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Apple Details Products Eligible for Upcoming Sales Tax Holidays in Nine US States

Mon, 07/25/2022 - 21:02

Various U.S. states have sales tax holidays approaching. Usually offered shortly before students return to school in the fall, these are opportunities for consumers to but certain products without paying the usual sales tax. In fact, nine U.S. states offer a break from the usual expense in the coming days and weeks. Apple recently detailed which of its products are eligible for these sales tax holidays in each state.

Which Apple Products May Qualify for the Sales Tax Holiday?

Detailed product eligibility for sales tax holidays differs from state to state. Depending on where you’re shopping, you might be able to purchase Macs, iPads, or iPhones without having to pay any sales tax. Some peripherals, such as the Studio Display and Apple Pencil, are also eligible in some states.

On its landing page dedicated to the information, Apple offers information about which U.S. states offer sales tax holidays and when they run. For example, Florida offers its break from sales taxes from July 25 through August 7. Tennessee shoppers get a break from July 29 through July 31, while Massachusetts has its own tax holiday August 13 and 14.

Links for each state will let you know which products are eligible for tax savings. Apple also notes that the tax savings on orders may not appear at purchase time, but will be reflected on the final receipt.

Save Even More With Apple’s Back to School Promotions

Those shopping for school can cash in on even more savings besides the sales tax holiday. On select purchases, shoppers can score an Apple gift card worth up to $150. On top of that, the Cupertino-based tech giant offers significant discounts on Macs, iPads and more to teachers, faculty and staff of educational institutions; students; and their parents.

Beyond those offers, Apple is also promoting its AppleCare+ coverage at rates discounted for educational purchases. Some products will also come with a free three-month trial to Apple TV+ streaming service.

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NFL+ Streaming Service Arrives to Smartphones and Tablets, ‘Sunday Ticket’ Still on the Table for Apple

Mon, 07/25/2022 - 20:13

Today the NFL has officially announced its new NFL+ streaming service, which arrives at a time when Apple is still trying to strike a deal for NFL Sunday Ticket. The new NFL+ streaming service offers access to NFL games exclusively on iPhone and iPad. However, there are some caveats.

NFL+ Comes to iPhone and iPad

Currently, what is being offered through NFL+ was originally an offer that was exclusive between the NFL and Verizon. Verizon had exclusive access to the mobile streaming rights of NFL games.

The original deal between the two companies allowed users to stream NFL games on the iPhone through the Yahoo! Sports app. Now that the contract has expired, the NFL is implementing its own streaming service.

NFL+ arrives to users at $4.99 per month or $39.99 annually. The service offers access to local and nationally broadcast games on phones and tablets. Users will be able to tune into local and primetime NFL games during the 2022-2023 season via iPhone or iPad.

Additionally, users can also upgrade to NFL+ Premium for $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year. NFL+ Premium has all of the features of NFL+, as well as full and condensed game replays and the All-22 Coaches Film.

NFL+ includes:

  • Live local and primetime games on mobile and tablet devices
  • Live out-of-market preseason games across all devices
  • Live game audio (home, away and national calls) for every game of the season
  • NFL library programming on-demand, ad-free

The NFL+ Premium subscription includes:

  • All Features of NFL+
  • Full game replays across devices (ad-free)
  • Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
  • Coaches Film (ad-free)

Those with an interest in the service should be aware that NFL+ only has support for smartphones and tablets. This means users will not be able to stream games on a smart TV or any device that is not a smartphone or tablet.

What this Means for ‘Sunday Ticket’

With Apple trying to acquire NFL Sunday Ticket, this is likely going to make little difference for Cupertino. NFL+ is for streaming NFL games to mobile devices, whereas NFL Sunday Ticket is an out-of-market sports package broadcasting regular season NFL games every week.

In essence, NFL Sunday Ticket allows users to watch any out-of-market NFL game, while NFL+ provides local and primetime NFL games from a smartphone or tablet.

Currently, reports indicate that Apple is likely the frontrunner for rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. The NFL’s deal with DirecTV is set to expire after the 2022-2023 season. In a report this weekend, The New York Times indicated that Google has also offered a bid toward NFL Sunday Ticket rights. However, Cupertino is “considered the frontrunner” right now.

Apple has made winning the package a priority. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has met with league officials and influential team owners like Jerry Jones, who owns the Dallas Cowboys, and the Kraft family, who own the New England Patriots, according to three people familiar with the process. Apple declined to comment.

With the current rights to NFL Sunday Ticket not ending until 2023, it is likely the NFL will choose who get the rights to Sunday Ticket by the fall.

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Netflix for iPhone and iPad Adds External Subscription Link

Mon, 07/25/2022 - 20:04

In September 2021, Apple agreed to begin offering a way for certain types of apps to bypass App Store payments. So-called “reader” apps, the Cupertino-based company said, would be able to offer consumers an external subscription or account management link. That new provision has finally come alive, with Netflix offering an external subscription link in its iPhone and iPad app.

Appeasing the Japanese Fair Trade Commission

The move came to end a Japanese government investigation into Apple’s business practices. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission began investigating the iPhone maker in 2016 for possible violations of the country’s Antimonopoly Act. Specifically, it suspected Cupertino was “restricting business activities, such as selling a digital contents, etc, of enterprises that distribute applications.”

To end the investigation, Apple pledged to add the ability for reader apps to offer external links for subscription and account management purposes. Such apps would include the likes of Netflix, Kindle, Spotify and Amazon Prime Video.

Netflix Adds Its External Subscription Link

Since 2018, there’s been no means to subscribe to Netflix from its iPhone or iPad apps. Not wishing to continue paying Apple’s App Store commissions, it removed in-app subscriptions for new subscribers. The company tried redirecting users to its website in Safari, but Apple made that difficult.

Netflix External Subscription Link

With the latest app update, new subscribers can tap a button to visit Netflix’s website to sign up for the streaming service. This uses the new iOS API for reader apps introduced in iOS 15. Upon tapping the button, you’ll see a message advising you that you’re about to go to an external website. The notice also informs you the transaction won’t be Apple’s responsibility.

