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Updated: 39 min 24 sec ago

Quick Takes: Smartwatches to Have More Than Just 15 Minutes of Fame as GymKit Rollout Continues

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 20:57
In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Tuesday, March 20
1. IDC forecasts that smartwatch shipments will nearly double within four years: IDC believes smartwatches will account for almost two out of every five wearable devices shipped in 2022, with an estimated 84.1 million shipments that year, compared to an estimated 43.6 million units in 2018.

Commentary: Apple Watch is the world's most popular smartwatch by a significant margin, having outsold all competing smartwatches combined in 2017, and there's no sign that momentum will slow down.

2. Stack Overflow releases the results of its 2018 developer survey: The results, based on over 100,000 respondents from around the world, outline this year's most loved, dreaded, and wanted technologies and platforms, how developers around the world code, learn, live, and work, and more.

Apple-related highlights:
  • 26.7 percent of developers said macOS is their primary operating system for work, versus 49.9 percent for Windows
  • iOS was the most loved mobile operating system for development, with 64.6 percent of respondents expressing interest in continuing to develop for the platform, versus 63.8 percent for Android
  • Developers using Apple's open source Swift programming language earned a median salary of $57,000 in the United States, versus a leading $74,000 for programming language F#

3. Introducing IBM Watson Services for Core ML: The service enables corporate developers to build iPhone and iPad apps that leverage IBM Watson models via Apple's Core ML framework. Apple says these apps can quickly analyze images, accurately classify visual content, and easily train models.

Commentary: This service is an expansion of a four-year-old enterprise partnership between Apple and IBM that has led to over 100 new business apps tailored to industries such as healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Other LinksFor more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

Tag: Quick Takes
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Landlord of Apple's New Flagship Chicago Store Puts it Up for Sale

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 18:19
The Chicago landlord that owns the building where Apple's new flagship Michigan Avenue Store is located has put it up for sale, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Walton Street Capital purchased the 20,000-square-foot Apple Store, a 35-story office building, and a retail building next door for $370 million in 2017, and is now planning to sell the store and 10,000 square feet of retail space for $175 million while holding on to the office building.

Demand for retail space is declining due to the decreasing value of malls and shopping centers as consumers turn to online shopping, but according to The Wall Street Journal, Apple Stores are the "gold standard in the retail world" because of the high foot traffic they attract to nearby locations.A report by Green Street Advisors in 2016 found that average sales for 220 malls with Apple Stores came to $710 per square foot, compared with $630 per square foot for malls without Apple Stores. The study was based on a database that covered about 1,400 properties.When the Apple Store sells to a new buyer, Apple doesn't have to worry about rent. Apple is well aware that its stores attract a high number of customers and it uses that as leverage to get lower rent rates. Apple is paying rent that's "well below" the average $400 to $500 charged per square foot for nearby Michigan Avenue retail space.

Apple's Michigan Avenue store is located right alongside the Chicago River, and its construction was an ambitious project for the company. It includes 32-foot glass facades and an enormous 111-by-98 foot carbon fiber roof. Like most of Apple's modern stores, it includes indoor trees, a dedicated seating area for Today at Apple sessions, a Genius Grove for getting help with products, and an area where customers can view and try Apple devices and related accesories.

Designed by longtime partner Foster + Partners, the store is meant to pay homage to Chicago's iconic Prairie Style homes designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Related Roundup: Apple StoresTag: Chicago
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of tvOS 11.3 to Developers

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 17:02
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, a little over one week after seeding the fifth beta and one month after releasing the tvOS 11.2.6 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.3 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode and Apple Configurator.

Early tvOS 11.3 updates introduced support for AirPlay 2, allowing the Apple TV to be added to the Home app as part of a HomeKit setup and enabling multiple Apple TVs in separate rooms to play the same song, but that functionality was removed in tvOS 11.3 beta 3.

It is not yet clear if Apple plans to re-add AirPlay 2 features ahead of the release of tvOS 11.3, but it's a possibility because there are still several betas to go.

