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Apple Seeds First Beta of iOS 11.2.5 to Developers

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 21:12
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 11 update to developers, just over one week after releasing iOS 11.2, the second major iOS 11 update, and just a few hours after releasing iOS 11.2.1.

Registered developers can download the iOS 11.2.5 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


It's not clear what new features will be included in the iOS 11.2.5 beta, but as a minor 11.x.x update, it is likely to focus primarily on bug fixes and security improvements rather than major outward-facing changes. It's not clear why Apple has skipped several numbers to release an 11.2.5 beta.

We are still waiting on two major iOS 11 features that have yet to be introduced, though. iCloud Messages and AirPlay 2 have not yet been fully implemented and are likely to be added in an upcoming beta.

Prior to iOS 11.2.5, Apple released iOS 11.2, which brought Apple Pay Cash, Apple's new peer-to-peer payments service, plus faster 7.5W wireless charging and a long list of bug fixes.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Apple Releases Minor tvOS 11.2.1 Update With HomeKit Fix

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:10
Apple today released a new update for tvOS 11, the operating system designed to run on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TVs. tvOS 11.2.1 comes a little over one week after the release of the tvOS 11.2 update.

tvOS 11.2.1 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System --> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to the tvOS 11.2.1 automatically.


As a minor 11.x.x update tvOS 11.2.1 focuses on performance improvements and bug fixes to address issues that were discovered following the release of tvOS 11.2. The update, released alongside iOS 11.2.1, likely re-enables remote access for shared users of the Home app.

Apple disabled remote access for shared users when implementing a server-side fix for a major HomeKit vulnerability last week. Apple at the time said remote access would be re-enabled this week through software updates.

Following today’s tvOS 11.2.1 update, the HomeKit vulnerability is fully patched and remote access for shared users has been reinstated.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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Apple Releases iOS 11.2.1 Update With HomeKit Remote Sharing Fix

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:03
Apple today released iOS 11.2.1, the eighth official update to the iOS 11 operating system. iOS 11.2.1 comes a week and a half after the release of iOS 11.2, the second major update to the iOS 11 operating system, which brought Apple Pay Cash, faster 7.5W wireless charging, and a long list of bug fixes.

The iOS 11.2.1 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings --> General --> Software Update.


The iOS 11.2.1 update addresses bugs and issues that have been discovered since the release of iOS 11.2.

According to Apple's release notes, the update re-enables remote access for shared users of the Home app. Apple broke remote access for shared users when implementing a fix for a major HomeKit vulnerability last week.

The HomeKit bug allowed unauthorized access to HomeKit accessories that included smart locks, and it was fixed server-side by Apple after it was made public. To address the issue immediately, Apple had to disable remote access for shared users, which the company said it would re-enable through an iOS update this week.

Following today's update, the HomeKit vulnerability is fully patched and remote access for shared users has been reinstated.

For more on iOS 11 and its updates, make sure to check out our iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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T-Mobile Announces Internet TV Service Coming in 2018

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:06
T-Mobile today announced that it will launch its own over-the-top TV service in 2018, which will be fueled in part through the acquisition of Layer3 TV. Details about the service are scarce, but T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that it will continue the company's theme of being a "disruptive" solution to its rivals, this time in both the internet TV and paid cable markets.

Layer3 TV will help T-Mobile build the service, which is said to provide solutions to lengthy contracts, increasing monthly bill costs, confusing bundles, outdated user interfaces, and more. T-Mobile will fold in Layer3 TV's current services and expand it to a wider audience. Right now this includes select TV channels, streaming online video content, and social media, but is only available in five U.S. cities.

