Top Stories: iPhone 12, HomePod Mini, MagSafe Accessories, and More

It came about a month later than in most years, but this week finally saw Apple’s media event where it showed off its new iPhone lineup. As expected, we got four new devices in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lineups with staggered release dates, and Apple also showed off the upcoming HomePod, a much smaller and cheaper smart speaker compared to the standard HomePod.

Apple’s media event obviously dominated the news this week, including not just the main hardware but also the new MagSafe ecosystem of accessories coming with the iPhone 12. This week also saw the start of pre-orders for the fourth-generation iPad Air, as well as some rumors about a possible Mac-focused event in November, so read on for all of the details!

Everything Announced at the Apple Event in 7 Minutes

Apple this week hosted its second event in as many months, introducing its long-awaited iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lineup, the all-new HomePod mini, and a collection of MagSafe chargers and accessories that magnetically attach to the back of the new iPhones.

While the event ran for just over an hour, we’ve condensed everything that Apple announced into a seven-minute video.

Looking ahead, rumors suggest that the first Mac with a custom Apple Silicon processor will be unveiled in November, potentially at yet another event. We’re also still waiting on some long-rumored products like a new gaming-focused Apple TV, AirTags item trackers, and AirPods Studio over-ear headphones, but release dates for those things are less certain.

For more detailed coverage of Apple’s announcements this week, check out the rest of our top stories below.

Apple Unveils iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max With 5G, Flat-Edge Design, LiDAR Scanner, and More

This year’s flagship iPhones have arrived with the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, both of which feature a new flat-edge design with slightly slimmer bezels, compatibility with 5G networks, a faster A14 Bionic chip, improved cameras, a LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality, a new Pacific Blue color, improved durability, and more.

As was rumored, iPhone 12 models ship without EarPods or a charger in the box. Apple touted the environmental benefits of no longer bundling these accessories, noting that the move reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of rare-earth elements. Removing these accessories has also resulted in iPhone 12 models shipping in a thinner box. EarPods and a power adapter can be purchased separately for a reduced price of $19 each.

Apple never reveals how much RAM is in iPhones, but Xcode reveals that both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have an increased 6GB of RAM, while the lower-end iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini remain at 4GB like iPhone 11 models. As for performance, early benchmark results show that the iPhone 12 lineup is around 20-25% faster than the iPhone 11 lineup.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Pro are underway in many countries, while the iPhone 12 Pro

Norman Wells mom turns free kids clothing ‘mini store’ idea into reality

When you walk into Christine Turner’s newly built shed, you will find a colourful array of kids clothing instead of traditional outdoor items.

“My family and I have been fortunate enough to have friends and family pass down clothes to us, for our boys and our daughter. We wanted to help out other families,” Turner said.

The Norman Wells mom — with three kids all under the age of four — has noticed something most parents tend to learn.

Kids grow. And they grow fast.

“Young kids outgrow their clothes long before they wear them out and sometimes when they are really little, they even outgrow them before they have a chance to wear them at all,” Turner said.

Some of the items up for grabs inside the shed. (Submitted by Christine Turner)

Living in a small, isolated town like Norman Wells, parents experience a unique set of challenges.

There isn’t a place to go in-person shopping, and online orders can not only be costly but sometimes take so long to ship that a child may have grown out of the clothes by the time they arrive.

Which is why Turner wanted to create a place in town that ran like a consignment store, but with only kids clothes — and no cost.

“It’s just a place where people can donate what they don’t need anymore and somebody else can come in and grab what they do need,” she said.

Turner says that because of space constraints, they’re only accepting clothing for kids five years old and under. (Submitted by Christine Turner)

Positive response

Turner said she got a positive response to the idea on Facebook.

So she and her husband, Matthew, with some help from their kids, got to work on building the shed this summer.

Turner said neighbours, community members and businesses also stepped up to donate some items to make the shed possible.

They completed it by the end of September and it’s beginning to fill up with clothing, starting with her own kids’ clothes.

She put a call out on Facebook last week for other families to donate clothing and says the response has been great so far.

“I’ve tried to set it up like a mini store so it’s a fun experience for people to shop at … I’m just really excited to help out,” Turner said.

Since there isn’t that much space in the shed, Turner said they are only accepting clothing for children five years old and under.

However, if there ends up being more space they will accept clothing for more ages.

“It’s a fun idea instead of just doing a clothing swap with big bags of clothes,” Turner said.

“To actually walk in and have the whole store experience … I thought I’d appreciate that and it would be fun for me. So I thought it was nice to have the ability to do that for others.”

Turner said they are still putting in more clothes and adding finishing touches to 

Apple’s iPhone 12 event: A mini iPhone and HomePod, but no headphones or power brick in the box

In a prerecorded video streamed Tuesday morning, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 12 lineup that includes four different models. Filled with elaborate drone shots of Apple’s mostly empty Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, the announcement focused on camera features, durability and the promise of fast wireless connections. Literally from the rooftop (which is covered in solar panels), Apple proclaimed it was shrinking its environmental footprint by not automatically including the power adapter and headphones.

The star attraction was a new iPhone 12 line that supports new 5G cellular networks. That technology theoretically enables much faster mobile downloads than the 4G networks the iPhone has supported ever since 2012’s iPhone. But consumers won’t experience that until carriers build out their 5G networks.

Hello again, old iPhone designs

Flat edges are back. After years of smooth, slippery rounded edges, Apple is bringing flat sides back to its iPhone designs. It one of a handful of changes that are a throwback to older phones.

The iPhone 12 mini is 5.18-inches high, and could appease fans of the older iPhone SE, which fits better into some hands and pockets. It’s $100 less and has a shorter battery life, but there are few other differences between the 12 mini and the regular iPhone 12.

Apple is also bringing back “MagSafe,” its name for putting magnets around a charging area. MagSafe used to help keep MacBook cords from popping out, and now a circle of magnets on the back of new iPhones will help it stay in place on a wireless charger, or hold new accessories like a wallet.

In another nod to older, heavier devices, Apple says it is making its new phones sturdier. It touted the new glass on the iPhone 12, which is made by Corning, calling it “tougher” than previous models because of its new “ceramic shield.”

“Tough” in the glass industry means the glass is less breakable. That’s a good thing, because broken glass is one of the main reasons people end up repairing their iPhones. But in glass, toughness is at usually odds with hardness, which makes glass scratch resistant. However, Apple says this is a new kind of technology that won’t make the tougher screen easier to scratch.

Of all the tweaks and upgrades on this year’s iPhone 12, there was one older feature that really would have made a difference in people’s lives: A fingerprint scanner.

Apple switched to Face ID on new iPhones in 2017, ditching the Touch ID sensors that unlocked phones quickly and easily. Apple had a good reason for getting rid of fingerprint sensors. It wanted to make bigger screens, and the home button with the sensors took up valuable real estate.

But Face ID isn’t cutting it anymore, now that the pandemic has us all masked up in public. It’s no fun repeatedly typing in six-digit passwords at the supermarket just to check your shopping list. It has some people disabling passwords, creating a big security risk, or just not using Face ID.

Apple has