Any accounts or purchases made outside of this app will be managed by the developer “Netflix.” Your App Store account, stored payment methods, and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of transactions made with this developer.

Once you tap through, Safari (or your chosen default web browser) opens a Netflix landing page. From there, you can sign into your account or register a new one. You’ll be able to choose a payment method and subscribe to a Netflix plan.

Other apps may soon begin offering their own external links. This is, of course, different from the allowance Cupertino has been forced to offer for third-party payment methods in countries such as the Netherlands and South Korea.

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Supply Chain Report Likely Confirms 6GB RAM Across All iPhone 14 Models

Mon, 07/25/2022 - 19:39

New supply chain rumors provide further evidence that the iPhone 14 will have 6GB of RAM across all models. Additionally, supply chain details also indicate that the iPhone 14 Pro models will implement faster memory technology.

At the start of June, reports began to arrive suggesting that all iPhone 14 models would come with 6GB of RAM. A report from TrendForce indicated that the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max would receive 6GB LPDDR4X RAM, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max would receive 6GB LPDDR5 RAM.

Supply Chain Shows iPhone 14 Has 6GB RAM Across All Models

Reports from Digitimes Asia seems to further confirm these rumors, and further adds that memory vendors Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Micron Technology will likely see increased orders from Cupertino in thanks to the RAM upgrade. Currently, SK Hynix is the main RAM supplier for the iPhone 13. The company also supplied the majority of the iPhone 12 family.

The report from Digitimes seems to confirm the June reports issued by TrendForce. Currently, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini each implement 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max utilize 6GB LPDDR4X RAM primarily from SK Hynix. Right now, it is not clear which vendor will serve as primary RAM supplier for the iPhone 14 family.

While Cupertino securing three providers for its RAM spells good news in that department, other issues may still cause problems with iPhone 14 production. Rumors have been circulating back and forth on whether Apple actually cut its iPhone 14 order by 10%. Analyst Ming-Chi Quo has doubts about this cut, citing supply chain surveys and previous responses from Cupertino in the past.

While Apple has also secured production for iPhone 14 display panels, new COVID-19 restrictions in China may continue to complicate production. Today Chinese authorities ordered companies in Shenzhen to operate in a “closed loop” system. This includes iPhone manufacturer Foxconn.

Right now, companies in Shenzhen must adhere to the closed loop system for 7 days. Foxconn says that operations in Shenzhen remain normal.

While all signs so far point toward the iPhone 14 production steadying, there may still be some small technical issues Cupertino has to work around. Such as the case with the SSD swap in base model MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs this year.

Many are expecting a Sept. 13 date for the iPhone 14 keynote.

Do you plan on buying an iPhone 14 when it is released? Let us know in the comments.

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Gurman: High-End Apple Watch 8 Display Will be Bigger Than the Regular Model

Mon, 07/25/2022 - 19:13

Bloomberg analyst Mark Gurman predicts the high-end Apple Watch 8 will have a bigger display than the regular model. It will also sport a shape derived from its current rectangular form factor.

Apple Watch 8 Display Will Be Bigger

In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman reported that the Apple Watch 8 will be Cupertino’s more exciting product this year. Gurman reiterated his previous claims about the new Apple Watch. These include the high-end Apple Watch “Pro” sporting a larger display and longer battery life. He also previously mentioned the body-temperature feature of the new Watch.

Aside from those mentioned features, Gurman added little in the way of new information. He reiterated that the high-end Apple Watch 8 model will be a lot bigger than the regular model. Its screen will be 7% larger than the regular Apple Watch 8 model.

In terms of form factor, Gurman said that the high-end Apple Watch 8 will sport a form factor derived from the same rectangular shape of the Apple Watch 7. He noted that this shape won’t be circular, as some had predicted. Additionally, this Apple Watch won’t include the rumored flat sides. And since the Apple Watch will be marketed as ruggedized, Apple will be using a formulation of titanium for the Apple Watch 8 Pro.

So finally, Apple will be introducing a new design of the Apple Watch. The tech giant hasn’t offered a new Apple Watch design since 2018.

Some Health Features Will Have to Wait, Though

Now for the new health features of the Apple Watch 8, Gurman claims that the temperature feature will be available. Unfortunately, the blood pressure technology won’t be coming until 2025. For those expecting the glucose feature, Gurman doesn’t predict that coming available until near the end of the decade.

Still, Apple seems determined to further its presence in the health space. And the Apple Watch will be its main product to make this happen. But new features will take some time to develop and perfect, and there’s nothing wrong with making it happen gradually.

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Chinese iPhone Maker Foxconn in ‘Closed Loop’ Operation Again Due to COVID-19

Mon, 07/25/2022 - 19:00

Chinese authorities have ordered iPhone maker Foxconn and other companies in the Shenzhen area to operate in a “closed loop” system. Unlike previous COVID-19 lockdowns, this restriction will last for only seven days, initially.

Foxconn Implements 7-Day ‘Closed-Loop’ System

Bloomberg reported that authorities asked Foxconn and other companies to return to a “closed loop” system. In this operating mode, assigned workers live in a dormitory accommodation inside the company’s facilities. The system also prohibits workers from physical contact with anyone outside of the facilities, including family members.

According to the report, manufactures must implement the “closed loop” system for only seven days, at least initially. The smaller-scale lockdown period is due to the waning infection rate of the virus. Globally, countries have started to live with the presence of the coronavirus, China remains steadfast in its goal to totally eradicate COVID-19 within its borders.

Chinese iPhone Maker Maintains Normal Operation

Hence, the Chinese government implemented a lockdown, albeit shorter this time. The thing is, this new lockdown might be extended later on. And that worries companies that were asked to implement the seven-day lockdown. It is but natural for them to fear that it might affect production.

