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Thursday March 8

Apple rolls out new version of Workflow. Federico...

Federico Viticci, MacStories:

In the first update since November 2017, Apple today released version 1.7.8 of Workflow, the powerful iOS automation app they acquired last year. The latest version, which is now available on the App Store, introduces a brand new Mask Image action, adds support for Things’ automation features, and improves the ability to extract text from PDFs using the company’s PDFKit framework, launched in iOS 11. While the unassuming version number may suggest a relatively minor update, Workflow 1.7.8 actually comes with a variety of noteworthy changes for heavy users of the app.

If you’ve never played with Workflow, take a few minutes and download it (it’s free).

And if you use Workflow, read Federico’s excellent...

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Tim Cook celebrates International Women’s Day as...

On International Women’s Day, Tim Cook has tweeted a Malala Yousafzai quote and thanked ‘all of the inspiring women I work with at Apple’ …


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United Healthcare lets you earn $1,000 for meeting...


Need an incentive to exercise? Maybe the chance to land an Apple Watch could help.

That’s what UnitedHealthcare is hoping, anyway. The health insurance company is integrating the Apple Watch into its UnitedHealthcare Motion digital wellness program, which gives people access to activity trackers that then allow them to earn up to $1,000 a year if they meet daily walking goals.


After paying tax and shipping, anyone enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Motion can get an Apple Watch Series 3 and have the option to apply earnings from the program toward buying the device. After that, their earnings are deposited into their health savings account or health reimbursement account to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Great move.


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August adds free 24 hour cloud video storage to its...

Perhaps fearing competition from Amazon’s acquisition of Ring last month, August today announced they are adding free cloud storage for customers of August Doorbell Cam and August Doorbell Cam Pro.

With the new ‘Basic August Video Recording’ subscription, the doorbells will save the last 24 hours of video to August’s servers, with access to view it through the August app. Premium paid plans offer larger storage quotas.


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Apple releases 12th annual Supplier Responsibility...

From the release:

The company conducted 756 audits spanning 30 countries and covering suppliers representing 95 percent of total spend. Apple’s efforts to raise standards are having a dramatic impact and the number of low-performing facilities decreased to just 1 percent.

Apple goes deeper into the supply chain to find issues and fix them more than any other company in its industry and each year it will do more to raise the bar and protect the people who make Apple products as well as the planet.


∞ Read this on The Loop

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Apple patent hints at a bigger touchpad on a Mac...

Apple has been granted a patent (number 2018006751) for a “wide touchpad on a  portable computer” that hints at a much bigger touchpad on Mac laptops. Perhaps it could even lead to the “Magic TouchPad” that I’d like to see.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that advances in technology have enabled the size of personal computers to decrease. As a result, the use of portable computers is rapidly increasing. 

One trend in portable computers has been to make them as desktop computer replacements, which requires them to be larger, while still maintaining their portability features. Apple says that the display assembly in particular, which includes a display screen, has become larger, to become comparable to the sizes of desktop computer monitors. 

This has caused the housing of the base assembly to increase proportionally. Large base...

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Netflix bringing vertical video previews to iPhone...

Starting next month, people using Netflix's mobile apps will be able to watch video previews for the first time -- and displayed in a vertical format, so they don't need to rotate their iPhones.

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Comment: I instinctively support ‘right to repair’...

Some eighteen states have now signed a Right to Repair bill, with California the latest to sign up. The bills say that manufacturers must facilitate DIY and third-party repairs by publishing repair information and making both replacement parts and diagnostic tools available to consumers.

I’m instinctively on the side of those who think that devices should be both repairable and expandable by their owners. But I do recognize the trade-offs that involves …


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Smart Home Lessons from a Home Automation Veteran

Rich Mogull shares the lessons he’s learned over a decade of home automation, and how the new “Take Control of Apple Home Automation” book compresses many of them in a neat package.


Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

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Apple updates its Workflow app for iOS to version 1....

Apple has updated its Workflow app for iOS to version 1.7.8. The upgrade:

  • Added a new Mask Image action;
  • Added new fields to the Add Things To-Do action;
  • Dictionary items are now reorderable in the Dictionary action;
  • The URL scheme now supports opening workflows;
  • Improved the PDF to text coercion; extracting text from PDFs now works much better;
  • Improved drag and drop handling; you can now drop content onto a workflow in My Workflows without waiting for spring-loading.

Workflow allows you to automate items on your iPhone or iPad by connecting apps and actions. You can create complex workflows that you can start with a single tap. Workflow contains over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud Drive, and Health, to name a few.

Workflow is a...

