Apple updates Shortcuts app with Notes access and other new actions


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Hot on the heels of the iOS 12.2 release, Apple has updated its handy Shortcuts app to version 2.2. 

The update adds several new actions, the most prominent of which is the ability for Shortcuts to work with the Notes app. There are now actions for Create Note, Append to Note, Find Notes, and Show Note. This is going to make both the Shortcuts app and the Notes app a lot more useful.

The Shortcuts app is a free download, but isn't pre-installed on iOS devices. If you're interested in it, we suggest checking out our list of the most useful Shortcuts.

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The new Apple TV app and Apple TV Channels: 9 things you need to know


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After months of speculation, rumors, and leaks, Apple has finally taken the wraps off its plans for the future of TV, and it comes in two parts: There’s a new subscription service coming this fall called Apple TV+, and an overhaul of the Apple TV app, coming this spring.

Here’s what you need to know about the new TV app, and the way Apple hopes it will change streaming and become the new destination for cord cutters.

A new design, but not many new features

Though the TV app has a newly refreshed design, you’ll recognize many features from the current app. The Up Next section—which shows a list of next episodes for shows you’ve watched, as well as TV shows or movies you stopped in the middle off—is still there. So are the sections for TV Shows, Movies, Sports, Kids, and your Library of shows or movies you own.

Continue reading "The new Apple TV app and Apple TV Channels: 9 things you need to know"

iOS 12.2 is now available, adding Apple News+, new Animoji, and a host of interface tweaks


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After releasing iOS 12.1.3 with a few minor bugfixes, Apple has has moved on to iOS 12.2. The first beta was released to developers on January 24, 2019, with the first public release following on the 28th.

At its “Show time” event on March 25, Apple mentioned the release of iOS 12.2, which brings with it the company’s new Apple News+ subscription service and a host of smaller features, such as four new Animoji. 

To download the update, open the Settings app, tap General, then Software Update

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7 things you need to know about Apple’s new AirPods


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This week, Apple finally announced the sequel to the AirPods, its true wireless earbuds that have proven to be way more popular than anyone ever expected. After more than two years, Apple’s follow-on to the AirPods is...AirPods?

Okay, so the new second-generation AirPods aren’t exactly the true sequel we’ve all been hoping for. They still look and act like the AirPods we love. But they are substantially different than the first-generation model. Here are the most important things you should know.

They’re not AirPods 2

The new AirPods are just that: new AirPods. They are not named AirPods 2, not billed as such on Apple’s site, and not sold separately from original AirPods. Apple still has only one AirPods page on its site, and it only sells the new model. If you buy AirPods from Apple, you will only get this Continue reading "7 things you need to know about Apple’s new AirPods"

It’s time for a new iMac, and here are 9 improvements we’d like to see


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The current iMac design is positively ancient, by computer design standards. The 27-inch Retina iMac, with its slim design and 5K resolution, was launched in the fall of 2014. It was really only a small tweak on the existing “slim unibody” iMac that dates back to 2012, itself only a thinner version of the unibody iMac design that goes back to 2009.

The basic look and physical features of the iMac have barely changed in a decade.

It’s a testament to the elegance of the design that it’s still desirable after all that time, but it’s well past time for a change. This week, Apple updated the iMac line with new internal hardware, but it the design and features remain fundamentally unchanged.

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Apple’s original TV shows and series: Simon Kinberg and David Weil to create big-budget sci-fi series


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Apple is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on original TV programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s not the $8 billion Netflix is going to spend, but it’s still a huge commitment.

What can you get for a billion dollars? Well, some simple math gives us 200 episodes at $5 million a piece (a reasonable per-episode price for high-end TV). But we’re not likely to actually see 10-20 shows with 10-20 episodes each, all costing around that much. For starters, that billion dollars has to cover a lot more than per-episode production costs.

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What Intel’s 2019 roadmap can tell us about the future of the Mac


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The future of the Mac might be Apple-designed CPUs, but the present of the Mac is Intel. Apple is increasingly in charge of its own destiny, adding features like the T2 chip to Macs to handle as much of the system’s security, encryption, and other miscellaneous tasks as it can. Still, we expect Apple to ship most or all of its laptops and desktops this year with Intel inside.

