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Apple Watch Gets New Spring Collection of Bands, Available to Order Later This Month

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:52
Apple today debuted a new Spring Collection of Apple Watch bands, available to order from and at select Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Resellers across the United States and other countries later this month.

Woven Nylon bands now include an updated stripe pattern, and there's new colors of the Sport Band, Sport Loop, and Classic Buckle.
  • Sport Band in Denim Blue, Lemonade, and Red Raspberry
  • Woven Nylon in Black Stripe, Blue Stripe, Gray Stripe, and Pink Stripe
  • Sport Loop in Flash Light, Hot Pink, Marine Green, and Tahoe Blue
  • Classic Buckle in Spring Yellow, Electric Blue, and Soft Pink
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) will include new 38mm and 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Loop models.

Apple said the Nike Sport Loop will now be sold separately in a variety of colors matching with the latest Nike running shoes. There's also new colors for the Nike Sport Band, which Apple already sells separately:
  • Nike Sport Loop in Black/Pure Platinum, Bright Crimson/Black, Cargo Khaki, Midnight Fog, and Pearl Pink
  • Nike Sport Band in Barely Rose/Pearl Pink, Black/White, and Cargo Khaki/Black
Apple Watch Nike+ (GPS + Cellular) will include new 38mm and 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Midnight Fog Nike Sport Loop models.

For Apple Watch Hermès, the Single Tour Rallye and Double Tour bands now display contrasting paint details:
  • 38mm Double Tour in Indigo with rouge H polished edge and rouge H contrasted loop
  • 38mm Double Tour in Blanc with rouge H polished edge and rouge H contrasted loop
  • 42mm Single Tour Rallye in Indigo with rouge H polished edge and rouge H contrasted loop
  • 42mm Single Tour Rallye in Blanc with rouge H polished edge and rouge H contrasted loop
Apple's press release outlines complete pricing and availability information for the new Spring Collection bands and models.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Tag: Apple Watch bandsBuyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine Transitioning Into 'Consulting Role' This August

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:41
Following rumors of his plans to leave Apple earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal today reported that Jimmy Iovine will transition into a "consulting role" with Apple Music this August. Iovine won't completely leave Apple and his involvement with Apple Music behind, but will step back from daily involvement, people familiar with his plans stated.

At the time of the original rumor, Iovine denied he would leave the company: "I am committed to doing whatever Eddy [Cue], Tim [Cook] and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band." As of now, it's unclear what exactly he will be doing in his consulting role with the streaming music service, but upon his transition he will no longer be the public face of Apple Music.

Iovine reportedly plans to spend more time with his family while at the same time supporting Apple Music and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue "as needed." According to people close to Iovine, the transition from Beats' "edgy culture" to Apple's focus on "appealing to the masses" proved to be a challenge.

While Iovine was the public face of Apple Music and held meetings with employees and artists in Los Angeles, in recent years "most of Apple Music's operations" had been designated to Robert Kondrk and Jeff Robbin, overseeing business and engineering sides respectively. Cue is said to now be deciding on whether to continue divvying up responsibilities between Kondrk and Robbin, promoting one to a more public role, or hiring someone outside of Apple to become the new Iovine.

Iovine has been with the Apple Music team since 2014, when Apple acquired Beats Electronics and the Beats Music streaming service, both of which were co-founded by Iovine and Dr. Dre. Before that acquisition, Iovine has had a long history with Apple, first pitching a subscription music service to Steve Jobs in 2003.

Iovine's transitioning this August will be timed with the vesting of stock he acquired when first joining Apple. In January, he said that the bulk of his stock "vested a long time ago," and while a tiny portion remains unvested, it's "not what [he] thinks about." Still, the people familiar with his plans have now confirmed that the timing of his transition is in some part "linked" to the Apple shares he received in the Beats acquisition.

