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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.

Everything new in iOS 12.2 beta 3:


- 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 time. In beta 3, that's been fixed.

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 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.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Caution)
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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
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)
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Apple Maps Vehicles to Begin Surveying Final U.S. States

As part of its efforts to rebuild Apple Maps, Apple has been collecting street-level data with LiDAR-equipped vehicles for over three years, with at least 45 states across the U.S. partially surveyed to date.


That total is set to rise in the coming months, as Apple has confirmed it will begin surveying Alaska, South Carolina, and Tennessee between March and July, according to an update to its recently revamped Apple Maps image collection website. Data collection is also set to continue in seven other states over that time.
Apple is conducting ground surveys around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates. We will also periodically revisit some locations to gather new data in an effort to maintain a high-quality, up-to-date map. We are committed to protecting your privacy while conducting these surveys. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.
To our best knowledge, the only states that Apple has yet to confirm surveying are Arkansas and Oklahoma, although Twitter users have spotted the vehicles in both states since last year and perhaps earlier. It's possible the vehicles were only passing through those states without collecting mapping data.


Whether the total is 48 or 50 states, Apple's surveying efforts have reached nearly every corner of the United States. Apple plans to roll out its improved Maps app across the country section by section over the next year.

The improvements first rolled out in Northern California in iOS 12 and have extended to Hawaii and Southern California over the past few months. The overall look and feel of Apple Maps is mostly the same, but zooming and panning reveals more details like grass, trees, sports fields, and parking lots.

Apple Maps vehicles have also surveyed parts of Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and they are headed to Andorra in April, according to Apple's website. It's unclear when the Apple Maps improvements will be available internationally.

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Alleged Leaked CAD Image Suggests 'iPad mini 5' Will Just Be a Specs Bump

Serial tech leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks) claims to have received an alleged CAD rendering of Apple's so-called "iPad mini 5," rumored to be launching in the Spring.

Hemmerstoffer has yet to share the image, but assuming the leak is legit, he says it suggests there will be no major design changes to the next-generation iPad mini, save for a "relocated mic, centered on the upper back panel."


Suggestions that the new iPad mini will look virtually the same as the last model is likely to disappoint some fans of Apple's smaller form factor tablet who may have been hoping for an iPad Pro-style redesign with Face ID and an edge-to-edge display.

However, today's development is in line with multiple reliable sources that claim Apple will release a new version of the iPad mini with affordability in mind, suggesting only upgraded internal specs and a lower-cost display panel in a similarly sized chassis. The 7.9-inch tablet is also expected to continue to have a Lightning connector, Touch ID, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.



On the upside, details gleamed from an iOS developer beta could hint that Apple's new iPad mini will feature support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

Rumors have suggested both a new iPad mini 5 and an updated iPad will launch in early 2019, and we've seen signs of them in iOS 12.2 and through registration with the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Based on recent years, it's natural to speculate that Apple will announce the iPad mini 5 at its rumored March 25 event, however reports claim Apple's event will be services-focused, suggesting any hardware updates may come in the form of a press release or at another event further down the line.

Related Roundup: iPad mini 5
Tag: OnLeaks
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Don't Buy)
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Apple Pay Rolling Out in Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia

Apple Pay is rolling out to users in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic, according to multiple reports from tipsters and posts across social media this morning.



Apple's digital payment system already appears to be active for a number of banks and financial services across both countries. In Czech Republic, users have so far reported successfully adding cards to their mobile wallets from Air Bank, MONETA Money Bank, Ceska sporitelna, and payments company Twisto.

When Apple Pay was rumored to be coming to the country in late February, support for the country's two largest banks Česká spořitelna and Komerční banka was mooted, so hopefully they'll also be added to the "active" list soon.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, Apple's regional Apple Pay website has gone live and lists Visa and Mastercard support for Al Rajhi Bank, NCB, MADA, Riyad Bank, Alinma Bank, and Bank Aljazira.

Apple said in October that Apple Pay would be "coming soon" to the country, and reports are coming in from users who have successfully registered cards with Apple Pay issued by the above banks.


Apple's website also lists several supporting outlets in the country, including Carrefour, counterpoint, KFC, Bershka, baby shop, MacDonalds, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, among others.

Apple Pay has been gradually expanding across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The service launched in Belgium and Kazakhstan in November and made its long-awaited debut in Germany the following month.

