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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Sega Forever, Death Road to Canada, Hearthstone, and More

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 19:26:14 PDT
This week in iOS gaming was dominated by a single thing: The unveiling of the "Sega Forever" program that Sega first started teasing around a month ago. The original announcement came with practically no details beyond Sega was doing something with its massive back catalog of games, which in turn caused speculation to run wild. Eventually the internet decided Sega Forever was going to be a Netflix-like service for classic Sega titles, which turned out to be totally incorrect.


Instead, Sega Forever is five mobile game ports, with more on the way. Each game is free to download, and can be played for free forever with ads. There's also a one-time $1.99 unlock inside each game to permanently disable ads. The initial batch of Sega Forever titles include:

Unfortunately, our first impressions of these were not great. The quality of the emulation is subpar, performance is bad (even on recent iOS devices), and the games lack any of the configurability options that have become standard in both emulators themselves as well as iOS games in a general sense. There are no options for screen filtering or screen stretching, and you can't even adjust the virtual controls, which is a particularly baffling omission as they often block vital on-screen components in these games.


Our own Shaun Musgrave, who is basically the TouchArcade equivalent of Encyclopedia Brown, spent a ton of time playing these new ports, and discovered among other things that when Sega first released some of these games back in 2009, they performed better than these "new and improved" Sega Forever titles.

Needless to say, this has really left us scratching our heads. The one exception to these bad ports is Sonic the Hedgehog, which isn't emulated but instead was re-built from the ground up by Christian Whitehead back in 2013. Whitehead is also responsible for the amazing Sonic CD remake that has was released on the App Store a few years ago. Regardless, Sega has plans to constantly release new Sega Forever titles, so we'll have to wait and see if their emulation wrapper improves at all or if this is the new normal. If you want to hear even more about Sega Forever, check out this week's episode of our podcast.


In other news, Rocketcat Games released a new trailer for its upcoming Death Road to Canada update. The game itself leans on a lot of roguelike tropes with randomized encounters, surprise party members, and more. This latest update adds more structure to the progression of the game, shifting things slightly away from total randomization and instead allowing players to buy persistent perks and abilities. When it's released, the price of the game will rise from $8.99 to $9.99, so if you want to save a buck be sure to grab Death Road to Canada now.


With its next expansion, Hearthstone will see a massive change to how opening packs work: In a nutshell, if you open a Legendary card in a pack, it will be a unique card and not one you already own. Similarly, you will never open more copies of a card in any single pack than you can use in a deck – so the days of opening a pack with the same four commons and one junk rare are over. It's a huge quality of life improvement, and the player reception to the change has been incredibly positive.


When we cover upcoming game trailers, typically there's just one new game being teased. Developer and publisher Umbrella released a trailer of its entire summer lineup. Fifteen games in one video. It's a lot to take in, but if you enjoy quick pick up and play iOS games that mass market mobile gamers seem to love, these are definitely all going to be titles that are worth having on your radar in one way or another.


Last but not least, while last week's news was all about Supercell's latest soft launched game Brawl Stars, there's one important thing to note: Currently the game is only available for iOS. It will eventually come to Android, but Supercell has not yet released a date for the Android version of the game.

Unfortunately, the number of scams floating around in the Android world right now trying to either trick people into jumping through all sorts of hoops (often making the scammer money) or to just download malware APKs is off the charts. As of this writing, all Android Brawl Stars guides, download links, and whatever else are scams. When the game finally launches on Android, it will be a big deal. You won't miss it.

Anyway, that's it for this week. If you enjoy reading this weekly roundup, be sure to visit TouchArcade where we post things like this, as well as way more news, reviews, previews, and everything else covering the world of iOS (and, like this article, a tiny bit of Android) gaming.


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New Apple Park Drone Video Shows Off Steve Jobs Theater as Lobby Lights Up

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 06:29:45 PDT
Drone videographer Duncan Sinfield has posted a new video on his YouTube channel today, giving viewers a fresh look at Apple Park as a small number of employees begin settling into the campus and more buildings take shape. It's been nearly two years since Sinfield originally started providing monthly drone footage for what was previously referred to as "Apple Campus 2."

Now, Sinfield's late June 2017 update provides a glimpse into Apple's ongoing construction progress at Apple Park, including a noticeable progression in the number of trees and other pieces of greenery within the "spaceship" building's circular courtyard. Early on in the video, viewers can also catch a shot of the main atrium of Apple Park, with its floor-to-ceiling glass doors that originally began to take shape in November 2016.


