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Hands-On With Google's New Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Smartphones

Google today announced its latest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, which are designed to compete with Apple's new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

MacRumors was in attendance at Google's fall unveiling event and was able to get some hands-on time with the new devices, and we did a quick comparison to the iPhone XS Max.

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The 5.5-inch Google Pixel 3, which has no notch, is similar in size to the 5.8-inch iPhone XS, while the 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL is similar in size to the iPhone XS Max and takes some design cues from Apple's devices.

As we saw in leaked images and heard in rumors leading up to the Pixel 3 XL's debut, it has a deep notch on the front housing its front-facing camera system. The rest of the display isn't quite edge-to-edge due to a chin at the bottom that's missing from Apple's devices.

The Pixel 3 XL continues to use a single-lens 12-megapixel rear camera system, but Google has implemented an HDR+ mode that's similar to Apple's Smart HDR for combining multiple shots into one much better image. Dual 8-megapixel cameras are available on the front of the device, and Google touted a new group selfie feature with a wide-angle lens able to capture 184 percent more than the iPhone XS.

Inside, the new Pixel smartphones are equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, 4GB RAM, and up to 128GB of storage. The Pixel 3 offers a 2,915 mAh battery, while the XL model has a 3,430 mAh battery.

Google's Pixel 3 is priced at $799, while the Pixel 3 XL is priced at $899, making both

Stardew Valley Coming to iOS on October 24, Pre-Orders Available Now

Ultra popular farming simulation RPG Stardew Valley is set to expand to iOS devices starting on October 24, developer ConcernedApe announced today.

For those unfamiliar with Stardew Valley, it's an incredibly in-depth game where players take on the role of a character who takes over their grandfather's small, failing farm, working to bring it back to prosperity by planting and tending crops, raising animals, and crafting goods to sell. It's similar to other games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.


Players are also tasked with fighting monsters to earn money, mining ores, getting to know all the townspeople, and engaging in various social activities within the town. There are cyclical seasons and different crops and activities to partake in as the game progresses through different years.

The mobile version of Stardew Valley is the full version of the game that "plays almost identically to all the other versions." It has been rebuilt for touchscreen controls by London-based mobile development studio, The Secret Police.

All single-player content from the 1.3 patch, including the night market, skull cavern changes, and new character events, will be available, but the game will not support multiple players.

Those who have played Stardew Valley on the PC will be able to transfer their save data to the iOS version of the game using iTunes.

Pre-orders for the new iOS version of Stardew Valley are available starting today, with the game priced at $7.99 with no in-app

Apple Said to Have 'Dramatically Reduced' Multi-Billion-Dollar iPhone Repair Fraud in China

Within the past four years, Apple has managed to "dramatically reduce" the rate of iPhone-related repair fraud in its retail stores in China, according to The Information's Wayne Ma. The report is based on interviews with more than a dozen former Apple employees who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Image: iFixit
In 2013, Apple is said to have discovered a highly sophisticated fraud scheme in which organized thieves would buy or steal iPhones, remove valuable components like the processor or logic board, swap in fake components, and return the "broken" iPhones to receive replacements they could resell.
Thieves would stand outside stores with suitcases full of iPhones with some of the original components stripped out and replaced with inferior parts, two of the people said. The fraudsters would hire people to pretend to be customers to return them, each taking a device to stand in line at the Genius Bar, the people said. Once the phones were swapped, the actors would pass the new phones to the fraudsters and get paid for their time, the people said.
"In the old-school world, this would be a car chop shop, where you would take all the pieces off and sell them," said Kyle Wiens, co-founder and CEO of iFixit. "Now they're doing that with iPhones."

The report claims most of the schemes originated in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city known as a hotbed for criminal organizations because of its proximity to gangs in nearby Hong Kong. Shenzhen is also the largest electronics manufacturing base in the world, home to many Apple suppliers like Foxconn.

When the first Apple

Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 12.1 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 12.1 update to developers, one week after seeding the second beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 12, a major new version of the iOS software.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.1 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.

iOS 12.1 includes several new features that Apple promised would come to the new iPhone XS and XS Max devices. The beta introduces support for the eSIM, which is a digital SIM that lets you activate a cellular plan from a carrier without the need to use a physical SIM card.

Carriers will need to implement support for eSIM, which is likely to happen after iOS 12.1 launches. In the U.S., AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile will support eSIM.

The iOS 12.1 update brings a new real-time Depth Control feature, which lets you adjust the depth of field of your Portrait Mode photos before you capture them. Right now, in iOS 12, Depth Control is only available for post-capture editing.

If you tap on the "F" icon at the top of the screen while capturing a photo you use Depth Control to adjust the amount of background blur in an image.

In addition to these iPhone XS and XS Max features, iOS 12.1 reintroduces the Group FaceTime feature that was removed from iOS 12 during the beta testing period. Group FaceTime was present in many early betas but was ultimately removed because Apple needed more time to test it.

Group FaceTime is designed to let iPhone and Mac users conduct video and audio

'Carpool Karaoke: The Series' Season 2 Set to Launch on October 12

The second season of Apple's "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" television show is set to launch on Friday, October 12, with new episodes of the show to be available every Friday.

