posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has seeded a new beta of of an upcoming watchOS 3.2 update to developers for testing purposes. watchOS 3.2 comes more than three months after the release of watchOS 3.1, the first significant update to the watchOS operating system, and a few days after the release of watchOS 3.1.3. The watchOS 3.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone. watchOS 3.2 requires an iPhone running iOS 10 to install and will only be available to developers. Apple does not make watchOS betas available to the public as there is no way to downgrade the software on an Apple Watch. Ahead of releasing watchOS 3.2, Apple shared some details on what's included in the update with developers. watchOS 3.2 includes a "Theater Mode" designed to let customers mute the sound on their Apple Watch and disable Raise to Wake, preventing the screen from lighting up with arm movement. Theater Mode, originally introduced in watchOS 3.1.3, is being made available in watchOS 3.2. Customers are still able to receive haptic feedback-based notifications, and information can be viewed by either tapping the screen or pressing down on the Digital Crown. watchOS 3.2 also brings SiriKit to the Apple Watch, allowing customers to ask Siri to do things like send messages, send payments, book a ride, log a workout, make a call, or search through photos. SiriKit has been available on iOS devices since the release of iOS 10, but is new to the Apple Watch.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has introduced a new "Shot on iPhone" campaign called "One Night on iPhone 7" that will be on display in 25 countries starting today. Jennifer Bin sought to show a different perspective of Shanghai Apple enlisted a group of photographers to capture nighttime photos from dawn to dusk to showcase the low-light capabilities of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus cameras. The photographers traveled around the world, ranging from the clubs of Johannesburg in South Africa to the rooftops of Shanghai in China.Some of the photographers tackled extreme climates in search of the perfect shot. Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu ventured to Java, Indonesia to photograph the 130 active volcanoes, using an iPhone 7 attached to a drone to capture breathtaking views of Gunung Karang’s lava flow after dark. Ruairidh McGlynn traveled to Iceland to photograph the foreboding terrain of the Arctic, traveling overnight by dog sled.The photos will presumably be displayed on billboards and other advertising mediums in a number of cities around the world. A collection of seven photos in the campaign can be downloaded from the Apple Newsroom.Tags: Apple ads, Shot on iPhone Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
United States President Donald Trump and his administration have drafted an executive order that intends to overhaul the work-visa programs that various technology companies -- including Apple -- rely on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year. According to a draft of the order acquired by Bloomberg, affected visa programs include L-1, E-2, and B1. Directly affecting tech companies is H-1B, which lets companies like Apple hire appropriately skilled workers for specific jobs when there is a dearth of local talent available. Falling in line with Trump's "America first" intentions, which previously ignited reports of Apple turning to U.S.-based iPhone manufacturing, the order explains that the country's policy on immigration should not give priority to foreign workers. Its intent aims to prioritize and protect American workers, as well as their current and future jobs. “Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” the draft proposal reads, according to a copy reviewed by Bloomberg. “Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers -- our forgotten working people -- and the jobs they hold.” Although some companies use the visa programs to find high-skilled talent overseas, Bloomberg notes that allegations in recent years have claimed that the system can be abused to simply hire workers at a cheaper rate "to fill jobs that otherwise may go to Americans." Outsourced workers in India are said to be the main targets of the H-1B visa, filling in the technology departments of large corporations "with largely imported staff." Since the executive order is only in the drafting stages, it's not yet clear how much force or backing it would receive if made official. According to Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University, companies who potentially use the work-visa programs to hire cheap labor will be affected most, likely ending up having to pay more to their employees if the order is signed. Companies using the programs to legally hire skilled workers may be able to find alternative visas elsewhere, but the intent to make the process more difficult is clear. “If firms are using the program for cheap labor, I think it will affect them and they will have to pay workers more,” said Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University. “If tech firms are using the program for specialized labor, they may find there are more visas available.” If made official, Trump's order would cap workers who can enter the U.S. each year at 85,000, including educated workers with college degrees. According to the most recent data available, workers with H-1B visas at companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are paid more than $100,000 per year, while outsourcing firms reportedly intent on hiring for quantity over quality are said to pay workers less than $70,000 annually. Trump's order aims to bring transparency to these issues, with the intent to publish reports "with basic statistics on who uses the immigration programs within one month of the end of the government’s fiscal year." Today's news comes a few days after Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday, which left refugees and immigrants stranded at airports around the country over the weekend. In a letter to employees, Cook said that Trump's order is "not a policy we support," and that the company has "reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company." Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has removed its Activation Lock status checker on iCloud.com at some point in the past few days. The tool enabled users to enter the serial number or IMEI of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and find out if the device is secured with Activation Lock, helping buyers avoid purchasing a device locked to another user. A user purchasing a used iPhone on eBay or another website, for example, was able to request the device's serial number and use Apple's tool to verify that Activation Lock had been turned off. If the device was still locked, or if the seller refused to provide the serial number, then it was likely lost or stolen. The iCloud page where the tool was available now returns a "Not Found" page aka 404 error. Apple also removed the following reference to the tool from a related Find My iPhone support document earlier this week:How do I check for Activation Lock before purchasing a used device? When you buy an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch from someone other than Apple or an authorized Apple reseller, it is up to you to ensure that the device is erased and no longer linked to the previous owner’s account. You can check the current Activation Lock status of a device when you visit icloud.com/activationlock from any Mac or PC.Apple has not explained why it removed the page. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Activation Lock, enabled automatically when you turn on Find My iPhone, is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch if it is ever lost or stolen. A device with Activation Lock enabled requires the owner's Apple ID and password before it can be used, even if it is erased or reactivated. Last year, a number of users who purchased a brand new iPhone experienced an Activation Lock issue where their device was locked to someone else's Apple ID. Apple disabled Activation Lock for affected users upon being provided proof of purchase, but it is unclear if the strange issue factored into the page's removal. Activation Lock was introduced alongside iOS 7. The tool to check the Activation Lock status of a device had been available since October 2014.Tags: Activation Lock, Find My iPhone Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 25 days ago on mac rumors
Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent an email to employees speaking out against the immigration executive order that United States President Donald Trump signed yesterday afternoon. In the letter, shared with MacRumors by an Apple employee, Cook says Trump's order is "not a policy we support." Cook goes on to say that Apple's HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with all Apple employees who are affected, and he says Apple has "reached out" to the White House to "explain the negative effect" on the company. Cook's full letter is below:Team, In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I've made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration -- both to our company and to our nation's future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. I've heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support. There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday's immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them. We're providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company. As I've said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there's one thing I know about the people at Apple, it's the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It's as important now as it's ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued. Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now." TimCook's letter addresses the immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday, which suspends entry of all refugees to the United States for a total of 120 days, bans Syrian refugees for an indeterminate amount of time, and blocks citizens of seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen) from entering the United States for 90 days. The order has left immigrants stranded at airports around the country and has sparked panic and outrage among tech companies with affected employees. The letter comes after Cook spent a week in Washington, where he met with Utah senator Orrin Hatch to discuss the economy and tech industry and had dinner with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. While Cook did not meet with President Trump during the trip, back in December, he and several other tech leaders like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down with Trump to discuss a range of topics including trade and immigration. Though Apple has butted heads with Trump over the past few months after Trump suggested he would force the company to build its products in the United States instead of overseas, Cook explained to employees that he attended the summit to "influence these issues" because "being on the sideline" is not "a successful place to be." Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Tag: Tim Cook Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 25 days ago on mac rumors
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Friday afternoon to discuss topics like technology and economy, reports BuzzFeed. Hatch, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee and leads the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, has met with Cook several times in the past and participated in Apple's ongoing encryption debate with the U.S. government, calling for a private Senate briefing with Apple attorney Ted Olson following the dismissal of the San Bernardino case. During Friday's meeting, Hatch told BuzzFeed he and Cook talked about ways to grow the economy and the technology industry. They also spoke about Cook's trip to Utah in October, where Cook took part in a privacy-related Q&A session hosted by Hatch."During today's meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, we discussed ways to grow the economy and our tech industry, as well as his recent visit with me in Utah," Sen. Hatch said in an statement to BuzzFeed News. "Given the issues I work on as chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, it's especially useful to listen to innovators like Tim."Cook, along with Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives Lisa Jackson, also had dinner with Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, on Thursday evening. They dined at Italian restaurant Tosca, located near the White House, but it's not clear what was discussed. Cook's meetings with Hatch, Trump, and Kushner follow a December tech summit that saw Cook and other leaders like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk meet with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss topics like trade, immigration, and vocational education. At the time, Cook told Apple employees he attended the tech summit with Trump because Apple plans to continue to focus on key areas like privacy, security, education, human rights, and combating climate change. "Personally, I've never found being on the sideline a successful place to be," he said. "The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena." Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Tag: Tim Cook Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 26 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has been in the smart home market for over two years, having introduced its HomeKit framework in the fall of 2014 alongside iOS 8, but HomeKit has been slow to get off the ground because of the company's strict requirements. Amazon, meanwhile, entered the smart home market somewhat later with its Alexa-enabled Echo in-home speaker officially launching in the summer of 2015, but Amazon's Echo already supports a wider range of products. The difference between the two? Open and closed development, as explored by Reuters in a new article that details the different approaches that Amazon and Apple have taken when developing their smart home offerings. Apple maintains strict control over its HomeKit platform, with a heavy focus on security and simplicity. Manufacturers who want to create a HomeKit product are required to use special HomeKit chips priced up to $2, along with specific WiFi and Bluetooth chips. Bluetooth-enabled HomeKit products from Elgato HomeKit devices have to be made in factories certified by Apple, and then have to be sent to Cupertino for rigorous testing, a process that can take three to five months and must be conducted in secret. Amazon's process for smart home products that work with Alexa is much simpler, taking a matter of days to complete. Smart home companies simply need to write code and send it for Amazon to review -- that's it. No special chips, no secure factories, and no specific oversight. Companies can send a product to a third-party lab for testing to earn a specific "Works with Alexa" label, a process that is completed "within 10 days." Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo As Reuters points out, while HomeKit doesn't work with as many products, it supports Bluetooth, is much more secure, and has a quicker setup process. Security, which Amazon can't promise, is a key differentiator between the two companies and a factor that could ultimately entice more consumers in the long run. A non-hackable smart home product like a door lock or a camera provides more peace of mind than quick compatibility.Amazon acknowledges that unlike Apple, it can't guarantee the security of third-party devices. A company spokeswoman did note that sensitive commands like unlocking doors have an extra layer of security such as a voice-controlled PIN.Reuters spoke with several HomeKit manufacturers, and all were satisfied with Apple's approach. "It makes for a better user experience," said Incipio senior engineer Ahmed Abdallah, speaking about HomeKit's ability to work offline. "They found issues with our product before we released it that we didn't find in our testing," said Nanoleaf CEO Gimmy Chu. Amazon's simpler certification process has led to over 250 smart home products being certified to work with Alexa, while Apple has certified approximately 100 devices. Alexa-enabled devices have also been selling rapidly, with an estimated 10 million sales over the holiday season, while Apple's HomeKit sales are less clear.Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said the company is leading the industry by being the first to integrate home automation into a major platform with iOS 10. "The number of HomeKit-compatible accessories continues to grow rapidly with many exciting solutions announced just this month," she said.Apple is rumored to be ramping up its smart home efforts through a smart home hub that's similar to the Amazon Echo, with built-in Siri capabilities, a speaker, and a microphone, allowing it to be used for controlling smart home accessories. For more detail on the lengths that Apple goes to in order to ensure that its HomeKit products are secure, make sure to read the full analysis over at Reuters.Tags: HomeKit, Amazon Echo Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 26 days ago on mac rumors
Microsoft on Thursday reported a 5% increase in revenue from licensing Windows to PC makers as part of its latest quarterly earnings results. In a subsequent conference call, Microsoft's chief financial officer Amy Hood said its "partner ecosystem continued to see growth and share gains in the Windows premium device category," according to Business Insider. The comment has been interpreted by some as Microsoft stepping up its game against the Mac. Microsoft reportedly defines "premium devices" as computers that are in the $900-plus price range, which equates to the higher end of the market traditionally led by Apple products such as the MacBook Pro. By its own definition, this includes Microsoft's latest Surface Book and Surface Studio desktop. Last month, Microsoft said "more people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before" following "the disappointment of the new MacBook Pro." The company has not released actual sales numbers to back that claim, however, while Microsoft's latest results include licensing to all Windows PC vendors. While research firm Gartner says the worldwide PC market continues to decline, Mac sales grew by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Lenovo, HP, and Dell, the top three vendors, saw an estimated 5.4%, 4.3%, and 1.6% growth respectively during the quarter as well, while Asus, Acer, and others faced declines, according to Gartner.Tags: Microsoft, Windows Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 26 days ago on mac rumors
After teasing fans to "come see our latest creation" in the weeks leading up to one of its famous media events, seven years ago today former Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first-generation iPad to the world. The iPad was announced as a larger-screen counterpart to the company's three-years-old iPhone, with Scott Forstall pointing out during the conference that the tablet could run "virtually every" iPhone app thanks to an on-screen button that users could press to scale the app's resolution up and down on a whim. The original iPad launched with a 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 resolution touch screen, in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities. The 1.5lb tablet included Apple's A4 chip and was priced at $499, $599, and $699 for Wi-Fi only models, and $629, $729, and $829 for Wi-Fi + 3G models in each respective capacity. The Wi-Fi version debuted on April 3, 2010, while users interested in Wi-Fi and 3G had to wait until April 30 for Apple's new tablet. Steve Jobs on the iPad: “iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.” After the event in 2010, initial reactions to the iPad were largely positive, with sites like Engadget calling it "blazingly fast" and remarking that the tablet had no lag when hopping around its various apps. The screen was thought to be "stunning" and the iPad's iBooks application impressed, thanks to its flipping page animations and library-inspired bookshelf space for eBooks that upheld Apple's then popular skeuomorphic iOS design. The original iPad's largest drawback centered on its substantial 1.5lb weight, as well as the lack of Flash in its operating system, no multitasking, and no camera. Seven years later, Apple has iterated on its original design and addressed most of these user complaints with each update to the iPad. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs about the same as the original iPad at 1.57lbs, and still runs a larger version of iOS, but it's thinner (6.9mm vs 13mm) and is the "most capable and powerful" iPad yet, according to Apple, putting it on par with desktop-class machines. While the iPad saw strong early adoption, Apple has experienced sales declines in the past few years, with users replacing their iPads less frequently than iPhones. Most commonly, users update their iPhones every year or two, while finding their iPads remain serviceable for longer. In the company's annual earnings report last October focusing on the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016, iPad sales were down slightly to 9.3 million from 9.9 million in the same year-ago quarter. Although they were also infamously down in sales in 2016, Apple still sold 45.5 million iPhones in the same quarter, down from 48 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. New iPads are consistently part of the Apple rumor cycle, and 2017 has been no different, with current reports pointing towards the launch of three new iPad Pro models sometime during the calendar year. Apple is believed to put out a new 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad, but the exact screen size of a mysterious middle size model has been up for debate, including 10.1, 10.5, and 10.9-inches. When it launches, the new 10-inch model may look very different