Phone Scoop

printed July 23, 2017
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iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

by:  Apple


T-Mobile Clearing Out iPhone 7 Inventory

Friday, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today introduced a limited-time offer to save big bucks on the Apple iPhone 7. The Uncarrier will give a $300 credit to those who trade in an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, or 6s Plus for an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. Trade-ins must be owned outright, with no remaining payments or commitments. T-mobile says the value of the trade-in can be applied to the purchase of a new iPhone 7 immediately, with the remainder of the $300 offer to arrive later in the form of a prepaid MasterCard. The offer requires people to finance the new iPhone on an installment plan with a T-Mobile service agreement. Sales tax is due on the full price of the new handset at the point of purchase. T-Mobile says the offer can be combined with its iPhone memory upgrade program, which knocks $100 off the price of the 256 GB iPhone for a potential total savings of $400. The balance of the $300 offer will arrive up to 8 weeks after T-Mobile customers sign up for the promotion on T-Mobile's web site. The offer cannot be combined with T-Mobile's Carrier Freedom program.


Clips, Apple's Video Creation App, Gains Disney Characters

Thursday, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated its Clips mobile video application with characters from Disney movies and new graphic overlays and posters. Apple says several classic Disney characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy, can be added to videos complete with animations. A handful of Pixar characters are available, too, such as Wooody and Jessie from "Toy Story" and Fear and Sadness from "Inside Out." Along with the characters, new Disney-themed posters and backgrounds are available to enhance videos. Beyond the Disney content, Clips gains 10 new Apple-designed graphics, backgrounds, and animated text options so people can create more expressive and unique videos. Clips is available to more iPhones and iPads. It is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Google Expeditions Moves Beyond the Classroom

Wednesday, 12:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made it possible for anyone to access and enjoy its 360-degree Expeditions. Until now, Google Expeditions has been limited to educational environments. Expeditions relies on Google Cardboard or Google Daydream viewers to interact with 360-degree and/or virtual environments. Google released a solo version of Expeditions today, which means everyone can tour more than 600 locations around the world, such as the Empire State Building, Taj Mahal, Thimphu Bhutan, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Great Barrier Reef, and much more. The Expeditions include self-guided tours, as well as "guide mode" for educators who may want to preview the content from a different perspective. Expeditions is available for Android devices and can be downloaded from the Play Store for free. Google says an iOS version of Expeditions will be available soon.


Apple Updates iPhone, Watch, AppleTV Software

Wednesday, 12:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today pushed out updates to four of its core platforms. iPhone and iPad owners can update their devices to iOS 10.3.3, which Apple has been testing with developers for more than a month. The minor system update, likely the last for iOS 10, includes bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple also released watchOS 3.2.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and macOS Sierra 10.12.6. All the system updates are free to download and install. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with both developers and the public. iOS 11 brings a significant number of updates to the iPhone and iPad, and is expected to arrive in the fall.


Google Bringing Search-Based Feed to Its Mobile App

Wednesday, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said its personalized feed will begin to appear in the Google mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The feed, which Google has been testing on Android since late last year, displays information cards below the search bar based on each user's individual search history. Google will also toss in information concerning trending topics both local and global. The more people take advantage of the feed, the more in-tuned it will become to individual tastes and interests. The new feed supplants Google Now, which delivered articles and information cards. The cards generated by Google Now will still appear, but fall under a new "updates" tab in the Google app. A new "follow" button has been added to search results so people can follow topics or interests (sports teams, artists, movies, TV shows, celebrities) more directly from their daily interactions with Google. News stories will be presented from a variety of viewpoints and Google says simple fact checking tools will be available to help combat inaccurate sources. Moreover, people will be able to dive deeper into their favorite topics via dedicated search tools. On the flip side, Google suggests that it will be easy to unfollow topics presented by the feed so they don't reappear. The Google app with the new fees is being updated for Android and iOS in the U.S. today, and will roll out globally over the next few weeks.


