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TSMC is Reportedly Exclusive Supplier of A12 Processors in 2018 iPhones

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:18
Apple has reportedly selected Taiwanese manufacturing company TSMC to remain its exclusive supplier of so-called "A12" processors for a trio of new iPhone models expected to launch in the second half of 2018, according to DigiTimes.


The report, citing unnamed sources within Apple's supply chain, claims the A12 chip will be manufactured based on a 7nm process and incorporate extreme ultraviolet technology, allowing for more transistors to be packed into a smaller wafer, and paving the way for continued performance improvements in the next iPhones.

TSMC is already the exclusive supplier of A11 Bionic chips for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and it was also said to be the sole manufacturer of A10 Fusion chips for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

If the report is accurate, it would be a loss for Samsung, which has been attempting to win back orders from Apple for around two years. Both Samsung and TSMC supplied Apple with A9 chips for the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE, but Apple has relied upon TSMC as its sole supplier for newer devices.

The Korea Herald last July reported that Samsung had secured a deal to supply some of the A12 chips for new iPhones in 2018, but two days later, DigiTimes reported that TSMC was still likely to obtain all of the next-generation A-series chip orders for Apple's upcoming 2018 series of iPhones.

TSMC's in-house InFO wafer-level packaging is said to make its 7nm FinFET technology more competitive than Samsung's. Our own Chris Jenkins provided an in-depth technical look at this package process last September.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTags: TSMC, digitimes.com, A12Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Samsung Announces Exynos Chip for Galaxy S9 Series With iPhone X-Like Features

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:00
Samsung today announced the launch of its latest flagship mobile processor that's expected to power the firm's upcoming Galaxy S9 series devices. Called the Exynos 9810, the 9 series CPU is built on a second-generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process and, apart from being faster and more energy efficient, includes advanced AI and deep learning capabilities that will power a new breed of facial recognition features in the smartphones.

The Exynos 9810 has a neural engine that can recognize people and objects in photos at very high speed, and will enable apps to use realistic face-tracking filters, according to Samsung – perhaps in a manner akin to Animojis which use the TrueDepth camera found in Apple's iPhone X.


Armed with the Exynos 9810, which has a separate secure processing unit for handling sensitive personal and biometric data, the new Samsung phones will also be capable of scanning and creating a 3D image of a user's face. The obvious suggestion here is that the Galaxy S9 range will have a facial authentication system similar to Face ID in the iPhone X.

Last year's S8 also had facial recognition capabilities, but it was limited to 2D tracking, making it less secure than Face ID and easy to fool. Despite the jump to 3D scanning though, it doesn't look like Samsung will be relying on facial recognition as the sole authentication method in its 2018 smartphones.

Image via @OnLeaks
CAD leaks and rumors suggest the S9 will retain the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, now located underneath a new-dual camera setup instead of being positioned alongside a single lens, as it was on the S8. The change of location is presumably to make accidentally smudging the lens with fingerprints less likely, but as expected, Samsung will not be building fingerprint recognition into the OLED display. Otherwise, the general design of the Galaxy S9 looks largely similar to the S8.

For over a year leading up to the iPhone X, rumors ran rampant about Touch ID being placed under the display, or on the back or side of the device, but Apple has said those reports are untrue. In perhaps the biggest signal of its confidence in the security of its authentication method, rumors suggest Apple will remove Touch ID on all iPhones launched in 2018 in favor of Face ID.

When it comes to facial recognition, Apple's TrueDepth camera is said to have given Cupertino a solid technological lead throughout 2018, and perhaps beyond. Indeed, Samsung and other Android competitors could require up to two and a half years to replicate the functionality and user experience of the TrueDepth Camera in Apple's iPhone X, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

As with previous years, Samsung's new Galaxy Sx series of phones are expected to debut at the annual Mobile World Congress in February.

Tags: Samsung, Face ID, Galaxy S9
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U.K. Smart Home Firm Hive Announces View Smart Camera With Detachable Camera Cube

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:13
Hive, the U.K. smart connected home company backed by British Gas, today announced the Hive View, a smart indoor camera with an emphasis on style and high definition livestream security.

The 130-degree wide angle lens camera is capable of 1080p live-streaming, automatic 16ft night vision, and includes Bluetooth 4.1 to simplify setup. Meanwhile, the design, by industrial designer Yves Béhar, features a separatable magnetic camera cube and a magnetic ball-and-socket base, together allowing for a multitude of viewing angles.


The magnetic base and rotatable head enables the camera to be mounted on walls and ceilings, but the more unique feature lies in the way the camera cube can be detached and temporarily relocated away from the mount, thanks to a built-in 2100mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery providing up to 90 minutes of power.

The Hive View is available in two color options – White & Champagne Gold and Black & Brushed Copper – and costs £189 for a single camera or £319 for a two-pack. A rolling 30-day camera history for up to two cameras, and a host of other member-exclusive benefits, can be included for £4.99 per month. Otherwise, the Hive comes with a standard 24-hour camera history.

