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Xiaomi's Expansion into Europe Kicks Off With Smartphone Sales Launch in Spain

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:34
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is about to make good on stalled plans to expand into Western Europe, beginning with a sale launch in Spain on Wednesday. Xiaomi will initially offer to Spanish consumers its flagship Mi A1 device (229 euros) and its all-screen Mi Mix 2 smartphone (499 euros), pictured below.

In 2014, Xiaomi was briefly the world's most valuable startup in China, but intense competition from local rivals Huawei, Vivo, and Oppo saw its sales stall within two years.


Since that time, however, the company has overtaken Apple to become China's fourth largest mobile vendor by sales and has launched in dozens of other countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine, as part of a $1 billion overseas expansion drive.

The company also has a strong presence in India, where it currently comes second behind Samsung in smartphone sales. However, after past stumbles in more untested markets like Brazil, Xiaomi is now aiming for a more considered expansion across Europe.

"In order to be focused, we want to make Spain successful first," said Wang Xiang, Xiaomi's global sales VP, speaking to The Verge. "And then we can think of other markets and countries. We want to learn from the customers about the taste of European people."

Xiaomi had sold about 10 percent of its smartphones outside China since the middle of last year. However, the company also plans to sell other products in Spain, including internet-connected scooters, air purifiers, and coffee makers.

Tags: Spain, Xiaomi
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Facebook Rolls Out Messenger Instant Payments Service to Users in the UK

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:45
Facebook said on Monday that Messenger users in the U.K. will be able to send money to each other through the app as it rolls out its peer-to-peer payments feature in the next few weeks (via BBC).

The Messenger payments service was originally launched in 2015, but hasn't been available to users outside the United States until now. The social network said it has been used in that time to make all sorts of transactions, including to split restaurant bills, pay babysitters, and send cash gifts. Most users send less than $50 (£38), according to the company.


Facebook said it had chosen to bring Messenger payments to the U.K. because it has so many "mobile-savvy consumers". It is collaborating with major banks and credit card firms to launch the feature, which requires both the sender and recipient to register their cards.

Facebook is also introducing M suggestions, a virtual assistant that recognizes when users are discussing payments and suggests the Messenger payments as a quick and easy solution.

The U.K. is already home to a similar bank-run peer-to-peer payments service called Paym, which allows registered users to pay each other using just their phone number.

Paym says four million people have used the service at one time or another over the past three and a half years, amounting to £400 million worth of transactions, but Facebook will hope that it is uniquely positioned to become more widely used, thanks to its large existing Messenger user base.

Tags: Facebook, Facebook Messenger
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Apple Supplier Looks Set to Expand iPhone Assembly Facilities in India

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 09:52
Apple's main iPhone assembler in India is scouting for additional land in Bangalore to expand its existing facilities, according to a new report today by Bloomberg.

Wistron executives reportedly toured the city last week and have shortlisted plots covering around 100 acres, including one plot close to the airport. The Taiwanese manufacturer may use the planned facilities to supply other brands, too, but Wistron has so far kept shtum on the matter.


Wistron began making the iPhone SE in India in May of this year. Since that time, Apple has been seeking exemptions from the country's government that will allow it to set up more units to assemble iPhones. The company has asked state officials for a range of tax and policy changes to help build out its iPhone assembly infrastructure in India, and today's report suggests that it may have gotten its way.

India recently ousted the U.S. to become the world's second largest smartphone market after China, according to market research conducted by industry analyst Canalys. However, Apple has so far struggled to make a significant dent, mainly because its smartphones are so much more expensive than rivals such as Oppo and Xiaomi. But also because the government levies tariffs on devices manufactured outside the country, hence Apple's eagerness to assemble more iPhones there.

During Apple's earnings call last week, CEO Tim Cook said the company has "great momentum in India, where revenue doubled year over year". But he also said that to gain ground, Apple would have to work on many fronts.

"It's building stores. It's building channels. It's building markets. It's building the developer ecosystem," said Cook. "It's having the right product lineup for the market. And I feel like we're making good progress there and are gaining understanding of the market, but we still have a long way to go."

Related Roundup: iPhone SETag: IndiaBuyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Caution)
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Top 10 iPhone X Tips and Tricks: Reachability, Face ID, Screenshots and More

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 01:04
The iPhone X is the first new iPhone design Apple has introduced since 2014, and the most radical redesign since the iPhone first debuted in 2007.