Snapchat Now Lets Users Record Multiple Snaps and Edit Pix

Tuesday, 12:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today improved its Android and iOS mobile apps with new tools. First, the app can now record up to six 10-second clips over the course of one minute. Users can then select the segment they like best for sharing. People need only keep holding their finger down on the capture button in order to record multiple shots. Second, a new tool called Tint Brush lets people re-color small areas of their photos. The tool makes it simple to select an object or item in the photo and then apply a new color. Snapchat does the rest. The multi-snap recording tool is available initially to the iPhone app, but Snapchat plans to bring it to the Android app soon. The Tint Brush tool reaches both Android and iOS apps today. Snapchat is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.


Lightroom for Android and iOS Earns More Photo-Tweaking Powers

Tuesday, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Adobe today updated its Lightroom Mobile application for Android and iOS devices. Adobe says it overhauled the Android version from the ground up to give it a more native Android feel. Every screen has a new design that Adobe claims is faster and more efficient to use. The iOS version of Lightroom Mobile received several new features in this update. First, Lightroom for iOS now includes a selective brush tool to selectively pain enhancements into any part of an image. iOS devices that support 3D Touch can use the pressure-sentive screen to apply varied effects through the selective brush. The same functionality is available to the iPad Pro when used with the Apple Pencil. Lightroom Mobile for iOS also gains the ability to selectively erase both linear and radial gradients, and the refreshed details tab allows people to control sharpness and noise reduction over the entire image. Last, Adobe says the iPad version of Lightroom Mobile now takes better advantage of the tablet's screen real estate to make more controls accessible. Lightroom Mobile is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.


Apple Reveals New iOS, MacOS Emoji

Jul 17, 2017, 12:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today celebrated World Emoji day by showing off some of the new emoji that will be added to iOS, MacOS, and watchOS later this year. Some of the humanesque additions include a woman in a headscarf, a bearded person, and a breastfeeding woman, while food additions include sandwiches and coconuts. Characters such as zebras, T-Rex, zombies, and elves are on deck, as are smileys such as star-struck and exploding head. These emoji are expected to appear in iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, and watchOS 4, which are all slated to reach consumers in the fall.


Microsoft Redesigns Mobile Outlook App for Android and iOS

Jul 13, 2017, 7:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has released an overhauled build of its Outlook mobile email application for both the Android and iOS platforms. The update targets several specific functions of the app to smooth over performance. For example, the new app makes it much simpler to switch between email accounts or folders within email accounts thanks to a redesigned nav bar. The help and settings tools are surfaced higher up within the app so they can be reached more easily. Microsoft also targeted threaded conversations. The app now shows more of the conversation at once, with clearer borders between messages. Outlook will automatically open the first unread message in a thread, while still allowing people to open other messages in the conversation. Replying to everyone in a thread should be easier, too, thanks to a quick reply function built into the app. Last, Microsoft plans to add a universal search bar to Outlook that can be used to find names, addresses, emails, and more. While the first two features are reaching Android and iOS this week, the search tool will be added at a later date. Outlook is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


Apple Makes Second Public Beta of iOS 11 Available

Jul 12, 2017, 3:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11 Public Beta 2 to those testing the platform. The release follows closely that of a new build for developers, which was made available earlier this week. This second beta should be a bit more stable than the first. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both devices gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected until the fall.


iPhone Owners Can Now Make Payments via PayPal

Jul 12, 2017, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

PayPal today announced that it has added support for Apple accounts. The change means people who use the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and other Apple devices will be able to make purchases from the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks using their PayPal account. Customers need only add PayPal as their payment method in order to take advantage of the service. PayPal says the new payment option is simple to setup and use, and can be set as the default service for making purchases across Apple devices and services. Support for PayPal is hitting Canada and Mexico today, and will reach the U.S. soon.