Apple Pay first launched in the United States in October 2014, and has since expanded to many other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Japan, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Ireland, and Ukraine.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
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16-Inch MacBook Pro, 6K Apple Display, AirPower, AirPods 2 and More Predicted for 2019 [Video]

Last night, we saw the release of a extensive research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who laid out his timeline for product releases from Apple in the coming year. MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera recaps Kuo's predictions in this video which covers an extensive range of products including an all new 16" MacBook Pro, 6K Apple Display and much more.


Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Kuo is well regarded in the rumor community due to a very good track record at predicting Apple's products. Kuo gathers intelligence from his contacts in Apple's Asian supply chain, translating the information he gleans into research notes for clients.

Our Coverage

We've updated our Upcoming Apple Products Guide based on this new information.

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of macOS Mojave 10.14.4 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming macOS Mojave 10.14.4 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta and almost a month after releasing macOS Mojave 10.14.3.

The new macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after the proper profile has been installed from Apple's Developer Center.


macOS Mojave 10.14.4 brings Apple News to Canada for the first time, allowing Canadian Mac users to access news stories in French, English, or both.

The update also includes support for Safari AutoFill using Touch ID and automatic dark mode themes in Safari. That means if you have Dark Mode enabled, when you visit a website that has an option for a dark theme, it will be activated automatically. You can see a demo of the feature here.

macOS Mojave 10.14.4 will likely be in beta testing for the next several weeks as Apple refines features and works out bugs. After that, it will see a release alongside iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave
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Apple's Recent Leadership Changes Suggest Transition From iPhone Reliance to Focus on Services

A new report out today by The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the recent shake ups to Apple leadership, and how the changes could be an indicator that the company is transitioning from relying on iPhone sales to prioritizing its services business and other divisions.

Newly appointed executive John Giannandrea also heads Siri development

Specifically, the report claims that recent hires, departures, promotions, and restructurings have led to several projects being put on hold while the new managers reassess priorities. This has left many existing Apple employees "rattled" as they have become unaccustomed to such frequent changes in leadership prior to the shake up at the company.
The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies.
These changes include the promotion of John Giannandrea to senior vice president, from a machine learning and AI role. After his promotion, Giannandrea decided to move Bill Stasior, head of Siri, to a lower role at the company. In terms of high-profile departures, retail chief Angela Ahrendts recently left Apple after spending five years with the company. These three major changes happened within the past two-and-a-half months.

Along with the staffing updates, Apple has trimmed around 200 employees from its autonomous vehicle project, and continues to redirect much of its engineering resources into its streaming TV service ahead of the planned 2019 launch.
“This is a sign the company is trying to get the formula right for the next decade,” said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “Technology is evolving, and they need to continue to tweak their structure to be sure they’re on the right curve.”
Now, Apple is focusing on building its services catalog and enhancing artificial intelligence features, which should in turn encourage more hardware sales. Replacing Stasior as the head of Siri, Giannandrea is said to be "looking to improve Siri's accuracy and performance."

iPhone sales dipped over the 2018 holiday season, leading to many reports about Apple's new plans to combat stagnating smartphone sales. The company is said to have cut back on new hires, and in January Apple lowered its revenue guidance for the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year by up to $9 billion due to fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated.


At the same time, Apple's services business hit an all-time high in Q1 2019, up 19 percent year-on-year. During the first fiscal quarter of 2019, Apple's services business brought in $10.9 billion in revenue, including platforms like iTunes, the App Store, the Mac App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and AppleCare. Thanks to their success in the wake of flagging iPhone sales, these services are expected to be a growing focus for the company over the next few years.

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Huawei's Efforts to Steal Apple Trade Secrets Include Employee Bonus Program and Other Dubious Tactics

Last month, the United States Justice Department announced a series of criminal charges against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for stealing trade secrets, bank fraud, wire fraud, and obstructing justice. Today, The Information has shed light on Huawei's tactics of stealing trade secrets, some of which were aimed at Apple.


According to today's report, a Huawei engineer in charge of the company's smartwatch project tracked down a supplier that makes the heart rate sensor for the Apple Watch. The Huawei engineer arranged a meeting, suggesting he was offering the supplier a lucrative manufacturing contract, but during the meeting his main intent was questioning the supplier about the Apple Watch.
The Huawei engineer attended the supplier meeting with four Huawei researchers in tow. The Huawei team spent the next hour and a half pressing the supplier for details about the Apple Watch, the executive said.

