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.



Review: Honeywell's $199 Lyric Round Thermostat Features a Nest-Like Design With HomeKit Support

Some of the more interesting types of smart home devices are thermostats, which can help save energy by optimizing scheduling, automatically sensing when the home is occupied or vacant, and more. One of the early entrants into the field on the HomeKit side is Honeywell, which has introduced several different smart thermostats, starting with the second-generation Lyric Round, which debuted early last year. I've been using a Lyric Round for quite a while now, and I've come to appreciate its integration with HomeKit and its ease of use, while Honeywell has continued to improve its function and stability over time.

Review: iDevices' Switches and Outlets Bring HomeKit to Your Existing Lights and Home Appliances

iDevices was one of the first companies to announce plans for producing HomeKit-compatible products, focusing primarily on switches and outlets but also branching out a bit with a thermostat. Earlier this year, iDevices was acquired by major electrical equipment manufacturer Hubbell, but the iDevices brand and product lineup lives on. I've been using a number of iDevices products, including the recently launched Wall Switch and Wall Outlet, as well as the Switch and Outdoor Switch that launched some time ago, and I've gotten a pretty good idea of how well these accessories fit into my home and integrate with other HomeKit devices through HomeKit. All of the devices are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but for my purposes I focused on HomeKit. Wall Switch and Wall Outlet iDevices' Wall Switch and Wall Outlet are the latest additions to the company's HomeKit family, and they're the most complicated to install since they require in-wall installation. It's a little bit of a hassle and some users such as renters may not be able take advantage of them, but installation is a pretty straightforward project and they provide a much cleaner and more integrated look to your HomeKit system. As with any other time you're performing electrical work, you should turn off power at the circuit breaker and make sure electricity isn't flowing to the circuits where you're working. iDevices includes step-by-step instructions to walk you through the entire installation process and also includes some helpful videos on its YouTube channel.

Ring Debuts New Spotlight Cam With Wired, Battery, and Solar Models for Home Security

Ring, maker of the popular video doorbells and recently launched Floodlight Cam, is today announcing a new line of Spotlight Cams. Similar in function to the Floodlight Cam but with a different lighting system, the new Spotlight Cam features LED light panels that automatically turn on when motion is detected, as well as a 1080p camera with night vision, two-way audio, and a 110 dB siren to let homeowners see activity around their homes and communicate with people who set foot on their property. Wired model The Ring Spotlight Cam will integrate with other Ring products through the Ring app to provide a complete security solution around the perimeter of the home. Ring's new Spotlight Cam is available in either black or white and will be available in three versions: Wired, Battery, and Solar. The Wired version includes a 270-degree horizontal motion detection angle, 140-degree camera field of view, and a 20-foot power cable. It is priced at $199 and is available to order today with shipments starting in 7–10 days. Solar model The Battery ($199) and Solar ($229) versions have a narrower 160-degree motion detection angle but the same 140-degree camera field of view as the wired version. The Battery and Solar models each come with a single 6000 mAh battery pack, but the light itself can hold two battery packs for maximum battery life. Extra battery packs are priced at $29 each. The Solar model comes with a Ring Solar Panel to keep the battery packs charged at all times. The Battery and Solar models are available for pre-order today and will begin shipping in the

iPhone 8 Infrared Face Detection and General Device Design Revealed in HomePod Firmware

Late last week, Apple released early firmware for its HomePod smart speaker, which won't be launching to the public until December. HomePod will run a version of iOS, and the firmware released by Apple corresponds to iOS 11.0.2. One iOS developer has dug into the firmware and discovered that it also contains hints of what we can expect for other devices. Most importantly, the firmware includes numerous references to infrared face detection within the BiometricKit framework that is currently home to Touch ID authentication, supporting claims that the iPhone 8 will rely at least in part on facial recognition. Developer Steven Troughton-Smith has also confirmed these discoveries. Within BiometricKit are new "FaceDetect" methods addressing such circumstances as faces being too close or too far from the camera, the presence of multiple faces, and more. Other references point to infrared capture in BiometricKit, pointing toward the rumored infrared sensors on the front of the iPhone being involved in capturing images for authentication, rather than using visible light through a traditional camera. Various references point toward the code name for this functionality being "Pearl," while the code name for the iPhone 8 is "D22." The iOS 11.0.2 HomePod firmware also includes a glyph for this D22 device representing an iPhone that looks much like the rumored iPhone 8, featuring a full-front display with a notch cut out at the top for the earpiece and sensors. The iPhone 8 is expected to debut around the usual September timeframe, but availability may be delayed

