Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.
Former Apple director of corporate law Gene Levoff was today sentenced to a fine and four years of probation for insider trading, according to Bloomberg. Levoff was facing up to two years in prison, but he will avoid time behind bars.
Levoff's role at Apple was supposed to include ensuring that Apple employees were compliant with the company's insider trading policies, including enforcement of "blackout periods" around Apple's earnings reports, but he ended up committing the crime he was meant to police.
Due to his position, Levoff was given access to Apple's earnings results before they were made available to the public, and he used the information to buy Apple shares prior to better-than-expected results, and sell shares when there were weaker-than-expected earnings. Levoff earned around $277,000, and avoided losses of around $377,000 before he was fired by Apple in 2018.
Levoff last June pleaded guilty to six counts of securities fraud for insider trading, and his sentencing took place today. In addition to four years probation, Levoff will pay approximately $604,000.
Federal prosecutors argued that Levoff should be sent to prison for insider trading to deter other corporate executives from committing a similar crime, but the judge overseeing the case said that he didn't feel it was necessary because Levoff lost his job and will no longer be able to practice law.
Apple's iPhone 15 lineup came out in September, and while most reviews are done shortly after a new device launches, we like to follow up with a longer term review that gives us an opportunity to provide a deeper dive into what it's like using these phones on a day to day basis for months.
MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera has been using his iPhone 15 Pro Max without a case to test durability, and the titanium frame has been holding up much better than stainless steel. Even after some minor drops, there are no scratches or scuffs to speak of.
There were reports of overheating early on with the iPhone 15 Pro models, but Apple has addressed this in software updates. The iPhone 15 Pro stays cool to the touch for the most part, even when playing games. It can heat up when charging at random times, but it's not a consistent issue.
Battery life is about on par with the iPhone 14 Pro Max battery life, and there doesn't seem to be much of an improvement.
With the iPhone 15 Pro models, Apple added an Action Button, and , well, it's not getting much use. It's hard to get in the habit of using a new button for things that we've done for years using other workflows.
As for the camera, the best feature by far is the automatic portrait mode that lets you adjust focus after an image is captured without having to turn on Portrait mode. It's fun to use, and you can tap on each subject in the photo to change the focus from the foreground to the background. The 5x Telephoto lens is also a useful addition.
Make sure to watch our full video for more thoughts on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and let us know how it's performed for you over the last two months if you have one.
Apple today announced that starting in January 2024, all Apple Developer Program memberships will include 25 compute hours of Xcode Cloud at no additional cost on top of the Developer membership fee.
Xcode Cloud is designed to provide cloud-based tools to developers for building apps, running automated tests, providing apps to testers, and managing user feedback. It was introduced in 2021, and made available to all developers in June 2022.
Since launch, Apple has given developers access to 25 hours of Xcode Cloud per month at no cost, but that was scheduled to end this month. Apple has now decided to continue offering the free compute hours as part of its Developer Program membership.
We're pleased to announce that as of January 2024, all Apple Developer Program memberships will include 25 compute hours per month on Xcode Cloud as a standard, with no additional cost. If you're already subscribed to Xcode Cloud for free, no additional action is required on your part. And if you haven't tried Xcode Cloud yet, now is the perfect time to start building your app for free in just a few minutes.
Apple initially planned to charge $15 per month for 25 hours, but that tier will be free. 100 compute hours is priced at $50 per month, 250 hours is priced at $100 per month, and 1,000 hours is priced at $400 per month.
Each compute hour is an hour of time used to execute a task in the cloud, such as building an app or running tests. Compute hour usage is tracked through App Store connect and the Apple Developer app.
There is an Apple Pay and Wallet outage that is causing some users to experience issues with Apple Pay web payments and in-app payments using Apple Pay.
According to Apple's System Status page, the outage began at 5:04 a.m. Eastern Time, and it is ongoing. Apple says that only "some users" are having problems, but there are multiple tweets about the payment issues.
