MacRumors

Subscribe to MacRumors feed
Apple, iPhone, iPad, Mac News and Rumors
Updated: 52 min 40 sec ago

iPhone X Case Review Roundup 5: Pad & Quill, Spigen, OtterBox, LifeProof, Totallee and Sena

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:27
The fifth review of my iPhone X Roundup series focuses on Pad & Quill, Spigen, OtterBox, LifeProof, Totallee, and Sena. If you've missed my previous posts, I'm taking a close look at iPhone X cases from a range of manufacturers. We don't often feature case reviews on MacRumors, but with the launch of the iPhone X and its new design, we felt it was worth exploring some of the available case options.

My previous reviews are below:

For all of these reviews, I'm looking at the general usability of iPhone X cases. Extreme drop tests and in-depth testing aren't covered because those factors are less important than how a case works on an average day, and it's often fairly easy to tell from design how protective a case is going to be.

Factors like bulk, button accessibility, general protection, grip, thickness, and appearance are what I focused on. All of the cases in this review roundup work with wireless chargers unless otherwise mentioned.

OtterBox
OtterBox used to be known primarily for its super bulky, ultra protective cases, but these days, OtterBox makes a lot of other cases that are still just as protective but add less bulk than the traditional Defender series.

Priced at $44.95, the Symmetry series offers OtterBox's slimmest cases. When I say slim, though, I mean in comparison to other OtterBox cases, not "slim" cases in general. The Symmetry is still a very thick case with a hard shell back and a rubber interior that wraps around all sides of the iPhone X.


Symmetry cases are not unattractive, but they're much thicker than I prefer for my iPhone. There is a thick lip that comes up over the display, and while a lip this thick protects the screen, it makes it undeniably more irritating to swipe up from the bottom of the display if you're a person who swipes from the very bottom. The mute switch is difficult to get to because of the thickness of the case, and it may not work with some docks. On the plus side, the volume and power buttons are easy to press. This is definitely a case that feels like it's going to offer a lot of protection from drops.


The Pursuit, priced at $69.95, is thicker and more protective than the Symmetry. It has a hard plastic body with a thick rubber that wraps around the side of the case. It snaps apart into two pieces so you can get your iPhone X inside, and snapping it back together can take a few minutes of attempting to align it.


This is a case that's designed to cover the ports of the iPhone X to protect it from the elements (dust, mud, dirt, and snow), so the Lightning port, mute switch, and speaker holes are all covered up, and there's a seal around the camera. Buttons are easy to press, and there's a new switch on the case for muting, but to charge, you'll need to remove a small rubber cover over the Lightning port. Most people are not going to need this level of protection, so this is something of a niche case. Ultimately, the Pursuit is a lot like a thinner Defender case, and it's one of the more protective cases you can get.


OtterBox's Strada Folio, priced at $49.95, combines OtterBox-style protection with a folio design. A rubber-lined hard plastic shell protects the iPhone, and at the exterior, it's covered in leather for those who like a leather look. There's a wraparound front cover, also made of leather, with a slot for holding cards or cash.


The Strada Folio is similar in overall size to the Symmetry, so while it's not as bulky as other OtterBox offerings, it's still bulky in comparison to slimmer cases from other companies. OtterBox does a good job with buttons and ports, so everything is accessible and can be easily pressed, with the exception of the power button, which I found difficult to use. The Strada Folio offers total device protection with the front cover and like all OtterBox cases, it feels like it could survive some serious damage.


The OtterBox Defender (Screenless Edition) is a traditional ultra protective OtterBox case. It is the thickest iPhone X case OtterBox offers, and it feels like it's thicker than two iPhone X models stacked on top of each other. There's some serious bulk here. It offers full protection for the iPhone X and covers all of the ports, plus it seals the area around the camera. It comes apart in three pieces (two halves of a plastic shell and then the rubber skin), so you can put it on the iPhone, and there's also a removable belt clip.


The Defender is incredibly rigid with a plastic interior and a rubber exterior, plus padding inside for the iPhone X. I would be absolutely shocked if an iPhone X didn't survive a serious fall in this case. Needless to say, the lip around the case comes up a significant amount over the display and somewhat restricts swiping up from the bottom of the iPhone X. Again, this is a level of protection most people won't need, but for those who do, it's nice to have the option.



Spigen
Spigen makes a lot of cases, and I took a look at most of the collection because Spigen appears to be a favorite on the MacRumors forum. Many of you told me you use Spigen cases and recommended them for review. Bear with me, because this is going to be a long section.

Ultra Hybrid S ($24.99) - This is a clear case with a hard plastic shell and rubber sides that come up to protect the display. It features a built-in kickstand that works in landscape mode, which is neat if you watch a lot of videos, but I don't love the look of the kickstand. The case isn't super thin, nor is it super thick, and it's grippy because of flexible sides. It's clear and does leave the edges of the iPhone X largely visible. Buttons are easy to press, and while it's not the most protective case I've looked at, it should offer decent protection from drops.


Ultra Hybrid ($24.99) - If you don't like the kickstand of the Ultra Hybrid S, the Ultra Hybrid is for you. It's identical, but it does away with the kickstand. All of the Ultra Hybrid cases are clear, but offer different color border options. Like Ultra Hybrid S, this is a hard plastic shell with rubber sides that offer good grip. Ultra Hybrid and Ultra Hybrid S are middle-of-the-road cases that are bulkier than some slim fit cases, but not too bulky that it ruins the design of the iPhone X.




Thin Fit ($14.99) - I like minimal cases, so this was one of my overall favorites. The Thin Fit is a thin shell that's made from a hard, smooth, grippy material that's easy to hold onto. It leaves the top and the bottom of the iPhone X open, and it doesn't interfere at all with swiping, so this is a good choice for those of you who are bothered by that bottom lip. All buttons are also exposed so there's no interference with button usage, and there's a very slim lip that protects the sides of the display when the iPhone is facedown. At the back, there's also a slight protective lip around the camera. This case is going to offer protection from rear scratches and may protect from small drops, but it's definitely super light protection. This case adds little bulk to the iPhone X since it's 0.5mm thick, so it's almost unnoticeable.