Apple Pressing LG to Add OLED Display Production for 2018 iPhone, Limiting Samsung's Leverage

Amid reports Apple is investing billions of dollars to help LG begin production of OLED displays for future iPhones, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report sharing his take on the situation. According to Kuo, the OLED display panel for this year's "iPhone 8" has been the "single most troublesome component for Apple in terms of bargaining power," as Samsung is currently the only company with design and production capabilities to make the displays. To counter Samsung's advantage, Apple is working hard to support LG's efforts to ramp up similar expertise and capabilities.We think Apple is therefore committed to having LGD geared up for its OLED iPhone display business in 2018 as it seeks to reduce supply risks. Even though LGD may likely start off with minimal initial penetration in 2018 (we estimate no more than 4-6%), the effort, with the full commitment of both Apple and LGD, will help LGD mature during the process and steadily gain supply share from 2019 onward. This will in turn continuously boost Apple’s bargaining power on OLED prices.Kuo predicts LG will capture 10–20 percent of iPhone OLED display production in 2019 and up to 20–30 percent in 2020, helping to diversify Apple's sourcing and limit Samsung's leverage. While LG will have expertise at production of the display panels themselves, Kuo predicts Foxconn subsidiary General Interface Solution (GIS) will be brought on board to assist with lamination processes. GIS would also offer expertise in production troubleshooting and vertical integration with Foxconn, so it would be an ideal

Review: Elgato's $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers a Solid Set of Ports in a Slim Design

Over the past few months, I've taken a look at a number of Thunderbolt 3 docks that all hit the market around the same time, including models from OWC, CalDigit, Belkin, and Kensington. There's at least one more major player in the market, so today I'm sharing my thoughts on Elgato's $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Elgato's dock has a lot in common with many of its competitors, including a slim horizontal design of brushed aluminum and plastic, an array of ports for expanding the capabilities of your Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac, and more. The dock looks nice on a desk, with a black matte plastic front and back wrapped by a brushed aluminum enclosure that's rounded around the sides. A small Elgato wordmark is printed in the front left corner of the dock's top, but it doesn't mar the overall look of the accessory, which remains rather unobtrusive. Measuring just under 8 inches wide, Elgato's dock is slightly narrower than some of the other docks, which to my eye makes it look a bit better sitting on the foot of my LG UltraFine 5K display. Belkin's dock at a little over 8 inches also fits pretty well, but wider docks like OWC's and Kensington's overhang a bit. Of course, everyone's desk setup is different so variations of around an inch in the width of all of these docks may not be a deal-breaker, but it's worth noting this is the narrowest of the horizontal designs I've tested. At about 3.15 inches deep and an inch high, Elgato's dock is otherwise pretty much on par with competing docks in terms of size.

Tim Cook Appears Onstage at Cisco Live to Debut New Enterprise Security Partnership

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at Cisco Live in Las Vegas today, sitting down with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins to discuss the ongoing partnership between the two companies that has leveraged Apple's expertise in devices and apps and Cisco's strength in networking and enterprise tools. Wow! @tim_cook and @ChuckRobbins announcing our IOS security partnership at #CLUS! https://t.co/izPv9neWvZ pic.twitter.com/AD1LUjhwBa— ☁ David Ulevitch ☁ (@davidu) June 26, 2017 During the session, Cook argued that business customers who use the integrated Apple-Cisco ecosystem should be granted a benefit in the form of lower cybersecurity insurance premiums, reports Reuters."The thinking we share here is that if your enterprise or company is using Cisco and Apple, that the combination of these should make that (cyber-security) insurance cost significantly less," Cook said. "This is something we're going to spend some energy on. You should reap that benefit."Cisco also announced its upcoming Cisco Security Connector program for iOS devices, launching later this year.Expected to be released in the fall of 2017, the Cisco Security Connector is designed to deliver the deepest visibility, control, and privacy for iOS devices. The Cisco Security Connector offers organizations the most granular view of what is happening on enterprise-owned mobile devices and provides the best protection for users, anywhere they travel. With the Cisco Security Connector, businesses will now have the ability to meet risk and compliance requirements from auditors and ultimately expand iOS adoption in new ways. [...]

