Apple iPhone X
iPhone owners can now have some fun with Google Maps by selecting a new navigation icon. Maps historically relies on a blue navigation arrow to indicate the user's location and direction of travel. Tapping the arrow will bring up a menu that allows people to select a car, pickup, or SUV to customize the experience. Earlier this year, Google let Android users opt for a Mario-style car for driving directions. Google says the latest version of Google Maps for iOS, with optional car graphics, is free to download from the iTuns App Store.
YouTube has rolled out support for HDR video playback on the Apple iPhone X. The latest version of YouTube adds the feature, which needs to be toggled on in the settings menu. The iPhone X is the first iPhone capable of playing HDR video, which offers more contrast than standard video. YouTube is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Researchers at Elmscroft have discovered that iOS 11.4 will lock the Lightning port on iPhones and iPads if the device is not powered on and unlocked for a week. The function, called USB Restricted Mode, prevents data transfer via USB, though the phone can still charge through a Lightning cable. Elmscroft suggests the addition to iOS 11.4 is meant to thwart law enforcement. In recent months it's become clear that law enforcement agencies around the country are using a gray box that can be used to unlock and decrypt iPhones and other devices without the owner's password, PIN, or fingerprint. Apple has not commented on the discovery and it may not be a final feature in iOS 11.4.
WhatsApp today updated its iPhone app with new multimedia features. Moving forward, WhatsApp users who receive videos from Facebook or Instagram will be able to view them without leaving WhatsApp. This tool also supports picture-in-picture, allowing people to watch a video while navigating through their inbox. WhatsApp also gains new group admin tools, which allow administrators to revoke rights from participants as well as change group names, icons, and descriptions. WhatsApp for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 11.4 and reminded developers that they need to use the latest tools and support the newest devices as they code their apps. "Starting July 2018, all iOS app updates submitted to the App Store must be built with the iOS 11 SDK and must support the Super Retina display of iPhone X," said Apple on its developer web site. The company had previously said it would require iPhone X support by April; it has apparently extended that deadline by three months. The iPhone X display swaps the 16:9 aspect ratio found on the iPhone 7 and 8 for a 2:1 aspect ratio with a notch at the top. It also boosts the resolution beyond full HD. iOS 11 adds a significant number of tools for developers, such as Core ML, ARKit, new camera APIs, new SiriKit domains, better Apple Music integration, and drag-and-drop for the iPad. Developers can find the iOS 11 SDK on Apple's developer web site. Apple is expected to announce iOS 12 as soon as next month at its Worldwide Developer Conference.
Apple has distributed iOS 11.3.1 to iPhones and iPads in order to solve a problem with third-party displays. In some instances, screens of the iPhone 8 repaired with non-Apple displays became unresponsive to the touch. iOS 11.3.1 takes care of that issue. The update also, according to Apple, improves the security of all iPhones and iPads. iOS 11.3.1 is free to download.
Apple today made several commitments to environmental conservation efforts based on recycling old iPhones. To start, the company will make a donation to Conservation International for every device recycled at Apple stores and Apple.com between now and April 30. Eligible devices will receive credit that customers can use toward an in-store purchase or put on an Apple Store Gift Card. The value will vary by device. Conservation International protects natural resources. Further, Apple debuted Daisy, a new robot that disassembles old iPhones in order to recover valuable materials for recycling purposes. Apple says Daisy can take apart nine different iPhone models, and disassemble up to 200 devices per hour, removing and sorting components. "At Apple, we’re constantly working toward smart solutions to address climate change and conserve our planet’s precious resources,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “In recognition of Earth Day, we are making it as simple as possible for our customers to recycle devices and do something good for the planet through Apple GiveBack. We’re also thrilled to introduce Daisy to the world, as she represents what’s possible when innovation and conservation meet." Apple continues to work to reduce its carbon footprint, use safer materials in its products, and power its facilities with clean energy. Last, Apple said it will send an alert to Apple Watch users on April 21 challenging them to go outside and complete 30 minutes of activity. Those who do will be rewarded with unique stickers in iMessage.
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.
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.
