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Apple's Swift Core Team Talks Swift 4.1 in New Podcast

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 18:17
Two members of Apple's Swift Core Team, Doug Gregor and Ben Cohen, joined the Swift Unwrapped podcast this morning, where they discussed Swift 4.1 and all of the changes that are coming in the update.

Cohen manages Apple's Swift Standard Library Team, while Gregor works on the Swift Compiler and Library Design. The discussion of Swift 4.1 is rather technical and may not interest all readers, but it will be a worthwhile listen for those who work with Swift.

The initial beta of Swift 4.1 was released alongside the first beta of Xcode 9.3 and iOS 11.3 in January. Swift 4.1 is nearing the end of its beta testing period and it will be released when Xcode 9.3 and iOS 11.3 are released. All of Apple's new software is expected soon, and a launch could happen as soon as this week.

The 19-minute Swift Unwrapped episode with Doug Gregor and Ben Cohen can be listened to here or in the Apple Podcasts app.

Tag: Swift
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Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Pedestrian in Arizona, Accident Could Have Implications for Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 17:19
An autonomous test vehicle being tested by Uber struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona late Sunday night, marking what appears to be the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle, reports The New York Times.

The Uber vehicle in question was in an autonomous driving mode with a human safety driver at the wheel, and the woman who was struck was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, according to local police. No other details on the accident are available at this time.

One of Apple's autonomous test vehicles
Uber is cooperating with Tempe police and has suspended all of its self-driving vehicle tests in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto at the current time. Uber's autonomous vehicles have previously been involved in collisions, as have vehicles from other companies like Tesla, but this is the first pedestrian-related accident that has resulted in a fatality.

This incident will likely have wide-ranging implications for all companies who are testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, and it could potentially result in more oversight and regulation.

Apple has been testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads in California near its Cupertino headquarters since last year. Apple vehicles, which include a series of Lexus RX450h SUVs equipped with a host of sensors and cameras, have not been involved in any known accidents to date.

To date, most autonomous vehicles in California and Arizona have been using safety drivers behind the wheel who are meant to take over in the event of an emergency, but California in February lifted that rule.

Starting on April 2, companies in California that are testing self-driving vehicles will be able to deploy cars that do not have a driver behind the wheel. Arizona also allows driverless cars to be tested in the state, and Waymo has been testing autonomous driverless minivans in Arizona since November.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
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Affirm Announces In-Store Financing Options With Virtual Card Integration in Apple Pay

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 16:00
Affirm is a financial startup that allows users to pay for expensive items from select retailers in monthly installment plans, after they are first approved for a loan on the company's website or in the app. Today the company announced that users will now be able to secure credit in seconds and then checkout in retail stores thanks to integration of the Affirm virtual card into Apple Pay.

To apply for Affirm financing, customers complete a "simple, five-field" application that provides them with a real-time credit decision (rates are between 10-30 percent APR based on personal credit). After approval, customers use the Affirm app to enter the amount they want to spend by selecting a payment plan on the item (3, 6, 12, 18, or 24 months), and Affirm loads up the cost of the full purchase onto the virtual card, paying the merchant for the item and taking on "all fraud risk for the purchase."

With the addition of Apple Pay, Affirm's virtual card can be used anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted.
“People’s shopping habits are evolving very quickly, beyond simply moving online-to-offline or offline-to-online when engaging with merchants,” said Rob Pfeifer, Chief Retail Officer at Affirm. “Consumers are on their phones, online, and in-store throughout a shopping experience. Affirm provides a solution for this omnichannel experience in the form of transparent and honest finance.” For merchants, Affirm says it provides two options to support the service: integration with the Affirm InStore API with their own point-of-sale system, or support Affirm's expanded virtual card experience. The company explained that regardless of what method merchants choose, the customer's retail checkout process is "virtually identical" to Affirm online and in the iOS app.

Affirm founder and CEO Max Levchin told Bloomberg that the company hopes it will continue to expand and that more stores will "embrace" Affirm because of its ability to offer retailers "insights into customer purchasing habits."
Levchin hopes more stores will embrace Affirm’s approach by offering them insights into customer purchasing habits. With Affirm In-Store, retailers are able to track if someone applies for a loan in the shop but finishes the transaction elsewhere. This is designed to let the retailer better understand the impact of sales staff.

“I’m optimistic there will be a day when shoppers instinctively reach for their phone and the Affirm app, rather than their credit card,’’ Levchin said. In its press release, Affirm detailed how Apple reseller Simply Mac switched from paper-based applications for loans on its private label credit card, to Affirm InStore's new process. Tiffany Polmateer, Simply Mac’s director of purchasing and operations, said that since supporting Affirm it has seen a 20 percent increase in average order values, 63 percent more customer financing applications, and 34 percent more approvals per store.

Affirm is available to download on the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Affirm
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Apple Announces Shinjuku Store Opening in Tokyo on April 7, Natick Mall Store Closing for Renovations April 22

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 14:33
Apple updated its website recently with the announcement of a new retail location's grand opening in Tokyo, Japan, along with renovation news for its store in Natick, Massachusetts.

In Japan, Apple will open its new Apple Shinjuku location on April 7, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. local time. The store will be located in the Shinjuku Marui main building -- a department store in Tokyo -- and mark the eighth location for Apple in Japan. Apple previously launched one of its high-end Apple Watch shops at the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku, allowing customers to browse the original $10,000+ Apple Watch Edition and other models.