Note that this is not affecting payments that are made using Apple Pay in retail stores, with those Apple Pay purchases working fine. Apple does say that some users could experience issues managing, purchasing, or topping-up transit cards.
There is no word yet on when the Apple Pay outage might be resolved, but we'll update this article when Apple says that the Apple Pay issues have been addressed.
Update: Apple's status page has been updated to indicate the issue has been resolved.
Starting with the upcoming iOS 17.2 software update, there is a new NameDrop-like feature that allows an iPhone user to quickly share boarding passes, movie tickets, and other Wallet app passes with another iPhone user.
To use the feature, open the Wallet app and tap on the pass that you want to share. Then, hold your iPhone near the top of another iPhone, and a "Share" button will appear below the pass on your iPhone. Finally, tap on the "Share" button to send the pass to the other iPhone via AirDrop. Both iPhones must be updated to iOS 17.2.
While it is already possible to share many Wallet app passes via AirDrop, Messages, Mail, and more through the iOS sharing menu, this new feature aims to provide a quicker and more convenient method. It works similarly to NameDrop, an iOS 17 feature that lets users quickly share contact information by bringing two iPhones together.
The feature is mentioned in the iOS 17.2 release notes: "AirDrop improvements including expanded contact sharing options and the ability to share boarding passes, movie tickets, and other eligible passes by bringing two iPhones together." The software update is in the final stage of beta testing and should be released next week.
iOS 17.2 includes many other new features and changes, including a Journal app, spatial video recording on iPhone 15 Pro models, several improvements to the Messages and Weather apps, a Favorite Songs playlist in Apple Music, and more.
Apple today seeded a second release candidate (RC) version of an upcoming macOS Sonoma 14.2 update to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming few days after Apple seeded the first RC. The second RC has a build number of 23C64, up from 23C63 for the first RC.
Registered developers can opt-in to the beta through the Software Update section of the System Settings app. Under Beta updates, toggle on the Sonoma Developer Beta. Note that an Apple ID associated with an Apple Developer account is required to get the beta.
The release candidate version of macOS Sonoma 14.2 represents the finalized version of the softwae that will be released to the public should no major issues be found.
macOS Sonoma 14.2 adds support for enhanced AutoFill for PDFs, along with Contact Key Verification for Messages, a sticker tapback option, new Weather widgets, and more. Apple's release notes for the update are below.
This update introduces enhanced Autofill for PDFs and improvements to Messages and Weather. This release also includes other features, bug fixes, and security updates for your Mac.
PDFs - Enhanced AutoFill identifies fields in PDFs and other forms enabling you to populate them with information such as names and addresses from your contacts
Messages - Catch-up arrow lets you easily jump to your first unread message in a conversation by clicking the arrow visible in the top-right corner - Add sticker option in the context menu lets you add a sticker directly to a bubble - Contact Key Verification provides automatic alerts and Contact Verification Codes to help verify people facing extraordinary digital threats are messaging only with the people they intend
Weather - Precipitation amounts help you stay on top of rain and snow conditions for a given day over the next 10 days - New widgets let you choose from next-hour precipitation, daily forecast, sunrise and sunset times, and current conditions such as Air Quality, Feels Like, and wind speed - Wind map snapshot helps you quickly assess wind patterns and access the animated wind map overlay to prepare for forecasted wind conditions for the next 24 hours
Clock - Multiple timers let you run several timers simultaneously and create a name for each timer - Timer presets help you quickly start a timer with a range of preset options - Recents makes it easy to restart your recently used timers
This update also includes the following new features: - Favorite Songs Playlist in Apple Music lets you quickly get back to the songs you mark as favorites - Use Listening History in Apple Music can be disabled in a Focus so music you listen to does not appear in Recently Played or influence your recommendations - Shazam Music Recognition allows you to quickly identify songs playing online or around you, even when wearing AirPods - New keyboard layouts provide support for 7 additional Sámi languages - Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices.