Other new features in tvOS 11.3 include enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV (a feature that was added to Apple TV 4K in a past tvOS update), and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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eBay's New Springtime Coupon Lets You Get 15% Off Nearly Everything Sitewide Today

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:52
A few weeks ago eBay launched a popular pre-daylights saving coupon, which allowed customers the ability to save 20 percent off everything on eBay, with a few select exclusions. Today the site has debuted a similar -- albeit slightly less valuable -- coupon code that lets customers take 15 percent off everything across eBay.

The 15 percent off coupon is running for one day only and ends tonight, March 20, at 7:00 p.m. PT. To use it, you'll need to make a purchase on eBay worth $25 or more, pay for the item or items by the coupon's expiration time tonight, and enter the coupon code PSPRINGTIME in the redemption code field.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with eBay. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The discount will apply to the purchase price, which excludes shipping, handling, and taxes, and caps at a maximum discount value of $50. You won't be able to buy items from the following categories on eBay with the code: Coins & Paper Money, Gift Cards & Coupons, and Real Estate. The code is available only to eBay users registered with an address in the United States, Canada, Latin America, or the Caribbean.

As a point of emphasis, if you're going to use the code remember that it's one-time-only, so if you want to gain its maximum potential you'll need to fill your cart up with either one expensive item or a collection of smaller items that add up to about $330 and above. After that point, the code's $50 max discount will be capped off.

Just like the last coupon, the new Springtime discount code is available across all of eBay, so even if you can't find Apple products you're interested in, there should be plenty of other items on the site that could be made a bit cheaper with the 15 percent off sale.

For more information on the code visit eBay's landing page, and head over to eBay's Daily Deals tech section to get started on shopping for ideas before the sale ends tonight. Our full Deals Roundup has more details on this week's latest sales as well.

Related Roundup: Apple DealsTag: eBay
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Apple Partners With UK's John Lewis for HomeKit Showcase In New Department Store

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:23
High-end department store chain John Lewis today opened up a new 230,000 square foot location in White City Westfield, London, and one of the store's new "experiences" includes deep integration with Apple's HomeKit platform. Called the "Apple Smart Home" section, Apple and John Lewis partnered in an effort to show London residents how HomeKit products can enhance their homes, showing off features like Siri voice control, connected lighting and heating, music playback, and more.

Speaking with HouseBeautiful, John Lewis senior PR manager Siân Grieve explained the reason for the company's partnership with Apple, instead of integrating with similar products from Amazon or Google.
But why have John Lewis decided to partner with Apple, and not Amazon, for example? 'A lot of John Lewis customers love and use Apple iOS, they have an iPad or an iPhone. Our stats revealed 77 per cent of searches onto are from iOS devices,' explains Siân Grieve from John Lewis. 'We know Amazon are going after this space, we know Google are going after it in a big way – this is our chance to bring that to life in an iOS setting.' In a video shared by Campaign yesterday, you can catch a glimpse into the Apple Smart Home section at John Lewis around the 1:30 mark. The space appears to include a variety of popular HomeKit devices -- like a few Philips Hue lamps -- and numerous iPads are dotted around the showroom floor for customers to interact with. A few demo stations include explanations on how to use HomeKit actions like "Hey Siri" for turning on and off Hue scenes.

Outside of the HomeKit experience, John Lewis's new store aims to be an in-depth and unique shopping destination, with a dedicated Experience Desk where customers can find information on taking part in craft classes, marbling workshops, calligraphy lessons, beauty bar appointments, yoga classes, and meet with in-store fashion stylists.

John Lewis is also planning to launch an iPhone app so that customers can keep track of all these appointments, starting with a focus on staying in touch with personal stylists, "who will be able to provide notifications when, for example, a new collection of a favorite brand comes into stock." Eventually, the company wants to expand the app to cover other services offered by the Experience Desk, including home design consultations.

Apple has been known to partner with companies in an attempt to boost HomeKit adoption, back in 2016 working with various building companies to integrate HomeKit directly into homes from the get-go, ensuring that new buyers are more likely to stick within its ecosystem. One such home in San Jose, California included devices sold by Kwikset, Ecobee, and Lutron, with HomeKit integration estimated to cost $2,500 per house.

Tag: HomeKit
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Apple's Fleet of Self-Driving Vehicles Has Almost Doubled Since January

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:06
Apple's fleet of self-driving vehicles has almost doubled over the past two months, according to the Financial Times, as the iPhone maker continues to accelerate its research and development of autonomous technologies.