In the United States, the company announced that it will close Apple Natick Collection for renovations starting Sunday, April 22. The store is located in Massachusetts' Natick Mall, which is the largest shopping mall in New England by number of tenants, reaching 250 as of 2018. Apple notes on its page for the store that customers can visit to find the next store closest to them while the Natick mall location is closed.

More of the latest Apple Store openings in 2018 include Apple Kärntner Straße in Austria and Apple Garosugil in South Korea. In terms of the overall tally of Apple retail locations around the world, Apple Garosugil was the company's 500th store opening on January 27, 2018, following seventeen years after Apple's first two stores opened in May 2001.

Related Roundup: Apple StoresTag: Apple retail
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Sketchy Rumor Suggests Apple Still Plans to Sell iPhone X in Blush Gold

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 14:11
Apple is still planning to release the iPhone X in a so-called Blush Gold color, according to well-known leaker Ben Geskin.

iPhone X in gold rendered by Michael Flux
Geskin tweeted a photo of an iPhone X and an accompanying SIM card tray in the new color earlier today. He said the device is "in production," with a codename of D21A. In a follow-up tweet, he added that the "color is real" and said Apple just "saved it for later," but hedged that "stuff can be canceled."

D21A - “Blush Gold” iPhone in production.

— Ben Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) March 19, 2018
Geskin has gained a reputation for leaking dummy models, screen protectors, and accessories related to unreleased iPhones, but he doesn't have a perfect track record. Back in July, he said the iPhone X would be available in four colors, including a "mirror-like" finish that has yet to materialize.

In the months leading up to the iPhone X, it was widely rumored that the device would be available in a trio of colors, including Blush Gold, but Silver and Space Gray ended up being and remain the only colors available.

In September, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the gold model may encounter some production issues and be available in extremely low volume during pre-orders, which didn't happen, or go on sale at a later date entirely. Since then, rumors have largely gone quiet, beyond a few false release dates.

A year ago this week, Apple unveiled a special (PRODUCT)RED edition of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, so there is some precedence for a new color to be added midway during the product cycle. The white iPhone 4 was also delayed until April 2011, over nine months after the black version launched, due to a lack of UV protection.

(PRODUCT)RED edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Apple may release a (PRODUCT)RED edition of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X as well, according to Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang, and that might be the more likely addition than Blush Gold.

Apple recently announced it will be hosting an education-themed event on Tuesday, March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. While the event will be focused on "creative new ideas for teachers and students," it's certainly possible we could learn of the new iPhone X colors then.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Ben GeskinBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Apple Likely to Buy 270 Million Display Panels for 2018 iPhone Lineup

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 09:43
Apple plans to order between 250 and 270 million display panels for its iPhone lineup this year, according to sources within Taiwan's panel industry. Around half that number will consist of OLED panels, to be shared among current-model iPhone X orders, a second-generation model, and a larger 6.5-inch iPhone, according to DigiTimes.

Apple's purchases of OLED panels in 2018 will reach 110-130 million units, including 70-80 million 5.9-inch units for the current iPhone X and an upgraded version of the same size. The remaining will be 40-50 million 6.5-inch OLED panels for the production of a less expensive model, said the sources.Given the wording in the above quote from today's DigiTimes article, the "5.9-inch" reference could be overlooked as a typo, but claiming the 6.5-inch OLED panels are for a "less expensive model" seems off the mark.

Several reliable sources claim Apple is readying a second-generation version of the iPhone X with the same 5.8-inch OLED display, along with a larger "Plus" size with a 6.5-inch display. Design wise, both the 5.8-inch iPhone and 6.5-inch iPhone coming in 2018 are expected to look similar to the current iPhone X, with an edge-to-edge display and notch for the TrueDepth camera, glass bodies for wireless charging support, and dual-lens rear cameras.

Along with these two OLED iPhones, which will likely be just as expensive as the current iPhone X, Apple is however said to be planning to introduce a new, more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display, according to reports.

DigiTimes claims 60 to 70 million Low-Temperature PolySilicon (LTPS) LCD panels have been earmarked for this device, and around the same number in 4-inch, 4.7-inch, and 5.5-inch sizes are destined for new iPhone 8, iPhone SE, and iPhone 7 devices this year. Other reports claim Apple could use a Full Active LCD display for an upcoming 6.1-inch device, which could match or exceed some of the benefits of OLED.

Otherwise, today's report reiterates previous OLED supplier rumors for 2018. Apple is said to be sourcing the majority of its OLED displays for the 2018 iPhone lineup from Samsung, but LG Display seeks to become the second-largest supplier in the second half of this year, perhaps providing displays for the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone. Lastly, DigiTimes' sources claim Sharp and Japan Display could become Apple's main suppliers of LCD panels, rather than shoring up extra OLED supplies, as previous report claimed.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTags:, OLED
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How to Reset Your Mac's Bluetooth Module to Fix Connection Issues

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 09:10
Bluetooth is what your Mac uses to connect to wireless devices like keyboards, mice, trackpads, speakers, and other peripherals. Generally, it's a reliable technology. At some point however, the chances are you'll run into difficulty establishing a Bluetooth connection with one or more of your devices.

