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Review: Eve Button Offers Quick Physical Controls for Activating Your Favorite HomeKit Scenes

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 21:06
Elgato has been making HomeKit-enabled "Eve" Bluetooth accessories for several years now, and the company now boasts an impressive lineup that includes a range of sensors, switches and smart plugs, and motion detectors.

Eve Button, Elgato's newest product, is a simple little three-gesture switch that's designed to control all of your other HomeKit products, activating scenes, turning lights on and off, and more.

The Eve Button has a simple, clean design with a silver aluminum shell and a black plastic front plate with a smooth, circular button outline that doesn't protrude at all.

It's using the same design introduced in the Eve Degree, so if you already have an Eve Degree, the Eve Button will complement it nicely.

While there is no visible button protrusion, if you press on the button outline in the middle of the accessory, it will depress and activate the Eve Button's gestures. Pressing at the sides does not cause the front plate to depress, so the pressing motion is limited to the center, which is a clever design.

The back of the Eve Button is where the battery compartment is located, which can be opened with a coin. The Eve Button uses a CR2032 replaceable watch battery that can be purchased from a local store or for just a couple of dollars. You can check battery level in the Home app.

Elgato included four little rubber feet for the Eve Button so you can set it flat on a surface and it won't slip around, but curiously, there's no included adhesive strip or mounting option. The Eve Button is the kind of accessory I'd like to be able to attach to the wall near my light switch, but that's not an option.

With other switches and buttons, like the Hue Tap, there's an included mounting solution so it can go on the wall or be used anywhere, so this is a bit of a disappointing oversight with the Eve Button. Portability is, of course, the preferred functionality because not everyone is going to use this as a light switch, but it would be nice if mounting was an option. It's certainly light enough that I could pick up a 3M Command Strip on my own to stick it to the wall.

In addition to the four little feet, Elgato also included a whole slew of HomeKit stickers you can place on the Eve to remind you which gesture does what, which is a nice addition. Hue Tap and other competing button-like devices don't have that option, and it can be difficult to remember what's what, especially when there are multiple family members using the device.

There are three gestures available on the Eve Button, which can be tied to three of your HomeKit scenes: a single press, a double press, and a long press.

All of these gestures are simple to execute, and the Eve Button does a good job telling them apart. I didn't have much trouble with it mistaking one gesture for another, and it takes just a few seconds (sometimes even less) from when I press the button to when the scene assigned to the button activates. You might think Bluetooth is slow, but it's not, even when I'm in a different room.

I have noticed once or twice that the Eve Button refuses to respond to a gesture, causing me to repeat it, but it hasn't happened often in the two weeks I've been testing it. For the record, I sometimes have the same issue with other accessories of this type. It's irritating, but not a dealbreaker.

It can get a little confused if you're pressing the button to activate different scenes that control the same accessory in rapid succession, but that's not a normal use case and something I did just for testing.

Scenes are the only thing that can be associated with the Eve Button, but Scenes can incorporate as many HomeKit devices as you'd like. You can, for example, set something like a "Goodnight" scene that locks the doors, turns off the lights, turns down the thermostat, and turns on a night light, depending on which HomeKit products you own.

A "Wake Up" scene could do things like turn on the lights, start the coffee pot, warm up the house, and open the blinds. You can also use simpler scenes if you want the Eve Button to control a single device, like a light. Each gesture can also be tied to multiple scenes, which is handy if you want to keep your scenes separate for voice commands but combine them for the Eve Button.

I have the Eve Button set to turn the bedroom lights on with a single press, off with a double press, and then I have a long press set to activate a scene with my Nanoleaf Aurora for a kind of relaxing lighting scene that incorporates many of my Hue lights.

You'll note that I am using two of the three button presses for an on/off state, because devices like these don't naturally have on/off functionality. There is a way around this, though, as HomeKit scenes can be set to "Turn Off" after a set period of time in the Home app. So you could potentially set the Eve Button to turn the lights on in a room like a bathroom, and then set a timer to have them turn off again after 10 minutes without the need to use up a second button slot.

You can also add Conditions to Scenes that are tied to the Eve Button, such as allowing a Scene to be activated by the button only after 6pm or when the temperature is below a certain threshold, but I don't think these are going to be commonly used with the accessory.

You can, of course, activate scenes without the Eve Button at all through the Home app, another HomeKit app, or through Siri voice commands, but sometimes it's just easier to press a button. It's hard to transition entirely away from light switches, especially when there are multiple people in the house, and these kinds of HomeKit buttons and switches are useful replacements, I've found.

Setting up the Eve Button, is, of course, as simple as any other HomeKit product and it takes just a few seconds. Open up the box, fire up the Home app or the Eve app, add an accessory, scan the code, assign scenes, and that's it.

Bottom Line
Elgato's HomeKit products are some of my favorite. When HomeKit was new, Bluetooth HomeKit devices didn't work well, but with the myriad HomeKit improvements introduced over the years, Bluetooth HomeKit accessories like the Eve Button work flawlessly.

I am happy with all of the Elgato HomeKit devices that I use, and Elgato has one of the best product-based HomeKit apps out there. I often use the Elgato app to tweak my scenes and my non-Elgato HomeKit devices. I'm also a fan of the design of the Eve Button (and the Eve Degree), and I'm glad to see Elgato appears to be adopting it across the HomeKit lineup. It's a big improvement over previous Eve accessories that were a plain white plastic.

