iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Google has made it easier for people to share their estimated time of arrival with others. Moving forward, people can tap the ^ button in Maps to begin sharing their trip progress, which can include their live location, route, and ETA. The update allows live ETA info to be pushed via Gmail, SMS, and third-party apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Line, and WhatsApp. Once the journey is complete, the user automatically stops sharing their location. Further, people can now share live driving, bicycling, and walking journeys. This new tool is in the latest version of Google Maps for Android and iOS.
Spotify is giving its paying subscribers a better app. The company has released an updated version of its mobile application for Android and iOS with streamlined navigation meant to help people find music faster. The app provides more recommendations on the home screen, adds more results to search, and surfaces favorites in users' libraries. Spotify says the search page has been overhauled with better browsing, calling out top genres, artists, albums, and podcasts. Last, the app adopts a tool called Endless Artist Radio, allowing people to search for a musician or song and then listen to an endless playlist of music by that artist. Spotify says these endless playlists are updated regularly and are downloadable for offline listening. Spotify Premium requires a $10-per-month subscription.
T-Mobile today announced new handset and service promotions that offer new phones for low monthly payments with one big catch: the equipment installment plan runs for 36 months. That means it will be three years before customers pay off their device, rather than the customary two years. The basics are these. Beginning October 19, customers can trade in an eligible phone for a new Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Note9, LG G7, LG V40 ThinQ, and others for payments as low as $10 per month. T-Mobile hopes customers taking advantage of this promo will jump on the T-Mobile Essentials plan, which provides a family of four new phones with unlimited service for $40 per line per month, or $160 total. This breaks down to $30 per month per line for service and $10 per month for device payments. The actual device payment may be different. Customers who want the T-Mobile One plan will need to pay another $10 per month per line, or $50. This deal requires auto-pay. Eligible phone trade-ins will be credited to customer accounts monthly over a period of 36 months. The maximum trade-in value is $360 per device, but that will depend on the trade and its condition. T-Mobile didn't immediately list a set of devices eligible for trade-in. The trade can be applied to the purchase price of most phones LG sells, including the forthcoming iPhone Xr.
Apple has updated its privacy web site and given customers new tools to manage their personal information. Specifically, Apple has made it possible for owners of Apple devices to download and view all the data Apple has collected on them. This change is specific to Apple's U.S. customers. Apple's European customers have been able to access their data since May, when the GDPR privacy regulations went into effect. The latest versions of iOS and macOS include more privacy protections and provide people with more control over their information. Apple's updated web site also explains how user data is stored and transported, and what encryption and security protocols are employed in the process. Anyone can log in to their account to view their data.
Google today said people can now search for and locate electronic vehicle charging stations in Google Maps. In addition to displaying the closest stations, Maps will provide information about the business where the charger is located, the types of ports that are available, how many ports there are, and charging speeds. Google says it offers crowd-sourced information, too, such as photos, ratings, and reviews of the charging stations. Google will supply links to additional details about the charger. Globally, Google Maps will locate Tesla and Chargepoint chargers, and in the U.S. it will also locate SemaConnect, EVgo, and Blink chargers. Android and iOS users can download the new version of Maps with EV charging locations today. Google says the same information will be available on desktop PCs in the coming weeks.
Palm, a California company that purchased the rights to the Palm brand from TCL, today launched a new device it calls an ultra-mobile product that "syncs with your smartphone to keep you connected but not consumed." The idea is to allow people to access their vital apps when needed, but keep them from staring at their screen all day — particularly when they are out and about. The device is tiny and features an aluminum chassis with Gorilla Glass panels front and back. It's rated IP68 for protection against dust and water. Palm says the device is designed to be worn, not carried. Rather that serve as a primary phone, it is a companion device. Owners will need to have a regular Android or iOS smartphone on a Verizon service plan. The Palm is billed like a smartwatch. Service costs $10 per month and it relies on the same number as the main device. It's able to keep messages, calls, and other data in sync between itself and the primary phone. The Palm has a 3.3-inch HD screen and it is powered by a Snapdragon 435 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. It has a 12-megapixel rear camera with flash and an 8-megapixel selfie camera. The Palm includes LTE, WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth, with an embedded SIM card. The device has an 800mAh battery and relies on face unlock for security. The phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo and is compatible with millions of Android apps. The user interface skips the idea of a home screen and instead shows all the on-board apps. A small gesture pad is available at the bottom of the screen, accessed by swiping up, and it can be used to search for apps based on scrawling the first letter of the app. The gesture pad also contains shortcuts to the phone, messages, camera, and music apps. The crux of the Palm is Life Mode. With this mode activated, the Palm essentially goes to sleep when users turn off the screen, preventing calls and messages from interrupting the owner. Owners can customize Life Mode a bit. The phone returns to full functionality when owners choose to wake the screen back up. Google Assistant is built in and works with custom, voice-activated shortcuts that perform a variety of actions. The Palm costs $350 and will go on sale in November.
