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Amazon Prime Video launches on Apple TV
Today, Amazon Prime Video is available for download on the Apple TV. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and provides access to Amazon's library of video content.
It's been a long journey between the companies. in 2015 Amazon pulled the Apple TV and other streaming devices that did not support its own video services. There was no technical reason for the lack of app, so the issue was most likely around content purchasing terms.
Comparing iPhone X/iPhone 8 charging options
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X introduced new charging options for wireless/inductive charging and also fast charging with USB-C. MacRumors has a nice comparison of the various options to charge one of these devices, including the existing 5-watt and 12-watt options.
The results were on an iPhone X, but results should be similar to the iPhone 8/8 Plus.
Interestingly, there isn't a significant difference between the 12W and 18W USB-C options, although USB-C is faster. Or at least not enough to really be worth the expense if you need to buy one. They also compared third-party power adapters and didn't find an advantage over Apple's
Apple Pay Cash now available
Apple Pay Cash is now functional with iOS 11.2. Apple Pay Cash allows people to send cash to other Apple customers directly. The system introduces a new Apple Pay Cash card that becomes active once terms are agreed upon. People can fund payments through the balance on their Apple Pay Cash card or a payment choice within Apple Pay. Apple says if no payment has been configured, people can still receive money once the virtual card is activated.
When users get paid, the money they receive is added to their new Apple Pay Cash card that lives in the Wallet app. They can use the money instantly1 to pay someone or make purchases using Apple Pay in stores, apps and on the web. They can also choose to transfer it from Apple Pay Cash to their bank account.
Apple's begins accepting used Apple Watches for credit or disposal
Apple's Renew and Recycling program is an efficient way to get rid of old Apple gear. If the device is working, you may qualify for an Apple gift card or otherwise, Apple will appropriately dispose of the device free of charge.
The service uses Bright Star to facilitate the process and they began taking Apple Watches along with other devices.
If you're looking to press the easy-button, this is a quick way to either turn a device into store credit or safely recycle it. Generally though, if it's fully functional as required for credit, you're better off selling it yourself or trading it in with other services.
While it appeals, Apple puts up $15B in EU back taxes
Apple and Ireland set terms for delivering about $15 billion in back taxes. The funds will be held in escrow while Apple appeals the EU's order.
The European Commission had ordered Ireland to collect the money after concluding that two Irish tax rulings allowed Apple to pay less tax than other businesses -- thus giving it an unfair advantage. The Commission ordered Ireland to collect back taxes for the years 2003-2014, which it estimated to be as much 13 billion euros plus interest.
What's interesting is the EU order is forcing Ireland to collect the funds it doesn't want to collect. Apple has massive cash and short-term assets held overseas, so I'd guess this won't put much of a dent in the balance sheet, although if it stands, the move may affect future dividends to shareholders and profits on international sales going forward.
Mac App Store to stop accepting 32-bit apps
2018 is the year the Mac App Store goes 64-bit. In a reminder to developers, 9 to 5 Mac notes that starting January 1, all submissions to the App Store must be 64-bit. Apple is also mandating all existing apps be updated by June 2018 if not updated sooner.
The change follows macOS High Sierra, which is the end of the line for 32-bit apps. The next macOS release, presumably next fall, will only function with 64-bit apps. This timeline seems to line up with the typical macOS development cycle that kicks off in late spring with developer and public betas.
Apple made the deadlines earlier this year at its World Wide Developer Conference. The writing has been on the way for years as Apple transitioned to 64-bit, starting with the PowerPC G5 back in 2003. In 2012, 64-bit went mainstream as the with Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
As a reminder, new apps submitted to the Mac�App�Store must support 64-bit starting January 2018, and Mac app updates and existing apps must support 64-bit starting June�2018. If you distribute your apps outside the Mac�App�Store, we highly recommend distributing 64-bit binaries to make sure your users can continue to run your apps on future versions of macOS. The last macOS release to support 32-bit apps without compromise is macOS�High�Sierra.
Apple hosts Hour of Code sessions at Apple Stores
Hour of Code is returning to Apple retail stores. The events are planned starting next week.
Apple today opened registration for thousands of free Hour of Code sessions available at all Apple Stores from December 4 through 10. The company also introduced a new educational challenge in Swift Playgrounds and added new teacher resources to the Everyone Can Code curriculum to help teach Swift, Apple's easy-to-learn programming language that anyone can use to create world-class apps.
Sessions are available for younger kids intended for ages 6 to 12 and other sessions for 12 years and older. Parents can reserve spots through Apple's site.
Apple addresses root security issue
Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS.
Pretty big oops. I tested it within secured system preferences. I click the little lock, put root as the user with no password, and it would let me right in.
After the update, everything seems secured again.
