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Apple Now Selling Refurbished HomePod for $299

Apple today added the HomePod to its online store for refurbished products in the United States, offering the smart speaker at a discount for the first time.

The HomePod, normally priced at $349, is available in both white and space gray for $299, a $50 discount off of the regular price.


There is no HomePod listing on the main Apple refurbished site as of yet, but it should be added in the near future. For now, the HomePod can be purchased from the individual HomePod refurbished listing. Apple is still rolling out refurbished models, so the page doesn't work on occasion, but will show up with refreshing.

A refurbished HomePod bought today will be delivered between November 30 and December 14, depending on shipping method selected at the time of purchase.

Introduced in February, the HomePod is Apple's Siri-enabled smart speaker that pairs well with Apple Music. It serves as a Home hub, features AirPlay 2 support, can make phone calls, and offers up most of the capabilities of Siri on an iPhone.

Apple's refurbished stock is often limited in quantity and can sell out, which is something to be aware of. Checking the refurbished site often or using a tracking site is the best way to figure out when a particular item that you might want is in stock.

Purchasing a refurbished HomePod from Apple is a good way to get a like-new device at a lower price point. All of Apple's refurbished products are tested, certified, cleaned, and guaranteed with a one-year warranty that can be extended with AppleCare+.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

Spotify Officially Debuts Apple Watch App, Rolling Out to Everyone Over Coming Week

Spotify for the Apple Watch is rolling out to all users over the coming week. Announced by the company today, the release follows a beta version of the app that appeared in early November, and comes well over a year since Spotify hired "Snowy" developer Andrew Chang onto its team to help build the app.


Spotify says the app provides users with useful playback controls and the ability to connect to their music speakers and other devices through Spotify Connect. Like Apple Music on Apple Watch, Spotify subscribers will now be able to hit play, pause, skip, and rewind songs by interacting with their Apple Watch.
We’re constantly on the go—whether bouncing between the gym, work, school, errands, or just chilling—and our smartwatches are the tool to help keep us up to speed. Today, Spotify is introducing a new app for the Apple Watch, giving you the ability to seamlessly access and control your favorite music and podcasts without missing a beat.
Additionally, users will be able to access their recently played songs and favorite the currently playing song by tapping the heart icon on the Apple Watch screen. Down the line, Spotify plans to make music and podcasts available to listen offline on Apple Watch, among other updates it hasn't yet announced.

To get the Spotify app for Apple Watch, the company says that users will need to make sure they have the latest version of the Spotify iOS app (8.4.79), and they should begin seeing the Apple Watch version of the app over the next week.

Tag: Spotify

Some Users Locked Out of Their Apple IDs, Forced to Reset Passwords

Apple appears to have locked a select group of users out of their Apple ID accounts over the past 20 hours or so, with no clear indication yet as to why the incident has occurred. According to reports on Reddit and Twitter, users are being kicked out of their Apple IDs for security reasons, and forced to reset their password to gain access to their account.


Users report this happening without warning on iPhone, Apple TV, and other Apple devices, while they were using Apple Music, watching TV, etc. The original poster on Reddit confirmed that they have two factor authentication enabled and a unique iCloud password for their Apple ID not used anywhere else, and many users report similar settings.

On Twitter, @AppleSupport is guiding users to the Support Communities web page that explains what to do if your Apple ID is locked and disabled. In nearly all instances across social media, users are reporting that they must reset their Apple ID password to be able to get back into their accounts.

With no official word from Apple and no clear reason behind these forced password resets, it's unclear why some users were affected and what caused Apple to initiate the wave of resets in the first place. We've reached out to Apple for a comment, and will update this article if we hear back.

Ming-Chi Kuo Cuts iPhone XR Lifecycle Shipment Estimates by 30 Million

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note today, cutting his shipment estimates for the iPhone XR due to several factors. He believes that some of the decline will be offset by higher demand for iPhone XS and older "legacy" models, but he is still reducing his overall iPhone shipment forecasts by 15–20 percent for the first quarter of 2019.

