posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Following the launch of Apple Pay on the web on iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, Apple is now offering a selection of exclusive holiday discounts and benefits in order to entice customers to use the mobile payments service online. Some of the offers, for example, include 50% off a one-year subscription to The New York Times, a free $50 iTunes gift card with the purchase of a Casper mattress, and a free $25 gift card if you spend over $150 at athletic apparel retailer Lululemon. Free shipping, discounts, and other offers are currently available from Adidas, Casper, Grubhub, Instacart, JackThreads, Jet, Lululemon, The New York Times, 1-800-Flowers, Overstock, Seamless, Shopify, Spring, and Vacatia. • Adidas — Enjoy one- or two-day free shipping. • Casper — Buy a mattress and receive a $50 iTunes gift card. • Grubhub — Win a $50 gift card for you and a friend! New diners will also receive $10 off their next order. • Instacart — First-time customers get one month of free Instacart delivery. • JackThreads — Get 20% off great holiday looks. • Jet — Get 10% off your first three orders and $5 JetCash to use on future purchases. • Lululemon — Get a $25 gift card if you spend over $150. • The New York Times — Get 50% off a one-year subscription. • 1-800-FLOWERS — Enjoy free shipping. • Overstock — Enjoy a free year of Club O Rewards Membership, a $19.99 value. • Seamless — Win a $50 gift card for you and a friend! New diners will also receive $10 off their next order. • Shopify — Explore unique gifts and deals from Shopify stores. • Spring — Get 20% off perfect looks for holiday. • Vacatia — Get 7% off resort bookings and a chance to win a one-week stay in Hawaii.Apple said more offers are coming soon from retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Bank of America, Caviar, Chase, Poshmark, Tumi, Under Armour, Warby Parker, and The Washington Post. The offers are valid in the U.S. only. Related Roundup: Apple Pay Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Ireland's government will this week formally submit an appeal against the European Commission's ruling that it must collect 13 billion euros in unpaid back taxes from Apple, according to Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan."The government fundamentally disagrees with the European Commission's analysis and the decision left no choice but to take an appeal to the European Courts and this will be submitted tomorrow," Noonan told a European Parliament committee in Brussels on Tuesday.Ireland agreed in September to join Apple in its fight against the European Commission, which in August said the iPhone maker received illegal state aid from the country. The ruling followed a three-year inquiry that found Apple paid between only 0.005% and 1% in taxes in Ireland between 2003 and 2014, compared to the country's headline 12.5% corporate tax rate. Ireland is looking to protect its tax regime that has benefited several multinational corporations, according to Reuters. Apple previously said it is "confident" the ruling "will be overturned" by European courts, but noted the process is "likely to take several years." Apple said it has "provisioned several billion dollars for the U.S. for payment," but it does not expect any near-term impact on its financial results. Apple insists it is "the largest taxpayer in the world" and "follows the law and pays all of the taxes" it owes in each country it operates. Apple CEO Tim Cook has described the tax accusations as "total political crap," and said the lower-end 0.005% tax rate calculated by the European Commission is a "false number." 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.Tags: corporate tax, European Commission, Europe, Ireland Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple has told part and component manufacturers of its new MacBook Pro line-up to expect strong shipments to last until at least the end of 2016, according to sources in the upstream supply chain (via DigiTimes). Apple is reportedly optimistic about fourth-quarter sales of its new notebooks and expects MacBook Pro shipments to maintain the same level going into 2017, said the sources, while related revenues and profits are all projected to enjoy growth next year. The same sources noted that Apple was initially not very aggressive about placing new MacBook Pro orders and was also said to have delayed the product shipment schedule by a calendar quarter, due to low yield rates for some components including hinges, battery and keyboard. Apple's stance changed after the October launch, however, and some market analysts now expect MacBook Pro shipments to reach 15 million units in 2016, with shipments staying at that level in 2017. Meanwhile, Taiwanese ODM manufacturer Wistron has reportedly landed orders for the OLED Touch Bar strip used in Apple's higher tier notebooks, according to a report in the Economic Daily News (EDN), summarized by DigiTimes. The Chinese language daily quoted market watchers who said that the keyboard is hard to build and its original Singapore-based supplier was having difficulties meeting Apple's demand, prompting Apple to transfer orders to Wistron. The delayed launch of the new MacBook Pros was partly because of low yields of the keyboards, but shipments are starting to pick up as yield rates improve, said EDN.Related Roundup: MacBook Pro Tag: digitimes.com Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple recently acquired technology from cloud-based music platform Omnifone and has hired more than a dozen former Omnifone employees, reports TechCrunch. Apple's interest in Omnifone was first shared by MacRumors back in July, but could not be confirmed at the time. At least 16 Omnifone employees now work for Apple according to various LinkedIn profiles, and a source that spoke to TechCrunch says Apple bought "select technology" from Omnifone. The purchase is not considered a full acquisition, however, and according to our original source, it did not involve Omnifone's patent portfolio. There was actually speculation that Apple "bought out" or "likely acquired" key assets from Omnifone in July of this year, after a report from Omnifone's bankruptcy administrators noted that it had found a buyer for parts of the company for $10 million. The rumor at the time was that buyer was Apple. Those acquisition reports, however, were discredited fairly swiftly. But fast forward just one month later, and it looks like at least parts of it was true.Omnifone operated a cloud platform powering its own MusicStation service and serving as the backbone for several music services launched through partnerships with mobile carriers like LG, Samsung, Vodafone, BlackBerry, Sony, and more. Omnifone, for example, powered Samsung's now-defunct Milk music service in certain locations and it was licensed by PonoMusic to power the PonoMusic Store. Many of the former Omnifone employees are now working as software engineers at Apple, presumably