Tim Hardwick

Tim is a Contributing Editor at MacRumors. He has been covering technology for a decade, but will write about anything that interests him, from philosophy of mind to his own brand of bad fiction. Originally from Liverpool, England, Tim can sometimes be found accessing a personal wi-fi hotspot from a ferry somewhere on the Mersey.



Apple's AirPower Wireless Charging Mat Could Be Available to Buy Next Month

Apple will begin selling its AirPower wireless charging mat next month, according to Japanese website Mac Otakara. The publication has spoken to "reliable sources" who have apparently confirmed a claim made earlier in February by The Apple Post that the wireless accessory will go on sale in Apple retail stores sometime in March, although the specific date still remains unclear. Announced by Apple in September, AirPower is an oval-shaped white charging mat featuring Qi-compatible networking technology that will allow it to charge multiple devices at once. Along with an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X, and the Apple Watch Series 3, the AirPower charges AirPods thanks to a new wireless charging AirPods case that's also set to be released sometime soon. According to the original rumor, Apple intends to make the AirPower mat available to purchase concurrently at Best Buy and other Authorized Apple Resellers alongside its own retail stores. The Apple Post also claimed that in addition, Apple retail stores will stock the updated AirPods wireless charging case on the same day, although Mac Otakara's own sources make no mention of this. Mac Otakara has connections to the Asian supply chain and Asian accessory manufacturers, making it a typically trusted source for Apple product rumors. That said, the publication does not have a perfect record and has shared inaccurate info on occasion, so it's best not to take the latest report as fact until backed up by other sources. Right now our best guess is that Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat will cost around $199

Apple to Debut New AirPods This Year With Handsfree 'Hey, Siri' Voice Command Feature, 'Water-Resistant' Models Coming in 2019

Apple is reportedly working on several upgrades to its wireless AirPods with a new version of the popular headphones set for release as soon as this year, according to Bloomberg. Like with its mobile devices -- the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch -- Apple intends to frequently update the AirPods with new hardware features. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on a new version for release as soon as this year with an upgraded wireless chip, the people said. A subsequent model for as early as next year is planned to be water resistant, they added, asking not to be identified discussing private product plans.The new 2018 AirPods are said to come with an upgraded wireless chip that will let users summon Siri using the "Hey, Siri" voice command without having to physically tap the headphones, similar to the way iPhone and HomePod users invoke the virtual assistant. Currently, summoning Siri through AirPods requires users to double-tap the sides of the earbuds, although responsiveness to touch can occasionally be flaky. The upcoming version of the headphones are known internally as B288, according to today's report. The idea behind the third iteration of AirPods, said to be coming in 2019, is for the headphones to "survive splashes of water and rain", although they likely won't be designed to be submerged in water, according to Bloomberg's sources. That plan comes despite reports that current-generation AirPods survive being submerged in one foot of water for five minutes, and even come out the other side of a washing and drying cycle functioning as

Apple Shares New Photos of First Store in Austria, Opening February 24

Apple's first store in Austria is set to open on Saturday, February 24, and ahead of the store's official launch date, Apple has shared some photos that showcase the new location. Apple Kärntner Straße is located on Vienna's Golden Quarter, in the famous pedestrian shopping street between St Stephens Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. The two-level store features a corner entrance and reinstated exposed columns with large window openings that seamlessly connect it to the public gathering space outside.  "We can't wait to join the bustling city of Vienna, a European crossroads so rich in history and culture," said Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of Retail. "Apple Kärntner Straße brings the best of Apple together with our products, services and educational programs. Everyone is welcome to connect, be inspired to learn, and unlock their creativity."Like all Apple stores, Apple Kärntner Straße will offer customers free "Today at Apple" sessions – daily workshops focusing on photography, coding and app development, music, art and design, and more. Each session is hosted in an area of the store called The Forum that boasts a dynamic 6K video wall, recreating the same layout found in many of the company's retail stores around the world. Apple says the store will include its entire line of products, while new owners can get help customizing their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac from the store team of 150 employees, which together speak 44 languages. So long as no additional stores open between now and Saturday, Apple Kärntner Straße is

How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud

If you've been maintaining and migrating the same Contacts list across Macs over the years then you've probably come across your fair share of duplicate contact cards. They can also appear seemingly out of nowhere after setting up iCloud Contacts on your Mac for the first time. Unless you intentionally keep certain information for the same contact separated out for whatever reason, duplicate cards will add nothing but irritation to your day, so here we're going to show you how to merge and/or remove them, whether you're sat at your Mac or not.