Facebook has made it possible for people to share 3D pictures via the social network. There are multiple steps needed to successfully create a 3D post. First, 3D photos require an image captured using the Portrait mode on the dual-camera iPhone 7+, 8+, X or Xs. This is vital, as the second camera captures depth-of-field information as well as perspective. Facebook has added a special tab to News Feed that allows people to post 3D images. Once the Portrait photo is uploaded, Facebook does the rest. Everyone will be able to interact with 3D photos via their browser, using the mouse to tilt and pan a bit for the 3D effect. Facebook says 3D photos can also be viewed through its Oculus virtual reality devices. The 3D photos should reach everyone in the coming weeks. Facebook didn't specify when dual-camera Android phones will gain the ability to post 3D photos.
Apple and Genius today announced a new partnership that brings new features to Apple Music and to Genius. Genius is a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of music that offers lots of information about songs, including their full lyrics. Moving forward, Apple Music subscribers will be able to access Genius' database of song lyrics while listening to their favorite tunes. Further, Apple Music subscribers who visit Genius will be able to play any song in full from the song's dedicated Genius page. In order to play the song on Genius, people will need to sign into their Apple Music account. The Apple Music-powered player is available on Genius.com and in the Genius iPhone app.
Google today announced that a new version of its Google Home app will reach Android and iOS devices this week. The app has been entirely redesigned to ease the process of controlling various smart home devices, such as smart lightbulbs. For example, all the devices in a home will be visible in a single view, allowing people to control their devices without jumping between apps. It also lumps together similar devices like speakers, lights, cameras, thermostats, and more. The app now automates quick actions for important features, such as turning on lights or viewing cameras. The app brings home control when away from home. Users will be able to check on their house, adjust their thermostat, and more no matter where they happen to be. Moreover, Google Home allows multiple members of a family to access and control smart devices in the home complete with voice recognition. Google built Google Assistant into the app, as well, so people can tap the mic and say “Hey Google, dim the lights.” Google hopes this revised app will improve peoples’ control over and interactions with in-home smart products.
Apple today made iOS 12.0.1 available to iPhones and iPads. This is the first public update since Apple released iOS 12 last month. The goal of today's update is to resolve performance issues and stamp out bugs that were part of the initial public release. For example, iOS 12.0.1 tackles a problem that prevented some iPhone Xs devices from charging properly via the Lightning port. It resolves a problem that caused iPhone Xs devices to join 2.4 GHz WiFi networks instead of 5 GHz networks. It fixes an issue that made Bluetooth unavailable, and a problem that prevented subtitles from appearing in some apps. It also restores the original position of the ".?123" key on the iPad keyboard, which had been switched with the emoji key. iOS 12.0.1 is free to download from Apple.
Amazon has a number of updates to Alexa in store for phones and in-home connected devices. First, the mobile application for iPhones and Android devices has been given an entirely new look. The revised visual UI is easier to navigate. For example, under the devices tab each device is now listed separately rather than grouped by room. This lets people interact with multiple devices in multiple rooms from one screen rather than several. The fresh app is rolling out to the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store globally this week. Along with the redesign, Amazon has announced a new feature for developers that expands Alexa's skills. Skill connections will let two Alexa skills interact with one another, essentially letting one skill control a second skill. To start, the skill will be limited to printing, ride hailing, and restaurant booking. The idea is to ease the process of completing multi-step requests. With skills able to trigger other skills, it cuts the separate interactions required from two to one. For example, a skill that sells theater tickets could complete that purchase via Amazon Pay and then offer the buyer an Uber or Lyft to the theater without forcing the user to initiate a separate request. Amazon is offering skill connections as a developer preview right now. Amazon plans to add more types of skill interactions over time.
