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Third Public Beta of iOS 12.2 Coming Today

Apple today plans to release the third beta of an upcoming iOS 12.2 update to its public beta testing group, one day after seeding the third beta to developers and two weeks after releasing the second public beta.

Beta testers who have joined Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 12.2 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device. The update will become available right around 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time or 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


Those who want to download the new beta can do so after signing up for the beta program, which gives access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

The iOS 12.2 update expands Apple News to Canada for the first time, with Canadian iPhone and iPad users able to access news stories in English, French, or both. It introduces infrastructure for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on third-party TVs, a feature announced in early January.

The TV remote feature in Control Center has been redesigned to take up the full display of an iPhone (with further tweaks introduced in the third beta), and there are tweaks to the Wallet app with a refined interface and a new look for Apple Pay Cash. Changes have been made to Safari with warnings about unsecured websites and new search arrows, and there's now a setting to set Downtime for apps on a day by day basis.


Apple is improving Safari's privacy in iOS 12.2 through a new Motion & Orientation toggle located under Settings --> Safari --> Privacy & Security, which is disabled by default. The setting needs to be enabled on to allow websites to display content that relies on motion data from the accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone and iPad.


There are new Animoji in the second iOS 12.2 beta, including a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl. Animoji can be used within the Messages and FaceTime apps. For some AT&T users, there's a new "5G E" icon for the cellular signal, replacing the standard LTE icon. This is a bit misleading of AT&T, because the iPhone does not support 5G, nor is the network AT&T calls 5G E actual 5G. Instead, it's an upgraded version of LTE, with more info available here.


The third beta revamps the Remote in Control Center with a darker interface, changes the logo of Apple News, tweaks the About screen, and includes a new feature that will offer Today at Apple session suggestions via Siri. It also fixes the Group FaceTime bug and reenables Group FaceTime for beta users, and it fixes that pesky Lock screen bug that replaced battery charge with the date.

For a full list of everything new in the third beta, make sure to check out our iOS 12.2 beta 3 tidbits post. A complete list of all of the new features found in iOS 12.2 so far can be found in our full iOS 12.2 overview.

The iOS 12.2 update will likely see several rounds of beta testing over the course of the next month or so before it launches to the public.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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New Apple Watch Series 4 Ad Promotes the 'Freedom of Cellular'

Apple today released a new Apple Watch Series 4 ad named "Flight" that promotes the "freedom of cellular."


Directed by Jonathan Glazer, the one-minute spot shows a woman running on a windy day when a gust suddenly elevates her into the clouds, where she dances freely in the air before falling back into a lake surrounded by mountains. She then receives but declines a call on her Apple Watch Series 4.

Glazer, an award-winning British director, worked with World Champion air dancer Inka Tiitto to choreograph the performance and bring to life the feeling of freedom and weightless movement, according to Campaign.

The ad will premiere during the 2019 BRIT Awards tonight in the United Kingdom.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Mulling Preview of New Modular Mac Pro at WWDC in June

Apple is considering previewing its upcoming redesigned Mac Pro at its Worldwide Developers Conference this June, according to a new report by Bloomberg today.

Modular Mac Pro concept from Curved.de

Apple has said it is working on a high-end high-throughput modular Mac Pro for its pro user base that will be easily upgradable and will feature components for the most system intensive tasks.

According to sources who spoke to well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, Apple has "internally weighed previewing a new version of the high-end Mac Pro" at this year's WWDC, although no firm decision appears to have been made.

According to executives Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller, Apple is committed to making the Mac Pro the highest-end desktop system able to accommodate VR and high-end cinema production. Apple has also put together a "Pro Workflow Team" to tailor the Mac Pro and other Apple products to its professional users.

The modular workstation is expected to ship alongside an upcoming Apple-branded pro display, which rumors suggest will be 31.6 inches with a 6K resolution and have "outstanding picture quality" enabled through a new Mini LED-like backlighting design.

