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Updated: 28 min 56 sec ago

Apple Secures Rights to AirPower Trademark Amid Launch Rumors

Thu, 2019-03-21 14:33
Amid launch rumors that Apple is preparing to release the AirPower sometime soon, the Cupertino company has finally secured the rights to the AirPower trademark.

To get the AirPower trademark, Apple had to jump through quite a few hoops over the course of the last few months, ultimately seeming to purchase access from a company that had previously applied for the trademark.


Apple first attempted to trademark the AirPower name in the summer of 2018, but found that a company named Advanced Access Technologies had filed an earlier application to trademark the term.

The AirPower trademark registered by Advanced Access Technologies was then provisionally granted and published for opposition in December 2018. Ahead of when a trademark is officially granted, the USPTO takes opposition filings from anyone who believes the trademark could result in confusion with an existing product.

Apple opposed Advanced Access Technologies' trademark of AirPower in January 2019, claiming that it would interfere with similar trademarked Apple product names, including AirPlay, AirPort, AirPods, and AirPrint.

After fighting to prevent the AirPower trademark from being granted to Advanced Access Technologies for several months with multiple different filings with the USPTO, Apple yesterday suddenly withdrew its opposition and the dispute was terminated.


Just after Apple withdrew opposition on Advanced Access Technologies' trademark of the AirPower name, an Apple lawyer was appointed the attorney of the trademark case, suggesting that Apple purchased rights to the AirPower trademark from Advanced Access Technologies ahead of an imminent AirPower launch that would not give Apple time to secure the trademark through other means.

Advanced Access Technologies is still listed as the owner of the trademark, but Apple appears to be in the process of getting that changed, with Apple lawyer Thomas Perle now named as the attorney on the trademark application.


Apple's acquisition of the AirPower trademark comes amid new rumors suggesting a launch for the long-delayed accessory isn't too far off. There's new code in the iOS 12.2 beta related to charging multiple devices at once, which wasn't there before, indicating Apple may be planning to release the AirPower sometime around when iOS 12.2 comes out.

The Wall Street Journal recently confirmed that Apple approved production of the AirPower earlier this year, and just today, we found an image of the AirPower with an iPhone XS and the new AirPods Wireless Charging Case hidden in the source code on Apple's website in Australia.

It's still not clear when the AirPower is actually going to launch, but with increasing signs of its arrival, it could come at any time. Apple this week released new iPads, iMacs, and updated AirPods on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, leading to speculation the company was gearing up to introduce the AirPower, but there's still no sign of the device.

We could potentially hear word on when we can expect the AirPower at Apple's March event, which will take place next Monday. Apple is using the event to introduce a new Apple News service and streaming TV service. Rumors have, however, suggested the event will not focus on hardware, so we could be waiting until later in the spring for an AirPower update.


This article, "Apple Secures Rights to AirPower Trademark Amid Launch Rumors" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions Passwords in Plain Text, Thousands of Employees Had Access

Thu, 2019-03-21 13:14
Facebook today announced that during a routine security review it discovered "some user passwords" were stored in a readable format within its internal data storage systems, accessible by employees.

As it turns out, "some user passwords" actually means hundreds of millions of passwords. A Facebook insider told KrebsOnSecurity that between 200 and 600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text in a database accessible to 20,000 Facebook employees. Some Instagram passwords were also included, and Facebook claims many of the passwords came from Facebook Lite users.


Facebook says that there's no "evidence to date" that anyone within Facebook abused or improperly accessed the passwords, but KrebsOnSecurity's source says 2,000 engineers or developers made around nine million internal queries for data elements that contained plain text user passwords.

Facebook employees reportedly built applications that logged unencrypted password data, which is how the passwords were exposed. Facebook hasn't determined exactly how many passwords were stored in plain text, nor how long they were visible.

Facebook plans to notify users whose passwords were improperly stored, and the company says that it has been looking at the ways certain categories of information, such as access tokens, are stored, and correcting problems as they're found.

"There is nothing more important to us than protecting people's information, and we will continue making improvements as part of our ongoing security efforts at Facebook," reads Facebook's blog post.

Facebook and Instagram users who are concerned about their account security should change their passwords, using unique passwords that are different from passwords used on other sites. Facebook also recommends users enable two-factor authentication.

Tag: Facebook
This article, "Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions Passwords in Plain Text, Thousands of Employees Had Access" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Plans to Sell Bundles of Cable TV Channels Through New Streaming Service

Thu, 2019-03-21 12:29
While Apple's new TV streaming service will include its own original content, Apple will also be offering customers access to video streaming subscriptions from third-party services, such as HBO and Showtime.

Part of this effort could potentially include bundles of channels from various content providers, according to new reports from Recode and The Information.