Apple Working With Hertz on Autonomous Car Testing [Updated]

Apple's effort to test autonomous vehicle technology in California involves a collaboration with Hertz, the second largest U.S. car rental company, reports Bloomberg. The disclosure of the relationship between Apple and Hertz came in documents recently released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The documents note Apple is leasing its small fleet of Lexus RX450h SUVs for autonomous driving tests from Hertz's fleet management group.The iPhone maker is leasing Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles from Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit, according to documents released recently by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. When Apple received its license to test three autonomous vehicles from the state’s DMV in April, the documents listed Donlen as the lessor and Apple as the lessee.Hertz's stock price is up nearly 15 percent on the news, as investors speculate about a larger partnership between the two companies as Apple's project moves forward. The news comes as Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo has announced an agreement with Avis Budget to manage Waymo's fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Update: Apple tells CNBC that there is no partnership with Hertz and that Apple is simply leasing six vehicles from Hertz for its

Pearl Automation Shuts Down After Poor Sales of Its $500 Vehicle Backup Camera

Pearl Automation, the vehicle accessory company founded by ex-Apple engineers and which debuted its $500 "RearVision" wireless backup camera system just one year ago, has shut down following poor sales of the device, reports Axios. What happened: Early product sales disappointed, which was exacerbated by a high burn rate. What next? The Pearl Automation team received several "acqui-hire" offers, but opted instead to shut down and part ways, according to a source close to the situation.RearVision, which went on sale last September, was a license plate frame with dual HD cameras, solar power, and Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to an OBD port hub and an iPhone or Android phone. While it was a slick and easy to install system, the $500 price tag undoubtedly contributed to its downfall. Pearl appears to have had larger ambitions related to autonomous driving technology and driver safety, but with its initial project suffering from poor sales, the company lacked the resources to push forward on its follow-up

Original iPhone's First Four Reviewers Reminisce About Getting Their Hands on It for the First Time

With the iPhone's tenth birthday coming up this week, CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment today taking a look back at the development and launch of the original iPhone. The segment from David Pogue includes a roundtable session with Pogue, Walt Mossberg, Steven Levy, and Ed Baig, the four journalists who received review units of the iPhone in 2007 just prior to its launch."After three days," said Mossberg, "I was ready to throw this thing out of the window for trying to type on glass." "It's ten years later," said Levy, "and half the emails I get still have a little message underneath saying, 'Typed on phone, forgive typos'!"Pogue also sits down for a brief interview with Bas Ording, one of the key Apple engineers behind the first iPhone.Part of what made the iPhone a hit was that objects in that touchscreen world have their own physics. You can thank Bas Ording for some of it, like how lists have momentum when you flick them, or how they do a little bounce when you get to the end. "And now, a billion people are using your idea," said Pogue. "Is it a billion? That's a lot!" Ording laughed. "Did anyone, at the time, on this team, have any idea how big this could be?" "Oh, no, not at all. I didn't, for sure."The segment doesn't break any new ground on the background of the iPhone, but it's a nice piece highlighting the milestone anniversary of the device that changed the

Review: Kensington's SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Dock Packs Some Neat Security and Convenience Features

Earlier this week, Kensington launched its entry into the Thunderbolt 3 dock market with its SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, an enterprise-focused accessory that incorporates a couple of unique features in the form of a Kensington lock slot and the ability to mount the dock to the rear of VESA-compatible displays for "Zero Footprint Mounting" with a separate bracket accessory. I've since had a chance to spend some time with the SD5000T, so I've been able to test it out to see how it stacks up against the competition. The dock arrived in a plain white box with a product label on it, which Kensington tells me is the B2B packaging. Retail units will obviously have fancier packaging. Inside the box was the dock itself, a large power brick identical to ones used by many of the other Thunderbolt 3 docks, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. Kensington also includes three separate power cables with compatibility for the major US, UK, and mainland European standards. The SD5000T is fairly attractive, constructed primarily of matte black plastic with a band of brushed aluminum with chamfered top edges around all four sides of the dock except for the two front USB ports. The gap in the aluminum band around the USB ports provides a bit of visual interest without being overly distracting. Kensington's dock has a horizontal design very similar to most other Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market, measuring about 8.5 inches wide by about 3.35 inches deep by just about an inch high and weighing just over three quarters of a pound. A small Kensington word mark is

