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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of tvOS 11.3 to Developers

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 17:05
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fourth beta and three weeks after releasing the tvOS 11.2.6 update.

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

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

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

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

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to Developers

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 17:05
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth beta and three weeks after the release of a macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Supplemental Update to address a bug that could cause apps to crash when receiving a character from the Indian language Telugu.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 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.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.3.

The update offers support for some features that are available in iOS 11.3, like Messages on iCloud, which uploads all of your iMessages to the cloud. It will also support Business Chat, a feature coming when iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are released to the public, and it includes improved support for eGPUs.

The macOS 10.13.4 update also brings the smoke cloud wallpaper that was previously only available on the iMac Pro and it introduces a warning when opening up a 32-bit app as part of an effort to phase them out.

In the future, Apple plans to phase out 32-bit Mac apps, just like it did with 32-bit iOS apps. Apple says macOS High Sierra is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps without compromises.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of iOS 11.3 to Developers

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 17:04
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fourth beta and three weeks after the release of iOS 11.2.6, an update that addressed a bug causing iPhones and iPads to crash when a character from the Indian language Telugu was rendered improperly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iOS 11.3 will be released to the public in the spring. Spring kicks off on March 20, so the update will be in testing for at least another couple of weeks.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Alexa App on iPad Can Now Initiate Phone/Video Calls and Send Messages to Echo Devices

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 15:57
Amazon is now allowing users to make phone calls, video calls, and send messages from an iPad, Android, or Fire tablet to an Alexa-enabled Echo device. Previously, users had to activate calls or send messages using an Echo, so now it should be easier to communicate within Amazon's Alexa ecosystem (via Engadget). To receive calls, users need any device with the Alexa app installed or an Echo speaker.

The update also introduces Drop In support for the Alexa app on iPads and other tablets, meaning that iPad users can quickly send a message to someone near an Echo in a different room. Engadget noted that the new features are easiest to access on Amazon's own Fire HD 10 tablet, where Alexa is supported across the software, but iPad users will of course first have to open the Alexa iOS app to initiate calls and send messages.

Amazon's Alexa assistant has been in the news recently for scaring some users after creepily laughing for no apparent reason. Amazon has acknowledged the events and said it's working on a fix to roll out to affected users. Additionally, late last week Alexa gained a new "Follow-Up Mode," which lets the assistant respond to multiple questions in quick succession, without requiring the user to repeat the "Alexa" wake up command.

Amazon Alexa is available on the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Amazon, Amazon Echo, Alexa
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Apple to Acquire Digital Magazine Service Texture

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 15:36
Apple today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire digital magazine service Texture, available on iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, and Kindle devices. The deal is pending approval and financial terms were not disclosed.

Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, who revealed the news at the SXSW media festival in Austin, Texas today:
We're excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world's leading publishers. We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.iPhone and iPad users can download the Texture app and subscribe to unlimited access to over 200 of the world's most popular magazines for $6.99 per month as part of an ongoing sale. Magazines can be read on up to five devices per subscription, with the ability to download issues for offline reading.

Some of the magazines available include People, Vogue, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Maxim, Men's Health, GQ, Bloomberg Businessweek, ESPN The Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. New issues are available alongside a searchable archive of thousands of past issues.

More details to follow…

Tags: Apple acquisition, Texture
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Rihanna is Apple Music's Most Streamed Female Artist

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 13:48
Rihanna is the world's most streamed female recording artist on Apple Music, ahead of Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Ariana Grande.

Apple recently announced that the Barbadian singer has become the first female artist to surpass two billion streams worldwide on Apple Music, having achieved the milestone on International Women's Day last Thursday.

Work!@Rihanna sets new streaming record on #InternationalWomensDay. 2 billion streams worldwide and counting. 🔥🔥

— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) March 10, 2018
It's unclear if the count is limited to Rihanna's own songs or includes her features in songs by other artists like Drake, Eminem, and Jay-Z, but it's an impressive accomplishment either way on the heels of her 30th birthday.

Rihanna topped Apple Music's list of the top 20 most streamed female artists worldwide:
  1. Rihanna
  2. Taylor Swift
  3. Beyoncé
  4. Ariana Grande
  5. Adele
  6. Sia
  7. Lana Del Rey
  8. Selena Gomez
  9. SZA
  10. Lady Gaga
  11. Katy Perry
  12. Nicki Minaj
  13. Demi Lovato
  14. Halsey
  15. Fifth Harmony
  16. P!nk
  17. Kehlani
  18. Mariah Carey
  19. Little Mix
  20. Miley Cyrus
All eight of Rihanna's studio albums are available to stream on Apple Music, whereas some artists don't offer their complete discography on the service.

