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LUX Launches $149 Smart Thermostat With HomeKit Support

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:31
LUX Products today announced the release of its new KONO Smart thermostat with support for HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.


HomeKit integration allows the Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat to be controlled with Siri voice commands using an iPhone or iPad. Likewise, the thermostat can be controlled with Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands.

KONO Smart also has a physical knob that can be turned to adjust the temperature and access other controls on the thermostat's small digital screen.


Like the Nest and many other smart thermostats, the KONO Smart can automatically learn and adjust the temperature of your house whether you're at home or away, which can potentially reduce your electricity bill over time.

The thermostat's other features include smart scheduling, a utility cost estimator, a built-in indoor air quality mode, and energy usage reporting.

KONO Smart has a black stainless steel cover with interchangeable decor covers that can be purchased separately for $10 each in six colors: Midnight Black, True White, Paint It, Hibiscus Red, Sea Green, and Deep Blue.

KONO Smart is available starting today for $149 and can be purchased on the LUX Products website or at Home Depot stores in the United States.

At $149, the KONO Smart is cheaper than some other HomeKit-enabled thermostats at regular prices, including the ecobee4, Honeywell Lyric Round, and Sensi Touch all priced at $199. iDevices has a basic HomeKit thermostat for $98 on Amazon.

Tag: HomeKit
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Apple Pay Offers $5 iTunes Gift Card When You Shop Online at Select Retailers December 14-21

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:13
Apple today announced that if you shop at select online retailers using Apple Pay from December 14 through December 21, you'll get a $5 App Store and iTunes Gift card. The offer is only valid for United States residents and while supplies last. Furthermore, Apple stated that there is a limit to one card per retail partner, suggesting you can get additional $5 cards if you shop at multiple online stores under the promotion.

Apple didn't specify if there is a minimum amount of money you have to spend to get the $5 card, but advised shoppers to see applicable partner websites for more information as the fine print might change on a retailer-by-retailer basis.

Here is the full list of Apple Pay partners participating in the promotion:


If you don't have Apple Pay set up yet, make sure to visit our guide on How to Set Up Apple Pay and Add Credit Cards. The latest addition to Apple Pay was the debut of Apple Pay Cash, which launched earlier in December and lets you directly pay friends and family members. If you have credit on your Apple Pay Cash Card, you can also use that to shop at the above retailers and get the $5 iTunes card.

For other deals and promotions, visit our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple Pay, Apple Deals
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Satechi Launches USB-C 'Clamp Hub Pro' for 2017 iMac and iMac Pro

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:00
Satechi today announced the launch of a new USB Type-C Clamp Hub Pro, which is made from aluminum and designed to work with the latest iMac and iMac Pro machines.


Available in Silver or Space Gray, the Clamp Hub Pro plugs into one of the rear Thunderbolt 3 slots on the iMac or iMac Pro. It offers three USB 3.0 Type-A ports with 5Gb/s data transfer and a Micro/SD card reader.


Setting up the Clamp Hub takes just a few seconds using an adjustable knob, and its slim profile adds little additional visual bulk to the iMac. The Clamp Hub is compatible with the 2017 iMac Pro, the 2017 4K 21.5-inch iMac, and the 2017 5K 27-inch iMac.


The USB Type-C Clamp Hub Pro can be pre-ordered from the Satechi website for $49.99. It will start shipping out in the first week of January.

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

Tag: Satechi
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Apple Releases VESA-Compatible Mounting Bracket Kit for iMac Pro

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:46
With the iMac Pro now available to order, Apple has released a VESA mount adapter kit for the computer on its online store around the world.


The kit comes with everything you need to replace your iMac Pro stand with a mounting bracket, which lets you attach your iMac Pro to any VESA-compatible wall mount, desk mount, or articulating arm to customize your workspace.With the VESA Mount Adapter attached, your iMac Pro complies with the VESA FDMI (MIS-D, 100, C) version specification. This adapter supports iMac Pro and cannot be used with any other iMac or display. Use the adapter only with a VESA mount that can support the weight of your iMac Pro.The kit is priced at $79 in the United States and is currently estimated to ship in 2-3 weeks, so deliveries should begin in January.