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Guns N' Roses' singer Axl Rose compares...

Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose has attacked Apple CEO Tim Cook on Twitter, calling him the "Donald Trump of the music industry," but while the cryptic tweet is believed to be an insult, it is unknown exactly what Rose is trying to say in the unexpected message.

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California considering ‘right to repair’ legislation

California is the latest state to prepare "right to repair" legislation that would require companies like Apple to provide consumers and third-party repair outlets access to repair information, diagnostic equipment and parts, according to an announcement from Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton). 

She plans to introduce the California Right to Repair Act. The legislation would require manufacturers of electronics to make diagnostic and repair information, as well as equipment or service parts, available to product owners and to independent repair shops.

“The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in...

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First Look: The Sims Mobile puts a fresher freemium...

The Sims is one of the most popular game franchises of all time, but the life-simulator sandbox has mostly excelled on Mac and PC, along with consoles. Granted, The Sims FreePlay—the mobile version that first launched way back in 2011—has racked up more than 200 million downloads, but many series fans considered it a shell of the fuller premium editions.

That’s why this week’s release of The Sims Mobile for iOS (also Android) is such a big deal. As its title suggests, The Sims Mobile aims to feel more like the classic Sims experience that millions know and love, albeit on your iPhone or iPad. You’ll create a character from scratch, build up your home, take on a career, make friends and create...

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Apple holds Everyone Can Code event at Texas School...

Apple experts visited the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to unveil software that lets users write code without having to see the screen, reports the American Statesman.

Cameron Smith, 15, left and Demetria Ober, 18, work with a drone during class at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. — Photo courtesy of Ricardo Brazzill/American Statesman

Students at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired spent Wednesday morning with a team from the tech giant learning to code and then using the code to pilot small drones. This was Apple’s first in-school coding session for students who are blind and low vision. 

During the session, 17 students ranging from high school juniors to recent grads learned to write and develop their own code on...

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Apple is more likely to introduce an even higher end...

Citing unnamed industry sources, the Economic Daily News (via Mac Otakara) reports a cheaper version of HomePod is due to arrive in the second half of the year.

The lower priced smart speaker could sell for between $150 to $200, the report said. However, it doesn’t say whether Apple intends to release a new HomePod (a HomePod mini?) or cut the pricing of the 349 speaker.

Chances this rumor is true, per the Sellers Research Group (that’s me): 60%. I do  think that Apple will reduce the price of the HomePod a bit — but NOT by $150 or $200. I’m also less inclined to think that Apple will reduce a smaller speaker than that the tech giant will introduce an even higher end model.

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Google to kill support for iPhone 6s-era Nexus...

Google's upcoming release of the next version of Android OS will abandon support for all Nexus-branded phones and its sole remaining tablet product, Pixel C, ending future updates for products that were sold two years ago. The decision isn't just Google's however; Qualcomm also plays a role in ending support for functional phones prematurely.

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Apple releases 12th annual Supplier Responsibility...

Apple’s has released its 12th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which details progress the company is making to improve working conditions at supplier facilities, protect the planet and ensure responsible sourcing. 

The tech giant says that, since 2007, almost 15 million supplier employees have been trained on their rights, including three million last year. Constantly raising the bar, finding problems and fixing them, providing advancement opportunities and reporting transparently are fundamental to Apple’s supplier responsibility efforts, according to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.

Apple’s 12th annual Supplier Responsibility report details progress and new initiatives. -- Photo courtesy of Apple

He says that the company’s efforts to create a greener supply chain resulted in significant progress in 2017. All iPhone final assembly sites around the world have now been certified as zero waste to landfill. More of Apple’s products...

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Snap reportedly planning its third and biggest round...

Snapchat developer Snap is reportedly planning a third round of layoffs, set to be its biggest yet, according to sources close to the company …


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The Mini Xboy is a cut little speaker that kids will...

The $39 Mini Xboy is one of Xoopar’s Xboy line of Bluetooth speakers. Kids will find it entertaining; adults not so much.

The Mini Xboy — available in a variety of colors — has a glowing face and a built-in selfie remote. After successful pairing, it can work as a wireless remote shutter when using together with your iPhone’s camera. 

You can pair and play the Mini Xboy with any Bluetooth device or connect it with a non-Bluetooth gadget via 3.5mm audio cable. The three-watt speaker’s built-in rechargeable battery provides up to five hours of music playback after a one-hour charge.

As a toy and/or a novelty speaker, the MiniXboy is fine. And, at three inches tall, its small enough to slip into a jacket pocket. As a speaker, its audio is adequate for such a small device, and nothing more. Of course, it’s not meant for audiophiles.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★

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We mostly sign up to Netflix on Macs and iPhones,...