Tag: Apple Music
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Philips Hue Reveals First Products in Outdoor Lighting Range Coming This July

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 13:09
At CES in January, Philips announced that it was working on a line of Hue lights for outdoors, so that users could connect and control their lighting on a patio, balcony, or other environment outside. Today, the company has revealed the first set of Philips Hue outdoor range products that will be launching in the United States and Europe this July.

Philips noted that the outdoor products will be available in both the Philips Hue white and Philips Hue white and color ambiance ranges. The outdoor devices will be fully compatible with the Philips hue ecosystem and work "in the same way as the indoor range," Philips explained. Users will just have to connect their outdoor lights to their Philips Hue bridges, and the new lights will appear in the Hue app and Apple's Home app so that they can be controlled with taps and through Siri.

The new lights include the Philips Hue Lily, which can be used to highlight key features in a garden, and the Philips Hue Calla, which can be placed in the ground and light pathways through outdoor spaces. Philips said the new line is designed for outdoor weather conditions and each fixture is easy to install.
“Our customers are always looking for new ways to extend their smart lighting system and the new Philips Hue outdoor range takes it a huge step further,” said Sridhar Kumaraswamy, Business Leader Home Systems & Luminaires at Philips Lighting. “While Philips Hue bulbs and luminaires are available for every area inside your home, we wanted to traverse the threshold and offer connected luminaires designed for outside areas. The Philips Hue outdoor range enables you to make the most of your outside areas, be it creating the ideal ambiance to host a BBQ at the weekend or beautifying your garden.” In terms of price, the Philips Hue outdoor Lily base pack will cost $279.99/€299.99, including three lights and "all the accessories you need to get started." The Calla bollard base pack will be the cheaper option at $129.99/€139.99. There will also be a number of standalone lighting products in the white range, including Lucca, Tuar, Turaco, and Ludere, with prices starting at $49.99/€69.99.

The company didn't give any further information on the upcoming Hue app version 3.0 update for iOS and Android devices, expected for Q2 2018. At CES, Philips said the update will "enhance" existing features while also adding in new ones so that Hue lights can be activated "with even more ease."

Tag: Philips Hue
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Samsung Galaxy S9+ Teardown Reveals Components for Dual-Aperture Camera and 'Lower-Tech' AR Emoji

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:41
Over the weekend, iFixit shared its latest teardown, this one for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S9+ smartphone. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will both launch this Friday, March 16 for around for $720 and $840, respectively, and some initial reviews took to comparing the devices to Apple's iPhone X.

iFixit did so as well in the new teardown, starting off by trying to get into the back of the S9+ to look at its rear-facing camera components. After applying heat, the iFixit team got into the smartphone and found its dual-aperture camera system, which the team described as one of the only significant hardware changes this year.

Images via iFixit
iFixit explained that the S9+ has a rear-facing camera that automatically adjusts its aperture for low light, and at f/1.5 it has the widest aperture of any phone. For normal photos, Samsung's new device still has a "more standard" f/2.4 aperture. In comparison, the iPhone X's dual 12 MP rear cameras include f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures.
Standard camera lenses use at least five aperture blades to keep the aperture roughly circular throughout many f-stop adjustments. This Galaxy's aperture has just two rotating, ring-like blades for its single adjustment. After some trouble dislodging the rear fingerprint sensor, iFixit moved to focus on the battery within the S9+ and discovered a 3.85V, 3,500 mAh battery. As the iFixit team pointed out, the battery in the S9+ shares the same specs as those found in the S8+ last year, and in the Note7 in 2016. The iPhone X's battery teardown uncovered a 3.81V, 2,716 mAh battery in Apple's smartphone.

Eventually, the team got underneath the S9+ display and compared its front-facing camera components side-by-side with the iPhone X. iFixit noted that Samsung's AR Emoji are "lower-tech" compared to Apple's Animoji, mainly because the S9+ front-facing hardware -- composed of an iris scanner, camera, IR emitter, and proximity sensor -- are "pretty much exactly" the same as the tech from the Galaxy S8+.

