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Google and Other Suppliers Begin Cutting Off Huawei Following U.S. Trade Ban

Last week, president Donald Trump signed an order to restrict Huawei Technologies from selling its equipment in the United States in an attempt to curb Huawei's access to U.S. markets. This included placing Huawei on a blacklist that could forbid it from doing business with American companies.

Now, the effect of the blacklisting has hit the China supply chain this week, with chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom all telling their employees that they will not supply Huawei until further notice. Additionally, Google has cut off the supply of hardware and some software services to Huawei, specifically suspending all business with the company "that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing" (via Bloomberg and Reuters).

Google's suspension is particularly troublesome for Huawei's hardware business:
The suspension could hobble Huawei’s smartphone business outside China as the tech giant will immediately lose access to updates to Google’s Android operating system. Future versions of Huawei smartphones that run on Android will also lose access to popular services, including the Google Play Store and Gmail and YouTube apps.

“Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google,” the source said.
Although Gmail, YouTube, and Chrome will disappear from future Huawei smartphones, anyone who owns an existing Huawei device with access to the Google Play Store will be able to download app updates

Toshiba Planning to Buy Back Memory Unit Shares Purchased Last Year by Apple and Others

Last June, Toshiba completed the sale of its memory chip unit to a global consortium of companies led by Bain Capital and including Apple, Dell, Kingston, and Seagate Technology. Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that Toshiba is now set to buy back these shares under a refinancing plan.

Specifically, the four companies (excluding Bain Capital) are set to sell their preferred shares back to Toshiba for about $4.5 billion by the end of the month, and together they made a few hundred million dollars on the investment in Toshiba. Toshiba received the capital to buy out the companies from Japanese banks, totaling $11.8 billion.

Looking ahead, the company is now planning to become publicly listed in Tokyo near the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020. Toshiba's plan to re-acquire its memory chip unit comes over two years after it first announced plans to sell the unit in January 2017, followed by bidding for the unit that began in March 2017.

The Bain-led consortium eventually prevented Western Digital from taking control of Toshiba's memory chip business, which at one point threatened legal action against Toshiba. Apple eventually joined a "last ditch" effort to win the bid with Bain Capital, which will remain a majority owner of the memory chip unit even after Toshiba buys back its shares from the other four

Powerbeats Pro Water Resistance Test: Find Out What Happens if You Drop Apple's Newest Earbuds in the Toilet

Apple's new Powerbeats Pro earbuds feature a "reinforced design" for improved "sweat and water resistance" along with an official IPX4 water resistance rating, which means they should be able to hold up to a good amount of moisture.

Still, there were a lot of reports of the Powerbeats 3 failing due to sweat exposure, so we thought we'd test the liquid tolerance of the Powerbeats Pro with a series of water resistance tests.

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An IPX4 water resistance rating means that the Powerbeats Pro were able to withstand splashing water for at least 10 minutes, which is pretty decent because most people don't sweat buckets of water for an extended period of time.

We tested splashing water, jets of water, and even an extended dunk in water, and the Powerbeats Pro held up and worked well after every single test. Here's what we did:

- Test 1 - Simulated a drop in a kitchen sink with heavy splashes of water.
- Test 2 - Set the Powerbeats Pro in the shower for several minutes to simulate heavy rain.
- Test 3 - Dropped the Powerbeats Pro in the toilet, submerging them briefly.
- Test 4 - Dunked the Powerbeats Pro in a bowl of water for one minute.
- Test 5 - Dunked the PowerBeats Pro in a bowl of water for five minutes.
- Test 6 - Dunked the Powerbeats Pro in a bowl of water for 20 minutes.

After each water test, the sound coming from the Powerbeats Pro was muffled when we tested them, but once we got

Some 2018 Lexus Vehicles Eligible for $199 Software Update to Add CarPlay Support

Lexus recently announced that it is bringing CarPlay to some older vehicles, following the launch of CarPlay in new 2019 Lexus vehicles last September.

CarPlay can be installed in the 2018 LS, LC, RC, RC F, and NX, and as pointed out by iPhone in Canada, the new CarPlay options are available in both the U.S. and Canada.

According to Lexus, 2018 and 2019 vehicles equipped with a Lexus Multimedia System can have an enhancement installed that adds CarPlay compatibility along with support for Alexa. A full list of eligible vehicles is below:
  • 2018 LS
  • 2018 LC
  • 2018 RC and RC F
  • 2018 NX
  • 2019 NX (produced before October 2018)
  • 2019 RC F (produced before October 2018)
  • 2019 ES, without factory navigation (purchased before October 2018)
Lexus says that it is "pleased" to offer the software enhancement for $199, and Lexus owners who are interested should contact their Lexus dealer for more information.

Lexus says that new software will be installed on the Lexus Multimedia System to add the CarPlay feature, and a Lexus dealer is required to install the update.

CarPlay is already available in select 2019 Lexus vehicles including the 2019 UX crossover and the 2019 Lexus ES.