Notably, the new drone footage provides one of the best looks yet into the Steve Jobs Theater, with Sinfield gathering footage of the campus auditorium as lights turn on inside. The lobby of the theater is visible in the video, thanks an all-glass construction that offers visitors a 360-degree view of Apple Park. On two sides of the lobby, spiraling stairs lead downward to the underground auditorium where Apple will host future events.

In last month's drone video update, provided by Matthew Roberts, the Steve Jobs Theater still had multiple window coverings and construction equipment housed inside, so Apple is making fast progress on the building. The company has yet to confirm when the auditorium will officially open, but it's expected to sometime later in the fall.


The Steve Jobs Theater is capped with the world's largest freestanding carbon-fiber roof, and sits atop a hill at one of the highest points of the 175-acre campus. When Apple announced Apple Park's official name back in February, along with the new name for the auditorium, CEO Tim Cook commemorated Jobs and the new Steve Jobs Theater by saying, "Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come."


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Key Stanford Medical Researcher Joins Apple's Health Team

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 04:33:18 PDT
Apple has hired the lead doctor of Stanford University's digital health initiative, Sumbul Desai, to take on an unspecified role in one of the tech company's health projects. The hire was rumored earlier this month, but Stanford Medicine confirmed it to Internet Health Management on Friday.

Desai headed up Stanford's Center for Digital Health, launched by the university's School of Medicine in January 2017. The center's mission is to enhance Stanford's digital health initiatives by collaborating with technology companies and undertaking clinical research and education. The center also helped develop MyHeart Counts, a cardiovascular disease app built using ResearchKit in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

Desai worked at Stanford since 2008, beginning as a resident physician of internal medicine, before holding numerous roles including: Medical director of strategic innovations, assistant chief of strategy, clinical associate professor, associate chief medical officer of strategy and innovation, vice chair of strategy and innovation, and chief for the Center of Digital Health.

Apple has not revealed what role Desai will play at the company, whether she might join the team working on ResearchKit, HealthKit, and CareKit, or if she will work on an unrelated project. Apple has made several healthcare-related hires in recent years. In September it recruited Dr Mike Evans, a staff physician from St Michaels Hospital in Toronto and an associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto. Two months later the company also hired Dr Ricky Bloomfield, who was director of mobile technology and strategy at Duke University Health System.

Apple has also hired Stanford doctor Rajiv Kumar, who has experience using HealthKit to help patients with diabetes, and Dr Stephen Friend, who helped build the data infrastructure for many ResearchKit apps.

Apple has kept quiet regarding what kind of products its health team is working on, but the company is known to be investigating advanced medical monitoring features, possibly for a future Apple Watch. The company is said to be working on implementing a new glucose monitoring feature and interchangeable smart bands, for example, while Apple CEO Tim Cook was allegedly spotted testing a prototype glucose monitor connected to his Apple Watch last month.


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Review: Kensington's SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Dock Packs Some Neat Security and Convenience Features

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:57:12 PDT
Earlier this week, Kensington launched its entry into the Thunderbolt 3 dock market with its SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, an enterprise-focused accessory that incorporates a couple of unique features in the form of a Kensington lock slot and the ability to mount the dock to the rear of VESA-compatible displays for "Zero Footprint Mounting" with a separate bracket accessory.

I've since had a chance to spend some time with the SD5000T, so I've been able to test it out to see how it stacks up against the competition.


The dock arrived in a plain white box with a product label on it, which Kensington tells me is the B2B packaging. Retail units will obviously have fancier packaging.

Inside the box was the dock itself, a large power brick identical to ones used by many of the other Thunderbolt 3 docks, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. Kensington also includes three separate power cables with compatibility for the major US, UK, and mainland European standards.

The SD5000T is fairly attractive, constructed primarily of matte black plastic with a band of brushed aluminum with chamfered top edges around all four sides of the dock except for the two front USB ports. The gap in the aluminum band around the USB ports provides a bit of visual interest without being overly distracting.

Kensington's dock has a horizontal design very similar to most other Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market, measuring about 8.5 inches wide by about 3.35 inches deep by just about an inch high and weighing just over three quarters of a pound. A small Kensington word mark is molded into the plastic on the top left rear corner of the dock, but it's a subtle inclusion that doesn't distractingly stand out like the branding on some other docks.

Setup is a breeze, requiring the power brick be plugged in and connected to the dock and the Thunderbolt cable connected from one of the ports on the back of the dock to the computer. Any other cables for peripherals and displays are easily connected to the dock. When the dock is powered on, a subtle blue light shines on the front to indicate its status. The SD5000T supports a full 85 watts of charging over Thunderbolt 3, so it can power even a 15-inch MacBook Pro over the same cable used to pass data and video.