While ordering the iMac Pro on Apple's online store, the kit can also be added for $79 as part of a custom configuration.

Related Roundup: iMac ProTag: VESABuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)
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Pandora Grants Free Tier Listeners Access to On-Demand Features if They View 15-Second Ad

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:31
Pandora today announced that it will now let those who use the company's free, ad-supported tier access on-demand listening after viewing a 15-second video ad. Listeners can search for a specific song, album, playlist, and then they'll have an option to view the ad in question, after which a Pandora Premium listening session will unlock.


Previously, users on Pandora's free tier had to listen to whatever song appeared next on the radio station or playlist they were currently tuned in to. With the new update, these listeners can now get an experience that's slightly closer to traditional on-demand streaming music services like Pandora's own Premium service, and Apple Music and Spotify, albeit after being forced to view an ad.

Crucially, Pandora's press release doesn't clarify how often free listeners have to view these 15-second ads in order to retain their Pandora Premium on-demand listening sessions.
“Our ad-supported listeners’ top request has consistently been the ability to directly play the specific songs, albums, or playlists they want,” said Roger Lynch, President & CEO, Pandora. “These new features address that need by marrying rewards-based advertising with the best-in-class on-demand experience we’ve created with Pandora Premium. This unrivaled experience will drive listeners to Pandora and drive awareness for Premium, while also creating new opportunities for artists, labels, publishers and advertisers.” Pandora Premium launched earlier in 2017, combining the existing radio features with a new on-demand service that serves up personalized recommendations for each user. In total Pandora has the free tier, Pandora Plus ($4.99/month), and Pandora Premium ($9.99/month). Plus offers unlimited skips and replays but also lacks on-demand abilities, so the new functionality will also be available for Plus subscribers.

The Pandora app is available to download from the iOS App Store for free [Direct Link].

Tag: Pandora
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AppleCare+ for iMac Pro Costs $169, Same Price as Regular iMacs

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:26
Apple today released the iMac Pro, its all-new powerful desktop workstation aimed at professional users with demanding workflows.


While the iMac Pro starts at $4,999 for the base model, and costs up to $13,199 for a maxed-out, 18-core configuration, fortunately the price of AppleCare+ for iMac Pro isn't any more expensive than for a regular iMac.

AppleCare+ for iMac Pro can be purchased for $169 in the United States, which is the same price Apple charges for its 21.5-inch and 27-inch 4K and 5K iMac models. We've confirmed this is the price shown during checkout.

AppleCare+ extends an iMac Pro's warranty coverage to three years from its original purchase date and provides up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or external enclosure damage, or $299 for any other type of damage.

iMac Pros are also covered by Apple's standard one-year limited warranty and 90 days of complimentary technical support by phone.

Related Roundup: iMac ProTag: AppleCareBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)
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Logic Pro X Optimized for iMac Pro as Motion and Compressor Updated to Support 360º VR Video, HEVC, and More

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:41
Alongside the release of Final Cut Pro X version 10.4 today, Apple has updated its other pro software Logic Pro X, Motion, and Compressor.


Logic Pro X has been updated with optimized performance for the iMac Pro, with support for up to 36 cores. Version 10.3.3 also includes performance and stability improvements, including a fix for an issue which could cause user-created content to become unavailable on macOS High Sierra.

Motion has been updated with support for 360º VR motion graphics. Users can now import 360° video and design 360° titles, generators, and effects, and later output the 360° video to a connected VR headset. Version 5.4 also supports import, playback, and editing of HEVC video and HEIF photos from Apple devices.

Compressor has also been updated with support for 360º VR delivery and HDR and HEVC video on macOS High Sierra.

Apple's new versions of Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion, and Compressor are available from the Updates tab in the Mac App Store.

Tags: Logic Pro X, Motion, Compressor
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iMac Pro Now Available to Order With 8 to 18 Cores and Prices Ranging From $4,999 to $13,199

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:59
The all-new iMac Pro is now available to order from Apple's online store and soon through the Apple Store app on iPhone and iPad.


