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Average U.S. iPhone User Spent $79 on Apps Last Year 2019-02-11 22:32:42

iPhone users in the United States spent an average of $79 on App Store games and apps in 2018 according to an upcoming Sensor Tower report shared today by TechCrunch.

At $79, the revenue generated per active U.S. iPhone grew 36 percent year over year, up from an average of $58 spent per iPhone in 2017. iPhone users spent about $21 more in 2018 on in-app purchases and paid downloads.


Much of the spending growth came from mobile gaming, with 56 percent of the $79 total average attributed to App Store games.

Spending was also up quite a lot in other categories such as entertainment, music, social networking, and health and fitness.


Sensor Tower believes that subscription apps are a contributing factor for the increased spending in many of these non-faming categories.

Apple's App Store is a major revenue driver for Apple in its services category, with app purchases continually setting new revenue records. The App Store hit a new single-day revenue record on New Year's Day, for example, with customers spending a whopping $322 million.

Over the holiday period including Christmas and New Year's Day, the App Store raked in more than $1.22 billion.

Tag: App Store

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New 'Epix Now' Service Offers 4K TV and Movies for $5.99 Per Month 2019-02-11 21:57:12

Epix, owned by MGM, today announced the launch of a new Epix Now service, which provides access to original Epix TV shows and thousands of movies for $5.99 per month.

Original Epix Now TV shows include "Berlin Station," "Deep State," "Get Shorty," "Graves," and "Pennyworth."


The service also offers popular movies that include "Arrival," "A Quiet Place," "Mother," "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," "Iron Man 2," and more. Many classic films are also included.


Epix Now is offering some of its content in 4K, and offline viewing is an available option. The four Epix linear live channels are available to Epix Now users as well.
"2019 is poised to be an incredible year of growth for our network," said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. "Launching EPIX Now and providing consumers nationwide with access to our premium original programming and blockbuster movies is an exciting moment for our company and solidifies our commitment to bring high-level storytelling to as many people as possible. We look forward to welcoming new audiences to our network."
Content can be watched on the Apple TV and iOS devices, with Epix offering a 7-day free trial.

Epix Now has a lot of services to compete with, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, STARZ, Showtime, and others.


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Samsung Again Teases Foldable Smartphone Ahead of February 20 Event 2019-02-11 21:21:05

In a new "The Future Unfolds" ad for its upcoming February 20 keynote event, Samsung today teased hints of its upcoming "Galaxy Fold" foldable smartphone.

Not a lot can be seen in the video, but the words in the video appear to wrap around a foldable surface, a reference to Samsung's first smartphone with this folding design.


Samsung in November introduced its Infinity Flex display technology, demonstrating it in a device with a 7.3-inch flexible display that can be folded right in half, collapsing from a tablet size down to a smartphone size.


At the time, Samsung said that it had to invent new materials and reimagine the display from the ground up to create its Infinity Flex technology.

Samsung is developing a new software platform for the device in partnership with Google, which is designed to support two UIs - one for when the device is open and one for when the device is closed.


Samsung's foldable smartphone will debut at its upcoming February 20 event, which will also see the launch of the new Galaxy S10 smartphone lineup.

The Galaxy S10 devices won't feature foldable displays, but there will be three options at various price points and with different display sizes. Samsung's Galaxy S10 lineup is expected to feature small "hole punch" camera cutouts to maximize available screen area.

It’s a phone… It’s a tablet… It’s a phone that unfolds into a tablet! #SDC18 pic.twitter.com/FgwpJPjqTn

— SAMSUNG DEVELOPERS (@samsung_dev) November 7, 2018

Samsung will introduce its new smartphones at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, months ahead of when Apple will debut its 2019 iPhone lineup.

There have been some rumors suggesting Apple is exploring foldable display content, but right now, there's no concrete evidence that Apple is working on a smartphone with a foldable display.