Based on a trailer shared by Apple, this season of "Carpool Karaoke" will feature Jason Sudeikis paired with Muppets, Matthew McConaughey paired with Snoop Dog, Weird Al paired with Andy Samberg, Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally, and more.


"Carpool Karaoke: The Series" first debuted in August of last year. Based on the popular Carpool Karaoke segment made popular by "The Late Late Show With James Corden," the series pairs up different celebrities, musicians, athletes, putting them together in a car to sing popular songs.

Apple announced a second season of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" back in February, and it is the first of the company's TV shows to get a second season.

A few "Carpool Karaoke" episodes aired ahead of the debut of the second season, including an episode with James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood of "Westworld" and an episode starring the cast of summer movie "TAG" with Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, and Jon Hamm.

While the first season of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" was exclusive to Apple Music subscribers, Apple is making the second season available for free through the TV app on the Apple TV and iOS devices.

A few months after the end of the first season, Apple also made existing episodes available to watch for free via the TV

Google Announces Pixel 3 Smartphone, 'Home Hub' Smart Speaker, and Pixel Slate Tablet

Google today held its annual "Made by Google" fall event, unveiling a new line of products that included the all-new Google Pixel 3 smartphone, a screen-based smart speaker, and a new tablet. Notably, Google pointed out at the beginning of its presentation that 2018 marks the 20 year anniversary of the search giant.

The central announcement at the event was the 5.5-inch Google Pixel 3 and 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL. The Pixel 3 XL has an edge-to-edge display and a notch at the top of the smartphone that holds its front-facing camera system, akin to iPhone X onwards. Unlike Apple's smartphones, the Pixel 3 XL has a chin on the bottom of the device.

The company focused on the Pixel 3's advanced camera, including an HDR+ mode and "Top Shot," which automatically captures multiple shots with HDR+ and recommends one that might be better than your photo. Night Sight will enhance photos captured in low-light scenarios, and Google compared nighttime images on the iPhone XS with those taken on Pixel 3. Users can also now edit the depth of field effect in portrait mode, like on iPhone XS and XS Max.

The second camera on the front of the Pixel 3 smartphone allows for a group selfie feature, which captures 184 percent more of a scene than the iPhone XS, according to Google. The new smartphone also has a few AR features on the camera called Google Playground, including characters from The Avengers and an animated version of Childish Gambino created in partnership with Donald Glover.

Outside of the camera, Google Pixel 3 has a Call Screen feature, where Google Assistant can

Apple Pencil 2 With AirPods-Like Pairing Expected to Launch Alongside iPad Pro With Face ID

A new version of the Apple Pencil with an AirPods-like pairing process will be released for the rumored iPad Pro with Face ID, expected to be announced later this month, according to 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo:
The new Apple Pencil will be paired with iPad Pro by proximity, much like AirPods or HomePod. Switching between devices will be possible without connecting the Apple Pencil to the charging port. It's unclear whether the current model of Apple Pencil will work with the new iPad.
It's unclear if the new Apple Pencil will be compatible with previous iPad Pro models or the sixth-generation iPad.

iPad Pro with edge-to-edge display mockup via iDropNews
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said Apple was working on a new Apple Pencil and new software tools for using the stylus back in November 2017, but few details have surfaced until now, beyond a patent filing for a more precise version of the drawing tool that would incorporate ultrasonic technology.

The current Apple Pencil launched alongside the original iPad Pro in November 2015, and hasn't been refreshed since. The $99 drawing tool gained support for the sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad earlier this year.

Rambo said the new iPad Pro will have an edge-to-edge display without a home button, as rumored several times. Unlike the iPhone X, he said the new iPad Pro will not have a notch, as the bezels are said to be wide enough to accommodate the TrueDepth camera and sensor array necessary for Face ID.

Face ID on the new iPad Pro will work in both portrait and landscape orientations, according to the report.

Rambo also

Minecraft for Apple TV Discontinued Due to Lack of Players

Minecraft has reached its end of life on Apple TV. The game has been removed from the tvOS App Store through lack of sales, while existing owners of the near two-year-old title for Apple's set-top box are met with the following announcement upon launch:

Effective from Monday, 24 September, the Apple TV version of Minecraft will no longer be updated or supported. We're grateful to the Apple TV community for their support but we need to reallocate resources to the platforms that our players use the most. Don't worry though, you can continue to play Minecraft on Apple TV, keep building in your world and your Marketplace purchases (including Minecoins) will continue to be available.
The Apple TV Edition of the wildly popular multi-platform construction game was announced at Apple's October 2016 keynote, where its potential for cross-platform play was enthusiastically promoted. "You can build new worlds on your Apple TV, and play with your friends using iPhones and iPads," said CEO Tim Cook.

The game was officially launched two months later for $19.99, but despite the Minecraft franchise continuing to thrive on other platforms, it looks like the Apple TV version just didn't take off as Apple and developer Mojang had hoped.

The removal of the title appears to be the latest example of the video game industry's continuing lack of interest in the Apple TV, which ships with a touch-based remote rather than a dedicated game controller like typical game consoles do.