The base model is equipped with a 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon processor and starts at $4,999 in the United States, while a 10-core model is also available today from $7,199. 14-core and 18-core models can also be ordered today but they currently aren't estimated to ship until February.

Here are the prices of the 8-core and 10-core models configured with the base amount of memory, storage, and graphics:

• 3.2GHz 8-core/32GB ECC RAM/1TB SSD/Radeon Pro Vega 56: $4,999
• 3.0GHz 10-core/32GB ECC RAM/1TB SSD/Radeon Pro Vega 56: $7,399

iMac Pro is a powerful, top-of-the-line workstation designed for professional users with demanding workflows, such as advanced video and graphics editing, virtual reality content creation, and real-time 3D rendering.

Apple said the iMac Pro is the fastest and most powerful Mac ever, at least until the modular Mac Pro is ready to be released.

YouTube reviewers Marques Brownlee and Jonathan Morrison recently shared hands-on videos of the iMac Pro, and put its CPU performance to the test with benchmarks on Geekbench, which simulates real-world workload scenarios.

In both videos, the mid-range iMac Pro with a 10-core 3.0GHz Intel Xeon processor recorded a multi-core score of just over 37,400, which is up to 45 percent faster than the high-end 2013 Mac Pro's average multi-core score of 25,747.

The 10-core iMac Pro is also up to 93 percent faster than the latest 27-inch 5K iMac with top-of-the-line tech specs.

Brownlee found the iMac Pro to be a super capable yet quiet machine with a beautiful display and a stealthy space gray enclosure.

He said the iMac Pro's biggest weakness is its lack of upgradeability, but he argued its expensive $4,999 starting price is actually fair for the hardware included, and he noted that a PC with equivalent tech specs costs around $5,100.

In addition to up to an 18-core processor, that hardware includes up to 4TB of SSD storage, up to 128GB of ECC RAM, and up to an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics processor with 16GB of HBM2 memory.


The high-end performance is made possible by an all-new thermal design that delivers up to 80 percent more cooling capacity than a traditional iMac.

With four Thunderbolt 3 ports, the iMac Pro can drive two external 5K displays or four 4K displays at 60Hz simultaneously. It also has a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB-A 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

A black Lightning to USB-A cable and space gray Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 are included in the box. A space gray Magic Trackpad 2 is optional.

iMac Pro is now available to order in the United States, Canada, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, most European countries, and select other regions. In some other countries, like Singapore, Apple says to check back later for information.

Related Roundup: iMac ProBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)
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SoundCloud Debuts New Home Experience Focusing on Personalized Music Curation

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:55
SoundCloud is today launching a brand new home experience within its iOS app that the company said will make it easier to discover new content from the service's community of creators. The new home tab offers curated recommendations, personalized playlists, and "exclusive culture-focused audio content."


All of these recommendations will come direct from SoundCloud's creators, and users will be able to interact with the new content through the app's new and updated look. The new featured playlists will update weekly similar to Spotify's Discover Weekly and Apple Music's Mixes, and include "Hip Hop Supreme" and "In the Mix" playlists for the latest rap tracks and DJ mixes, respectively.

For more personalized content, The Upload playlist will now appear on the home screen. This playlist launched earlier in 2017 and offers new music based on your listening habits. In a similar vein, the "More of what you like" playlist matches you up with others in the SoundCloud community and spotlights the tracks it thinks you'll enjoy.

Other playlists and charts SoundCloud mentioned will appear on the new home screen include the following:
-Stay plugged-in to the tracks gaining traction and generating buzz with the New & Hot charts.

-Keep track of the platform’s latest album releases with Fresh Pressed (US only).

-Know which tracks are soundtracking your country with the Top 50 charts, based on wherever you are in the world.