If you're new to HomeKit, you might think that it's silly to go to the trouble of automating your smart home devices and then adding in a physical switch, but accessories like the Eve Button are useful and eliminate annoyances that come with not having an immediately accessible physical control for your devices. I've had a Hue Tap for quite some time and it's one of my most used accessories just because it's sometimes easier to tap a button than it is to ask my phone to do something for me.

Button accessories also come in handy in multi-person households and when you have guests who might need to control devices like lights.

I do wish the Eve Button had a few more gestures available because $50 is quite a bit to pay for just three, but you can tie each one to your most used scenes to get a lot of value it. I also wish Elgato had included a mounting solution, but you can fix that with a cheap adhesive strip if you really want it on the wall.

How to Buy
Eve Button can be purchased from the Elgato website or from for $49.95.

Note: Elgato provided MacRumors with an Eve Button for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tags: HomeKit, Elgato, Eve
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Quick Takes: Apple Pencil 2 Wishlist, Apple's R&D Spending is Surging

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:15
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.

Friday, March 16
1. Apple Pencil 2 wishlist: iMore's Serenity Caldwell offers some good suggestions for a next-generation Apple Pencil, including integration of Apple's W1 or W2 chips for improved pairing, haptic feedback, wireless charging, and multiple nib options both for improved friction and design.

Commentary: Apple today invited the media to an education-focused event on March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The artwork for the invite suggests the Apple Pencil could be one focus of the event, with the possibility of both a new version and support added for the 9.7-inch iPad.

2. An Apple R&D bonanza: Above Avalon's Neil Cybart notes that Apple is on track to spend $14 billion on research and development in its 2018 fiscal year, nearly double the amount it spent on R&D just four years ago. $14 billion would also be more than the amount Apple spent on R&D from 1998 to 2011 combined.My theory on the dramatic rise in Apple R&D expenditures is that management is becoming more ambitious. Apple's future is found in new industries. Just as Apple moved from desktops/laptops to personal music players, smartphones, and watches, the company will need to enter new industries to remain relevant. This is not a company that is holding onto the iPhone as tight as possible for fear of change. Apple management is investigating new ideas and processes in order to support future moves into new industries.Commentary: Apple's dramatic increase in R&D spending likely signals the company's interest in a number of new areas. Cybart believes that two new items on Apple's roadmap that are driving the recent surge in expenditures include augmented reality glasses and a Netflix-like streaming video service.

3. French cosmetics company L'Oréal acquires ModiFace, a Toronto-based startup that developed augmented reality innovations allowing customers to try on cosmetics using its mobile apps or in-store smart mirrors.

Commentary: ModiFace has iPhone and iPad apps for simulating new photo-realistic hair colors, eye colors, cosmetics, teeth whitening, and more. Ahead of the public release of iOS 11, the company also shared an ARKit demo showcasing a lipstick previewer and virtual beauty gallery in a cosmetics store.

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.

Tags: Apple Pencil, Quick Takes
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of watchOS 4.3 to Developers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:10
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.3 update to developers, a few days after seeding the fifth beta and more than a month after releasing watchOS 4.2.3, a minor update focusing on bug fixes.

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

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

watchOS 4.3 introduces support for Nightstand mode in portrait orientation, a feature that was previously only available when the watch was placed in landscape orientation. There's also a new charging animation when the Apple Watch is placed on the charger, a new app loading animation, your Activity data is now displayed on the Siri watch face, and the battery complication more accurately reports battery life.

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The watchOS 4.3 update also brings the return of a much-desired feature that allows music playing on the iPhone to be controlled using the Music app on the Apple Watch.

In prior versions of watchOS, starting with watchOS 4, the Music app could only be used to control music playing on the watch itself. With the tvOS 11.3 beta installed, there's also an option to control music playing on the Apple TV with the watch.

Apple plans to release watchOS 4.3 to the public in the spring, and until then, it will be limited to developers. Apple offers public betas of tvOS, iOS, and macOS, but watchOS betas are not available for public beta testers because there's no way to revert to an earlier version of watchOS once an update is installed.

As we're on the sixth beta, we should be nearing a release date in the next couple of weeks.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Shares New 'Unlock' iPhone X Ad Demonstrating Face ID

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:15
Apple this afternoon uploaded a new iPhone X video to its YouTube channel, which is designed to show off Face ID, the facial recognition feature of the iPhone X.

In the humorous video, which appears to take place at a high school, using Face ID on the iPhone X causes everything in the surrounding area to unlock, including lockers, cabinets, doors, and more, with items flying everywhere.

Apple has shared several video ads focused on the iPhone X, including short tutorials and demonstrations of features like Face ID, Animoji, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting.

This minute-long video will likely be aired on television in the coming days and weeks.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Apple adsBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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MacRumors Exclusive: Twelve South Debuts Spring Break Sale With Discounts on Travel Accessories

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 18:31
As we draw nearer to the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere on Tuesday, March 20, many people around the world are getting ready to travel for spring break and other holidays. To prepare you for any trip you might have planned this spring or later in the summer, MacRumors has partnered with Twelve South to bring our readers exclusive discounts on five of the accessory maker's most useful travel products.

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

The promo code MacRumorsSpringBreak is live beginning today, March 16, and will be available to use on through Friday, March 30, offering 15 percent discounts on five items during this two week timeframe. MacRumors readers around the globe will be able to enter the code and take advantage of the discounts, but shipping costs will vary by regions. For United States residents, Twelve South offers free FedEx Smart Post on all orders (5-10 days estimate), and if your order exceeds $95 you'll gain free 2-day shipping.

