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Updated: 37 min 47 sec ago

ColorWare's Latest Skin Makes an iPhone X Look Like Original iPhone

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:11
ColorWare this week announced it has released a limited edition original iPhone skin for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Over 10 years ago, Apple debuted their revolutionary iPhone. This product changed everything for mobile phone owners. The bar of expectations was risen to a point that changed the market forever. ColorWare would like to pay homage to this historical event by offering our Limited Edition Original iPhone skin.ColorWare says its single-piece matte skins are made with genuine 3M vinyl, allowing for easier installation and a better final look.

The skins are available for $19 each in the United States for a limited time only. They are estimated to ship in three to five business days.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: ColorWareBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Lisa Brennan-Jobs to Publish Memoir of Her Childhood With Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:43
Grove Press this week announced that Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the eldest daughter of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and artist Chrisann Brennan, is working on a memoir about her childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary parents. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs and Steve Jobs via BHW
In the book, titled Small Fry, Brennan-Jobs recounts how Jobs was "rarely present" in the early years of her life, as he denied paternity. As she grew older, however, Jobs began to show an interest in her and apologized for his behavior.

The memoir's description notes that Jobs ushered his daughter into a "new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools." Brennan-Jobs was "thrilled" to receive attention from her father, but he could be "cold, critical and unpredictable" at times, echoing stories about his management style at Apple:When she was young, Lisa's father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he'd become the parent she'd always wanted him to be.Brennan-Jobs, 39, graduated from Harvard University in 2000 and is now a professional writer. Jobs named the Apple Lisa, released one year before the original Macintosh, after her. She has three half-siblings, including Reed Jobs, Erin Jobs, and Eve Jobs, from Jobs's later marriage to Laurene Powell.

Small Fry is scheduled for release in September, according to the Associated Press and a listing on the HarperCollins Canada website.

Tag: Steve Jobs
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Lyft Testing Monthly Subscription Plans With Prices Reportedly Starting at $200/Month

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:30
iOS and Android ride-hailing app Lyft has begun testing monthly subscription plans for "high-frequency users," in a style comparable to services like Netflix, Apple Music, and MoviePass.

According to The Verge, the terms of each "All-Access Plan" vary and an overall detailed report from Lyft has yet to come out, but prices appear to start at $200/month for 30 standard Lyft rides. Standard rides are defined as those costing up to $15 for each ride. Higher tiers are priced at $250, $300, and one for $400/month provides 60 rides.

All-Access Plan image via Hunter Owens
Images of the ads for All-Access Plans promote "predictable pricing," the ability to cancel anytime, and auto-renew payments.

Lyft CEO Logan Green discussed the new subscription plans this week, saying, "We are going to move the entire industry from one based on ownership to one based on subscription." As is typical for these tests, it's still unclear if and when Lyft will launch subscription plans for all of its users.
“We’re always testing new ways to provide passengers the most affordable and flexible transportation options,” the spokesperson said. “For the past few months, we’ve been testing a variety of All-Access Plans for Lyft passengers.” Lyft recently expanded to Toronto at the end of 2017, which marked the company's first market outside of the United States. Earlier in 2017, the ride-hailing company partnered with self-driving startup Waymo in an effort "to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream."

The company has had an ongoing rival in similar ride-hailing app Uber, which itself trialed monthly subscription payments for its users back in 2016 but never launched the service on wide scale.

Tag: Lyft
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Apple to Host March 27 Event in Chicago: 'Creative New Ideas for Teachers and Students'

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:47
Apple today invited the media to an event on Tuesday, March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The keynote will commence at 10:00 a.m. Central Time and will be focused on "creative new ideas for teachers and students."

Apple's invite for March 27 event via The Verge's Nilay Patel

More details to follow…
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'ARK: Survival Evolved' Coming to iOS This Spring With 'Full Online Experience'

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 12:49
This week, popular console and desktop game Fortnite hit the iOS App Store in beta form, allowing players to access the "same 100-player" Battle Royale mode found on PS4 and Mac computers while on-the-go. Following Fortnite, it's been announced that another large-scale console title is getting a full game on iOS and Android, called ARK: Survival Evolved and launching this spring (via TouchArcade).

ARK originally released in early access on Steam and Xbox One in 2015, and then the final game launched across most platforms in 2017, including PC, Mac, Xbox One, and PS4. ARK is an action survival game that takes place in a large open world inhabited by dinosaurs, tasking players with building bases and weapons, taming and taking care of dinosaurs, and joining up with other players in tribes.