Apple has negotiated rights to bundle streaming services together as part of its deals with media firms, which will allow it to offer packages of channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz at a price that's lower than what each service would cost on a standalone basis. From Recode:That wholesale/retail relationship also means Apple, not the streamers, can set the price for the stuff it sells. Apple isn't likely to sell, say, HBO for less than HBO sells itself on rival platforms like Roku. But it definitely plans to sell bundles of pay tv channels at a discount, just like pay TV operators have always done.It's not entirely clear when Apple plans to offer bundles like these, but providing discounted access to a group of channels would provide Apple with an edge over Amazon. Amazon, as The Information points out, allows customers to sign up for streaming services like Showtime through their Amazon account, but customers must pay full price.

According to Recode, Apple's service isn't going to be a major Netflix or Hulu competitor because the focus is going to be on selling streaming video subscriptions from other companies and taking a cut of the transaction. Apple is working on original content, but its own shows and movies "should be considered very expensive giveaways, not the core product."

Apple is offering its content partners a revenue share that's similar to Amazon, which keeps 30 to 50 percent of the subscription fee. Apple, however, won't be offering access to as much data as Amazon provides. Still, The Information says publishers find bundling "appealing," and Apple has been touting its huge subscriber base to score deals. Apple's subscription TV content will be made available through its existing TV app which is available on the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad.

There's no word on which channels Apple will include in bundles, but Apple has signed deals with 15 streaming channels for separate subscriptions, including digital only services like Cheddar and Tastemade and TV channels like Showtime and Starz. Apple has not yet inked a deal with HBO.

Apple is going to introduce its streaming service at its upcoming March 25 event, and the service is expected to launch in the United States later in the spring before expanding to additional countries.

Apple is also unveiling an Apple News subscription service at the event, and rumors have suggested that the TV and news services could be bundled with Apple Music as part of one subscription for Apple users. Apple is also going to announce an Apple credit card provided by Goldman Sachs.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12Tag: Apple's Hollywood ambitionsBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)
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Apple's WWDC 2019 Ticket Lottery Ends, Winners Begin Receiving Confirmation Emails

Thu, 2019-03-21 11:56
The ticket lottery for Apple's 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference ended yesterday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and following the end of registration, Apple has started sending out confirmation emails to winners.

Developers who scored a ticket to WWDC can expect to see their credit cards charged for the $1,599 over the course of the next few days.


Apple uses a lottery system to provide developers with WWDC tickets and has done so for the last several years due to overwhelming demand. There are approximately 5,000 spots open for developers, but Apple gets many more applications than that.

Developers who receive a WWDC ticket will be able to attend iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS app development sessions and more than 1,000 Apple engineers will be on hand and in labs to provide assistance.

The 2019 event will start on Monday, June 3 and will last through Friday, June 7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple will host a keynote event on Monday to introduce new iOS, tvOS, macOS, and watchOS software. There are sometimes a few hardware surprises, though we haven't heard much detail on what could be included. It's possible we'll see our first glimpse at the new modular Mac Pro Apple has been working on since 2017.

Following the keynote event, Apple will make new software updates available to developers and the rest of the week will be spent in technical sessions and hands-on labs.

Developers not selected to purchase a WWDC ticket will be able to watch the keynote session and follow along with technical sessions through the Apple Developer Website and the WWDC app for iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2019
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Apple Has Reportedly Acquired Italian Startup Stamplay

Thu, 2019-03-21 10:40
Apple has acquired Italian startup Stamplay, which offered an API-based back-end development platform, according to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. The report claims Apple paid around five million euros for the company.


The report does not cite Apple's standard statement for acquisitions, which typically reads "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." We've reached out to Apple for our own confirmation, but we did not immediately hear back.

Nevertheless, one telltale sign of the acquisition or at least an acqui-hire is that Stamplay's website was almost entirely stripped of information within the past few weeks, as is usually the case following Apple acquisitions.

Stamplay describes itself as a "low code workflow automation platform, empowering organizations to streamline manual work by integrating data and business applications used every day." The "API-based development platform" enables developers to build and launch "full-featured cloud-based web apps."

From the startup's LinkedIn page:The powerful web-based editor includes everything a developer needs to create and run a powerful backend for their app, including popular APIs like Stripe (payments), Sendgrid (email), Twilio (SMS and VoIP), Pusher (realtime notifications) and many more.The report was brought to our attention by setteBIT:

Apple avrebbe acquisito l’italiana (emigrata in UK) Stamplay, startup che realizza app con "poco codice" (sito già svuotato e dipendenti a Cupertino. Anche @Giuliano84 & @NicolaMattina? https://t.co/Ib3DJ47sis). Lo direbbe StartupItalia (niente online) via https://t.co/eequAuI2K1 pic.twitter.com/BhgntGemAi

— setteBIT (@setteBIT) March 21, 2019
Stamplay was co-founded by Giuliano Iacobelli and Nicola Mattina.

Tag: Apple acquisition
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New AirPower Image With iPhone XS Appears Within Source Code on Apple's Website

Thu, 2019-03-21 09:44
Based on source code from the AirPods page of Apple's website in Australia, MacRumors has uncovered what appears to be a new image of the AirPower with an iPhone XS and the new AirPods wireless charging case on it, providing yet more evidence that Apple still plans to release the wireless charging mat at some point.