Netflix has shared a few stats on how people join and watch the service, and it found that there’s a pretty rapid switch in devices …


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A keyboard shortcut cheat sheet on demand: KeyCue

David C. recently wrote me to recommend an app called KeyCue, saying: "KeyCue is a macOS app that reliably displays keyboard shortcuts for the currently used application by merely holding down the ⌘ key—one of the first apps I add to a new Mac.”

I still think my way—printing a cheat sheet with the shortcuts I'm trying to commit to memory and taping it to my display—is better. But opinions are like noses—everyone's got one. So, for those who prefer an "always available" keyboard shortcut cheat sheet, KeyCue is $19.99.  

This nugget of info is from my “Working Smarter for Mac Users” newsletter.  You can sign up for free and get free timesaving tips, and more, every week.

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Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose calls Tim Cook ‘the...

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose has described Apple CEO Tim Cook as ‘the Donald Trump of the music industry’ …


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Notable apps and app updates for March 8, 2018

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

iOS Apps/Updates

Glyphin SPRL has launched Text Sniper. The app offers way to turn printed text into digital text. Text Sniper starts recognizing text with the camera when the app is opened, and displays results in real-time. This mode of operation, similar to how barcode scanners function, allows very short interactions. Text Sniper is free, but does tout in-app purchases.

Spoon Guru is a new, free app designed to help consumers either following a diet for health reasons (lactose intolerant, coeliac, etc), personal reasons (vegan, low sugar, etc...

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California joins 17 states in lobbying for “right to...

This is interesting.

California on Wednesday became the latest state to ready so-called “right to repair” legislation that would require companies like Apple to provide consumers and third-party repair outlets access to repair information, diagnostic equipment and parts.

California State Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman announced the intent to join 17 other states with similar legislation on the table.

Per Eggman:

“The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence.”

Eggman went on to argue that customers who are unable to pay for high-priced manufacturer repairs are then forces to replace broken devices with new units. How consumers are able to afford device replacements and not repairs,...

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Assorted Alexa-based devices have begun laughing at...

Even though the HomePod may leave something to be desired in its current incarnation (wood-stained rings included), a number of Amazon’s Echo Alexa units have begun laughing at their owners.

Following customer complaints of creepy, unprompted laughs coming from inside Alexa devices, Amazon has confirmed that it is aware of the feature issue and is working on a fix.

The incidents of unwelcome laughter began as early as late February. Alexa did face a rare outage last week after Amazon Web Services saw significant downtime, but the shift into becoming entirely sentient is a new development for any voice assistant to date.

At present, the Alexa flaw doesn’t appear to be completely widespread.

Amazon has stated that it is working on a fix, but has yet to provide a time frame for this.

Via 9to5Mac and...

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5 signs you’re not ready to cut the cable TV cord

Thinking of cutting the cord? Here are 5 signs you're not ready to drop cable.

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Sky VR's interactive museum visit deserves a...

Sir David Attenborough first lent his silky narrator's voice to the medium of VR when he teamed up with London's Natural History Museum for a special exhibit on the earth's prehistoric oceans. And now, several years later, the institution and Sir Dav...

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Microsoft explains how it will sell Windows 10...

Following up on an earlier tweet, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore followed up with more details about the demise of Windows 10 S as a standalone product. Going forward, he explained, you'll see PCs with either Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro PC or Windows...

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Wednesday March 7

MoviePass pulls 'unused app location'...

Two days after we started reporting on comments by MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe about his company tracking users after they leave the theater, there's an update for its iOS app. According to the notes, it contains "Theater & Movie Search performance...

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MoviePass removes 'unused' location...

After MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe raised the hackles of privacy advocates by implying the movie deals service tracks user locations, the company on Wednesday issued an update for its eponymous app that removes a supposedly unused "location capability" feature.

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Watch 'Stargate Origins' for free in VR...

Want to (legally) watch Stargate Origins for free? If you splurged on a virtual reality headset, you can. MGM and Bigscreen have teamed up to screen the first two episodes of the sci-fi TV show for free in VR between March 8th at 6PM Eastern and Ma...

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Apple's Workflow app updated with new image...

Apple on Wednesday issued a minor update to its Workflow app, adding a few new features and a number of bug fixes to the popular automation software.

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Apple Supplier Responsibility Report reveals uptick...

Apple released its annual Supplier Responsibility Report on Wednesday, revealing a small uptick in number of labor, human rights and environmental violations, while at the same time touting progress in those same areas and announcing a new women's health initiative.