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
Apple is expected to release macOS Sonoma 14.2 next week.
Apple today shared a study conducted by MIT professor Dr. Stuart Madnick that found 2.6 billion personal records were compromised by data breaches in the past two years. The study was commissioned by Apple, but the cover page says that the "conclusions and opinions expressed are exclusively those of the author."
Apple provided an overview of the study in its press release:
The report illustrates that the historic threats to user data that saw the number of data breaches nearly triple between 2013 and 2022, compromising 2.6 billion records over the course of two years, are only getting worse in 2023. In the U.S. alone, there were nearly 20 percent more breaches in just the first nine months of 2023 than in any prior year. The target for cybercriminals was very clear, with a 2023 survey finding that over 80 percent of breaches involved data stored in the cloud. This is after attacks targeting cloud infrastructure nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022.
Apple says the study's findings emphasize the need for end-to-end encryption, which iCloud already provides for 14 data categories by default. For users looking for additional protection, Apple offers an optional feature called Advanced Data Protection, which increases the number of iCloud data categories covered by end-to-end encryption to 23, including iCloud Backup, Notes, Photos, Voice Memos, and more.
"Bad actors continue to pour enormous amounts of time and resources into finding more creative and effective ways to steal consumer data, and we won't rest in our efforts to stop them," said Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi.
Anker has launched its newest holiday sale, this one offering a special deal every day in the lead-up to Christmas. These sales offer up to 50 percent off select products, and include discounts on USB-C chargers, portable batteries, and much more.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
The Apple executive responsible for the company's multitouch technology, health sensors, Touch ID, and Face ID is set to retire from the company, Bloomberg reports.
Steve Hotelling currently works as a vice president reporting to senior vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji. During his tenure, Hotelling significantly contributed to the development of some of Apple's most innovative and complex technologies used in the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Vision Pro headset. Hotelling's name appears on hundreds of patents, including filings related to multitouch displays and Touch ID.
Hotelling led the company's camera engineering team and was involved in the development of custom sensors. His work oversaw the development of the depth-sensing technologies crucial for augmented reality experiences and components fundamental to haptic feedback and ProMotion displays.
Hotelling has also been a prominent representative for Apple in numerous legal trials throughout his two decades with the company. He was a key figure in a patent case against Samsung in the last decade and recently served as a crucial witness in a trial involving Masimo, which sued Apple over patents related to health sensors.
Despite the significance of his departure, Apple has not yet shared an official statement regarding Hotelling's retirement. His responsibilities are apparently being distributed among several of Srouji's direct reports, with Alan Gilchrist taking over the management of the camera and depth sensor teams, and Wei Chen taking over display technologies. Apple's hardware technologies group continues work on a custom 5G cellular modem, new wireless chips, microLED displays, and a non-invasive blood sugar sensor.
Spotify appears to be bringing in-app payments back to its iOS app, based on code strings unearthed in the latest beta.
MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris discovered the new code references to an in-app payment system, including an IAP checkout screen and purchase retry panels for failed purchases.
It's not clear what the IAP references relate to, but the fact that they are included is curious in itself. Spotify has not allowed customers to sign up for a Spotify Premium subscription through the App Store for the last seven years.
There is no mechanism for subscribing to Spotify through the Spotify app, as Spotify has restricted signups to its website in order to avoid paying Apple's fees. "You can't upgrade to Premium in the app," reads Spotify's "Premium" section in its iOS app. "We know, it's not ideal."
Over the years, Apple and Spotify have had a long running dispute over Apple's App Store policies, with multiple public conflicts over app and subscription fees and app rejections due to Spotify's attempts to skirt the up to 30 percent cut that Apple takes from purchases.
In comments made in November 2022, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek accused Apple of giving developers "the illusion of control," and said that the App Store is a "threat to the future of the internet" that denies consumers choice.
