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Portrait Camera App 'Focos' Gains Real Lens Optical Effects and Improved Shooting Mode

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 15:35
Portrait Mode photo editor Focos received an update today that should pique the interest of dual-lens camera iPhone owners. The app recently made our end-of-year best iOS app list for its impressive granular aperture and bokeh adjustment tools, but version 1.2 builds on the existing feature set by adding the ability to apply real lens optical effects to depth images.

The update introduces a redesigned interface layout to accommodate the new preset lenses, which include Olympus Zuiko, Helios 44, CarlZeiss Jena, CarlZeiss Otus, Leica Noctilux, Minolta STF, Minolta RF250, A1, A2, A3, and A4.


In addition to the above lenses, users can create custom presets for images with depth information by combining multiple lens settings and saving them under a recognizable name. Fotos' library of presets can also be re-organized for easy access from the editing menu.

Elsewhere in this update, a tilt-shift effect has been added to the app's range of filters, offering users another level of control over the plane of focus when widening aperture, while a new ratio of 2.25:1 can be found in the cropping menu.

A torchlight has also been added to Focus' built-in camera mode, which should help when taking Portrait Mode photos in low light, and the app now supports Bluetooth for taking photos remotely.

Lastly, a look at the general settings screen reveals an added ability to choose between JPEG, HEIC, and TIFF export formats, as well as a simple language selector, which now includes Persian.

Focos supports iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and is a free download from the App Store, although many pro features are behind a paywall. It costs $0.99 per month or $5.99 per year to unlock them, but there's also a $9.99 lifetime access purchase option. [Direct Link]

Tags: photography, Focos
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Apple CEO Tim Cook: I Don't Believe in Overuse of Technology

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 01:43
Apple this morning announced the expansion of its "Everyone Can Code" initiative to 70 educational institutions across Europe, and following the announcement, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at Harlow College in Essex, one of the schools that will adopt the new curriculum.

The Guardian shared several of Cook's comments, which covered overuse of technology and boundaries for children.

Cook said he believes there are concepts that can't be taught using technology, and in many courses, technology shouldn't dominate."I don't believe in overuse [of technology]. I'm not a person that says we've achieved success if you're using it all the time," he said. "I don't subscribe to that at all."

"There are still concepts that you want to talk about and understand. In a course on literature, do I think you should use technology a lot? Probably not."According to Cook, Apple cares about children out of the classroom, a topic that's notable as Apple investors recently urged Apple to do more to protect children from smartphone addiction.

Apple in early January said in a statement that it thinks deeply about how its products are used and the impact they have on people, including children. Apple takes its responsibility to protect children "very seriously," and has promised more robust parental controls for iOS devices in the future.

Though he does not have children of his own, Cook says in his own personal life, he "put some boundaries" on his nephew. "There here are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network," he said.

On the topic of learning to code, Cook spoke passionately, as he has done several times in the past. Learning to code, he says, is more important than learning a foreign language.Cook said: "I think if you had to make a choice, it's more important to learn coding than a foreign language. I know people who disagree with me on that. But coding is a global language; it's the way you can converse with 7 billion people."Cook's full commentary, which covers diversity, coding at an early age, and the importance of the press, can be read over at The Guardian.

Tag: Tim Cook
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Apple Receives FCC Approval for HomePod, Suggesting a Launch Could Come Soon

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 22:51
Ahead of the promised "early 2018" launch of the HomePod, Apple has received official FCC approval for the smart speaker. Now that FCC approval has been obtained, Apple is free to begin selling the device at any time.

All devices that use communications technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be submitted to the United States Federal Communications Commission to ensure compliance with federal regulations before they're eligible to be sold in the United States. That FCC approval has been obtained suggests the HomePod will launch in the near future.


For comparison's sake, Apple received FCC approval for the iPhone X on October 4, just under one month before the device was released to the public on November 3.

Today's FCC clearance of the HomePod follows a rumor earlier this week suggesting HomePod supplier Inventec has already started shipping HomePod units to Apple. Apple is reportedly set to receive "about 1 million" HomePod devices and an industry source that spoke to the Taipei Times, the source of the rumor, has said that the HomePod is coming "soon."

Apple originally planned to release the HomePod in December, but the company ended up requiring additional development time, delaying its debut until 2018. Apple has said the HomePod will ship out to customers in the US, UK, and Australia in "early 2018."