The city government has asked its 100 biggest companies, including automaker BYD Co., networking giants Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., and drone-maker DJI to restrict operations only to employees living within a closed loop or bubble, with little to no contact with people beyond their plants or offices. Authorities also asked companies to reduce unnecessary interaction between non-manufacturing staff and factory floors to reduce infection, according to a Shenzhen government notice seen by Bloomberg News.

To cushion the reactions to the lockdown,  Foxconn said that the operations in the Shenzhen sites remained normal.

It’s too early to tell whether these new lockdowns will affect Apple’s supply of iPhone 14. Previous lockdowns may have already impacted production schedules for the iPhone 14 Max. However, that happened during earlier lockdowns that lasted longer than seven days. The latest restriction could affect the production of the iPhone 14, but not as badly as prior lockdowns.

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Apple’s 3Q22 Earnings Report: What We Anticipate

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 21:37

Apple’s third quarter for 2022 closed June 28, and its latest earnings call is coming up. On July 28, the Cupertino-based tech giant will report on how well it fared ongoing COVID-19 disruptions, consumer spending trends, and supply chain concerns. Let’s take a look at what we expect from Apple’s 3Q22 earnings report.

Apple Gave No Revenue Guidance, but Warned of Potential Downturn

During its last earnings call, Cupertino once again declined to offer any revenue guidance for 3Q22. This has become the company’s norm since the COVID-19 pandemic began, so we weren’t surprised. Apple did warn investors and analysts, however, that supply chain constraints could cause a $4 billion to $8 billion revenue shortfall.

Much of this was owed to the zero-tolerance policies in China related to the spread of COVID-19. Major tech manufacturing hubs in China had to weather lockdowns and factory closures for much of the quarter. Thanks to Foxconn’s and others’ abilities to continue operations under a “closed loop” system, impact for Apple was minimized.

Despite the lack of revenue guidance, Cupertino also said it expects gross margins between 41.5% and 42.5%, with operating expenses running between $11.1 billion and $11.3 billion.

Analysts Expect Apple’s 3Q22 Earnings Report to Match or Outperform Expectations

In spite of all the struggles the tech industry has experienced, analysts remain optimistic about Apple’s 3Q22 performance. Many expect Cupertino to either match or outperform expectations, even though consumer spending has decreased and supply chain woes continued.

Indications are showing continued strong demand for the entire iPhone 13 lineup. Additionally, this earnings report is from the first full quarter since Apple began shipping the Mac Studio, Apple Studio Display and third-generation iPhone SE. On top of that, Cupertino started shipping a new MacBook Pro with the M2 chip during that same quarter.

With all of that in mind, analysts are looking for Apple to report roughly $82 billion in revenue for 3Q22 (via AppleInsider). June quarter earnings-per-share should be in the neighborhood of $1.16, they predict. Only Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty expects less. In her final note covering Apple, Huberty states an expectation of $80.6 billion in revenue.

Apple’s 3Q22 earnings call is scheduled for July 28 at 2 p.m. Pacific time, after the markets close.

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Apple Adds ‘Test Alerts’ Toggle to iPhone In Case You Really Want More Annoying Blasts of Sound

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 20:41

In the U.S., government agencies occasionally test the emergency broadcast system. This is the same system used to blast AMBER and public safety alerts out of your iPhone speakers. While we’ve been able to disable the real thing on our iPhones for a while already, test alerts still came through. Apple’s fixed that in just-released iOS 15.6 as well as the third iOS 16 beta. A new “Test Alerts” toggle lets you opt in to these annoying blasts of sound.

Finding the ‘Test Alerts’ Toggle on Your iPhone

You can find the new toggle by going to Settings > Notifications > Government Alerts. This, of course, only applies to iOS 15.6 and newer, including the third iOS 16 developer beta. The new switch is also included in the iOS 16 public beta. In the same place, you’ll find toggles and settings for AMBER Alerts, emergency alerts and public safety alerts.

Configure Emergency Alerts on iOS 16

These test alerts, once in a great while, can be somewhat amusing. In January, the state of Missouri sent out an alert that should have just been a test. Ultimately, it went out as a “real” alert message calling attention to a purple and green 1978 Dodge 3700GT in Gotham City, Missouri.

In that case, if the city mentioned wasn’t quite enough to make most of us know it was a fake, there was the vehicle description and license plate. DC Comics fans would quickly recognize the description of Dodge driven by the Joker’s henchmen in the 1989 Batman film.

Emergency and Government Alerts on Your iPhone

For years, iPhone users in the U.S. have been sometimes stymied by changes to how iOS handles emergency alerts. I distinctly remember the early days after the feature was first introduced, when there was no way to opt out. If officials issued an AMBER Alert near you, the blast of noise from your iPhone could wake the dead.

Today, however, all of these alerts can be individually configured. You can choose to allow AMBER Alerts, emergency alerts or public safety alerts. The latest toggle, disabled by default, allows you to take part in the tests agencies occasionally conduct of the system.

If you aren’t running iOS 15.6 or later, there is another way to disable the test alerts. However, this requires dialing a certain sequence of numbers in the Phone app.

iOS 15.3 disable test alerts

You can also, incidentally, choose whether the Silent Mode button on your iPhone has any effect on emergency alerts. If you leave the toggle turned on, the raucous alarm will blast forth even if you have everything else silenced.

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Lawmakers Want Senate Vote on Big Tech Antitrust Legislation Before August Recess

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 19:41

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are calling on the Senate to quickly take a vote on antitrust bills. These bills are aimed at reining in the power of tech giants such as Apple, Google and others. The progressive members of Congress want the Senate to vote on the Big Tech legislation before an upcoming months-long recess.

Reining in Apple, Amazon, Meta and Google

Two bills are in their sights, the American Choice and Innovation Act and the Open Markets Act. Under the first piece of legislation, Big Tech companies wouldn’t be able to favor their own products and services. At the same time, the Open Markets Act would change the landscape of how app stores and marketplaces are regulated.