I own a number of displays, most of which are VESA-compatible, but none of them will work with Kensington's Zero Footprint Mounting solution, and that's the problem with this feature. All of my VESA displays require that you remove the foot from the display and attach a separate backplate that includes the VESA mounting holes.

If you use these displays sitting on a desk as I and many other people do, you can't also mount Kensington's dock on the back of the display. There are, however, some displays on the market that do include accessible VESA mounting holes even with display's foot attached, so if you have one of those monitors this would be a great way to get the dock off of your desk.

As with the other Thunderbolt 3 docks I've looked at, I tested Kensington's dock with a 2016 MacBook Pro and a pair of LG UltraFine 5K displays over Thunderbolt 3, one connected via the dock and the other hooked up directly to the MacBook Pro. The display connected via the SD5000T worked just fine, utilizing its full 5K Retina resolution at 60 Hz. Alternatively, you can connect a pair of 4K displays to the dock, one over Thunderbolt 3/USB-C and one over DisplayPort. Other standards like HDMI and VGA can also be used with appropriate DisplayPort adapters.


The SD5000T includes a trio of USB ports running at 5 Gbps, one Type-A and one Type-C on the front and one Type-A on the rear. It's a pretty typical number of USB ports for docks like this and a Type-C option is a nice inclusion, but I still wish Kensington and other manufacturers would match OWC's five USB ports for maximum flexibility.

Connecting a fast USB 3.1 Gen 2 external SSD to the MacBook Pro through the dock yields read and write speeds of around 350 and 320 MB/s respectively through both the Type-C and Type-A ports on the dock, on par with 5 Gbps USB ports on other Thunderbolt 3 docks I've tested.


That's a bit slower than 420/410 MB/s speed seen when the SSD is connected directly to a 5 Gbps MacBook and can't compare to the ~500 MB/s speeds seen when connecting it directly to the 10 Gbps MacBook Pro, but it's still plenty speedy for most uses.


Other ports on the rear of the dock include Gigabit Ethernet and separate 3.5 mm audio in and out ports. Kensington's famous lock slot is also included, and while it's not really necessary in my home office, institutional customers will no doubt appreciate the added security.

At a list price of $350, Kensington's SD5000T comes in at the high end of Thunderbolt 3 docks, matching Belkin's dock and priced $50 higher than similar offerings from OWC, Elgato, and CalDigit. While general consumers may find it hard to justify the high-end pricing, institutional customers could be more willing to spend a bit more to get features like the Kensington lock slot and VESA mounting option (mounting plate sold separately for $9.99), as well as a three-year warranty that more closely aligns with typical replacement cycles than the shorter warranties offered on competing docks.

The Kensington SD5000T is available now from Kensington for $349.99, but B&H Photo is currently offering it at a discounted price of $299.95. B&H Photo does not yet have the dock in stock, however, and it is expecting orders to ship out around June 30.

Note: Kensington provided the SD5000T Docking Station to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with B&H and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Google Will Stop Scanning Your Emails to Show Personalized Ads in Gmail

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:13:40 PDT
Google today announced that it will stop scanning the emails of its free Gmail users for the purpose of delivering personalized ads later this year.


If you've recently received a lot of emails about photography or cameras, for example, currently Google may show you a deal from a local camera store that it thinks might be interesting to you. On the other hand, if you've reported those emails as spam, then Google would take steps not to show those ads.

Google users may still see personalized ads while using Gmail and the company's other services, depending on their account settings, but the contents of a user's inbox will no longer factor into the ads that are shown.

Tags: Google, Gmail

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Instagram Testing 'Favorites' List to Enhance Private Sharing Among Custom Friend Group

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:15:45 PDT
Instagram is today beginning a small test for a new feature called "favorites," which allows users to create a customized list of their closest friends, and from there choose to share posts and story updates only with their favorites list. Instagram product lead Robby Stein told The Verge that the company has been working on the feature for more than a year, and a broader release is expected over the next few months.

The first step tasks users with creating their favorites list by tapping on friends and family members they want to be able to see their private posts. These additions can be edited at any time, and other Instagram users are never notified when they're added or removed from a favorites list. Then, when creating a post there will be a new option to share the image or 24-hour story post only to a favorites list, instead of posting publicly or direct messaging as usual.

Image via The Verge
Instagram has begun testing a way to share posts with a more limited group of friends. Called favorites, the feature attempts to improve on earlier social network friend lists, encouraging users to post more often by giving them more control over their audience.