The report claims Apple now has permits for 45 autonomous vehicles, up from 27 in January, based on figures provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Apple has been expanding its fleet rapidly since receiving permits to test just three autonomous vehicles in California last April.

$AAPL scooplet: Apple now has 45 cars testing autonomous systems in California, up from 27 in Jan & 3 last April, @CA_DMV figures show. That’s more than Waymo, Uber or Tesla in CA, as their testing moves to AZ

— Tim Bradshaw (@tim) March 20, 2018
Apple's testing fleet is now the second largest in California, behind only General Motors subsidiary Cruise Automation and its 110 cars, according to the report. Google-owned Waymo is testing 24 cars in the state, down from more than 100 last June, while Tesla has 39 permits, the report adds.

As noted by Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw, Waymo and other companies appear to be shifting their testing to Arizona and other states, so Apple's larger-sized fleet in California doesn't necessarily make it the de facto leader.

Uber has permits to test 29 driverless vehicles in California, but the company has suspended all of its self-driving tests after a pedestrian was struck and killed by one of its autonomous vehicles, with a human safety driver behind the wheel, on Sunday. It was the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

While the incident could result in more regulations for all companies testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle that "it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway."

California has required companies testing autonomous vehicles to have a human in the driver's seat to take over in the event of an emergency, but the state will be lifting that rule starting April 2, 2018.

Apple is one of more than 50 companies testing self-driving vehicle technologies in the San Francisco Bay Area. For nearly a year now, the company has been deploying its autonomous software in a series of 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which can often be seen on streets surrounding its Cupertino headquarters.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a June 2017 interview with Bloomberg Television. "It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."

Related Roundup: Apple Car
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Elevation Lab Launches New Versatile 'CordDock' for iPhone With Detachable Cord

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 15:00
Elevation Lab, a company known for its range of popular docks and stands for Apple devices, today announced the launch of its latest iPhone dock, the CordDock.

The CordDock aims to combine the benefits of charging via a cord with the benefits of a dock, allowing the iPhone plugged into the cord dock to be picked up and used while charging if desired.

Elevation Lab designed the CordDock with the same grippy NanoPad micro air-suction used in the ElevationDock 4, so your iPhone can be picked up and detached from the dock one-handed while it's still plugged in. When picking up the iPhone to use it, there's no need to unplug the cord -- the CordDock makes it so you can continue to charge even if you need to send a message, read an email, or play a game.

To use the CordDock, which has a slim footprint with a braided Lightning cable and two adjustable wheels at the back, you simply need to rotate the iPhone forward to keep the cord plugged in. Two spring-loaded ball detents keep the cord in position during standard dock charging, and release the cord when force is applied to undock the iPhone. To undock entirely, pull up on the phone as you would with any dock.

The CordDock can fit iPhone cases up to 4mm thick, which Elevation Lab says should work with everything besides the thick OtterBox cases. This is not a wireless charging device, which is an option with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, but is instead designed for customers who prefer to use wired charging but need more versatility than a dock can traditionally provide.

CordDock is available for purchase from the Elevation Lab website for $39 starting today.

Tag: Elevation Lab
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T-Mobile Gifting Customers Free Year of MLB.TV Premium Ahead of 2018 Season

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 14:16
T-Mobile today announced the return of its Major League Baseball-themed offer, gifting customers a free year's subscription to MLB.TV and the MLB At Bat app's premium features, worth $115.99 in total.

Available for T-Mobile customers only, the MLB.TV deal will be available in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app [Direct Link] beginning March 27, 2018 and run through April 2, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. If customers sign up for MLB.TV during this period on T-Mobile's network, they'll get their free 2018 MLB Regular Season subscription on the service and an At Bat Premium season subscription at no additional cost.
“Going to bat for customers is what we do, and our customers LOVE baseball…so we’re bringing them home a win next T-Mobile Tuesday,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Last year, Un-carrier customers streamed more than 1.3 million hours of baseball with MLB.TV thanks to the nation’s most loved wireless company, so we’re doing what do, giving them more of what they want…that’s how it should be, and we won’t stop!” The deal's fine print points out that this is for new 2018 subscribers of MLB.TV only, and current subscribers must cancel by 8:00 p.m. ET on March 23 to be eligible ahead of the March 27 launch on T-Mobile Tuesdays.