Non-finalized demo of T-Mobile's upcoming service via T-Mobile's YouTube channel “People love their TV, but they hate their TV providers. And worse, they have no real choice but to simply take it – the crappy customer service, clunky technology and outrageous bills loaded with fees! That’s where we come in. We’re gonna fix the pain points and bring real choice to consumers across the country,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “It only makes sense for the Un-carrier to do to TV what we’re doing to wireless: change it for good! Personally, I can’t wait to start fighting for consumers here!” T-Mobile's service will enter a busy streaming TV market, which currently includes DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and many more. Companies are even beginning to offer internet streaming bundles that focus on catering to specific audiences, like Philo, which is aimed at viewers not interested in sports channels and offers much cheaper monthly costs.


T-Mobile and Sprint almost merged recently, but the companies called off the merger in November because they were unable to find "mutually agreeable terms." At the time, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that while a deal with Sprint was a "compelling" idea, it would have needed to offer "significant benefits" for both consumers and shareholders.

Tag: T-Mobile
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Apple Music Rival Tidal Reportedly Facing Money Problems Amid 'Stalled' User Growth

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:44
Streaming music service Tidal is facing money problems and could run out of working capital within the next six months, according to a report this week by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (via The Verge). The report stated that the money issues likely stem from Tidal's user growth, which is said to have "stalled" recently.

Sprint bought a 33 percent stake in Tidal this past January, and at the time Jay Z’s business partner and Roc Nation Sports president Juan Perez mentioned that the carrier's investment gave Tidal "sufficient working capital for the next 12-18 months." The Jay Z owned service is said to have lost around NOK$368 million (around $44 million) before taxes in 2016, and Tidal reportedly claims that it will break even and achieve profitability in mid-2018.


Regarding the new claim of Tidal's money and subscriber problems, a company spokesperson told The Verge the following: "We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year."

It isn't clear exactly how many people are subscribed to Tidal since the service has refrained from releasing such a count following the Sprint deal. At that time, Dagens Næringsliv again reported on Tidal, this time focusing on a claim that it was inflating subscriber numbers as far back as when Jay Z acquired it in 2015. The newspaper said it obtained internal reports from Tidal that showed it had 350,000 subscribers in September 2015, at which time Jay Z said it had gained 1 million subscribers.

Subsequent inflation numbers surfaced in March 2016, and afterwards the company hasn't provided any data regarding the amount of its subscriber base. As a point of comparison, Spotify remains in the lead for music streaming services with over 60 million paid subscribers as of July, while Apple Music follows with over 30 million as of September.

Tag: Tidal
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Macs Effectively Now Have a Three-Year Warranty in Australia and New Zealand Under Consumer Law

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:27
If you bought and own a Mac in Australia or New Zealand, your computer effectively now has warranty coverage for up to three years from its original date of purchase, even without purchasing optional AppleCare+ coverage.


Apple will now offer warranty coverage on most Mac parts for up to 24 months after its limited one-year warranty period, under consumer law in each country, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

Apple is complying with Australia and New Zealand laws that give consumers the right to ask for a repair or replacement free of charge if a product experiences failure within a "reasonable" amount of time after purchase.

Mac owners can inquire about service under Australian and New Zealand consumer law at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, but we can't guarantee that every employee will be knowledgable about this policy. The 36-month coverage period for Macs is effective from today—that's December 13, 2017.

Eligible parts include the display, battery, SSD or hard drive, RAM, logic boards, GPU, internal cables, power supply, and other electronic components, so virtually every aspect of a Mac is covered, according to the document.

Apple provides a summary of consumer law, its limited one-year warranty, and its optional AppleCare+ coverage on its website in Australia and New Zealand.

Related Roundups: iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBookTags: Australia, New Zealand, warrantyBuyer's Guide: iMac (Neutral), Mac Pro (Caution), Mac Mini (Don't Buy), MacBook Air (Neutral), MacBook Pro (Neutral), MacBook (Neutral)
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Gamevice's iPhone Gaming Controller Gets Price Drop and Integration With Sphero Droids

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 14:00
Gamevice, a company that makes a Made for iPhone/iPad gaming controller for iOS devices, today announced that its partnership with Sphero has expanded, allowing the Gamevice gaming controller to be used with Sphero droids.