In a letter from members (PDF) of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, lawmakers from the House of Representatives have called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to call a vote on the bills. Their goal is to see the Senate vote on both pieces of legislation before that body recesses from August 8 until September 5.

The bills in question followed a 16-month investigation into anticompetitive practices in Big Tech. Through that study, the Congressional committee found:

that a handful of dominant online platforms have become gatekeepers over digital markets, controlling other businesses’ access to customers and the tools that those businesses use to serve their customers. The Antitrust Subcommittee further discovered that these platforms routinely abuse their gatekeeper power to hurt rivals and destroy competition—thereby harming consumers, the free press, innovation, and the American economy.

A similar subcommittee in the Senate found the same thing, and developed legislation to “address the persistent competition issues plaguing digital markets.” Now, the caucus says, Senators need to vote on the bills so they can head to the House of Representatives.

The bills’ sponsors have worked closely with other Members to address concerns, answer questions, and ensure the legislation is narrowly tailored. As a result of this work, these bills are ready for a vote and we urge you to schedule the vote on them in the next few weeks.

Big Tech Antitrust Legislation Could Change Apple’s App Store

One of the biggest issues critics have found with the Open Markets Act is its unintended consequences. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) recently warned the bill could decrease consumer choice, rather than increasing it.

ITIF’s report also suggests the effects of the bill would decrease the quality of apps and increase consumer costs. It also points out Apple’s App Store clearly has solid competitive constraints, since the average price for software on the marketplace remains less than $1. As a refresher, Steve Jobs promise when the App Store first launched was for most apps to cost less than $9.99.

It’s now up to the Senate to decide whether to advance the legislation before its next recess or not. Since both bills have the Biden administration’s full support, passage in the Senate would likely be followed by rapid approval votes in the House. Pres. Biden would likely sign both into law very quickly, probably before the end of 2022.

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Apple Expands Suppliers, SG Micro Might Supply Power Management Components for High-End iPhone 14

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 19:06

Apple’s list of suppliers expanded recently with the addition of SG Micro. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that components from SG Micro have passed Apple’s quality certification. Hence, the company might supply essential components for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 14.

Apple Expands Suppliers with the Addition of SG Micro

In a series of tweets, Kuo said that the SG Micro components will be used for the high-end iPhone 14 models. Since the company apparently received the quality certification, it means that it could supply components for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

A quick look at the company’s overview on its website revealed that SG Micro specializes in integrated circuitry. So, it’s most likely that the company will supply the power management integrated circuitry of the high-end iPhone 14 models. Kuo mentioned that this will be the first time that SG Micro has supplied components for higher-end products to Apple. This proves the company has reached the Tier-1 level required by high-end consumer electronics, such as the iPhone 14.

SG Micro To Help Apple’s Supply Chain Grow

For Apple, this would mean a steady supply of components for the high-end models. It will also serve as a safety net should there will be more shortages of component supplies in the future. Kuo predicts Apple’s supply chain will continue to grow. The analyst earlier said that although some iPhone 14 components such as display panels are experiencing supply chain issues, those should not affect the production of the iPhone 14.

All that being said, if the business relationship does materialize, it looks like a win-win situation for both companies. Apple will have a steady supply of an essential iPhone component while driving profit and revenue for SG Micro. It seems Apple may have nothing to worry about with the iPhone 14 models expected in September.

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Apple Registers Under Indonesian Law That Might Threaten Privacy of iCloud Subscribers

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 18:54

Apple, together with other tech giants, have registered under an Indonesian law that critics claim threatens freedom of expression in the country. As Apple complies with the new Indonesian law, it might force the company to share the personal data of iCloud users in Indonesia.

Apple Signs Up with New Indonesian Law That Could Threaten Privacy of iCloud Users

According to the Financial Times, tech giants such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and Spotify have registered for a license with the Indonesian communications ministry. Social media platforms including Twitter, Meta, and TikTok also did the same.

The world’s biggest tech groups have signed up to a law in Indonesia that campaigners warn threatens freedom of expression in south-east Asia’s largest economy, in the latest compromise by the sector to retain access to an important market. Social media companies including Meta, TikTok, and Twitter have registered for a license at the Indonesian communications ministry under which they might have to censor content and hand over users’ data. Some registered only hours before a deadline at midnight on Wednesday.

By signing up under the Indonesian law, the tech giants may have to censor content and share users’ data with the government.

Apple and Tech Giants Beat the Deadline to Signify Compliance

Looking back, the Indonesian government released the new rules in November 2020. The government required companies to register with the government. The deadline to register was July 20. Once registered, the new rules allows Indonesian authorities to order companies to take down content that disturbs “society” or “public order.” The rules also allowed the government to demand access to companies’ data. And as mentioned, that includes the personal data of Apple iCloud subscribers.

Apple’s Continuing Dilemma

The move brings yet another dilemma for Apple. Again, Apple is compelled to follow a country’s law despite contradicting its established operational policy. It would have been easier if the company could just pull out of the country. But then again, it has to consider the consequences of losing its user base in the country. This is especially true for Indonesia, southeast Asia’s largest economy. Apple will certainly not want to lose its users in such a big country as Indonesia.

It would have been a different story if Apple and other tech giants made a firm stand against the new rules. But this did not happen. What’s left for Apple is to hope that no other countries will follow Indonesia’s lead in threatening their citizens’ privacy.

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Review: ‘Best Foot Forward’ for Apple TV+ Brings Charm to Middle School Experiences

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 18:36

Today we’re going to review Best Foot Forward, which is now streaming on Apple TV+. Public school can often be a challenge for everyone. Children can be mean, classes can be difficult, and sometimes teachers often seem like they’re speaking a different language. However, for Josh, a child with a prosthetic leg, he’s looking to make the most of his middle school experience.

For younger audiences, Best Foot Forward will likely delivery big laughs for those going through the same experiences. But what about adults? In many ways, the show can still deliver plenty of entertainment. The series has a lot of heart, and many of the experiences Josh goes through may lure in those looking for something more lighthearted.

