New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S9 Series Smartphones With Dual Lens Variable Aperture Camera and AR Emoji

Samsung on Sunday unveiled its latest Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagship smartphones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, showcasing the handset's new dual-lens camera, stereo speakers, and AR-powered emoji. The new smartphones take the same general design as the Galaxy S8 devices, with slightly slimmer bezels on the top and bottom.

The headline feature of the S9 and S9+ is a 12-megapixel dual lens camera, boasting the first variable aperture system built into a smartphone, which promises better results in low light conditions and hardware-based shallow depth of field effects. Samsung's new photography computation also shoots 12 photos in three groups of four and then combines them at the pixel level to eliminate noise and boost detail.


The S9 features variable dual lens 12-megapixel cameras with dual optical image stabilization, while the S9+ features a variable aperture lens paired with a second 12-megapixel lens with a fixed aperture. The S9 Plus also includes a new slow-motion mode that can shoot at 960 frames per second, which can turn a 2-millisecond recording into six seconds of video. For comparison's sake, Apple's iPhone X shoots at a maximum of 240 frames per second.

In U.S. models, the S9 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 processor, but in other regions, including Europe, the smartphone is powered by Samsung's own Exynos chip. Samsung has combined the face and iris recognition features into a new system called Intelligent Scan, which uses the best biometric sensor for the given situation. The fingerprint scanner on the back now sits below the camera module rather than alongside it. Like the S8 devices, the displays on the 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch models are Quad HD+ and Super AMOLED, respectively. Also, there's a headphone jack.


The inevitable comparison of Samsung's new AR-based emoji will be Animoji on iPhone X, which map users' facial expressions onto cartoon facades using Apple's TrueDepth camera technology. However the Galaxy S9 diverges here by creating 3D personalized characters more akin to Bitmoji or Nintendo Mii avatars, which can then be shared as GIFs.

The S9 comes with 4GB of RAM while the S9+ has 6GB of memory. Both versions come with a base 64GB storage (user expandable up to 400GB via the Micro SD slot). In the U.S., the S9 starts at $720, with the S9+ costing $840. Pre-orders for both models begin on March 2 and the phones start shipping on March 16.

KGI: Apple Developing High-End Over-Ear Headphones, Launching Late 2018 at the Earliest

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note outlining his expectations for Apple's "acoustic accessories" pipeline, claiming the company is working on both updated AirPods and "own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones" with an "all-new design." The new over-ear headphones are said to debut in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest.
Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest; Primax & SZS will be the key suppliers & will benefit from high ASPs. We believe that after AirPods and HomePod, Apple’s next addition will be high-end over-ear headphones, making its acoustic accessory lineup more complete. Existing suppliers Primax and SZS will be Apple’s partners on this new product. Primax will receive assembly orders on its familiarity with the acoustic business, and SZS is likely to use MIM technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier. The new headphones will be priced higher than AirPods and should help boost the business momentum of Primax as the assembly provider.


Beats Studio3 Wireless and current AirPods

Kuo's prediction on upgraded AirPods follows a similar report just a few days ago from Bloomberg. Kuo says the new AirPods should launch in the second half of this year.
We think the main difference of the upgraded AirPods, which won’t look much different from current AirPods, will be the wireless charging case and the adoption of an upgraded W1 chip. We believe that the charging case will adopt different processes for the external appearance and to meet thermal requirements from wireless charging, the hinge price will rise 60-80%.
Beyond this year's update for the AirPods, Bloomberg claimed this week that Apple is working on a subsequent AirPods update that would bring water resistance to the earphones, but that model wouldn't arrive until 2019 at the earliest.

Claimed 'iPhone X Plus' Displays and Digitizers Shown in Leaked Photos

New photos claimed to be of the rumored 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus" screen and digitizer have been shared on the MacX forums [Google Translate], with the poster claiming the parts come from a "trial run of production equipment" at LG's facilities in Vietnam.

The first photo shows a single digitizer held in a person's hand, and the overall size certainly appears larger than an iPhone X part, while the relative size of the notch to the digitizer's width is slightly different than on the iPhone X. At least one rumor has, however, claimed the second-generation iPhone X could have a smaller notch, so we shouldn't necessarily expect the notch-to-display proportions to be the same between iPhone X generations.


The digitizer includes a flex cable at the bottom of the part for connecting to the iPhone's logic board, and the part number printed on the cable is similar to the format typically used by Apple.

An apparent date code also shown on the flex cable points to a production date in the 46th week of 2017, which would correspond to mid-November, so this isn't a particularly recent part although there could be substantial lag between digitizer production and the part's incorporation into a full display assembly.