According to the WSJ, Iovine's stepping back from leadership makes him "one of the last" of the Beats team that Apple gained following the acquisition in 2014.
Mr. Iovine is one of the last of a team of prominent music executives Apple gained when it bought Beats Electronics LLC in 2014 for $3 billion. Former Chief Executive Ian Rogers, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, another top Beats executive, have all left or distanced themselves from the company since the Apple deal, people familiar with the business said. Beats President Luke Wood, who oversees the headphone business, remains. In his time at Apple, Iovine grew Apple Music to amass 36 million subscribers as of March 2018, while also pushing for the service to include more than just music and helping to launch shows like Carpool Karaoke. Before the launch of that show, as well as Planet of the Apps, Iovine said he hoped Apple Music would be "an entire pop cultural experience."

Tags: Jimmy Iovine, The Wall Street Journal
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Apple Rises to Sixth in LinkedIn's 2018 List of Top Companies to Work, Trails Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:25
Apple is ranked sixth on LinkedIn's annual list of the top 50 companies where professionals most want to work in the United States.

Apple moved up one spot after ranking seventh in 2017. The top five spots belong to Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Salesforce, and Tesla, while NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, Oracle, and Netflix round off the top ten.

LinkedIn says the list is based on billions of data points generated by over 546 million users on the site, with four areas of focus: interest in the company, engagement with the company's employees, job demand, and employee retention.
  • Job demand: At what rate are people viewing and applying to job postings, including paid listings, unpaid ones and those linked from other sites?
  • Engagement with the company: How many professionals are viewing a company's career page? How many new followers has the company attracted?
  • Interest in its employees: How many non-employees are viewing and asking to connect with a company's employees?
  • Retention: Are employees sticking around for at least a year?

It's worth noting that many different lists are published each year, and the results can often vary significantly. In December, for example, Apple ranked 84th on Glassdoor's annual list of the best companies to work at in the United States.

2018 LinkedIn Top Companies:
  1. Amazon
  2. Alphabet
  3. Facebook
  4. Salesforce
  5. Tesla
  6. Apple
  7. NBCUniversal
  8. The Walt Disney Company
  9. Oracle
  10. Netflix

  11. Spotify
  12. Uber
  13. McKinsey & Company
  14. Adobe
  15. Airbnb
  16. Time Warner Inc.
  17. Dell Technologies
  18. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  19. LVMH
  20. IBM
  21. Samsung
  22. Deloitte
  23. Verizon
  24. Goldman Sachs
  25. PwC
  26. The Boston Consulting Group
  27. Live Nation Entertainment
  28. Morgan Stanley
  29. EY
  30. Stryker
  31. Cisco
  32. Dropbox
  33. National Basketball Association
  34. Accenture
  35. Nike
  36. WeWork
  37. Citadel
  38. Kering
  39. National Football League
  40. Square
  41. ADP
  42. Capital One
  43. Twitter
  44. Box
  45. Johnson & Johnson
  46. Starbucks
  47. PepsiCo
  48. JLL
  49. Tableau Software
  50. Abbott
LinkedIn shared similar lists for other countries, including Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Tag: LinkedIn
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YouTube Increasing Ads Between Music Videos So More Users Pay for Upcoming Streaming Service

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:06
YouTube will soon place more advertisements in between music videos for some users, in an attempt to "smoke out" anyone who treats YouTube like a free music video playlist service and convince them to pay for its upcoming subscription music service (via Bloomberg). YouTube's unnamed service is described as a "necessary counterweight" to Apple Music and Spotify, and was last rumored to be launching this month.

The news came from a recent SXSW interview with YouTube's global head of music, Lyor Cohen, who went so far as to say that the company is trying to "frustrate" free YouTube users so that they're subsequently "seduced" into paying for a monthly subscription. The new service will include exclusive videos, music playlists, and more, all aimed at "die-hard music fans."
People who treat YouTube like a music service, those passively listening for long periods of time, will encounter more ads, according to Lyor Cohen, the company’s global head of music. “You’re not going to be happy after you are jamming ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and you get an ad right after that,” Cohen said in an interview at the South by Southwest music festival.

