Eric Slivka

Eric is Editor in Chief of MacRumors, swimmer, and former biophysicist. Enjoys reading and chasing after two rambunctious boys when he's not playing with the latest gadgets.



Toyota Brings CarPlay, Apple Watch Support, Qi Charging and More to 2019 Avalon and Corolla Hatchback

Back in January, Toyota finally announced support for CarPlay, becoming one of the last major car manufacturers to support Apple's system for accessing iPhone apps through a vehicle's infotainment system. Mazda, one of the other major holdouts, announced similar support last month. 2019 Toyota Avalon and Corolla Hatchback At its January announcement, Toyota revealed that the redesigned 2019 Avalon sedan would be the first Toyota model to include CarPlay support, with other Toyota and Lexus models adding support in the future. Several of those follow-on vehicles have since been announced, including the

Best Buy Offering Up to $350 Off MacBook Air Models

Best Buy is continuing its recent string of solid deals with a new discount offering up to $300 off select MacBook Air models, bringing the cost of the entry-level model down to just $699.99. Students and parents of students can sign up for Best Buy's Student Deals program to knock an additional $50 off on all eligible models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. 1.8 GHz Core i5 with 128 GB storage - $699.99 / $649.99 with Student Deals 1.8 GHz Core i5 with 256 GB storage - $899.99 / $849.99 with Student Deals 2.2 GHz Core i7 with 512 GB storage - $1,249.99 / $1,199.99 with Student DealsThis is likely a very short-term deal, so be sure to take advantage of it quickly if you're interested in picking up a MacBook Air. It's part of Best Buy's larger Computing Savings Event that runs through Saturday with a rotating selection of deals. Best Buy's other weekly deals are still ongoing, including up to $200 off MacBook Pro models (up to $250 off with Student Deals), discounts on iPhone 7 and 6s models, and an iPad trade-in program. And as always, head over to our full Deals Roundup for even more

Review: iDevices' Instant Switch Expands Manual Control of Your Other iDevices HomeKit Accessories

Last month, popular smart home accessory manufacturer iDevices launched Instant Switch, a Bluetooth switch that pairs with other iDevices products like outlets and switches to provide an additional point of manual control. For example, it can be paired with a hard-wired Wall Switch to provide control at another convenient place in the room without the need for wiring a second switch. Alternatively, it can be paired with a Switch or Outdoor Switch to provide convenient control of a switched outlet located in a hard to reach place behind furniture or outside. While the Instant Switch itself doesn't directly support HomeKit, it is indirectly compatible as it pairs with other iDevices products that are part of the HomeKit ecosystem. The Instant Switch runs on a CR2032 coin cell battery that lasts up to two years, and it can be mounted in a variety of configurations, including stuck anywhere you wish with an included 3M Command Strip, screwed into empty space in an existing electrical gang box, or even stuck stuck next to an existing gang box to make it look like an integral part of a multi-gang setup. Instant Switch without faceplate (left) and disassembled to access battery (right) The Instant Switch comes with a narrow white magnetic faceplate for a clean look, or you can use your own single or multiple rocker faceplate for a customized look. A built-in level in the Instant Switch makes it easy to ensure you're mounting it correctly. Installation is simple, and iDevices includes several parts to help with the process. An included manual walks you through

Apple Developing Its Own MicroLED Displays for Future Devices

Apple has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own displays, reports Bloomberg. The company is reportedly using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices. Apple's MicroLED facility in Santa Clara (Bloomberg) The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.Apple's desire to expand its supply chain beyond Samsung has been extensively rumored, with Apple reportedly spending billions of dollars to help LG get its own OLED production up to speed and LG displays rumored to be making their way into this year's "iPhone X Plus" device. Looking beyond OLED, many believe MicroLED will be the next display technology to appear in mobile devices, and Apple's interest in the technology was revealed in its acquisition of MicroLED firm LuxVue back in 2014. Apple has reportedly been working to first bring MicroLED to the Apple Watch, with some rumors pointing to that happening as soon as this year. Bloomberg's report suggests, however, that it will likely be a few years until Apple's MicroLED displays will appear in shipping products, perhaps two years for the Apple Watch and three to five years for the iPhone. Apple will likely also outsource full-scale production of the