Ek also clashed with Apple over Spotify's audiobooks feature. Apple in 2022 rejected Spotify's audiobook update several times and ultimately did not allow Spotify to direct users to purchase audiobooks through an in-app email signup button.
Things are different over on Android devices. Since November 2020, Spotify has been be able to bill Android users directly in the Google Play version of Spotify without needing to go through the Google Play billing system.
This is because Spotify uses Google's "User Choice Billing," a feature that allows Android users to make purchases using the payment option they prefer. User Choice Billing is essentially an alternative billing option for in-app purchases, and it comes with a reduced fee.
Apple offers no alternative billing from the App Store. There are two exceptions, however, including South Korea and the Netherlands. Regulators in these countries have forced Apple to allow some apps to use third-party payment providers.
With Google adopting options for alternative billing and continued regulatory pressure, it is possible that Apple will also fold and expand the Dutch and South Korea processes to other countries and app types. However, whether the IAP references in Spotify's code relate to such a plan is unknown. Another possibility is that Spotify is preparing to increase the price of its subscriptions to account for Apple's commission on in-app purchases.
Earlier this week, Spotify announced it will lay off about 1,500 employees, or 17% of its workforce, as the company seeks to downsize after a period of aggressive spending on podcasts and audiobooks. The latest round of cuts is the third in a year, with Spotify still facing annual financial losses amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Update: Spotify tells The Verge it has "no plans to switch IAP [in-app payments] on at the moment."
Meta is rolling out end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls on Messenger and Facebook, finally delivering on a pledge it committed to some time ago.
Messenger encryption originally arrived in 2016 in the form of "secret conversations," and plans to extend the platform's cryptographic features have been floated ever since.
According to Loredana Crisan, Head of Messenger, Meta is only now turning on end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls between two people after years spent "rebuilding Messenger features from the ground up."
Since 2016, Messenger has had the option for people to turn on end-to-end encryption, but we're now changing private chats and calls across Messenger to be end-to-end encrypted by default. This has taken years to deliver because we've taken our time to get this right. Our engineers, cryptographers, designers, policy experts and product managers have worked tirelessly to rebuild Messenger features from the ground up. We've introduced new privacy, safety and control features along the way like delivery controls that let people choose who can message them, as well as app lock, alongside existing safety features like report, block and message requests. We worked closely with outside experts, academics, advocates and governments to identify risks and build mitigations to ensure that privacy and safety go hand-in-hand.
The extra layer of security provided by end-to-end encryption means that the content of messages and calls are protected from the moment they leave the sender's device to the moment they reach the receiver's device. In other words, nobody, including Meta, can see what is sent or said, unless the message is reported.
End-to-end encrypted conversations also offer additional functionality including the ability to edit messages, higher media quality, and disappearing messages.
Meta notes that end-to-end encryption won't prevent users from using features like themes and custom reactions, but "it may take some time for Messenger chats to be updated with default end-to-end encryption."
As things stand, end-to-end encryption for group Messenger chats remains opt-in, and Meta previously said that Instagram messages will be encrypted "shortly after" the rollout of default encryption for Messenger chats.
Apple has updated its Legal Process Guidelines to reflect the company's legal obligation to comply with law enforcement requests for Apple ID information associated with its push notification service. The change follows yesterday's revelation that governments are actively using smartphone notification data as a user surveillance tool.
In the section titled "Information Available from Apple," Apple has appended an alphabetical list with the subsection "AA. Apple Push Notification Service (APNs)," which reads:
When users allow an application they have installed to receive push notifications, an Apple Push Notification Service (APNs) token is generated and registered to that developer and device. Some apps may have multiple APNs tokens for one account on one device to differentiate between messages and multi-media.
The Apple ID associated with a registered APNs token may be obtained with a subpoena or greater legal process.
