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Walmart, Verizon Offering Deals on iPhone 11 Series

Wednesday, 12:39 PM   by Rich Brome

Walmart and Verizon are both offering substantial discounts and offers for customers buying a new iPhone this year. New and existing customers of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint can pre-order the new iPhone 11 models from walmart.com starting this Friday and receive $50 off the usual phone price when choosing a device payment plan and picking up their phone in a Walmart store (starting Sept. 20). Existing customers of Verizon and AT&T can instead opt to have the phone shipped to them with free two-day shipping, and receive the same $50-off pricing. Separately, Verizon is offering deals on iPhones for customers activating new Unlimited lines, and deals on other Apple devices for all customers. Customers activating a new Unlimited line can get up to $700 toward a new iPhone 11 (making the base model iPhone 11 free) with device trade-in. The trade-in credit of up to $500 is applied over 24 months, with the remaining $200 delivered as a prepaid card. Or customers can get a second iPhone Xr for free when purchasing the first iPhone Xr on a payment plan and activating a new Unlimited line. Verizon customers can also get a $250 discount off any iPad when purchasing any iPhone (with both devices on Verizon payment plan; discount applied over 24 months.) Verizon customers purchasing a new Apple Watch can get a second one for up to 50% off.


New iPhones Include Ultra-Wideband Chip for Directional AirDrop

Wednesday, 11:03 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple's new iPhone 11 series of phones includes a new U1 chip, which uses ultra-wideband technology to determine the relative location of other devices with U1 chips nearby. Apple promises "amazing new capabilities" thanks to the new chip. The first new feature to utilize the U1 is AirDrop, which now lets you choose who to send a file to by simply pointing your phone at theirs.


iPhone 11 Pro: Three Cameras, Two Sizes

Sep 10, 2019, 1:49 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced the iPhone 11 Pro, which comes in two sizes. The smaller model has a 5.8-inch screen like the iPhone Xs, while the larger iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch screen, just like the iPhone Xs Max. Both iPhone 11 Pro models have three 12-megapixel cameras on the back: one "wide", one ultra-wide, and one telephoto, together providing a total 4x optical zoom. The matte glass back and camera surround is milled from a single sheet of glass, set into a stainless steel frame. The OLED display has been improved with HDR, Dolby Vision, 1200 nits peak brightness, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, P3 color gamut, 458 ppi, and True Tone. Apple calls the new display "Super Retina XDR". Audio has also been improved with Dolby Atmos and spatial audio. Battery life has also been improved, adding 4 hours for the smaller size and 5 hours for the Max, and a 18W fast charger is now included. Like the cheaper iPhone 11 announced today, the iPhone 11 Pro is powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is 20% faster than last year's A12 chip while using less power. It also include Face ID, IPX8 waterproofing, and supports slow-motion video with the selfie camera, which Apple calls a "Slowfie". The main camera now supports portrait mode for pets and objects, and has a new automatic night mode. In the fall, a software update will add a new camera feature called Deep Fusion, which combines multiple quick photos with one long-exposure using computational photography to create a higher-quality photo in lower-light situations. The iPhone 11 Pro comes in Midnight Green, Space Gray, silver, and gold. The smaller model starts at $999, while the Max starts at $1099. Pre-orders begin at 8am Eastern on Friday, September 13th, with full retail launch on September 20th.


Apple iPhone 11 Sports Wide-Angle Camera

Sep 10, 2019, 1:23 PM   by Rich Brome

The new iPhone 11 from Apple sports a new dual-camera system with two 12-megapixel cameras, one "wide" and one "ultra-wide". It replaces the iPhone Xr and has the same 6.1-inch display size. It's the most affordable of today's three new iPhones at just $699. It's powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is 20% faster than last year's A12 chip while using less power. It also include Face ID, IPX8 waterproofing, 1 hour extra battery life compared to the iPhone Xr, and Wi-Fi 6. The front camera has also been updated with higher resolution, wider field of view, and the ability to shoot both 4K video and slow-motion video, which Apple calls a "Slowfie". The main camera also now supports portrait mode for pets and objects, and has a new automatic night mode. The iPhone 11 has a milled glass back and comes in six colors: cream, yellow, mint, lavender, Product Red, and black.