Most problems can be fixed by unpairing and repairing the Bluetooth device, changing its batteries, rebooting your Mac, or performing an SMC reset. But if none of these methods work, you can always try resetting your Mac's Bluetooth module. Here's how to do it in macOS using the hidden Bluetooth Debug menu.

How to Reset Your Mac's Bluetooth Module
Before proceeding, bear in mind that if your setup relies exclusively on Bluetooth for communicating with your keyboard and mouse, then you're going to temporarily lose connection to them using the following methods, so you might want to have a backup wired input device option just in case.
  1. Holding the Shift + Option (Alt) keys on your Mac's keyboard, click the Bluetooth symbol in the top-right corner of the macOS menu bar. (If you don't see it there, you need to check Show Bluetooth in menu bar in System Preferences -> Bluetooth.)

  2. Locate the revealed Debug submenu and hover your mouse cursor over it.
  3. Click Reset the Bluetooth module.

  4. Now, restart your Mac.
You'll notice a couple of other potentially useful options in the Debug submenu. Factory reset all connected Apple devices does exactly what it says – forces any Apple-branded Bluetooth accessories back to the default settings they came with out of the box. It's a reliable fallback option if you've tried everything else to fix a connection issue, including resetting the Bluetooth module.

Lastly, the Remove all devices option might prove useful if you're moving your Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to another Mac, for example. However, you can also remove devices on an individual basis from the macOS menu bar, as long as you hold down Shift + Option (Alt) before you click the Bluetooth symbol.

Removing devices in this manner means you're not also banishing a whole bunch of other established Bluetooth connections like speakers and so on that you might want to keep.

Related Roundup: macOS High SierraTag: Bluetooth
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Apple Developing Its Own MicroLED Displays for Future Devices

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 01:32
Apple has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own displays, reports Bloomberg. The company is reportedly using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices.

Apple's MicroLED facility in Santa Clara (Bloomberg)The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.Apple's desire to expand its supply chain beyond Samsung has been extensively rumored, with Apple reportedly spending billions of dollars to help LG get its own OLED production up to speed and LG displays rumored to be making their way into this year's "iPhone X Plus" device.

Looking beyond OLED, many believe MicroLED will be the next display technology to appear in mobile devices, and Apple's interest in the technology was revealed in its acquisition of MicroLED firm LuxVue back in 2014. Apple has reportedly been working to first bring MicroLED to the Apple Watch, with some rumors pointing to that happening as soon as this year.

Bloomberg's report suggests, however, that it will likely be a few years until Apple's MicroLED displays will appear in shipping products, perhaps two years for the Apple Watch and three to five years for the iPhone. Apple will likely also outsource full-scale production of the displays.The California facility is too small for mass-production, but the company wants to keep the proprietary technology away from its partners as long as possible, one of the people says. “We put a lot of money into the facility,” this person says. “It’s big enough to get through the engineering builds [and] lets us keep everything in-house during the development stages.”Apple had reportedly been working on MicroLED display technology at an R&D center in Taiwan, but late last year the company was reported to have scaled back its efforts at that center. In light of today's news, it's possible Apple elected to concentrate its efforts at a facility closer to its headquarters.

Tags:, Micro-LED
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iPhone X vs. Galaxy S9+: Which Smartphone Has a Better Camera?

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 21:36
Over the course of this week, we've been taking a look at Samsung's new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+, as these two devices are the iPhone X's biggest competition.

In our latest video, available on the MacRumors YouTube channel, we compared the Samsung Galaxy S9+'s dual-lens camera with variable aperture to the vertical dual-lens camera in the iPhone X.

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Samsung decided to focus heavily on image quality in its latest devices, and the S9+ has a 12-megapixel f/1.5 to f/2.4 variable aperture lens as its main camera, which is paired with a 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens, similar to what's available in the iPhone X.

A variable aperture is unique to Samsung's new devices, and it offers some benefits that are going to improve image quality. With a variable aperture, it's easier to find a balance between light and image quality.

Click to enlarge
At the wider f/1.5 aperture, the Galaxy S9+ camera can let in more light in low light situations, but a wider aperture tends to compromise image sharpness at the edges of the photo. In conditions where the lighting is better, the narrower f/2.4 aperture will provide a crisper higher-quality image. The Galaxy S9+ can automatically select the proper aperture for the best image.

The iPhone X has two lenses like the Galaxy S9+, but no adjustable aperture, and that gives the S9+ a bit of an edge. As you'll see in the images below, though, both the iPhone X and the Galaxy S9+ have fantastic cameras that are capable of taking some amazing images.

In these photos, we used an automatic mode to capture the images, and no editing was done. This image of a sunset demonstrates some key differences between the two cameras. The S9+ offers a crisper image with more definition, but the colors in the iPhone X image are warmer and more true to life.

Click to enlarge
The Galaxy S9+ has a "Live Focus" mode that's similar to Portrait Mode on the iPhone X, and the photo below compares Live Focus with Portrait Mode. Both of these modes have some issues, but making adjustments to blur is easier on the Galaxy S9+, which gives it the win over the iPhone X. In general, the Galaxy S9 also has more built-in image editing tools with its Pro Mode for taking manual photos.

Click to enlarge
In addition to images, we also took a look at video modes. Samsung's Galaxy S9 can record in slow motion at 960 FPS, a unique feature because the iPhone X's slo-mo maxes out at 240 FPS. Both devices can also record in 4K video with optical image stabilization, but the Galaxy S9+'s video was less jittery. The iPhone X did win out when it came to suppressing outdoor wind sound, though.