Galaxy S9+ (left) and iPhone X (right)
Because of this, iFixit pointed out that it might have been a bit too soon for Samsung to debut its own animated emoji characters "without a hardware update to bring it up to speed." To further explain the distance between the technologies, the teardown team described Apple's Animoji as having Kinect-level tracking, while Samsung's emoji are more akin to Snapchat filters.

iFixit gave the Samsung Galaxy S9+ a repairability score of 4 out of 10, explaining that there are a few modular components while noting the chance for breakage if attempting to repair the display and rear glass panel. The iPhone X fared slightly better in its teardown with a 6 out of 10 score. To read more about the Galaxy S9+ and its teardown, visit iFixit's website.

Tags: Samsung, iFixit, teardown, Galaxy S9
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Apple Updates 'Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod' Logos

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:31
Apple has updated its Made for iPhone, Made for iPad, and Made for iPod logos, and accessory makers have 90 days from when the change was announced in mid February to begin using them, according to ChargerLab.

Apple's new Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod logos via ChargerLab
The new decals look similar, but they have Apple logos in place of iPhone, iPad, and iPod icons. Apple has also moved iPod from first to last in the list, as the iPhone and iPad have long overshadowed the portable media player. The new logos use Apple's San Francisco font, compared to Myriad Pro previously.

Apple's old Made for iPod, iPhone, and iPad logo
Made for iPhone, Made for iPad, and Made for iPod logos inform customers that an electronic accessory has been certified by the developer to meet Apple's performance standards. To use the logos, accessory makers must apply to be a MFi Program licensee, and receive approval from Apple.

MFi-licensed technologies include the Lightning connector, CarPlay, GymKit, HomeKit, game controllers, and hearing aids, among others. MFi Program certification is not required for accessories that only make use of standard Bluetooth profiles supported by iOS, or accessories that only use the 3.5mm headphone jack.

For customers, this isn't a significant change. But, next time you're shopping for Apple-certified accessories, be aware the logos will soon change on packaging. It doesn't appear the similar Made for Apple Watch decal has changed.

(Thanks, Nick!)

Tag: MFi Program
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WhatsApp Extends Time Limit for Deleting Sent Messages to Over an Hour

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 11:44
WhatsApp has quietly extended the time window in which users can delete a message they already sent to a person or group in the latest version of the popular messaging app.

First noticed by WABetaInfo and reported by The Verge, the change in v2.18.31 means users now have up to one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds to "delete for everyone" any message already sent over the platform, rather than the previous time limit of up to seven minutes.

It's not clear what prompted the specific limit change (other than the value being equal to 4096 seconds, or 2^12) and there's no mention of it in WhatsApp's support pages. Nevertheless, users now have a much longer time period in which to delete individual messages or entire chat threads either before or after they're read.

A new WhatsApp for iOS update (2.18.31) is available on AppStore.
It is a bug fixes update, but it has the new “Delete for everyone” limit, that’s 1 hour, 8 minutes and 16 seconds.

— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) March 8, 2018

The "delete for everyone" option was introduced last year, but WhatsApp still lacks a self-destructing message feature like the one found in Telegram, where users can set a countdown on a message in the device-specific secret chat mode. As soon as the time runs out, the message disappears from both devices.

Tag: WhatsApp
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How to Customize Your Apple Watch Workout Metrics

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 10:50
The ability to view live metric data is one of the most important feedback functions of any Apple Watch fitness app. In this article, we're going to show how you can easily customize the metrics that the stock Workout app shows you when you raise your wrist during exercise.

Checking in on your progress during a workout is best achieved with a quick glance at your watch screen, so choosing which statistics are displayed is an important consideration if you want to minimize the amount of attention this requires. By default, Apple Watch displays things like duration, calories burned, heart rate, and distance, but you can choose to see only those that are important to you based on the type of workout you're doing. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Customize Your Metrics for Different Workouts
The Workout app offers either a multiple metrics readout or a single metric view. The Multiple Metric view lets you choose up to five different metrics for individual workouts. The Single Metric option reduces this to one, however turning the Digital Crown in this mode lets you scroll through all available metrics for the current workout. Here's how to choose between and set up the two viewing modes.
  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Workout in the app list.
  3. Tap Workout View at the top of the menu.