A few other features coming to ARK on mobile include:
80+ Dinosaurs: Use cunning strategy and tactics to tame, train, ride and breed the many dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the dynamic, persistent ecosystems across land, sea, air, and even underground.
Discover: Explore a massive living and breathing prehistoric landscape as you find the means to survive, thrive, and escape on the Ark.
Craft and Build: Using any means necessary to survive, craft weapons, clothes, and items, and build shelters, villages, or even large cities.
Survive Alone or With Others: Group up with, or prey on, hundreds of other players in a large-scale online world or choose to go it alone in single-player mode.
Join a Tribe: The ‘Tribe’ system encourages cooperation, by supporting dynamic parties to share resources, XP, and re-spawn points. Beta invites for iOS are already open for the game, and mobile game developer War Drum Studios stated that the plan for the smartphone version "is to contain the full online experience as the PC version of ARK." This includes the game's 50-person multiplayer environment where players can join tribes to share resources, gain XP, and more, as well as engage in an offline single player experience.

There will also be a few tweaks in the transition to mobile, including faster paced gameplay, a unique user interface, and a "specialized control setup" that was developed specifically for ARK on mobile. The iOS and Android version of the game will offer optional upgrades that players can acquire with "Amber" to progress faster, obtain certain buffs for certain amounts of time, build unique crafting structures, and bring lost dinosaurs back from the dead. The developers said these updates "allow for the ultimate experience on mobile," while maintaining the true ARK experience as closely as possible.

In a tweet on the new @PlayARKMoible Twitter account, War Drum Studios said that ARK will require 2GB of download space on iOS, and run at 30 FPS on iPhone 7 devices and newer. It "will feature the entire Island map with most of the creatures," requiring 2GB of RAM on iOS and 3GB of RAM on Android. The developers also put out a trailer for the game, noting that all gameplay footage included was recorded live using an iPhone 8.

ARK will be free-to-play when it launches on iOS and Android widely this spring, but details about any potential microtransactions have not yet been revealed.

Tag: ARK: Survival Evolved
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Google Lens Currently Rolling Out to iOS via Google Photos App

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 11:42
Google has announced that its previously Android-only Google Lens feature is now rolling out to iOS users who have the Google Photos app installed.

First unveiled last year at the Google I/O 2017 conference, Google Lens uses the company's image recognition and machine learning algorithms to identify the subjects of photos and videos and present additional helpful actions and information to the user.

For example, if you take a picture of a business card, Google Lens will offer to save the phone number or address to one of your contacts. Similarly, taking a photo of a book, landmark, building, painting, plant or animal can throw up an option to view more details about the picture's subject.

A few things to note: Currently Google Lens only works if your device's language is set to English, and you're running the latest version (3.15) of Google Photos. You can check what version you're running in the app's settings – tap the cog icon and select "About Google Photos" in the menu. Also note that your Google Lens activity is saved to your Google Account if you have Web & App Activity turned on.

Starting today and rolling out over the next week, those of you on iOS can try the preview of Google Lens to quickly take action from a photo or discover more about the world around you. Make sure you have the latest version (3.15) of the app.

— Google Photos (@googlephotos) March 15, 2018
If you still don't see the Google Lens icon when viewing individual photos or videos, it's likely the feature hasn't reached your region yet. Google says the update is being released in batches and all devices should receive it soon.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tags: Google, Google Photos
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How to Block Nuisance Calls and Messages on Your iPhone

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:10
Unsolicited phone calls and messages can become a regular annoyance and even a cause of stress for many smartphone users these days. Thankfully, Apple provides features in iOS 11 that allow you to block nuisance calls and messages from the same number coming through to your phone, and in this article we're going to show you how to set them up.

Whether it's messages from a debt collector looking for the wrong person, a random number from a foreign country that keeps calling in the middle of the night, or just someone in your contacts that you'd rather not hear from again, following the steps below should stop them from bothering you.

How to Block a Recent Caller in iOS 11
If the number you want to block is a recent caller, follow these steps on your iPhone.
  1. Launch the Phone app.
  2. Tap Recents.

  3. Locate the number you want to block in the All or Missed calls list.
  4. Tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") to the right of the number.
  5. Scroll down the Caller ID screen and tap Block this Caller.
How to Block a Number That Messages You
If you're the recipient of unwanted messages from a specific number, here's how to prevent them from coming through to your iPhone.

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Navigate to the main messages list if necessary, and tap a message received from the number you want to block.

  3. Tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") at the upper right of the message window.
  4. At the top of the Details screen, tap the name of the contact or the associated phone number.

  5. Scroll down the Caller ID screen if necessary and tap Block this Caller.
How to Block a Number in FaceTime
If you received a FaceTime call from a number that you want to block, follow these steps.

  1. Launch the FaceTime app.
  2. Tap either the Video or Audio button, depending on the type of FaceTime call you received from the caller you want to block.

  3. Locate the unwanted call you received in the list and tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") next to it.
  4. Scroll down the Caller ID screen if necessary and tap Block this Caller.
How to Manage Blocked Contacts on iPhone
Follow these steps to add or remove a contact from your blocked list of numbers.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Phone in the list.
  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification.