MLB.TV is a streaming service available as an app on most platforms, including Apple TV, PS4, Roku, Fire TV, and more. The service lets baseball fans watch every out-of-market regular season game live or on demand in HD, while the At Bat Premium features include 60fps video, radio broadcasts, and more.
Baseball fans can watch games on their favorite supported devices and enjoy live game DVR controls so they can pause and rewind live action. And, the MLB.TV subscription includes all the premium features of the MLB At Bat app (a $19.99 value), including enhanced pitch tracking, home and away radio broadcasts, and more. T-Mobile's deal will debut two days before Opening Day of the 2018 Major League Baseball season on Thursday, March 29. This year will be the fifth consecutive year that T-Mobile has offered a free year of MLB.TV to its customers.

Tag: T-Mobile
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Deals: $50 iTunes Cards for $42.50, Latest iTunes Movies Sale, and RAVPower Qi Mats

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:51
PayPal's Digital Gifts eBay storefront today has $50 App Store and iTunes gift cards for $42.50, a savings of 15 percent. As usual with PayPal's card sales on eBay, you'll need a PayPal account to complete the transaction, and the iTunes credit will only be valid on purchases made in the United States. Although the $100 card isn't directly on sale, you can add two $50 cards to your cart today to get $100 worth of iTunes credit for $85 -- which has been the typical sale amount over the past few weeks.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Once you place the order, PayPal will send a code to your email inbox within a few hours, although it can take up to 24 hours. Visit PayPal on eBay for more information and to pick up one of the iTunes cards before the limited-time offer expires.

Since it's Tuesday, Apple has added a few new films onto the iTunes Movies store, as well as marked down some to notable low discounts. Below we've listed sales hitting iTunes Movies for 4K HDR films and Disney films.

4K HDR movies on sale

Disney movies on sale

In other deals this week, RAVPower is offering MacRumors readers a discount of 20 percent off a pair of its Qi-compatible wireless chargers at Amazon. In addition, our readers can get 15 percent off one of RAVPower's portable power banks, which includes a built-in wireless charging pad. Check out all the products on sale below, along with the promo codes you'll need to take advantage of the discounts.

We reviewed all three of RAVPower's new accessories last week, so be sure to check out that review for more information.
For more information on the latest sales, including our ongoing Spring Break discount with Twelve South, head over to the full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple is Tightening the Rules on 'What's New' Changelogs in App Store

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:45
Apple this week informed members of its Developer Program that it will be enforcing stricter rules for "What's New in This Version," the section on the App Store in which developers can list changes they made to their apps.

Starting in April, developers will only be able to edit the "What's New" text when submitting a new version of their app. In other words, any changes to the text will now be subject to Apple's standard App Store review process.

The requirement will extend to editing an app's support URL or marketing URL, according to Apple's announcement posted in iTunes Connect.

While this is a minor change, Apple evidently felt the need to have a little more control over information passing through the App Store without its approval. It's possible that a few developers were taking advantage of the flexibility for bad reasons, such as pointing support or marketing URLs to malicious websites.

Tags: App Store, iTunes Connect
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Apple Expands Mobile Phone Billing in Europe: EE in UK, Orange in France and Spain, and Telekom in Germany

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:00
Apple has expanded mobile phone billing to additional European countries and carriers, according to an updated support document on its website.

As of this week, the feature is now supported by EE in the United Kingdom, Orange in France and Spain, and Telekom or T-Mobile, which are owned by the same company, in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, and Slovakia.

The payment method enables customers to pay for iTunes Store content, App Store apps, iBooks, and Apple Music subscriptions without needing a debit or credit card, or even a bank account. Instead, purchases are added to a customer's mobile phone bill and paid off at the end of the month.

The payment method was already offered by select carriers in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Apple's support document explains how to set up mobile phone billing in the iTunes Store on both iPhone and iPad or Mac and PC.

Tag: carrier billing
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Apple Has Two-Year Lead Over Smartphone Rivals in 3D Sensing Race

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:59
Apple has gained a two-year lead over its rivals in the smartphone industry in the area of 3D sensing technology, according to a new report on Tuesday.