from the 2010 iPad, reportedly doing away with the iconic Home Button, further reducing the size of the tablet's bezels with an edge-to-edge display, and include the usual iterative bumps to camera resolution and speed. One of the ports that the 2017 iPad is rumored to keep intact from its seven-year-old progenitor is the 3.5mm headphone jack, which the iPhone 7 ditched last year. The full press conference covering Steve Jobs' introduction of the iPad can be viewed on YouTube here.Related Roundup: iPad Pro Tag: Steve Jobs Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 26 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has formally joined the Partnership on AI as a founding member, confirming an earlier report, the organization announced today.Apple has joined the Partnership on AI as a founding member. The company has been involved and collaborating with the Partnership since before it was first announced and is thrilled to formalize its membership alongside Amazon, Facebook, Google/DeepMind, IBM, and Microsoft.Siri co-founder Tom Gruber, who heads advanced development of the assistant at Apple, will serve on the Partnership's inaugural Board of Trustees. The Partnership on AI is a non-profit research consortium established in September to "study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society," according to its website. Apple has always been notoriously secretive, but it recently started allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to start publishing papers. The company's contributions to the broader artificial intelligence research community could help it attract top talent that would not otherwise want to join. Apple has been recruiting talent and acquired several AI-related companies in recent months, including Turi, VocalIQ, Perceptio, and Emotient, to build out its in-house AI team led by Carnegie Mellon professor Russ Salakhutdinov. Apple is rumored to be working on "enhanced" Siri capabilities for next-generation iPhones to keep up with competitors such as Amazon's Alexa.Tag: artificial intelligence Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 27 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to public beta testers for testing purposes, two days after seeding the first 10.12.4 beta to developers and three days after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.3. Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will receive the 10.12.4 macOS Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to both iOS and macOS Sierra betas. Betas should not be installed on a primary machine due to the potential for instability. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 brings iOS's popular Night Shift mode to the Mac, allowing users to cut down on blue light exposure. Believed to affect sleep by upsetting the body's circadian rhythm, blue light is thought to be more harmful than yellow light. With Night Shift, the Mac's display automatically shifts from cool to warm at sunset and then shifts back at sunrise. Users can also set custom times for the display's colors to shift, or toggle the effect on manually. A Toggle to turn Night Shift on is available in the Notification Center, and Siri can also be used to activate the feature. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 also includes Shanghainese dictation support, cricket scores for Siri, and PDFKit improvements. Related Roundup: macOS Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 27 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3 update to public beta testers for testing purposes, more than a month after releasing iOS 10.2 and two days after providing the iOS 10.3 beta to developers. Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 10.3 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on their iOS device. Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to both iOS and macOS Sierra betas. Betas are not stable and include many bugs, so they should be installed on a secondary device. A major 10.x update, iOS 10.3 introduces a new "Find My AirPods" option to help users locate a lost AirPod. Located in the "Find My Friends" app, the Find My AirPods feature marks the last known location where AirPods were connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth and it allows the AirPods to play a sound to make finding them nearby easier. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Along with a Find My AirPods feature, the update also includes a shift to Apple File System (APFS). First introduced in 2016, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and includes strong encryption and other important features. Apple recommends all users make an iCloud backup before installing iOS 10.3, as the update will cause the iPhone's file system to switch over to Apple File System. iOS 10.3 also introduces a tweaked app animation, a new Apple ID profile in the Settings app, a better breakdown on how iCloud storage is being used, SiriKit improvements, new iCloud analytics options, and more. For a full list of what's new in iOS 10.3 beta 1, make sure to check out our dedicated post.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 27 days ago on mac rumors
Apple will take a significant step toward disclosing more of its artificial intelligence research this week by becoming a member of a non-profit AI research consortium founded by five of the tech industry's biggest players. Last September, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM publicly announced The Partnership on AI, an organisation established "to study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society". As one of the biggest researchers in AI, Apple's name was conspicuously absent, but that looks set to change in the coming days, following a Bloomberg report on Thursday that Cupertino is ready to add its name to The Partnership's list of corporate heavyweights. According to its website, the Partnership on AI intends to conduct research, organize discussions, share insights, provide thought leadership, consult with relevant third parties, respond to questions from the public and media, and create educational material that advance the understanding of AI technologies including machine perception, learning, and automated reasoning.Apple's imminent membership is just the latest indication that the company is prepared to reveal more of its work in areas of artificial intelligence. At an invitation-only AI conference held in Barcelona last month, where Apple employees discussed their work in various related fields, the company announced it would begin allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to publish and share their work in papers. Two weeks later, the first paper was published, covering Apple's work on intelligent image recognition. Cupertino is also known to be working on a range of other AI projects, including health and vital signs, LiDAR, neural networks, intelligent assistant and language modeling, and activity recognition. While the Partnership's founding members are committed to publishing a wide range of research under an open license, just how much of this work will be shared remains unclear, but we should know more soon. Apple is expected to announce its membership in the Partnership later this week.Tag: artificial intelligence Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