Starting today, the Gamevice, which already works with the Sphero app, can be used to pilot the BB-9E, BB-8, and R2D2 from Sphero, giving droid owners a better control method than the iPhone's display. Gamevice previously announced integration with the DJI app, allowing the DJI Spark to be controlled via a Gamevice controller, and it already works with the Sphero SPRK+.


As of today, the company behind Gamevice has confirmed that the GV 157 model for the iPhone is fully compatible with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and to celebrate both the new droid functionality and the confirmation that it works with Apple's newest devices, the price of the GV 157 is dropping 20 percent to $79.95."We chose to lower the price to $79.95 as demand for Gamevice has increased due to the fact that it can now be used for more than just gaming," said Phillip Hyun, CEO, Gamevice. "Gamevice not only makes gaming on smartphones better, but it adds precision control to app controlled gadgets such as Sphero's app-enabled droids and DJI's Spark Drone, with more on the way."The Gamevice works with more than 1,000 iOS games, including several games optimized for iPhone X like Lineage 2, The Talos Principle, and Grid Autosport.

The GV 157, which works with the iPhone 6 Plus and all subsequent iPhones released by Apple (with the exception of the iPhone SE), can be purchased from the Gamevice website for $79.95. There are also Gamevice controllers available for the various iPads, which are priced at $99.95.

Tag: Gamevice
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iPhone 8 Was Nearly World's Top Google Search This Year

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:37
Hurricane Irma, iPhone 8, and iPhone X were the world's three most popular search terms on Google this year.


While the results make it look like the iPhone 8 is more popular than the iPhone X, it's important to consider that Apple's flagship smartphone was more commonly referred to as the iPhone 8 in rumors until a leaked version of iOS 11 essentially confirmed its stealthier name back in August.

In the consumer tech category, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were the most popular search terms in 2017, ahead of the Nintendo Switch, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Xbox One X in the top five globally. In the United States in particular, the iPhone 8 Plus was the sixth most popular search term.

Google Trends outlines other popular search terms in its Year in Search 2017 categories, including actors, athletes, car brands, exercises, movies, recipes, songs and lyrics, sports teams, TV shows, and world events.


The results are similar to last year, when the iPhone 7 was the most searched smartphone brand on Google, but the second most popular search term overall behind smash-hit game Pokémon GO.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8Tag: GoogleBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Buy Now)
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Nintendo Looking for Additional Mobile Software Developers After DeNA Partnership Falls Behind Schedule

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:15
Nintendo is looking to hire more software developers to help it create mobile video games in the vein of Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. According to people familiar with the matter speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has decided to expand its roster of smartphone game developers after its partnership with DeNA "fell behind schedule."

Nintendo and DeNA first announced their partnership in March 2015, and then a few months later in May 2015 explained their schedule: the companies would release their first iOS game that year, and then five more before March 2017. By October 2015, the first Nintendo mobile app -- Miitomo -- was pushed back to 2016, marking the first delay of the company's long term smartphone strategy release plan.

Eventually, Miitomo launched in March 2016, Super Mario Run launched in December 2016, Fire Emblem Heroes launched in February 2017, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp just launched in November 2017. Besides Super Mario Run, every mobile game released by Nintendo and made by DeNA was delayed at some point.

Now, Nintendo is looking to introduce new collaborations with other software developers and "raise the pace of new titles" so that these games don't face as heavy delays as they did previously. While Nintendo took a 10 percent ownership stake in DeNA when it partnered with the company, sources knowledgeable of the new plan stated that it "isn't planning" to do that again with any new developer partners.
Nintendo reported less than ¥20 billion ($176 million) in revenue in the year ended in March 2017 from its smartphone games, including one featuring Mario. Some investors say the mobile revenue has fallen short of expectations, but Nintendo executives say that rather than try to squeeze out more mobile revenue—which could lead to a consumer backlash—they are focusing on converting those users to buy more expensive products. Potential new developers include GungHo Online Entertainment Inc., which created the mobile game Puzzle & Dragons. For DeNA, company CEO Isao Moriyasu has previously said that the developer "has more smartphone games in the pipeline" in partnership with Nintendo, and both companies plan to "continue the relationship."