Early 2018, by Apple's historical definition, is something of a broad window. Apple considers "early 2018" to be the period between January and April, so it's been tough to narrow down the prospective launch date of the HomePod. Given the shipment rumors and the FCC approval, however, we may see the device in late January or early February rather than later in the year.

Like many new Apple products, rumors suggest initial supplies of the HomePod could be constrained at launch. Inventec is expecting revenue from the HomePod to be "limited" during Q1 2018 due to a low quantity of HomePod devices available for shipment.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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How to Turn Any Webpage Into a PDF on iOS

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 22:30
On iOS devices, there's a feature that lets you save any webpage as a PDF, so you can add edits, annotate it, read it offline, share it with friends, and more. Saving a webpage as a PDF is simple enough to do, but if you haven't done it before, you might not know the feature exists.

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Here's how to do it:

  1. Open up Safari.

  2. Navigate to the webpage you want to save.

  3. Tap on the Share button, which is the square with the upwards arrow.

  4. On the bottom bar, swipe to the left several times until you see "Create PDF."

  5. Tap "Create PDF."

From there, you can choose to edit the PDF using markup tools by tapping on the pen icon on the top right of the screen, or you can print it, save it, or share it by using the Share icon at the bottom of the screen.
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Apple May Replace Some iPhone 6 Plus Models Needing Whole-Device Repairs With iPhone 6s Plus Through March

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 21:57
If you have a damaged iPhone 6 Plus that qualifies for a whole-device replacement, Apple may replace it with an iPhone 6s Plus through March, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers today.


Apple specifically states that "orders for whole unit service inventory of some iPhone 6 Plus models may be substituted to an iPhone 6s Plus until the end of March 2018." MacRumors confirmed the memo's authenticity with multiple sources, who requested to remain anonymous due to their positions.

Apple doesn't specify which iPhone 6 Plus models are eligible, nor does it provide a reason for the substitution, but it likely relates to Apple's shortage of iPhone 6 Plus replacement batteries until late March to early April.

A previous internal document obtained by MacRumors states that Apple no longer manufactures the iPhone 6 Plus, so it likely has to reboot its production lines to replenish its supply of both the device itself and batteries, which would certainly take time. Apple did not respond to our request for comment.

It's possible that some customers who have visited a Genius Bar recently opted for a whole-device replacement rather than waiting until March or April for a new battery, which may have depleted the little supply of iPhone 6 Plus replacement units that Apple had, but this is only speculation on our part.

Apple and most Apple Authorized Service Providers can replace an iPhone's display, battery, speakers, rear camera, or Taptic Engine individually, while a defective Lightning connector, faulty logic board, and most other repairs are generally eligible for a whole-device replacement, our source said.

Your mileage may vary depending on the exact damage to your iPhone and the results of Apple's diagnostic tests. Apple Support can be reached on the web or by scheduling a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6sBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral)
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Apple Says iOS 11 is Now Installed on 65% of Devices

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 21:16
iOS 11 is now installed on 65 percent of iOS devices, according to new statistics Apple shared yesterday on its App Store support page for developers.

That's up six percentage points since December 5, when iOS 11 was installed on 59 percent of devices, and 13 percentage points since November 6, when iOS 11 was installed on 52 percent of devices.


28 percent of devices continue to use iOS 10, while earlier versions of iOS are installed on seven percent of iOS devices.

Since iOS 11 was released, its adoption rate has been quite a bit slower than iOS 10 adoption rates in 2017. In January of 2017, for example, iOS 10 was installed on 76 percent of iOS devices.

Apple has released several updates for iOS 11 since its September launch, but the operating system has also been plagued by bugs and security issues, which doesn't appear to have helped adoption rates.

iOS 11.2.1 and iOS 11.2.2, the two latest iOS 11 updates, were both released to address major bugs and vulnerabilities. iOS 11.2.1 fixed a HomeKit bug that allowed for unauthorized access to HomeKit accessories, while iOS 11.2.2 introduced mitigations for the Spectre vulnerability impacting all modern processors.

iOS 11.2, released in early December, did bring some major new features to the operating system, like Apple Pay Cash and 7.5W Wireless Charging, but even that update doesn't appear to have spurred a larger than normal growth in adoption rate.

Some iOS 11 users who were unhappy with the current version of iOS were also able to recently downgrade their operating systems when a brief oversight saw Apple signing older versions of iOS dating back to iOS 6.