Snapchat has made a handful of lenses available specifically for the iPhone X. These lenses, first previewed last year, take advantage of the TrueDepth camera of the iPhone X and its 3D face-mapping capabilities. The result is more accurate and more form-fitting augmented reality masks that appear on users' faces. There are three AR Snapchat lenses to start, a gold eye mask, a Day of the Dead skull, and a Mardi Gras-style mask. Snapchat says the TrueDepth camera allows it to blur the background and more accurately handle ambient light with these lenses. The new lenses will only appear to those using Snapchat on an iPhone X. More are likely to be made available over time. Snapchat is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
Is photography your passion? If so, and you're in the market for a new phone, the Apple iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, and Samsung Galaxy S9+ should be at the top of your list. Here’s a rundown of the features offered by each and how the three devices compare in a head-to-head shoot-out.
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 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.
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 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.
Speck's newest case for the Apple iPhone X, the Presidio Ultra, is a three-piece kit that includes a base case, an extra bumper, and a rugged holster. If you need hardcore protection with a little bit of flexibility throughout the day, the Presidio Ultra is an interesting entry.
The iRig Pro I/O is a compact audio interface that lets musicians, singers, and podcasters connect their instruments or microphones to Apple iPhones, iPads, and Macs. It takes all the best features of the larger iRig Pro Duo and boils them down to the most essential tools in a highly portable package.
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.
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.
The Kingston DataTraveler Duo Bolt is a small thumb drive that plugs into the bottom of your iPhone and saves all your photos and videos. If you're looking for a quick way to free up space on your iOS device, the DataTraveler Duo Bolt is ideal in certain situations.
If you're seeking extra protection against water, snow, sand, and drops, the Catalyst waterproof case for the iPhone X has your phone covered and then some.
Verizon Wireless said customers can save big on select iPhones with a new offer that kicks off January 29. New and existing customers who add a new line of Verizon Unlimited service will be able to buy the iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, or iPhone X and get a $699 discount off a second iPhone 8, 8+, or X. In order to qualify for the offer, both devices will need to be purchased on a monthly installment plan. The promo also requires a trade-in, the value of which can be put toward the purchase price of the new iPhones. Verizon will provide the $699 discount on the second iPhone via monthly bill credits over the course of 24 months. This Verizon deal is similar to one it rolled out for Android handsets earlier this month. Verizon said this iPhone promo will only be available for a limited time.
Apple today made iOS 11.3 Beta One available to public beta testers. iOS 11.3 adds a host of significant new features to iPhones and iPads, including control over the battery, new animoji, business chat, health records, Apple Music videos, and improved augmented reality. Apple released iOS 11.2.5 to the general public earlier this week. Apple typically tests five to six betas, distributed every other week, before finalizing iOS releases. iOS 11.3 isn’t expected to reach most users until later this spring.
Smartphones are better than ever at capturing high-quality audio, but nothing beats a dedicated microphone. The Mikme microphone should appeal to videographers, vloggers, musicians, podcasters, and others who want to record the best-possible audio on their iPhone.
Lifeproof's Slam case for the iPhone X is a two-piece model that provides drop protection from as high as two meters. It adds a splash of color to your phone in addition to peace of mind.
Apple this week said it will improve the tools parents can use to control how much time their children spend on iPhones and iPads. The move is a response to investor criticism that suggested screen time is highly damaging to kids. “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust," said Apple in a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal. "We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids." Apple already provides a series of parental controls for iPhone and iPad use, such as moderating what content is accessible by children and what apps are downloaded. Apple did not specifically state what new features it plans to introduce.
Apple today released iOS 11.2.2 in order to patch several significant security problems. Specifically, iOS 11.2.2 includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of the Spectre vulnerability discovered earlier this month. Apple recommends all iPhone and iPad owners install the update as soon as possible. Apple issued a similar update to its macOS desktop software.