Tags: Nintendo, DeNA
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Apple to Invest $390 Million in Finisar, US Maker of iPhone X TrueDepth Camera Lasers

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 12:02
Apple announced on Wednesday its plans to invest $390 million in Finisar Corp, which supplies components for the vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) found in the iPhone X True Depth camera.

The investment will be used to build a plant in Texas to make more of the chips, and will be financed by Apple's $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which the company created earlier this year to foster innovation and create jobs in the U.S.

"VCSELs power some of the most sophisticated technology we've ever developed and we're thrilled to partner with Finisar over the next several years to push the boundaries of VCSEL technology and the applications they enable," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "Technology is only as good as the people behind it, and Finisar is a company with a long history of putting its employees first and supporting the community it's a part of. We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse."According to Apple's statement, the award will enable Finisar to exponentially increase its R&D spending and high-volume production of VCSELs, which power some of the iPhone's X flagship features, such Face ID, Animoji and Portrait mode selfies, as well as the proximity-sensing capabilities of AirPods.
"We're excited to continue our innovation with Apple of a technology that has tremendous potential," said Jerry S. Rawls, CEO of Finisar. "When you combine our proven ability to consistently manufacture exceptional products with our new state-of-the-art Sherman facility, we're confident we can achieve our shared goal of providing consumers with incredibly exciting features. Finisar has always been keenly aware it takes great people to power our work and that's why we're thrilled to be adding Sherman to our family."Several reports in the months running up to the launch of the iPhone X suggested Apple initially struggled to ensure the TrueDepth camera's components could be produced in large enough quantities to meet demand. The delicacy involved in producing the VCSEL lasers was said to be one of the reasons behind the supply constraints, so today's news should ensure future production can be ramped up more easily if and when required.


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

A rumor last month from Apple's supply chain has also suggested future iterations of the HomePod could come with 3D-sensing cameras to support Face ID. Meanwhile, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple's Face ID technology is years ahead of similar facial recognition techniques from Android smartphone makers, and the company's rivals are struggling to catch up.

The first and only other time Apple has dipped into its Advanced Manufacturing Fund was in May, when it announced a $200 million investment in Corning, which manufactures the glass used in iPhones and other Apple products.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Advanced Manufacturing FundBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Workouts++ 2.0 Brings Apple Watch Podcast Playback, Siri Integration, Location Tracking, and More

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:30
Free third-party fitness app Workouts++ got its 2.0 release on Tuesday, bringing a wealth of new features and improvements to the software, almost a year after its debut on iOS and Apple Watch.

Users looking for an alternative to the native watchOS Workout app should find plenty to pique their interest in this update, which makes the most of new APIs available since the release of watchOS 4 and features a redesigned workout configuration system.


Highlights include the ability to download podcasts to Apple Watch for playback during workouts, support for LTE streaming, GPS tracking and mapping, as well as Siri integration and a plethora of watch display customization options.

The app also gains support for swimming and the display of VO2 Max values, additional stopwatch, elevation, average pace/speed and activity ring metrics for display during workouts, distance and duration alerts, plus a workout recovery feature in the event that the device's battery runs out during exercise.

Workouts++ is a free download for iPhone from the App Store.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Tag: health and fitnessBuyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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Things 3.3 Update Brings New 'Mail to Things' Feature to the To-Do App

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 02:36
Popular to-do app Things was updated today, bringing a new feature that enables users to add to-dos to the app from non-Apple devices.

