Apple's education team today debuted 30 activities for kids and families to do as part of an ongoing effort to support at-home learning while many schoolchildren are completing classes remotely.
Some of the activities include capturing a time-lapse video, going on a photo walk, recording a news interview, personalizing a portrait, seeing color in slo-mo video, and emojifying a mood. The PDF features a different activity for each number, each of which can be clicked for an activity description. For the photo walk activity, for example:
Pick a color or letter of the day and take photos around the house and yard of things that are that color or start with that letter. Then put them together in a collage or video. Try to make a rainbow or complete the alphabet!
Get started: Add the photos of each color or letter to a slide in the Keynote app. Or add each photo to Clips and record your voice saying the colors or letters.
According to Apple, these activities are aimed at children from pre-kindergarten to second grade, but can be tailored to suit the whole family.
Apple has also been supporting at-home education with a series of remote learning videos that are designed to help schools and educators use the built-in features of their devices to enable remote learning.
Apple today introduced new features for its COVID-19 screening app, which is designed to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.The 2.0 version of the app adds a feature for selecting a state of residence to see specific guidance information from that state's health department, and it provides tips for keeping physically and mentally healthy.
Apple has also updated its accompanying COVID-19 website to provide the same information to users.
With the new state feature, users can choose their state to be directed to coronavirus guidelines offered by the state health department, and available information and guidelines will vary by location. In California, for example, Apple directs users to covid19.ca.gov, a website that provides dos and don'ts, symptoms to watch out for, emotional health resources, information about financial help, and more.
The update adds many self-care tips to both the app and website, such as staying hydrated, exercising for 30 minutes a day, getting adequate sleep, taking breaks for fun and relaxing activities, stimulating the brain through books, puzzles, or painting, talking to people, and journaling.
It provides shopping tips like purchasing two weeks of groceries at a time, stocking up on long-lasting foods, buying extra household items, and taking precautions such as wearing gloves and wiping down shopping carts.
Apple's site and app also offer tips on working from home, creating a household emergency plan, and what to do if you get sick.
Apple designed its COVID-19 app and website in partnership with the CDC, White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA. Along with the features introduced today, the tools provided by Apple let users answer a series of questions on risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms to receive CDC recommendations on the next steps that they need to take.
The screening tool is available to anyone who is 18 years or older in the United States. Data provided in the COVID-19 app and on the website is not shared with Apple, the CDC, or other government agencies.
Apple is developing a new feature that would allow users to interact with select content and experiences in third-party apps without needing to have the apps installed, according to an early build of iOS 14 obtained by 9to5Mac.
The report claims a new API referred to as "Clips" in iOS 14 code would enable users to scan a QR code linked to an app and then interact with content from that app via a floating card on the screen. The card would display options to download the full version of the app from the App Store or to open the content in the app if it is already installed.
Android has a similar feature named "Slices":
Slices are UI templates that can display rich, dynamic, and interactive content from your app from within the Google Search app and later in other places like the Google Assistant. Slices can help users perform tasks faster by enabling engagement outside of the fullscreen app experience.
Apple is said to be testing the new feature with OpenTable, Yelp, DoorDash, YouTube, and Sony's PS4 Second Screen app.
LG today announced pricing and availability for its 2020 NanoCell TVs with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support in the United States.
The first 4K models are rolling out now, with pricing starting at $599 for a 55-inch model. The entire 4K lineup will be released by September, including up to an 86-inch model for $3,299. 8K models will also be rolling out in May and June, including 65-inch and 75-inch models for $3,499 and $4,999 respectively.
AirPlay 2 will enable users to stream videos, music, podcasts, and more directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to a compatible LG smart TV, with no Apple TV necessary. And with HomeKit support, users can easily control the TV's power, volume, source, and more using Siri or the Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
LG's 2020 NanoCell TVs also include the Apple TV app, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Disney+, Netflix, LG Channels, and Movies Anywhere, complete with Dolby Vision or HDR10 video and Dolby Atmos sound where available.
Last week, in a support document, LG indicated that it would roll out AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to some of its 2018 smart TVs by October 2020. However, since our report, LG has removed all mentions of this.
Woot is back with a new refurbished iPhone sale today, this time on the newest iPhone 11 models. You can get an unlocked iPhone 11 starting at $599.99 for 64GB, down from $699.00; the 128GB model is $649.99, down from $749.00.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $899.99 for 64GB, down from $999.00, while the 256GB model is $999.99, down from $1,149.00. Only about two colors remain for each of the models of the iPhone 11 Pro, and the 512GB model is sold out at the time of writing.