With a revamped user interface and a slew of new features, there's a lot to get used to, and there are a bunch of hidden functions that aren't immediately obvious. We've rounded up some of the most important things you need to know about the iPhone X in the video below.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
Here's a quick little spoiler of what we've covered in the video in more depth:

- Turning on reachability
- Quickly zooming in on YouTube videos
- Best methods for closing apps
- Disabling Attention awareness to make Face ID less sensitive
- Using the Lock screen icons
- Using Animoji
- Turning off iPhone X
- Taking a screenshot
- Using Apple Pay
- Adding an on-screen Home button

Make sure to check out the video for a full rundown on how to use all of these tips for a better iPhone X experience, and if you haven't already, subscribe to our YouTube channel because we have plenty more iPhone X videos in the works that we'll be sharing later this week.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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iPhone X Case Review Roundup: Apple, Twelve South, Nomad and Speck

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 00:16
Case reviews aren't often something that we do here at MacRumors because for the last several years, there's been little variation in case design since there's been little variation in iPhone design.

With the iPhone X, Apple introduced its first major design overhaul in years, so I thought I'd take a look at a wide range of cases from different manufacturers to see what's out there. Given that the iPhone X features a highly breakable glass body and high repair costs, case usage is more important than it has been in past years.


For this review roundup (and subsequent roundups to come) I took a look at the general usability of iPhone X cases from several companies. Extreme drop tests and in-depth testing aren't covered because those factors are less important than how a case works on an average day, and it's often fairly easy to tell from design how protective a case is going to be.

Factors like bulk, button accessibility, grip, thickness, and appearance are what I focused on. With the removal of the Home button, button presses are more important, and there are a surprising number of cases out there that make the buttons a lot more tedious to press.

Many people are also curious about wireless charging. Unless otherwise mentioned, wireless charging works with all of the cases below, and that's because almost all cases are compatible with wireless charging.

Apple
Apple makes three cases for the iPhone X: Silicone ($39), Leather ($49), and the Leather Folio ($99). I have the Silicone case on hand because that's what I bought to use as my personal case for my iPhone X. Apple's silicone cases are some of my favorite because they're soft, offer solid grip, are easy to get on and off of the iPhone, and are always perfectly fitted without adding unnecessary bulk.


The Silicone cases provide a small lip of material around the display to keep it from getting scratched when the iPhone is facedown, and it protects the buttons without impacting their performance. I've been using Silicone cases for a few years now and have been happy with their level of protection when dropping a device (nothing's ever broken). The one caveat is durability - without fail, these tend to start breaking down after about a year.

Apple's Leather cases are similar to the Silicone as far as fit goes, but they're more durable and will take on a nice patina over time. I haven't yet gotten to try the Folio myself, but it fits like a Leather case while also adding a cover that can hold card slots. It's bulkier, of course, but not as bulky as Folio cases from other companies.

Twelve South
Twelve South has designed iPhone X versions of several of its existing iconic cases, including the BookBook. Priced at $60, the BookBook case resembles an old leather book. It's undeniably unique, but it adds serious bulk to the iPhone X.

From left to right: Relaxed Leather, Journal, BookBook
It's essentially the size of a small journal, so not pocketable, but it includes several card slots and a place to store money, letting you do away with your wallet. It offers total device protection, but because there's no latch for the cover, if the iPhone X falls, there's still a potential for screen damage depending on how it falls (but there is a raised lip around the inside portion of the case).


The camera, buttons, and Lightning port are all accessible and easy to use, and the cover doubles as a stand for watching video. The inner shell pops out from the case so it can be used alone, but it's kind of a hassle to do. This is, by the way, required to use wireless charging with the case.

The Journal, priced at $70, is similar to the BookBook but has a slimmer spine, which I preferred to the BookBook. It has the same card slots for wallet replacement, and the same stand functionality, but it doesn't have the removable inner shell that needs to come out for wireless charging.


The case covers the buttons on the side and it does make them harder to press, and I found it incredibly difficult to get my iPhone out of this case. Both the BookBook and the Journal look great and are going to age nicely over time thanks to the leather, but neither of these are suitable for someone who doesn't want a bulky case.

Twelve South's final iPhone X case, the $50 RelaxedLeather, is its slimmest and does not feature a folio design. Priced at $50, the RelaxedLeather reminds me a bit of Apple's Leather case. It's slim and doesn't add a lot of extra weight to the iPhone X, and it's one of those cases that's going to take on a nice patina over time. It has two card slots on the back to serve as a wallet replacement and it looks stylish and high-quality.


As with Twelve South's other cases, the buttons are harder to press in this case, but that's potentially something that will change over time given leather's propensity to become worn and soft. The RelaxedLeather is the Twelve South case I'd recommend for general use for those looking for something simple, elegant, and not overly expensive.

Nomad
Nomad has several cases that are all similar in design, combining leather with polycarbonate and a rubber bumper. Aesthetically, the mix of materials means these cases aren't as sleek and professional looking as something like the leather-only case from Twelve South, but the distinctly rugged design is appealing.