Apple updated its AirPods page yesterday after unveiling a second-generation pair, and this image was intended to showcase the new optional wireless charging case on a Qi-enabled charging mat, but Apple never ended up featuring the image publicly. We found it hidden within a CSS stylesheet.

A similar AirPower image with an older iPhone X was removed from the AirPods page yesterday after the wireless AirPods charging case was announced:


While the AirPower might still be coming after all, a specific release date remains unclear. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that Apple approved production of the AirPower earlier this year and reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said the AirPower will be released within the first half of 2019.

There was some hope that Apple would announce the AirPower today after announcing new iPads on Monday, new iMacs on Tuesday, and new AirPods on Wednesday, but that never materialized. We also didn't get a new iPod touch, although Kuo and other sources have indicated that one is coming at some point this year.

AirPower is designed to charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone 8 and newer, Apple Watch Series 3 and newer, and AirPods when they are placed in the new optional wireless charging case introduced yesterday. The images on the AirPods page have simply never showed the Apple Watch on the mat.

AirPower was in fact shown with an Apple Watch on it when previewed on stage and on the Apple Watch page earlier last year:


Thanks to Michael Bateman for tipping MacRumors.

Tag: AirPower
This article, "New AirPower Image With iPhone XS Appears Within Source Code on Apple's Website" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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New iPad Mini Reviews: Capable Small Tablet With Nearly All Features of New iPad Air

Thu, 2019-03-21 08:59
Early reviews and hands-on impressions of the new iPad mini came out today. Most publications agree that the iPad mini is a great update for fans of the smaller 7.9-inch tablet with almost identical tech specs to the new iPad Air.


That includes the same A12 Bionic chip, 8-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel front camera, Touch ID, Lightning connector, 64GB and 256GB storage options, two speakers, headphone jack, Gigabit-class LTE, first-generation Apple Pencil compatibility, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

The new iPad mini's only notable differences versus the new iPad Air are its smaller screen and lack of Smart Keyboard compatibility.

As The Verge's Nilay Patel notes, however, the iPad mini design is now very old:You're still looking at the exact same external design, which is now nearly seven years old. If you secretly replaced any previous iPad mini with the new one, there's a chance you might not even notice the difference. All the changes to this new mini are on the inside, and they're significant — which they should be, given the amount of time since it was last refreshed.And while the iPad mini finally supports the Apple Pencil, it comes with all of the downsides of the first-generation version:…the iPad Pro came out late last year with a new second-gen pencil that magnetically clips onto the side of the iPad and charges wirelessly, but this new mini doesn’t have any of that. Instead, you’ve got Apple’s first-gen Pencil, which has never been a triumph of design or usability. You still pair and charge it by plugging it into the bottom of the iPad, which looks even more ridiculous on the mini, and the cap is still insanely easy to lose.As for the iPad mini sticking with the Lightning connector, Apple told Patel that it views USB-C as a "pro" feature — aka iPad Pro.

Patel added that "the display is very nice" on the new iPad mini despite not having the iPad Pro's ProMotion variable refresh rate for smooth scrolling, but found that its same old 8-megapixel rear camera "takes at best medium-good photos."

Most reviews conclude that if you want the smallest iPad possible, the new iPad mini is quite capable and at least somewhat reasonably priced at $399. And with little competition from Android tablets, the iPad mini is one of the only small tablets worthy of consideration in the first place.

Patel's closing paragraph:But the decision to get an iPad mini is simple: do you want a small, capable tablet? If you do, the mini is obviously worth $399, especially when you consider how long Apple has supported iPads for in the past. There’s just nothing else like it. Let’s just hope that next time we don’t have to wait four years for Apple to remember it exists again.Lauren Goode of Wired:I haven't fallen in love with the new Mini, just as I never felt the need to buy one before. But I could see why people would. It's less burdensome than a lot of other things we carry. It's not quite pocketable, but it's close. Again, I can't hold it in one hand, but some people can, I'm sure. The Mini feels personal in a way that other devices no longer do. Not because of its actual newness, but because it is still here, and slightly reinvented once again.Harry McCracken of Fast Company:It still looks like an iPad Mini–complete with home button and headphone jack. But after three loooooong years, Apple’s little tablet is finally getting the features it needs to qualify as a modern iPad.Chris Velazco of Engadget:I'd actually argue it's perhaps the best small tablet out there right now. There's more than enough power here for most people, and if portability is your biggest concern, there's no denying the mini is more convenient to lug around.Raymond Wong of Mashable:There simply isn't a tablet as powerful as the new iPad mini with the same or similar dimensions. You can get a 7-inch Kindle Fire for $50, but it's demonstrably inferior in every way from the construction, to the app selection, to the performance, to the storage, to display, and etc.Scott Stein of CNET:An iPad Mini with a faster processor and Pencil support is filling a specific need not everyone will have. It's like a specifically sized screw, or a particular TV size. As Apple keeps splitting its iPad line into more variants, the Mini feels far less essential than ever, particularly as the iPhone screens creep to six inches or more. But if you need an efficient iPad this size and don't want a bigger iPhone for the job... well, this is what you're looking for.Videos


Other Reviews and Hands-On ImpressionsThe new iPad mini can be ordered now on Apple.com and will be available in Apple Stores starting next week.