Tag: Samsung

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Deals Spotlight: AT&T Offering Apple TV 4K At No Cost When Signing Up for Fiber Internet 2019-02-11 20:49:16

AT&T has kicked off a new Apple TV 4K promotion, this one tied to the company's Fiber Internet service. For the month of February, anyone who signs up for AT&T Fiber Internet 300 or Fiber Internet 1000 will have the chance to get a 32GB Apple TV 4K at no cost. Shoppers should note that the deal is contingent upon AT&T Fiber being available in your area.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with AT&T. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

AT&T Fiber Internet 300 costs $70/month and Fiber Internet 1000 costs $90/month, and both plans require customers to sign up for a twelve-month agreement. For Fiber Internet 300, customers will have a 1TB monthly data cap, and a $10 charge for each additional 50GB of data they need if they exceed their cap. Fiber Internet 1000 has no data cap.

To get the new deal, head to ATT.com, click "Check Availability," and enter your address. Those eligible for the deal and in an area supported by AT&T Fiber will then see the plans available to purchase. Choose either the 300 Mbps or 1000 Mbps tier, and during the checkout screen enter the promo code GET4KTV to add the Apple TV 4K to your order at no additional cost.


If you've been planning to switch to Fiber Internet, AT&T's new promo is a great chance to save a lot of money on a brand-new Apple TV 4K. At 32GB, these models currently sell for around $170 at places like B&H Photo.

AT&T previously offered a notable discount on the 32GB Apple TV 4K during a DirecTV Now promotion, which required customers to prepay for 3 months of DirecTV Now at $105 to get an Apple TV at no cost. The company has since ended this offer, and during a recent earnings report AT&T stated that DirecTV Now saw a large decline in subscribers after the deal ended.

Anyone interested in the new offer should visit AT&T's website to browse Fiber Internet packages, and be sure to head to our full Deals Roundup to check out more sales happening this week.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
Tag: AT&T

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Qualcomm's U.S. ITC Complaint Falling Apart as Apple Implements Workaround in iOS 12.1 2019-02-11 20:43:07

Back in 2017, Qualcomm filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) accusing Apple's iPhones of infringing on six Qualcomm patents.

Qualcomm was hoping to ban imports of select iPhone and iPad models using Intel modems, but as it turns out, the company's efforts have been a poor use of time and money.


As outlined by FOSS Patents, in a recent filing with the ITC Apple said that it has implemented an iOS 12.1 workaround to one key patent in the complaint, U.S. Patent No. 9,535,490, which covers "power saving techniques in computing devices."

Apple said that it introduced changes in iOS 12.1 to make sure that it does not violate the '490 patent, though the company claims the original design wasn't in violation to begin with.

Qualcomm's own Chief Technology Officer has said that there are alternate design options to skirt the '490 patent, which Apple submits as evidence that the '490 patent should not be valid in the ITC complaint.

Qualcomm's presentation at the hearing crystallized its theories regarding the scope and coverage of claim 31 of the '490 patent. Against that backdrop, Apple recently changed its software (i.e., iOS) to remove the functionality that Qualcomm has accused of infringing claim 31, by implementing a design change that Qualcomm's own witnesses conceded would fall outside the scope of the patent. [...]

This fall, after the close of the hearing record, Apple implemented a new software-based design for its Accused '490 Products that removed the accused UL/DL synchronization feature that Qualcomm emphasized could be 'simply remove[d]' to avoid infringement of the '490 patent. To be clear, the pre-change versions also do not infringe the '490 patent, and thus there is no legal need to 'design around' it. But to moot any possible allegation of infringement from Qualcomm, Apple changed its products to do precisely what Qualcomm's own witnesses testified would not infringe the '490 patent."
According to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, given Qualcomm's prior comments about the ease of implementing a suitable workaround, Qualcomm won't be able to credibly dispute Apple's plan.

Qualcomm's original ITC complaint against Apple mentioned "six inventions" iPhones use that infringed on Qualcomm patents, but as FOSS Patents outlines in the handy infographic below, many are no longer valid.


Qualcomm has dropped three of the six patents, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the case said that Apple did not infringe on another two, and as for the last, it's the one that Apple added a workaround for in iOS 12.1.

Given the weakness of Qualcomm's complaint, the company is not likely to win its case, and even if it does, it won't cover Apple's iPhones that have the iOS 12.1 software update.