focusing on areas like iTunes and Apple Music. It isn't clear what technology Apple purchased from Omnifone, but TechCrunch's source believes some of what was purchased has already been incorporated into Apple Music and iTunes.Tags: Apple acquisition, Omnifone Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple seeded the second beta of iOS 10.2 to developers this morning, introducing a few new features that join changes introduced in the first beta of iOS 10.2. As can be seen in the video and outline below, iOS 10.2 includes the TV app Apple promised at its October 27 event, some Apple Music design tweaks, and support for a new SOS feature. TV app - The TV app is designed to serve as an Apple-designed TV guide to help users discover new content and decide what to watch. It's going to be available for iOS devices and the Apple TV, and it features support for Single Sign-On and Siri Live Tune-In, along with a store for purchasing iTunes content and TV subscriptions and recommendations for new shows and movies to watch. SOS - There's a new SOS feature that will call emergency services when the power button on the iPhone is pressed five times. According to Apple's release notes, SOS works in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, UK, and US. Settings for SOS are available in the Settings app under the General section. Music - There are more prominent Shuffle and Repeat buttons available in the Music app when playing a song. The first beta of iOS 10.2 introduced a selection of new emoji and emoji redesigns, plus it included new wallpapers, a new "Celebrate" Screen Effect, a new option to save camera settings, a Videos widget, and support for Single Sign-On, a feature designed to let those with a cable subscription sign in once to access available content across multiple apps. The second beta of iOS 10.2 is only available for developers, but Apple will likely make the beta available for public beta testers later this week. Apple has promised a December launch for several of the features in iOS 10.2 (including Single Sign-On and the TV app) so a public launch could come in the early days of the month.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
At it's October 27 Mac-centric event, Apple announced a new "TV" app, which is designed to serve as a sort of TV guide, helping users discover new content and find TV shows and movies to watch. The TV app is meant to work across multiple devices, including iOS devices and the Apple TV, and as of today the TV app is available in the iOS 10.2 beta. Apple's new TV app works hand-in-hand with features like Siri Live Tune-In and Single Sign-On, simplifying the television-watching experience. In addition to a Library section that displays all the iTunes content a user has purchased, the TV app also features a "Watch Now" section that houses a collection of TV shows and movies from iTunes and other television apps a user has installed on an Apple TV or iOS device. An Up Next feature keeps track of TV shows and movies across devices so you can pick up where you were watching, whether in the middle of a movie or the next episode of a TV show, and there are lists of curated and trending TV shows and movies. A dedicated store lets users purchase content from iTunes or from other sources like HBO Go. The Store section also lets users sign in with their TV provider to find content available through an authenticated cable subscription. Apple's release notes state that the TV app isn't yet fully functional, and it does not appear to be available in the tvOS 10.1 beta just yet. Apple has said the TV app will see an official release in December.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 10.2 update to developers, one week after seeding the first beta of iOS 10.2 and two weeks after releasing iOS 10.1, the first major update to iOS 10. Registered developers can download the second iOS 10.2 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed. iOS 10.2 doesn't have a single main feature like Portrait mode in iOS 10.1, but it does offer several smaller feature tweaks. New emoji have been added in the update, including clown face, drooling face, selfie, face palm, fox face, owl, shark, butterfly, avocado, pancakes, croissant, and more. There are more than a hundred new emoji, including several profession emoji available in both male and female genders, such as firefighter, mechanic, lawyer, doctor, scientist, and more. Apple has also redesigned many existing emoji, adding more detail and making them look much more realistic. Along with new emoji, iOS 10.2 includes new wallpaper, new Music sorting options, a new "Celebrate" Screen Effect," an option for preserving camera settings, a Videos widget, Single-Sign On support for watching live TV via apps, and more. Apple has called iOS 10 its "biggest release ever" for iOS users, with a revamped lock screen, a Siri SDK for developers, an overhauled Messages app, a dedicated "Home" app for HomeKit users, new facial and object recognition capabilities in Photos, and redesigned Maps and Apple Music apps.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
AT&T plans to gift a free Apple TV to DirecTV Now subscribers who commit to at least three months of paid service, according to documents seen by Variety. Likewise, customers who pay for at least one month of service will allegedly receive a free Fire TV stick. The promotion ensures early subscribers will have at least one device with access to DirecTV Now when it launches. DirecTV Now is AT&T's internet-based live TV streaming service slated to launch in late 2016. The cord-cutter service will start at $35 per month and provide access to more than 100 channels, such as ABC, A&E, CBS, ESPN, Fox, HBO, MTV, NBC, Nickelodeon, and Discovery, on smartphones, tablets, streaming boxes, and other devices. Availability of channels may vary based on regional restrictions. DirecTV Now will reportedly include a 72-hour catch-up window, allowing subscribers to watch TV shows they missed up to three days later, alongside a video-on-demand library of up to 14,000 titles. A free 7-day trial will be available upon launch.Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10 Tags: AT&T, DirecTV Now Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple plans to add a "Jet White" color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, according to Japanese website Mac Otakara. The report did not outline when Apple might add the sixth color to the lineup, and it also warned the information obtained from supply chain sources "may be unreliable." Mac Otakara has accurately leaked information about Apple's upcoming plans in the past, including the new Jet Black color and no 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7. Given the lack of confidence in its own source, however, this rumor may not materialize and should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt. The blog was correct about several other iPhone 7 details, including its naming, flush Home button, longer earpiece cutout, and lack of Smart Connector. But it has been wrong on occasion, such as when it said the iPhone SE may come in a brighter pink shade that's different than Rose Gold.