Related Roundup: iPad mini 5Tag: reviewsBuyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Buy Now)
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AltConf 2019 Offers San Jose Alternative for Developers Unable to Attend WWDC, Plus Satellite Events for Keynote Viewing

Wed, 2019-03-20 17:22
AltConf, a popular alternative conference that takes place at the same time as Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, is returning in 2019. Developers unable to get a ticket to WWDC can instead attend AltConf to meet and mingle with others in the iOS and macOS communities.

This year's AltConf event will take place at the Marriott San Jose, located close to the McEnery Conference Center where WWDC will be held. AltConf will kick off on Monday, June 3, and will last through Thursday, June 6.


There will be speakers at AltConf, along with a community labs feature where attendees can get expert advice on their apps, discuss ideas, and more. On Monday, AltConf will kick off with viewings of Apple's keynote event and State of the Union for developers, with the venue able to accommodate more than 900 attendees.

New to AltConf this year is an Apple-themed escape room that will require attendees to use their "Apple skills and knowledge" to save a doomed Apple keynote from failure. Tickets are priced at $5.

AltConf is free to attend, but there is an option to become a Hero Supporter to show support for the event.

For developers unable to make it to San Jose who still want to attend a developer-centric event, AltConf is hosting a number of satellite events in Europe that will be all-day conferences.

AltConf satellite events will take place in London, Madrid, Paris, and Berlin, with each hosted and curated by local community volunteers. There will be speakers and events, which will be followed by a viewing of Apple's keynote event at night.

Tickets to the satellite conference events will range in price from 29 to 50 pounds based on location, though keynote viewing in the evening will be available for free.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2019
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Wall Street Journal to Join Apple's News Subscription Service, but NYT and Washington Post Not Participating

Wed, 2019-03-20 16:46
The Wall Street Journal plans to join Apple's subscription news service that's set to be announced Monday, reports The New York Times. Other publications like the Washington Post and The New York Times itself are not on board, however, due to the revenue split Apple has requested.

Apple and The Wall Street Journal plan to announce the partnership at Apple's planned media event on March 25. Apple's subscription service for Apple News will provide readers with access to news articles and magazines from "hundreds" of participating publishers for one monthly fee, thought to be $9.99 per month.


Rumors have suggested that Apple has been having trouble securing deals with news sites like The New York Times and the Washington Post because Apple wants to keep 50 percent of all subscription revenue, splitting the other 50 percent of the revenue between publishers according to the amount of time users spend engaged with their articles.

Major paywalled news sites offer their own subscription access to articles, with revenue that does not need to be shared with Apple. Participating in Apple's service could cause current subscribers to swap over, leading to overall lower revenue.

Apple is also declining to provide credit card information or email addresses to publishers, details that news sites use to create customer databases and market their products, and they're asking partners to provide unlimited access to content.

To lure publishers to join its Apple News service, Apple executives are citing the scale of Apple News, which is installed on all iOS devices out of the box. Apple is telling publishers that millions of new customers could be introduced to their content, but some are not convinced.

Many magazine publishers are on board with Apple's proposed revenue terms, but most magazines have no existing online revenue streams. Magazine publishers have also already been working with the 50/50 revenue split following Apple's acquisition of Texture, the magazine subscription service Apple is basing its new offering on.

Apple will debut its new subscription service for Apple News at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday, March 25. Apple will also use the same event to unveil its rumored streaming video service.

Tag: Apple News
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AirPods With Wireless Charging Case Delivery Date Slips to April

Wed, 2019-03-20 14:23
Just hours after Apple unveiled new second-generation AirPods with "Hey Siri" support and a new Wireless Charging Case, they've started selling out.

At launch, Apple listed a U.S. delivery date of March 27 to March 29 for the new $199 AirPods paired with the Wireless Charging Case, but now, those delivery estimates have slipped to April 2 to April 5.


The $159 second-generation AirPods with a standard Charging Case continue to be available for March 27 to March 29 delivery, as does the standalone $79 Wireless Charging Case Apple introduced for current AirPods owners.

Those who want to pick up the new AirPods with Wireless Charging Case should do so soon, as historically, Apple has had trouble keeping its AirPods in stock due to high demand.

We may soon see these delivery estimates slip even further into April.

Apple's new second-generation AirPods do not bring exciting new features that were rumored like a new black color and health updates, but they're a solid upgrade over the previous version.

There's a new H1 wireless chip inside that powers hands-free "Hey Siri" functionality so you don't need to tap to access the voice assistant.

Your AirPods are able to switch between devices two times faster when playing music, and there's an extra hour of talk time, bringing total talk time to three hours.

The new Wireless Charging Case allows the AirPods to charge using Qi-based wireless charging accessories, and it perhaps heralds the upcoming launch of the AirPower.