'The One Device' Explores the Creation of the iPhone, the Technology That Went Into It, and More

As we noted last week, today marks the release of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, a new book from Motherboard editor Brian Merchant chronicling the development of the original iPhone. I've had a chance to read through the book before its launch, and overall it's an entertaining read, although it comes up a bit short in its promise to unveil the secret history of the landmark device. The One Device is really a book in two parts, and the part directly covering the development of the original iPhone is actually only about 30 percent of the book, broken up into four chapters interspersed throughout. The remainder of the book covers topics that are related to the iPhone, but which are in most cases separate from the direct early iPhone history. In the four chapters that cover the development of the iPhone, Merchant weaves together his own interviews with a number of engineers who worked on the original iPhone with tidbits and quotes pulled from other sources such as executives' testimony in the Samsung trial, Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs, and Brett Schlender and Rick Tetzeli's Becoming Steve Jobs. Many of the members of the original iPhone team have left Apple over the past ten years, so some of those key former employees including Bas Ording, Richard Williamson, Imran Chaudhri, and the colorful Andy Grignon were willing to talk to Merchant about their time working on the project. There are some interesting details about early work on multi-touch inspired by Wayne Westerman's FingerWorks technology that was eventually acquired by Apple, Steve Jobs'

Kensington's $350 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Features 'Zero Footprint' Mounting, Security Lock Slot

We've already taken a look at several of the Thunderbolt 3 docks all coming to the market right around the same time, and popular enterprise accessory company Kensington is getting into the mix today with the launch of the SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, the company's first foray into Thunderbolt peripherals. Priced at $349.99, Kensington's dock is similar to many of the other options on the market with a horizontal design and an array of ports, as well as a full 85 watts of charging power to support even the 15-inch MacBook Pro over a single-cable connection. The SD5000T offers a number of port options, including dual Thunderbolt 3 ports to enable pass-through connections, a DisplayPort port for additional display connectivity, separate audio in and out ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. With the DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 ports and any necessary adapters such as for HDMI or DVI, the SD5000T supports up to dual 4K external displays. As for USB, the dock includes one Type-A and one Type-C port on the front and one Type-A port on the rear, all running at 5 Gbps. We'd like to see a couple more USB ports on there for greater expansion possibilities, but three is pretty standard for these types of docks. The USB ports also do not support standalone charging, so a connected computer will need to be on in order for peripherals to charge via the dock. The front USB Type-A port does, however, support up to 2.1 amps for fast charging, while the USB Type-C port offers up to 15 watts of power to drive bus-powered peripherals. Kensington is famous for its

Hints of iPhone 8 Showing Up in Web Analytics

Back in February, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo laid out his expectations for the display resolution on the so-called "iPhone 8," a brand-new iPhone scheduled for release later this year that forgoes the traditional Home button and LCD screen in favor of an OLED display that fills essentially the entire front of the device. Working from his expectations, we believe we are seeing increasing evidence of iPhone 8 devices visiting MacRumors. The numbers are unsurprisingly extremely low, but what we're seeing matches what we'd expect from Kuo's resolution claims. It has also become consistent enough that it's increasingly unlikely these data points are fakes or one-off blips in our analytics. According to Kuo, the iPhone 8 will feature a 5.8-inch display, but with a strip along the bottom of the display reserved for a "function area." Details on exactly what the function area will be used for are unclear, but it will likely be some sort of dock-like area that could include fingerprint sensing, Home button functionality, and likely other dynamic icons and buttons for interacting with the device. While Kuo says the overall 5.8-inch display will have a resolution of 1242 x 2800 pixels, he claims the active "display area" will measure 5.15 inches diagonally with a resolution of 1125 x 2436. That's likely the screen size that would be presented to Safari and other apps as the usable display space. Ever since the release of the iPhone 4 in 2010, Apple's Retina displays have used pixel doubling or tripling to increase the sharpness of text and other elements shown on the

Review: CalDigit's Tuff 1 TB SSD Brings Fast, Rugged, Portable Storage to the Latest Macs

CalDigit's Tuff line of rugged USB-C external drives have been a great option for those looking to take extra storage or backups on the go for a while now, but in addition to the existing 2 TB model using a 5400 rpm spinning hard drive, the company recently expanded the line to include a 1 TB solid-state drive option. At a list price of $499, the solid-state drive version is not cheap, but if you want fast storage on the go, combining an SSD with the Tuff's 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support gives some of Apple's latest Macs the ability to move data quickly. The MacBook Pro and brand-new iMac with their Thunderbolt 3 ports supporting full 10 Gbps USB are the best partners for the Tuff, and it's easy to see how useful it would be for moving data back and forth between notebook and desktop machines.