Preview of the other new Apple campus
9 to 5 Mac has a look at another Apple building in Sunnyvale, California. This appears to be a leased building, but Apple is working with a firm on the design.
Less than five miles from Cupertino, nestled in the shadows of the newly-opened Apple Park, construction crews are quietly putting the finishing touches on another massive development project built under guidance from Apple. A striking architectural feat when viewed from any angle, Sunnyvale's new "Central & Wolfe" campus will open in its doors to thousands of Apple employees in early 2018. 9to5Mac stopped by the future campus to see how the new buildings are shaping up.
iPhone X reachability setting
9 to 5 Mac has a good tip on enabling Reachability on the iPhone X. The new Control Center gesture is a little awkward and I've been using it less as a result. Enabling Reachability makes it a little easier to trigger the Control Center, although it adds an extra step.
I just assumed this feature was removed along with the home button. Essentially, once enabled, you swipe down on the home bar area. The opposite of swiping up to go to the home screen.
Report: Apple teaming with Intel on upcoming 5G mobile
Apple is leaning heavily toward Intel's flavor of 5G for a future iPhone, a source with knowledge tells Fast Company.
5G is in early development with specifications yet to be established, but Intel did announce its first 5G modem earlier this year. Also, there's likely significant work to be done with wireless networks to get the new standard up and running. It's speculated we may not see an iPhone with 5G until 2019 or 2020, but as we've seen, the roadmap for iPhone features stretches multiple years.
Apple served with warrant for Texas shooter�s iCloud data
The San Antonio Express-News reports that the warrant covers files stored in Kelley's iCloud account, with law enforcement apparently seeking phone call and message information, photos and videos, and other data dating back to January 1st, 2016. Another warrant allows law enforcement to look for this data independently on an iPhone SE found near Kelley's body. (A separate warrant covers data on a second device, which court records identify as an LG feature phone.) The warrants were obtained on November 9th, two days after the FBI complained that encryption had prevented it from accessing the shooter's phone.
I wonder if the device was locked with Touch ID and if law enforcement tried unlocking the iPhone with the shooter's fingerprint? They would have few hours before the screen lock kicked in. It appears too they're asking Apple to help with the LG phone. Apple should be able to provide data housed in the iCloud account. We'll have to see if Apple stands firm on hacking the locked iPhone as it did with the San Bernardino case from 2015.
Apple's HomePod will miss the holidays
Today, the company released a statement that the speaker will be delayed until 2018: "We can't wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple's breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers. We'll start shipping in the US, UK, and Australia in early 2018."
At its developer conference in June, Apple announced the HomePod and said it expected to ship the accessory in December. Apple usually doesn't project releases so far in advanced. When that happens, I guess it's about wanting to get something out there as a placeholder. Certainly, Apple wanted a new consumer electronic product out for the holidays, but it won't make that goal.
Apple details Face ID's learning capabilities
In a detailed technical paper, a team at Apple named the Computer Vision Machine Learning Team provide depth on its approach for Face ID. The paper provides insights on how Apple is leveraging machine learning in a manner that is contained on devices and not leveraging cloud computing.
Apple's iCloud Photo Library is a cloud-based solution for photo and video storage. However, due to Apple's strong commitment to user privacy, we couldn't use iCloud servers for computer vision computations. Every photo and video sent to iCloud Photo Library is encrypted on the device before it is sent to cloud storage, and can only be decrypted by devices that are registered with the iCloud account. Therefore, to bring deep learning based computer vision solutions to our customers, we had to address directly the challenges of getting deep learning algorithms running on iPhone.
Ive discusses iPhone X innovations with TIME.
TIME named the iPhone X one of this year's top 25 innovations and has an interview with Apple's Jonathan Ive. The interview offers some insights into Apple design decisions that go into new products.
How does Apple decide when it's time to move on? It's not a decision to get rid of an existing technology as much as it's a willingness to accept that what's familiar isn't always what's best. "I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure," says Ive. "And in the short term, it's the path the feels less risky and it's the path that feels more secure."
The last iPhone dropped the ubiquitous headphone jack, while the iPhone X eliminates the home button.
Google Maps getting makeover
First, we've updated the driving, navigation, transit and explore maps to better highlight the information most relevant to each experience (think gas stations for navigation, train stations for transit, and so on). We've also updated our color scheme and added new icons to help you quickly identify exactly what kind of point of interest you're looking at. Places like a cafe, church, museum or hospital will have a designated color and icon, so that it's easy to find that type of destination on the map. For example, if you're in a new neighborhood and searching for a coffee shop, you could open the map to find the nearest orange icon (which is the color for Food & Drink spots).
Overtime, the changes will be seen in all Google Maps products. This includes the website, apps, and services using Google Maps. Once deployed, this should bring a consistent user experience.
