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iOS 11's SOS Feature Allows You to Temporarily Disable Touch ID and Require Passcode

26 min 47 sec ago
In iOS 11, Apple has added an "Emergency SOS" feature that's designed to give users a quick and easy way to summon emergency services should the need arise. As it turns out, there's a secondary benefit to Emergency SOS - it's also a way to quickly and discretely disable Touch ID.

Emergency SOS is activated by pressing on the sleep/wake button of an iPhone five times in rapid succession. When the requisite number of presses is complete, it brings up a screen that offers buttons to power off the iPhone, bring up your Medical ID (if filled out) and make an emergency 911 call.


Along with these options, there's also a cancel button. If you hit the sleep/wake button five times and then hit cancel, it disables Touch ID and requires a passcode before Touch ID can be re-enabled. Touch ID is also disabled if you actually make an emergency call.

This is a handy hidden feature because it allows Touch ID to be disabled discretely in situations where someone might be able to force a phone to be unlocked with a fingerprint, such as a robbery or an arrest. With Touch ID disabled in this way, there is no way to physically unlock an iPhone with a finger without the device's passcode.

It's also worth noting that there's no real way to tell that Touch ID has been disabled in this manner. Once you hit the sleep/wake button and then tap cancel, it's locked in the same way and with the same message that the iPhone uses when it's been more than 48 hours since a device was last unlocked with a fingerprint.

Apple's Emergency SOS feature will be available on all iPhones that run iOS 11. Along with disabling Touch ID, SOS can also be used to summon emergency services and alert your emergency contacts when an accident occurs.

iOS 11 is available to developers and public beta testers at the current time and will be released to the public in September alongside new iPhones.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Apple and Aetna Talked Data Privacy, Cost and More in Apple Watch Meeting

1 hour 41 min ago
Apple and insurance provider Aetna met last week to discuss ways to offer discounted Apple Watch models to Aetna's 23 million subscribers, and CNBC has shared details on some of the topics that were discussed at the meeting, attended by Aetna employees, Apple executives, and health providers from major hospitals.

Aetna is aiming to determine whether the Apple Watch can be used by subscribers to improve health outcomes by encouraging them to exercise, eat better, and better manage health issues. Info on the meeting came from Mandy Bishop, an attendee who founded startup Lifely Insights. Much of the meeting consisted of feedback from Aetna employees who have been testing the Apple Watch.


Data privacy, including who had access to what data, was a major topic of discussion, with Apple explaining that Apple Watch health data can only be shared with third-party apps and companies with express user consent.

The Apple Watch's lack of situational awareness was brought up as a pain point, such as when the device delivers a stand notification when a user is on a plane or in another environment that makes standing difficult. Cost was also a significant topic of discussion.One theme that emerged during the event, she said, is that many of those who were enrolled in the program wanted to get healthy alongside their families. But many couldn't afford to spend upwards of $1,000 on devices for their spouses and children.

The cost issue wasn't entirely resolved, she said, but it proved to be a sticking point. It remains unclear whether Aetna will extend its discounts from employees and/or members to their family-members.Apple and Aetna are said to be planning to implement some kind of Apple Watch program in early 2018, which would see the company offering free or discounted Apple Watches to its subscribers.

Aetna already has a program that provides a free Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees and it already subsidizes the cost for some subscribers, with data from that program being used to determine if an expansion is worth it.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Tag: Aetna
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
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Apple Now Selling Refurbished 2017 27-Inch iMac Models

2 hours 23 min ago
Apple today updated its online store for refurbished products to add the new 27-inch iMac models that were first released in June of 2017.

This is the first time those particular machines have been available through the refurbished store since their introduction at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference. The iMacs feature Kaby Lake processors, faster SSDs, and AMD discrete graphics.


Apple has a dozen refurbished iMac models available at the current time, with prices discounted by approximately 15 percent. An entry-level model with 8GB RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive, a 3.5GHz i5 processor, and a Radeon Pro 575 is priced at $1,699, for example, a $300 discount off the standard price.

Apple has a range of configurations available, from low-end to top-of-the-line. As with all refurbished products, stock will fluctuate regularly based on the machines Apple is getting in for repair.