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Apple shares annual Supplier Responsibility report,...

Apple today has released its 12th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, detailing the work the company is doing in improving conditions at supplier facilities. Apple touts that 15 million supplier employees have now been trained on their rights, including 3 million just last year.

The report, however, also offers colors at some of the issues Apple still faces in its supply chain…


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California lawmaker introduces 'right to repair...

The Right to Repair Act is heading to the biggest tech corporations' home state. Lawmaker Susan Talamantes Eggman is introducing the bill in California, which is now 18th state in the country to look into making devices easier to repair. These days,...

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California to introduce 'right to repair'...

California on Wednesday became the latest state to ready so-called "right to repair" legislation that would require companies like Apple to provide consumers and third-party repair outlets access to repair information, diagnostic equipment and parts.

| Read more »
Huawei's notch-infused P20 phone lineup leaks...

If there was any doubt that Huawei was about to embrace iPhone X-style notches in a big way, Evan Blass just removed it. The veteran leaker has posted press images of the entire P20 lineup (Lite, regular and Pro), and all three have that distinctive...

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Apple updates Workflow automation app with new Mask...

The Apple-owned Workflow app has been update today to version 1.7.8, bringing new features and enhancements to the popular automation tool…


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Lowest Price Ever: Apple's loaded 2TB 15"...

Readers can exclusively save $1,300 this week on Apple's maxed out Late 2016 15" MacBook Pro with the line's fastest processor, 2TB of storage and top-of-the-line Radeon 460 graphics. Plus, the Mac qualifies for free expedited shipping and no tax collected in most states.

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Apple holds first in-school coding session for...

In an expansion to its Everyone Can Code educational initiative, Apple on Wednesday held its first in-school session for visually impaired students, helping participants write code that was then used to fly drones.

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California latest to join Right to Repair bill,...

The Right to Repair bill is a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, it will allow customers easer access to parts and repair tools if a repair is warranted. However, on the other, it could force manufacturers to not alter designs and features  in the name of easier repairability. However, the bill continues to gain steam…


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MoviePass update on iOS ‘removes unused location...

Earlier this week, Mitch Lowe, CEO of the popular all-you-can-eat movie subscription service MoviePass, made headlines for bragging about how the app can track the location of its users. Shortly after that comment, MoviePass issued a statement clarifying its actions, and now the iOS app has been updated to remove the features…


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Amazon figured out what’s making Alexa laugh

“In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase ‘Alexa, laugh,’ the company said in a statement to GeekWire. “We are changing that phrase to be ‘Alexa, can you laugh?’ which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance ‘Alexa, laugh.’”

Hmmmm, from some of the reports I saw, I’m not sure if this is it or not.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Ford proposes remote drone-tracking system for the...

This week's FAA drone symposium had an unlikely panelist: Ford. The automaker has been working with the agency to figure out how to track UAVs since last year, but unlike dronemaker DJI's proposal to force airborne craft to broadcast their ID and loc...

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Apple axed 10 smelters and refiners from supply...

Apple issued its annual Conflict Minerals Report for the 2017 calendar year to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, noting the removal of 10 smelters and refiners that failed to participate with third-party audits in a timely manner, while another 6 were axed by partner suppliers.

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The Senate has its own insincere net neutrality bill

Now that the House of Representatives has floated a superficial net neutrality bill, it's the Senate's turn. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy has introduced a companion version of the Open Internet Preservation Act that effectively replicates the House...

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Rumor: Apple working on cheaper HomePod for launch...

A somewhat questionable report out of Taiwan on Wednesday says Apple is working on more affordable editions of stalwart product lines including iPhone, iPad and Mac, as well as a lower priced HomePod.

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Google Maps allows businesses to identify as owned,...

This year, celebrate International Women’s Day by supporting a women-led business. Starting this week, businesses can now identify as owned, led, or founded by women, by enabling the women-led attribute from their Google My Business dashboard. Attributes appear on a business’s Google listing on Maps and Search and give customers more details like “Has Wi-Fi” and “Outdoor seating” to help them decide where to go.

Great idea from Google.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Netflix is bringing video previews to its mobile apps

A year after introducing video previews on its TV experience, Netflix is now planning to bring the feature to its mobile apps. The company announced today this will be rolling out in April, noting that it was developed to help make it easier and fast...

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Netflix isn't chasing the competition into...

Fresh off of its Oscars win for Icarus, a documentary about Russia's doping epidemic in sports, Netflix held a press event at its Hollywood headquarters. There, inside a 280,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art studio that it just opened last year, CEO...