Neo Hybrid and Neo Hybrid Crystal ($29.99) - The Neo Hybrid is your average semi-protective case that's of a medium thickness. It's not as thin as something like the Thin Fit, but also not as thick as, say, the Symmetry from OtterBox. The Neo Hybrid case is made from a flexible rubber with plastic edging, while the Neo Hybrid Crystal is made from a clear hard plastic with some rubber accenting at the edges that obscures the iPhone X edges. Both cases offer good grip and have display protection in the form of a lip, but that lip does wrap all the way around the iPhone X, including the bottom of the display. Buttons are covered but remain easy to press, and given the thicker borders, both cases feel like they offer decent drop protection.


Tough Armor ($34.99) - Tough Armor is another Spigen case that comes with a kickstand that works when the iPhone X is in landscape mode. It's made from a soft, flexible rubber material that's reinforced at the back and the lower sides with a hard plastic. Generally, anything with "armor" in the name is a little bulkier than the average case, and that's true of this case. Buttons are covered, but easy to press, but it's less grippy than other Spigen cases. It's fairly thick, with thick bezels around the display. Those bezels don't come up too high though, so while it does interfere with bottom swiping a little bit, it's easy to get used to. This case wraps around the camera notch and has a cutout for the Apple logo. I'm not a huge fan of its design, but it definitely feels protective.


Slim Armor CS ($34.99) - Slim Armor CS is similar in design to Tough Armor and seems to offer about the same level of protection, but does not have the Apple logo cutout on the back. Instead, there's a hard plastic piece that slides over to allow you to store cards underneath. The slide mechanism is a little fragile and I did break the entire case apart once during this review, so that's something worth keeping in mind. I don't know how it'll hold up over time.


Rugged Armor ($19.99) - I'm not sure why this case is called rugged, because it doesn't feel rugged to me. It's made of a soft, flexible rubber material that's a little bit too smooth, and it's thinner than Spigen's other "armor" cases because it doesn't have additional hard plastic accenting. It does offer a lip over the display (which isn't too raised) and it protects the camera, plus it covers all of the buttons. It doesn't feel as protective as the Tough Armor, but it's thicker than something like the Slim Fit without being too bulky, so it's a decent compromise between protection and slimness. It does have a cutout at the back for the Apple logo.




Hybrid Armor ($29.99) - Hybrid Armor is a similar to the Slim Armor CS and the Tough Armor. It's a flexible rubber case that has a hard plastic shell on the back. With all of these armor cases that also have plastic, the plastic piece pops off. On this one, it tends to come off randomly and doesn't stick down well, something that would definitely be an irritation in every day use. This feels about as thick and as protective as the Tough Armor, so it seems like it'll hold up well to drops. With this case, the power button is easy to press, but the volume buttons offer a little bit of resistance. It protects the camera, has an Apple logo cutout, and does offer all-around protection with a lip to keep the display safe when facedown.


Wallet S ($29.99) - As the name suggests, this is a case that's designed to replace a wallet. It's a folio-style case, with a hard plastic shell that holds the iPhone in place and a front cover that can hold multiple cards in card slots and some cash in the larger side pocket. For a folio case, the Wallet S is fairly slim, and there's a little magnetic strap that keeps it closed. Most folio cases don't have something to keep them closed so I always worry about how they'll land in a drop, but this particular case should keep the front and back of the iPhone X case safe. The inner shell of this seems to be the Thin Fit case, which has a bit of a lip at the sides of the iPhone but leaves the top and bottom bare.


The front flap folds back when the iPhone X is in use, so it's not much different from a non-folio case. Design wise, it's rather plain, and is made of a fake leather material, but the cover does fold back to serve as a stand for watching videos in landscape mode.


Liquid Crystal ($19.99) - The Liquid Crystal is another Spigen favorite of mine. It's clear, but instead of hard plastic, it's made from a soft TPU material. It's super grippy and easy to hold on to, and it lets the design of the iPhone X shine through. There's a lot of Spigen branding on the edges, though, which does obscure the shiny stainless steel. There's a little bit of a lip to protect the iPhone's display, which does wrap all the way around, but I didn't find it to be an irritation when swiping because it's not super raised. Buttons are accessible and easy to press, and this case is slim while managing to feel like it still offers decent protection.


These must be prone to staining, because Spigen includes cleaning instructions and a cleaning wipe. There are actually several variations of the Liquid Crystal, including the standard clear model, a Matte black version, the Liquid Crystal Blossom with a flower petal design, the Liquid Crystal Glitter (my favorite), and the Liquid Crystal Shine with a mandala pattern.


Liquid Air ($14.99) - Liquid Air is similar to Liquid Crystal because it's also made from a flexible rubber material. It's relatively slim, though not as slim as Thin Fit, and offers an attractive diamond pattern. The material it's made from is fairly slippery, so I didn't think this one offered great grip, but I did like that it was slim while still appearing to offer solid protection. It covers the buttons but leaves them easy to press, and there is a wraparound lip to protect the display. This case doesn't add a lot of bulk and was one of my favorites from Spigen thanks to its attractive design and thin profile.




Rugged Crystal ($24.99) - I'd describe the Rugged Crystal case as a Liquid Crystal that's well, more rugged. It's made from the same flexible clear TPU material that is incredibly grippy, but there's extra reinforcement at the corners. The extra reinforcement offers additional protection from drops, but it also looks a little goofy. Other than the reinforced corners, it's basically identical to the Liquid Crystal.


Totallee
Totallee offers ultra thin plastic cases that are basically identical to cases from other companies like Peel. A bunch of companies make cases like this, but Totallee's cases are reasonably priced at $19 and come in a nice range of colors. These cases are 0.02" thick, so somewhere around 3mm, which means they're not really going to offer much drop protection for the iPhone X.


They'll protect well from scratches, but there is no lip around the display so if your iPhone X falls face first, it's like having a naked device. If you only need scratch protection, Totallee cases are perfect because they add next to no bulk.


There are different finish options, and some are more expensive than others. The metallic finishes, which look great, are $25, for example.


Pad & Quill
Pad & Quill makes higher-end cases that are more expensive than what you might get from companies like Spigen or OtterBox. All of P&Q's products are carefully crafted and well-made, so you know you're getting your money's worth.

Most of Pad & Quill's cases are leather folio-style cases, but the Timberline, priced at $39.95, is one of the more unique cases I've taken a look at during these reviews. The Timberline is quite slim, with a hard polycarbonate shell that features a back that's made from real wood. You can get American Walnut or Rosewood, and the Rosewood case I have on hand offers an interesting contrast to the steel and glass body of the iPhone X.