Previously, Things offered four ways to add to-dos: Quick Entry, Siri, 3D Touch, and the Add to Things extension. However, these methods are only available from within the Apple ecosystem. For this reason, version 3.3 introduces Mail to Things – a feature that allows users to send an email to the Things Cloud, where it will be automatically converted into a to-do for them.


The Mail to Things feature basically means users can get access to "Quick Entry" from other platforms, such as their Windows PC at work, or an Android phone. It also gives them the option of giving their @things.email address to a partner or colleague for delegating to-dos to them.

To enable the new feature on the Things mobile app, users need to open Settings, located at the bottom of the interface, and toggle on the Mail to Things option, after which a private @things.email address will be allocated for them to use. The same option can be found on macOS within the Things app preferences.

Emails sent to the address are converted into to-dos and placed into the user's Inbox. The main thing to remember when sending messages to Things Cloud is that the email's subject becomes the to-do's title, and the rest goes into the notes. (At present, there's no way to set tags or any other metadata via email.)

A few other things are worth noting. If an email is longer than 2,000 characters, it will be truncated by Things. Also, the app only supports plain text, so any formatting in emails will be lost. Lastly, file attachments are not supported and will be ignored.

Mail to Things also creates new opportunities for workflows that send emails. With apps and services such as Workflow, IFTTT, and Zapier, users can build workflows that create to-dos automatically. A few examples using Workflow include sending to-dos to Things, copying the clipboard to Things, and dictating to Things.

Things 3 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99 and from the iOS App Store. The iPad version is priced at $19.99 [Direct Link] while the iPhone version (which includes Apple watch support) is priced at $9.99. [Direct Link] A 15-day trial of Things for Mac is available on the Cultured Code website.
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Synaptics Creating In-Display Fingerprint Sensors for 'Top Five OEM'

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 00:01
Synaptics today announced that it has begun mass production of its Clear ID FS9500 optical in-display fingerprint sensors in partnership with a "top five" manufacturer, suggesting at least one major smartphone brand will sport in-display fingerprint sensing technology in the future.

Synaptics has been working on fingerprint sensors capable of reading a fingerprint through display glass for some time now, and its first product, the Clear ID-FS9100, was announced back in late 2016.


The updated Clear ID-FS9500 fingerprint sensors are designed specifically for smartphones with button-free bezel-free "infinity displays" much like the iPhone X or the Samsung Galaxy S8. Synaptics says its fingerprint sensors "magically activate" in the display when necessary, and the company believes its solution is "twice as fast as 3D facial recognition."


The Synaptics fingerprint sensor works well with wet, dry, and cold fingers, and because it's located under the display glass, the sensor is scratch proof and waterproof. In response to facial recognition, which can fail at certain angles, Synaptics points out that its fingerprint solution works when a device is "sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount."


Synaptics did not specify which smartphone manufacturer it is working with beyond naming a "top five" OEM, so the company's partner is a mystery. While Synaptics is a known Apple supplier that has provided Apple with display components in the past, it's likely Synaptics is referring to an Android manufacturer. Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei are all possible partners.

Apple uses its own in-house solution for Touch ID, and it's not yet entirely clear at this point if Apple plans to continue using fingerprint recognition as a biometric authentication method in its devices. Touch ID has been replaced by Face ID in the iPhone X, and rumors suggest Face ID will be the dedicated biometric authentication method in the 2018 iPhones. We're also hearing rumors suggesting Face ID will come to other devices in 2018, like the iPad Pro.

In a September interview, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi said Face ID is the future of biometric authentication, and other Apple executives have made similar comments. For those who hold out hope that Apple will continue to use Touch ID in some capacity, however, Federighi did also say that there are certain situations where different biometric techniques or combinations of biometrics could make sense.

Ahead of the release of the iPhone X, rumors indicated Apple was planning to put Touch ID under the display of the iPhone X, with Face ID selected as the fallback option when it did not work out, but Apple executives have since said those rumors were false. Under-display Touch ID was not considered as Apple worked on developing Face ID, and it's not clear if Apple will continue to pursue Touch ID development with Face ID now available.