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Tidal's next exclusive concert pairs Deadmau5...

Electronic musician Joel "Deadmau5" Zimmerman is stripping down his sound and adding string instruments to his army of synths for a Tidal-sponsored "Where's the drop?" concert next month. Tidal subscribers can jump in on today's pre-sale, while the g...

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How to use iPhone and iPad as a magnifying glass

Apple has some fantastic functionality packed into iOS with its accessibility features. While some users rely on these features daily, some of them go overlooked by many. One of these useful features is the ability to use your iPhone or iPad as a magnifying glass.


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Apple Daily Report for March 7, 2018

The AWT News Update is on hiatus while my compadre, Steve, takes a road trip. In its place, I’ll offer a text-only (no podcast) summary of breaking stories with a tip o’ my hat to my former website, Apple Daily Report.

Bloomberg, working with Moody’s Analytics data, thinks it has come up with a shortlist of likely locations for Apple’s next U.S. campus.

Hey, U.S. citizens, the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t accept iTunes gift cards as payments. Some scammers are looking to fleece folks by asking them to pay back taxes with such cards, do don’t be fooled. 

Apple has updated Apple Music app for Android to version 2.4. It offers such enhancements as music video playback options that bring it more in line with its iOS counterpart...

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9to5Mac Daily 042 | March 7, 2018

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.


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Square’s Cash app on iOS now supports direct deposit...

If you’re already immersed in the Square Cash ecosystem, Square is adding support for yet another new feature to the app. In a tweet today, the company announced that the Cash app on iOS now supports direct deposits, making it so you can receive your paycheck or other transfers directly in the app…


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12 sci-fi movies that totally deserved to win Best...

Like most lists, this is completely subjective but, for at least the first eight on the list, I would have to agree.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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How to implement Apple's two-factor...

Given the news about the cost of a pilfered iCloud account, it seems only prudent for users to take precautions. A good safety measure is two-factor authentication -- AppleInsider shows you how to turn it on from your Mac or your iPhone.

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Disable retweets

I’m in the latter camp that can’t really use this (I use Twitterrific to manage this kind of stuff on a finer level) but for some of you, this might be useful.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Get a 2016 128GB iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and cellular at...

Costco’s been rolling out some good ideals for iPad models lately. Last month I told you about great deal with a regular iPad, but this month Costco members can pick up the 2016 9.7-inch 128GB iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and Cellular for just $400. If you don’t mind slapping down some additional cash, you can get the 256GB model for just $500. The catch? Both are only available in gold or...

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External Link: Why Google Fiber Failed to Fix...

In 2010, Google shook the tech world by announcing that it would get into the ISP business with Google Fiber, deploying gigabit fiber-optic Internet connections in what would become nine metro areas around the United States. Now Google has put the ambitious project on an indefinite “pause” and is even pulling out of Boston. You can likely guess the reasons why Google Fiber has struggled: local politics and the difficulty of installing real-world infrastructure. Despite its challenges, Google Fiber has had a positive effect on the Internet market in the United States by generating discussion about broadband competition. Plus, in markets with Google Fiber, broadband prices have dropped and service speeds have improved radically.


Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and...

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Amazon working on a fix for Alexa’s creepy laugh

Over the past few days, users with Alexa-enabled devices have reported hearing strange, unprompted laughter. Amazon responded to the creepiness in a statement to The Verge, saying, “We’re aware of this and working to fix it.”

Thankfully it’s being fixed.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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External Link: Alexa Is Laughing at Us

Users of devices with Amazon’s voice assistant are reporting that Alexa is laughing at them randomly, sometimes as an inappropriate response to a query or even with no prompting whatsoever. Amazon says that the issue is caused by Alexa mistakenly hearing the phrase “Alexa, laugh,” and that it’s changing the phrase to “Alexa, can you laugh?” and also changing the response from simple laughter to “Sure, I can laugh.”


Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

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iPad 2018 rumors: New iPad Pro design with Face ID...

Updated 3/07/18: An analyst has projected new iPad Pro models to ship late in the June quarter, after a launch at WWDC.

When it comes to the tablet market, there’s the iPad and there’s everybody else. Apple dominates the market, especially in the premium price range. To hold on to its position, Apple has been kept things fresh with new models like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and new technologies like Apple Pencil and ProMotion.

To read this article in full, please click here

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FBI chief continues his demand for law enforcement...

FBI Director Christopher Wray has continued his fight to make it easier to defeat the encryption-based security of devices like Apple's iPhone, declaring in a speech at Boston College that these security systems could be designed in a way to help law enforcement agencies, as well as updating laws to keep up with changes in technology.