Things 3.4 Update Introduces URL Linking Support, App Handover and Automation Features

Popular to-do app Things reached version 3.4 today and gained a trio of additional features made possible by the introduction of all-new Things URL links. Basically, the app now supports a special kind of link that starts with "things:" and enables users to send a variety of commands to the app. For example, it's now possible to link to your Today list, as well as the contents of your Upcoming and Logbook lists, from anywhere, such as in another app or within Things itself. In addition, links can be tied to specific to-dos within lists. On Mac, links can be generated within Things by right-clicking on any to-do or list in the sidebar and selecting Share -> Copy Link. On iOS, the same option can be found in the Share menu, accessed via the chevron button in the upper right corner of a list. Some examples of the new links users can generate include: Show Today: things:///show?id=today Show Upcoming: things:///show?id=upcoming
Show Logbook: things:///show?id=logbook
Show your “Vacation in Rome” project: things:///show?query=Vacation%20in%20Rome (This works if the project has that name).Apart from simple navigation, more advanced users can use Things URLs to execute powerful commands from outside of the app – to create to-dos, show tag filters, perform searches, and so on – while other apps will soon be able to use the URLs to send data to Things. For example, MindNode now lets users brainstorm on an empty canvas and then "hand it over" to Things as a project via a link. The popular Drafts app is planning support for Things URL links in its next version, and

Parallels Toolbox 2.5 for Mac Gains Web Page Screenshot Feature, Batch Image Conversion, and More

Parallels has released Parallels Toolbox 2.5 for Mac, bringing a handful of new features to the standalone application which aren't necessarily tied to virtualization. Essentially, the Toolbox places a drop-down menu in the Mac's menu bar, allowing users to do certain tasks more quickly. Tasks include the ability to record the screen, take screenshots, record audio, archive files, convert and download video, lock the screen, and more. New one-click tools in this version include: a Screenshot Page function, which lets you capture and print lengthy web pages that don't fit on a single screen; a Free Memory tool for checking available RAM and quickly reclaiming memory; and a batch image resizing utility to convert multiple images to your desired file size and format. Elsewhere, Toolbox 2.5 includes enhancements to existing functions, such as Clean Drive live disk monitoring, extended Download Video and Record Video options, and new delay settings for Screen Capture. In addition to the above, Parallels has streamlined the video/photo capture and conversion process, and enhanced the presentation and screen sharing modes to make additional options available to the host user. This version also has Archive and Unarchive utilities bundled to improve workflows involving file compression. Lastly, Parallels has announced Toolbox Business Edition, offering IT admins focused time-saving tools that aim to solve help tickets more efficiently, such as license and subscription management features, mass Toolbox deployment, and customizable Tool libraries for individual users.

10 Essential Tips for Using the macOS Finder More Efficiently

The Finder is a classic Mac system component that's ever-present on your desktop, ready to help you find and organize your documents, media, folders, and other files. It's the smiling icon known as the Happy Mac logo on your Dock, and includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen. A lot of hidden power resides in every Finder window. In this article, we've highlighted some of our favorite Finder tips and tricks to help you work more efficiently with files and folders on your Mac.

Apple in Talks to Buy Key Battery Ingredient Cobalt Directly From Miners

Apple is in talks to purchase long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners to ensure a steady supply of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage, according to a report by Bloomberg today. The companies that make batteries for Apple's iPads and iPhones depend heavily on the availability of cobalt, but Apple is said to have taken the issue into its own hands, prompted by fears that the electric vehicle boom could see supply of the raw material dwindle. Apple is seeking contracts to secure several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or longer, according to one of the people, declining to be named as the discussions are confidential. Apple's first discussions on cobalt deals with miners were over a year ago, and it may end up deciding not to go ahead with any deal, another person said.About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones that use lithium-ion batteries, according to Bloomberg. Smartphones are said to use around eight grams of refined cobalt, but the battery for an electric car requires over 1,000 times more. That means Apple will be in fierce competition with carmakers like BMW and Volkswagen as well as battery producers like Samsung as the firms seek to secure supplies into the future. With two thirds of all supplies sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a history of political instability and child labor, the price of cobalt has more than tripled in the past 18 months and now trades more than $80,000 a metric ton. In recent years, Apple has responded to criticism from

Samsung to Slash OLED Panel Production on 'Weak Demand' for iPhone X, Claims Nikkei