All of Apple's refurbished products go through a rigorous refurbishment process before being offered for sale, which includes inspection, repairs, cleaning, and repackaging. Refurbished Macs come with a one-year warranty that can be extended with an AppleCare+ purchase. For more tips on purchasing a refurbished product, make sure to check out our guide.

Related Roundups: iMac, Apple Deals
Tag: refurbished
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Buy Now)
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Skype Brings Next-Generation Mobile Experience to Desktop in New Mac Preview

3 hours 40 min ago
Skype today announced the release of a preview version of its next-generation desktop software, which is designed to emulate the redesigned mobile experience that it released in June.

The new version of Skype shares design elements with the mobile version, but it has been created for the desktop's larger screen. Microsoft calls it the "most expressive Skype ever" with livelier group chats, real-time screen and photo sharing, and more.


Skype's redesign features a new notification panel that displays mentions and message reactions, allowing users to better keep up with conversations.

There's a new chat media gallery for keeping track of photos and documents shared in a chat, and group calls feature in-call reactions with emoji that can be shared.


Skype Preview is available immediately for Mac users via the Skype Insider website.

Tag: Skype
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Apple Watch Series 3 Enters 'Final Testing Phase' Ahead of Rumored September Launch

5 hours 46 min ago
Apple Watch Series 3 models have entered the "final testing phase" in the manufacturing process, with mass production set to begin soon, according to a new Chinese-language Economic Daily News report [Google Translate].


The report, citing unnamed supply chain sources, said Taiwan-based manufacturer Quanta Computer will begin shipping Apple Watch Series 3 models to Apple in the fourth quarter, lining up with the smartwatch's widely rumored September launch, alongside new iPhones and possibly a 4K-capable Apple TV.

Apple Watch Series 2 models and slightly upgraded Series 1 models launched last September alongside the iPhone 7, so it's reasonable to assume that Series 3 models could launch this September as well. The original Apple Watch, now unofficially dubbed Series 0, launched in April 2015.

The rest of the report cites KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently claimed Apple Watch Series 3 will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + LTE models in 38mm and 42mm sizes. Kuo said the cellular-enabled model will have an embedded SIM, but it might support VoIP calling only.

Apple Watch Series 3 models will also reportedly have improved performance and longer battery life, at least for the Wi-Fi-only version.

What's less certain is whether the Apple Watch will be significantly redesigned for the first time since being unveiled in September 2014.

Apple blogger John Gruber recently said he heard Apple Watch Series 3 models could have an all-new form factor, but he stressed that the tidbit came from an unconfirmed source who could be wrong. Kuo, meanwhile, said Apple Watch Series 3 models won't have any "obvious" form factor changes.

"It could also be that both my birdie and Kuo are correct," said Gruber, in a follow-up post yesterday. "The phrase 'will not feature an obvious new form factor' leaves a lot of wiggle room with the word 'obvious'," he added.

Few other details are known about the next Apple Watch at this point, and no components have leaked from the supply chain yet.

Apple has filed patents for a number of ideas that could eventually be included in an Apple Watch, such as a heart rate identification system, modular bands, haptic feedback band, and a band with a built-in charger. More significant health and fitness features could be added pending further FDA approvals.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Tag: udn.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
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Latest Apple Park Drone Video Shows More Trees and Paved Walkway to Steve Jobs Theater

7 hours 38 min ago
Matthew Roberts has shared his latest drone tour of Apple Park, providing a closer look at Apple's new headquarters as construction wraps up.


There aren't many notable changes since the July video, but August's edition reveals further landscaping efforts, including more trees — there will be over 9,000 in total — planted within the inner circle of the main building.

Apple has also begun paving certain areas of Apple Park, including the walkway to Steve Jobs Theater. Many areas of the campus remain covered in dirt, however, so it's clear there is still a lot of landscaping work to be completed.

Some of Apple's employees have already moved into the new headquarters, while others like design chief Jony Ive and his team will follow suit later this year. The new campus will eventually house around 12,000 employees.

Apple will still use its Infinite Loop headquarters as an ancillary campus, along with a handful of other offices in the Cupertino and Sunnyvale area.

Tag: Apple Park
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Best Buy Planning 50-Hour Sale With Discounts on iPhone, MacBook, iMac and More This Friday

7 hours 56 min ago
Best Buy today announced the upcoming launch of a 50-hour sale filled with Black Friday-like deals in celebration of its 51st anniversary. The sale will kick off this Friday and will last through Sunday night.

