TSMC May Build More in Arizona, China Locks Down AirDrop and More Entertainment News

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TSMC may plant a second plant in Arizona, news of updates and betas from Apple, and a wee bit of entertainment news.

Report: TSMC Considering 3nm Processor Plant in AZ

“Designed in California. Made in Arizona.” That could be applicable to future Apple Silicon processors. The Wall Street Journal (via Apple News+) ran a piece Wednesday saying Apple’s chipmaking partner, TSMC, is set to announce a second, multibillion-dollar factory in the desert southwest. 

TSMC announced its first factory in 2020. TSMC has finished building the buildings on the first one, though the chipmaker hasn’t yet begun loading in equipment. The piece says TSMC will hold a ceremony next month “to install the first batch of production equipment.” Originally, the company had planned to produce 5-nanometer chips there, though the Journal says they’re “now gearing up to also produce more advanced 4-nanometer chips.” TSMC isn’t expected to begin real production until sometime in 2024.

All of that was just the first factory. The Journal says the outlay for the second one “is expected to be roughly similar to the $12 billion it committed [for the first one] two years ago…” According to the report:

TSMC’s new facility would manufacture so-called 3-nanometer transistors, some of the tiniest and most lightning-fast currently possible …

All of this comes mostly compliments of secret sources. It sounds like the company is talking publicly about another facility, though it’s being cagey as to why. Quoting the report again:

TSMC said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday that it is constructing a building to potentially serve as a second fab at its site in Arizona. It will consider adding more advanced chip capacity there, though it hasn’t made a final decision, the statement said.

Assuming they follow through, a number of stories I saw said it’s practically guaranteed that chips made in the Grand Canyon State would make their way into iPhones. Of course, with no official word on a factory, there’s no telling when processors made in the USA might start powering Apple’s communicator.

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.1, iPadOS 16.1.1 and macOS 13.0.1

A few small, nondescript updates from Apple on Wednesday. A piece from MacRumors says the Cupertino-company released macOS Ventura 13.0.1 midweek, while another report from the same site says Apple released iOS and iPadOS 16.1.1. 

They’re gonna sound like the same, blessed update. MacRumors calls the Ventura update “a bug fix,” while referring to the iOS and iPadOS releases as “minor bug fix updates.” 

No word on what bugs Apple fixed in these updates, and nothing about hoped-for fixes for the Mac. For iOS 16.1.1, there’s been this Wi-Fi issue that’s seen “some users unable to stay connected to their Wi-Fi networks.” It’ll probably be a bit before we know whether that’s been addressed. All three updates do come with the same two security fixes. Left unaddressed, they could let a remote user “cause unexpected app termination or arbitrary code execution…” For the security minded, that’s likely reason enough to update.

A Notable Change for China

While the updates don’t list new features for most, some iPhone users in China might see a change. A piece from 9to5Mac says with Wednesday’s iOS update, users in the Middle Kingdom can leave AriDrop open to “Everyone,” for a limited time only. Very limited. Ten minutes, according to the report. 

There are a couple of things that are weird about the story. First, the piece says the ten-minute window is hardware-based, not software. “This means that only iPhone models purchased in Mainland China are affected by the update,” according to 9to5Mac. Not a new trick, apparently. “For instance,” the piece says:

… the Taiwanese flag emoji is not available on iPhones sold in China. Apple also uses the same method to limit the volume level of its devices in European Union countries, as required by law.

The other thing that’s weird about the AirDrop change — there’s no indication as to why Apple madethe change. Again, users can open AirDrop to “Everyone” rather than just people in their contacts list, but only for ten-minutes at a time. 9to5Mac says:

Some people speculate that the Chinese regulator required Apple to update iOS as an attempt to prevent anonymous people from spreading harmful content and anti-government material.

Second Betas of Ventura 13.1 and iOS/iPadOS 16.2 Out to Public Testers

While everybody got small updates for things on Wednesday, public testers got a look at what’s next. One piece from MacRumors says Apple hit the testing crew with the second beta of macOS Ventura 13.1, while another piece from that site says the public testing peeps got second betas of iOS and iPadOS 16.2. 