-Dedicated to serving you what’s next in music and supporting emerging artists, SoundCloud will periodically spotlight what’s happening on the platform with playlists like SoundCloud Next Wave, The SoundCloud Playback and more. In February, SoundCloud introduced a streaming music plan with a cheaper price tag, called SoundCloud Go, which users can subscribe to for $5.99/month. A top-tier SoundCloud Go+ option is also available for $12.99/month, including access to an expanded catalogue of music. There's also the basic free tier of SoundCloud that includes ads and lacks certain advantages of the paid tiers, like offline listening.

SoundCloud is available on the iOS App Store for free [Direct Link].

Tag: SoundCloud
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Final Cut Pro X 10.4 Launches With 360º VR Video Editing, HDR, and More as Logic Pro X and Motion Also Updated

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:27
Apple today announced it has released Final Cut Pro X version 10.4 and updated versions of Logic Pro X and Motion just ahead of the iMac Pro launching today.


As previewed earlier this year, Final Cut Pro X 10.4 includes 360º VR video editing, HDR support, and new color tools like a white balance picker. It also includes support for HEVC, the new video format introduced in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11, and direct import of iMovie for iOS timelines.


Meanwhile, Logic Pro X has been updated with optimized performance for the iMac Pro, including support for up to 36 cores. Version 10.3.3 also includes performance and stability improvements, including a fix for an issue which could cause user-created content to become unavailable on macOS High Sierra.

Motion has been updated with support for 360 VR motion graphics. Users can now import 360° video and design 360° titles, generators, and effects, and later output the 360° video to a connected VR headset. Version 5.4 also supports import, playback, and editing of HEVC video and HEIF photos from Apple devices.

Final Cut Pro X version 10.4 release notes:360 VR editing
• Import and edit 360° equirectangular video in a wide range of formats and frame sizes
• Output 360° video to a connected VR headset*
• Open the 360° viewer to simultaneously monitor headset and equirectangular views while editing
• Option to track movement of a VR headset in the 360° viewer in Final Cut Pro
• Add 360° effects including blurs, glows, and more
• Share 360° video directly to YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo
• Use the 360° patch to instantly remove cameras and rigs from the scene
• Use the Horizon overlay to easily change the orientation of 360° video right in the viewer
• Edit 360° video into a non-360° project and animate the pan, tilt, and zoom
• Place any graphic, still, or video into a 360° project, then reposition and resize to fit perfectly into the 360° scene
• Support for monoscopic and stereoscopic 360° video

Advanced color grading
• Dedicated color tab in the inspector provides one location for all color controls
• Powerful new color wheels improve upon traditional wheels with integrated sliders to adjust hue, saturation, and brightness
• Color curves enable ultra-fine adjustments using multiple control points to change color and contrast
• Hue/saturation curves let you select a specific hue or brightness level to make adjustments while leaving other parts of the image unchanged
• Use the eye dropper in the color and hue/saturation curves to quickly sample parts of an image for adjustment
• Balance Color command includes an eye dropper for manual white balance
• Apply custom LUTs from popular color grading apps and sites
• Adjust color corrections over time with precise keyframe controls
• Speed through color correction using new keyboard shortcuts for color adjustments and role-based timeline navigation
• Color presets are now located in the effects browser for skimmable preview and fast search

High Dynamic Range
• Import, grade, and deliver High Dynamic Range (HDR) video as Rec. 2020 HLG or Rec. 2020 PQ for HDR10
• Output video to third-party HDR monitors using third-party I/O devices
• Built-in waveform monitor indicates HDR brightness levels up to 10,000 nits
• HDR Tools effect lets you easily tone map HDR to Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) output as well as convert between PQ and HLG formats
• Option to view HDR as raw values when working without an HDR monitor

Additional features
• Send your iMovie for iOS project directly to Final Cut Pro for advanced editing, audio work, and finishing
• Import, playback, and editing of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, also known as H.265) video clips and High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) photos from Apple devices**
• Send to Compressor to export video projects in the HEVC format
• Adjust audio using effects plug-ins from Logic Pro X with redesigned, resizable interfaces
• Support for Canon Cinema RAW Light format with additional software from Canon
• Faster Optical Flow analysis using Metal 2
• Support for NFS-based libraries and media
• XML 1.7 with support for new color grading controls, 360 VR effects, and HDRApple's new versions of Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, and Motion are available from the Updates tab in the Mac App Store.