Best Buy's sale will see the company offering discounts on a wide range of Apple products, from the MacBook to the iPhone.

Select MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac models will be up to $500 off. Best Buy also plans to offer up to $300 off on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPad mini 4 will be discounted by up to $120. Accessories like the Beats Studio Wireless headphones will also be on sale.

Best Buy's sale kicks off at 10:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday, August 18 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Sunday, August 20. Deals will be available both online and in retail stores, and students can get additional discounts by visiting Best Buy's student site.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner of Best Buy and may earn a small commission if you purchase a product using one of these links. The money earned goes towards supporting the site.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
Tag: Best Buy
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McDonald's Generates Buzz With Ad Showing iPhone 8 Mockup

9 hours 2 min ago
McDonald's is generating lots of buzz today after it used an iPhone 8 mockup in an ad promoting its mymacca's mobile ordering app in Australia.

McDonald's promotional email courtesy of MacRumors reader Amir T.
The ad, emailed to many customers on Thursday, clearly shows a rendered iPhone with a nearly full front display, beyond a notch for the front-facing camera, earpiece, and sensors for expected facial recognition functionality.

Needless to say, this isn't an official iPhone 8 image. Benjamin Geskin‏ tweeted that the render is his. McDonald's poorly cropped the image, and used circles for the signal strength indicator, which Apple switched to bars in iOS 11.

However, whether it was intentional, by mistake, or simply a McDonald's graphic designer being clever, the ad has proven to be an effective publicity stunt, as several users have shared it on social platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and the MacRumors forums.

Tags: Australia, McDonald's
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Netflix to Spend $7 Billion on Original Programming Next Year

10 hours 29 min ago
Hot on the heels of news that Apple has set aside $1 billion for original TV programming over the next year, Netflix revealed on Wednesday that it will spend seven times that amount in 2018.

In a new interview with Variety, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos quoted the number of $7 billion, which is up from more than $6 billion in 2017 and $5 billion in 2016. The vast majority of Netflix's budget is spent on licensed content, but the company is working towards balancing that out with more in-house content over the next couple of years, Sarandos said.

Some analysts and industry insiders are skeptical of the company's spending habits, arguing its stock is overinflated (it's soared to more than $170 a share, up from around $50 in early 2014, adjusted for a 2015 stock split). "We're not spending money we don't have," Sarandos counters. "We're spending revenue." The company reports its debt load is $4.8 billion, with an additional $15.7 billion in long-term content commitments with studios. "We have one of the low debt levels in the industry," insists Sarandos.Using its budget, Netflix has produced some successful regional TV series such as the German show "Dark". The company hopes to increase that number to up to 100 series in the next couple of years. Netflix is also continuing to push into reality TV programming, with 50 unscripted shows coming to the streaming service next year. Feature films are already on the company's radar, with movies such as War Machine and Sandy Wexler having already debuted, and Bright starring Will Smith set for release in December.

For its part, Apple is said to be planning to procure and produce up to 10 original TV shows over the next year as it seeks to make up ground on services such as Netflix and Amazon. The $1 billion budget figure is about half of what Time Warner's HBO spent on content last year and around the same amount as Amazon spent in 2013, after it announced its own move into original programming. Apple has already kicked off its original programming schedule with "Planet of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke", although both shows have come in for criticism from reviewers.

Tag: Netflix
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Images Claim to Show Wireless Charging Components Destined for the 'iPhone 8'

11 hours 18 min ago
Images claiming to offer a glimpse of the wireless charging circuitry included in Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8" have been shared on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo today by technology website ZEALER (via iClarified).


The two photos show several assembled inductive charging kits in a plastic tray and a black PCB board of bare circuitry modeled on the assembled kits. As with most alleged leaks that appear on Weibo, it's extremely difficult to tell whether the images are authentic, but we're covering them here for completion.


KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed the iPhone 8 and its companion devices, the "iPhone 7s" and the "iPhone 7s Plus" will all adopt glass bodies with metal frames to facilitate WPC-standard wireless charging functionality. The WPC-standard refers to the Wireless Power Consortium, which supports the Qi wireless charging functionality built into many Android devices.

