Hands-On With NVIDIA's GeForce Now Streaming Game Service

Back in 2017, NVIDIA announced the launch of its GeForce Now streaming gaming service, which it made available in a beta capacity.

After years of testing, polishing, and refining, the GeForce Now service saw its official launch on February 4, so we thought we'd go hands-on with GeForce Now to see how it works on Apple's Macs.

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GeForce Now is a streaming gaming service that lets you play GPU and CPU intensive games on Macs that might not be able to natively handle the hardware requirements for a particular title.

All rendering and computing is handled by NVIDIA's servers, where the games are installed. Gameplay is then streamed to your computer, so naturally, a robust internet connection is required to make sure there's no lag.

There's a free version of the GeForce Now service, which provides standard access and limits gaming sessions to one hour, but for $4.99 per month, gamers can get priority access, support for NVIDIA's RTX graphics rendering platform, and longer session lengths.

The $4.99 per month cost (or the free service) does NOT include access to games. You still need to purchase games from supported game stores like Steam to be able to play them using GeForce Now, though there are some free ad-supported titles.

Even though GeForce Now has been in beta for three years, the game library is still a little bit lackluster. There are many newer games that are not supported, but games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Witcher 3, and Destiny 2 are available.

NVIDIA recommends a stellar internet connection, but even with 400Mb/s download speeds, we ran into some troubles. On a 12-inch MacBook Pro, which is certainly not powerful enough to play most games, titles would output at 30 frames per second maximum at a resolution of 1200 x 800, which was not a positive gameplay experience. The game was choppy, blurry, and frustrating to play.

Using GeForce Now on an iMac Pro with the same WiFi connection resulted in similar performance issues, but swapping over to an Ethernet cable for a hardwired connection solved all of our issues.

Playing Destiny 2 over GeForce Now with an ‌iMac Pro‌ on the wired connection resulted in no lag, a much higher resolution and frame rate, and no dropped frames. It was a smooth experience that was much like playing the game on a high-end gaming PC.

When trying a wired connection on the 12-inch MacBook, gameplay was also flawless, so NVIDIA is not kidding about the internet requirements. For the best possible experience, connecting over Ethernet is ideal.

GeForce Now is limited to North America and Europe at the current time, and the gaming library is limited, but as new titles are added, this may be a service worth checking out. It's free to try, so long as you own the game you want to play.

Have you tried GeForce Now? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Mac Pro's $400 Wheels Have No Locks to Prevent Rolling

Since launch, Apple's Mac Pro has been the butt of jokes because of some of its expensive add-ons, such as the option to purchase wheels for an additional $400.


As pointed out by MKBHD in a review published this morning, those super pricy wheels have no locking mechanism, which could be major problem if a wheel-equipped ‌Mac Pro‌ is placed on a desk or a slick floor.


In a demonstration video, MKBHD shows the ‌Mac Pro‌ rolling freely on a slick floor because of the lack of wheel locks.

Those who want to secure their wheeled ‌Mac Pro‌ models will need to use some kind of stopper to prevent accidents, though no lock won't be an issue on many surfaces as long as the ‌Mac Pro‌ is on the floor.


Right now, wheels have to be purchased as a $400 add-on when ordering a ‌Mac Pro‌ for the first time, but in a recent technical overview of the Mac Pro, Apple confirmed plans to begin offering feet and wheels as a "customer installable kit" in the future.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)
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Now-Fixed WiFi Vulnerability Left Apple Devices Open to Attack

A vulnerability in WiFi chips made by Cypress Semiconductor and Broadcom left billions of devices susceptible to an attack that allowed nearby attackers to decrypt sensitive data sent over the air.


The security flaw was detailed at the RSA security conference today (via Ars Technica), and for Apple users, the issue was addressed in the iOS 13.2 and macOS 10.15.1 updates that were released back in late October.