“They were trying their luck, but we wouldn’t tell them anything,” the executive said. After that, Huawei went silent.
This event reportedly reflects "a pattern of dubious tactics" performed by Huawei to obtain technology from rivals, particularly Apple's China-based suppliers. According to a Huawei spokesperson the company has not been in the wrong: "In conducting research and development, Huawei employees must search and use publicly available information and respect third-party intellectual property per our business-conduct guidelines."

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Huawei is said to have a formal program that rewards employees for stealing information, including bonuses that increase based on the confidential value of the information gathered. While the theft of trade secrets is nothing new among technology companies, the new allegations against Huawei represent "a more brazen and elaborate system of seeking out secret information," The Information reports.

Huawei's information gathering program led to incidents like the Huawei engineer probing a supplier for Apple Watch details, as well as Huawei copying a component of the MacBook Pro. Specifically, the company built a connector for its MateBook Pro that was just like the one used in Apple's MacBook Pro from 2016, allowing the computer's hinge to be thinner while still attaching the display to the logic board.

Huawei reportedly approached numerous suppliers and provided them with schematics just like Apple's, but most recognized the part and refused to make it for Huawei. The company told The Information that it requires suppliers to uphold a high standard of ethics and that it doesn't seek or have access to its competitor's confidential information. Eventually, Huawei found a willing supplier and the connector was built into the MateBook Pro.

The Information's report includes numerous other examples of Huawei's attempts at stealing information from Apple. One former Apple employee interviewed for a job at Huawei immediately after leaving Apple, and in the interview, Huawei executives repeatedly asked questions about Apple's upcoming products. "It was clear they were more interested in trying to learn about Apple than they were in hiring me," the former employee said.

Huawei's indictments extend far beyond Apple, including an accusation of bank and wire fraud against chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, lying to the government, destroying documents, and attempting to move key Huawei employees back to China to impede the U.S. Justice Department investigation. Another indictment accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets, wire fraud, and obstructing justice for stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile U.S. for testing smartphone durability.

Tags: Huawei, DOJ
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Streaming TV Service Revenue Will Be a 'Drop in the Bucket' for Apple, Even If It Rivals Netflix

Analyst Tim O'Shea recently published a new research report looking at the impact of Apple's upcoming streaming TV service on the company's overall financial earnings (via Business Insider). According to O'Shea, even if Apple priced the service at $15/month (and took a 30 percent cut, while the rest went to video production partners), the resulting revenue would just be "a drop in the bucket."


O'Shea predicted that if Apple could get to 250 million subscribers by 2023, it would earn the company $13.5 billion in revenue and account for about 5 percent of the company's revenue that year. Not only that, but 250 million subscribers in four years is a generous prediction, given it took Netflix 12 years to reach its 139 million subscribers as of January 2019.
"It's going take a long time for this type of service to really move the needle," O'Shea told Business Insider. To figure out the potential of the video service, which Apple is widely expected to launch next month, O'Shea estimated that Apple would charge customers $15 a month and take a 30% cut, giving the rest to video production partners

If the service is extremely successful and attracts 250 million subscribers, it would yield $13.5 billion in revenue for Apple. That's nothing to sneeze at. After all, Netflix's total sales last year were $15.8 billion. But in the context of Apple, such a figure would be just a drop in the bucket.

In fiscal 2018, the company posted revenue of $265 billion. Though O'Shea and other analysts expect Apple's sales to drop sharply this year before slowly recovering in coming ones, $13.5 billion would still represent only a small fraction of the company's revenue.
To be clear, O'Shea isn't predicting that Apple will price its streaming TV service at this level, but the analyst is simply providing a "what if" scenario for the launch of the service. CNBC previously reported that Apple will offer its original TV shows for free to Apple device owners, and new reports have suggested that users will be able to add more premium channels onto the service at a cost.

As part of these recent rumors, it's also been suggested all users will have to pay a monthly subscription to gain access to Apple's original TV shows. In regards to these rumors, a price has not yet been put forward. More clarity should be given to Apple's streaming service on March 25, when the company is expected to host a major event debuting the service and outlining its big features.

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