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tag: macotakara.jp Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Samsung said on Sunday it will launch its first AI virtual assistant in next year's Galaxy S8 smartphone, based on technology gained through its acquisition of Viv. Viv is the AI firm run by Dag Kittlaus, co-creator of Apple's Siri. Last month, Samsung bought Viv with the intention of allowing it to operate as an independent company, while providing Samsung with a readymade AI solution that will enable it to go toe-to-toe with Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa. Siri co-creator Dag Kittlaus' Viv AI will appear in Samsung devices According to a Reuters report, Samsung now plans to integrate the AI platform into its Galaxy smartphones and expand voice-assistant services to home appliances and wearable devices. Samsung hopes the AI technology will help revive its momentum in the smartphone industry following the recall and discontinuation of this year's flagship Galaxy Note 7, which will cost the company $5.4 billion in profit through the first quarter of 2017. Samsung didn't mention what types of services the AI would offer in its Galaxy S8, which is due to go on sale next year, but Viv features enhanced contextual understanding which allows it to understand the intent of a user's queries and create its own programs on the fly. "Developers can attach and upload services to our agent," said Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong during a briefing, referring to its AI assistant. "Even if Samsung doesn't do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease."With the preponderance of AI assistants in consumer devices – most recently in Google's Pixel smartphones – Viv is a technology that Samsung is eager to exploit, and is likely to make its way into the company's non-mobile devices, like washing machines, refrigerators and TVs. In May, it was reported that Apple was planning on introducing a next-gen natural language API in its rumored Amazon Echo competitor. The technology behind the API is the work of VocalIQ, a natural language outfit purchased by Apple in October 2015. The API has the ability to do "session-based" contextual responses similar to Viv.Tags: Samsung, Siri, Viv Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple will not refresh the iPhone SE in the first half of 2017, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The lack of refresh comes as Apple attempts to maintain high margins on its high-end iPhone models, Kuo said in a new research note. Kuo forecasts that total shipment volume of iPhones will decline in the first half of 2017 due to tepid demand in China, slow shipment volume of 4.7-inch iPhones and the lack of an iPhone SE refresh in the second quarter of the year. Kuo argues that shipment volume came in higher in the first half of 2016 due to "upbeat demand for the iPhone SE." Instead, Kuo believes Apple will exert pressure on its iPhone component makers to drop prices in an effort to maintain its margins. He expects suppliers to begin price reductions on components in either November or December of this year. However, Kuo notes that not all suppliers will cut prices. Most iPhone component makers, like those that make the device's panels, have weak bargaining positions with Apple due to fierce competition amongst suppliers. Some suppliers, like Samsung, are the main supplier of certain components for iPhones and have stronger bargaining positions than Apple. Kuo believes Samsung may even raise its prices. And finally, Kuo says there are a few suppliers like TSMC that are unlikely to be affected by Apple's attempt to maintain its margins. Overall, Kuo forecasts that iPhone shipment volume will drop year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, sitting between 35 to 40 million, less than last year's 40.4 million in the second quarter of 2016. Apple introduced the iPhone SE in March 2016, packing in many of the iPhone 6s' features and component into a 4-inch frame similar to that of the iPhone 5s. It's unclear what kind of upgrade schedule Apple will adopt for the device, but it's internals are powerful enough to remain a capable phone for a couple of years.Related Roundup: iPhone SE Tag: Ming-Chi Kuo Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Along with dropping the prices on all of its USB-C adapters accessories to help new MacBook Pro owners transition to USB-C more affordably, Apple has also introduced some significant price cuts to the 4K and 5K LG UltraFine Displays that were announced at its October 27 Mac event. The LG UltraFine 5K Display is now priced at $974, a $325 price cut from its original price of $1,299.95. The LG UltraFine 4K Display is now priced at $524, a $175 price cut from its original price of $699.95. Each of LG UltraFine Display was designed in partnership with Apple to work specifically with the new MacBook Pro. The displays connect to the Apple's new MacBook Pro machines over Thunderbolt 3 and have features like built-in USB-C ports, charging capabilities, stereo speakers, P3 wide color gamut support, and on the 5K monitor, a camera and a microphone. LG's 4K display is available for purchase immediately from the online Apple Store and will ship out to customers in five to six weeks. The 5K Display is not yet available for purchase, with Apple planning to launch it in December. The price drops on the two displays are labeled as "Special Pricing" and will last until the end of the year. Apple also plans to discount its USB-C adapters until the end of 2016.Related Roundup: Displays Buyer's Guide: Displays (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
To make it easier for customers who purchased a new MacBook Pro to make the transition to USB-C, Apple has dropped the prices on all of its USB-C adapters by $6 to $20. The simple USB-C to USB Adapter, formerly priced at $19, is now $9, while the more expensive USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, formerly $49, is now available for $29. Even Apple's newly released Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter has seen a price drop from $49 to $29. A full list of prices on the adapters in the United States is below: - USB-C to USB Adapter - Was $19, now $9 - Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter - Was $49, now $29 - USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter - Was $69, now $49 - USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter - Was $69, now $49 - USB-C to Lightning Cable (1m) - Was $25, now $19 - USB-C to Lightning Cable (2m) - Was $35, now $29 Apple is also dropping the prices on all third-party USB-C peripherals available from Apple,com and Apple retail stores. USB-C accessories will be discounted by about 25 percent, with some accessories, such as SanDisk's