“There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” Cohen said. “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.” Cohen said that YouTube is trying to "be good partners" with the music industry, while also hoping to silence any rumors about the company's alleged harm to the industry and its artists. Over the years, some people have criticized YouTube for copyright violations in videos and underpaying artists and record companies. According to Cohen, this "noise" will end once the subscription service debuts.

A date for that launch has still not been given, but "thousands" of Google employees are said to be testing it right now.

Tags: Google, YouTube
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Apple's Upcoming 5.8-inch OLED iPhone Could Be Cheaper Than iPhone X

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 11:10
Apple has managed to reduce the manufacturing cost of its iPhone X successor to a level much lower than the current flagship model, according to DigiTimes' research analyst Luke Lin.
Lin cited information from Apple's upstream supply chain as indicating that the new device's MBOM [manufacturing bill of materials] will be more than 10% lower than that for iPhone X. He added that the MBOM of the iPhone X was more than US$400 in 2017.Apple is rumored to be introducing three iPhones in 2018: The first is said to be a second-generation version of the iPhone X, with the same 5.8-inch OLED display, while the second can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus" with a larger 6.5-inch OLED display.

Apple is also reportedly planning to introduce a new, more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display. However, recent engineering samples from the 5.8-inch device are said to show components with lower-level specifications or lower capacities than those of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, with LPDDR memory being one of the major differences.

According to Lin, the cost reduction could see Apple position the new 5.8-inch device as the cheapest model of all three next-generation iPhone models. The analyst also believes a project to develop a 5.8-inch LCD iPhone has been suspended since the end of the Lunar New Year holidays in mid-February and may be eventually terminated.

Lin reckons weak demand for iPhone X meant Apple needed a lot less OLED panels from Samsung than it said it would, which gave the Korean firm more bargaining power with regards to panel quotes for the next generation of iPhones. However, Apple has supposedly reached an agreement with Samsung and secured "satisfactory terms" that will prevent display panel cost increases.

DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans, so it would be wise not to base any future purchasing decisions on today's report.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTags:, OLED
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How to Group Mac App Icons More Prominently in Your Dock

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 10:32
In macOS, the Dock provides convenient one-click access to your most frequently used Mac applications. The simplest way to organize docked apps is to click and drag them into your preferred place, but here we're going to show you a lesser-known trick for arranging docked items more clearly.

To relate certain types of apps and add an extra visual clue to their location in the Dock, try inserting some spaces. Using this method, you could separate out other apps from, say, conversion tools that you frequently drag and drop files onto. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Insert Spaces into the macOS Dock

  1. Launch the Terminal app found in Applications/Utilities. (To quickly open the Utilities folder in Finder, select Go -> Utilities from the menu bar, or use the key shortcut Shift-Command-U.)
  2. At the Terminal prompt, type the following command and press Enter: defaults write persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="spacer-tile";}'; killall Dock

  3. Your Dock will reboot with a single space added to it. Click and drag the space to your desired location, just like a regular app icon.

  4. Repeat the Terminal command above to insert additional spaces and arrange them in your Dock to suit.

To remove a space from your Dock simply right-click (or Ctrl-click) it and select Remove from Dock. Alternatively, click and drag the space out of the Dock then let go of the mouse button to delete it.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Sleep++ App for Apple Watch Now Offers Automatic Sleep Tracking

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 23:34
If you're someone who wears your Apple Watch while sleeping, you may be familiar with the Sleep++ app for the Apple Watch, which offers sleep tracking and analyzing functionality.

Sleep++ was today updated to version 3 and it's gained a new feature that makes it easier than ever to keep track of sleep quality, length, and other metrics while sleeping -- automatic tracking.

The Sleep++ automatic sleep tracking feature kicks in when Apple Watch wearers go to bed at night and stops tracking in the morning, so Sleep++ users no longer need to start and stop sleep tracking every night. For more precise tracking, though, manual options continue to be available.

Today's Sleep++ update also includes other features like bedtime reminders, notifications with a summary of the previous night's sleep quality, and the ability to set a nightly sleep goal to reach.