Apple and Qualcomm will go to trial over the original dispute in April, with Qualcomm having been unable to establish leverage over Apple thus far with its U.S. ITC complaints. Apple and Qualcomm will be fighting over royalty payments and anticompetitive patent licensing practices.


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Samsung's 2019 AirPlay 2-Compatible QLED TVs Now Available for Purchase 2019-02-11 20:15:17

Samsung today announced that its 2019 TV lineup with QLED 4K and 8K options, can now be pre-ordered or purchased from the Samsung website or from select retailers across the United States.

Available in sizes ranging from 43 inches to 98 inches, the QLED lineup works with AirPlay 2, thanks to Apple's move to expand AirPlay 2 availability to many television manufacturers. AirPlay 2 will allow Apple users to stream music, podcasts, and more directly to Samsung TVs.


Samsung's 2019 TVs will also feature a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app, allowing iTunes content like movies and TV shows to be accessed directly on a Samsung television set.

Existing 2018 smart Samsung TV sets will also get AirPlay 2 support and the iTunes app through an upcoming firmware update. Samsung plans to debut the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app in more than 100 countries, while AirPlay 2 support is set to be available in 190 countries, but specific timing has not yet been announced.

Samsung's 2019 TV lineup includes Q60, Q70, Q80, and Q90 sets ranging in size from 43 to 82 inches, along with the QLED 8K, available in sizes ranging from 65 inches to 98 inches. Samsung's QLED Lifestyle 4K TVs in sizes ranging from 43 to 55 inches are also launching, as are new 4K UHD RU TV sets in sizes ranging from 43 to 82 inches.

According to Samsung and Apple, all 2018 and 2019 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, and QLED Series TVs will work with AirPlay 2, and presumably, those television sets will also get the iTunes app. Other smart TVs with AirPlay 2 support will also work with HomeKit, but Samsung's televisions will not feature HomeKit integration and will not be listed in the Home app.

Samsung has its 65-inch Q900 QLED 8K TV available for purchase from its website starting at $5000 for 65 inches. The TV sets will ship by March 1, 2019.

Many of the other 2019 television sets are not available for purchase on Samsung's site but should soon be showing up on websites for various retailers like Best Buy, B&H Photo, Amazon, and others.


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Apple's Health Records Feature Will Be Available Soon to U.S. Veterans 2019-02-11 16:56:03

Apple today announced that its Health Records feature on iPhone will be available soon to U.S. veterans.


In partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, American veterans receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration will be able to securely view their aggregated health records directly in the Health app on their iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook:

We have great admiration for veterans, and we're proud to bring a solution like Health Records on iPhone to the veteran community. It's truly an honor to contribute to the improved healthcare of America's heroes.
Apple introduced the Health Records feature in iOS 11.3 in March 2018, allowing patients to view their medical records from multiple participating hospitals and clinics directly in the Health app on the iPhone, including allergies, vital signs, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, and procedures.

More than 100 institutions now support Apple Health Records in the U.S., including Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

More details to follow…


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Joins Coalition Renewing Push for Immigration Reform 2019-02-11 16:07:48

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and others have signed a new letter urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would enable more than 700,000 immigrants to legally work and live in the United States (via CNBC).


The coalition's letter to help "Dreamers" will be featured in a full-page ad in The New York Times today. The term Dreamers refers to individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age when their parents or guardians illegally immigrated into the country. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, these people are protected and can gain legal work status in the United States.

"With the re-opening of the federal government and the presumptive restart of immigration and border security negotiations, now is the time for Congress to pass a law to provide Dreamers the certainty they need. These are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and they should not have to wait for court cases to be decided to determine their fate when Congress can act now," they wrote in the letter.

"We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of Americans of all political backgrounds agree that we should protect Dreamers from deportation," the letter said. "American employers and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are counting on you to pass bipartisan, permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay."
Apple and Tim Cook have been supporting DACA for years, and Cook began writing letters in support of the Dreamers in 2017, after President Donald Trump announced his original plan to phase out DACA over the course of six months. At the time, Cook said that 250 Apple employees are Dreamers: "I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values."