Dubbed Kr00k, the WiFi chip flaw caused vulnerable devices to use an all-zero encryption key to encrypt part of a user's communications. When applied successfully, the attack let hackers decrypt some wireless network packets sent by a vulnerable device. As described by Ars Technica:
Kr00k exploits a weakness that occurs when wireless devices disassociate from a wireless access point. If either the end-user device or the access point is vulnerable, it will put any unsent data frames into a transmit buffer and then send them over the air. Rather than encrypt this data with the session key negotiated earlier and used during the normal connection, vulnerable devices use a key consisting of all zeros, a move that makes decryption trivial.
Chips from Broadcom and Cypress are used in many modern WiFi devices like smartphones, laptops, Internet of Things products, WiFi access points, and routers.
Our tests confirmed that prior to patching, some client devices by Amazon (Echo, Kindle), Apple (iPhone, iPad, MacBook), Google (Nexus), Samsung (Galaxy), Raspberry (Pi 3), Xiaomi (RedMi), as well as some access points by Asus and Huawei, were vulnerable to KrØØk. This totaled to over a billion Wi-Fi-capable devices and access points, at a conservative estimate. Further, many other vendors whose products we did not test also use the affected chipsets in their devices.
According to ESET Research, which published details on the vulnerability, it was disclosed to Broadcom and Cypress along with potentially affected parties. At this time, patches for devices from most major manufacturers have been released.

ESET Research recommends making sure all of the latest updates have been applied to WiFi capable devices to patch the vulnerability.

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Apple Developing Over-the-Air Recovery Feature for iOS Based on Code in iOS 13.4

Code in the iOS 13.4 beta released this morning suggests that Apple is developing an over-the-air recovery feature designed for the iPhone and the iPad.


There are references to a hidden "OS Recovery" option in the update found by 9to5Mac, which appears to provide a way to restore an ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, Apple Watch, or HomePod without the need to connect to a computer.

Right now, if you have a malfunctioning ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, a Mac or PC needs to be used to restore the firmware, which is inconvenient as some people no longer even use computers and Apple has made efforts to remove the need to operate iOS devices with computers.

Devices like the ‌Apple Watch‌ and ‌HomePod‌ don't even have options to restore the software because there are no connectors, a problem that the OS Recovery feature could solve. There is a similar macOS Internet Recovery option that has been available for some time, allowing Macs to be restored with software downloaded over the internet.

It appears the feature will allow for a restore to be conducted over-the-air or by connecting a device to another ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ using a USB connection.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS
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Apple Comments on iPadOS Future, Coronavirus, Apple TV+ and More at Shareholders Meeting

Apple's annual shareholders meeting took place this morning at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus, and while most of the focus was on shareholder proposals, Apple executives in attendance did have a few interesting tidbits worth sharing.


Shareholders meetings have limited space and shareholders need to register in advance to attend, but multiple people who were there shared details about the meeting on Twitter.

During his opening remarks, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has caused Apple to lower its March revenue forecast due to device shortages and store closures in China.

Cook said that the outbreak is a "fairly dynamic situation" and that it is causing "a challenge" for Apple. He went on to say that Apple's first priority is the health and safety of its employees. "That's where our energies are," he said.

Cook was asked why Apple didn't make an effort to get the rights to the upcoming Friends reunion show that's going to be on HBO Max when it launches in May 2020. Cook said that recycled content is "not what Apple TV+ is about." ‌Apple TV‌+ is "about original programming," said Cook. "It doesn't feel right for Apple to just go out and take a rerun."

During the meeting, Cook confirmed Apple's plans to open an online store in India in 2020 and a retail store in 2021. Apple has been working for years to establish a presence in India.

On the topic of the environment, Cook reiterated a goal that Apple executives have mentioned many times in the past. Apple's aim is to "create an Apple product without taking anything from the earth" as part of a closed-loop supply chain, which is why Apple has established robust recycling methods. "This is one of those things people say you can't do. We're going to find a way to do it," he said.