  4. Tap either Single Metric or Multiple Metric.
  5. If you chose the Multiple Metric option you will see the list of individual workouts beneath. Tap a workout to customize its view.
  6. To remove a metric from the view, tap the red minus symbol next to it in the list. To add a metric, tap the green plus symbol. You can also drag metrics between the two lists and reorder them to suit using the horizontal bars along the right. Note that the order will be reflected in your Apple Watch's display.
Tip: When using the Multiple Metric view, turn the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch to highlight a particular statistic on the screen for easier at-a-glance reading.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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New Entry-Level Mac Notebook Expected to Adopt Retina Display, Likely Launch at WWDC in June

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 05:23
Earlier this month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple is expected to introduce a cheaper MacBook Air sometime during the second quarter of the year, and a few days later a second report backed up Kuo's claims with a claim of a price point starting at $799 or $899.

DigiTimes is now reporting that Apple is planning to launch a new 13.3-inch "entry-level MacBook" late in the second quarter of the year, which suggests an introduction at WWDC in June. While DigiTimes calls the notebook a "MacBook," it is unclear whether it would be part of the MacBook or MacBook Air line, but the entry-level nature of the machine and the MacBook's positioning at a similar 12-inch size suggests this new machine might be part of a refreshed MacBook Air family.

However the new entry-level machine is marketed, DigiTimes says the pricing will be the same as or slightly higher than the current MacBook Air, which starts at $999, and the machine will include a Retina display.The 13.3-inch a-Si panels for the new notebook feature the same resolution as Apple's 13.3-inch MacBook Pro at 2,560 by 1,600.

LG Display will begin supplying the panel in April with the new MacBook scheduled to enter mass production at the end of May or the beginning of June.The report claims that Apple is targeting shipments of six million units of the new notebook through the end of the year, although DigiTimes analysts believe four million is a more likely figure considering the estimated pricing.

In addition to the new MacBook Air or MacBook, DigiTimes says Apple is also preparing updated entry-level iPad models for release in the second quarter and new iPad Pro models for the second half of the year.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook, iPadTag: digitimes.comBuyer's Guide: 10.5" iPad Pro (Neutral), MacBook Air (Caution), 12.9" iPad Pro (Neutral), MacBook (Caution), iPad (Don't Buy)
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Study Suggests AliveCor KardiaBand for Apple Watch Can Be Used With AI Algorithm to Detect High Potassium

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 12:30
AliveCor, the company that makes an FDA-approved EKG band for the Apple Watch called KardiaBand, teamed up with the Mayo Clinic for a new study that suggests an AliveCor EKG device paired with artificial intelligence technology can non-invasively detect high levels of potassium in the blood.

A second study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic also confirms the KardiaBand's ability to accurately detect atrial fibrillation.

AliveCor's KardiaBand
For the potassium study, AliveCor used more than 2 million EKGs from the Mayo Clinic from 1994 to 2017 paired with four million serum potassium values and data from an AliveCor smartphone EKG device to create an algorithm that can successfully detect hyperkalemia, aka high potassium, with a sensitivity range between 91 and 94 percent.

High potassium in the blood is a sign of several concerning health conditions, like congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes, and it can also be detected due to the medications used to treat these conditions. According to AliveCor, hyperkalemia is associated with "significant mortality and arrhythmic risk," but because it's typically asymptomatic, it often goes undetected.

Currently, the only way to test for high potassium levels is through a blood test, which AliveCor is aiming to change with the new non-invasive monitoring functionality.

AliveCor says that the AI technology used in the study could be commercialized through the KardiaBand for Apple Watch to allow patients to better monitor their health. Vic Gundotra, AliveCor CEO, said that the company is "on the path to change the way hyperkalemia can be detected" using products like the Apple Watch.

For the Cleveland Clinic study, cardiologists aimed to determine whether KardiaBand for Apple Watch could differentiate between atrial fibrillation and a normal heart rhythm. The researchers discovered that the KardiaBand was able to successfully detect Afib at an accuracy level comparable to physicians interpreting the same EKGs. The Kardia algorithm was able to correctly interpret atrial fibrillation with 93 percent sensitivity and 94 percent specificity. Sensitivity increased to 99 percent with a physician review of the KardiaBand recordings.

KardiaBand, which has been available since late last year, is available for purchase from AliveCor or from for $199. Using the KardiaBand also requires a subscription to the AliveCor premium service, priced at $99 per year.