Both of these cameras, as mentioned before, are great and can capture images that are on par with DSLRs in some situations, but there are definitely some features that make the Galaxy S9+ ever so slightly better than iPhone X when it comes to image and video quality.

Click to enlarge
Of course, Apple is going to be introducing the successor to the iPhone X in about six months, and with the camera improvements that come with every new upgrade, it's likely iPhones coming in 2018 will outshine the Galaxy S9+.

Which images do you prefer? iPhone X or Galaxy S9+? Let us know in the comments.

Make sure to check out our other videos, which have compared the Galaxy S9 to the iPhone X and pitted Animoji against Samsung's new AR Emoji.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTags: Samsung, Galaxy S9Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Visits Apple Park

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 21:30
United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today visited Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple Park, according to an image shared on Twitter by Mnuchin.

In his tweet, Mnuchin thanked Tim Cook for Apple's commitment to invest $350 billion in the United States, which refers to a January announcement from Apple where the company said it planned to bolster the U.S. economy through job creation, existing investments, and new investments.

Glad to visit @Apple HQ with @tim_cook. Thank you for your commitment to invest 350B in USA! #TaxCutsJobsAct

— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) March 16, 2018
Apple said it will contribute $55 billion to the economy in 2018 and $350 billion over the course of five years. At the same time, Apple also pledged to increase its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, designed to create jobs in the U.S. through investments in suppliers, to $5 billion, up from $1 billion.

Mnuchin's visit to Apple Park comes just a few days after Tim Cook was spotted at Capitol Hill meeting with senators Mark Warren (D-VA) and Richard Burr (R-NC).

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.

Tag: Tim Cook
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Review: Eve Button Offers Quick Physical Controls for Activating Your Favorite HomeKit Scenes

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 21:06
Elgato has been making HomeKit-enabled "Eve" Bluetooth accessories for several years now, and the company now boasts an impressive lineup that includes a range of sensors, switches and smart plugs, and motion detectors.

Eve Button, Elgato's newest product, is a simple little three-gesture switch that's designed to control all of your other HomeKit products, activating scenes, turning lights on and off, and more.

The Eve Button has a simple, clean design with a silver aluminum shell and a black plastic front plate with a smooth, circular button outline that doesn't protrude at all.

It's using the same design introduced in the Eve Degree, so if you already have an Eve Degree, the Eve Button will complement it nicely.

While there is no visible button protrusion, if you press on the button outline in the middle of the accessory, it will depress and activate the Eve Button's gestures. Pressing at the sides does not cause the front plate to depress, so the pressing motion is limited to the center, which is a clever design.

The back of the Eve Button is where the battery compartment is located, which can be opened with a coin. The Eve Button uses a CR2032 replaceable watch battery that can be purchased from a local store or for just a couple of dollars. You can check battery level in the Home app.

Elgato included four little rubber feet for the Eve Button so you can set it flat on a surface and it won't slip around, but curiously, there's no included adhesive strip or mounting option. The Eve Button is the kind of accessory I'd like to be able to attach to the wall near my light switch, but that's not an option.

With other switches and buttons, like the Hue Tap, there's an included mounting solution so it can go on the wall or be used anywhere, so this is a bit of a disappointing oversight with the Eve Button. Portability is, of course, the preferred functionality because not everyone is going to use this as a light switch, but it would be nice if mounting was an option. It's certainly light enough that I could pick up a 3M Command Strip on my own to stick it to the wall.

In addition to the four little feet, Elgato also included a whole slew of HomeKit stickers you can place on the Eve to remind you which gesture does what, which is a nice addition. Hue Tap and other competing button-like devices don't have that option, and it can be difficult to remember what's what, especially when there are multiple family members using the device.

There are three gestures available on the Eve Button, which can be tied to three of your HomeKit scenes: a single press, a double press, and a long press.

All of these gestures are simple to execute, and the Eve Button does a good job telling them apart. I didn't have much trouble with it mistaking one gesture for another, and it takes just a few seconds (sometimes even less) from when I press the button to when the scene assigned to the button activates. You might think Bluetooth is slow, but it's not, even when I'm in a different room.

I have noticed once or twice that the Eve Button refuses to respond to a gesture, causing me to repeat it, but it hasn't happened often in the two weeks I've been testing it. For the record, I sometimes have the same issue with other accessories of this type. It's irritating, but not a dealbreaker.

It can get a little confused if you're pressing the button to activate different scenes that control the same accessory in rapid succession, but that's not a normal use case and something I did just for testing.

Scenes are the only thing that can be associated with the Eve Button, but Scenes can incorporate as many HomeKit devices as you'd like. You can, for example, set something like a "Goodnight" scene that locks the doors, turns off the lights, turns down the thermostat, and turns on a night light, depending on which HomeKit products you own.

A "Wake Up" scene could do things like turn on the lights, start the coffee pot, warm up the house, and open the blinds. You can also use simpler scenes if you want the Eve Button to control a single device, like a light. Each gesture can also be tied to multiple scenes, which is handy if you want to keep your scenes separate for voice commands but combine them for the Eve Button.

I have the Eve Button set to turn the bedroom lights on with a single press, off with a double press, and then I have a long press set to activate a scene with my Nanoleaf Aurora for a kind of relaxing lighting scene that incorporates many of my Hue lights.