Other Apple executives were in attendance, and software chief Craig Federighi commented on iPadOS after ‌Tim Cook‌ was asked about iPad software being behind ‌iPad‌ hardware. "If you like what you've seen us do with iPadOS, stay tuned, we're going to keep working on it," he said.

As for voting on proposals, which primarily focused on standard business like electing directors, ratifying a public accounting firm, and approving executive compensation, votes went in Apple's favor and voters sided with Apple's recommendations.

Apple recommended against three shareholder proposals that were not approved, including a proxy access amendment calling for a second shareholder-approved board nominee, a proposal for a report evaluating the feasibility of including sustainability metrics into compensation plans provided to executives, and a proposal asking for a report on whether Apple "has publicly committed to respect freedom of expression as a human right."

Tag: AAPL
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Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.4 updates to developers, one week after the release of the second betas and a month after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1.


iOS and ‌‌‌iPadOS‌‌‌ 13.4 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been installed. On the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, Apple requires the beta to be installed over the air using the configuration profile.

iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 are major updates, bringing several major new features to the iPhone and the iPad. There's a new toolbar in the Mail app that's available when viewing an email, featuring a more logical design to address complaints about the Mail layout in iOS 13.

The update design moves the reply icon away from the delete icon, making it much harder to accidentally delete an email, and it adds Folder and Compose icons.


iCloud Folder Sharing, designed to let users share folders in iCloud Drive with other people, is available as of iOS 13.4. ‌iCloud‌ Folder Sharing was first announced at WWDC last year, but it has taken Apple several months to implement it. The feature shows real-time updates so file changes will sync across the devices of all people with access to a specific folder.


There are nine new Memoji and Animoji stickers included in the update, featuring emoji-style poses like shocked face, face with hearts, eyes rolling, and more.


There's a subtle but significant tweak to the way the URL bar works in Safari. In iOS 13.4 beta 2, you can tap into the URL bar right away even when a URL is highlighted, which is different behavior from iOS 13.3.1. In iOS 13.3.1, an extra tap outside of a URL was required to deselect it before it could be tapped to be edited. The new behavior streamlines how the URL bar works and makes it quicker to alter a URL.

There are new Settings in the TV app that are designed to allow users to control streaming and downloading over WiFi and cellular, introducing new data saving options for those without unlimited streaming plans.


There are hints of a new CarKey API in iOS 13.4, which would allow the ‌iPhone‌ to be used to lock, unlock, and start a car that has NFC capabilities. This functionality hasn't been announced by Apple as of yet, but it will ‌iPhone‌ owners to use their devices in lieu of a car key. Sharing features will also be available for assigning keys to friends and family members through the Messages app.

Though not an iOS specific feature, Apple with iOS 13.4, macOS 10.15.4, tvOS 13.4, and Xcode 11.4 is allowing developers to create apps with universal purchase support, which means Apple device users will be able to purchase one app that works across multiple platforms.

There are new controls for calls and third-party navigation apps in CarPlay, along with keyboard shortcuts for the Photos app, changes to location requests for apps requesting user location, a new Shazam Shortcuts action, options for remapping hardware keys of a keyboard connected to the ‌iPad‌, and more.


For a full list of all the new features that have been found in iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 so far, make sure to check out our dedicated what's new articles for beta 1 and beta 2.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS
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Eero Mesh WiFi Routers Gain HomeKit Support

Eero's lineup of routers now support HomeKit, eight months after Apple announced Amazon-owned Eero as one of the companies adding HomeKit support back in June at WWDC.

Any Eero, Eero Pro, or Eero Beacon running the eeroOS 3.18.0 update or later is now able to be added to the Home app using a setup process in the Eero app.


‌HomeKit‌ for routers is a feature that was added in iOS 13, and it is designed to firewall off smart home devices for a more secure ‌HomeKit‌ experience. With ‌HomeKit‌ for routers, smart home products are not able to communicate outside the home without user permission, so if one ‌HomeKit‌ device becomes compromised, others remain safe.

There are multiple security settings that can be enabled for HomeKit-connected routers, as outlined by Eero.