  4. To remove a contact from your blocked list, tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen, tap the red minus button that appears next to the contact(s) you want to remove, and then tap Done.
  5. To add a contact to your blocked list, tap Block Contact... and select the contact from your Contacts list. All of the numbers in the contact card you select will be added to your blocked list.
Note that you can also access and manage your blocked contacts list in the Settings app via Messages -> Blocked and FaceTime -> Blocked.

Try a Third-Party Blocking Solution
If you're inundated with spam calls from different numbers on a regular basis, then consider one of the many third-party blocking solutions available from the App Store: Several apps like Hiya and TrueCaller use an implementation of Apple's CallKit to identify and block suspect numbers before your phone even rings.

After installing one of these apps, you can manage their call permissions at any time from within the Settings app, by tapping Phone and selecting Call Blocking & Information.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Fortnite Battle Royale Now Available From App Store as First Beta Invites Go Out

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 21:51
Epic Games' popular multiplayer game Fortnite Battle Royale is now available for download from the iOS App Store, and the first beta invites for the game have been sent out to those who signed up for the beta.

The new free-to-play iOS game is identical to the Battle Royale mode in Fortnite for PCs, Macs, and consoles, and it is similar to other games of this style like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Battle Royale supports up to 100 players, with gamers able to play solo or in squads of up to four people.

The aim of the game is to be the last person standing, taking out opponents with a variety of weapons while also avoiding death from other people. Players start out with just a pickaxe and must scavenge through the world for weapons, armor, and resources.

Fortnite Battle Royale for iOS supports Cross Play and Cross Progression between Playstation 4, PC, and Mac, which means players across multiple devices can play together.

If you haven't yet signed up for the Fortnite Battle Royale beta test on iOS, you can do so on the Epic Games website. Not all players who signed up for the test have received beta invites at this time, with Epic Games planning to send out invites on a rolling basis.

Each person who is invited to the Fortnite Battle Royale beta test will also receive invite codes to share with others.

To participate in the beta, players must have an internet connection and a device running iOS 11. Eligible devices able to run the game include the iPhone 6s and later, the iPad mini 4, all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2, and the 2017 5th-generation iPad.

Fortnite can be downloaded from the App Store for free, but a beta invite is required to play. [Direct Link]

Tags: Epic Games, Fortnite
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'GrayKey' iPhone Unlocking Box Used by Law Enforcement Shown Off in Photos

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 20:56
Last week, news of a previously-unknown iPhone unlocking device called GrayKey surfaced, and today, MalwareBytes shared photos and additional information about the product, which is designed for law enforcement officials.

Created by a company named Grayshift, GrayKey is a small, portable gray box equipped with dual Lightning cables.

Two iPhones can be connected to the GrayKey at once, and need to be connected for about two minutes to install proprietary software that's designed to guess the passcode for an iPhone. Once the software is installed, it will work to crack the passcode, a process that can take as little as a few hours for a short passcode or several days for a longer six-digit passcode.

Once the GrayKey software has cracked the passcode, it'll be displayed right on the screen of the iPhone. The iPhone can then be plugged back into the GrayKey to download all of the data on the iPhone, including the unencrypted contents of the Keychain, which can then be accessed using a computer.

Based on screenshots, the GrayKey can crack modern iPhones running modern versions of iOS. It works with the iPhone X and iOS 11.2.5, the version of iOS that was likely available when the screenshots were captured. It probably also works with iOS 11.2.6, unless Apple has managed to block it in the latest operating system update.

Grayshift presumably designed the GrayKey for law enforcement professionals, and it's relatively expensive. A $15,000 option requires internet connectivity and is geofenced to a specific location once set up, while a $30,000 option requires no internet connection and can be used anywhere.

MalwareBytes worries that the portable version of the GrayKey could easily fall into the wrong hands. It uses two-factor authentication, but given that people "often write passwords on stickies and put them on their monitors," it's possible the token could be kept in the same location as the device.What happens if the GrayKey becomes commonplace in law enforcement? The cheaper model isn't much of a danger if stolen--unless it's stolen prior to setup--but at 4″x 4″x 2″, the unlimited model could be pocketed fairly easily, along with its token, if stored nearby. Once off-site, it would continue to work. Such a device could fetch a high price on the black market, giving thieves the ability to unlock and resell stolen phones, as well as access to the high-value data on those phones.How the GrayKey works is not known, but it's believed to be using some sort of jailbreaking process that could damage iPhones in some way. It's also not known how the GrayKey device itself is protecting data that's stored on it, and whether or not the data could be remotely accessed by hackers.

It's also unknown who Grayshift is selling the devices to. It's possible that sales are limited to law enforcement officials in the United States, but it's also possible that it's being offered abroad. Other devices of this type have slipped out of the hands of law enforcement and have become widely available, so the same could happen with the GrayKey.

Apple is continually working to fix the kinds of exploits used by devices like the GrayKey, so it's possible whatever mechanism the box uses will be fixed in a future update. The average iPhone owner likely doesn't need to worry about the GrayKey, but as MalwareBytes points out, it is troublesome knowing such a device could fall into the hands of malicious entities.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Quick Takes: Fitbit Executive Says He Hasn't Met Anyone Passionate About Owning an Apple Watch

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 20:35
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.

