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Apple Shares First Series of HomePod Ads With Focus on Music

Sat, 01/27/2018 - 18:16
Apple today shared its first series of HomePod ads on its official YouTube channel, titled Bass, Beat, Distortion, and Equalizer.

The four ads are each 15-second clips that show the word HomePod animated in various ways, with the actual speaker only appearing in brief flashes. Apple also highlights that the speaker is now available to order ahead of its February 9th launch in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.



The music-focused ads are each set to their own song, including Ain't I by Lizzo, DNA by Kendrick Lamar, Holy Water by Hembree, and All Night by Big Boi. Apple continues to position the HomePod as a "breakthrough speaker" first and "intelligent home assistant" second in the description of each video.



The four ads follow Apple's teaser video titled Introducing HomePod shared back in June, after the speaker was previewed at WWDC 2017.

Apple has primarily positioned the HomePod as a speaker that can stream Apple Music, but with built-in Siri, users can also send messages, set timers, play podcasts, check the news, control HomeKit-enabled smart home accessories, and complete several other tasks without needing to take out their iPhone.

The high-fidelity speaker is equipped with spatial awareness and Apple-engineered audio technology, including a seven‑tweeter array and high-excursion woofer. It stands nearly seven inches tall and is powered by Apple's A8 chip.

Related Roundup: HomePodTag: Apple ads
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Apple Releases First Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to Public Beta Testers

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 21:10
Apple today released the first beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.134 update to public beta testers, two days after seeding the update to developers and a few days after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.3.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the new macOS High Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 introduces support for some features that are also 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.

The new macOS update also includes 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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Everything New in watchOS 4.3: iPhone Music Controls, Portrait Orientation Nightstand Mode and More

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 20:48
Apple yesterday seeded the first beta of watchOS 4.3 to developers, and there are some great new features that many Apple Watch owners have been requesting for quite some time.

We've outlined all of the changes you'll find in the watchOS 4.3 update in the video and the post below.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
First and foremost, watchOS 4.3 once again allows Apple Watch owners to access their Apple Music Library for iPhone, a feature that was removed in watchOS 4.

With watchOS 4.3, there's a new "On iPhone" section in the Music app that lets you access your playlists, albums, songs, and artists. Prior to this update, you could access your music library, but only when playing music on the watch itself.

When playing music on the iPhone, you were only able to use the Now Playing feature to skip tracks -- there was no library access for choosing songs to play on the iPhone from the Apple Watch. Apple Watch owners have been complaining about the removal of iPhone music controls on Apple Watch since watchOS 4 debuted, so this should be a welcome change for many people.

Along with music controls, watchOS 4.3 adds your daily Activity information to the Siri watch face, so you can see your current progress at a glance without needing to open up the Activity app, and it introduces a new charging animation when the watch is placed on a charging puck.

The final new feature in watchOS 4.3 is Nightstand Mode while the Apple Watch is in portrait orientation. Since Nightstand Mode was first introduced, using it has required putting the Apple Watch in landscape orientation on its side. That's no longer necessary -- you can now use Nightstand mode in any orientation.

Apple doesn't make watchOS betas available to its public beta testers because there's no way to restore an Apple Watch to an older operating system, so the watchOS 4.3 update will be limited to developers until its public launch.

We'll likely see watchOS 4.3 in the spring alongside iOS 11.3, macOS 10.13.4, and tvOS 11.3.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Anki OVERDRIVE Fast & Furious Edition Racing Game

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 19:33
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Anki to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win the Anki OVERDRIVE: Fast & Furious Edition iPhone-compatible racing game.

Anki OVERDRIVE is an intelligent battle racing system where players construct different battle tracks for AI-controlled cars to race on. Each car that races on the OVERDRIVE track is equipped with unique capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses and the idea is to pit your strategic skills against your friends or the computer to win.


With Anki OVERDRIVE, you don't control the car yourself -- you build the track and use your car's features to win out against the opponent, initiating races via the iPhone and using your car's unique abilities and weapons at the right times.


The latest version of Anki OVERDRIVE, the Fast & Furious Edition, is based on the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise. It comes equipped with unique cars from the "Fast & Furious" movies and a new game mode, Hyperspeed, that lets you cars race faster than ever.