We still have no word on when in 2019 the Mac Pro is coming, but Apple did promise a 2019 launch date in early 2018. If it's anything like the last Mac Pro in 2013, we should indeed get further information at WWDC, which Apple is planning to hold from June 3 to June 7 in San Jose, California, based on permit filings uncovered by MacRumors.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
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Apple Plans to Let Developers Release Universal Apps That Work Across iPhone, iPad, and Mac by 2021, SDK Coming This June

Apple aims to allow developers to release universal apps that work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac by 2021, according to a new report today by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

The ultimate goal of the multistep initiative, code-named "Marzipan," is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, said people familiar with the effort. That should spur the creation of new software, increasing the utility of the company’s gadgets.
According to Gurman, Apple plans to let developers port iPad apps to Mac using a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at WWDC. Apple previewed the apps plan, without disclosing the road map, at its developers conference last year.

Apple typically previews the next major versions of its iOS and macOS operating systems at WWDC in June, with beta versions of each platform available to developers and public testers until September, so it stands to reason that an SDK for universal apps should begin rolling out in the pre-release software.
Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple's iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don't have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan. In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way.
The "Marzipan" project is considered to be one of the biggest changes on Apple's roadmap, although Apple's plans are said to be "fluid" and could be altered, according to Gurman's sources.

When the idea of universal apps was first rumored in 2017, early speculation suggested that they were a harbinger of Apple's plans to create a unified operating system for all of its devices, but those rumors appear to have been unfounded. Apple has already said it won't combine iOS and macOS into a single operating system.

The work on universal apps aligns with Apple's preparations to start transitioning some Macs to its own chips as early as 2020. Apple's initiative, reportedly code named "Kalamata," is part of an effort to make Macs, iPhones, and iPads work more similarly and seamlessly together. Apple Macs currently use Intel chips but Apple already designs its own A-series chips found in iPhones and iPads.

Apple is planning to hold its annual software conference from June 3 to June 7 in San Jose, California, based on permit filings uncovered by MacRumors.

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Leaked Renders Allegedly Reveal Samsung's Foldable Phone Hours Ahead of Launch Event

Alleged leaked renders of Samsung's soon-to-be-unveiled foldable smartphone have emerged online ahead of the company's Unpacked product launch event on Wednesday.

Samsung has been teasing its upcoming "Galaxy Fold" phone for some time and demoed a prototype of the device back in November, but coming just hours before the company's launch event, these images via Slashleaks could be the real deal.


The Galaxy Fold features Samsung's new Infinity Flex display technology, and assuming no major changes since November, we can expect a device with a 7.3-inch display that can be folded in half, collapsing from a tablet size down to a 4.6-inch smartphone size.

Judging from the renders, the phone has a notch in the upper right corner of the display for the front-facing camera, and a dual-lens setup on the corresponding upper rear-side of the chassis.

Samsung is developing a new software platform for the device in partnership with Google, which is designed to support two UIs – one for when the device is open and one for when the device is closed – and will allow apps to orient into three possible layouts. A price tag as high as $1,800 was rumored for the phone in November, although Samsung may not have finalized costs at the time.


Following Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi revealed that they too will launch folding smartphones, and there are plenty of signs Apple is looking into the possibility of a foldable iPhone. Apple has filed several patent applications related to folding phones that variously fold inward, outward, and both inward and outward.

Apple supplier LG Display is said to have created a dedicated task force to start developing a foldable OLED display for a future iPhone, while its sister company LG Innotek reportedly has a team developing a rigid flexible printed circuit board or (RFPCB) to go along with it.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold will officially debut at its February 20 event, where we can also expect the launch of the new Galaxy S10 smartphone lineup. Samsung's Unpacked event starts at 11.00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, with a simultaneous launch event to be held in London at 7.00 p.m. GMT.