Review: RAVPower HyperAir 7.5-Watt Wireless Chargers

We're starting to see more 7.5-watt wireless chargers hitting the market, and RAVPower is another popular charging accessory manufacturer that's getting into the mix. RAVPower's previous Fast Wireless Charger has been one of my favorite chargers for the iPhone X, but the company has also been working on improvements leading to a recently launched series of chargers under "HyperAir" branding. The lineup includes flat charging bases, a charging stand, and even a power bank that can wirelessly charge your iPhone. RAVPower promotes its new HyperAir accessories as supporting both 7.5-watt iPhone and 10-watt Android charging with optimal efficiency, using intelligent temperature monitoring and improved heat dissipation to maintain charging speeds for longer periods of time. RAVPower notes that the iPhone uses a narrow fixed frequency for its wireless charging, and HyperAir chargers are optimized to match that frequency for fast charging. Upon placing an iPhone on a HyperAir charger, the charger quickly identifies the device and optimizes its charging profile, allowing for a complete charge in two and a half to three hours. I've been testing three different types of chargers from the HyperAir lineup, and I've come away impressed with several of them. I'm always on the lookout for stand-style chargers, and the new HyperAir stand is a good one. It has an unobtrusive black finish but with a little bit more style than Anker's stands, with rear and bottom supports that appear distinct from the main body, and it's completely silent with no integrated fan. The lack of active

Review: Anker Debuts New 7.5-Watt 'PowerWave' Wireless Chargers Optimized for iPhones, On Sale Up to 20% Off

With the launch of the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus last September, Apple finally embraced wireless smartphone charging, and as of the release of iOS 11.2 in December, the devices became able to support faster 7.5-watt charging. Belkin and Mophie were Apple's launch partners for wireless charging, with their optimized charging bases launching alongside the new phones and supporting the 7.5-watt power targeted by Apple. While Belkin and Mophie's chargers had Apple's early seal of approval, plenty of other manufacturers already had wireless chargers rated at 5 watts and higher on the market. Pretty much all of them work just fine with iPhones, and in fact in our testing we found not much difference in iPhone charging speed between 5-watt and 7.5-watt chargers. Now that Apple's 7.5-watt charging spec has been available for a while, we're starting to see more accessory manufacturers launching new chargers optimized to work with the new iPhones. One of the first major brands out of the gate in this wave is Anker, which has long been very popular with consumers for offering solid charging accessories at good prices with excellent customer service. I profiled some of Anker's previous wireless chargers back in December as part of my early wireless charger roundup, and several of those models have been strong sellers. With Apple's specs for 7.5-watt charging now available, Anker today is releasing two new wireless chargers optimized to work with the iPhone. The new chargers, arriving under the "PowerWave" marketing name, feature built-in fans to help keep things cool and

New Entry-Level Mac Notebook Expected to Adopt Retina Display, Likely Launch at WWDC in June

Earlier this month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple is expected to introduce a cheaper MacBook Air sometime during the second quarter of the year, and a few days later a second report backed up Kuo's claims with a claim of a price point starting at $799 or $899. DigiTimes is now reporting that Apple is planning to launch a new 13.3-inch "entry-level MacBook" late in the second quarter of the year, which suggests an introduction at WWDC in June. While DigiTimes calls the notebook a "MacBook," it is unclear whether it would be part of the MacBook or MacBook Air line, but the entry-level nature of the machine and the MacBook's positioning at a similar 12-inch size suggests this new machine might be part of a refreshed MacBook Air family. However the new entry-level machine is marketed, DigiTimes says the pricing will be the same as or slightly higher than the current MacBook Air, which starts at $999, and the machine will include a Retina display.The 13.3-inch a-Si panels for the new notebook feature the same resolution as Apple's 13.3-inch MacBook Pro at 2,560 by 1,600. LG Display will begin supplying the panel in April with the new MacBook scheduled to enter mass production at the end of May or the beginning of June.The report claims that Apple is targeting shipments of six million units of the new notebook through the end of the year, although DigiTimes analysts believe four million is a more likely figure considering the estimated pricing. In addition to the new MacBook Air or MacBook, DigiTimes says Apple is also preparing updated

