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Amazon Recalling 260,000 'AmazonBasics' Power Banks Due to Overheating Risk

2018-03-13 21:00:24

If you've purchased an Amazon-branded power bank from Amazon recently, you should be aware of a recall that Amazon issued today due to reports of overheating. Amazon has received 53 reports about defective power banks that have, in a few cases, led to chemical burns and property damage.

Affected AmazonBasics models that are part of the recall are listed here: 16,100 mAh; 10,000 mAh; 5,600 mAh; 2,000 mAh with micro USB cable; 3,000 mAh and 3,000 mAh with USB micro cable. All impacted units are rubberized or metallic power banks with the AmazonBasics logo printed on the front of the unit.


These Amazon-branded power banks are affordable options that many Apple customers users may have purchased to charge their iPhones and iPads.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which shared details on the recall, consumers should immediately unplug any recalled power banks and contact Amazon for details on how to return them for a full refund.

Amazon is sending out emails to all customers who might have purchased one of the faulty power banks.

Tag: Amazon

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Samsung's AR Emoji on Galaxy S9 vs. Apple's Animoji on iPhone X

2018-03-13 20:21:56

With its new Galaxy S9 and S9+, Samsung debuted AR Emoji, a feature that mimics Animoji, the animated emoji characters that Apple introduced alongside the iPhone X.

In our latest YouTube video, we compared Samsung's new AR Emoji on the Galaxy S9 to Apple's Animoji on the iPhone X to check out the similarities and differences between the two features.

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Apple's Animoji are enabled through the TrueDepth camera system, which is Apple's 3D facial recognition feature that maps out a user's facial features. The TrueDepth camera analyzes more than 50 muscle movements in different areas of the face for Animoji, detecting movement of the eyebrows, cheeks, chin, eyes, jaw, lips, eyes, and mouth to create super realistic representations of facial expressions.

Samsung's AR Emoji, while similar to Animoji, don't have the same kind of underlying technology powering them, so the facial expressions AR Emoji can replicate are far more rudimentary. While Animoji on the iPhone X can mimic subtle expressions, on the Galaxy S9, AR Emoji have trouble with anything that isn't exaggerated, better recognizing movements like a blink or an open mouth than something more subtle like a wink or an angry face.

There are a limited number of Animoji available, though, and that's where Samsung has Apple beat. There are more AR Emoji character options to work with, and in fact, you can even create a custom Bitmoji-style character modeled after your own face.

Characters can be customized with unique facial features, clothing, skin tone, and more, plus your recordings with AR Emoji aren't limited to 10 seconds -- you can record for as long as you want. You can also add stickers, and there are Bitmoji-like pre-made GIFs to send to people.

All in all, AR Emoji seems to have more in common with Snapchat than with Animoji. Those aforementioned stickers are similar to the Snapchat filters that let you add sunglasses, cute animal faces, and more to your own face and can't be compared to anything offered natively by Apple.

It's worth noting that third-party apps like Snapchat on iPhone X can also take advantage of the TrueDepth camera for filters that better fit the face, while on Samsung devices, Snapchat filters and AR Emoji stickers look much less natural.

As is typical, Samsung wins out in customizability, but Apple has the edge when it comes to the underlying technology. What do you think of AR Emoji compared to Animoji? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple Announces WWDC 2018 Will Take Place on June 4 in San Jose, Registration Now Open for Developers

2018-03-13 18:07:11

Apple today announced that its 29th annual Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off on Monday, June 4 and will last through Friday, June 8 with the conference to be held once again at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Developers can register to attend starting today, and Apple says registration will be open until Thursday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. As is typical, Apple will be selecting WWDC attendees using a lottery system due to the popularity of the conference.