NEW TODAY - 100 CEOs representing every sector of the economy sign letter that is full-page ad in @nytimes calling for permanent protections for Dreamers. Signatories include CEOs of GM, Coca Cola, Apple, Amazon, Walmart, FB, US Chamber, Marriott, Blackstone, NAM, Google & more. pic.twitter.com/3SXb7UIpYf

— Todd Schulte (@TheToddSchulte) February 11, 2019

In early 2018, Cook joined more than 100 CEOs in a letter urging Congress to protect DACA. The cause has been renewed this week as the United States government heads into another potential shutdown this Friday.

Apple has spent increasing amounts of money lobbying the Trump Administration, in 2018 alone spending $6.6 million and in 2017 spending $7.1 million. Apple's lobbying increased significantly after Trump took office, with the company spending more than ever before to influence the current government on issues such as privacy, education, climate change, trade, immigration, tax reform, and patent reform.

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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Apple Forced to Add Notice About iPhone Slowdown Saga on Italian Homepage 2019-02-11 15:45:44

Last year, the Italian Competition Authority hit Apple with a 10 million euro fine over "dishonest commercial practices" related to an iPhone performance management system it introduced in iOS 10.2.1 without informing customers. The antitrust watchdog said the update was a form of planned obsolescence.


As a result of the investigation, Apple has been forced to add a consumer protection notice about these "incorrect" practices on its Italian homepage. The notice, loosely translated below, was spotted by setteBIT on Twitter.

Apple, Apple Distribution International, Apple Italia, and Apple Retail Italia have led consumers in possession of an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, or iPhone 6s Plus to install iOS 10 and subsequent updates without providing adequate information about the impact of that choice on the performance of the smartphones and without offering (in a timely manner) any means of restoring the original functionality of the devices in the event of a proven decrease in performance following the update (such as downgrading or a battery replacement at reasonable costs).

This practice was assessed incorrect, pursuant to Articles 20, 21, 22, and 24 of Legislative Decree No. 206 of the Italian Consumer Code by the Italian Competition Authority.
For those who need a refresher about the iPhone slowdown saga, read our lengthy FAQ. Here's a key excerpt:
Why is Apple slowing down some older iPhone models?

iPhones, like many other consumer electronics, are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited lifespan. As the battery in your iPhone ages, its ability to hold a charge slowly diminishes.

A chemically aging battery can also have increased impedance, reducing its ability to provide a sudden burst of power when demanded by other components in an iPhone, such as the CPU and GPU. A battery's impedance will also temporarily increase when it has a low charge and/or in cold temperatures.

A battery with a high enough impedance may be unable to provide power quickly enough to the iPhone when needed, and Apple safeguards components against the drop in voltage by shutting down the device.

Apple recognized that iPhones unexpectedly shutting down on users is not a good experience, and starting with iOS 10.2.1, it quietly implemented a power management feature to prevent these shutdowns.
Last year, Apple denied any kind of planned obsolescence by flat out stating that it never has and never would do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience, to drive customer upgrades.
We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
Apple eventually eased concerns by introducing a Battery Health feature in iOS 11.3, with an option to disable the performance management system, and discounting the price of iPhone battery replacements throughout 2018.


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Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Breaks Apple Music Record for Most-Streamed Pop Album in First 24 Hours 2019-02-11 15:31:51

Ariana Grande's latest album "Thank U, Next" has set a few Apple Music records since its debut on Friday, February 8. The music streaming service told Billboard that "Thank U, Next" saw the highest day 1 streams ever for a pop album on Apple Music.

This also makes "Thank U, Next" the biggest debut for any female artist in any genre on Apple Music within the first 24 hours of release. Ariana began releasing singles for the album last year, starting with the title track "Thank U, Next" and followed by "Imagine" and "7 Rings." "Thank U, Next" released about six months after Grande's previous album, Sweetener.


