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Apple 'Netflix for Games' Subscription Service May Be Shown Monday

A previously reported "Netflix for Games" subscription service that Apple has been working on may be shown at the Apple Event scheduled for Monday, March 25th.


Bloomberg reports that beyond Apple's News and Video services which are expected to debut on Monday, Apple may be ready to unveil a similar gaming service.
Apple is also working on a premium games subscription for its App Store and discussing it with potential partners, according to people with knowledge of the plans. This service won’t take on new cloud-based streaming offerings like Google Stadia. Instead, it will focus on iPhones and iPads and bundle together paid games from different developers that consumers can access for a monthly fee.
The monthly service fee would be divided amongst the games in the service based on how much time is spent in each game. The service would likely focus on paid games rather than the popular free-to-play genre.

Bloomberg isn't certain the service will debut Monday but Apple has certainly cleared the way for a focus on new services for the event. Earlier this week, Apple quietly debuted new AirPods, iMacs, and iPads.

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2019 iPhones May Include 18W Fast Charger and USB-C to Lightning Cable

Japanese Mac blog Macotakara posted a new report tonight which indicates that Apple will maintain the Lightning connector on the 2019 iPhones but may finally be including a 18W Fast Charger and USB-C to Lightning cable.
In addition, the next iPhone seems to continue to adopt the Lightning connector, but the charging cable has been changed to the USB-C to Lightning cable, and it seems that the attached power adapter may also be changed to the Apple 18W USB-C power adapter is.


The inclusion would represent an upgrade to the currently shipping 5W USB adapter. The 18W adapter allows fast charging with iPhone X charging from 1% to 79% in one hour.

This rumor actually contradicts a previous report by the same site which expected Apple to retain the 5W adapter. Macotakara also reiterates Ming-Chi Kuo's report that this year's iPhones will have ability to wirelessly charge other devices.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones
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March 2019 Apple Event: What to Expect

In an average year, Apple holds three to four events. There's usually a spring event in March, the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, a September event that's focused on iPhone and Apple Watch, and sometimes an October event if there are iPads or Macs expected in the fall.

In this guide, we're keeping track of all of the Apple events that are on the horizon and what we're expecting to see at each one, so make sure to check back in regularly.


March 25 Event


Apple's first event of the year will take place on Monday, March 25. According to rumors, Apple plans to focus on services at this event, introducing both a new Apple News service and a TV service. Here's what we're expecting to see:

Apple News Service


Apple is working on a $9.99 per month subscription news service that would give Apple News users unlimited access to stories from paywalled sites like The Wall Street Journal. The service will also include a magazine element, similar to the service offered by Texture, the magazine app that Apple bought in 2018.

Not all news sites are on board (WaPo and NYT won't join) yet because Apple wants 50 percent of all subscription revenue, but magazine publishers are embracing Apple's plan. The news content and the magazines will all be accessible for a single subscription fee, thought to be $9.99 per month.

Streaming TV Service


Apple is also working on a streaming TV service that will include the more than two dozen TV shows and movies that it has in the works, along with access to subscription content from other cable providers.

Apple plans to allow its customers to sign up for services like Starz and Showtime right within the TV app, and the company could also provide channel bundles that aggregate content from multiple cable providers at a reduced price.

There's no word on what this service will cost, but Apple will introduce it at the March event before launching it later in the year, perhaps in summer or fall. Multiple celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, and Jennifer Garner - who are starring in Apple's original television shows - have been invited to the event and are expected to attend.

iOS 12.2


The iOS 12.2 beta that's being tested right now already has hints of the Apple News service in it, and Apple is going to release the iOS 12.2 update right after the event takes place to give people access to the new Apple News subscription service.

Along with access to this subscription service, iOS 12.2 brings Apple News to Canada, offers new Animoji characters, includes HomeKit TV support for third-party TVs, and has dozens of other smaller tweaks and changes outlined in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.

iOS 12.2 is also pre-installed on the new iPads that were just released, and the second-generation AirPods also require the update. Both of those products are shipping out to customers early next week.

Apple Pay


According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to preview new Apple Pay features at its March 25 event that will lay the groundwork for an iPhone credit card partnership with Goldman Sachs. It's not entirely clear what new features Apple will announce, but there are updates to the design of the Wallet app in iOS 12.2 that Apple may be planning to highlight.

