Mac Rumors

Construction of Bangkok's Second Apple Retail Store Nears Completion

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 03:57:41 PST
Photos shared on Twitter show the final stages of construction work on what will become Apple's second retail store in Bangkok, Thailand.


The location is in front of the Central World mall. The area, which now features a white stone courtyard, was closed to the public long before Bangkok's first Apple store, Apple Iconsiam, officially opened in November 2018.

Over the past year, a temporary wall has kept the very large cylindrical construction site shrouded in mystery, but that has recently been removed and now only a temporary black covering conceals the building's glass walls, housed under a giant flat circular roof.


Outwardly, the store design is reminiscent of Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in California. Leaked architectural plans also appear to reveal the store's interior layout.

The plans show a ground floor with the familiar sequoia wood product tables arranged in a ring around the shop floor and shelves for displaying products along the walls.


At the center of the store is a winding staircase to the second floor, which includes a large video screen indicating the Forum area and tables with seats for Today at Apple sessions and possibly Genius appointments. There is also a basement, which was formerly the parking lot of Central World.


Lights have been seen emanating from behind the black covering, suggesting that lighting has been installed and interior decoration is almost complete.


Given the how long it has been in development and the progress made so far, it looks like the store could open very soon. Once completed, it could well become the largest Apple Store in Southeast Asia, overtaking even Apple Orchard Road in Singapore.

(Thanks, Artit!)


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Innolux to Supply Mini-LED Panels for iPad Pro to Launch in Second Half of 2020

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 02:18:34 PST
Taiwan-based Innolux has won orders to supply Apple with mini-LED panels for a new iPad Pro due to launch later this year, according to a new report today.


Taiwan's Economic Daily News reports that the panel maker has already sent samples to Apple and has now won orders with the tech giant to supply them in bulk for the tablet, said to be launching in the second half of the year.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that Apple plans to release four to six products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years, including a high-end 12.9-inch ‌‌iPad Pro‌ set for launch in the third quarter of 2020‌.

Kuo has said the mini-LED displays will "significantly improve productivity and the entertainment experience," and will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including higher contrast ratio, higher brightness, and deeper blacks.

LG Display and General Interface Solution (GIS) will be the other significant benefactors of these mini-LED products, according to Kuo. Previous reports claim Apple has contracted for related components with Epistar, Taiwan Surface Mounting Technology (TSMT), Zhen Ding Technology, and Flexium Interconnect.

Apple is widely rumored to refresh the ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ in spring 2020. If it does, another new 12.9-inch model in fall 2020 would certainly be an early addition to the range.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Alleged 2020 iPad Pro Case Leaks Suggesting Square-Shaped Camera Setup

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 01:30:37 PST
Mobile leaker Ben Geskin today shared images on Twitter purporting to be a case for the next-generation iPad Pro, which Apple is rumored to be launching sometime in the first half of this year.


There's a square cutout in the top corner of the case, suggesting the new ‌iPad Pro‌ might have a square-shaped camera setup modeled after the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. A hole for the microphone is visible on one side, and there are gaps for the standby button and USB-C port.

Aside from that, not much can be gleaned from the photos, and we have no way to verify if it's actually a case designed for the 2020 ‌iPad Pro‌. The new ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ models are said to feature the same dimensions as the 2018 ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ models, and based on renders, the design will also be close to identical with the exception of a triple-lens camera.

There were some rumors indicating Apple would release new ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ models in 2019, but that didn't happen, and current information from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests Apple plans to release an ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ update during the first half of 2020, perhaps sometime in March.

We've already seen dummy models said to be of the new ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ models, which featured a triple-lens camera, but those may not be entirely accurate when it comes to the camera design.

Kuo believes that the next ‌iPad Pro‌ update will come with upgraded Face ID, an A14X chip, and a rear-facing time-of-flight (ToF) camera system that would allow for 3D models to be captured using the ‌iPad Pro‌ and then edited with the Apple Pencil for an "all-new productivity experience."


The time-of-flight camera is expected to be a 2020 iPhone feature, so it's not entirely clear if Apple plans to put the time-of-flight functionality in the iPad as the company may first want to bring the feature to the ‌‌iPhone‌‌.

Apple's planned launch date for the ‌iPad Pro‌ could be pushed back due to production delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China, or if it launches on time, its supplies could be constrained.

Recent rumors indicate Apple is planning to hold an event on Tuesday, March 31, so if new ‌iPad‌ Pros are in the works for the first half of 2020 and aren't delayed, they could be announced at this event.

Kuo has also said that Apple plans to release an updated high-end 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ with a mini-LED display in the third quarter of 2020. If so, a new 12.9-inch model in fall 2020 would certainly be soon after.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Today Would Have Been Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs' 65th Birthday

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 00:01:30 PST
Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, and had he not passed away in 2011 at the age of 56, today would have marked his 65th birthday. Jobs founded Apple alongside Steve Wozniak in 1976, and he was at the forefront of the personal computer revolution with machines like the Apple 1, Apple II, and the original Macintosh with its now-iconic name.


Jobs was ousted from Apple in 1985 after disagreements with then-CEO John Sculley, and after his departure, Apple struggled and was on the brink of failure. Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after his company, NeXT, was acquired, and he proceeded to lead the company to the wild success that it enjoys today.

Many of Apple's most important products were developed under Jobs' leadership, including the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, the App Store, the MacBook, the iMac, and more. and his design philosophies and drive for perfection continue to shape Apple even nine years after his death.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has often said that Jobs' DNA - his taste, his thinking, his dedication to hard work, and his lust for innovation - will "always be the foundation of Apple."