Thursday, March 15
1. Fitbit's financial chief knocks the Apple Watch: "I have yet to meet anyone who owns an Apple Watch who's passionate about the product," said Fitbit's chief financial officer Bill Zerella. “If you don't have an Apple phone, you're not buying an Apple Watch… 80% of the world is Android, not Apple."

Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch
Commentary: Not only is the Apple Watch the world's most popular smartwatch, but it's the best-selling wearable, ahead of Fitbit. Apple Watch also has a customer satisfaction rate well above 90 percent.

2. iHeartMedia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: The company operates Apple Music rival iHeartRadio, which provides free streaming of thousands of live radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The move will allow the company to restructure more than $20 billion in debt.

Commentary: iHeartMedia's day-to-day operations of its businesses are not expected to be dramatically affected, according to reports, so iHeartRadio should remain available for at least the foreseeable future.

3. What the HomePod should become: MacStories' Ryan Christoffel argues that the HomePod isn't a bad product today, but could become a great one by becoming a true hub for all Apple-centric needs.If Siri knew all things about your Apple devices and services, and could interact with them all, then HomePod would be the perfect vehicle to tap into that power. You could ask Siri on the HomePod to:

- Check your iPhone's battery charge.
- Play an audiobook.
- Add a show to your Up Next queue.
- Download a specific app to your iPhone.
- Pause or resume Apple TV playback.
- List upcoming birthdays for your contacts.
- Provide a delivery status on your Apple Store order.
- Put all your devices in Do Not Disturb mode.
- Play a specific movie or show on the Apple TV.
- Or on the bedroom TV, or the iPad, or iPhone.
- Locate your iPhone or iPad.
- Each device could play a ding if it's nearby, and if not, HomePod could offer to load a map on your nearest device.
- Make a phone call.
- Switch your AirPods to the Apple TV.
- Set an Apple Store support appointment.
- Open an app on a certain device.
- Put a screensaver on the TV.

None of these things can currently be done by HomePod, but I think they would all be reasonable to expect from an upgraded Siri. None of these would infringe on the company's user privacy stance, because the data at play in these requests is already available to Apple.Commentary: While the HomePod has received rave reviews about how it sounds, the consensus is that the speaker isn't as smart as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Being able to complete these tasks would be a huge step forward.

4. Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus responds to claim that Siri was a "disaster" when it first launched on iPhone 4s: "This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays."

This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays.

— Dag Kittlaus (@Dagk) March 14, 2018
Commentary: "After launch, Siri was a disaster," said former Apple executive Richard Williamson, who was reportedly fired in 2012 following the botched launch of Apple Maps. "It was slow, when it worked at all. The software was riddled with serious bugs. Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team, certainly not me."

For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

Tag: Quick Takes
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iPhone Users in Iran Now Unable to Access the App Store

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 20:23
It appears the App Store is no longer accessible to iPhone and iPad users in Iran, with Apple apparently implementing a countrywide IP ban.

According to Bleeping Computer, Iranians have been unable to access the App Store since approximately noon GMT, and when attempting to use the App Store, they're receiving a message that the store is unavailable in the country.

All Iranian IPs appear to be unable to use the App Store at the current time. Iranian security researcher Meysam Firouzi told Bleeping Computer that he was able to connect to the App Store when using a VPN, even though he has an account with Iranian details.

Because of U.S. sanctions, Apple does not sell its products in Iran nor is there an Iranian App Store, but there are millions of iPhones in the country that have been smuggled from places like Dubai and Hong Kong. iPhone users in Iran have previously been able to access the App Store by setting their devices to other regions.

Back in August, Apple began removing apps from its App Stores created by Iranian developers for Iranian citizens, such as Snapp, a popular app for an Uber-like ride hailing service popular in Iran. Apple has now gone one step further and appears to be preventing all users with an Iranian IP from accessing the App Store entirely.

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: App Store
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Video Depicts Likely Fake iPhone X-Style 'iPhone SE 2'

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 19:10
A video featuring a device that appears to be a cross between an iPhone SE and an iPhone X surfaced on Weibo this morning and was shared by Japanese site Macotakara.

The smartphone in the video, which has a notch at the front, an edge-to-edge display, and a vertical rear camera in a body that's similar to the current iPhone SE, is very likely an Android clone device. Fake devices like these can often be found in China, where the video originated.

There have been rumors suggesting Apple is working on a second-generation iPhone SE, but none of those rumors have indicated the device will take on iPhone X design elements. There is no indication that the device in the video is a valid Apple product at all, and in fact, it conflicts with rumors we've heard about a potential future iPhone SE 2.