Rumors have suggested that the credit card that Apple is debuting in partnership with Goldman Sachs will have special features in the Wallet app unavailable to standard credit cards, such as budgeting tools, spending recommendations and limits, and more.

Hardware


We were expecting minor updates to a number of Apple products in the spring, which Apple started rolling out ahead of the March 25 event. So far, Apple has released an updated iPad mini, a new 10.5-inch iPad Air, refreshed iMacs, and AirPods 2. A seventh-generation iPod touch and the AirPower could still be coming sometime soon.

With Apple introducing hardware via press release ahead of the event, we aren't expecting to see any new hardware announcements at the event itself, but there's always the chance for a surprise.

Event Details


The March 25 event will take place at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time (1:00 p.m. Eastern Time) at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus. Apple plans to live stream the event on its website and through the Events app on the Apple TV. MacRumors will be covering the event here on MacRumors.com and through our MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

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Apple's Beats Brand to Debut New Wire-Free Powerbeats in April

Apple's Beats brand will soon release an entirely wire-free version of its Powerbeats Wireless Earphones designed for workouts, reports CNET. The updated earphones will be similar to the AirPods, in that there will be no wire between them.

Apple won't be cannibalizing its own AirPods sales because Powerbeats are designed for working out, running, and other athletic activities that aren't really meant for AirPods.

Apple's current Powerbeats earphones

The newly updated AirPods that Apple launched this week feature an updated H1 chip that brings faster switching between devices, quicker connections when making phone calls, "Hey Siri" support and longer talk time, and this chip could also be included in updated Powerbeats.

The W1 chip that Apple used in the previous version of the AirPods was also incorporated into its Beats headphones.

CNET says that the information comes from a source that has provided reliable details on Apple's plans in the past, with Apple's Beats brand set to release the new earphones in April. Compared to the AirPods, the upcoming Powerbeats could offer better bass and water resistance, as well as the ability to better stay in the ears during rigorous activity.

There's no word on what the new Powerbeats will cost. Apple priced the new AirPods with Wireless Charging Case at $199, and current Powerbeats also cost $199, so the price could potentially go up.

It's not clear if there are other headphone updates in the works that would be announced at the same time as the wire-free Powerbeats, but Apple's Beats brand has not introduced a significant update since summer 2018 when the Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones were updated with a W1 chip.

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AT&T's '5GE' Service No Faster Than LTE From Verizon and T-Mobile

Starting with the iOS 12.2 beta, AT&T began displaying a 5G Evolution or 5GE icon on iPhones, misleading AT&T subscribers into thinking they're getting 5G transfer speeds when in fact, 5G on iPhone is not supported and AT&T has no 5G network as of yet.

AT&T uses the 5GE labeling to describe its 4G LTE networks that offer features like three-way carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, and 4x4 MIMO. These options are in no way limited to AT&T and are offered by other carriers, but no other carrier has chosen to use fake 5G branding.


As should come as no surprise, a recent test from OpenSignal has proven that AT&T's 5GE network is no faster than 4G networks from Verizon and AT&T that have the same speed upgrades.

AT&T users that have a 5GE capable smartphone, which includes modern iPhones and some Android devices, receive a "better experience" than other AT&T users with less capable smartphone models, but those same iPhones and Android devices get similar speeds on other carriers. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are all offering the same LTE advancements on iPhones with the newest LTE technology, but only AT&T is confusing customers with 5G branding.
What Opensignal's data shows is the extent to which LTE, or 4G, networks have improved since LTE's original launch. Technologies like carrier aggregation -- where two or more bands are used to simultaneously connect a user's smartphone -- 256 QAM or 4x4 MIMO, which together are normally called LTE Advanced Pro, offer a much faster experience than the initial version of 4G that was launched back in 2009-2011.
AT&T's fake branding has struck a nerve with other carriers, especially Sprint. Sprint has launched a full anti-AT&T campaign, filing a lawsuit against AT&T for its misleading branding and taking out ads in The New York Times.

Sprint rightly claims that AT&T is confusing customers and damaging the understanding of true 5G, which has the potential to impact Sprint's own 5G launch.

