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Apple launches first products of 2023, faster MacBook Pros and Mac minis added

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Apple Inc. rolled out its first new products of 2023 on Tuesday, offering faster versions of its high-end MacBook Pro laptops and the Mac mini desktop.

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros look the same as the prior models — which launched at the end of 2021 — but add more powerful M2 Pro and M2 Max chips to replace the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. The new notebooks mark Apple’s first expansion of the M2 chip, which debuted in the MacBook Air and a low-end MacBook Pro last year.

The new Macs bolster a product line that brought in $40.2 billion last year, accounting for more than 10% of the tech giant’s revenue. The company also plans to bring a variation of the M2 chip to its high-end Mac Pro desktop computer later this year. And Apple is working on new versions of the MacBook Air, including a larger model with a 15-inch screen.

The chips in the latest models offer modest performance gains and continue Apple’s shift away from using Intel Corp. processors inside of its Mac computers. The M2 Pro will now sport as many as 12 main processing cores — an indicator of performance — up from a maximum of 10 cores. The graphics capabilities will now reach up to 19 cores, up from a prior high of 16. The M2 Max doubles performance for graphics, climbing to as many as 38 cores from a prior maximum of 32 cores.

ALSO READ: Apple closes the Intel chapter for Macs with new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips

The laptops also get a memory boost, to a maximum of 96 gigabytes on models with the highest-end M2 Max chip. That’s up from 32 gigabytes on the Pro model and 64 gigabytes on the Max. Storage continues to top out at 8 terabytes. Battery life has been slightly increased, going to 18 hours from 17 hours on the 14-inch model and up to 22 hours from 21 hours on the 16-inch variation.

Apple said that the new MacBook Pros gain Wi-Fi 6E, which can offer faster wireless performance in some circumstances, in addition to a more powerful HDMI port for driving more advanced external displays. The MacBook Pro and Mac mini also will get Bluetooth 5.3, which improves overall performance and latency.

Apple rose less than 1% to $135.94 on Tuesday in New York.

ALSO READ: Apple supplier Foxconn replaces iPhone business chief: Report

The Mac minis also look the same as the prior model and arrive more than two years after the last update to the machine. The Mac mini adds the same M2 chip as the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, while the M2 Pro version includes the same chip as in the new high-end MacBook Pro.

Notably, the roll out of a Mac mini with a faster M2 Pro chip has allowed the company to discontinue one of its last remaining models with Intel chips. The company on Tuesday also stopped selling a high-end Mac mini with a non-Apple processor. The only Intel machine in Apple’s lineup is now the Mac Pro desktop.

The updated 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1999, while the 16-inch version continues to be priced at $2499. The Mac mini costs $599, $100 less than the prior version. All of the new Macs begin shipping on Jan. 24, Apple said.

ALSO READ: Best US company to work for revealed, and it’s not Apple or Google | See list

Bloomberg first reported on Apple’s plans for the new MacBook Pros and Mac minis last year, including the expectation that they would launch in early 2023. Apple had originally aimed to roll out the new machines in 2022, and the delay is expected to weigh on its most recent quarterly results. The company warned investors that the lack of a MacBook Pro update would negatively affect its holiday sales, which Apple will disclose on Feb. 2.

Besides the new Macs, the Cupertino, California-based company is planning to use 2023 to introduce a mixed-reality headset, its first major new product category since the Apple Watch went on sale in 2015. It’s also working on the iPhone 15 line, a new HomePod speaker and Apple Watches with updated processors.

In the longer run, Apple is aiming to bring touch screens to the MacBook Pro beginning in 2025. The move would give Apple’s high-end computers better parity with devices from Microsoft Corp., Dell Technologies Inc. and other laptop makers. It also will help Apple offer a more unified software experience across its products.

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Jio launches 5G services in 34 more cities; 225 covered till now

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Reliance Jio on Tuesday announced the launch of 5G services across 34 cities spread across 13 states, taking the cumulative tally of the number of cities in the country having access to the company’s True 5G services to 225.

This comes days after Reliance launched its services in six states of the north east namely, Shillong, Imphal, Aizawl, Agartala, Itanagar, Kohima and Dimapur.

Also Read| Reliance Jio profit rises by 28% to 4,638 crore in third quarter

“Jio users in these cities will be invited to the Jio Welcome Offer, to experience Unlimited Data at up to 1 Gbps speeds, at no additional cost, starting today,” a statement by the company said.