Following talks with three major parts suppliers, Reuters estimates that Android phone makers will have to wait until 2019 to duplicate the 3D sensing feature behind Apple's Face ID security, which debuted last year in the iPhone X.

According to parts manufacturers Viavi Solutions Inc, Finisar Corp and Ams AG, bottlenecks on key parts will mean mass adoption of 3D sensing will not happen until next year, disappointing earlier expectations.

That means that China's Huawei, Xiaomi and others could be a total of almost two years behind Apple, which launched Face ID with its iPhone X anniversary phone last September.Android producers are reportedly struggling to source vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs, a key component of Apple's TrueDepth camera that the company moved to secure supplies of last year. In December, Apple said it planned to invest $390 million in Finisar Corp, which supplies the components for VCSELs.

Apple said the investment would enable Finisar to exponentially increase its R&D spending and high-volume production of VCSELs, which power some of the iPhone's X flagship features, such as Face ID, Animoji and Portrait mode selfies, as well as the proximity-sensing capabilities of AirPods.

According to Reuters' sources, Apple was initially sourcing VCSELs chiefly from California-based Lumentum, and it was bottlenecks in production there last year that also spurred the $390 million deal with Finisar.

Meanwhile, Lumentum, which declined to comment on the report, is ramping up additional manufacturing capacity for VCSELs and edge-emitting lasers for the first half of fiscal 2019, according to the company’s earnings call.

Another producer, Austria-based Ams, also expects to have VCSEL chips widely available next year and says it has won a large deal with one phone maker.

Viavi, the only major supplier of optical filters needed for the 3D sensing modules, believes only one Android handset maker will deliver 3D sensing by the end of the calendar year, but volumes are likely to be very low. The company expects at least two more Android-based phones to follow that trend in 2019.

According to a report in October by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, inquiries by Android smartphone vendors into 3D-sensing technologies tripled after Apple unveiled its TrueDepth camera and Face ID technology, which will likely replace traditional Touch ID fingerprint recognition in future iOS devices.

Apple is reportedly working on a new high-end 2018 iPad that will adopt many of the design elements from the revamped iPhone X, including built-in support for Face ID. The new tablet device, which is likely to be a "Pro" model, will reportedly do away with the Home button.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: TrueDepthBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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How to Make Web Pages in Safari for Mac Easier to Read

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:04
In Apple's Safari web browser, there are several ways to make viewing web pages easier on the eyes. All of them involve adjusting the font size or the zoom level that Safari applies when it loads web page content, which can be helpful if you're using a small screen or a large display set at a high resolution.

To increase or decrease the zoom level of both text and images when viewing web pages in Safari, press Command and the + (plus) or - (minus) keys. You can also click on View in Safari's menu bar and select Zoom In or Zoom Out.

Alternatively, you can add zoom buttons to Safari's interface: Right-click (or Ctrl-click) on a space in the Safari toolbar and click Customize Toolbar.... Then drag the Zoom buttons in the dropdown to the space you just clicked on the toolbar. Click Done to finish.

If you want to keep images at the same size and only adjust web page font size on the fly, press Option-Command and the + or - keys. You can also hold down the Option key and click on View in the Safari menu bar, which changes the Zoom options to Make Text Bigger and Make Text Smaller.

Safari will remember your zoom and font size settings until you clear your History. To do so, click Safari in the menu bar, select Clear History..., then click the Clear History button.

Set the Zoom Level for a Specific Website
Once the zoom level is set up for a particular site, Safari applies it automatically whenever you visit it. Here's how it's done.
  1. Navigate to the site that you want to adjust the zoom level for.
  2. Right-click on the URL or website name that appears in the address bar, and select Settings for This Website. Alternatively, click Safari in the menu bar and you'll see the same option just below Preferences.
  3. Click the Zoom Level percentage and select a new level from the dropdown menu. (Anything greater than 100 zooms in; anything less than 100 zooms out.)
Set the Zoom Level for All Web Pages
  1. In Safari's menu bar, select Safari -> Preferences....
  2. Click the Websites tab.
  3. Click Page Zoom in the General column.
  4. Clear any Configured Websites in the list by highlighting them all with your mouse button and then selecting Remove.
  5. Click the When visiting other websites pop-up menu and choose a percentage to suit.
Set Your Own Zoom Level With a Style Sheet
If none of Safari's zoom level increments sit right with your eyes, here's a way to set your own percentage.