Apple next week will introduce iOS 11.2.5, another update that introduces an important bug fix for an exploit that allows a malicious link to freeze the Messages app when received via text message.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Apple Hires a Few Dozen Employees From Silicon Valley Data Science Startup

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 20:18
Apple has hired several data scientists from Silicon Valley Data Science, a consulting firm that offers data engineering and data science services, reports Bloomberg.

A few dozen employees from Silicon Valley Data Science joined Apple in December and January to help the company better use its data to improve its advertising efforts. According to the Silicon Valley Data Science website, the startup helped businesses improve customer retention, increase engagement, improve conversion rates, develop new revenue-generating data products, streamline operations, and more.


At Apple, the team will work on ad-related analytics to bolster Apple's advertising efforts. One area of focus could be better optimizing App Store ads.

Founder and CEO of Silicon Valley Data Science Sanjay Mathur is one of the employees that has taken a position as Apple. His LinkedIn profile now says that he leads "strategy and analytics initiatives for a group at Apple."

Several other LinkedIn profiles from former Silicon Valley Data Science employees now list data scientist positions at Apple. The company's former CTO, for example, now works on "Algorithms," while the former Head of Data Science is now Apple's "Principal Data Scientist."

While the Silicon Valley Data Science website is still up, the company shut down in December and its services are no longer offered.

Tags: Apple ads, Apple acquisition
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Apple Watch Band From Casetify

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 20:02
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Casetify to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win one of the site's Apple Watch bands.

Casetify offers a wide range of Apple Watch bands, from high-quality steel mesh and leather to some that are customizable with your own design. All Casetify Apple Watch bands fit all Apple Watch models and are available in 38 and 42mm size options.

With the Saffiano Leather Band, priced at $52, you can choose from hundreds of designs offered by Casetify in all kinds of colors and patterns.


The Steel Mesh Band, priced at $82, mimics Apple's own Milanese Loop and it comes in multiple colors, including gold, rose gold, space gray, and the traditional silver.


Casetify's Double Tour, priced at $90, is similar to some of Apple's Hermès bands, but at a much more affordable price. It wraps twice around the wrist and comes with two different band lengths so you can also wear it as a single wrap to change things up.


The Magnetic Apple Watch Band is like the Leather Loop from Apple, with a simple wrap design that emulates the look and feel of genuine leather. It comes in multiple colors like blue, red, black, gray, and pink, and, unlike the Leather Loop, it is available for 38mm Apple Watch models.


The Nylon Fabric Apple Watch Band, priced at $40, looks a lot like Apple's Woven Nylon bands. It's lightweight, comfortable, and stylish, with solid and stripe color options available in black, white, and pink.


We are giving away five Apple Watch bands, with winners able to choose any band in any color from Casetify's collection. 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 (January 19) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on January 26. The winners will be chosen randomly on January 26 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, Casetify
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Beats Pill+ Bluetooth Speaker in White Discounted to $116 at Target and Amazon

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:58
The Beats Pill+ Bluetooth speaker has received a notable discount today at two retailers, with the White model specifically getting marked down to one of the lowest price points seen for the device. At both Target and Amazon you can get the Beats Pill+ in White for $116.99, which is over $30 lower than the speaker's more common sale price of $150. When it first launched in 2015, Apple sold the Beats Pill+ for $230.

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

The only other color that appears slightly lowered in price as well is Black, but on Target the color has sold out at the time of writing, and on Amazon every other color option is $149.00 and above (you'll have to add the speakers to your cart to see how much they are). Elsewhere at retailers like Best Buy, B&H Photo, Walmart, and Newegg the speaker sits at around a similar $149.00 price point, while Apple still sells it for $179.95.

In other Beats sales, Newegg's official eBay store has the Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones for $197.00, down from $299.00. Colors available include Gloss Black, Gloss White, Rose Gold, and Gold, and there is a limit to three headphones per customer.


The next best prices can be found at Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon, which all have the headphones for about $219.99. Like the Beats Pill+ deal, discounts on the Beats Solo3 headphones at these retailers are mostly focused on one color of the device, this time in Black.

For more discounts on Beats and other products -- including a UE Megaboom sale going on right now at Best Buy -- be sure to visit our Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of watchOS 4.2.2 to Developers

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:11
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.2.2 update to developers, 10 days after seeding the fourth beta and more than a month after releasing watchOS 4.2, an update that introduced support for Apple Pay Cash.