According to Kuo, wireless charging will be enabled through an optional accessory sold alongside the new iPhones, rather than be included in the box. Separately, Apple blogger John Gruber has suggested that the accessory might not be available in September when the iPhones are expected to launch, but might ship later in the year instead alongside an iOS 11.1 software update.

I’ve heard that inductive charging will (a) be sold separately, and (b) might be late, waiting for iOS 11.1 (a la Portrait mode last year). https://t.co/N65dHMNQIJ

— John Gruber (@gruber) July 8, 2017
Fast Company also reported that software issues, not components, would be the reason behind a possible delay in enabling wireless charging in the phones. According to their sources, if the software isn't ready, wireless charging could be unavailable when the phone first begins shipping.

Early rumors about the OLED "iPhone 8" and the iterative "S" cycle upgrades to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus suggested Apple was considering a long-range charging feature, but that technology is yet to mature and there are likely challenges to overcome before it's ready for inclusion in a device like the iPhone. As such, Qi wireless charging is in line with rumors that have predicted the iPhone 8 will support inductive charging rather than a true wireless charging feature.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: wireless charging
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AT&T Again Giving New DirecTV Now Subscribers a Free Apple TV

18 hours 44 min ago
AT&T today announced that it's reactivated a deal offering new DirecTV Now subscribers a free 32GB fourth-generation Apple TV with the purchase of a 3-month prepaid DirecTV Now subscription.

A DirecTV NOW subscription starts at $35 per month for the most basic package, so subscribers will need to pay $105 up front to get the deal. AT&T offered a similar deal back when the service first launched, but the original promotion ended months ago.


To get the free Apple TV, new subscribers will need to sign up for DirecTV now at an AT&T Retail or Authorized Retail Store, or through an AT&T Call Center. The deal is not available online.

While pricing for DirecTV Now starts at $35 for 60 channels, AT&T's other pricing plans include $50 per month for 80+ channels, $60 per month for 100+ channels, and $70 per month for 120+ channels. HBO and Cinemax are also available for an additional $5 each per month.

AT&T says the Apple TV deal will be available while supplies last.

Tags: AT&T, DirecTV Now
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Apple Pulls Apple Pay Support From Websites Selling White Nationalist and Nazi Apparel

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:39
Apple has disabled Apple Pay support on websites selling white nationalist and hate group apparel and accessories, reports BuzzFeed.

While Apple did not provide a comment on its decision to pull Apple Pay from the websites, an Apple spokesperson pointed out Apple Pay guidelines that prevent the payments service from being used on sites promoting hate, intolerance, and violence based on race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

On Wednesday, Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it had disabled Apple Pay support for a handful of websites that sold sweaters with Nazi logos, t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "White Pride" and a bumper sticker showing a car plowing into stick figure demonstrators. [...]

Apple removed Apple Pay capabilities from little-known sites including AmericanVikings.com and VinlandClothing.com, the latter of which sells apparel with Nazi logos.Apple's efforts to block Apple Pay from white nationalist websites comes following a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists and supremacists clashed with counterprotestors over the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue located in Emancipation Park. The event culminated in the death of one person and the injury of 19 others after a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of people.

While Apple has not made an official statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared two tweets earlier this week calling the events "heartbreaking" and condemning violence and racism.

Heartbreaking scenes in #Charlottesville. Violence and racism have no place in America.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 12, 2017

We’ve seen the terror of white supremacy & racist violence before. It's a moral issue - an affront to America. We must all stand against it

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 14, 2017 In addition to Apple, many other sites have been cracking down on white nationalist and white supremacist organizations. PayPal has also pulled payment support from some of the sites in question, while Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, and Airbnb have made efforts to quell white nationalist activity on their platforms.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Apple Watch Series 3 Unlikely to Support Direct Phone Calls, but VoIP Calling a Possibility

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 18:10
The third-generation Apple Watch, set to launch this fall with LTE support for the first time, is unlikely to support phone calls, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in a note shared this morning.

According to Kuo, while a voice service that replaces the iPhone's calling functionality is "feasible," he believes Apple must first work on improving the "user experience of data transmission." As a result, he says the Apple Watch "probably" won't support traditional phone calls "this year."