From left to right: Leather Folio, Wallet Case, Clear Case, Rugged Case
The rubber bumpers on these cases are thick and rigid, and it's clear these are going to offer a good amount of protection should the iPhone X be dropped. The bumper wraps all the way around the phone, including over buttons, and it comes up over the edges of the display a bit to provide a barrier. The Nomad cases are bulkier than cases from Apple, but not so bulky that they're not pocketable.

Materials wise, all of the Nomad cases were a little bit slippery in terms of grip and harder to hold one handed because of the thicker bumpers.


The Rugged Case ($44.95) and the Wallet Case ($39.95) are close to identical, but the Rugged Case has better drop protection (according to Nomad) and the Wallet case has a couple of card slots. Side buttons are harder to press on both of these cases.

I'm not a fan of the design of the Clear Case ($39.95) with its mix of leather and clear plastic, but it does let a little of the iPhone X's aesthetic peek through, and it has the same protective bumpers as the other Nomad cases. On the plus side, it has much better buttons that are a lot easier to press.


Nomad's Leather Folio ($49.95) is fairly slim for a folio-style case, with the same bumper style and several slots for holding cards and money. It's the only case that leaves the volume and power buttons exposed. Since it's a folio, it's adding a lot more bulk, but that may be worth it to users who also want to replace a wallet.

Speck
Speck has several Presidio cases available for the iPhone X, most of which are fairly similar in design with a polycarbonate shell, rubber lining for shock absorption, and raised lip for display protection. Speck's Presidio cases are protective without being too bulky, but they're not as slim as some other offerings because of the thick bumpers.

From left to right: Presidio Wallet, Presidio Grip + Glitter, Presidio Clear + Print, Presidio, and Presidio Grip.
These cases all feel well-made and thick enough to protect from serious drops. Speck says they've been tested with drops of 8 to 10 feet (15 feet in the case of the Ultra).

The standard Presidio case ($39.95) is your basic, plain, run-of-the-mill iPhone case. It's pretty rigid and since it's made from a smooth plastic, it's hard to grip. The buttons are a nice, soft rubber so they're super easy to press, which is a major plus. The Presidio Clear is basically a Presidio case with a clear shell, which is a decent choice if you want to see the glass of the iPhone X. These come plain ($39.95) or with print ($44.95).

Speck's Presidio Grip cases ($39.95) are similar in design, but have a soft rubber design on the back that, as the name suggests, is for grip. These are my favorite of the Speck cases, both for the design and the added grip. It really makes a difference.


The Presidio Wallet ($44.95) also features the same design, but it has a hard plastic wallet opening at the back. I'm not a fan of this case at all because it doesn't support just one or two cards -- the card slot is too big and when used with just a few cards, they slip out. It also adds a lot of unnecessary bulk to the case.


While most of the Presidio cases are similar, Speck's Presidio Ultra ($49.95) is the company's thickest, most protective case. It actually consists of a standard Presidio case with an added thick rubber bumper, and it's the case to get if your iPhone X is going to be exposed to dust or is at extreme risk of damage should it get dropped. It protects all of the buttons and the Lightning port, but it does make the buttons more difficult to press, and it makes it tougher to swipe up from the bottom of the display.


For most people, The Presidio Ultra is more protection than is needed on a day to day basis, but this is the kind of case that's got such a thick bumper that it'll be next to impossible for the iPhone X to break when it's dropped. It also comes with an extra back piece for clipping it to your pants or bag, ideal when using the iPhone X at a job site where your hands are needed. Because it introduces issues with swiping and button pressing, this isn't an ideal case if you don't absolutely need this level of protection.


Bottom Line
You can't go wrong with Apple cases, but they have a plain design and may not offer as much protection as some people are looking for. If you want a full wallet replacement and don't mind the bulk, Twelve South's selections are worth checking out, especially the Journal, while the RelaxedLeather is stylish while offering more utility than Apple's leather case.

I suspect many MacRumors readers will like the rugged design of the Nomad cases and the level of protection offered by the thicker bumpers. The same goes for Speck's cases -- these are your average protective cases that offer solid protection without too much bulk.

Since this was a brief look at the cases available from several different companies, I'm happy to provide additional photos and answer questions about any of the cases listed down in the forums.

This is the first case roundup of several, so stay tuned for additional case reviews that we'll be sharing throughout the week.

Note: Speck, Nomad, and Twelve South provided MacRumors with iPhone X cases for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.
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iPhone X Component Costs Estimated at $357.50

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 23:37
Apple's new iPhone X costs $357.50 to make, according to estimates sourced from TechInsights and shared today by Reuters. At an estimated $357.50 to produce with a price tag of $999, the iPhone X has a gross margin of 64 percent, higher than the iPhone 8's gross margin of 59 percent.

Several of the components in the iPhone X are more expensive than their iPhone 8 counterparts, according to TechInsights. The 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display, for example, costs an estimated $65.50, compared to $36 for the 4.7-inch display of the iPhone 8.