Six cities in Andhra Pradesh (Ananthapuramu, Bhimavaram, Chirala, Guntakal, Nandyal, Tenali), three in Assam (Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur), one in Bihar (Gaya), two in Chhattisgarh (Ambikapur, Dhamtari), two in Haryana (Thanesar, Yamunanagar), one in Karnataka (Chitradurga), two in Maharashtra (Jalgaon, Latur), two in Odisha (Balangir, Nalco), two in Punjab (Jalandhar, Phagwara), one in Rajasthan (Ajmer) will receive the 5G services of the company from now on.Other cities where 5G was launched include Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore, Dindigul, Kancheepuram, Karur, Kumbakonam, Nagercoil, Thanjavur, Tiruvannamalai. Telangana’s Adilabad, Mahabubnagar, Ramagundam will also receive 5G services. Services were also launched in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura.

Jio spokesperson said that the company has achieved this feat in under 120 days since the Beta Trial launch.

“We are really excited to launch Jio True 5G services in 34 additional cities, taking the total count to 225 cities. Jio has achieved this milestone in just under 120 days since the Beta Trial launch and is well on its way to connect the entire nation with the transformational Jio True 5G services by December 2023,” the spokesperson said.

The statement further added that a 5G network rollout of this scale is a first anywhere in the world, and 2023 will be a landmark year for India, when the entire country will reap the benefits of the revolutionary True 5G technology, delivered through Jio’s superior network infrastructure.

“We are grateful to the Central and State Governments for their continuous support in ourquest to digitize our country,” the statement said.

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WhatsApp to increase character limit for group subject, description

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To provide a better user experience for WhatsApp groups, the Meta-owned service is developing the ability to release longer group subjects and descriptions, according to a report in WABetaInfo, a website which tracks news and updates related to WhatsApp.

The following screenshot, shared by WABetaInfo, shows how group admins will be able to use this feature.

This screenshot by WABetaInfo explains how the feature will work.

As seen above, WhatsApp is changing the maximum limit of characters admins can use, when entering the group subject and description. To give them more freedom while naming groups, the maximum character limit has been expanded from 25 to 100. Also, for describing a group, the instant messaging platform is increasing the maximum character limit from 512 to 2,048. With this, users will get more space to add important details and information, which they otherwise can’t, due to space constraints.

Also Read: On WhatsApp for iOS, people will be able to react to messages in community group

Please note, however, that you may not be able to use this feature immediately, even if it has been enabled on your device. Additionally, you will have to install the latest WhatsApp beta for Android update from the Play Store.

Also Read: Soon, you may bring images, videos from other apps to WhatsApp. Here’s how

The ability is expected to reach more people in the next twenty-four hours, said WABetaInfo.


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German tech firms looking to hire laid off professionals in Silicon Valley

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Faced with a tight labour market and a shortage of workers with key software engineering skills, some German companies are looking at thousands of layoffs in Silicon Valley as an opportunity to recruit top talent.

The U.S. West Coast has always been the main destination for ambitious software engineers looking to work in the best-paid, most elite corner of their profession, but the mass redundancies have created a pool of jobseekers that Germany is eager to tap.

“They fire, we hire,” said Rainer Zugehoer, Chief People Officer at Cariad, the software subsidiary of automaker Volkswagen. “We have several hundred open positions in the U.S., in Europe and in China.”

Also Read: Zuckerberg’s Meta gearing up for more layoffs? This report suggests so

Spooked by inflation and the prospect of recession, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook owner Meta have announced a combined almost 40,000 job cuts.

While Germany is also teetering on the edge of recession, its companies have grown more slowly in recent years and, in a country notorious for still handling business by fax, there are huge technology leaps to be made.

Germany, with one of the world’s oldest populations, has gaping holes in its labour force: according to IT industry group Bitkom, 137,000 IT jobs are unfilled.

The government is simplifying immigration rules and dangling the prospect of easily-acquired citizenship to tempt skilled would-be immigrants, and regional authorities are pressing ahead.

Also Read: PagerDuty CEO quotes Martin Luther King Jr in layoff email, faces flak

“I would like to cordially invite you to move to Bavaria,” wrote Judith Gerlach, digitalisation minister in Germany’s wealthiest region on LinkedIn in a post addressed to the recently laid off.

Especially with the euro at dollar parity, few European companies pay rates that compete with the hundreds of thousands of dollars on offer at California’s most successful companies, but some hope cheaper healthcare and lower costs compared to hotspots like San Francisco can help.

“And did I mention Oktoberfest?” Gerlach added, adding Munich’s famed beer festival to the strong labour protections that might prove attractive to the newly jobless.

Some are sceptical, with Bitkom’s Bernhard Rohleder noting that Germany is competing not just with other countries for the most talented, but with potential recruits’ home countries too.

Germany’s penchant for red tape could be another challenge: companies are already reporting months-long delays in securing appointments for their new hires to get work permits.

“Bureaucracy in Germany is utterly crippling for most highly-qualified workers when they first encounter it, especially if they don’t speak German,” said Diana Stoleru of Berlin startup Lendis.

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