The second photo shows a tray containing a set of four assembled display/digitizer components. Again, the size appears larger than the corresponding iPhone X part based on the relative size of the small earpiece slot visible on one of the parts. The rear design of the part is also very similar but not identical to the iPhone X display assembly.


Samsung is the exclusive supplier of OLED displays for the iPhone X, but previous rumors have indicated LG could become the supplier for the so-called iPhone X Plus this year, so the purported location of these photos at LG's plant in Vietnam fits with those rumors. Apple has reportedly invested billions of dollars to help LG get its OLED display production up and running to increase overall supplies and give Apple more flexibility in not needing to rely solely on Samsung.


Apple is rumored to be launching three new iPhones around the usual September timeframe this year: a second-generation iPhone X with the same 5.8-inch OLED display size, a larger "iPhone X Plus" with a 6.5-inch OLED display, and a new LCD-based model with a similar full-face display to the iPhone X design but measuring about 6.1 inches.

(Thanks, Siting!)

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

iTunes Store Won't Work on Original Apple TV and Windows XP/Vista PCs as of May 25

Apple yesterday published a new support document noting that security changes being implemented on May 25 will prevent the first-generation Apple TV and PCs running Windows XP or Vista from using the iTunes Store. Apple has also begun emailing users with active first-generation Apple TVs to warn them of the upcoming change.

Beginning on 2018-05-25, Apple will introduce security changes that prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.
Apple notes that second-generation and later Apple TV models will continue to work with the iTunes Store.

The first-generation Apple TV based on a traditional hard drive was introduced back in 2007 and was supplanted by the much smaller flash-based second-generation model in late 2010. The first-generation model was officially declared obsolete by Apple in late 2015.

As for PC users, Apple notes that machines running Windows XP or Vista are no longer supported by Microsoft and are unable to use the latest versions of iTunes, as iTunes 12 requires Windows 7 or later. With the upcoming changes, users running these older versions of Windows and iTunes won't be able to make new purchases or redownload previous purchases from the iTunes Store.

(Thanks, Greg!)

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Happy Birthday to Steve Jobs and MacRumors

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple and was responsible for catapulting the company to wild success with products like the iPod and the iPhone, was born on February 24, 1955, and were he still alive, today would mark his 63rd birthday.

Jobs not only founded Apple alongside Steve Wozniak in 1976 and directed the future of technology with the development of some of the first personal computers, but he also brought Apple back from the brink of failure even after being ousted from the company he created.


Though he passed away in October of 2011 when he was just 56, Steve Jobs had a lasting impact on Apple's culture. As current Apple CEO Tim Cook often says, Steve Jobs' DNA -- his taste, his thinking, his unwavering perfectionism, his dedication to hard work, and his lust for innovation -- will "always be the foundation of Apple."


There are no Apple products -- and few technology products -- on the market that have not been influenced by Steve Jobs in some way, however small, and had we not had Jobs, the world might be a different place today. Millions of lives have been touched by Apple devices, including the lives of each one of us here at MacRumors and all of the readers who visit the site every day to see what's new in the world of Apple.

MacRumors shares a birthday with Steve Jobs, and as of today, the site is turning 18. MacRumors was founded on February 24, 2000 by Arnold Kim, and what started out as a small side project has flourished and grown right alongside Apple into the best Apple news site on the web.

We here at MacRumors are grateful to all of our dedicated readers, community members, and volunteers, and we look forward bringing you Apple news and rumors for the next 18 years.

Apple Denied Request to Ban Tax Protestors From Its Stores in France

The High Court of Paris on Friday denied Apple's request for an injunction that would have blocked activist group Attac from protesting at the company's retail stores across France, as it has been doing for the past several months.

Attac activists protesting at an Apple Store in France via Libération

The order states that the mere presence of protesters at Apple's stores in France, without violence, vandalism, or customers being blocked from entering the premises, is not enough to justify limiting the group's rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly protected by human rights laws in Europe.

The court added that Attac acted in accordance with the European Union's Statutes of the Association, and defined the protests as a matter of public interest. Apple has been ordered to pay 2,000 euros to cover Attac's legal fees, according to the order, which was earlier reported by French website MacGeneration.

Attac is a voluntary association that has been accusing Apple of corporate tax evasion in Europe, in line with the European Commission ordering Ireland to recover around 13 billion euros in back taxes from the iPhone maker in 2016. Apple and Ireland have denied the accusations and are appealing the decision.

Apple previously said it has "a long tradition of supporting individuals and groups that peacefully express their opinions," but it accused Attac's activists of "vandalizing shops and endangering the security of staff and customers," which it finds unacceptable, according to court documents obtained by The Guardian.