Image via iFixit
The stainless steel chassis of the iPhone X costs an estimated $36, a significant premium over the $21.50 Apple shells out for the iPhone 8.

Following the launch of the iPhone 8, estimates suggested its raw component cost came in at $247.51, with the cost for the iPhone 8 Plus estimated at $288.08. Those estimates were sourced from IHS iMarkit, a research firm, while today's come from TechInsights, a company that does device teardowns and analysis.

Component cost estimates from companies like TechInsights and IHS look only at the price of raw components and do not take into account other iPhone manufacturing expenses like research and development, software creation, advertising, and distribution. While interesting, these estimates are not an accurate measurement of Apple's profit margin for the iPhone X, nor are they an accurate picture of the overall cost of creating the device.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, cost breakdowns are generally "much different than the reality." "I've never seen one that is anywhere close to being accurate," he said in 2015.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Photographer Austin Mann Lauds iPhone X's Telephoto Lens and Size in Camera Review

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 22:06
Travel photographer Austin Mann often goes hands-on with new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real world situations, and with the iPhone X, he went to Guatemala to evaluate its new features and its capabilities compared to previous iPhone cameras.


Mann loved the size of the iPhone X as a photography device. Previous Plus models, he says, have been "a bit unwieldy" and tough to operate with one hand, a problem solved with the iPhone X.


As for image quality, Mann was impressed by the improved telephoto lens, which features optical image stabilization for the first time and an improved aperture for better performance in low light situations. Mann says he noticed less noise, faster auto focusing, and better shutter speeds for reduced motion blur.The lens specs for the iPhone X are 28mm @ f/1.8 and 52mm @ f/2.4 (previously, the Plus was 56mm at f/2.8.) This little tweak means the lens is half a stop faster and can let light in more quickly in low light scenarios, reducing motion blur and minimizing noise.In a test of slow shutter effects, the iPhone X was able to significantly outperform the iPhone 7 Plus, which was two seconds slower when focusing and and capturing a moving object in low light.

Display improvements made it much easier to shoot on the iPhone in direct sunlight compared to the iPhone 8 Plus, and Mann said "colors pop, blacks are truly black, and the contrast feels just right." Mann also saw microphone improvements, and Apple told him that while it's the same microphone hardware, it's been tuned to better capture dynamics.

All in all, Mann said the upgrade to the iPhone X was the "most exciting" since he switched from the Blackberry 7230 to the original iPhone back in 2007. Mann's full review can be read over at his website.


Separately, DxO also published its iPhone X test results this morning, giving the iPhone X's camera a score of 97. That beats out the iPhone 8 Plus at 94, but comes in just under the Pixel 2's score of 98.


The iPhone X received what DxO says are the best results so far for still images, with better exposure, color, texture, noise, and artifacts than competing cameras. Broken down, the iPhone X received a photo score of 101, but a video score of 89 because it struggles with under exposure, visible luminance noise, and irregularities in autofocus in poor lighting conditions.

DxO has been criticized for the subjectivity of its overall scores, but some of its category comparisons can offer up useful information when it comes to determining the best smartphone camera.
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Intel Teams Up With AMD for New 8th-Generation Processors With AMD GPUs

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 21:09
Longtime rivals Intel and AMD are joining forces to produce new 8th-Generation H-Series Intel mobile processors paired with stacked second-generation High Bandwidth Memory and custom-built discrete graphics from AMD, Intel announced today.

For the new H-Series chips, which feature all of the above listed components in a single processor package, Intel says is using its Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB), a power-sharing framework that reduces the standard silicon footprint to less than half that of standard discrete components on a motherboard.At the heart of this new design is EMIB, a small intelligent bridge that allows heterogeneous silicon to quickly pass information in extremely close proximity. EMIB eliminates height impact as well as manufacturing and design complexities, enabling faster, more powerful and more efficient products in smaller sizes. This is the first consumer product that takes advantage of EMIB.Intel has also developed unique software drivers and interfaces for the discrete GPU to coordinate information among all package elements, managing temperature and power delivery along with allowing system designers to optimize the power sharing between processor and graphics for specific tasks like performance gaming.


Through this collaboration, Intel and AMD are aiming to create a chip that will enable thinner, lighter, more powerful mobile devices through a better combination of performance-level processors and discrete graphics in a smaller form factor. The end goal is to create laptops that are thin and portable, but still powerful enough to handle serious gaming and other GPU intensive tasks.

The partnership will allow AMD and Intel to better compete with Nvidia in the high-end laptop/compact desktop market.

There are, however, still a lot of unknowns about the chip, and Intel says more information will be available in the future. The first machines that use the new technology will be released in the first quarter of 2018.