We have reduced our iPhone XR shipment estimation from 100mn units to 70mn during the new product lifecycle (4Q18–3Q19) for the following reasons: 1) Negative impacts on consumer confidence from the trade war, especially in the Chinese market, 2) expectations from more users for more affordable XR or the dual-camera and narrower bezel design to be provided at the current price level, and 3) competition from Huawei's Mate 20 series. We have reduced our XR shipment estimations for 4Q18, 1Q19, and 2Q19 by 30–35%, 25–30%, and 25–30% to 30–35, 20–25, and 10–15mn units, respectively.
Kuo believes that iPhone shipments for the current quarter will be in the same 75–80 million range he previously predicted, while he has lowered his first-quarter estimate to 47–52 million from a previous range of 55–60 million.

Kuo's prediction is somewhat curious given that he raised his early iPhone XR estimate a little less than a month ago and cited stronger demand than seen for the iPhone 8 last year with the potential for more stable demand over time.

Apple's stock price is down over 4 percent today, outpacing broader market declines and falling to its lowest point since the end of July.

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

iFixit Shares Full Teardown of 11-Inch iPad Pro and New Apple Pencil

Following teardowns of the new MacBook Air and Mac mini, the repair experts at iFixit have today published their teardown of the 11-inch iPad Pro.

Images via iFixit

To start, iFixit removed the display from the tablet and the first thing they noticed were the audio components of the new iPad Pro, made up of four woofers and four tweeters.


The speakers and logic board cover impeded access to the iPad Pro's A12X Bionic chip, but eventually iFixit accessed the full logic board. On it, they found the A12X Bionic SoC, 64GB Toshiba flash storage, two Micron RAM totaling 4GB, the NFC controller, Apple's Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module, two Broadcom touch screen controllers, and a Texas Instruments power controller.

With its sights set on the iPad Pro's battery, iFixit discovered that the 2018 tablet's battery is slightly more repairable than the previous generation. This is because Apple is again using stretch-release battery tabs again with the 11-inch iPad Pro, with six U-shaped strips in total. iFixit explained that each of these strips include two tabs, so fixers have a second chance at repairability should one of them break.


After this smooth opening with the adhesive strips, iFixit still faced a large amount of adhesive running down the left side of the battery. Eventually, the repair experts got the battery free and found a 7,812 mAh battery running at 3.77 V for 29.45 Wh, which is a slight downgrade in comparison to the 30.8 Wh pack of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Looking at the Face ID components, iFixit pointed out that this is the same basic hardware previously seen in Apple devices since the iPhone X, just in "a slightly modified form factor." iFixit then removed the speakers, Apple Pencil charging board, and USB-C port, which is fully modular, unlike previous iPads. Unlike the Lightning ports on the older iPad models -- which were soldered to the logic board -- the USB-C port on the 11-inch iPad Pro can be replaced independently of the main logic board.


Lastly, iFixit used its ultrasonic blade to teardown the new Apple Pencil and discover its battery, wireless charging coil, alignment magnets, and Broadcom touch controller. The experts also noticed what looked like a capacitive grid, thought to be used to register the user's tap inputs on the new Apple Pencil. According to iFixit, this particular grid also helps the Apple Pencil know where on the Pencil you tap, not just when, so the experts wondered if more complex gestures could be coming.

Overall, the 11-inch iPad Pro has received a 3/10 repairability score, with 10 being the easiest to repair. The major bonuses for the new iPad Pro's repairability were the modular USB-C port and lack of a physical home button, which "eliminated a common failure point" and could further simplify repairs. Still, iFixit noted that adhesive was nearly everywhere inside of the iPad Pro, and will make all repairs more difficult.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Buyer's Guide: 11" iPad Pro (Buy Now)

Apple Launches iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program to Address Touch Issues

Apple today announced a new display replacement program for the iPhone X, which will see the company replacing iPhone X displays that exhibit touch issues.