- Automatic: allows an accessory to communicate to the devices and services approved by its manufacturer, preventing access by unauthorized services.

- Restrict to Home: allows an accessory to communicate only to ‌HomeKit‌ on your Apple devices. You will be able to manage your accessories through the Home app, but this may reduce some functionality, such as firmware updates.

- No restriction: allows an accessory to communicate with every device in your home, and any website or service on the internet, much like other devices on your home network.

After a HomeKit-connected router is added to a ‌HomeKit‌ setup, Apple recommends all WiFi-based ‌HomeKit‌ devices be removed and re-added to your setup to ensure that the connections are secure.

Eero is the first router manufacturer to add support for ‌HomeKit‌ to its devices, but ‌HomeKit‌ support is also coming to Linksys and Charter/Spectrum routers.

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Altice USA Brings its Cable TV Experience to Apple TV

Cable company Altice USA today announced that it has launched its Altice One experience on Apple TV, offering access to the company's streaming live TV service, on-demand video, and cloud DVR recordings.


Additional features include an interactive program guide, program restart for live shows, and Siri voice search support.

Altice customers have the option of adding an Apple TV 4K to their subscriptions for either $180 or a $10 per month finance option, and the Altice ‌Apple TV‌ app can of course be downloaded to customers' existing ‌Apple TV‌ boxes.

Altice is one of the largest cable providers in the United States, offering cable and internet through its Optimum and Suddenlink brands to nearly 5 million customers in 21 states.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 13
Tag: Altice
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)
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Apple Begins Selling Certified Refurbished 16-Inch MacBook Pro Models Internationally

Apple has been offering certified refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the United States for a couple of weeks now, but today it started selling refurb 16-inch models through its international online stores for the first time since the notebook was released in November 2019. All of the refurbished configurations are discounted by 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.


In the United Kingdom for example, a Silver 16-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 is listed for £2,039, down from £2,399, offering a £360 saving on the original price. The same savings are being offered on a Space Grey 16-inch MacBook Pro with matching specs.

Refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models have also been spotted in Apple's online refurb stores in Germany and Japan.

Apple says refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged with a 96W USB-C power adapter and USB-C cable in the box. In our view, a refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.

Keep in mind that third-party resellers frequently offer better deals than Apple's refurbished prices, so be sure to shop around.

A refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ comes with Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs £399 for the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in the U.K.

(Thanks, Tommy!)

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)
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Director Rian Johnson: Apple Doesn't Let Bad Guys Use iPhones on Camera in Movies

In an interview with Vanity Fair today, Rian Johnson, who directed the popular movie "Knives Out," shared an interesting tidbit about iPhone product placement deals for films. Apple, he says, allows iPhones to be used in movies, but bad guys aren't allowed to have iPhones on camera.

The relevant passage starts at 2:50 into the video

Also another funny thing, I don't know if I should say this or not... Not cause it's like lascivious or something, but because it's going to screw me on the next mystery movie that I write, but forget it, I'll say it. It's very interesting.

Apple... they let you use iPhones in movies but -- and this is very pivotal if you're ever watching a mystery movie - bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera.

So oh nooooooo, every single filmmaker that has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now.
Apple is known for having strict rules about how devices are used, portrayed, and photographed. As part of its guidelines for using Apple trademarks and copyrights, for example, Apple says that Apple products should only be shown "in the best light, in a manner or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple Inc."

As noted by our forum members, people have in the past pointed out that it's the good guys that use Apple products in TV shows in movies. When "24" was on the air, Wired wrote about a fan theory that the good guys use Macs while the bad guys use PCs, which turned out to be accurate.

Given this tidbit from Johnson, who is a well-respected director, many people may be watching movies with a much keener eye on the devices that actors and actresses are using to suss out hidden details.

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Apple's iPhone XR Was Most Popular Smartphone in 2019 Based on Shipment Estimates

The iPhone XR was the world's most popular smartphone in 2019, with Apple outshipping all other smartphone models, according to new data shared today by research firm Omdia.