Twitter Improves Notification Tools

Jul 10, 2017, 1:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today gave users more power over notifications. Significantly, users can now mute the replies of a wider array of accounts. The improved tools are available in the service's settings, where advanced filters provide granular control over whose notifications are muted. For example, people can mute accounts that are new, accounts that don't follow you, accounts you don't follow, accounts with a default profile photo, accounts without a confirmed email address, and accounts without a confirmed phone number. These should help people cut down on bothersome notifications that may reach mobile devices. The filters are available from the web, as well as from the Android and iOS Twitter apps.


Apple Pushes New iOS 11 Beta to Developers

Jul 10, 2017, 12:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today seeded the third beta of iOS 11 to application developers. This beta is not yet available to public beta testers, though Apple typically releases new public betas shortly after it updates the developer code. Apple continues to refine iOS 11 and add features based on developer feedback. The company did not call out any specific changes concerning iOS 11 Beta 3. Apple will release more betas, generally once every other week, ahead of the expected final release in September. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both platforms gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. Apple today also released new beta builds of tvOS 11, macOS High Sierra 10.13, and Xcode 9.


Qualcomm Seeks to Ban Intel-Powered iPhones in U.S.

Jul 7, 2017, 6:58 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm this week launched a major new patent dispute with Apple. Qualcomm is filing a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking to block the importation of iPhones that infringe on six Qualcomm patents loosely related to power efficiency. As Qualcomm-powered iPhones are covered by a patent licensing deal, the complaint only covers iPhones powered by Intel modem chipsets. Qualcomm is also seeking to bar sales of already-imported phones, and is filing suit in a California court on the same matter, seeking damages and injunctive relief. The six patents at issue are not considered "standards essential". The patents were issued in the last four years, and cover a variety of technologies, including varying antenna power, and efficiently connecting circuits of different voltages. Another patent enables "flashless boot" of the device to an internet-connected state. The ITC case will likely be tried in 2018.


iOS 10.3.3 Reaches Beta 6

Jul 5, 2017, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3 beta 6, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple hasn't provided any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. This minor update is likely to be the last for iOS 10 before Apple releases iOS 11. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with developers and the public. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected to arrive until September. Apple today also released macOS Sierra 10.12.6 beta 6.


iOS 10.3.3 Beta 5 Appears

Jun 28, 2017, 2:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. Developers can download iOS 10.3.3 beta 5 over the air. The update is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple hasn't provided any real details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. This minor update is likely to be the last for iOS 10 before Apple releases iOS 11. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with developers and the public. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected to arrive until September. Apple today also released macOS Sierra 10.12.6 beta 5.


Google's More Social Photos App Now Rolling Out

Jun 28, 2017, 11:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made its new Google Photos app available to Android and iOS devices, as well as on the web. The revised photo management application adds several hallmark features, including suggested sharing and shared libraries. The suggested sharing tool will automatically scan images and offer to share them with family and friends based on the content and location of the photos. The feature is off by default and needs to be manually switched on. The shared libraries tool is meant to help people more easily share and collaborate on collections of images and videos. Google first announced this new version of Google Photos at its I/O developer conference in May. Google Photos is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.


Cricket to Sell Alcatel Pulsemix Starting July 21

Jun 28, 2017, 8:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said it will carry the Alcatel Pulsemix beginning next month. The Pulsemix is a rebranded version of the Alcatel A5 LED / A50. The Pulsemix is unique because it is compatible with several modular, snap-on accessories called Snapbaks. The most interesting Snapbak features an LED-covered panel that can blink a few dozen LEDs with color. Other modular accessories include a snap-on stereo speaker and a snap-on battery pack. These Snapbak modules are sold separately. The Pulsemix has a quad-core MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM, 5.2-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel main camera, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. Other specs include Bluetooth, FM, GPS, and WiFi radios, and a 2,800mAh battery. It runs Android 7. Cricket is selling the Pulsemix for $80, though it will drop the price to $30 for those who port their number to Cricket. The phone reaches Cricket stores on July 21. Alcatel is selling the unlocked Pulsemix / A50 online via Amazon starting July 10.