You'll note that I am using two of the three button presses for an on/off state, because devices like these don't naturally have on/off functionality. There is a way around this, though, as HomeKit scenes can be set to "Turn Off" after a set period of time in the Home app. So you could potentially set the Eve Button to turn the lights on in a room like a bathroom, and then set a timer to have them turn off again after 10 minutes without the need to use up a second button slot.

You can also add Conditions to Scenes that are tied to the Eve Button, such as allowing a Scene to be activated by the button only after 6pm or when the temperature is below a certain threshold, but I don't think these are going to be commonly used with the accessory.

You can, of course, activate scenes without the Eve Button at all through the Home app, another HomeKit app, or through Siri voice commands, but sometimes it's just easier to press a button. It's hard to transition entirely away from light switches, especially when there are multiple people in the house, and these kinds of HomeKit buttons and switches are useful replacements, I've found.

Setting up the Eve Button, is, of course, as simple as any other HomeKit product and it takes just a few seconds. Open up the box, fire up the Home app or the Eve app, add an accessory, scan the code, assign scenes, and that's it.

Bottom Line
Elgato's HomeKit products are some of my favorite. When HomeKit was new, Bluetooth HomeKit devices didn't work well, but with the myriad HomeKit improvements introduced over the years, Bluetooth HomeKit accessories like the Eve Button work flawlessly.

I am happy with all of the Elgato HomeKit devices that I use, and Elgato has one of the best product-based HomeKit apps out there. I often use the Elgato app to tweak my scenes and my non-Elgato HomeKit devices. I'm also a fan of the design of the Eve Button (and the Eve Degree), and I'm glad to see Elgato appears to be adopting it across the HomeKit lineup. It's a big improvement over previous Eve accessories that were a plain white plastic.

If you're new to HomeKit, you might think that it's silly to go to the trouble of automating your smart home devices and then adding in a physical switch, but accessories like the Eve Button are useful and eliminate annoyances that come with not having an immediately accessible physical control for your devices. I've had a Hue Tap for quite some time and it's one of my most used accessories just because it's sometimes easier to tap a button than it is to ask my phone to do something for me.

Button accessories also come in handy in multi-person households and when you have guests who might need to control devices like lights.

I do wish the Eve Button had a few more gestures available because $50 is quite a bit to pay for just three, but you can tie each one to your most used scenes to get a lot of value it. I also wish Elgato had included a mounting solution, but you can fix that with a cheap adhesive strip if you really want it on the wall.

How to Buy
Eve Button can be purchased from the Elgato website or from for $49.95.

Note: Elgato provided MacRumors with an Eve Button for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tags: HomeKit, Elgato, Eve
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Quick Takes: Apple Pencil 2 Wishlist, Apple's R&D Spending is Surging

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:15
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.

Friday, March 16
1. Apple Pencil 2 wishlist: iMore's Serenity Caldwell offers some good suggestions for a next-generation Apple Pencil, including integration of Apple's W1 or W2 chips for improved pairing, haptic feedback, wireless charging, and multiple nib options both for improved friction and design.

Commentary: Apple today invited the media to an education-focused event on March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The artwork for the invite suggests the Apple Pencil could be one focus of the event, with the possibility of both a new version and support added for the 9.7-inch iPad.

2. An Apple R&D bonanza: Above Avalon's Neil Cybart notes that Apple is on track to spend $14 billion on research and development in its 2018 fiscal year, nearly double the amount it spent on R&D just four years ago. $14 billion would also be more than the amount Apple spent on R&D from 1998 to 2011 combined.My theory on the dramatic rise in Apple R&D expenditures is that management is becoming more ambitious. Apple's future is found in new industries. Just as Apple moved from desktops/laptops to personal music players, smartphones, and watches, the company will need to enter new industries to remain relevant. This is not a company that is holding onto the iPhone as tight as possible for fear of change. Apple management is investigating new ideas and processes in order to support future moves into new industries.Commentary: Apple's dramatic increase in R&D spending likely signals the company's interest in a number of new areas. Cybart believes that two new items on Apple's roadmap that are driving the recent surge in expenditures include augmented reality glasses and a Netflix-like streaming video service.

3. French cosmetics company L'Oréal acquires ModiFace, a Toronto-based startup that developed augmented reality innovations allowing customers to try on cosmetics using its mobile apps or in-store smart mirrors.

Commentary: ModiFace has iPhone and iPad apps for simulating new photo-realistic hair colors, eye colors, cosmetics, teeth whitening, and more. Ahead of the public release of iOS 11, the company also shared an ARKit demo showcasing a lipstick previewer and virtual beauty gallery in a cosmetics store.

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.

Tags: Apple Pencil, Quick Takes
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of watchOS 4.3 to Developers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:10
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.3 update to developers, a few days after seeding the fifth beta and more than a month after releasing watchOS 4.2.3, a minor update focusing on bug fixes.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.

To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it has to be placed on the charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone it's paired to.

watchOS 4.3 introduces support for Nightstand mode in portrait orientation, a feature that was previously only available when the watch was placed in landscape orientation. There's also a new charging animation when the Apple Watch is placed on the charger, a new app loading animation, your Activity data is now displayed on the Siri watch face, and the battery complication more accurately reports battery life.