Apple and Google have been forced by governments at home and abroad to provide users' data from notifications they get on their devices, US Senator Ron Wyden revealed on Wednesday in a letter to the Justice Department, drawing attention to a new smartphone privacy concern.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the letter, but Apple and Google confirmed that they have been subject to the requests. The companies explained that they had been prohibited from sharing information about how governments monitored push notifications until Wyden's letter had been made public and given them the legal opening they needed.
With push notifications enabled, Apple and Google create a small bit of data, known as a token, that links the user's device to the account information they've given the companies, such as their name and email address.
A Reuters source familiar with the matter confirmed that both foreign and U.S. government agencies have been asking Apple and Google for user information related to push notifications. The data is said to have been used to attempt to tie anonymous users of messaging apps to specific Apple or Google accounts.
The Washington Post said on Wednesday it had found more than two dozen search warrant applications and other documents in court records related to federal requests for push notification data. Though many were redacted, nine of the documents pertained to the federal hunt for U.S. Capitol rioters on January 6, 2021.
Note: Due to the political or social 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 plans a significant upgrade to the iPhone 16 microphone to improve the new AI-enhanced Siri experience, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Writing in his latest Medium post, Kuo says that "strengthening Siri's hardware and software features and specifications is the key to promoting AI-generated content," adding that Apple's generative AI ambitions and integration of large-language models (LLMs) into Siri will heavily rely on improved voice input processing.
To that end, Apple is preparing a major microphone upgrade for the iPhone 16, with better signal-to-noise ratio a key specification that will "improve the Siri experience significantly," says Kuo. The new microphone will also have better water resistance.
The upgrade corroborates other reports suggesting Apple plans to make enhanced Siri features a key selling point of the iPhone 16. New Siri features powered by LLMs are expected in iOS 18, and Kuo's report notes that Apple reorganized its Siri team in the third quarter of this year to integrate generative AI and LLMs. However, Kuo's predictions also add weight to rumors that additional on-device AI features could remain exclusive to the iPhone 16 models.
According to the analyst's latest survey, AAC and Goertek are the microphone suppliers for the iPhone 16, and will benefit equally from the specification upgrade. "The ASP of microphones for each iPhone 16 will be at least 100–150% higher than that of the iPhone 15," says Kuo. "As a result, AAC's and Goertek's revenues and earnings are expected to benefit significantly from this upgrade."
Next-generation Qi2 chargers from Anker will charge the iPhone 13, iPhone 14, and iPhone 15 at faster 15W speeds, Anker told The Verge. Current Qi-based chargers from companies like Anker are limited to 7.5W when used with Apple's iPhones, while MagSafe chargers support 15W charging.
While Qi2 has the same magnetic alignment that MagSafe offers, Apple has not provided details on the Qi2 charging speeds that the iPhone will support. During the introduction of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models, Apple said they support Qi2, but the technical specifications page for the devices says that Qi wireless charging is limited to 7.5W.
Anker spokesperson Mary Woodbury confirmed in an email to The Verge that, unlike older Qi products that were limited to half-speed 7.5W charging with iPhones, the new MagGo products can support 15W charging, the same maximum rate you get with Apple's MagSafe-branded gear.
Apple has not confirmed 15W charging speeds with Qi2, nor have other manufacturers working on Qi2 provided specific charging speeds, but if Anker's upcoming Qi2 chargers work at 15W, other wireless chargers will likely have the same maximum speed.
The iPhone 15 models have had Qi2 support since they launched, and with the iOS 17.2 that's coming soon, Apple is adding Qi2 support to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models.
If Qi2 does support actual 15W charging speeds on the iPhone similar to MagSafe, the certification could help clear up some confusing with existing magnetic wireless chargers. Current Qi-based chargers that have magnets are still limited to 7.5W charging, but manufacturers often like to say that they support up to 15W because other non-iPhone smartphones are able to charge at those speeds.
Disney today announced that customers who subscribe to its Hulu and Disney+ bundle can access Hulu content through a new "Hulu on Disney+" beta that aims to combine the two apps into a single app.