Apple is designing its own wireless charging mat meant to charge AirPods, the iPhone, and the Apple Watch all at once, but it's not yet entirely clear when it will launch given the many delays since its 2017 introduction.

In the meantime, with no AirPower, AirPods can charge on any Qi-based accessory that you might already have for your iPhone.

Apple will likely have some stock of the new AirPods models in its retail stores next week for those who were unable to order and receive a March delivery date. If you order online, though, you can get your AirPods case engraved, a feature new to the second-generation model.


We expect AirPods to be in stores right around March 25. The new AirPods require iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, and macOS Mojave 10.14.4, all of which are in beta testing right now. Those releases are expected on March 25, so AirPods could be in stores soon afterwards.

We're giving away a pair of AirPods to one lucky MacRumors reader, and you can enter to win in our AirPods roundup.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)
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WSJ Says Apple Approved Production of AirPower Earlier This Year as Previously Rumored

Wed, 2019-03-20 10:59
The Wall Street Journal today reports that Apple approved production of its long-awaited wireless charging mat AirPower earlier this year after facing challenges with developing the accessory. This supports previous supply chain rumors.


From the report:The company earlier this year approved production of a wireless-charging pad called AirPower, according to people familiar with the matter. It had announced the product in late 2017.

AirPower, which would allow users to charge the new AirPods and an iPhone simultaneously, has been delayed by product-development challenges, the people said. Apple typically announces new products within months of beginning production.Last month, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the AirPower will launch in the first half of 2019 alongside new AirPods, which were announced today, but a specific release date is unclear. Kuo also expects a new iPod touch with a faster processor in the first half of this year, but there has been no sign of one so far this week.

Apple has announced new iPads on Monday, new iMacs on Tuesday, and new AirPods on Wednesday of this week, so it is possible the AirPower could follow on Thursday or Friday, but no reliable rumors have indicated that will be the case.

Apple initially said the AirPower would be released in 2018, but the year came and went without a release, and the company hasn't said a word about the mat in many months. Apple removed the last remaining reference to the AirPower on its website, a photo of the mat, from its AirPods page earlier today.

.@trippmickle with some AirPower details https://t.co/Epx0rQNAE4 pic.twitter.com/2qQFcUnjOO

— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) March 20, 2019
Apple is holding a media event on March 25 at Steve Jobs Theater, where it is widely expected to unveil news and streaming video services, but this week's product announcements suggest the event might not see much if any hardware on stage.

AirPower is designed to charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone 8 and newer, Apple Watch Series 3 and newer, and AirPods when they are placed in the new optional wireless charging case introduced today.

Tag: AirPower
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Roundup: AirPower Removed From AirPods Page, AirPods 3 Possibly 2020, iOS 12.2 Arrives Next Week, and More

Wed, 2019-03-20 09:52
Apple today unveiled second-generation AirPods with a new H1 chip that enables hands-free Siri and up to an extra hour of talk time, and there are a handful of details worth mentioning surrounding the announcement.

Apple removed this AirPower image from its AirPods page today
Five thoughts:
  • The new AirPods require iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, or macOS 10.14.4 and later, which are all currently in beta testing. With the new AirPods arriving to customers early next week, this means the software updates should be publicly released on or around March 25 event day.
  • Apple removed an image of its AirPower wireless charging mat from its AirPods page today. However, many sources believe the AirPower is coming soon. Apple announced new iPads on Monday, new iMacs on Tuesday, and new AirPods on Wednesday, so it is possible the AirPower could follow on Thursday or Friday, but no reliable rumors have indicated that will be the case.
  • Apple has discontinued the original AirPods. The new lineup includes the second-generation AirPods paired with either a wired charging case for $159 or with a wireless charging case for $199. The wireless case is also sold separately for $79 and is compatible with the original AirPods.
  • According to Mark Gurman, these AirPods were initially planned to go on sale last year. As he has previously reported, Gurman says Apple is working on a subsequent pair of AirPods with noise cancellation and water resistance that were originally planned for release later this year, but he now speculates that they could arrive in 2020.
  • MacRumors received a tip earlier this month claiming that Apple would announce new iPads, iMacs, and iPods on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, and while most of this information proved to be accurate, new AirPods ended up arriving on Wednesday instead of a new iPod touch. Multiple sources still expect a new iPod touch, but announcement timing is unclear.
For more details about the new AirPods, read our earlier coverage of the announcement.

Related Roundups: iOS 12, AirPods 2Tag: AirPowerBuyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)
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Apple Launches New Spring Colors for iPhone Cases and Apple Watch Bands

Wed, 2019-03-20 08:23
Alongside the second generation of AirPods, Apple today refreshed its iPhone case and Apple Watch band lineup for spring. In Silicone cases for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max you can now choose from Spearmint, Papaya, and Delft Blue.


The iPhone XS Smart Battery Case is now available in a Pink Sand color option, after first launching in just White and Black.


iPhone XS Leather Cases are gaining Cornflower, Sunset, and Lilac. The same colors can be found for iPhone XS Max Leather Cases, iPhone XS Leather Folio, and iPhone XS Max Leather Folio.