Last is the iPhone 11 Pro Max at $989.99 for 64GB, down from $1,099.00. You can upgrade to 256GB for $1,099.99, down from $1,249.00; or to 512GB for $1,199.99, down from $1,449.00.
All of the iPhone 11 models on sale today at Woot are fully unlocked and in refurbished condition. For smartphones, Woot says that these devices represent "buyer's remorse" returns and troubled iPhones that have been returned to fully function condition. Each device comes with a 90 day limited warranty from Woot, and Amazon Prime members get free shipping.
Stanford University and Apple have partnered on a new iPhone app that provides police officers, firefighters, and paramedics in the Bay Area with up-to-date information and safety practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as noted by CNBC.
The app includes a screening questionnaire to help first responders determine if they should be tested for the coronavirus, based on their symptoms, medical history, and exposure. If the app recommends testing, the first responder can schedule a high-priority appointment for drive-through testing at seven Stanford Health Care locations.
The app, which uses Apple's ResearchKit and CareKit frameworks, also includes up-to-date information about COVID-19 from Stanford experts, including a list of frequently-asked questions, a guide with best practices to stay protected, and weekly videos with the latest information on the pandemic and its implications.
In the future, Stanford hopes to expand high-priority testing to frontline essential service workers, such as grocery store clerks and public service personnel.
The new First Responder COVID-19 Guide app is available on the App Store.
From today, iPhone users across China can set up their T-Union cards for Express Transit, Apple's contactless transit payment system. The new support is a result of a partnership between Apple and China T-Union, a contactless transit card currently used in 275 Chinese cities.
Express Transit is an Apple Pay feature that allows users to pay fares with a swipe of their iPhone or Apple Watch at the turnstile without having to unlock their device first with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.
Express Transit was already in use in Beijing and Shanghai thanks to integration with local transit cards, but the new partnership between Apple and China T-Union essentially extends Express Transit nationwide.
Apple has a web page that it updates with the countries and regions that support the feature. Other places currently include London with Transport for London (TfL), New York City with Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) terminals, and Japan with all forms of transit that accept Suica.
Apple CEO Tim Cook will hold a company-wide virtual meeting later this month for employees to ask questions about working-from-home arrangements that have been put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple sent a note to staff on Wednesday advising them of the plan.
It asked that questions be submitted by end of day on Saturday and also encouraged workers to share their experiences of working through the disruption to daily life that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about. The specific date of the meeting has not yet been disclosed.
Apple last week informed employees that its retail stores in the United States will remain closed until early May, and Apple employees will continue to work from home until then.
In Santa Clara County, where Apple Park, Infinite Loop, and many other corporate offices and retail stores are located, there is a shelter in place order that will remain in effect until May 3.
The order prevents all nonessential businesses from being open and requires employees to work from home. Apple's corporate offices will not be able to reopen until that order is lifted.
Apple continues to review its flexible work arrangements in light of the latest guidance from local governments and public health experts.
In an earlier memo to employees, Apple said it was particularly focused on ensuring parents have the flexibility to adjust their schedules as necessary, with many children no longer able to attend school.
Five months after launching, and with millions of people stuck at home, Disney's streaming service Disney+ now has 50 million subscribers, reports Deadline.
Disney+ in early February had 28.6 million subscribers, which means the streaming service has grown by 21.4 million subscribers in the last two months. Much of the boost can be attributed to recent launches of the service in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Switzerland, and India.
50 million subscribers is ahead of Disney's own figures. When unveiling the service, Disney estimated that it would garner 60 to 90 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2024, and if growth keeps up, Disney will hit that goal this year.
Apple has not released subscriber numbers, which means there's no direct comparison to Disney+. Since September, Apple has been providing a free year of service to everyone who purchases a new Apple device, so it will take over a year until Apple has large numbers of paying subscribers.
At launch, Disney+ ran promotions for discounted service for multiple years, marking the service down to the equivalent of $3.99, and has provided free Disney+ access to Verizon subscribers. Wit the exception of free trial members and Verizon users, customers with access to Disney+ are paying for it, unlike most Apple TV+ subscribers at this time.
Disney+ has a significant edge over Apple TV+ because Disney+ has an established catalog of content along with many popular Star Wars and Marvel franchises. "The Mandalorian," the key show Disney+ premiered with, received more attention than any of Apple TV+'s launch shows, including "The Morning Show," "Dickinson," "See," and "For All Mankind."
Apple could catch up in the future given its huge subscriber base and the large number of people who own an Apple device, but it will be quite some time before Apple can match Disney's content offerings.