From organizing your charging cables to ensuring that your iPhone and Mac will be able to charge in foreign outlets, the items included in our discount should help both domestic and international travelers this season. The products can be purchased individually or in groups, and the 15 percent discount will be taken off from the total of the order, excluding shipping. Below you'll find the full list of Twelve South products offered as a discount exclusively for our readers.

Promo Price: $16.99, down from $19.99
Colors: Black, Cognac, Marsala
Compatible Products: iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch
Description: Leather cable organizers that will help keep your iPhone and iPad cables, USB-C Mac cable, EarPods, and any other wires neat and tangle free in your travel bags. Includes one large and two small CableSnaps.

Compass 2

Promo Price: $33.99, down from $39.99
Colors: Black, Gold, Rose Gold, Silver
Compatible Products: 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad mini, iPad Air
Description: A multi-use stand that offers a stable platform to place your iPad in portrait and landscape modes so you can watch movies on an airplane, FaceTime hands-free, and even type more comfortably.

PlugBug World

Promo Price: $38.24, down from $44.99
Compatible Products: MacBook, iPad, iPhone
Description: PlugBug World attaches to your MacBook Power Adapter and provides a simple, dual-charging solution thanks to the included USB-A port for iPhone/iPad charging. Five international snap on plugs ensure charging convenience in both the U.S. and numerous other countries.

BookBook CaddySack

Promo Price: $42.49, down from $49.99
Compatible Products: MacBook, Apple Pencil, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch
Description: A compact leather case with elastic bands and pockets to organize your MacBook Power Adapter, dongles, AirPods, EarPods, PlugBug World, iPhone chargers, and more.

Promo Price: $42.49, down from $49.99
Colors: Black, White
Compatible Products: Apple Watch
Description: A silicone-lined case for travelers that stores Apple Watch essentials like the charging cable, USB adapter, and an extra band, while also doubling as a travel display stand that supports nightstand mode.

While our exclusive promo code provides the best price online for most of these products, those interested in the White TimePorter should take a look at Twelve South's storefront on Amazon first. The product is $10 off, and an on-page coupon can be clipped to save an additional $7.50. If you have Amazon Prime's free-two day shipping, that'll make the TimePorter just $32.49.

If you're looking for a new iPhone case to take on an upcoming trip, Twelve South on Amazon has multiple sizes and colors of its $49.99 Relaxed Leather Case for iPhone marked down by $10 or more. The savings include items like the iPhone X case in Earl Grey for $37.55, iPhone 7/8 case in Warm Taupe for $39.99, and iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus in Indigo for $38.99. A similar discount has also hit the $59.99 BookBook case for iPhone X.

Head over to our Deals Roundup for even more of the latest offers happening this week, and remember to use the exclusive Twelve South promo code before it expires on March 30. We also have a special discount code on the BentoStack for our readers, which could be another useful item to add to your travel bags on your next vacation.

Related Roundup: Apple DealsTag: Twelve South
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Apple Hosting Developer Workshop at Station F Parisian Incubator

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 18:25
Apple next week plans to host a workshop for developers at the Station F startup incubator in Paris, France. The event will take place on Friday, March 23 according to French site Mac4Ever.

A limited number of French developers have been invited to attend the workshop, which will consist of a two hour workshopping session followed by a question and answer period.

This special workshop will teach you to create amazing apps for Apple platforms and make the most of your presence on the App Store. After the workshop, you'll have the opportunity to speak with Apple experts and fellow participants.Station F is one of the largest centers for entrepreneurs in Europe, and Apple first became involved with the incubator in October of 2017 following Apple CEO Tim Cook's visit to Paris.

Apple reportedly has a small team at Station F to help developers create, validate, and manage their iOS apps. Station F memberships start at €195 per month, but there are discounted yearly memberships available along with a free program for those who can't afford the fee.
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a BentoStack Accessory Organizer Equipped With AirPods and Apple Pencil

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 18:00
For this week's giveaway we've teamed up with Function 101 to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a handy BentoStack organizer for all of your Apple accessories, which will come equipped with AirPods, an Apple Pencil, and two Apple Watch bands.

The BentoStack, priced at $50, started out as a highly successful Indiegogo project, but it's now available to anyone. Modeled after traditional Bento boxes that are popular as lunch containers in Japan, the multi-layered BentoStack is designed to hold and organize a variety of accessories. The BentoStack comes in three colors -- Space Gray, Silver, and Rose Gold -- and has a soft, smooth texture.

Each BentoStack consists of four storage compartments, a lid, and a silicone strap to hold it all together. The top lid (that can also double as a stand) holds an Apple Pencil or a standard pen, while the top compartment can hold an AirPods case, wound up iPhone cables, or similarly sized items.

A second lid in the middle can hold your Apple Watch bands, and the bottom compartment, which is the deepest, is able to hold a MacBook Pro-sized charger along with additional cables and accessories. For countries with larger MacBook plugs, there's also a BentoStack XL that's just a bit deeper.

Dividers in both of the two larger compartments allow you to arrange the BentoStack's interior to meet your needs, and with these removable dividers, it can accommodate accessories in many sizes.

I reviewed the BentoStack back in November, and I was impressed with its capacity. I was able to fit three Apple Watch bands, an Apple Watch, a MacBook Pro power adapter, a USB-C cable, two regular-sized Lightning cables, a small Lightning cable, and an Apple Pencil.

Once filled up, the BentoStack fits all together in one neat little bundle, which you can leave on your desk or take with you anywhere. When you need to use it on the go, you can unpack whichever layers you need for a portable desk organization system. If you want to just take a single section of the BentoStack with you, you can do that too, as Function 101 includes an extra small silicone strap.

