posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
A collection of new images today claim to show cases for Apple's upcoming 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is believed to be an update similar in vein to the iPhone 8, with a size that remains close to that of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but includes a larger 10.5-inch display thanks to shrinking bezels. 2017 iPad Pro 10.5' & iPad Pro 12.9' cases. (No new iPad mini this year) pic.twitter.com/Ft3FH48Yzy— Benjamin Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) May 22, 2017 Benjamin Geskin has shared the iPad Pro accessory images on Twitter today, showing off cutouts for the Lightning port, speaker grilles, microphone, and vertically-aligned camera. The microphone cutout is placed on the top rear of both new iPads, similar to its location on the newest 9.7-inch iPad. For the current 12.9-inch models, however, the microphone cutout sits on the right side of the iPad, above the volume buttons. The cases include multiple large cutouts for what appears to be four speakers, with two on top of the case and two on the bottom surrounding the Lightning port. This suggests that the 10.5-inch iPad is likely to continue supporting the stereo audio system of the iPhone 7 and 9.7-inch iPad Pro update. The wood cases also include side inserts for Apple Pencil storage. Also on top of the case is the expected cutout for the lock button, and the 3.5mm headphone jack will still be included on the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros launching this year, according to the new cases. Volume rockers remain on the traditional right side of the iPad cases, as well. With production on the 10.5-inch iPad reportedly ramping up, the device could debut as early as WWDC, which takes place two weeks from today. For the smaller-screened iPad mini, recent rumors have suggested that Apple might discontinue the devices due to likely cannibalization from the 5.5-inch iPhone Plus devices. According to Geskin, the iPad mini will remain off of Apple's update list -- for 2017 at least -- with his Tweet stating, "No new iPad mini this year."Related Roundup: iPad Pro Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Don't Buy), 12.9" iPad Pro (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's notebook shipments totaled an estimated 3.4 million units in the first quarter of the 2017 calendar year, compared to an estimated 2.9 million in the previous quarter, according to new data published by market research firm TrendForce. The figure represents a 15.8 percent decline against the last quarter of 2016, reflecting a somewhat similar decline for the overall notebook market over the same period, however the company's Q1 2017 numbers also indicate a year-on-year increase in overall MacBook shipments. Apple shipped 3.4 million units of MacBook devices this first quarter and claimed fifth place in the ranking. The latest generation of MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which was released in last year's fourth quarter, was well-received by consumers and contributed significantly to the overall MacBook shipments. As a result, first-quarter MacBook shipments, while representing a 15.8% decline versus the prior quarter, also showed a year-on-year increase of 15.4%.HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Asus all suffered marginal market share declines compared to Q4 2016, but Apple's share stayed level over the last two quarters, enabling it to maintain fifth place in the shipment rankings. However sixth-placed Acer gained 0.8 percent ground on Apple over the same period, which TrendForce put down to expanded stocking of notebooks by channel distributors in anticipation of increased device production costs. TrendForce estimates that MacBook shipments for the second quarter of 2017 will grow by more than 10 percent compared with the first quarter. The firm attributes this projection to suggestions that Apple will update its 12-inch MacBook with a new processor and the possibility of promotional pricing for some older models. Recent rumors suggest Apple could be planning to announce refreshes for both the MacBook and MacBook Pro at June's Worldwide Developers Conference. The notebooks are expected to be updated with faster Kaby Lake processors, an update from the Skylake processors in the current machines. Apple is also said to be considering updating the MacBook Air with new internals, as sales of Apple's most affordable notebook have remained surprisingly strong. Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, MacBook Tag: TrendForce Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral), MacBook (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
A series of photos claiming to show molds of Apple's upcoming 2017 iPhone range appeared online over the weekend, providing a potential look at the relative sizes of the rumored new devices. Apple is expected to announce three new iPhone models this year: two LCD-based "S" cycle upgrades to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, alongside a radically redesigned tenth-anniversary "iPhone 8" with an edge-to-edge OLED display. It's worth bearing in mind that the molds shown in the images could simply be made for use in the production of third-party iPhone cases rather than actual handsets. Either way, they do appear to line up with unconfirmed details we've been hearing over recent months, particularly with regard to the dimensions of the devices. The mold of the so-called "iPhone 8" is pictured between the two iterative models, which shows the redesigned handset isn't much bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7S chassis on the right hand side. Despite the similarity, reports suggest the redesigned phone could pack a 5.8-inch display that's closer in size to the screen on the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. A lack of bezels at the top and bottom of the device are said to enable the larger OLED area. The side-on view offers another take on the relative dimensions, and also reveals a longer power button on the OLED iPhone in the middle. The appearance of the longer button in previous dummy images has led to speculation that it could act as a fingerprint recognition surface if Apple can't implement Touch ID into the OLED display. Rumors say Apple has struggled to overcome the challenges involved in such a feat, but details are still sketchy. Some sources suggest the company could resort to placing the sensor on the back of the handset, like on the Samsung Galaxy S8, but most agree this would be an inferior implementation compared to Touch ID's current front-facing location on the home button. Cutouts for the rear camera in the middle mold line up with previous rumors that Apple will go with a vertical dual-lens orientation in the "iPhone 8", in contrast to the horizontal layout on the iPhone 7 Plus, which is expected to remain on the 7S Plus. The OLED iPhone is expected to be unveiled at a September event alongside the "S" cycle phones, and could feature new 3D-sensing technology in the front-facing camera, as well as a faster A11 chip, face and iris recognition, better waterproofing, some form of wireless charging, and a glass body. Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has the potential to become a trillion dollar company by 2019, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani. In a research note on Monday, Daryanani said Apple could reach or exceed a trillion dollar market cap within the next 12 to 18 months. An excerpt from Daryanani's research note, edited slightly for clarity:In aggregate, we see a scenario where in the 2019 fiscal year, Apple sustains $12+ earnings per share and, assuming the valuation frameworks remains stable/improves, it should get AAPL stock toward $192–$195, which would equate to a market cap above $1 trillion.Daryanani believes the so-called "iPhone 8" and the upgrade supercycle it's expected to drive will be a major catalyst towards Apple's path to a trillion dollar valuation. Looking further ahead, he thinks there is potential for Apple to continue growing its Services category revenue by double digits year over year.Longer-term, we think there is potential for Apple to continue growing Services revenue by double digit year-over-year given the company's expanding installed base [of devices], increasing App Store sales within the current installed base, demand for cloud storage/compute services, and further adoption of Apple Pay.Apple's Services category brought in $7.17 billion last quarter, from $6 billion in the year-ago quarter, representing 18 percent year-over-year growth. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Services category is already the size of a Fortune 100 company, with hopes to double the category's revenue by 2020. Earlier this month, Apple's market cap surpassed the $800 billion mark for the first time ever as the company's shares traded above $153. RBC has raised its Apple stock price target to $168, up from $157, given the upside it anticipates from the iPhone 8 and increasing services-related revenue. Wall Street analyst Brian White also raised his 12-month price target for Apple's stock to $202, up from $185, earlier this month. White believes Apple "remains among the most underappreciated stocks in the world," and his bullish price target suggests the company could be valued at a trillion dollars within the next year.Tags: RBC Capital Markets, Amit Daryanani, AAPL Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 5 days ago on mac rumors
Since launching in June 2015, Apple Music has offered a free three-month trial in the United States and over 100 other countries around the world. In some countries, such as Ireland and the Netherlands, the free trial is for one month. According to Apple's website, however, the trial now costs 99 cents in Australia, 0,99 € in Spain, and Fr. 0.99 in Switzerland. Based on our spot check, the trial remains free in all other countries where Apple Music is available. The reason why Apple has started charging a nominal fee for the trial in Australia, Spain, and Switzerland is unclear. The trial was still free in those countries as of May 14, according to archived versions of Apple's website. Apple Music rival Spotify's three-month trial also costs 99 cents in Australia, 0,99 € in Spain, and Fr. 0.99 in Switzerland. (Thanks, Alex!)Tags: Australia, Spain, Apple Music, Switzerland Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 6 days ago on mac rumors
Apple says the following models are no longer eligible for its MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues: • 15-inch, Early 2011 • 15-inch, Late 2011 • 17-inch, Early 2011 • 17-inch, Late 2011The following MacBook Pro models remain eligible, so long as they were purchased less than four years ago: • Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012 • Retina, 15 inch, Early 2013Apple launched the repair program in February 2015 to address a "small percentage" of MacBook Pro models that "may exhibit distorted video, no video, or unexpected system restarts," allegedly due to faulty GPUs. A support document on Apple's website says the affected models were sold between February 2011 and December 2013. Use the "Check Your Coverage" tool on Apple's website to determine if a particular model is eligible. The video issues impacted many customers, prompting a class-action lawsuit against Apple and an online petition with over 40,000 signatures. Affected users often experience visual banding or malfunctions on the screen, particularly when watching HD videos or using pro apps such as Final Cut Pro X. Apple will continue to repair Mid 2012 or Early 2013 models, free of charge. Affected customers can call an Apple Store to schedule a Genius Bar appointment, visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or call Apple Support and request a postage paid box to mail in the MacBook Pro to a local Apple Repair Center.Related Roundup: MacBook Pro Tags: repair program, Apple Support Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Apple is planning to unveil its next-generation operating system for iOS devices, iOS 11, in less than a month. Despite the imminent debut date of the new OS, we've heard very little about what we should expect to see in the update. Based on the fact that iOS 10 offered very few features for the iPad, Federico Vittici of MacStories, who uses an iPad for much of his daily work, has imagined an iOS 11 update wishlist that overhauls the iPad interface, introducing new iPad-only features that many pro users would undoubtedly love to see. Vittici collaborated with designer Sam Beckett to bring his iOS 11 wishlist to life, providing concrete examples of ways Apple could redesign the iPad experience. System-wide drag and drop functionality that would let users drag content between apps or from one iPad split screen window to another is at the top of Vittici's list. Images, text, links, documents, and more could be dragged using intuitive long press gestures. In the example image below, text from an email is dragged into a list in Reminders. An imagined "Shelf" feature goes hand-in-hand with drag and drop, giving users a place to store anything on the iPad they want to reference at a later time. It's similar to the desktop on a Mac, storing items for easy access. Viticci's other iOS 11 wishlist items include a new Split View app picker with a search feature and a better layout, a Mac-style Finder app that works with iCloud Drive for a more consistent document-finding interface, a denser home screen, multiple audio streams, and a refreshed design with bolder typography and more of a focus on visual feedback. For additional images and a more detailed explanation of the items on Vittici's iOS 11 wishlist, make sure to check out the full article over at MacStories.Related Roundup: iOS 11 Tags: Concepts, macstories.net Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Earlier this month, Apple launched a new "How to Shoot on iPhone 7" website and video series featuring short tutorials designed to help users take advantage of the camera features built into the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. As of yesterday, four new tutorial videos have been added to the site, including how to shoot a horizon, how to capture an intimate moment, how to convert to black and white, and how to shoot with zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus. All four can be watched on Apple's tutorial site, but the latter two are also available on YouTube. Apple has 20 tutorial videos on its "How to Shoot on iPhone 7" website, and the company is slowly uploading each of the videos to YouTube. 