Foxconn and other factories in China have implemented stringent measures to prevent the another viral outbreak in the country, according to an overview of the practices shared today by The Washington Post.
Apple iPhone supplier Foxconn, for example, has organized workers into teams of 20 who stick together day and night for health tracking purposes. "The same group of employees work, travel, live, and eat together to ensure that employees' personal trajectories are fully traced," reads a notice from the Zhengzhou government where Foxconn is located.
A Foxconn employee told The Washington Post that workers are provided with a face mask and have their temperatures checked regularly, plus there are infrared cameras to check people for fevers as they walk by. Foxconn said that it is also using nucleic acid tests and chest x-rays when required, and it has produced 10 million surgical masks for employees.
At lunchtime, Foxconn workers eat at cafeteria tables separated from one another by tall dividers. Cafeteria seats even have QR codes that workers can scan so Foxconn has a record of who sat where and when for meals. In the dormitories where they sleep, employees leave their coats and bags in a designated spot for disinfection.
Foxconn and other Apple factories were shut down for much of February due to the outbreak, which has now largely resolved in China. China is mandating that employers check temperatures and provide face masks to employees, as well as submitting daily reports on workers' health statuses. Many businesses in the United States may need to take similar steps when stay at home orders around the country begin lifting.
Other companies in China have implemented similar measures, including preventing employees from leaving factories and going home in some cases, with additional details available in The Washington Post's full report.
Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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.
The Unicode Consortium today announced that it is delaying version 14 of the Unicode Standard by six months due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, and the delay will affect emoji that were scheduled to be included as part of the update.
"Under the current circumstances we've heard that our contributors have a lot on their plates at the moment and decided it was in the best interests of our volunteers and the organizations that depend on the standard to push out our release date," said Mark Davis, President of the Consortium. "This year we simply can't commit to the same schedule we've adhered to in the past."
The delay will not impact the Unicode 13 update that includes the Emoji 13 characters that were announced earlier this year. There are 62 new emoji coming in Unicode 13, such as smiling face with tear, polar bear, seal, bubble tea, pickup truck, fondue, teapot, magic wand, beetle, and piñata.
Unicode 13 characters are expected to be adopted by Apple starting this fall, perhaps in an update to iOS 14. It typically takes Apple several months to design new artwork for emoji characters that are approved with each new iteration.
The Unicode Consortium is also considering whether it is feasible to release new emoji sequences in a smaller Emoji 13.1 release as these emoji use combinations of existing emoji and can be implemented on a separate schedule.
The Consortium is considering whether it is feasible to release emoji sequences in an Emoji 13.1 release. These sequences make use of existing characters. An example from Emoji 13.0 is the black cat, which is internally a combination of the cat emoji and black large square emoji. Since sequences rely only on combinations of existing characters in the Unicode Standard, they can be implemented on a separate schedule, and don't require a new version of Unicode or the encoding of new characters. Such an Emoji 13.1 release would be in time for release on mobile phones in 2021.
The Unicode 14 delay means that emoji characters we might have expected Apple to adopt in the fall of 2021 will be pushed back for six months. Because of the delay, the Unicode Consortium is accepting new emoji character proposals for the Emoji 14 update until September 2020.
After Emoji 13 characters are implemented this fall, there will be no new additional emoji on the iPhone until 2022.
Apple today released a supplemental update to macOS Catalina 10.15.4, two weeks after releasing the macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update with Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music lyrics.
The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app.
The new software introduces a fix that caused Mac computers running macOS Catalina 10.15.4 to be unable to participate in FaceTime calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier.
Apple says it also addresses an issue with Office 365 accounts, fixes a bug that could cause a USB-C port to become unresponsive, and addresses a problem that caused the 2020 MacBook Air to hang during Setup Assistant or when connecting or disconnecting a 4K or 5K display. Full release notes for the update are below:
macOS Catalina 10.15.4 supplemental update improves the stability and security of your Mac.
- Fixes an issue where Mac computers running macOS Catalina 10.15.4 could not participate in FaceTime calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier
- Resolves an issue where you may repeatedly receive a password prompt for an Office 365 account
- Fixes an issue where MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020) may hang in Setup Assistant or when disconnecting and reconnecting a 4K or 5K external display
- Resolves an issue where a USB-C port in your Mac may become unresponsive
macOS Catalina 10.15.4 could be one of the last updates to the macOS Catalina operating system as Apple transitions to working on macOS 10.16, which is unnamed as of yet.