Steve Jobs
There is not a single Apple product on the market that has not been influenced by Steve Jobs, and that even extends to many non-Apple products. Smartphones today look the way they do because Steve Jobs led the development of the all-screen no-keyboard ‌iPhone‌ in 2007.


Millions of lives have been improved by Apple devices, and Apple's iPhones, iPads, and Macs are some of the most popular products on the planet. Apple has more than 1.5 billion active devices around the world, which is astounding, and there are always new and exciting projects on the horizon.


New iPhones are released on a yearly basis, iPads are now as powerful as computers, Macs get better with each iteration, and Apple is working on intriguing future technology like AR/VR headsets and even a car.

As always, Apple fans around the world will celebrate Steve Jobs and all of his accomplishments today, and we can also expect to hear from Apple executives like ‌Tim Cook‌, who often honors Jobs on his birthday.


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Apple TV Gen X, Apple iPod Touch X Generation, and Apple Watch Series X Bands Also Listed in Target Inventory

Sat, 22 Feb 2020 10:22:15 PST
Target's inventory system may be leaking details on upcoming Apple products that are set to be released in the near future. A listing for "Airpods (X Generation)" with a price tag of $399 popped up this morning, and there are also apparently new listings for "Apple TV Gen X," "Apple iPod Touch X Generation" and "Apple Watch Series X" bands.


Target employees sent images of the listings to 9to5Mac. These are all placeholder names and could be representative of future products, though it's not clear if that's the case. We don't know what these listings are, why they're in Target's system, or if they're accurate, so the information should not be taken as concrete evidence of new devices.

The ‌Apple TV‌ Gen X lists a price of $180, the Apple iPod Touch X Generation lists a price of $400, and the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series X band prices are listed at $50.

There haven't been rumors of an upgraded iPod Touch, and the iPod touch last saw a refresh in May 2019, so it's not clear if the $399 ‌iPod touch‌ listing is correct. Pricing on the ‌iPod touch‌ starts at $199, and while it does go up to $399, that's for the high capacity model. We are expecting a new low-cost iPhone with a starting price point of $399, so there is a possibility that the ‌iPod touch‌ placeholder is for an ‌iPhone‌ and not an iPod. It could also be for a refreshed 256GB ‌iPod touch‌, or the price could be wrong entirely since it's a placeholder.

We've seen multiple previous hints of a new ‌Apple TV‌ in the works in iOS 13 releases, with the device featuring an upgraded A12 Bionic chip. $179 is the price point of the 32GB 4K ‌Apple TV‌, so it's possible that this listing is more evidence of the imminent release of a new ‌Apple TV‌ model.

The ‌Apple Watch‌ band listings are also easily explainable as Apple refreshes its ‌Apple Watch‌ band offerings on a regular basis, typically with every Apple event. Apple has held events in March for the last few years, and rumors suggest that we're getting a late March event this year, perhaps on March 31st.

If there is indeed a March 31st event, we could see some of the products listed in Target's inventory. Rumors have suggested the new low-cost ‌iPhone‌ will be a highlight at the event, and an ‌Apple TV‌, an updated iPad Pro, and the rumored AirTags are also possible new products that could debut next month.

Related Roundups: iPod touch, Apple TV, tvOS 13

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Slickwraps Suffers Data Breach After Ignoring Warnings From Security Researcher

Sat, 22 Feb 2020 09:55:44 PST
Slickwraps, a company that develops skins for Apple devices like the iPhone and Mac, yesterday suffered a data breach that saw customer info like names and addresses leaked.

News of the leak surfaced when hackers who got into the database sent out emails to Slickwraps' customer base of more than 370,000 users letting them know about Slickwraps' poor security.


Prior to the breach, Slickwraps was warned of the vulnerabilities in its site (linked to the create a skin feature) multiple times by a security researcher who goes by Lynx on Twitter, who has now deleted all of his tweets.

Lynx informed Slickwraps about the data breach on February 15, and attempted to get in touch with the company several times over the course of the last week, as outlined by an article shared on Medium that has now been suspended by Medium. Lynx had his emails ignored and was even blocked by Slickwraps on Twitter after attempting to inform the site of its security vulnerabilities.

Lynx's interactions with Slickwraps were not exactly polite and he was dealing with customer support staff that were clearly confused about what was going on based on the now-removed Medium article, but Slickwraps blatantly ignored multiple warnings about its poor security before the data breach. Lynx says that he did not send out the emails that were delivered to Slickwraps customers yesterday and that it was a third-party data breach that happened after his article was published, but with his Medium post suspended and all of his tweets deleted, he may be in some hot water for the public way that he disclosed the vulnerabilities in the site.

After the emails went out and customers became aware of the data breach, Slickwraps finally commented on the situation. An initial statement tweeted by Slickwraps (which is based in the United States) claimed to have just heard about the data breach on "February 22" when it was still February 21, which was inaccurate because Lynx documented his attempts to get in touch with the company on Twitter. Slickwraps later deleted the statement and tweeted a new one with the correct date. From Slickwraps' statement:
There is nothing we value higher than trust from our users. In fact, our entire business model is dependent on building long-term trust with customers that keep coming back.

We are reaching out to you because we've made a mistake in violation of that trust. On February 21st, we discovered information in some of our non-production databases was mistakenly made public via an exploit. During this time, the databases were accessed by an unauthorized party.

The information did not contain passwords or personal financial data.