13 of the 20 videos can be watched on Apple's YouTube channel. New YouTube additions include how to shoot a one-handed selfie and how to edit a selfie, two videos previously exclusively available on the tutorial site. Apple's videos are designed to teach iPhone 7 and 7 Plus users how to use the iPhone camera to capture various kinds of photos, including panoramas, portraits, action shots, night shots, and more. Each of the videos is approximately 40 seconds in length and includes a clear step-by-step tutorial on how to use each feature. Most of the videos are simple and straightforward, designed for people who don't often use the camera and haven't invested a lot of time in learning its features, but there are some neat tips and tricks that even more advanced users might find useful, like capturing a unique angle, shooting with a street light, capturing stills while filming, and more.Tag: Apple ads Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Russian software company ElcomSoft today claimed in a blog post that iCloud notes marked as deleted are being stored on Apple's servers well past the advertised 30-day period they are kept in the "Recently Deleted" folder. ElcomSoft said it used an updated version of its Phone Breaker tool, version 6.5, to recover dozens of iCloud notes deleted more than a month ago. ElcomSoft said many of the notes were deleted a few weeks past the 30-day window, but in some cases, it was allegedly able to extract notes deleted "several months ago." When a user deletes a note in Apple's Notes app, it's moved to the "Recently Deleted" folder, which explicitly states that "notes are permanently deleted after 30 days." Likewise, a support document on Apple's website says users can view and recover notes for up to 30 days before they're permanently deleted. However, ElcomSoft CEO Vladimir Katalov said the oldest note it was able to retrieve was deleted around five years ago:"We did it again," says Vladimir Katalov, ElcomSoft CEO. "After recovering deleted photos and Safari browsing history from iCloud, we now add the ability to recover deleted notes from the same source regardless of how much time has passed after the deletion. The oldest record we've been able to pull was deleted back in 2012."In its blog post, ElcomSoft said it was able to extract 334 notes from an iPhone with only 288 notes stored on it, including those in the "Recently Deleted" folder. In other words, ElcomSoft claims it was able to recover 46 notes deleted more than 30 days ago, and that was only one example. Nevertheless, ElcomSoft said that its ability to extract iCloud notes deleted more than 30 days ago is "not necessarily" guaranteed. "While some of our test accounts did indeed contain deleted notes going all the way back to 2015, some other accounts contained much less than that," it explained. ElcomSoft said its Phone Breaker tool is the only software it knows of that can be used to recover iCloud notes deleted more than 30 days ago. It also said the latest version of its Phone Viewer tool is needed to view them. The tools start at $79 each and appear to be compatible with both Mac and Windows. To extract and view deleted notes, ElcomSoft says all someone has to do is launch Phone Breaker version 6.5 or newer, click "Download Synced Data from iCloud," authenticate with an Apple ID and password or a binary authentication token, wait for the download to complete, and open the file in Phone Viewer. ElcomSoft's Phone Viewer tool appears to show recovered iCloud notes ElcomSoft said "there is no doubt Apple will fix the current issue," but it didn't confirm if it has been in contact with the company. MacRumors has opted not to use the Phone Breaker tool out of an abundance of caution. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment today. Last year, ElcomSoft generated headlines when it claimed Apple "secretly" syncs Phone and FaceTime call history logs on iCloud, even with backups turned off. In a statement, Apple said it offers call history syncing "as a convenience to our customers so that they can return calls from any of their devices." In February, ElcomSoft also found that iCloud was allegedly storing deleted Safari browser history for a long period of time, ranging from several months to over a year. Forbes reported that Apple quietly "started purging older history records" once the news broke, but Apple never officially commented.Tags: Notes, ElcomSoft Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Apple yesterday held a concert at One Infinite Loop in honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This morning, CEO Tim Cook tweeted out a thank you to Stevie Wonder, who performed at the concert. Thank you to the incomparable Stevie Wonder for lifting hearts and celebrating accessibility with us! #GAAD pic.twitter.com/WvePkgte5R— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 19, 2017 The event marked one of Apple's traditional "Beer Bash" celebrations, which in the past have seen performances by Maroon 5, One Republic, Darius Rucker, and more, usually coinciding with a major milestone like the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh. Apple has been highlighting the importance of accessibility features throughout the week, beginning with a large collection of "Designed for" promotional videos that it posted on YouTube on Tuesday. The clips showcased features like VoiceOver and Made for iPhone hearing aids, accompanied by personal stories of how Apple fans with disabilities use each feature. Signed, Sealed, Delivered pic.twitter.com/CI38dIU8Vj— James Craig (@cookiecrook) May 19, 2017 On Wednesday, Tim Cook then sat down with three accessibility activists to discuss the company's accessibility features across its range of devices. Last October, Apple published an all-new accessibility website that brings all of these features to the forefront as a way to explain and celebrate how the company has built unique accessibility features into iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.Tag: accessibility Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Ford today released a SYNC 3 software update that adds CarPlay and Android Auto support to its 2016 model year vehicles. Ford said customers with Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles can set up their vehicle to receive the update automatically. SYNC 3 version 2.2 can also be downloaded from the Ford Owner website and installed with a USB drive, or customers can visit any Ford dealership to have the update process completed for free. Last summer, Ford made CarPlay and Android Auto available in all of its 2017 vehicles with SYNC 3. At the time, it promised it would bring CarPlay and Android Auto to its 2016 model year vehicles by the end of the year, and while it missed that target by about five months, the update has now arrived. In late 2015, Ford retroactively added Siri Eyes Free support to 5 million 2011-2016 model year vehicles. CarPlay brings Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a number of third-party apps like Spotify to a vehicle's dashboard. Apple's in-car software can be controlled with Siri and a vehicle's built-in controls for convenient access to common iPhone features. It's compatible with iPhone 5 and later.Related Roundup: CarPlay Tags: Android Auto, Ford, Ford SYNC Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Apple is said to be boosting production of its upcoming 10.5-inch iPad Pro, making launch of the new form-factor tablet over the next couple of months increasingly possible, according to sources in the Taiwanese supply chain. DigiTimes reported on Friday that shipments for the company's 10.5-inch iPad Pro are expected to increase to 600,000 units in July, up from around 500,000 units currently, with annual shipments said to reach 5 million units this year, said market watchers. Previously, reports suggested Apple's manufacturing partners had begun limited production of the new-size tablet in March, when it remained unclear when the device would be announced. Rumors have lacked consensus regarding when Apple will launch the device, with suggestions of an early April event having failed to materialize. However, since that time, noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed there is a "greater than 70 percent chance" that Apple will unveil the long-rumored tablet at WWDC in June, based on the timing of production ramp-up. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to have a similar form factor as the current 9.7-inch model, squeezing in a larger display thanks to narrower bezels. Analysts say Apple is hoping the device will mark the company's resurgence in the tablet market, given that sales of iPads have declined for 13 consecutive quarters, with consumers seeing little reason to upgrade the tablets they already own. However, at least one Apple pundit has suggested the company could wait until October to launch the 10.5-inch iPad, in order to avoid spoiling the the design of the much-rumored "iPhone 8" with an edge-to-edge OLED display, which is expected to be announced in September. Today's DigiTimes report also touches on a rumored upgrade to Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with some market watchers claiming the device could begin mass production in June, "with stable shipments in the third quarter". Meanwhile, Apple's sale expectations for its recently launched 9.7-inch iPad are "expected to accelerate Apple's pace on phasing out the iPad mini 4 from the market", according to sources. Demand for the tablet is expected to pick up strongly starting the end of the second quarter and will reach the peak in the third quarter, increasing the device's monthly shipments to over four million units in June and July, the market watchers noted.Despite the launch of new iPads this year, market watchers still expect Apple's tablet shipments to fall compared to 2017. Worldwide tablet shipments were around 8.74 million units in the first quarter and the release of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro should shore up the second quarter's tablet shipments to 8.9 million units, claimed the report.Related Roundup: iPad Pro Tag: digitimes.com Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple CEO Tim Cook has allegedly been spotted testing a prototype glucose monitor that's connected to his Apple Watch, reports CNBC. Cook, who is said to be aiming to understand how his blood sugar is affected by food and exercise, has been seen wearing the device around the Apple Campus. Cook also mentioned the glucose monitor in a February meeting with students at the University of Glasgow. It's not clear if the device he spoke of in Glasgow is the same one he's been wearing around the Apple campus."I've been wearing a continuous glucose monitor for a few weeks," he said. "I just took it off before coming on this trip." Cook explained that he was able to understand how his blood sugar responded to foods he was eating. He made modifications to keep his blood sugar more constant.Current continuous glucose monitoring systems require a small sensor that's worn under the skin to monitor glucose levels. Advanced systems from Dexcom include a transmitter, which can display glucose information directly on an iPhone or Apple Watch. An iPhone-connected Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring system Rumors have suggested glucose monitoring is the next major health issue Apple is aiming to tackle. The company is said to have a team of biomedical engineers working on developing sensors for non-invasively monitoring blood sugar levels. Apple is allegedly working on a continuous monitoring solution that would not require an under-skin sensor. Apple's glucose testing is reportedly far enough along that the company has started conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, and consultants have been hired to sort out regulatory issues. According to a recent rumor from BGR, Apple could be planning to add a non-invasive glucose monitoring sensor to a future version of the Apple Watch, perhaps through the addition of a smart band that would add functionality to the Apple Watch without requiring the sensor to be built into the watch. Cook has said in the past that Apple does not want to put the Apple Watch through the FDA approval process, something that would need to happen for Apple to introduce a glucose monitor, so a modular add-on smart band could be an ideal solution for adding more advanced health tracking features without subjecting the Apple Watch itself to FDA oversight.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Tag: Tim Cook Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has told several Chinese social networking apps to disable their "tip" functions to comply with App Store rules, according to executives at WeChat and other companies. The tip functions in Chinese messaging platforms are free to use and allow people to send authors and other content creators monetary tips through transfers to mobile wallet accounts. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has decided that tips are equivalent to in-app purchases – similar to buying games, music, and videos – therefore Apple is entitled to a 30 percent cut of every transaction. WeChat on iPhone The move by Apple appears to be a way to eke out additional revenue from Chinese iPhone users as part of a broader effort to increase its market share in the country. According to research firm IDC, Apple's market share in China dropped from 16 percent in Q1 2015 to 9 percent in Q1 2017, while the iPhone has fallen to fourth place behind Chinese brands Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo. On the other hand, Apple's App Store revenue in China overtook its U.S. App Store revenue in 2016 and became the biggest App Store market in the world. Making the tip function an in-app purchase in China's wildly popular chat apps would seem to be a sure-fire way to increase Apple's revenue. However, Apple's pressure on messaging platforms like WeChat is a risk and threatens to alienate huge Chinese companies. Some social-networking apps have likened Apple's tactic to arm-twisting, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple is said to have told chief executives at two companies that if they refuse to make the change, updated versions of their apps won't be made available and they could be kicked out of the App Store. "We don't charge anything as the platform, but Apple gets 30 percent for doing nothing," one of the executives reportedly fumed. The annoyance stems from the way the tipping culture is viewed in China. Chinese app developers see tipping as fundamentally different from in-app purchases because users only tip voluntarily as a mark of appreciation when they consume content. But the biggest worry for Apple could be whether the Chinese government decides to intervene and side with the tippers. One executive says his company is talking to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, a regulator, about whether Apple is imposing unfair rules by turning tipping into in-app purchases. MIIT says it isn’t involved. The People’s Bank of China, which regulates electronic payments, didn’t respond to a