This case leaves the top and bottom of the iPhone uncovered, as well as the buttons, so it's a good option for those who like more minimal cases that don't interfere with the iPhone's functionality. The wood and polycarbonate combo is smooth and doesn't offer the best grip, and while there's a little bit of a lip at the sides of the iPhone to protect the display when it's facedown, it's very slight. If your iPhone falls back down, this case is going to offer good protection, but less so if it falls on the display.


Pad & Quill's Bella Fino Wallet Case, priced at $89.95, is a folio-style case that doubles as a wallet. Like most folio cases, this is designed for people who want extra functionality from their case, not those looking for something slim. This case, which is leather, adds a good bit of bulk to the iPhone, but it's definitely one of the highest quality folio-style case I've reviewed in my roundups.


There are three card slots inside, along with a clear card slot that can hold a driver's license or ID card. The iPhone sits inside of a simple plastic case that attaches to the Bella Fino using an adhesive strip. The adhesive that holds the case in place is strong and did not budge even when shaken vigorously upside down. It also allows the inner case to be removed, if you so desire, and with the adhesive, it can be used case-free.


The inner case is minimal and does not cover the top, bottom, or buttons of the iPhone X, so it does not interfere with swiping or button uses. The Bella Fino is essentially the same size as something like a pocket journal, and it will likely protect the iPhone X from most drops unless it falls face down flat.


Pad & Quill also makes a second version of the Bella Fino, the Bella Fino Heritage ($99.99), that is a two-color option. It is identical to the Bella Fino case in design, but is available in a lighter shade of leather with a chocolate leather spine.


Both the Bella Fino and the Bella Fino Heritage are rather stiff when they first arrive, but over time, the leather loosens up, wears in, and becomes more supple. The two cases will also take on unique patinas with usage, and the Bella Fino Heritage in particular will get much darker.

Sena
Sena makes high-quality leather cases that feel nice and look elegant. I was a fan of a lot of the designs the Sena cases offered, and those of you who prefer leather cases will definitely want to take a look at this brand.

Isa Crossbody Snap On Leather Wallet Case ($79.95) - The Isa Wallet Case comes with a giant strap so you can wear it crossbody, which seems entirely ridiculous to me. I would absolutely not want my iPhone X dangling around at my hip like this, and while the strap is removable, if you use this case without it, there are two rather large loops at the bottom.


It's a great color, though, and it does serve as a wallet replacement. It has space for a driver's license and several credit cards in an extra little wallet add-on at the back of the case. Because of its thickness, this case does not work with wireless charging.


I do like the quilted design of the case and the slim fit, and Sena did a good job with the button covers. All Sena cases have these nice metal buttons that are super easy to press. There is a lip that wraps all the way around the phone and does interfere a bit with upwards swiping.

Racer Leather Snap On Case ($54.95) - While I thought the Isa case was totally impractical, the Racer case from Sena is a different story. It's made from blue and black leather with a racer stripe design that's attractive in person. The leather is grippy and the back is padded, so it's easy to hold on to, and quite pleasant in the hand.


Though there's a padded back, this case is actually fairly slim and has a nice small lip that protects the display of the iPhone X. The bottom of the case is open so it doesn't interfere with swiping upwards or charging on a dock.


Bence Lanyard Snap On Case ($54.95) - The Bence case is similar to the Racer case, but without the extra strip in the middle. It's made from the same soft, padded leather, which I like a lot because it's easy and comfortable to grip.


It has the same easy-to-press buttons, an open bottom for easy swiping upwards, and slim front lip. Like the Racer, it seems to offer a decent amount of protection without being overly bulky, and because of the slightly padded back, it should have more rear protection than your average case. This is an all black case and it looks nice in person. I like the idea of a wrist strap because it offers a little bit of extra protection when doing things like taking one-handed photos.


Arri Wristlet Leather Snap On Case ($54.95) - This case is identical to the Lanyard case, but it has a two-tone design that's more feminine. There are a few colors to choose from, but the one I have in hand is pink and black.


It's got the same soft, padded leather, open bottom for swiping, easy-to-press metal buttons, and slim lip to protect the display.


LifeProof
LifeProof is a brand that's owned by OtterBox, and its cases offer higher levels of drop protection than you get with the average iPhone X case. With drop protection comes bulk, though, and these LifeProof cases are not cheap.

LifeProof Next ($79.99) - LifeProof's Next case for the iPhone X is similar to cases from OtterBox. It's a two-piece snap-on case that includes a clear hardshell back and a rubber-covered frame for extra drop protection. This is not a waterproof case, but it is resistant to dust and snow because it covers all ports and the speakers at the bottom of the iPhone X.


Since this is a snap together case, it's a bit difficult to get on and off, so this isn't something you want to get if you like to swap cases often. It's clear, so you can see the iPhone X's design, and it's thick enough that it feels very protective. This level of protection adds a lot of bulk, so this is also not the case for people who like slim designs.

Unfortunately, the buttons are very hard to press in this case, which is a major downside given how important button use is in the iPhone X. It has a large lip around the display that's going to protect it when facedown or from drops, and thanks to a sort of tapered design for this lip, it doesn't interfere too much with swiping. At $80, this case is expensive, and it's not one I'd recommend (mostly because of the buttons) unless you need a higher level of protection than the average case can provide.


LifeProof Slam ($49.99) - The LifeProof Slam is similar to the LifeProof next in thickness and design, but it is more affordable because it doesn't have the same port protection. The Lightning port and speakers are left open, and there's no cover for the mute switch.


I like the bright color combinations for the Slam, which again consists of a clear hard plastic shell that leaves the iPhone X's design visible and a rubber bumper for better drop protection. Slam uses the same snap-on two-piece design, and it also has buttons that are hard to press. It has the same tapered front lip as the Next, too.


Bottom Line
This time around, Spigen has some of the thinnest and most affordable cases. I was a fan of several of the Spigen options on the thinner side, including the Thin Fit, Liquid Crystal, and Liquid Air, which were the slimmest of the bunch. Many other Spigen options offer a little more protection in exchange for a bit more bulk, and those are worth checking out if you'd like something that's a nice compromise between thickness and protectiveness.