USB-C SD card reader, seeing a steeper $20 discount, dropping the price from $49 to $29. Apple's price cut on USB-C adapters and accessories may assuage customers who have been dissatisfied with the high price of the MacBook Pro coupled with the need to buy a wide range of adapters to use the new notebook with older peripherals. Apple's lower prices also make its adapters more competitive with the wide range of third-party adapters available on the market. Apple explained the pricing cut in a statement that was given to The Verge:"We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple's USB-C adapters and cables."Apple did not mention a solution for customers who have already purchased adapters to use alongside their new MacBook Pros, but recent purchases can still be returned to the Apple Store and repurchased at the new lower price. Update: According to MacRumors reader Philip, Apple will refund the price difference for customers who have already purchased adapters for their MacBook Pros. Customers who still have orders pending will also automatically see a price drop.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple accounted for over 100 percent of smartphone industry profits in the third quarter of this year, according to estimates published by BMO Capital Markets on Thursday. Analyst Tim Long, quoted in the Investor's Business Daily, said Apple's staggering 103.6 percent profit share in Q3 2016 came largely as a result of significant losses posted by rival vendors including LG and HTC, and despite Apple continuing to shift fewer handsets year on year. Based on units alone, Samsung accounted for 21.7 percent of all smartphones sold, with Apple coming in second with a 13.2 percent share. In terms of profits however, Samsung came a distant second to Apple, capturing only a 0.9 percent share. Samsung ceded market share in smartphone shipments to Apple and Chinese vendors in the third quarter because of its Galaxy Note 7 troubles, Long said. He expects further share loss by Samsung in the current quarter. Apple captured over 100% of smartphone industry profits for the first time, thanks in part to Samsung's weaker results, Long said.If accurate, the estimates represent the first time Apple has achieved smartphone industry profits of over 100 percent - an impressive number for a company owning only around 12 percent of the market. According to the same report, Apple managed 90 percent profit share in the same quarter a year ago. However, this year Apple's iPhone 7 numbers were undoubtedly helped by Samsung's hugely damaging Galaxy Note 7 recall and discontinuation, which effectively took the South Korean company out of this year's flagship smartphone race, indicating Apple's profit share is unlikely to be sustained in the long term. Despite the impressive numbers, Apple's recent third quarter financial results reported its first full-year revenue decline for Apple since 2001, although Apple expects to return to revenue growth in the holiday season on the back of sales of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Sometime over the course of the last few hours, Apple appears to have quietly activated the much-promised Single Sign-On feature for the Apple TV and iOS devices, making it available to developers running the tvOS 10.1 and iOS 10.2 betas. Single Sign-On, as rumored, appears to support only a limited number of cable services, including Dish, GVTC Communications, Hotwire, and Sling TV. On the fourth-generation Apple TV, Single Sign-On settings can be accessed by opening the Settings app and navigating to accounts, where a TV Provider section is now available alongside Home Sharing. Customers can sign in to a service at this menu and will presumably be able to access all content associated with that subscription. On the iPad and the iPhone, the same TV Provider section is available in the Settings app, located below the section for signing into social networks. Single Sign-On is designed to allow users to sign in once with their cable credentials to access all live cable content available through their cable subscription, even when it's spread across multiple apps. Apple's aim with Single Sign-On is to simplify and streamline the television-watching experience on the Apple TV. Dish and Sling TV are well-known television providers, while GVTC and Hotwire are smaller regional services. Hotwire is available in Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, while GVTC is only available in a small part of Texas, including north of San Antonio and the Gonzales area. With the limited availability of Single Sign-On, it will only be available to a small number of Apple customers to begin with, but Apple is undoubtedly working to get more providers on board.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple's new MacBook Pros appear to be incompatible with Thunderbolt 3 devices that use controller chips from Texas Instruments, meaning some early Thunderbolt 3 products may not work with the new machines. The incompatibility was discovered by Plugable (via 9to5), who found that their TBT3-DP2X and TBT3-HDMI2X graphics adapters were not compatible with Apple's new MacBook Pros because they use a controller chip from Texas Instruments. As a result, Plugable will be postponing its upcoming Docking Station as it works on a compatibility solution.Update 11/1/16: Apple has chosen to prevent Thunderbolt 3 devices using currently available controller chips from Texas Instruments from enumerating and functioning on the 2016 MacBook Pros. All current Thunderbolt 3 peripherals which use this controller chip are incompatible with the new 2016 Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks (To our knowledge, this includes all currently available Thunderbolt 3 devices including our TBT3-DP2X and TBT3-HDMI2X graphics adapters. Our Thunderbolt 3 cables do not require this chip, and therefore are compatible.) Because of this, we've made the difficult decision to postpone our TBT3-UD1 Docking Station as we evaluate what is necessary to make this docking station MacBook-compatible. Our Flagship TBT3-UDV dock with Power Delivery/Charging is using the next generation controller chip from TI, and will be compatible with the 2016 Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks.Because some existing or soon-to-be available Thunderbolt 3 accessories may not be compatible with the new MacBook Pro, customers who are looking to purchase docks, adapters, and other products should double check with manufacturers to ensure compatibility. Many products on the horizon use Intel's newer Thunderbolt 3 chipset and won't be affected, and it's also possible Apple could push a firmware update to add support for accessories with the older Texas Instruments controller.Tags: Thunderbolt 3, Plugable Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Reviews for Google's new smart home speaker system, Google Home, have released this morning, bringing a collection of opinions about the newest entry in the