request for comment.Apple has suffered at the hands of Chinese state regulators before. But Apple also risks frustrating China's biggest company Tencent Holdings Ltd, the developer of WeChat, which has 938 million active monthly users. The messaging service works almost like an operating system all of its own, boasting multiple mini-apps that allow users to pay bills, book hotels, browse media, and more, without ever having to leave the chat platform. The nature of the system itself could be a threat to Apple's app revenue, while WeChat is arguably more important to Chinese smartphone users than any individual phone brand – iPhone included. WeChat is in talks with Apple to try to find a new solution to the tipping problem and come to an alternative agreement, according to people familiar with the matter. Tags: China, WeChat Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which takes place tomorrow, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with three YouTubers to discuss the Accessibility features built into Apple's iOS and Mac devices. Each of the three YouTubers, who met Cook at Apple's campus for coffee, have shared their conversations with the CEO on their respective YouTube channels. All three, including legally blind filmmaker James Rath, deaf advocate and vlogger Rikki Poynter, and actress Tatiana Lee, who was born with Spina Bifida, talked about the Apple products that they use in their daily lives. The three interviews can be watched below. During his meeting with Poynter, Cook explained Apple's stance on accessibility and why the company goes to great lengths to make sure its devices are available to everyone.Apple is founded on giving people power to create things, to do things that they couldn't do without those tools. And we've always viewed accessibility as a human right. And so just like human rights are for everyone, we want our products to be accessible for everyone. And so it's a basic core value of Apple. We don't make products for a particular group of people. We make products for everybody. We feel very strongly that everyone deserves an equal opportunity and equal access. So we don't look at this thing from a return on investment point of view -- I've been asked that before. The answer is no, I've never looked at that. We don't care about that.In addition to Cook's meetings, Apple also recently published a series of "Designed for" accessibility videos, highlighting the different ways Apple's Accessibility features are used to make Apple devices available to everyone, and there's currently an Accessibility feature in the App Store promoting Accessibility apps. Since October, Apple has had a detailed Accessibility website that demonstrates and promotes the extensive Accessibility options built into Apple products.Tag: accessibility Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
92 percent of iPhone owners that are "somewhat likely" or "extremely likely" to upgrade their smartphone in the next 12 months plan to purchase another iPhone, according to investment banking firm Morgan Stanley. Apple's loyalty rate, up from 86 percent a year ago, is based on an April 2017 survey of 1,000 smartphone owners aged 18 and above in the United States. It's the iPhone's highest retention rate measured by Morgan Stanley since a record high of 93 percent set in September 2015, when the iPhone 6s launched. An excerpt from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty's research note distributed today:It's our belief that a maturing installed base that is accustomed to iOS and increased press around potential new technologies in the upcoming iPhone drove the strong year-over-year increase. Importantly, the rise in Apple's loyalty rates comes after Samsung, Apple's biggest competitor in the United States, introduced the Galaxy S8, which was available for pre-order starting March 30th. Apple's loyalty rate of 92% dwarfs that of all other vendors, with Samsung garnering a 77% retention rate, followed by LG (59%), Motorola (56%), and Nokia (42%).Despite reports suggesting "iPhone 8" mass production could be delayed by months, Huberty said Morgan Stanley's Greater China Technology Research colleagues have "not yet seen delays in the supply chain" and still expect new iPhone production to start on time for most components, including the OLED display. "Nevertheless, we remain conservative in our initial expectations for iPhone supply," the research note cautioned. Morgan Stanley raised its price target for Apple's stock to $177 today, up from $161, given growing confidence in its 2018 fiscal year "supercycle" estimates, along with a greater mix of recurring, high-margin services revenue, and a larger cash balance with potential for repatriation in the United States.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: Katy Huberty, Morgan Stanley Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Google today kicked off its annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, beginning with a keynote where the company announced Google Assistant for iPhone, new Google Home features including the ability to stream Apple Music via Bluetooth, and new photo sharing features in Google Photos. Google Assistant on iOS As it was rumored earlier this week, Google today confirmed that its AI helper Google Assistant will be coming to iPhone soon as its own standalone app. This way, users will be able to chat with Google and gain access to all of its interactive features without needing a Pixel or Android smartphone. The company also announced that Google Assistant will be gaining new features including chatbot abilities and integration with a new technology called Google Lens, which enhances a smartphone's camera with AI learning. As an example, Google showed a demo where a user took a picture of a business's sign, and gave them reviews, menu items, friend check-ins, and more. Other examples include the camera's ability to identify what a user is looking at, such as the species of a flower, or connecting to a Wi-Fi network by taking a picture of a sticker on a router. Google Home Google highlighted a few new abilities coming to its smart home speaker Google Home, including personalized assistance features that will keep on top of each user's schedule. With the help of Google Assistant, Google Home will light up and warn users that they might be late for an upcoming appointment due to traffic or flight delays, and tell them when to head out accordingly. Hands-free calling is also coming for free on any landline in the United States and Canada, and can be activated by saying something like, "Hey Google, call mom." Google Home also supports multiple accounts and will learn the voices of each person over time, automatically adjusting certain commands depending on who is speaking. By the end of the year Google Home will launch to users in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan. Integration with Spotify's free music service, Soundcloud, and Deezer is coming so users will have more music listening options. The addition of Bluetooth support will greatly expand audio playback as well, meaning anyone with an iOS, Android, or any Bluetooth-supported device can stream audio from the handset directly to Google Home. This way, users can now stream Apple Music on Google Home. Visual responses with Google Home will speak directly with other Google products, like a Chromecast device, and let users check out their upcoming appointments or look at the weather