During a stunt at an Apple store in Aix-en-Provence last November, for example, activists painted "pay your taxes" on the glass windows. Attac also gathered in front of the High Court of Paris last week with Stormtrooper costumes and Star Wars-themed signs that equated Apple to the evil Galactic Empire.

Apple CEO Tim Cook equated to Darth Sidious via Sol Trumbo Vila‏

Attac has a different view. In a blog post published today, the association said it is "defending the public interest" with "non-violent citizen actions," and it has previously called its actions "festive and good-natured."

Apple has yet to comment on today's decision, and it's unclear if it will exercise other legal options in its fight against Attac.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple's AirPower Wireless Charging Mat Could Be Available to Buy Next Month

Apple will begin selling its AirPower wireless charging mat next month, according to Japanese website Mac Otakara. The publication has spoken to "reliable sources" who have apparently confirmed a claim made earlier in February by The Apple Post that the wireless accessory will go on sale in Apple retail stores sometime in March, although the specific date still remains unclear.


Announced by Apple in September, AirPower is an oval-shaped white charging mat featuring Qi-compatible networking technology that will allow it to charge multiple devices at once. Along with an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X, and the Apple Watch Series 3, the AirPower charges AirPods thanks to a new wireless charging AirPods case that's also set to be released sometime soon.

According to the original rumor, Apple intends to make the AirPower mat available to purchase concurrently at Best Buy and other Authorized Apple Resellers alongside its own retail stores. The Apple Post also claimed that in addition, Apple retail stores will stock the updated AirPods wireless charging case on the same day, although Mac Otakara's own sources make no mention of this.

Mac Otakara has connections to the Asian supply chain and Asian accessory manufacturers, making it a typically trusted source for Apple product rumors. That said, the publication does not have a perfect record and has shared inaccurate info on occasion, so it's best not to take the latest report as fact until backed up by other sources.

Right now our best guess is that Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat will cost around $199 in the United States, based on a price listing for the accessory that appeared on a Polish website in November.

Apple's Elk Grove Repair Facility Makes ~20 Accidental 911 Calls a Day

Repair technicians who work at Apple's repair facility in Elk Grove, California make frequent accidental 911 calls when testing Apple devices, Elk Grove police dispatcher Jamie Hudson told a local Sacramento news site.

The influx of calls started back in October of 2017, which coincides with the introduction of the Emergency SOS feature that was added to the iPhone with the launch of iOS 11.
"We've been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple," said police dispatcher Jamie Hudson.

Dispatchers say the calls started back in October of 2017, and typically there's no one on the other line.
To activate Emergency SOS, iPhone 8 and iPhone X simply owners need to press and hold on the Side button while also holding the two volume buttons at the same time, or rapidly press on the side button five times. Older iPhone users simply need to press the Sleep/Wake button five times in rapid succession to call emergency services.

An Emergency SOS feature is also available on the Apple Watch and is activated by pressing on the side button of the device. It's not clear which devices are making the accidental calls, but placing a 911 call can be done with simple button presses on either device.

Elk Grove Police have received an average of 20 accidental 911 calls per day from Apple, adding up to about 1,600 calls since October. Police dispatcher Hudson says the calls take "valuable seconds" away from real 911 calls that could be life and death situations.
"The times when it's greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call," he said.
It's not just the Elk Grove Police department that's affected -- the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Communication Center has also received 47 accidental 911 calls since January 1, and sometimes, dispatchers can hear technicians working in the background. There is a loud tone and a countdown that plays when Emergency SOS is activated with the auto call feature, but it may be that repair technicians are not able to hear it.

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said the company is aware of the 911 calls coming from the repair facility and is working with law enforcement officials to put a stop to it.
"We're aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility. We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn't continue."
Emergency SOS is a feature that's enabled on every iPhone and Apple Watch by default, and it can't be disabled, so Apple may need to come up with a unique solution for its repair facilities.

While Emergency SOS can't be turned off, there are settings that can be turned on to cut down on accidental calls. On Apple Watch, "Hold to Auto Call" can be disabled by opening up the Watch app, choosing the "General" section in "My Watch" and then selecting "Emergency SOS."

On iPhone, auto call can be disabled by opening up the Settings app, navigating to "Emergency SOS" and toggling off "Auto Call."


With Auto Call disabled on iPhone or Apple Watch, the same button presses will still activate emergency services, but you will need to use physical interaction in the form of a finger sliding across the screen to call 911 (or other emergency services numbers depending on your country).