It's worth noting that getting the cameras to work does not require a Hive Hub – all that's required is an Android or iOS device for the Hive app, although there's currently no HomeKit support. Hive also offers a Close to Home plan that offers a saving of up to £130 on the full range of Hive smart home products, including Hive Active Lights, Hive Window or Door Sensors, a Hive Active Plug, and the Hive Hub. Check out the website for more details.

Tags: United Kingdom, Hive
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Promise Technology Now Offering Custom Configurations for Pegasus3 Desktop RAID Storage Solutions

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 00:44
Promise Technology will soon offer custom configurations for its Pegasus3 line of Thunderbolt 3 desktop RAID storage solutions, allowing customers to configure a Pegasus3 RAID enclosure to meet specific needs.

Pricing on custom Pegasus3 configurations starts at $1,499. Customers can choose R4, R6, or R8 enclosures and select 1 and 2TB SSds or 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10TB hard drives. Prior to now, only specific configurations offered by manufacturers were available.

Promise's Pegasus3 storage solutions are designed for creative professionals who need speed and the protection that redundancy offers, with all options offering dual Thunderbolt 3 ports with 40Gb/s connectivity and support for six daisy-chained devices.

Custom configurations are available for purchase starting now on the Promise website, but the feature will officially be available on January 10.
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Apple's $29 Battery Replacement Program Could Lead to 16M Fewer iPhones Sold in 2018

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:37
Apple's decision to offer $29 battery replacements to customers with older iPhones could cause iPhone sales to drop in 2018, according to Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz (via CNBC).

Customers opting for a battery replacement instead of upgrading an iPhone could be a "mild headwind" for iPhone unit sales, potentially resulting in millions of fewer iPhone purchases during the year. Moskowitz believes up to 77 percent of iPhone users are eligible to upgrade their batteries.

In our base case scenario, 10% of those 519M users take the $29 offer, and around 30% of them decide not to buy a new iPhone this year. This means around 16M iPhone sales could be at risk, creating ~4% downside to our current revenue estimate for C2018.It remains to be seen if and how the battery replacement program will impact sales in practice despite analyst predictions, as there are other considerations that drive upgrades, such as new features.

Apple began offering reduced-cost battery replacements following backlash from an admission that it slows down some older iPhone models with degraded batteries to prevent them from shutting down unexpectedly.

The power management issue impacts the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus, but only in situations where battery health has declined. Affected iPhones see throttling during times of peak power usage, such as when running a benchmark.

iPhones that are running slower can be restored to their original condition with a fresh battery, which is why Apple has decided to offer $29 replacements from now until the end of 2018.

While Apple implemented power management features in older iPhones in an attempt to extend their lives as long as possible, some people have claimed that Apple is intentionally slowing devices to push its customers to upgrade, which the company says is not true. From Apple:First and foremost, we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.Though Apple may not have been aiming to get customers to upgrade their devices by implementing power management features, it's an inevitable side effect, hence why the battery program could cut into sales somewhat. Apple is currently facing several lawsuits from customers who claim they upgraded after experiencing slower speeds on their older iPhones.

Apple plans to offer $29 battery replacements throughout the year, and according to internal documentation, all customers who ask for a battery replacement for an affected iPhone will receive one, regardless of battery health.
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Brazil Demands Apple Explain How iPhone Owners Can Obtain Battery Replacements

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:05
Brazilian state agency Procon-SP today asked Apple to better explain why it has implemented power management features in older iPhones and how Brazilian iPhone users can obtain battery replacements, reports Reuters.

In a blog post on the Procon-SP website, the agency says that it sent a notice to Apple on Wednesday demanding information on how iPhone customers can replace their batteries, what models are included in the action, how long replacements will be available for, and the cost in Brazil.

Image via iFixit
Procon-SP attempted to deliver a notice to Apple this morning, which Apple refused to sign, but the demand for information was left at the front desk and the agency is giving Apple 10 days to respond.

It is not clear what will happen if Apple does not provide the info, but Reuters says Procon-SP has the power to levy fines or propose legal action against Apple.

Apple first announced plans to begin offering reduced-cost battery replacements in late December to provide a fix for customers who have noticed their iPhones slowing down due to power management features impacting older devices with degraded batteries.

Initially, Apple said that low-cost battery replacements would be available starting in late January, but later moved the timeline up. In the United States, battery replacements are priced at $29 and are available for the iPhone 6 and newer. Pricing on battery replacements varies in other countries.

Customers in need of a battery replacement should contact Apple's support staff in their country to initiate the replacement process. Reduced cost batteries will be available through the end of 2018.
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Apple Authorized Service Providers Can Upgrade an iMac Pro's RAM Starting Later This Month

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 21:30
Apple Authorized Service Providers will begin to receive standalone memory modules for the iMac Pro in late January, allowing them to start completing RAM upgrades and repairs, according to an internal memo distributed by Apple.