Apple shipped an estimated 46.3 million ‌iPhone XR‌ units in 2019, which is more than double the 23.1 million units shipped in 2018. ‌iPhone XR‌ shipments were also nine million units higher than the second most popular model, which was Apple's iPhone 11. Apple shipped an estimated 37.3 million ‌iPhone 11‌ models.


After the ‌iPhone XR‌ and ‌iPhone 11‌, the Galaxy A10 was the third most popular smartphone, with Samsung shipping 30.3 million units. The Samsung A50, Samsung A20, and iPhone 11 Pro Max came in fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.
"Apple has consistently owned the first and second positions in the global smartphone model shipment ranking, with the company maintaining this dominant position for more than five years running," said Jusy Hong, smartphone research and analysis director at Omdia. "The company's continued dominance on this front is all the more remarkable when considering that Apple's price hikes caused overall iPhone shipments to decline last year. By limiting the number of models it offers compared to its top competitors, Apple has been able to concentrate its sales on a few smartphones that have broad appeal, like the ‌iPhone XR‌."
Apple has continued selling the ‌iPhone XR‌ alongside the ‌iPhone 11‌ and the iPhone 11 Pro as a lower cost option, priced starting at $599. The ‌iPhone XR‌ is $100 cheaper than the $699 starting price point of the ‌iPhone 11‌.

Omdia is a research firm that was established following the merger of the research division of Informa Tech and the IHS Markit technology research portfolio.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
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Apple's iPhone 12 Preparations May Be Delayed Due to Coronavirus Travel Restrictions

At this time of year, Apple engineers and executives typically visit China as Apple's suppliers start getting ready to manufacture new iPhones, but that preparation process is delayed this year due to coronavirus travel restrictions, reports Reuters.


Production of new devices usually kicks off in the summer, but during the first months of the year, Apple employees visit China to perfect assembly processes with manufacturing partners like Foxconn. Reuters spoke to former Apple employees who said that it "could be bad" if Apple's engineers haven't been able to meet up with Foxconn engineers in China to plan iPhone 12 production.
"They probably have one assembly line they're trying things out on," said one of the former employees who asked not to be named discussing production matters.

"Are Apple's engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they're probably making progress. But if they're not, if they're quarantined, that could be bad."
People familiar with Apple's process for device prototyping to manufacturing said that work typically picks up after the Lunar New Year. By February, Apple is normally in the late stages of engineering validation, where Foxconn workers assemble a small number of devices and the manufacturing process is reviewed.

Reuters says that delays at this stage can eat into the time Apple needs to finalize orders for chips and other iPhone components that need to be made well in advance of when full production begins.

In March and April, Apple and Foxconn engineers work together to set up assembly lines and do trial runs, with final adjustments coming in April and May. One person familiar with Apple's process told Reuters that it's "very complicated" and there are "so many variables in the environment."

Supply chain experts have said that Apple still has time to keep the ‌iPhone‌ schedule on track, but the travel restrictions have made it difficult.
"There is no face-to-face work being done," an executive at a semiconductor firm that supplies smartphone companies and works with teams in China said, speaking generally about phone production cycles.

"And the word is, that's probably not going to change for another month at best. You're really talking about two lost months, which in the consumer electronics cycle is huge."
Foxconn and other Apple suppliers were shut down for multiple days in February and while factories are now up and running, they're not operating at full production capacity due to labor shortages, travel restrictions, and quarantines. Senior Foxconn officials are working remotely from Taipei and have not returned to China on a large scale.

U.S. airlines like United, which Apple often uses, have also suspended many flights to China. United will not be resuming flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Shanghai until April 24. People who do visit China are also subjected to health screenings and other restrictions when returning to the United States.

Apple has already warned investors that it will not be able to meet revenue goals for the March quarter due to device shortages and store closures in China, which have impacted device sales, and the company will provide additional info on the impact of the coronavirus during its April earnings call.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
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