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Updated: 23 min 38 sec ago

Xbox Party Chat Coming Soon to iOS and Android Apps

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 15:45
Microsoft this week announced that the beta for its main Xbox iOS app will soon allow testers to enable party chat and speak with friends who are in a party on Xbox One, with a wide launch expected to follow. Those interested can sign up for the Xbox app beta, run through Apple's TestFlight program, on Microsoft's website. The party chat mode is already available on the Android beta of the Xbox app, as spotted on Reddit (via Engadget).

Xbox party chat beta is now available in the Xbox beta app for Android (available in app store) and iOS (sign up for the iOS beta here https://t.co/4jXxF2CQs2)

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) December 14, 2017
Details on the party chat feature are scarce, but it appears that it will work similarly to Nintendo's Switch Online mobile app, although likely won't be as game-specific. Nintendo's app was created due to the fact that the Switch console itself lacks a voice chat feature, so players in online games like Splatoon 2 are required to use the Switch Online app if they want to talk with friends. As of today, Splatoon 2 is still the only game supported in the app, despite numerous other online games being available for Switch, like Mario Kart 8.

For the Xbox app, players will be able to chat with their friends who are playing on Xbox -- or on the mobile app themselves -- even when not at home near their console. Otherwise, the app allows users to view their friend list, send messages, post updates and game clips, purchase games on the store, and more. The Xbox app is available to download for free on the iOS App Store [Direct Link].

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox
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Huawei and Xiaomi Aiming to Rival iPhone in United States With AT&T and Verizon Sales Partnerships

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 15:36
Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi are reportedly in discussions with carriers AT&T and Verizon, who may begin selling each company's flagship Android smartphones in the United States as early as next year.


The negotiations are still in progress, and it's possible no final agreements will materialize, according to Bloomberg News.

The news echoes an earlier report from The Information that claimed AT&T has tentatively agreed to sell at least one Huawei smartphone, which was believed to be a high-end model resembling the company's flagship Mate 10 handset.

A partnership with AT&T and/or Verizon would be a major win for Huawei, already the world's third largest smartphone maker by market share behind Samsung and Apple, which dominate the smartphone market in the United States.

Huawei is the most popular smartphone maker in China, and it has aggressively pushed into Europe and Canada, but it has considerably less brand awareness in the United States since no major carriers sell its smartphones in the country. American customers currently have to resort to retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, or Amazon to purchase a Huawei smartphone.

If it wants to achieve its lofty goal of becoming the largest smartphone maker in the entire world by 2021, Huawei will almost certainly have to secure these types of agreements with AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers.

Huawei remained in third place with an estimated 39.1 million smartphone shipments worldwide last quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, while Apple reported sales of 46.7 million iPhones over that period. In the United States, Huawei held just a 0.2 percent share of the smartphone market as of June 2017, according to Counterpoint Research.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi said it aims to roll out smartphones in the United States within two years. Xiaomi is also considering opening retail stores in the country to increase its brand presence, according to the report.

Tags: bloomberg.com, Huawei, Xiaomi
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Free Shipping Day 2017: Hundreds of Online Retailers Offering Free U.S. Shipping and Guaranteed Christmas Delivery

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 14:47
In the United States and a select few other countries today is Free Shipping Day, a shopping holiday in which most participating retailers offer free shipping with no minimum purchase required. Although lesser-known than previous shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day is a great opportunity for last-minute shoppers to get orders in ahead of Christmas, because most retailers joining in on the shopping holiday also guarantee delivery by December 24th.

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.

Over 900 retailers are participating in the event, so chances are there is a store you might be interested in that you can place an order for free shipping today. Some websites require a code and also go beyond free shipping to offer you discounts and other promotions.