For example, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often shares reliable information on Apple's upcoming products, has said that if a new iPhone SE 2 is indeed in the works, it's not likely to offer design updates or outward-facing changes due to Apple's work on the three iPhones expected in September of 2018. Kuo is, in fact, skeptical that a new iPhone SE 2 is in development right now.

Rumors about the iPhone SE have been somewhat conflicting in general. Supply chain rumors in November indicated an iPhone SE 2 would be released in the first half of 2018, but recent information suggests Apple has no plans to introduce a new iPhone until later in 2018.

Sketchy rumors from a Chinese site also recently said Apple would introduce a new iPhone SE that looks similar to the current iPhone SE at WWDC, but the site has no reliable track record.

All in all, Apple may have a new iPhone SE 2 in the works, but it's unlikely that the device is going to adopt iPhone X elements as the iPhone SE is a low-cost device while the iPhone X is Apple's top-of-the-line flagship smartphone.

Later in 2018, Apple is expected to introduce a second-generation iPhone X with a 5.8-inch OLED display, an "iPhone X Plus" with a 6.5-inch display, and a lower-cost iPhone with a 6.1-inch LCD display. All three of these are expected to adopt edge-to-edge displays with minimal bezels and the TrueDepth Camera system for Face ID.

It could perhaps be argued that the device in the video is the 6.1-inch iPhone, but we've heard no rumors suggesting that particular device will have an iPhone SE-style body thus far.

Related Roundups: iPhone SE, 2018 iPhonesTags:, WeiboBuyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
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Deals: 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle, New Anker Chargers, and Latest 4K iTunes Movies on Sale

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 18:42
StackSocial this week launched the 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle, made up of ten apps that can help you be more productive, keep your online identity secure and private, clean up your Mac, and more. The bundle has an estimated value of $524.90 when adding up the cost of all ten apps included, but StackSocial knocked the price down to $19.99 for a limited time.

Additionally, those interested can enter the promo code SAVEMAC during checkout to get the 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle for an even cheaper price of $14.99. Note that you'll need a StackSocial account to checkout on the company's store. Once you have an account created, add the bundle to your cart, tap checkout, then enter SAVEMAC in the promo code box under "Order Summary" on the right side of the screen to take a further $5.00 off your order.

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

The bundle offer should last for the next few weeks, so if you're interested head over to StackSocial for more information and to place your order. Below we've listed each app included in the bundle, license and access information where applicable, and a brief description.
  • BusyCal 3 / single-user license / lifetime access - A customizable calendar app that integrates with iCloud, Google, Exchange, and more, offering features like To Do lists, smart filters, iPhone syncing, and live weather forecasts.

  • Cargo VPN / two year access - Provides you with the ability to encrypt an internet connection and keep your personal data private.

  • HoudahSpot 4 - Find files by "hundreds of criteria" like name, file extension, pixel count, and more.

  • uBar 4 / single-user license / lifetime access - Dock replacement with tab grouping options, window previews, in-dock reminders, and more.

  • Cisdem DuplicateFinder 4 / lifetime access to all updates - Find and delete duplicate files in one go so that your Mac runs more efficiently.

  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum - Build your own theme park and gain access to expansion packs "Soaked!" and "Wild!" with the Platinum version.

  • Systweak Anti-Malware Pro / 2 year subscription - Detects and quarantines unwanted or malicious programs automatically.

  • Concealer / lifetime access - Hide and encrypt files, passwords, credit card details, and more.

  • Movavi Photo Editor - Edit photos, add filters, correct photo orientation, change backgrounds, insert watermarks, scale down photos, and more.

  • Flip PDF for Mac / lifetime license - Convert PDF files into mobile-friendly flipbooks, aimed at designers, publishers, and advertisers who want to create e-books, brochures, catalogs, and more.
In other deals, Anker today launched its new 7.5-watt 'PowerWave' Wireless Chargers, along with a set of promo codes that offer savings on the new chargers. For a limited time on Amazon, you can get 15 percent off one charger (with promo code POWER752) or 20 percent off two or more (with promo code POWER753).

The new devices include the PowerWave 7.5W Stand and PowerWave 7.5W Pad, each coming with built-in fans to help keep things cool and the ability to charge iPhones up to an hour faster than other accessories on the market, according to Anker. For a more detailed look at the new Qi-compatible chargers, be sure to read our full review.

Recently, DirecTV Now launched its latest offer for new subscribers, allowing them the chance to get $25 off each month for the first three months of any channel package. For example, you could get the low-tier "Live a Little" package for just $10/month for your first three months, down from $35/month. New subscribers interested can enter the promo code YESNOW3 in the checkout process, but this code is incompatible with DirecTV Now's ongoing Apple TV 4K offer.

In regards to that offer, it's worth noting that we're now entering what is expected to be the last few weeks of DirecTV Now's free Apple TV 4K deal. If you've been on the fence about it, definitely check out our full post on the deal and head over to DirecTV Now to place your order. For those who haven't been following, the offer lets new users prepay for three months of DirecTV Now at $105, and then receive a 32GB Apple TV 4K for free.