The chip giant hasn’t yet announced the specific processors it will ship this year, but it has delivered a few sneak peaks at its roadmap. Here’s what we know about what Intel is cooking up for 2019, and how it might impact the Mac.

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Apple’s original TV shows and series: Apple’s first feature film is Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones


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Apple is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on original TV programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s not the $8 billion Netflix is going to spend, but it’s still a huge commitment.

What can you get for a billion dollars? Well, some simple math gives us 200 episodes at $5 million a piece (a reasonable per-episode price for high-end TV). But we’re not likely to actually see 10-20 shows with 10-20 episodes each, all costing around that much. For starters, that billion dollars has to cover a lot more than per-episode production costs.

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DuckDuckGo switches to Apple Maps


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It didn’t make a big splash, but Apple unveiled a new mapping tool last year at WWDC. MapKit JS is a JavaScript library that anyone can use to put Apple Maps on the web. It’s currently still in beta, but can be used by any registered Apple developer (with a daily limit on how many map views can be called).

Today, privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo announced that it will use the new MapKit JS tool for all its location-based search results. Previously, the site used OpenStreetMap for its results, with a drop-down box kicking you off to Bing, Google, or Here maps if you asked for directions.

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Apple should drop Intel for AMD


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Rumor has it that Apple is planning to produce its own CPUs and GPUs for Macs. Those T2 processors we have today are just a tiny first step—the big leap is to take something like the A12X and build a MacBook around it. It makes sense from the perspective of both power-to-performance ratio and a cost-to-performance ratio. Perhaps more importantly, it puts Apple fully in control of its whole platform, and allows the company to innovate in ways it can’t when it cedes the very heart of its computers to other companies.

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AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support is coming to smart TVs, including those from Vizio, Sony, and LG


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Apple fans don’t typically have a lot to look forward to from CES, but we were treated to a surprise announcement from Samsung that it will bring the iTunes video store to its smart TVs, complete with Bixby support. But Samsung isn’t the only TV maker working with Apple—AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support are coming to other smart TVs.

Apple has updated its AirPlay page with a focus on TV entertainment and special mention of smart TV support. What’s more, individual TV manufacturers have started to announce support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.

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Apple cuts Q1 2019 earnings estimates, blames everyone but itself


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Trading for Apple stock halted briefly on Wednesday afternoon as Tim Cook issued a letter providing revised guidance for the company’s first-quarter 2019 earnings estimates. The new estimates are as follows:

  • Revenue of approximately $84 billion
  • Gross margin of approximately 38 percent
  • Operating expenses of approximately $8.7 billion
  • Other income/(expense) of approximately $550 million
  • Tax rate of approximately 16.5 percent before discrete items

Most of the numbers are not very different from the guidance the company issued back in November, but there is one big change—revenue is projected to be down about $5-9B from the company’s previous $89-93B estimate.

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10 must-have apps for your new Apple Watch


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The Apple Watch is great right out of the box, but you’ll want to add a few apps to really make it sing. Apple’s wearable is a true marvel, especially the Series 4, but you’ll never know just how useful it can be if you don’t expand your horizons a bit.

When we think about the Apple Watch apps we just can’t live without, these are at the top of the list. Some are free, some are not, but every single one is worth your while.

Updated 1/18/2019: Thanks to a big update with a new interface, AutoSleep now edges out Pillow as our favorite sleep tracking app. Also added video.

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10 must-have apps for your new iPhone


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You just got a new iPhone, you’re done setting it up, and it’s time to hit the App Store. Which apps should you download to really make your iPhone great?

Obviously, there are the go-to standards that nearly everyone seems to have on their phone. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, maybe Netflix or Amazon…you don’t need a list of suggestions to tell you about those household names. If you’re new to iPhone, or just looking to find some new favorite apps, you should also consider these ten gotta-have-it suggestions.

Shortcuts

10 iphone apps shortcuts IDG

One of iOS 12's best features is an app you download from the App Store.