Related Roundups: macOS High Sierra, iMac ProTags: Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X, MotionBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)
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The Walt Disney Company Has Acquired 21st Century Fox Assets and Now Has Majority Control Over Hulu

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:06
Following weeks of news coverage about the potential acquisition of certain Fox assets by The Walt Disney Company, today the confirmation of that acquisition has come from Disney with a press release detailing the specific parts of Fox that will now merge into Disney. Notably, Disney has acquired 21st Century Fox, including Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television Studios and Fox-related cable and international TV businesses, for $52.4 billion in stock.

Movie assets that are now Disney-owned under 21st Century Fox include Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, homes of movies like Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Shape of Water, and Gone Girl. Disney also now owns Fox's TV production companies including the previously mentioned Twentieth Century Fox Television, as well as FX Productions and Fox21, which brought viewers shows like The Simpsons, This Is Us, and The Americans.


On the TV network and streaming side of things, Disney has also acquired FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India, Sky plc, Tata Sky, Endemol Shine Group, and most notably Fox's 30 percent stake in Hulu. With this particular asset acquisition, Disney is now a majority shareholder of Hulu.
“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

“We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings. The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.” According to Disney, all of these new assets will build on the company's "commitment to deliver the highest quality branded entertainment," as well as fuel Disney's ability to "create more appealing content." The company also references its intent to deliver a "more compelling" entertainment experience to Disney consumers "whenever and however" they choose.

Specifically, Disney said that the Fox assets will even accelerate its use of certain technologies, including the recently acquired BAMTech platform, which it aims to use for its solo-streaming service. The company said these advancements will create more ways for Disney storytellers to share content with audiences, while providing those audiences more choices for how they consume film and TV.

For these reasons, the company said that the newly announced Disney streaming service, ESPN service, and Hulu will all benefit from the Fox acquisition.
Bringing on board 21st Century Fox’s entertainment content and capabilities, along with its broad international footprint and a world-class team of managers and storytellers, will allow Disney to further its efforts to provide a more compelling entertainment experience through its direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings. This transaction will enable Disney’s recently announced Disney and ESPN-branded DTC offerings, as well as Hulu, to create more appealing and engaging experiences, delivering content, entertainment and sports to consumers around the world wherever and however they want to enjoy it. Important assets being left out of the deal and staying with Fox include the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network. Immediately prior to the acquisition 21st Century Fox separated all of these assets out into a newly listed company and will spin off ownership among its shareholders.

There are plenty of more details about the Disney-Fox deal -- including the "reuniting" of X-men with Disney-owned Marvel -- which can be found in Disney's press release.

Tags: Disney, Fox
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Apple Now Offering Free Next-Day Delivery of Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:02
Apple's online store is now offering free next-day delivery for all in-stock items ordered by 3 p.m. local time on December 22 in the United States.


Apple normally offers free two-day delivery for most products, but it expands free next-day delivery to all in-stock items towards the end of every holiday shopping season to help customers purchase last-minute gifts in time for Christmas.

Most products and accessories purchased from an Apple retail store and/or received from Apple's online store between November 15 and December 25 of this year are eligible for return until January 8, 2018 in the United States.

Apple shared its 2017 gift guide in November, with ideas ranging from the Apple Watch and iPhone X to Sphero's R2-D2 and BB-9E drones.

Other gifts under $200 that an Apple fan is likely to appreciate include the Apple TV 4K, AirPods, BeatsX, an official Apple-branded iPhone case, Apple Watch bands, or simply an Apple Store or Apple Music gift card.
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Twitterrific 5.18 for iOS Gains New Black Theme Made for iPhone X, Tweet Poll Detection, and More

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 09:22
Third-party Twitter app Twitterrific reached version 5.18 on Thursday, bringing several improvements including an additional dark visual theme and tweet poll detection.

In what should come as good news to heavy users on iPhone X, Twitterrific has added a new energy-saving "true black" theme, which now appears as an option alongside the existing dark theme.