Tags: Intel, AMD
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Apple Reportedly Shifted Billions of Dollars to Small Island of Jersey Amid Tax Crackdown

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 19:52
Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax structure by moving the majority of its offshore cash holdings to the small island of Jersey, a self-governed territory with loose ties to the United Kingdom, according to leaked financial documents obtained by The New York Times and BBC.

The island of Jersey via its Chamber of Commerce
The so-called Paradise Papers, primarily sourced from offshore tax law firm Appleby, reveal that Apple's two key Irish subsidiaries were managed from Appleby's office in Jersey from 2015 until early 2016. Apple chose Jersey after exploring several potential tax havens, such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Apple said it made regulators in the United States and Ireland, and the European Commission, aware about the reorganization of its Irish subsidiaries, and added that the changes haven't reduced its tax bill.

"The changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country," an Apple spokesperson told The New York Times. "At Apple we follow the laws, and if the system changes we will comply. We strongly support efforts from the global community toward comprehensive international tax reform and a far simpler system."

Apple turned to Jersey after European officials began to crack down on the so-called "Double Irish" tax structure Apple had exploited.

The "Double Irish" tax loophole allows for multinational corporations to funnel revenue through an Irish subsidiary, which in turn sends that money to another Irish subsidiary that has residency in a tax haven. In a nutshell, the practice has enabled Apple to save billions of dollars in taxes around the world.

The European Commission found Apple paid between 0.005 percent and 1 percent in taxes in Ireland from 2003 through 2014, compared to the country's headline 12.5 percent corporate tax rate. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Commission's ruling against Apple was "total political crap" and that the tax rates were a "false number."

When questioned by the United States Senate investigative subcommittee in 2013, Cook said "we pay all the taxes we owe." He added that Apple doesn't "stash money on some Caribbean island."

While that was true at the time, it's clear Apple was exploring similar options as part of its tax minimization efforts.

"This is how it usually works: You close one tax shelter, and something else opens up," said Reuven Avi-Yonah, director of the international tax program at the University of Michigan Law School. "It just goes on endlessly."

Cook has made it clear that Apple is willing to repatriate some of its offshore cash holdings into the United States, but he recently said tax reform is "sorely needed" first. U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed lowering the headline corporate tax rate to 20 percent, down from 35 percent currently.

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.

Tag: corporate tax
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iPhone X Outpaces iPhone 8 Series in First Weekend Adoption

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:45
A new study suggests the iPhone X recorded a higher adoption rate than the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus over each device's first three days of availability.


After the first weekend of sales, the device is estimated to have captured nearly one percent market share among all iPhone models, the highest over that time since the iPhone 5s, according to mobile engagement platform Localytics.


By comparison, Localytics measured iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus adoption of 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively among all iPhone models after the first weekend of sales for those devices back in September.

The data suggests that many customers may have been waiting for the iPhone X instead of purchasing an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.

It's important to note that the data does not represent actual sales of the iPhone X, but rather measures users who have received the devices and started using one of the 37,000 apps integrated with the Localytics SDK.


It's also important to consider that there are significantly more iPhones in the market today than in previous years, so each new iPhone has a tougher challenge of gaining market share among all of the models before it.

Even if the adoption data from Localytics doesn't precisely line up with Apple's internal sales figures, the company's revenue guidance of between $84 billion and $87 billion in the current quarter does imply significant iPhone X sales, so there's a good chance the device is outpacing the iPhone 8 series.

Apple stopped releasing first weekend iPhone sales figures starting with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as demand typically outweighs supply, so the company feels it is no longer a representative metric for investors or customers.In years past, we've announced how many new iPhones had been sold as of the first weekend following launch. But as we have expanded our distribution through carriers and resellers to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world, we are now at a point where we know before taking the first customer pre-order that we will sell out of iPhone 7.

These initial sales will be governed by supply, not demand, and we have decided that it is no longer a representative metric for our investors and customers. Therefore we won’t be releasing a first-weekend number any longer.Apple has also never released iPhone sales figures on a model-by-model basis, but chief executive Tim Cook did reveal the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were its best-selling models between their September release and iPhone X launch day.

iPhone X orders placed today ship in an estimated 3-4 weeks around the world, and the device also has limited in-store availability.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTag: LocalyticsBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Buy Now), iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds Second Beta of tvOS 11.2 to Developers

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:14
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the first tvOS 11.2 update and a little under a week after the launch of the tvOS 11.1.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.2 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


According to Apple's release notes, the tvOS 11.2 update enables a new AVDisplayManager feature for developers, designed to allow the device to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content.

The update includes support for switching the Apple TV 4K display output to SDR for apps that are GPU-bound when running in HDR and it re-introduces the Unwatched category in Home Sharing for Movies, TV Shows, and Home Videos.

