan.” Cook was reportedly frustrated with this mistake, and used it as an example of how Apple was “losing [its] commitment to excellence.”

The report also offers an interesting look at Cook’s leadership style and his relationship with subordinates, citing an anecdote form former Apple executive Joe O’Sullivan:

Mr. Cook’s command of detail causes underlings to enter meetings with trepidation. He leads through interrogation, with a precision that has reshaped how Apple staff work and think.

“The first question is: ‘Joe, how many units did we produce today?’ ‘It was 10,000.’ ‘What was the yield?’ ‘98%.’ You can answer those and then he’d say, ‘Ok, so 98%, explain how the 2% failed?’ You’d think, ‘F—, I don’t know.’ It drives a level of detail so everyone becomes Cook-like,” said Joe O’Sullivan, a former Apple operations executive. He said Mr. Cook’s first meeting with staff the day he arrived in 1998 lasted 11 hours.

Middle managers today screen staff before meetings with Mr. Cook to make sure they’re knowledgeable. First-timers are advised not to speak. “It’s about protecting your team and protecting him. You don’t waste his time,” said a longtime lieutenant. If he senses someone is insufficiently prepared, he loses patience and says, “Next,” as he flips a page of the meeting agenda, this person said, adding, “people have left crying.”

There’s also an interesting contrast drawn between Cook’s hands-off approach to Apple’s product development, yet his desire to keep up with the competition. According to the report, Apple’s chief hardware executive Dan Riccio was “exploring the idea of a smart speaker around 2015,” and Cook “peppered him with questions about the product and asked for more information.”

Ultimately, Riccio scaled back the development of Apple’s smart speaker in 2015. Following the success of Amazon’s Echo speakers, however, Cook is said to have emailed Riccio to ask “where Apple stood on its speaker effort.” This situation, the report explains, is what emphasizes Cook’s cautious approach to entering new product categories:

Mr. Cook tends to assess new product ideas with caution, taking the position in some discussions that he doesn’t want to release a product that may sell poorly and undermine the company’s track record of success, according to senior engineers.

Finally, the report touches on Apple’s recent focus on Services, including concerns that things like Apple TV+ aren’t yet seeing the success Cook had anticipated.

Mr. Cook isn’t rattled, former members of the services team said, calculating that over time, Apple will gain subscribers. “They’re not going to go full bore,” one of these people said. “With a billion devices world-wide, they believe if you’ve got something a little better and it’s on your own phone, people will adopt it.”

The full profile of Apple CEO Tim Cook is well worth a read and can be found at The Wall Street Journal.

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