The information did contain names, user emails, addresses. If you've ever checked out as "GUEST" none of your information was compromised.
Slickwraps goes on to say that it is "deeply sorry" for the oversight and promises to "learn from this mistake." It recommends that users reset their account passwords and be watchful for any phishing attempts.

Going forward, Slickwraps says that it will enhance its security processes, improve communication of security guidelines to Slickwraps employees, and make user-requested security features a "top priority." The company says that it is also partnering with a third-party cyber security firm to audit and improve security protocols.

Slickwraps' data breach demonstrates the importance of penetration testing for any site that deals with customer data. Data breaches are pretty much impossible to avoid these days, but customers can protect themselves somewhat by using unique passwords for every site and using two-factor authentication where appropriate.


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Apple Shares New 'Valley of Fire' Shot on iPhone Video

Sat, 22 Feb 2020 09:21:17 PST
Apple this morning shared a new video in its ongoing "Shot on iPhone series, this time focusing on the Valley of Fire State Park located in Overton, Nevada.

Fifty miles from Las Vegas lie the remains of a monumental geological process sculpted by 200 million years of wind and water , an ocean of rock, a valley of fire.
The video was captured in 4K using the ultra wide-angle camera of an iPhone 11 Pro. It highlights the different Valley of Fire rock formations in bright, vivid colors.

Apple has shared many videos in its "Shot on ‌iPhone‌" series that is designed to show off the photographic and video taking capabilities of its iPhones. The last long form video was "Powder," and it focused on pro snowboarders.


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$399 'Apple AirPods (X Generation)' Show Up in Target Inventory List

Sat, 22 Feb 2020 09:09:42 PST
Target's internal inventory system appears to include a listing for a product called "Apple Airpods (X Generation) priced at $399," according to multiple Target employees who got in touch with YouTuber John Prosser.


Prosser speculates that the name could refer to Apple's over-ear headphones that are rumored to be in development, but the listing is not accompanied by an image and includes no other information other than the name and the prospective price.

Notably, the spelling of "Airpods" is wrong, so Apple Airpods (X Generation) may just be a placeholder name for something coming in the future. The $399 price tag is $150 higher than Apple's most expensive AirPods, the AirPods Pro, so if the product is real, it is a higher-end headphone option in the ‌AirPods‌ line. There are three SKUs with the X Generation name, suggesting three prospective colors.


AppleInsider says that it spoke to multiple Target employees after learning of the listing, and while there was no information to be gleaned about the origin of the image, the employees said placeholders for new products with pricing information are common, but product names aren't always accurate.

The employees suggested that products with a placeholder "ship within a month" or sometimes "as soon as a week" after appearing in the Target inventory system, so if there is indeed a new ‌AirPods‌ product in the works, it could be coming soon. Apple is rumored to be holding an event on March 31st where the new ‌AirPods‌ could be announced alongside the low-cost iPhone that's in development.

There have been recent rumors about "‌AirPods Pro‌ Lite" with no specific information on what that might be, but such a product would likely be available at a lower cost than the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and is presumably not the product referenced in the Target listing. Apple has no other known AirPods-style earbuds in the works, but has been rumored to be working on high-end over-ear headphones since 2018.

Little has been heard in the way of rumors about the high-end headphones, and there was some speculation that the rumors had actually been referencing the $300 Beats Solo Pro that launched back in October, but it's possible there's another set of headphones on the horizon.

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

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Top Stories: Apple Event in March With iPhone 9, iPad Pro With 3D Sensing, and More?

Sat, 22 Feb 2020 06:00:51 PST
With a number of products apparently just about ready to launch, we're starting to hear our first specific rumors about the possibility of an Apple media event near the end of next month, although continued impacts from the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic are leading to some uncertainty about Apple's plans.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Other news and rumors this week included more mentions of "AirPods Pro Lite" earphones, "AirTags" item trackers, the "CarKey" NFC functionality appearing in iOS 13.4 betas, and some of our first rumors about iOS 14.

Read on for all the details, and make sure to watch our video covering some of these stories and more.

Apple Event Rumored for March 31: iPhone 9, iPad Pro With 3D Sensing, More?


Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, and that trend might continue in 2020.


A report this week claimed that Apple is aiming to host a special event on Tuesday, March 31, with rumors suggesting that the company may introduce a new lower-cost "iPhone 9" and refreshed iPad Pro models sporting a triple-lens rear camera system with 3D sensing.

Keep in mind that Apple's plans may change due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in China. Apple already announced that it does not expect to meet its revenue guidance that it provided for the March quarter due to the outbreak.

'AirPods Pro Lite' Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak


A report from hit-or-miss Taiwanese publication DigiTimes this week claimed that Apple suppliers have delayed production of so-called "AirPods Pro Lite" until at least the end of the second quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in China.


The publication describes the "AirPods Pro Lite" as an "entry-level version" of the existing AirPods Pro, but no features or specifications have been outlined.

All in all, details are slim right now. "AirPods Pro Lite" is somewhat of an oxymoron, as "Pro Lite" just sounds like regular AirPods, but it has been speculated that perhaps Apple will release a less expensive version of the AirPods Pro with the same design and sound quality but without noise cancellation.

Supply Chain to Ramp Up for Apple's Item Tracking Tags in Second to Third Quarter of 2020


Shanghai-based Universal Scientific Industrial will begin supplying the system-in-package for Apple's rumored Ultra Wideband item tracking tags in the second to third quarter of 2020, with shipments to reach tens of millions of units by the end of the year, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


Last month, Kuo said the Ultra Wideband tag would be one of Apple's major new hardware products in the first half of 2020, but he has yet to provide a more specific release date for the accessory.

MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on item trackers in iOS 13 code last year, including an unreleased "Items" tab in the Find My app and a potential "AirTag" name for the tags, which would attach to everyday belongings like keys and backpacks for tracking purposes. Ultra Wideband support would allow for more precise location accuracy than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth LE.

Apple's Upcoming 'CarKey' Feature Will Let You Send Digital Keys Using Messages App


As discovered in the first beta of iOS 13.4, Apple is working on a new "CarKey" feature that will allow an iPhone or an Apple Watch to unlock, lock, and start NFC-compatible vehicles.


Now, in the second beta of iOS 13.4, MacRumors has discovered that "CarKeys" will be able to be sent to people using the Messages app.

It appears that Apple will be partnering with vehicle manufacturers for "CarKey," indicating that it may be a factory installed option like CarPlay. It remains unclear when Apple plans to announce this feature.

We've also put together a roundup of everything else added in the second beta of iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4.

iOS 14 May Allow Users to Set Third-Party Web Browser and Mail Apps as Default


Apple is considering allowing iPhone and iPad users to set third-party mail and browser apps as defaults instead of its own Safari and Mail apps starting in iOS 14, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.


The report adds that Apple is working to allow third-party music services like Spotify and Pandora to be streamed directly on the HomePod with Siri in a future software update, as is possible with Apple Music. Spotify currently can only be streamed on the HomePod via AirPlay.

Latest Foldable Smartphones Experiencing Failures and Durability Issues


Foldable smartphones are the latest device trend, with companies such as Motorola and Samsung having released new foldable smartphones over the course of the last few weeks.


The first foldable smartphone from Samsung, the Galaxy Fold, had major durability issues that caused its launch to be delayed. Samsung's newest foldable device, the Galaxy Z Flip, seems to be faring a bit better so far, but there are still some complaints about its build quality and problems with the display. The same is true of Motorola's latest smartphone, the RAZR.

On our YouTube channel this week, we shared our impressions of the Galaxy Z Flip and its durability after 48 hours of usage.

MacRumors Newsletter


Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!


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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Arlo Pro 2 Security Camera Setup

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 11:00:36 PST
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Arlo to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win an Arlo Pro 2 Camera setup that includes two wire-free cameras and an audio doorbell.

Arlo makes a range of different home security cameras at different price points and with different features. The Pro 2 camera is one of the Arlo cameras that is HomeKit-enabled and can be added to your HomeKit setup so that it can be viewed within the Home app.


The two camera setup that comes with a doorbell is priced at $315 on Amazon, but there are also systems that include a single camera or up to six cameras for securing your entire home.

The Arlo Pro 2 features 1080p HD resolution with a night vision feature that triggers in low light so you can see activity even in the dark. There's a 130 degree viewing angle so you can see most of what's happening in a room.


Two-way audio is included so you can listen to the camera's audio and talk to the person on the other end through your iPhone, and there's a useful 100+ decibel smart security siren that can be activated from anywhere.


Motion and sound detection are included so you can get notifications whenever the camera detects something unusual, and Arlo offers seven days of free cloud storage with upgrade options available. For those who prefer on-device storage, a USB drive can be connected to the base station.


Arlo Pro 2 cameras are wire-free and battery powered, which means they can be placed anywhere, but there is an option to plug them in to unlock 24/7 continuous video recording, three second look back to see what happens before an event triggers, and activity zones that limit where motion detection is used. You can use Arlo cameras indoors or outdoors as they have an IP65 water and dust resistance rating.


Arlo also sells the Audio Doorbell, which is meant to work in conjunction with the cameras. Whenever someone presses the doorbell, you'll receive a notification in the form of a call, and you can respond back right away. Visitors are also able to leave messages that you can listen to remotely through your ‌iPhone‌.


We have a two camera Arlo Pro 2 setup to give away, which also comes with the Arlo Audio Doorbell. To enter to win the ‌giveaway‌, use the Gleam.io widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, following us on Instagram, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the ‌giveaway‌ restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

Arlo
The contest will run from today (February 21) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on February 28. The winner will be chosen randomly on February 28 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.


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The EU Wants All Phones to Work With Interoperable Chargers, Here’s What That Means for Apple's Lightning Port

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 09:29:08 PST
Despite pushback from Apple, the European Parliament in January voted overwhelmingly for new rules to establish a common charging standard for mobile device makers across the European Union. This article explores what form the EU laws might ultimately take and how they could affect Apple device users in Europe and elsewhere.


What Exactly is the EU Calling For?


To reduce cost, electronic waste and make consumers' lives easier, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) want "binding measures" that ensure chargers fit all smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices.

According to a 2019 impact assessment study on common chargers of portable devices conducted by the EU, almost a fifth of people surveyed reported having faced "significant issues" because of non-standard chargers. Such issues included incompatible chargers between devices, variable charging speeds between different chargers, and having to have several chargers available to cover all needs.

In addition, the EU claims that by agreeing on a common charger standard, it will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tons of electronic waste annually.

The recent 582-40 parliamentary vote in favor of a common charging standard came about because the European Commission's previous approach of merely "encouraging" tech companies to develop a standardized solution "fell short of the co-legislators' objectives," according to a briefing on the European Parliament website.


How Did the EC's Earlier Approach Play Out?