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


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

We don't yet know what features or improvements might be included in the watchOS 4.2.2 update, as no outward-facing changes were discovered in the first four betas.

It's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes, and if that's the case, we won't know the extent of the changes until it sees a public release complete with release notes. Should new features be discovered in the fifth watchOS 4.2.2 beta, we'll update this post.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 to Developers and Public Beta Testers [Update]

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:07
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update to developers, just a few days after seeding the fifth beta and more than a month after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, the second major update to the macOS High Sierra operating system.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.


It's not yet clear what improvements the macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update will bring, but it's likely to include bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2.

It does offer additional fixes for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that were discovered and publicized in early January and fixed initially in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2.

The update also fixes a bug that allows the App Store menu in the System Preferences to be unlocked with any password.

The previous macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update focused solely on security fixes and performance improvements, with no new features introduced, and a supplemental update introduced a fix for the Spectre vulnerability.

Update: Apple appears to have temporarily pulled the macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update, and it is no longer available for download from the developer site.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Apple Seeds Seventh Beta of iOS 11.2.5 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:06
Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2.5 update to developers, just a few days after seeding the sixth beta and more than a week after releasing iOS 11.2.2, an update designed to mitigate a serious hardware-based vulnerability called "Spectre."

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


Early iOS 11.2.5 betas introduced a new feature letting Siri play daily news podcasts from MPR, Fox News, CNN, or The Washington Post when queried about the current news, but the feature was officially released in iOS 11.2.2 ahead of the iOS 11.2.5 update.

iOS 11.2.5 appears to address a bug that allowed a malicious link to freeze the Messages app on iOS devices. As of the sixth beta, the link in question no longer affects the Messages app.

It's not clear what other new features, if any, will be introduced in the iOS 11.2.5. We didn't discover other noticeable outward-facing changes in the first six iOS 11.2.5 betas, so it's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes and security improvements aside from the Siri news update.

If that's the case, we may not know the extent of what's in the update until it sees a public release. Apple is supposed to be releasing an iCloud Messages feature that was pulled from the iOS 11 release, but there has been no indication of when we can expect iCloud Messages to be reintroduced.

Today's beta appears to be the final golden master version of iOS 11.2.5 that will be released to the public next week.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Def Leppard Now Available to Stream on Apple Music

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:23
Rock band Def Leppard has added its back catalog of music onto Apple Music and other streaming services today, following a years-long "power struggle" with Universal Records over the band's digital song rights.

Now, as Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott explained to TeamRock.com, new executives at Universal Records have thought differently about the band's streaming catalog, leading to the inking of a deal and the band's music launching today on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, and more. Def Leppard's music is also now available to purchase on iTunes.
“We tried to do a deal many years ago, but it didn't work out, so we just waited and bided our time.

“Record labels, or any kind of institution like this, keep the same name, but every 18 months you can have totally different people.

“We were just very fortunate that the people at Universal at the moment were very onside to doing this deal. We sat down with them and basically just batted the stuff back and forth until we all settled on what we thought was a fair deal.” With the launch on Apple Music, there is now a wealth of Def Leppard content for subscribers to listen to today. On the main "Browse" tab, the streaming service has a new banner for the band, and within that you'll find playlists, albums, live albums, deluxe editions, and other collections.

Apple Music also launched an exclusive "The Lost Session" EP today, which includes live versions of songs like "Rock On" and "Bringin' On the Heartbreak," all said to be from a recording session in 2006. Similar to other major artists, the service has curated playlists that showcase Def Leppard Essentials, Deep Cuts, Influences, and Inspired tracks, allowing users to browse some of the band's own songs as well as discover music that is similar.


On Def Leppard's new page, Apple Music gives a brief history of the band:
"Def Leppard were still teenagers when they joined the late '70s/early '80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. But while their peers like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest got heavier, Def Leppard forged a pop-friendly hybrid that opened the door for hair metal and elevated them to worldwide acclaim. Anthems like "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Photograph," and "Rock of Ages" retain their fist-pumping brilliance decades later, while "Love Bites" and "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" are some of the most potent power ballads in rock history.