For even more protection, OtterBox's case line is worth taking a look at, and if you want less protection, ie, just scratch protection, Totallee is what you'll want to take a look at. Totallee's cases are about 0.3mm thick, so they're adding next to no bulk to the iPhone X.

For higher-end cases that are both stylish and protective, Pad & Quill and Sena are good choices. Pad & Quill's Timberline case is particularly unique, while its folio-style cases look great and can replace your wallet. LifeProof has nice designs that seem to offer a lot of protection, but the case makes the iPhone X buttons hard to press, and that's a dealbreaker for me.

As always, since this was a brief look at the cases available from several different companies, I'm happy to provide additional photos and answer questions about any of the cases listed down in the forums.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Reigns: Her Majesty, Animal Crossing, Sky, PUBG Knock-Offs, and More

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:05
Apologies for missing last week's iOS gaming roundup, but I've got a good reason: I was in Jordan judging Middle Eastern and North African mobile games for the International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA). It's an organization that for fourteen years now has been hosting international competitions looking for the best mobile games.

I've been involved for several years now, and it's awesome actually having game awards specifically for mobile instead of how things usually go — a quick mention on the tail end of other "real" game awards that might vaguely acknowledge mobile. Submissions just started for this year's IMGA's, so if you're an iOS developer and want your game considered, be sure to submit it. Unlike a lot of game awards, submissions are totally free, so go wild.


Kicking things off is the announcement of the release date for the upcoming Reigns sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty. We'll once again be managing our kingdoms via Tinder-style right and left swiping decisions on December 7th. We got a closer look at the game back at PAX West which digs a lot deeper into what to expect than the above launch trailer.

Reigns is an unbelievably great game, and one that you can hand to both the most hardcore gamer and someone who has never played a game before and they'll both enjoy it. We've got a full review of the original up on TouchArcade, and so far it seems like the sequel is exactly what we wanted: More Reigns.

The Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Friend Finder is now live! Answer a few q's for Katrina to see which animal could be your BFF! #PocketCamp pic.twitter.com/B6TsjqBRJQ

— Isabelle (@animalcrossing) November 16, 2017

We've been closely following the upcoming global release of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp which, per Nintendo, is due out in "late November." Well, we're rapidly approaching the launch window which led us to suspect that Nintendo might be vague-tweeting a potential launch date reveal... But, in actuality, all it was is this promotional web site where Animal Crossing's Katrina reads your fortune to find your BFF in game. While it isn't a launch date, these sorts of things ramping up are a great sign that Pocket Camp is almost upon us. For what it's worth, I've got my money on it releasing early next week, so it can spread organically as everyone is playing it over family gatherings on Thanksgiving.


The curious thing about covering mobile games is sometimes you find yourself inadvertently at the center of incredibly odd situations, particularly with how ubiquitous mobile has gotten over the year. For instance, the most popular TouchArcade story of all time was when Apple removed games featuring the Confederate flag. Well, this week it came out that Russia was using mobile game screenshots to show "evidence" of US collusion with ISIS. It's a pretty unbelievable situation, but I suppose that's the case with practically everything in the news cycle these days. But, hey, the game they used, AC-130, is pretty fun to fiddle around with if you missed out playing the huge amount of these games on the App Store as they used to be very popular a few years ago.


We're also super excited for the upcoming release of Sky, the upcoming title by Thatgamecompany which Apple showed off at the last keynote. We got a quick look at the first six minutes of gameplay, which is narrated by Thatgamecompany's co-founder, Jenova Chen. The video is packed with so many insights it's hard to focus on just one, but I'm very curious to see how all the social components work out. They're born of people who played Journey, but found themselves wishing they could play with family and friends. I've got a lot of faith in Sky being very good, and I can't wait to try it out when it launches in a few months.


NetMarble's Lineage 2: Revolution launched this week. It's based on the PC MMORPG Lineage 2, and features both realtime 20 vs. 20 and 50 vs. 50 battles. They've been pulling out all the stops when it comes to promoting the game — it was featured at TwitchCon, Conan O'Brien has been playing it, and tons more. The game boasted a massive 1.5 million pre-registrations before launch, and I'm supremely curious to see if it maintains that level of excitement in the following days.


While Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) is the biggest thing ever in the PC world right now, the Chinese publisher NetEase has been up to some incredibly curious things when it comes to launching knock-offs on mobile. Last week it launched a game in China with a title that roughly translates to "Wilderness Survival" which was a supremely on the nose PUBG knock-off. It soared to the top of the charts in China, leaving Western gamers curious when they could get a crack at the Battle Royale genre on mobile.

Here's where things get weird: NetEase then released not one, but two PUBG knock-offs on the App Store. Knives Out and Rules of Survival, which at first glance appear to be the exact same game, by the same developer, with different names. We reached out for clarification to find that NetEase apparently has two internal studios that are competing for who can make the most successful PUBG knock-off? Why you wouldn't do some sort of internal play test then decide, "OK, this is the one we're launching" instead of releasing both games is beyond me. But, hey, if you're into PUBG and want to play it on your iPhone... You have your choice between two incredibly similar games made by the same company. I'm sure this makes sense to someone.


Last, but not least, South Park: Phone Destroyer also hit the App Store recently. It's a free to play card-based fighting game, which is fairly ironic considering they've run entire episodes ruthlessly roasting free to play. But, hey, whatever. For what it's worth Phone Destroyer seems to be a pretty good card battler, and we put together a guide on how to win in South Park Phone Destroyer without spending money that's worth a look if you want to avoid spending money in the game.

That's all from me this week, but there's loads more things that have happened in the world of iOS gaming the last couple of weeks, so if you're interested in this scene be sure to swing by TouchArcade where we're posting this sort of thing day in and day out.

Tag: TouchArcade gaming roundup
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Park Visitor's Center Now Open to the Public

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:41
The Visitor's Center at Apple's new Apple Park campus opened up to the public this morning, allowing Apple fans to visit the Cupertino location to check out the campus and purchase souvenirs and snacks.


It features a cantilevered carbon fiber roof that was designed to look like it floats, along with staircases, stone walls, and terrazzo floors that match the aesthetic of the rest of the campus.


Inside, there's a large 3D model of Apple Park that provides guests with information about the campus through an augmented reality experience provided through dedicated iPads.