Tickets will be priced at $1,599, and only developers who win Apple's ticket lottery will be able to purchase a WWDC ticket. To enter the lottery, developers must have been a member of the Apple Developer Program or the Apple Developer Enterprise Program as of March 13, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Developers who are chosen through the WWDC ticket lottery will be notified by March 23 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Apple also plans to make up to 350 WWDC Student Scholarships available this year for students and members of STEM organizations. Scholarships provide a free WWDC ticket, free lodging, and a one year developer membership for free.

Scholarship submissions will open on Monday, March 26, 2018, and students will be asked to build an interactive scene in Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes.

Apple uses its Worldwide Developers Conference to introduce new software, to debut new hardware products, and to network with thousands of developers from all over the world. This year, Apple is expected to introduce iOS 12, macOS 10.13.4, tvOS 12, watchOS 5, and new software for the HomePod.

Apple will hold a keynote event on Monday, June 4, where we will get our first glimpse at new software products and perhaps some new hardware. Rumors suggest Apple could use the event to introduce new lower-cost MacBook Air models and refreshed iPad Pro models equipped with Face ID.

Last year was the first year that Apple held its Worldwide Developers Conference at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California rather than at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and it appears the new location will be used for the foreseeable future.

Apple says that developers who are not chosen to attend the conference and "Apple enthusiasts everywhere" will be able to live stream the conference using the WWDC app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV or through the Apple Developer website.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2018

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Apple Announces WWDC 2018 Kicks Off on June 4 in San Jose, Registration Now Open for Developers

2018-03-13 18:07:11

Apple today announced that its 29th annual Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off on Monday, June 4 and will last through Friday, June 8 with the conference to be held once again at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Developers can register to attend starting today, and Apple says registration will be open until Thursday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. As is typical, Apple will be selecting WWDC attendees using a lottery system due to the popularity of the conference.


Tickets will be priced at $1,599, and only developers who win Apple's ticket lottery will be able to purchase a WWDC ticket. To enter the lottery, developers must have been a member of the Apple Developer Program or the Apple Developer Enterprise Program as of March 13, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Developers who are chosen through the WWDC ticket lottery will be notified by March 23 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Apple also plans to make up to 350 WWDC Student Scholarships available this year for students and members of STEM organizations. Scholarships provide a free WWDC ticket, free lodging, and free one year membership to the Apple Developer Program.

Scholarship submissions will open on Monday, March 26, 2018, and students will be asked to build an interactive scene in Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes.

Apple uses its Worldwide Developers Conference to introduce new software, to debut new hardware products, and to network with thousands of developers from all over the world. This year, Apple is expected to introduce iOS 12, macOS 10.13.4, tvOS 12, watchOS 5, and new software for the HomePod.

Apple will hold a keynote event on Monday, June 4, where we will get our first glimpse at new software products and perhaps some new hardware. Rumors suggest Apple could use the event to introduce new lower-cost MacBook Air models and refreshed iPad Pro models equipped with Face ID.

Last year was the first year that Apple held its Worldwide Developers Conference at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California rather than at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and it appears the new location will be used for the foreseeable future.

Apple says that developers who are not chosen to attend the conference and "Apple enthusiasts everywhere" will be able to live stream the conference through the Apple Developer website or through the dedicated WWDC app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

Those who are not picked for WWDC are also able to attend alternate events throughout San Jose during the week of WWDC, such as AltConf, which was announced this morning. Tickets to AltConf, which allows developers to mingle and provides a venue for watching the keynote and other WWDC events, are free. AltConf will take place from June 4 to June 7.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2018

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YouTube for iOS Gains New Dark Mode

2018-03-13 17:32:31

YouTube is adding a new dark theme to its iOS app, which is rolling out to iOS users starting today, reports The Verge.

The new theme, once available, can be activated by tapping on your account icon, selecting settings, and choosing "dark theme" to turn it on. Dark theme will invert many of the colors of the YouTube AI, replacing the traditional white background with a black background.

Image via Redditor amievengabereal

YouTube introduced a hidden dark mode feature for the desktop starting last year, and since then, the feature has been one of the most requested for its mobile apps.