If you're stuck at home and are looking for things to do, our latest YouTube video has some suggestions for various apps and games that we've found fun during our quarantine period. We're highlighting podcast apps, a few games, and a couple other options that will hopefully help keep you or your family members entertained this week. Some of these are iPhone and iPad, while some are iPad only.
- Quibi ($4.99/Month)- Quibi, which stands for "quick bites," is a new streaming video app that just came out this week. It's a service that promises to offer high quality content that's 10 minutes or less, with new episodes and new shows coming out on a daily basis. Quibi is iPhone only, and you can try it out free for 90 days before being charged $4.99 per month with ads, or $7.99 per month without ads.
- Google Podcasts (Free) - Google just recently brought its Podcasts app to the iPhone, and if you're not a fan of Apple's Podcasts app, this might be a useful alternative. It has a great layout and Google's design aesthetics, making it easy to browse through content and find something to listen to. Episodes are sent to your device every day with auto-download and notification options.
- Listen App (Free) - If you're not a fan of Google Podcasts, you can also check out Listen App, which has some unique features such as an option to leave text and audio comments on podcast episodes, creating more of a community around podcasts. This is a new feature so there aren't a ton of comments, yet, but it has the potential to be a neat addition.
- Roundguard - Roundguard is an Apple Arcade game, and Apple Arcade is a pretty great solution if you're looking for games to play. It's $4.99 per month and gives you access to more than 100 games. Roundguard is a lot like Peggle, and the gameplay consists of hurling your warrior (or mage) down into pegs made up of monsters, potion bottles, and more, with the hopes that luck is in your favor and you come out victorious.
- Too Many Cooks (Free) - This is a fast-paced non-Apple Arcade game where the idea is to prepare sushi, pizzas, burgers, and more, delivering food to customers within an allotted time. This is a pretty well-known game type, but it's always fun. Gameplay gets progressively harder as more and more ingredients are introduced, and you can play by yourself or with a friend. This is a free game, but gameplay can be limited and there are in-app purchases for gems.
- Pigment (Subscription) - If you have an iPad and an Apple Pencil, coloring apps like Pigment can be a fun way to de-stress and do something mindless but calming while watching television. Pigment is one of the best apps on the market with lots of brushes, tools, and colors to work with, but it's going to cost $9.99 per month so you need to REALLY like coloring to subscribe. You can also pay $4.99 per week or $60 per year, which drops the price down a bit for those who are big fans of coloring and find it soothing.
- Chroma (Free, in-app purchases) - Chroma is another coloring app that also has in-app purchases, but it has more free options to use before you need to shell out money. The coloring experience isn't quite as refined as Pigment, but it's one of the better options. You can import pages from online and use Chroma's selection of brushes and tools, and it's a fun activity to do with kids.
Have other great games and entertaining apps you're using while at home? Let us know in the comments, and we may do a followup video with reader suggestions.
Apple today released watchOS 6.2.1, the seventh update to the watchOS 6 operating system that's designed to run on modern Apple Watch models. watchOS 6.2.1 comes two weeks after the release of watchOS 6.2, which brought a in-app purchases to the watchOS App Store.
watchOS 6.2.1 can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it needs to be placed on a charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone.
According to Apple's release notes, watchOS 6.2.1 fixes the FaceTime bug that prevented Apple Watches running watchOS 6.2 from participating in FaceTime audio calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier.
Apple yesterday released iOS 13.4.1 to fix the same bug, which prevented audio and video FaceTime calls with devices running earlier versions of iOS.
watchOS 6.2.1 may be one of the last updates to the watchOS 6 operating system as Apple transitions to working on watchOS 7, which will be previewed this June before launching in the fall.
The iPhone continues to be the most popular smartphone among U.S. teens, a title that it has held for many years, according to new data gathered by investment firm Piper Sandler for its most recent semiannual teen survey in the United States.
85 percent of teens surveyed own an iPhone, and 88 percent expect an iPhone to be their next phone, both of which are new all-time survey highs, but it's worth keeping in mind that most of these respondents are from higher-income families. Last year, 83 percent of teens surveyed owned an iPhone, and 86 percent planned to purchase.
8 percent of teens said they planned to purchase an Android, down from 10 percent in the year-ago survey.
Teen interest in the iPhone has been strong since the beginning of these surveys, but has grown steadily every year. In 2020, Apple is expected to release 5G iPhones and a new, more affordable iPhone SE option, which could cause teen iPhone adoption numbers to grow even further.
This year's survey also took a look at the AirPods. 52 percent of teens said that they own a set of AirPods, and of those that don't own AirPods, 18 percent plan to purchase them within a year.
Teen customers are important to Apple as brand loyalty will inspire them to continue purchasing products in the Apple ecosystem for years to come.