According to Apple, some iPhone X displays can experience problems with responsiveness due to a display module component that can fail. Affected devices have a display or part of a display that does not respond to touch or responds intermittently, or a display that reacts without being touched at all.


Apple says that customers experiencing this issue can get a replacement display module from an Apple retail store or Apple Authorized Service Provider at no cost.

There is no serial number check nor specific time period that outlines when affected devices were sold, so presumably this display component failure can impact any iPhone X device. Complaints about ghost touches and displays that fail to respond to touch have been circulating on the MacRumors forums for several months now, dating back to when the iPhone X was first released.

iPhone X users with a display that has these symptoms should visit an Apple retail store location, find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or contact Apple Support to arrange mail-in service to get a replacement.

Apple recommends customers back up their iPhones to iTunes or iCloud before pursuing repair, and the company warns that other damage, such as a cracked screen, may need to be addressed before the display repair can be completed.

This Apple program does not extend the standard warranty coverage of the iPhone X, and repairs may be restricted or limited to the original country of purchase. The program covers affected iPhone X devices for three years after the first retail sale of the unit.

Apple says that if customers affected by this issue already paid for a repair, they can contact Apple Support for a refund.

Apple Launches SSD Service Program for 13-Inch Non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro Sold Between June 2017 and June 2018

Apple today announced the launch of a new SSD service program for the 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar after determining that the 128 and 256GB SSDs in a limited number of these machines have an issue that can result in data loss and failure of the drive.

Apple says that 13-inch MacBook Pro models with affected drives were sold between June 2017 and June 2018, and Apple will provide service for these drives free of charge.


MacBook Pro owners can submit their serial number on the page announcing the program to see if their machines are eligible for servicing. Apple recommends that affected machines be serviced as soon as possible to avoid loss of data.

13-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar and older 13-inch MacBook Pro models are not affected.

Customers will need to visit an Apple retail location, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or contact Apple Support for a mail-in repair. Apple says that all machines needing service should be backed up first, with the company outlining the repair steps:
Prior to service, it's important to do a full back up of your data because your drive will be erased as part of the service process.

- A technician will run a utility to update your drive firmware which will take approximately one hour or less.
- Your 13-inch MacBook Pro will be returned to you with macOS re-installed.
- After service, you will need to restore your data from a backup.
Apple also recommends having another device, such as an iPhone, available to view the Apple support article with details about restoring data from a backup since the Mac in question will not be able to access the internet until it is updated.

Apple says that files corrupted due to this issue will not be able to be restored, and any damage to the MacBook Pro that impairs the ability to service the drive will need to be addressed first, possibly at customer expense.

The program covers affected MacBook Pro models for three years after the first retail sale of the unit, but it doesn't extend the standard warranty coverage of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Customers who already paid for a repair for a drive failure can contact Apple Support for a refund.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)

Hands-On With the In-Screen Fingerprint Technology in the New OnePlus 6T

Back before the iPhone X came out, there were rumors suggesting Apple would do away with the Home button by implementing Touch ID under the display of the device, preserving the fingerprint sensor while allowing for an edge-to-edge display.

That didn't end up happening and Apple ultimately replaced Touch ID with Face ID, but since then, other companies have implemented in-display fingerprint recognition technology.

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OnePlus recently unveiled its new OnePlus 6T, one of the first commercially available smartphones in the United States that's using in-screen fingerprint recognition technology. We were able to get our hands on one of the new smartphones to see if Apple is missing out on anything with its Face ID implementation.

There are instances where a fingerprint sensor offers benefits over facial recognition. Face ID, for example, doesn't work well when you're laying in bed and the phone is held in landscape or when an iPhone is flat on a desk. With a fingerprint sensor, those are non-issues.