For all of our readers, we've got a special discount code that will discount the BentoStack by 40 percent. Just enter the promo code MacRumors40 when checking out on the Function website. That drops the price of the BentoStack from $50 to $30, with $10 shipping. The deal will be available through Thursday, March 22.

We also have one fully loaded BentoStack to give away to a lucky MacRumors reader. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach winners and send prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (March 16) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 23. The winner will be chosen randomly on March 23 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Tag: giveaway
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Steve Jobs Employment Questionnaire Sold for $174,757 at Auction

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:22
A rare employment questionnaire filled out by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was auctioned off last week, earning an impressive $174,757.

Jobs filled out the questionnaire in 1973, just after dropping out of Reed College, where he attended school for approximately six months and then audited classes for another year and a half.

The document provided a rare look into Jobs' life at the time, with Jobs listing "english lit" as his major and Reed College as his address. "Computer" and "Calculator" were listed as skills, along with "Design" and "Tech," and Jobs said that he had special abilities that include "Electronics" and digital "Tech or Design Engineer."

Soon after filling out the employment questionnaire, Jobs took a position as a technician at Atari after showing the company a version of Pong designed by Steve Wozniak. Just two years later, Jobs, Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer in Jobs' now iconic garage.

Ahead of the auction, the auction site believed the questionnaire would fetch over $50,000, but it ended up tripling that estimate.

A separate auction for an Mac OS X technical manual signed by Jobs in 2001 also brought in $41,806, while a signed newspaper clipping that Jobs signed sold for $26,950.

Tag: Steve Jobs
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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of iOS 11.3 to Developers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:02
Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, four days after seeding the fifth beta and almost a month after the release of iOS 11.2.6, an update that addressed a bug causing iPhones and iPads to crash when a character from the Indian language Telugu was rendered improperly.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.3 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.

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iOS 11.3 is a major update that introduces a long list of new features, like Messages in iCloud for saving space and syncing messages across devices, and ARKit 1.5, a new version of ARKit able to more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces, recognize images, and place objects on vertical surfaces like walls.

There are four new Animoji on the iPhone X (dragon, bear, skull, and lion), and in the Health app, there's a new Health Records feature that aggregates all of your medical records in one easy-to-access place.

As of iOS 11.3 beta 2, the update includes a new "Battery Health" feature that's designed to provide iOS users with more information about their batteries.

Battery Health offers details on maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability, and for devices with degraded batteries, it provides information on if and when a device is being throttled with performance management features. It also provides a way for customers who do have a device with a degraded battery to turn off performance management all together.

By default, iOS 11.3 disables performance management on the iPhone, and the feature is only re-enabled once a device experiences an unexpected shutdown.

Early betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 included support for AirPlay 2 features, allowing audio to be played to multiple Apple TVs, but these features were removed in iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 beta 3.

Other features in iOS 11.3 include a "For You" section in Apple News that displays the top videos of the day, support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) for more accurate location when placing an emergency call in a supported country, more information about app size in the Updates tap in the App Store, software authentication for HomeKit, and a new Privacy screen and icon that will show up whenever Apple asks you for info.

The privacy screen is reflected in several new splash screens that pop up when you first open apps. The App Store also now lets you sort reviews by most helpful, most favorable, most critical, and most recent, a handy change for better finding the app info you're looking for.

Business Chat, which will let you interface with businesses like Wells Fargo, Delta, Hilton and Lowe's right in the Messages app is coming when iOS 11.3 is released, and improvements to Apple Music will bring better support for music videos.

iOS 11.3 will be released to the public in the spring. Spring kicks off on March 20, so the public release of the update could be coming soon.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Review: RAVPower HyperAir 7.5-Watt Wireless Chargers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:49
We're starting to see more 7.5-watt wireless chargers hitting the market, and RAVPower is another popular charging accessory manufacturer that's getting into the mix. RAVPower's previous Fast Wireless Charger has been one of my favorite chargers for the iPhone X, but the company has also been working on improvements leading to a recently launched series of chargers under "HyperAir" branding. The lineup includes flat charging bases, a charging stand, and even a power bank that can wirelessly charge your iPhone.

RAVPower promotes its new HyperAir accessories as supporting both 7.5-watt iPhone and 10-watt Android charging with optimal efficiency, using intelligent temperature monitoring and improved heat dissipation to maintain charging speeds for longer periods of time.

RAVPower notes that the iPhone uses a narrow fixed frequency for its wireless charging, and HyperAir chargers are optimized to match that frequency for fast charging. Upon placing an iPhone on a HyperAir charger, the charger quickly identifies the device and optimizes its charging profile, allowing for a complete charge in two and a half to three hours.

I've been testing three different types of chargers from the HyperAir lineup, and I've come away impressed with several of them. I'm always on the lookout for stand-style chargers, and the new HyperAir stand is a good one. It has an unobtrusive black finish but with a little bit more style than Anker's stands, with rear and bottom supports that appear distinct from the main body, and it's completely silent with no integrated fan. The lack of active cooling could result in temperature issues, but RAVPower's temperature sensing and management technology helps overcome some of those challenges.

RAVPower HyperAir stand
In my testing, the HyperAir stand charged my iPhone X battery from 10 percent to 51 percent in an hour, well ahead of most other chargers and second only to Anker's new PowerWave stand in that metric.

RAVPower HyperAir stand
A horizontal LED on the front of the stand pulses green during charging, briefly shines solid red when first plugged in, and can flash red if there's a charging problem.