Their enduring spirit is legendary, exemplified by drummer Rick Allen who lost his left arm in a 1984 auto accident but continues to record and tour with the band. Def Leppard's classic studio albums, playlists, and a lost 2006 session are now available to stream on Apple Music for the first time." Following its launch in 2015, Apple Music has had a few major artist holdouts that have eventually come to the platform, including Taylor Swift, Adele, and Kanye West. In the most recent update from September, Apple Music was reported to have 30 million subscribers, up from 27 million last June. Rival Spotify shared its own subscriber count growth earlier this month, stating it now has 70 million paid subscribers.

Tag: Apple Music
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Apple Tops Fortune's List of World's Most Admired Companies for 11th Consecutive Year

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:37
Apple has topped Fortune's annual list of the World's Most Admired Companies for the 11th consecutive year.

Apple finished ahead of Amazon, the runner-up for a second consecutive year, while Google's parent Alphabet, Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway, and coffee chain Starbucks rounded off the top five.

Apple topped the list in every category, such as innovation, quality of management, social responsibility, use of corporate assets, financial soundness, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.

The rankings were determined by some 3,900 executives, directors, and securities analysts who selected the 10 companies they admired most. More on Fortune's methodology:As we have in the past, Fortune collaborated with our partner Korn Ferry on this survey of corporate reputations. We began with a universe of about 1,500 candidates: the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue, along with non-U.S. companies in Fortune's Global 500 database that have revenues of $10 billion or more. We then winnowed the assortment to the highest-revenue companies in each industry, a total of 680 in 29 countries. The top-rated companies were picked from that pool of 680; the executives who voted work at the companies in that group.The complete list includes 50 companies, ranging from other tech giants like Microsoft at 7th and Facebook at 12th to iconic brands like Coca-Cola at 18th and McDonald's at 37th. On the upside, both Adidas and Lockheed Martin made it onto the list for the first time. Meanwhile, GE plummeted from 7th to 30th.

In terms of technology companies, Apple ranked sixth in Thomson Reuters' first-ever list of the Top 100 Global Technology Leaders.

Tag: fortune.com
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Facebook Doubling Down on Stories Format By Testing Ability to Post From Desktop

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:11
Facebook is testing a feature that will let users post stories on Mac and PC, in an effort to further make the ephemeral sharing feature stick on the platform. Once the test rolls out wide, Facebook users will be able to click an "Upload Photo" button to share pictures and videos to their story, or "Open Camera" to record a story with a webcam.

Images via TechCrunch
The test also includes "much more prominent placement" for stories on desktop, where they will now sit on top of the News Feed -- similar to their location on the iOS app -- instead of in the sidebar. TechCrunch reported that all of this amounts to a new effort in "doubling down" on the stories format, despite the fact that most users have responded critically to the addition, and its poor performance last year caused the company to slightly tweak the app's user interface in an attempt to boost usage.

While some normal users might remain hesitant to use stories, it's believed Facebook's introduction of stories onto its desktop website could lead to "brands, event promoters, and group admins" embracing the format more. For users that visit Facebook daily on the web, the company said that the site will remain easy to navigate.

“We are always working to ensure people can easily navigate and enjoy Facebook, regardless of how they connect,” a Facebook spokesperson tells me. “We are testing the option to create and share Stories from Facebook on desktop and are also testing moving the Stories tray from the top right corner to above News Feed, just like on mobile.” Previously you could only consume Stories on web that had to be created on mobile. For now, a small percentage of users will see this new posting ability and design. Facebook's push for stories is also centered around the company's preparation to launch more augmented reality features in the future. With stories launching on the web, Facebook's 24-hour post sharing format will now be able to sync across its iOS and Android apps, desktop site, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, making it easier for users to share one story on multiple platforms.

Tag: Facebook
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KGI: Larger-Sized iPhones Coming This Year Will Offset Weakening Demand for iPhone X in China

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 13:51
Weaker-than-expected demand for iPhone X in China has led market analysts to revise down shipments for the first half of 2018, but larger-sized iPhone models in the pipeline should see Apple grow its overall worldwide shipments year-on-year, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who shared the information in a new research report obtained by MacRumors.


We revise down 1Q18 and 2Q18 shipments of iPhone X to 18mn units and 13mn units, respectively, lower than market consensus of 20-30mn and 15-20mn units. We expect iPhone X will go to end of life (EOL) around mid-2018 and that total life cycle shipments will be around 62mn units, lower than our previous forecast of 80mn units.Two main reasons are given for the weaker-than-expected demand for iPhone X in China. First, in Q4 2017, consumers were willing to wait on average 10 months longer before replacing their existing phones, compared to shorter replacement cycles in the year-ago quarter. In Q4 2016, smartphone users upgraded after between 14 and 16 months of ownership, compared to between 24 and 26 months in Q4 2017. The numbers are said to be reflected in lower shipment forecasts by Chinese phone makers for the second half of last year.

