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Public Testers Get their Shot at iOS 11.4 Beta 2

Tuesday, 4:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.4 Beta 2 to those enrolled in its public beta testing program. Apple made the same beta available to developers earlier this week. The build includes several features that were meant to included in iOS 11.3, but didn't make the final release. These include AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud, which allows people to store their iMessage content in the cloud and sync it across devices. The beta is free to download from Apple.


Apple Drops Second iOS 11.4 Beta for Developers

Monday, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.4 Beta 2 to registered developers. The build includes several features that were meant to be included in iOS 11.3, but didn't make the final release. These include AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud, which allows people to store their iMessage content in the cloud and sync it across devices. Developers should be able to download and install iOS 11.4 Beta 2 over the air. Apple will likely make the same beta available to public testers later this week.


Apple Updates iMovie for iPhone X Display

Apr 13, 2018, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has updated its iMovie video editing application for the iPhone X. The latest version of iMovie now fully supports the Super Retina Display of the iPhone X, including the phone's notched screen. More importantly, iMovie 2.2.5 adopts Metal for improved graphics processing. Apple also took the time to improve the app's general stability and performance, and added support for simplified Chinese. iMovie 2.2.5 is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


ESPN Launches ESPN+, a $5-Per-Month Video Service

Apr 12, 2018, 10:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ESPN today made a new over-the-top video service available to cord-cutters. ESPN+ can be streamed to most devices, including phones, and delivers a selection of live games from MLB, MLS, NHL, and other leagues. It also includes Grand Slam tennis, college football and basketball, and golfing events. Beyond games, ESPN+ offers subscribers access to ESPN originals, studio programs, international soccer, basketball, and rugby matches, and the ability to record, pause, and rewind live games. The service supports HD streaming on Android and iOS phones and tablets, and Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast streaming devices. ESPN+ costs $5 per month, but a promotion offers early adopters the first month for free.


T-Mobile Using Apple Business Chat to Bring Customer Service to iMessage

Apr 11, 2018, 10:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said its iPhone customers can use the new Apple Business Chat feature to converse directly with T-Mobile customer service representatives. Apple Business Chat is a tool added via iOS 11.3, which Apple distributed to iOS devices last month. Moving forward, T-Mobile customers can message live T-Mobile customer service personnel from iMessage on their iPhone. T-Mobile says subscribers will be able to change their rate plan, change their address, buy a new phone, ask questions, make payments, check their balance, and more — all via chat. The service supports sending screenshots to customer service reps for troubleshooting purposes. Because iMessage is available on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches, customers can reach out to T-Mobile from whichever device they have on hand. iMessage is the native messaging application on iOS devices. Customers don't need to perform any updates to take advantage of Apple Business Chat. T-Mobile says more features like this are in the works.


Jury Says Apple Owes VirnetX $503M Over Patents

Apr 11, 2018, 8:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

VirnetX has won another courtroom victory over Apple, this time to the tune of $502.6 million. A jury in Texas this week found that Apple is violating four patents held by VirnetX concerning secure communications between mobile devices. VirnetX is a patent-holding company and generates income by filing lawsuits against other companies. This particular case has been in the courts for years. An earlier version of the case awarded $440 million to VirnetX for the same patents on older Apple devices. It's not clear that Apple will ever have to pay VirnetX, however, because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has declared the patents to be invalid in other cases currently in motion elsewhere.


Apple Debuts (Product) Red Special Edition iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Apr 9, 2018, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 9, 2018, 10:01 AM

Apple today revealed a new color option for the iPhone 8: (Product) Red. The red iPhone 8 carries over all the same features and functions from the older color variants of the iPhone. The only difference is the color, which features a red chassis and a black glass front. Earlier (Product) Red iPhones have featured a white glass front. Apple says the new (Product) Red iPhone 8 will be available for order starting April 10 and it will be available in stores starting April 13. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (Product) Red Special Edition will be available in 64 GB and 256 GB models starting at a retail price of $699. T-Mobile said customers can take advantage of a buy-one, get-one deal with the red iPhone 8 or 8 Plus. Customers who finance one (Product) Red iPhone 8 on an equipment installment plan can get up to $700 towards a second.