Priced at $170, Anki OVERDRIVE Fast & Furious comes with a full track for you to build and super detailed replicas of movie vehicles, including Dom's Ice Charger and Hobbs' MXT. Each vehicle has unique skills, such as a Grappling Hook on Dom's Ice Charger, which can slow down opponents while giving your car a boost, and Spike Strips for the MXT.


As for weapons, each car is equipped with short range, long range, and area of effect weapons, and there are a range of support items available like shields, tractor beams, scramblers, and boosts. Car abilities, items, and weapons can all be used during races with the Anki Overdrive app on the iPhone.


You can engage in six game modes, all with different gameplay mechanics: Race, Battle, Battle-Race, King of the Hill, Time Trial, and Takeover, and when not racing against friends, you'll be able to race characters from the movie like Letty, Tej, Hobbs, and Dom.

We have three Anki OVERDRIVE Fast & Furious sets to give away to MacRumors readers. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (January 26) at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time on February 2. The winners will be chosen randomly on February 2 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Tags: Anki, Anki Overdrive, giveaway
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Apple's Grammy Ads Feature Animoji Singing Songs From Migos and Childish Gambino

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 19:16
Apple's Animoji are starring in two new ads Apple created for the Grammys, with Apple using the popular Animoji karaoke phenomenon to promote the iPhone X.

The ads, shared by Apple on YouTube, feature the alien Animoji singing "Redbone" by Childish Gambino and the Animoji dog, fox, and poop singing "Stir Fry" from Migos. Other Animoji characters and emoji also make appearances in the two videos.




Animoji are 3D emoji characters that are designed to mimic your facial expressions and emotions using the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X. Shortly after the iPhone X launched, people discovered that you could use Animoji to record yourself lip syncing to a song and then overlay the original music, leading to the birth of Animoji karaoke.

Animoji karaoke is not as popular as it was following the debut of the iPhone X, but Apple has previously featured Animoji karaoke in iPhone X ads.

You can watch the two new Animoji ad spots on YouTube, or catch them during the Grammys on January 28. The "Alien" ad will air following Childish Gambino's performance, while the "Amigos" ad will air right after the Best Rap Album category, which Migos is nominated for, according to Adweek.

Tag: Apple ads
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Verizon Details New BOGO Deal: Buy One iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X and Get $699 Off Second

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 18:55
Verizon this morning announced an offer coming for both existing customers and new customers who are switching to a Verizon line, which will go live on Monday, January 29. With the deal, if you trade in an eligible smartphone and then purchase an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X, you'll get $699 off a second iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X.

The offer is available when purchasing any combination of these iPhones, as long as they are both purchased on device payment plans and a new line is activated on Verizon unlimited. Afterwards, the $699 discount on the second smartphone comes in the form of bill credits spread out over a 24 month period.


The offer allows you to get both trade-in credit and $699 to cover the cost of the second device you purchase, greatly discounting the $999 or $1,149 iPhone X, or even offering the 64GB iPhone 8 base model for free.

The smartphones eligible for trade-in cover the same devices in Verizon's current BOGO sale for Android smartphones, which can be seen on this page by clicking "See offer details."

Verizon outlined the steps you'll need to take to get the offer:
To get this offer, you need to:

- Purchase both phones on device payment
- Activate a new line on Verizon unlimited
- Trade in your phone within 30 days. You will receive the trade-in value in addition to the bill credits. Verizon's deal is similar to one that T-Mobile began two weeks ago today, where new and existing T-Mobile customers could buy one iPhone and get up to $700 off another iPhone of equal or lesser value. One of the main differences is that T-Mobile offered the $700 discount in the form of a rebate received via prepaid MasterCard card, while Verizon's will be credited to the user's monthly bills over 24 months. T-Mobile's also included the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but Verizon's is only for Apple's 2017 line of iPhones.

For more on the latest sales, visit our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTag: VerizonBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral), iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Review: Promise's $249 TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers Lots of USB Ports and an SD Card Reader

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 18:33
Thunderbolt 3 docks continue to hit the market, and today we're taking a look a recent entrant from popular data storage company Promise Technology, the TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock.


I've tested quite a few Thunderbolt 3 docks over the past year, and the TD-300 ranks right up with the best I've seen due to standout features like five USB 3.0 ports and an SD 3.0 card reader. At $249, it's also priced very competitively against other full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks.

Design
In the box, you'll find the typical contents for a dock of this type, including the dock itself, an external power brick, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. Any other cables such as for USB devices or an HDMI display need to be provided separately, although they frequently come with the devices you'd be connecting.