The second big factor is said to be Chinese consumers' penchant for larger displays. According to Kuo, the notched design on the iPhone X isn't yet compatible with many popular Chinese apps, leading many customers to see it as offering less usable screen space than 5.5-inch iPhone Plus models. This confusion, coupled with the high price of iPhone X, is thought to have undercut replacement demand.

Despite the downward revisions in shipments for the first half of this year – and Kuo's moot point that Apple might end iPhone X sales in the summer – Kuo believes overall iPhone shipments will maintain year-on-year growth of 0-5 percent over the first half of 2018, mainly thanks to Apple's corrected supply chain share. However, Kuo thinks Apple's next product line-up will significantly improve competitiveness in the second half of the year, when Apple's "real super cycle" will kick in.

Kuo has previously predicted Apple will introduce three iPhones in 2018: an OLED model that measures in at 5.8 inches like the current iPhone X, an OLED model that measures in at 6.5 inches that will serve as a sort of "iPhone X Plus," and a 6.1-inch model that features an LCD display. Kuo believes all three models will be equipped with a full-screen notched design and TrueDepth camera system like the iPhone X.
We believe the addition of 6.5-inch OLED and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone models will boost Apple's market share in China, and that the US$650-750 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will make it easier for users worldwide to own a 3D sensing and full-screen design iPhone which offers an innovative user experience. For these reasons, Kuo believes iPhone shipments will grow 5-10 percent year on year over 2018. Kuo's estimate is better than the market consensus of overall smartphone shipment growth worldwide, which is expected to experience between a 5 percent decline and 5 percent growth. As a result, KGI retains a positive outlook for the iPhone supply chain in the second half of 2018.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi KuoBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Investigations into Apple's iPhone Battery Slowdowns Spread to Italy and South Korea

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:27
Italy and South Korea on Thursday joined a growing list of countries in which class-action lawsuits and government investigations into Apple's iPhone battery slowdowns are underway.

Italy's antitrust body revealed it had opened a probe into allegations that Apple used iOS updates to slow older smartphones and push clients into buying new models (via Reuters). The Italian watchdog said Apple had failed to inform customers that the updates might have a negative impact on the performance of their phones, suggesting the company might have infringed four separate articles of the national consumers' code.


In a first among the recent wave of battery probes, Samsung is also suspected of orchestrating "a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions," said the Italian watchdog. If found guilty, the two companies risk multi-million euro fines.

Meanwhile, a South Korean consumer group has filed a criminal complaint against Apple CEO Tim Cook, accusing his company of defrauding iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.

In its complaint, filed Thursday, the advocacy group Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty accused Apple of destruction of property and fraud. According to Reuters, the group also represents around 120 plaintiffs in a civil damage suit filed against Apple earlier in January.

Apple has already admitted that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns, and accepts that it should have provided a clearer explanation when it introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1.

Following an apology, Apple has implemented a battery replacement program that allows all customers with an iPhone 6, 6s, 7, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, and SE to replace their batteries for a reduced fee through the end of 2018.

Apple has also said it is introducing better battery monitoring features in a future iOS update, which will include the ability for customers to turn off the power management feature it introduced in iOS 10.2.1. However, despite efforts to rectify the issue, the company is now facing lawsuits, state investigations, or consumer group probes in countries including China, France, and the U.S. over the controversy.

Tags: Italy, South Korea
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'Everyone Can Code' Initiative Adopted in 70 Education Institutions Around Europe

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 09:35
Apple today announced that 70 colleges and universities across Europe have adopted its "Everyone Can Code" initiative, which aims to help people learn to create mobile apps for the App Store.

Education institutions in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, and Portugal are now offering Apple's App Development with Swift curriculum, which is a full-year coding course designed by Apple educators and engineers.

