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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of iOS 10.3 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3 update to developers, one week after seeding the third beta of iOS 10.3 and more than two months after the release of iOS 10.2, the last major update to the iOS 10 operating system.

Registered developers can download the fourth iOS 10.3 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.

ios-10-3-beta
iOS 10.3 is a major update, introducing several new features and changes to the iOS 10 operating system. The biggest new consumer-facing feature is "Find My AirPods," which is designed to help AirPods owners locate a lost earphone. Find My AirPods records the last known location of when an AirPod was connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth and can play a sound on a lost AirPod.

Apple's latest update also introduces a new Apple File System (APFS), installed when an iOS device is updated to iOS 10.3. APFS is optimized for flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption.

Apple plans to introduce some App Store changes in iOS 10.3, allowing developers to respond to customer reviews for the first time. iOS users are also able to label reviews in the App Store as "Helpful" or "Not Helpful," which should help surface the most relevant review content.

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Apple also plans to limit the number of times developers can ask for a review, allow customers to leave app reviews without exiting an app, and provide a "master switch" that will let users turn off all app review request prompts.

Also new in iOS 10.3 is a redesigned app open/close animation, an Apple ID profile in Settings, a better breakdown of iCloud storage usage, warnings about outdated apps that won't work with future versions of iOS, HomeKit support for programmable light switches, improvements to SiriKit (bill paying, bill status, and scheduling future rides), CarPlay interface improvements, iCloud analytics options, and more. For a full rundown of the changes introduced in the first beta, make sure to check out our dedicated "What's New" post.

Update: Apple has now seeded the fourth iOS 10.3 beta to public testers as well.

Related Roundup: iOS 10

Apple Seeds Fourth macOS Sierra 10.12.4 Beta to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to developers, one week after seeding the third macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta and over a month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

The fourth macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta is available for download through the Apple Developer Center or the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store for those who have previously installed a beta.

macos-10-12-4-beta
macOS Sierra 10.12.4 brings iOS's Night Shift mode to the Mac for the first time. First introduced on iOS devices with iOS 9.3, Night Shift is designed to gradually shift the display of a device from blue to yellow, cutting down on exposure to blue light. Blue light is said to disrupt the circadian rhythm and is believed to interrupt sleeping patterns.

Night Shift can be activated through the Displays section of System Preferences, where a setting to have it come on at sunset and turn off at sunrise is available. Night Shift can also be toggled on manually through the Notification Center or via Siri.

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The 10.12.4 update focuses mainly on Night Shift, but also includes dictation support for Shanghainese, cricket scores for Siri, improved PDFKit APIs, and iCloud Analytics options.

Update: Apple has seeded the fourth macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta to public beta testers.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra

10.5-Inch iPad Pro Said to Have 2,224×1,668 Display With Same Pixel Density as 9.7-Inch Model

Apple's rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro will have a higher resolution of 2,224×1,668 pixels, while maintaining the same pixel density as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, according to IHS Markit director of tablets and PCs Rhoda Alexander.


Specifically, she told Forbes that a 10.5-inch iPad Pro at 2,224×1,668 would have 264 PPI, equal to the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro at 2,048×1,536.

The article actually quoted Alexander as saying the 10.5-inch iPad Pro will have a 2,024×1,668 resolution, but she confirmed to MacRumors that this was a typo and that she indeed expects a resolution of 2,224×1,668.

If the 10.5-inch iPad Pro does in fact end up having the same pixel density as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, that would go against another mathematically possible scenario in which the tablet could have the same 2,732×2,048 resolution as the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the same pixel density as the iPad mini 4.

In line with existing rumors, Alexander said the 10.5-inch iPad Pro will have slimmer bezels that allow it to have the same overall footprint as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. She reportedly expects the 10.5-inch iPad Pro to "arrive in the March-April timeframe," which lines up with Apple's rumored March event.

Japanese blog Mac Otakara said Apple will release four new iPad Pro models at a March event. The report said the 10.5-inch model may not ship until May, while new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, and 12.9-inch models are said to ship in March. DigiTimes likewise said the 10.5-inch iPad Pro may not come until May-June.