Emergency SOS was recently credited with saving a woman and her 9-month old baby after she was hit by a drunk driver. The woman lost her phone in the collision, but was able to use the SOS feature on her Apple Watch to make an emergency call.

In addition to contacting 911, Emergency SOS serves another important purpose on the iPhone -- it quietly and discreetly disables both Touch ID and Face ID, allowing iPhone users who are being threatened to lock down their phones and require passcode entry instead of biometrics.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

Employment Questionnaire and Two Signatures From Steve Jobs Going Up for Auction

An auction site is set to sell off three pieces of Steve Jobs memorabilia, including a rare employment questionnaire filled out by the former Apple CEO.

Jobs filled out the application in 1973, just after dropping out of Reed College, where he attended school for approximately six months and then audited classes for another year and a half.

On the document, Jobs lists "english lit" as his major, and Reed College as his address. He lists "Computer" and "Calculator" as skills, along with "Design" and "Tech," and says that he has special abilities that include "Electronics" and digital "Tech or Design Engineer."


Auction site RR Auction expects the questionnaire to fetch upwards of $50,000 at auction.

Along with the questionnaire, the site also plans to auction off two documents that feature a rare Steve Jobs signature. The first is a Mac OS X technical manual that Jobs signed back in 2001, and there's a short story that goes along with the signature, obtained in a parking lot following an Apple training session in Cupertino.

"It was afternoon, the end of my training day and I just got into my car when I saw Mr. Steve Jobs walking into his car. I rolled down my window and called up his name. He asked me whether he knew me. I told him I certainly knew who he was and immediately asked him if he would be kind enough to sign my Mac OS X Administration technical manual. He refused and said 'I feel weird doing that.' I refused to back down. After a bit of cajoling on my part, he finally told me to hand over the manual and pen. He said 'give me those' and he autographed my manual," in a letter of provenance from the consignor.
The signed manual is expected to go for approximately $25,000 when it's placed up for auction, and it's being compared to a signed magazine cover that sold for $50,000 back in October of 2017.

The third document is a newspaper clipping from 2008, which features an image of Steve Jobs speaking at the Worldwide Developers Conference where the iPhone 3G was introduced. Jobs signed the newspaper at the Fraiche Yogurt shop in Palo Alto, California where he was eating frozen yogurt with Tony Fadell, who also signed the document.

Steve politely declined several times, stating that everything at Apple was a group effort, so he didn't like to sign and take credit for everything. My mom is pretty persuasive and was eventually able to convince Steve to sign; but under Steve's condition that the person sitting with him would have to sign it as well. That friend turned out to be Tony Fadell, known as the Father of the iPod, who was working at Apple during that time and instrumental in the design and development of the first iPod which later morphed into the iPhone.
The signature on the newspaper is expected to fetch somewhere around $15,000 when it is auctioned off.

The three Steve Jobs auctions will kick off on March 8 and will end on March 15 at RR Auction.

iPhone and Android Duopoly Nears Peak With Estimated 99.9% Market Share Last Year

A record 99.9 percent of smartphones sold worldwide last year were based on either Android or iOS, as all competing platforms have effectively been squeezed out, according to data shared today by research firm Gartner.


Android remains more widely adopted than iOS by a significant margin, with a roughly 86-14 percent split between the respective operating systems last year. Android's dominance is unsurprising given the software is installed on dozens of different smartphone models offered at a range of price points, whereas the iPhone primarily caters to the high-end market.

Android and iOS have been the leading mobile operating systems for many years now, but the duopoly became so dominant last year that Gartner doesn't even break out BlackBerry and Windows Phone individually anymore. Together, the platforms accounted for less than 0.1 percent market share in 2017.


For perspective, Gartner estimates that of the just over 1.5 billion smartphones sold worldwide last year, handsets running BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, and all other platforms made up only 1.5 million of the total.

The writing has long been on the wall for BlackBerry and Windows Phone, which have been ceding market share to Apple and Google for the better part of the last decade. But with Android and iOS finally reaching 99.9 percent market share, it looks like the platforms will be officially dead soon enough.

In the meantime, BlackBerry recently announced it will continue to support its BlackBerry 10 operating system for at least two more years, but it encourages customers to upgrade to its Android-based smartphones manufactured by TCL. BlackBerry World and other legacy services will shut down by the end of 2019.

Back in October, Microsoft likewise announced that it will continue to support Windows 10 Mobile with security updates and bug fixes, but it will no longer develop new features or release any new Windows Phones.

The fall of BlackBerry in particular is remarkable given it was the pioneer of the smartphone industry. Its devices actually continued to grow in popularity for around two years after the iPhone launched in June 2007, at the expense of then-leading Nokia, with a peak market share of around 20 percent in 2009.