The green “favorites” badge is a small thing, but it signals your affection to the friends of yours who see it, in a way that I suspect will build a sense of intimacy. Seeing a favorites post nestled in among all the other posts in your feed feels like a bonus.
When posted to favorites, those in the list will see the post on their own Instagram feed, but it'll be denoted as a private post with a green "favorites" badge. User profiles will be updated with a favorites tab as well, and every traditional Instagram post that's been shared to favorites (not including ephemeral stories) will be accumulated there for all of a person's favorites to return to and browse.

Stein said that the company is trying hard "to get this right," emphasizing favorites' privacy angle. Those on a person's favorites list will never be made aware of who else is on the list as lists aren't made public, so the only way for them to know they're a favorite is by looking for the green badges on posts. If someone decides they want to remove a favorite, that person will immediately lose access to the other user's favorites tab on their profile, which will appear empty.

Additionally, there's no cap on the number of favorites that can be in one list, but Instagram expects each user to have between 10 and 30 since the whole point is sharing pictures in a more intimate, closed-off setting.

Tag: Instagram

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New iPhone 8 Glimpse Combines Leaked Parts to Show Off What Device Might Look Like at Launch

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:37:21 PDT
Leaker Benjamin Geskin has posted a few new images and a video of what Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 might look like once it's in the hands of users later this year. Using a leaked dummy model, screen protector, and a printed picture of an iOS wallpaper, Geskin has put together the gist of what current rumors have suggested the iPhone 8 will look like once it's announced in the fall.

Geskin's images depict an iPhone 8 dummy model as we've seen previously, with a suggested 5.8-inch display area, minimal bezels, front-facing camera and sensor dip, but with an all-black frame instead of models that have previously depicted a rumored stainless steel frame. To give users a glimpse as to what the iPhone 8 display might look like when activated, Geskin then attached a picture of an iOS wallpaper to the dummy, and applied a screen protector on top.



The wallpaper Geskin used is part of a beach themed collection of images that appeared within the iOS 10.3.3 beta only for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but they have since appeared on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and new 12.9-inch iPad Pro running iOS 10.3.2.

A video shared on Geskin's Twitter account has further provided a glimpse into the iPhone 8 dummy in motion.


The iPhone 8 is predicted to to be the first major iPhone redesign since the iPhone 6 in 2014, with additional features such as wireless charging and improved waterproofing to further bolster the smartphone's position as a premium device. Alongside the iPhone 8 will be the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus," which are expected to keep the current iPhone 7 design while offering the usual iterative spec bumps like improved battery life and snappier performance.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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Proposed Law Against Apple's 'Walled Garden' Software Approach Sparks Fears of iPhone Ban in Italy

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:27:16 PDT
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera [Google Translate] published a headline today that translates to "the bill that could ban the iPhone in Italy."


The bill in question, Senate Act 2484, is aimed at ensuring Italians have open access to software, content, and services. The portion of the bill potentially relevant to Apple essentially says that users should have the right to download any software, whether proprietary or open source, on any platform.

An excerpt from Article Four of the loosely translated bill:
Users have the right to, in an appropriate format to the required technology platform […] use fair and non-discriminatory software, proprietary or open source […] content and services of their choice.
It's well known that iOS is a walled garden, in which apps can only be distributed through the App Store, and only if developers adhere to Apple's guidelines. The only way to download apps outside of Apple's parameters is by jailbreaking, which is in violation of Apple's end-user agreement.

Naturally, there are some concerns about how the iPhone and other devices could be affected if the bill is approved, although the prospect of any Apple product being outright banned in Italy seems highly unlikely.

The bill was introduced last year by Stefano Quintarelli, an Italian entrepreneur and member of the Scelta Civica political party in Italy. The bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in July 2016, and it now must be approved by the Senate of the Republic, within Italy's parliamentary government.

(Thanks, Macitynet and iSpazio!)

Tag: Italy

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Supply Chain Evidence Mounts for Advanced 3D Sensing Abilities Coming to iPhone 8

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:43:30 PDT
Ahead of the iPhone 8's predicted September announcement date, supply chain reports over the past few days have indicated a ramp up of 3D sensing components that are predicted to be destined for augmented reality and biometric security applications in 2017's high-end iPhone 8. In a research note by BlueFin Research Partners, "winners" for iPhone 8 component production are said to include Finisar and Lumentum for 3D sensing modules and Broadcom for wireless charging components (via Barron's).