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Apple Shares New Tutorial Videos Highlighting iPhone XR and XS Camera and Photos Features

Apple today shared two new iPhone XS and iPhone XS tutorial videos on its YouTube channel, both of which are designed to highlight available features on the new devices.

The first video is designed to teach users how to better use the search feature in the Photos app. You can search for people, places, and objects, such as food, cats, dogs, beaches, flowers, and more. There are thousands of different objects the iPhone is able to recognize.


The second video includes walks through the steps necessary to create a photo using the Depth Control feature that was introduced in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Depth Control lets you adjust the amount of blur in a photograph before or after you take it.


Two additional videos provide the steps for choosing a Key Photo in Live Photos and using the Stage Light Mono mode on the iPhone.




Each video is right around 30 to 43 seconds in length and is similar to other iPhone tutorial videos that Apple has shared in the past. Apple has done a whole tutorial series with videos like these, which are ideal for sharing on social media sites and for quick spots on television.

Apple also often shares many similar videos on its Apple Support YouTube channel, and it has an entire mini how to site on its website dedicated to photography-based iPhone tutorials and walkthroughs.

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Everything New in iOS 12.2 Beta 3: Apple TV Remote Redesign, Apple News Tweak, Bug Fixes and More

Apple this morning released the third beta of iOS 12.2 to developers, and as with most early betas, the new software introduces refinements and user interface changes for various features.

There are several minor tweaks, such as an update to the Apple News logo, along with more major updates that include a new Apple TV Remote design and multiple important bug fixes. We've outlined everything new in the third beta of iOS 12.2 below.

- Apple TV Remote redesign - The Apple TV Remote has been redesigned again with a darker interface, both in the Remote app itself and in Control Center.


- Lock screen charging fix - The second beta of iOS 12.2 had a pesky bug that caused the iPhone's charge to be displayed on the Lock screen instead of the date. In beta 3, that's been fixed.

- Apple News logo - In the Apple News app, instead of spelling out "Apple News," Apple uses the "" symbol along with the word "News," similar to Apple Pay.


- About screen - The interface for viewing information about your iPhone has been updated and rearranged in a more logical way with info like model number and serial number at the top with carrier information at the bottom.


- Group FaceTime bug fix - The Group FaceTime bug has been addressed in iOS 12.2 and Group FaceTime is now once again available to iOS 12.2 users.

- Developer updates - Alongside iOS 12.2 beta 3, Apple introduced new resources for developers. Siri Shortcuts design resources are available, as are new iOS system design templates, Adobe XD Apple Watch design resources, and an SF Compact Rounded font. Developers are also now able to offer subscription discounts on a broader basis thanks to a new API.

Siri Apple Store suggestions - There's a new section under Siri & Search > Apple Store that indicates Siri in iOS 12.2 will be able to suggest Today at Apple sessions for you based on your Safari and app usage.

Apple has introduced many other changes over the course of the beta testing period, with most of the updates outlined in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.

Additional details on iOS 12 can be found in our iOS 12 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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Group FaceTime Bug Fix Included in iOS 12.2 Beta 3

The third beta of iOS 12.2, released to developers this morning, includes a fix for the Group FaceTime bug, which also reenables Group FaceTime on devices running the iOS 12.2 beta.

Apple addressed the Group FaceTime bug in the iOS 12.1.4 update released on February 7, but there has been no new iOS 12.2 beta until today, so the Group FaceTime feature has remained unavailable to iOS 12.2 users because the server has been offline.

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The FaceTime bug allowed someone to spy on you without your permission or knowledge. By exploiting the bug, a person could initiate a Group FaceTime call with you and then add themselves to the call again to force a Group FaceTime connection, as demoed in the video below.


When the Group FaceTime connection was forced using this method, the bug caused the person to be able to hear the audio on your end, even if you did not answer the call. In fact, on your end, it would continue to look like the standard incoming FaceTime call interface. In some situations, if you pressed the side button to silence a call, it would even give the person access to your video.