The Theme panel has also been expanded in other ways, including support for avatar shapes – rounded rectangle, squircle, circle and square – improved font size selections, and bonus app icons that can be unlocked by using Twitterrific for Mac or the Tip Jar.

Building on a recently introduced feature in the latest version of the Mac app, Twitterrific for iOS now recognizes polls in feeds, indicated by a button at the bottom of a tweet.

Clicking the button opens the poll in an integrated mini-browser that users can then use to submit their vote. Users can also now tag their own tweets with #poll or use a graph or ballot box Emoji at the beginning or end, and the app will recognize them as such.

Elsewhere, a number of improvements to the app have been made across the board. Highlights include: Muffle rules that can now be deactivated without having to delete them, automatically deactivating themselves after 60 days of inactivity; unread tweet indicator dots; support for Dynamic Type; and timestamps for quoted tweets that now also respect the hidden thumbnail mode.

Twitterrific for iOS v5.18 is a free download on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link] while Twitterrific 5.2 for Mac is $19.99 on the Mac App Store [Direct Link].

Tag: Twitteriffic
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iOS 11 Indoor Maps Feature Now Available at More Than 40 Airports and Malls

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 02:05
Starting in iOS 11, Apple introduced support for indoor maps for select malls and airports around the world. Indoor maps have been slow to roll out, but Apple has been steadily adding additional mall and airport maps since September.

Apple today began listing indoor maps for malls and airports on its iOS 11 feature availability page, giving us a clear picture of exactly where the indoor mapping feature is available for the first time.


Apple offers indoor maps at 34 airports around the world, in countries that include the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, the UK, and Canada.

Indoor maps for malls are more limited, but are available in several locations around the United States including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, DC.

Apple's indoor mapping feature provides full layouts of each mall or airport location with icons for restaurants, elevators, bathrooms, shops, and other notable landmarks. Different floors are clearly marked, making it easy to navigate through unknown areas.

For airports, Maps users can see the location of gates, terminals security checkpoints, check-in desks, and baggage claim areas, which can be helpful when in a new location. As for malls, stores can be filtered by categories like clothes, beauty, food, and shoes, so it's quicker to find just what you're looking for.

All of the malls and airports where the Apple Maps indoor mapping feature can be used are listed on the iOS 11 feature availability page.

Tag: Apple Maps
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Episodic Game 'Life is Strange' Available for Pre-Order on iOS Ahead December 14 Launch

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 23:49
Life is Strange, a popular episodic narrative-style game that was first released in 2015, is finally coming to iOS devices on December 14.

Life is Strange follows the story of Max Caulfield, a photography student who discovers she can rewind time. Players help Caulfield investigate the disappearance of fellow student Rachel Amber, using Max's time-rewinding abilities to look for clues and make choices to progress through the storyline. Based on the choices made in game, there are multiple endings to discover.


On iOS devices, the game includes exclusive Life is Strange iMessage stickers and a new photo mode for taking pictures while playing. Unique social features are also included, such as the ability to share progress on social media and compare story choices with friends.

There are a total of five Life is Strange episodes, with the first priced at $2.99. Episodes 2 and 3 are available as in-app purchases, with Square Enix planning to release episodes 4 and 5 in 2018. Customers can save 10 percent on episodes 2 to 5 by purchasing the Season Pass bundle.

Life is Strange works on the iPhone 6 and later, the iPad Air 2 and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later.

While Life is Strange will not be released until tomorrow, it is currently available for pre-order from the App Store using the newly released pre-order feature. [Direct Link]
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iOS 11.2.1 Fixes Autofocus Issue Some iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus Users Experienced After iOS 11.2

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 23:30
The iOS 11.2.1 update released this morning appears to address an ongoing camera focus issue that some iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus users began experiencing following the release of iOS 11.2.