Instagram today introduced a new customizable identification card called Nametag. The goal is to help people easily find the Instagram profiles of those they meet via their phones. Instagram users can personalize their Nametag with designs, colors, emojis, selfies, and stickers. In order to share the Nametag, two people will need to open Instagram on their phones while one scans the ID of the other. Instagram says people will also be able to share their Nametags via text, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Nametag is available globally on Android and iOS devices starting today. In related news, Instagram is exploring a new way for students to connect with one another. Instagram school communities lets students share school spirit and find/connect with other students and alumni. Students can add their university name, class year, and other details such as major, sports teams, and greek organizations to their profile listing. Communities will feature directories so people can sort by major, year, etc. Instagram is testing school communities in a handful of colleges around the country. It hasn't said when communities might become available more broadly.
Google today made it easy to hail a ride by asking Google Assistant. Moving forward, people can say, "Hey Google, book a ride to the airport" and the Assistant will display a list of available ride services, such as Uber, Lyft, Ola, Grab, GO-JEK, and others. Assistant will also surface estimated pricing and wait times, as well as ETAs for the end destination. People can request a specific ride share service in the voice command if they wish, such as, "Hey Google, book a Lyft to the airport." People seeking a ride will then be asked to confirm the booking on their phone. This feature is available via Assistant on Android phones, iPhones, the Google Home speaker family, and any other Assistant-enabled speaker. Ride hailing via Assistant is initially available in English and only in countries where ride sharing is supported. Google will add more languages over time.
Twitter has updated its Android and iOS mobile apps with a new feature and several performance upgrades. With the new version installed, users will be able to activate a data saver mode, which Twitter simply describes as a way to use less data while scrolling through your feed. Twitter doesn't quantify how much data the tool saves. The update also makes managing group messages simpler, alters how people interact with polls using VoiceOver, and improves labels for specific sorts of advertisements. Twitter is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. Twitter still offers Twitter Lite, which is a lightweight version of the app that prioritizes conserving data.
Facebook believes artificial intelligence will benefit buyers and sellers who use Facebook Marketplace. Moving forward, Marketplace will rely on several AI-based features to improve the usefulness of the neighborhood sales tool. For example, Facebook will use AI to automatically categorize items and suggest price ranges. People who list a guitar for sale should see the item fall under the "musical instruments" category and at a price range based on similar items sold in the area. Sellers can tweak these suggestions if they wish. Facebook is working to bring AI functions to phone cameras. For example, people can take pictures of items they might like to purchase and then Marketplace's AI will seek similar listings in the area. Facebook says AI will eventually be able to help people complete outfits or home design projects by finding items that match. Last, Facebook is doing what it can to ensure users have a safe shopping experience. It detects and removes inappropriate items and content, offers buyer and seller ratings with feedback, and allows people to report items or content that violate its commerce policies. Facebook Marketplace is built into the Android and iOS mobile apps.
Apple today provided some clarity on the arrival of more emoji for iOS devices. Earlier this year, the iPhone-maker committed to adopting more than 70 new emoji that are based in Unicode 11. Unicode 11 brings new representation for emoji with options for red hair, gray hair, curly hair, and no hair, as well as more food, animals, sports, and other items. Apple says the new emoji will soon arrive on the iPhone and iPad via iOS 12.1. Separate updates to watchOS and macOS will bring the same new emoji to Apple's smartwatch and computers. In addition to the emoji, iOS 12.1 fixes certain iPhone bugs, such as the inability to charge when locked. Apple seeded developer and public betas of iOS 12.1 today and will likely test the update for several weeks before offering it to everyone.