Powermat, a member of the Power Matters Alliance using the AirFuel standard, has also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the group that supports the Qi wireless charging standard. Powermat became a member of the WPC this week, where it will contribute its technology to improve and advanced inductive wireless charging for both PMA and Qi devices. The PMA and WPC competed for years to bring wireless charging to the masses, each with its own charging tech The WPC, however, scored a major victory last year when Apple picked the Qi for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. "Qi has become the dominant wireless charging standard on the market and the recently launched Apple iPhone lineup is evidence of this success," said Elad Dubzinski, Powermat CEO. "Powermat will share technology innovation to further unlock wireless charging potential, and will expedite the growth of the wireless charging infrastructure, bringing wireless charging to wherever users need it." More than 360 companies already back the Qi standard. Powermat plans to make gear that supports both PMA and Qi. The company is already working with Starbucks to upgrade the many PMA-powered wireless charging stations in some U.S. Starbucks locations with support for Qi.
The last twelve months have given us some of the most compelling smartphones ever made. New screen shapes, advanced cameras, and waterproof bodies have improved the everyday experience of those willing to fork over lots of cash for high-end handsets. Here are our picks for the top five flagship smartphones of 2017.
Microsoft today updated its Pix camera application or iOS devices and added several new and fun tools. First up is a function called Photosynth, which lets iPhone owners create much wider and taller panorama photos. It provides faster and smoother capture, and uses Pix's auto-enhancement capabilities to improve white balance, tone, and focus in real time. Microsoft ways the tool borrows code from its old stand-alone Photosynth app. The second tool is called Pix Comix and will automatically create comic book-style collages from video clips. Microsoft says its algorithms can identify and assemble the most interesting frames in any given video to paste together a comic strip. Pix Comix specifically seeks out three frames that offer sharp focus, open eyes, and interesting composition. People can then add speech bubbles, as well as rotate and arrange the comic strip to suit their preferences. Microsoft Pix for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
T-Mobile today announced a new buy-one, get-one promotion for select iPhones. People who purchase an Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus can earn a second iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus (up to $700) for free. The devices must be purchased on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will make monthly payments for the second device over a period of 24 months until it is paid off. Further, T-Mobile is offering up to $300 off the iPhone X when people trade in a recent iPhone. The $300 rebate is applied via monthly payment credits over 24 months (~$12/mo) when the iPhone X is purchased on an equipment installment plan. These deals kick off Thursday, December 21. T-Mobile is already offering BOGO deals on select LG and Samsung smartphones.
Apple recently improved the selection of indoor airport maps in Apple Maps with an expansion to 30 new structures. Apple worked with each individual airport and the associated airlines in order to provide the most accurate data possible, including directions to gates, details about food courts and other amenities, and the ability to jump between floors/levels. A button tagged "look inside" clues users it to the availability of indoor maps at the supported airports. According to TechCrunch, Apple relies on WiFi inside each airport to help triangulate the user's iPhone and accuracy is to within a few meters. The new indoor maps are available at major airports including Amsterdam Schiphol, Baltimore/Washington International, Berlin Tegel, Chicago O’Hare and Midway, Denver, Detroit, Geneva, Hong Kong, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas McCarran, London Heathrow and Gatwick, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Nashville, New York JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, and Vancouver. Apple plans to add more airports over time.
Apple today made iOS 11.2.1 available to the iPhone and iPad in order to resolve performance issues. Specifically, the update tackles a problem that could disable remote access to shared users of the Home application. The update is rather lightweight at about 69 MB and it can be downloaded and installed over the air.
Apple today said it plans to invest $390 million in Finisar, the Texas-based supplier of its VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) wafers. Apple uses the VCSEL technology in the iPhone X to power Face ID, Animoji, and portrait photography in the TrueDepth camera. VCSELs are also found in the AirPods headphones for sensing proximity. The investment will allow Finisar to re-open a plant and employ 500 new engineers and technicians. Apple says 100% of the VCSELs it plans to purchase will be made in Texas. The plant, expected to be producing by mid-2018, will be powered entirely be renewable sources. The investment comes from a $1 billion fund Apple set aside to foster innovation and high-skilled jobs in the U.S. Earlier this year, Apple agreed to invest $200 million in Corning, the company behind Gorilla Glass.