Lexus and parent company Toyota were among some of the last major car manufacturers to introduce support for CarPlay, instead supporting the SmartDeviceLink platform from Ford and Livio.

The wide availability of CarPlay spurred Toyota to reverse course and support

Apple Park Decorated With Rainbow Colors in Celebration of Steve Jobs and Formal Opening of Campus

Apple Park is decorated with the colors of Apple's classic rainbow logo today in celebration of the formal opening of Apple's new headquarters, and as a tribute to its late co-founder Steve Jobs, who helped conceptualize the spaceship-like design of the main building on the campus prior to his death.

First and foremost, Apple has set up a stage with a rainbow arch within the inner circle of the main building, as we shared last week.

The rainbow colors can further be seen on some stairs and walkways at Apple Park, on coffee cups at the Caffè Macs employee cafeteria, and on some of Apple's shuttle buses. Apple employees have also received classic Apple rainbow logo pins with the message "thank you for being part of what makes Apple, Apple."

Apple's design chief Jony Ive reflected on the rainbow's significance in a recent interview:
There is the resonance with the rainbow logo that's been part of our identity for many years. The rainbow is also a positive and joyful expression of some of our inclusion values and I think that one of the primary reasons the idea resonated so immediately and so profoundly with us was the form -- the connection from an aesthetic design point of view. A semi-circle relates so beautifully and naturally to the form of the ring.
Rumors suggest that Lady Gaga will be making a special performance at Apple Park later today. The pop star has visited Apple before, having previously dropped by its Infinite Loop campus to visit Steve Jobs. Apple executive Eddy Cue recounted that experience in an interview with

Google Pixel 4 Leaks Suggest Punch-Hole Selfie Camera and Total Lack of Physical Buttons

Google may have only just announced its Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, but rumors about this year's forthcoming Pixel 4 are already appearing, and the latest alleged leak suggests the search giant's redesigned handset will lack physical buttons.

MacRumors render of Pixel 4 based on leaks
This information has been shared by Jon Prosser's Front Page Tech YouTube channel, which last year was the source of several accurate details about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL over a month before they launched, and also confirmed the Pixel 3a devices' existence before they were formally announced.

According to Prosser's source, the Pixel 4 will use capacitive touch areas on the sides of the aluminum handset in lieu of clickable physical power and volume buttons. Prosser suggests these touch-sensitive areas may use an extended version of Google's existing Active Edge technology currently found in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 that lets users squeeze their phone to launch Google Assistant or silence incoming calls and notifications.

In addition, Prosser's source corroborates other recent rumors, including the presence of punch-hole front cameras embedded in the display – akin to those seen in Samsung's Galaxy 10 Plus and other smartphones this year – and either an optical or ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor.

The rear of the device is expected to feature a new dual-lens camera setup including either a telephoto zoom or super-wide-angle sensor, and they may be aligned horizontally in the upper left corner of the handset rather than the more typical vertical orientation

Apple Promotes Music-Making on Mac in New Ad

Apple today shared a new "Behind the Music" ad in the United Kingdom that promotes music-making on the Mac with portraits of artists.

"From bedroom studio to stadium tour, the British music scene is alive," the video description says. "See the emerging and the iconic, the graft and the glory, a glimpse behind the scenes and behind the music."


The ad is accompanied by a new page on Apple's website that says "Mac is the instrument of choice for musicians everywhere." The page highlights Apple's music software, including GarageBand, Logic Pro X, and MainStage 3.

The ad is part of Apple's larger "Behind the Mac" campaign launched last

Apple's U.S. iPhone User Base Sees Slowing Growth in Q1 2019

Apple's estimated U.S. iPhone installed base saw little growth in the first calendar quarter of (second fiscal quarter) of 2019, according to new data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

As of March 30, 2019, the U.S. iPhone use base hit 193 million units, compared to 189 million units at the end of the December quarter, marking two percent growth quarter over quarter.

Apple's iPhone user base was at 173 million units at the end of the March 2018 quarter, for year over year growth of 12 percent, which is not bad, but not quite hitting the growth rates of prior years.

A year ago, the installed iPhone user base in the U.S. grew four percent quarter over quarter and 19 percent compared to the prior year, indicating a plateau iPhone user base.
"The US installed base of iPhones continues to plateau," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. "Relative to the most recent quarters, and especially to the past two or three years, slowing unit sales and longer ownership periods means that the growth in the number of US iPhones has flattened considerably. Of course, 12% growth in a year, after years of much greater growth is still good. However, investors grew accustomed to quarterly growth of 5% or more, and annual growth of almost 20%. This continuing trend prompts investors to wonder if iPhone sales outside of the US will compensate, and places greater pressure on Apple's determination to sell other products and services to the installed base of iPhone owners."
CIRP's estimated U.S. iPhone installed base is based on estimated worldwide

How AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV App Work on a Samsung TV

When iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 launched earlier this week with the updated TV app that Apple first teased at its March event, Samsung also rolled out support for both AirPlay 2 and the new TV app, making it the first third-party company to launch these features.