Samsung plans to slash its OLED panel output in response to Apple's decision to cut production of iPhone X due to "weak demand", the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday. Samsung will make OLED panels for 20 million fewer iPhones at its South Chungcheong plant in the January to March quarter, a lot lower than its original goal of supplying panels for 45 million to 50 million iPhones, according to the paper. Samsung is said to have made a 13.5 trillion won ($12.6 billion) capital investment in anticipation of the originally expected number of OLED panel orders from Apple. The new target reportedly reduces plant production to roughly 60 percent of original forecasts, and Samsung's display business is expected to suffer revenue declines for the first half of 2018. Samsung stock fell as much as 2.3 percent in morning trade, reported Reuters, while shares of some Japanese OLED component makers also declined. Today's report follows previous claims by Nikkei that "weak demand" for iPhone X has forced Apple to slash its production target by half in the three month period from January. However the claim doesn't tally with Apple's own results reported at its recent quarterly conference call earlier this month, and it's unclear which supply chain sources the publication is relying on. Apple CEO Tim Cook has dismissed these types of reports in the past, suggesting that the company's supply chain is very complex and that any singular data point is not a reliable indicator of what's actually going on. During its record financial results report for the first fiscal quarter

Apple Files New Trademark Application for Classic 'Rainbow' Logo

Apple has applied for a new U.S. trademark for its famous multicolor logo for use on apparel, reports The Blast. The Apple filing was processed in December by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Reporting and Monitoring System (TRAM), and is now being considered for approval. The description of the mark in the filing is of "an apple with a bite removed, with a detached leaf in green, and the apple divided into horizontal colored segments of the following colors (from top to bottom): green, yellow, orange, red, violet and blue". According to the application, the logo will be used for headgear, namely, hats and caps. Apple already sells t-shirts with the same logo emblazoned on the front at its Apple Park Visitor Center, so the filing likely relates to a possible extension of the existing clothing line, although there's no saying whether Apple will actually use the trademark or just wants to protect it against unofficial use. The classic multi-colored Apple logo was conceived by graphic designer Rob Janoff in 1977, but Steve Jobs axed the design when he returned to Apple in 1997 in favor of the monochromatic logo that continues to be used today. Janoff's "rainbow Apple" was actually created as a more modern, albeit playful replacement for Apple's first logo, which was designed in 1976 by Apple co-founder Ron Wayne. Sometimes referred to as Apple's "fifth Beatle", Wayne famously sold his stake in the company two weeks after it was founded. Wayne was a fan of the ornate line-drawing style of Victorian illustrated fiction, and used Sir Isaac Newton

Nike+ Run Club iOS App Updated With New Weekly Challenges Feature

Nike today updated its Nike+ Run Club iOS app with a new Challenges feature that aims to help users stay motivated throughout the week by letting them see how their mileage stacks up against other users in the global Nike running community. The new challenges appear in the Club section of the app. As of writing there are three challenges to join, including a 15K February Weekly Challenge, a 50K March Weekly Challenge, and a 100K March Weekly Challenge. Tapping on one sends you to a summary screen that tells you how many runners are currently participating and how long the challenge runs for. Tapping on the Join button enrolls you in the challenge, but you can leave it at any time through the challenge overflow menu (the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen). It also looks like you can only participate in challenges if your privacy setting is set to "Friends (social)" or "Everyone (public)". Completing challenges earns users achievement badges, similar to those found in Apple's Activity app. In addition to the weekly challenges, Nike says there will also be occasional special Nike Challenges, which sound a lot like Apple's seasonal/one-off challenges that many Apple Watch users will be familiar with. The Nike app's last major feature update came in October, when Nike introduced Audio Guided Runs to coincide with the launch of Apple Watch Series 3 models. The Nike+ Run Club app can be downloaded on the iPhone and all Apple Watch models, but with Nike+ models, there's an option to launch the Nike+ Run Club app from the exclusive Nike watch

How to Add, Remove, and Rearrange Menu Bar Icons in macOS

The macOS menu bar is a great place for quickly accessing system and application functions using menu extras or "menulets", but it can get cluttered pretty quickly as more and more icons vie for a space there. If the corner of your Mac's screen is fast becoming an eyesore, here are some quick and simple actions you can perform to bring order to the chaos, plus a few additional tips for making the most of Apple's menu bar extras. How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar Plenty of menu bar icons offer useful shortcuts to app and system functions, and may take up permanent residence on your screen. But left to their own devices, the arrangement of said icons is likely to become haphazard. Fortunately, re-organizing them is simple, once you know how to do it. Hold down the Command (⌘) key. Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to move. Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon into your preferred position on the menu bar. Other icons will step aside to make space for it. Let go of the left mouse button. Note that the Notifications icon in macOS is designed to sit in the far right corner of the menu bar and cannot be moved elsewhere.