The watch could, however, support VoIP services like FaceTime and Skype, as FaceTime audio calling is already supported on current Apple Watch models.This has two benefits: (1) negotiations with mobile operators will be more simple and the chances of cooperation with mobile operators will improve; and (2) 3G connectivity can be scrapped, simplifying the antenna design and facilitating internal design. However, we think there is a chance that users may use LTE Apple Watch to access VoIP services, such as FaceTime and Skype.Kuo also says that based on a lack of internal space, the LTE Apple Watch is likely to use an eSIM instead of a physical SIM slot, with the device set up to share the same phone number with an iPhone. He warns that LTE connectivity in the Apple Watch could be limited to specific countries and markets as not all mobile operators support that particular business model.

Rumors have already suggested that the major carriers in the United States, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will support and sell the upcoming LTE Apple Watch.

Though Apple is currently embroiled in an ongoing patent dispute with Qualcomm, Kuo believes Apple will use Qualcomm chips in the Apple Watch because Qualcomm's technology is superior to Intel's with smaller chips that consume less power.

Finally, Kuo predicts Apple has no intention of developing an Android app for the Apple Watch at this time, given that it would be difficult to have the same deep integration between Apple Watch and an Android phone that's possible with the Apple Watch and iPhone.

The third-generation Apple Watch is expected to be introduced in September alongside new iPhones. LTE connectivity is expected to be the main selling point for the device, and while there were some rumors pointing towards major design changes, Kuo has previously said there will be no "obvious change" to the form factor.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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iFixit Launches New iPhone 7/7Plus Fix Kits for At-Home Battery Replacements and Screen Repairs

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 16:53
iFixit today released a collection of all-new Fix Kits for iPhone 7 devices that guide users through replacing batteries, cracked screens, and even the front and rear camera modules and sensors on an iPhone.

The new battery Fix Kits for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus join previous kits already available for iPhones as far back as the iPhone 4s. iFixit said that these battery replacement kits help bring a dead iPhone back to life, and include all the usual tools needed for the replacement process: a collection of screwdrivers, tweezers, iFixit's own Opening Tool and Opening Pick, and more. Battery Fix Kits start at $44.95 for the iPhone 7 and increase to $49.95 for the iPhone 7 Plus (pictured below).


The cracked screen Fix Kits are newly available for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus as well, and include parts and tools for users to replace a broken iPhone 7 screen on their own. Contents include a custom driver, steel bits, opening tools, tweezers, and a replacement screen backed by iFixit's lifetime guarantee, but users will have to transfer their old display's home button assembly to retain Touch ID functions. Cracked screen Fix Kits cost $134.95 for the iPhone 7 and rise to $164.95 for the iPhone 7 Plus.

There are also new iPhone 7 repair components in the Small Parts Kits section, aimed at the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus's Lightning Connector, front camera and sensors, and rear camera. The small parts Fix Kits vary more drastically in price, with an iPhone 7 front camera and sensor cable kit costing $34.95, and an iPhone 7 Plus Dual Rear Camera kit priced at $84.95.

While each Fix Kit has a guide for users to follow, iFixit has also published a few How To videos on its YouTube channel, including an iPhone 7-specific playlist, to make following along to some of the repair kits even easier.

Depending on the issue at hand, and the iPhone model, out-of-warranty repairs directly from Apple can cost as much as $349 for an iPhone 7 Plus. Similar to iFixit's recent battery replacement Fix Kits for MacBook Pro devices, users have a chance to save money if they try out iFixit's guided replacement kits, as long as they are also up for the challenge of an at-home repair.

Tag: iFixit
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Facebook Will Now Let You Raise Money for Nonprofits on Your Birthday

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 15:48
Facebook today announced an update coming to its iOS and Android mobile apps, as well as its main website, that is aimed to make birthdays more "meaningful" for users based in the United States.

Two weeks ahead of your birthday, Facebook said it will now send you a message in your News Feed with the option of creating a fundraiser. If you opt-in, you can choose from any of the 750,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations on Facebook and set a funding goal. Then on your actual birthday, all of your friends will get the usual notification to send you a happy birthday message, which will also include a prompt to donate to your organization of choice.


Facebook said the update is a way to streamline a popular birthday tradition, which sees people dedicating the day to a specific cause instead of asking for gifts of their own.
People often dedicate their birthday to support a cause, and we’ve seen people using Facebook to raise money for causes they care about. For those in the US, we’re now making it easier to do this by giving you the opportunity to create a fundraiser for your birthday directly on Facebook.