‘Best Foot Forward’ Delivers Family-Charm for Apple TV+

Best Foot Forward is based off the book Just Don’t Fall by real-life Paralympic athlete, author, motivational speaker and comedian Josh Sundquist. The story follows 12-year-old Josh Dubin (Marmino) as he moves from homeschool to public school. With an eagerness to get the full experience of public school, Josh also faces a series of challenges.

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As mentioned in previous reviews, comedy is my wheelhouse. A well-timed joke or excellent comedic timing is almost always going to immediately win me over. Of course, I like blue humor as much as anyone, but for me, writing a joke that can make both a child and an adult laugh is truly some of the hardest comedy to write. In this regard, I think Best Foot Forward delivers.

The tone of the show reminds me a lot of contemporary comedic writing combined with a classic live-action Nickelodeon show. The delivery of jokes is quick and with a sharp-witted absurdity that reminds me a bit of 30 Rock. Yet the overall delivery of each episode feels more like Boy Meets World.

Looking at the Cast, a Review

In terms of the characters, many of their challenges will likely resonate with children and adults alike. Josh wanting to have his fellow students not treat him differently while Kyle does his best to be noticed are likely feelings and experiences everyone who has gone to school went through.

In terms of the actors, young Logan Marmino deserves major kudos for delivering such high quality acting in his first major role. It’s practically impossible not to like Marmino as he portrays Josh. His enthusiasm not just for the character but for acting really shines through, and he possesses a charisma that radiates through each episode.

Hopefully this is but the start of a bright career for Marmino, though the rest of the cast also carries their own charms. Fans of Suite Life of Zack and Cody will be delighted to see Brian Stepanek as the hilariously-oblivious Principal Keifer. Those with a keen eye may also recognize the character Matthew, played by actor Roger Dale Floyd, who has made appearances on The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.

Another standout would be Joy Soprano as Maggie, Josh’s Mom. Like some mothers, Maggie is overly protective of her son, often serving as the overly concerned voice of reason when Josh finds himself overly ambitious. As the series progresses, she grows more supportive of Josh’s decisions.

Additionally, Stephen Schneider does an excellent job as Gary. Acting as a balance for the overly-protective Maggie, Gary often offers encouragement to Josh as he gains valuable life experiences. Suprano and Schneider do an excellent job playing off of each other, providing a perfect balance for their roles in Josh’s life.

Helping Others

According to an article for The New York Times, Muse Entertainment was intent on finding an actor who shares the Josh’s disability. Additionally, the company also made sure to hire behind-the-camera crew with disabilities. This may possibly be due to GLAAD research from 2021 finding that the majority of characters with disabilities are played by non-disabled actors.

I feel Best Foot Forward does an excellent job taking a look at the challenges one can face in public school while still keeping a positive vibe to the show. Whereas students in a public school can often be a bit meaner than Best Foot Forward typically portrays, it allows the show to focus on experiences that can relate to a larger audience.

The episode “Clubs” is a great example of this. Josh finds himself joining far too many clubs at school, and realizes that he has to choose which activities are actually most important to him. As Josh realizes that he would rather play B&B with his friends than run himself rampant, it can be an important lesson for both young and old that spending time with those you care about is important.

The Final Word for ‘Best Foot Forward’ on Apple TV+

There’s a lot of fun to be had within each episode of Best Foot Forward, and, like any good family-friendly show, issues find presence and resolutions within each episode. Situations present themselves, conflict happens, a resolution is discovered, and lessons are learned. Best Foot Forward doesn’t deviate too far from the family-friendly formula, though the characters and jokes means it doesn’t need to.

BestFootForwardIntext2July2022

Ultimately, Best Foot Forward can deliver for both adults and children. Younger audiences should be able to follow along with the story and find plenty of laughs, whereas there is also enough solid material for adults to enjoy as well. While this may not be a show that older audiences may binge-watch by themselves, those that are willing to take a leap will find themselves in an ambitious world.

For those with children going through middle school themselves, Best Foot Forward serves as a great option for family night. For adults that enjoy family comedy on their own, the series carries enough charm for anyone to find enjoyable.

Best Foot Forward is now streaming on Apple TV+.

What do you think about Best Foot Forward? Is there anything you’re watching on Apple TV+? Let us know in the comments.

Instagram Delivers New Features for Reels, Will Soon Replace Short Videos

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 17:35

Instagram’s parent company Meta has announced that the popular social media service will be introducing new features that focus on creating, collaborating and sharing reels. Over time, all short video posts will become reels.

For Instagram, reels are Instagram’s solution to TikTok videos. Typically short and shot vertically, reels are different from typical Instagram videos in that creators gain access to a music library, additional filters and editing tools. Other users may also include your audio in their videos and users can also create a Remix featuring your real.

Instagram Brings New Features to Reels

Now, Meta is expanding the tools for Remix to provide more features for users and content creators. This includes Remix for photos, Expanded Remix layouts and the ability to add your own clips.

Remix for photos will allow users to remix any and all public photos. As photos are integral to Instagram, users will have “limitless inspiration to create your own unique reel”.

For Expanded Remix layouts, users will have access to a green screen as well as horizontal and vertical split screen for recording. Users will have picture-in-picture to record reaction videos or add video commentary to existing reels.

Last of the enchanted remix features includes the ability to add your own clip, which allows users to add their clip at the end of the original to create a sequential recording. This is ideal for reaction videos, such as Khaby Lame reaction vids on TikTok.

Additionally, Instagram will now include templates and a new Dual feature for reels. Templates allows users to easily create reels by preloading audio and clip placeholders. Users will be able to simply add their own photos or video clips. Template idea can be found by tapping the camera icon on the Reels tab.

Reels Are the New Norm InstagramReelsUpdateInTextJuly2022

The new Dual features allows users to record content and user reaction at the same. Users will be able to record using their front and back cameras at the same time.

