Apple Begins Selling OtterBox's Stackable Wireless Charging System and Other Latest Accessories

Apple today added a variety of charging solutions and other products to its online store from brands such as OtterBox, Mophie, Belkin, Ubio Labs, Native Union, STM, and Promise Technology.

OtterBox's stackable wireless charging system OtterSpot includes a base that can charge up to three disc-shaped 5,000 mAh batteries and an iPhone, AirPods case, or other device on the top simultaneously. The idea is that you can quickly pick up one of the batteries from the stack and charge any Qi-enabled device on the go.

Introduced in August 2019, the OtterSpot system comes with a 36W USB-C power adapter and offers fast charging up to 10 watts. The base and one battery are available as a combo for $129.95, or the base and standalone batteries can be purchased separately for $69.95 each.

Available exclusively at Apple is Mophie's latest Powerstation Plus XL battery pack with an 8,000 mAh capacity for $99.95, as well as braided USB-C to Mini DisplayPort and USB-C to Micro-B cables.

6,000 mAh and 10,000 mAh battery packs from Ubio Labs are also available for $59.95 and $79.95, respectively.

Apple has added two BOOST↑CHARGE power adapters from Belkin, including one with a single 18W USB-C port for $39.95 and one with dual 18W USB-C and 12W USB-A ports for $44.95 for charging devices like iPhones and iPads. Each power adapter includes a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box.

Three more RAID storage systems are available from Promise Technology, including R4/16TB, R6/24TB, and R8/32TB options.

Last, there are new cases from Native Union and STM for the 10.2-inch

Apple's Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Could Launch as Early as March

Apple will start mass production on the rumored low-cost iPhone that's in the works starting in February, reports Bloomberg. The new ‌iPhone‌ could launch as soon as March after production begins.

Rumors suggest the new ‌iPhone‌ will be similar in design to an iPhone 8, offering up a 4.7-inch LCD display, thick top and bottom bezels, a Touch ID Home button instead of Face ID, and a single-lens rear camera, but it will be equipped with a modern A13 chip and 3GB RAM.

‌iPhone‌ SE and ‌iPhone 8‌
The ‌iPhone‌ will be the first truly low-cost ‌iPhone‌ Apple has introduced since the ‌iPhone‌ SE, which has led to the device being called the "iPhone SE 2" in some rumors, even though it's not expected to be as small as the original ‌iPhone‌ SE. There has been some speculation that Apple could call it the "iPhone 9," a number that was skipped with the 2017 unveiling of the ‌iPhone‌ X, but it's not clear what it will be named.

Render of what the low-cost ‌iPhone‌ could look like, via OnLeaks
Given the $399 pricing of the original ‌iPhone‌ SE, which was also positioned as a more affordable ‌iPhone‌ option, the new low-cost device could potentially be sold at the same $399 price point, making it Apple's most affordable ‌iPhone‌. The ‌iPhone 8‌ is currently the lowest priced ‌iPhone‌ Apple sells at $449.

The low-cost ‌iPhone‌ will be Apple's first ‌iPhone‌ in 2020, with additional ‌iPhone‌ models slated for release in the fall of 2020 with higher-end all-glass designs like current flagship iPhones, 5G technology, and rear 3D cameras. For full details on what to expect from

EA Retiring Tetris Apps for iOS in April 2020

EA is ending support for its Tetris for iOS apps starting on April 21, 2020, the company announced today in app updates to Tetris Premium, Tetris 2011, and Tetris Blitz.

As noted on the MacRumors forums, updates to the Tetris apps say that the games are being retired, with no word on why. From the app updates:
Hello Fans, We have had an amazing journey with you so far but sadly, it is time to say goodbye. As of April 21, 2020, EA's Tetris(R) app will be retired, and will no longer be available to play. Kindly note that you will still be able to enjoy the game and use any existing in-game items until April 21, 2020. We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of this game and we appreciate your ongoing support. Thank you!
Customers who have purchased in-app items in one of EA's Tetris apps will need to use those items up before the game is retired on April 21, 2020. Though some apps remain available to play after being pulled from the App Store, it sounds like EA is removing access to the Tetris games entirely.

Tetris has been a staple iOS game since the iPhone launched, offering up well-known and well-loved block stacking puzzle gameplay. EA has offered several updates for its Tetris apps over the years, but prior to today's announcement about retirement, the apps had not seen an update since the summer of

Hands-On With Anker's Apple-Certified iPhone Camera Flash Accessory

Anker in December debuted a new LED flash accessory that's unique because it's the first iPhone flash option that's Apple certified with Made for ‌iPhone‌ approval.

Anker started accepting pre-orders for the flash earlier this month ahead of a launch in late January, and we were able to get our hands on the LED flash to try it out.