AliveCor premium paired with the KardiaBand offers SmartRhythm notifications, unlimited EKG readings, detection of atrial fibrillation or normal sinus rhythm, and unlimited cloud history and reporting of all EKGs.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Tag: AliveCorBuyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Amazon's Alexa Gains Follow-Up Mode for Back-to-Back Requests Without Repeating Wake Word

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 00:42
Amazon's Alexa personal assistant, built into dozens of different products, today gained a new "Follow-Up Mode" that's designed to allow users to ask multiple questions in succession without the need to repeat the "Alexa" wake up word.

As noted by CNET, Follow-Up Mode allows Alexa to continue to listen for five seconds after an initial response to see if you have an additional request.

During this five second listening period, the blue ring on an Alexa device will light up to indicate that Alexa is listening. Anything else you say during this time period will not require you to add "Alexa" into the statement to wake up the Alexa device. If you don't say anything else, your Alexa device will go back to sleep until the next time the "Alexa" wake word is uttered.

With Follow-Up Mode, Alexa cannot respond to multiple requests, like "Turn the lights on and set the thermostat to 70," but you can ask two requests in succession. Asking "Alexa, turn on the lights" and then stating "Set the thermostat to 70" after the first "OK" from Alexa works, however.

According to Amazon, Follow-Up Mode is designed to make sure Alexa only responds if a legitimate request is spoken rather than simple background noise. A conversation with Alexa can also be ended immediately by saying "Thank you" or "Stop" after an initial request, and Follow-Up Mode won't activate when listening to music, making a call, or listening to an audiobook.

The new Follow-Up Mode can be enabled in the Settings section of the Amazon Alexa app. Select a device and then scroll down to the new "Follow-Up Mode" toggle. Follow-Up Mode is available for all Amazon Echo devices and some third-party devices as well, but it is limited to US English at the current time.

The Alexa Follow-Up Mode, which seems like a useful new addition to Alexa, has no equivalent on Apple's devices like the HomePod at the current time. On Apple's speaker, you will need to activate it with a "Hey Siri" command before each request.

The addition of this new feature comes just a few days after Amazon implemented a fix for an issue that was causing Alexa-enabled devices to spontaneously laugh, creeping out some Alexa users. Amazon said the issue was caused by Alexa mistakenly hearing the phrase "Alexa, laugh," which has now been changed to "Alexa, can you laugh?" to prevent accidental Alexa activations.

Tags: Amazon, Alexa
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Netflix Tests New Gamification Feature for Children's Shows

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 23:50
Netflix is testing a new gamified streaming experience for children, the company confirmed in a statement provided to Variety this morning. The new feature lets kids collect "patches" for watching episodes of certain shows.

Netflix says the patches, which have been available for a few weeks for some users, are designed to allow for a more interactive experience for children.

Image from Twitter"We are testing a new feature on select kids titles that introduces collectible items for a more interactive experience and to expand the storytelling world for the show. We learn by testing and this feature may or may not become part of the Netflix experience."Netflix shows that are part of the test are marked with red locks for Netflix users who have been selected to be part of the test. Eligible shows include "A Series of Unfortunate Events," "Trolls," "Troll Hunters," Fuller House," and more.

At the current time, it does not appear that collecting patches unlocks any additional content or rewards on Netflix.

Netflix says that this feature is still in testing and that it might not become part of the Netflix experience if the testing proves unsuccessful or unpopular with users.

Tag: Netflix
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Quick Takes: Apple's Ecosystem Explained, Crumb-Resistant MacBook Keyboards, and More

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 23:25
In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Friday, March 9
Apple's ecosystem explained: YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee explains why Apple's ecosystem of products and services is so strong. He also advises against becoming too locked into just one ecosystem.

Commentary: A good example of the strength of Apple's ecosystem is iMessage and its coveted blue message bubbles, which have essentially become a status symbol. As silly as it may sound, there are a countless number of tweets that mock green bubbles, which is the color Apple uses to display standard text messages.

AAPL sets all-time high closing price of $179.98: The previous record was $179.26, set on January 18, 2018. Apple's overall all-time high remains $180.62, set during intraday trading on February 28, 2018. AAPL has been on the rise since bottoming out at $150.24 on February 9 amid a wider stock market selloff.

Commentary: Apple shares have technically traded for higher prices, but today's record high factors in multiple stock splits, including a 7-for-1 split in 2014. Apple's market cap now hovers around the $915 billion mark.

Timing of Apple's rumored March event: Apple typically invites the media to its special events roughly 10 to 12 days beforehand, so if there is a March event on its agenda, then we'll likely hear about it soon.