The European Commission's efforts to establish a common charging standard for smartphones span more than a decade. In 2009, the EC estimated that 500 million mobile phones were in use in all EU countries. It found that the chargers used often varied according to the manufacturer and model, and that more than 30 different types of chargers were on the market.

In a bid to harmonize standards, the EC negotiated a 2009 Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by 14 tech companies including Apple, Samsung, Nokia, and other prominent smartphone manufacturers.

According to the MoU, phone makers agreed to adopt a micro-USB connector standard for smartphone chargers in the European Union that would allow full charging compatibility with mobile phones to be placed on the market.

The plan was for new phones to be sold with micro-USB chargers for a period of time, after which phones and chargers would be sold separately in order to allow customers who already owned chargers to continue using their existing ones.

There was considerable speculation about whether Apple would be able to meet the requirements of the micro-USB standard. At the time, Apple used a proprietary 30-pin dock connector compatible with both the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

However, the wording of the MoU offered Apple a loophole: For those phones that did not have a USB micro-B interface, an adapter was allowed under the agreed terms. And that's exactly what Apple did. In 2012, Apple introduced the ‌iPhone‌ 5 with a new Lightning proprietary connector to replace its 30-pin connector, and additionally offered a separate Lightning to micro USB adapter to comply with the 2009 EU agreement.

Apple's micro-USB to Lightning adapter

Consequently, Apple ultimately wasn't required to abandon its proprietary connector or include a separate micro-USB interface directly on the device for charging purposes.

Why Was the 2009 MoU Considered a Failure?


A progress report provided by the MoU signatories in February 2013 indicated that 90 percent of the new devices placed on the market by the signatories and other manufacturers by the end of 2012 supported the common charging capability. But that statistic was so high only because it took into account the fact that Apple offered a Lightning to micro-USB adapter.

One member of the Commission would note: "The perception among the citizens and the European Parliament is that the common charger does not really exist, and looking at what we find among the most popular smartphones, we have to agree with them. The future MoU must be clear in its outcome, we cannot afford to admit adaptors."

The lack of progress frustrated the Commission, and in 2014, the European parliament passed the Radio Equipment Directive, which called for a "renewed effort to develop a common charger." The directive gave the commission the power to directly set technical standards by means of a delegated act – in this case, a legislative act implementing EU rules.

By 2016, the Commission acknowledged that micro-USB had become dated and that USB-C had become the de facto standard across most devices. The Commission was advised by MoU facilitators that all manufacturers were ready to sign a new agreement in line with different approaches but keeping the solution of using solely USB-C connectors – except Apple.


Why is Apple Against the Idea of a Common Charger?


In 2016, Apple supported the adoption of USB-C as a standardized interface at the power source (i.e. the charging plug), but remained against conforming to a standard on devices themselves. The company argued that conforming to a device-side standard would cost it up to €2 billion and hamper innovation, largely based on the claim that iPhones were too thin to house a USB-C port.

Apple even commissioned a study by Copenhagen Economics outlining the potential consumer harm from a mandatory move towards a common charger.

The study concluded that it would cost consumers €1.5 billion if common charger rules became law, outweighing the €13 million associated with environmental benefits. The study also claimed that 49 percent of EU households rely on different types of chargers, but only 0.4 percent of those households experience any significant issues.

Apple's stance on the issue left the Commission deadlocked, but in 2018 the Commission agreed to continue working with manufacturers in order to achieve a suitable voluntary agreement. However, a year later the Commission concluded that its previous voluntary approach and the new MoU still allowed manufacturers to use adaptors with proprietary solutions and would not result in full charger harmonization.


Where Does the EU Go From Here?


In response to the Commission's 2019 impact assessment on common chargers, Apple said regulations that would force all smartphones to have the same charging port would "freeze innovation," be "bad for the environment," and be "unnecessarily disruptive for customers."
More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users. To be forced to disrupt this huge market of customers will have consequences far beyond the stated aims of the Commission.
The EU parliament's January 2020 vote on the matter was overwhelmingly in favor of bringing in rules to standardize chargers, but the manner in which it plans to enforce them is anything but clear. The Commission's impact assessment laid out several possible options for the proposed legislation:

  • Option 0: Cables can have either a USB-C or a proprietary connector at the device end, and adapters continue to be available for purchase (the current status quo).

  • Option 1: Cables must have a USB-C port at the device end (effectively outlawing Apple's Lightning connector).

  • Option 2: Cables must have a USB-C port at the device end, or any manufacturers that wish to use a proprietary port on their device must include an adapter from USB-C to the proprietary connector (in Apple's case, a USB-C to Lightning adapter) plus a USB-C AC power plug.

  • Option 3: Cables can have either a USB-C or a proprietary connector at the device end. Manufacturers that choose to use a proprietary connector must include a USB-C AC power plug in the box (Apple provides a USB-C AC power plug, but the ‌iPhone‌ can continue to have a Lightning connector).

  • Option 4: All connectors at both the device-end and on the AC power plug must have USB-C interoperability (Apple must make USB-C chargers).

  • Option 5: All connectors at the device-end must be USB-C and manufacturers must include a new fast-charging 15W+ AC power plug (Apple must make a USB-PD-compliant power plug).
In considering wireless charging as a potential solution, the Commission concluded that it was an "incipient technology" with around 60 percent energy efficiency, whereas wired technologies are close to 100 percent efficiency.


Overall, the Commission's impact assessment suggests the most effective approach would be to pursue option 1 (common connectors) in combination with option 4 (interoperable external power supply). If the Commission were to go with this recommendation, Apple would no longer be able to make new mobile devices that use its proprietary Lightning connector. But whether the Commission accepts the recommendation of its impact assessment and enshrines it in EU law remains to be seen.