Other recent Apple Music records include Shawn Mendes' self-titled third studio album becoming the most-streamed pop album of 2018, and Cardi B's "Invasion of Privacy" setting a new record for first-week streams by a female artist, beating Taylor Swift's "Reputation." "Thank U, Next" appears to be on the path to battling both of those albums for the record of first-week streams by a female artist on Apple Music.

According to the latest numbers, Apple Music now has over 50 million paid subscribers around the world. This update came during Apple's latest earnings call and was the first update on Apple Music subscriber numbers since May 2018, when Apple Music had 50 million paying and trial subscribers combined. In comparison, Spotify now has 96 million paid global subscribers.


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New Report Delves Into Poor Working Conditions at an Apple Maps 'Black Site' 2019-02-11 14:59:02

A new report out today by Bloomberg offers a look inside one of Apple's so-called "black sites," this one a satellite office near Apple Park in California where the company hires contractors to work on Apple Maps. These contract workers were hired by Apex Systems, which staffs and manages a few Apple mapping offices, and creates a "culture of fear" according to former employees.

One former worker at the black site near Apple Park, on Hammerwood Avenue in Sunnyvale, said that "it was made pretty plain to us that we were at-will employees and they would fire us at any time." Most workers at the office signed up for 12-15 month work contracts, but many didn't make it that long.

Image via David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

To hire workers, sources referred to "aggressive" messaging received via LinkedIn. Apex Systems browses the social network to find people with proficiency in mapping-related skills, and then "messages them repeatedly." Former workers then say Apex uses the revelation that the job will be for Apple as a way to tip potential employees over the edge and easily hire them.

Former workers described a poor work environment with understocked vending machines, long lines for men's bathrooms due to a predominantly male workforce, and restrictions on using the bathrooms designated for full-time Apple employees. To protect Apple's secrets, management instructed employees to enter the building through the back door every day, and to walk several blocks away from the building before calling for a ride home at the end of the day.
The working environment was uncomfortable in other ways, according to current and former contractors. Apex managers sometimes broke up unauthorized water-cooler socializing. Several workers say their managers would get notifications if their workstations were idle for too long. “Being monitored like that is super dehumanizing and terrifying,” says one former Apex mapping technician.
Many workers who took the contract jobs did so because Apex played up the possibility of landing full-time work with Apple down the line, but chances for this turned out to be small. At the same time, many other workers agreed to the contract work to have Apple on their resume, but even that wasn't a possibility.

At first, they could put "Apple, via Apex Systems" as their employer on sites like LinkedIn, but then in the summer of 2018 Apex instructed all workers to remove the word "Apple" and to describe their employer as "A Major Tech Company Via Apex Systems."

These differences between contract workers and full-time employees have led to what some sources called a caste system within Apple.
The restrictions were just one of many reminders of the contractors’ inferior status, right down to the apple design on their ID badges. For direct employees, the apples were multi-colored; contractors got what one described as “sad grey.” It’s common for companies to distribute different badges to contractors, a practice that discontented workers across the industry have seized on as evidence of a caste system.

Amber Lutsko, who worked for Apple through Apex in 2017 and 2018, described an opening-day pep talk that aimed to make her feel both honored and excluded. “‘You work at Apple now! You have made it!’” she recalls being told. “‘You’re not allowed to use the gym.’”
The Hammerwood office is managed by Apex, not Apple, and in a surprise audit on the staffing company, Apple said it found a work environment consistent with other Apple locations. According to an Apple spokesperson, "Like we do with other suppliers, we will work with Apex to review their management systems, including recruiting and termination protocols, to ensure the terms and conditions of employment are transparent and clearly communicated to workers in advance."

In November 2018, Apex changed the maximum amount of paid annual sick time from 48 to 24 hours, leading to a protest as over a dozen contractors said they had suddenly fallen ill and left work. Around the same time, Apex suddenly fired about two dozen people. Eventually, many remaining employees left Apex permanently and moved onto contract work at other companies that had better benefits for these workers, including Facebook and Google.

One former Apple contractor who worked under Apex, Amber Lutsko, was one of the workers who quit before her contract was up because of the company's questionable practices. Even now, a few months after she stopped working for Apex, the company's recruiters still find her through LinkedIn and send her messages about potential employment with a can't-be-named silicon valley company.