The directive, obtained by MacRumors, states that Apple Authorized Service Providers will be strictly required to use Apple-provided memory modules. Apple says RAM removal and installation requires the use of a special fixture and stiffeners, or else there is a risk of damaging the iMac Pro's logic board.

At a recent iMac Pro media briefing, Apple reportedly said that Apple Stores will also be able to upgrade an iMac Pro's RAM, and while that may be true, Apple's internal memo does not explicitly mention that detail.

The memo instead states that only Apple Authorized Service Providers will be able to upgrade an iMac Pro's RAM, while repairs that don't involve increasing the amount of memory will be available at all Mac service locations, including Apple Stores. The exact policy may vary by country.

The wording suggests that Apple might only repair an iMac Pro's RAM in its stores, and direct customers to an Apple Authorized Service Provider like Simply Mac if they want to upgrade the RAM, but it's not entirely clear. We've reached out to Apple for clarification, and we'll update if we hear back.

Apple's internal memo adds that Apple Authorized Service Providers will be able to begin iMac Pro main logic board and SSD repairs in February, when service-related inventory of those parts will be more widely available.

You can find an Apple Authorized Service Provider in your area by clicking Service & Support on Apple's Find Locations page.

While standard 27-inch iMac models have a small hatch on their back side that allows the RAM in the machine to be upgraded after purchase, the iMac Pro does not have that feature and is not user upgradeable by Apple's definition.

However, the teardown gurus at iFixit recently confirmed that the iMac Pro's RAM, CPU, and SSD can be upgraded, but the computer must be fully disassembled, and doing so can be rather tricky and technically voids your warranty with Apple. iFixit sells a RAM upgrade kit for the iMac Pro for $1,999.99.

When ordering the iMac Pro from Apple's website, the iMac Pro can be configured with 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, and this should be carefully considered. 32GB is included in the base model for $4,999, while upgrading to 64GB and 128GB RAM costs $800 and $2,400 extra respectively.

Related Roundup: iMac ProTag: RAMBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)
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Intel Claims Security Flaw Also Impacts Non-Intel Chips, Exploits Can't Corrupt, Modify or Delete Data [Updated]

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 21:09
Intel this afternoon addressed reports of a serious design flaw and security vulnerability in its CPUs, shedding additional light on the issue that was uncovered yesterday and has since received extensive media coverage.

In a statement on its website, Intel says that it planned to disclose the vulnerability next week when additional software patches were available, but was forced to make a statement today due to "inaccurate media reports."

According to Intel, the issue is not limited to Intel chips and the exploits in question do not have the potential to corrupt, modify, or delete data. Despite Intel's statement, Intel chips are more heavily impacted, and it's worth noting that Intel makes no mention of reading kernel level data.Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.

Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a "bug" or a "flaw" and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices -- with many different vendors' processors and operating systems -- are susceptible to these exploits.Intel says it is working with several other technology companies including AMD, ARM, and operating system vendors to "develop an industry-wide approach" to resolve the problem "promptly and constructively."

As outlined yesterday, the design flaw appears to allow normal user programs to see some of the contents of the protected kernel memory, potentially giving hackers and malicious programs access to sensitive information like passwords, login keys, and more. Fixing the issue involves isolating the kernel's memory from user processes using Kernel Page Table Isolation at the OS level.

Despite reports suggesting software fixes for the vulnerability could cause slowdowns of 5 to 30 percent on some machines, Intel claims performance impacts are workload-dependent and will not be noticeable to the average computer user.Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits. Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.Intel goes on to say that it believes its products are "the most secure in the world" and that the current fixes in the works provide the "best possible security" for its customers. Intel recommends that users install operating system updates as soon as they are available.

For Mac users, Apple has already addressed the design flaw in macOS 10.13.2, which was released to the public on December 6.

Update: ARM and AMD have both issued statements following Intel's press release. AMD says there is a "near zero risk" to AMD processors at this time, while ARM says its processors are vulnerable.

From AMD:There is a lot of speculation today regarding a potential security issue related to modern microprocessors and speculative execution. As we typically do when a potential security issue is identified, AMD has been working across our ecosystem to evaluate and respond to the speculative execution attack identified by a security research team to ensure our users are protected.

To be clear, the security research team identified three variants targeting speculative execution. The threat and the response to the three variants differ by microprocessor company, and AMD is not susceptible to all three variants. Due to differences in AMD's architecture, we believe there is a near zero risk to AMD processors at this time. We expect the security research to be published later today and will provide further updates at that time.From ARM:I can confirm that ARM have been working together with Intel and AMD to address a side-channel analysis method which exploits speculative execution techniques used in certain high-end processors, including some of our Cortex-A processors. This method requires malware running locally and could result in data being accessed from privileged memory. Please note our Cortex-M processors, which are pervasive in low-power, connected IoT devices, are not impacted.