Feral Announces 'Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia' Coming to Mac

Feral Interactive today announced that epic historical strategy game Thrones of Britannia will be released for macOS "shortly after" the upcoming Windows release on April 19. Originally developed by Creative Assembly, the game is the first in the new Total War Saga series of standalone titles inspired by great turning points in history. Thrones of Britannia is set in the British Isles in 878 AD, as Anglo-Saxons, Gaelic clans and Viking settlers vie for supremacy. Players will command one of ten factions, each with a unique branching narrative, and make decisions that reshape history in unexpected ways. Combining huge real-time battles with engrossing turn-based strategy, Thrones of Britannia challenges players to build and defend a kingdom. Players will forge alliances, manage settlements, raise armies and embark on a campaign of conquest from the snowbound highlands of Gaelic Scotland to the green fields of Anglo-Saxon Kent.Focusing on a specific historical flashpoint, Thrones diverges from typical Total War fare, and is expected to feature some changes to the series' standard game mechanics, including variations in building construction and military training to better reflect geographical differences. No specific release date or system requirements are available yet, but today's announcement is a good indicator that Feral is aiming to keep pace with new cross-platform releases. Thrones of Britannia can be pre-ordered now for $35.99/£26.99 from the Feral Store or Steam

APFS Bug in macOS High Sierra Can Cause Data Loss When Writing to Disk Images

Apple's APFS file system included in macOS High Sierra suffers from a disk image vulnerability that in certain circumstances can lead to data loss, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner. In a blog post last Thursday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that he had uncovered the data writing flaw in the Apple File System, or APFS, through his regular work with "sparse" disk images. For those who aren't familiar with the term, a sparse disk image is basically a file that macOS mounts on the desktop and treats as if it was a physically attached drive with a classic disk volume structure. The flexibility of sparse disk images means they are commonly used in the course of performing backup and disk cloning operations, hence Bombich's extensive experience with them. Earlier this week I noticed that an APFS-formatted sparsebundle disk image volume showed ample free space, despite that the underlying disk was completely full. Curious, I copied a video file to the disk image volume to see what would happen. The whole file copied without error! I opened the file, verified that the video played back start to finish, checksummed the file – as far as I could tell, the file was intact and whole on the disk image. When I unmounted and remounted the disk image, however, the video was corrupted. If you've ever lost data, you know the kick-in-the-gut feeling that would have ensued. Thankfully, I was just running some tests and the file that disappeared was just test data. Two related problems are identified by Bombich, above. The first is that the free space on the

How to Use the Hidden Camera Level Tool in iOS 11

Apple's native Camera app in iOS 11 has plenty of tools for helping you get the right shot, but some are more hidden than others. The camera level is the perfect example of a really handy tool that many users don't even know exists, mainly because it's part of a feature that's turned off by default. If you tend to take pictures of things when standing directly over your subject, like a meal on a table or an ornament on the ground, then you'll want to use the camera level, as it helps you capture a balanced shot without having to use a tripod arm or mount. It's also useful for taking a shot of something directly above you, like an object on the ceiling or in the sky. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Here's how to enable and use it on iOS 11. How to Enable the Camera Level on iPhone and iPad The camera level tool is part of the Grid overlay, which is useful in itself for applying the rule of thirds in your pictures for more balanced compositions. First then, you need to turn on Grid mode. Open the Settings app on your iOS device. Scroll down the list and tap Camera. Toggle on the switch next to Grid. How to Use the Camera Level on iPhone and iPad Open the Camera app on your iOS device. Set the capture mode to Photo, Portrait, Square, or Time Lapse, using the sliding menu above the shutter button. Point the camera straight down above your subject (or straight up if the subject/scene you want to capture is above you). Line up the floating crosshair with the fixed crosshair in the center of the screen by adjusting the angle of

Google Maps for iOS Gains Quick-Access Traffic, Transit, and Local Info Tabs

Google has updated its iOS Maps app with three new quick-access options that Android users have had access to for over a year now. The new tabs sit across the bottom of the home screen and are called Explore, Driving, and Transit. Swiping up on the shortcuts reveals further details. For example, in Explore users can find a description of the local area, dining choices, and options to search for gas stations, ATMs, convenience stores, drug stores, and other amenities. The driving tab provides a traffic summary for the area, including information on possible delays that might add time onto a commute. This tab will also include current ETAs for the user's home and work addresses if they are saved in the app's settings. Finally, the transit tab offers estimated bus and train schedules at stations in the vicinity. Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Danish E-Commerce Payment Provider Clearhaus Announces Support for Apple Pay