Piper Sandler's "Taking Stock With Teens" survey asked 5,200 teenagers with an average age of 16.2 and a median household income of $65,600 about their purchasing habits and brand preferences. Piper Jaffray merged with Sandler O'Neill earlier this year, hence the new name, but this survey as been ongoing since 2001.
Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced four years ago in March 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.
Safari Technology Preview release 104 includes extensive bug fixes and performance improvements for Web Inspector, Web API, CSS, Web Animations, Intersection Observer, Media, WebRTC, WebAuthn, and Safari Extensions.
The new Safari Technology Preview update is available for both macOS Mojave and macOS Catalina, the newest version of the Mac operating system that was released in October 2019.
The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.
Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.
Customers who require a replacement AirPod from Apple have in some cases been receiving an AirPod running 2D3 firmware, which is not a version of the AirPods firmware that's been publicly released.
As described on the MacRumors forum and Reddit (via iMore), customers who get an AirPod with the 2D3 firmware are unable to pair it with the existing unreplaced AirPod, leaving the AirPods unable to be used together.
Apple has apparently been shipping these AirPods running the unusable firmware since March 25 or earlier, so some customers have been without a functional set of AirPods for a few weeks. From Reddit:
Having the same problem. Had the left replaced originally and that came with 2D3. Apple then replaced the right and that came with 1A673. I could get them to pair individually, but that's ridiculous.
I eventually got through to a senior advisor yesterday who used screen sharing to take a look for himself; he was totally confused and handled it great so far. He made himself the assignee for my case and I'm expecting a call back today after he left me with some tips from engineering. Those tips didn't work and now it appears both AirPods are fried. I can no longer get any AirPod to pair with my phone. The case is fine since I can pair my wife's AirPods with my phone using my case.
The advisor did admit that I'd never be able to get these to pair since the lesser versioned AirPod wouldn't be able to update to a non-public version. He even said there's little documentation on it, and that what likely happened is when it was made, 2D3 was about to be released but ended up not coming out because of bugs.
Apple's support staff has been unable to help customers, and even after multiple AirPods shipments, customers have been unable to get a working set. From MacRumors reader blue_marzipan:
I have the same problem and have spent the last 2 days trying to get Apple to help. The issue is the firmware 2D3 is not available for update yet. I finally got to a Senior Adviser and he said he could not help me other than send me another set but could not check the firmware before shipping so may or may not match. They have sent me 2 left ones, both with the 2D3 firmware which of course won't sync with the other one and cannot be updated. The adviser wasn't helpful at all. He said if many people report the problem (in my case it took 48hrs to get to him), then engineers might look at it. Otherwise there was nothing he could do for me.
And from MacRumors reader SorsCode, who is experiencing the same problem:
Update: Not a good one, but an update. I'm on my 4th replacement on the right Airpod now and still haven't been able to get one with 2D3 on it. They have sent me both Left and Rights at the same time. All my lefts have been 2D3 and my rights have been all over the place. Escalating tonight to see if we can just stop the madness and get a refurbished set sent.
According to a person on Reddit who spent 10 hours talking to Apple's support staff over the course of a week, the 2D3 AirPod problem appears to be somewhat widespread, and given that Apple's teams are working from home right now, there's no available word on when the new 2D3 firmware might be released to solve the problem.
There will be no solution until the new firmware is released, but in some cases, Apple's support team has been replacing affected replacement AirPods with new, functional sets that are running older firmware. This doesn't appear to be universal, though, and there are still some who are struggling to work out the problem.
This appears to be an issue that is primarily impacting customers who own the second-generation AirPods, but there have been a few reports from customers who own AirPods Pro that have been affected.
Amid the current work-from-home restrictions in place throughout the United States and other countries, tech companies are grappling with how their summer internship programs will work, and Axios has rounded up statements from a number of the largest employers to see what their plans are.
Summer internship programs are important for both interns and the companies, as they provide valuable experience and contacts for students while companies can use them for recruiting purposes as they later look to bring some of those interns into full-time roles.
While some companies are moving their internship programs online, Apple told Axios that it is currently planning a mix of online and in-person opportunities and is looking to bring on over 1,000 interns this summer.
Apple, which told Axios it plans to hire more than 1,000 people for a mix of online and in-person internships and pledged in a statement to "extend to our interns the same precautions and care that we're extending to all our other personnel as a part of the ongoing COVID-19 response."
With universities and businesses still largely shut down, however, the situation remains fluid and it remains to be seen what types of activities will be permitted or appear reasonable a month or two from now.