  1. Open the TextEdit application.
  2. Click New Document.
  3. In TextEdit's menu bar, select Format -> Make Plain Text.
  4. Copy and paste the following CSS code into the file, changing the zoom number to your preferred percentage level:
    body {
    zoom: 140%;

  5. In TextEdit's menu bar, select File -> Save....
  6. Name the file safari zoom.css or whatever you like, just make sure it retains a .css suffix.
  7. Choose a location for the file and click Save.
  8. Back in Safari, select Safari -> Preferences... in the menu bar.
  9. Select the Advanced tab.
  10. Click the Style sheet dropdown menu and select Other....
  11. Navigate to the location of your saved CSS file, select it, and click Choose.
From now on, Safari will default to the zoom level specified in your style sheet file, which you can edit at any time.

Force Websites to Use Bigger Font Sizes
Finally, there's an option in Safari that lets you force websites to display text using a minimum font size, without affecting the zoom level.

  1. In Safari's menu bar, select Safari -> Preferences....
  2. Select the Advanced tab.
  3. In the Accessibility section, check the box next to Never use font sizes smaller than: and select a font size in the dropdown.

Related Roundup: macOS High SierraTag: Safari
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Invite-Only Game Fortnite Has Earned an Estimated $1.5M Since Launch

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 03:24
Epic Games' popular Fortnite Battle Royale game for iOS devices has grossed an estimated $1.5 million worldwide since its release last Thursday, according to figures shared this afternoon by app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Fortnite has topped the iPhone download charts in more than 40 countries since it was released, despite the fact that it continues to be invite only. As of now, it is the number one free app in the Games section of the App Store.

According to Sensor Tower, Fortnite earned $1 million during the first 72 hours after in-app purchases first became live in the game for beta testers.

In Fortnite, players can buy outfits, tools, weapons, emotes, gliders, and more using the in-game currency, V-Bucks. Players can purchase 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99, which is the minimum in-app purchase. Higher quantities of V-Bucks are available for more money.

Fortnite earned far more than other survival-style games that were released at the same time. Knives Out, a competing game, earned $57k, while Rules of Survival earned $39k. Fortnite could have some competition now, however, as Tencent today released the official version of PUBG Mobile, which offers the same kind of gameplay available in Fortnite.

Compared to other popular games, Fortnite hasn't brought in quite as much money, but it is still in a beta testing phase. Pokémon GO brought in $4.9 million just four days after release, and Clash Royale earned $4.6 million four days after it was released.

The goal in Fortnite is to be the last person standing, with players tasked with killing opponents using a variety of weapons while also avoiding death from other players. The game is also available on PCs and consoles, with cross-platform gameplay available if enabled.

Fortnite can be downloaded from the App Store for free, but a beta invite is required to play. Epic Games plans to expand the beta in the weeks to come, but it's not yet clear when it will see an official launch. [Direct Link]

Tags: App Store, Sensor Tower, Fortnite
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Amazon Kindle App for iOS Gains Support for iPad's Split View

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 00:28
The Amazon Kindle app for iOS devices, which is designed to allow Amazon-purchased ebooks to be read on the iPhone and iPad, was today updated with several new features.

On compatible iPad models, there's now support for Split View, so you can use the Amazon Kindle app side-by-side with other apps for multitasking while reading.

In addition to Split View support, today's update adds continuous scrolling, a feature that lets you scroll through books like you would an iPad. You can activate the option by going to Settings and turning on continuous scrolling. Once enabled, the feature can be turned on and off using the Aa menu in your book.

Amazon has also added a feature to pull down in your book library to refresh the list of available books, and there are new Kindle dictionaries for Arabic.What's New

- Split view on iPad is here! Resize the app to multi-task while reading without ever switching context.
- Try scrolling through your book - just like a web page. Turn continuous scrolling on via Settings, then easily turn it on and off from the Aa menu in your book. Tell us what you think.
- Pull down in the library to refresh your list of books.
- We've added Kindle dictionaries for Arabic.Amazon Kindle can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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Galaxy S9 and S9+ Beat iPhone X in Drop Tests, But Still Suffer Severe Damage

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 21:55
Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are using 20 percent thicker glass and a stronger aluminum frame, both of which are designed to cut down on damage from drops. Samsung says the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are more durable than previous devices thanks to the new materials.