AppleCare or No AppleCare for iPhone X
9 to 5 Mac has a breakdown of whether AppleCare is worth it when buying an iPhone X.
AppleCare+ and non-AppleCare+ total cost comparisons specifically for iPhone X repairs in the US which covers up to two accidental damage repairs in two years versus zero without. Apple charges $29 for screen repairs in warranty, $99 for non-screen repairs in warranty, $279 for screen repairs out of warranty, and $549 for non-screen repairs out of warranty.
Essentially, if you break your screen, the difference between buying Apple Care and not buying AppleCare is $51. I made this point a few weeks ago when Apple posted new costs for iPhone X repairs and AppleCare coverage. I only bought AppleCare once for an iPhone when it was $99. Passing on AppleCare has worked out well for me and I don't plan on changing.
Report: Amazon gives up on TV bundles
Amazon.com Inc has scrapped plans to launch an online streaming service bundling popular U.S. broadcast and cable networks because it believes it cannot make enough money on such a service, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Amazon could be shifting strategy, but more likely the news demonstrates the entrenchment of cable content and cable companies. Bundling drives big profits through forcing customers to pay for content and also cross-promotional value across properties.
Given it's the golden age of TV content, it probably makes the most sense to focus on original programming rather than trying to break into the distribution business.
A bunch of thoughts on the iPhone X
Technically this is my 11th iPhone, although I didn't get each device. I skipped the iPhone 3G (no 3G service at the time) and bought both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Ten years after the original, it stands to reason the iPhone X is a big deal, and it is even just for the fact it's the first major revision since the iPhone 5s. Here from me are some highlights.
I'm not sure if the home button removal or Face ID is the biggest change yet, so I'll just start with the home button. I had over ten years of muscle memory with the home button, but it took less than a week to move on. The new home gesture has become mostly natural, although I still sometimes hesitate when jumping back to the home screen.
Related to the home button, I'm still not used to switching apps. I could quickly jump between apps with the double-click of the home button, but I'm struggling with the new gesture. There seem to be a couple of subtly different ways of doing this, and swiping from the bottom up to the right as sort of upside down L seems to work best for me. Still, I sometimes misfire and head back to the home screen, sometimes I overdo it, and it just hangs there waiting for me.
Much of the home button functionality has been relocated to the power button. Double click now prompts Apple Pay. I use triple click for the magnifier thingy in Accessibility. Hold it down bring up Siri. Power + volume down is shut-down and emergency. Lastly, power button and upper volume is the new screenshot. I could be missing something, but that's a bunch of new stuff to learn and new things to do accidentally. My camera roll seems to be well stocked with inadvertent screenshots.
Back to Face ID, this is pretty slick. It's nearly transparent authentication. The second generation Touch ID was very quick but still required me to do something. Face ID just needs me to look at the screen. It seems to work well in the dark, whether I'm wearing glasses or not, sunglasses or not, hat or not. It certainly works best when looking straight on to the screen. It doesn't work so well when the device is laying flat on a table and trying to peek at something. Similarly, it can be hit and miss when laying down in bed. One big advantage over Touch ID is I can still quickly unlock even though my fingers might be wet or dirty from cooking or projects. Also, no more problems with wet or dirty Touch ID sensors. On the flip side, Face ID a no-go when wearing a dust mask.
The rear camera is usually my big draw for iPhone upgrades. My Photos app show hundreds of photos with each iPhone over the years and it's remarkable how quality has improved. When capturing memories, I always want to get the best quality that can fit in my pocket. I like the new 4K video at 60 fps. Everything seems to respond quickly, which is great since kids tend not to hold still. Everything is fulltime auto HDR and I've jumped on the Live Photos bandwagon now that iOS 11 lets me edit key photos. I don't care for the new portrait modes. Maybe they will get better.
The new OLED edge display is nice. Screen to the edges doesn't change my life, but it is a nice display, and everything looks great. I didn't have any complaints with the iPhone 7 Plus, so this isn't solving a problem or changing much for me. I'm not noticing much with higher resolution, but image quality seems a little better with dark colors in particular.
However... the screen design decisions have made some changes.
The notch at the top. I don't care. On the plus side, the mobile carrier is gone. Minus, apparently so is battery percentage. I'm kind of bummed about that one, but otherwise, it doesn't bother me or negatively affect me.
I don't like how Control Center now works. Upper right corner is inconvenient. I don't have a suggestion, but I don't like the change. I'll likely use it much less. Thankfully, flashlight and camera are my two biggest functions and they're right on the lock screen. If Apple put the calculator there, I could probably be good.
Animojies are fun. My kids love them, although apparently, you can't stick out your tongue. Maybe the next iPhone... The most popular at home are the chicken followed by poo, of course.