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Apple releases iOS 12.1.2, addressing eSIM activation bugs


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Apple released iOS 12.1.1 fewer than two weeks ago, fixing a handful of bugs and expanding eSIM support. Today, Apple is fixing a few remaining bugs with iOS 12.1.2, as more carriers around the world roll out eSIM support for the iPhone XS and XR. (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon now support adding lines via eSIM in the U.S.)

The release notes for 12.1.2 are the shortest we’ve seen in a long time.

iOS 12.1.2 includes bug fixes for your iPhone. This update: 

  • Fixes bugs with eSIM activation for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
  • Addresses an issue that could affect cellular connectivity in Turkey for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.

As you can see, this update only fixes a few eSIM activation bugs and cellular connectivity issues in Turkey.

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Apple’s original TV shows and series: Apple lands rights to new original Peanuts cartoons


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Apple is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on original TV programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s not the $8 billion Netflix is going to spend, but it’s still a huge commitment.

What can you get for a billion dollars? Well, some simple math gives us 200 episodes at $5 million a piece (a reasonable per-episode price for high-end TV). But we’re not likely to actually see 10-20 shows with 10-20 episodes each, all costing around that much. For starters, that billion dollars has to cover a lot more than per-episode production costs.

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Apple Music Connect was doomed from the start


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Remember Ping? Back in the days before all-you-can-eat streaming music services, iTunes was king. So Apple built a social media platform into iTunes where artists could promote their work and talk about what’s inspiring them. As for users, they could recommend tracks and albums to each other.

But nobody liked it, so Apple shut it down. Six years ago, we published a postmortem of sorts that laid out all the ways in which Ping went wrong. Discoverability was bad, artists didn’t keep up with posting. and it felt more like marketing than genuine social connection. For that matter, discoverability and virality were terrible—the list goes on and on.

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Intel accelerates 5G modem rollout, but it won’t make the 5G iPhone come any sooner


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Intel has just announced that it moved up the launch of its 5G modem, the XMM 8160, by an impressive six months. This multi-mode modem—it supports 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G—is capable of speeds up to six gigabits per second and supports most of the exciting new technologies expected in the first wave of 5G mobile products. That means millimeter wave support, stand-alone and non-stand-alone modes, and simultaneous connections to 4G and 5G networks.

intel xmm 8160 modem 2 Intel

Intel’s XM 8160 modem will connect to 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. That means fewer chips, and it’s essentially a requirement for products like the iPhone.

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iOS 13 Wishlist: 10 ways Apple can unleash the potential of the iPhone and iPad


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I’m very happy with iOS 12. It’s one of Apple’s best iOS releases in years. Part of the reason it worked out so well is that Apple didn’t bite off more than it could chew—nearly all of iOS 12’s features were available at launch, or came very quickly in an update. It’s a huge improvement over iOS 11’s problematic rollout. iOS 12 seems primarily geared at smoothing out long-standing pain points: we got a renewed focus on performance and reliability, grouped notifications, Screen Time, Group FaceTime, and better Maps.

But Apple can do more, much more. The latest iPhones and iPad Pros sport processors, cameras, and sensors that are capable of incredible things, but iOS at times feels like its holding us back. In particular, the iPad Pro feels like it has everything it needs to be a complete laptop replacement—except an operating system that lets you do everything you Continue reading "iOS 13 Wishlist: 10 ways Apple can unleash the potential of the iPhone and iPad"

Apple updates Clips app with new filters, Selfie Scenes, stickers, soundtracks, and more


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Apple has announced an update to its fun video-selfie app Clips that adds a wealth of new content.

For starters, there are six new Selfie Scenes, including one from the movie Incredibles 2. Selfie Scenes are 360-degree animated backgrounds that put you in the middle of an augmented reality scene. They’re exclusive to Apple products with the TrueDepth camera system: the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR, and the new iPad Pros.

Selfie Scenes now use the A12 Bionic’s neural engine in both previews and recording modes for better portrait segmentation, so they should now more accurately "cut and paste" your image into the scene.

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