The dark theme for mobile devices has been in testing for the last few months and it has been previously available to a small number of YouTube users.

You may not see the new dark theme available as an option right away, but it should be rolling out to all iOS users over the course of the day. YouTube also says a dark mode is coming to Android in the near future.

YouTube is a free download for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

Tag: YouTube

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MoviePass CEO Admits He Was 'Completely Inaccurate', iOS App 'Has Never Tracked' Users in Background

2018-03-13 17:07:32

Last week, movie subscription service MoviePass received negative press when CEO Mitch Lowe mentioned that the company watches "how you drive from home to the movies" and notices "where you go afterwards" using location tracking in the background on iOS. This week, through customer support emails and in an interview with Variety, MoviePass and Lowe are apologizing over this "mischaracterization" of how the service locates its members and are trying to clear things up once and for all.

In a letter that began hitting subscriber inboxes yesterday, Lowe admitted the need to "eliminate any misconceptions" that MoviePass is collecting location related data when it shouldn't be. He explained that the MoviePass app uses "standard" location services capabilities on an opt-in basis, and specified that there are only two events that would prompt MoviePass to identify your location: when you perform a search for nearby theaters and when you check into a theater.


Otherwise, Lowe stated that Moviepass does not follow you before or after you watch a movie, or at any time that the app is not open.

MoviePass does not track and has never tracked or collected data on the location of our members at any point when the app is not active.
Last week, following Lowe's comments, the company removed the background tracking capabilities from the iOS app. In the letter, the CEO said that MoviePass "does not use and has never used this feature."

Lowe echoed these sentiments in an interview with Variety, explaining that prior to the update, MoviePass used Apple's three standard privacy tracking options: "Never," "While Using the App," and "Always" -- the option that was removed. In regards to the "Always" tracking capability, Lowe said that because the company never used it, "it was confusing to have it there." Lowe mentioned that MoviePass lost just "half a dozen" customers over the newly raised privacy concerns.
In an interview with Variety on Monday, Lowe said he was mistaken about what data the MoviePass app actually collected. “I said something completely inaccurate as far as what we are doing,” he said. “We only locate customers when they use the app.”

He added, “If you get in your car and drive five miles, we don’t know where you are or where you are going.”
While MoviePass has confirmed it isn't tracking subscribers in the background and when the app is closed, the service is still built around collecting and sharing user data with exhibitors and studios. MoviePass ensures that this data has been "completely anonymized," so that "there's never any personal information" shared with its partners. MoviePass monetizes this data sharing process and is the main way the service intends to stay afloat and make money going forward.

Lowe also mentioned the company's vision for its future, where MoviePass wants to be the center of "this whole night at the movies" idea, giving users recommendations for events after watching a movie. Of course, following the privacy concerns of the last few weeks, Lowe reiterated that, "When we do that, if we do that, we'll send a request to each customer to let them opt in or opt out."


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Third Report Says Apple's AirPower Charging Mat Will Launch in March

2018-03-13 16:54:53

Apple's new AirPower inductive charging mat will be released by the end of March, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes.


The report, citing industry sources, claims the AirPower will have a maximum charging performance of up to 29 watts, compared to 7.5 watts for single-device wireless charging pads like the Belkin Boost Up and the Mophie Wireless Charging Base for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Apple said the AirPower will be released in 2018, but it hasn't provided an exact release date or pricing. Apple blogs Mac Otakara and The Apple Post also reported that the charging mat will be released in March, which is a common month for Apple to introduce new products, including a new 9.7-inch iPad last year.

AirPower is an oval-shaped accessory that can inductively charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and Apple Watch Series 3 models. It will also be able to charge AirPods when they are placed in a new inductive charging case set to launch alongside AirPower.

The mat's ability to charge multiple devices will be achieved with a propriety technology developed by Apple. Apple said it will work to have its technology become part of the universal Qi standard supported by the latest iPhones.