Apple Releases First Public Beta of iOS 11

Jun 26, 2017, 3:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11 available to public beta testers. Those interested in testing the unfinished operating system can sign up for the program on Apple's web site. This first public beta is likely the same code that Apple released to developers earlier today. Public beta testers are expected to provide feedback on the operating system's performance and Apple installs a feedback app with the beta. Apple strongly recommends beta testers back their devices up before installing the test code. The company also notes that the public beta is not recommended for peoples' main phone or tablet and that it be reserved for a secondary device. iOS 11 targets usability and multitasking on the iPad more than the iPhone, but both the iPad and iPhone will see refreshed control center behaviors, new photo gallery tools, better iMessage app behaviors, and much more. Apple won't release a final version of iOS 11 until the fall.


YouTube's Uptime App Hits App Store, No Invite Required

Jun 26, 2017, 2:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Uptime, an app that allows people to watch YouTube videos together, is now widely available to iPhone owners. Google initially announced the app, developed by Area 120, in March. Uptime purports to make YouTube more social and interactive. With Uptime installed, people can watch a video, interact and chat, curate favorites, and get daily recommendations together with friends who may be watching from somewhere else. Interactions include stickers, emoji, and other real-time reactions to videos. The app initially required an invite, but is now available to anyone from the App Store.


Apple Drops More Betas

Jun 26, 2017, 1:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a couple of beta builds for developers. The first is a second version of iOS 11 Beta 2. The slightly revised code tackles a handful of bugs. Apple also distributed watchOS 3.2.3 Beta 4. Apple didn't discuss what changes are in the new watchOS build. These betas are not meant for public testers. Apple is expected to release a public beta of iOS 11 next month.


Facebook Adds Filters and Effects to Messenger's Video Chats

Jun 26, 2017, 10:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today dressed up the live video chatting functionality of Messenger with new effects. Family and friends can now apply reaction emoji, a variety of filters, and new masks to enliven real-time video conversations. Further, a new tool simplifies screenshots for capturing the spontaneity of live video chats. The new tools will be added to Facebook Messenger for Android and iOS in an update over the days ahead.


YouTube to Automatically Adjust Playback Size to Fill Your Screen

Jun 22, 2017, 5:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is about to make it easier to watch videos shot in different aspect ratios. With an update scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, the YouTube mobile app will "dynamically adapt to whatever size you choose to watch it in. That means if you’re watching a vertical, square or horizontal video, the YouTube player will seamlessly adapt itself, filling the screen exactly the way they should." This means videos will automatically fill more of the screen as users move their phones around. Google said changes are coming to the desktop version of YouTube, too, which will focus on simplifying the look and feel of the service. For example, a new Dark Theme will offer a more movie-theater-like appearance to videos. Google is also prepared to expand some sharing tools that make it quicker to share videos directly from the viewing screen. Google didn't say exactly when these changes will reach the mobile and desktop versions of YouTube.


Imagination Technologies Puts Itself Up for Sale

Jun 22, 2017, 12:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Imagination Technologies today said it has put the entire company up for sale following its loss of business with Apple. Earlier this year Apple announced plans to make its own GPU for the iPhone, a part Imagination Technologies has manufactured for Apple for years. Apple was Imagination's largest customer and losing the GPU contract was a huge blow. The company has already listed two business units for sale and today made the entire enterprise available for purchase. Imagination said it already "is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders." Despite these plans, Imagination has filed legal grievances against Apple because it believes the iPhone maker will not be able to create its own GPU without using Imagination's patented technology.


Fourth Beta of iOS 10.3.3 Is Here

Jun 22, 2017, 12:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3 beta 4, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple hasn't provided any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. This minor update is likely to be the last for iOS 10 before Apple releases iOS 11. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with developers and will soon make a public beta available for general testing. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected to arrive until September. Apple today also released tvOS 10.2.2 beta 4.