The TD-300 comes in a horizontal form factor similar to many others on the market, and it sits nicely under an external display. It measures just over 9 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep and a little over an inch tall, and weighs just about a pound, so it's a pretty typical Thunderbolt 3 dock from a size perspective.


The enclosure is made of black plastic, matte on the top and glossy around the sides, which sets it apart from the silver and gray finishes seen on most of the other docks I've tested. There's a fairly small Promise Technology logo in the rear left corner of the dock's top, but it's not terribly obtrusive, and the top tapers slightly toward the front of the dock.


The front of the dock includes a pair of status lights, a green one letting you know there's power to the dock and a blue one signifying an active connection to a computer. The lights are fairly bright and can be distracting in a dark room. You'll also find the handy SD card slot, a pair of USB Type-A 3.0 ports (the left of which supports higher-power 5W/1.5A charging) and an audio in/out port.


On the rear, you'll find three more USB Type-A 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and the DC-in connection for power.

USB Ports
With all five USB ports being USB 3.0, they support 5 Gbps connections, which isn't the fastest standard but is typical for Thunderbolt 3 docks where bandwidth is frequently shared among a host of peripherals. Most other docks on the market offer only three USB ports, so the inclusion of five here offers some nice expandability, and with two of them on the front there's easy access for USB accessories that only need to be attached occasionally.

Testing transfer speeds using a 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 CalDigit Tuff external SSD and Blackmagic's disk speed testing software, I saw speeds around 350 MB/s read and 320 MB/s write through the Type-A USB 3.0 ports, which is typical for docks like this.

USB-A CalDigit Tuff speeds
If you want better transfer speeds and don't need the second Thunderbolt 3 port on the dock for a display, you can hook up a USB-C external drive that way, where I saw speeds in excess of 500 MB/s read and 475 MB/s write with the CalDigit Tuff.

USB-C CalDigit Tuff speeds over Thunderbolt 3 port
With a top-of-the-line Thunderbolt 3 drive like the new ThunderBlade V4 from OWC, I saw read and write speeds approaching 1900 MB/s, pretty close to what I previously saw with a direct connection to my MacBook Pro. Obviously if you start tacking other high-bandwidth peripherals like a 4K HDMI display on to other ports on the dock, the SSD speeds will drop.

SD Card Slot
The TD-300's SD 3.0 card reader on the front of the dock is a great feature that's missing on most other Thunderbolt 3 docks released so far. If you've got photos or other data stored on an SD card, it's great to be able to just pop the card into the front of the dock and have it show up on your computer without needing to connect a separate card reader over USB.

Displays
In line with other Thunderbolt 3 docks, Promise's dock can support either a single 5K display attached to the downstream Thunderbolt 3 port, or a pair of 4K displays attached through the Thunderbolt 3 port and the HDMI port. I tested extensively with an LG UltraFine 5K display hooked up via Thunderbolt 3 and it ran at the full 60 Hz refresh rate with no problems. The usual macOS System Preferences let you manage the monitors in terms of mirroring/extending and arrangement.

Charging
The TD-300 offers up to 60 watts of charging power over its Thunderbolt 3 connection to a computer, which is enough for a 13-inch MacBook Pro but falls short of what a 15-inch model might be able to draw at maximum load. In reality, 60 watts is often enough to keep even a 15-inch MacBook Pro charged up under normal use, but if you're doing a lot of heavy lifting with your machine it might not be able to quite keep up. Recharging a depleted battery via the TD-300 will also be a bit slower than from an 85-watt dock or the 87-watt power adapter that comes with the MacBook Pro.

Most Thunderbolt 3 docks seem to be going with the 60-watt power delivery, so the TD-300 is by no means unique in this limitation, but there are 85-watt ones on the market if that's a necessity for you.

Wrap-up
The Promise TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock offers a solid set of features at a very competitive price point compared to similar docks. It doesn't have FireWire or eSATA ports like a few competitors have, but with those ports becoming less and less popular it makes sense for Promise to put its focus on the flexibility of USB while also including a built-in SD card reader.

Full 85-watt charging support would have been nice to see, so if you're a 15-inch MacBook Pro owner you'll need to decide if that's a dealbreaker based on whether you push your machine hard enough to need the full power, and if so, whether you're okay with using the standard MacBook Pro power adapter alongside the dock.