Apple Watch Series 5 Has Always-On Display

Sep 10, 2019, 1:02 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced Apple Watch Series 5, an update that brings a new always-on display. The new display can stay on in a dim mode all day (18 hours) thanks to LTPO display technology, variable refresh rate, and an ambient light sensor. The new Watch also adds a compass sensor, which works with Maps and third-party apps, and has it own app and complication. The new Watch is otherwise similar to last year's Series 4. Series 5 is available in a variety of materials, including white ceramic, brushed titanium, and black titanium. The base model starts at $399, and the cellular version starts at $499. Pre-orders start today, with retail availability on September 20th. Apple is also keeping the basic Series 3 Watch in its lineup, and dropping the price to $199.


Apple's Game Subscription Service Will Cost $5/Month

Sep 10, 2019, 12:20 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple Arcade, the company's game subscription service, will launch next week, on September 19th. It will cost $4.99 per month. One subscription will cover a whole family, and the company will offer a one month free trial. 100 exclusive games will be available "in the coming weeks", with more added over time. The games run across all major Apple platforms, including iOS, tvOS, and macOS.


Apple Expands Third-Party iPhone Repair Program

Aug 29, 2019, 9:52 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple is opening up its official iPhone repair program to allow independent repair shops of all sizes access to genuine Apple parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics. Apple had previously restricted these resources to Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs), which now includes all Best Buy locations. But now any repair shop with an Apple-certified technician on staff can offer Apple-sanctioned service for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Employee certification is free of charge. The new program is called the Independent Repair Provider Program. Participating businesses will receive Apple-genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics at the same cost as AASPs. Interested businesses can apply starting today.


Qualcomm, Apple Threatened by GlobalFoundries Complaint Against TMSC

Aug 27, 2019, 12:31 PM   by Rich Brome

GlobalFoundries is going on the attack against TMSC over 16 patents that cover crucial aspects of cutting-edge chips used in a wide range of products, including most phones. Both companies manufacture such chips. TMSC's customers include Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Marvell, and Broadcom. GlobalFoundries is filing lawsuits this week in both the US and Germany — including with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) — seeking orders that will prevent the import of chips produced with the infringing technology, and products containing those chips. If successful, it would essentially block the import of all modern phones to the US.


Apple Expands Student ID Support in Apple Wallet

Aug 13, 2019, 1:22 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has updated Apple Wallet to support additional vendors of systems that power contactless student ID cards, enabling a number of new colleges and universities to roll out support for storing a student ID card in Apple Wallet. The feature lets students use their iPhone or Apple Watch to access campus facilities and pay for meals, laundry, and other purchases where a student ID is accepted as payment. The feature supports multiple account balances per card, such as Food, Laundry, Flex, etc. The new card-system vendors supported are CBORD, Allegion, and HID. Previously, only Blackboard Transact was supported. New schools supporting Apple Wallet include Clemson University, Georgetown University, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of Vermont, and Arkansas State University. Schools that already support Apple Wallet include Duke University, University of Oklahoma, University of Alabama, Temple University, and Johns Hopkins University.


Apple Offers Rewards up to $1 Million for iPhone Vulnerabilities

Aug 9, 2019, 2:13 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple is expanding its bug bounty program to solicit security vulnerabilities from security researchers. The program will now be open to all, not just researchers on pre-approved list. The bug bounties have also increased from $200,000 to as much as $1 million for the most serious bugs, such as hacking the kernel — the core of any OS — with zero clicks required by the iPhone owner. Another $500,000 will be given to those who can find a "network attack requiring no user interaction." There’s also a 50% bonus for hackers who can find weaknesses in software before it's released. Apple is also extending the program to watchOS. The announcements were made in a talk by Apple's head of security engineering Ivan Krstić at the annual Black Hat conference. Krstić said the bug bounty program has been a success to date, with 50 serious bugs reported since the 2016 launch.