RAVPower HyperAir pad
I also tested RAVPower's HyperAir pad, and somewhat surprisingly I found that it wasn't able to charge my phone as quickly, reaching just 41 percent after an hour. That's pretty much in line with charging speeds I've seen on many other chargers including those running at 5 watts, so I'm not entirely sure why it wasn't quite able to match its stand sibling. The HyperAir pad is a fairly standard looking pad with a slim design and a similar horizontal LED to the one seen on the stand model, capable of shining green or red to let you know its status.

As with Anker's PowerWave chargers, RAVPower's HyperAir stand and pad each come with an 18-watt power adapter that supports the Quick Charge 3.0 standard. The chargers require a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter to function, and will not work with other power adapters or USB ports. RAVPower includes a really nice braided micro-USB cable in the box as well.

The HyperAir stand is normally priced at $49.99 and the pad at $39.99, but RAVPower is offering a special limited-time Amazon deal of 20 percent off for MacRumors readers, bringing the cost of the stand down to $39.99 with promo code MACRPC69 and the pad down to $31.99 with promo code MACRPC66.

In addition to the stand and pad, RAVPower's HyperAir lineup also includes a 10,400 mAh portable power bank with built-in wireless charging pad, listed at $67.99 on Amazon but currently very short of stock. The power bank lets you charge up to two devices simultaneously, one wirelessly by setting your phone on top of the power bank and a second through a 2.4A USB port. At 10,400 mAh, there's a decent amount of power available for charging multiple devices multiple times.

RAVPower HyperAir power bank
My charging test saw the power bank only push my iPhone X battery to 42 percent, which isn't quite as good as some of the wired HyperAir and PowerWave chargers, but not bad considering this is for charging on the go.

Wireless charging on a power bank can be tricky if you're out and about, as you need to keep the phone aligned with the charging pad, but if it works for your needs, this is a solid option and there aren't a ton of these types of accessories on the market yet. The USB port also lets you fall back to wired charging if you need to charge without a stable surface around to set things up on. It feels like a pretty large price premium over standard power banks just to add wireless charging, but it might be worthwhile for some users.

The design is a fairly simple black plastic that's nothing special, but it does the trick and has a non-slip surface for charging pad. There's an LED on the side that lets you know the wireless charging status with the same green and red colors as the other HyperAir chargers, and the charging state of the power bank itself can be determined from a set of four small blue LEDs on the top surface. RAVPower includes a flat micro-USB cable and a USB-C to micro-USB adapter in the box, but there's no included power adapter. RAVPower recommends you use at least a 2A adapter for maximum recharging speed.

RAVPower tells me it is applying to the WPC for Qi certification on these new chargers and hopes to receive it by the end of next month.

Note: RAVPower provided the wireless chargers to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTag: RAVPowerBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral), iPhone X (Buy Now)
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ColorWare's Latest Skin Makes an iPhone X Look Like Original iPhone

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:11
ColorWare this week announced it has released a limited edition original iPhone skin for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Over 10 years ago, Apple debuted their revolutionary iPhone. This product changed everything for mobile phone owners. The bar of expectations was risen to a point that changed the market forever. ColorWare would like to pay homage to this historical event by offering our Limited Edition Original iPhone skin.ColorWare says its single-piece matte skins are made with genuine 3M vinyl, allowing for easier installation and a better final look.

The skins are available for $19 each in the United States for a limited time only. They are estimated to ship in three to five business days.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: ColorWareBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Lisa Brennan-Jobs to Publish Memoir of Her Childhood With Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:43
Grove Press this week announced that Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the eldest daughter of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and artist Chrisann Brennan, is working on a memoir about her childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary parents. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs and Steve Jobs via BHW
In the book, titled Small Fry, Brennan-Jobs recounts how Jobs was "rarely present" in the early years of her life, as he denied paternity. As she grew older, however, Jobs began to show an interest in her and apologized for his behavior.

The memoir's description notes that Jobs ushered his daughter into a "new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools." Brennan-Jobs was "thrilled" to receive attention from her father, but he could be "cold, critical and unpredictable" at times, echoing stories about his management style at Apple:When she was young, Lisa's father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he'd become the parent she'd always wanted him to be.Brennan-Jobs, 39, graduated from Harvard University in 2000 and is now a professional writer. Jobs named the Apple Lisa, released one year before the original Macintosh, after her. She has three half-siblings, including Reed Jobs, Erin Jobs, and Eve Jobs, from Jobs's later marriage to Laurene Powell.

Small Fry is scheduled for release in September, according to the Associated Press and a listing on the HarperCollins Canada website.

Tag: Steve Jobs
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Lyft Testing Monthly Subscription Plans With Prices Reportedly Starting at $200/Month

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:30
iOS and Android ride-hailing app Lyft has begun testing monthly subscription plans for "high-frequency users," in a style comparable to services like Netflix, Apple Music, and MoviePass.

According to The Verge, the terms of each "All-Access Plan" vary and an overall detailed report from Lyft has yet to come out, but prices appear to start at $200/month for 30 standard Lyft rides. Standard rides are defined as those costing up to $15 for each ride. Higher tiers are priced at $250, $300, and one for $400/month provides 60 rides.

All-Access Plan image via Hunter Owens
Images of the ads for All-Access Plans promote "predictable pricing," the ability to cancel anytime, and auto-renew payments.