Reports began building last week when iPhone camera component supplier Largan Precision confirmed that it will ship lenses for 3D sensing modules in the second half of 2017, while refraining from directly mentioning Apple and iPhone 8. In a recent quarterly earnings report, supplier Finisar made remarks that heavily suggested it will be "one of two or three suppliers" of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) in the iPhone 8, according to LoupVentures.

iPhone 8 rendering by Benjamin Geskin

Such technology could be implemented into the iPhone 8's rumored 3D sensing module and help "enrich the augmented reality experience" in the next-generation iPhone. Apple and CEO Tim Cook earlier this month detailed plans to back AR and its potential as an indispensable future technology with the reveal of ARKit, a developer platform that will provide the building blocks for consumer AR iPhone apps.

Likewise, Lumentum has announced that it expects to see volume shipments for its VCSEL lasers begin in the second half of 2017, timed with the annual production ramp up of iPhone manufacturing.
On last nights earnings call, Finisar management did not mention Apple by name, but they highlighted they expect to see volume VCSEL orders in their second fiscal quarter, which is the October quarter end of this calendar year. The company anticipates shipping “millions” of units during the quarter, but management also went on to say they anticipate unit shipments to be in the “10s of millions” in future quarters, which gives us further confidence 3D sensing and AR applications will be one of the focus features in the next generation of iPhones. In May of this year, Lumentum was the first VCSEL supplier to announce they anticipate volume shipments to begin in the second half of 2017.

We also want to highlight Finisar acknowledged they are shipping VCSEL lasers to multiple customers, but one customer (aka Apple) is accounting for the majority of total demand. We believe Finisar and others supplying VCSEL lasers are supply constraint and shipping everything they can manufacture. We believe Apple has secured a high percentage of all VCSEL lasers created, which we view as a large competitive advantage and will make Apple a leading AR player in the smartphone space.
LoupVentures further suggested that the significantly updated iPhone 8 will have a front-facing, low-end VCSEL laser and a rear-facing, high-end VCSEL laser, meaning that AR applications could take advantage of either camera. A long-running rumor for the iPhone 8 has been a dual-lens rear camera that could provide increased separation between the two lenses and allow for a greater difference in perspective, helping fuel better AR experiences. A front-facing dual-lens camera has been suggested as a possibility in the new iPhone as well.

In estimating the iPhone 8's cost, the site believes that Apple will add around $100 onto the cost of the smartphone specifically due to incorporating 3D sensing modules. That price comes to around $950 (with no storage tier size references), and largely falling into line with the new iPhone's predicted "premium" status.

For its part, Broadcom is said to have a predominant place in the supply chain for wireless charging components of the iPhone 8, a feature fellow supplier Wistron recently confirmed will be coming to at least one of 2017's iPhone models. iPhone 8's wireless charging is expected to be fueled by inductive technology, because long-range wireless charging for an iPhone is still expected to be years away from feasibility.

In total, reports surrounding iPhone 8 component manufacturing have been increasing recently, with Apple said to be dominating the NAND memory chip supply chain and increasing shortages for an already strained section of component supplies.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: ARKit, augmented reality

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Russia Threatens to Ban Encrypted Messaging App Telegram

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:58:47 PDT
Russia has threatened to block access to the Telegram messaging platform unless the company that runs the app provides more information about itself (via Sky News).

The head of communications regulator Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, said repeated efforts to obtain the information had been ignored by the company and warned that "time is running out" for the app.

"There is one demand and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram," Zharov said in an open letter. "And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers of dissemination of information. In case of refusal… Telegram shall be blocked in Russia until we receive the needed information."
Telegram's non-response appears to be down to the repercussions of handing over the requested details: Doing so would effectively add it to the state regulators' registry, which would require it to retain users' chat histories and encryption keys and share them with authorities if asked, according to Russian news agency TASS.

The demand isn't the first time the Russian founders of Telegram – Kremlin, Nikolai and Pavel Durov – have failed to comply with state requests. In 2014, the Durovs refused to turn over data on Ukranian users of Vkontakte, a social network they also set up together.

Telegram claims to split its encryption keys into separate data centers around the world to ensure "no single government or block of like-minded countries can intrude on people's privacy and freedom of expression".

According to the group's policy, it can only be forced to hand over data if "an issue is grave and universal enough to pass the scrutiny of several different legal systems around the world".

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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Tesla Said to Be Looking into Launching its Own In-Car Music Streaming Service

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:40:29 PDT
Tesla is reportedly in talks with music labels to sound out the feasibility of launching its own streaming music service that would come bundled with car ownership.