Alexander also said Apple's rumored low-cost 9.7-inch iPad Pro could start at $299, which would be $100 cheaper than the iPad Air 2. It could supplant the iPad mini 4, which Alexander said may not be updated. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the low-cost model could have an older A9X chip.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: IHS
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution)

AT&T Announces New Unlimited Data Plan With 10GB of Tethering and $25 Off DirecTV

AT&T launched a new unlimited data plan less than two weeks ago, but with more competitive options available from Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, it went back to the drawing board and came up with something better.


Starting Thursday, new and existing AT&T customers can choose from two new plans: Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Choice.

Unlimited Plus starts at $90 per month for a single line and includes unlimited talk, text, and data at up to 4G LTE speeds. Video can be streamed in HD quality, but Stream Saver mode, which reduces streaming video to around 480p quality, is enabled by default and must be turned off through myAT&T.

AT&T Unlimited Plus includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE tethering per line per month, with speeds reduced to a max 128 Kbps for the rest of the bill cycle for eligible devices once the high-speed allotment is exceeded.

Two smartphone lines starts at $145 per month, while up to eight additional devices, such as tablets and hotspots, can be added for $20 per month each. The pricing includes monthly access charges, but it is not inclusive of taxes or additional fees. AutoPay and paperless billing are required.

For a limited time, AT&T Unlimited Plus customers can receive a $25 bill credit towards DirecTV, DirecTV NOW, or AT&T U-verse each month. The bill credits begin in 2-3 billing periods. The total monthly cost for AT&T Unlimited Plus with DirecTV NOW, for example, would start at $100 per month after discounts.

Meanwhile, AT&T Unlimited Choice starts at $60 per month for a single line, and includes unlimited talk, text, and data at up to 3 Mpbs speeds, but with no tethering included. Video streams at a max of 1.5 Mbps, aka about 480p. No discount is offered for bundling DirecTV, DirecTV NOW, or U-verse.

Two smartphone lines starts at $115 per month, while up to eight additional devices, such as tablets and hotspots, can be added for $20 per month each. The pricing includes monthly access charges, but it is not inclusive of taxes or additional fees. AutoPay and paperless billing are required.

For both plans, each line that exceeds 22GB of data usage may experience reduced speeds on that line for the remainder of the billing cycle, but only at times and in areas where there is network congestion, which is similar to 22GB, 23GB, and 28GB soft cap policies from Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile respectively.

Additionally, AT&T said both plans allow individuals and businesses to make unlimited calls from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico, and send unlimited texts to over 120 countries. AT&T customers on these plans can also use their plan to talk, text, and use data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming charges.

Video references AT&T's earlier unlimited data plan

AT&T's earlier unlimited data plan started at $100 per month and did not include any tethering, so its new plans offer better value. Meanwhile, Verizon Unlimited starts at $80 per month, Sprint Unlimited starts at $50 per month for a limited time, and T-Mobile ONE starts at $70 per month, inclusive of taxes and fees.

MWC 2017: Huawei and LG Unveil New Phones and Smartwatches

The Mobile World Congress 2017 officially opened today in Barcelona, where some of the biggest names in mobile technology gather annually to show off their latest products. With Apple skipping MWC as in previous years and Samsung choosing to delay the announcement of its next flagship phone, this year's event offers a better opportunity for their smaller rivals to hog the limelight.

LG G6

Kicking things off at MWC on Sunday, LG announced the G6, its latest flagship smartphone and the successor to the G5. Dominating the front of the new phone is a 5.7-inch LCD display sporting a resolution of 2880x1440 and an 18:9 aspect ratio – making the screen length double the size of its width – with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 HDR videos.


The unusual screen ratio allows the G6 to display two 1:1 square photos side by side, something LG was eager to promote as a particular benefit for Instagram users. With the phone's bezels taking up minimal space on the front, the power button and fingerprint sensor sit on the back of the phone below the camera, while a virtual home button is located on the main display.

LG also made much of the resilience of the G6 compared to previous phones. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, while the back is encased in Gorilla Glass 5. Elsewhere, the rear dual-lens camera boasts Gorilla Glass 4. The device is also IP68-certified waterproof.

Other specifications of the LG G6 include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, 4GB RAM and a 3300 mAh battery. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and a 100-degree field of view, while the dual cameras at the back pack 13 megapixels each. No announcement was made regarding pricing or the release date of the handset. 