Lastly, in the coming weeks Instagram plans to make most video posts reels. Any video less than 15 minutes will be shared as reels. Any video posted prior to this change will remain the same.

Anyone with a public account will have their reels eligible to be recommended and seen by more people on the social media platform. This currently applies to all videos shorten than 90 seconds. Those with private accounts will have their reels shown solely to their followers. Reels will also be consolidated to the Reels tab on profiles.

With Instagram recently announcing that it was rolling out new mapping features similar to old-school FourSquare, it seems the company is really trying to compete heavily with TikTok.

Personally, the Dual feature seems the most interesting. While running both front and back-facing cameras isn’t something people really needed until social media became a thing, it’s interesting that this hasn’t been an option across platforms for longer. Honestly, it seems it should have been a feature on camera apps since the front-facing camera arrived to phones.

What do you think of the new Instagram reels? What do you think about most vids turning into reels? Let us know in the comments.

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Dialga Returns to Raids in ‘Pokémon GO’, How to Defeat the Legendary and Other Events

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 16:45

Trainers! Dialga is returning to Pokémon GO raids! Starting today, users can take on Dialga in five star raids. Here’s how you can beat them, along with other news arriving to Pokémon GO.

Making its debut in generation IV, this temporal Pokémon will be available for players to battle and catch from July 22 at 10 a.m. local time to July 31 10 a.m. local time. Additionally, July 27 will have a raid hour featuring Dialga. These raids will occur between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time.

Dialga Returns to Five-Star Raids in ‘Pokémon GO’

While many players complain about Dialga getting nerfed, it is still a rather strong legendary to have on your team. As a Steel/Dragon type, Dialga has a lot of resistance, with only weaknesses toward fighting and ground. It is also a Dragon that isn’t weak to Dragon moves, giving it another advantage. With a max CP of 4038 and 275 base attack stat, Dialga can be a beast in some areas.

However, a weak move pool means many players may leave it on the sidelines. It can make for a decent raider, and Dialga has a fantastic shiny.

DialgaComparisonInTextJuly2022

With Dialga having resistance to ten types, players who battle the legendary beast are going to need to stick to Fighting and Ground types to take Dialga down.

Of course, for anything weak against fighting, Machamp should be your main go to. Counter and Dynamic Punch should have no issues helping take down Dialga. For Mega Evolutions, Steelix will help boost ground type moves, but doesn’t have the best move set. On the other hand, Mega Lopunny can help boost fighting type moves, and has its own set of fighting moves to help take down Dialga.

Here’s the best counters and their moves for Dialga:

  • Machamp: Counter and Dynamic Punch
  • Lucario: Counter and Aura Sphere
  • Conkeldurr: Counter and Dynamic Punch
  • Mega Lopunny: Low Kick and Focus Blast
  • Groudon: Mud Shot and Earthquake

Additionally, watch out for Dialga’s move pool. Again, with it being a Dragon and Steel-type, expect an attack of each type from the legendary boss. Though its move pool may be small, it can still pack a punch. Dialga can have Dragon Breath (Dragon) or Metal Claw (Steel) for fast attacks, and Draco Meteor (Dragon), Iron Head (Steel) or Thunder (Electric) for charged attacks.

Ultimately, for Dialga raids in Pokémon GO you will probably want at least a team of four to five level 40 players, especially is you are raiding remotely. Lower level players will obviously need more trainers and make sure they have the best counters prepared. Higher level players may be able to duo or solo these raids, though be careful when using Remote Passes.

It’s also important to remember that Dialga is weather boosted during Ice and Wind. This means Dialga will be stronger during these weather conditions, though Trainers will also catch a higher CP Dialga.

For those looking for hundos (perfect IVs), 2307 is the hundo for normal weather, and 2884 for weather boost.

More News for ‘Pokémon GO’

Additionally, Pokémon GO Fest: Seattle is this weekend. While the majority of the action will be in Seattle, WA, trainers around the world will also get to participate in a global challenge. If successful, players will get upgraded bonuses during the upcoming Hisuian Discoveries event.

For worldwide players, Slowpoke, Krabby, Staryu, Qwilfish, Mantine and Clamperl will be appearing more frequently in the wild during the GO Fest challenge. There will also be a collection challenge for global trainers, which will offer the regional exclusive Panpour as a reward. Unfortunately, Panpour may only be shiny for those participating in the Seattle event.

Additionally, the Hisuian event runs from Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. to Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. local time. During this event, Hisuian Growlithe, Hisuian Qwilfish and Hisuian Sneasel will all make their debut during this event. Pokémon native to the Hisuian region, such as Zubat, Onix and Eevee, will also appear more frequently in the wild.

Unfortunately, it seems Hisuian Growlith and Hisuian Sneasel will only be in 7K eggs, so be sure to have a lot of incubators.

Of course, with the arrival of both the Hisuian event and the return of Dialga, many are expecting that the bonus event may also include Origin Forme Dialga. While this is just a rumor, Niantic has promised a surprise relating to the Hisuian event, and this seems a good a time as any to release the alternate Dialga.

As Pokémon GO recently celebrated its 6-year anniversary, there’s a lot in store for the game.

Do you plan on raiding Dialga? Already got the shiny and the hundo? Let us know in the comments.

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Hacker Selling Database After Twitter Vulnerability Exposes Private Data for Millions of Users

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 16:11

A Twitter vulnerability found in January is being exploited by threat actors to gain access to private account data. The information is allegedly from 5.4 million users. Twitter has patched the vulnerability, though the database allegedly acquired from this exploit is now being sold on a popular hacking forum.

In a post made Thursday, HackerOne reported a vulnerability allowing attackers to acquire phone numbers and/or email addresses associated with Twitter accounts. This is despite whether or not the user has hidden this information through privacy settings.