It only took a few years until the surging popularity of iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones led iOS and Android to leapfrog BlackBerry and Nokia, and based on today's data, the duopoly is now firmly entrenched.

Apple to Debut New AirPods This Year With Handsfree 'Hey, Siri' Voice Command Feature, 'Water-Resistant' Models Coming in 2019

Apple is reportedly working on several upgrades to its wireless AirPods with a new version of the popular headphones set for release as soon as this year, according to Bloomberg.

Like with its mobile devices -- the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch -- Apple intends to frequently update the AirPods with new hardware features. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on a new version for release as soon as this year with an upgraded wireless chip, the people said. A subsequent model for as early as next year is planned to be water resistant, they added, asking not to be identified discussing private product plans.
The new 2018 AirPods are said to come with an upgraded wireless chip that will let users summon Siri using the "Hey, Siri" voice command without having to physically tap the headphones, similar to the way iPhone and HomePod users invoke the virtual assistant. Currently, summoning Siri through AirPods requires users to double-tap the sides of the earbuds, although responsiveness to touch can occasionally be flaky. The upcoming version of the headphones are known internally as B288, according to today's report.

The idea behind the third iteration of AirPods, said to be coming in 2019, is for the headphones to "survive splashes of water and rain", although they likely won't be designed to be submerged in water, according to Bloomberg's sources. That plan comes despite reports that current-generation AirPods survive being submerged in one foot of water for five minutes, and even come out the other side of a washing and drying cycle functioning as normal. That said, Apple doesn't advertise AirPods as water resistant, and a patent was in fact filed last April for a waterproof AirPods case that can double as an iPhone or Apple Watch charger.

Designed by the same department that produced Apple's HomePod speaker, AirPods were first introduced in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 sans headphone jack, as a wireless solution for users wanting to listen to audio through a headset. Since launch, AirPods have been considered one of Apple's top-performing products, apparently reflected in Apple's severely constrained supplies throughout 2017. Production capacity of AirPods was bumped up in the second half of last year, but Apple has consistently struggled to reach supply/demand balance. Despite tight supply, AirPods were the overall top selling electronic products during last November's Cyber Monday, according to online shopping data provided by Adobe.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple shipped 13 to 14 million AirPods last year, and he expects AirPods to remain one of Apple's most popular accessories through 2018, with shipments likely to double to an estimated 26-28 million units on a year-over-year basis. Separately, analyst Gene Munster has predicted Apple will eventually earn more from AirPods than Apple Watch.

Back in December, Kuo also predicted Apple would release an upgraded version of AirPods in the second half of 2018. Kuo said one internal change on the second-generation AirPods will include a "smaller quartz component," but he didn't provide any further details about new outward-facing features or improvements to expect.

During Apple's iPhone X event in September, Apple revealed that a rumored new version of its AirPods headphones were not in fact the "AirPods 2," but simply a new inductive wireless charging case that users will be able to purchase as a replacement for their current charging cases. The only design change made to the new charging case is the placement of the LED battery indicator light, which has migrated from the inside of the case to the outside on the front. No release date has been given for the wireless charging case, but there's a fair chance it could appear during a March event alongside Apple's AirPower wireless charging pad and new iPads. It's still unclear if Apple will offer a version that also includes the AirPods themselves at the typical $159 price tag.

Apple Shares Behind the Scenes Look at How the Portrait Lighting Feature Was Created

Apple this evening uploaded a new "Portrait Lighting" video to its YouTube channel, which is designed to give a behind the scenes look at how the Portrait Lighting effects on the iPhone X were created.

Take a look behind the iPhone X and discover the process we went through to create Portrait Lighting. Combining timeless lighting principles with advanced machine learning, we created an iPhone that takes studio-quality portraits without the studio.
In the video, Apple explains that it worked with global image makers and some of the world's best photographers to combine timeless lighting principles with machine learning techniques.

The result was the Portrait Lighting feature available in Portrait Mode on the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus. On iPhone X, Portrait Lighting is available for both the front and rear facing cameras thanks to the TrueDepth camera system, while on iPhone 8 Plus, it's available for shots captured with the rear camera.

Apple's Portrait Lighting feature is designed to use sophisticated algorithms to calculate how your facial features interact with light, creating unique lighting effects.

There are several Portrait mode lighting presets, including Natural Light, Studio Light (lights up your face), Contour Light (adds dramatic shadows), Stage Light (spotlights your face against a dark background), and Stage Light Mono (Stage Light, but in black and white).

Apple has also highlighted Portrait Lighting in several past video ads showing off iPhone X features.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)