It's still unclear if Apple will announce the AirPower's availability at a March event alongside other new products, via press release, or quietly with an update to its online store. If there is an event planned, Apple will likely send invitations to the media by Thursday at the absolute latest.


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Apple Music Growing at Record Pace With Two Million Subscribers Added in Just Five Weeks

2018-03-13 16:32:50

Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, who spoke at the SXSW media festival in Austin, Texas this week, revealed that Apple Music now has 38 million paying subscribers worldwide. Cue also said there are over eight million customers that are currently taking advantage of Apple Music's free three-month trial period.


The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Apple Music had 36 million subscribers in a February 4 report, so it appears the streaming music service has gained around two million subscribers in just over five weeks.

The numbers suggest Apple Music is growing at a clip of roughly 400,000 subscribers per week, or 1.6 million per month. Accordingly, it would appear to be Apple Music's fastest growth rate since it launched in June 2015, at least based on the figures that Apple has publicly shared over the past three years.

Apple Music Subscribers

  • Oct 2015: 6.5 million
  • Jan 2016: 10 million
  • Feb 2016: 11 million
  • Apr 2016: 13 million
  • Jun 2016: 15 million
  • Sep 2016: 17 million
  • Dec 2016: 20 million
  • Jun 2017: 27 million
  • Sep 2017: 30 million
  • Feb 2018: 36 million
  • Mar 2018: 38 million
Spotify maintains a sizeable lead over Apple Music. The streaming music service revealed that it had 71 million paying subscribers as of the end of 2017, so it should be around twice as large as Apple Music by now. Spotify also has a free, ad-supported tier, giving it over 159 million listeners overall around the world.

Spotify launched in 2008, and expanded to the United States in 2011, while Apple Music debuted in over 100 countries at once in 2015. Both platforms offer individual subscriptions for $9.99 per month, student plans for $4.99 per month, and family plans sharable with up to six people for $14.99 per month.

Apple Music has the benefit of being preinstalled on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. It's also available on Mac, PC, Android, Apple Watch, Apple TV, vehicles equipped with CarPlay, Sonos, and HomePod.

At SXSW, Cue estimated there are around two billion people that have access to and a means to pay for streaming music, suggesting the market is ripe for growth. Apple Music and Spotify have around 110 million subscribers combined, so there is clearly an opportunity for both services to continue growing.

The harder task for Spotify will be turning a profit, which it has yet to do. Apple Music executive and record industry mogul Jimmy Iovine recently said streaming music services are "not making any money" due to a lack of margins, suggesting that a standard $9.99 per month subscription is not profitable.

Apple Music's profitability is likely less of a concern for Apple, as it sells a wide range of other products and services. Apple's broad services category brought in a record $8.5 billion revenue last quarter, up 18 percent year over year.


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Fitbit Announces New Apple Watch Rival 'Versa' and Kid-Friendly 'Ace'

2018-03-13 15:31:04

Fitbit today announced the Fitbit Versa, which the company described as the "smartwatch for all." The Versa has a few features that directly compare it to the Apple Watch, as well as an overall design that looks similar to Apple's wearable device. Alongside the Fitbit Versa, Fitbit announced a kid-focused Fitbit Ace device and female health tracking coming to the Fitbit iOS app.

Fitbit said the Versa is the "lightest metal smartwatch" in the United States market, with a case made out of ultra-thin, anodized aluminum that is slightly tapered and angled so it fits small or large wrists. The device's touchscreen supports a brightness of up to 1,000 nits, allowing users the ability to read the screen in bright environments, and it has a battery that will last for 4+ days.


The Fitbit Versa has many of the expected features seen in previous Fitbits, like 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, onboard music storage, automatic sleep tracking, and wallet-free payments on the Fitbit Versa Special Edition with an NFC chip. Fitbit will also sell a variety of accessories, ranging from stain-resistant classic bands to Horween leather, stainless steel links, metal mesh bands, and a designer collection.