Apple Watch does not have any built-in sleep tracking capabilities because Apple has designed it to be charged at night and worn during the day, but third-party apps are able to provide this missing functionality for users who prefer to wear their watches to bed.

Apple does offer a sleep tracking solution in the form of the Beddit, an accessory that it acquired last year. The Beddit sleep tracker, which also offers automatic sleep tracking, slips under your sheet and monitors sleep quality, heart rate, and other metrics. It does cost $150, though, so it's far less affordable than a third-party Apple Watch app.

Sleep++ can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Popular iPad Drawing App 'Linea Sketch' Gets Major Feature Update

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 22:22
Popular iPad sketching app Linea from The Iconfactory has been renamed to Linea Sketch and updated with multiple new features in 2.0 update that was released this morning.

There are new Templates and Grids in the app, including Notepad options with wide and narrow rules for note taking and new storyboarding templates. Existing app design templates have been updated for Apple's newest devices, and there is a new small dot grid available.

The previous version of Linea was limited to landscape mode, but the new update adds support for portrait orientation so you can draw in either landscape or portrait modes. New sketches are created using the iPad's current orientation, and all templates support the new portrait orientation.

Images can now be imported from the camera, photo library, clipboard, or a file browser app, and imported images can be added to a layer for editing or tracing.

There's also a new ZipLine tool for creating straight lines and polygons, a new scissors tool for creating selections in the Layers panel, and support for new gestures. You can resize selections by dragging with the orange handles or rotate using two fingers.

Linea Sketch supports several iOS 11 features following the update, including Drag and Drop and Split View multitasking, which allows it to be used alongside another app.

Linea Sketch can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99 for a limited time, a 50 percent discount off of the regular price. [Direct Link]
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Google Maps for iOS Gains Restaurant Wait Times, Improved Transit Directions and More

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 21:30
Google Maps for iOS was today updated to version 4.47, introducing new and improved features.

When searching for a restaurant using Google Maps, you can now see wait times at more than a million restaurants around the world that will let you know just how long you can expect to wait before being seated.

Google says the update also introduces the ability to sort and search through reviews of a restaurant, store, or other business, so you can find specific information that you're looking for, and it includes more robust transit directions.

The new transit directions feature in Google Maps is designed to let you know which transit entrance you need to go to, and it is available in New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev, and Budapest.Thanks for using Google Maps! This release brings bug fixes and awesome new features to help you discover new places and navigate to them:
- See average wait times at over a million restaurants worldwide.
- Search and sort through reviews of a place.
- Get transit directions that tell you exactly which entrance you need to go into. This feature is available now in New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev, and Budapest, with more on the way!Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google Maps
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Apple Offers Discounts on BeatsX, Powerbeats3, and Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 21:10
Apple this week is offering a limited time discount on its lineup of Beats headphones in the United States, dropping the price of the BeatsX Earphones, the Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones, and Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones.

Apple has offered these discounts several times in the past, and the lower prices are often available for a short period of time.

The BeatsX Earphones are available for $119.95, down from the regular price of $149.95. All colors are available at the reduced price.

Apple's Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones, designed for use with workouts, are available for $159.95, down from the regular price of $199.95. Apple offers both standard and Neighborhood Powerbeats3 collections, with both available at a discount.

The Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones are available for $239.95, down from the regular price of $299.95. Apple also offers these in standard and Neighborhood collections, with both discounted.

BeatsX, Powerbeats 3, and Beats Solo3 Wireless all include an Apple-designed W1 chip much like the AirPods, which means you can easily switch connectivity between different Mac and iOS devices.

All three accessories are also wireless and connect to your devices over Bluetooth, so they work with iPhones that do not have a headphone jack.

While Apple's prices are an okay deal, these headphones and earphones are also often discounted by third-party retailers. B&H Photo, for example, has some Beats Solo3 Wireless models available for $219.99, a $60 discount that beats Apple's discount. Not all colors are included, however.