"Coding is an essential skill for today's workforce, and through Everyone Can Code, we're giving people around the world the power to learn, write and teach coding," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Since launching Everyone Can Code two years ago, we've seen growing excitement for the initiative from schools around the world, who are increasingly incorporating the curriculum into their classrooms."Institutions highlighted in Apple's press release include: the Technical University of Munich in Germany, which uses Swift and ARKit to teach business skills that are relevant to the local workplace; the publicly funded Mercantec Vocational College in Denmark, which will offer the course to its 3,000 students; and the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen in the Netherlands, where 34,000 students will be offered the chance to learn to code. The U.K.'s Harlow College will also offer the course to its 3,000 students, some of which are adults seeking to regain employment.
"At Harlow College, we recognize that learning to code will help students prepare for a technological future. It develops their approach to problem solving, logic and reasoning, as well as reinforcing key mathematical skills," said Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College. "Everyone Can Code demonstrates how any student can code by providing a unique and innovative environment for learning."Apple introduced its App Development with Swift curriculum in early 2017, with the materials available as a free download from the iBooks Store. At the time the initiative was introduced, six community college systems serving 500,000 students across the United States agreed to offer the Apple-designed course. Later in the year, the course expanded to 30 more community college systems in the U.S. before becoming available internationally.

Tags: App Store, Swift, App Development with Swift
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Apple Debuts Redesigned Web Interface for iOS and Mac Apps

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 01:13
Apple recently introduced an all new design for App Store apps on the web, with a new, cleaner interface that puts screenshots and critical information front and center.

You can see the new redesigned interface by accessing or searching for any iOS or Mac app while on the web. With iOS apps, you'll see a clear notice that you need to open up the App Store to download the app, while with a Mac app, you'll get a notice letting you know you need to open up the Mac App Store.


App listings include the app's name, icon, and screenshots, along with information like star rating, ranking, purchase price and whether or not there are in-app purchases.

While an app's description used to be the first thing that came up when accessing an app on the web, it's now listed underneath screenshots, which, as 9to5Mac points out, are iPhone X screenshots. App Store webpages also include a listing of what's new, select reviews, app size, and a list of related apps.


The change to the way apps are displayed on the web comes following the launch of iTunes 12.7, which entirely eliminated the built-in App Store for iOS apps. With no App Store in iTunes, iOS apps can only be downloaded directly on an iPhone or iPad, rather than downloaded on a Mac and then transferred to an iOS device.

When making the change, Apple didn't really alter the way apps were displayed on the web, which had the potential to be confusing. The new look is much more streamlined and makes it clearer how apps can be downloaded on an iOS device.

Because of the elimination of the App Store in iTunes 12.7, some users have decided to continue using iTunes 12.6.3, which does include App Store functionality. Apple made iTunes 12.6.3 available for its educational and business customers who need iTunes to install apps, but it is also available to the general public.

Tag: App Store
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iMac Pro Compared to 5K iMac and MacBook Pro

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 23:42
MacRumors videographer Dan recently got his hands on the new 8-core iMac Pro, and he decided to compare it to his other machines, a 2015 5K iMac and a 2016 MacBook Pro to see how it measures up when it comes to his everyday video editing workload.

In the video below, Dan takes a look at how well the iMac Pro performs on tasks like editing video, exporting video, and reading and writing data. If you're wondering whether the entry-level iMac Pro is worth the $5,000 price tag when you've already got hardware on hand like an iMac or a MacBook Pro, this video is worth checking out because it might help you make a decision.

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Dan compared the entry-level 8-core iMac Pro with a 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W processor to a late 2015 iMac with a 3.2GHz 6th-generation Intel processor, 24GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive, and AMD Radeon M390 graphics card and a late 2016 MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz 6th-generation Intel processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 455 graphics card.

Unsurprisingly, the iMac Pro was much faster when it came to benchmarks and performance tasks, and compared to the iMac and the MacBook Pro, the overall experience is smoother due to the sheer power of the processor and the GPU. It's ultra quick when editing video, even with multiple system intensive apps open, and it's quiet as a mouse with no loud fans.

The 5K iMac did win out slightly on video exporting time over the iMac Pro, but the iMac Pro wasn't far behind and it came out on top in all other tests.

Pricing on the iMac Pro starts at $4,999 for the entry-level 8-core model with 32GB 2666 MHz ECC RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card, but goes up to $13,199 depending on the upgrades you choose. Even at $4,999 it's a couple thousand dollars more expensive than an iMac or a MacBook Pro, but it has the potential to be fully worth the asking price if you do system intensive creative work like video editing.

For more details on the iMac Pro, make sure to check out our iMac Pro roundup.
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