Apple Makes iOS 11.4 Beta 1 Available to Public Testers

Apr 3, 2018, 1:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.4 Beta 1 to those enrolled in its public beta testing program. Apple made the same beta available to developers earlier this week. The build includes several features that were meant to included in iOS 11.3, but didn't make the final release. These include AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud, which allows people to store their iMessage content in the cloud and sync it across devices. The beta is free to download from Apple.


Apple Debuts First Beta of iOS 11.4, WatchOS 4.3.1

Apr 2, 2018, 12:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made two new betas available to registered developers. First up, iOS 11.4 beta 1 is available to developers for the iPhone and iPad. Other than the new education features announced recently, there’s no word yet on what new features are buried in the refreshed platform. Second, watchOS 4.3.1 is available for the Apple Watch. Developers can download the updated operating systems over the air. Apple hasn’t indicated if or when public betas will be available for testing.

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Apple Releases iOS 11.3 for iPhones

Mar 29, 2018, 12:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 29, 2018, 12:16 PM

Apple today made iOS 11.3 available to the general public after testing it privately the last few months. First, iOS 11.3 provides iPhone users with more control over their phone's battery performance. People can asses the health of their iPhone's battery to see whether or not it needs to be replaced. The tool also allows people to turn off Apple's power management function that is used to prevent battery shutdowns at the expense of speed. iOS 11.3 introduces four new animoji for the iPhone X: a bear, lion, dragon, and skull, making for a total of 16. iOS 11.3 improves augmented reality for iPhones by expanding the ability to map surfaces to include horizontal and vertical surfaces. This means AR apps can place virtual objects on walls and doors, in addition to floors and tables. Apple says the iPhone's camera is now able to offer 50% greater resolution when shooting AR, and can take advantage of auto-focus for sharper results. iOS 11.3 adds a new tool to iMessage that will allow iPhone owners to chat with select businesses. Some early adopters include Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo. Through this new business chat feature, people can converse with service representatives, schedule appointments, and make purchases via Apple Pay. iOS 11.3 adds a new Health Records feature that lets health providers share patient health data in an easy-to-digest format. Patients can collect their health records from various institutions and view them in a single place on the iPhone. The health records support notifications for lab results, medications, conditions, and more. Apple says this data is encrypted and password-protected. Other features in iOS 11.3 include the addition of music videos to Apple Music, more video content within Apple News, software authentication for HomeKit devices, and support for Advanced Mobile Location so more accurate location data is made available to emergency services during 911 calls. iOS 11.3 is free to download from Apple.


Apple iWork Suite Update Targets Education

Mar 27, 2018, 1:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated is entire suite of iWork productivity apps for iPhones, iPads, and Mac devices. The changes primarily tackle educational use of these apps and focus on bringing new features to Apple's mobile devices. For example, the apps now allow people to draw, write, or annotate documents using the Apple Pencil (on supported iPads) or your finger. A new Smart Annotation tool lets people add comments and marks that remain anchored to the text as files are shared via iCloud and/or Box. iWork adds digital book templates, the ability to add an image gallery, and new paragraph and character styles. People can use presenter mode to read and auto-scroll text while giving a speech, while iWork now lets people view pages side-by-side as they work, or turn on facing pages to format documents as two-page spreads. Other new tools include master pages to keep design consistent across layouts, instant document reorientation (landscape/portrait), editable shapes, donut charts, conditional highlighting, and fraction formatting. The iWork apps, which include Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, are free to download from the iTunes and Mac App Stores.


GarageBand Adds Kid-Friendly Sound Effects, iPhone X Face Controls

Mar 27, 2018, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated its GarageBand music-creation app with new sounds and features for kids and advanced users alike. For example, a downloadable Toy Box sound pack includes free education sound effects, such as animal calls, vehicle sounds, and counting in 10 different languages. The iPhone X gains access to a TrueDepth camera-based method for controlling musical effects, such as wah pedals and synth parameters. Apple says GarageBand for the iPhone X uses ARKit face tracking to translate facial expressions into instrument effect control. GarageBand adds more guitar stomp box effects, as well as stability improvements and bug fixes. GarageBands is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Bulks Up Clips' Titles, Filters, Animations, and Stickers