A store area offers the a range of Apple products and accessories, including Apple Park-exclusive T-shirts, hats, postcards, baby onesies, playing cards, and tote bags. A cafe built into the Visitor's Center offers coffee, tea, and snacks.


On the roof, there's a roof terrace that offers views of the main building and the landscaping, which includes more than 9,000 trees. While visitors can view the rest of Apple Park from the Visitor's Center, the other areas of the campus are off limits.


The Apple Park Visitor's Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, it opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m., and on Sundays, it opens at 11:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m.

Tag: Apple Park
Discuss this article in our forums

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Powerstation USB-C XXL From Mophie

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:18
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Mophie to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Powerstation XXL that's equipped with both USB-C and USB-A, so it can be used with a wide range of devices.

The Powerstation XXL, priced at $149.95, features a 19,000 mAh battery, which Mophie says is enough juice to provide USB-C laptops (the MacBook specifically) with up to 14 hours of additional battery life.


Because it has both a USB-C and a USB-A port, the Powerstation XXL can be used to charge all of your Apple devices, from the MacBook to the iPhone and iPad. The USB-C port offers up to 30W of charging, so it can fast charge your iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus when combined with a USB-C to Lightning cable.


With fast charging, an iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus can charge to 50% within 30 minutes, so that's a super handy feature to have available from a portable battery back. At 30W, this charger will work with the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, but the charging will go more slowly and you won't see much gain while the machines are in use.


Over a standard USB-A to Lightning or micro-USB, the XXL Powerstation offers 2.4A quick charging capabilities to charge your devices faster.

Size wise, the Mophie Powerstation XXL is heftier than your average iPhone battery pack, but it's still portable at 6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and an inch tall, plus it looks quite nice with its fabric-wrapped body.


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

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (November 17) at 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time through 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time on November 24. The winners will be chosen randomly on November 24 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Tags: giveaway, Mophie
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of watchOS 4.2 to Developers

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 19:18
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.2 update to developers for testing purposes, four days after seeding the third watchOS 4.2 beta and over two weeks after releasing the watchOS 4.1 update.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS 4.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software Update.


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

watchOS 4.2 brings support for Apple Pay Cash, Apple's new peer-to-peer payment service that is designed to let users send money to one another. Apple Pay Cash can be used to send and receive money through the Messages app on the Apple Watch.

Aside from Apple Pay Cash, watchOS 4.2 appears to focus primarily on under-the-hood bug fixes and security updates.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 11.2 to Developers

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 19:18
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2 update to developers for testing purposes, four days after seeding the third tvOS 11.2 update and over two weeks after the launch of tvOS 11.1.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.2 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


According to Apple's release notes, the tvOS 11.2 update enables a new AVDisplayManager feature for developers, designed to allow the device to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content.

The update includes support for switching the Apple TV 4K display output to SDR for apps that are GPU-bound when running in HDR and it re-introduces the Unwatched category in Home Sharing for Movies, TV Shows, and Home Videos.

Apple says tvOS 11.2 also adds new features, bug fixes, and security improvements to the tvOS operating system.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of iOS 11.2 to Developers

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 19:16
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2 update to developers, four days after releasing the third iOS 11.2 beta, more than two weeks after releasing the first major iOS 11 update, iOS 11.1, and one day after the iOS 11.1.2 update.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


iOS 11.2 introduces Apple Pay Cash, Apple's new peer-to-peer payments service. Apple Pay Cash works through the Messages app and is designed to allow for quick person-to-person money transfers. It's available as a dedicated iMessage app in Messages, with cash transferred through the app.

Cash can be sent from a linked debit or credit card, while received cash is stored in an Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet that can be used for purchases or sent to a bank account.

On the iPhone X, iOS 11.2 adds a small bar underneath the icons located at the upper right side of the device on the Lock screen, which is designed to make the location of the Control Center gesture more clear. On the iPhone X, Control Center is accessed by swiping down from the top of the device.

In Control Center on all devices, there are two new informational pop-ups that are displayed when using the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth toggles. These pop-ups explain that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are disabled temporarily rather than permanently when accessed from Control Center.

In iOS 11.2, there's support for faster 7.5W wireless charging for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. The faster speeds will be available when using third-party wireless chargers that support 7.5W charging or more.

The update also addresses an animation bug in the Calculator app that caused some numbers and symbols to be ignored when entered in rapid succession. The update removes the animations from the calculator app so calculations can be done quickly with no need to pause between entering numbers to obtain the correct result.

In addition to these bug fixes, iOS 11.2 introduces a new Now Playing option for controlling content on the Apple TV in Control Center, redesigned camera emoji, a new loading animation for Live Photos effects, and new Live wallpapers for the iPhone X, plus it adds a feature that lets developers offer new customers discounted introductory pricing for auto-renewable subscriptions on the App Store.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Discuss this article in our forums

Promise Technology Debuts $249 Thunderbolt 3 Dock With 5 USB-A Ports, 2 TB3 Ports and SD Card Slot

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 18:38
Promise Technology today announced the launch of its new TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 dock, which is designed for Apple's latest MacBook Pro models with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

The TD-300 features five USB 3.0 ports (three at the back and two at the front), two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an audio in/out port, and an HDMI 2.0 port.


There are a range of Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market now, but Promise Technology's TD-300 includes a good number of ports and an SD card slot, something that we've only seen on OWC's TB3 dock. A Thunderbolt 3 cable and power adapter are also included.


Promise Technology's dock supports two 4K displays or one 5K display and delivers up to 60W of power to charge a MacBook Pro. That's sufficient for the 13-inch MacBook Pro models, but may be inadequate for charging a 15-inch MacBook Pro under a heavy load."As part of our mission to offer solutions that are optimized for rich media workflows, we're constantly expanding our portfolio of innovative solutions that harness the latest technology," noted Vijay Char, president, Promise Technology USA. "The addition of a Thunderbolt 3 dock brings a new level of efficiency and flexibility to creative professionals. Laptops can be charged at the fastest speeds possible, images from DSLR cameras are easily transferred, peripherals such as hard drives and monitors can be daisy-chained for increased productivity, 4K video can be sent to multiple displays, and more. The possibilities are truly endless."The TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock can be purchased from the Promise website or from Amazon for $249.