"As the wearables category continues to grow, Fitbit Versa fills a critical need in the market by delivering a beautifully designed, full-featured smartwatch that is easy to use at a very competitive price," said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. "Versa brings consumers the advanced health and fitness features Fitbit is known for, along with broad compatibility across mobile platforms and 4+ days battery life to provide users with a better picture of their overall health, making it stand out from any smartwatch available today."
The new smartwatch will launch with Fitbit OS 2.0 for the company's line of wearable devices, which will include a new personalized dashboard for a simplified overview of a user's health and fitness data. Users will be able to see daily and weekly health stats, historical activity, heart rate, exercise summaries, motivational messages, tips, and daily guidance, all from their wrist.

Over time, Fitbit said this dashboard will become more personalized, offering reminders, celebrations, logging, insights, sleep summaries, and social challenges, all with prompts to take actions based on each user's own data. This ongoing personalization aspect of Fitbit OS 2.0 is said to launch later in 2018. Here are a few other features available on Fitbit Versa with Fitbit OS 2.0:
Music on your device: Listen to phone-free music anywhere using Bluetooth headphones like Fitbit Flyer, including 300+ songs from your personal music collection, your favorite stations from Pandora, and now your own or curated playlists as well as Flow from Deezer.

Apps and clock faces you want: Personalize your device by choosing from a wide range of apps and clock faces in the Fitbit App Gallery, including those from Fitbit, Fitbit Labs, and popular brands like E*TRADE, Flipboard, Hue Lights, Nest, Starbucks, Strava, Surfline, United Airlines, Weather powered by AccuWeather, and Yelp. The Fitbit App Gallery has more than 550 apps and clock faces available today, many of which developers are working to make available to Versa users soon.
Fitbit Ace, the kid-focused wearable band, will include many of Fitbit's features in a pared-down hardware model. Kids eight and older wearing the device will see that it automatically tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep on a five day battery. Using a Fitbit family account, parents will be able to monitor and control who their kids connect with in the Fitbit app and other features of the Ace band.


The band will remind kids to move, and reward them for listening to such reminders with collectible badges. Coming soon, Fitbit will launch daily and weekly challenges where families and friends can compete against one another in certain health goals. There will also be a "Family Faceoff" that challlenges family members in a family account to earn the most steps in five days.

Fitbit Ace can be pre-ordered today on Fitbit.com for $99.95, and will launch in Q2 2018. Fitbit Versa is available to pre-order today on Fitbit.com and at select online retailers tomorrow, priced at $199.95. The smartwatch will come in the following colors: black with a black aluminum case, gray with a silver aluminum case, and peach with a rose gold aluminum case. Band accessories will start at $29.95 and cap at $99.95. For those who want the NFC-enabled Fitbit Versa Special Edition, that model will be $229.95. The device will officially launch worldwide in April.


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Google Assistant Now Available on iPad

2018-03-13 14:47:42

Google Assistant for iOS has been updated with native iPad support today. The design looks essentially the same as the iPhone version, but with an interface optimized for the larger 7.9-inch to 12.9-inch screen sizes of Apple's tablets.


Like rivals Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, Google Assistant is a digital assistant that can set reminders, schedule calendar appointments, answer questions, and provide other information through machine learning techniques.

Apple only allows third-party assistants to function within their apps, however, limiting their usefulness versus Siri on iPhone and iPad. For example, Google Assistant can't be invoked with a voice command when an iOS device is locked.

Nevertheless, iPad users now have one more option to choose from alongside Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Google Assistant is free on the App Store.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Apple Drops Over Twenty Spots in Latest Company Reputation Survey

2018-03-13 14:07:29

In a new survey that looks at the reputation of corporate brands, called the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient survey, Apple dropped from its previous position at #5 on the list and now sits at the #29 spot. As reported by Reuters, Apple has been sliding down the rankings over the last two years, falling from #2 in 2016.

To determine the results, the poll surveyed 25,800 adults in the United States from December 11, 2017 to January 12, 2018 on the reputations of the "most visible" corporate brands. Similarly to Apple, Google fell this year as well, from #8 in 2017 to #28 in 2018.


Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema theorized that the reason behind Apple's and Google's dips on the list was because of a lack of major, "attention-grabbing" device launches in the last few years.

John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said. “We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”
In the #1 spot was Amazon, which the company has held every year for the past five years except in 2015 when it was at #2. Tesla climbed the rankings from #9 to earn the #3 spot and Facebook was #51, which was an improvement for the social media company. In total the top 10 companies on the reputation list were:
  1. Amazon.com
  2. Wegmans Food Markets Inc
  3. Tesla Motors
  4. Chick-fil-A
  5. The Walt Disney Co
  6. HEB Grocery Company LP
  7. United Parcel Service Inc
  8. Publix Super Markets
  9. Patagonia Inc
  10. Aldi Inc
In another recent ranking, Apple earned the top spot as the "most intimate brand" for millennials in the United States. Fast Company also named Apple as the world's most innovative company for "delivering the future today," and specifically for its approach to hardware and software engineering that creates the overall user experience surrounding its products.
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Chinese Report Expects 11-Inch iPad Pro at WWDC, No New iPhones Until Second Half of 2018

2018-03-13 13:43:17

Apple is planning to release a new iPad Pro with a display that measures about 11 inches, according to Taiwan's Economic Daily News.

iPad Pro with slimmer bezels rendered by Benjamin Geskin

We've already heard rumors about a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with slimmer bezels and no home button, so Apple could include a slightly larger 11-inch display without increasing the physical size of the tablet itself. This would mirror the iPhone X, which has a 5.8-inch screen, but is smaller than an iPhone 8 Plus.

Details are hard to gather from a loose translation of the Chinese report, which says the 11-inch iPad Pro and an updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro are likely to be released at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, echoing an earlier prediction from Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang.

Both new iPad Pro models are expected to feature Face ID and faster eight-core Apple A11X processors. It's unclear if the tablets will have notches for the TrueDepth system, or a slimmer, uniform top bezel that still has enough room to house the camera and sensor technology that powers the facial recognition.

The report, citing a source, adds that Apple has no new iPhone models planned for the first half of 2018, dampening hopes for an iPhone SE refresh. The first new models of the year will likely be the so-called iPhone X2, iPhone X2 Plus, and a 6.1-inch aluminum iPhone with Face ID in September.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had already cast doubt on rumors about a second-generation iPhone SE launching in the first half of 2018. He said Apple was likely to focus its development resources on the trio of iPhone X-like models expected to launch in the second half of the year.

The current iPhone SE looks much like the iPhone 5s, including a smaller four-inch display, preferred by a subset of customers. The device is powered by Apple's A9 chip, like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and it has 2GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Touch ID.

Apple hasn't fully refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched in March 2016, but it did double its available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB last March. It also dropped the device's starting price to $349 last September.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPhone SE
Tag: udn.com

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Movies Anywhere Expands Digital Retailer Support With New Partner FandangoNOW

2018-03-13 13:15:43

Last October, Disney announced that its "Disney Movies Anywhere" service would be expanding to become simply "Movies Anywhere," allowing customers to collect all of their digital films into one centralized location. Previously, the digital retailers supporting the service were iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, VUDU, and Google Play, but today the latest retailer has joined: FandangoNOW.

FandangoNOW is the ticketing service company's video on-demand service, and now users who stream and purchase films on FandangoNOW will see their content piped to Movies Anywhere. This means that when using the Movies Anywhere app and website, FandangoNOW customers can access eligible digital movies from studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios (encompassing Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), and Warner Bros.


Once a FandangoNOW account is connected to Movies Anywhere, users can watch their redeemed digital films on multiple supported devices with Movies Anywhere apps, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices, Android and Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, and on Mac and PC. According to Fandango CMO Adam Rockmore, a major advantage of FandangoNOW is having "one of the industry's largest collections of 4K Ultra HD movies," but as of yet the service doesn't have an app for Apple TV.