wireless Bluetooth speaker category, which Apple is rumored to be entering in the future. Google originally introduced Google Home at its I/O Conference in May, and then officially announced it alongside the Pixel Phone at an event in October. The first batch of reviews for Google Home appear to mostly align with a single opinion: the speaker is an impressive addition to the home, but in some ways it's less reliable, and its Google Assistant-powered AI doesn't beat Amazon's Alexa in most instances. As is usual with a new product category gaining entries from various companies, the decision rests solely on personal preference of which company each user believes will deliver the best experience, and iterate most consistently down the line. Images via Engadget That's the way that Wired began its review for Google Home, which it says can sometimes feel "like sci-fi magic," and other times is simply unreliable. The sci-fi magic comes in with Google Assistant, which Wired says provides smart search results for random inquiries (“What’s the difference between acetaminophen and ibuprofen?”), but other times was "shockingly stupid," fumbling movie release date trivia and other questions. Ultimately, Wired found that Google Home was "a lot simpler" and less intuitive than the futuristic advertising Google is generating for the device. The site said that Google Home has great potential, particularly in upcoming features like voice-recognized user profiles, deeper connections with Pixel Phone, and the introduction of more third-party support. For now, it'll depend on user preference for each company -- Google or Amazon -- since the speakers align so closely in most areas. Someday, assuming Google keeps caring about Home, I suspect the device will be more like the ad. It’ll be smart and integrated enough to know that your flight is delayed and change your dinner reservation, to turn on all the lights in your house, to tell you how to get to work, to teach your kids about the world, and all the rest. Right now, it’s simpler than that. Like, a lot simpler. Both devices are excellent, both have bright futures, both are increasingly essential parts of your household. I bought a Home because I like the design, and I like the sound quality. If you buy an Echo because you love your Sonos and don’t trust Google with your data, you’ll be perfectly happy as well. The Verge continued this "rough around the edges" sentiment in its review, liking the way that Google Home could carry on a casual conversation, asking about Abraham Lincoln, in a way that Echo could not. But the device's Google Assistant felt like it's "still in its very early days," with inconsistent responses from a dual-speaker set-up, "fuzzy" speaker quality, and limited single account support. The site has "no doubt it will improve," but early adopters should be aware of the bumpy road ahead. Google Home also "looks a lot better than the Echo," The Verge believed, with a softer white design that meshes better with most home decor than Amazon Echo's tall black cylinder. The interchangeable bottom plates (for $20 extra each) also add to a better overall design that could be a sole selling point for some users who prefer to look at Google Home daily over Echo. To paraphrase Google’s own CEO, Sundar Pichai, artificial intelligence is still in its very early days. And, in my opinion, Google Home shows that. I have no doubt it will improve. But I was surprised that Google Home arrived so rough around the edges, especially when it had an existing competitive product to learn from, and an unmatched wealth of data to draw upon. Like a dominating batter in a tight World Series game, you kind of expect Google to hit a game-winning homer. But it merely hit a double, and the contest is still very much on. One of the biggest categories that Google Home lags behind in out of the gate, according to Engadget, is third-party support. At launch, it can control devices from Nest, Hue, IFTTT, and SmartThings, but Amazon's list stretches far beyond that, now including various "skills" that developers can update on Echo with new commands on a weekly basis. On the other hand, for users who are baked into the Google ecosystem, Engadget said "this might indeed be the home assistant for you." Right now, however, it's little more than a toy. It's fun and occasionally very convenient to ask it questions and have it perform simple tasks, but it's hardly an essential part of my life. But Google Home is worth keeping an eye on -- it will almost certainly be more capable in three months (or even three weeks) than it is now. If you're someone who loves tapping into Google's mighty store of knowledge, don't sleep on Google Home. Just as the Echo got smarter and more valuable over time, I expect the same will happen here. And if you've already bought into Google's ecosystem, this might indeed be the home assistant for you. Wired's advice appears to represent the back-and-forth nature of most Google Home reviews: it's a decent addition into a category that is only increasing in relevance and importance. "There’s only one mistake you can make, really," the site summed up at the end of its review. "Not letting a smart speaker into your home at all. These things are great, and they’re only getting better." For more reviews and opinions on Google Home, check out the coverage from these sites: - TechnoBuffalo - Business Insider - CNN - USA Today - Mashable - Time - TechCrunchTag: Google Home Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Kohl's will begin selling the Apple Watch at 400 of its 1,100 stores across the United States on November 15 as a way to boost its activewear business (via Fortune). Apple's partnership with the retail chain is said to help the Cupertino company reach into areas of the country that don't have Apple Stores or official Apple resellers with Apple Watches, as well as "reach a more modest-income shopper and a wider-ranging clientele." In total, Kohl's locations will stock 10 different Apple Watch models, but the company didn't go into specifics about which. In the retailer's Black Friday ad, the Apple Watch Series 2 in Space Gray with Black Sport band and Series 1 in Rose Gold with Pink Sand Sport Band are both advertised. Within the store itself, the Apple Watches will be displayed on stands that measure four feet tall, and the Kohl's staff will be educated on the devices to help customers in purchasing an Apple Watch, which Kohl's sees less like an electronic device and more "as an active and wellness device." “We’re not launching it as an electronics partner,” Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer, told Fortune in an exclusive interview at the retailer’s design center in New York City. “We were positioning this as an active and wellness device.” On Black Friday, customers will be able to receive Kohl's Cash when purchasing an Apple Watch: $105 for a Series 2 and $75 for a Series 1. The retailer hopes that its introduction of the Apple Watch goes over as well as its profits for selling FitBit devices, which is now "a $100-million-a-year business" for Kohl's. In September, Macy's announced that it would be the first United States department store to begin selling Apple Watch when the device launched that month. The new Kohl's deal of 400 retail locations is much larger than Macy's, which began selling Apple Watch in 180 of its stores in September.