Tag: Promise Technology
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Says HomePod is Delayed Until Early 2018

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:19
Apple today announced it has delayed the release of the HomePod until early 2018. The speaker was originally set to launch in December.

In a statement provided to CNBC and several other media outlets, Apple said it needs "a little more time" before the HomePod is ready.We can't wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple's breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers. We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.Apple unveiled the HomePod at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and said it would launch in December for $349 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

HomePod is a Siri-enabled speaker designed for the home. It automatically works with an Apple Music subscription, including the ability to stream playlists and radio stations. Siri commands will let users direct the HomePod to play music, add songs to playlists, and even answer music trivia questions.

Siri will also act as a home assistant, with support for News, Messages, Podcasts, Stocks, Weather, Reminders, alarms, timers, sports, and traffic. HomePod will also serve as a HomeKit hub that can control lights, blinds, locks, and other accessories by voice, even when users are away from home.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Discuss this article in our forums

KGI: Next Year's iPhone Models to Have Upgraded Intel and Qualcomm Modems Enabling Faster LTE Speeds

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:18
Apple's next-generation iPhone models released in 2018 will feature Intel's XMM 7560 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X20 modems, enabling faster LTE transmission speeds, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Image: KGI Securities
Kuo highlighted that both new chips support 4x4 MIMO technology, compared to only 2x2 MIMO in the latest iPhone models, which leads him to believe LTE transmission speeds will increase significantly in 2018 iPhones.

In his latest research note, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo predicted Intel supply Apple with 70 to 80 percent or more of the baseband chips.New baseband chips from Intel & Qualcomm will significantly boost transmission speed of new 2H18 iPhone models thanks to supporting 4x4 MIMO antenna design: We believe that 2H18 new iPhones will upgrade baseband chips from Intel’s XMM 7480 and Qualcomm's MDM 9655 in 2H17 to Intel’s XMM 7560 and Qualcomm's SDX 20. As both new chips support 4x4 MIMO technology, compared to only 2x2 MIMO in 2H17, we anticipate LTE transmission speeds will increase significantly. We believe Intel will supply Apple with 70-80% or more of required baseband chips.Kuo also predicted that next year's iPhone models will support dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS), with support for LTE+LTE connections, which allows two SIM cards to be active simultaneously using only one set of chips.2H18 iPhone models won't only offer faster LTE transmission speed: We predict that at least one of the 2H18 new iPhone models will feature dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS) with support for LTE+LTE connections. Unlike existing DSDS phones, which commonly support LTE+3G connections, we believe next-generation iPhone models will support LTE+LTE connections, in a bid to enhance the user experience.It's not entirely clear if the new iPhones would have a dual SIM card slot or if one of the SIM cards would be embedded into the device.

Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Extends Free Repairs of Anti-Reflective Coating on 2013-2015 MacBook Pro

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:01
Apple has extended free repairs of anti-reflective coating issues for the 2013 to 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina display.


Apple has authorized coverage within four years from an affected MacBook Pro's original date of purchase, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

Both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models released in 2013, 2014, or 2015 qualify for a free display replacement within the four-year coverage period. Apple says all 2012 models are no longer eligible for free repairs since both the 13-inch and 15-inch models were discontinued by October 2013.

Below is a list of the absolute latest dates that each MacBook Pro model may remain eligible for coverage based on when each was discontinued:

• 2013 13-inch MacBook Pro: July 2018
• 2013 15-inch MacBook Pro: July 2018
• 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro: March 2019
• 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro: May 2019
• 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro: October 2020
• 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro: Still sold

Apple previously confirmed to us that the repair program continues to be handled internally rather than being publicly announced.

Affected customers can schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store using the Apple Support app. Or, on the Get Support page, click Mac → Mac Notebooks → Hardware Issues → Display Issue and options should be presented to initiate a repair or contact Apple via phone, email, or online chat.

Apple's support website will ask for your Mac's serial number, which can be found by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and clicking on About This Mac in the dropdown menu.

Affected customers can also visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their notebook is eligible for coverage. If you have already incurred out-of-warranty costs related to this issue, you may be eligible for a refund, which can be initiated by contacting Apple support directly.

Since the repair program has not been publicly announced, some Apple support representatives may be unaware of its existence. Escalating your request to a senior advisor may help, but your mileage may vary.

Apple first began the repair program in October 2015, and has now extended it twice, after some MacBook Pro owners experienced issues with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating on the Retina display.

The damage appears to be caused by a variety of factors, including the pressure of the keyboard and trackpad on the display when closed, and the use of incorrect third-party cleaning solutions with microfiber cloths.

Over 12,000 customers joined a Facebook group dedicated to the issue, and hundreds of others have claimed to be affected across the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors forums, Twitter, Reddit, and other discussion platforms.

The website Staingate.org contains a gallery of MacBook Pro models with seemingly damaged anti-reflective coating, revealing that the blemishes can be relatively minor or extend across the entire display in extreme cases.

The anti-reflective coating issues do not appear to affect any MacBook Pro models released in 2016 or later.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProTag: repair programBuyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)
Discuss this article in our forums

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' Gets 4K Mention on iTunes, Suggesting Disney's 4K Holdout May Be Ending

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:58
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has received a card on the iTunes Movies storefront that encourages users to watch the film in 4K HDR on the Apple TV 4K, suggesting that Disney's 4K video holdout on iTunes may end soon. The change comes after news in September that Disney would be the only major Hollywood studio not supporting 4K versions of its films on the iTunes Movies store, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies.

Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 appears under the "Now Available to Rent" section of iTunes with a new "Watch It in 4K" card, but when you tap through to the movie's page it's still listed as HD-only as of writing. As such, the mention could be an error, or the first hint at more Marvel and other Disney movies imminently gaining 4K iTunes support.


Spider-Man: Homecoming is another Marvel Studios movie -- a studio which Disney owns -- that's in 4K HDR on iTunes, but it has been 4K since it released on the digital storefront in September due to the distribution rights of the film being owned by Sony, not Disney.

For now, it appears that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the only Disney-related film with a hint of having imminent 4K support on iTunes. Other newly released Disney films, including Cars 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, don't have mentions of 4K support anywhere on iTunes yet. Apple's 4K iTunes films are priced at the same point as HD versions -- $20 -- and if you previously owned the movie in HD, Apple automatically upgrades it to 4K HDR without requiring additional payment.