According to affected users, the camera was not able to focus properly when attempting to capture an image. The camera either shifted continually between the two lenses of the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus, or refused to focus entirely. From MacRumors reader Nixie:Hello there, was wondering if anyone have this issue too, when on iOS 11.2 the camera isnt able to get in focus, the lense just go back and forth indefinetly. Restored back to 11.1.2 and the issue is gone, updated back as new iPhone on 11.2 issue is there. So this looks like a software problem. Anybody with the same problem?Resetting, restarting, and changing camera settings did not address the issue, but downgrading to iOS 11.1.2 did, suggesting it was caused by a bug in iOS 11.2.

MacRumors readers on Twitter and the forums who were experiencing the problem have said that installing iOS 11.2.1 has resolved the autofocus issue.

iOS 11.2.1 is available as a free download that can accessed by going to Settings --> General --> Software Update. In addition to fixing the autofocus issue, iOS 11.2.1 also re-enables remote access for shared users of the Home app, which Apple disabled last week to address a major HomeKit vulnerability.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Redbox Launches New Digital Movie and TV Rental Service

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 22:58
Redbox, the company that offers physical movie rentals via kiosks around the United States, today launched a new digital Redbox On Demand service designed better compete with other digital TV and movie services.

Redbox On Demand, available as a public beta, allows customers to rent or purchase movies and TV shows for streaming. The service offers many of the same new-release movies that are available from physical Redbox locations, along with additional content.


Redbox previously had a digital streaming service called Redbox Instant in partnership with Verizon, but it shut down in 2014 after being unable to compete with offerings like Netflix. Redbox has been testing its new On Demand service, which focuses on rentals and outright purchases, since July of 2016.

Pricing for new-release on-demand rentals from Redbox starts at $3.99 for 48 hours of access, but most new titles are priced at $5.99, with Redbox charging $1 more for high-definition content. Movie purchases are also available at prices starting at $9.99, and can be downloaded for offline viewing.

Redbox's rental prices are similar to rental prices from iTunes, Amazon, and other digital movie rental services.

Redbox On Demand is available from the Redbox website, through the Redbox app for Android and iOS, and it is accessible on the Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and smart TVs from LG and Samsung.

While Redbox On Demand content can be watched on iOS devices and the Apple TV, content needs to be purchased through the Redbox website.

Tag: Redbox
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Apple Releases New Firmware for HomePod

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 21:26
Alongside the iOS 11.2.5 beta that was seeded to developers this afternoon, Apple released new firmware for the HomePod.

The new firmware is not available through the Developer portal like a standard beta software update, but it will be downloadable by testers who have a HomePod. The update is also listed on third-party software sites, making it available for download by the public.


HomePod devices are currently in the hands of Apple employees who are testing the smart speaker to iron out bugs before it becomes available for purchase in early 2018.

Apple previously released publicly available HomePod firmware in July, unwittingly leaking many secrets about the iPhone X. The HomePod firmware referenced the unreleased iPhone and confirmed its design and several features like Face ID facial recognition.

Additional HomePod firmware was released in October, but that update, like this one, is not as notable because there are no unreleased iOS devices coming in the immediate future and thus there's nothing to spoil. It's possible additional HomePod features could be discovered via the firmware update, however.

HomePod is Apple's Siri-based smart speaker that focuses heavily on high-quality sound. It incorporates a 7 tweeter array, an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer, and an A8 chip to power features like spatial awareness.

Apple originally planned to release the HomePod in December, but in November, the HomePod launch was delayed until early 2018.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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Apple Seeds First Beta of watchOS 4.2.2 to Developers

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 21:17
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.2.2 update to developers, a little over one week after releasing the watchOS 4.2 update, which introduced Apple Pay Cash on the Apple Watch.

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 must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

It's not yet clear what new features or improvements the watchOS 4.2.2 update might introduce, but we'll update this post once we've installed the update and have had time to dig into the new features.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds First Beta of tvOS 11.2.5 to Developers

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 21:14
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2.5 update to developers for testing purposes, a little over one week after releasing the tvOS 11.2 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.2.5 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


We don't yet know what features or changes might be included in the 11.2.5 update, but it likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and performance improvements rather than major outward-facing changes.

The prior update, tvOS 11.2, allows the 4K Apple TV to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content. It also introduced a new Sports section for the dedicated TV app, offering up access to live sports games.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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