Facebook today made it possible for users to take more control over their own posts. Moving forward, Facebook users will be able to hide or delete multiple comments at once if they feel the comments made on their own post constitute bullying or harassment. This tool will reach desktop and Android users over the next few days and iOS devices in the coming months. Facebook is also testing a way for people to easily search for and block words deemed offensive. Moreover, users can now anonymously report others who are bullying or harassing people on Facebook. Facebook says this is meant to help protect the targets of harassment who may not be able to see the comments or take direct action. Facebook's community operations team will review reported posts and comments to determine whether or not the community standards have been violated. People who feel Facebook did not take action when it should have may ask for the offensive content to be reviewed a second time. Conversely, people who've been reported for bullying can appeal any decisions made by Facebook. Last, Facebook said it is taking more steps to protect public figures. Severe attacks that directly engage public figures will not be allowed. Any public figure who is the target of harassment can report the person or comments they do not want to see. Facebook will also let public figures ignore unwanted messages and block users without them being notified. Facebook hopes these changes make the social network a nicer place to engage with others.
Apple today said the students at three universities can now use their iPhone and Apple Watch to substitute for their student ID card. Those studying at Duke University and the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma can add their student ID to the Apple Wallet app and use the NFC radio on the phone or watch for contactless entry into their dorm, the library, the fitness center, and other buildings that require ID. Further, students will be able to make purchases via their ID and Apple Wallet at cafeterias, the book store, and other on-campus locations that accept student IDs for payment. Apple says Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara, and Temple Universities will adopt this functionality by the end of the year. Apple didn’t say if other universities will participate in the program.
Google today is making some additions to Google Maps that it hopes will help people get to work quicker and with less stress along the way. The app has added a "commute" tab that offers one-tap access to live traffic and transit details that are personalized for each person's specific commute. The tab can instantly show people if their commute will be normal or impacted by traffic or accidents. Google will proactively suggest alternate routes if there are delays in the way. Android device owners will receive real-time notifications and re-routes if problems occur while on the road. Maps now includes support for mixed-mode commutes, such as those that involve driving and walking, or walking and bus/train rides. Google will surface information about the time each leg of the trip will take and offer suggestions if one or more of the legs is running slow. Google will take all these factors into account to help it create a more accurate ETAs. Train and subway commuters gain new insight into their daily ride thanks to real-time bus/train data. Transit riders in some 80 metropolitan areas will be able to see exactly where their bus or train is in order to anticipate how long they have to catch it. In Sydney, Maps will even show how many seats are left on the train. Last, Google Maps is adding direct support for Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music so commuters can control their morning music right from Maps. This is meant to prevent people from toggling between apps while behind the wheel. Google says the new Maps is rolling out to Android and iOS devices this week.
Apple met with another round of reprieve today thanks to the U.S. International Trade Commission. A judge with the agency said the ITC won't prevent Apple from importing Intel-based iPhones into the U.S. Qualcomm had earlier filed a complaint with the ITC concerning Apple's use of its power management patent. The judge overseeing the case agreed that the iPhones do infringe on that one patent, but refused to block their entry into the country. He noted "public interest factors" in denying Qualcomm's request. Neither company commented on the matter.
The latest build of YouTube for iOS devices adds HDR support to the newest iPhones from Apple. YouTube version 13.37 allows iPhone Xs and Xs Max owners to flip on HDR and then view HDR content at resolutions up to 1080p at 60fps. The OLED screens on the new iPhones have 1,000,000:1 contrast ratios, allowing them to offer deeper blacks and finer gradations of color. This makes them well-suited to HDR content, which delivers a more vivid experience. Apple's iPhones do not yet support 4K playback. YouTube for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google has added a tool to Google Maps that simplifies the process of planning group get-togethers. Google says a long press on any destination adds it to a shortlist, which appears as a floating bubble on the side of the screen. After adding several places, the organizer can then share the list with friends through any messaging platform. Each person in the group will then be able to view the list, as well as add or remove locations and vote on the final destination. The new group meeting feature will appear in the Google Maps app for Android and iOS this week.
Google today said iPhone users can opt for Google-owned Waze instead of Apple Maps for navigating in their CarPlay-equipped car. Apple added support for third-party apps to CarPlay in iOS 12, which was released earlier this month. Google updated its Waze real-time traffic app in order to make it compatible with iOS 12 and CarPlay. Google says Waze supports traffic alerts, police hazards, instant route changes, live ETAs, cheap gas station locations, and a variety of voices for guided navigating. Google says Waze should be available in most vehicles that include CarPlay, though it suggests users check online to view Apple’s list of compatible vehicles.