Apple says it also adds new features, bug fixes, and security improvements to the tvOS operating system.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds Second macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Beta to Developers

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:12
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update to developers, one week after seeding the first beta and also a week after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.1.

The macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.


It's not yet clear what improvements the second update to macOS High Sierra will bring, but it's likely to include bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.31.1.

The previous update, 10.13.1, introduced fixes for some serious security flaws and brought new emoji to the macOS operating system. No new features were found in the first beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, but we'll update this post should new features be found in the second beta.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Apple Seeds Second Beta of watchOS 4.2 to Developers

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:05
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after releasing the first watchOS 4.2 beta and a little under a week after releasing the watchOS 4.1 update.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS 4.1 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General -> Software update.


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

watchOS 4.2 appears to focus primarily on under-the-hood bug fixes and security updates. No major outward-facing changes were found in the first beta, but should new features be found in the second beta, we'll update this post.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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Apple Releases Second Beta of iOS 11.2 for Developers

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:04
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2 update to developers, one week after releasing the first beta of iOS 11.2 and a little under a week after releasing the iOS 11.1 update.

Registered developers can download the iOS 11.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center. Apple already released beta 2 for the iPhone X, but this new beta will be available for all devices.


iOS 11.2 addresses an animation bug in the Calculator app that caused some numbers and symbols to be ignored when entered in rapid succession. The update removes the animations from the calculator app so calculations can be done quickly with no need to pause between entering numbers to obtain the correct result.

In addition to the Calculator bug, iOS 11.2 introduces a new Now Playing option for controlling content on the Apple TV in Control Center, redesigned camera emoji, and a new loading animation for Live Photos effects, and it appears to introduce the TV app for Sweden and Norway.

Several other promised iOS 11 features have not yet shown up in the current beta but could be added ahead of the update's release, including AirPlay 2, peer-to-peer Apple Pay, and iCloud support for iMessages.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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DisplayMate: iPhone X Has the 'Most Innovative and High Performance' Smartphone Display Ever Tested

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 17:32
As it does for each iPhone launch, DisplayMate has released a display shoot-out for the iPhone X, praising Apple's technology in areas like the higher resolution OLED screen, automatic color management, viewing angle performance, and more. According to DisplayMate, the iPhone X has the "most innovative and high performance" smartphone display it has ever tested. DisplayMate also congratulated Samsung Display for "developing and manufacturing the outstanding OLED display hardware in the iPhone X."

iPhone X matched or set new smartphone display records in the following categories: highest absolute color accuracy, highest full screen brightness for OLED smartphones, highest full screen contrast rating in ambient light, and highest contrast ratio. It also had the lowest screen reflectance and smallest brightness variation with a viewing angle.


New Aspect Ratio and Higher Resolution

The iPhone X's 5.8-inch OLED display includes a taller height to width aspect ratio of 19.5:9, 22 percent larger than the 16:9 aspect ratio on previous iPhone models (and most other smartphones). Because of this DisplayMate noted that the iPhone X also has a new 2.5K higher resolution with 2436x1125 pixels and 458 pixels per inch.

The iPhone X's display resolution provides "significantly higher image sharpness" than can be analyzed by a person with normal 20/20 vision at a 12-inch viewing distance. DisplayMate said this means that it's now "absolutely pointless" to increase the display resolution and pixels per inch of the iPhone any further, since there would be "no visual benefit" for users.
As a result of its larger display size and larger Aspect Ratio, the iPhone X has a new 2.5K Higher Resolution Full HD+ display with 2436x1125 pixels and 458 pixels per inch, with 2.7 Mega Pixels, 32% more than an HDTV. The display has Diamond Sub-Pixels (see below) and Sub-Pixel Rendering with 458 pixels per inch (ppi), providing significantly higher image sharpness than can be resolved with normal 20/20 Vision at the typical viewing distances of 12 inches or more for Smartphones, so the display appears perfectly sharp. As a result, for Smartphones it is absolutely pointless to further increase the display resolution and pixels per inch (ppi) up to 4K (3940x2160 pixels) for a silly marketing wild goose chase into the stratosphere, with no visual benefit for humans! Viewing Angle

DisplayMate noted that the iPhone X saw a smaller percent decrease in brightness at a 30-degree viewing angle when compared to LCD smartphones, also earning "Very Good" to "Excellent" ratings for categories related to color shifts with viewing angles.
While Smartphones are primarily single viewer devices, the variation in display performance with viewing angle is still very important because single viewers frequently hold the display at a variety of viewing angles. The angle is often up to 30 degrees, more if it is resting on a table or desk. While LCDs typically experience a 55 percent or greater decrease in Brightness at a 30 degree Viewing Angle, the OLED iPhone X display shows a much smaller 22 percent decrease in Brightness at 30 degrees. This also applies to multiple side-by-side viewers as well, and is a significant advantage of OLED displays. The Color Shifts with Viewing Angle are also relatively small. See the Viewing Angles section for the measurements and details. Color Accuracy and Automatic Color Management

iPhone X supports two industry standard color gamuts: the sRGB / Rec.709 color gamut used for "most current consumer content," and a new wide DCI-P3 color gamut found in 4K Ultra HD TV sets. The DCI-P3 -- also found in the iPhone 7 last year -- is 26 percent larger than the sRGB / Rec.709 gamut, and the iPhone X can automatically switch to the proper color gamut for displayed image content ranging in the wide DCI-P3 color space with an ICC profile.