Virgin Mobile to Phase Android Out Slowly

Jun 21, 2017, 7:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile today announced plans to become an iPhone-only carrier, but the carrier's Android-based handsets won't vanish overnight. Virgin's reseller partners, including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, will continue to carry and sell Virgin Mobile's lineup of Android handsets along with the prepaid carrier's Data Love service plans, according to Justin Scott, Virgin Mobile's Director of Communications. These retail partners will not sell the iPhone for the Inner Circle yet, though Virgin anticipates they will later this year. Virgin says its existing customers won't have to worry about any immediate changes. All Virgin subscribers are welcome to keep their current phone and service plan. If they wish, customers can upgrade to the Inner Circle plan once it becomes available, but Virgin won't force them to right away. Virgin will, however, begin to phase out all Android handsets over time. "While we love our partners in the Android ecosystem and care deeply about our Android customers, the Inner Circle is a path to a different future," explained Scott. "Specifically, it's an opportunity to reposition the brand and align it with the other Virgin companies in the United States. We certainly didn't make this decision lightly and based some of it on consumer data. We chose to become the first iPhone-only based mobile carrier in the United States and launch a game-changing offer because it was time for Virgin Mobile to make a bold move." Scott did not provide any sort of timeline for phasing out the company's Android phones.


Apple Pushes Second iOS 11 Beta to Developers

Jun 21, 2017, 3:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today seeded iOS 11 Beta 2 to developers. It also offered up fresh betas of macOS 10.13, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and Xcode 9. Apple did not say what new features are included in the fresh builds. The company first announced iOS 11 earlier this month at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The revised mobile platform takes aim at the App Store experience, uses machine learning, makes changes to the camera and control center, adds a file folder, tweaks iMessage, and improves Live Photos. This second beta is still an early build of the platform and is meant only for developers. Apple is expected to make the first public beta available next month.


Snapchat Introduces Simple Location Sharing

Jun 21, 2017, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today updated its mobile app and made it possible for users to share their location with one another. The tool appears to have just two modes, on and off. When users choose to share their location, all their friends will see where they are on a map. Alternately, users can remain in "Ghost Mode" to keep their location private. Snapchat says users' Actionmojis will show up on the map only when they open Snapchat. The map supports zooming, so you can see where all your contacts are as they move about cities or regions. Snapchat sees the feature as a way for people to find one another when out and about and share experiences. Snap Map is being added to the Android and iOS mobile Snapchat apps over the days ahead.


Instagram Powers Up Live Replays

Jun 20, 2017, 1:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it possible for people to share their live broadcasts through the Stories tool for up to 24 hours. Once users conclude a live broadcast, they can tap a new "share" button to add a replay of the the live broadcast to their Stories. The tool also makes it easy to discard live videos whenever the broadcaster might wish. According to Instagram, the shared replays will be visible to followers through a new button that appears on the profile photo on the Stories bar. People need only tap the button to watch the associated live broadcast, which supports scanning forward and backward 15 seconds at a time. The new replay feature is included in the latest version of the Instagram mobile app for Android and iOS.


Twitter Overhauls Its Mobile Apps and Web Sites

Jun 15, 2017, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today revealed a dramatic change to the look and feel of its Android and iOS mobile applications, and its mobile and desktop browser experiences. To start, Twitter has put profile, account, and privacy settings in a single place within the navigation menu to make them easier to find. Twitter says fewer tabs appear at the bottom of the iOS app to reduce clutter and improve browsing. Another iOS-only feature is how Twitter handles web links, which now open in the Safari viewer. This lets iOS users more easily access web accounts they may already be signed into. All versions of Twitter will see refined typography that features bolder headlines. The app adds rounded profile photos to help clarify which users are speaking, and tweaks function buttons such as the reply icon, which now appears as a speech bubble. Last, Twitter says tweets will update in real-time, so users can see replies, retweets, and like counts occur live. Twitter said the new versions of its Android and iOS mobile apps will arrive over the coming days and weeks. The web site changes are available right away.