But overall, the TD-300 stacks up very well against the competition and is worth a close look. The Promise TD-300 is priced at $249 and is available from a variety of retailers including B&H Photo and Amazon.

Note: Promise Technology provided the TD-300 to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with B&H Photo and Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Tags: Thunderbolt 3, Promise Technology
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Several iCloud Services Experiencing Outage

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 17:51
Multiple iCloud services are currently experiencing downtime, according to Apple's System Status page, leaving them inaccessible to some users.

Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, iCloud Backup, Contacts, Calendar, Drive, Keychain, Mail, Notes, Reminders, Storage Upgrades, and Web Apps have all been down for some people since 8:35 a.m. Pacific Time.


Back to My Mac, iWork for iCloud apps, Mail Drop, and Photos are also impacted.

Apple's System Status report says that 1.5 percent of users are affected and may be unable to use the above listed services. It's not clear how long the outage will last, but we'll update when it's resolved.
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Apple Says HomePod Consumes Less Power Than Average LED Bulb During Music Playback

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 16:14
Apple has outlined the HomePod's power consumption in an environmental report [PDF] about the speaker published today.


Apple says the HomePod consumes less power than an average ENERGY STAR certified LED household light bulb during music playback. The comparison is true, as a classic-shaped A-series LED bulb usually draws around 9-10 watts, while the HomePod draws around 8.74 watts with 115V of line voltage.

The environmental report includes a chart with a complete breakdown of the HomePod's power consumption based on different line voltages. For those unaware, around 115V is standard in the United States and Canada, and around 230V is standard in many other countries like the UK. 100V is standard in Japan.


Interestingly, Apple says the HomePod automatically enters a low power mode after eight minutes of inactivity. In this mode, the speaker draws between only 1.71 and 1.76 watts of power. We're not entirely sure what this means, as one would assume the HomePod is always in lower power mode when it's not being used, beyond listening for Hey Siri. We've reached out to Apple for comment.

The environmental report also notes the HomePod is free of brominated flame retardants, PVC, and beryllium, and adds that 100 percent of its packaging fibers are sourced from responsibly managed forests or recycled paper.

On a related note, an Apple support representative told 9to5Mac that the HomePod comes with a two-meter power cable in the box that is color matched in Space Gray or White. The representative said the cable is removable and user replaceable, but this wasn't the case on demo units, so it may be wrong information.

Apple began accepting HomePod orders today in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia for $349, £319, and $499 respectively. The speaker can be used elsewhere in English for now, with French and German coming this spring.

Related Roundup: HomePodTag: Environmental Responsibility
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HomePod Early Hands-On Reviews: 'Seamless' Siri Commands and Audio Quality 'Feels Like You're at a Live Performance'

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 14:25
Although longer and more in-depth reviews for Apple's smart speaker, the HomePod, have not yet been published, a few websites have gotten the chance to spend an hour or so with the speaker and have been sharing their experiences this week.


At Digital Trends, Julian Chokkattu liked the unassuming design of the HomePod, noting that "it's easy to miss... because it makes no effort at standing out." This should make it easier for the HomePod to blend in with any room's decor, according to Chokkattu.

In terms of sound, he got to listen to upwards of five songs from various genres at a volume of about 65 percent, and concluded that it "sounds great" no matter where you are in the room. He also called his brief encounters with Siri on HomePod "fast and seamless," explaining that Siri is smart enough to realize when you're meaning to activate it on your iPhone ("when your phone is in your hand") so that the HomePod does not answer.
Audio quality is beautifully warm, yet the bass is not overpowering, even though it was still quite rich. If you close your eyes, it’s easy to feel like you’re at a live performance. We could pick out the vocals and instruments clearly. The speaker allows each instrument to shine through; you can hear precise guitar plucks. No, it doesn’t have that crisp sound you’d hear from very expensive high-end speakers, but then again, the HomePod doesn’t cost thousands yet still pushes brilliant sound quality out of a single, small enclosure.

What’s more impressive is how consistent the HomePod sounds wherever you are in the room. Yes, the further away you are, the quieter it is, but not by much. It almost felt like the music was following our movement, and it consistently sounded great. Tech journalist Lance Ulanoff shared his thoughts on HomePod in a post on Medium, and noted that when the sound quality was compared to the Google Home Max and Sonos One, HomePod was "astonishing." Ulanoff echoed a sentiment stated by Chokkattu, detailing a listening experience that felt as if he was hearing the music "in a small café for an audience of me" and equating HomePod's sound quality to a live performance.