Recode reports that music industry sources say the electric car maker has had talks with all of the major labels about licensing a proprietary service that would integrate with vehicle dashboards. The service could begin with a free streaming radio option similar to Pandora, said sources, with multiple tiers offered to customers.

"We believe it's important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose," a Tesla spokesperson said. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers."
For most observers, a move into music streaming would come as an unexpected development for the car company. However TechCrunch notes that CEO Elon Musk hinted that Tesla was exploring music products at its most recent shareholder meeting in early June.

It's not entirely clear how serious Tesla is about the idea, given that existing streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify would have a huge lead over its own offering. Indeed, Tesla already has a deal with Spotify to provide music for Tesla cars sold outside the U.S., so unless the company has concrete plans to provide something particularly unique to its drivers, these talks are probably best filed under "speculative" for the time being at least.

Tag: Tesla

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YouTube at VidCon: New VR Format, Mobile App Update, YouTube TV Rollout Continues

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:00:56 PDT
YouTube made several announcements at the annual VidCon convention in California on Thursday, covering VR, YouTube TV, new original series, and a number of changes coming to the YouTube web and app interface.

First up, YouTube announced a brand new high resolution video format called VR180 that it said would make VR content easier to create. VR180 works on both mobile and desktop, and focuses on what is in front of the viewer, allowing them to turn 90 degrees either side of their field of vision.


The videos transition to a VR experience when viewed with Google Cardboard, Daydream, and PSVR, which enable users to view the images stereoscopically in 3-D, where near things look near, and far things appear far.
For creators, you’ll be able to set up and film your videos the way you normally would with any other camera. And, soon, you'll be able to edit using familiar tools like Adobe Premiere Pro. From vlogs, to makeup tutorials to music videos - your videos will work great in VR.

But supporting the format is just the beginning. We want to make cameras that are easy to work with too. The Daydream team is working with several manufacturers to build cameras from the ground up for VR180. These cameras are not only great for creators looking to easily make VR content, but also anyone who wants to capture life’s highlights in VR. They will be as easy to use as point-and-shoot cameras, for around the same price. Videos and livestreams will be easy to upload to YouTube.
YouTube said that cameras were on the way from YI, Lenovo, and LG, with the first ones making their way onto the shelves this winter. The company is also opening up a VR180 certification program, with Z CAM announced as one of its first partners. Content creators can learn more and sign up for updates at vr.google.com/vr180.

Elsewhere, YouTube said it would be bringing an update to its mobile app in the coming weeks that would allow the interface to dynamically adapt to whatever video size is being watched, whether vertical, square, or horizontal, in order to make better use of screen space. It also said it would be making its mobile video sharing feature available in Latin America and across the U.S. over the next couple of weeks.


Moving on, YouTube said that in the next couple of weeks it would be expanding its YouTube TV service to ten more markets in the U.S., including Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.

The streaming television service that was first announced in late February before rolling out to five cities in early April. The service costs $35 and is already available in in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

A new slate of YouTube Red originals were also announced on Thursday. The company shared details on 12 new projects coming to the ad-free, all-access $9.99 per month subscription model, bringing the number of original series and movies launched on YouTube Red to 37.

Finally, the Google-owned video hub took the opportunity to reveal that 1.5 billion users now log in to YouTube every single month – the equivalent of one in every five people around the world. It said that, on average, viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone.


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Sling TV Update Brings Cloud DVR Service to iPhone and iPad

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:48:09 PDT
Online streaming television service Sling TV has made its cloud DVR feature available on iOS for the first time. The latest version of the Sling TV app for iPhone and iPad includes the ability to record shows and movies on the majority of available channels. The feature made its way onto Apple TV in April.

The service's DVR "First Look" option costs an extra $5 per month on top of a regular Sling TV subscription and gets users 50 hours of cloud storage. Once that space has been filled, older recordings are automatically deleted to make way for new ones.


When a user opts to record an episode of a TV series, they can set the app to record new episodes as well or only the chosen one. Alternatively, they can download entire series, while specific recordings can be protected so they don't get automatically deleted.

Channels excluded from the DVR recording feature are the following: ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney JR, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN 3, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, Freeform, and the SEC Network.

The latest version of Sling TV includes the new DVR service for those with the "First Look" subscription. The app is available to download for free on the App Store. [Direct Link] The service is only available within the U.S.