iOS 10.3 introduces a new "Find My AirPods" feature, giving AirPods owners a way to keep track of the tiny wire-free earphones Apple started selling back in December. Because iOS 10.3 is limited to developers, we thought we'd take a hands-on look at the new Find My AirPods feature to give iOS users an idea of what to expect when iOS 10.3 officially launches. In the video below, you can see just how the feature helps you find a lost AirPod, and its limitations. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Find My AirPods relies on the AirPods connection to an iPhone or another iOS device because the AirPods themselves don't have any cellular connectivity built in. The feature keeps track of the last known location where the AirPods were connected to an iOS device over Bluetooth, so if one is misplaced, there's a general location of where it might have last been seen. That location is displayed on a map in the "Find My iPhone" app, much like any other Mac or iOS device. There's also an option to cause the AirPods to play a sound, which is super handy for finding an AirPod that's fallen between the couch cushions or has been buried in a backpack. Find My AirPods requires the AirPods to be connected to an iPhone, so the feature does not work while the AirPods are in the AirPods case, making it somewhat less useful. If you lose the AirPods while they're in the case, it appears you're out of luck. Apple charges $69 to replace a lost or broken AirPod or to replace an AirPods charging case, so though limited, the Find My AirPods option is a welcome feature that does make it a bit easier to keep track of where your AirPods are at all times. We expect to see several iOS 10.3 betas before the software is released to the public, so general users may need to wait awhile to get their hands on the Find My AirPods feature, but a public beta test is likely to be made available in the next few weeks.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Tag: AirPods Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
Since 2011, the worldwide smartphone market has been dominated by Apple and Samsung. The elusive third-best spot, meanwhile, has failed to be held down by one vendor for an extended period of time, changing hands between Nokia, BlackBerry, Xiaomi, and Huawei over the past six years. In 2014, it looked like low-priced Chinese vendor Xiaomi had firmly cemented its position as the world's third-largest smartphone maker, but fewer than three years later, it has fallen out of the top five or even six vendors, according to the latest quarterly data from research firms IDC and TrendForce. Xiaomi's recent decline can be attributed to a limited physical retail presence and increased competition from Huawei's lower-end Honor brand. Xiaomi continues to avoid selling premium smartphones—its most expensive model costs around $400—and some of its Mi smartphones have received mediocre reviews. Huawei has since dethroned Xiaomi as not only China's largest smartphone maker, but the world's third largest. And now, the company has its eyes set on challenging Apple and Samsung for the crown, reports Fortune. "We want to grow into top two market share, and, in the future, top one by 2021," Huawei's consumer head Richard Yu told the publication. In the first quarter of 2016, Huawei sold ten times as many smartphones as Apple in Finland, according to research firm IDC. In Europe, it is now the top-selling smartphone maker in Portugal and the Netherlands and the second biggest in Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Spain, according to the report. But if Huawei ever wants to truly challenge Apple and Samsung, it will have to conquer a key market where it has failed to make a dent: the United States. Huawei does not even crack the list of top ten smartphone makers in the country, trailing behind smaller rivals such as BLU and OnePlus. It doesn't help that Huawei lacks agreements with the U.S.'s "big four" carriers, namely Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. U.S. customers have to resort to retailers such as Best Buy or Walmart, or Huawei's direct sales website, to purchase one of their devices, reducing the brand's visibility in the country. For its sake, Huawei appears to recognize it needs to take a new approach to the American market:“The past five years we were not taking the right strategy,” Yu says. “We didn’t have the right people.” Huawei recently hired Michelle Xiong, a former Verizon wireless executive with experience negotiating with device makers, to help sell Huawei’s smartphones. But a Huawei staffer cautions that any carrier agreement is at least a year away, pushing meaningful success in the U.S. at least three years down the road.Apple reported sales of 45.5 million iPhones in the third quarter, while IDC estimates Huawei shipped 33.6 million smartphones on the quarter, so the Chinese company is within striking range. But whether it can continue its momentum, or fall back into obscurity like Xiaomi, is something only time will tell.Tags: Huawei, Xiaomi Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
Last week, a reddit post accusing Apple of removing negative reviews for the LG UltraFine 5K Display started making the rounds, suggesting Apple was hiding negative feedback about the new display in its web store. MacRumors has learned that reviews were never made available for the LG 5K Display in Apple's online store, though the reason for that is not clear. It could be that reviews were not activated due to the long delay between when the display was announced and when it became available for purchase. Whatever the reason behind the lack of reviews, the issue has been fixed. As of this morning, the LG 5K Display listing on Apple's website does indeed feature a "Ratings & Reviews" section. Looking back at archived web information from 2016 and early 2017 confirms that the LG 5K Display listing never displayed rating or review details, and if Apple were censoring reviews, the company also likely would have put an end to lukewarm reviews for the 4K LG UltraFine Display. The 4K display store listing has offered reviews since it became available for purchase. Because Apple didn't delete the reviews, the premise behind the original reddit post is flawed. While it's true there's been some negative feedback about the LG 5K Display on Apple's Support Communities, there was no secret censoring of information on the store page. It is not clear if Apple is looking into any of the issues that prompted the reddit post. On Apple's Support Communities, customers complain of issues with the display suddenly shutting off, flickering, or not connecting to a Mac, ports not working, sound problems, and more. The LG UltraFine 5K Display has been available for purchase since the middle of December. Apple is currently offering a limited time discount on the display, dropping the price from $1,299 to $974. The special pricing will be available through the end of March.Related Roundup: Displays Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