DisplayMate said this results in images that automatically appear with "the correct colors, neither over-saturated or under-saturated." In total, the publication said the iPhone X has the "highest absolute color accuracy of any display we have ever tested," with a display that is "visually indistinguishable from perfect."
Most Smartphones and Tablets generally provide only one to up to several fixed Color Gamuts. The iPhone X has Automatic Color Management that automatically switches to the proper Color Gamut for any displayed image content within the Wide DCI-P3 Color Space that has an ICC Profile, so images automatically appear with the correct colors, neither over-saturated or under-saturated. Color Management with multiple and varying Color Gamuts are a very useful and important state-of-the-art capability that all manufacturers will need to provide in the future.

The Absolute Color Accuracy of the iPhone X is Truly Impressive as shown in these Figures. It has an Absolute Color Accuracy of 1.0 JNCD for the sRGB / Red.709 Color Gamut that is used for most current consumer content, and 0.9 JNCD for the Wider DCI-P3 Color Gamut that is used for 4K UHD TVs and Digital Cinema. It is the most color accurate display that we have ever measured. It is Visually Indistinguishable From Perfect, and is very likely considerably better than any mobile display, monitor, TV or UHD TV that you have. Ultimately, DisplayMate mentioned that what makes the iPhone X's display truly impressive is something called "Precision Display Calibration," which it says transforms the OLED hardware "into a superbly accurate, high performance, and gorgeous display." More in-depth analysis of the iPhone X's OLED screen can be found in DisplayMate's shoot-out right here.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: DisplayMateBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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iStockNow Provides Bird's-Eye View of iPhone X Availability at Apple Stores Around the World

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 16:58
Apple enabled an iPhone X availability tool on its website over the weekend, allowing customers to check stock at nearby stores, but those looking for more of a bird's-eye view may prefer to use iStockNow.com.


iStockNow has a live map of iPhone X availability at Apple's retail stores around the world, with filters that allow you to search for specific storage capacities, colors, and carrier-specific or SIM-free models.

Apple stores with the iPhone X in stock are marked with green pins, while locations that are out of stock have red pins. There is an option to hide stores that don't have any availability at the time of your search.


iStockNow is not much different than Apple's availability tool, but it may be useful to those looking for a visual look at iPhone X stock around the world, rather than only at nearby stores based on a ZIP or postal code.

On a related note, Apple has expanded its iPhone X availability tool to two more countries: Japan and Singapore.

Simply visit the iPhone X purchase page for your country from the list below, select a carrier if required, choose a color, and then click on "Pickup: Check Availability" below your desired storage capacity.

Australia
Canada
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
The Netherlands
Singapore
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom
United States

A window will pop open with iPhone X availability—if any—at nearby Apple stores based on your ZIP or postal code.

At stores where the iPhone X is available, customers can complete the checkout process and reserve the device for same day in-store pickup. We recommend bringing at least one valid government-issued photo ID with you.

Update: iPhone X availability can also be tracked on IsInStock.com.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: iStockNowBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Chipotle's All-New Order-Ahead App Launches With Support for Apple Pay

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 16:19
Chipotle Mexican Grill today launched a significantly redesigned mobile ordering app for iPhone and Android smartphones.


The app has a streamlined user experience and several new features, including quick reordering of favorites or recent orders, a more user-friendly store locator, and the ability to receive, store, and redeem Chipotle offers.

The app's order-ahead functionality also supports mobile payment services Apple Pay and Android Pay. To accommodate online orders, most Chipotle restaurants are now equipped with a dedicated line for customers using the app.

Chipotle's new app was developed by Deloitte and is rolling out now on the App Store [Direct Link] for iOS devices.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
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iPhone X Owners Complain About Keyboard's 'Wasted Space'

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 16:07
As early adopters began to experience the iPhone X for the first time this past weekend, many users took to the MacRumors forums, Reddit, and Twitter to discuss the gap that exists below the keyboard within iOS 11 on iPhone X. As some users pointed out, this space was likely meant as a way to more easily swipe up to go Home, and potentially for ergonomics reasons since a lower keyboard could be more difficult to type on, but many iPhone X owners are still getting used to the way the keyboard looks across all apps on the device.