Google today announced some big changes are headed to its main search product. Google is relocating users' Google Feed to the main search page and renaming it Discover. This refreshed Discover feed is meant to help people find and explore new things. Google says it will contain new topic headers and cards that explain why the information is being shown, allowing people to dive in deeper or tweak preferences to see less of some things. The discover button that appears at the bottom of the screen subscribes people to certain feeds based on their interests. Google hopes to surface more videos and evergreen content, such as "where-to" and "how-to" articles and videos. Google says it is relying on some of the algorithms it uses in its Google News service to serve people with relevant content. The new Discover will be easier to use for those who speak multiple languages, allowing them to, for example, view video content in one language while reading search results in another. The Discover page is coming to google.com as viewed on mobile browsers and will be rolling out over the next few weeks. Google didn't say if Discover will eventually reach its official mobile search apps for Android and iOS.
YouTube recently updated the YouTube Music app for both Android and iOS and gave users new controls over how their music sounds. Moving forward, listeners can select to download mixtapes with low quality (48kbps), normal quality (128kbps), or high quality (256kbps) files. The higher quality files will consume more on-device storage. The app still allows for people to download audio only, or complete audio/video music videos. The limit for downloads remains at 100 songs/videos. YouTube Music is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, but downloading music requires a monthly subscription.
Verizon Wireless today announced the GizmoWatch, a second-generation smart wearable that targets children ages 3 to 11. The device is primarily meant to serve as a location tracker for parents. Using the free Android and iOS apps, parents can view their child's real-time location, set geo-fences, and receive alerts should the child stray outside of designated zones. Parents can also control the device's uptime and ensure that it is quiet during school hours. The wearable runs on Verizon's LTE 4G network and can receive calls from up to 10 parent-approved numbers. The GizmoWatch includes 20 preset text messages that kids can send to their contacts. Kids will be able to track their steps, as well as use a voice-changer app for fun. Verizon says the GizmoWatch battery lasts between three and four days. The GizmoWatch, available starting today, costs $180 and requires a $5 monthly fee for connectivity.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy A7, an addition to its mid-range roster that is the first to feature three cameras on the back. The triple-camera array includes a 24-megapixel main sensor at f/1.7, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor at f/2.4, and a 5-megapixel depth-sensing camera at f/2.2 for bokeh and other effects. The camera has the ability to detect scenes and adjust automatically to create better photos. The A7 relies on a metal-and-glass design and features an Infinity Display measuring 6 inches with full HD+ resolution on front. Dolby Atmos ensures the A7 delivers a great sound experience. A 2.2 GHz octa-core processor powers the phone, which ships with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage. It has a 3,300mAh battery and a slew of radios, including Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC, and Cat 6 LTE. The fingerprint reader is located on the side edge and a 24-megapixel selfie camera on front allows for Selfie Focus shots with studio effects and Samsung's AR emoji. Samsung plans to sell the Galaxy A7 in Asian markets first, followed by European and other markets. Samsung didn't say if it intends to bring the A7 to the U.S., and the company didn't specify which LTE bands the phone supports. Samsung recently launched the Galaxy A6 in the U.S.
Google today said iPhone users can opt for Google’s Maps instead of Apple Maps when using their CarPlay-equipped automobile. Apple added support for third-party apps to CarPlay in the recently-released iOS 12 platform. Google has updated its navigation app in order to make it compatible with iOS 12 and Apple’s CarPlay system. Google says Maps via CarPlay supports seamless transitions from Maps on the iPhone to Maps via CarPlay; point-to-point navigation with real-time traffic updates and rerouting; offline maps for use in spotty coverage areas; and support for saved lists/favorites. Google says Maps should be available in most vehicles that include CarPlay, though it suggests users check online to view Apple’s list of compatible vehicles.