Best Buy is offering the BeatsX for $99.99 this week, a price that also beats Apple's discount.

For more deals and discounts on headphones and other accessories, make sure to check out our Deals Roundup.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Quick Takes: Smartwatches to Have More Than Just 15 Minutes of Fame as GymKit Rollout Continues

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 20:57
In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Tuesday, March 20
1. IDC forecasts that smartwatch shipments will nearly double within four years: IDC believes smartwatches will account for almost two out of every five wearable devices shipped in 2022, with an estimated 84.1 million shipments that year, compared to an estimated 43.6 million units in 2018.

Commentary: Apple Watch is the world's most popular smartwatch by a significant margin, having outsold all competing smartwatches combined in 2017, and there's no sign that momentum will slow down.

2. Stack Overflow releases the results of its 2018 developer survey: The results, based on over 100,000 respondents from around the world, outline this year's most loved, dreaded, and wanted technologies and platforms, how developers around the world code, learn, live, and work, and more.

Apple-related highlights:
  • 26.7 percent of developers said macOS is their primary operating system for work, versus 49.9 percent for Windows
  • iOS was the most loved mobile operating system for development, with 64.6 percent of respondents expressing interest in continuing to develop for the platform, versus 63.8 percent for Android
  • Developers using Apple's open source Swift programming language earned a median salary of $57,000 in the United States, versus a leading $74,000 for programming language F#

3. Introducing IBM Watson Services for Core ML: The service enables corporate developers to build iPhone and iPad apps that leverage IBM Watson models via Apple's Core ML framework. Apple says these apps can quickly analyze images, accurately classify visual content, and easily train models.

Commentary: This service is an expansion of a four-year-old enterprise partnership between Apple and IBM that has led to over 100 new business apps tailored to industries such as healthcare, finance, and transportation.

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

Tag: Quick Takes
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Landlord of Apple's New Flagship Chicago Store Puts it Up for Sale

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 18:19
The Chicago landlord that owns the building where Apple's new flagship Michigan Avenue Store is located has put it up for sale, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Walton Street Capital purchased the 20,000-square-foot Apple Store, a 35-story office building, and a retail building next door for $370 million in 2017, and is now planning to sell the store and 10,000 square feet of retail space for $175 million while holding on to the office building.

Demand for retail space is declining due to the decreasing value of malls and shopping centers as consumers turn to online shopping, but according to The Wall Street Journal, Apple Stores are the "gold standard in the retail world" because of the high foot traffic they attract to nearby locations.A report by Green Street Advisors in 2016 found that average sales for 220 malls with Apple Stores came to $710 per square foot, compared with $630 per square foot for malls without Apple Stores. The study was based on a database that covered about 1,400 properties.When the Apple Store sells to a new buyer, Apple doesn't have to worry about rent. Apple is well aware that its stores attract a high number of customers and it uses that as leverage to get lower rent rates. Apple is paying rent that's "well below" the average $400 to $500 charged per square foot for nearby Michigan Avenue retail space.

Apple's Michigan Avenue store is located right alongside the Chicago River, and its construction was an ambitious project for the company. It includes 32-foot glass facades and an enormous 111-by-98 foot carbon fiber roof. Like most of Apple's modern stores, it includes indoor trees, a dedicated seating area for Today at Apple sessions, a Genius Grove for getting help with products, and an area where customers can view and try Apple devices and related accesories.

Designed by longtime partner Foster + Partners, the store is meant to pay homage to Chicago's iconic Prairie Style homes designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Related Roundup: Apple StoresTag: Chicago
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of tvOS 11.3 to Developers

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 17:02
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, a little over one week after seeding the fifth beta and one month after releasing the tvOS 11.2.6 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.3 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode and Apple Configurator.

Early tvOS 11.3 updates introduced support for AirPlay 2, allowing the Apple TV to be added to the Home app as part of a HomeKit setup and enabling multiple Apple TVs in separate rooms to play the same song, but that functionality was removed in tvOS 11.3 beta 3.