forecast by simply asking Google Assistant on Google Home, and seeing the info on their TV. Google Photos For Google Photos, the company announced major sharing options coming to the photography app, including smart search and automatically curated albums, similar to Apple Photos. "Suggested Sharing" will use machine learning to remind users to share photos from a party or family gathering, smartly picking out the best pictures and sending it to other users on Google Photos. The receivers can see the shared photos in a new "shared" tab in the app, and anyone not on Google Photos will be able to get a text message or e-mail invite to check out the pics and save them to their phone. Further expanding on the sharing abilities of Google Photos, users will be able to share entire photo libraries with friends and family to collaborate and interact with their photo albums. The updates aren't just for digital photos either, with Google announcing a new feature called Photo Books. Similar to companies like Shutterfly, Photo Books will send users real albums filled with photos taken with their smartphone. Using Photo Books, users can select a variety of pictures, have Google Photos intelligently detect the best shots, and create a twenty-page softcover ($9.99) or hardcover ($19.99) book that's sent to them in the mail. Other Announcements Google announced Smart Reply is coming to Gmail on iOS, suggesting to users three responses based on the email that was received. Users can tap and send the reply right away, or edit it, and Google said that over time Smart Reply will figure out each user's preferred method of responses. So, for example, it'll be able to tell "if you're more of a "thanks!" than a "thanks." person." Throughout the keynote Google covered a variety of other topics, including new streaming options for YouTube, ongoing VR initiatives with Google Daydream, and detailed updates coming to Android. More information about the announcements, and what else is coming during the remaining days of I/O, can be found on Google's website.Tags: Google, Google I/O, Google Assistant, Google Home Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple Music executive and recording industry mogul Jimmy Iovine recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Music Business Worldwide, reflecting upon his desire for more people to start paying for music. The spread of free music has proliferated since the earliest days of the internet, starting with shady peer-to-peer services like Napster and LimeWire and progressing to legal, ad-supported platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Iovine thinks it's wrong, and insists artists should get paid for their work. However, he admitted that free music is "so technically good" that many people simply aren't willing to pay up. In fact, he said if Apple Music were to offer a free tier like Spotify, it "would have 400 million people on it" and make his job a lot easier. But that's not what he nor Apple believe in.I’ve put my money where my mouth is: Beats Music didn’t have a free tier. Apple Music doesn’t have a free tier. I’m not just talking it; I’m walking it. That’s why I aligned with Eddy and Tim and Steve. They thought the same way. I think what’s going on [with free music] is wrong. I just do.To change that, he said "you've got to put everything into making the experience for people who are paying feel special." Iovine believes that "people who pay for subscriptions should be advantaged," something Apple Music aims to accomplish with a lineup of original content in the works, including Carpool Karaoke: The Series, Vital Signs, Planet of the Apps, and an upcoming documentary with Harry Styles.In the beginning of Apple Music, I was very frustrated; I tried to fight [Spotify] and all those things. Now all we can do is make Apple Music such a special place that people want to come and that will encourage more people [to subscribe].Apple Music has also had exclusives with major artists such as Chance the Rapper, Drake, Frank Ocean, and Taylor Swift, and Iovine said those deals will continue occasionally, but he admitted that record labels "don't seem to like it." Iovine continues to believe that Apple Music will be "on the forefront of popular culture," a sentiment he has echoed in many interviews. Interview: "Musicians Taught Me Everything. Without Them, I'm Working On The Docks"Tags: Jimmy Iovine, Apple Music, MusicBusinessWorldwide.com Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's first iOS Developer Academy opened in Naples, Italy last October, providing 200 students with practical skills and experience to help turn their app ideas into reality and bring them to market on the App Store. One of those students is a young Neapolitan man named Luigi, who left Naples for the United Kingdom to find a technology job, but was enticed to return to the city upon hearing about Apple's Developer Academy. The Independent says after Luigi applied for the academy, he left his job at Starbucks so that he could study properly. He felt it was a risky move, but fortunately, he passed the test and joined the first year's class of students. Luigi described the academy as the "opportunity of my life" and, nearly eight months later, said he would "totally recommend" the experience to anyone looking to come from elsewhere in the world.“I was taking a risk, but this was the opportunity of my life,” he says. He had tried university already, and found it lacking because it had so little focus on student’s enjoyment and the work of actually solving problems and working with other people.The Independent explains how Apple's Developer Academy has made Naples a more attractive city for young people to thrive in, after years of suffering from "brain drain" following an industrial decline.“If you stay here you are part of an ecosystem that will continue to train developers,” says Giorgio Ventre, a professor at the University of Naples Federico II. “This is something that you do need if you want to open a company. You want to count on yourself - but you want to count on the skills you need to help your company grow. If you stay here you can find it.”Apple is accepting applications for the Developer Academy's second year until May 31. Scholarships are available, and each student inducted receives a free MacBook and iPhone to use during the one-year program. Courses are held at the University of Naples Federico II in Naples suburb San Giovanni a Teduccio. The academy will accept up to 400 students for the new academic year, twice as many as the first year. The program is open to students from across Italy and around the world, with Apple encouraging developers from the United Kingdom and elsewhere to apply in an effort to have a more diverse group of people. Last year, Apple said it expects to expand its Developer Academy program to other countries around the world in the future. Tags: Italy, iOS Developer Academy Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Apple Pay is now available in Italy, and iPhone users in the country are able to add eligible credit and debit cards to the Wallet app for use with Apple's payments service in stores and online. According to Apple's Italian Apple Pay website, Visa and MasterCards issued by Boon, Carrefour, and UniCredit can be used with Apple Pay in Italy. The site says support for additional banks will be added later this year. Rumors of Apple Pay's expansion to Italy have been circulating for several weeks as Apple worked to add support for its payments service in the country, and the service has been listed as "Coming Soon" on the Apple Pay Italy site since March. Apple Pay is available as a purchase option wherever contactless payments are accepted, with several official partners listed on Apple's website including Auchan, Autogrill, Eataly, LaGardenia, H&M, Leroy Merlin, Limoni, OVS, Simply Market, Unieuro, and more. Along with Italy, Apple Pay is also available in the United States, UK, China, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and Ireland. Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, and South Korea could all see Apple Pay support in the near future based on current rumors.Related Roundup: Apple Pay Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 10 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today updated its YouTube channel with a series of Accessibility videos, highlighting the different ways the Accessibility features built into the iPhone and iPad are used to help people accomplish a range of tasks. In one video, for example, a sight impaired singer and drummer named Carlos Vasquez shares how he uses features like VoiceOver to promote his band on social media sites. Carlos is the lead singer, drummer and PR manager for his metal band Distartica. Using VoiceOver, with Screen Curtain on iPhone, he can hail a ride, take a photo, and get the word out about his band's album release while keeping his screen entirely black.Another video features a middle school band teacher named Shane, who uses Made for iPhone hearing aids along with her iPhone to listen to her students perform. Shane is a middle school band and choir director who uses Made for iPhone hearing aids in her classroom so she can hear every note.There are a total of seven videos on Apple's YouTube channel, each of which features a unique, personalized story highlighting the myriad ways Accessibility features benefit iOS users. Back in October, Apple also published a new Accessibility website that demonstrates the extensive Accessibility options that Apple has built into its products and how those features are used to make Apple devices accessible to all.Tags: Apple ads, accessibility Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 10 days ago on mac rumors
At an event in New York City today, hearable company Bragi announced a trio of updates coming to its line of wireless Bluetooth headphones, including The Dash Pro, The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, and Bragi OS 3. The updates follow the launch of The Headphone device that Bragi debuted earlier this year at a lower cost to The Dash, allowing The Headphone to enter the market as a more direct competitor to Apple's AirPods. The Dash Pro The Dash Pro's major updates center around what Bragi described as "professional grade" Bluetooth connectivity that provides audio to users "without interruption," improving on some connection issues that owners of the original Dash faced. Other improvements include a five hour battery life on a single charge (up from three), with a carrying case that can recharge The Dash Pro up to five times, totaling 30 hours of battery life on the go. All of the advancements represent what Bragi is calling a "powerful ear computer," and not just a normal headphone or hearable device. The Dash PRO contains more than 150 micro-components, a 32-bit processor, artificial intelligence powered by Dash AI and 27 sensors, all in a package about the size of your fingertip. Those sensors help ignite Bragi’s unique Kinetic User Interface, which enables users to literally turn their body into the device with a tap of the cheek or a nod of the head through the Virtual 4-D menu. One-touch setup with any Apple, Android, or Windows device takes seconds, according to the company, and the audio transparency feature of The Dash has made it to the new device as well. With it, users can allow external sound to pass through into The Dash Pro, or cancel out any noise they don't want to hear to focus on in-ear audio. Audio quality has been bumped up with a new advanced audio codec with reduced white noise, and all-new foam tips (FitSleeves will be in the box again, too) provide stronger bass thanks to a better in-ear seal. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey Bragi has also partnered with hearing technology company Starkey and will be launching The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, with personally-tailored fitting and more nuanced audio-boosting features at 5,000 audiologists throughout the United States and Canada. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey is set to benefit users by allowing them to use "Fourth Platform" contextual computing interfaces that enhance their ability to interpret audio while enabling UI interactions through The Dash's motion sensing. “We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Dash PRO tailored by Starkey Hearing Technologies. As the world’s first custom-made wireless ear computer, this product is going to empower consumers to lead with confidence in everything they do,” said Brandon Sawalich, Senior Vice President, Starkey Hearing Technologies. “Our partnership brings a whole new dimension of personalization and customization to hearable technology to the market.” Users will be able to purchase the tailor-made device and get a fit that is exactly customized to their ear canal, providing the "best isolation and a perfect fit with an emphasis on clarity, detail, and no loss of bass frequencies." Bragi said that professionals in precision-based fields will see benefits from such a highly personalized in-ear fit, including musicians, content creators, athletes, and more. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey will also include HearClear replaceable WaxGuards to allow for long-term wear and minimal cleaning. Design and Bragi OS 3 In terms of design, The Dash Pro largely has kept the same look from the original device, with only subtle changes to the control slider (gun metal now instead of aluminum), and a leather inlay colored blue or gold for The Dash Pro and The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, respectively. The Dash Pro comes exclusively in black, so the hearable no longer comes in white. The Dash Pro and The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey will both come with Bragi's all-new OS 3 (BOS3) pre-installed, and existing Bragi users will be able to update their devices like past OS launches. The update adds automatic workout tracking into The Dash, which can now understand when the user is running, cycling, or swimming with the power of the on-board AI, powered by IBM Watson, so keeping track of workouts and fitness progress is less of a hassle. In regards to swimming workouts, each new device is waterproof in up to three feet of fresh water as well. One of the biggest new features is compatibility with iTranslate, the popular translation and dictionary app, which will come directly integrated into BOS3. Bragi said that this will introduce "real-time face-to-face conversational language translation" to an audio device for the first time. It works when a user launches the iTranslate iOS app, holds it up to a foreign speaker whose words are translated, piped into The Dash, and then read in the listener's language in real time. This way, if both users are wearing The Dash the two can essentially hold a conversation without knowing the other's language. iTranslate