Review: Yale's $220 Assure Lock SL is a Sleek, Keyless HomeKit Deadbolt

Smart locks are one of the more popular types of HomeKit accessories, and Yale's Assure Lock SL deadbolt announced last October is one of the more interesting options on the market today. It's available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, and Satin Nickel, and I've been using the Oil Rubbed Bronze for the past few months. With the Assure Lock SL, Yale has pursued an interesting strategy of offering a $169 basic keyless entry deadbolt that can also accommodate one of several optional $50 hardware modules that add support for HomeKit, Z-Wave, or Zigbee smart home integration. Locking Overview and Design While most smart deadbolts allow users to lock and unlock from the outside with both a keypad code and a standard key, the Assure Lock SL foregoes support for a standard key entirely. As a result, it allows for a much cleaner look from the outside with only a small keypad visible, and it obviously also prevents the lock from being manually picked. Exterior view It sounds like a dangerous design decision that could easily leave you locked out if your batteries run out, but Yale has a solution to that dilemma – touching a standard 9V battery to a pair of terminals on the bottom of the lock will provide enough power to allow you to enter your code and unlock the door. Other manufacturers like Schlage and Kwikset are also hopping on this bandwagon as a solution toward eliminating keys entirely, so it's likely to become even more popular in the future. Now, I don't know anyone who carries a 9V battery everywhere they go, so it means if your lock loses power

KGI: Apple to Launch Cheaper MacBook Air in 2Q 2018

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research report encouraging investors to keep their eyes on three products for 2018: the rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, AirPods, and a "more affordable MacBook Air." The first two in that list have been widely discussed in recent weeks and months, but this is the first we've heard about an update to the MacBook Air. We expect Apple (US) to roll out the new MacBook Air with a lower price tag in 2Q18. We forecast total shipments of MacBook models will grow 10-15% YoY in 2018 (vs. 0-5% YoY decline for the NB industry), up from 15.5-16mn units in 2017. While Quanta, Radiant, Catcher and SZS are likely to benefit from strong shipments momentum, SZS also stands to benefit from increased market share and a higher ASP.Kuo doesn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but the current models are certainly outdated as they haven't had any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has cut back on available models including a complete discontinuation of the 11-inch model. The only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe. Aside from obvious internal upgrades like processors and graphics, another area that could see improvement is the display, as the MacBook Air currently offers a 1440 x 900 non-Retina display. We'll likely also see some USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 upgrades and perhaps an overall redesign given the age of the current design. Kuo's claim of a

KGI: Apple Developing High-End Over-Ear Headphones, Launching Late 2018 at the Earliest

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note outlining his expectations for Apple's "acoustic accessories" pipeline, claiming the company is working on both updated AirPods and "own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones" with an "all-new design." The new over-ear headphones are said to debut in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest.Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest; Primax & SZS will be the key suppliers & will benefit from high ASPs. We believe that after AirPods and HomePod, Apple’s next addition will be high-end over-ear headphones, making its acoustic accessory lineup more complete. Existing suppliers Primax and SZS will be Apple’s partners on this new product. Primax will receive assembly orders on its familiarity with the acoustic business, and SZS is likely to use MIM technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier. The new headphones will be priced higher than AirPods and should help boost the business momentum of Primax as the assembly provider. Beats Studio3 Wireless and current AirPods Kuo's prediction on upgraded AirPods follows a similar report just a few days ago from Bloomberg. Kuo says the new AirPods should launch in the second half of this year.We think the main difference of the upgraded AirPods, which won’t look much different from current AirPods, will be the wireless charging case and the adoption of an upgraded W1 chip. We believe that the