Twitter Vulnerability Leaks Private Data of Users

Restore Privacy reports that the bug was specific to Twitter’s Android client and occurred during Twitter’s authorization process. HackerOne user “zhrionskiy” submitted a bug report on Jan. 1 of this year.

A HackerOne user stated,

This is a serious threat, as people can not only find users who have restricted the ability to be found by email/phone number, but any attacker with a basic knowledge of scripting/coding can enumerate a big chunk of the Twitter user base unavaliable [sic] to enumeration prior (create a database with phone/email to username connections). Such bases can be sold to malicious parties for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of targeting celebrities in different malicious activities

Additionally, the HackerOne report also explains how to replicate the vulnerability and acquire user data. Five days after the release of the report, Twitter acknowledged that it was a “valid security issue” and promised to investigate. Twitter eventually fixed the issue, and zhrinovskiy received a $5,040 bounty.

However, just as predicted, someone started selling the Twitter information.

Restore Privacy reports that a user on a famous hacking forum is selling a Twitter database allegedly consisting of 5.4 million users. The user goes by the name “devil”, and claims that the dataset includes celebrities, companies, randoms, “OGs” and more. The owner of the forums has verified that the information was accurate and came from the vulnerability.

TwitterHackDataBreachInText

The seller is asking $30,000 for the database. Furthermore, Restore Privacy got a partial sample of the database and was able to verify that it links to actual people.

Twitter is going through a lot these days, and this certainly doesn’t help. Right now, there is no way to verify whether or not your information is a part of the database. Keep yourself protected by not opening any links sent via emails. Additionally, use your own bookmarks and be vigilant for phishing attacks.

 

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Apple Original Films Nabs Rights to ‘Causeway’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence

Thu, 07/21/2022 - 21:42

Apple has announced that Apple Original Films has landed the feature film Causeway, which will star and be produced by Jennifer Lawrence.

The film will make its global debut in theaters and on Apple TV+ later this year.

‘Causeway’ Arrives Through Apple Original Films

Causeway will see acclaimed theater director Lila Neugebauer directing. The film will star Academy Award winner Lawrence (American Hustle) and Tony and Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry (Bullet Train).

Hailing from A24, Causeway provides an intimate portrait of a soldier as she struggles to adjust to her life after returning home to New Orleans. Written by Ottessa Moshfegh, Luke Goebel and Elizabeth Sanders, Lawrence will produce alongside Justine Ciarrocchi for Excellent Cadaver. In addition to directing, Neugebauer (The Last Thing He Told Me) will as serve as executive producer. Causeway is a production of IAC Films, IPR.VS, Excellent Cadaver and A24.

For Apple Original Films, this is not the only production to arrive from Lawrence and Ciarrocchi. In addition to Causeway, the two are attached to produce Bad Blood, which will star Lawrence. Academy Award winner Adam McKay is set to direct.

With films 2022 award season arriving in the fall, this seems like Apple is taking a prime opportunity to get into the running. In addition to Lawrence starring in Causeway, the film seems like it is gearing itself for award season.

As Apple TV+ fans know by now, CODA won three historic Academy Awards. This includes this year’s top prize for Best Picture. However, in terms of other award-winning content Cha Cha Real Smooth won the US Dramatic Audience award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Additionally, with Peter Farrelly’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever, starring Zac Efron and Russell Crowe, as well as Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers of the Flower Moon also soon arriving, it should be a stellar award season for Apple.

Of course, the recent Emmy wins for Ted Lasso and Severance is still fresh on everyone’s minds. Overall, Apple proved itself as a streaming service once again at this year’s Emmy Awards.

Are you excited for Causeway? What are you watching on Apple TV+ right now? Let us know in the comments.

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YouTuber Discovers Cheap Mod to Increase Performance of M2 MacBook Air

Thu, 07/21/2022 - 20:54

For folks that don’t mind voiding their warranty, a YouTuber has discovered a cheap mod for the M2 MacBook Air. While the new 2022 MacBook Air his store shelves last week, the device not only features a brand new design but also Apple’s latest M2 silicon chip. While the M2 is more powerful than the M1 and also maintains efficiency, the MacBook Air has no internal fan. This can potentially make the laptop hot when running extremely heavy and sustained workloads.

However, there’s a cheap mod that can increase the sustained performance of the M2 MacBook Air.

Thermal Pads Make for a Cheap Mod to MacBook Air

It is worth noting that this modification is for those that plan on using their M2 MacBook Air beyond the typical uses. This mod is more for those that plan on constantly pushing the M2 to its limits, such as rendering high-resolution video all day. This is a mod that’s more about ‘should have,’ and less about ‘could have.’

With that said, YouTuber Vadim Yuryev of Max Tech has provided a video showing how to apply a cheap mod to his 2022 M2 MacBook Air. The goal being to see if this could result in better performance. Again, Apple Silicon is designed to run smoothly without the need for an advanced cooling system. However, the device can get hot after prolonged and intense use.

For those interested, iFixit has shown that the new MacBook Air relies on thermal paste and graphite tape in order to dissipate heat from the internal components. In turn, Max Tech found a work around to improve heat dissipation in the new MacBook Air.

Within one of his latest YouTube videos, Yuryev removes the bottom cover of the device and adds a $15 thermal pad just above the logic board. This is where the M2 chip is located. Thermal pads are able to quickly transfer heat from the chip and logic board to the surface of the device. The result being that the MacBook may run even cooler. This can result in better performance.

So far results are positive. In one test, the YouTuber exported 50 images of 42 megapixels each through Adobe Lightroom. The unmodified MacBook took 2 minutes and 55 seconds to complete this task, whereas the thermal pad MacBook ran a time of 1 minute and 56 seconds.

Running the Numbers

The modified MacBook Air saw higher scores in benchmark tests. Overall, the cooling system modification helps the machine run with higher performance. Though the untouched MacBook Air loses sustained performance after running heavy tasks for four to five minutes, the modified device runs for almost ten minutes before dropping performance to internal temperature.