Google Previews Pixel 4 Face Unlock, Motion Sense Gestures

Jul 29, 2019, 12:40 PM   by Rich Brome

Google today issued a blog post detailing two key new features of the forthcoming Pixel 4: Face Unlock and Motion Sense mid-air hand gestures. Face Unlock is designed to be faster and more seamless than Apple's implementation. It uses four infrared components: a dot projector, flood illuminator, and two cameras. With these components, it can recognize your face from any angle as you lift it, and fully unlock before you're ready to touch the screen. Face Unlock will also work for secure payments and app authentication. The Pixel 4 will also include a RADAR chip developed by Google as Project Soli. This enables Motion Sense, which can detect mid-air hand gestures made in front of the phone, such as waving your hand to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls. The sensors for these new features take up space above the display, creating a "forehead" instead of the notch or all-screen design that has become standard in high-end phones recently. Both features keep data locally for privacy. Facial recognition data is stored in Google's custom Titan M security chip.


Apple Snaps up Intel's Phone Modem Division

Jul 25, 2019, 3:15 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has agreed to pay $1 billion for the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. The deal includes approximately 2,200 Intel employees, along with associated equipment and leases. The deal also includes numerous related patents. Intel will retain access to that intellectual property for non-smartphone applications. Apple's Johny Srouji, senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said the deal "will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward." The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. In April, Apple reached a deal with Qualcomm to use their modem chips exclusively, in order to resolve a long-running patent dispute. At the same time, Intel canceled its 5G modem project, which was intended for future iPhones. Prior to the Qualcomm deal, Apple had used both Qualcomm and Intel modems in its iPhones.


Apple's "Attention Correction" Lets You See Eye-to-Eye in FaceTime

Jul 3, 2019, 9:30 AM   by Rich Brome

The latest beta version of iOS 13 includes a new feature in FaceTime called Attention Correction, which subtly alters the image of your face in real time to make it look like you're looking into the camera even when you're looking down at the screen to see the other person. It only seems to work on the very newest generation of iPhone models, (Xs, Xs Max, and Xr, but not the original iPhone X,) indicating that the feature may require the A12, Apple's newest processor chip.


Apple Releases iOS 13 Public Beta

Jun 24, 2019, 1:52 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has made a public beta available of iOS 13, the next major version of the software that powers iPhones. Major new features include swipe gesture typing, a new version of CarPlay, Dark Mode, richer Maps content, a new Shortcuts app, audio sharing, and smarter AR. Also, apps load faster and Siri has a more natural-sounding voice that's easier to understand. The beta software is available today for users who opt in to Apple's beta testing program. The final version is expected this fall.


New Police Tool Can Access Any Locked Phone

Jun 17, 2019, 9:32 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 17, 2019, 9:32 AM

An Israeli company that supplies law enforcement agencies worldwide announced that the newest version of its tool to access locked phones can access almost any smartphone, including Apple devices running iOS 7-12.3 and most Android phones. The company, Cellebrite, promises that its new UFED Premium device offers nearly complete access to Apple devices and "flagship Samsung devices", as well as support for accessing the file system on "popular device models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi." The company boasts that its device lets law enforcement "Bypass or determine locks and perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device, or a physical extraction or full file system (File-Based Encryption) extraction on many high-end Android devices.... gain access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more". Apple has added features to iOS in recent years to thwart this kind of access, and is rolling out iOS 13 this summer and fall.


Apple Grants Parental Control Apps Special API Access

Jun 4, 2019, 9:10 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple announced changes to its App Store rules, mostly to tighten data privacy across the board. But Apple, for the first time, added special exceptions to its rules for apps providing parental controls, most of which require much deeper, more sensitive access to software APIs in order to be effective. Parental control apps have long made use of MDM (mobile device management) APIs, which were originally intended for use within organizations, for enforcing company policies on company devices, for example. In April, Apple removed many parental control apps from the App Store for improper use of MDM APIs. The new rules allow MDM use by "in limited cases, companies utilizing MDM for parental controls. MDM apps may not sell, use, or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose, and must commit to this in their privacy policy." Apple added similar new language to its policy on VPN APIs, allowing "certain types of apps — such as those for parental control, content blocking, and security — from approved providers." Other changes restrict the use of user data, even anonymous data. Another new rule prohibits apps that "facilitate purchase of ammunition."