We are in the process of informing our silicon partners and encouraging them to implement the software mitigations developed if their chips are impacted.
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Intel Memory Access Design Flaw Already Addressed by Apple in macOS 10.13.2

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 20:16
A serious design flaw and security vulnerability discovered in Intel CPUs has reportedly already been partially addressed by Apple in the recent macOS 10.13.2 update, which was released to the public on December 6.


According to developer Alex Ionescu, Apple introduced a fix in macOS 10.13.2, with additional tweaks set to be introduced in macOS 10.13.3, currently in beta testing. AppleInsider also says that it has heard from "multiple sources within Apple" that updates made in macOS 10.13.2 have mitigated "most" security concerns associated with the KPTI vulnerability.

The question on everyone's minds: Does MacOS fix the Intel #KPTI Issue? Why yes, yes it does. Say hello to the "Double Map" since 10.13.2 -- and with some surprises in 10.13.3 (under Developer NDA so can't talk/show you). cc @i0n1c @s1guza @patrickwardle pic.twitter.com/S1YJ9tMS63

— Alex Ionescu (@aionescu) January 3, 2018 Publicized yesterday, the design flaw in Intel chips allows normal user programs to see some of the contents of the protected kernel memory, potentially giving hackers and malicious programs access to sensitive information like passwords, login keys, and more.

Full details on the vulnerability continue to be unavailable and under embargo, so it's not yet clear just how serious it is, but fixing it involves isolating the kernel's memory from user processes using Kernel Page Table Isolation at the OS level. Implementing Kernel Page Table Isolation could cause a performance hit on some machines.

According to The Register, which first shared details on the vulnerability, Windows and Linux machines will see a 5 to 30 percent slowdown once a fix is in place. It appears Macs may not be hit as heavily, as no noticeable performance slowdowns have been reported since the launch of macOS 10.13.2.

Ionescu also says that performance drop on a system with PCID (Process-Context Identifiers), available on most modern Macs, is "minimal," so most users may not see an impact on day-to-day Mac usage.

Tag: Intel
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Apple Working on 'Are You Sleeping' TV Show Starring Octavia Spencer

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:30
Apple has yet another new original television show in the works, which will star Octavia Spencer, known for her work in movies like "Hidden Figures," "The Help," "Gifted," and "The Shape of Water."

According to Variety, the upcoming series is a drama called "Are You Sleeping," which is based on a novel by Kathleen Barber.

Image of Octavia Spencer via Variety
Described as a psychological thriller, the book focuses on a podcast that reopens a murder case, similar to the popular "Serial" podcast. The novel explores how the reopening of the murder case impacts the victim's daughter and disrupts her life. Sarah Koenig, who created and produced the "Serial" podcast, will consult on the series.

"Are You Sleeping" was written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, and the series will be produced by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine and Chernin Entertainment/Endeavor Content.

Apple is also working with Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine on an as of yet untitled "morning show drama" that will take a look into the "cutthroat world" of morning TV.

Along with these two TV shows, Apple has picked up two additional shows, including a revival of 1985 Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories" and an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica."

Apple has been heavily pursuing original content since June of 2017, which is when it hired former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to form a new video unit. Van Amburg and Erlicht, who produced shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Crown," and "Better Call Saul," are running Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale under iTunes chief Eddy Cue. Since June, Apple has made multiple high-profile TV-related hires and has opened an office at The Culver Studios in Los Angeles.

It's not yet clear when the first of Apple's original TV shows will premiere, but it's possible at least one of these will be ready in time for a 2018 debut.
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ConnectSense Debuts New HomeKit-Compatible Smart In-Wall Outlet

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:01
Ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show that's set to take place next week, ConnectSense has introduced its latest HomeKit-compatible product, the Smart In-Wall Outlet.

ConnectSense first released a HomeKit-enabled dual-plug Smart Outlet back in 2015, and is now following it up with an in-wall version.


The Smart In-Wall Outlet is installed in a home in place of a traditional outlet, allowing anything that's plugged in to be controlled via the ConnectSense app, the Home app, or Siri, much like other homeKit products.

Fans, lights, and other appliances can be plugged into the Smart Outlet, which is designed to connect to a home's Wi-Fi setup. There are two connected outlets available, each of which can be controlled individually. The outlet offers a quick and easy way to make any product smart, and it provides power monitoring features along with plug detection.


ConnectSense says that in addition to in-home use, the Smart In-Wall Outlet is designed to operate in commercial environments like office buildings, airports, universities, and more, with both 15A and 20A options available.

The Smart In-Wall Outlet will be available for purchase later in 2018. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Tags: HomeKit, ConnectSense, CES 2018
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Fee Waivers for Apple Developer Program Now Available for Government, Nonprofit Organizations and Educational Institutions

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 18:36
Apple today announced the official availability of fee waivers for its Apple Developer Program for nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities in the United States who plan to distribute free apps on the App Store.