Tests also show that the unmodified MacBook Air reached a temperature of 108°C. The modified MacBook reached 97°C.

Again, this is likely a modification the majority of MacBook Air owners will not need to do. If anything, it shows that there are ways to squeeze more juice from your M2 chip. It is also worth noting that modifying your device will likely void your 1-year warranty with Apple.

This is also likely why the M2 MacBook Pro sports an internal fan for longer performance.

Additionally, for the MacBook Air, reports are already coming in that the Midnight Blue finish has problems with scuffing. One Reddit users suggests using a “liquid screen protector”, or an oleophobic coating, to reduce fingerprints and scuffs.

How do you like your M2 MacBook Air so far? Let us know in the comments.

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Apple Explains What Happens to Games Leaving Apple Arcade

Thu, 07/21/2022 - 20:09

What exactly happens to an Apple Arcade game when its time for it to go? Earlier this week, Apple announced that several titles will be leaving Apple Arcade, and now the company has confirmed what will happen after these titles leave the service.

What Happens to Apple Arcade Games

This week, Apple has published a document explaining what happens to games when they leave Apple Arcade. Earlier this week, Apple added a ‘Leaving Apple Arcade Soon’ tag to the service. With 15 games set to expire, many were curious if the games could still be played once they leave.

Apple explains that users may download a game before it leaves the service and play it for two weeks after it leaves. Additionally, Apple also stated that users that try to launch the an Arcade game that is no longer in the service, they will be greeted with a ‘No Longer Available Message’.

As many were able to predict, Apple also confirmed that any title leaving Apple Arcade may find itself in the App Store. This is, of course, if developers choose to add them. However, Apple also stated that titles “might vary from the Arcade version”. Additionally, the tech giant also stated that users may be able to pick up where they left off and keep saved progress in the App Store version of the game. This is also up the developer, however.

In terms of other Apple Arcade news, June saw JPM analysts predicting that Apple’s Music and Arcade services revenue will jumpy 36% to $8.2 billion by 2025. Apple Arcade will likely see $1.2 billion of this revenue according to analysts. While Cupertino doesn’t share a sale breakup for gaming and music services, the Apple Store, Apple TV+, Apple Music and Arcade reported a revenue of $19.82 billion in the March quarter of this year.

Though 15 titles are leaving Apple Arcade, more titles arriving weekly.

You can read the document from Apple here.

Are there any games you’re going to miss on Apple Arcade? Any games you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

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Apple Watch AFib Notification Feature Saved a Maine Woman from Rare Tumor

Thu, 07/21/2022 - 14:32

The Apple Watch does it again, saving someone from possible death. This time around, the AFib, or atrial fibrillation, feature of the Apple Watch prompted a Maine woman to seek doctors’ advice. Doctors found out that the woman had a rare tumor in her heart, which could have led to a stroke.

AFib Feature Does its Wonders

Recounting her experience with WBZ-TV, Kim Durkee said that she received warnings from her Apple Watch about her heart going into atrial fibrillation, She ignored it for two consecutive nights but on the third night, the numbers went too high. That was when she decided that she needed to seek a doctor’s advice about it.

Luckily for her, the doctors later found out that the reason why her heart beat erratically was due to the fact that the had a myxoma. A myxoma is a rare, fast-growing tumor that chokes the heart’s blood supply. The tumor could eventually have led to a stroke. When doctors asked how she knew she was in AFib, she told them about the Apple Watch AFib notifications that she received.

To make a long story short, she then made a quick trip to Massachusetts General Hospital. She underwent surgery, and doctors successfully removed a 4cm tumor. That would have killed her. But thanks to her Apple Watch, the Maine woman is now recovering. “It truly saved my life. I consider myself lucky, to be here and talking to you,” she told WBZ-TV.

Apple Watch Save Lives, Enough Said

Who would have thought that her Apple Watch, which she bought to monitor her exercise regimen and for its fall detection feature, would have saved her life? According to Ms. Durkee, she never imagined that the Apple Watch would pave the way for the discovery of the tumor she had.

Now it’s time to add this to the list of incidents where the Apple Watch features managed to save lives. Another recent case was when the Apple Watch SOS feature saved a swimmer who was trapped on some rocks in the Columbia River near Dalles, Oregon.

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EU Regulators to Reinforce Antitrust Case Against Apple with New Factual Evidence

Thu, 07/21/2022 - 14:04

The European Union antitrust regulators are about to strengthen their case against Apple’s anti-competitive practices related to Apple Music. With new evidence, the regulators hope to speed up the case brought to their attention by Spotify.

Letter of Facts Will Strengthen Antitrust Case Against Apple

According to Reuters, the European Commission is set to send a letter of facts to Apple. To explain briefly, a letter of fact contains new evidence that reinforces the original charges against companies. Companies can then counter such a letter with a written submission.

To recall, the antitrust case against Apple started when Spotify complained that the iPhone maker had been restricting music apps that compete against its own Apple Music. The Commission brought this to Apple’s attention in 2021. It told Apple that its App Store rules violated competitive regulations in the music streaming market. This is obviously in reference to Apple’s policy that requires developers to use its in-app payment system. In addition, Apple also prevents developers from informing users of other payment options.

No Changes in the EU’s Decision on Antitrust Case

Subsequently, the Commission set out its charges against Apple through a statement of objections, or charge sheet. Then earlier in 2022, a source told Reuters that the Commission considered sending a supplementary statement of objections. This would have contained new charges or changes to the original charges. The statement did not materialize, and reports state the Commission now plans to send a letter of facts to Apple. However, the report does not specifically indicate what are those new evidential facts.

Incidentally, this would be the second antitrust charge that the EU has hurled against Apple. In May, the European regulators slapped the Cupertino-based tech giant with antitrust charges related to Apple Pay. Both charges against Apple Music and Apple Pay were in accordance with rules stated in the Digital Markets Act. The Act will come into force next year and will fine companies in violation of its provisions with as much as 10% of the company’s global turnover in penalties.

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