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The watchOS 4.3 update also brings the return of a much-desired feature that allows music playing on the iPhone to be controlled using the Music app on the Apple Watch.

In prior versions of watchOS, starting with watchOS 4, the Music app could only be used to control music playing on the watch itself. With the tvOS 11.3 beta installed, there's also an option to control music playing on the Apple TV with the watch.

Apple plans to release watchOS 4.3 to the public in the spring, and until then, it will be limited to developers. Apple offers public betas of tvOS, iOS, and macOS, but watchOS betas are not available for public beta testers because there's no way to revert to an earlier version of watchOS once an update is installed.

As we're on the sixth beta, we should be nearing a release date in the next couple of weeks.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Shares New 'Unlock' iPhone X Ad Demonstrating Face ID

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:15
Apple this afternoon uploaded a new iPhone X video to its YouTube channel, which is designed to show off Face ID, the facial recognition feature of the iPhone X.

In the humorous video, which appears to take place at a high school, using Face ID on the iPhone X causes everything in the surrounding area to unlock, including lockers, cabinets, doors, and more, with items flying everywhere.

Apple has shared several video ads focused on the iPhone X, including short tutorials and demonstrations of features like Face ID, Animoji, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting.

This minute-long video will likely be aired on television in the coming days and weeks.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Apple adsBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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MacRumors Exclusive: Twelve South Debuts Spring Break Sale With Discounts on Travel Accessories

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 18:31
As we draw nearer to the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere on Tuesday, March 20, many people around the world are getting ready to travel for spring break and other holidays. To prepare you for any trip you might have planned this spring or later in the summer, MacRumors has partnered with Twelve South to bring our readers exclusive discounts on five of the accessory maker's most useful travel products.

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

The promo code MacRumorsSpringBreak is live beginning today, March 16, and will be available to use on through Friday, March 30, offering 15 percent discounts on five items during this two week timeframe. MacRumors readers around the globe will be able to enter the code and take advantage of the discounts, but shipping costs will vary by regions. For United States residents, Twelve South offers free FedEx Smart Post on all orders (5-10 days estimate), and if your order exceeds $95 you'll gain free 2-day shipping.

From organizing your charging cables to ensuring that your iPhone and Mac will be able to charge in foreign outlets, the items included in our discount should help both domestic and international travelers this season. The products can be purchased individually or in groups, and the 15 percent discount will be taken off from the total of the order, excluding shipping. Below you'll find the full list of Twelve South products offered as a discount exclusively for our readers.

Promo Price: $16.99, down from $19.99
Colors: Black, Cognac, Marsala
Compatible Products: iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch
Description: Leather cable organizers that will help keep your iPhone and iPad cables, USB-C Mac cable, EarPods, and any other wires neat and tangle free in your travel bags. Includes one large and two small CableSnaps.

Compass 2

Promo Price: $33.99, down from $39.99
Colors: Black, Gold, Rose Gold, Silver
Compatible Products: 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad mini, iPad Air
Description: A multi-use stand that offers a stable platform to place your iPad in portrait and landscape modes so you can watch movies on an airplane, FaceTime hands-free, and even type more comfortably.

PlugBug World

Promo Price: $38.24, down from $44.99
Compatible Products: MacBook, iPad, iPhone
Description: PlugBug World attaches to your MacBook Power Adapter and provides a simple, dual-charging solution thanks to the included USB-A port for iPhone/iPad charging. Five international snap on plugs ensure charging convenience in both the U.S. and numerous other countries.

BookBook CaddySack

Promo Price: $42.49, down from $49.99
Compatible Products: MacBook, Apple Pencil, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch
Description: A compact leather case with elastic bands and pockets to organize your MacBook Power Adapter, dongles, AirPods, EarPods, PlugBug World, iPhone chargers, and more.

Promo Price: $42.49, down from $49.99
Colors: Black, White
Compatible Products: Apple Watch
Description: A silicone-lined case for travelers that stores Apple Watch essentials like the charging cable, USB adapter, and an extra band, while also doubling as a travel display stand that supports nightstand mode.

While our exclusive promo code provides the best price online for most of these products, those interested in the White TimePorter should take a look at Twelve South's storefront on Amazon first. The product is $10 off, and an on-page coupon can be clipped to save an additional $7.50. If you have Amazon Prime's free-two day shipping, that'll make the TimePorter just $32.49.

If you're looking for a new iPhone case to take on an upcoming trip, Twelve South on Amazon has multiple sizes and colors of its $49.99 Relaxed Leather Case for iPhone marked down by $10 or more. The savings include items like the iPhone X case in Earl Grey for $37.55, iPhone 7/8 case in Warm Taupe for $39.99, and iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus in Indigo for $38.99. A similar discount has also hit the $59.99 BookBook case for iPhone X.

Head over to our Deals Roundup for even more of the latest offers happening this week, and remember to use the exclusive Twelve South promo code before it expires on March 30. We also have a special discount code on the BentoStack for our readers, which could be another useful item to add to your travel bags on your next vacation.

Related Roundup: Apple DealsTag: Twelve South
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Apple Hosting Developer Workshop at Station F Parisian Incubator

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 18:25
Apple next week plans to host a workshop for developers at the Station F startup incubator in Paris, France. The event will take place on Friday, March 23 according to French site Mac4Ever.

A limited number of French developers have been invited to attend the workshop, which will consist of a two hour workshopping session followed by a question and answer period.