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Google's Android P supports same HEIC format as...

Google on Wednesday revealed a slew of details about the next version of Android, codenamed Android P, including a pair of features following in Apple's footsteps.

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Alexa spontaneously laughing at customers, Amazon...

HomePod may leave a lot to be desired in its current state (and the occasional wood-stained ring), but we’ve seen no reports of Siri spontaneously laughing for no apparent reason. The same can no longer be said for Amazon Echo’s Alexa…


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Samsung wants your TV to disappear

A new 8K UHD, microLED, ambient mode, and smart features for your phone were all touted at today's Samsung 2018 TV press presentation

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How to try improving your sleep by turning on Night...

Do you find the blue light emitted by your Mac's screen make it harder to go to sleep, especially if you're at the keys late in the day? AppleInsider explains how to use Night Shift in macOS to automatically make gradual changes to the the color of the display, to help you get a good night's rest.

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UnitedHealthcare promoting healthy living with...

UnitedHealthcare is the latest insurance firm to look to Apple Watch as an incentive to keep its customers healthy. The provider will not only offer the option to earn an Apple Watch for essentially free, but it will allow users to earn up to $1,000 toward medical bills after the cost of the wearable.


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Golf Plus Apple Watch app aims to replace expensive...

A lot of people argue that apps on the Apple Watch are completely and utterly useless —insisting that complications are the true potential behind Apple Watch. However, the app Golf Plus wants to buck that trend by potentially replacing your high-end golf analyzing gear with Apple Watch.


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Scam victims pay ‘back taxes’ with iTunes gift cards

It’s tax season so please make sure your less tech-savvy family and friends are aware of scams in general and this type specifically. My wife almost got caught in a “Canada Post” phishing scheme a few days ago.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Amazon Echo users report strange 'laugh'...

Reports of a strange error from owners of Amazon's Echo device range have surfaced, claiming the Alexa digital assistant is making an odd 'laugh' sound at random times, with the noises sometimes made without any verbal prompts, commands, or external forces interacting with the voice-activated speakers.

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How two photographers unknowingly shot the same...

Even a more-than-cursory look at the two photos would lead you to believe they were identical. Great story.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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An archive of Heavy Metal, the influential “adult...

Heavy Metal was unabashedly sexist, even misogynist, but as a kid I devoured every issue, in particular, the amazing writing. I’d never read the fantasy genre before discovering it in the pages of Heavy Metal.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Rumors: Cheaper HomePod and MacBook Air coming this...

A new report today shares the forecast that Apple will be making even more moves to offer some of its products at more affordable prices this year. The new products to allegedly receive even lower price tags include both MacBook Air and a new HomePod. Meanwhile, another report today suggests that a new iPad Pro with Face ID could show up as soon as June at WWDC — earlier than others expect.


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UnitedHealthcare adds Apple Watch Series 3 to...

U.S. health insurer UnitedHealthcare is adding the Apple Watch Series 3 to its Motion program, which lets people earn up to $1,000 per year off their insurance premiums -- assuming they meet daily fitness goals.

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Analyst: iPad Pros with Face ID coming in June

In a report to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — Rosenblatt Securities' analyst Jun Zhang says Face ID iPad Pros will ship late in the June quarter. 

Apple is expected to update its 10.5- and 12.9-inch Pros with front-facing TrueDepth cameras, enabling Face ID, Animoji, and other 3D-sensing technologies. Zhang thinks the tech giant will ship about 6-8 million updated Pros in the June quarter.

Chances the analyst is right, per the Sellers Research Group: 90%. There’s little doubt that Face ID is coming to the tablet line (at least some models). Both second-generation Pros debuted in June last year. It makes sense for Apple to debut them at June’s Worldwide Developer Conference with availability following shortly thereafter. (WWDC hasn't been officially announced, but rumors are pointing toward June...

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Hands on: Writing blogs on the Mac with the new...

MarsEdit has helped bloggers on the Mac for a decade, and the update that includes a revamped design for the online writing tool is compelling.

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9to5Toys Last Call: iTunes $100 Gift Card $85, Beats...

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications. more…

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Upcoming 'Jurassic World Alive' for iPhone...

The latest "Pokemon Go" clone to be announced is Ludia's "Jurassic World Alive," which will see people "collecting" creatures in augmented reality via their iPhone.

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Markdown-friendly Deckset presentation app latest to...

Deckset is the latest macOS app to join the growing list of software that has outgrown the stagnant Mac App Store. Citing a lack of flexible pricing options, Deckset is leaving the Mac App Store as it launches version 2.0.


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Microsoft VP confirms move to replace short-lived...