Other former contractors report the same, even ones who were fired by Apex: "You got rid of me because of my quote-unquote performance, and every three months I get these emails," says one of them. "It's insulting, honestly."

Head to Bloomberg to read the full report: What It's Like To Work Inside Apple's 'Black Site'


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2019 iPhones Said to Keep Lightning Connector With Same Old 5W Charger and EarPods in Box 2019-02-11 14:34:14

While it was recently reported that Apple has at least considered switching to USB-C on the iPhone, Japanese blog Mac Otakara believes that 2019 models will stick with the Lightning connector as a cost-saving measure.


Based on its conversations with various accessory manufacturers, the blog also predicts that 2019 iPhones will continue to be bundled with the same old 5W power adapter, forcing customers to spend extra on a faster charger like the 18W USB-C version that ships with the latest iPad Pro models.

Likewise, the blog predicts that 2019 iPhones will continue to ship with a Lightning to USB-A cable and Lightning-based EarPods.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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New iPads Expected in First Half of 2019, Including iPad Mini 5 With Similar Design as iPad Mini 4 2019-02-11 13:57:13

Apple is set to launch new iPad models in the first half of 2019, according to Taiwanese supply chain website DigiTimes.


One of those new models is expected to be the so-called iPad mini 5, but anyone hoping for a major redesign should lower their expectations, as Japanese blog Mac Otakara reports that the tablet will have a similar design as the iPad mini 4.

Mac Otakara claims the iPad mini 5 will have identical dimensions as the iPad mini 4, including a thickness of 6.1mm, suggesting that the tablet will have the same 7.9-inch display is bezel size remains unchanged. The blog also expects the tablet to retain a Lightning connector, Touch ID, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

One design change expected is the repositioning of the rear microphone to a top-center position in line with the sixth-generation iPad.

The report claims it is unclear whether the iPad mini 5 will have an A10 Fusion chip akin to the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and sixth-generation iPad, or an A10X Fusion chip in line with 2017 iPad Pro models and the Apple TV 4K.

It's also unclear if the iPad mini 5 will support the original Apple Pencil, but second-generation Apple Pencil support seems to be ruled out.

Related Roundup: iPad mini 5
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Don't Buy)

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AirPods 2 with Grip Coating and AirPower Said to launch this Spring 2019-02-11 11:06:22

Apple's forthcoming second-generation AirPods will feature a new design and improved audio performance, while its AirPower wireless charging pad will launch in the Spring, a new report claims today.


Rumor site MySmartPrice said one of its "trusted sources" claims the AirPods 2, tipped for release this year, will offer better bass response thanks to improved internals, and both the earbuds and case will include a special matte coating to enhance grip, similar to a coating used on the glass back of Google's Pixel 3 phone.

The report also repeats previous rumors suggesting Apple's second-generation AirPods will feature health monitoring features, including heart-rate monitoring, and claims that battery life is likely to be more or less similar to the current model.

In addition, the site believes the new AirPods 2 earphones will be available in black and white colors and cost around $200, a 40 dollar increase on the current price, although whether this detail comes from the same source or just speculation is unclear.

Meanwhile, the site claims Apple's AirPower wireless charging pad will be thicker than originally planned due to an internal 8-7-7 coil configuration, and will finally be released in Spring this year, "alongside the wireless charging case for the first-generation AirPods." Apple is expected to release a standalone AirPods case that can be purchased as an upgrade for existing AirPods to enable wireless charging.

Back in November, MySmartPrice was first to spot new AirPods listings in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's regulatory database, suggesting a refreshed version of the accessory could be coming in the near future. Otherwise, the site doesn't have much of a track record for corroborated Apple rumors, so the above details should be taken with a grain of salt.

In a separate report this morning, DigiTimes reiterated previous information from its supply chain sources that Apple will launch new-generation AirPods in the first half of this year. Apple supplier Inventec is a major assembler of AirPods and expects its shipments to grow further in 2019 as a result.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Caution)

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