Below we've listed a few places joining in on the event:
  • Target - Free shipping on all orders

  • Best Buy - Free shipping on all orders

  • OtterBox - Free 2-day shipping on all orders

  • LifeProof - Free shipping on all LifeProof Protective Cases and accesories, 10 percent off purchase (Code: LPFS17)

  • Speck - Free 2-day shipping on all orders, $15 gift card with purchase of $30 or more

  • Office Depot/OfficeMax - Free shipping on all orders

  • Bose - Free expedited shipping on all orders

  • Belkin - Free ground shipping on all orders

  • Sonos - Free shipping sitewide (Code: FRE2NDYSHP17)

  • Case-Mate - Free sitewide shipping, $10 off order (Code: SHIP10)

  • Brydge - Free shipping on all orders

  • Macy's - Free shipping on all orders

  • JCPenney - Free shipping on all orders (Code: SHIP3)

Although this is a one-day-only shopping event, some stores are stretching their free shipping and guaranteed Christmas delivery policies further into this weekend and early next week, so make sure to read the promotion and delivery promises at each website you visit for more information.

There are also numerous stores taking part in the event that require a minimum purchase to be made for free shipping to be activated. These include Amazon ($25 or more), Walmart ($35 or more), Verizon ($49 or more), GameStop ($50 or more), and others that FreeShippingDay.com has listed on its website (which is loading slowly today, likely due to high traffic).

As a note for Apple.com, the company is offering free next-day delivery on in-stock items ordered by 3 p.m. local time on December 22, so you still have one week from today to get your Apple orders in for Christmas.

Visit our Deals Roundup for more sales and promotional offers that might help you out during your holiday shopping.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple Continues to Work on All-New Mac Pro With Upgradeable Design

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 13:46
With the iMac Pro release dominating headlines on Thursday, we want to make sure nobody has missed that Apple also reiterated some other exciting news for pro customers: a modular Mac Pro is coming.

2013 Mac Pro on left vs. 2012 Mac Pro on right
The brief mention came at the very end of Apple's press release about the iMac Pro becoming available to order:In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design, as well as a new high-end pro display.While this isn't new information, it does let us know that Apple remains committed to an all-new, powerful Mac Pro with an upgradeable design after first teasing the news to a group of reporters back in April.

We don't know what the new Mac Pro will look like, but given it will be a modular system, Apple could return to a tower design like the 2006 to 2012 Mac Pro with a case that could be opened with a lever on the back.

The promise that it will be a high-performance, high-throughput system suggests the modular Mac Pro could be even faster than the iMac Pro, which itself is easily the fastest Mac ever with workstation-class tech specs.

The maxed-out iMac Pro, for example, costs $13,199 and is equipped with an 18-core 2.3GHz Intel Xeon W-class processor, 4TB of SSD storage, 128GB of ECC RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB of HBM2 memory.

It's also good news for customers who were sad to see Apple discontinue its standalone Thunderbolt Display, which will be revived in the form of an all-new Apple-branded high-end display geared towards pro customers.

Apple's discontinued Thunderbolt Display
What we also don't know is when the new Mac Pro is coming. Apple only revealed that it wouldn't be ready this year. It could certainly be released at some point in 2018, or it could take a little bit longer—it's anyone's guess right now.

Apple hasn't updated the current Mac Pro in just shy of four years, beyond reshuffling some configurations and pricing back in April.

At the time, Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi admitted that the 2013 Mac Pro's so-called "trash can" design has a limited thermal capacity that doesn't always meet the needs of the most demanding workflows.

"I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will," said Federighi, according to multiple reports.

It isn't often that Apple pre-announces new products in its pipeline, but there were growing concerns the company was no longer focused on professional users, evidently to the point that it felt the need to respond in a big way.

"We're committed to the Mac, we've got great talent on the Mac, both hardware and software, we've got great products planned for the future, and as far as our horizon line can see, the Mac is a core component of the things Apple delivers, including to our pro customers," said Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller.

Related Roundup: Mac ProBuyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Caution)
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Apple Now Selling 0.8m Thunderbolt 3 Cable for $39

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 01:03
Alongside the iMac Pro, Apple today updated its online store to add an Apple-branded 0.8m Thunderbolt 3 cable, which is the first Thunderbolt 3 cable Apple has offered that isn't manufactured by a third-party company.

The cable is priced at $39, which is more expensive than a similar Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable also available from the Apple website for $29.95.


Apple's Thunderbolt 3 cable offers TB3 data transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s and USB 3.1 Gen 2 data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s, along with DisplayPort video output (HBR3) and charging up to 100W.

Aside from a Thunderbolt logo located at either end of the cable, there is no branding. It is, however, designed in the same style as Apple's traditional USB-C and Lightning cables.