Microsoft will be moving away from offering Windows 10 S as a separate operating system release in favor of a built-in 'S Mode,' an executive has advised, confirming an earlier rumor it was looking to replace the stripped-down Windows version in favor of an option in full Windows 10 installations.

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Apple's Face ID-equipped iPad Pros likely ready...

Anticipated iPad Pro upgrades should be on the verge of mass production, but may only hit doorsteps late in the June quarter, an analyst claimed in an investor memo obtained by AppleInsider.

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Amazon Alexa devices are laughing spontaneously and...


Owners of Amazon Echo devices with the voice-enabled assistant Alexa have been pretty much creeped out of their damn minds recently. People are reporting that the bot sometimes spontaneously starts laughing — which is basically a bloodcurdling nightmare.

Step through the article, read the tweets. This has all the elements of a next-gen horror movie. I can’t help but wonder if there’s IoT hacking going on here, if there’s not someone having a good laugh over this.

Or ghosts. Yeah, probably ghosts.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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132 year old message in a bottle found on WA beach

Western Australian Museum blog:

The world’s oldest known message in a bottle has been found half-buried at a West Australian beach nearly 132 years after it was tossed overboard in the Indian Ocean, 950km from the coast.

Until now, the previous world record for the oldest message in a bottle was 108 years, four months and 18 days between jettison and discovery.

The message is dated 12 June 1886 and was jettisoned from the German sailing barque Paula as part of a long-term German oceanographic experiment to better understand global ocean currents and find faster, more efficient shipping routes.

Fascinating. This is just a bit like time travel to me.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Stolen Apple account credentials can be acquired...

Account credentials for Apple's online services are being sold by online scammers for an average of $15.39, a report into stolen account sales on the 'dark web' reveals, but despite the seemingly low cost, Apple-based accounts appear to be priced more than individual user accounts for a considerable number of other online destinations.

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Apple's new US campus most likely to spring up...

With the company having ruled out California and Texas, Apple's next big U.S. campus is most likely to pop up in a northeastern state, a report argued on Wednesday.

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A lot can happen in a decade

Craig Hockenberry:

Whether you’re a developer who’s working on mobile apps, or just someone enjoying the millions of apps available for your phone, today is a very special day. It’s the ten year anniversary of the original iPhone SDK.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that this release changed a lot of people’s lives. I know it changed mine and had a fundamental impact on this company’s business. So let’s take a moment and look back on what happened a decade ago.

First things first, this is a great look back at a moment in time. The iPhone shipped, but there was no SDK, the secret (VERY secret) sauce that let developers build apps that sat on the shoulders of Apple’s iPhone software designers.

Craig tells the story of that first wave of folks who found ways to pry the mysteries of iPhone OS mechanics from the clues of the native apps built by Apple, dumping the classes of those apps and working out how they did what they did.

This is the...

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After nearly 10 years, Apple will stop taking new...

(credit: Dan Goodin)

A small yet colorful part of the iTunes Store will be history by year's end. According to an internal Apple email obtained by Metro, Apple will stop taking iTunes LP submissions this month. Apple confirmed the plans to The Verge, signaling the impending end of the paid multimedia album experience on iTunes.

The leaked email reportedly said, "Apple will no longer accept new submissions of iTunes LPs after March 2018,” and “existing LPs will be deprecated from the store during the remainder of 2018. Customers who have previously purchased an album...

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Google Lens visual search lands on Google Photos for...

Google has started to roll out its visual search tool Google Lens to more mobile devices, expanding from its previous exclusivity to the company's Pixel smartphones, making the feature available to Google Photos users on Android before it arrives on the iOS version of the image management app.

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Bank of New York Mellon will handle Apple’s escrow...

Ireland has chosen the Bank of New York Mellon to administer an escrow fund of up to 15 billion euros (about $18.6 billion) in disputed taxes that the European Commission (EU) ordered the government to collect from Apple, reports Reuters.

The EU, Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency, claims that Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have attracted investment and jobs by helping big companies avoid tax in other countries, including EU members. The commission suspects Ireland was too lenient in rulings it gave to Apple and which helped the company shield tens of billions of dollars in profit from taxation. At 12.5%, Ireland’s corporate tax...

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Rumor: Apple to ditch the ‘notch’ design in upcoming...

According to ET News, Apple will ditch the “notch design” in 2019 iPhones. The design provides a concave spot at the top of the smartphone screen that’s home to the front-facing camera, separate infra-red camera for Face ID, dot projector, flood illuminator, speaker, microphone, ambient light sensor and proximity sensor.

