Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple releases iOS 12.2 with support for News+ service, new AirPods

March 25th, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Apple quietly pushed out a lengthy iOS software update today. While the day was largely dominated by Apple's "It's Show Time" event in which the iPhone maker announced news, gaming, and TV subscription services, it just released updates that will help users get settled with some of the new announcements.

Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ won't be available until the fall, so iOS 12.2's biggest updates revolve around Apple News+. The company's new, $10-per-month news and magazine subscription service requires an update to the existing News app, which brings the UI for top articles and magazine issues chosen by Apple editors. The updated News app will also allow subscribers to read content offline and receive personalized recommendations based on topics that are most interesting to them.

iOS 12.2 also adds support for Apple's newest AirPods, which carry the new H1 chip that lets wearers call upon Siri without touching the AirPods first. The update also lets users summon Siri from iPhones or iPads to play any video, show, movie, sports game, or channel on their Apple TVs, essentially extending Siri's role on mobile devices as a virtual remote for the Apple TV.

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Posted in animoji, apple, Apple Arcade, Apple News, Apple TV, iOS, MacOS, Siri, software update, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple partners with Goldman Sachs to offer its own physical credit card

March 25th, 2019

At Apple's event on Monday, the company announced that it would partner with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to offer its own credit card, not only within the Apple Wallet app but also as a physical metal credit card that can be used wherever Apple Pay isn't accepted.

The Apple Card will come without any late fees, annual fees, over-limit fees, or international fees. The company promised a low interest rate, but that rate does not seem to have been made public yet. Instead of offering points, Apple's card will apply cash to the customer's card. Customers receive 2 percent cash back on purchases made with Apple Pay and 3 percent cash back on purchases made on Apple products.

On pure economics, Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com, said that Apple's cash back terms were OK but not great. Rossman pointed to Citi's Double Cash card, which offers 2 percent cash back on every purchase (not just purchases made with Apple Pay) or US Bank's Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card, which "gives three points per dollar on mobile wallet spending (worth 3 percent cash back or 4.5 percent off travel)."

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Posted in apple, Apple Card, Biz & IT, contactless payment, payment | Comments (0)

Apple finally enters TV streaming space with new Apple TV+ service

March 25th, 2019
Apple finally enters TV streaming space with new Apple TV+ service

Enlarge

CUPERTINO, Calif.—It's been a long time and many rumors coming, but Apple has finally unveiled its streaming video service. Dubbed Apple TV+, the service combines some aspects of existing players in the space like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

The originals

At the vanguard of Apple TV+ is Apple's own original programming. The company reportedly spent $1 billion developing TV shows and films to include on the service. Upon announcing the streaming service, Apple showed a video featuring the numerous creators it worked with to create original content for the service—filmmakers including Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, as well as actors and actresses including Reese Witherspoon and Octavia Spencer.

These creators and actors serve as the foundation for Apple TV+, thanks to all the original content they have created (and will continue to create) for the service. Steven Spielberg took Apple's stage to talk about the reboot of Amazing Stories, a sci-fi anthology series that Spielberg hopes will "transport the audience with every episode."

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Posted in apple, Apple TV, Gaming & Culture, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple unveils Apple Arcade subscription service for iOS, Mac, Apple TV games

March 25th, 2019
Apple unveils Apple Arcade subscription service for iOS, Mac, Apple TV games

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

CUPERTINO, Calif.—Apple today announced a new subscription service called Apple Arcade for games on its platforms, including iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV. The service will debut "this fall." Its exact price has not yet been confirmed.

The paid-subscription service will include games "unavailable on any other mobile service," Apple confirmed, and it will launch with "over 100 new and exclusive games." A sizzle reel of flashy games appeared at today's Apple event, and it largely focused on indie games that haven't yet launched on either traditional or mobile platforms yet. One notable exception: there was a brief shot of an apparently unannounced Sonic the Hedgehog game.

By paying the subscription fee, players will have access to all games for as long as they want with no limits or microtransactions attached. Shared family accounts will have access to the titles and parental controls for no additional charge. And the service's multi-device support extends to letting iOS gamers suspend an Apple Arcade game on their phone, then resume playing it on another device, or vice versa.

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Posted in App Store, apple, Apple Games, gaming, Gaming & Culture, iOS games, mobile games, Tech | Comments (0)

Liveblog: Apple unveils its TV service and more at the March 25 “It’s show time” event

March 24th, 2019
The event invite strongly hints at the upcoming video service.

Enlarge / The event invite strongly hints at the upcoming video service. (credit: Apple)

CUPERTINO, Calif.—At 10am Pacific on Monday, March 25, Apple and its partners will take the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif., to talk about a new TV-streaming platform, a new magazine-subscription service, and possibly much more. We'll be liveblogging the event as it happens, so join us here a few minutes before the show for all the updates.

Apple has been signaling to investors, partners, and customers for many months that it will increase its focus on services—always-available, ever-growing content and software offerings—more in the future, as that is the part of its business it expects to grow the fastest. Monday's "It's show time" event will be unusual in that it is expected to focus more on those services than any prior Apple event.

Some hardware announcements were strong possibilities due to timing and reports across the Web—namely, new iPads, AirPods, and iMacs, plus a new iPod touch and AirPower charging mat.