5G smartphones are only now just beginning to trickle out, and Apple isn't expected to launch one until 2020. No existing iPhone will be able to connect to a 5G network because it requires new hardware. 5G networks from the four major carriers in the United States will become available starting in 2019, but the technology is still new and there will be many bugs and coverage issues to work out.

Tag: AT&T
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AirPower to Launch in 'Late March' According to DigiTimes Sources

Apple plans to release its long-awaited wireless charging mat AirPower in "late March" according to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. We're in late March now, so if the report is accurate, then a release should be imminent.


The report cites unnamed "industry sources" within Apple's supply chain:
Lite-On Semiconductor, a maker of discrete and analog IC components, is expected to see its second-quarter revenues register a double-digit sequential growth as it will soon kick off volume shipments of GPP (glass passivated package) bridge rectifiers needed for Apple's wireless charger AirPower, according to industry sources.

The sources said that Apple's AirPower wireless charger for iPhones, Apple Watch and AirPods is set to be officially launched in late March, which will significantly drive up Lite-On's revenues for the second quarter of 2019.
There are 10 days remaining in March including today.

DigiTimes has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting the timing of Apple product releases. While the publication has sources within Apple's suppliers in Asia, particularly in Taiwan, supply chain sources are typically more privy to what is coming rather than when. In short, we'll see.

There is certainly increasing evidence pointing towards an upcoming release.

Yesterday, after receiving a tip from reader Michael Bateman, MacRumors uncovered what appears to be a new image of the AirPower with an iPhone XS and the new AirPods wireless charging case on it.


MacRumors also uncovered evidence to suggest that Apple has secured the rights to the AirPower trademark in the United States.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple approved production of the AirPower earlier this year, and reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said the AirPower will be released within the first half of 2019.

AirPower is designed to charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone 8 and newer, Apple Watch Series 3 and newer, and AirPods when they are placed in the new optional wireless charging case introduced on Wednesday.

Apple introduced new iPads on Monday, new iMacs on Tuesday, and new AirPods on Wednesday of this week.

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Apple Secures Rights to AirPower Trademark Amid Launch Rumors [Update]

Amid launch rumors that Apple is preparing to release the AirPower sometime soon, the Cupertino company has finally secured the rights to the AirPower trademark.

To get the AirPower trademark, Apple had to jump through quite a few hoops over the course of the last few months, ultimately seeming to purchase access from a company that had previously applied for the trademark.


Apple first attempted to trademark the AirPower name in the summer of 2018, but found that a company named Advanced Access Technologies had filed an earlier application to trademark the term.

The AirPower trademark registered by Advanced Access Technologies was then provisionally granted and published for opposition in December 2018. Ahead of when a trademark is officially granted, the USPTO takes opposition filings from anyone who believes the trademark could result in confusion with an existing product.

Apple opposed Advanced Access Technologies' trademark of AirPower in January 2019, claiming that it would interfere with similar trademarked Apple product names, including AirPlay, AirPort, AirPods, and AirPrint.

After fighting to prevent the AirPower trademark from being granted to Advanced Access Technologies for several months with multiple different filings with the USPTO, Apple yesterday suddenly withdrew its opposition and the dispute was terminated.


Just after Apple withdrew opposition on Advanced Access Technologies' trademark of the AirPower name, an Apple lawyer was appointed the attorney of the trademark case, suggesting that Apple purchased rights to the AirPower trademark from Advanced Access Technologies ahead of an imminent AirPower launch that would not give Apple time to secure the trademark through other means.

Advanced Access Technologies is still listed as the owner of the trademark, but Apple appears to be in the process of getting that changed, with Apple lawyer Thomas Perle now named as the attorney on the trademark application.


Apple's acquisition of the AirPower trademark comes amid new rumors suggesting a launch for the long-delayed accessory isn't too far off. There's new code in the iOS 12.2 beta related to charging multiple devices at once, which wasn't there before, indicating Apple may be planning to release the AirPower sometime around when iOS 12.2 comes out.

The Wall Street Journal recently confirmed that Apple approved production of the AirPower earlier this year, and just today, we found an image of the AirPower with an iPhone XS and the new AirPods Wireless Charging Case hidden in the source code on Apple's website in Australia.