Tag: Sling TV

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Apple Promotes Music Single to Help Support Victims of London Grenfell Tower Tragedy

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:51:46 PDT
Apple is asking visitors to its U.K. site to consider making a donation to help those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London by purchasing the iTunes single "Bridge Over Troubled Water", which went straight to the top of the U.K. charts just two hours after it was released on Wednesday.

Artists for Grenfell represents more than 50 musicians including Craig David, Liam Payne, and Stormzy, who recorded the cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic to support victims' families and survivors of the fire. Residents and survivors of the London tower block also feature as part of a choir led by Gareth Malone.


Download this moving cover of the Simon & Garkunkel classic (featuring Stormzy, Rita Ora, Liam Payne, Jorja Smith and many more) to support those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. And if you’d like to donate further to the Artists for Grenfell and London Community Foundation appeal, please visit http://smarturl.it/AFGDonate.

At least £0.76 for each download of the song featured on this page will go to The London Community Foundation (a charity registered in England No. 1091263).
Combustible cladding is believed to have been responsible for the rapid spread of the fire at Grenfell Tower last week, which left at least 79 people dead or missing. The government has been heavily criticized for its response in the immediate aftermath, and has pledged to house the Grenfell Tower fire survivors as quickly as possible.

The charity track achieved 120,000 downloads and streaming equivalent sales on Wednesday, which is the biggest opening day figure for a U.K. single this decade. You can download "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on iTunes here. The track is also available to stream on Apple Music.


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Griffin Launches New Survivor Cases for 10.5-Inch iPad Pro

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:26:26 PDT
Griffin today announced a new range of Survivor cases designed for Apple's new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, introducing the Survivor Rugged Folio, Survivor Journey Folio, and Survivor Journey.

The Survivor Rugged Folio is the most protective case of the bunch, protecting the new iPad Pro from drops, dings, and scratches. It keeps the iPad safe from drops up to four feet with a polycarbonate exterior and flexible TPU shell that has a stain-resistant Tactical Grip cover.

It includes Griffin's impact dispersion system for additional drop protection, and the frame includes built-in magnets that allows the iPad to be mounted on most magnetic surfaces.


Griffin's Journey Survivor Folio is a folio-style case with front and back protection for the iPad. It is also made from a durable polycarbonate material, with a magnetic cover that can fold into a stable stand with multiple viewing and typing angles. It also protects the iPad Pro from drops up to four feet and it can be mounted on magnetic surfaces.

The Survivor Journey is Griffin's simplest and lightest-weight case, offering protection for the rear of the iPad Pro. Like Griffin's other cases, it can survive drops up to four feet, and it also includes magnets at the back of the case so the iPad Pro can be mounted on magnetic surfaces like refrigerators.

All three cases are available today from the Griffin website. The Survivor Journey is priced at $29.99, the Survivor Journey Folio is priced at $59.99, and the Survivor Rugged Folio is priced at $59.99.
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iMac Pro May Feature Intel's Server-Grade 'Purley' Processors, ARM Coprocessor

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:15:18 PDT
Apple earlier this month unveiled the iMac Pro, a workstation-class desktop computer with up to an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 128GB of ECC RAM.


Apple didn't specify exactly which processors will be included in the iMac Pro, but if the blog Pike's Universum is to be believed, it could be powered by Intel's next-generation server-grade Skylake-EX and Skylake-EP processors, which are based on a platform codenamed "Purley."

The blog, which appears to be sourcing its information from firmware files in the macOS High Sierra developer beta, said the iMac Pro will use Intel's new server-class LGA3647 socket, not its high-end, desktop-class LGA2066 socket.

If the information is accurate, it suggests the iMac Pro could have truly server-grade Xeon processors, rather than using Intel's recently announced Core-X series of Skylake and Kaby Lake chips that still use the LGA2066 socket.

The blog added that the new iMac Pro appears to be coming with a Secure Enclave, suggesting it will have an ARM coprocessor like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for added security. It would also open the door to Touch ID on the iMac Pro, but Apple made no mention of the feature when introducing the computer.


Pike's Universum revealed some of the iMac Pro's tech specs in April, two months prior to it being announced, including that it would have Xeon processors, ECC RAM, faster SSD storage, AMD graphics options, and Thunderbolt 3 ports, but some of the specific details proved to be inaccurate.

Apple said the iMac Pro will be available to order in December, starting at $4,999 in the United States.

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Tag: Intel

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Upcoming Apple Store in Chicago Features MacBook Roof Design

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:00:09 PDT
Apple is building a new flagship retail location in Chicago, which features glass walls and a thin, carbon fiber roof. Photos of the store's roof were shared today by Chicago news site DNAinfo, and as it turns out, Apple has added a white Apple logo that wasn't in the original plans, making the top of the structure look a lot like an Apple notebook.