The Thunderbolt 3 cable is compatible with all USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Macs, including the latest iMac Pro, iMac, and MacBook Pro models.

Tag: Thunderbolt 3
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Samsung Aiming to Release Smart Speaker to Compete With HomePod in First Half of 2018

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 00:03
Like Apple, Samsung has been working on a smart speaker that will compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, and the South Korean company is aiming to release it in the first half of 2018, reports Bloomberg.

Samsung's smart speaker sounds similar to the HomePod, with a "strong focus" on audio quality. Apple aimed to make the HomePod stand out with sound quality that beats out competitors like the Amazon Echo.

Apple's HomePod
One prototype in testing is said to be "between the size" of the newest Echo and the HomePod. It could come in different colors, including a matte black shade, and it has no screen but offers a light-up area on the top for visual feedback like the HomePod.

Similar to other products, the Samsung smart speaker will be able to control smart home accessories, and it will be controlled via voice assistant. It will feature built-in Bixby support, Samsung's voice-based AI solution.

Amazon's latest Echo
Samsung confirmed its work on a smart speaker to compete with the HomePod back in August of 2017. At the time, Samsung mobile president DJ Koh said the aim was to provide a "fruitful user experience at home with Samsung devices."

Samsung is considering a price of around $200 for the smart speaker, which would make it more affordable than Apple's $349 HomePod. If Samsung is indeed aiming for an early 2018 release, the smart speaker could come out around the same time as the HomePod.

Apple originally planned to introduce the HomePod in December, but has since delayed its release until 2018.

Tag: Samsung
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iMac Pro Will Be Available at Apple Stores by Mid Next Week

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 23:26
Apple today made the iMac Pro available to order from its online store, with 8-core and 10-core models shipping in late December, but customers looking to see or purchase one at an Apple Store will have to wait a little bit longer.


MacRumors has learned from a reliable source that Apple will begin selling select iMac Pro configurations at its retail stores by mid next week.

We don't know if all of Apple's retail stores around the world will have in-store stock by mid next week, but it's safe to assume that many locations will have the iMac Pro both on display and available to purchase in limited quantities. We can't confirm when authorized resellers like Best Buy will have iMac Pro availability in stores.

Update: Apple confirmed the iMac Pro will be available at Apple Stores by mid next week at a private media briefing yesterday, according to iMore's Rene Ritchie, backing up the information provided to us.

Apple stated this outright during the briefings yesterday.

— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) December 14, 2017iMac Pro is an expensive workstation aimed at professional users with demanding workflows, and it is also highly customizable, so many customers may prefer to order from Apple's online store, where exact tech specs, accessories, and software add-ons like Final Cut Pro X can be selected as desired.

iMac Pro starts at $4,999 for a base 8-core model in the United States, with 10-core models available from $5,799. 14-core and 18-core models start at $6,599 and $7,399, but they aren't estimated to ship for 6-8 weeks.

Every configuration has optional upgrades available for storage, memory, and graphics, with prices topping out at $13,199 for a maxed-out, high-end model with an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, 4TB of SSD storage, 128GB of ECC RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB of HBM2 memory.

First impressions of the iMac Pro have generally been very positive. YouTube reviewer Marques Brownlee, for example, said the iMac Pro is very fast and even fairly priced, although he said its lack of upgradeability is a weakness.

Fortunately, for customers who want upgradeability, Apple today confirmed that it continues to work on a modular Mac Pro that will be released alongside new Apple-branded external displays. Apple hasn't provided a release date for any of those products, beyond noting that they won't be available in 2017.

In the meantime, at least the iMac Pro's RAM will be upgradable by Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers. Still, we recommend future-proofing your iMac Pro by choosing tech specs that will meet your needs over the long term.

Related Roundup: iMac ProBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)
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Apple Launches New Podcast Analytics Beta for Podcasters

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 21:36
Apple in June promised to introduce new analytics features for podcasters, providing in-episode analytics options for tracking people listening, where in a podcast listeners stop and skip content, whether ads are skipped, and how long people generally listen for.

Starting today, Apple's podcast analytics feature is rolling out in a beta capacity, reports TechCrunch.