Fingerprint sensors have their own problems, though, and as we discovered with the OnePlus 6T, in-display fingerprint technology isn't as great as it sounds. OnePlus' implementation is slow and inaccurate, a major negative compared to Face ID.

With the OnePlus 6T, you need to make sure to place your finger in the designated spot on the display for your fingerprint to be recognized, and sometimes you need to hold it there for what seems like a long time before it reads the fingerprint. Touch ID and Face ID both unlock almost instantly, so the wait with the OnePlus 6T makes a huge difference.

Had Apple pursued in-display fingerprint technology its implementation might have been better than what OnePlus came out with, and there's still a chance the tech OnePlus is using will improve with software updates or future iterations, but we'll never know if Apple would have done it better.

Apple is all in on Face ID, which is now in both modern iPhones and iPads, and the company has said that other solutions, like in-screen or rear-facing Touch ID, were never under consideration once it decided to pursue Face ID.

Apple's Face ID technology is still so advanced that no other company, OnePlus included, has managed to match it as of yet. And in-display technology still has a ways to go, it seems, with most major Apple competitors instead opting for rear-facing fingerprint sensors as a way to achieve edge-to-edge displays.

Do you miss Touch ID and wish Apple would have worked towards an in-display fingerprint sensor, or do you prefer Face ID? Let us know in the comments.

Amazon Inks Deal to Sell New Apple Products Like iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and 2018 iPad Pro

Amazon and Apple have reached an agreement that will see Amazon selling an expanded selection of iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices through its online storefronts in the United States, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India, reports CNET.

In the near future, Amazon will offer its customers the Apple latest devices, which includes the new 2018 iPad Pro models, the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and XS Max, Apple Watch Series 4 models, the 2018 Mac mini, and a selection of Beats headphones. The products will be available through Apple-authorized resellers on Amazon's marketplace.


Certain Apple products will not be included on Amazon's site, such as the HomePod, which directly competes with Amazon's line of Echo devices.

In a statement provided to CNET, Amazon said that it added Apple products because it's always aiming to improve the customer experience.
"Amazon is constantly working to enhance the customer experience, and one of the ways we do this is by increasing selection of the products we know customers want," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Friday morning. "We look forward to expanding our assortment of Apple and Beats products globally."
At the current time, many Apple products are not available on Amazon's site or are sold through unreliable third-party marketplace sellers at non-standard prices. With the new agreement, Apple devices will be available at regular retail prices.

Independent sellers who offer new and used Apple products on Amazon will have their listings removed after January 4, 2019, under the new deal. Those sellers will need to apply to become Apple authorized resellers on Amazon to continue to offer their wares.

As CNET points out, while this deal will provide customers with access to a greater selection of Apple products at standard prices, it could potentially impact the used Apple device market on the platform.

Tag: Amazon

Apple to Donate to Southern and Northern California Fire Relief Efforts

Apple plans to donate to fire relief efforts in Northern and Southern California, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Twitter this morning.

It continues to be fire season in California, and right now, the dry, windy weather has led to three major fires in the state. The Camp Fire, north of Sacramento, has burned upwards of 70,000 acres, with residents of Chico and Paradise being evacuated. Many homes have been destroyed in Paradise, California.

The Woolsey Fire in Southern California, via CNN

In Southern California, the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire are raging in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The Woolsey Fire is approaching Malibu, a well-known area of Los Angeles, and residents are being evacuated. Upwards of 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties have already been evacuated and some structures have reportedly been destroyed.

Santa Ana winds that exacerbate the fires are expected to continue through Friday and into Saturday, with a second round of winds forecasted to start on Sunday and last through Tuesday.


Apple often provides aid during serious environmental disasters. Late last year and earlier this year, Apple donated several million towards fire relief aid for other fires that impacted California.

Apple May Have Considered Releasing a 2018 MacBook Air With Faster Core i7 Processor

While the new MacBook Air with a Retina display can only be configured with one processor option, a 1.6GHz dual‑core eighth‑generation Intel Core i5 processor, Apple may have prototyped a faster version too.