If Disney does begin a wider rollout of 4K support across its iTunes film catalogue, it will be joining 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures in backing the 4K video format on Apple devices.

(Thanks @vash_maxwell!)

Related Roundup: Apple TVTags: Disney, MarvelBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Discounts BeatsX, Solo3 Wireless, and Powerbeats3 Wireless by $40 to $60

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:11
Apple has discounted its BeatsX, Solo3 Wireless, and Powerbeats3 Wireless headphones by $40 to $60 for a limited time in the United States.

Apple's discount on Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones also applies to the newer "Neighborhood Collection" colors.

Apple's BeatsX deal matches some other retailers, but Amazon and Best Buy each have better deals on the Powerbeats3 Wireless and Solo3 Wireless, with the products on sale for as low as $134.99 and $199.99 respectively.

Like AirPods, the BeatsX, Solo3 Wireless, and Powerbeats3 Wireless are equipped with Apple's W1 chip for instant pairing with an iPhone. They can then simultaneously connect to an Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac via iCloud.

All three headphones feature Fast Fuel. Five minutes of charging provides up to three hours of playback for the Solo3 Wireless, two hours of playback for the BeatsX, and an hour of playback for the Powerbeats3 Wireless.

Apple's special Beats prices are available in the United States only for a limited time.

Disclaimer: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and Best Buy and may get paid if you click one of the above links and make a purchase.

Related Roundup: Apple DealsTags: Beats, BeatsX
Discuss this article in our forums

'DirecTV Now' Offering Free 32GB Apple TV 4K When Signing Up for 4-Month Service at $140

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:45
With DirecTV Now's latest offer, if you sign up for four months of the streaming TV service at an upfront cost of around $140, you'll get the 32GB Apple TV 4K for free. DirecTV Now starts at $35/month for the "Live a Little" package, which adds up to $140 for four months of service (without any additions like HBO or Showtime). Higher tiers increase to $50/month, $60/month, and $70/month with more channels added to each.

If you opt for the lowest tier, you can get Apple's latest Apple TV 4K device for just $140, which is $40 cheaper than its traditional price point of $180 at Apple and other retailers. If you take advantage of the savings and eventually decide you don't want to continue paying for DirecTV Now, you can cancel the service at any time on the company's website.


The sale is for new customers signing up to DirecTV Now, but existing subscribers can likely use another email and credit card combination to get the free Apple TV 4K. The offer will last through the end of 2017, requires a credit card or PayPal payment, and will see the Apple TV 4K delivered in around three weeks from the order date.

Here's more of the fine print, which also mentions that DirecTV Now does not currently support 4K HDR content streaming:
4K Apple TV (32 GB): Must prepay first four months of service at full price. Non-refundable. Online orders will be shipped via FedEx ground to address provided at point of sale. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Offer limited to 1 per DIRECTV NOW account; 2 per household. Not combinable with select offers. 4k HD not avail. w/DIRECTV NOW. To get started, visit DirecTV Now's website, click "Start your free trial now," and on the fourth step of the sign-up process you'll encounter the "Special Offer" section with mention of the Apple TV 4K deal. When you're done, be sure to head over to our Deals Roundup and Black Friday Roundup to catch up on all of the latest sales as we head into Black Friday.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, Apple DealsTag: DirecTV NowBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

Spotify App Updated With Support for iPhone X Displays

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:13
Spotify updated its iOS app today with support for iPhone X, exactly two weeks since Apple's latest smartphone launched. The update removes the letterboxing of Spotify's interface on the iPhone X's 5.8-inch OLED display, which should come as welcome news to heavy users of the app, allowing them to see more of track lists and search results on the screen, and more artwork when browsing albums and playlists.

"Stranger Things Mode" before (left) and after Spotify iPhone X update
The music streaming service is unusually late to the game on this front, with many top App Store apps already having updated their interfaces for the iPhone's 1,125 × 2,436 resolution display, which results in roughly 20 percent additional vertical space for content compared to the 4.7-inch displays of the iPhone 6, 7, and 8.


Apple was naturally quick to publish human interface guidelines for developers coding iPhone X apps. The documentation explains the changes that need to be made to ensure apps make the most of the additional space. At the same time, the guidance warns developers away from encroaching on certain areas of the screen, including the rounded corners, sensor housing, and indicator for accessing the Home screen.

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

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: SpotifyBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Working With Intel on 5G Hardware for Future iPhones

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 02:22
Apple is "leaning heavily" towards choosing Intel's 5G modems for its future iPhones, according to Fast Company. Apple engineers are said to be already working with Intel on upcoming 5G technology.

Apple's discussions with Qualcomm about 5G modems, meanwhile, have been described as "limited."


Citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans, Fast Company says that while Qualcomm 5G modems will offer more specialized carrier features, many of those features will not be adopted by carriers, leading Apple to believe Intel's hardware will be sufficient for future devices.The end game, multiple sources have said, is to build the Intel modem onto an integrated system-on-a-chip (SoC) that would also contain the CPU, GPU, and other iPhone components. The SoC would be co-designed by Intel and Apple and would be fabricated at an Intel facility.Intel reportedly has "multiple thousands" of people working on 5G technology in an effort to catch up with Qualcomm and win the contract from Apple.

Intel this morning said that it had made "substantial advances" in its wireless product roadmap to accelerate the adoption of 5G. According to Intel, an end-to-end 5G call based on early 5G silicon has been completed successfully, which Intel says is a "key milestone in its development."

Intel expects its first 5G chips to roll out in 2019, ahead of the wide rollout of 5G networks. T-Mobile just today said that it is planning to roll out its fifth-generation network across the United States by 2020, and most of the carriers in the United States are already experimenting with limited trials.

5G is expected to deliver speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster than the average 4G connection, at a gigabit per second or higher, along with lower latency and other benefits.

Rumors that Apple is considering Intel's 5G technology are in line with previous reports that have suggested Apple is considering eliminating Qualcomm chips from its 2018 iPhones and iPads.

Apple and Qualcomm have been embroiled in a bitter legal battle since the beginning of the year, which has continued to escalate over the months. Apple believes Qualcomm charges unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with," while Qualcomm claims its technology is "at the heart of every iPhone."