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Priced at $50, the LED flash from Anker is designed to work with Apple's newest iPhones, which means it is compatible with the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

There have been other flash accessories on the market in the past, but these have all worked over Bluetooth. Anker's LED flash has a Lightning cable that plugs right into the Lightning port on the ‌iPhone‌, so it's perfectly synced with the rear cameras and goes off at just the right time.

Design wise, the flash is a little cube with an LED bulb at the front, a Lightning cable at the bottom, and a power button at the side. It comes equipped with a storage pouch and a little diffuser accessory to make the lighting less harsh for when you want a softer look. At the side opposite the power button, there's a tripod mount so you can mount it if desired, but holding it is an option too.

Anker's flash is equipped with a 700mAh battery, which is good for approximately 10,000 shots in flash mode or 50 minutes of light during video capture. Using the flash for video requires putting it into a flashlight mode, which can be done by pressing on the power button.

Once the battery has been exhausted, it will need to be

Apple May Develop Original Podcasts Related to Apple TV+ Content

Apple is considering creating original podcasts focused on TV shows and movies from its Apple TV+ streaming service, reports Bloomberg. The podcasts would be used to promote ‌Apple TV‌+ content.

In the summer of 2019, Apple began asking podcast producers to pitch ideas for podcasts with connections to ‌Apple TV‌+ shows, and has since discussed making podcasts with the producers of some of those TV shows.

Apple's streaming TV service, which launched in November, has less content than other streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix, so podcasts could provide Apple with a way to draw in new viewers. Though Apple is new to streaming TV, some of its shows, like "The Morning Show" have already earned award nominations and wins.

‌Apple TV‌+ competitor Netflix creates podcasts that offer behind the scenes looks at TV shows, so Apple could potentially offer something similar for its own shows.

Apple's plans have not been finalized, and it's not clear when ‌Apple TV‌+ podcasts might start rolling out if Apple does indeed decide to continue on with the

New York Law Enforcement Officials Operate $10 Million Lab Designed to Crack iPhones

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. built and oversees a $10 million high-tech forensics lab built expressly for the purpose of cracking iPhones, according to a new profile done by Fast Company.

The lab is equipped with "mind-bending hardware" and a team of technology experts, many of whom are ex-military. The facility itself features a radiofrequency isolation chamber that prevents iPhones being used in investigations from being accessed remotely to keep them from being wiped.

Vance's team has thousands of iPhones at the facility in various stages of being cracked. There's a supercomputer that generates 26 million random passcodes per second, a robot that can remove memory chips without using heat, and specialized tools for repairing damaged devices to make them accessible once again.

All of the iPhones are hooked up to computers that are generating passcodes in an effort to get into the iPhones, and sometimes that requires going through tens of thousands of number combinations. Those who work at the facility, including director Steven Moran, also attempt to narrow down possibilities using birthdays, significant dates, and other info that could be used in each specific case for an iPhone passcode.

Proprietary workflow software tracks all of the iPhones at the facility, including their software and their importance, for the purpose of deciding which ‌iPhone‌ to work on and which might be able to be cracked using a newly found third-party solution.

Vance has been a major critic of Apple and has called on the government to introduce anti-encryption

Apple CEO Tim Cook to Attend Davos Breakfast With Trump

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum conference and he plans to attend a breakfast with U.S. President Donald Trump, reports Bloomberg.

Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will brief Trump on a new campaign designed to highlight the multiple ways to get an education.

‌‌Tim Cook‌ and Melania and Donald Trump‌ in August 2018
Cook has attempted to have a cordial relationship with Trump, and recently took Trump to tour Apple operations in Austin, Texas, but there have been tensions between the two due to an ongoing trade dispute with China and more recently, Apple's refusal to unlock the iPhones used by Florida shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.

Ahead of the breakfast with Trump, Cook on Tuesday met with the prime ministers of Finland, Spain, and Croatia, but it's not known what was discussed.

Note: Due to the political 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.

Apple Card Users Can Now Export Transactions to Use in Budgeting Apps

When Apple Card launched last year, it didn't support importing transactions into various budgeting apps, which was a major negative for customers who use Quicken, YNAB, Lunch Money, Mint, and more.

As of today, though, Apple has a solution - an option to download a spreadsheet that has all ‌Apple Card‌ data, which can then be imported into many budgeting apps.

As outlined by TechCrunch, ‌Apple Card‌ users can follow these steps to access a document containing their monthly statements:
  • Open up the Wallet app.
  • Choose ‌Apple Card‌.
  • Tap the "Card Balance" option.
  • Tap on a monthly statement.
  • Tap "Export Transactions."
The option to export transactions will show up when a monthly statement is available. The ‌Apple Card‌ transactions are exported in a Share Sheet format with a CSV document, but in the future, Apple also plans to add an OFX option.

Apple's newly added feature to download transaction data in a CSV format should be a welcome change for ‌Apple Card‌ users who use budgeting services that accept imports. Some apps, like Quicken, accept imports, but may need file format conversions prior to import. Quicken does not support CSV files, for example.