Placeholder for iOS 11 'Files' App Goes Live on App Store

With just hours to go until Apple's WWDC keynote, a new placeholder app listing for a "Files" app has appeared on the iOS App Store for iPhone and iPad, as noticed by Steven Troughton-Smith. Details on the app are scant, as the app description is merely "Files App for iOS" and there are no other details on the app other than an icon depicting a blue folder, although Troughton-Smith points out the app only supports 64-bit architectures. iOS 11 has been rumored to be dropping support for 32-bit apps, and Apple has been warning users about apps that have not been updated with 64-bit support. As we noted in our iOS 11 wishlist feature, file management is one area where MacRumors readers have been hoping to see improvement, and this upcoming Files app could help provide that. The Files app is undoubtedly a default system app for iOS 11, but system apps that can be deleted have App Store entries to allow users to reinstall them. As Troughton-Smith notes, a listing for the Activity app has also appeared in the App Store, suggesting users will be able to delete the app in iOS 11, something that is not currently possible. Update 11:48 PM: Apple appears to have pulled the Files and Activity listings from the App

Review: Belkin's $350 Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD Looks Great, but Could Use More Ports

With the flood of full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks about to hit the market, it's time to take a look at Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD, one of the major contenders users have been waiting for in addition to the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock and CalDigit TS3 that we've also recently reviewed. As with the other docks we've looked at, Belkin's offering includes a variety of ports and even charging capabilities all over a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, making it a great option for turning the new MacBook Pro into a robust desktop setup. Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD is launching this Monday, June 5 (exact time still to be determined), and will be available directly from Belkin and through Apple, as well as from other select retailers, but we've already had a chance to spend a little time with it to see how it compares to the competition.

WWDC 2017 Spoiler-Free Video Stream [Video Posted]

Apple's WWDC keynote will be kicking off at 10:00 am Pacific Time on Monday, and as is tradition, some MacRumors readers who can't follow the event live are interested in avoiding all of the announcements and waiting until Apple posts the recorded video of the event so as to experience it without already knowing the outcome. For those individuals, we've posted this news story, which will be updated with a direct link to the presentation once it becomes available from Apple. No other news stories or announcements will be displayed alongside this story. Apple has become quicker about making event videos available for replay over the past several years, and videos are now frequently available within an hour of an event's conclusion. Users waiting for the video to be posted are welcome to gather in the thread associated with this news story, and we ask that those who follow the events refrain from making any posts about Apple's announcements in this thread. Video Posted: A direct link to the video file is now available, with no

Review: CalDigit's TS3 and TS3 Lite Thunderbolt 3 Docks Offer Solid MacBook Pro Expansion Options

While Apple's latest MacBook Pro with support for Thunderbolt 3 has been out for over six months, the first full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks are only just now starting to hit the market. Last month we took a look at OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock that should begin shipping out very shortly, and today we're taking a look at a pair of similar docks from CalDigit that help expand the capabilities of the MacBook Pro. CalDigit actually has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 docks, the $200 TS3 Lite that has been available for a few months now and the upcoming $300 TS3 that is just about ready to begin shipping.

Apple Acquires 'Dark Data' Machine Learning Company Lattice Data

Apple recently paid around $200 million to acquire Lattice Data, a firm that aims to turn unstructured "dark data" such as text and images into structured data that can then be handled with traditional data analysis tools. News of the acquisition comes from TechCrunch, and Apple has essentially confirmed the acquisition by issuing its standard statement on the topic. Lattice uses machine learning techniques to take mass amounts of initially unusable data and turn it into properly labeled and categorized data that can be used for AI, medical research, and more.It’s unclear who Lattice has been working with, or how Apple would intend to use the technology. Our guess is that there is an AI play here: Our source said that Lattice had been “talking to other tech companies about enhancing their AI assistants,” including Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby, and had recently spent time in South Korea.TechCrunch says the deal closed "a couple of weeks ago," with roughly 20 Lattice engineers having joined