“At Fandango, we aim to deliver the best movie experience anytime and anywhere, throughout a movie’s entire life cycle — from theatrical to home entertainment and beyond,” said Fandango CMO, Adam Rockmore. “Since FandangoNOW’s launch in 2016, we’ve been hyper-focused on innovation, including building one of the industry’s largest collections of 4K Ultra HD movies and broadening our distribution on a wide variety of connected devices. Now, through our new relationship with Movies Anywhere, FandangoNOW customers will gain simple, streamlined access to their digital movies from Hollywood’s major film studios.”
Since its launch late last year, Disney stated that Movies Anywhere now provides access to a library of nearly 7,500 digital movies, and it has been used to store over 100 million movies to date. In addition to purchases made on connected digital retailers' stores, Movies Anywhere lets customers redeem digital codes that they find included in physical Blu-ray and DVD disc cases.

In celebration of the launch, FandangoNOW is offering two free films -- Ghostbusters (2017) and Ice Age -- when FandangoNOW is the first account a user connects to Movies Anywhere. This is part of Movie Anywhere's "5 Movies on Us" promotion, where the fist digital retailer linked nets you the previously mentioned films, and the second retailer linked provides you with an additional three free films: Big Hero 6, The LEGO Movie, and Jason Bourne.

Disney is also using the announcement as a promotion for today's digital release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, adding in a few new Star Wars themed profile picture options to the service. On the iTunes store on Apple TV, Disney is still the only major Hollywood studio not supporting 4K. It's believed that price is the reason behind the lack of support, because Apple is adamant about keeping 4K films equal to HD prices at $19.99, while Disney sells its films in 4K on apps like VUDU at a higher price of $24.99.


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How to Grab Screenshots and Video From Apple TV Using Your Mac

2018-03-13 12:49:46

Apple doesn't go out of its way to advertise the fact, but it's perfectly possible to connect a Mac to a fourth-generation Apple TV or later and grab screenshots and video output from the set-top box. In this article, we'll show you how it's done.

Note that this method can't be used to record DRM-protected content off the likes of Netflix or iTunes, but it will let you capture your driving skills in Asphalt 8: Airborne, for instance, just as it will allow you to take screenshots for use in troubleshooting, training, blogging, or any other purpose.


The way to connect a Mac to an Apple TV used to depend on the presence of a USB-C port on the rear of the fourth-generation set-top box to establish a wired connection. But since there's no such port on the latest fifth-generation Apple TV 4K, that's no longer an option for a growing number of users.

However, thanks to macOS High Sierra and tvOS 11, it's now possible to connect your Mac wirelessly to a fourth- or fifth-generation Apple TV on the same Wi-Fi network, and you don't have to download Xcode or any other additional software to do so. Simply follow the steps below, and you should be capturing video and taking screenshots in no time.

How to Grab Images and Video From Apple TV on a Mac

  1. Turn on your Apple TV and your HDMI-connected display.
  2. On Apple TV, open Settings and select Network.
  3. Under Connection, make a note of the Wi-Fi network.

  4. Now click the Wi-Fi menu bar icon over on your Mac to make sure it's connected to the same network.

  5. On Mac, launch QuickTime Player from the Applications folder.
  6. In the QuickTime menu bar, click File -> New Movie Recording to open a new recording window.

  7. Click the small down arrow to the right of the red record button.
  8. In the dropdown menu, select Apple TV under both the Camera and Microphone sections.

  9. A screen sharing permissions prompt will appear on your Apple TV display. Use your Siri Remote to select Allow.

  10. To begin recording video, simply click the red record button.
  11. To take a screenshot of the Apple TV output from your desktop, press the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-4 and hover the cursor crosshair over the QuickTime Movie Recording window.
  12. Press the spacebar. The crosshair will turn into a camera and the QuickTime window will take on a transparent blue cast to indicate it's selected.
  13. Wait a moment for the QuickTime interface overlay and title bar to disappear, and then click to take your Apple TV screenshot. It will be automatically saved to your desktop by default.
Note: If you want to try the traditional method of taking Apple TV screenshots, you need to download Apple's Xcode developer utility from the Mac App Store. Bear in mind that it's a hefty 5.5GB download, and you might run into connection issues if you're running a beta version of tvOS.