Commentary: The big question is whether Apple will hold a media event or make its announcements via press releases as it did last year. Rumored products that could debut this month include a new iPhone SE, lower-priced 9.7-inch iPad and MacBook Air models, and the AirPower charging mat, along with iOS 11.3.

Other Reading:

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

Tag: Quick Takes
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Video Comparison: Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone X

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 21:39
Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S9 started last week, and the first S9 orders are set to arrive to customers on March 14. We managed to get our hands on a new Galaxy S9 ahead of the device's launch date, so we thought we'd compare Samsung's new flagship device to Apple's latest flagship device, the iPhone X.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
Design wise, the Galaxy S9 looks a lot like the Galaxy S8, with slim bezels at the top, sides, and bottom and a display that curves downward at the sides. It's taller and slimmer than the iPhone X, and with Samsung continuing to use a thicker top bezel, there's no notch. The Galaxy S9 has a 2960 x 1440 display, which DisplayMate says is better than the iPhone X's display.

With the Galaxy S9, Samsung uses multiple biometric methods, so there's a fingerprint sensor that's been relocated to the middle of the device's back underneath the rear camera, making it easier to reach. The iPhone X, of course, has fully embraced facial recognition, something Samsung hasn't been able to do because it's using an inferior 2D facial and iris recognition system that's not secure enough on its own.

A fingerprint sensor is, of course, an attractive offering for those who prefer fingerprint sensors to facial recognition, and offering multiple biometric methods provides consumers with choice. The Galaxy S9 also continues to offer a headphone jack, which Apple abandoned with the iPhone 7.

Samsung's Galaxy S9 is using variable aperture camera technology (with two cameras if you have an S9+), and it's putting out photos on par with the iPhone X (if not better), and to combat Animoji, Samsung has its own new AR Emoji, which are more realistic humanoid animated emojis that some have called creepy. We'll be looking into both AR Emoji and the Galaxy S9 and S9+ cameras in later videos, so make sure to visit MacRumors next week to check those features out in detail.

The Galaxy S9 runs Android 8.0 Oreo, with useful features like native multitasking and edge panel customization. Android is appealing to many because it's more customizable than iOS, but it can't match features like iMessage and Continuity, and these key differences are what draw people to the different operating systems and drive customer loyalty.

When it comes to performance, Samsung's Galaxy S9 doesn't quite measure up to the iPhone X in terms of benchmarks, but in day to day usage, the difference isn't noticeable. Both devices are responsive, fast, and offer the kind of performance you expect in an expensive flagship smartphone. It's worth noting, though, that Galaxy S9 pricing starts at $720 in the US, while pricing on the Galaxy S9+ starts at $840. That's a solid $280 to $160 price difference compared to the $999 price tag of the iPhone X, and lower price is often an edge that Android devices have over iOS devices.

With Samsung and Apple devices, deciding which one is "better" is often a matter of choosing your preferred features and your preferred operating system. Both of these smartphones are fast, modern, and highly capable devices and each one has its upsides and downsides.

We'll be further exploring similarities and differences between Samsung's new flagship smartphones and the iPhone X next week, but let us know what you think of the new Galaxy S9 in the comments below.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Galaxy S9Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Dozens of Popular Apps Still Don't Natively Support iPhone X, But Updates Are Coming Soon

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 21:14
One of the minor disadvantages of buying an iPhone X early is having to wait for developers to update their apps with support for the smartphone's taller display. Many popular apps were updated within a few weeks after the device launched, but over four months later, there are still some notable omissions.

MacRumors recently asked our readers to share their favorite apps that have yet to be optimized for the iPhone X display. Then, we reached out to the developers of each app to ask them if and when they will release updates with iPhone X support. We've included comments from every company that responded below.