Apple iOS 13 Gains Swipe Typing, Better Location Privacy, Dark Mode

Jun 3, 2019, 1:34 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 3, 2019, 2:17 PM

Apple today announced iOS 13 with a long list of new features for iPhones. The Apple text keyboard now supports swipe gesture typing, which Apple calls Quick Path. Users can now grant apps access to location data on an as-needed basis, and prevent apps from gathering location data using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Apple also introduced its own universal sign-in service available to all web sites and apps. Sign in with Apple does not track users across the web like other services. Real names and/or email addresses are only shared with explicit permission, and Apple will optionally generate a unique email address for each app, that forwards to your real email address, keeping your real email address private. iOS 13 includes a dark mode that defaults to dark backgrounds in most apps. A revamped Reminders app supports natural language entry and attachments. An updated Siri uses neural text-to-speech technology to sound more natural and be easier to understand. A new option lets users send spam calls directly to voicemail. The Shortcuts feature now has its own app, which analyzes your usage patterns to create Suggested Automations. Enterprise users can now set up separate iCloud accounts for personal and work use. The latest Maps app supports Collections of favorite locations. It also adds Look Around, which is like Google's Street View, but supports smoother 3D animations when moving around. In Messages, you can now choose to share your name and/or photo when messaging someone for the first time. The camera app supports adjustable studio lighting effects and new Instagram-like editing options for photos and videos. iOS 13 also includes an Audio Sharing feature for sharing whatever you're listening to with another iPhone user wirelessly. When using AirPods, users can now have incoming messages (from any app) read aloud, and reply by voice. iOS 13 also includes performance tweaks such as smaller app updates and faster app launches. The update will be available for iPhones this fall, with a "public seed" version in July, and a developer beta available today.


Apple watchOS 6 Gains App Store, Noise Monitoring, Audiobooks

Jun 3, 2019, 12:38 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced watchOS 6 for Apple Watches. The update adds a full App Store directly on the watch, offering independent apps, which no longer require a companion app on an iOS device. Apple also added a new streaming audio API for live sports and more as well as support for audiobooks. A new Noise app continuously monitors sounds levels to detect loud levels that could damage your hearing. Also new is a Cycle Tracking app for menstrual cycles and fertility, also coming to the Health app in iOS. A voice memo and calculator app have also been added, including a tip calculator.


Federal Judge Rules Qualcomm's Patent Licensing Practices Unfair

May 22, 2019, 8:42 AM   by Rich Brome

A federal judge in San Jose sided with the Federal Trade Commission in its case against Qualcomm, ruling that the company unlawfully suppressed competition in the market for cellphone chips and used its dominant position to exact excessive licensing fees. Several practices were singled out, including: charging royalties on a percentage of a phone's price, threatening to cut off access to its chips when negotiating patent royalties, and exclusive supply agreements with phone makers like Apple that block potential rivals like Intel. The judge said Qualcomm must submit to monitoring for the next seven years to ensure it abides by the remedies. Qualcomm issued a statement saying it will immediately seek a stay of the judgment and an expedited appeal.


ARM Halts Business With Huawei

May 22, 2019, 8:30 AM   by Rich Brome

ARM has stopped doing business with Huawei, potentially ending Huawei's mobile chip business. Essentially all current processors for mobile phones are based on ARM technology and intellectual property. Crucial processor and SoC chips from Qualcomm and Apple are based on ARM designs. Similarly, Huawei's own Kirin chips rely on ARM intellectual property (IP). All major mobile OSes, such as Android, are designed to work on ARM's architecture. The US government recently barred US companies from doing business with Huawei, cutting off Huawei's access to hardware from Qualcomm and software from Google. Huawei was relying on its own Kirin chips to continue making phones independently of Qualcomm, but Kirin chips face an uncertain future without access to ARM IP. This challenges Huawei's future ability to make phones and sell them outside of China. ARM is headquartered in Cambridge, UK and it owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, but ARM has significant offices in the US and its designs contain "US origin technology".