Apple and Apple suppliers have ceased paying royalties to Qualcomm amid the dispute, while Qualcomm has filed several patent infringement lawsuits against Apple and has asked for import/export bans in the United States and China.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTags: Intel, Qualcomm, 5GBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple AirPods vs. Google Pixel Buds

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 00:06
The Pixel Buds, Google's $159 headphones designed to compete with Apple's AirPods, finally launched this week so we thought we'd pit the two devices against one another to see how they measure up.

While the AirPods are widely loved and have received mostly positive reviews from customers and media sites, things aren't looking quite as rosy for the Pixel Buds. In a lot of ways, the Pixel Buds don't measure up to the AirPods, and in the video below, we compare design, features, sound quality, comfort, and other metrics.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
Pixel Buds and AirPods both cost $159 and are Bluetooth earphones designed for the Google and Apple ecosystems, respectively, but when it comes to design, they're quite a bit different. The AirPods are entirely wire-free, but the Pixel Buds have an adjustable cord that connects the two earpieces together. Each is stored in a case that provides extra battery.

Both earphones support touch and tap gestures to do things like activate Siri or Google Assistant and control music playback, but each one has shortcomings. There's no volume control on the AirPods, meaning you need to use Siri or your connected device to adjust volume, and on the Pixel Buds, there's no gesture for switching tasks, so you need to use Google Assistant. By the way, when connected to an iPhone, Google Assistant functionality doesn't work.


AirPods have a nifty feature that stops music playback when an AirPod is removed from the ear, and there's no equivalent feature on the Pixel Buds. The Pixel Buds do have a unique translation feature, but as it turns out, it requires Google Translate on a smartphone and isn't too much different from just using your phone for translation purposes.

The W1 chip built into the AirPods allows them to be swapped seamlessly between Apple devices and is one of the best AirPods features, while the Pixel Buds aren't quite as convenient. On Android devices, you need to put the buds back in their case, hold the pair button, and then re-pair when you want to switch.


At their price point, both the AirPods and the Pixel Buds offer relatively decent sound, but we did feel that the AirPods were better in this regard. The Pixel Buds sounded somewhat muddled, especially when using Spotify.

Given some of the shortcomings of the Pixel Buds, the AirPods seem to have them beat, based on our own experience with the two products and a range of less than enthusiastic Pixel Bud reviews from media sites. And of course, as an Apple-centric site with employees that largely use iOS devices, MacRumors is partial to the AirPods.


We may prefer the AirPods to the Pixel Buds, but as with our comparison between the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 XL, choosing between the AirPods and the Pixel Buds largely comes down to the ecosystem you're using. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the AirPods are the obvious choice.

If you don't have an iPhone or another Apple device, you're not going to get the benefits of the W1 chip, so it may be worth considering the Pixel Buds instead. And, of course, there's always the neither option -- there are hundreds of other Bluetooth headphones on the market.

Tags: Google, AirPods
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Shares New 'What's a Computer' Ad Focused on iPad Pro Features

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 23:19
Apple today shared a new "What's a computer" iPad Pro ad on its YouTube channel, highlighting the myriad things an iPad Pro can do along with new iPad features introduced in iOS 11.

The video, set to the song "Go" by Louis The Child," shows off the iPad's versatility as a computer replacement, following a teen as she chats with friends, takes and edits photos, writes a paper, draws with the Apple Pencil, reads comics, and more while on the go.


Features and accessories covered in the video include split-screen multitasking, the iOS 11 dock, the iPad's camera capabilities, the Apple Pencil, the Smart Keyboard, and photo markup

At the end of the spot, the teen's mom asks her "What are you doing on your computer?" And she responds, "What's a computer?"

Apple has shared multiple iPad Pro ads in the past, positioning the device as a computer replacement. Most recently, Apple published several short tutorial videos designed to show off all of the new features introduced on iPad in iOS 11

Related Roundup: iPad ProBuyer's Guide: 10.5" iPad Pro (Caution), 12.9" iPad Pro (Neutral)
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple VP of Diversity and Inclusion Denise Young Smith Leaving the Company

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 23:07
Denise Young Smith, Apple's current vice president of diversity and inclusion, plans to leave Apple at the end of this year, reports TechCrunch. Smith was promoted to her position in May of 2017, and prior to that, she was in human resources.

Smith, who has been with Apple for more than 20 years, reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Prior to Smith's promotion, Apple had a head of diversity and inclusion, but her role was an executive level role with more responsibility.

Christie Smith, who was with Deloitte for 17 years as a Client Advisory Principal, will be taking over the position. Smith's LinkedIn profile says she has 28 years of experience building and leading high performance teams with expertise in "talent management, analytics, inclusion & belonging, leadership, organizational design, performance management, coaching, change management and culture."

In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said the company is thrilled to welcome Christie Smith to the team."We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation. We're thrilled to welcome an accomplished leader like Christie Smith to help us continue the progress we've made toward a more diverse workplace."Smith will report to Apple's vice president of people Deidre O'Brien, and has reportedly been speaking with Tim Cook since about a year ago. Apple has been looking for a replacement for Denise Young Smith for the last several months.

After departing Apple, Denise Young Smith will become an executive in residence at Cornell starting this January. She will work with students to "build an early career-stage awareness of inclusive leadership and diverse talent."

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.
Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Releases iOS 11.1.2 With Fix for Unresponsive iPhone X Display in Cold Temperatures

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 22:03
Apple today released iOS 11.1.2, the seventh official update to the iOS 11 operating system. iOS 11.1.2 comes just one week after Apple released iOS 11.1.1, an update that addressed a pesky and widespread autocorrect bug.

The iOS 11.1.2 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 11.1.2 update addresses bugs and issues that have been discovered since the release of iOS 11.1.1. According to Apple's release notes, the update addresses a bug that caused some iPhone X displays to become temporarily unresponsive when exposed to cold temperatures.

iOS 11.1.2 includes bug fixes for your iPhone and iPad. This update:
- Fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop
- Addresses an issue that could cause distortion in Live Photos and videos captured with iPhone X iOS 11.1.2 comes as Apple works on the iOS 11.2 update, which introduces Apple Pay Cash, support for faster 7.5W wireless charging on iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus, and several bug fixes and minor interface tweaks.

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

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Discuss this article in our forums

The MacObserver

TUAW