Lastly today, we've rounded up a few of the latest sales hitting 4K HDR films on the iTunes Movies store and some notable discounts on iOS gaming apps.

4K HDR movies on sale

iOS games on sale
Visit our full Deals Roundup for more of the latest sales, this week including 10 percent off all certified pre-owned MacBooks on Gazelle.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Android Wear Becomes 'Wear OS by Google' as 1 in 3 Android Wear Watches are Used by iPhone Owners

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:31
Google today announced that it's dropping the "Android" moniker from the name of its software designed for smart watches because it's not just Android users who are using the devices.

Going forward, Android Wear, which is built into a wide range of smart watches from companies like LG, Misfit, Asus, Huawei, Fossil, and more, will be known as "Wear OS by Google."

Google says that it's making this change because in 2017, one out of every three new Android Wear watch owners used an iPhone.

Android Wear was also designed with the belief that wearable technology "should be for everyone" regardless of what style you wear on your wrist or what phone you use, so Google chose the new name to reflect this philosophy.So as the watch industry gears up for another Baselworld next week, we're announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all--the people who wear our watches. We're now Wear OS by Google, a wearables operating system for everyone.All existing devices using the software formerly known as Android Wear will begin displaying the new Wear OS by Google name "over the next few weeks."

Tags: Android, Android Wear
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Intel's 8th-Gen Xeon and Core Processors Feature Redesigned Hardware to Address Spectre and Meltdown Vulnerabilities

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:17
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced that its next-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) processors and its 8th-generation Intel Core processors will feature redesigned components to protect against the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that affect all modern processors.

Spectre variant 1 of the vulnerabilities will continue to be addressed in software, while Intel is implementing hardware-based design changes to offer future protection against Spectre variant 2 and Meltdown variant 3.

We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3. Think of this partitioning as additional "protective walls" between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.Intel's new Xeon Scalable processors and its 8th-generation Intel Core processors are expected to start shipping out to manufacturers in the second half of 2018.

Ahead of the hardware changes, Intel says that software-based microcode updates have now been issued for 100 percent of Intel products launched in the past five years, and all customers should make sure to continue to keep their systems up-to-date with software updates.

Krzanich also reaffirmed Intel's commitment to customer-first urgency, transparent and timely communications, and ongoing security reassurance.

Apple began addressing the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities back in early January with the release of iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2, which introduced mitigations for Meltdown. Subsequent iOS 11.2.2 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental updates introduced mitigations for Spectre, as did patches for both macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan in older machines.

Apple's software mitigations for the vulnerabilities have not resulted in any significant measurable decline in performance.

Tags: Intel, Meltdown-Spectre
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SwiftKey Updates iOS App With New 'Toolbar' for Quicker Access to GIFs and More

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:56
iOS and Android keyboard app SwiftKey today announced its "biggest update" since the company was acquired by Microsoft in April of 2016. SwiftKey 7.0 includes a "Toolbar" designed to give users fast access to features that are both old and new.

Found under a new "+" sign to the left of the prediction bar, Toolbar will give iOS users the ability to quickly add emoji, GIFs, and items copied from the Clipboard into their messages, as well as customize the keyboard's theme.

For Android users, Toolbar will house a few additional features like stickers, collections, calendar, and quick settings. SwiftKey 7.0 also adds in eight new 'Lish' hybrid languages, in this case letting people shift between English and Indic languages. SwiftKey said that down the line it will launch location sharing for U.S. and India-based users, as well as Calendar sharing, so that you can insert addresses and appointments into messages.

Third-party keyboards grew in popularity following the launch of iOS 8 in 2014, which introduced the ability for iPhones and iPads to support such keyboards on a systemwide basis. Companies like Fleksy have faced some trouble in the ensuing years, and others -- like Swype -- have shut down completely. Along with SwiftKey, Google's Gboard is one of the other major third-party keyboards for iPhone.

SwiftKey is available to download for free from the iOS App Store [Direct Link], and users should begin seeing the version 7.0 update rolling out today.

Tags: SwiftKey Keyboard, SwiftKey
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Apple Denies Abusing French Developers, Says They've Earned 1 Billion Euros From App Store

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:34
Apple has issued a statement defending against allegations made by France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire, who earlier this week accused the iPhone maker of treating French startups and developers unfairly.

Image Credit: Charles Aroutiounian
In the statement, loosely translated from French to English, Apple said it has "strong relationships" with French developers, and added that they have collectively earned one billion euros in revenue from the App Store.