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Tags: LG, Huawei, MWC 2017

Apple Says Third-Party iPhone Screen Repairs No Longer Fully Void Your Warranty

iPhones that have undergone any third-party screen repair now qualify for warranty coverage, as long as the issue being fixed does not relate to the display itself, according to an internal memo distributed by Apple today. MacRumors confirmed the memo's authenticity with multiple sources.


Previously, an iPhone with a third-party display was not eligible for any authorized repairs under warranty.

When a customer with an iPhone that has a third-party display seeks a repair for a non-display issue, Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers have been advised to inspect the device for any fraud or tampering, and then swap out the device or replace the broken part based on Apple's in-warranty pricing.

iPhones with third-party displays must still be within their warranty coverage period, whether it be Apple's standard 1-year manufacturer's warranty or extended AppleCare coverage, in order for warranty service to be honored.

If the iPhone is out of warranty, or the repair involves a display-related issue, customers will be offered the option to pay Apple's flat rate out-of-warranty pricing. If a customer declines this out-of-warranty pricing, then Apple Authorized Service Providers are instructed to decline service altogether.

If the presence of any third-party part causes the repair to be unsuccessful or breaks the iPhone, Apple said customers will be required to pay the out-of-warranty cost to replace the third-party part, or the entire device if necessary, in order to resolve the issue that the iPhone was initially brought in for.

If a customer wants to pay for an Apple genuine display to replace their third-party display, Apple Authorized Service Providers have been instructed to quote the typical out-of-warranty price for a new display. Apple said AppleCare+ will not cover third-party display or battery repairs.

Apple Authorized Service Providers are still instructed to decline service for any iPhone with a functional failure related to a third-party aluminum enclosure, logic board, battery, Lightning connector, headphone jack, volume buttons, mute switch, sleep/wake button, and certain microphones.

MacRumors has confirmed that the policy applies to repairs in the United States and Canada, while other regions are likely included.

Tags: warranty, AASP

Apple Extended its MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program

If you purchased a 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro with Retina display and have experienced issues with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating, Apple may repair the notebook free of charge.


Apple will replace Retina displays on eligible models purchased as far back as June 2012 until October 16, 2017, or within three years of the original date of purchase, whichever is longer. The program was extended to provide affected customers with a longer window of time to get their notebook serviced.

The program has not been publicly announced, but Apple confirmed to MacRumors that repairs continue to be handled internally through AppleCare. Apple does not plan to announce the program publicly at this time, unlike its iPhone 6s battery replacement program and over a dozen others listed on its website.

We recommend affected customers schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store or contact Apple support by phone, online chat, or email. Click on "get help" on this page, and then select Mac > Mac notebooks > Hardware Issues > Display Issue and support options should be presented to you.

Apple's support website will ask for your Mac's serial number, which can be found by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and clicking on About This Mac in the dropdown menu.

Affected customers can also visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their notebook is eligible for coverage. If you have already incurred out-of-warranty costs related to this issue, you may be eligible for a refund, which can be initiated by contacting Apple support directly.

MacRumors revealed the repair program's existence in October 2015 following over two years of online complaints from thousands of customers within our discussion forums, on the Apple Support Communities, and elsewhere.

A website called Staingate contains a gallery of MacBook Pro models with seemingly damaged anti-reflective coating, revealing that the blemishes can extend across the entire screen in extreme cases. Meanwhile, a Facebook group related to the issue has nearly 9,000 members and continues to see regular activity.

Steve Jobs Would Have Been 62 Today While MacRumors Turns 17

Steve Jobs, born on February 24, 1955, would have celebrated his 62nd birthday today. The late Apple co-founder, who passed away on October 5, 2011 following a lengthy battle with cancer, is remembered not only as a visionary and marketing genius, but also as a friend, father, and husband.


Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, introduced three of Apple's most iconic products in its history: the Macintosh in 1984, and after a twelve-year absence from the company, the iPod in 2001 and iPhone in 2007. His iconic career had its fair share of highs and lows.

In 1985, following a power struggle with then-CEO John Sculley, Jobs resigned from Apple. He went on to found NeXT later that year, and while its hardware business was largely unsuccessful, Apple acquired the company in 1997 to use its NeXTSTEP operating system as the foundation of Mac OS X.

Jobs would become Apple CEO again later that year and guide it from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s to become the world's most valuable company just two months prior to his death. His legacy lives on at Apple, which recently said the theater on its new Apple Park campus will be named after him.