We have a Samsung TV set (the 2018 Q6F) that's compatible with the new Apple offerings, so we thought we'd check them out to give MacRumors readers a look at how Apple features work on third-party television sets.

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After installing a firmware update, Apple-compatible Samsung TV sets will have an Apple TV app, which is going to be unique to Samsung TVs for the foreseeable future. Other TV sets are gaining Apple features like AirPlay 2, but it's only Samsung that has a TV app option for now.

The TV app on a Samsung TV looks almost identical to the TV app on the Apple TV, offering up a "Watch Now" feature that keeps track of the movies and the TV shows you're watching, plus content recommendations ranging from suggestions based on what you've watched to new content to trending content.

The "Channels" feature that's new to the TV app is available on Samsung TVs, allowing users to subscribe to services like HBO, Starz, Showtime, and more right within the TV app. Channels content can be watched right within the TV app without the need to open up another app.

There are dedicated sections for "Watch Now," Movies, TV Shows, Kids, Library, Search, and Settings, and the app offers up access to all of the iTunes content that

Apple's Former Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts Named to Airbnb's Board of Directors

Apple's former retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who left the company last month after five years, has joined Airbnb's board of directors.

In May 2018, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that he planned to appoint at least one woman to the company's board, according to CNN. Ahrendts will be the second woman to join Airbnb's board after Ann Mather of Pixar and Disney last August.

"Angela has a reputation for pushing brands to dream big, and she told me that's exactly what she hopes to bring to Airbnb's Board," said Chesky.

Ahrendts reflected on her time at Apple in February:
The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career. Through the teams' collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple. I feel there is no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple's strongest executives. I look forward to watching how this amazing team, under her leadership, will continue to change the world one person and one community at a time.
Here's what Apple CEO Tim Cook had to say:
I want to thank Angela for inspiring and energizing our teams over the past five years. She has been a positive, transformative force, both for Apple's stores and the communities they serve. We all wish her the very best as she begins a new chapter.
Prior to joining Apple in 2014, Ahrendts was the CEO of famous fashion company Burberry, and before that, she held positions at Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan. Ahrendts joined Apple at a time when Apple was experimenting with luxury products, such as

Apple Highlights Global Accessibility Awareness Day With Front-Page Feature [Updated]

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, an event that promotes inclusion and access to technology for anyone with a disability. As it has over the past few years, Apple is marking the day by updating Apple.com in the United States and a few regions around the world with a message promoting accessibility: "Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone."

On the Apple.com front page, visitors are encouraged to explore more accessibility features, which is linked to Apple's existing accessibility page. The page doesn't appear to have been updated yet this year; it highlights areas where Apple helps users with disabilities related to vision, hearing, physical and motor skills, learning, and literacy.

On the accessibility page, Apple highlights its short commercial from 2016 about real people with disabilities who use its products in everyday life, narrated by Sady Paulson, who uses Switch Control on a Mac. Otherwise the page showcases Apple accessibility features like VoiceOver, Live Listen, Switch Control, and more, with the help of products including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod.

In years past, Apple celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day with a series of "Designed for" videos that highlighted interviews conducted between CEO Tim Cook and three accessibility activists. Apple has also previously held a Stevie Wonder concert at One Infinite Loop and hosted global events promoting inclusive design at Apple corporate offices in Cupertino, Austin, Cork, and London. The company also usually holds accessibility-related Today at Apple

Apple Rises to Third in Annual Fortune 500 List of America's Largest Companies

Apple has ranked third in the annual Fortune 500 list of the highest-revenue-generating companies based in the United States, with $265.5 billion revenue in fiscal 2018, trailing only Walmart and oil giant ExxonMobil.

Apple moved up one spot in this year's rankings, overtaking billionaire investor Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway.

Fortune's description of Apple:
Two thousand eighteen will be remembered as the year that Apple first achieved a market value of $1 trillion, as well as when growth in iPhones, Apple's largest single product by far, began to slow. Before the introduction of the iPod—the iPhone's precursor—Apple was a once-exciting computer maker. Now, only a retailer and an oil company are bigger. Its challenge: as consumers hang onto phones longer, Apple is repositioning itself as a services provider. Already iTunes, Apple Music, iCloud, and cuts from sales in its popular Apple Store generate billions of dollars of sales.
Apple has made the Fortune 500 list for 37 years and has now cracked the top 10 spots for seven consecutive years:
  • 2019: 3rd
  • 2018: 4th
  • 2017: 3rd
  • 2016: 3rd
  • 2015: 5th
  • 2014: 5th
  • 2013: 6th
  • 2012: 17th
  • 2011: 35th
  • 2010: 56th
Other notable technology companies in this year's Fortune 500 include Amazon in fifth, Google parent company Alphabet in 15th, and Microsoft in