The roof is made from a material that resembles the silver aluminum of the MacBook and MacBook Pro, with rounded edges and the same rectangular shape. When complete, it will sit atop all-glass walls, making for a unique floating MacBook-style design that's not quite like any other Apple Store.

The new store, which is located near the historic Michigan Avenue Bridge alongside the Chicago River, has been designed by longtime Apple partner Foster+Partners in homage of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style homes in Chicago.

Image via DNAinfo

Based on plans from 2015, the building spans 20,000 square feet and replaces a vacant food court. It features two floors, with a flight of stairs that go from street level to a walkway next to the north bank of the river.

There is no word yet on when the new store will be opening, but construction is nearing completion.
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Apple Watch's Toy Story Face Goes Live in watchOS 4 Beta 2 With Numerous Characters and Animations

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:52:09 PDT
During Apple's WWDC keynote this year the company debuted new features coming in watchOS 4, some of which include fresh watch faces for Apple Watch. Following in the footsteps of the animated Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse faces, watchOS 4 is gaining new Disney characters for Apple Watch wearers in the form of Jessie, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and more from Toy Story.


The Toy Story characters weren't available in the first developer beta of watchOS 4, but with yesterday's launch of beta 2 for the Apple Watch software all of the characters have appeared as watch face options. These include multiple poses and animations of Jessie, Bullseye, Buzz, Woody, Hamm, Rex, and the Pizza Planet aliens.


While the watch faces are animated when the Apple Watch is raised, similar to Mickey and Minnie, as of now they don't speak when tapped upon. Two complications are available for the Toy Story watch face, one above the time in the top right hand corner, and another at the very bottom of the face. The color for these complications changes automatically to match the character on screen and can't be customized.


In the Watch app on iPhone users can choose from Buzz Lightyear, Woody, or Jessie, and after that the Apple Watch will depict a new animation for that character every time the user raises their wrist. For anyone who wants to completely randomize which character and animation they'll get when they check their Apple Watch, a "Toy Box" option is also accessible. Specific faces for any other character -- like Rex or Hamm -- are not available as of watchOS 4 beta 2, and the only way to see these characters is by choosing Toy Box.

Check out the MacRumors watchOS 4 roundup for more information on what's coming to Apple Watch when the software launches to the public later in the fall.


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Apple Pay Coming to Quiznos, Smashburger, and Other Restaurants With Integrated Loyalty Program

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:18:33 PDT
Punchh today announced that Quiznos, Smashburger, MOD Pizza, and select other restaurant brands in the United States will soon accept Apple Pay integrated with its cloud-based loyalty program for customers.


At participating restaurants, Apple Pay users will supposedly receive a push notification at checkout prompting them to add the restaurant's loyalty program to Apple's Wallet app. Once added, customers will automatically begin earning points and receiving specialized offers, which can be redeemed during future visits.

A spokesperson for Punchh said existing members of a restaurant's loyalty program can add it to their Apple Wallet as an NFC pass.

When a customer taps on the push notification, she will be presented with a form with pre-populated enrollment data, and can immediately enroll, according to Punchh. The customer can also opt-in to automatically select the "card" next time, and receive the pass in the Wallet app on iPhone.

Punchh's clients include more than 85 restaurant chains, such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, El Pollo Loco, Moe's Southwest Grill, Pieology, Quiznos, and Smashburger, but it doesn't appear that Apple Pay support will be rolling out to every chain.

Punchh said Apple Pay eliminates the need to download a participating restaurant's loyalty app to start earning rewards or points. Restaurants will supposedly still be able to track items that customers purchase, however, including how much they paid, but no payment or personal information will be collected.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 10.2.2 to Developers

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:04:08 PDT
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 10.2.2 update to developers for testing purposes, a little over one week after seeding the third beta of tvOS 10.2.2 and more than a month after releasing tvOS 10.2.1, a minor update focusing on bug fixes.

tvOS 10.2.2 is only available for the fourth-generation Apple TV. Registered developers can download the new update by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes. Once the beta profile is installed, new updates will be received over-the-air.


No major feature changes or bug fixes were discovered in the first three betas of tvOS 10.2.2, and it appears the update includes only minor under-the-hood improvements and security enhancements.

tvOS 10.2.2 will be one of the last updates to the tvOS 10 operating system as Apple is already working on the next-generation version of tvOS, tvOS 11. tvOS 11 is currently available for developers.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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