Apple CEO Tim Cook:
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved the most energy-efficient building of its kind in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
Coincidentally, today also marks the 17th anniversary of MacRumors.com, founded by Arnold Kim on February 24, 2000 during his fourth year of medical school. Kim stopped practicing medicine in 2008 to focus on this website full time, and the community now reaches millions of Apple fans around the world.

As always, we express our gratitude to our readers, forum members, contributors, volunteers, sponsors, and all those who allow us to continue sharing the latest Apple news and rumors.

10.5-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPads May Not Ship Until May or June

The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads that Apple is expected to debut at a March event aren't expected to ship until May or June, supply chain sources tell DigiTimes. An entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, however, is expected to ship within close proximity of the March event.


In January, DigiTimes reported that the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads were expected to enter mass production in the Q2 of 2017 while the 9.7-inch iPad would enter mass production in Q1 2017. The potential release dates partly line up with a recent report from Mac Otakara, which said the 10.5-inch iPad may not be ready to ship until May. However, that report said the three other iPad models rumored to debut at the March event, new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, are expected to ship in March.

12.9-inch iPad shipments have been drying up around the world in recent weeks, slipping to shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. While increasing shipping times are a sign of an impending refresh, in this case it seems to be a supply issue.

During Apple's latest earning call, CEO Tim Cook said that the company underestimated iPad demand in the past quarter and had an issue with one of its suppliers. Cook said the issue would probably not be resolved this quarter, likely leading to shriveling 12.9-inch iPad stock. Similarly, the supply issue could keep the refreshed 12.9-inch iPad from shipping before May.

The new 10.5-inch model is expected to be the flagship model in Apple's new iPad lineup, sporting an edge-to-edge display on the same footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad. Alongside new iPads at a March event, Apple is also expected to debut a 128 GB iPhone SE and red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus color variations.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: digitimes.com
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution)

Apple Says iOS 10.2.1 Update Has Significantly Reduced Unexpected iPhone 6 and 6s Shutdowns [Updated]

For the last several months, iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus users have been dealing with a problem that causes their devices to unexpectedly shut down, an issue that Apple now says it has successfully addressed in the latest iOS 10.2.1 update, released to the public on January 23.

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple says that the iOS 10.2.1 update has resulted in an 80 percent reduction of unexpected shutdowns on the iPhone 6s and a 70 percent reduction of unexpected shutdowns on the iPhone 6.

With iOS 10.2.1, Apple made improvements to reduce occurrences of unexpected shutdowns that a small number of users were experiencing with their iPhone. iOS 10.2.1 already has over 50% of active iOS devices upgraded and the diagnostic data we've received from upgraders shows that for this small percentage of users experiencing the issue, we're seeing a more than 80% reduction in iPhone 6s and over 70% reduction on iPhone 6 of devices unexpectedly shutting down.

We also added the ability for the phone to restart without needing to connect to power, if a user still encounters an unexpected shutdown. It is important to note that these unexpected shutdowns are not a safety issue, but we understand it can be an inconvenience and wanted to fix the issue as quickly as possible. If a customer has any issues with their device they can contact AppleCare.
According to Apple, the shutdown issue that is solved by the iOS 10.2.1 update is separate from the problem that caused it to recall a select number of iPhone 6s devices. In that case, Apple said some batteries had been overexposed to "controlled ambient air" during the manufacturing process, resulting in the need for a physical battery replacement.

That there are multiple issues causing iPhone shutdowns explains why many iPhone 6 users also complained of problems after the iPhone 6s recall, and why the iPhone 6s issue seemed more widespread than Apple suggested in the recall program. There were even rumors that Apple was planning an iPhone 6 battery exchange program, something Apple quickly refuted.

The shutdowns solved by iOS 10.2.1 are reportedly caused by uneven power delivery from older batteries, which can trigger an emergency shutdown on an iPhone. Apple has tweaked its power management system to reduce shutdowns, but some users may occasionally still have problems, so Apple has also created a way to auto-restart without needing to connect to power. The auto-restart feature is available on the iPhone 6 and 6s in iOS 10.2.1 and will be added to the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus in iOS 10.3.