Claimed 'iPhone X Plus' Displays and Digitizers Shown in Leaked Photos

New photos claimed to be of the rumored 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus" screen and digitizer have been shared on the MacX forums [Google Translate], with the poster claiming the parts come from a "trial run of production equipment" at LG's facilities in Vietnam. The first photo shows a single digitizer held in a person's hand, and the overall size certainly appears larger than an iPhone X part, while the relative size of the notch to the digitizer's width is slightly different than on the iPhone X. At least one rumor has, however, claimed the second-generation iPhone X could have a smaller notch, so we shouldn't necessarily expect the notch-to-display proportions to be the same between iPhone X generations. The digitizer includes a flex cable at the bottom of the part for connecting to the iPhone's logic board, and the part number printed on the cable is similar to the format typically used by Apple. An apparent date code also shown on the flex cable points to a production date in the 46th week of 2017, which would correspond to mid-November, so this isn't a particularly recent part although there could be substantial lag between digitizer production and the part's incorporation into a full display assembly. The second photo shows a tray containing a set of four assembled display/digitizer components. Again, the size appears larger than the corresponding iPhone X part based on the relative size of the small earpiece slot visible on one of the parts. The rear design of the part is also very similar but not identical to the iPhone X display assembly. Samsung is

iTunes Store Won't Work on Original Apple TV and Windows XP/Vista PCs as of May 25

Apple yesterday published a new support document noting that security changes being implemented on May 25 will prevent the first-generation Apple TV and PCs running Windows XP or Vista from using the iTunes Store. Apple has also begun emailing users with active first-generation Apple TVs to warn them of the upcoming change. Beginning on 2018-05-25, Apple will introduce security changes that prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.Apple notes that second-generation and later Apple TV models will continue to work with the iTunes Store. The first-generation Apple TV based on a traditional hard drive was introduced back in 2007 and was supplanted by the much smaller flash-based second-generation model in late 2010. The first-generation model was officially declared obsolete by Apple in late 2015. As for PC users, Apple notes that machines running Windows XP or Vista are no longer supported by Microsoft and are unable to use the latest versions of iTunes, as iTunes 12 requires Windows 7 or later. With the upcoming changes, users running these older versions of Windows and iTunes won't be able to make new purchases or redownload previous purchases from the iTunes Store. (Thanks, Greg!)

Review: CalDigit's 'TS3 Plus' Dock Gives You 15 Ports, 85W Charging, and an SD Card Reader for $250

If you've followed all of my Thunderbolt 3 dock reviews over the past year, you know that in general these docks carry a lot of the same features in slightly different combinations. But usually, there's at least one fairly important feature that's missing in each model, whether it be enough USB ports, an SD card reader, or enough power output to fully support a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Price tags pushing to $300 and beyond are also an issue for many potential customers. So if any of those concerns resonate with you, you're going to want to read on to learn more about CalDigit's upcoming model, the Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus. The TS3 Plus takes the original TS3 dock that I reviewed last May and addresses nearly every concern I had with it and even lowers the price during the promotional pre-order period to $250 with a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable included. Packages with a 1.0-meter or 2.0-meter cable are also available for $270 and $280 respectively. Design The general design here is nearly identical to that of the earlier TS3 and even the Thunderbolt 2-based TS2 dock that preceded it. While most Thunderbolt docks have horizontal designs, CalDigit has generally opted for a boxier design that can sit either horizontally or vertically on a desk. Oriented vertically, the TS3 Plus stands just over 5 inches tall, a little under 4 inches deep, and just over an inch and a half wide, and weighs a hint over a pound. That makes it almost exactly the same size as and quite a bit lighter than the TS3. If that's too tall for your desktop, just slide on the included pair of