The iOS keyboard on iPhone X
On the new keyboard, the Globe or Emoji icon and the Dictation icon both sit below the space bar at the very bottom of the screen. Between these two buttons is a wide, empty gray area that isn't sitting well with some iPhone X owners, and which some early reviews of the device pointed out last week.

BuzzFeed, for example, wondered why Apple didn't do more with this space, potentially including adding "common punctuation, frequently used emojis, or literally anything."
It’s when the keyboard, in any app, is on screen (which, for me, is most of the time): There’s all this dead space on the bottom, where Apple could have put common punctuation, frequently used emojis, or literally anything, but instead left it blank. Other full-screen apps on other phones put navigation or other design elements in that area, and it doesn’t look crowded or crammed. It looks fine. It’s puzzling why Apple didn’t put something more useful down at the bottom, or why it didn’t add a row of numbers or emojis up top and push down the keyboard to make it more thumb-accessible. Alex Muench, a UI/UX designer for apps like Todoist and Twist, went a step further and created a mockup of how this could look on future versions of iOS on the iPhone X. Muench likened this space on iPhone X to be a potential area for recently used emojis, "like Touch bar on Mac."

Unused space on the iPhone X keyboard could be used for frequently used emojis like Touch bar on Mac. ‍♀️ pic.twitter.com/OZx48cSVWl

— Alex Muench (@alexmuench) November 6, 2017
Twitter user @Yespur asked third-party keyboard SwiftKey if the company will "fill the bottom part of the screen," to which SwiftKey responded: "We'll have to look into it. Nothing to comment on beyond that." It's unclear whether third parties will have any ability to design for this area of iOS on iPhone X. In the Human Interface Guidelines for the new smartphone, the only direct mention of the keyboard asks developers to not duplicate the Globe and Dictation keys.
Don't duplicate system-provided keyboard features. On iPhone X, the Emoji/Globe key and the Dictation key automatically appear beneath the keyboard—even when using custom keyboards. Your app can't affect these keys, so avoid causing confusion by repeating them in your keyboard The iPhone X comes with a variety of new interface gestures, features, and interactions that take some time getting used to following years of the traditional iPhone experience. Without a Home Button, unlocking the iPhone X requires you to swipe up from the bottom edge of the device, and also rearranges some physical commands like taking a screenshot by pressing the Side Button and Volume Up Button. For more information on Apple's newest smartphone, check out our iPhone X Roundup.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Ming-Chi Kuo: 2018 iPhones Will Have 'More Complex' Metal Frames for Improved Cellular Signal Transmission

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 15:43
While the iPhone X launched just three days ago, we're already starting to hear rumors about what to expect from next year's models.


Specifically, oft-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he believes iPhones released in 2018 will feature a "more complex" metal frame design and casing assembly for the purpose of improving data transmission quality.

An excerpt of Kuo's research note with KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors:Orders for 2H18F iPhones are market focus; both Catcher and Casetek have won new orders. We believe the metal frame of 2H18F iPhone models will be composed of more parts (iPhone X has four parts) for improving data transmission quality. We believe Apple will need more metal frame and casing assembly capacity and new suppliers because of more complex metal frame design and casing assembly, while models equipped with AMOLED and stainless steel metal frame will increase to two (vs. only one — iPhone X — in 2H17). We expect Catcher will obtain stainless steel metal frame and casing assembly orders. If Casetek can pass certification in late 4Q17 or early 1Q18, it also may win aluminum metal frame and casing assembly orders.Kuo said Taiwanese suppliers Catcher Technology and Casetek have won orders from Apple for the new metal frames, including two models with stainless steel frames, which likely includes the iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus.

Kuo has previously said that Apple will likely expand Face ID to all iPhone models in 2018, with a complete abandonment of Touch ID. He also said 2018 iPhones are unlikely to gain a rear-facing TrueDepth camera system.

Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo
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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Samsung's Appeal in Years-Old 'Slide to Unlock' Lawsuit With Apple

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 15:22
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday rejected Samsung's request to appeal a $119.6 million verdict awarded to Apple in an over six year old "Slide to Unlock" patent infringement lawsuit, according to Reuters.


In October 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated Apple's award after a lower court found Samsung to have infringed upon several popular iPhone features, including slide-to-unlock and autocorrect.

The lawsuit, from 2011, is so old that slide-to-unlock isn't even used on iPhones anymore. Unlocking an iPhone on iOS 10 or later requires using Face ID on iPhone X, and Touch ID or pressing the Home button on older iPhone models.

This case is not to be confused with another 2011 lawsuit in which Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone's design with its Galaxy-branded smartphones. A damages retrial in that lawsuit is scheduled for next May.

Tags: Samsung, patent trials
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