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Tag: Kohl's Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today shared a new television ad on its YouTube channel, designed to off several key iPhone 7 and 7 Plus features, including the improved waterproofing and the device's speakers. In the video, a man sets his iPhone to play dramatic music (La Virgen de la Macarena by Arturo Sandoval) while at the pool. He then proceeds to climb up to the high dive, jumping off as the music climaxes. The iPhone is splashed with water during the process, highlighting its water resistance. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are Apple's first iOS devices with superior waterproofing, offering IP67 water and dust resistance. The two iPhones can withstand being submerged in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, and are resistant to splashes and accidental spills. Intentional water exposure is still not recommended, however, as Apple's warranty does not cover water damage. As for the speakers, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus include one speaker at the bottom of the phone and one speaker at the top of the phone, introducing stereo sound in the iPhone for the first time. The speakers put out twice the volume of the single speaker in the iPhone 6s and have been designed to offer superior sound in both landscape and portrait mode. Apple has thus far produced several ads showing off the iPhone 7, highlighting features like waterproofing, the camera and its ability to capture low-light images, and its longer battery life. The iPhone 7 has also been featured in an ad focusing on the Messages Screen Effects available in iOS 10.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Earlier this year, Apple posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, an unscripted series about apps and the talented developers who make them. The show will serve as a "launch pad" and "accelerator" for up to 100 developers, who will receive mentorship from influencers and entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and will.i.am. Details surrounding the show are still vague, including when it will air in 2017 and how it will be distributed, but the basic premise draws similarities to Shark Tank. Developers will pitch their apps, and those who make it to the final round will meet with top-tier venture capitalists investing up to $10 million over the course of the season, and receive featured placement in the App Store at the end of the show. Apple accepted applications to be on the show until late September, and we have since learned some of the details about the step-by-step process from a developer selected to be on the show. The person, who wishes to remain anonymous due to their involvement, said the application process involved four stages: • First Round: The developer submitted a standard online application on the Planet of the Apps website, including a one-minute video, basic information about the app, and screenshots. Shortly afterwards, he received a phone call from a casting director in Los Angeles, who notified him that he was selected to move on to the next round. The casting director asked him several questions about how he thought of the idea, and why he wanted to be on the show. • Second Round: The developer was instructed to pitch his app by creating a longer 5-10 minute unedited video that would be professionally edited by the show's staff and then shown to the producers directly. His team was given two weeks to finish this video. The producers provided a checklist of topics to focus on in the video, including how the app works, what makes it unique, how much money desired, and how the money would be used. In addition, the developers were required to mail in a lengthy application package about the app and an Audition Release granting Apple permission to edit or use the video in any way. • Third Round: The developer was given one week to sign a lengthy contract covering all of the legal issues behind being on the show, such as accepting equity from investors or Apple. The contract package consisted of forms such as a Participant Agreement, Emergency Medical Release, and App Idea Information Form. The contract was accompanied by another short questionnaire about the app, including how many times it has been downloaded. In addition, the developer was asked to inform the casting coordinators about his team's availability over the next few months. He said developers will be flown out to Los Angeles on three separate occasions, filming for three days upon each visit for a total of nine days of filming. • Fourth Round: The developer was subjected to a background check. He said the show's coordinators made it clear that, even at this stage, some of the developers would be selected as standby and would not be guaranteed an appearance on the show. Nevertheless, the show's travel team reached out to the developer to begin the process of booking flights for his team in anticipation of them being accepted on the show.Principal filming of Planet of the Apps will begin in Los Angeles later this year and may continue until early 2017. The developer who spoke to us believes the first episodes could air around March or April of next year.Tag: Planet of the Apps Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Some second and third-generation Apple TV owners have started experiencing a mysterious bug over the last few days, which seems to have essentially disabled the device for a number of users. Affected Apple TV models are only able to display Computers, Music, and Settings, with no other channel options available. Customers who are seeing the issue have had all of their menu options suddenly disappear, leaving them unable to watch Netflix, Hulu, and other Apple TV channels. Image via MacRumors reader Gabbisonn This seems to be a bug that's been around for awhile, but has become more prevalent over the last day or two. MacRumors has received several complaints via email, and there are threads outlining the problem both on our forums and on Reddit. Restarting the Apple TV, resetting a router, and resetting the Apple TV don't seem to work. A region change offers a temporary solution, but ultimately, the channels disappear again for many users. Some users have partially fixed the issue by changing DNS settings, but this doesn't work for all users. A MacRumors reader describes the problem:All I see is a computer and settings option. In the settings option I have access to everything except the main menu setting. There's absolutely nothing in there as an option. I've restarted my Apple TV as well as my AirPort Extreme. I've reset the Apple TV and I inserted all the info back in like my iCloud acct etc. it obviously is logging onto the Internet since I was able to connect my iCloud account. One other strange thing is that my iTunes won't recognize the Apple TV when I plug it in directly to my Mac mini via a USB cable. It just doesn't show up. What the heck happened? Apple do you have an explanation for this one?Not all Apple TV users are affected by the issue, but it appears to be fairly widespread. Only the Apple TV 2 and 3 are impacted -- the fourth-generation Apple TV is functioning fine. Apple's support staff told a Reddit user that a fix was in the works, and to expect a software update in the near future. A MacRumors reader received similar information, with Apple suggesting a fix would be pushed within the next few hours.Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10 Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple is "not interested" in buying media company Time Warner currently, according to "people familiar with the thinking at the company" who spoke today with CNBC. Two weeks ago, AT&T announced its interest to purchase Time Warner for $85.4 billion, but as noted today, the regulatory process taken in such acquisitions "could last for months," and at any time another company could swoop in with a better offer. As of now, that won't be Apple. The news comes from David Faber on CNBC's market coverage business show "Squawk on the Street:" The question of course that has come back to focus on Apple. In fact Bewkes asked on the call were there any companies this year that showed interest in acquiring Time Warner. Mr. Bewkes' answer was let's focus on AT&T. What I can tell you about Apple guys, is right now, according to people familiar with its thinking, it's not interested. Apple is not interested in buying Time Warner at present. Now, these things go on for months and months, this regulatory review's going to take at least a year. The deal will not close. Certainly if you're in Apple, things could change. You watch the stock price as you see how things progress. But anybody expecting an overbid from Apple at this point, certainly, it is not coming. Again, they are sort of not interested at this time. And it doesn't appear that there would be any other potential interest. Google certainly had been mentioned at one point or another. But right now, it's AT&T's, it will be AT&T's, and the question is do they get it through, what conditions do they agree to in order to get it through the regulators. On the same day of AT&T's deal, it was reported that Apple was closely "monitoring" the workings between AT&T and Time Warner, especially due to its potential impact in regards to television deals that Apple could make with both companies. Back in January, an initial rumor suggested Apple was looking to buy Time Warner itself, most likely to bolster its rumored cord-cutting streaming TV service, but negotiations eventually stalled and the two companies ceased discussing a potential partnership. Following the news coming out of AT&T's offer, last week investment banking firm Goldman Sachs reportedly began pushing Apple to put in a rival bid to beat AT&T's and acquire Time Warner for itself. Goldman Sachs was "left on the sidelines" as an advisor in AT&T's bid, but it's still unclear why the firm would heavily encourage Apple to enter an acquisition offer of its own. Sources were reported as saying that Goldman Sachs was "freaking out trying to convince Apple to come in." A connection between the banking firm and Apple lies in the latter company's 2009 hiring of Goldman Sachs banker Adrian Perica, who now heads up Apple's mergers and acquisitions practices. Networks like CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros. are all under Time Warner's umbrella, making it an enticing acquisition for multiple companies looking to bolster an existing, or upcoming, streaming package. Although AT&T appears to be the frontrunner, The Wall Street Journal originally reported that "a host of other contenders" were interested in Time Warner, including Google at one point.Tag: Time Warner Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
In a wide-ranging interview with The Independent, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said the company has received more online orders for the new MacBook Pro so far than any previous-generation MacBook Pro.And we are proud to tell you that so far our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other pro notebook before. So there certainly are a lot of people as excited as we are about it.Schiller said the early criticism and debate about the new MacBook Pro has been "a bit of a surprise" to him, but said "that's cool" and common for new Apple products. He attributed the response to a "passionate" customer base.Are you surprised by how vocal the critics have been? To be fair it has been a bit of a surprise to me. But then, it shouldn’t be. I have never seen a great new Apple product that didn’t have its share of early criticism and debate — and that’s cool. We took a bold risk, and of course with every step forward there is also some change to deal with. Our customers are so passionate, which is amazing. We care about what they love and what they are worried about. And it's our job to help people through these changes. We know we made good decisions about what to build into the new MacBook Pro and that the result is the best notebook ever made, but it might not be right for everyone on day one. That’s okay, some people felt that way about the first iMac and that turned out pretty good.Schiller went on to say the new MacBook Pro is "the best notebook ever made," but admitted it "might not be right for everyone on day one."I hope everyone gets a chance to try it for themselves and see how great the MacBook Pro is. It is a really big step forward and an example of how much we continue to invest in the Mac. We love the Mac and are as committed to it, in both desktops and notebooks, as we ever have been. Whereas some companies are blurring the lines between notebooks and tablets, Schiller said the basic L shape "makes perfect sense and won't go away."You have a surface that you type down on with your hands, with a screen facing you vertically. That basic orientation, that L shape makes perfect sense and won’t go away. The team came up with this idea that you can create a multi-touch surface that’s coplanar with the keyboard and the trackpad but brings a whole new experience into it, one that’s more interactive, with multi-touch.That response is part of Apple's belief that the Mac and iOS devices are "fundamentally two different products."Here’s one example of how they should remain distinct: the Mac from the very first has had a menu bar fixed at the top. It’s core to the identity and the experience you get. But iOS doesn’t have a menu at the top. It never will. The thought of pointing at a menu at the top of an iPhone feels wrong. If you