It is not yet clear if Apple plans to re-add AirPlay 2 features ahead of the release of tvOS 11.3, but it's a possibility because there are still several betas to go.

Other new features in tvOS 11.3 include enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV (a feature that was added to Apple TV 4K in a past tvOS update), and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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eBay's New Springtime Coupon Lets You Get 15% Off Nearly Everything Sitewide Today

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:52
A few weeks ago eBay launched a popular pre-daylights saving coupon, which allowed customers the ability to save 20 percent off everything on eBay, with a few select exclusions. Today the site has debuted a similar -- albeit slightly less valuable -- coupon code that lets customers take 15 percent off everything across eBay.

The 15 percent off coupon is running for one day only and ends tonight, March 20, at 7:00 p.m. PT. To use it, you'll need to make a purchase on eBay worth $25 or more, pay for the item or items by the coupon's expiration time tonight, and enter the coupon code PSPRINGTIME in the redemption code field.

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

The discount will apply to the purchase price, which excludes shipping, handling, and taxes, and caps at a maximum discount value of $50. You won't be able to buy items from the following categories on eBay with the code: Coins & Paper Money, Gift Cards & Coupons, and Real Estate. The code is available only to eBay users registered with an address in the United States, Canada, Latin America, or the Caribbean.

As a point of emphasis, if you're going to use the code remember that it's one-time-only, so if you want to gain its maximum potential you'll need to fill your cart up with either one expensive item or a collection of smaller items that add up to about $330 and above. After that point, the code's $50 max discount will be capped off.

Just like the last coupon, the new Springtime discount code is available across all of eBay, so even if you can't find Apple products you're interested in, there should be plenty of other items on the site that could be made a bit cheaper with the 15 percent off sale.

For more information on the code visit eBay's landing page, and head over to eBay's Daily Deals tech section to get started on shopping for ideas before the sale ends tonight. Our full Deals Roundup has more details on this week's latest sales as well.

Related Roundup: Apple DealsTag: eBay
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Apple Partners With UK's John Lewis for HomeKit Showcase In New Department Store

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:23
High-end department store chain John Lewis today opened up a new 230,000 square foot location in White City Westfield, London, and one of the store's new "experiences" includes deep integration with Apple's HomeKit platform. Called the "Apple Smart Home" section, Apple and John Lewis partnered in an effort to show London residents how HomeKit products can enhance their homes, showing off features like Siri voice control, connected lighting and heating, music playback, and more.

Speaking with HouseBeautiful, John Lewis senior PR manager Siân Grieve explained the reason for the company's partnership with Apple, instead of integrating with similar products from Amazon or Google.
But why have John Lewis decided to partner with Apple, and not Amazon, for example? 'A lot of John Lewis customers love and use Apple iOS, they have an iPad or an iPhone. Our stats revealed 77 per cent of searches onto are from iOS devices,' explains Siân Grieve from John Lewis. 'We know Amazon are going after this space, we know Google are going after it in a big way – this is our chance to bring that to life in an iOS setting.' In a video shared by Campaign yesterday, you can catch a glimpse into the Apple Smart Home section at John Lewis around the 1:30 mark. The space appears to include a variety of popular HomeKit devices -- like a few Philips Hue lamps -- and numerous iPads are dotted around the showroom floor for customers to interact with. A few demo stations include explanations on how to use HomeKit actions like "Hey Siri" for turning on and off Hue scenes.

Outside of the HomeKit experience, John Lewis's new store aims to be an in-depth and unique shopping destination, with a dedicated Experience Desk where customers can find information on taking part in craft classes, marbling workshops, calligraphy lessons, beauty bar appointments, yoga classes, and meet with in-store fashion stylists.

John Lewis is also planning to launch an iPhone app so that customers can keep track of all these appointments, starting with a focus on staying in touch with personal stylists, "who will be able to provide notifications when, for example, a new collection of a favorite brand comes into stock." Eventually, the company wants to expand the app to cover other services offered by the Experience Desk, including home design consultations.