Mar 27, 2018, 12:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated its Clips video creation app for iPhones and iPads with a variety of new customization tools. For example, four additional Live Title styles include refreshed fonts, colors and layouts. The app gains new animated labels, animated stickers, Apple-designed posters for title cards, and drop shadows for adding depth. Clips for the iPhone X gains two new selfie scenes that include backgrounds from Disney films "Finding Dory" and "Monsters, Inc." Clips also fixes a bug that prevented some photos from being properly backed up in iCloud. Clips version 2.0.3 is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Foxconn to Buy Belkin for $866 Million

Mar 27, 2018, 7:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Foxconn says it has agreed to acquire Belkin International for $866 million in cash. Foxconn, a unit of Hon Hai Precision, is most widely known for manufacturing iPhones for Apple. Belkin is a consumer electronics company that designs and sells accessories and other products. Belkin owns the Linksys, Wemo, and Phyn brands. Foxconn will use Belkin's research and development capabilities and product distribution channels to tap directly into the consumer market in the U.S. and other key countries. Belkin will operate as a subsidiary of Foxconn. Chet Pipkin, CEO and founder of Belkin, will join the executive team at Foxconn. The deal is subject to customary regulatory approval. Foxconn didn't provide an expected close date.


Apple Proposes New Emoji to Represent Those with Disabilities

Mar 24, 2018, 9:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has suggested to the Unicode Consortium that it add a new batch of accessibility emoji that depict characters with disabilities. In its letter to the Consortium, Apple said, "Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities. Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities." Some of the suggested emoji include a guide dog, person with cane, person in wheelchair, prosthetic limbs, the sign for deafness, and others. Apple said these were only examples and not meant to be a fully representative list or potential additions. The Unicode Consortium is the body that approves emoji. It's possible these characters might be included in Unicode 12.0, which won't be fully approved until the first half of 2019.


Apple Debuts New Bands for Apple Watch

Mar 21, 2018, 10:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today revealed its Spring collection of bands for the Apple Watch, which include a variety of new colors and styles. Apple updated the Woven Nylon band with stripes and colors. The Sport band now comes in Denim Blue, Lemonade, and Red Raspberry; the Sport Loop comes in Flash Light, Hot Pink, Marine Green and Tahoe Blue; and the Classic Buckle comes in Spring Yellow, Electric Blue, and Soft Pink. The Nike Sport is being sold separately for the first time and comes in Barely Rose/Pearl Pink, Black/White, and Cargo Khaki/Black. The Nike Sport Loop is available in Black/Pure Platinum, Bright Crimson/Black, Cargo Khaki, Midnight Fog, and Pearl Pink. Last, Apple is offering new variations of the Hermes loop in Indigo and Blanc with painted edges. Apple says the refreshed bands will reach its stores, carrier stores, and other resellers later this month.


T-Mobile Brings Back MLB.tv Offer Just In Time for Opening Day

Mar 20, 2018, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile is offering customers a chance to access MLB.tv free for a third year in a row. T-Mobile announced that baseball fans will be able to watch every regular season Major League Baseball game on their smartphones through 2018. T-Mobile has partnered with MLB and is providing customers with a free year of MLB.tv and MLB At Bat Premium. T-Mobile customers can stream every out-of-market regular season game to their Apple or Google smartphone and tablet via the MLB.tv app. At Bat Premium is a mobile sports app for watching home and away broadcasts, and it also includes player stats, highlights, and other information. T-Mobile One customers don't need to worry about streaming on their plan thanks to unlimited data. T-Mobile says games will be streamed in standard definition by default, but can be viewed in HD if customers wish. T-Mobile customers will need to redeem the free subscription via the T-Mobile Tuesdays application between March 27 and April 2, and then sign up for MLB.tv Premium no later than April 2. On March 27, T-Mobile Tuesdays is also offering 25% off purchases made at MLBShop.com and 10 cents off per gallon of gas at Shell stations. T-Mobile has made similar offerings to customers the last two years.