Given the severity of the bug, Apple took its Group FaceTime server offline while preparing the iOS 12.1.4 update. Group FaceTime was reinstated on devices running iOS 12.1.4, but it does not work on iOS 12.2 beta 2 or devices with iOS 12.1.3 or earlier installed.

It should be noted that Group FaceTime is still somewhat broken following the update. In iOS 12.1.4, there is no option to add a person to a one on one Group FaceTime call because the "Add Person" button is grayed out. Group FaceTime calls need to be started with two or more people at the current time.

Other users have been unable to use Group FaceTime at all, and have had trouble adding additional people even during a call with more than one person. Apple is presumably working out these bugs and will have further fixes available in the future.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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Discounted $249 iPhone SE Once Again Back in Stock on Apple's Clearance Site

4-inch iPhone enthusiasts who have been unable to take advantage of the $249 iPhone SE deal on Apple's clearance site can once again make a purchase, as Apple has restocked the website and has a limited supply of remaining iPhone SE models available.

The models available today are unlocked but have SIM cards from carriers that include TracFone, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. There are a range of colors available from each carrier, with 32GB models priced at $249 and 128GB models priced at $299.


Apple has been offering iPhone SE models on clearance since mid-January, but available stock often sells out quickly. Apple has done several restocks, however, giving those who prefer smaller devices one last chance to purchase a 4-inch iPhone on the cheap.

Apple originally discontinued the iPhone SE in September 2018 when the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR were announced. Apple's iPhone lineup now starts with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as its entry level devices.

The iPhone SE, first announced in March 2016, was the last 4-inch smartphone that Apple offered, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models now the smallest that Apple officially sells in retail stores.

With these clearance sales, Apple seems to be getting rid of remaining iPhone SE stock, and it's clear that available supply is dwindling. Those who want to get an iPhone SE should do so soon because it's not known how many more restocks Apple will be offering.

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Apple Releases Third Developer Beta of iOS 12.2

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 12.2 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second beta of iOS 12.2 and a week and a half since the launch of iOS 12.1.4.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


The third beta of iOS 12.2 may include a Group FaceTime fix that allows iOS 12.2 users access to Group FaceTime once again. Apple shut down its Group FaceTime servers after a major privacy-invading Group FaceTime bug was found a couple weeks ago, and later limited the Group FaceTime feature to those running iOS 12.1.4, an updated version of iOS that fixes the bug. The same fix will likely be extended to iOS 12.2 as this is the first iOS 12.2 beta released since it was deployed in the release version of iOS.

iOS 12.2 expands Apple News to Canada for the first time, with Canadian iPhone and iPad users able to read news stories in English, French, or both. Apple says that during the beta, content will be more limited than it will when the update is released.


There are new Animoji in the iOS 12.2 beta, including a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl. Animoji can be used within the Messages and FaceTime apps.


The software introduces support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on third-party TVs in light of recent AirPlay 2 announcements, with a new option for limiting TV access joining the speaker access option in the Home app. There's also a redesigned TV remote in Control Center, and when paired with tvOS 12.2, you can ask Siri to play specific TV shows, movies, and music on your HomeKit devices like the Apple TV.


For some AT&T users, there's a new "5G E" icon for the cellular signal, replacing the standard LTE icon. This is a bit misleading of AT&T, because the iPhone does not support 5G, nor is the network AT&T calls 5G E actual 5G. Instead, it's an upgraded version of LTE, with more info available here.

The Wallet app's interface has been streamlined and tweaked, there's a new interface for Apple Pay Cash, and the Downtime feature in Screen Time now allows you to customize by day. Apple has also made minor changes to some icons, including the AirPlay icon, and introduced new Safari features, with a full list available in in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.


