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Parker Ortolani

Parker Ortolani is a marketing strategist and product designer based in New York. In addition to contributing to 9to5mac, he also oversees product development and marketing for BuzzFeed. A longtime reader, Parker is excited to share his product concepts and thoughts with the 9to5mac audience.

Concept: Enhancing AirTag with family sharing, widgets, and an Apple Watch app

Now that we’ve all spent time with AirTag, it’s time to start thinking about ways to make the product even better. There are several obvious ways to do this that many have noted over the past couple of days. AirTag is an incredibly powerful tool for tracking items, but lots of us would like to allow our friends and family to track important items or ask for their help in finding lost ones. Family sharing is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Concept: Apple Podcasts has so much potential; here are some ways it could be taken to the next level

Apple Podcasts is the AM to Apple Music’s FM. The two apps should be almost on par at all times, particularly now that the company is turning podcasts into an app that includes paid subscriptions. The app hasn’t always gotten the love it deserves, but that’s starting to change. There are lots of ways Apple could take the podcasts app to the next level as it enters into a new era. Here are some of my ideas…

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‘Flighty’ flight tracking app updated with new social features as people begin to start traveling again

Powerful flight tracking app “Flighty” has seen a major update today with new social sharing features for people to use as they start traveling again post-COVID. The app was already the best flight tracker available, and this update just builds upon that lead. Flighty can now integrate with Instagram and offer some beautifully designed stickers for you to share details about your trips with friends and family.

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Hermès offering $699 AirTag travel tag and new $570 MagSafe case exclusively on their website

Earlier this week Apple announced that they were extending their partnership with Hermès to include AirTag and AirTag accessories. During the keynote we saw three distinct styles of AirTag Hermès, but there happens to be a fourth one exclusively on Hermès’s website. Hermès is offering a $699 leather travel tag that includes a single AirTag Hermès. The company is also now offering their own leather MagSafe case for iPhone 12.

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Concept: It’s time for the MacBook Air to get its iBook moment following the reinvention of the iMac

After the original iMac took the world by storm with its gorgeous and unconventional colorful design, Apple decided to package an iMac-to-go and call it the iBook. It was indeed everything the iMac was, in a laptop form factor, and it was available in a range of equally fun vibrant colors. It became the de facto student notebook, the approachable and fun machine for the average user, and it went where other notebooks weren’t willing to go. With the launch of the completely reinvented M1 iMac, I think and certainly hope we’ll see a reinvention of the MacBook Air that acts very much like the iBook. It should be the newest iMac, only to go.

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Opinion: The new iPad Pro is an incredible technological feat, but why should you upgrade?

Just a few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on why the 2018 iPad Pro is one of the best products Apple has ever made and talked about how it was “one of the most future-proof computers ever made.” The key point I was trying to convey was that the 2020 iPad Pro wasn’t worth upgrading to for most 2018 iPad Pro users. Apple didn’t really give even the most diehard iPad users a reason to upgrade last year. With all of the rumors that were swirling around the next generation (now the current generation), I wanted to recap what kept many of us from upgrading in the hopes that the next version would give us a good reason. So now that we’ve seen the new iPad Pros, are they worth upgrading to? Let’s talk about it.

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All of the songs used in today’s Apple’s special event and product introductions

Apple events and product introduction videos are well known for using excellent music. They fill up many of our music libraries. The company does an incredible job curating the perfect tunes. Instead of having to Shazam each song from today’s special event or going over to Apple’s YouTube channel, you can find all of the music that Apple used today directly below!

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Apple’s event artwork usually only hints at one thing: wallpapers for new devices

With Apple event invites going out yesterday, the world is abuzz with wild ideas and rampant kremlinology. Whenever an Apple event graphic hits the web, it gets torn apart as people try and decode whatever hint they have told themselves is hidden within. I’m here to tell you that there’s usually only ever one thing that these graphics are hiding, the default wallpaper of whatever new device is being introduced at the event.