Danish acquirer Clearhaus today announced support for Apple Pay, bringing Apple's mobile payment platform to over 5,000 Nordic online merchants who use the e-commerce payment institution. In October 2017, Apple Pay was introduced to Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, where top Nordic banks like Nordea, Jyske Bank, Edenred, N26, and ST1 quickly adopted the digital wallet system, allowing physical stores across the region to accept contactless payments with iOS devices. Online payment gateway solutions and acquirers like Clearhaus, which has 20 percent of the market share in Denmark, have since been following suit."The emergence of mobile-friendly payment technology like Apple Pay proves that consumer behavior is changing - and webshops will need to adapt quickly. It's an easy, secure payment method, with the fastest checkout in the market today. That's why we have cooperated with our partner, QuickPay to bring Apple Pay to over 5,000 webshops in the Nordics."Clearhaus serves 7,500 merchants in 33 countries across Europe with secure payment solutions for accepting Visa and Mastercard

Microsoft Releases 'Photos Companion' iOS App for Quickly Transferring Photos to PC

Microsoft today released Photos Companion, an iOS app specially made for Windows 10 users to let them transfer photos from their Apple devices to PCs more easily. First circulated among beta testers in November, Photos Companion links with Windows 10's built-in photos app by way of a QR code, after which multiple photos can be sent over the same Wi-Fi network. Microsoft hopes the app – the result of a Microsoft Garage project – will appeal primarily to students who don't back up their photos to a cloud service such as the company's own OneDrive, but need a convenient way to get content from their smartphones to Windows machines in an education setting. We began developing a simple, experimental app for iOS and Android to see if we could unblock educators and help them begin using the Photos app in their classrooms. We knew that students often captured on multiple phones or tablets, but leveraged a single "project" PC to assemble their media and create their final project. We also knew that Wi-Fi access in the classroom was great between devices, but that any solution that required the cloud for transfer could be blocked by overloaded networks. Our solution was to build an app that would support direct wireless transfer between any phone or mobile device and the Photos app on any Windows 10 PC. This would enable students to transfer media to their own computers … or to a shared, project PC … without worrying about network speeds or mobile data charges.The app is part of Microsoft's wider mobile strategy to improve its iOS offerings, now that Windows 10 Mobile

Professional-Grade Acoustic Tests Support Apple's Claims About HomePod's Superior Sound Distribution

HomePod acoustic tests performed by Fast Company and published Tuesday appear to support Apple's claim that algorithms built into the smart speaker make it capable of distributing sound evenly throughout a room. According to Apple's marketing material, music played on HomePod is evenly distributed so that it sounds similar regardless of where the listener is standing or sitting in the room. Apple also claims that HomePod's output remains consistent wherever it is placed in an environment, thanks to sophisticated always-on sound processing algorithms. HomePod uses its six-microphone array to record the behavior of the sound waves emitted by the speakers, while the algorithms analyze the incoming data to adjust the output of the speakers and deliver a consistent representation of a piece of music throughout the listening environment. Another microphone deeper inside the HomePod picks up the presence of walls and other large objects that might interfere with the distribution of certain sounds, like the long sound waves of bass notes, and the algorithms adjust the output accordingly. To test the claim, a HomePod was placed on a 30-inch high table by a wall and a white noise test sound was played through it that produces an equal amount of decibels throughout the frequency spectrum. This output was recorded from four locations in the room, and then each sound profile was compared to see how much variation occurred across the full frequency spectrum. The testing gear used in the experiment was loaned by Liechtenstein-based acoustics company NTi Audio AG.

KGI: Apple Could Ship 100 Million Units of New 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, Replacing iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in 2018 Device Line-up

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today shared shipment projections with MacRumors for Apple's rumored 6.1-inch iPhone that he expects to launch in the second half of 2018. The device is said to have some iPhone X features such as Face ID, but design compromises will enable Apple to put it at a more affordable price point. They could include an LCD screen instead of an OLED display, an aluminum frame, a single lens camera, and no 3D Touch. We project shipments under the new product life cycle (4Q18-3Q19) for the 6.1" LCD iPhone, estimated to be launched in 2H18, will reach around 100mn units. According to Kuo's research note, shipment projections could fluctuate depending on the selling price of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, which Kuo believes will be somewhere between $700 and $800 in the United States. In his analysis, shipments will be around 105-115 million units when priced at US$699, and 95-105 million units when priced at US$799. The price could also depend on "whether Apple ultimately sees the new 6.1-inch LCD model as the successor of iPhone 8 or 8 Plus," according to Kuo. In a previous note, KGI Securities has said the 6.1-inch iPhone will have a standard non-stacked logic board and rectangular battery pack like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Kuo expects the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone to account for around 50 percent of the new iPhone line-up's shipments, with sales remaining strong into 2019. On that basis, today's shipping estimate suggests lifetime sales of 2018 iPhones could reach approximately 200 million units. The device is expected to be