Review: Promise's $249 TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers Lots of USB Ports and an SD Card Reader

Thunderbolt 3 docks continue to hit the market, and today we're taking a look a recent entrant from popular data storage company Promise Technology, the TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. I've tested quite a few Thunderbolt 3 docks over the past year, and the TD-300 ranks right up with the best I've seen due to standout features like five USB 3.0 ports and an SD 3.0 card reader. At $249, it's also priced very competitively against other full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks. Design In the box, you'll find the typical contents for a dock of this type, including the dock itself, an external power brick, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. Any other cables such as for USB devices or an HDMI display need to be provided separately, although they frequently come with the devices you'd be connecting. The TD-300 comes in a horizontal form factor similar to many others on the market, and it sits nicely under an external display. It measures just over 9 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep and a little over an inch tall, and weighs just about a pound, so it's a pretty typical Thunderbolt 3 dock from a size perspective. The enclosure is made of black plastic, matte on the top and glossy around the sides, which sets it apart from the silver and gray finishes seen on most of the other docks I've tested. There's a fairly small Promise Technology logo in the rear left corner of the dock's top, but it's not terribly obtrusive, and the top tapers slightly toward the front of the dock. The front of the dock includes a pair of status lights, a green one letting you know there's power to

Tim Cook to Deliver 2018 Commencement Address at Duke University on May 13

Duke University today announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the 2018 commencement address on May 13 in Wallace Wade Stadium on the university's campus in Durham, North Carolina. Cook earned an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1988 and has served on the university's Board of Trustees since 2015."I am absolutely delighted that Tim Cook will be returning to campus as this spring's commencement speaker," said [Duke President Vincent E.] Price. "Throughout his career, Tim has embodied Duke's values of innovation and service to society, whether through his contributions to Apple's groundbreaking technology or his advocacy for social justice. I can imagine no better person, and no bigger Duke fan, to inspire the Class of 2018."As part of today's announcement, Duke included a brief video revealing its commencement speaker selection using Animoji, with Cook making an appearance as the fox. "From the first day I walked onto campus more than 30 years ago, Duke has been a source of inspiration and pride for me -- both professionally and through the deep personal friendships that have endured to this day," said Cook. "It's my honor to be returning to salute the class of 2018 as they begin the next chapter of their lives as Duke graduates."In addition to this year's upcoming appearance at Duke, Cook has delivered a number of other commencement addresses in recent years, including at his undergraduate alma mater Auburn University in 2010, at George Washington University in 2015, and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year.

Review: OWC's ThunderBlade V4 Offers Blazing Fast External Storage for Professionals

OWC this week is announcing the newest member of its family of "extreme performance drives," the ThunderBlade V4. The ThunderBlade V4 is an external drive targeted at professional users who need the fastest possible speeds, and it packs four M.2 solid state drive blades into a single enclosure that runs over Thunderbolt 3, with total capacities ranging from 1 TB to 8 TB. The result is what OWC says is the "fastest SSD ever made," with read speeds topping out at 2800 MB/s and write speeds up to 2450 MB/s. We've spent a bit of time with the ThunderBlade V4, and it's definitely an impressive piece of technology, although its pricing that starts at $1200 and rises significantly from there will limit the potential market. This is an accessory for demanding professionals who need to squeeze every bit of performance out of their external drives and is undoubtedly overkill for consumers simply looking to back up their computers. Design The ThunderBlade V4 comes in a hefty aluminum enclosure covered in large fins to help with heat dissipation, as this drive can get fairly warm when you're reading and writing a lot of data. There is no active cooling in the drive, which helps with the ThunderBlade V4's ruggedness as there are no moving parts. The ThunderBlade V4 measures just under 5 inches wide, a little over 7.5 inches deep, and just over an inch high. It weighs a little under two pounds, which gives it a solid feel and good stability on a desk. A separate power adapter also adds some bulk to deal with elsewhere. The only feature on the front of the ThunderBlade

Best Wireless Chargers for iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus

With the release of the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple now supports Qi-based wireless inductive charging on its latest phones, and that means charging pads have quickly become popular accessories for iPhone owners. Apple's favored partners for wireless charging pads are Belkin and mophie, and Apple is carrying a $60 charger from each company in its own online and retail stores. But there are lots of other options available on the market, and we've had a chance to try out a number of them, so we're rounding them up in this guide which we'll continue to update going forward.