GameStop last week announced it is closing a number of non-productive Simply Mac locations throughout the United States, less than four years after acquiring and expanding the Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider, which effectively serves as a third-party Apple Store in smaller markets. Following the reports, we received a tip from a disgruntled Apple Authorized Service Provider owner who said the underlying issues prompting Simply Mac's downsizing are "far deeper" than it would seem. He noted his own AASP is closing because Apple has "slowly strangled" him on margins and with "free labor" demands. Another longtime Apple Authorized Dealer and Service Provider told us that AASPs have been "under siege" for years. The person, who wishes to remain anonymous, said profit margins are "appallingly low" and that Apple views its authorized service partners as "nothing more than glorified TV repairmen." "I am sad to say that I do not see this changing," the person said. "Apple is highly aware of our concerns and do not seem to care. As an Apple reseller for over 20 years, I thought that when Apple became successful we would participate in that success, but we did not," the person added. Given the polarizing comments from a few, we decided to reach out to a number of Apple's authorized sales and service partners in the United States and Canada to see if there is any validity to the claims. A number of the Apple Authorized Resellers and Service Providers we spoke to refuted the allegations, noting they are stable if not growing, but we did learn that Apple has made one adjustment in particular that might explain the pressure felt by some sales and service partners—especially smaller ones with fewer sales. Since August 2015, Apple has lowered its profit margins for resellers, requiring them to pay more upfront for products. Apple then rebates the difference as part of the monthly Business Development Funds checks it sends to resellers, but this method requires resellers to wait longer to be fully paid. In other words, while the margins did not change overall, resellers are now forced to pay more upfront for Apple products to sell, which restricts cash flow that could otherwise be used for day-to-day operations, employee wages, and other expenses. For smaller resellers, the change can be particularly burdensome. Meanwhile, one reseller believes Apple's arguably lackluster 2016 was a contributing factor to its own year-over-year sales decline. On the service side, one person told us they "don't know that there is any truth" to the statement about Apple demanding "free labor," which a separate source said is likely an exaggeration for certain items that Apple used to compensate resellers for but now considers "non-revenue repair." "I would not say that Apple has been demanding any kind of free labor," a service manager told MacRumors. "However, they are increasingly sending customers to us for iPhone repairs, which do not pay very well. We get paid more for a ten minute Mac repair than we do for an hour-long iPhone one." "I am pleased to say that Apple really values their service partners and has increased our compensation for warranty work," another reseller said. "If you can achieve Premium Service Provider status, you get some nice perks along with higher compensation. While not perfect, Apple service really seems to care about us and is constantly trying to make things better for us." MacMedics, an Apple Authorized Premium Service Provider with two locations in Maryland in Severna Park and Lanham, and another in Philadelphia, agreed to comment on the record to shine positive light on Apple. "We're doing very well, we've expanded, and we opened a new pure retail location in 2015. Apple give us great support and guidance," said Dana Stibolt, President of MacMedics. "We're very encouraged by the upward trends over the last year, and in fact we're hiring more staff for all locations for both in-lab and on-site." The other sources asked not to be identified. Apple and GameStop did not respond to requests for comment.Tags: Simply Mac, AASP Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
Following a beta testing period of more than a month, Mac app subscription service Setapp today officially launched to the public, making a collection of Mac apps available to users for a low monthly fee. Priced at $9.99 per month, Setapp is designed to be an alternative to the Mac App Store. Through the Setapp service, more than 60 apps across a wide range of categories are available to customers. Access to apps is unlimited and includes all updates and in-app purchase content. Setapp offers many popular Mac titles like RapidWeaver, CleanMyMac, Ulysses, Blogo, CodeRunner, Pixa, Focused, iMazing, Marked, Screens, Pagico, iStat Menus, and more.The team behind Setapp hopes that once the concept catches on with developers, the service will be able to offer somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 apps."If you want to get the most out of your Mac, you need great software and if you're like most Mac users, you're probably always on the lookout for new stuff that helps you get more done during your day without wasting too much time or money," said Oleksandr Kosovan, founder and CEO of MacPaw and its Setapp division. "Setapp is the ultimate 'unstore' option that gives you unlimited access to lots of great software without the anxiety of non-refundable, expensive purchases."To use Setapp, customers install the Setapp app, which creates a folder in Finder on the Mac. The folder includes a library of apps, which users can install and use as long as a Setapp subscription is active. Using one of the Setapp apps does require a subscription, so access is revoked if a subscription is canceled. An online connection is required for updates, but all software can be used offline. For developers, Setapp aims to provide a steady stream of revenue. The company offers 70 percent of the total revenue generated by their apps, which is based on which applications customers use during a billing cycle. Two-thirds of the remaining 30 percent is also given to developers as part of a partner fee based on the value of each subscriber brought to the platform. Setapp can be downloaded from the Setapp website for free starting today.Tag: Setapp Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
macOS Sierra 10.12.4, seeded to developers this morning, introduces a major new feature: Night Shift for the Mac. First introduced for iOS devices in iOS 9.3, Night Shift is designed to gradually shift the display of a device from a blue tint to a more yellow tint during the evening, cutting down on exposure to blue light. A quick overview of how Night Shift works on the Mac can be seen in the video below. Night Shift can be toggled on and off using the new Night Shift switch located in the Today section of the Notification Center. Preferences for Night Shift are available in the Displays section of System Preferences. In this section, users can schedule Night Shift to come on at sunset and turn off at sunrise or set a custom Night Shift schedule. There's also a manual toggle and an option to change the color temperature of the display. Night Shift-style functionality has previously been available on Macs through the popular and well-known f.lux software, but it will be a built-in feature in macOS Sierra in 10.12.4, eliminating the need for a third-party app. F.lux continues to offer a bit more customization, however, with the option to turn it off on a per-app basis. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 is only available to developers at the current time, but it should be made available to public beta testers in the near future. It will likely be beta tested for at least a month or two prior to release, so expect to see the update in March or April.Related Roundup: macOS Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 28 days ago on mac rumors