Apple has been known to partner with companies in an attempt to boost HomeKit adoption, back in 2016 working with various building companies to integrate HomeKit directly into homes from the get-go, ensuring that new buyers are more likely to stick within its ecosystem. One such home in San Jose, California included devices sold by Kwikset, Ecobee, and Lutron, with HomeKit integration estimated to cost $2,500 per house.

Tag: HomeKit
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Apple's Fleet of Self-Driving Vehicles Has Almost Doubled Since January

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:06
Apple's fleet of self-driving vehicles has almost doubled over the past two months, according to the Financial Times, as the iPhone maker continues to accelerate its research and development of autonomous technologies.

The report claims Apple now has permits for 45 autonomous vehicles, up from 27 in January, based on figures provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Apple has been expanding its fleet rapidly since receiving permits to test just three autonomous vehicles in California last April.

$AAPL scooplet: Apple now has 45 cars testing autonomous systems in California, up from 27 in Jan & 3 last April, @CA_DMV figures show. That’s more than Waymo, Uber or Tesla in CA, as their testing moves to AZ

— Tim Bradshaw (@tim) March 20, 2018
Apple's testing fleet is now the second largest in California, behind only General Motors subsidiary Cruise Automation and its 110 cars, according to the report. Google-owned Waymo is testing 24 cars in the state, down from more than 100 last June, while Tesla has 39 permits, the report adds.

As noted by Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw, Waymo and other companies appear to be shifting their testing to Arizona and other states, so Apple's larger-sized fleet in California doesn't necessarily make it the de facto leader.

Uber has permits to test 29 driverless vehicles in California, but the company has suspended all of its self-driving tests after a pedestrian was struck and killed by one of its autonomous vehicles, with a human safety driver behind the wheel, on Sunday. It was the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

While the incident could result in more regulations for all companies testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle that "it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway."

California has required companies testing autonomous vehicles to have a human in the driver's seat to take over in the event of an emergency, but the state will be lifting that rule starting April 2, 2018.

Apple is one of more than 50 companies testing self-driving vehicle technologies in the San Francisco Bay Area. For nearly a year now, the company has been deploying its autonomous software in a series of 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which can often be seen on streets surrounding its Cupertino headquarters.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a June 2017 interview with Bloomberg Television. "It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."

Related Roundup: Apple Car
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Elevation Lab Launches New Versatile 'CordDock' for iPhone With Detachable Cord

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 15:00
Elevation Lab, a company known for its range of popular docks and stands for Apple devices, today announced the launch of its latest iPhone dock, the CordDock.

The CordDock aims to combine the benefits of charging via a cord with the benefits of a dock, allowing the iPhone plugged into the cord dock to be picked up and used while charging if desired.

Elevation Lab designed the CordDock with the same grippy NanoPad micro air-suction used in the ElevationDock 4, so your iPhone can be picked up and detached from the dock one-handed while it's still plugged in. When picking up the iPhone to use it, there's no need to unplug the cord -- the CordDock makes it so you can continue to charge even if you need to send a message, read an email, or play a game.

To use the CordDock, which has a slim footprint with a braided Lightning cable and two adjustable wheels at the back, you simply need to rotate the iPhone forward to keep the cord plugged in. Two spring-loaded ball detents keep the cord in position during standard dock charging, and release the cord when force is applied to undock the iPhone. To undock entirely, pull up on the phone as you would with any dock.

The CordDock can fit iPhone cases up to 4mm thick, which Elevation Lab says should work with everything besides the thick OtterBox cases. This is not a wireless charging device, which is an option with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, but is instead designed for customers who prefer to use wired charging but need more versatility than a dock can traditionally provide.

CordDock is available for purchase from the Elevation Lab website for $39 starting today.

Tag: Elevation Lab
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T-Mobile Gifting Customers Free Year of MLB.TV Premium Ahead of 2018 Season

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 14:16
T-Mobile today announced the return of its Major League Baseball-themed offer, gifting customers a free year's subscription to MLB.TV and the MLB At Bat app's premium features, worth $115.99 in total.