Lyft CEO Logan Green discussed the new subscription plans this week, saying, "We are going to move the entire industry from one based on ownership to one based on subscription." As is typical for these tests, it's still unclear if and when Lyft will launch subscription plans for all of its users.
“We’re always testing new ways to provide passengers the most affordable and flexible transportation options,” the spokesperson said. “For the past few months, we’ve been testing a variety of All-Access Plans for Lyft passengers.” Lyft recently expanded to Toronto at the end of 2017, which marked the company's first market outside of the United States. Earlier in 2017, the ride-hailing company partnered with self-driving startup Waymo in an effort "to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream."

The company has had an ongoing rival in similar ride-hailing app Uber, which itself trialed monthly subscription payments for its users back in 2016 but never launched the service on wide scale.

Tag: Lyft
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Apple to Host March 27 Event in Chicago: 'Creative New Ideas for Teachers and Students'

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:47
Apple today invited the media to an event on Tuesday, March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The keynote will commence at 10:00 a.m. Central Time and will be focused on "creative new ideas for teachers and students," suggesting Apple has some education-related announcements planned.

Apple's invite for March 27 event via Bloomberg's Mark Gurman
There is quite a bit of rumored hardware and software in Apple's pipeline that could fit within an educational theme, including lower-priced versions of the iPad and MacBook Air that could be targeted at classrooms. Here's a recap of everything that could be announced at the March 27 event based on recent rumors:
  • 9.7-inch iPad for $259: Taiwanese websites DigiTimes and the Economic Daily News reported that Apple is considering releasing a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad for $259—perhaps this will be education pricing. The current 9.7-inch iPad was released in March 2017 for $329.
  • MacBook Air for $799 to $899: KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018. The estimated $799-$899 price range comes from WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu. The current MacBook Air starts at $999.
  • AirPower charging mat: A trio of reports claim Apple will launch AirPower in March. The mat can inductively charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and Apple Watch Series 3. It will also be able to charge AirPods placed in an optional charging case.
  • Wild card — a second-generation iPhone SE: Rumors have been swirling about an iPhone SE refresh, with speculated features ranging from a larger 4.2-inch display to an iPhone X-like design, but Kuo recently cast doubt on the device launching in the first half of 2018.
  • A new Apple Pencil: The artwork for Apple's invite appears to be inspired by the Apple Pencil, so perhaps we'll see an updated version of the drawing tool or support for the 9.7-inch iPad.
  • iOS 11.3 availability with ClassKit
Apple recently announced that its Everyone Can Code program will see a citywide expansion in Chicago's public schools and city colleges this spring. The curriculum will bring coding opportunities to Chicago's nearly 500,000 students. It's likely we'll learn more details about this initiative at the March 27 event.

Apple hosted a similar education-focused event in New York City back in January 2012, where it announced iBooks 2 with interactive textbooks, iBooks Author, and a new version of iTunes U for iPad.

Tag: Apple event
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'ARK: Survival Evolved' Coming to iOS This Spring With 'Full Online Experience'

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 12:49
This week, popular console and desktop game Fortnite hit the iOS App Store in beta form, allowing players to access the "same 100-player" Battle Royale mode found on PS4 and Mac computers while on-the-go. Following Fortnite, it's been announced that another large-scale console title is getting a full game on iOS and Android, called ARK: Survival Evolved and launching this spring (via TouchArcade).

ARK originally released in early access on Steam and Xbox One in 2015, and then the final game launched across most platforms in 2017, including PC, Mac, Xbox One, and PS4. ARK is an action survival game that takes place in a large open world inhabited by dinosaurs, tasking players with building bases and weapons, taming and taking care of dinosaurs, and joining up with other players in tribes.

A few other features coming to ARK on mobile include:
80+ Dinosaurs: Use cunning strategy and tactics to tame, train, ride and breed the many dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the dynamic, persistent ecosystems across land, sea, air, and even underground.
Discover: Explore a massive living and breathing prehistoric landscape as you find the means to survive, thrive, and escape on the Ark.
Craft and Build: Using any means necessary to survive, craft weapons, clothes, and items, and build shelters, villages, or even large cities.
Survive Alone or With Others: Group up with, or prey on, hundreds of other players in a large-scale online world or choose to go it alone in single-player mode.
Join a Tribe: The ‘Tribe’ system encourages cooperation, by supporting dynamic parties to share resources, XP, and re-spawn points. Beta invites for iOS are already open for the game, and mobile game developer War Drum Studios stated that the plan for the smartphone version "is to contain the full online experience as the PC version of ARK." This includes the game's 50-person multiplayer environment where players can join tribes to share resources, gain XP, and more, as well as engage in an offline single player experience.

There will also be a few tweaks in the transition to mobile, including faster paced gameplay, a unique user interface, and a "specialized control setup" that was developed specifically for ARK on mobile. The iOS and Android version of the game will offer optional upgrades that players can acquire with "Amber" to progress faster, obtain certain buffs for certain amounts of time, build unique crafting structures, and bring lost dinosaurs back from the dead. The developers said these updates "allow for the ultimate experience on mobile," while maintaining the true ARK experience as closely as possible.

In a tweet on the new @PlayARKMoible Twitter account, War Drum Studios said that ARK will require 2GB of download space on iOS, and run at 30 FPS on iPhone 7 devices and newer. It "will feature the entire Island map with most of the creatures," requiring 2GB of RAM on iOS and 3GB of RAM on Android. The developers also put out a trailer for the game, noting that all gameplay footage included was recorded live using an iPhone 8.

ARK will be free-to-play when it launches on iOS and Android widely this spring, but details about any potential microtransactions have not yet been revealed.