Like something yelled at a Skynyrd show, a feature found in all of the betas is Freeform. Meant for “creative collaboration,” MacRumors says the Freeform app:

… can be used for brainstorming, planning out ideas, jotting down notes, and more. Users can insert drawings, sticky notes, shapes, text boxes, photos, videos, PDFs, links, and other documents, with Freeform serving as a blank canvas.

Of course, multiple people can access and affect the same Freeform board. Wouldn’t be a collaborative tool without that. 

In addition to that, MacRumors says the iPadOS 16.2 beta “brings external display support to the Stage Manager multitasking feature, allowing up to eight apps to be used at once.” That assumes the use of an M1 or M2 Mac, fyi. There’s also “a new Home app architecture” coming to the iPad and iPhone, compliments of the updates. And users will be able to report unintentional Emergency SOS calls in iOS 16.2, which will be much better than the current response of standing there looking sheepish. 

‘Custom Accessibility Mode’ May Be on the Way

There’s one more thing worth noting, though we may not see it just yet. AppleInsider has heard word of a new “custom accessibility mode” that should let people “customize the homescreen for specific disability needs.” Customize as in “replace it,” it seems. According to AppleInsider:

… its major benefit will be that it can replace the normal Springboard home screen. Springboard has been what the user sees on every iPhone since the original, but with this feature, users will be able to choose larger app icons.

That’s the what. As for the when, who can say? The piece says spelunkers have found fragments of the feature “under the hood” in iOS 16.2. As of now, Apple has not made the feature available for testing.

Colorado State IDs Can Now Slide Into Apple Wallet

If you’re a resident of the Centennial State, you can stick your state ID in Apple Wallet. AppleInsider says Colorado is the latest to let license and state ID holders put ‘em in Apple’s virtual wallet — provided the iPhone in use is running iOS 15 or later. 

Sometimes, the future moves at glacial speed. While users will be able to use their ID’s through iPhones or associated Apple Watches, they won’t be able to do a lot with them right now. “So far,” AppleInsider says, “people can use it at certain TSA checkpoints at Denver International Airport, and other airports in certain states.”

Apple TV+ Green Lights Second Season of ‘Bad Sisters’

Cupertino’s bought another round for the Garvey sisters. Apple TV+ issued a press release earlier this week, announcing a second season order for the dark comedy Bad Sisters. For those who’ve not caught it, Apple says:

In “Bad Sisters,” the tight-knit Garvey sisters have always looked out for each other. When their brother-in-law winds up dead, his life insurers launch an investigation to prove malicious intent — and set their sights on the sisters, all of whom had ample reason to kill him.

Praise for the show has been effusive. Not only does it currently have a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the release says:

The Critics Choice Association Women’s Committee also recently granted “Bad Sisters” with the newly launched Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment (SOFEE).

From the show itself, star and executive producer Sharon Horgan was quoted in the release, saying:

The response to our show has been beyond what we could have hoped for. It gave us the opportunity to shine a light on stories that don’t always get such a global platform.

No word in the release on when the second season might premier. The whole of season one is now available to stream on Apple TV+.

Bad Bunny Named Apple Music Artist of the Year

And finally today, Apple Music’s Artist of the Year 2022 has been named. Well, they already had a name. Rather, the honor has been bestowed. 

In a press release Apple said, “Global recording artist Bad Bunny was announced […] as Apple Music’s Artist of the Year…” According to the company, Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny’s “sixth project in four years, is Apple Music’s most streamed album of 2022 and now the biggest Latin album of all time.” 

I extend my warmest congratulations to Mr. Bunny.

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

Samsung keeps predicting foldable phones and TMO writer Nick deCourville can’t wait. He joins me to talk about that, plus a group that made a foldable iPhone of their own. Then, Oculus creator Palmer Luckey says he’s made a VR rig with a sick and twisted twist: When a user dies in VR, they die in meatspace, too. Now how much would you pay? That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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