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SIM-Free iPhone Xr Now Available from Apple

Thursday, 1:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made the SIM-free variant of the iPhone Xr available from its web site. The phone ships unlocked and without service from any wireless carrier. People who buy the phone will need to use an existing SIM card or purchase one separately. The SIM-free iPhone Xr is compatible with most U.S. networks. Pricing starts at $749, which is the same as the carrier versions.


Apple Updates Clips Video-Creation App with Selfie Scenes

Nov 7, 2018, 1:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today provided an update to Clips, its app for creating and sharing videos on the iPhone and iPad. First, the new version of Clips adds a half dozen Selfie Scenes, which are Apple's 360-degree background environments that let people put themselves into a 3D scene. The new Scenes rely on the TrueDepth camera on the newer iPhones and iPad Pros so people can record themselves against animated backdrops, such as from "Incredibles 2." Clips gains three new filters, too, including black and white comic book, monochrome watercolor, and aged film. There are new posters for creating title cards with fun scenes. Fresh stickers and text labels let people dress up their Clips, and 17 new soundtracks mean users can add background music to their Selfie Scenes. Clips 2.0.5 is free to download from the iTunes App Store. It is compatible with devices from the iPhone 5s and up, and the iPad Air, and up. Selfie Scenes requires a device with a TrueDepth camera.


Dual-SIM Tech On iPhones Messes with Verizon Coverage

Oct 30, 2018, 10:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless will not support Apple's dual-SIM technology at first due to a software bug that degrades service. The new Apple iPhones (Xs, Xs Max, Xr) support dual-SIM functionality thanks to one physical SIM and one eSIM. The way dual-SIM phones typically work is to designate a primary SIM for voice, text, and data, with a secondary SIM handling voice and messaging through a second subscription. Many dual-SIM phones allow you to switch which SIM is designated as the primary/secondary at will. With the new iPhones, a third option exists that uses the primary SIM for iMessage and FaceTime, and the secondary for data. According to PCMag, when a Verizon physical SIM is designated as the secondary account, it drops to 2G CDMA data, which is slow, not widely available, and doesn't support MMS. Verizon confirmed the issue to PCMag and said it is working on a fix. "Wireless customers will be able to activate Verizon service eSIMs as soon as we're confident you'll be able to have the great, high-quality service you expect from us on both your primary and secondary line. If you are a Verizon customer and you activate another carrier's service on your iPhone's eSIM, your Verizon service will be degraded due to the current software configuration. We believe these concerns will be resolved quickly and you should be able to add our great Verizon service on your secondary line before the end of the year." Verizon said that until the secondary SIM supports all its LTE-based services, it won't activate service on any eSIM for now. Apple is activating the dual-SIM feature on its new iPhones today via iOS 12.1.


iOS 12.1, with Group FaceTime and New Emoji, Lands Tuesday

Oct 29, 2018, 3:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it will release iOS 12.1 to the iPhone and iPad on Tuesday, October 30. The updated platform contains a number of new features. For example, all devices will be able to conduct Group FaceTime calls with between 2 and 32 participants. Group FaceTime chats are able to intelligently and automatically prioritize the active speaker in group sessions. Group chats are also integrated with iMessage, feature a silent ringer, and are encrypted end-to-end for privacy. The system software also introduces 70 new emoji that are more representative of peoples' individual appearances. The iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr gain real-time depth control when shooting portrait photos. Last, these same phones gain access to the built-in dual SIM functionality, allowing owners to add service from a second carrier if they wish. iOS 12.1 will be free to download and install starting midday.


iOS 12.1 to Tweak Selfies Taken with iPhone XS, XS Max, XR

Oct 23, 2018, 9:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple plans to adjust its software to appease owners of its newest iPhones. Some users complain that pictures captured with the user-facing camera produce images with skin that is overly smooth. The result is lost detail and an unnatural look. Apple explained to the Verge that the Smart HDR tool on the new iPhones is selecting the wrong frame when processing HDR selfies. Smart HDR works by taking a number of exposures and then merging elements of them together into a single frame. The software is sometimes choosing a frame with a longer exposure time as the base image, which results is a small amount of blur and smoothness in the end result. Moving forward, Apple will update the software to base its Smart HDR photos on frames taken with a shorter shutter speed, which generally produces cleaner, sharper results with more detail. The end product should be selfies that look less doctored. Apple will include this update in iOS 12.1, which it is expected to release to the public soon.


Apple Lays Out the Cost of Repairing the iPhone XR

Oct 23, 2018, 8:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The iPhone XR goes on sale Friday, October 26, and Apple has revealed what it will cost to repair the device should it break. If the screen is broken accidentally due to mishandling, or if the screen breaks on its own, and the device isn't covered by AppleCare+, Apple will charge $199 to repair it. Other breakages for the iPhone XR, such as a cracked rear panel, will cost a weightier $399 to repair. These same repairs cost $279/$549 for the iPhone XS an $329/$599 for the iPhone XS Max. iPhone owners who opt for AppleCare+ will see far lower repair costs. Apple charges AppleCare+ subscribers a straight $29 deductible for screen repairs and a $99 deductible for all other repairs across its entire iPhone range. The standard price for AppleCare+ is $199, which can be broken down into monthly payments if needed.


Apple's iPhone Xr Offers the All-Screen Look at a Lower Price

Sep 12, 2018, 1:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2018, 1:52 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone Xr, a more affordable all-screen iPhone. The Xr looks similar to the Xs and Xs Max, but has an LCD panel rather than OLED, and a 7000 series aluminum frame rather than stainless steel. The screen size sits between the 5.8-inch and 6.4-inch displays of the Xs and Xs Max, respectively, at 6.1 inches across the diagonal. Apple calls it the Liquid Retina display with 1,792 by 828 pixels and a pixel density of 326ppi. It supports tap-to-wake, and includes true-tone, 120Hz refreshing, and wide-color gamut. This iPhone will come in black, blue, green, yellow, and coral. The chassis are rated IP67 for protection from water and dust. A new shortcut from the home screen takes people directly to the camera. It includes the same bank of sensors for Face ID, such as infrared, proximity, and ambient light sensors. It is faster. This phone also includes the A12 Bionic and real-time machine learning. A single camera adorns the rear. It's a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera at f/1.8, OIS, Smart HDR, portrait mode, bokeh, 6-element lens, focus pixels, and a True Tone flash. The Xr also carries over the selfie camera from the Xs and Xs Max. Apple says the battery delivers more than 90 minutes more uptime than the iPhone 8+. The iPhone Xr starts at $799 and comes in 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB variants. It will be available for preorder October 19 and reaches stores October 26.


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