Le Figaro via MacGeneration:We are proud to have strong relationships with tens of thousands of developers across France, who have earned 1 billion euros on the App Store. Many of these talented developers founded their companies with one or two people and then saw their teams grow up to offer their applications to users in 155 countries. This was only possible thanks to Apple's investment in iOS, development tools, and the App Store. Apple has always defended the confidentiality and security of users and does not have access to user transactions with third-party applications. We are fully prepared to share our history in the French courts and to clarify this misunderstanding. In the meantime, we will continue to help French developers realize their dreams and support French students in their learning of the code through our coding program.Le Maire said France will be taking Apple and Google to court in Paris for "abusive trade practices." In a radio interview, he mentioned that Apple and Google "take all their data" and "can unilaterally rewrite their contracts.""I learned that when developers develop their applications, and sell to Google and Apple, their prices are imposed, Google and Apple take all their data, Google and Apple can unilaterally rewrite their contracts," Le Maire said in an interview with RTL radio. "All that is unacceptable and it’s not the economy that we want. They can’t treat our startups and developers the way they do."

"I will therefore be taking Google and Apple to the Paris commercial court for abusive trade practices," Le Maire said.It's not very clear what Le Maire is referring to exactly. It's possible the bit about prices being "imposed" refers to the 30 percent cut that Apple and Google collect from sales of apps and in-app purchases, but his comments were vague.

Tags: App Store, France
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Review: Anker Debuts New 7.5-Watt 'PowerWave' Wireless Chargers Optimized for iPhones

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:56
With the launch of the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus last September, Apple finally embraced wireless smartphone charging, and as of the release of iOS 11.2 in December, the devices became able to support faster 7.5-watt charging.

Belkin and Mophie were Apple's launch partners for wireless charging, with their optimized charging bases launching alongside the new phones and supporting the 7.5-watt power targeted by Apple. While Belkin and Mophie's chargers had Apple's early seal of approval, plenty of other manufacturers already had wireless chargers rated at 5 watts and higher on the market. Pretty much all of them work just fine with iPhones, and in fact in our testing we found not much difference in iPhone charging speed between 5-watt and 7.5-watt chargers.

Now that Apple's 7.5-watt charging spec has been available for a while, we're starting to see more accessory manufacturers launching new chargers optimized to work with the new iPhones. One of the first major brands out of the gate in this wave is Anker, which has long been very popular with consumers for offering solid charging accessories at good prices with excellent customer service.

I profiled some of Anker's previous wireless chargers back in December as part of my early wireless charger roundup, and several of those models have been strong sellers. With Apple's specs for 7.5-watt charging now available, Anker today is releasing two new wireless chargers optimized to work with the iPhone. The new chargers, arriving under the "PowerWave" marketing name, feature built-in fans to help keep things cool and maintain high charging speeds at both 7.5 watts for iPhones and 10 watts for compatible Android phones. According to Anker, the fans help charge iPhones up to an hour faster than other chargers on the market.“After testing most of the chargers on the market, we discovered that they shared a major flaw: the wireless coils gradually heat up and this prevents the chargers from dispensing 7.5W for long periods of time,” explained Steven Yang, CEO of Anker Innovations. “By adding a fan underneath the coil, we manage to regulate temperature and therefore allow the device to output consistent 7.5W power, resulting in the fastest wireless charge for the new iPhones.”Anker certainly isn't the first company to incorporate fans into its chargers, as the feature has been important for some of the 10-watt and even 15-watt chargers compatible with some Android phones. But pairing a fan-based cooling system with optimizations for Apple's 7.5-watt spec has enabled Anker to charge iPhones even faster.

I've spent some time with both of Anker's new PowerWave offerings, which include a stand model and a pad model. Anker's previous 5-watt stand model has been my charger of choice on my office desk for the past several months, so I was eager to try out that style of PowerWave charger in particular.

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Stand
The PowerWave 7.5W Stand is normally priced at $49.99 and has a similar molded plastic design to the earlier 5-watt model, but comes in white instead of black. The white certainly attracts some attention, which can be a positive or a negative depending on the environment it's placed in. I happen to like the look. The other design difference compared to the 5-watt model is that the base is much thicker in order to incorporate the fan. With the micro-USB port for the stand over to one side of the base, there's room for a relatively large fan grille to help keep air moving.

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Stand
In my testing, the PowerWave 7.5W Stand certainly lived up to Anker's claims of charging speed, as it was able to charge my iPhone X battery from 10 percent to 56 percent in just one hour. Nearly all of the over two dozen other chargers I've tested have only been able to reach between 38 and 43 percent over that time period. Whether charging speed is important depends on your individual use patterns, and some users have concerns over fast charging having a negative impact on long-term battery health, which is also part of the reason for having a fan to keep things cooler. But for many people, the risk to long-term battery health is worth it if they can top off their phones more quickly when they're dropped onto a charger.

While the fan helps keep things cool and lets the charger maintain optimal charging speed for longer, it does make some noise. The stand generates an audible whirring sound that can be heard even from across a quiet room. For that reason, you might want to think twice about using this charger on a nightstand or in other quiet environments. But in a busy office setting with noise around or if you typically have music or other sounds playing while your phone is charging, it may not be noticeable.