In recent years, podcasts have been growing in popularity, which is what led Apple to finally introduce dedicated analytics tools. Apple also redesigned the Podcasts app entirely in iOS 11, implementing a much improved end user experience with better linearity for podcast episodes.

Apple's new podcasts analytics feature uses anonymized data to make sure user privacy is preserved while also allowing developers access to data that will improve their podcast performance. Data is available from iOS 11 and iTunes 12.7 users.

Podcasters can access the new analytics options for free starting today in iTunes Connect.

Tag: Podcasts
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iTunes Chief Eddy Cue to Participate in Q&A Session at Pollstar Live! 2018 Conference

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 21:20
Apple iTunes Chief Eddy Cue will attend the Pollstar Live! 2018 Conference where he will sit down for a QA session with Variety Executive Music Editor Shirley Halperin, Variety reported today.

Cue's official title is vice president of Internet Software and Services, and he oversees both iTunes and Apple Music along with Apple Pay, Maps, iCloud services, Apple's video efforts, and more."Eddy Cue and his team at Apple have changed the way we listen to music, played a transformative role in artist discovery, and ignited the passion of music fans," said Ray Waddell, president, Media & Conferences, for Oak View Group, producers of Pollstar Live! "We are thrilled to have him address the attendees at Pollstar Live! and can't wait to hear what he has to say."Other speakers at Pollstar Live! 2018 include William J. Bratton, Troy Carter, Coolio, Mark Cuban, Marc Geiger, Michael Rapino, Alan Krueger, James E. Meyer, Roger Lynch, and more.

The Q&A session, entitled Apple and the Music Business, will take place on the morning of February 7, 2018 at the InterContinental hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Pollstar Live! is a three day event that starts on February 6.

Tags: Eddy Cue, iTunes
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iMac Pro's RAM Can Only Be Upgraded by Apple or Authorized Service Provider

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 20:57
Standard 27-inch iMacs have a small hatch in the back that allows the RAM in the machine to be upgraded after purchase, but the iMac Pro does not have that feature.

There is no rear hatch because the RAM in the iMac Pro is not user upgradeable following purchase, but there's good news -- an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider is able to open up the iMac Pro and swap out the RAM.


iMore's Rene Ritchie spoke to Apple and learned that any service center is able to upgrade the RAM on an iMac Pro following purchase.

Yes. Any service center, Apple or indie, can upgrade the RAM on iMac Pro post-purchase. https://t.co/4JIRCSsu5H

— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) December 14, 2017
At Apple Stores, iMac Pro users will likely only be able to upgrade to Apple-provided RAM, but third-party service providers will be able to offer non-Apple RAM and might even allow users to bring in their own RAM. Policy will undoubtedly vary by location, however.

The entry-level $4,999 iMac Pro ships with 32GB of 2666MHz ECC RAM, but up to 128GB RAM is supported. Apple charges $800 to upgrade to 64GB RAM and $2,400 to upgrade to 128GB RAM. Upgrading RAM after purchase in eligible machines is often more affordable than purchasing Apple's RAM upgrades at checkout.

There are no post-purchase options for upgrading the SSD, processor, or graphics card in the iMac Pro.

Apple began allowing customers to purchase the iMac Pro this morning. 8 and 10-core machines will begin shipping out this week, while 14 and 18-core options won't be available to ship out for 6 to 8 weeks. While the entry-level iMac Pro is priced at $4,999, there are a number of upgrades available. A maxed out 18-core machine with 4TB of storage and a Radeon Pro Vega 64 is priced at $13,199.

Related Roundup: iMac ProBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)
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iMessage Has Emoji-Related Bug Dating Back Several iOS Versions

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 20:37
Apple released iOS 11.2.1 on Wednesday with multiple bug fixes, but an emoji-related issue continues to affect the Messages app on iOS devices.


The bug happens as follows: start a fresh conversation with a new recipient in the Messages app, send a single emoji as the first message, and much of the interface will essentially go blank with the top menu disappearing.

The glitch effectively renders the Messages app unusable until it is force closed and reopened through the multitasking menu.

The bug has affected most iPhone, iPad, and likely iPod touch models since at least iOS 11.1.2. MacRumors is able to reproduce the issue on iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, and the first iOS 11.2.5 beta released yesterday.