Qualified organizations are able to apply for the waiver, which will provide a free annual membership to the Developer Program. Apple normally charges developers $99 per year.

Apple's plan to offer free developer memberships to government and nonprofit apps in the United States was first highlighted in late December when its App Store guidelines were updated.

Apple's new Membership Fee Waiver webpage includes details on which organizations are eligible for the discount. Requirements include a EIN/Tax ID number, a D-U-N-S number, and legal entity status. Apple will review each fee waiver request.

Entities that receive the fee waiver may not publish paid apps or apps with in-app purchases, and members of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program are not eligible. The program is also not available to individuals and sole proprietors/single person businesses.

Fee waivers are currently limited to the United States, but Apple says waivers will be added for other countries "as they become available."

Tags: App Store, Apple Developer Program
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 4.2.2 to Developers

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 18:20
Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.2.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second beta and a month after releasing watchOS 4.2, an update that introduced support for Apple Pay Cash.

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 must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

We don't yet know what features or improvements might be included in the watchOS 4.2.2 update, as no outward-facing changes were discovered in the first two betas.

It's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes, and if that's the case, we won't know the extent of the changes until it sees a public release complete with release notes. Should new features be discovered in the third watchOS 4.2.2 beta, we'll update this post.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 11.2.5 to Developers

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 18:19
Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2.5 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second beta and three weeks after the release of tvOS 11.2.1, an update that introduced a fix for a HomeKit vulnerability.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.2.5 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


We don't yet know what features or changes might be included in the tvOS 11.2.5 update, but it likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and performance improvements rather than major outward-facing changes.

There were no outward-facing changes discovered in the first two developer betas, but we'll update this post should new features be found in the third beta.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 to Developers

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 18:18
Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second beta and a month after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, the second major update to the macOS High Sierra operating system.

The macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 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 third 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 10.13.2.

No major outward-facing changes were discovered in the first two betas of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, but we'll update this post should new features be found in the third beta.

The previous macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update focused solely on security fixes and performance improvements, with no new features introduced.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 11.2.5 to Developers

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 18:17
Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2.5 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 11.2.1, an update that introduced a fix for a HomeKit vulnerability.

Registered developers can download the iOS 11.2.5 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


It's not clear what new features, if any, will be included in the iOS 11.2.5 beta. We didn't discover any noticeable outward-facing changes in the first two iOS 11.2.5 betas, so it's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes and security improvements.

If that's the case, we may not know the extent of what's in the update until it sees a public release. Apple is supposed to be releasing an iCloud Messages feature that was pulled from the iOS 11 release, but there has been no indication of when we can expect iCloud Messages to be reintroduced.

Should new features be found in the third iOS 11.2.5 beta, we'll update this post.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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How to Close All of Your Safari Tabs at Once on iPhone or iPad

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 17:54
There are some iOS gestures and tricks that have been around forever, but remain relatively hidden because they're hard to find unless you know about them.

Closing all of the tabs in your Safari browser on an iOS device is one such trick -- it's simple if you know how to do it, but it's a gesture you might not know exists.

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Here's how to do it:

  1. Open up Safari.

  2. Long press on the "Tabs" icon denoted by two squares. On iPhones, it's at the bottom of the browser in portrait mode or at the top in landscape mode. On the iPad, it's at the top.

  3. Select Close All Tabs.
Alternatively, you can single tap on the Tabs icon to bring up the browser window view, and then long press on "Done" to bring up the same "Close All Tabs" interface.

That's all there is to it. Safari will let you know how many tabs are currently open, and it will close each and every one after the Close All Tabs option is tapped.

Because it's so easy to open a new tab when browsing without meaning to on an iOS device, the Close All Tabs option is super handy for getting rid of all those open browser windows in one quick go.
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How to Get Your iPhone's Battery Replaced at Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 17:32
Apple has reduced the price of battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and newer to $29, down from $79, as part of its apology over a lack of communication about the power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1. The discount is effective immediately and available until the end of 2018.


iPhone users in most countries can initiate the battery replacement process online by scheduling an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store. The reduced price is also available at some third-party retailers and repair shops, as long as they are designated as an official Apple Authorized Service Provider.

To get started, head to the Contact Apple Support page, click on See Your Products, and sign in to your Apple ID account.


Next, select the iPhone to be serviced, select Battery, Power, and Charging, and finally select Battery Replacement. Next, select Bring in for Repair and specify your location and carrier.




A list will appear with nearby Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, such as Best Buy, Simply Mac, Micro Center, and CapitolMac. To schedule an appointment, simply click on a store and choose an available 15-minute time slot, which reflects the time you are expected to arrive by.

It's worth noting that many Apple Stores allow walk-in customers to wait for a Genius Bar appointment on the spot, but only if the queue is short enough, so booking a reservation in advance is recommended.