Tags: Touch ID, Synaptics
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Android App 'weMessage' Lets You Get iMessages on Your Android Smartphone With a Mac

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:10
There's no official way to get iMessages on a non-iOS device like an Android smartphone, but a new Android app aims to provide a workaround, at least temporarily. weMessage is designed to allow you to get iMessages on an Android device, but for it to work, a Mac is required.

weMessage uses a weServer app on a Mac, which takes iMessages that are delivered to a Mac and forwards them to an Android smartphone or tablet. As described by the developer on reddit, the weServer app acts as a bridge between a Mac and an Android device, using Accessibility features to tap into Apple's Messages app for the Mac.

weMessage works by using Apple's developer tools that hook into the Messages app, as well as by turning on Accessibility features that will perform the message sending. There was zero reverse engineering involved in the creation of this app, so all messages being sent are legitimate. In addition, I believe this implementation is fair, as you still need to have an Apple device to use iMessage, but it is merely being extended to all devices.According to the developer, all iMessage features are supported, including group chats, attachments, notifications, Do Not Disturb, content blocking, and more, with notifications enabled by sending messages to the Google Firebase platform.


Unfortunately, while this appears to be a solid attempt at routing iMessages to an Android device based on reddit comments, this is not an app that's likely to last. Similar apps and methods of forwarding iMessages to Android devices have popped up in the past, but have been shut down by Apple.

It's likely Apple will require the developer to shutter the app, and it may soon be removed from the Google Play Store, but in the meantime, it's available for any Android users who also have a Mac and want to experiment with iMessage.

There have been rumors suggesting Apple has considered an iMessage app for Android devices, and Apple even reportedly created detailed mockups of what such an app might look like, but there has not been concrete evidence that an Android iMessage app has ever been in the works.

Apple execs are said to believe that iMessage, as a "superior messaging platform," helps to spur iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales, suggesting iMessage is not likely to expand beyond Apple's devices anytime soon.

The developer behind weMessage was originally charging $2.99, but it's now available to download for free.

Tags: Android, iMessage
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Apple Bolsters Video Team With Hires From Hulu and Legendary Entertainment

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 22:33
Apple's original content video team continues to grow with the addition of two recently hired TV veterans who will handle business affairs for the division, reports Variety.

Philip Matthys, who previously worked for Hulu, and Jennifer Wang Grazier, who was with Legendary Entertainment, have both joined Apple. Matthys was hired last month, and Wang Grazier, who will report to Matthys, will start in January.

Image via Variety
Prior to joining Apple, Matthys was Hulu's head of business affairs, the same role he has now taken at Apple. At Hulu, where he handled dealmaking and policy, Matthys worked on "The Handmaid's Tale," "Marvel's Runaways," "The Looming Tower," "The First," and "Castle Rock."

Wang Grazier served as EVP, Business and Legal Affairs at Legendary, overseeing business and legal aspects related to TV and digital studios development. Wang Grazier worked on shows that include USA's "Colony," Netflix's "Love and Lost in Space," Hulu's "The Looming Tower," and Amazon's "Carnival Row."

Apple began building its new video division in June of 2017 with the hiring of Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two former Sony executives who now report to Apple senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue. Erlicht and Van Amburg helped produce shows like "Breaking Bad," "Better Caul Saul," "The Crown," and more.

Erlicht and Amburg have made several hires since then, bringing on Matt Cherniss in August and former Amazon Studios executive Morgan Wandell in October, Michelle Lee just this month, and several other experienced TV execs over the last few months.

Apple's video team is has so far inked deals for two shows, including a reboot of Steven Spielberg's sci-fi series "Amazing Stories" and an untitled "morning show drama" that will star Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Related Roundup: Apple TVTag: Apple's Hollywood ambitionsBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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Apple Releases Firmware Update 7.7.9 and 7.6.9 for AirPort Base Stations [Updated]

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:59
Apple today released new firmware updates for its Wi-Fi base stations, including the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. The 7.7.9 update is available for 802.11ac base stations, while the 7.6.9 update is available for 802.11n base stations.