Tag: ARK: Survival Evolved
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Google Lens Currently Rolling Out to iOS via Google Photos App

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 11:42
Google has announced that its previously Android-only Google Lens feature is now rolling out to iOS users who have the Google Photos app installed.

First unveiled last year at the Google I/O 2017 conference, Google Lens uses the company's image recognition and machine learning algorithms to identify the subjects of photos and videos and present additional helpful actions and information to the user.

For example, if you take a picture of a business card, Google Lens will offer to save the phone number or address to one of your contacts. Similarly, taking a photo of a book, landmark, building, painting, plant or animal can throw up an option to view more details about the picture's subject.

A few things to note: Currently Google Lens only works if your device's language is set to English, and you're running the latest version (3.15) of Google Photos. You can check what version you're running in the app's settings – tap the cog icon and select "About Google Photos" in the menu. Also note that your Google Lens activity is saved to your Google Account if you have Web & App Activity turned on.

Starting today and rolling out over the next week, those of you on iOS can try the preview of Google Lens to quickly take action from a photo or discover more about the world around you. Make sure you have the latest version (3.15) of the app.

— Google Photos (@googlephotos) March 15, 2018
If you still don't see the Google Lens icon when viewing individual photos or videos, it's likely the feature hasn't reached your region yet. Google says the update is being released in batches and all devices should receive it soon.

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

Tags: Google, Google Photos
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How to Block Nuisance Calls and Messages on Your iPhone

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:10
Unsolicited phone calls and messages can become a regular annoyance and even a cause of stress for many smartphone users these days. Thankfully, Apple provides features in iOS 11 that allow you to block nuisance calls and messages from the same number coming through to your phone, and in this article we're going to show you how to set them up.

Whether it's messages from a debt collector looking for the wrong person, a random number from a foreign country that keeps calling in the middle of the night, or just someone in your contacts that you'd rather not hear from again, following the steps below should stop them from bothering you.

How to Block a Recent Caller in iOS 11
If the number you want to block is a recent caller, follow these steps on your iPhone.
  1. Launch the Phone app.
  2. Tap Recents.

  3. Locate the number you want to block in the All or Missed calls list.
  4. Tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") to the right of the number.
  5. Scroll down the Caller ID screen and tap Block this Caller.
How to Block a Number That Messages You
If you're the recipient of unwanted messages from a specific number, here's how to prevent them from coming through to your iPhone.

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Navigate to the main messages list if necessary, and tap a message received from the number you want to block.

  3. Tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") at the upper right of the message window.
  4. At the top of the Details screen, tap the name of the contact or the associated phone number.

  5. Scroll down the Caller ID screen if necessary and tap Block this Caller.
How to Block a Number in FaceTime
If you received a FaceTime call from a number that you want to block, follow these steps.

  1. Launch the FaceTime app.
  2. Tap either the Video or Audio button, depending on the type of FaceTime call you received from the caller you want to block.

  3. Locate the unwanted call you received in the list and tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") next to it.
  4. Scroll down the Caller ID screen if necessary and tap Block this Caller.
How to Manage Blocked Contacts on iPhone
Follow these steps to add or remove a contact from your blocked list of numbers.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Phone in the list.
  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification.

  4. To remove a contact from your blocked list, tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen, tap the red minus button that appears next to the contact(s) you want to remove, and then tap Done.
  5. To add a contact to your blocked list, tap Block Contact... and select the contact from your Contacts list. All of the numbers in the contact card you select will be added to your blocked list.
Note that you can also access and manage your blocked contacts list in the Settings app via Messages -> Blocked and FaceTime -> Blocked.

If you're inundated with spam calls from different numbers on a regular basis, then consider one of the many third-party blocking solutions available from the App Store: Several apps like Hiya and TrueCaller use an implementation of Apple's CallKit to identify and block suspect numbers before your phone even rings.

After installing one of these apps, you can manage their call permissions at any time from within the Settings app, by tapping Phone and selecting Call Blocking & Information.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Fortnite Battle Royale Now Available From App Store as First Beta Invites Go Out

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 21:51
Epic Games' popular multiplayer game Fortnite Battle Royale is now available for download from the iOS App Store, and the first beta invites for the game have been sent out to those who signed up for the beta.

The new free-to-play iOS game is identical to the Battle Royale mode in Fortnite for PCs, Macs, and consoles, and it is similar to other games of this style like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Battle Royale supports up to 100 players, with gamers able to play solo or in squads of up to four people.

The aim of the game is to be the last person standing, taking out opponents with a variety of weapons while also avoiding death from other people. Players start out with just a pickaxe and must scavenge through the world for weapons, armor, and resources.

Fortnite Battle Royale for iOS supports Cross Play and Cross Progression between Playstation 4, PC, and Mac, which means players across multiple devices can play together.

If you haven't yet signed up for the Fortnite Battle Royale beta test on iOS, you can do so on the Epic Games website. Not all players who signed up for the test have received beta invites at this time, with Epic Games planning to send out invites on a rolling basis.

Each person who is invited to the Fortnite Battle Royale beta test will also receive invite codes to share with others.

To participate in the beta, players must have an internet connection and a device running iOS 11. Eligible devices able to run the game include the iPhone 6s and later, the iPad mini 4, all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2, and the 2017 5th-generation iPad.

Fortnite can be downloaded from the App Store for free, but a beta invite is required to play. [Direct Link]

Tags: Epic Games, Fortnite
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'GrayKey' iPhone Unlocking Box Used by Law Enforcement Shown Off in Photos

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 20:56
Last week, news of a previously-unknown iPhone unlocking device called GrayKey surfaced, and today, MalwareBytes shared photos and additional information about the product, which is designed for law enforcement officials.