Apple Watch Sport Bands are also matching the new iPhone case colors in Spearmint, Delft Blue, and Papaya. You can get these in 40mm or 44mm to fit all previous generations of Apple Watch and Apple Watch Series 4.


In Sport Loop there is Papaya, Cerulean, Spearmint, and Lilac as well. Just like Sport Bands, these are available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes.


The Nike Sport Band lineup also updated with Black/Hyper Grape, Spruce Fog/Vintage Lichen, and Teal Tint/Tropical Twist. These bands are made with the same fluoroelastomer as Apple's Sport Bands.


There are also new Nike Sport Loop bands, in Spruce Fog, Teal Tint, Hyper Grape, Summer White, and Black.


New Modern Buckle colors include Cornflower, Lilac, and Sunset. These join new Leather Loop colors in Cornflower and Sunset as well.


Lastly, new Hermès options include Rose Sakura/Craie/Argile Swift Leather Double Tour, Bleu Lin/Craie/Bleu du Nord Swift Leather Double Tour, and Etoupe Swift Leather Double Tour. Single Tour bands get the same new colorways.


Head to Apple.com to purchase the cases and bands, and check out our post on the second generation of AirPods for more information on Apple's latest wireless headphones.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, iPhone XSBuyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral), iPhone XS (Neutral)
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New AirPods Launch With H1 Chip, Hey Siri, Up to 50% More Talk Time, and Optional Wireless Charging Case

Wed, 2019-03-20 07:42
Apple today in a press release introduced new second-generation AirPods powered by an Apple-designed H1 chip that enables hands-free "Hey Siri" functionality and up to 50 percent more talk time compared to the original AirPods.


Apple says the H1 chip in the new AirPods makes switching between the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac up to two times faster, and enables up to a 1.5x faster connection time for phone calls and up to 30 percent lower gaming latency.

Hands-free Siri allows AirPods users to say "Hey Siri" to change songs, make phone calls, adjust the volume, get directions, and more.

The new AirPods get up to three hours of talk time per charge, compared to up to two hours with the previous generation. Other battery life figures remain the same, with up to five hours of listening time per charge and more than 24 hours of total battery life from extra charges stored in the case.

The new AirPods have the same outward design as the original and remain available in white only.

The new AirPods are available to order on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app starting today with a wired charging case for $159, the same price as the original AirPods, and with a wireless charging case for $199. Both options will be available at Apple Stores and select resellers starting next week.


The wireless charging case is also available individually for $79 for use with both the first-generation and second-generation AirPods. An LED light indicator located on the front of the case shows the charge status at a glance.

Apple also announced that free engraving is now available on any AirPods charging case for orders placed on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)
This article, "New AirPods Launch With H1 Chip, Hey Siri, Up to 50% More Talk Time, and Optional Wireless Charging Case" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Disney Completes $71.3 Billion Acquisition of 21st Century Fox

Wed, 2019-03-20 07:09
After first confirming its plan to acquire certain parts of 21st Century Fox in December 2017, today The Walt Disney Company has officially closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox (via The Hollywood Reporter). The deal had to go through various regulatory and antitrust reviews, and Disney saw a bit of competition with Comcast for Fox's assets throughout 2018.


Now, Disney owns 20th Century Fox Film and Television studios, the FX stable of networks, National Geographic, and the Fox-related cable and international TV businesses, like India's Star India. The acquisition has also made Disney the majority owner of Hulu thanks to Fox's 30 percent stake in the streaming service, combined with Disney's existing 30 percent stake. Disney is said to also be looking into acquiring WarnerMedia's 10 percent Hulu stake, but will leave the service as it is and focus mainly on its upcoming Disney+ platform instead of altering Hulu.

For Disney+, the company now has a huge back catalog of Fox films and TV shows to bolster its not-yet-released streaming service, and potentially entice more customers to join. It's already been confirmed that Disney+ will host "the entire Disney motion picture library," signaling the end of the Disney Vault in the process and allowing subscribers to stream any Disney film they desire.

There will also be new original TV shows and films based on Disney properties, like The Mandalorian set in the Star Wars universe, and a Marvel show focused on Tom Hiddleston's Loki. Disney plans for the service to be family-friendly and educational, with shows based on Monsters, Inc. and documentaries about Walt Disney Imagineering. This content will now be combined with Disney-owned Fox properties, including films from the X-Men and Avatar franchises, and many more.

The impact of the acquisition is expected to lead to between 4,000 and 10,000 layoffs. What's leftover of the new Fox Corporation will now focus on news and sports in the United States more so than entertainment programming, including the Fox broadcast network, TV stations, the Fox News channels, and Fox Sports, none of which Disney acquired.

Disney's interest in Fox started with its bid to acquire a large portion of Fox's assets for $52.4 billion in stock in late 2017. Comcast entered with its own $65 billion cash offer for Fox's assets, leading to Disney's increased $71.3 billion cash and stock bid in June 2018. At the time that it bowed out of the running for Fox, Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts congratulated Disney and its CEO Bob Iger and commended the Murdoch family and Fox "for creating such a desirable and respected company."