The beta is available to bundle subscribers as of now, with Disney planning to test the combined service before it rolls out in the spring. Bundle subscribers will see a Hulu title appear alongside Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic tiles in the Disney+ interface.
Clicking on the Hulu tile brings Bundle subscribers to the new Hulu Hub that has all of the Hulu content without the need to switch over to the Hulu app. The two-step launch process is meant to keep Hulu content separate from Disney+ content for parents who do not want the more adult content from Hulu accessible to children.
Disney said that it wants to better understand consumer needs and wants for Hulu on Disney+ before it launches in March 2024. Disney does not plan to replace either the standalone Hulu or Disney+ subscriptions, both will continue be available.
Recently, MacRumors has received details on the battery currently being tested on the upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE, and the information corroborates previous findings in relation to the device.
The iPhone SE 4, known by its device identifier D59, is expected to use the exact same battery found in the base model iPhone 14. Partially assembled prototypes of the next iPhone SE have been seen equipped with lithium-ion batteries bearing the model number A2863, which Apple has already used in the past. Internal design documentation also corroborates this change. The battery itself features an improved capacity compared to the current iPhone SE 3:
iPhone SE 3: 2018 mAh
iPhone 14 (A2863): 3279 mAh
Compared to the battery used in the third-generation iPhone SE, the A2863 battery brings with it an increase of over 1250 mAh, potentially resulting in longer battery life for the end-user.
Developing new components for the iPhone SE 4 would incur additional research and development costs for Apple, so the use of an existing battery would help maintain the relative affordability of the device compared to other iPhone models Apple offers. This also lines up with Apple's previous decisions in regard to the iPhone SE, as the second-generation iPhone SE used the exact same battery as the older iPhone 8.
In terms of other relevant upgrades, the fourth-generation iPhone SE will feature a new iPhone 14-based design, and will be equipped with an Action button and USB-C port, which we've covered extensively in our previous reports.
It is important to remember, though, that the information provided here is pre-production information. While prototype units of the iPhone SE 4 use the A2863 battery, Apple's plans could change as the device is still far from release.
Nanoleaf is known for its smart lighting panels, but this year the company launched a set of $99 Smart Holiday String Lights that are compatible with Matter and thus HomeKit. Matter devices connect to HomeKit in the same way that traditional HomeKit devices do, but you will need a Matter-compatible smart home hub. For the HomeKit ecosystem, this is anything that serves as a HomeKit "home hub," such as an Apple TV or HomePod.
Priced at $99 for a 20-meter (65 ft) light strand with 250 LEDs, the Nanoleaf Holiday String Lights are priced competitively. They're more affordable than similar smart string lights from Philips Hue or Twinkly, though Twinkly is often around the same price if you find them on sale. A 65-foot light strand is about the right size for a 7-foot tree, though it won't be the most dense lighting. For a more even look, two light strands of this length are required for most trees around that size.
There are two connected 10-meter strands with 125 LEDs each (which is also how Twinkly works). According to Nanoleaf, the dual strand design is ideal for use with trees. Starting at the middle of the tree, one strand can be wrapped up toward the top, while the second can be wrapped down toward the bottom. It is not possible to connect two sets of the string lights together, however, and each needs its own power supply if you're using multiples.
The Nanoleaf lights look a lot like the Twinkly lights in terms of design, with a flat-topped LED that has rounded sides. There's about three inches of space between each LED, and the cord is black with no other color options available. Black stands out more than green on a Christmas tree, so it would be nice to have a green cord option. Twinkly makes some clear cord string lights, and I think that's a good way to go because it's able to better blend into the surroundings.
Unlike Twinkly lights, you cannot control each individual LED, and instead these are set to different color palettes and patterns like the Hue String Lights. The Nanoleaf lights actually feel like a cross between Hue and Twinkly because they're not quite as customizable as Twinkly, but offer more patterns than Hue. 16 million colors are supported on the Nanoleaf lights, as well as multiple shades of white. The Nanoleaf app has pre-designed color palettes that you can choose in addition to the tools to create your own.