Can the Initiative Work?


The EU initiative aims to limit fragmentation of the charging solutions on the market without hampering future technological innovation. By standardizing chargers, it hopes to lower prices and increase quality, therefore reducing the presence of counterfeit chargers and increasing user safety.

It also expects a reduction/minimization of e-waste, by reducing the necessity to purchase different types of chargers and by giving the possibility to reuse already owned ones. This would also increase consumer convenience, argues the impact assessment, since users would be able to charge not only mobile phones "but potentially also other portable devices with a common cable (and charger), as well as being offered the option of retaining existing chargers and purchasing mobile phones without chargers for a lower price."


It is unknown whether any changes Apple might have to make to comply with the European regulations will also be made in other markets around the world, for financial or practical reasons. Regardless, however the proposed legislation plays out, all the signs are that Apple's stance will remain firm and it will continue to lobby against the EU's intention to regulate the market.

"We do not believe there is a case for regulation given the industry is already moving to the use of USB Type-C through a connector or cable assembly," said Apple following the recent parliamentary vote. "This includes Apple's USB-C power adapter which is compatible with all ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ devices. This approach is more affordable and convenient for consumers, enables charging for a wide range of portable electronic products, encourages people to re-use their charger and allows for innovation."


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Make Your AirPods Case Look Like a Game Boy With This New Cover

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 08:20:21 PST
Elago has released a new cover for the AirPods charging case with a retro design inspired by Nintendo's iconic Game Boy.

Available in Light Gray or Black, the cover is made of flexible, impact-resistant silicone material with an anti-slip coating, giving the AirPods charging case some added protection. It is also equipped with a carabiner, allowing it to be attached to a keychain or a backpack or so forth when on the go.


The cover is compatible with both the first- and second-generation AirPods charging case, but not the AirPods Pro case. Elago says the cover does not interfere with wireless charging functionality.

The cover is available for $10.99 to $12.99 on Amazon and Elago.com.

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

Related Roundup: AirPods 2
Tag: Elago
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Neutral)

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Apple Maps Expands 3D Street View Feature to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 07:20:05 PST
As noted in the MacRumors forums, the new Look Around feature in Apple Maps recently went live in three more cities in the United States, including Boston, Philadelphia, and the Washington, D.C. area.

Introduced in iOS 13, Look Around is an interactive way to visually explore a city with 3D street-level imagery, similar to Google Street View. The feature is also available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, Houston, and the Hawaiian island of Oahu, with many more places to come.


In an area where Look Around is available, a binoculars icon will appear in the top-right corner of Apple Maps. Tapping that icon opens a street-level view in a card overlay at the top of the screen. Look Around also appears in the search results for a supported city, below the Flyover and Directions buttons.

When you're in Look Around mode, tapping on the display lets you move through the area, while tapping in a far off spot in the distance zooms in quickly in a smoother and more immersive way than Google Street View.

To help orient you in Look Around mode, points of interest such as bars, restaurants, parks and the like are identified by floating icons at street level. Note, however, that you can only zoom into areas that can be accessed by vehicles since the Look Around data is captured by cars fitted with 360-degree cameras.

Related: How to Use Look Around in Apple Maps


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Google Testing New Double-Tap Gesture on Back of Pixel Phones for Launching Camera, Assistant, and More

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 05:38:20 PST
Google is reportedly testing an interesting new gesture for its Pixel smartphones that lets users double-tap the back of the handset to control various functions.


XDA-Developers discovered the new gesture system, codenamed "Columbus," in the Android 11 developer preview for Pixel phones. According to the site, the double-tap gesture can be used to perform the following actions:
  • Dismiss timers

  • Snooze alarms

  • Launch the camera

  • Invoke Google Assistant

  • Play or pause media

  • Collapse the status bar

  • Silence incoming calls

  • Unpin notifications

  • Other "user-selected action"

The double-tap gesture apparently doesn't require any special hardware, as it relies on the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer. XDA-Developers managed to get the gesture working on a Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 4 XL, both running Android 11 Developer Preview 1. You can see the gesture being used to launch the Camera app in the clip below.


GIF via XDA-Developers

To prevent the gesture being activated unintentionally, Google has also added so-called "gates" to stop the double tap actions from taking effect. Some of the currently implemented gates are said to include camera visibility, charging status, keyguard, and more. XDA believes the Settings app will also contain gesture training activities for the user to perform in order to refine its responsiveness.

Google's own-branded Android phones have included innovative interactive gestures before, such as fingerprint gestures, Active Edge, and Motion Sense on the Pixel 4 series. Active Edge lets users squeeze the sides of the device to quickly activate Google Assistant, while Motion Sense allows users to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls by waving a hand in front of the phone.

Apple has also experimented with new ways of interacting with iPhones, including the use of touch and touchless gestures. A 2018 rumor from Bloomberg suggested Apple is working on iPhones that will use touchless gesture controls, allowing users to hover over the iPhone to navigate through the iOS operating system using a finger, but without having to touch the display.

If Apple moved forward with that rumored gesture technology, it could show up in iPhones as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg's two-year timeline for the feature. It's not yet clear if Apple is continuing to experiment with gestures, though, as we haven't heard any information on such a feature coming to the 2020 ‌‌iPhone‌‌ lineup.

What do you think of Google's rear double-tap gesture? Is it something you'd like to see in a new-generation ‌‌iPhone‌‌, or are touch-less gestures the future? Let us know in the comments.