Steam Link Finally Available for iOS

May 16, 2019, 9:37 AM   by Rich Brome

The Steam Link app — which lets you play Steam games on your PC or Mac remotely on another device such as a phone, tablet, or TV — is now available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Unlike the Android version, it does not support new game purchases within the Steam Link app, to comply with Apple's App Store rules. The app supports Bluetooth game controllers.


SCOTUS: Lawsuit Attacking Apple's App Store Can Move Forward

May 13, 2019, 10:23 AM   by Rich Brome

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that an antitrust lawsuit can proceed against Apple for the way it runs its App Store. Today's ruling only affirms that the consumers bringing the suit have the right to do so; it does not touch on the merits of the case. The case will now proceed in lower courts, which may take years. At issue is whether Apple can require that apps be purchased through its store, where it takes a 30% cut and imposes rules on pricing that may inflate prices.


Google Revamps Android Auto Interface

May 6, 2019, 4:10 PM   by Rich Brome

A redesigned version of Android Auto will roll out this summer. The biggest change is the ability to control two apps at once, with one taking up the main screen, and the other displaying limited controls and/or info in a widget within the persistent bar at the bottom of the screen. For example, the main screen can show navigation maps while Spotify controls appear in the bottom bar. The bottom bar also swaps out app shortcuts for a new voice assistant button, and a button that summons a new notification center. Android Auto can also now automatically launch navigation and resume your music each time you start your car. An expanded layout will appear on cars with wider displays. Android Auto lets an Android phone power a car's dashboard touch screen with an interface optimized for driving with minimal distraction. It's similar to Apple's CarPlay feature. More than 500 car models from 50 different brands support Android Auto.


Google Fit now Available for iOS

Apr 24, 2019, 1:12 PM   by Rich Brome

Google's basic activity-tracking app, Google Fit, is now available for iPhone and other iOS devices. Because it supports Apple Health, it can automatically import activity data captured by Apple Watch. It can also sync with smartwatches powered by Wear OS by Google. Like the Android version of the app, it tracks two key metrics: Move Minutes for basic movement, and Heart Points for more strenuous exercise. It also imports and logs more detailed exercise data. The app encourages you to reach activity goals recommended by the American Heart Association and World Health Organization. Google Fit is available now for free from the Apple App Store.


Samsung Testing 5nm Chips for 2020 Phones

Apr 23, 2019, 2:45 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 24, 2019, 8:46 AM

Samsung has successfully manufactured and is testing chips for future phones that use a cutting-edge 5nm process. These chips have smaller transistors, resulting in chips that are more power-efficient and/or faster than today's chips based on 7nm and larger processes. Samsung makes processor chips for itself, and has made processor chips for Qualcomm and Apple in the past. Samsung's memory chips are popular in high-end phones. Samsung expects the new 5nm chips to reach phones in 2020. Rival TMSC, which currently manufactures processor chips for Qualcomm and Apple, also started testing 5nm chips recently.


Intel Quits Phone Modem Biz Following Apple/Qualcomm Deal

Apr 16, 2019, 8:03 PM   by Rich Brome

Intel has confirmed that it has cancelled its 5G modem project intended for phones such as a future iPhone, and will focus its modem business instead on products for devices other than phones, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple currently uses both Intel and Qualcomm modems in its iPhones. Earlier today, Apple and Qualcomm announced an agreement to end a years-long, ugly patent dispute. The agreement included a new commitment by Apple to use Qualcomm chips – perhaps exclusively – at the expense of Intel. Without its largest customer (Apple), Intel was left with no path to profitability for its phone modem business.