Apple Seeds iOS 11.3 Beta 6 to Developers and Public

Mar 18, 2018, 1:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made available iOS 11.3 Beta 6 to both developers and public testers. iOS 11.3 Beta 6 tweaks performance and includes the battery health meter for certain devices. The tool is meant to help people balance the battery life and performance of older iPhones. iOS 11.3 also introduces four more animoji for the iPhone X, business chat, AirPlay 2, and more personalized recommendations in News. Registered developers and public testers can download iOS 11.3 Beta 6 over the air. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring. Spring kicks off March 20, and Apple has scheduled an event for March 27. It's possible Apple will provide the final version of iOS 11.3 in the next couple of weeks.


Apple Puts Family Resources On a Single Web Page

Mar 15, 2018, 7:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently published a new web site meant to help families manage their iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple accounts. The site offers high-level overviews of all the parental controls available, as well as deep-dive tutorials with step-by-step directions on how to enable each tool. Parents have long been able to manage iTunes purchases, control content, set time/usage limits, see location data, share calendars and iTunes purchases, and more. The new Families web page is meant to serve as a central resource. It describes in detail how parents can reduce distracted driving for teens, set family groups and manage communications, find lost devices, and so on. The web site arrives after shareholders published an open letter earlier this year asking the company to address smartphone addiction.


Samsung Partners with uBreakiFix for Same-Day Galaxy Repairs

Mar 14, 2018, 10:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Owners of Samsung's newer high-end phones will soon be able to score same-day repairs for most problems. Samsung has teamed up with uBreakiFix, which has some 370 locations around the country, in order to provide more timely repairs. uBreakiFix offers authorized repairs with genuine Samsung parts. The company says its technicians are all certified by Samsung and repaired devices are restored to factory conditions. uBreakiFix will fix the Note 5 and Note 8, as well as the Galaxy S6, S7, S8, and S9. The partnership officially kicks off March 15. The move helps Samsung become more competitive with Apple, which offers quick iPhone repairs at its Apple Stores.


iPad Earns Its Own Version of Google Assistant

Mar 13, 2018, 11:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced a new version of Google Assistant specifically built for the Apple iPad. Google says Assistant on iPad can do all the same things Assistant can do on the iPhone, and yet it takes advantage of the added screen real estate of the iPad to display more information. Assistant works in portrait or landscape mode and can be used in a separate window when multitasking. Google says Assistant on iPad is rolling out beginning today and will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) and, Spanish. Google Assistant for the iPhone also picked up a minor update to day that resolves several bugs and adds new skills. Google Assistant is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Sprinkles Bike-Sharing Data Into Apple Maps

Mar 12, 2018, 4:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today added data concerning the availability of public bicycle-sharing services to Apple Maps. The data comes from Ito World and congregates the availability and location of bikes and docking stations for 176 bike share systems in 179 cities around the world. Ito World says it launched its public data set late last year and claims it is the first worldwide feed concerning global bike sharing programs. By incorporating this data, Apple Maps users will be able to discover the availability of bikes such as Citi Bike in New York City, Bicing in Barcelona, Santander Cycles in London, Ford Go Bike in San Francisco, and many more. The details are surfaced by searching for "bike sharing" within Apple Maps.


Fifth Beta of iOS 11.3 Reaches Developers

Mar 12, 2018, 3:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a new beta version of iOS 11.3 available to developers. iOS 11.3 Beta 5 tweaks performance and includes the battery health meter for certain devices. The tool is meant to help people balance battery life and speed/performance of older iPhones. iOS 11.3 also introduces four more animoji for the iPhone X, business chat, AirPlay 2, and more personalized recommendations in News. Apple also released developer beta versions of High Sierra 10.13.4 and tvOS 11.3. Registered developers can download the various new betas through Apple's developer portal and/or over the air. The public version of iOS 11.3 Beta 5 will likely be released later this week. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring.


Apple to Acquire Digital Mag Company Texture

Mar 12, 2018, 11:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it has agreed to acquire Texture, a digital magazine subscription service, for an undisclosed sum. According to Apple, Texture powers the digital experience of some 200 magazines on mobile devices. "We're excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users." Apple didn't say where Texture will fit into its business, though it is likely to supplement Apple's existing News app and/or book/magazine offerings.