Birthdays have always been a part of Facebook, and we hope to continue providing you with a variety of experiences that make celebrating on the platform fun and meaningful for you and your friends. The company has supported user-generated fundraisers in the past, earlier this year allowing each Facebook user to create fundraisers for six specific categories: education, medical, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergency, and funeral and loss. With those fundraisers, and presumably the new birthday-focused fundraisers, users were able to make a donation to the cause directly within the Facebook app.

The birthday announcement also included a new celebratory video that will appear whenever a birthday of a close friend is coming up. Similar to the social network's previous anniversary videos, it combines pictures and status updates that include both you and your friend.

Yesterday, Facebook announced a few design changes also coming to its mobile apps, including circular profile pictures, easier to tap buttons, revamped comment sections, and more. The company said that the changes should make the Facebook app "more conversational and easier to read and navigate."

Facebook is available to download for free on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Facebook
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iPhone 7 Remained World's Most Popular Smartphone Model in June Quarter

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 15:36
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the world's most popular smartphones in the second quarter, ahead of Samsung's newer Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.


Apple shipped an estimated 16.9 million iPhone 7 units and 15.1 million iPhone 7 Plus units worldwide in the quarter, which corresponds with April through June, according to the firm's latest Smartphone Model Tracker report.

"iPhone 7 remains the world's most popular smartphone model overall, due to a compelling blend of user-friendly design, extensive supporting apps, and widespread retail presence for the device," said Juha Winter, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics estimates Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ shipments totaled 10.2 million and 9 million respectively in the quarter. The smartphones, released in April, were the world's third and fourth most popular during the period.


"Samsung's Galaxy S8 has instantly become the world's most popular Android smartphone model, due to its attractive curved-screen design, a rich portfolio of software apps, and best-in-class retail distribution across dozens of countries," said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics.

Rounding off the top five was Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's budget Redmi 4A handset with an estimated 5.5 million quarterly shipments.

Apple reported it sold 41 million iPhones last quarter, but it doesn't break down the number on a model-by-model basis. Apple CEO Tim Cook did note the iPhone 7 remained its most popular iPhone.iPhone results were impressive, with especially strong demand at the high end of our lineup. iPhone 7 was our most popular iPhone, and sales of iPhone 7 Plus were up dramatically compared to 6s Plus in the June quarter of last year. The combined iPhone 7 and 7 Plus family was up strong double digits year over year. One decade after the initial iPhone launch, we have now passed 1.2 billion cumulative iPhones sold.Android still remains the world's most widely adopted mobile operating system by a significant margin given the hundreds of smartphone models running that platform. Android accounted for 67 percent of U.S. smartphone activations in the second quarter, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

iPhone 6s was similarly the world's most popular smartphone model last year, according to market research firm IHS Markit.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Strategy Analytics
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iDevices Announces New HomeKit-Compatible Dimmer Switch

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 15:00
iDevices, the company behind several HomeKit-enabled light switches and outlets, today announced the debut of its latest product, the Dimmer Switch. iDevices' new Dimmer Switch, like its wall switches, is an in-wall product designed to replace a traditional light switch.

The Dimmer Switch includes customizable dimming capabilities that can be controlled via the iDevices app, the Home app, or using Siri thanks to built-in HomeKit integration (for Echo users, it also has Alexa support). In-app dim range settings prevent low-level bulb flicker, and it remembers the last brightness state.


It fits into any standard rocker faceplate to integrate with an existing lighting system with no extra wiring required, and it's installed like any standard wall switch with support for single pole, 3- and 4-way setups.

Along with serving as a way to dim lights, the Dimmer Switch features a built-in LED night light that keeps it well-lit in the dark, with users able to set the night light to any color."The iDevices Dimmer Switch enhances our extensive line of premium smart home solutions and brings us closer to our goal of creating products that seamlessly integrate into the walls of any home," says Chris Allen, iDevices President. "With Hubbell's long history in the electrical industry, and our expertise in the IoT marketplace, we have the combined strength to continue our evolution towards flexible, 'invisible' products that fit any home, new or old. The iDevices Dimmer Switch is one of many innovations to come, forever changing the smart home as we know it."iDevices is selling the Dimmer Switch starting today for $99.95. It can be purchased from the iDevices website.