SquareTrade today conducted its traditional breakability tests on the Galaxy S9 devices to test Samsung's claims. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ did indeed manage to beat out the iPhone X and older Galaxy devices, but they still didn't fare well when dropped.

In every drop test, conducted from a height of six feet, the Galaxy S9 and the S9+ shattered. The two devices bent at 230 and 210 pounds, respectively, and both were cracked in a 60 second tumble test. The Galaxy S9 earned an overall breakability score of 71, while the larger Galaxy S9+ earned a score of 76.

Back in November, SquareTrade conducted the same tests on the iPhone X and deemed it the "most breakable iPhone ever" as it too shattered at the front and back when dropped from a height of six feet.

The iPhone X actually fared worse in SquareTrade's tests and showed more extensive damage and breakage in every durability test. It earned an overall breakability score of 90, much higher than the S9 and S9+.

PhoneBuff also recently did some side-by-side drop tests to compare the Galaxy S9+ and the iPhone X. In a back drop test, the iPhone X held up while the Galaxy S9+'s glass back shattered. A side test comparing the iPhone X's stainless steel frame to the S9+'s aluminum frame also saw the iPhone X come out on top.

A third facedown drop on the display side of each smartphone saw the Galaxy S9+ win out over the iPhone X, which cracked. Overall, PhoneBuff used a numbered rating system to compare the drop results, giving the edge to the Samsung Galaxy S9+ because it held up better to a repeated drop test.

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ appear to have fared slightly better than the iPhone X in drop tests, the two devices are still made of glass and still shattered. They shattered to a somewhat a lesser degree, sure, but broken is broken. All glass smartphones, regardless of manufacturer, need to be used with caution and protected with a case as necessary.

Unsurprisingly, neither the iPhone X's "most durable" front and back glass nor the Galaxy S9's 20 percent thicker glass with "enhanced durability" can hold up to concrete and similar hard materials when dropped.

SquareTrade and PhoneBuff may have conducted these tests using specialized equipment for consistent results, but drop tests are never scientific and are not a reliable measure of durability because there are so many variables to take into account when a device is dropped in the real world.

Samsung, like Apple, offers an extended warranty that covers accidental damage. Priced at $11.99 per month, Samsung Premium Care allows Samsung device owners to submit three accidental damage claims in a 12-month period with a $99 deductible required.

Apple's AppleCare+ for iPhone X costs $199 up front and provides coverage for two incidents of accidental damage. Screen replacements require a $29 deductible, while all other damage is subject to a $99 fee. Sans AppleCare+, it costs $279 to repair a damaged iPhone X display and $549 for all other repairs.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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How to Enable Automatic Reader View in Safari for iOS

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 21:23
Safari for iOS has a nifty built-in "Reader" feature that's designed to allow Safari users to read online articles with a distraction-free design that tucks away ads and other visual clutter on supported sites.

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You can tap the Reader icon whenever you're reading through an article to activate this mode, but there's also a way to turn it on for all articles on a specific website or all supported articles on the web.

  1. Open up Safari.

  2. Navigate to a favorite website like

  3. Click on an article.

  4. In the navigation bar at the top, where it says "Reader View Available," tap and hold on the icon that looks like three lines.
From here, you'll see a pop that says "Automatic Reader View," with options to either enable Automatic Reader View on the website you're currently visiting or on all websites.

With this feature enabled, all articles that you click on for a specific website (or all websites if you chose that option) will be displayed in Reader View by default.

You can also use Reader View on the Mac too, and your Automatic Reader preferences for Mac can be accessed by going to Preferences in the Safari Mac app and choosing "Reader" under general. You can also turn Reader on for all articles on a particular webpage by right clicking or clicking and holding on the Reader icon while visiting a website.
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to Developers

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 20:50
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update to developers, one week after seeding the fifth beta and one month after the release of a macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Supplemental Update to address a bug that could cause apps to crash when receiving a character from the Indian language Telugu.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.3.