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Posted in apple, Apple News, Apple TV, ars liveblog, liveblog, Tech, Texture | Comments (0)

Mini-review: Fitbit’s Versa Lite favors affordability over unnecessary features

March 23rd, 2019
Mini-review: Fitbit’s Versa Lite favors affordability over unnecessary features

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

The Versa Lite confused me at first. When Fitbit announced the new Inspire and Inspire HR fitness trackers, the company also debuted the new Versa Lite. This smartwatch looks identical to the original Versa, which came out last year, but it lacks a few features and costs $40 less. Considering the Versa was meant to be a cheaper, more accessible version of the $300 Fitbit Ionic, it was strange to see Fitbit come up with an even more affordable version of its already affordable smartwatch.

But Fitbit is positioning itself as the company with smartwatches for all kinds of people. Instead of making one flagship device with a bunch of features like Apple has done with the Apple Watch, Fitbit is investing in numerous devices with different feature sets at various price points. Now, the Versa family has three devices: the $159 Versa Lite, the $199 Versa, and the $229 Versa Special Edition. Choice provides more accessibility, but it can also breed confusion.

We tested out the Versa Lite to see how different it really is compared to the original Versa and if it's worth pocketing that extra $40.

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Posted in apple, apple watch, Fitbit, Gadgetology, Garmin, smartwatch, Tech, versa, versa lite, wearable | Comments (0)

Microsoft ships antivirus for macOS as Windows Defender becomes Microsoft Defender

March 21st, 2019

Microsoft is bringing its Windows Defender anti-malware application to macOS—and more platforms in the future—as it expands the reach of its Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) platform. To reflect the new cross-platform nature, the suite is also being renamed to Microsoft Defender ATP, with the individual clients being labelled "for Mac" or "for Windows."

Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac will initially focus on traditional signature-based malware scanning.

Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac will initially focus on traditional signature-based malware scanning.

macOS malware is still something of a rarity, but it's not completely unheard of. Ransomware for the platform was found in 2016, and in-the-wild outbreaks of other malicious software continue to be found. Apple has integrated some malware protection into macOS, but we've heard from developers on the platform that Mac users aren't always very good at keeping their systems on the latest point release. This situation is particularly acute in corporate environments; while Windows has a range of tools to ensure that systems are kept up-to-date and alert administrators if they fall behind, a similar ecosystem hasn't been developed for macOS.

One would hope that Defender for Mac will also trap Windows malware to prevent Mac users from spreading malware to their Windows colleagues.

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Posted in apple, cloud, Defender, MacOS, malware, microsoft, security, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple’s updated AirPods are here, cost $199 with new wireless charging case

March 20th, 2019
Apple AirPods.

Enlarge / Apple AirPods.

After announcing new iPads and iMacs earlier this week, Apple has released details about its next-generation AirPods. The new wireless earbuds, which are available for preorder today starting at $159, come with an updated, Apple-designed chip, more battery life, and "Hey Siri" voice-command support. Apple also debuted a new wireless charging case for AirPods that can be charged with any Qi wireless charger.

We didn't expect Apple to radically redesign the AirPods this time around, and they look nearly identical to the previous model. Inside, however, is a new H1 chip that Apple designed specifically for headphones. The company claims the new chip will provide up to 50 percent more talk time than previous models, faster connect times when switching between iPhone, iPad, and other Apple host devices, and general performance improvements.

The new H1 chip also lets AirPods listen for the "Hey Siri" voice command. Previously, users had to touch the side of one AirPod before speaking a command to Siri, Apple's virtual assistant. Now, users can just say the waking command before asking Siri to do things like adjust the volume, play a different song, and more.

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Posted in airpods, apple, earbuds, H1, Siri, Tech, wireless earbuds | Comments (0)

Apple finally updates the iMac with significantly more powerful CPU and GPU options

March 19th, 2019

Today, Apple will finally begin taking orders for newly refreshed 21- and 27-inch iMacs. The new versions don't change the basic design or add major new features, but they offer substantially faster configuration options for the CPU and GPU.

The 21.5-inch iMac now has a 6-core, eighth-generation Intel CPU option—up from a maximum of four cores before. The 27-inch now has six cores as the standard configuration, with an optional upgrade to a 3.6GHz, 9th-gen, 8-core Intel Core i9 CPU that Apple claims will double performance over the previous 27-inch iMac. The base 27-inch model has a 3GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 CPU, with intermediate configurations at 3.1GHz and 3.7GHz (both Core i5).

The big news is arguably that both sizes now offer high-end, workstation-class Vega-graphics options for the first time. Apple added a similar upgrade option to the 15-inch MacBook Pro late last year.

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Posted in all-in-one, AMD, apple, desktop, iMac, Intel, Tech, vega | Comments (0)

Apple Watch accurately spotted heart condition 34% of the time in study

March 18th, 2019

(credit: Apple)

In a large Apple-sponsored study assessing whether the pulse sensor on older versions of the Apple Watch (Series 1, 2, and 3) can pick up heart rhythm irregularities, researchers found that only 34 percent of participants who received an alert of an irregular pulse on their watch went on to have a confirmed case of atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heart rhythm.

The study was led by researchers at Stanford, who presented the results Saturday in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. The results have not been published in a scientific journal and have not been peer-reviewed.

The study, dubbed the Apple Heart Study, began in November 2017, before the release of the Apple Watch Series 4, which includes an electrocardiograph (ECG) feature for monitoring heart activity. Though the study didn’t keep pace with that of wearable device development, it was rather speedy relative to clinical trials. In fact, some cardiologists were impressed simply by the short period of time in which the study was able to recruit such a large number of participants—nearly 420,000—plus follow up with them using telemedicine and get results.

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Posted in apple, apple watch, atrial fibrilation, cardiovascular health, ECG, heart monitoring, science, Tech, wearables | Comments (0)