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Apple shares ‘New Beginnings’ Mac ad aimed at newly admitted college students

This evening Apple shared a new ad that’s part of the Behind the Mac campaign, aimed at newly admitted college students. Like Apple’s previous Behind the Mac ads, this one features black and white clips of people interacting with their Macs. In this new ad you can see a series of college students reacting to acceptance letters on their Macs.

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Concept: Apple TV and HomePod would be a match made in tech heaven, here’s what a mashup could look like

With the latest round of HomePod rumors from Bloomberg comes a particularly big one. Apple is looking to combine the Apple TV and the HomePod into a singular product. They’re also testing ways to incorporate a FaceTime camera into the device for calls in the living room. While our concept imagines what this product might look like, it’s truly a shot in the dark. A product like this might require an entirely new design from Apple rather than some kind of Frankenstein monster made up of different pieces of the HomePod and Apple TV 4K. We tried putting the best of each together to imagine a product that would feel familiar to customers.

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Opinion: AirTags might be a liability for Apple, and that’s why they’re shoring up Chipolo to be another big player

A lot of us were surprised when Apple announced their new Find My network alongside third-party trackers from Chipolo instead of the long-rumored AirTags. They were widely believed to be imminent, but after some thought, it seems more clear to me what Apple’s strategy is behind Find My trackers. The company is facing antitrust attacks from all directions, and one of them has been from Tile, one of the original players in the tiny Bluetooth tracker space. Apple shoring up Chipolo before the launch of their own product makes so much sense in this context. Let me explain.

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Concept: Here are some ways Apple could improve widgets, multitasking, and more with iPadOS 15

Designing for iPadOS is really difficult. I imagine there are countless battles among the Apple human interface team over what the right direction is for the platform. Apple set out on a path with iOS 11 and they’ve stuck to it since then, building on top of it every year. It’s become a house of cards that could come crumbling down with a single added idea. There are lots of folks who would like Apple to burn it all down and start over. I really can’t see Apple doing that. Imagining something seemingly as simple as adding widgets to the entire Home Screen is a monumental task, but it can totally be done.

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Opinion: What’s Apple’s first-party strategy for Find My accessories?

Now that Apple’s Find My program has officially launched with a range of third-party accessories, we’re left wondering what Apple’s own plans are for first-party products. AirTags have been rumored for years now, but Apple has just announced a licensed Chipolo tracker. Another accessory introduced today is a pair of black wireless earbuds from Belkin with built-in Find My tech. These obviously compete with AirPods. So what does the future hold for AirPods and AirTags?

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Apple reminds developers to update their apps for AppTrackingTransparency and iOS 14.5

Following this morning’s Tim Cook interview with Kara Swisher that focused on privacy, Apple has reminded developers to update their apps with the new AppTrackingTransparency framework before the release of iOS 14.5. AppTrackingTransparency, or ATT, is a new tool Apple is introducing to protect users’ data and prevent unwanted apps from tracking you across other websites and apps.

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On Apple’s 45th birthday, here are some of the most memorable moments in the company’s history

45 years ago today Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer. Today it’s the most valuable brand on planet earth and is valued at more than two trillion dollars. It commands culture, cultivates creativity, and defies norms. It’s a company unlike any other. It’s easy to forget how we got here, so I periodically like to take a look back at Apple’s rollercoaster ride of a tapestry.

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With WWDC confirmed, catch up on our iOS 15, macOS 12, and watchOS 8 concepts here

Now that Apple has confirmed the dates for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, rumors are sure to start swirling about this year’s software releases. We’ve been working on a series of concepts for each of Apple’s core platforms over the past few months and we wanted to share them again. So far, we’ve shared concepts for iOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS 12. We’re at work on concepts for tvOS 15 and iPadOS 15, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for them. Let us know about those in the comments below! In the meantime, check out our already published concepts.

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