The issue is prevalent in both iMessage conversations with blue bubbles and SMS conversations with green bubbles.

While this bug is a minor one, it adds to a growing list of issues that have surfaced over the past several versions of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, including a major Mac vulnerability that provided easy access to the root superuser.

Beyond the root bug, Apple has also dealt with a HomeKit-related vulnerability, an iPhone camera autofocus issue, iOS autocorrect bugs, and iPhone X glitches in cold weather, among other problems, in recent weeks.

We've alerted Apple about this bug shortly prior to publishing this article and we'll provide an update if and when we learn about a fix.

Tags: emoji, iMessage
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Amazon to Resume Selling Apple TV and Chromecast

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:16
Amazon has decided to once again sell the Apple TV and Google Chromecast in its online store, reports CNET. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company is officially offering the two products as of today.

"I can confirm that we are assorting Apple TV and Chromecast," CNET was told.


There are new product pages for the 32GB fourth-generation Apple TV, the 32GB Apple TV 4K, and the 64GB Apple TV 4K. There are also two listings for the Chromecast and the Chromecast Ultra.

All of the products are listed as "Currently unavailable" right now, but that is likely to change soon after the listings are completed and propagated to Amazon's site.

Amazon first stopped selling the Apple TV and the Google Chromecast in its online store in 2015, claiming the reason for the removal was incompatibility with the Amazon Prime Video streaming service.
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in the e-mail. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."Since then, the Apple TV has been unavailable on Amazon's site, but Amazon's original reason for not selling the Apple TV was invalidated with the launch of the Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV.

Amazon last week introduced a long-awaited Amazon Prime Video app for the Apple TV. The new app is available on third, fourth, and fifth-generation devices.

The return of the Chromecast to the Amazon site comes after Google once again removed YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show and the Fire TV. Google said Amazon's refusal to carry the Chromecast and Google Home and its refusal to make Prime Video available for Google Cast was a key reason that it stopped supporting YouTube on Amazon's products.

Related Roundup: Apple TVTags: Google, AmazonBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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FCC Has Voted to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 18:44
The Federal Communications Commission today voted to repeal Net Neutrality rules put in place by the United States government back in 2015 under the Obama administration (via Recode). Instead of classifying internet service providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, the FCC has voted 3-2 in favor of rolling back to reclassifying ISPs as "information service" providers, as they were between February 1996 and February 2015.


Now, companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon will be allowed to block or slow down a user's access to certain websites, as well as potentially charge access to sites and services. The vote passed in favor under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, along with the two other Republican commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Brendan Carr. Outvoted were Democrat commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel.

The order now adopted by the FCC today will eliminate a "utility-style regulation" of ISPs, and also removes any requirement for these companies to refrain from blocking or throttling web traffic. One requirement remaining is that telecom companies will be forced to tell customers if and when they prioritize their content over competitors, and if they don't they could face penalties from the Federal Trade Commission.

Apple and many other large technology companies previously urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. Those in favor of keeping ISPs classified under Title II argued that the FCC rolling back the internet's classification as a public utility will hurt net neutrality, as it could eventually divide internet users into so-called "fast lanes" and "slow lanes." Throughout his remarks given today, Pai said that this will not be the case.
And Pai, before the vote was final, sought to swat away his critics. “Following today’s vote,” he began, “Americans will still be able to access the websites they want to visit. They will still be able to enjoy the services they want to enjoy. There will still be cops on the beat guarding a free and open Internet.” Apple's comment on the topic earlier this year stated that this ruling could "fundamentally alter the internet as we know it," and if it passed it would be put in place to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation. Around the same time, the FCC received a record-breaking 22 million comments from the public who voiced their opinions on the controversial issue in the months leading up to today's vote.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: net neutrality, FCC
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Apple Releases First Beta of iOS 11.2.5 for Public Beta Testers

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 18:15
Apple today released the first public beta of iOS 11.2.5 to its public beta testing group, one day after seeding the first beta to developers and also one day after releasing iOS 11.2.1, an update that addressed a HomeKit vulnerability.

Beta testers who are members of Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 11.2.5 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.


Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple's beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. iOS betas are not always stable and should not be installed on a primary device.

No new features were discovered in the first developer beta of iOS 11.2.5, so it's not entirely clear what new features this beta introduces.

It's possible it focuses primarily on security improvements and bug fixes, and if that's the case, we may not know the extent of what's in the update until it sees a public release complete with detailed release notes.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Apple Seeds First Beta of tvOS 11.2.5 to Public Beta Testers

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 18:15
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2.5 update to its public beta testing group, one day after seeding the tvOS 11.2.5 update to developers. The first tvOS 11.2.5 public beta comes just a day after the release of tvOS 11.2.1, an update that fixed a HomeKit vulnerability.

The tvOS 11.2.5 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.


It's not yet clear what features and changes might be included in the tvOS 11.2.5 update as no outward-facing changes were discovered in the developer beta.

It's likely the update features security improvements and fixes for bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2.1.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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iMac Pro Features Apple's Custom T2 Chip With Secure Boot Capabilities

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 17:55
Apple today confirmed the iMac Pro is equipped with its custom T2 chip for enhanced security and integration. The chip is second-generation silicon, building upon the T1 chip in the latest MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar that authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay respectively.


The T2 chip integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller, for expanded capabilities on the iMac Pro.

For instance, Apple says the T2 chip's image signal processor works with the FaceTime HD camera to enable enhanced tone mapping, improved exposure control, and face detection-based auto exposure and auto white balance.

The T2 chip also has a Secure Enclave coprocessor that makes the iMac Pro even more secure with new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities.The data on your SSD is encrypted using dedicated AES hardware with no effect on the SSD's performance, while keeping the Intel Xeon processor free for your compute tasks. And secure boot ensures that the lowest levels of software aren't tampered with and that only operating system software trusted by Apple loads at startup.Cabel Sasser, co-founder of software company Panic, recently shared a few screenshots of the Startup Security Utility powered by the T2 chip.

⑤ Security. This new chip means storage encryption keys pass from the secure enclave to the hardware encryption engine in-chip — your key never leaves the chip. And, they it allows for hardware verification of OS, kernel, boot loader, firmware, etc. (This can be disabled…) pic.twitter.com/qKJ6bHdtr8

— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) December 12, 2017The settings reveal that users can enable a firmware password to prevent the iMac Pro from starting up from a different hard disk, CD, or DVD without the password. There are also three secure boot options and options to allow or disallow booting from external media devices such as USB and Thunderbolt drives.

"Full security" ensures that only the latest and most secure software can be run. Apple says this mode requires a network connection at the time of software installation. "Medium security" requires verifiable software to boot, but not the latest software, and "no security" lets the operating system boot freely.

iMac Pro became available to order today with 8- to 18-core configurations ranging in price from $4,999 to $13,199 in the United States. 14-core and 18-core models don't ship for an estimated 6-8 weeks.

Related Roundup: iMac ProTag: T2 chipBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)
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Apple CEO Tim Cook Again Urges Congress to Take Action on DACA

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 17:41
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch today teamed up to write an opinion piece in The Washington Post urging Congress to create a legislative solution to protect those affected by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA, for those unfamiliar, gives illegal immigrants who entered the United States at age 16 or younger work permits and protection from deportation by two-year deferral. Many of those protected by DACA have been in the United States for most of their lives.


Cook and Koch say they often disagree on political issues, but are "firmly aligned" on DACA. "This extraordinary set of circumstances has brought the two of us together as co-authors," reads the letter.

In the missive, Cook and Koch point out that there are 690,000 "dreamers" aka children of immigrants who may not be able to enjoy another holiday season in the United States as a result of DACA. The two urge Congress to "show the courage to embrace diversity and to do what is right."We have no illusions about how difficult it can be to get things done in Washington, and we know that people of good faith disagree about aspects of immigration policy. If ever there were an occasion to come together to help people improve their lives, this is it. By acting now to ensure that dreamers can realize their potential by continuing to contribute to our country, Congress can reaffirm this essential American ideal.Cook and Koch ask Congress to work quickly to come up with a solution before the end of the year to "bring certainty and security to the lives of dreamers."No society can truly flourish when a significant portion of its people feel threatened or unable to fulfill their potential. Nor can it prosper by excluding those who want to make positive contributions. This isn't just a noble principle; it's a basic fact, borne out through our national history.Apple CEO Tim Cook has been advocating for new DACA legislation since United States President Donald Trump announced plans to phase out DACA back in September. At that time, he promised Apple would work with members of Congress to come up with a legislative solution that will continue to protect the children of immigrants.