Facebook Brings GIFs to Comments

Jun 15, 2017, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today made it possible to share GIFs within comment threads on posts. Facebook Messenger has supported GIFs for some time; in fact, people share 25,000 GIFs in Messenger every minute, totaling some 13 billion GIFs in 2016. Now, people will be able to add GIFs as reactions to posts and other comments. A dedicated GIF button has been added to the tool for composing comments. Users need only search for the GIF they want and insert into a comment thread. In order to celebrate the addition of GIFs to comments (and the 30th anniversary of the GIF), Facebook partnered with GIPHY Studios to create 20 new GIFs from a selection of celebrities, such as DNCE, Logan Paul, Amanda Cerny, Dreezy, Patrick Starr, Violet Benson, Wuz Good, Brandi Marie, and Landon Moss. The expanded support for GIFs is rolling out today for all Facebook users worldwide.


iOS 10.3.3 Reaches Third Beta

Jun 13, 2017, 12:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3 beta 3, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple hasn't provided any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. This minor update is likely to be the last for iOS 10 before Apple releases iOS 11. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with developers and will soon make a public beta available for general testing. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected to arrive until September.

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Instagram Turns On Archiving Feature

Jun 13, 2017, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it possible for all users to archive old posts for safekeeping. The idea behind the archiving tool is to allow people to customize their feed and perhaps hide photos they no longer wish to share publicly. "Your profile is a representation of who you are and evolves with you over time. With Archive, you now have more flexibility to shape your profile while still preserving moments that matter," explained the company in a blog post. Users will still be able to delete posts entirely, but can now also save photos to an archived folder that only the owner can see. Archived posts are saved complete with likes and comments. Further, archived photos can be made public again if the owner so chooses. The new function should reach all Android and iOS users over the next few days.


Sprint Gifting Customers with 6-Month Tidal Membership

Jun 8, 2017, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said it is giving new and existing customers free access to the Tidal music streaming service for six months. The service is known for providing exclusive access to music from select artists. Tidal Premium normally costs $10 per month. After the six-month promotion expires, Sprint customers will need to pay the monthly fee. The promotion begins June 9 and is available to Android and iOS devices. Sprint is still offering switchers up to $650 in restitution to cover fees incurred by porting over. Moreover, Sprint is still offering four lines of unlimited talk, text, and data for $90 per month (with autopay), though the cost of that plan will jump to $130 after June 2018. Sprint allows unlimited customers to stream video up to 1080p HD, stream music up to 1.5Mbps, and stream games at up to 8Mbps. Sprint will throttle users when the network is congested.


Apple to Offer Official Screen Repairs At More Places

Jun 7, 2017, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple plans to make it easier to repair damaged or broken iPhone screens by distributing its proprietary fix-it machine to third-party stores. Apple Stores use a custom device called the Horizon Machine, which is about the size of a microwave oven, to replace cracked iPhone screens. The device contains a suction cup for loosening the display, the needed screw drivers, and other precision parts to complete each repair. Apple has agreed to make this device available to its authorized resellers, including Best Buy in the U.S. Apple has some 500 Horizon Machines already in use at its own stores and mail-in repair centers. It expects to seed about 200 of the Horizon Machines to its reseller partners over the next couple of months and reach a total of 400 by the end of the year. This will almost double the availability of Horizon Machines by the holiday season and should make it much easier for consumers to have their iPhone given a fully compliant repair. "We've been on a quest to expand our reach," said Brian Naumann, senior director of service operations at Apple, in a statement provided to Reuters. Naumann said repair times at its own stores have increased. Apple hopes providing more Horizon Machines will cut down on those repair times. The news from Apple comes as "right to repair" laws gain strength around the U.S. Kiosks and other small shops in malls offer screen repairs, but often do so without official parts or coverage from Apple and other OEMs. An aggressive law moving through the New York State legislature would require Apple to provide such shops with its genuine parts at a minimum. Though many small shops perform perfectly adequate repairs with third-party glass, Apple's official screen part includes the fingerprint sensor and only the Horizon Machine can repair damaged sensors.