There's also a community feature with Nanoleaf so you can download lighting animations and color palettes created by others, giving you a lot of options for design without having to put in a lot of work. Nanoleaf's community feature has long been one of my favorite Nanoleaf features because it provides so many options with just a quick search.
The Nanoleaf String Light's colors are vibrant and bright and remind me a lot of Twinkly in terms of saturation and lighting patterns. Compared to Hue, Nanoleaf is brighter, and I don't feel that Nanoleaf's lights do gradients quite as well. The Hue holiday lights have the best color fades and pre-made patterns, and Nanoleaf can't compete there.
The best way to control the lights is through the Nanoleaf app, but once you establish lighting scenes, you can activate them through the Home app or Siri voice commands. The Home app can be used to control the Nanoleaf String Lights directly, but it's not really set up for individual LED control so it only works for turning the entire strand a single shade.
While these do connect to HomeKit (and other Matter-enabled smart home platforms), you can use them with the Nanoleaf app alone over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. With the included controller, the lights can be synced to music that is playing. There is a physical button on the light strand for turning them on and off and cycling through white shades, colors, and Scenes that have been set up.
According to Nanoleaf, the lights are 250 lumens, and the strand draws 18W of power. With the light strand on for 12 hours a day and an electricity cost of 13 cents per kilowatt hour, it would cost around $10 a year to run these lights.
These have an IP44 water/dust resistance rating, so they can be used indoors or outdoors and will be able to stand up to rain, but may not be able to hold up in particularly harsh weather like a downpour. Nanoleaf says they can be used in temperatures ranging from 5 degrees to 104 degrees.
As a HomeKit device, automations and schedules can be used to turn the lights on and off at set times or to change patterns based on sensors, times, or with geofencing.
During my time testing the lights, I did not run into issues with connectivity. Matter can be a little finicky right now, which is something to be aware of. In the past I have run into connectivity issues with non-Matter Nanoleaf products, but most of the time the solution has been removing and re-adding to HomeKit.
Nanoleaf's Matter-enabled String Lights are the most affordable string lights that connect to HomeKit that I'm aware of. At $99, they're cheaper than the Hue or Twinkly versions that have the same 250-LED count.
Nanoleaf's Matter-enabled Smart Holiday String Lights are a good deal comparatively, and they offer a lot of fun options for holiday decorating. These are quite not as customizable as Twinkly lights (which you can paint on using the app), but Nanoleaf has a better selection of pre-made scenes and color palettes to choose from.
The Nanoleaf app is a lot more user friendly and intuitive than the Twinkly app, which is my least favorite smart home product app. If you're someone who wants to hop onto an app, find a set of cool colors, and be done in about 30 seconds, Nanoleaf's string lights will facilitate that.
You can use these in tandem with other HomeKit products, but you won't have the integrations you'll have with say, the Hue String Lights and other Hue lights. If you're in the Hue ecosystem, I still think the Hue String Lights are the best holiday lights to get, but if you just need a general HomeKit-connected string light, Nanoleaf is a good option.
Though not related to the String Lights, Nanoleaf also came out with some Matter 4-inch downlights, a first for the company. I was able to test these out, and I think if you're looking for a smart downlight replacement that does not require a hub, these are a good bet.
I prefer my Hue downlights just because I am in the Hue ecosystem, but the Nanoleaf ones work just as well in terms of color options and brightness. Nanoleaf does not have 6-inch versions at this time, so that will be a barrier to those who have larger downlights or a mix.
I have had some disconnects with these lights, but I don't want to blame Nanoleaf for that because I think it is a HomeKit Matter issue where there are still bugs for Apple to work out.
These are only $30 each, which makes them half as expensive as the Hue version. If you're willing to do some troubleshooting every once in awhile until HomeKit is shored up for Matter, Nanoleaf's downlights are worth trying.