Apple Releases Fourth Developer Beta of iOS 11.3

Mar 5, 2018, 1:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a new beta version of iOS 11.3 available to developers. iOS 11.3 Beta 4 tweaks performance and includes the battery health meter for certain devices. The tool is meant to help people balance battery life and speed/performance of older iPhones. iOS 11.3 also introduces more animoji for the iPhone X, business chat, AirPlay 2, and more personalized recommendations in News. The public version of iOS 11.3 Beta 4 will likely be released later this week. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring. Registered developers can download iOS 11.3 Beta 4 over the air.


FTC Wants Mobile Industry to Be Better At Security Updates

Feb 28, 2018, 11:50 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The current state of mobile device security patches is lacking, according to a new report issued today by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC studied how Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung support their devices over time. "Our report found significant differences in how the industry deploys security updates and that more needs to be done to make it easier for consumers to ensure their devices are secure," said Acting Director Tom Pahl. The agency notes that many devices are updated infrequently, if at all, and that manufacturers often fail to deliver on promises. It wants phone makers and carriers to improve the situation. The agency suggested each does a better job of explaining mobile device security to consumers (i.e., make it clear to them that the updates are important and worth installing). The FTC also recommended that phone makers consider issuing security patches as stand-alone updates, rather than bundled with general OS upgrades. The FTC noted that companies that make their own operating system, in this case, Apple and Google, are often better at providing timely updates for a longer period of time. The FTC is calling for members of the mobile industry to find a way to bring clarity to consumers and more rapid security updates.


Apple Watch Series 3 Now Tracks Skiing and Snowboarding Activity

Feb 28, 2018, 10:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said updated apps for the Apple Watch Series 3 make it possible for winter sports enthusiasts to gather data while carving through some fresh powder. When Apple introduced watchOS 4.2, it gave developers new APIs to access GPS data and the altimeter. Apps from snoww, Slopes, Squaw Alpine, Snocru, and Ski Tracks put those APIs to use and can now track vertical descent, horizontal distance traveled, number of runs, average and maximum speeds, total activity time, and calories burned. The information is plotted in graphs and charts so skiers and snowboarders can easily gauge the success of their day on the mountain. Apple says activity recorded in these apps will be passed along to the Health app on the iPhone. People who opt for Slopes or snoww will be able to use Siri to start tracking their runs. All the apps with the updated functionality are available on the iTunes App Store.


Apple Seeds Third Public Beta of iOS 11.3

Feb 21, 2018, 1:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.3 Beta 3 available to those signed up to test pre-release versions of the platform. iOS 11.3 tweaks performance and includes the battery health meter for certain devices. The tool is meant to help people balance battery life and speed/performance of older iPhones. Other new features of iOS 11.3 include new animoji, new business chat functions in iMessages, and an update version of Apple’s ARKit augmented reality. Of note, the AirPlay 2 features that appeared in the second beta has been removed for the time being. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring. Earlier this week, the company released iOS 11.2.6 to resolve several bugs. Apple also released tvOS 11.3 Beta 3 and macOS 10.13 Beta 3.


T-Mobile Rolls Out Another Deal for iPhones and Apple Watch

Feb 21, 2018, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has a new promotion targeting Apple products. First, T-Mobile is offering a $200 rebate to those who purchase an iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, or 7 Plus. The rebate is being offered in addition to the value of a trade-in. People who trade a device in at T-Mobile stores will be given instant credit for the trade, though T-Mobile will accept trades sent via mail. Further, T-Mobile is offering a buy-one, get-one deal on iPhones. Customers who buy two iPhones and port-in or activate a new line of service on at least one device can receive the second device for free (via monthly bill credits). Customers will have to pay tax on purchases at the point of sale. People who cancel service will be responsible for paying the balance of any devices on their account. Last, T-Mobile is offering a deal on the Apple Watch 3. Those who buy one Apple Watch 3 can snag a second for half price ($215). These promotions kick off on February 23 and will be available for a limited time.


Apple Releases Third Developer Beta of iOS 11.3

Feb 20, 2018, 1:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a new beta version of iOS 11.3 available to developers. iOS 11.3 Beta 3 tweaks performance and includes the battery health meter for certain devices. The tool is meant to help people balance battery life and speed/performance of older iPhones. The public version of iOS 11.3 will likely be released later this week. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring. Earlier this week, the company released iOS 11.2.6 to resolve several bugs.


iOS 11.2.6 Fixes Character-Based Messaging Bug

Feb 19, 2018, 4:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.2.6 to resolve several bugs. Primarily, the minor update tackles an issue where using certain characters could cause apps such as iMessage and WhatsApp to crash. The update also patches a problem where some third-party apps could fail to connect to external accessories. The iOS 11.2.6 is free to download over the air.