Created by a company named Grayshift, GrayKey is a small, portable gray box equipped with dual Lightning cables.

Two iPhones can be connected to the GrayKey at once, and need to be connected for about two minutes to install proprietary software that's designed to guess the passcode for an iPhone. Once the software is installed, it will work to crack the passcode, a process that can take as little as a few hours for a short passcode or several days for a longer six-digit passcode.

Once the GrayKey software has cracked the passcode, it'll be displayed right on the screen of the iPhone. The iPhone can then be plugged back into the GrayKey to download all of the data on the iPhone, including the unencrypted contents of the Keychain, which can then be accessed using a computer.

Based on screenshots, the GrayKey can crack modern iPhones running modern versions of iOS. It works with the iPhone X and iOS 11.2.5, the version of iOS that was likely available when the screenshots were captured. It probably also works with iOS 11.2.6, unless Apple has managed to block it in the latest operating system update.

Grayshift presumably designed the GrayKey for law enforcement professionals, and it's relatively expensive. A $15,000 option requires internet connectivity and is geofenced to a specific location once set up, while a $30,000 option requires no internet connection and can be used anywhere.

MalwareBytes worries that the portable version of the GrayKey could easily fall into the wrong hands. It uses two-factor authentication, but given that people "often write passwords on stickies and put them on their monitors," it's possible the token could be kept in the same location as the device.What happens if the GrayKey becomes commonplace in law enforcement? The cheaper model isn't much of a danger if stolen--unless it's stolen prior to setup--but at 4″x 4″x 2″, the unlimited model could be pocketed fairly easily, along with its token, if stored nearby. Once off-site, it would continue to work. Such a device could fetch a high price on the black market, giving thieves the ability to unlock and resell stolen phones, as well as access to the high-value data on those phones.How the GrayKey works is not known, but it's believed to be using some sort of jailbreaking process that could damage iPhones in some way. It's also not known how the GrayKey device itself is protecting data that's stored on it, and whether or not the data could be remotely accessed by hackers.

It's also unknown who Grayshift is selling the devices to. It's possible that sales are limited to law enforcement officials in the United States, but it's also possible that it's being offered abroad. Other devices of this type have slipped out of the hands of law enforcement and have become widely available, so the same could happen with the GrayKey.

Apple is continually working to fix the kinds of exploits used by devices like the GrayKey, so it's possible whatever mechanism the box uses will be fixed in a future update. The average iPhone owner likely doesn't need to worry about the GrayKey, but as MalwareBytes points out, it is troublesome knowing such a device could fall into the hands of malicious entities.

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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Quick Takes: Fitbit Executive Says He Hasn't Met Anyone Passionate About Owning an Apple Watch

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 20:35
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.

Thursday, March 15
1. Fitbit's financial chief knocks the Apple Watch: "I have yet to meet anyone who owns an Apple Watch who's passionate about the product," said Fitbit's chief financial officer Bill Zerella. "If you don't have an Apple phone, you're not buying an Apple Watch… 80% of the world is Android, not Apple."

Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch
Commentary: Not only is the Apple Watch the world's most popular smartwatch, but it's the best-selling wearable, ahead of Fitbit. Apple Watch also has a customer satisfaction rate well above 90 percent.

2. iHeartMedia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: The company operates Apple Music rival iHeartRadio, which provides free streaming of thousands of live radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The move will allow the company to restructure more than $20 billion in debt.

Commentary: iHeartMedia's day-to-day operations of its businesses are not expected to be dramatically affected, according to reports, so iHeartRadio should remain available for at least the foreseeable future.

3. What the HomePod should become: MacStories' Ryan Christoffel argues that the HomePod isn't a bad product today, but could evolve into a great one by becoming a true hub for all Apple-centric needs.If Siri knew all things about your Apple devices and services, and could interact with them all, then HomePod would be the perfect vehicle to tap into that power. You could ask Siri on the HomePod to:

- Check your iPhone's battery charge.
- Play an audiobook.
- Add a show to your Up Next queue.
- Download a specific app to your iPhone.
- Pause or resume Apple TV playback.
- List upcoming birthdays for your contacts.
- Provide a delivery status on your Apple Store order.
- Put all your devices in Do Not Disturb mode.
- Play a specific movie or show on the Apple TV.
- Or on the bedroom TV, or the iPad, or iPhone.
- Locate your iPhone or iPad.
- Each device could play a ding if it's nearby, and if not, HomePod could offer to load a map on your nearest device.
- Make a phone call.
- Switch your AirPods to the Apple TV.
- Set an Apple Store support appointment.
- Open an app on a certain device.
- Put a screensaver on the TV.

None of these things can currently be done by HomePod, but I think they would all be reasonable to expect from an upgraded Siri. None of these would infringe on the company's user privacy stance, because the data at play in these requests is already available to Apple.Commentary: While the HomePod has received rave reviews about how it sounds, the consensus is that the speaker isn't as smart as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Being able to complete these tasks would be a huge step forward.

4. Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus responds to claim that Siri was a "disaster" when it first launched on iPhone 4s: "This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays."

This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays.

— Dag Kittlaus (@Dagk) March 14, 2018
Commentary: "After launch, Siri was a disaster," said former Apple executive Richard Williamson, who was reportedly fired in 2012 following the botched launch of Apple Maps. "It was slow, when it worked at all. The software was riddled with serious bugs. Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team, certainly not me."

For 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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