Ring's Video Doorbell 2 Brings Battery-Powered 1080p Video Security to Your Front Door

Earlier this year, popular smart doorbell and home security company Ring debuted its Video Doorbell 2, equipped with a motion sensing 1080p camera, a removable battery, and two-way audio capabilities. Integration with Ring's mobile app lets you see activity at your door from anywhere, and even communicate with visitors. The Video Doorbell 2 is priced at $199 and can either replace an existing wired doorbell or be freshly installed in either a wired or a battery-powered configuration. We've been testing one out over the past month to see how it works on a standalone basis and in conjunction with the Floodlight Cam and Chime Pro accessory we reviewed a couple of months ago, so read on to see what we thought of it.

Hands-On With djay Pro 2 for Mac's New AI-Driven DJ Mixing and Beat-Matched Photo Slideshows

Algoriddim's djay lineup has been a mainstay in the DJ app market, getting its start on the Mac over ten years ago, becoming one of the early iPad hits, and over the years expanding to also include iPhone, Apple Watch, Windows, and Android. Throughout that time, djay has proven extremely popular with professional, amateur, and aspiring DJs alike for its powerful yet intuitive tools that make it easy to replace physical media and turntables with a single computer or mobile device, making djay the world's best-selling DJ app with over 30 million downloads while also winning a pair of Apple Design Awards. Three years ago, the Mac version of djay became djay Pro, gaining a revamped interface, integration with Spotify, and a host of other new features, and Algoriddim has continued to make improvements in the app since that time, most notably with an on-stage demo at Apple's October 2016 media event where Algoriddim showed off Touch Bar support for djay Pro on the redesigned MacBook Pro. Today, Algoriddim is launching djay Pro 2 for Mac, a major update bringing quite a few features that not only improve the user experience today but also set the stage for more advancements down the road. We met up with Algoriddim's Michael Simmons and Christoph Teschner last week for an in-person demo and overview of the new features, and we came away impressed with the update.

2018 iPhone X Successor Could Feature Up to 10% More Powerful Battery With New 1-Cell Design

Next year's version of the iPhone X could feature up to 10 percent more battery power if Apple and LG Chem are able to deploy a one-cell design for the device's L-shaped battery, as opposed to the two-cell battery used in the iPhone X, according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that was obtained by MacRumors. Kuo says the more space efficient one-cell design would allow Apple to boost battery capacity from 2716 mAh in the iPhone X to somewhere between 2900 and 3000 mAh for next year's 5.8-inch iPhone. As he previously claimed, Kuo believes Apple will release three new iPhones with TrueDepth cameras next year: a larger 6.5-inch OLED model that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus", a 5.8-inch OLED successor to the iPhone X, and a 6.1-inch LCD model. Today's report says that Apple is likely to use a two-cell battery design in the 6.5-inch model, but the larger size of the device will still allow it to have a capacity in the range of 3300 to 3400 mAh. Two new 2H18 iPhone models could adopt L-shaped battery (6.5” & 5.8” OLED models), with capacity upgraded for all models. In order to extend battery life, we believe it is necessary to expand battery capacity because all three new 2H18 models will be equipped with TrueDepth Camera, which consumes more power. We think Apple (US) is developing a 1-cell L-shaped battery in collaboration with LGC (KR). If the new battery enters mass production on time, the 5.8” OLED iPhone model will come with a battery with larger capacity (2,900-3,000mAh with higher RFPCB ASP $2.1-2.4). For the 6.1” LCD