With the acquisition, Disney+ is also becoming a big competitor to current and future streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple's own TV service, which is set to be unveiled next week. Apple's platform is taking the Disney+ approach, with many original TV shows and films produced by Apple that will be mixed in with purchased content from third parties. We don't know yet how much Apple's service will cost or what shows will be available at launch, but we should get more details in just a few days, as the company's "It's Show Time" event kicks off on Monday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Tags: Disney, Fox
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Kaspersky Lab Files Antitrust Complaint Against Apple Over App Store Policy

Wed, 2019-03-20 05:42
Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service relating to the company's App Store distribution policy. The action comes less than a week after Spotify filed its own complaint against Apple with EU antitrust regulators over the tech giant's "unfair" App Store practices.


Kaspersky's complaint is specifically to do with Apple's removal of the Kaspersky Safe Kids app. In a blog post on the Kaspersky website, the firm says it received notice from Apple last year that the app, which had been in the App Store for three years, did not meet App Store guidelines owing to the use of configuration profiles.

Kaspersky was told by Apple that it would need to remove these profiles for the app to pass review and remain in the App Store, but the Russian firm had argued this action essentially crippled the app. "For us, that would mean removing two key features from Kaspersky Safe Kids: app control and Safari browser blocking."

The first allows parents to specify which apps kids can't run based on the App Store's age restrictions, while the second allows the hiding of all browsers on the device so that web pages can only be accessed in the Kaspersky Safe Kids app's built-in secure browser.

Kaspersky argues that the change in Apple's policy regarding parental control apps coincided with the release of iOS 12 and Apple's own Screen Time feature, which lets users monitor the amount of time they spend using certain apps and websites, and set time restrictions. Kaspersky calls it "essentially Apple's own app for parental control," and claims that's why Apple changed its tune on the firm's Safe Kids app and other apps like it.
From our point of view, Apple appears to be using its position as platform owner and supervisor of the sole channel for delivering apps to users of the platform to dictate terms and prevent other developers from operating on equal terms with it. As a result of the new rules, developers of parental control apps may lose some of their users and experience financial impact. Most important, however, it is the users who will suffer as they miss out on some critical security features. The market for parental control apps will head toward a monopoly and, consequently, stagnation.Kaspersky says it wants to continue its "winning relationship with Apple," but on "a more equal footing," and hopes that its application to the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service will "benefit the market at large" and require Apple to "provide competitive terms to third-party developers."

Kaspersky's dispute has parallels with the antitrust complaint brought against Apple by Spotify last week. The music streaming service filed the complaint with the European Commission, accusing the iPhone maker of enforcing App Store rules that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience" and "acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers."

Apple responded to the complaint two days later, labeling it "misleading rhetoric" and arguing that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free." A day later, Spotify fired back, claiming "every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong" and that, consequently, Apple's response was "entirely in line" with its expectations.

Tags: antitrust, Kaspersky Lab
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Apple Drops Prices on MacBook Air and Mac Mini SSD Upgrades, Lowers Cost of 64GB Mac Pro RAM Price

Tue, 2019-03-19 12:36
As we reported this morning, Apple today cut the prices of higher-end MacBook Pro SSD upgrades by up to $400, and as it turns out, there have been pricing changes to components in other Mac machines as well.

For the MacBook Air, released in 2018, upgrading to a 1.5TB SSD on either base model is now $100 cheaper, with the SSD upgrade pricing options listed below.


Entry-level MacBook Air SSD options:

  • 256GB SSD - +$200 (No change)

  • 512GB SSD - +$400 (No change)

  • 1.5TB SSD - +$1,100 ($100 off)


Higher-end MacBook Air SSD options:

  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)

  • 1.5TB SSD - +$900 ($100 off)


Apple has also dropped the price of the 2TB SSD upgrade option in the Mac mini by $200, with the new SSD upgrade pricing options listed below.

Entry-level Mac mini SSD options:

  • 256GB SSD - +$200 (No change)

  • 512GB SSD - +$400 (No change)

  • 1TB SSD - +$800 (No change)

  • 2TB SSD - +$1,400 ($200 off)


Higher-end Mac mini SSD options

  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)

  • 1TB SSD - +$600 (No change)

  • 2TB SSD - +$1,200 ($200 off)


Apple has also quietly dropped the price of the 64GB RAM upgrade in the Mac Pro, which is the 2013 model that has not seen an update in many years.

Prior to today's update, upgrading the base Mac Pro configurations from 16GB RAM to 64GB Ram cost $1,200, but Apple has dropped the price by $400. It now costs $800 to upgrade from 16GB RAM to 64GB RAM. Upgrading to 32GB RAM continues to cost $400 over the base 16GB option.