It's still not clear when the AirPower is actually going to launch, but with increasing signs of its arrival, it could come at any time. Apple this week released new iPads, iMacs, and updated AirPods on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, leading to speculation the company was gearing up to introduce the AirPower, but there's still no sign of the device.

We could potentially hear word on when we can expect the AirPower at Apple's March event, which will take place next Monday. Apple is using the event to introduce a new Apple News service and streaming TV service. Rumors have, however, suggested the event will not focus on hardware, so we could be waiting until later in the spring for an AirPower update.

Update: According to a new document filed with the USPTO on March 22, [PDF], the AirPower trademark has indeed been transferred to Apple.

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Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions Passwords in Plain Text, Thousands of Employees Had Access

Facebook today announced that during a routine security review it discovered "some user passwords" were stored in a readable format within its internal data storage systems, accessible by employees.

As it turns out, "some user passwords" actually means hundreds of millions of passwords. A Facebook insider told KrebsOnSecurity that between 200 and 600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text in a database accessible to 20,000 Facebook employees. Some Instagram passwords were also included, and Facebook claims many of the passwords came from Facebook Lite users.


Facebook says that there's no "evidence to date" that anyone within Facebook abused or improperly accessed the passwords, but KrebsOnSecurity's source says 2,000 engineers or developers made around nine million internal queries for data elements that contained plain text user passwords.

Facebook employees reportedly built applications that logged unencrypted password data, which is how the passwords were exposed. Facebook hasn't determined exactly how many passwords were stored in plain text, nor how long they were visible.

Facebook plans to notify users whose passwords were improperly stored, and the company says that it has been looking at the ways certain categories of information, such as access tokens, are stored, and correcting problems as they're found.

"There is nothing more important to us than protecting people's information, and we will continue making improvements as part of our ongoing security efforts at Facebook," reads Facebook's blog post.

Facebook and Instagram users who are concerned about their account security should change their passwords, using unique passwords that are different from passwords used on other sites. Facebook also recommends users enable two-factor authentication.

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Apple Plans to Sell Bundles of Cable TV Channels Through New Streaming Service

While Apple's new TV streaming service will include its own original content, Apple will also be offering customers access to video streaming subscriptions from third-party services, such as HBO and Showtime.

Part of this effort could potentially include bundles of channels from various content providers, according to new reports from Recode and The Information.


Apple has negotiated rights to bundle streaming services together as part of its deals with media firms, which will allow it to offer packages of channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz at a price that's lower than what each service would cost on a standalone basis. From Recode:
That wholesale/retail relationship also means Apple, not the streamers, can set the price for the stuff it sells. Apple isn't likely to sell, say, HBO for less than HBO sells itself on rival platforms like Roku. But it definitely plans to sell bundles of pay tv channels at a discount, just like pay TV operators have always done.
It's not entirely clear when Apple plans to offer bundles like these, but providing discounted access to a group of channels would provide Apple with an edge over Amazon. Amazon, as The Information points out, allows customers to sign up for streaming services like Showtime through their Amazon account, but customers must pay full price.

According to Recode, Apple's service isn't going to be a major Netflix or Hulu competitor because the focus is going to be on selling streaming video subscriptions from other companies and taking a cut of the transaction. Apple is working on original content, but its own shows and movies "should be considered very expensive giveaways, not the core product."

Apple is offering its content partners a revenue share that's similar to Amazon, which keeps 30 to 50 percent of the subscription fee. Apple, however, won't be offering access to as much data as Amazon provides. Still, The Information says publishers find bundling "appealing," and Apple has been touting its huge subscriber base to score deals. Apple's subscription TV content will be made available through its existing TV app which is available on the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad.

There's no word on which channels Apple will include in bundles, but Apple has signed deals with 15 streaming channels for separate subscriptions, including digital only services like Cheddar and Tastemade and TV channels like Showtime and Starz. Apple has not yet inked a deal with HBO.

Apple is going to introduce its streaming service at its upcoming March 25 event, and the service is expected to launch in the United States later in the spring before expanding to additional countries.