Apple Prepping Fix for Message Bug that Crashes iPhones

Feb 16, 2018, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says it has a patch in the works that will counter a bug causing iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and even Macs to crash. The bug occurs when people receive a message with certain Indian language characters in apps including iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. According to The Verge, Apple will push the patch "soon." This means the bug will be fixed through a minor update (iOS 11.2.x) rather than the larger iOS 11.3 update expected later this spring. Apple also plans to issue patches for macOS and watchOS to resolve the issue on those devices.


Apple Puts Its Foot Down, Will Require Apps Support iPhone X

Feb 15, 2018, 4:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 15, 2018, 4:55 PM

Apple today told developers that soon all new apps submitted to the iTunes App Store must support the screen of the latest iPhone. "Starting April 2018, all new iOS apps submitted to the App Store must be built with the iOS 11 SDK, included in Xcode 9 or later," said Apple in an email to developers. "All new apps for iPhone, including universal apps, must support the Super Retina display of iPhone X." The iPhone X display swaps the 16:9 aspect ratio found on the iPhone 6, 7, and 8 for a 2:1 aspect ratio with a notch at the top. It also boosts the resolution beyond full HD. Apps that haven't yet been updated for the iPhone X often have black bars at the top and bottom, which look unsightly. Developers can find the iOS 11 SDK on Apple's developer web site.


YouTube TV Gains More Channels, But Price Goes Up

Feb 14, 2018, 9:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Subscribers to Google's YouTube TV service now have access to more content in more places for more dollars per month. The live TV and video service is adding a number of Turner-owned stations to its lineup, including Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV, and Turner Classic Movies. Sports content from NBA TV and MLB Network will follow soon. The service launched with content from 50 channels. There are still glaring omission, particularly with respect to content for children, such as Nickelodeon. Google didn't say what the full new channel lineup is. YouTube TV has expanded is geographical reach to the top 100 markets around the country. Some of the most recent additions include Burlington, Champaign, Charleston, Columbia, Dayton, El Paso, Harlingen, Honolulu, Lexington, Mobile, Petersburg, Plattsburgh, Richmond, Scranton, Springfield, Syracuse, Wichita, and Wilkes-Barre. These content and market expansions come at a cost. Google plans to raise the price from $35 per month to $40 per month beginning March 15. Customers who sign up before then will be grandfathered in at the lower price. YouTube TV is available on Android and iOS phones and tablets, as well as the Apple TV and Roku players. Subscribers have access to live television, six sub-accounts, and unlimited DVR recordings.


U.S. Intel Directors Warn Against Using Huawei, ZTE Phones

Feb 14, 2018, 8:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Intelligence agency leaders have suggested that U.S. consumers not buy phones from Huawei or ZTE, according to a report from CNBC. The six intelligence chiefs, including the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the director of national intelligence made the remarks at a recent security hearing. "We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks," said FBI Director Chris Wray. All six intel heads said plainly they don't think American citizens should use phones or other products from Huawei and ZTE. Huawei recently saw plans to sell its flagship Mate 10 Pro device via AT&T and Verizon Wireless thwarted at the last moment by pressure from the U.S. government. Lawmakers in the House and the Senate have since introduced bills that would make it illegal for the government to use any equipment from Huawei or ZTE. Huawei said it is "aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor." ZTE didn't provide a response. Nearly all mobile devices, including Apple iPhones, are made in China.