Apple did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
  • iMovie
  • iTunes Connect
  • iTunes Remote
  • Beats Pill+
  • AirPort Utility
  • Music Memos
Google did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
  • Google Authenticator
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Admin
  • Google Street View
  • Google Wifi
  • Google Cloud Console
  • Inbox by Gmail
  • Chrome Remote Desktop
  • Snapseed
Microsoft confirmed it is working on updating its remaining apps to be optimized for the iPhone X, but it did not provide a timeframe.
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  • Office 365 Admin
Banking and Finance
  • Chase — "We constantly evaluate changes in the market while listening to customer feedback and regularly update our mobile app based on that feedback. Watch for an update in the near future."
  • TD Canada — "The next release of the TD mobile app, expected later this month, will be optimized for the iPhone X display."
  • National Bank of Canada — "The app will be updated for iPhone X in the coming months."
  • HSBC
  • ANZ Australia
  • Barclaycard
Fast Food
  • Domino's — "It will be updated in one of our upcoming app updates. I don't have an exact date."
  • Pizza Hut — "Pizza Hut is currently developing numerous app enhancements, including optimizing the iPhone X display and other capabilities offered by the phone."
  • Taco Bell
Sports and Gaming
  • NBC Sports — "It will happen soon."
  • PGA TOUR — "We are updating our app on March 20 to support the new iPhone X format."
  • MLS
  • Steam
  • Hearthstone
  • Candy Crush Soda Saga
TV and Media
  • NPR News — "We will have an update for iPhone X for the NPR News app on April 2."
  • NPR One — "The update for NPR One will come later in the summer."
  • The Economist
  • IGN
  • TiVo
  • Cineplex
  • Amazon Alexa — "The Alexa app will be updated and optimized for iPhone X display in the coming weeks."
  • Linksys — "The update for the Linksys app for iPhone X will be rolling out in the next few days."
  • OpenVPN — "We are currently developing a new iOS app that will support iPhone X. It will tentatively be released end of April."
  • HipChat — "HipChat will not be updated for the iPhone X but Stride will be soon."
  • Harmony Control
Airlines and Travel
  • — "We will be releasing our update to better support iPhone X shortly."
  • Virgin Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Air France
  • myChevrolet
Apple recently announced that, starting April 2018, all new iOS apps submitted to the App Store, including universal apps, must support the iPhone X display. The rule doesn't apply to existing apps.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: App StoreBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Mario Comes to Google Maps in Celebration of Mario Day

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 19:47
Mario Day, which celebrates Nintendo's iconic plumber, takes place on Saturday, March 10. To celebrate Mario Day, Nintendo has teamed up with Google to bring Mario to Google Maps.

Starting today, "Mario Time" is available in Google Maps for Android and iOS devices. To enter Mario Time, tap on the yellow "?" icon that's available in the bottom right of the Google Maps app after updating the app to the latest version.

With Mario Time enabled, your Google Maps navigation arrow will turn into Mario driving a Mario Kart vehicle. Google says Mario will be a "constant companion" wherever you're driving this coming week. The new Mario icon will be visible in Google Maps on every route you take while using the app.

The new Google Maps update with Mario Time is rolling out to iOS and Android users today, and Mario will be available for the next seven days. Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Nintendo is also celebrating Mario Day with a 50 percent discount on Super Mario Run, which means unlocking the game via in-app purchase will cost you $4.99 instead of $9.99 through March 25. The new lower pricing for the in-app purchase will be available starting on March 10.

Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google Maps
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an iPhone X Case From Krown

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 19:03
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Krown to give MacRumors readers a chance to win one of four slim iPhone cases made from unique materials.

Krown is an indie iPhone case manufacturer that offers cases for Apple's newer devices, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The company makes cases in four materials (prices for iPhone X): aluminum ($24.95), concrete ($39.95), an ultra thin plastic ($19.95), and marble ($49.95). All Krown cases with the exception of the aluminum model are compatible with wireless charging.

The Slim Aluminum Case is made from a brushed aluminum material that comes in blue, black, gold, or red. To protect the iPhone, there's a soft rubber material inside of the case, and it features a lightweight, minimal design with no unnecessary bulk.

Krown's Concrete iPhone Case is thicker than the aluminum case, but as far as cases go, it's still relatively slim. It's made from a concrete and resin material that's smooth to the touch, and inside, there's a soft rubber for drop protection. There are two shades of concrete available: dark with a black border and light with a white border.

The Ultra Thin iPhone Case is similar to other ultra thin cases on the market, measuring in at 0.012" thick. These kinds of cases often don't offer much in the way of drop protection, but they're the best way to preserve the slim design of the iPhone while also protecting it from scratches. Krown says its version, available in dark blue, black, red, and white, is designed to "feel invisible."

Krown's Marble iPhone Case is similar in design to the Concrete case, but instead of a concrete back, the outside of the cases is made from a thin layer of genuine marble that comes in black or white. Inside, there's the same soft rubber used in other cases, which offers protection for drops and bumps.

We have 15 Krown cases to give away to MacRumors readers, with winners able to choose case size and material. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (March 9) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 16. The winners will be chosen randomly on March 16 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

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