Available for T-Mobile customers only, the MLB.TV deal will be available in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app [Direct Link] beginning March 27, 2018 and run through April 2, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. If customers sign up for MLB.TV during this period on T-Mobile's network, they'll get their free 2018 MLB Regular Season subscription on the service and an At Bat Premium season subscription at no additional cost.
“Going to bat for customers is what we do, and our customers LOVE baseball…so we’re bringing them home a win next T-Mobile Tuesday,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Last year, Un-carrier customers streamed more than 1.3 million hours of baseball with MLB.TV thanks to the nation’s most loved wireless company, so we’re doing what do, giving them more of what they want…that’s how it should be, and we won’t stop!” The deal's fine print points out that this is for new 2018 subscribers of MLB.TV only, and current subscribers must cancel by 8:00 p.m. ET on March 23 to be eligible ahead of the March 27 launch on T-Mobile Tuesdays.

MLB.TV is a streaming service available as an app on most platforms, including Apple TV, PS4, Roku, Fire TV, and more. The service lets baseball fans watch every out-of-market regular season game live or on demand in HD, while the At Bat Premium features include 60fps video, radio broadcasts, and more.
Baseball fans can watch games on their favorite supported devices and enjoy live game DVR controls so they can pause and rewind live action. And, the MLB.TV subscription includes all the premium features of the MLB At Bat app (a $19.99 value), including enhanced pitch tracking, home and away radio broadcasts, and more. T-Mobile's deal will debut two days before Opening Day of the 2018 Major League Baseball season on Thursday, March 29. This year will be the fifth consecutive year that T-Mobile has offered a free year of MLB.TV to its customers.

Tag: T-Mobile
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Deals: $50 iTunes Cards for $42.50, Latest iTunes Movies Sale, and RAVPower Qi Mats

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:51
PayPal's Digital Gifts eBay storefront today has $50 App Store and iTunes gift cards for $42.50, a savings of 15 percent. As usual with PayPal's card sales on eBay, you'll need a PayPal account to complete the transaction, and the iTunes credit will only be valid on purchases made in the United States. Although the $100 card isn't directly on sale, you can add two $50 cards to your cart today to get $100 worth of iTunes credit for $85 -- which has been the typical sale amount over the past few weeks.

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

Once you place the order, PayPal will send a code to your email inbox within a few hours, although it can take up to 24 hours. Visit PayPal on eBay for more information and to pick up one of the iTunes cards before the limited-time offer expires.

Since it's Tuesday, Apple has added a few new films onto the iTunes Movies store, as well as marked down some to notable low discounts. Below we've listed sales hitting iTunes Movies for 4K HDR films and Disney films.

4K HDR movies on sale

Disney movies on sale

In other deals this week, RAVPower is offering MacRumors readers a discount of 20 percent off a pair of its Qi-compatible wireless chargers at Amazon. In addition, our readers can get 15 percent off one of RAVPower's portable power banks, which includes a built-in wireless charging pad. Check out all the products on sale below, along with the promo codes you'll need to take advantage of the discounts.

We reviewed all three of RAVPower's new accessories last week, so be sure to check out that review for more information.
For more information on the latest sales, including our ongoing Spring Break discount with Twelve South, head over to the full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple is Tightening the Rules on 'What's New' Changelogs in App Store

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:45
Apple this week informed members of its Developer Program that it will be enforcing stricter rules for "What's New in This Version," the section on the App Store in which developers can list changes they made to their apps.

Starting in April, developers will only be able to edit the "What's New" text when submitting a new version of their app. In other words, any changes to the text will now be subject to Apple's standard App Store review process.

The requirement will extend to editing an app's support URL or marketing URL, according to Apple's announcement posted in iTunes Connect.

While this is a minor change, Apple evidently felt the need to have a little more control over information passing through the App Store without its approval. It's possible that a few developers were taking advantage of the flexibility for bad reasons, such as pointing support or marketing URLs to malicious websites.

Tags: App Store, iTunes Connect
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