Related Roundups: Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook AirBuyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy), Mac Mini (Buy Now), MacBook Air (Buy Now)
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Code in Latest iOS 12.2 Beta Suggests AirPower Launch Coming Soon

Tue, 2019-03-19 11:54
Apple's long-awaited AirPower could be launching in the near future, based on coding changes that 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo says he found in the latest iOS 12.2 beta, released yesterday morning.

There have been "significant changes" to the wireless charging code in the beta update, including "code responsible for identifying that two devices are charging on the same mat," which could indicate that Apple is planning an AirPower launch soon.


Apple's AirPower charging mat will be able to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods (with a new wireless charging case) all at once. The AirPower charging mat was first announced in 2017 alongside the iPhone X, but has seen production difficulties that led to multiple delays.

In the iOS 12.2 beta specifically, there are changes to the 3D animations that are displayed on the largest of the charging devices to let you know charging levels.

Apple has been silent on the AirPower ever since announcing it, but there have been continual signs that the Cupertino company is still working on it, including multiple recent rumors that a launch is happening in the spring.

Apple on Monday introduced a new iPad Air and an iPad mini 5, and today introduced refreshed iMacs, suggesting it is perhaps aiming to roll out all of its spring hardware updates ahead of its services-focused event on March 25.

Ahead of when the iPads and iMacs launched, we heard from a source that suggested Apple would debut new products on Monday through Wednesday, with a new iPod touch set to be announced tomorrow. We haven't heard word of an AirPower launch or an AirPods launch with new wireless charging case, but that doesn't mean it's not going to happen.

There's a chance we will see AirPower and AirPods this week, but if not, it certainly seems like we're at least a bit closer to a debut.

Tag: AirPower
This article, "Code in Latest iOS 12.2 Beta Suggests AirPower Launch Coming Soon" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Eddy Cue Says Apple Isn't Interested in Exclusive Rights to Live Sports Games

Tue, 2019-03-19 11:43
A new Sports Illustrated article offers a look inside Apple's so-called sports surveillance room at its Results Way office complex in Cupertino, California, where a team of Apple employees have been monitoring sports events for newsworthy and unpredictable moments for almost a year now.


The report says the team manages the sports subsection in Apple's TV app and its Apple TV interface, highlighting what's available around the clock and sending notifications about exciting moments like a playoff game reaching triple overtime.

Apple's services chief Eddy Cue reflected on the company's broader goal of curating sports, using retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance in an otherwise unremarkable Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors game in the 2006 NBA playoffs as an example of a sports moment worth highlighting.

"It was amazing to watch, but the vast majority even of Lakers fans didn't see it," said Cue. "As a fan, I've always looked at it as an opportunity."

For now, though, Apple doesn't appear to have any larger ambitions with sports. Asked how much he thinks about competing against Facebook and Amazon, both of which have experimented with airing live sports games on their platforms with exclusive rights, Cue responded "not a lot, honestly."

From the report:"That's not to say we would never do sports, because who the heck knows," he said. "Never is a long time, but I don't think that's a problem right now." Sports rights are deeply fragmented, with different owners split by platform and region. "You really can't own all the rights, so therefore at some point you need to solve some other problems," Cue said. "You can't design for owning the rights because if that's the only thing you're doing you're always going to be tiny."In other words, don't expect Apple to have its own sports broadcasts in its widely expected streaming video service, although it could provide sports content from partnered networks.

Read the full Sports Illustrated article for a deeper dive into Apple's sports content efforts.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)
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Apple Lowers Price of MacBook Pro's High-End SSD Upgrade Options

Tue, 2019-03-19 11:36
Alongside a refresh of the iMac and new Radeon Pro Vega graphics options for the iMac Pro, Apple today quietly lowered the price of some of the storage upgrade options for the MacBook Pro.

2TB and 4TB SSD upgrade options for 13 and 15-inch machines are now more affordable, with Apple dropping prices as much as $400.


Upgrading to 2TB of storage on the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models is now $200 cheaper, while upgrading to 4TB on the 15-inch MacBook Pro is $400 cheaper.

SSD upgrade pricing for the MacBook Pro models is below:

Entry level 15-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)

  • 1TB SSD - +$600 (No change)

  • 2TB SSD - +$1,200 ($200 off)

  • 4TB SSD - +$3,000 ($400 off)


Higher-end 15-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 1TB SSD - +$400 (No change)

  • 2TB SSD - +$1,000 ($200 off)

  • 4TB SSD - +$2,800 ($400 off)


Entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 512GB SSD - +$200 (No change)

  • 1TB SSD - +$600 (No change)

  • 2TB SSD - +$1,200 ($200 off)


Higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 1TB SSD - +$400 (No change)

  • 2TB SSD - +$1,000 ($200 off)


It's not unusual for Apple to adjust storage prices for its products, especially at the higher end, as prices fluctuate and come down over time after a machine has been released. Apple has changed storage prices for various Macs multiple times over the years.

Apple's MacBook Pro models are not designed to have the SSD upgraded after purchase as the storage is soldered to the motherboard, so the price drop is nice to see for those who want to purchase more storage to futureproof their machines.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)
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