Although stereo pairing won't be ready at launch, Ulanoff got to experience this as well and said that "two HomePods playing just about anything is incredible." Ultimately, he called HomePod an "ultra-high-quality" speaker that doubles as an "excellent Siri ambassador."
What Apple has here is an ultra-high-quality speaker and the first physical instantiation of Siri without a screen. The fact that Apple is finally entering the smart speaker race is cause for muted celebration. It’s attractive, sounds amazing and is an excellent Siri ambassador. And it’s $349. Is better sound and solid iOS integration (plus the added cost of an Apple Music subscription) worth spending nearly four times as much as a decent sounding Echo? Pete Pachal with Mashable was also impressed by the HomePod's sound quality, which he described as an "aural triumph," but was more skeptical on the device and questioned whether or not Apple is too late to the smart speaker market.
What I'm less convinced of, however, is whether customers will care. The success of the Echo Dot — Amazon's puck-shaped smart speaker that definitely de-emphasizes the second word of that description — tells me that anyone who's been won over by the category mostly just wants to get the power of voice command in more places. And audio? A glorified intercom will do. Or, hey, just connect your own speakers.

In my short time with the HomePod, I came away impressed with its acoustic power and precision. I liked the design more than I thought I would, too. But in the world of smart speakers — which is where Apple is now competing, despite its desire to make the conversation all about music — those factors are secondary to the simple question, "How much can this thing do for me?"
Those interested in HomePod can pre-order the speaker on Apple.com in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia beginning today, January 26, and then the device will launch on February 9. For those on the fence about Apple's entry into the smart speaker market, Sonos today is launching a sale aimed at competing with Apple where you can get two Sonos One speakers for the same price of one HomePod.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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HomePod Now Available to Order in United States, Australia, and United Kingdom

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 13:30
Apple is now accepting HomePod orders through its online store and Apple Store app for iPhone and iPad in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom, with the first deliveries to customers estimated to arrive Friday, February 9, which is when in-store availability begins as well.


HomePod is available in Space Gray and White for $349 in the United States, $499 in Australia, and £319 in the United Kingdom.

HomePod order page on Apple's online store:

United States
Australia
United Kingdom

While the HomePod is only launching in three countries today, it can be used anywhere in the world. However, Siri currently supports American, Australian, and British varieties of English only. More languages will be supported in future software updates, including French and German this spring.

Apple has primarily positioned the HomePod as a speaker that can stream Apple Music, but with built-in Siri, users can send messages, set timers, play podcasts, check the news and weather, control HomeKit-enabled smart home accessories, and complete other tasks without needing to take out their iPhone.

The high-fidelity speaker is equipped with spatial awareness and Apple-engineered audio technology, including a seven‑tweeter array and high-excursion woofer. It stands nearly seven inches tall and is powered by Apple's A8 chip.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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Apple's Transition to New Headquarters Should Accelerate as More Occupancy Permits Granted

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 13:28
While some construction remains underway at Apple Park on both the inside and outside, an increasing number of Apple employees will likely transition to the company's new headquarters over the next few months.


VentureBeat reports that Apple received temporary occupancy permits for five of the 12 sections of the main circular building on the campus in late December. The report adds that Apple is on track to receive temporary occupancy permits for all of the other sections between late January and March at the latest.

The permits should accelerate the move-in process for some 12,000 employees that will eventually work out of Apple Park, with many coming from the company's nearby Infinite Loop campus, both of which are located in Cupertino, California.

Apple employees have generally remained quiet about the move, in line with the company's secretive culture, but a few mentions have surfaced on social media platforms like Twitter and Snapchat since early January. One employee tweeted that Wednesday was his last day at Apple's previous Infinite Loop headquarters.

Last day at the Loop. It’s always felt surreal to be in these buildings where so much has happened. Next week starts at the new campus, Apple Park, where new history will be made.

— Brian (@littlebluebro) January 25, 2018
Apple had already received temporary occupancy permits last year for certain sections of Apple Park that contain the restaurant and atrium. Permits were also granted for the Apple Park Visitor Center and Steve Jobs Theater, where Apple unveiled the iPhone X and will host its annual shareholders meeting next month.