A benchmark result on Geekbench last week has surfaced via Slashleaks for an unreleased Mac, codenamed AAPJ140K1,1, powered by a dual-core eighth-generation Core i7 processor with a base clock speed of 1.8GHz. The exact model is not listed, but its logic board has the same part number as the new MacBook Air.

As further evidence, the benchmark result lists 16GB of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM, an existing upgrade option for the new MacBook Air. And the Core i7-8510Y appears to be part of Intel's low-power Amber Lake lineup, as is the Core i5 in the new MacBook Air, although it's not listed on Intel's ARK database.


The apparent MacBook Air with a Core i7 chip has a multi-core score of 8,553 on Geekbench, which would make it roughly 8.5 percent faster than the average multi-core score of the existing option with a Core i5.

Geekbench founder John Poole told MacRumors that nothing about the benchmark result looks fake to him, although that possibility can't be entirely ruled out. If real, however, it suggests that a 2018 MacBook Air with a Core i7 exists within Apple, but obviously hasn't been released to the public.

It's reasonable to assume that Apple prototypes several different versions of its products, and not all of them see the light of day. Why the MacBook Air with a Core i7 wasn't released is anyone's guess — maybe it ran too hot, or Apple elected to keep the dual-core Core i7 a MacBook Pro option, or something else.

If Apple does plan to add the Core i7 as an upgrade option for the new MacBook Air, it's hard to envision that it would do so anytime soon considering the notebook was just refreshed. Apple has bumped up the MacBook Air's processor mid-product-cycle in the past, though, so there is some precedence for the move.

All in all, there is possibly a new MacBook Air with a Core i7 in the wild that Apple decided not to ship or may ship at a later date.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

Apple Highlights How iPhone Allows Blind Veteran and Surfboarder Scott Leason to Live Independently

Apple today shared a story about how the iPhone's accessibility features enable blind veteran and surfboarder Scott Leason to live independently.

Scott Leason surfboards at Mission Beach

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Leason was blinded in 1993 after seven years of service. After years of adapting to his new normal, he received an iPhone 5 in 2012, along with training from Sarah T. Majidzadeh, assistant chief of blind rehabilitation at the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California.

Leason is one of many individuals who are blind or have low vision who rely on the iPhone's built-in VoiceOver screen-reading software for daily tasks.

"It's a lot easier to navigate with the phone," Leason told Apple for its story. "I think a lot of the visually impaired prefer the iPhone because they can do everything on it. And VoiceOver works pretty darn good."

VoiceOver is a gesture-based reader introduced on iPhone in 2009, which made it the world's first fully accessible smartphone user interface for the blind, according to Apple. 76 percent of blind and low-vision people using a mobile screen-reading platform choose VoiceOver, per a December 2017 survey by WebAIM.

Scott Leason uses his iPhone XR to prepare for a surf

A competitive surfboarder, Leason has since upgraded to an iPhone XR, which he uses to review the day's surf reports via the Surfline app to prepare for the day's ride, typically at Mission Beach in San Diego. He also wears an Apple Watch Series 4 to track his surfing workouts in the water and at home.

"It's amazing how long ago 10 years feels in the world of technology," said Kevin Waldick, assistant director at the Mission Bay Aquatics Center. "He was not very technologically savvy at all, but when he got his iPhone he was like 'I can just do it. This is amazing.' And so Apple does a really amazing job of making that accessible."

Scott Leason starts a surfing workout on Apple Watch Series 4

Leason was the first blind champion at the USA Adaptive Surfing Championships at Oceanside Harbor North Jetty in June 2016. The same year, he won second place in men's tricks at the USA Water Ski competition in Harmony, North Carolina. In 2018, he competed in seven competitions in four different sports.

"I'm independent," Leason concluded. "That's the best way to describe the iPhone: independence."