This special workshop will teach you to create amazing apps for Apple platforms and make the most of your presence on the App Store. After the workshop, you'll have the opportunity to speak with Apple experts and fellow participants.Station F is one of the largest centers for entrepreneurs in Europe, and Apple first became involved with the incubator in October of 2017 following Apple CEO Tim Cook's visit to Paris.

Apple reportedly has a small team at Station F to help developers create, validate, and manage their iOS apps. Station F memberships start at €195 per month, but there are discounted yearly memberships available along with a free program for those who can't afford the fee.
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a BentoStack Accessory Organizer Equipped With AirPods and Apple Pencil

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 18:00
For this week's giveaway we've teamed up with Function 101 to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a handy BentoStack organizer for all of your Apple accessories, which will come equipped with AirPods, an Apple Pencil, and two Apple Watch bands.

The BentoStack, priced at $50, started out as a highly successful Indiegogo project, but it's now available to anyone. Modeled after traditional Bento boxes that are popular as lunch containers in Japan, the multi-layered BentoStack is designed to hold and organize a variety of accessories. The BentoStack comes in three colors -- Space Gray, Silver, and Rose Gold -- and has a soft, smooth texture.

Each BentoStack consists of four storage compartments, a lid, and a silicone strap to hold it all together. The top lid (that can also double as a stand) holds an Apple Pencil or a standard pen, while the top compartment can hold an AirPods case, wound up iPhone cables, or similarly sized items.

A second lid in the middle can hold your Apple Watch bands, and the bottom compartment, which is the deepest, is able to hold a MacBook Pro-sized charger along with additional cables and accessories. For countries with larger MacBook plugs, there's also a BentoStack XL that's just a bit deeper.

Dividers in both of the two larger compartments allow you to arrange the BentoStack's interior to meet your needs, and with these removable dividers, it can accommodate accessories in many sizes.

I reviewed the BentoStack back in November, and I was impressed with its capacity. I was able to fit three Apple Watch bands, an Apple Watch, a MacBook Pro power adapter, a USB-C cable, two regular-sized Lightning cables, a small Lightning cable, and an Apple Pencil.

Once filled up, the BentoStack fits all together in one neat little bundle, which you can leave on your desk or take with you anywhere. When you need to use it on the go, you can unpack whichever layers you need for a portable desk organization system. If you want to just take a single section of the BentoStack with you, you can do that too, as Function 101 includes an extra small silicone strap.

For all of our readers, we've got a special discount code that will discount the BentoStack by 40 percent. Just enter the promo code MacRumors40 when checking out on the Function website. That drops the price of the BentoStack from $50 to $30, with $10 shipping. The deal will be available through Thursday, March 22.

We also have one fully loaded BentoStack to give away to a lucky MacRumors reader. 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 winners and send 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 (March 16) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 23. The winner will be chosen randomly on March 23 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Tag: giveaway
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Steve Jobs Employment Questionnaire Sold for $174,757 at Auction

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:22
A rare employment questionnaire filled out by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was auctioned off last week, earning an impressive $174,757.

Jobs filled out the questionnaire in 1973, just after dropping out of Reed College, where he attended school for approximately six months and then audited classes for another year and a half.

The document provided a rare look into Jobs' life at the time, with Jobs listing "english lit" as his major and Reed College as his address. "Computer" and "Calculator" were listed as skills, along with "Design" and "Tech," and Jobs said that he had special abilities that include "Electronics" and digital "Tech or Design Engineer."

Soon after filling out the employment questionnaire, Jobs took a position as a technician at Atari after showing the company a version of Pong designed by Steve Wozniak. Just two years later, Jobs, Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer in Jobs' now iconic garage.

Ahead of the auction, the auction site believed the questionnaire would fetch over $50,000, but it ended up tripling that estimate.

A separate auction for an Mac OS X technical manual signed by Jobs in 2001 also brought in $41,806, while a signed newspaper clipping that Jobs signed sold for $26,950.

Tag: Steve Jobs
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of iOS 11.3 to Developers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:02
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, four days after seeding the fifth beta and almost a month after the release of iOS 11.2.6, an update that addressed a bug causing iPhones and iPads to crash when a character from the Indian language Telugu was rendered improperly.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.3 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.

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iOS 11.3 is a major update that introduces a long list of new features, like Messages in iCloud for saving space and syncing messages across devices, and ARKit 1.5, a new version of ARKit able to more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces, recognize images, and place objects on vertical surfaces like walls.

There are four new Animoji on the iPhone X (dragon, bear, skull, and lion), and in the Health app, there's a new Health Records feature that aggregates all of your medical records in one easy-to-access place.

As of iOS 11.3 beta 2, the update includes a new "Battery Health" feature that's designed to provide iOS users with more information about their batteries.

Battery Health offers details on maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability, and for devices with degraded batteries, it provides information on if and when a device is being throttled with performance management features. It also provides a way for customers who do have a device with a degraded battery to turn off performance management all together.

By default, iOS 11.3 disables performance management on the iPhone, and the feature is only re-enabled once a device experiences an unexpected shutdown.

Early betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 included support for AirPlay 2 features, allowing audio to be played to multiple Apple TVs, but these features were removed in iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 beta 3.