Tag: iDevices
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ESPN's New Apple TV App Lets You Watch Up to Four Live Sporting Events Simultaneously

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 14:39
ESPN is releasing a new tvOS app for the fourth-generation Apple TV that allows viewers to watch up to four live sporting events simultaneously.


The multicast feature means a sports fan could, for example, watch two NFL games, an MLB postseason game, and an NBA game on a Sunday in October all at once, with each stream taking up an equally-sized quadrant of the TV.

There are multiple viewing modes to select from, including one with a large stream on the left alongside three smaller streams on the right.

The idea isn't new—there's a similar two-stream feature in the MLB.TV app for Apple TV—but ESPN says its implementation offers up to four streams and has a streamlined user interface, according to Recode.


The new ESPN app should be rolling out as a free update on the tvOS App Store today in the United States.

Tag: ESPN
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Taiwan's Massive Power Outage Had No Material Impact on Production of New iPhones

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 14:12
A massive four-hour power outage that affected 17 cities and counties across Taiwan on Tuesday had no material impact on the production of new iPhones, according to industry analysts speaking with Nikkei Asian Review.

iPhone 8 dummy model sandwiched between an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Apple suppliers Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, PowerTech Technology, and ChipMOS Technologies said the power outage did affect some of their production facilities in Taiwan, although they saw little impact on overall operation and shipments, the report noted. All three companies have resumed regular operations.

Apple's contract manufacturer TSMC also said its operations were not affected, as did fellow iPhone assembler Pegatron, according to Reuters.

The power outage caused a massive blackout in Taiwan, affecting more than 668,000 homes and businesses across the island, according to the South China Morning Post. The incident was blamed on human error at the Datan Power Station in Taoyuan, south of capital Taipei. It was Taiwan's worst blackout since 1999.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said Apple will begin production verification tests for the so-called iPhone 8 in late August, followed by mass production in mid-September. The high-end device is expected to launch in extremely limited quantities in September alongside the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.
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Twitter Rolling Out Tweets Organized by 'Popular' Topics, Based on Your Interests

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 14:08
Twitter this week began expanding a new section of the Explore tab on iOS and Android, where it will populate tweets aimed at each unique user based on their own interests. Twitter confirmed the update's appearance to BuzzFeed, and it follows a few months after Twitter debuted a notable redesign for its mobile apps and website.

The new categories in Explore include topics such as "Popular in Literature," "Popular in Video Games," "Popular in eSports," and more, with tweets taken from a combination of accounts followed and not followed by the user. Like other quiet updates, some users may have noticed these changes weeks ago, while others will just begin getting them now, and they can be found by tapping the magnifying glass "Explore" tab on Twitter's iOS app, then scrolling down below Trends and Moments.

Twitter said that these topics will be "based on what they know about your interests," but it wasn't made clear exactly how Twitter gains that information, although liked tweets and followed accounts are likely sourced. The company said that it will "eventually" give users more control over this section and allow them to tell Twitter when they don't want to see a specific topic, further helping the app curate personalized tweets.

Now you can view tweets sorted by topic, without having to follow anyone, right in Twitter's Explore tab.

Twitter's algorithms will show you these topics based on what they know about your interests. Eventually, the platform will give users more control over what they see, the spokesperson said. The company will roll out controls that allow people to tell it they don't like a topic, which will inform Twitter's decisions on what to show them. The update is said to be another bid by Twitter to smooth the introduction process for new users, presenting them with their favorite topics in lieu of making them scroll through a lengthy list of suggested accounts that might tweet about topics they enjoy.

Many recent Twitter updates have focused on gaining and retaining users just joining the platform, including a switch from "favorite" stars to "like" hearts in 2015. Twitter also tested out changing the "retweet" icon into a "sharing" icon late last year, hoping that "share" would be more recognizable and understandable by new users than Twitter-specific lingo like "retweet," but the change never rolled out to a wider user base.

The troubled introduction of new users onto the platform was a problem highlighted during Twitter's most recent earnings report, where it was announced that the social network hadn't grown its user base at all in the second quarter of 2017.

The new "Popular" topics feature is expanding globally this week on Twitter's mobile apps, and users can download Twitter for iOS on the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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