When you arrive at an Apple Store, find an employee holding an iPad, who should be able to check you into your Genius Bar appointment. If you chose a service provider instead, ask a staff member for help.

If the Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider has replacement batteries in stock, the process should be completed within hours, allowing you to walk out with your iPhone on the same day. An invoice will be provided for the $29 fee, plus any local taxes, to be paid upon completion of the replacement.

Apple in an internal document obtained by MacRumors said customers are entitled to a $29 battery replacement "regardless of diagnostic result," and it doesn't matter if the iPhone is still covered by Apple's one-year limited warranty or extended AppleCare+ plan to qualify for the price reduction.

The internal document also stated that customers may be eligible for a refund if they replaced their iPhone battery for a higher price, but we've heard from many customers that Apple is only honoring these requests if the replacement was completed on or after December 14, 2017. Your mileage may vary.

Be advised that Apple said initial supplies of replacement batteries for some iPhone models may be limited, and we've heard that some of its stores and repair shops are currently out of stock. Apple doesn't appear to be notifying customers about the inventory shortages until they arrive for their appointment.

In those cases, we've heard that Apple has advised customers to return at a later date, once they have restocked replacement batteries. And, in some cases, the store may offer the option to mail the iPhone to an Apple Repair Center to have the battery replaced, but the process can take several business days.

Another aspect to consider is that given Apple reduced its price for iPhone battery replacements so recently, an influx of customers are rushing to take advantage of the deal, which can result in hours-long waits at some stores. Keep in mind that the discount is being offered for an entire year.

If you don't live near an Apple Store, a Send in for Repair option is also available on Apple's website in certain regions. Apple charges the $29 replacement fee upfront, plus $6.95 for shipping, and any local taxes, and then sends you a postage paid box to send them your iPhone. Apple quotes a 5-9 business day turnaround time.


To mail in your iPhone, head to the Contact Apple Support page, click on See Your Products, sign in to your Apple ID account, select the iPhone to be serviced, select Battery, Power, and Charging, and finally select Battery Replacement. Next, select Send in for Repair and fill in your shipping and billing information.

The $29 price applies to customers in the United States and varies in other countries based on local currencies. For instance, the fee is $39 in Australia, $35 in Canada, £25 in the United Kingdom, and €29 in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SEBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Buy Now), iPhone 8 (Buy Now), iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
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New Lofree 'Four Seasons' Bluetooth Keyboard Fixes Quirks of Original

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 14:25
Keyboard maker lofree has launched a modified version of last year's popular crowdfunded Bluetooth mechanical keyboard, which we reviewed here on MacRumors back in March. With the original input device, lofree's designers attempted to re-imagine the typing process by recreating the experience of operating a traditional typewriter, but in an elegant retro-modern design.


The new lofree Four Seasons keyboard comes in four new colors including Spring (Vernal White), Summer (Aestival Blue), Autumn (Autumnal Gray), and Winter (Hibernal Black). Several design changes have also been implemented that may help the lofree appeal to a wider audience.

While appreciating the original lofree's aesthetic and Mac compatibility, we criticized it in our review for some odd layout quirks, such as the decision to line up the number key row so that 1 is slightly right of Q, 2 is right of W, and so on. Happily, the layout has been reconfigured on the second generation lofree to more closely match the keys on a typical Apple keyboard and respect the muscle memory of Mac-based touch typists.


In addition to the repositioned number keycaps, the backspace and caps lock keys have been made longer, while the dual mechanical Gateron switches under 'enter', 'shift', and the space bar have been replaced by a single mount, to provide a more comfortable, stable typing experience. Lofree says it has also optimized the sideboard buttons to further extend the lifetime of the Four Seasons version.


The new lofree Four Seasons retains the adjustable backlight and remains compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android. With a month to go, the lofree Indiegogo campaign has already raised $108,803, which is 1,088 percent over its original $10,000 goal. Early bird customers can purchase one for $140 plus shipping (currently expected in March). You can find more information over on the official campaign page.

Tag: Lofree
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FAQ: What to Know About Apple Slowing Down iPhones to Prevent Unexpected Shutdowns

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 14:03
By now, you've probably seen headlines about Apple slowing down your iPhone, but it's not nearly as simple or corrupt as it sounds. In this Q&A, we've taken the time to explain exactly what's going on.


Why is Apple slowing down some older iPhone models?
iPhones, like many other consumer electronics, are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited lifespan. As the battery in your iPhone ages, its ability to hold a charge slowly diminishes.

A chemically aging battery can also have increased impedance, reducing its ability to provide a sudden burst of power when demanded by other components in an iPhone, such as the CPU and GPU. A battery's impedance will also temporarily increase when it has a low charge and/or in cold temperatures.

A battery with a high enough impedance may be unable to provide power quickly enough to the iPhone when needed, and Apple safeguards components against the drop in voltage by shutting down the device.