Other features in iOS 11.3 include a "For You" section in Apple News that displays the top videos of the day, support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) for more accurate location when placing an emergency call in a supported country, more information about app size in the Updates tap in the App Store, software authentication for HomeKit, and a new Privacy screen and icon that will show up whenever Apple asks you for info.

The privacy screen is reflected in several new splash screens that pop up when you first open apps. The App Store also now lets you sort reviews by most helpful, most favorable, most critical, and most recent, a handy change for better finding the app info you're looking for.

Business Chat, which will let you interface with businesses like Wells Fargo, Delta, Hilton and Lowe's right in the Messages app is coming when iOS 11.3 is released, and improvements to Apple Music will bring better support for music videos.

iOS 11.3 will be released to the public in the spring. Spring kicks off on March 20, so the public release of the update could be coming soon.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Review: RAVPower HyperAir 7.5-Watt Wireless Chargers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:49
We're starting to see more 7.5-watt wireless chargers hitting the market, and RAVPower is another popular charging accessory manufacturer that's getting into the mix. RAVPower's previous Fast Wireless Charger has been one of my favorite chargers for the iPhone X, but the company has also been working on improvements leading to a recently launched series of chargers under "HyperAir" branding. The lineup includes flat charging bases, a charging stand, and even a power bank that can wirelessly charge your iPhone.

RAVPower promotes its new HyperAir accessories as supporting both 7.5-watt iPhone and 10-watt Android charging with optimal efficiency, using intelligent temperature monitoring and improved heat dissipation to maintain charging speeds for longer periods of time.

RAVPower notes that the iPhone uses a narrow fixed frequency for its wireless charging, and HyperAir chargers are optimized to match that frequency for fast charging. Upon placing an iPhone on a HyperAir charger, the charger quickly identifies the device and optimizes its charging profile, allowing for a complete charge in two and a half to three hours.

I've been testing three different types of chargers from the HyperAir lineup, and I've come away impressed with several of them. I'm always on the lookout for stand-style chargers, and the new HyperAir stand is a good one. It has an unobtrusive black finish but with a little bit more style than Anker's stands, with rear and bottom supports that appear distinct from the main body, and it's completely silent with no integrated fan. The lack of active cooling could result in temperature issues, but RAVPower's temperature sensing and management technology helps overcome some of those challenges.

RAVPower HyperAir stand
In my testing, the HyperAir stand charged my iPhone X battery from 10 percent to 51 percent in an hour, well ahead of most other chargers and second only to Anker's new PowerWave stand in that metric.

RAVPower HyperAir stand
A horizontal LED on the front of the stand pulses green during charging, briefly shines solid red when first plugged in, and can flash red if there's a charging problem.

RAVPower HyperAir pad
I also tested RAVPower's HyperAir pad, and somewhat surprisingly I found that it wasn't able to charge my phone as quickly, reaching just 41 percent after an hour. That's pretty much in line with charging speeds I've seen on many other chargers including those running at 5 watts, so I'm not entirely sure why it wasn't quite able to match its stand sibling. The HyperAir pad is a fairly standard looking pad with a slim design and a similar horizontal LED to the one seen on the stand model, capable of shining green or red to let you know its status.

As with Anker's PowerWave chargers, RAVPower's HyperAir stand and pad each come with an 18-watt power adapter that supports the Quick Charge 3.0 standard. The chargers require a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter to function, and will not work with other power adapters or USB ports. RAVPower includes a really nice braided micro-USB cable in the box as well.

The HyperAir stand is normally priced at $49.99 and the pad at $39.99, but RAVPower is offering a special limited-time Amazon deal of 20 percent off for MacRumors readers, bringing the cost of the stand down to $39.99 with promo code MACRPC69 and the pad down to $31.99 with promo code MACRPC66.

In addition to the stand and pad, RAVPower's HyperAir lineup also includes a 10,400 mAh portable power bank with built-in wireless charging pad, listed at $67.99 on Amazon but currently very short of stock. The power bank lets you charge up to two devices simultaneously, one wirelessly by setting your phone on top of the power bank and a second through a 2.4A USB port. At 10,400 mAh, there's a decent amount of power available for charging multiple devices multiple times.

RAVPower HyperAir power bank
My charging test saw the power bank only push my iPhone X battery to 42 percent, which isn't quite as good as some of the wired HyperAir and PowerWave chargers, but not bad considering this is for charging on the go.

Wireless charging on a power bank can be tricky if you're out and about, as you need to keep the phone aligned with the charging pad, but if it works for your needs, this is a solid option and there aren't a ton of these types of accessories on the market yet. The USB port also lets you fall back to wired charging if you need to charge without a stable surface around to set things up on. It feels like a pretty large price premium over standard power banks just to add wireless charging, but it might be worthwhile for some users.

The design is a fairly simple black plastic that's nothing special, but it does the trick and has a non-slip surface for charging pad. There's an LED on the side that lets you know the wireless charging status with the same green and red colors as the other HyperAir chargers, and the charging state of the power bank itself can be determined from a set of four small blue LEDs on the top surface. RAVPower includes a flat micro-USB cable and a USB-C to micro-USB adapter in the box, but there's no included power adapter. RAVPower recommends you use at least a 2A adapter for maximum recharging speed.

RAVPower tells me it is applying to the WPC for Qi certification on these new chargers and hopes to receive it by the end of next month.

Note: RAVPower provided the wireless chargers to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTag: RAVPowerBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral), iPhone X (Buy Now)
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