Apple is improving Safari's privacy in iOS 12.2 through a new Motion & Orientation toggle located under Settings > Safari > Privacy > Security, which is disabled by default. The setting needs to be enabled on to allow websites to display content that relies on motion data from the accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12.2 confirms that Apple is planning to release second-generation AirPods with "Hey Siri" support, thanks to a hidden "Hey Siri" AirPods setup screen in the beta. The inclusion of the AirPods setup option in the beta indicates that Apple could perhaps be planning to release new AirPods when iOS 12.2 is released.

The update also features hints of an upcoming Apple News subscription service, which could see a Texture-like magazine service added to Apple News. The iOS 12.2 update is likely to see several rounds of beta testing before it launches to the public.

There are multiple new features in iOS 12.2, along with bug fixes. We rounded up everything that's new in the beta in our iOS 12.2 beta 3 tidbits post.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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Apple Wins Patent on Long-Delayed AirPods Wireless Charging Case and AirPower

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a newly granted Apple patent related to an "inductively chargeable earbud case." While the AirPods and AirPower are not named in the patent, the illustrations clearly show an AirPods-like wireless charging case on an AirPower-like charging mat.


Many current inductive charging mats require precisely aligning a smartphone or other device with the coils inside the mat for the most efficient power transfer. As noted by AppleInsider, however, Apple's patent describes a method that would allow the AirPods case to be placed anywhere on the AirPower.
Apple's solution is to use a pair of small charging coils in the case, occupying the bottom left and right hand corners of the rear section, typically the side that would make contact with a charging pad. Both coils would be capable of receiving a charge from a charging pad, effectively doubling its chances of being in an optimal charging position.
This is just one of many patents Apple has been grated for an AirPods-like wireless charging case.

Apple first previewed the AirPower and optional AirPods wireless charging case at its September 2017 event. At the time, Apple promised that the AirPower was coming in 2018, but the year came and went without any release.


Last year, a report suggested that Apple faced technical difficulties with the AirPower that likely delayed its release. Recent reports claim that Apple has since overcome those issues and instructed its suppliers to begin mass production of the AirPower, with several rumors hinting at an imminent release.

Just a few days ago, for example, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the AirPower and new AirPods case will launch in the first half of 2019.

Multiple sources claim Apple will host a special event at Steve Jobs Theater on Monday, March 25, but Apple's widely expected subscription-based news and video services are expected to be the focus of the keynote. By the sounds of it, there may be few to no hardware announcements at the event.

AirPower already had stage time, so a press release could be appropriate for its release, potentially alongside embargoed reviews. Rumored updates to the iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch also sound minor, with few changes expected beyond faster processors and a slightly larger screen for the 9.7-inch iPad, so they could be press release worthy too.

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HomePod Estimated to Have Just 4% Market Share Worldwide Despite 45% Sales Growth Last Quarter

HomePod shipments totaled 1.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 45 percent increase on a year-over-year basis, according to Strategy Analytics. Despite the growth, the research firm estimates that Apple's share of the worldwide smart speaker market was just 4.1 percent during the quarter.


By comparison, Amazon and Google commanded the market with an estimated 13.7 million and 11.5 million smart speakers shipments respectively. The two companies combined for an estimated 65.5 percent market share in the quarter.


A lot of this comes down to pricing. At $349, the HomePod is significantly more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home. In particular, the smaller Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini models were available for as low as $25 during the holiday season, a fraction of the cost of a HomePod.

"Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon. Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home mini," CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said last month.

To improve sales, many resellers offered the HomePod for $249 during the holiday season, and $279 is a commonly seen price too.

Second is the fact that the HomePod is not so smart, as many reviews found, due to Siri's shortcomings compared to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Apple recently restructured its Siri team as it works to make improvements.

A third reason is availability. Apple launched the HomePod two to three years after its largest competitors, and sales remain limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong. Amazon and Google smart speakers are available in more countries.

Last year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments falling "far below market expectations." It could end up being a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

Of course, the Strategy Analytics data is estimated to begin with. Apple does not disclose HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category in its earnings reports alongside the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod touch, and other accessories.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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