Release notes for the update were not provided by Apple, but it is likely that this firmware update fixes the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerabilities that affected many modern Wi-Fi networks and devices.

The KRACK vulnerability had the potential to allow attackers to exploit weaknesses in the WPA2 protocol to decrypt network traffic to sniff out credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, photos, and other sensitive information. Apple released KRACK security updates for other devices earlier this year.

The new firmware updates can be installed using the AirPort Utility app for iOS or macOS.

Apple has allegedly stopped development on its AirPort wireless routers in 2016, and to our knowledge, the company does not plan to produce another product in the AirPort family in the near future.

Update: Support documents for the security contents of the 7.7.9 and 7.6.9 updates confirm that the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability has been addressed alongside a few other security issues.

Related Roundup: AirPort
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Deals Reminder: Gazelle Has $25 Off All Apple Products and Free Shipping for Christmas Through December 13

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:22
This week, popular used electronics seller Gazelle has launched a few promos that will last until tomorrow, December 13, which is also the last date that you can order from the company and receive free shipping that will arrive in time for Christmas. Gazelle is marking down all Apple products by $25, as well as $10 off all other products, allowing you to purchase used iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks at a slight discount.

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

The offer is applied automatically when you add any Apple product to your cart, and it even applies to Apple devices within Gazelle's clearance tab. We've listed a few of the older Apple products you can purchase on Gazelle down below, but many others have already sold out due to popularity of carrier, color, or storage capacity. Be sure to head over to the company's website to browse its full selection before the discount and Christmas delivery guarantee end tomorrow.

There are a few other notable deals going on this week, including up to $100 in savings on various Sonos speakers over at Amazon. Specifically, the Play:1 is at $147.00, down from $199.99; the Play:3 is at $249.00, down from $299.99; and the Playbar is at $629.00, down from $699.00. There are even a few bundles, where you can get 2 Play:1 speakers for $298.00, down from $398.00, so be sure to check out Sonos' Amazon storefront for all of the deals.


Drone maker DJI has also opened up its holiday sale with up to 30 percent off select drones and other products. These include the Mavic Pro Fly More Combo for $1,149, down from $1,299; as well as the Osmo Mobile for $199, down from $299. If you're specifically looking for the DJI Spark, B&H Photo has the drone for $349 (compared to DJI's $399 sale price), and you get a $50 B&H Photo e-gift card as well.

Check out DJI's Winter Holiday Sale page for the full list of drones, camera gimbals, and other accessories on sale.

If you're thinking about buying Apple accessories for anyone on your holiday shopping list, MacRumors still has its exclusive deals with Nomad and Pad & Quill ongoing through December 18 and December 21, respectively. Visit our Deals Roundup for detailed information on those promo codes and more sales happening this week.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple Increases Mac Trade-In Values to Up to $2,500

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 18:35
Apple today increased its trade-in values for select Mac models released in 2009 and later. In partnership with buyback company Phobio, Apple now offers customers up to $2,500, compared to up to $1,500 previously.


The new trade-in values in the United States are as follows:

• MacBook: up to $1,110
• MacBook Air: up to $430
• MacBook Pro: up to $2,500
• iMac: up to $2,500
• Mac Pro: up to $1,560

To determine how much credit you can receive, visit the Phobio website, enter your Mac's serial number, and answer a few questions about its current condition. Phobio will then provide an estimate based on the information provided.

If you accept the quote, you'll receive payment after your Mac has been inspected and its condition has been verified. The payment can be in the form of an emailed Apple Store gift card, PayPal deposit, or a virtual prepaid Visa card.