Apps that require API-level integration like Plaid or Co-pilot will still be unable to download ‌Apple Card‌ content, and there's no word from Apple on when and if support will

Apple May Release Backlit Smart Keyboard With Scissor Switches Alongside 2020 iPads [Updated]

Apple may release a Smart Keyboard with a scissor switch design for its next-generation iPad or iPad Pro models, suggests Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, although full details are not available yet.

A paywalled preview of the report vaguely claims that "Apple's next-generation iPad series reportedly will feature a scissor switch keyboard," which is presumably referring to an accessory rather than a built-in hardware keyboard. The full report should be released tomorrow with more details.

In July 2019, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that iPad keyboards would stick with a rubber dome design rather than scissor switches in 2020-21, adding further uncertainty to this report.

Apple switched to a butterfly mechanism for its MacBook Pro keyboard in 2016, and after years of issues with sticky or unresponsive keys, it finally returned to a scissor switch design with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro last October. Kuo expects the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air to follow suit in 2020.

We'll update this post when the full report is released.

Update: The full report claims that Apple will likely release new iPads with "glowing" scissor switch keyboards in the second half of 2020, which presumably means a backlit Smart Keyboard. The report also reiterates that a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor keyboard will be released in the first half of

Apple Reportedly Dropped Plans for End-to-End Encrypted iCloud Backups After FBI Objected

More than two years ago, Apple informed the FBI that it planned to roll out end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups, according to Reuters. Apple ultimately dropped the plan at some point after the FBI objected, although the report notes that it is unclear if the federal agency was a factor in the decision.

A former Apple employee told Reuters that the company did not want to risk scrutiny from public officials for potentially protecting criminals, being sued for making previously accessible data out of reach of government agencies, or the move encouraging new legislation against encryption.

"They decided they weren't going to poke the bear anymore," the person said, after Apple's legal battle with the FBI in 2016 over unlocking an iPhone used by a shooter in the San Bernardino, California attack. In that case, the FBI ultimately found an alternative method of unlocking the iPhone.

Apple faces a similar standoff with the FBI over refusing to unlock two passcode-protected iPhones that investigators believe were owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the suspect of a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Florida last month. Apple said it has provided the FBI with all data in its possession.

Apple has taken a hard line on refusing to create a backdoor into iOS that would allow the FBI to unlock password-protected iPhones to assist in their investigations, but it does provide data backed up to iCloud to authorities when lawfully requested, as outlined in its semiannual Transparency Reports.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this

Disney+ to Launch in Europe Ahead of Schedule on March 24

Disney+ is coming to Europe sooner than we thought. Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom will now get the streaming service on March 24, Disney revealed today.

Additional Western Europe markets, including Belgium, the Nordics, and Portugal, will follow in summer 2020, said the company in a press release. Disney+ is already available in the Netherlands, where it launched as a free pilot trial back in September.

The new launch date is a week earlier than was initially scheduled. In November, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the launch date for European markets would be March 31.

Pricing has also been confirmed at £5.99/€6.99 per month, or £59.99/€69.99 for an annual subscription. Disney+ will be available on Amazon Fire devices, LG and Samsung smart TVs, Roku's streaming devices, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Xbox One, and PS4 at launch.
Users will access high-quality and commercial-free viewing, up to four concurrent streams, unlimited downloads on up to ten devices, personalised recommendations, and the ability to set up to seven different profiles, including the ability for parents to set Kids Profiles that have an easy- to -navigate, child-friendly interface to access age-appropriate content.
Over 500 feature films and over 7,500 shows will be available on the service including new original content like the critically acclaimed "The Mandalorian" and "The World According To Jeff Goldblum," along with timeless classics like "Lady and the Tramp" and the entire Pixar library.

(Thanks, Ricardo!)

Rumored 6.7-Inch iPhone Said to Be Thinner, Have Larger Rear Camera Sensors, and More

Apple is widely rumored to release four new iPhones in the fall, including one 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch model, and Japanese blog Mac Otakara has offered a few details surrounding these devices. The information is said to come from sources within Apple's supply chain in China.

The translated report is quite difficult to decipher, but here are some details that are being suggested:
  • 6.7-inch model will have a thickness around 7.4mm, which would be nearly 10% thinner than the iPhone 11 Pro Max at 8.1mm
  • All four new iPhone models will have OLED displays and Face ID
  • 5.4-inch model's height would be between the iPhone SE and iPhone 8, while at least one of the 6.1-inch iPhone models would have a height that falls between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro
  • 6.7-inch model will be slightly taller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • 5.4-inch and lower-end 6.1-inch models will have dual-lens rear camera arrays identical to the iPhone 11
  • 6.7-inch model will have a triple-lens rear camera with larger sensors than the iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • 5.4 inch, 6.7-inch, and at least one 6.1-inch model will have different numbers of microphone holes along the bottom
In line with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the report suggests that the new iPhone lineup will be introduced in September as