Google has partnered with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which plans to embed the Android operating system in cars starting in 2021. The Alliance will add Android to its cars' dashboard navigation system. It will feature Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, access to automotive apps in the Google Play Store, as well as the ability to answer calls/texts, control music playback, perform searches, and issue voice commands via Google Assistant. In addition to the in-car integrations, the Alliance plans to add Google cloud-based systems to further enhance their cars through unique user interface elements and features specific to each of the three brands. This UI will be build on top of Android. Moreover, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will offer secure connectivity, data management, and over-the-air upgrades and remote diagnostics. The Alliance said the system will be compatible with both Android and iOS mobile devices. The auto brands didn't say which models might be first to ship with Android Auto on board.
Along with the release of iOS 12, Apple has updated its GarageBand app with more tools for music makers. To start, the latest version of GarageBand includes a fresh collection of Touch Instruments and Drummer Apple Loops. Apple says these let musicians shape their sounds and performances after they've been added to any given project. This version of GarageBand now supports the import and playback of MIDI files, something that's been on users' wishlists for a ling time. Apple also took the time to provide stability improvements and bug fixes. GarageBand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
The new Apple Books reading app is now available to iPhones and iPads in the iTunes App Store. This app replaces the former iBooks app and is what iOS users will use moving forward for consuming books and other materials. Some of the new features include a Reading Now tab, which is a collection of the books being read or listened to by users. The Want to Read tool lets people manage wishlists of books, while the Complete the Series function offers suggestions based on previously read books. Apple Books more prominently calls out audiobooks, simplifying the process of listening on an iPhone, iPad, or via CarPlay. The Book Store tab includes new ways to browse via best-seller charts, staff picks, editorial recommendations, and special offers. Apple says the more people browse, buy, read, and listen via the app, the better the Apple Books store will be able to offer personalized recommendations. The new Apple Books app requires iOS 12, which was distributed to iPhones and iPads earlier this week.
Google has updated its mobile search tool to include thumbnail images that accompany the results. The basic idea is to help people easily identify which results match their actual query. For example, searching for "bear" turns up results for the animal and the Chicago Bears football team, while searching for "tiger" turns up results for the large cat and Tiger Woods. The accompanying thumbnails make it easy to differentiate between results so people can find the exact information they want. The new thumbnail images are available in Google Search for Android and iOS.
Apple today made the latest version of its mobile operating system available to the general public. iOS 12 targets iPhones and iPads and it introduces a number of new features and tools, such as screen time. This is meant to help people manage the time spent on their phone each day. iOS 12 introduces support for grouped notifications, which will let people view, manage, and dismiss multiple notifications at once. The update gives the iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, and Xr the ability to create Memoji, customized and animated emoji stickers that resembles their face. People can customize hair color and style, eye color, accessories such as glasses, and much more. With iOS 12, CarPlay, Apple's in-car system, will support third-party apps. This addition means people will be able to, for example, use Google Maps rather than Apple Maps for navigation from point to point when in their car. Other features include group FaceTime chats, dozens of new emoji, improved Do Not Disturb and more. Apple says iOS 12 will work on iPhones back to the iPhone 5s.
Don't expect to be able to use the same phone across 5G networks, at least in the early days, says AT&T. "It's not because there isn't a desire and we don't want to," explained Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's VP of radio networks and device design, to PCMag. Technical challenges are the roadblock that will prevent 5G roaming from the onset. Specifically, phones won't be able to contain the 28 GHz 5G radio used by Verizon and T-Mobile, and the 39 GHz 5G radio used by AT&T in a single device. This means the first 5G phones will likely be carrier exclusives. The same story played out when LTE 4G first launched, as network operators used disparate bands for their high-speed service. It wasn't until 4G radios began to support multiple bands that LTE roaming became a reality. Mansfield believes this scenario won't last too long with 5G. "As an industry, that will be very quickly overcome; I don't think the single band introduction from the millimeter-wave point of view will last very long," he said. AT&T's first 5G device, expected before the end of the year, will be a puck-style mobile hotspot. The carrier hasn't said when it will go on sale, nor how much it will cost. The company is also preparing 5G-enabled smartphones, though those aren't expected to reach the market until 2019.