The keyboard is a little different. In portrait view, Apple moved the keyboards and Siri buttons to a new bottom row. I think this works well for thumb typing since there's no bottom dead space anymore. Landscape mode though can be a mess. It seems like the keyboard takes up 2/3 of the screen and some websites force a banner in the upper 1/3. If I'm lucky, I might see what I'm typing. I'm not sure if this is specific to iPhone X since I remember limited text input before, but I've noticed it this past week.
About the size... the iPhone X has a larger screen but is smaller and lighter than the iPhone Plus models. It's noticeably smaller and lighter in the pocket. I was a slow adopter of the Plus models, which is why I bought the iPhone 6 and later that year got the iPhone 6 Plus. I'm on board with the larger screen and have adapted or tolerated the tradeoffs. The iPhone X minimized those tradeoffs while still adding some more screen. With that said, I feel weird thinking I'd like to see an even bigger edge display on the same footprint as the iPhone 8.
I considered not getting a case, but I need something to grip. Glass gets slick and, as reported, this is an expensive device to repair. I got the standard leather brown case. I had the same case with the iPhone 7 Plus, and I like it. It's still slim, sort of classy, and I like how that particular leather color ages with use.
Also, a quick note about security. Apple has heavily promoted Face ID, which means people will be poking holes and making fun of it. We saw this with Touch ID. If you're concerned about people spoofing Face ID (or Touch ID), don't use it. It's a convenience feature, but you'll be hard-pressed to beat a good password that only you know. Lastly, all this is relative because if someone really wants to get into your device, they'll probably figure out a way.
Mask used to unlock Face ID
the mask is crafted through a combination of 3D printing, makeup, and 2D images. There's also some "special processing done on the cheeks and around the face" where there are large areas of skin, and the nose is created from silicone. The demo video shows the iPhone being unlocked using the mask, and then again using the researcher's face, in just one go.
This is just a proof of concept to demonstrate that Face ID can be spoofed. The researches suggested this should be a concern, but I don't think it's a big deal. Days after Touch ID came out, people were coming up with elaborate ways to transfer finger prints or unlock while sleeping.
While Apple touts Face ID and Touch ID as security features, the real security advancement is how they enable users to quickly access their devices many times a day. Anyone with special concerns about the data on their devices should consider using a complex unlock codes.
1Password 7 brings Face ID Support
The latest version of 1Password for iOS adds support for the iPhone X Face ID feature. The feature authenticates users using the face-scanning ability rather than a password or Touch ID.
For me, it was transformative when 1Password brought support for Touch ID. No longer did I need to repeatedly enter my super password, which made it more likely to use 1Password and also have a better password. Face ID for me is an evolution on that. It works basically the same way as Touch ID, but now it's nearly transparent. Rather than having to move my thumb to scan I just pause for a moment to allow Face ID to do its thing. Then my 1Password vault is unlocked.
It's pretty slick.
Another major new feature is Quick Copy. Now, when swapping to 1Password to copy a username, when you swap back to 1Password it will automatically grab your password and, if using one, a one-time password. When switching back to the app, the password(s) are then pasted in.
SquareTrade called iPhone X most breakable iPhone
Something to consider here is that SquareTrade sells device insurance, so it's in their interest to sound an alarm.
With that said, the company's evaluation gave the iPhone X a high-risk breakability score. The video shows dropping the phone from 6 feet on concrete. Granted, most drops are likely to be waist high, rather than above your head, but it does show how the iPhone can be damaged. Both screen glass, back glass, and OLED functions appear affected. The company also noted that the iPhone X is expensive more expensive to fix due to its components and assembly.
As I used a pre-release iPhone X this week, it suddenly occurred to me that it might be fun to lip-sync a song to an Animoji and have it mimic my performance. I dubbed the idea "Animoji Karaoke" and have been filling my Twitter feed with it. Judging from my likes, retweets, and comments, I haven't just been entertaining myself; some people said that it redeemed Animoji or justifed buying a thousand-dollar phone.
The talking poop emoji seems destined to represent the iPhone X. This is fun though blending of tech and stupid. My kids predictably love animojis
iPhone X inventory now showing availability
Simply visit the iPhone X purchase page for your country from the list below, select a carrier if required, choose a color, and then click on "Pickup: Check Availability" below your desired storage capacity.
While local iPhone X pick up availability was shown, it appears only until lately it actually reflects local inventory. For me, it simply said no availability in my 12 closest stores.
iPhone X LED compares well to Note 8, Pixel 2 XL
Tom's Hardware has a head-to-head comparison of the iPhone X LED and displays in the recently released competition Note 8 from Samsung and Pixel 2 XL from Google.
It took Apple an awfully long time to jump on the OLED bandwagon, but as usual, the company knocked it out of the park when it finally made the move. But is it better than the competition? The answer to that question will depend on what you like to see.