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WhatsApp's Dark Mode for iPhone Inches Closer to Release, Requires iOS 13

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 03:22:53 PST
WhatsApp's Dark Mode for iOS got one step closer today, with the long-awaited feature rolling out to all beta users on TestFlight. Gleaning details from the latest 2.20.30.25 build, WABetaInfo has provided a few more nuggets on what iPhone users can expect.


First off, the new Dark Theme is a better one than the previous version WhatsApp was working on, with no battery drain and support for Apple's official iOS 13 APIs. So like Instagram, it respects Apple's guidelines and syncs with the system-wide ‌Dark Mode‌ setting, switching on and off if the user has set it to Automatic.

Given that WhatsApp uses Apple's APIs, the dark theme won't be available for users running iOS versions earlier than ‌iOS 13‌. In other words, you'll need an ‌iPhone‌ 6s or later to be able to use it.

There's a redesigned dark splash screen with the WhatsApp logo, which makes way for a dark chats list screen. All the other screens are similarly fully darkened.

Meanwhile in chat threads, WhatsApp will show dark chat bubbles and a dark version of the chosen wallpaper – this part's dynamic, so if you switch the theme, the wallpaper style changes too. WhatsApp has also done some extensive work on a raft of Dark Mode-friendly solid colors.

According to WABetaInfo, this latest WhatsApp beta build supports an additional dark theme setting that uses lighter dark colors for some UI elements if the user has the high contrast setting enabled.

Away from ‌Dark Mode‌, this beta also includes a noteworthy new feature in the form of an advanced search function, adding a categorical breakdown in the search bar with options for filtering the search through photos, GIFs, links, videos, documents and audio.

Note that the WhatsApp TestFlight beta program on iOS is already at maximum capacity, so if you're not already on it, you'll have to wait for the build to go public, which could be any day now.


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YouTube Music Readies Free Upload Feature, Google Play Music Migration Service Coming

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 02:26:51 PST
YouTube Music appears to be readying a feature that proved a big draw for Google Play Music fans – the ability to upload your own music collection to the cloud. Google has published a new support document explaining how music uploads will work in YouTube Music.


If you're on a computer you'll be able to add your personal music library either by dragging files to any surface on music.youtube.com, or by clicking on your profile picture and selecting "Upload music." The feature supports FLAC, M4A, MP3, OGG and WMA files. The support document notes that music uploads cannot be completed in the YouTube Music mobile app, uploads will not influence the user's music recommendations in YouTube Music, and uploads stay private.

To view or manage uploaded music, you can tap (in the app) or click "Uploads" in the Albums section of the library. The big bonus here is that uploaded songs can be played in the background, ad-free and offline - even if you're not a YouTube Music Premium subscriber. It's basically the same feature Google Play Music offered, so that's good news for anyone who wants to switch to Google's new music streaming service.

Google is asking users looking to transfer their entire Google Play Music library to "stay tuned" for a seamless way to do so. "Nothing is changing with Google Play Music right now," says the document. "When we do replace Google Play Music with YouTube Music, we'll be sure to give you plenty of advance notice."


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T-Mobile and Sprint Aiming to Close Merger as Early as April 1

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 15:24:51 PST
T-Mobile and Sprint are aiming to finish their merger by April 1 now that all legal issues have been resolved and regulatory approval has been granted, the two companies announced today.


In a press release, Sprint and T-Mobile announced an amended business combination agreement that has been approved by the Boards of Directors of T-Mobile and Sprint. Under the terms of the amendment, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom will get a slightly higher ownership stake in the new company.
A separate arrangement entered into by SoftBank Group Corp. in connection with the amendment will result in an effective exchange ratio of approximately 11.00 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share immediately following the closing of the merger, an increase from the originally agreed 9.75 shares. This is a result of SoftBank agreeing to surrender approximately 48.8 million T-Mobile shares acquired in the merger to New T-Mobile immediately following the closing of the transaction, making SoftBank's effective ratio 11.31 Sprint shares per T-Mobile share. Sprint shareholders other than SoftBank will continue to receive the original fixed exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share, or the equivalent of approximately 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share.

Immediately following the closing, and after the surrender of shares by SoftBank, Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank are expected to hold approximately 43% and 24%, respectively, of the fully diluted New T-Mobile shares, with the remaining approximately 33% held by public shareholders.
Mike Sievert, T-Mobile COO and President (who will be CEO of the new company as of May), said that with the new agreement in place, the focus is on closing the transaction and creating the new T-Mobile company "as early as April 1, 2020."
"We are on the verge of being able to do what we've set out to do from day one - reshape a broken wireless industry and create the new standard for consumers when it comes to value, speed, quality and service. The New T-Mobile is literally going to change wireless for good and now we're almost ready to get to the fun part: bringing our teams together, building this supercharged Un-carrier and becoming the envy of the wireless industry and beyond!"
The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile was able to proceed after a judge in early February ruled that the deal could go on despite an antitrust lawsuit filed by attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia.

The states argued that combining T-Mobile and Sprint was not in the public's interest as it would reduce competition and lead to higher smartphone bills, but T-Mobile's pro-consumer efforts that spurred changes in the smartphone industry weighed in the merger's favor.

The combined company will be known as "New T-Mobile" and it will be the third largest carrier in the United States after Verizon and AT&T.

T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to building a nationwide 5G network covering 97 percent of the U.S. population in three years and 99 percent within six years. T-Mobile has promised not to raise prices for three years following the merger's completion, and plans to offer the same or better rate plans even when 5G connectivity is available.