A new battery info screen will also be added to iOS 10.2.1 in the next few days, letting customers who need to replace their battery know that it's not functioning as expected. The warning, which will be in the Battery section of the Settings app, will only be displayed to customers who need new batteries.

When iOS 10.2.1 was released, Apple did not include a mention of a fix for the iPhone 6 and 6s in its release notes, giving it time to quietly collect data on the shutdown issue before making an official announcement. Customers who are experiencing shutdowns on their iPhone 6 or 6s devices should upgrade to iOS 10.2.1 if they have not done so already.

Update: Apple has posted a support document outlining the new battery notice that's available in the Settings app. It will only show up if a battery needs servicing.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iOS 10
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Neutral)

Harman Could Bring Wireless CarPlay to Audi, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, and Other Automakers

Harman today announced that it has achieved the first-ever implementation of wireless CarPlay in vehicles. It said its infotainment system is currently being deployed for a luxury German automaker, which more than likely refers to BMW, the only automaker that currently supports wireless CarPlay as a built-in feature.


A number of BMW models have supported wireless CarPlay since late last year, and Harman's announcement comes just as the 2017 BMW 5 Series with wireless CarPlay hits the streets in the United States.

Harman did not disclose plans to roll out wireless CarPlay to other automakers, but it has business relationships with several vehicle manufacturers, including Volkswagen Group, Daimler, and FCA, so it is plausible that wireless CarPlay could expand to brands such as Audi, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep in the future.

Harman provided the following statement to MacRumors:
HARMAN is the renowned Tier 1 supplier of infotainment systems to global automakers. Our customers include Audi/VW, Daimler, BMW, Chrysler/FCA, and many others. HARMAN has pioneered the introduction of many Apple features in the past into car – iPod out, CarPlay, etc – as well as other "smart apps" such as Android Auto and Baidu CarLife, for automakers across the world.
Volkswagen actually wanted to demonstrate wireless CarPlay at CES 2016, but it said Apple blocked them from doing so for undisclosed reasons.

Due to confidentiality agreements, it is likely we will have to wait for each of these automakers to announce wireless CarPlay individually, but Harman and BMW have proven that it can be accomplished.

Apple introduced wireless CarPlay support in iOS 9, but the majority of current systems require connecting an iPhone to the vehicle with a Lightning to USB cable. Harman's system is the first to enable wireless implementation, with the iPhone connecting via Bluetooth and data transferring via Wi-Fi.

Last month, Alpine introduced the first aftermarket system with wireless CarPlay for do-it-yourself installations. The iLX-107 features a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with LED backlighting, and it begins shipping this month for a suggested price of $900. Some resellers may offer it for cheaper as seen with other Alpine receivers.

CarPlay is available in over 200 vehicle models around the world, enabling drivers to make and receive calls, access text messages, play music, get directions, check traffic conditions, and more with Siri voice commands and on-screen controls. CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or newer.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: HARMAN

iPhone 8 With Longer Battery Life Said to Entice Those With Older iPhones to Upgrade

Apple's rumored iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display will have longer battery life, which will drive customers with older iPhone models to upgrade at an accelerated rate, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.

Huberty also expects the high-end iPhone to have a significant form factor change with wireless charging, 3D sensors, and more advanced AI software capabilities, which are all features that have been previously rumored.

An excerpt from Huberty's research note obtained by MacRumors:
In addition to more modest updates to current iPhone SKUs, we expect Apple to launch a higher priced device with AMOLED display that allows for a curved form factor and longer battery life, wireless charging technology, 3D sensors, and more advanced AI software capabilities. While we see accelerated upgrades for Apple's highest end users in all regions, our work suggests China users are especially sensitive to new technology and form factor changes.
Her research note said a larger base of customers that own at least a two year old iPhone, particularly in China, has resulted in "pent-up demand" for the significantly redesigned "iPhone 8," and this "supercycle" will help drive sales growth alongside modestly updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models. Morgan Stanley raised its Apple stock price target to $154 accordingly.


KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the "iPhone 8" will have a stacked logic board design that provides room for a larger 2,700 mAh L-shaped battery. As such, while the "iPhone 8" is expected to have a 4.7-inch form factor, Kuo said it will have comparable battery life to a 5.5-inch Plus model. For comparison, iPhone 7 has a 1,960 mAh battery and iPhone 7 Plus has a 2,900 mAh battery.