Apple recognized that iPhones unexpectedly shutting down on users is not a good experience, and starting with iOS 10.2.1, it quietly implemented a power management feature to prevent these shutdowns. The update was released in January 2017, and a month later, Apple said it saw a major reduction in shutdowns.

How does Apple's power management feature work?
Apple says it looks at a combination of an iPhone's internal temperature, battery percentage, and battery impedance, and only if a certain criteria is met, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU, in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

Does my iPhone have this feature if needed?
Apple said the power management feature applies to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE models running iOS 10.2.1 or any newer software version. The feature was also expanded to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models running iOS 11.2 or any newer software version.

Any older iPhone models are currently not affected, including the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 3G, and the original iPhone, even though some of those models have also experienced shutdowns. The latest iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are also currently not affected.

How do I know if my iPhone is being slowed down?
There are a few different ways in which you can determine if your iPhone is being slowed down temporarily:

- Benchmark your iPhone: Download the Geekbench 4 app from the App Store and benchmark your iPhone. Each CPU workload models a real-world task or application. If your iPhone has noticeably lower scores compared to the averages, it could be due to Apple's power management feature artificially kicking in.

- Use coconutBattery: Download, install, and open coconutBattery for Mac, connect your iPhone to your Mac with a Lightning to USB cable, and click on the iOS Device tab in the app. Here, you can view your iPhone's battery capacity, which if low suggests your device may be slowed down only when necessary.


- Wait for battery-related iOS update: Early in 2018, Apple has promised to release an iOS update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance. This will likely be the easiest solution.

Will the iPhone 8 and iPhone X eventually be affected?
In a statement issued December 20, Apple said it "plans to add support for other products in the future," and by that definition, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X could eventually be affected.

In a support article titled iPhone Battery and Performance, published December 28, Apple toned down that language a bit and simply said "we will continue improving our power management feature in the future," so it's unclear if the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X may be eventually affected.

Apple expanded the feature to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models when iOS 11.2 was publicly released in December 2017, nearly one year after implementing the changes in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE when iOS 10.2.1 was publicly released in January 2017.

Is my iPhone slowed down all the time?
Apple is not permanently or persistently slowing down older iPhones. Even if your iPhone is affected, the performance limitations only happen intermittently, when the device is completing demanding tasks.

The power management only occurs in spurts, when needed, and ensures a smoother distribution of system tasks, rather than larger, quick spikes of performance all at once, which was the root cause of shutdowns.

A recent analysis of Geekbench 4 scores for iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models running iOS 10.2, iOS 10.2.1, and iOS 11.2 visualized an apparent link between lower performance and aging batteries, but this is to be expected since iPhones are artificially pushed to their maximum performance in benchmark tests.

How much is Apple slowing down my iPhone if and when it is?
Apple hasn't specified exactly how much it is slowing down older iPhones when necessary, but in extreme cases, it said users may notice effects such as longer app launch times, lower frame rates while scrolling, and slightly lower speaker volume. Cellular, GPS, and location services are always unaffected.

An excerpt from Apple's iPhone and Battery Performance document:In some cases, a user may not notice any differences in daily device performance. The level of perceived change depends on how much power management is required for a particular device.

In cases that require more extreme forms of this power management, the user may notice effects such as:

- Longer app launch times
- Lower frame rates while scrolling
- Backlight dimming (which can be overridden in Control Center)
- Lower speaker volume by up to -3dB
- Gradual frame rate reductions in some apps
- During the most extreme cases, the camera flash will be disabled as visible in the camera UI
- Apps refreshing in background may require reloading upon launch

Many key areas are not impacted by this power management feature. Some of these include:

- Cellular call quality and networking throughput performance
- Captured photo and video quality
- GPS performance
- Location accuracy
- Sensors like gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer
- Apple PayIs there a way to disable the power management feature on my iPhone?
Not currently. The only way to avoid Apple's power management feature is to avoid installing iOS 10.2.1 or iOS 11.2 depending on which iPhone you have, although many customers have already updated by now, and it is no longer possible to downgrade to software versions earlier than iOS 11.2.

Is Apple purposefully slowing down my older iPhone?
For several years, there has been a conspiracy theory that Apple artificially slows down older iPhone models to incentivize a customer to upgrade to a newer, faster iPhone, and a wealth of misinformation and some sensational reporting about Apple's power management feature has only fueled that fire.

In a letter to customers, Apple said its power management feature is actually designed to extend the life of an older iPhone as much as possible, rather than having the device frustratingly shut down unexpectedly. In other words, Apple's intentions are actually quite the opposite of what some are accusing.

Apple denied any kind of planned obsolescence by flat out stating that it never has and never would do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience, to drive customer upgrades.We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.Whether a customer chooses to believe Apple is his or her choice, but there is no evidence to suggest that Apple's power management feature is designed for any other purpose than to prevent iPhones from unexpectedly shutting down.