To gain regulatory approval from the FCC, T-Mobile and Sprint were required to sell some of their assets to Dish, as the FCC wants to see Dish become the fourth nationwide facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States.


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Upcoming 13-Inch MacBook Pro Models to Use Intel's 10th-Generation Ice Lake Chips

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 13:02:26 PST
Apple is rumored to be working on a refreshed version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro following the launch of the new 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in October, and the new 13-inch machines could adopt Intel's 10th-generation Ice Lake chips.


Over the weekend, a Twitter leaker shared a 3D Mark Time Spy benchmark of a machine said to be an upcoming 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ equipped with Intel's 10th-generation i7-1068NG7 Ice Lake 2.3GHz chip with 4.1GHz turbo boost capabilities (via Wccftech).


The benchmarks compare the new 10th-generation chip to the 8th-generation 2.4GHz Core i5 chip in the high-end 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ from 2019 and suggest the new 13-inch machine Pro will be approximately 12 percent faster than the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ when it comes to CPU speeds, and close to 30 percent faster when it comes to GPU performance.


If Apple does release a 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ with the aforementioned Ice Lake chip, it will be the first Apple notebook equipped with a 10th-generation chip. Though not included in the leak, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ refresh in 2020 could also feature 10th-generation chips, though 16-inch machines are expected to use Comet Lake chips built on the 14++nm architecture as there are no 10-nanometer Ice Lake chips appropriate for them.

Rumors suggest Apple will release an updated 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in the first half of 2020, perhaps at its March event, though WWDC is also a possibility. Along with 10th-generation Intel chips, the new machines are expected to feature the improved scissor keyboard that was first introduced in the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, along with the option to upgrade to 32GB RAM.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)

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Everything We Know About Apple's Upcoming Powerbeats 4 Earbuds

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 11:01:34 PST
Apple is working on an updated version of the Powerbeats, which will serve as the successor to the Powerbeats 3 and will be sold alongside the Powerbeats Pro

Signs of the Powerbeats 4 have been spotted in updates to iOS 13 multiple times, suggesting the earbuds could be launching in the near future. This guide includes details on everything that we know about the Powerbeats 4.

Powerbeats 4 mockup

What's the difference between Powerbeats 3 and Powerbeats 4?


As can be seen in the Powerbeats 4 rendering that we've created above, the Powerbeats 4 have a more curved design than the Powerbeats 3, which makes them similar in design to the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌.


The Powerbeats 4 also appear to have a wire that trails down from the bottom of the earhook, which is a departure from the Powerbeats 3 design that has the cord attached to the side of the earbuds opposite the earhook.

‌Powerbeats Pro‌‌ icon on left, new Powerbeats 4 icon in middle, Powerbeats 3 icon on right

Other than the relocation of the cord, we also expect Powerbeats 4 to include new H1 chip technology for improved connectivity and "Hey Siri" and "Announce Messages with ‌Siri‌" support like all of the modern headphones Apple has released.

What's the difference between the Powerbeats 4 and the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌?


‌Powerbeats Pro‌ are wire-free headphones, while Powerbeats 4 have a wire connecting the two earbuds together. ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ also come with a charging case that adds additional battery life, while Powerbeats 4 will not have a case.

We expect the Powerbeats 4 will be close to identical to the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ but with a wire and a more affordable price tag.

What will Powerbeats 4 cost?


Apple charges $199.95 for the Powerbeats 3 and we expect the Powerbeats 4 to have a similar price tag.

When will Powerbeats 4 launch?


There's no word on when Powerbeats 4 will be released, but Apple is rumored to be planning to hold an event on March 31, so it's possible the Powerbeats 4 will see a launch following that event.

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Tag: Beats

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Apple Seeds Second Public Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing and More

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:02:48 PST
Apple today seeded the second public betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.4 updates to its public beta testing group, two weeks after seeding the first public betas and a day after releasing the second updates for developers.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the iOS/‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.


iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 bring useful and notable new features and changes. There's an updated Mail toolbar that separates the reply button from the delete button to make it harder to accidentally delete emails, there's a new "Shazam It" shortcut in the Shortcuts app for identifying songs, and some tweaks have been made to CarPlay controls for calls and third-party navigation apps.


The update includes support for iCloud Folder Sharing, a long-awaited iOS 13 feature. ‌iCloud‌ Folder Sharing allows iCloud Drive files to be shared with other people, making the folders accessible to multiple users.

There are a total of nine new Memoji/Animoji stickers that can be used wherever emoji can be used, there are new Settings options for the TV app, and Apple has made minor changes to Location Services to appease app developers who want to encourage customers to turn on the "Always" option for Location Services for apps that need it.


Apple has added support for universal app purchases, which means developers can sell a single app across iOS, tvOS, and macOS. For apps that enable this feature, customers will be able to make one purchase and then download an app across all applicable platforms.

There are hints of a new "CarKey" API, which is designed to allow the iPhone or the Apple Watch to be used in lieu of a traditional car key in vehicles that support NFC, complete with options for sharing digital car keys with friends and family.

For the iPad, Apple has introduced new keyboard shortcuts for the Photos app for navigating between tabs, search, creating albums, deleting photos, and entering Edit mode, plus there's a new feature for hardware key remapping in ‌iPadOS‌.

For a rundown of everything that's new in iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4, make sure to check out our complete feature list.

Apple has also released a new public beta of tvOS 13.4, which is identical to the tvOS 13.4 beta provided to developers yesterday.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

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