The update offers support for some features that are available in iOS 11.3, like Messages on iCloud, which uploads all of your iMessages to the cloud. It will also support Business Chat, a feature coming when iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are released to the public, and it includes improved support for eGPUs.

The macOS 10.13.4 update also brings the smoke cloud wallpaper that was previously only available on the iMac Pro and it introduces a warning when opening up a 32-bit app as part of an effort to phase them out.

In the future, Apple plans to phase out 32-bit Mac apps, just like it did with 32-bit iOS apps. Apple says macOS High Sierra is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps without compromises.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Quick Takes: Audiophile Calls AirPods Best Truly Wireless Earbuds He's Ever Heard in Year-Later Review

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 20:33
In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Monday, March 19

1. AirPods: the audiophile review: The Verge's Vlad Savov finally got around to testing a pair of AirPods, over a year after they launched, and now understands why so many people are fans of Apple's wireless earphones. Once dismissive of them, he now thinks AirPods are the best truly wireless earbuds he's heard.I say the AirPods aren't technically amazing, but that's only when comparing against existing standards for sound quality. In the category of truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods are the best I've yet heard. Bragi's The Headphone and Dash Pro left me underwhelmed, with the latter being especially bloated and disfigured by an overabundance of bass.Commentary: AirPods are easily one of Apple's best new products in the past few years. They're easy to set up, easy to use, easy to carry around, and more than likely sound "good enough" for the majority of customers.

2. The case for an ePad: Drawing inspiration from the education-only eMac, released in 2002, 512 Pixels' Stephen Hackett envisions what an education-only iPad or so-called "ePad" could be. His suggestions include a more rugged design, Apple Pencil and external keyboard support, and more competitive pricing.

3. HQ Trivia had a weird night: The smartphone-based live trivia show offered a winner-takes-all $25,000 prize on Sunday night, but the would-be winner was ejected from the game for violating the rules, according to HQ. The company hasn't explained what the rule-breaking behavior was.

Then, on early Monday, HQ Trivia was briefly removed from the App Store. TechCrunch confirmed that the game was briefly unavailable due to an unrelated clerical error. More specifically, someone forgot to update HQ Trivia's expired credit card info in Apple's developer portal, according to the report.

HQ moderators kick players that violate HQ’s Terms of Service and Contest Rules. For more information, please refer to our Terms of Service here:

— HQ Trivia (@hqtrivia) March 19, 2018
Commentary: It sounds like HQ Trivia caught a cheater on its hands, but we may never know for sure. The good news is that the amount now rolls over, meaning next Sunday's winner-takes-all prize will be $50,000, its largest jackpot ever. The game is scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Other Links
For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

Related Roundup: AirPodsTag: Quick TakesBuyer's Guide: AirPods (Caution)
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Official PUBG Mobile Game Now Available From iOS App Store in the U.S.

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 19:51
The officially licensed app for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, better known as PUBG, today launched in the United States and several other regions around the world.

PUBG is an extremely popular multiplayer online battle royale-style game that's been available for PC and Xbox One since early 2017 as part of a Steam early access beta, with the game officially launching back in December.

In PUBG, up to 100 players fight in a battle to the death to become the last person (or team of up to four people) standing. The goal of the game is to kill other players without being killed, while also scouting through the game world for equipment, weapons, and other gear.

Two mobile versions of PUBG were released in China in February by Tencent Games, and as of today the mobile version of the game is available in the United States, Canada, and other regions.

According to the App Store description of the game, it's an authentic port of the PC version of PUBG, with 100 players able to fight one another to survive.An authentic port of the PC version. 100 players are dropped on an enormous 8x8 km battlefield. Players fight to survive and eliminate each other through strategy and skill. The last one standing wins! Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!Tencent says the game is compatible with the iPhone 5s and later, the iPad Air and later, the iPad mini 2 and later and the 6th-generation iPod touch. The company recommends the iPhone 6 or above to get the most out of the PUBG Mobile game.

The release of PUBG Mobile in the United States, Canada, and other regions follows the launch of the Fortnite beta on iOS, which became available last week.

PUBG Mobile can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: App Store
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