Coolpad today announced the Dyno One, a smart wearable meant for kids. The product is made from bright-colored materials and boasts a kid-friendly user interface. It includes a dedicated SOS button and is rated IP65 for protection against dust and water exposure. Coolpad says the Dyno offers an Android and iOS app, available to parents, for controlling and monitoring the smart wearable. It can deliver real-time location as well as set geo-fences for virtual perimeters and location-based alerts. Parents can message or call the Dyno when needed. Coolpad claims the wearable has been put through rigorous tests to ensure that the data is encrypted and safe from prying eyes. For example, the Dyno wearable is COPPA compliant and is secured by Smartcom. The hardware is based on the Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform and includes 4G LTE connectivity. It is being prepared for a launch in the U.S. market ahead of the 2018 holiday shopping season. Coolpad says more details will be made available over time.
Google today made it easier for parents to find YouTube content suitable for their kids. To start, the company is implementing parental controls first announced in April. This new tool allows parents to "handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app." This gives parents total control over the videos, channels, or collection of channels that their children can access and view within YouTube Kids. Google says this feature is reaching all Android devices globally today and will reach iOS in the near future. Google is also making it simpler for parents to find age-relevant content. The new app now offers "younger" and "older" options. The new "older" selection targets kids aged 8 to 12. It adds new content such as popular music and gaming videos. The "younger" setting continues to prioritize sing-alongs and learning videos. YouTube warns that its filters may still miss some inappropriate videos. Parents can flag such videos and report them to YouTube. The older content setting is rolling out to YouTube Kids users in the U.S. today and will reach other markets later this year.
A year after Apple announced the AirPower wireless charging pad, signs of the device have largely vanished from its web site. The company first teased the charging solution in September 2017 when it debuted the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Apple initially said the charger would reach the market at some point in 2018. This week, the company updated its line of iPhones with the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. Each of these phones supports wireless charging and yet Apple provided no update concerning the AirPower charger itself. Moreover, most information about the AirPower charger has been scrubbed from Apple's web site. Performing a search on Apple.com for "AirPower" turns up only a photo and a link to Apple's trademark listings. The AirPower mat was supposed to be able to charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and EarPods all at the same time. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Apple was having difficulty engineering the charger due to the different charging requirements of the iPhone and Watch. It's possible the device is still under development, but Apple has not commented on the matter one way or the other.
Apple today refreshed its AppleCare+ offerings for its line of iPhones. The company is now allowing iPhone owners to make claims for the theft or loss of their iPhone. Previously, claims were limited to accidental damage. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss includes up to two incidents of accidental damage, theft, or loss, with certain deductibles. In order to qualify for Theft and Loss coverage, Find My iPhone must be enabled on the device in question when it is stolen or lost. AppleCare+ also includes Express Replacement Service and 24/7 access to Apple experts. When resolving claims, screen repairs will require a deductible of $29, while any other damage will require a deductible of $99. The deductibles for theft/loss are much higher. Apple will charge a deductible of $199 to replace a lost/stolen iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and 8; $229 to replace the iPhone 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, 8 Plus, and Xr; and $269 to replace the iPhone X, Xs, and Xs Max. The standard price for AppleCare+ is $199. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss costs $299. These fees can be broken down into monthly payments.
Apple today announced that its new iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will be the first to support dual SIM cards. Rather that include the space for two physical SIM cards in the iPhone Xs and Xs Max, the phones will include support for one physical SIM and one eSIM, an electronic SIM card that can be programmed with carrier service. The eSIM will not be accessible to those purchasing the Xs/Xs Max right away. Apple says an update to iOS 12 will enable the eSIM later this year. Using the eSIM and physical SIM together will not be as simple as it would be to use two physical SIM cards. "To use two different carriers, your iPhone must be unlocked," explained Apple on its web site. "Otherwise, both plans must be from the same carrier. If a CDMA carrier (Sprint or Verizon) provides your first SIM, your second SIM won't support CDMA." Apple says the eSIM can serve as your only cellular plan if you don't have access to a physical SIM card. Otherwise, the main cellular plan will be attached to the physical SIM and the second to the eSIM. Apple says with two active carrier accounts on a single iPhone, owners will be able to select primary and secondary accounts, set one for calls/texts and the other for data, or use both lines for calls, texts, and data. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will support the eSIM, but Sprint will not. Apple warns that the eSIM may be disabled when purchased from some carriers.