Apple is also working with impacted Apple employees to provide support, including access to immigration experts. Apple employs 250 "dreamers" or children of illegal immigrants who came to the United States at a young age and have lived in the country since then.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Apple Shares Tutorial Video on Using Apple Pay With iPhone X

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 17:12
Apple today shared a new tutorial video on its YouTube channel, this time demonstrating how to use Apple Pay in retail stores with the iPhone X.

Apple Pay on iPhone X is similar to Apple Pay on other devices, but with no fingerprint sensor, you need to unlock your iPhone with Face ID and double tap on the side button to bring up the Wallet app.


Apple's video uses step-by-step instructions to walk users through how to use Apple Pay, similar to other tutorial videos the company has released in the past.

- Step 1: Locate a point-of-sale system that accepts Apple Pay
- Step 2: Double click side button and glance at screen
- Step 3: Hold top of iPhone near reader screen

Apple has been using short tutorial videos for several months now to demonstrate iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iOS 11, and iPad Pro features. Previous videos have highlighted peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments, Portrait Lightning, iPad-specific iOS 11 tools, and more.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
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Snapchat Launches Mac App to Let Creatives Build Customized Augmented Reality Effects

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:58
Snapchat today announced "Lens Studio," an all-new application for Mac and Windows computers that lets creatives and developers create their own augmented reality effects. Although anyone can use Lens Studio, the company noted that it was built with tools aimed at those who "dabble" in 2D animation effects, as well as professional artists.


With the Mac app users can create a fully realized Snapchat AR effect, similar to the popular dancing hot dog from last summer. The app offers templates and guidelines to get started, and both 2D and 3D objects can be created. Snapchat also provides scripting API within Lens Studio so that developers can code their own fully interactive experiences.

All Snapchat users on Lens Studio can make World Lenses for Snapchat that use the rear-facing camera on a smartphone. The company also partnered with seven AR development agencies, who will be able to build both World Lenses as well as face effects on the front-facing camera.


Once a World Lens effect is complete, the app gives out a special Snapcode that can be shared anywhere and allows Snapchat users to scan and unlock the custom Lens. From there, they can interact with it, take photos and videos, and post the content to their Story or send it to a friend.
With the launch of Lens Studio, we’re excited to make Lenses more accessible to creators, and experiences within Snapchat more personal and diverse. We’ve seen how much more fun Geofilters have become since first inviting the community to create their own three years ago — and can’t wait to see what you build with Lens Studio! Lens Studio is a free download on both Mac and Windows, which you can download from Snapchat's website right here.

Tag: Snapchat
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Space Gray Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad Are Currently Sold With iMac Pro Only

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:52
Apple has confirmed the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 in Space Gray are "available only at the time of your iMac Pro purchase."


The fine print on Apple's iMac Pro order page spells bad news for customers who were hoping to be able to purchase the Space Gray accessories separately for use with other Macs and Apple devices.

Apple sells the Magic Keyboard, Magic Keyboard with Numeric Trackpad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 in a traditional white color on its online store alongside a few other keyboard and mouse accessories for Macs.

It appears that the black Lightning to USB-A cable included in the box is also exclusive to the iMac Pro at this time, with no option to purchase it separately from Apple's online store like traditional white versions.

Apple could easily choose to release the Space Gray accessories separately in the future, but for now, you may have to resort to eBay or Craigslist if you want a stealthier looking Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad.

As far as a black Lightning cable, Apple sells a Belkin one for $29.95 on its website and there are others on Amazon for much cheaper.

Apple released the iMac Pro earlier today, with 8-core to 18-core models available for between $4,999 and $13,199 in the United States. 8-core and 10-core models ship in late December, and 14-core and 18-core models ship by February.

Related Roundup: iMac ProTags: Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)
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