I also tested out the $45.99 PowerWave 7.5W Pad, and interestingly, it didn't charge my iPhone X quite as quickly as the stand did, but it was still able to outperform nearly every other charger I've tested, boosting my battery from 10 percent to 49 percent in an hour. Otherwise, this is a pretty typical pad-style charger, although it does have a similar eye-catching white color to the stand and is a little bulkier than some other pads due to the fan underneath the pad.

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Pad
Both the stand and the charger have distinctive small, circular, blue LEDs that light up while charging and flash to let you know if there'a problem. The LEDs are subtle enough that they're not distracting even in dark rooms. The pad's fan is audible, although it sounds significantly quieter than the stand.

Beyond Apple's strict requirements, there's another reason these PowerWave chargers are priced a bit higher than some of Anker's other offerings, and that's the fact that not only do you get a micro-USB cable but also a compact 18-watt Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter with folding prongs and a single USB-A port. The inclusion of the power adapter is important, as these chargers require a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter in order to work at all. If you plug the charger into another power adapter like one of Apple's iPhone or iPad adapters, or even a standard USB port on a hub, the charger will not charge your phone. That's something to keep in mind depending on how you're planning to use the chargers.

Anker's new PowerWave chargers are launching today on Amazon, and the company is submitting them to the Wireless Power Consortium for official Qi certification. The PowerWave stand is normally priced at $49.99 and the PowerWave pad at $45.99, but for a limited time Anker is offering a special deal through Amazon that gives you 15 percent off one charger (promo code POWER752) or 20 percent off two or more (promo code POWER753).

Note: Anker 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: AnkerBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral), iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Spotify Testing Voice Control Features in iOS App

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:37
A small group of users have begun noticing a new voice control feature appearing within the Spotify app for iOS devices, and The Verge this week got a chance to see how the music streaming service's new voice commands work.

As expected, the voice control allows users to call up their favorite artists, songs, albums, and playlists without having to navigate around the app with taps. Voice control is initiated by first navigating to the magnifying glass icon at the center of the app's bottom tab row.

Image via The Verge
In this area users can tap a microphone icon inside a white bubble, and then Spotify will begin listening for their voice (once access to the iPhone's microphone is allowed). Right now the commands are only available in English, but once a command is asked Spotify will begin playing the content within the app.

The Verge was mostly impressed with the time spent asking Spotify to play various songs, comparing it favorably to Siri on HomePod: "It all happened as quickly as Siri does the same thing on a HomePod." It should still be noted that Spotify's solution as of now isn't a fully talkative AI assistant, but simply voice controls.
I spent the past hour spitting queries at the microphone, with mostly accurate results. I queued up the Gold School and Top Hits Today playlists, artist radio stations for Radiohead and Wilco, and the magnificent strains of “Despacito.” It all happened as quickly as Siri does the same thing on a HomePod.

And I did encounter some errors. I created a playlist for songs I found on Spotify that I call “Spotifinds,” and when I searched for it the very confused app asked me if maybe I was searching for “Spotify memes.” (I am now!) The voice commands are said to be limited to music only inside Spotify's catalog, and queries like "Who are the Beatles?" were met with the app playing a Beatles playlist, "without telling you anything about the band."

Spotify's voice control test follows rumors that the company is planning to launch its first hardware product, expected to be a smart speaker of some kind and compete with Sonos, Echo, and Apple's HomePod. Particularly for the HomePod, Spotify users face a lesser experience due to Apple's decision to only allow native streaming for Apple Music.

If these new tests roll out to a wider audience, it could be an indication of the technology users can expect to see in a smart speaker built by Spotify. For now, The Verge noted that "the early version works well enough to make it a core part of my music listening."

Tag: Spotify
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Apple Pay Promo Kicks Off Spring Break With Free Song Credits From TouchTunes

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 13:16
The latest Apple Pay promotion has launched today, and this time Apple is preparing users for Spring Break. When using Apple Pay in the TouchTunes jukebox iOS app [Direct Link], users can get three free song credits. The offer is valid through 11:59 p.m. PT on March 27, 2018 in the United States and Canada only.

TouchTunes uses a network of digital jukeboxes across 65,000 bars, restaurants, and other social venues across North America, which users of the app can control from their iPhone. Users amass TouchTunes' "credits" and spend the credits when choosing which song they want to play next, creating a community-built playlist of songs with anyone else using TouchTunes at the same location.

Now, with the new promotion users can purchase in-app credits using Apple Pay and with the three free credits they should be able to play one song at a bar for free (TouchTunes notes that the number of credits required for song plays may vary). Other springtime apps promoted by Apple include clothing brands lululemon, J.Crew, and Zara. Apple also encourages users to "get back to the beach quicker" when using Apple Pay in apps for Reef, Ray-Ban, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

The TouchTunes promo follows two weeks after Apple celebrated the Oscars with a discount on two or more movie tickets through Fandango.

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Apple Pay promo
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