Apple is also unveiling an Apple News subscription service at the event, and rumors have suggested that the TV and news services could be bundled with Apple Music as part of one subscription for Apple users. Apple is also going to announce an Apple credit card provided by Goldman Sachs.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)
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Apple's WWDC 2019 Ticket Lottery Ends, Winners Begin Receiving Confirmation Emails

The ticket lottery for Apple's 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference ended yesterday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and following the end of registration, Apple has started sending out confirmation emails to winners.

Developers who scored a ticket to WWDC can expect to see their credit cards charged for the $1,599 over the course of the next few days.


Apple uses a lottery system to provide developers with WWDC tickets and has done so for the last several years due to overwhelming demand. There are approximately 5,000 spots open for developers, but Apple gets many more applications than that.

Developers who receive a WWDC ticket will be able to attend iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS app development sessions and more than 1,000 Apple engineers will be on hand and in labs to provide assistance.

The 2019 event will start on Monday, June 3 and will last through Friday, June 7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple will host a keynote event on Monday to introduce new iOS, tvOS, macOS, and watchOS software. There are sometimes a few hardware surprises, though we haven't heard much detail on what could be included. It's possible we'll see our first glimpse at the new modular Mac Pro Apple has been working on since 2017.

Following the keynote event, Apple will make new software updates available to developers and the rest of the week will be spent in technical sessions and hands-on labs.

Developers not selected to purchase a WWDC ticket will be able to watch the keynote session and follow along with technical sessions through the Apple Developer Website and the WWDC app for iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2019
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Apple Has Reportedly Acquired Italian Startup Stamplay

Apple has acquired Italian startup Stamplay, which offered an API-based back-end development platform, according to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. The report claims Apple paid around five million euros for the company.


The report does not cite Apple's standard statement for acquisitions, which typically reads "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." We've reached out to Apple for our own confirmation, but we did not immediately hear back.

Nevertheless, one telltale sign of the acquisition or at least an acqui-hire is that Stamplay's website was almost entirely stripped of information within the past few weeks, as is usually the case following Apple acquisitions.

Stamplay describes itself as a "low code workflow automation platform, empowering organizations to streamline manual work by integrating data and business applications used every day." The "API-based development platform" enables developers to build and launch "full-featured cloud-based web apps."

From the startup's LinkedIn page:
The powerful web-based editor includes everything a developer needs to create and run a powerful backend for their app, including popular APIs like Stripe (payments), Sendgrid (email), Twilio (SMS and VoIP), Pusher (realtime notifications) and many more.
The report was brought to our attention by setteBIT:

Stamplay was co-founded by Giuliano Iacobelli and Nicola Mattina.

Update: In a press release via setteBIT, the Università Roma Tre in Italy has confirmed that Apple acquired Stamplay.

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New AirPower Image With iPhone XS Appears Within Source Code on Apple's Website

Based on source code from the AirPods page of Apple's website in Australia, MacRumors has uncovered what appears to be a new image of the AirPower with an iPhone XS and the new AirPods wireless charging case on it, providing yet more evidence that Apple still plans to release the wireless charging mat at some point.


Apple updated its AirPods page yesterday after unveiling a second-generation pair, and this image was intended to showcase the new optional wireless charging case on a Qi-enabled charging mat, but Apple never ended up featuring the image publicly. We found it hidden within a CSS stylesheet.

A similar AirPower image with an older iPhone X was removed from the AirPods page yesterday after the wireless AirPods charging case was announced:


While the AirPower might still be coming after all, a specific release date remains unclear. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that Apple approved production of the AirPower earlier this year and reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said the AirPower will be released within the first half of 2019.

There was some hope that Apple would announce the AirPower today after announcing new iPads on Monday, new iMacs on Tuesday, and new AirPods on Wednesday, but that never materialized. We also didn't get a new iPod touch, although Kuo and other sources have indicated that one is coming at some point this year.

AirPower is designed to charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone 8 and newer, Apple Watch Series 3 and newer, and AirPods when they are placed in the new optional wireless charging case introduced yesterday. The images on the AirPods page have simply never showed the Apple Watch on the mat.

AirPower was in fact shown with an Apple Watch on it when previewed on stage and on the Apple Watch page earlier last year:


Thanks to Michael Bateman for tipping MacRumors.

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