Apple Doubles Top-Tier iCloud Storage Plan to 2 TB

Jun 6, 2017, 12:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has improved its high-capacity cloud storage option from 1 TB to 2 TB while keeping the monthly cost the same at $10. Apple did not change the storage allotment nor the cost of its other two storage plans, which cost $1 per month for 50 GB and $3 per month for 200 GB. All iPhone/iPad users receive free access to 5 GB of online iCloud storage. Apple says subscribers to the 1 TB plan will be upgraded automatically to the new 2 TB plan.


First Look: Apple iOS 11

Jun 6, 2017, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple debuted iOS 11 during the June 5 keynote of its annual developer conference. The refreshed mobile operating system is primed to hit iPhones and iPads later this year with improvements to the App Store, Apple Maps, the camera, Control Center, Files, keyboard, iMessage, Live Photos, Siri, screenshots, and much more. iOS 11 is only available to developers, but here is a first look at the initial beta from Apple.

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iPhone 5 and 5c Won't Run iOS 11, 32-Bit Apps Going Away

Jun 6, 2017, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Some older iPhones will not be part of the iOS 11 party scheduled to arrive this fall. According to Apple's web site, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c, and the fourth-generation iPad cannot handle iOS 11's 64-bit app requirements, so they will not be receiving the updated operating system. Devices that can run iOS 11 include the iPhone 5s and SE, 6 and 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, and the 7 and 7 Plus. On the tablet front, iOS 11 is compatible with the iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4, the iPad Air and Air 2, the newer iPad, as well as the big and small iPad Pros. The older iPhones in question use 32-bit processors, while every iPhone and iPad released since 2013 uses 64-bit processors (with 32-bit backward compatibility built in.) One of the under-the-hood changes in iOS 11 is dropped support for 32-bit apps, moving all apps to 64-bits. Since the iPhone 5 and 5c can only run 32-bit apps, iOS 11 simply won't work as intended. Apple has been warning developers to update their apps with 64-bit compatibility for some time. Starting some point later this year, Apple will entirely drop 32-bit apps from the App Store. Such apps have likely not been updated by their developers in years. iOS 11 is available to developers in beta. The final version for consumers isn't expected to arrive until the fall.


iOS 11 to Let Developers Access the iPhone 7's NFC Radio

Jun 5, 2017, 5:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple is about to let iPhone owners use their handsets' NFC radios for more than just Apple Pay. Apple today introduced the CoreNFC API, which will permit the iPhone's NFC radio to detect NFC tags and read the information contained therein. Though several iPhone models include NFC radios (6, 6 Plus 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus), functionality is restricted to Apple Pay. The new API gives developers access to the NFC radio so their own apps "can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum." Based on the documentation published on Apple's developer web site, only the iPhone 7 and Phone 7 Plus will gain the ability to interact with external NFC tags. Android devices have long been able to use NFC radios and tags for varying purposes. The CoreNFC API is part of iOS 11, which dictates that the expanded NFC functionality for the iPhone 7/7 Plus won't arrive until later this year when Apple releases the final version of iOS 11.


Apple Targets Augmented Reality

Jun 5, 2017, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says its new mobile platform will soon become the biggest augmented reality platform with the adoption of ARKit, a new way for developer to take advantage of existing iOS hardware and software to generate AR experiences. Apple is already working with game and other content developers to bring AR to the iPhone and iPad. Augmented Reality merges real-world views with computer-generated content (think Pokemon). Like all iOS 11 features, the new AR content is expected to arrive later this year.


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