The article says Apple’s plan is "to improve obstacles such as 3D sensor and camera module that were in the way of implementing a full-screen on the front of an iPhone.” However, ET News doesn’t say how this will be accomplished.

According to the Sellers Research Firm (that’s me), Apple will indeed do this — IF the company can find a way to keep the current functionality housed in the notch while offering a full-screen display.

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Supply chain makes claim that Apple is already...

A questionable report from South Korean sources suggests that Apple is preparing a new display without a notch -- for phones 18 months down the road.

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Panic and the mystery of the slow downloads

[VIDEO] Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser, on the Panic blog:

A few months ago, a complaint started popping up from users downloading or updating our apps: “Geez, your downloads are really slow!”

If you work in support, you probably have a reflexive reaction to a complaint like this. It’s vague. There’s a million possible factors. It’ll probably resolve itself by tomorrow. You hope. Boy do you hope.

Except… we also started noticing it ourselves when we were working from home. When we’d come in to the office, transfers were lightning fast. But at home, it was really, seriously getting hard to get any work done remotely at all.

So, maybe there was something screwy here?

This is a fascinating story, well told. In a nutshell, Panic got reports of slow downloads from a non-trivial subset of their customers, wrote a script to try to find a common link, and actually found that link. And it was Comcast.

Cabel tells the story in the video embedded in...

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Ireland picks Bank of New York Mellon to hold Apple...

The Irish government has reportedly selected Bank of New York Mellon to control an escrow fund holding up to $18.6 billion in back taxes collected from Apple, pending attempts to reverse a ruling by the European Commission.

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BlackBerry weaponizing trove of patents, sues...


BlackBerry Ltd on Tuesday filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook Inc and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps, arguing that they copied technology and features from BlackBerry Messenger.


“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,” Canada-based BlackBerry said in a filing with a Los Angeles federal court.

One of the patents in question covers the concept of a badge, that is, a changing number tied to an icon that reflect, for example, the current number of unread email messages.

Check out this thread from The Verge’s Nilay Patel:

Ummmm BlackBerry is suing Facebook for infringing a patent that claims to cover…. displaying a count of unread messages on a notification dot.

— nilay...

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Korean report claims Apple will drop the iPhone X...

A Korean report claims that Apple will drop the notch from its 2019 OLED iPhones. The company is said to be working on a new design where the screen will ‘completely fill the front of new iPhones.’

No details are provided about how Apple would deal with all of the technology currently housed in the notch. This includes the front-facing camera, separate infra-red camera for Face ID, dot projector, flood illuminator, speaker, microphone, ambient light sensor and proximity sensor …


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An interview with Jon Gotow, the man behind Default...

On Feb. 16, I published an updated review for Default Folder X (, one of my favorite macOS utilities ever and one I’ve used for years. Recently, I interviewed St. Clair Software’s Jon Gotow, the man behind the app.

What was the impetus for creating Default Folder?

Jon: Way back in 1988, I was working on my Masters thesis and was really frustrated that the Open and Save dialogs in Microsoft Word would always open to the folder containing the Word application. I had to navigate to a different folder every damned time I saved a new draft, opened a new CricketGraph chart, imported a new MacDraw diagram, etc. It drove me crazy - especially because my state-of-the-art Mac Plus was far from speedy.

I'd written some Mac applications for my engineering class projects and knew there were low memory globals in System 5 that determined what folder the file dialogs would initially show...

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Chrome 65 Arrives With Material Design Extensions...

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Chrome 65 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions in this release include Material Design changes and new developer features. You can update to the latest version now using the browser's built-in silent updater or download it directly from Chrome 65 comes with a few visual changes. The most obvious is related to Google's Material Design mantra. The extensions page has been completely revamped to follow it. Next up, Chrome 65 replaces the Email Page Location link in Chrome for Mac's File menu with a Share submenu. As you might expect, Mac users can use this submenu to share the URL of a current tab via installed macOS Share Extensions. Speaking of Macs, Chrome 65 is also the last release for OS X 10.9 users. Chrome 66 will require OS X 10.10 or later. Moving on to developer features, Chrome 65 includes the CSS Paint API, which allows developers to programmatically generate an image...

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Bank of New York Mellon will administer escrow fund...

A bank has now been appointed to manage the escrow fund for the €15B ($18.6B) in back-taxes the European Union decided Apple had to pay to the Irish government.

It took some time to agree the arrangements as Apple expects to get the money back at the end of a legal battle expected to take many years, and it will want to ensure the funds have been well invested during that time …


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B&H Photo has new 2017 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Their prices are the lowest available for... Read more
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