made the Mac a touchscreen you’d have to figure out how to make it a good experience with your finger on a touchscreen. Trust me, we’ve looked at that — it’s a bad experience. It’s not as good or as intuitive as with a mouse and trackpad.Full Article: Apple’s Philip Schiller talks computers, touchscreens, and voice on the new MacBook ProRelated Roundup: MacBook Pro Tag: Phil Schiller Buyer's Guide: Retina MacBook Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research report outlining why he believes Apple has shifted its focus from its rumored car project in favor of augmented reality technology. According to Kuo, reports that Apple has turned its attention to developing a software-based autonomous driving system "make sense", given that the system will support augmented reality and provide an "innovative user experience". All of Apple’s past successes were related to human-machine interfaces, such as mouse for Mac, click wheel for iPod, and multi-touch for iPhone and iPad. Assuming Apple successfully develops AR, we predict the firm will enjoy the following competitive advantages: (1) redefining existing key products and leading competitors by three to five years. For instance, this could happen for iPhone, iPad and Mac; (2) eliminating obstacles of Apple Watch and Apple TV by offering an innovative user experience; and (3) entering new business fields, such as autonomous driving system. We expect Apple to generate preliminary results for AR in the next 1-2 years at the earliest and working with iPhone may be the first step.Kuo thinks the AR market will increase significantly in 2018 and will replace VR to become the mainstream market focus as Apple enters the field. Kuo predicts the AR and VR markets combined will grow from $40-50 billion in 2018 to $150 billion in 2020, with the majority increase coming from AR. Apple's increased interest in augmented reality is no secret. CEO Tim Cook has spoken about AR on a number of occasions over recent months, hinting that the company's approach to AR should encourage, not replace, human contact. In July, Cook said Apple was "high on AR in the long run" and that the company continues "to invest a lot in [AR]." He said he believes augmented reality "can be huge," and in August, he called it a "core technology", while in September Cook said he believes that between VR and AR, the latter "is the larger of the two," because it allows people to "be very present," engaging with one another while having other visual things to see. According to rumors, Apple has a research team working on augmented and virtual reality, exploring the AR/VR field and investigating how the company could embrace augmented or virtual reality in the future. Apple has reportedly built prototype virtual reality headsets, but Cook's continued comments on augmented reality indicate Apple is more heavily invested in that technology. Related Roundup: Apple VR Project Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Less than a week ago Apple unveiled its new MacBook Pro line-up, with the focus of its "Hello again" event centering on the OLED Touch Bar that replaces the function keys on the company's 13-inch and 15-inch flagship models. Initial media reaction to Apple's event was positive, and most journalists in attendance were impressed after their limited hands-on time with the new machines. "There's all kinds of love for the new MacBook Pro," reported The Loop the following morning, in a post citing quotes from several leading tech sites. Over the weekend, however, evidence mounted of a backlash within sections of the online Mac community in response to Apple's latest announcements. In a blog post on his site titled "New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac", developer Michael Tsai collated and linked to the most commonly aired grievances. The post has since become a common point of reference in the blogosphere for negative sentiment toward Apple following last week's event. In his original post, Tsai said he was "disappointed" with Apple's announcements for the Mac, which made him feel as if Cupertino had either "lost touch" with what developers and creative professionals want, or Apple "simply doesn't care about those customers". There's nothing particularly wrong with what Apple announced. I like Thunderbolt 3. The display looks good. I'm not crazy about Touch Bar, but it does seem potentially useful. The problem is that the MacBook Pro is not a true Pro notebook. My Retina MacBook Pro is almost 4.5 years old. I've been wanting to upgrade it for a while and was planning to do so today. After seeing what was announced, I'm no longer sure that I want a MacBook Pro as my main computer. The subsequent catalog of grievances largely mirror Tsai's own complaints, which include the "premium price" of a "Pro" MacBook limited to 16GB RAM, the prioritization of "thinness and lightness" over CPU and graphics performance, and Apple's "neglect" of other sections of its Mac product line. Tsai concludes: "It has seemed clear for a while that the CEO doesn't really understand the Mac, or simply doesn't like it that much, and that's a problem for those of us who do." On Monday, both The Loop and Daring Fireball highlighted Tsai's post, noting its growing inventory of criticisms. The Loop said the list contained "a lot of fair complaints" that are "insights... worth paying attention to". Daring Fireball's John Gruber called the extent of the backlash "astounding" and described Tsai's collection of quotes as "must-read stuff". In another widely shared article titled "How Apple could have avoided much of the controversy", developer Chuq Von Rospach wrote that while much of the criticism ignores "a lot of the positives" in Apple's latest announcements, the company should have at least mentioned upcoming updates to the rest of its product line, which would "have muted a lot of the anger". Von Rospach goes on to speculate about what those updates might be, broaches some of the issues regarding Apple's new notebooks (the 16GB RAM ceiling, the increase in dongles) and concludes by suggesting that creative professionals need to realize the Mac line has become a "niche product" in a world driven by market forces where Apple technology has gone mainstream. The full article can be read here. The impassioned online debate comes at an important time for Apple, which hopes to boost interest in a lukewarm computer market this holiday season, following the company's first reported full-year revenue decline since 2001. Its Touch Bar enabled 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks are expected to ship in late November. Meanwhile, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar is already shipping to customers and more comprehensive reviews of Apple's lower-spec notebook are expected this week. Related Roundup: MacBook Pro Tags: loopinsight.com, John Gruber Buyer's Guide: Retina MacBook Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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