Apple originally said its new headquarters would open last April, but at its September event, chief executive Tim Cook said employees would begin moving in later in the year, beyond some ancillary buildings already in use.

When construction wraps up at Apple Park, the headquarters should be able to receive permanent occupancy permits. For the latest progress update, watch this drone video shared by Duncan Sinfield earlier this month.

Tag: Apple Park
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Apple's New 2018 iPhone Line-up May Consist of Two Phones With LCD Displays and One Larger OLED Model, Claims Analyst

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:50
Apple could release just one new OLED-based iPhone alongside two new iPhone models with LCD displays this year, according to a new report today. Previous reports have gravitated towards the view that Apple will launch two new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED iPhone models and only one 6.1-inch model with an LCD display.

However, Digitimes Research senior analyst Luke Lin believes Apple is increasingly leaning towards releasing two LCD-based models – one between 5.7-inch and 5.8-inches, and another between 6.0-inches and 6.1-inches. Lin also claims the 6.1-inch OLED device Apple is testing is falling out of favor, and the company sees more of a future in a larger 6.4- to 6.5-inch OLED model it is also testing.

Apple originally intended to push the two OLED iPhones and the 6.0- to 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, but has recently started leaning toward the combination of the two LCD models plus the 6.4- to 6.5-inch OLED iPhone, abandoning the 6.0- to 6.1-inch OLED model.Such a line-up would be similar to the iPhone range Apple launched last year: Two LCD-based devices in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and the OLED-based iPhone X. Lin believes the four iPhone projects Apple is working on all support wireless charging and 3D sensing functionalities. However, Lin believes Apple has not yet made a final decision on the combination, so the 2x OLED/ 1x LCD iPhone line-up predicted by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo could still play out.

Taiwan-based website DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but its sources within the upstream supply chain have proven reliable in the past. However, its in-house research arm remains an unknown quantity, so we remain guarded on the accuracy of this prediction going forward.

Earlier this week, Taiwan's Commercial Times added to the speculation by claiming Apple's rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will use Japan Display's so-called "Full Active" LCD technology, enabling it to have a taller display and ultra-slim 0.5mm bezels on all four sides, making them smaller than those on the iPhone X.

Also today, Digitimes analyst Lin claimed Apple is working on a new entry-level smartphone model similar to the iPhone SE that will support wireless charging and be ready for launch in May or June.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTag: digitimes.com
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'iPhone SE 2' With Wireless Charging Said to Launch in May or June

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:36
Apple is reportedly working on a new entry-level smartphone model similar to the iPhone SE that will support wireless charging and be released in time for summer 2018.

The prediction comes from Digitimes Research analyst Luke Lin, who believes that Apple's iPhone SE successor will have a glass back similar to the iPhone 8 series and iPhone X, but will lack the 3D sensing capabilities of the latter model.

For the entry-level sector, Apple is preparing a new inexpensive smartphone similar to the iPhone SE for 2018, featuring the wireless charging functionality, but not 3D sensing. The smartphone will begin mass production in the second quarter with the official launch in May or June, Lin noted.Taiwan-based website DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans. Its sources within the upstream supply chain have proven reliable in the past, but predictions from its research analysts are harder to gauge.

Lin doesn't specifically mention the size of the new entry-level model, but the details match up with previous rumors about a forthcoming four-inch 'iPhone SE 2' with a glass back, although earlier speculation said the device would ship in the first quarter of 2018, rather than the second quarter.

Rumors about a the specifications of Apple's next small form factor smartphone appeared in August last year, when Indian tech website Tekz24 claimed Apple's next iPhone SE model would have an A10 Fusion chip, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB and 128GB storage capacities, and a slightly larger 1,700 mAh battery.

In November, China's Economic Daily News claimed Apple's second-generation iPhone SE was set for the first half of 2018 and would be assembled by Wistron at its factory in Bengaluru, India, where some assembly of the current iPhone SE occurs. Taiwanese market research firm TrendForce also recently predicted that Apple is planning to launch a second-generation iPhone SE in 2018 to target the mid-range smartphone market.

Apple hasn't properly refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched back in March 2016, but it did double the available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB in March 2017. Apple has confirmed an AirPower wireless charging mat will be released sometime this year for Apple Watch and iPhone models with a wireless charging feature.

Related Roundups: iPhone SE, 2018 iPhonesTag: digitimes.comBuyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
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