Apple, Qualcomm Finally Find Patent Peace

Apr 16, 2019, 3:05 PM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm and Apple have reached an agreement to end all ongoing litigation over patents, including that extending to Apple's contact manufacturers. The companies have reached a six-year intellectual property agreement, with an option to extend for two years. As part of the agreement, Apple will pay Qualcomm an undisclosed sum, and has entered into a new agreement to buy chips from Qualcomm.


Beats Earbuds Go Full Wireless With PowerBeats Pro

Apr 3, 2019, 2:24 PM   by Rich Brome

The new Powerbeats Pro from Beats use technology borrowed from Apple's latest AirPods to create the first Powerbeats without a wire between the two earbuds. Optimized for workouts, they have redesigned, adjustable rubber loops that hook over the ear like other Powerbeats. Despite being fully wireless, they're 23% smaller and 17% lighter than the Powerbeats3. Like AirPods, they automatically pause when removed from the ear. They also use the same Apple H1 chip as the latest AirPods, which enables them to respond to "Hey Siri" commands. Beam-forming microphones help filter out background noise during calls. Each bud has a full set of identical controls, allowing either one to be used without the other. Beats claims that each bud will last for 9 hours of music, and the included charging case brings that up to 24 hours total. Quick charging provides 1.5 hours of music playback with just five minutes of charging. Powerbeats Pro are compatible with both iOS and Android phones. Apple will sell the Powerbeats Pro in May for $250. They will be available in Black, Navy, Moss, and Ivory.


New Apple TV App Supports Paid Channels, Including Apple's Own

Mar 25, 2019, 1:36 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced an updated version of its Apple TV app that supports paid channels within the app. It will be available on iOS, tvOS, macOS, Roku, Fire TV, and smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio. It will be available in May in over 100 countries. Paid channels available in the US include Apple's new "Apple tv+" channel with its own original content, as well as HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, CBS All Access, Comedy Central, and more. The new Apple TV app supports offline viewing and family sharing.


Apple Launching Game Bundle Subscription

Mar 25, 2019, 1:05 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple Arcade will be a monthly subscription service for a series of curated games. It will feature over 100 games at launch, with new games added regularly. A single Arcade subscription buys full access to all Arcade games, none of which have ads. Arcade games will work across iOS, macOS and tvOS, and game state is maintained across different devices. The service will feature games from Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games and dozens more. Apple Arcade will launch in fall 2019 in more than 150 countries from a new tab on the App Store. Pricing was not announced.


Apple Card is Apple's New Credit Card

Mar 25, 2019, 12:50 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 25, 2019, 2:10 PM

Apple today launched its own branded credit card: Apple Card. Starting this summer, customers can sign up for the card on their iOS device in minutes, and use it immediately with Apple Pay. It charges no annual fees, international fees, nor late fees. Customers get 2% cash back on all purchases, or 3% on purchases from Apple. The cash back is paid daily, deposited on a separate Apple Cash card, which also lives in the Wallet and works with Apple Pay. Apple uses Apple Maps and machine learning to translate often-cryptic charge descriptions into more obvious line items. An interactive interest calculator helps customers choose the best amount to pay down each month. A built-in spend analyzer helps users see expense categories and trends. Support is provided via iMessage. Apple card works anywhere MasterCard is accepted and is backed by Goldman Sachs.


Apple Adds Premium Content Bundle to News App

Mar 25, 2019, 12:37 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 25, 2019, 12:39 PM

Apple's News app for iOS now offers a $10/month paid subscription option called News+, which includes full access to the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, over 300 magazines, and the premium sections of several major web sites such as TechCrunch. Separate subscriptions to all of these publications would cost over $8,000/year. New content is downloaded automatically. Neither Apple nor advertisers can see what you choose to read. Apple is offering the first month free. News+ is available today in the US via an update to iOS. A similar offering is also launching today in Canada, and coming soon to Australia and Europe, starting with the UK.