After installing Xcode 9.2, launch the utility and select Window -> Devices and Simulators from the menu bar, and you should see the screenshot button in the Devices tab once you've successfully connected to Apple TV.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, iOS 11, macOS High Sierra
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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Facebook Watch Platform to Launch Dedicated News Section

2018-03-13 11:59:59

Facebook is set to launch a news section for its Watch platform and is testing different video partnerships with around 10 publishers, according to a report by Axios today.

Launched back in August, Watch is a section of Facebook in the U.S. for mobile and desktop that's designed to showcase TV shows exclusive to the social network. Along with serving as a platform for end users to watch shows, Watch is also meant to help creators and publishers find an audience for their content, build a community, and earn money.


The additional section would be the first standalone news product for national news in Watch. Previously news has been hosted on the platform mixed in with other publisher content through delivery mechanisms such as Instant Articles and Facebook Live.

Facebook is said to be testing a daily video feature for the upcoming news section that includes content from both "legacy and digital-first news publishers" and would run for at least a year, according to Axios' sources. Hosted content would be a minimum of three minutes, and Facebook plans to launch the feature this summer to test what works best.

Aside from Facebook's monetization goals, creating a news product that's native to the platform is part of an effort to promote content from vetted publishers, following last year's outbreak of "fake news" on the social network. Accusations that Facebook did little to halt the spread of misinformation on its platform hit the company's reputation among both users and publishers in 2017, and it has since been testing ways to guide readers to more credible sources of news.

Last week it was reported that Facebook and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to stream 25 weekly MLB games on the social network starting in 2018. The games will be distributed over Facebook Watch as part of the MLB Live show Page. The deal marks MLB's first digital-only distribution agreement, which was unanimously approved by 30 Major League Clubs.


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Trump Prohibits Broadcom's Takeover of Qualcomm Due to National Security Concerns

2018-03-13 00:13:14

United States President Donald Trump this afternoon issued an executive order blocking Broadcom from acquiring Qualcomm in a deal that would have been worth more than $117 billion, reports Bloomberg.

The president's order came following a recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States, despite Broadcom's efforts to save the proposed transaction over the course of the last few weeks. U.S officials believed Broadcom's acquisition of Qualcomm, which has been under investigation by the CFIUS, could threaten national security.


The CFIUS previously said that a Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm could undermine Qualcomm's leadership in 5G wireless technology, allowing China's Huawei to become the dominant 5G provider in the world. Broadcom, a Singapore-based company, promised not to sell Qualcomm 5G assets, announced plans to redomicile in the United States, and pledged to invest billions in the United States, but that did not ease regulators' concerns.

"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Ltd." by acquiring Qualcomm "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States," Trump said in the order released Monday evening in Washington.
Trump also said that "any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited."

Broadcom first made an offer to acquire Qualcomm for $70 per share in cash and stock back in November of 2017, marking the proposal of the "largest technology acquisition ever, which Qualcomm turned down.

Qualcomm also turned down subsequent offers of $121 billion and $117 billion, and had not agreed to the acquisition at the time that it was blocked by Trump. Broadcom had been attempting to add merger-friendly individuals to Qualcomm's board, but today's order makes it clear that no merger or acquisition between the two companies will be allowed.

Broadcom may intend to fight the order as earlier today, the company said in a statement that U.S. national security concerns are not a risk as "Broadcom never plans to acquire Qualcomm before it completes redomiciliation.

Update: Broadcom released a statement following Trump's order: "Broadcom is reviewing the Order. Broadcom strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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