Released this morning, iOS 10.3 is the third major update to the iOS 10 operating system. Its main feature is a new "Find My AirPods" mode for locating lost AirPods, but the update also includes many other smaller changes and feature tweaks. There's a new profile option in the Settings app, iCloud usage is broken down more clearly, SiriKit has been updated to include bill paying functionality, and there's a new file system implemented when first installing iOS 10.3. Check out the video below for a quick rundown on all the new features introduced in iOS 10.3, and make sure to read the rest of the post for even more detail. App animation - Apple has tweaked the animation for opening and closing apps very slightly. As they open, apps now have more rounded edges, a difference that's noticeable on apps that open slowly. Old animation on left, new animation on right Apple ID Settings profile - There's a new "Apple ID" profile option that's displayed at the top of the Settings app. It shows all Apple ID info, including all devices you're signed into, and it has links to iCloud, iTunes & App Store, and Family Sharing. All of these options used to be listed under an "iCloud" setting. iCloud storage breakdown - In the iCloud section of the new Apple ID Settings feature, there's a visual breakdown of how iCloud storage space is being used. It's more immediately clear how much space photos or iCloud backups are using. Tapping on the new storage option opens the standard iCloud management options. This section also lists all apps that use iCloud and includes the settings for Keychain, Find My iPhone, and iCloud Backup. Find My AirPods - Find My AirPods is a new option available in the "Find My iPhone" app. It keeps track of the last known location where AirPods were connected to an iOS device over Bluetooth, making a misplaced AirPod easier to find. It also allows users to play a sound to locate a lost AirPod. It does not work when the AirPods are in the case and its functionality is somewhat limited because AirPods have no connection of their own. SiriKit - SiriKit, the iOS 10 feature that lets third-party apps access Siri, is being updated with new features that will let Siri be used to pay bills, check on the status of payments, and schedule future rides from services like Uber. CarPlay - CarPlay has been updated with shortcuts for launching the most recently used apps and the location of EV charging stations. Maps - In the Maps app, there's now an option to 3D Touch on the weather icon to see a weather forecast and other weather-related details for your current location. HomeKit - HomeKit has gained support for programmable light switches. Apple File System - When installing iOS 10.3, the iPhone's file system will be updated to use Apple File System (APFS). Apple recommends making a backup before downloading the new update. Announced at WWDC last year, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption, space sharing, copy-on write metadata, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, and more. App icons (developer) - Developers will be able to update the icons for their apps at any time, with an update no longer required to push out new icon artwork. Analytics - The "Diagnostics and Usage" option in the Privacy section of the Settings app has been renamed to "Analytics" in iOS 10.3. It continues to allow users to decide whether or not to send usage information to Apple to help the company improve its services. There's also a new "Share iCloud Analytics" section that allows analytics of usage and data from an iCloud account. Apple uses differential privacy to protect user information. iPad keyboard - Hidden in iOS 10.3 is a setting for a one-handed floating iPad keyboard layout that can be used on a 9.7-inch or smaller iPad. The feature, discovered by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, is not currently available. iOS 10.3 is currently only available for developers, but Apple will likely release a public beta for public beta testers in the near future. iOS 10.3 will likely remain in testing for a couple months before it sees a public release, so it could launch in March or April.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 29 days ago on mac rumors
Apple hasn't released the first watchOS 3.2 beta to developers as of yet, but the company has shared release notes highlighting the new features that will be introduced in the update. The most important new feature is a "Theater Mode" that's designed to let customers quickly mute the screen on their Apple Watch and disable raise to wake, preventing the screen from lighting up with arm movement. With Theater Mode enabled, customers will still receive haptic feedback for each incoming notification, and information can be viewed by tapping the screen or pressing down on the Digital Crown. According to Apple, Theater Mode was included in watchOS 3.1.3, but it does not yet appear to be available to consumers as an option, suggesting it will be activated when watchOS 3.2 is installed. Rumors originally suggested a theater mode would be included in iOS 10.3, but it appears the mode was actually designed for the Apple Watch, where it arguably makes a lot more sense. That rumor said theater mode would be activated through a popcorn-shaped icon, so we may see that icon on the Apple Watch. watchOS 3.2 also brings SiriKit to the Apple Watch, allowing customers to ask Siri to do things like send messages, send payments, book a ride, log a workout, make a call, or search through photos. SiriKit has been available on iOS devices since the release of iOS 10, but is new to the Apple Watch. WatchKit Framework Enhancements and the AVAudioPlayer API are other new features being added in watchOS 3.2. Given iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 were released today, we could see a watchOS 3.2 beta soon, but Apple has given no indication of when it will launch.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 29 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's AirPods are wire-free, which makes them convenient to use, but it's also caused some concern from users who are afraid to lose their $159 earphones. In its latest beta, Apple has introduced a new feature to assuage customer fears - Find My AirPods. Available in iOS 10.3, Find My AirPods adds your AirPods to the "Find My iPhone" app, listing them alongside all other Apple products. In the app, you can tap on the AirPods to cause them to play a little chirping sound that gradually gets louder for location purposes. After activating the sound, you can choose to have it play solely through the left AirPod or through the right AirPod so you don't need to listen to chirping if only one of the AirPods is missing. The location of the AirPods is displayed on the iPhone's screen. The AirPods rely on the iPhone's GPS to display a location (or another iOS device) and will offer up the last known place where the AirPods were connected should the AirPods be misplaced. Find My AirPods isn't a perfect solution because the AirPods have no built in cellular connectivity of their own, but with the ability to see the last known location, AirPods owners can at least go to that spot to attempt to reconnect, and the included sound capabilities help narrow down a location. Find My AirPods is activated automatically when iOS 10.3 is installed. AirPods show up in the menu as soon as they're connected to an iOS device. iOS 10.3 is currently limited to developers, but a public beta should be available in the near future.