Apple Updates AirPods and Adds Wireless Charging Case Option

Mar 20, 2019, 10:16 AM   by Rich Brome

The new Apple AirPods have 50% battery life (talk time) and support "Hey Siri" voice commands to let users quickly change songs, make a call, adjust the volume or get directions. Apple also introduced an optional charging case that can be charged on any Qi-compatible wireless charging pad. The new AirPods are available today with the new wireless charging case for $199, or with the older standard case for $159. The wireless charging case is available separately for $79, for customers with existing AirPods. Apple is also now offering free personalized engraving on AirPods. The new AirPods and case are available online today, and in Apple Stores next week.


Apple Responds to Spotify on App Store Commissions

Mar 15, 2019, 8:47 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple issued a statement today responding to Spotify's claims of unfair competition because Apple takes 30% of in-app purchase revenue, affecting products like a Spotify Premium subscription. In fact, Apple takes only a 15% cut after the first year of each annual subscription.


Apple WWDC 2019 Set for June 3

Mar 14, 2019, 11:27 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced that its next annual developer conference will take place June 3-7, 2019 in San Jose. The company usually reveals details of a new version of its iOS software during the keynote presentation on the first day of the event.


Spotify Asks EU to Rule Apple Competes Unfairly

Mar 13, 2019, 11:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple takes a 30% cut of all iOS in-app purchases for digital products and services (but not physical ones). This includes products like a Spotify Premium subscription. Spotify argues that it cannot offer pricing competitive with Apple Music when they have to pay the 30% but Apple does not. Spotify and similar companies can accept payments via other means, but Apple then prevents them from emailing their own customers about updates, etc. Spotify has taken their argument to the European Commission, asking them to rule that these practices constitute unfair competition.


Password-Free, Secure Login Standard Finalized

Mar 4, 2019, 12:57 PM   by Rich Brome

The W3C standards group has certified WebAuthn as an official web standard. WebAuthn enables web site logins that are both easier and more secure than passwords. Multiple authentication methods are supported, including biometric options on mobile devices, such as fingerprint readers. It's already supported in Android, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and the preview version of Apple Safari. The standard enables biometric web site login on both desktop and mobile browsers, and also enables using your phone as an authentication tool to log into web sites on a desktop/laptop.


Apple Planning its own Credit Card

Feb 21, 2019, 9:45 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple and Goldman Sachs are working together on an Apple MasterCard credit card that would integrate with Apple Pay and offer 2% cash back. The Wall Street Journal reports that the card would offer unique software features in iPhones, such as setting spending goals, tracking rewards and managing balances from within Apple's Wallet app. Goldman has never offered a credit card before, and is spending $200 million to build the infrastructure to support the new card. The product is about to enter testing with Apple employees. The companies plan to launch it for consumers later this year.


Google Keyboard for iOS Adds Haptic Feedback

Feb 14, 2019, 9:56 AM   by Rich Brome

Google's newest version of Gboard — its keyboard-replacement app for iOS — adds physical feedback when typing. Apple's own iOS keyboard does not offer this popular feature. The haptic feedback feature is available on iPhone 7 and later. Gboard also offers input by word swipe and voice. It includes emoji (with search), GIFs, stickers, and personalized stickers. Google search is built-in and results — such as business listings, videos, images, and articles — can easily be pasted and sent to others. The new version is 1.4 and is available now in the Apple App Store.


Toyota Finally Embraces Android Auto and CarPlay

Feb 8, 2019, 12:07 PM   by Rich Brome

After holding out longer than most auto makers, Toyota's new 2020 lineup includes, for the first time, a variety of models that support both Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. The new models include the 2020 4Runner, Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra. Last year's Avalon supported CarPlay, but not Android Auto. The two technologies are comparable, letting the driver sync their phone to the car and display an interface on the dash touchscreen that's driven by the phone, and includes voice control. The interfaces are tailored to driving, with a focus on navigation, music, and basic communication. Other car companies already supporting both CarPlay and Android Auto are: Chrysler (and Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram), Ford (and Lincoln), GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevy, GMC), Honda (and Acura), Hyundai (and Kia), Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, VW (and Audi), and Volvo.


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