Why did Apple apologize then?
Apple apologized because it could have been much more transparent about the power management changes introduced in iOS 10.12.1. The feature was not mentioned in the update's release notes, and in a statement issued in February 2017, Apple vaguely mentioned "improvements" made to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

From its letter to customers:We've been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize.Given it didn't fully communicate the changes, some iPhone users with a suddenly slower device may not have realized that they could have simply replaced the battery to regain maximum performance consistently. As a result, some customers may have even unnecessarily purchased a brand new iPhone.

Are other Apple products affected: iPad, Mac, Apple TV?
Apple said the power management feature only applies to select iPhone models listed above. There is currently no evidence to suggest the feature extends to other Apple devices, including any iPad, iPod, Mac, Apple Watch, or Apple TV.

Why is Apple in the headlines now when iOS 10.2.1 was released nearly a year ago?
When iOS 10.2.1 was publicly released, the release notes vaguely mentioned that the software update contained general bug fixes and improvements.

Likewise, when Apple released a statement claiming iOS 10.2.1 had resulted in a significant reduction of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s shutdowns, it still only mentioned "improvements" were made to reduce occurrences of shutdowns.

Apple's statement in February 2017:With iOS 10.2.1, Apple made improvements to reduce occurrences of unexpected shutdowns that a small number of users were experiencing with their iPhone. iOS 10.2.1 already has over 50% of active iOS devices upgraded and the diagnostic data we've received from upgraders shows that for this small percentage of users experiencing the issue, we're seeing a more than 80% reduction in iPhone 6s and over 70% reduction on iPhone 6 of devices unexpectedly shutting down.It wasn't until December 2017, nearly one year after iOS 10.2.1 was released, that Apple revealed the software update includes a power management to "smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed" to prevent older iPhone models from unexpectedly shutting down.

Apple's statement in December 2017:Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We've now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.Apple's admission came a few weeks after a Reddit user claimed his own iPhone 6s' performance significantly increased after replacing the device's battery, which reignited the conspiracy theory about the company intentionally slowing down older iPhone models. Apple didn't help itself by remaining quiet.

What are Apple's next steps?
In its apology letter for its lack of communication, Apple outlined three steps it is taking to address customer concerns and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted the company's intentions.

First, Apple has reduced the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements by $50 (from $79 to $29 in the United States) for any customer with an iPhone 6 or newer. The discount is available worldwide between now and the end of 2018, with prices varying based on local currencies.

Next, early in 2018, Apple has promised to release an iOS update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

How do I get my iPhone battery replaced?
Depending on your location, you can receive a battery replacement by sending in your iPhone or scheduling a Genius Bar appointment.

To get started, visit the Contact Apple Support page, click on See Your Products, sign in to your Apple ID account, select which iPhone, and click on Battery, Power, and Charging and then Battery Replacement.

After completing the above steps, you should have options available to you to bring in your iPhone to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, mail the device to an Apple Repair Center, or both.


If you choose to bring it in, you will be prompted to schedule an appointment at a nearby Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. If the store or service center you visit has replacement batteries in stock, the repair could take just a matter of hours, but otherwise it could take up to 3-5 business days.

If you choose to mail it in, you will be asked to fill in your shipping address and billing information to pay for the $29 battery replacement fee, plus shipping costs and local taxes. Shortly after, Apple will send a postage paid box to the address you provide to send your iPhone to an Apple Repair Center.


Apple says the mailed-in battery replacement process takes approximately 5-9 business days, although your mileage may vary. Be prepared to possibly be without your iPhone for awhile if you choose this option.

Does my iPhone battery have to fail a diagnostic test to qualify for a reduced-price battery replacement?
Apple distributed a memo to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by MacRumors, that states customers with an iPhone 6 or newer can request a $29 replacement battery "regardless of diagnostic result."

If a customer is requesting a free battery replacement under the terms of Apple's limited one-year warranty, however, the battery must fail the diagnostic test, meaning it has lower than 80 percent capacity with fewer than 500 full charge cycles.

I already paid to have my iPhone battery replaced recently. Am I eligible for a partial refund?
Apple distributed a memo to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by MacRumors, that states customers may be eligible for a refund if they paid for a battery repair or replacement at a higher price.

In other words, if you paid Apple's standard $79 out-of-warranty fee to replace the battery in your iPhone 6 or newer, you should contact Apple Support or visit an Apple Store to inquire about a partial refund.

We've heard that Apple may only honor refunds for full-price battery replacements initiated after December 14, and there may be other requirements, so your mileage may vary. We recommend contacting Apple Support for more details.

How do I contact Apple Support?
Visit the Contact Apple Support page to reach a specialist by phone, online chat, or email, or to schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store. Apple also operates a support account on Twitter.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SEBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Buy Now), iPhone 8 (Buy Now), iPhone SE (Don't Buy), iPhone 8 (Buy Now)
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