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 29 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to developers, more than one month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.2 and four months since the debut of the new macOS Sierra operating system. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 one day after Apple released macOS Sierra 10.12.3. The first macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta is available for download through the Apple Developer Center or the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store. A public beta will likely be available for public beta testers later this week. We don't yet know exactly what features, bug fixes, or changes will be introduced in the macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta, but because it accompanies iOS 10.3, it could be a more significant update that focuses on changes beyond bug fixes. According to Apple, the update includes a new Night Shift mode that automatically shifts the display color to the warmer end of the spectrum after night, offering Mac users an alternative to F.lux. Night Shift has been available on iOS devices since iOS 9.3. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 also includes Shanghainese dictation support for converting text to speech, and Siri will soon gain the ability to display cricket scores. Related Roundup: macOS Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 29 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3 update to developers, marking the third major update to the iOS 10 operating system that was released in September. The first iOS 10.3 beta comes more than a month after the release of iOS 10.2. Registered developers can download the new iOS 10.3 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed. As a 10.x update, iOS 10.3 likely brings bug fixes, performance improvements, and new features to iOS 10. While we won't know what's in the update until developers begin discovering changes, it is rumored to include a new "Theatre" mode with a "popcorn-shaped" icon in the Control Center. What the rumored Theatre mode does is unclear, but should it be included in iOS 10.3, we'll find out its purpose soon enough. We'll update this post with new features that are found in the update. Update: Apple has shared release details with several sites, outlining features that are included in the update. While the main feature is a new "Find My AirPods" option, there are also several smaller updates. What's new in iOS 10.3: - There's a new "Find My AirPods" tool to help users locate lost AirPods. - SiriKit can be used to pay bills, check on the status of payments, and schedule future rides. - The weather icon in the Maps app includes 3D Touch to show hourly forecasts. - CarPlay includes new shortcuts for launching recently used apps. - CarPlay's Maps now features EV charging station locations. - HomeKit supports programmable light switches. - Conversation View in the Mail app features navigation improvements. - When installing iOS 10.3, it will update the file system to Apple File System (APFS), so it's important to make a backup before updating.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 29 days ago on mac rumors
A collection of the world's top-selling smartphone makers, including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi, are all planning to double down on artificial intelligence features on handsets launching this year, and beyond. According to industry sources (via DigiTimes), the companies are hoping an improvement to AI assistant capabilities will "ramp up market shares in 2017." For Apple, that means the company is gearing up to add in an "enhanced Siri" to next-generation iPhone devices, although it's unclear whether that means the upcoming 2017 iPhone 8, or another model launching after this year. It's not specified what exactly an enhanced version of Siri will be able to accomplish, but an overall improvement to voice recognition and better contextual understanding of user requests might be part of the update. DigiTimes' report specifically references Apple's acquisition of machine learning and AI startup Turi last August as a way that the company intends to bolster Siri's reliability with consumers, "as well as the market share" over other AI assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Assistant. Smartphone vendors, including Apple, Samsung Electronics, Huawei, LG Electronics and Xiaomi Technology, are likely to introduce models featuring AI (artificial intelligence) applications as a means to ramp up market shares in 2017, according to industry sources. Apple acquired Australia-based machine learning startup Turi in August 2016, aiming to further strengthen the functionality, as well as the market share, of its Siri intelligent personal assistant. Meanwhile, market sources have also indicated that Apple's next-generation iPhone devices are likely to come with enhanced Siri. In terms of competition, Huawei -- as the third-largest smartphone maker in the world -- is reportedly ready to battle Apple and Samsung, with AI as a leading feature. Huawei recently launched the Mate 9 in the United States with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant pre-installed, giving users an easier way to navigate the smartphone, and representing its first move in the fight to overcome Apple and Samsung in the AI space. Google last year launched its Google Pixel smartphone with Google Assistant, and other smartphone vendors have already been looked at to promote adoption of the Assistant, including Xiaomi. In a comparison video that pitted Siri against Google Assistant, YouTuber Marques Brownlee ultimately discovered that while Siri gave him more information, Google Assistant was the more personable and enjoyable AI experience. Samsung is believed to be launching the Galaxy S8 sometime in Spring 2017 as an attempt to put the Note7 in the past for good, and the new smartphone is currently rumored to include an AI assistant named Bixby, "which is likely to become a main feature of Samsung's next-generation flagship model," according to industry sources. LG is said to be in talks with both Google and Amazon to leverage each company's voice assistant in LG products, including the addition of Alexa into a collection of LG home appliances, as well as its upcoming smartphone the LG G6. AI assistants have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and Apple has only gained competition in the space as Siri remained largely unchanged over the past few iOS updates. The company is rumored to be launching an Echo-like speaker as well, which would place Siri as a constant present in the user's home and include the ability to play music, get news headlines, and more, without needing to interact with their iPhone. In response, last year it was reported that Amazon is working on an updated Echo with a 7-inch touchscreen to "fend off competition" from Apple and Google Home.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: Siri, artificial intelligence Discuss this article in our forums

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