Verizon to Start Locking Its Phones Again to Fight Thieves

Feb 12, 2018, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless plans to lock its handsets in order to cut down on theft. Verizon claims its unlocked phones are a big target, often stolen when in transit to Verizon stores or to consumers. Unlocked phones, particularly Apple iPhones, are easier to sell on the black market because they can be used virtually anywhere. Verizon's devices will be locked when first flashed with the operating system and will remain locked until the point of purchase. When consumers buy the phone, a software update will unlock the device. Later this spring, however, Verizon will keep phones locked to its network for an unknown period of time — even after activation. This move will prevent people from signing up for service with fake identities and then absconding with the device. "We're taking steps to combat this theft and reduce fraud," said Tami Erwin, executive vice president of wireless operations for Verizon, in a statement provided to CNET. "These steps will make our phones exponentially less desirable to criminals." Verizon claims consumers won't really be impacted by the change in policy. The company says it will unlock phones upon request after the initial locked period expires, even if the phone is not yet fully paid for. It will also continue to allow customers to bring their own unlocked handsets to its network. Verizon didn't say how soon the policy change will go into effect. Verizon has sold unlocked devices since it launched 4G LTE. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all require people to pay the balance of their phone and wait 14 to 60 days before they'll agree to unlock it.


Qualcomm Says Two Big Buyers Likely to Bail Over Broadcom Tie-Up

Feb 10, 2018, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm warned investors that two of its most important customers have threatened to take their business elsewhere should Qualcomm be acquired by Broadcom. Qualcomm didn't name the customers, but said together they contribute a combined $1 billion in chip revenue. Qualcomm's most important customers are Apple and Samsung, followed by Huawei, LG, Sony, Oppo, and Xiaomi. The customers in question cited a lack of confidence in Broadcom's ability to lead a combined Qualcomm-Broadcom entity as the impetus for their decisions. Broadcom made a second offer for Qualcomm this week, but Qualcomm's board rejected it. The two companies will, however, meet over the next few days to discuss the possibilities of a merger. Some of the biggest questions Qualcomm wants answered concern how much more is Broadcom willing to spend on the acquisition, and what will it do to ensure the deal is completed successfully. Qualcomm is also worried about antitrust issues, and pointed to several big deals that have taken more than 18 months to clear regulatory hurdles. Broadcom has offered to pay Qualcomm $8 billion should the merger fail to be approved.


T-Mobile Drops BOGO Deal On Phone Lines

Feb 9, 2018, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced a buy-one, get-one deal for service plans. Subscribers to a T-Mobile One family plan (minimum two lines) can add a third line of service at full price and get a fourth line of service for free. The fourth line is free after monthly bill credits. Without auto-pay, each line will carry an additional $5 monthly fee. The free line is available as long as subscribers maintain at least three paid lines. T-Mobile says the BOGO line deal can be combined with its BOGO deals on smartphones, which let people score free or reduced-cost handsets when two are purchased at the same time. The company is offering up to half off an Apple Watch when purchased with another at full price (Digits plan required). Last, T-Mobile is offering discounts on select accessories, such as Beats headphones. The BOGO deal on service lines and discounted Apple Watch deal kick off on February 10 and will be available for a limited time.


Apple Releases iOS 11.3 Public Beta 2

Feb 7, 2018, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.3 Beta 2 available to public testers. This build tweaks performance and adds Apple's promised battery health meter. The tool is meant to help people balance battery life and speed/performance of older iPhones. The new feature is a response to news that Apple slows down the performance of older iPhones to account for the degradation of lithium ion batteries. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring.


Apple Weighing Refunds for Those Who Paid Full Price for iPhone Battery Replacements

Feb 6, 2018, 3:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple might give some customers a refund. The company is mulling whether or not it should offer cash back to those who paid full price to replace the battery of their older iPhone. Until December 2017, Apple charged $79 to replace iPhone batteries. The company admitted late last year that it slowed down some older iPhones in order to prevent random shutdowns. Replacing the battery of said older iPhones mitigates the speed/performance issue. Apple has since dropped the price of replacing batteries by $50, from $79 to $29. The company may offer $50 refunds to people who coughed up the full $79 price. The information was revealed in a letter Apple sent to Sen. John Thune, who requested more details about Apple's actions concerning the iPhone slowdown kerfuffle. "Apple has promised the committee some follow-up information, including an answer about additional steps it may take to address customers who purchased a new battery at full price," indicated Thune. Apple says it is seeing strong demand for replacement batteries at its retail stores. The company is also offering a software tool to customers, which will arrive in iOS 11.3 later this year, to help balance speed and battery life.


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