A maxed-out 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in good condition, for example, has a trade-in value of $2,510. A maxed-out 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in good condition is eligible for $1,460 credit.


Apple's trade-up program is convenient, but customers can get better resale value by selling their Mac on eBay or listing it in classifieds such as Craigslist or the MacRumors Marketplace, so long as you adhere to our rules and requirements.

Apple also offers up to $500 for select PCs. Meanwhile, Macs released earlier than 2009 are eligible for Apple's free Renew and Recycling program only.

Related Roundups: iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBookTag: Apple trade-inBuyer's Guide: iMac (Neutral), Mac Pro (Caution), MacBook Air (Neutral), MacBook Pro (Neutral), MacBook (Neutral)
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Twitter Launches New 'Threads' Feature for Tweetstorms

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 18:21
Twitter today announced the launch of a new "Threads" feature, which is designed to link multiple tweets together to make them easier to read.

Twitter users often share multiple numbered tweets on a topic or idea, and this practice is generally referred to as a "tweetstorm." With Threads, two or more tweets can be linked, simplifying and streamlining the tweetstorm concept.


When you create a tweet on Twitter, you can use the "+" button to add more tweets to the original tweet in the compose window. All of your tweets can be drafted ahead of time and then sent out at once using the new "Tweet All" button.

Tweets can also be added to a published thread using the "Add Another Tweet" button, and when browsing Twitter, there's a new "Show this thread" label that makes it easier to find a series of linked tweets.

Twitter says that the new Threads feature is designed for people who want to serialize a longer story or thought or provide ongoing commentary on a particular event or topic.

Threads is the second major change that's been made to Twitter in recent weeks, following a decision to increase the character limit from 140 to 280 characters to give Twitter users more room to express themselves.

Twitter says the new Threads feature is rolling out to iOS, Android, and the web "in the coming weeks."

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Phil Schiller Says iPad Pro Can Both Supplement and Replace the Mac

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 17:32
Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller believes the iPad Pro can be both a PC replacement and a supplementary device to the Mac.


In a wide-ranging interview with T3 about the iPad Pro and other Apple products, including the iPhone X, iMac Pro, HomePod, and AirPods, Schiller said the iPad Pro's exact use case ultimately varies by customer.What we've learned, truthfully, is that it's both, and that depends on the user. For some people, iPad Pro is a replacement for their computer. Not that you throw away your computer. People don't often do that.Schiller added that, for many customers, the iPad Pro becomes their primary computing device, especially while traveling.But that it becomes your primary computing device. The way you mostly hear about this is people say, 'I use a computer at my desk' or 'I use a notebook at my desk, but when I travel, I travel just with my iPad Pro'. It is so great in that situation.

So for those customers, the iPad has become their primary device, but they don't think of it in their brains as competing with their previous computer. It's just the computer they spend the most time with.Schiller acknowledged that this isn't the case for everyone, as some customers may only use an iPad Pro for certain tasks where a tablet can provide a better experience, such as reading or watching movie and TV shows.So depending on what those tasks are, for those customers they're augmenting. And what we try to do is not tell the customer that either direction is the right or wrong way. It's almost like they’re making a distinction between the two, even though the uses are overlapping, and one is replacing the other frequently.Schiller referred to the iPad Pro as a computer on a few occasions, which contrasts with Apple's latest "What's a Computer?" ad for the tablet.


At the end of the video, a mother asks her young daughter "what are you doing on your computer?" and the daughter responds by asking "what's a computer?" to imply that the iPad Pro is not a computer.

While the ad might suggest Apple's increasing focus on the iPad over the Mac, Schiller ensured that the company "cares deeply" about its pro customers. "We love that so much is created on Mac," he said.

To address the needs of those professionals, Apple is launching a powerful iMac Pro this week. The company is also working on a modular Mac Pro that will be accompanied by Apple-branded pro displays.

Interview: Apple's Phil Schiller on How the iPhone X 'Seemed Impossible at the Start'

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