Google Shuttering Google+ for Consumers After Undisclosed Data Exposure

The Google+ social network that Google introduced back in 2011 suffered from a major bug that Google opted not to disclose to the public, reports The Wall Street Journal.

A Google+ software glitch provided outside developers with the ability to access private Google+ profile data from 2015 to March 2018. In the spring of this year, internal investigators discovered the issue and fixed it.

The problem was caused by a bug in a Google+ API designed to let app developers access profile and contact information about the people who signed up to use their apps. Google found that Google+ was also allowing developers to access the data of users who had their profiles set to private. Up to 438 apps had access to customer data.
During a two-week period in late March, Google ran tests to determine the impact of the bug, one of the people said. It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments.
In an internal memo, Google's legal staff recommended against disclosing the bug because it would invite "immediate regulatory interest" and result in a comparison to Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Data from hundreds of thousands of users was potentially accessible, but Google did not discover misuse of the data by outside developers. Exposed

Apple Releasing iOS 12.0.1 With Fixes for Wi-Fi 2.4GHz Bug, Lightning Charging Issue [Update: Now Available]

Apple is today releasing iOS 12.0.1, the first official update to the iOS 12 operating system. iOS 12.0.1 comes three weeks after Apple released iOS 12.

The update will be available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings --> General --> Software Update. iOS 12 users should be able to download iOS 12.0.1 when it is released at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Today's update fixes several high profile bugs that have been plaguing iOS 12 users. It resolves an issue that could cause some iPhone XS devices not to charge when connected to a Lightning cable, an issue that was discovered shortly after iOS 12 was released.

Reports suggested multiple iOS 12 devices were affected rather than just the iPhone XS, and it's likely that if other devices are impacted, the new update solves the problem.

iOS 12.0.1 also fixes a major Wi-Fi bug that could cause some iPhone XS devices to prefer to join a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network rather than a 5GHz Wi-Fi network, resulting in perceived slower Wi-Fi connection speeds. After this update, many users who were stuck with their phones connecting to a 2.4GHz network should see much faster Wi-Fi connection speeds as the devices once again prefer a 5GHz network.

Other bug fixes in this update include a reorientation of the "123" number key on the iPad, which was moved in the iOS 12 update and swapped with the emoji/language key, a fix for a problem that could cause subtitles not to appear in some video apps, and an issue where Bluetooth could become unavailable.

Many of these bugs have also

U.K. Court Blocks Mass Legal Action Over Google's Alleged Tracking of Safari Users

London's High Court on Monday blocked attempts to bring a collective lawsuit against Google over alleged historical snooping of millions of iPhone users in the United Kingdom (via Reuters).

The lawsuit's claimants alleged that Google illegally gathered the personal data of over 4 million iPhone users in the U.K. between 2011 and 2012 by bypassing the default privacy settings on Apple's smartphones which allowed it to track the online behavior of users browsing in Safari.

Original explanation of the "Safari Workaround" in 2012 WSJ article
Veteran consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd, who led the collective 20,000-strong lawsuit, had claimed that Google's "Safari Workaround" breached the U.K. Data Protection Act by taking personal information without permission, and wanted the tech giant to pay out several hundred dollars in damages to each person affected. As a ballpark figure, a claim by 5.4 million people for £500 each would result in a £2.7 billion ($3.63 billion) payout for Google.

When the case was first brought in November 2017, it was the first time a collective action has been brought in the U.K. against a leading tech company over alleged misuse of data. "Collective action" is where one person represents a group with a shared grievance, similar to a class action lawsuit in the U.S.

However, Google said it was "not new" and vowed to defend itself, having defended similar cases before. "We don't believe it has any merit and we will contest it," said the tech giant at the time. On Monday, the court ruled in Google's favor.
"Today's judgment is

Apple Tells Congress 'Nothing Was Ever Found' to Suggest Alleged Supply Chain-Based Hack

Apple's top security chief told the U.S. Congress on Sunday that it had found no indication of suspicious transmissions or other evidence that its China supply chain was ever compromised (via Reuters).

In a letter to the Senate and House commerce committees, Apple Vice President for Information Security George Stathakopoulos wrote that the company had repeatedly investigated and found no evidence to support Bloomberg Businessweek's bombshell report that alleged tiny chips were discovered inside Apple servers which allowed for backdoor transmissions to Chinese spies.
"Apple's proprietary security tools are continuously scanning for precisely this kind of outbound traffic, as it indicates the existence of malware or other malicious activity. Nothing was ever found," he wrote in the letter provided to Reuters.
Stathakopoulos repeated Apple's statements to the press that it had never found any such planted chips or been contacted by the FBI over the alleged matter. The letter follows a statement issued on Saturday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security saying it had no reason to doubt the companies who denied that they had ever discovered the tiny chips.

Apple, Amazon, and Supermicro all strongly rebutted the report, which alleged that Chinese intelligence planted microchips in Supermicro servers, which Apple and Amazon previously used in their data centers.

Despite the denials, which are also backed by the UK's national cyber security agency, retired Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell, and other unnamed Apple senior executives, Bloomberg said it stood by its