supports 40 languages and anyone who purchases Bragi's newest wearables will get a free one-month trial. After that, the service costs $4.99/month, $9.99/two months, or $39.99/year. Other additions in BOS3 include: Virtual 4D Menu – The Virtual 4D Menu is a unique hands-free, head-gestures (and audio only) way of interacting with The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, The Dash Pro and The Dash, giving users the option of accessing core features in situations where their hands are preoccupied with other things. Easy Bluetooth Handling – A simple one-touch setup connects your Android, Apple or Windows device in a matter of seconds. The six-digit confirmation code has been removed while a secure connection is maintained. The menu for Bluetooth Classic and BLE connections can be now found on the right earbud, leaving the left earbud for third party Apps integration. Simplified Touch Interface – The Touch UI has been simplified and made more ergonomic to use. Additional “Use Guides” support the user to easily connect to The Dash and explore its smart capabilities. Offline Storage and Data Transfer – Activity sessions are now stored and transferred to the Bragi app automatically so they can be accessed for future use. Sound Improvements – Advanced tonal balance for natural sound. Clearer Audio Transparency – The microphone’s noise floor has been greatly reduced and improvements have been made in understanding the naturalness of the acoustic landscape. Otherwise, Bragi's new devices function similarly to the original Dash, allowing users to stream audio from an iPhone through a wireless Bluetooth connection, make and receive phone calls, and use voice commands to control the headphone's various functions. The Dash Pro can store up to 1,000 songs and podcasts on 4GB of internal memory, enabling users to leave their iPhone behind when working out. The Dash Pro will retail for $329, and is available to purchase today on Bragi's online shop, with retailer rollout expected to begin in the coming weeks. The Dash Pro tailored by Starkey will cost $499 in the U.S. ($699 in Canada) and the company mentioned that a list of audiologists selling the device will be shared online soon. For owners of the original version of The Dash, BOS3 is available to download through the Bragi Updater.Tags: Bragi Dash, Bragi Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 10 days ago on mac rumors
Apple in April announced plans to begin offering "Today at Apple" educational classes at all of its 495 stores around the world, and as of today, the company has launched a new website to allow customers to sign up for the sessions. More than 4,000 sessions are being offered each day this week across all of Apple's retail stores. The "Today at Apple" program, which has been in place at Apple's Union Square location since the store opened, offers a range of classes on topics like coding, art, music, design, and photography. There are classes designed for both beginners and more experienced users, as well as classes for all ages, including children. Most sessions are taught by trained employees known as "Creative Pros," but in select cities, there are classes taught by well-known artists, photographers, and musicians. Session content will vary across different locations, but all 495 of Apple's retail stores are expected to offer "Photo Walks" and "Kids Hour" sessions by May 20. Today at Apple classes focus on everything from basic iPhone, iPad, and Mac skills to more advanced topics like mixing music on a Mac, editing photos on an iPhone, and drawing on an iPad. There are also "Studio Hours" where customers can bring in personal projects and get help from Apple staff. Most sessions are an hour in length, with the exception of Studio Hours, which last for an hour and a half. Apple Store chief Angela Ahrendts says the "Today at Apple" classes are designed to turn Apple locations into a "modern-day town square" where everyone is welcome to "discover a new passion" or take a skill to the next level. "We think it will be a fun and enlightening experience for everyone who joins," she said in a statement when the program was announced.Related Roundup: Apple Stores Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 10 days ago on mac rumors
Apple is planning to announce refreshes for its notebook lineup at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference set to take place in June, reports Bloomberg. New versions of the MacBook and MacBook Pro are expected to be announced, and Apple is also considering updating the MacBook Air, its most affordable notebook. The MacBook Pro, which was just updated in October with a slimmer design and a Touch Bar, will be refreshed with a faster Kaby Lake processor, an update from the Skylake processors in the current machines. It will look the same as the current model, adopting only internal updates. Apple has been working on a custom-designed ARM chip that could handle low power features in the MacBook Pro, but the chip may not be ready for the June MacBook Pro refresh. Apple's MacBook, last updated in April of 2016, will gain an updated processor, also likely to be in the Kaby Lake family. Apple has not updated its MacBook Air since March of 2015 and has been phasing it out in favor of the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, both of which are now thinner than the "Air" model, but Bloomberg suggests Apple is thinking about refreshing it with an updated processor, which would mean the MacBook Air could stick around for at least another few years as a low-cost notebook option. Sales of the MacBook Air "remain surprisingly strong" due to its affordability. The new notebooks are likely to be announced at Apple's June 5 keynote, which is set to kick off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Rumors also suggest Apple could use the event to introduce both a new Siri speaker and the long-rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is said to feature slimmer bezels for a nearly edge-to-edge design. Today's report makes no mention of the iMac or Mac mini, two of Apple's desktop machines that have not been updated in some time. It has been more than 580 days since the iMac was last updated in October of 2015, and more than 940 days since the Mac mini was updated in October of 2014. Apple has said it has updated iMacs in the works, but it is not clear when the machines will debut.Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, WWDC 2017, MacBook Tag: bloomberg.com Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Don't Buy), MacBook Pro (Neutral), MacBook (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.6 update to developers, one day after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.5, a minor update that introduced a fix for a bug with USB headphones and other small improvements. macOS Sierra 10.12.6 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or using the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. We don't know yet what's included in the macOS Sierra 10.12.6 update, but with the debut of the next-generation version of macOS approaching, it's likely to feature minor bug fixes, improvements, and security enhancements. Development of macOS is wrapping up as Apple transitions to macOS 10.13, which will be introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.Related Roundup: macOS Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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