Tim Hardwick

Tim is a Contributing Editor at MacRumors. His writing has appeared in over 30 newsstand print and online publications covering a range of topics. Originally from Liverpool, England, Tim can sometimes be found accessing a personal wi-fi hotspot on the Yorkshire Moors.



Upcoming Hulu App Interface Changes Aim to Simplify Navigation and Aid Discoverability

Hulu is about to update its streaming app to make it easier to navigate and discover new content, according to TechCrunch. The big change coming in the next few weeks will be to the Hulu Lineup screen that users see when the app is launched. Hulu wants to trial two different variations to see which one has the most engagement: a "Hulu Picks" collection that will be curated by staff, and an "Unwatched in My Stuff" option that will show users things in their list that they've yet to watch. Hulu told TechCrunch it will test both options with a portion of users in the coming weeks in order to determine which one sees the best response. Elsewhere, other upcoming changes will include enabling users to view content while they search the thumbnail interface for something to watch. Subscribers can also expect a larger, more prominent "Details" button on content within collections like Kids, News, and Sports. More metadata will be available, too, including things like genre, rating, and release year. In addition, the Details button is set to feature quick user actions such as playing the next episode in a series, adding items to "My Stuff," and other show-specific settings. When browsing the Live TV channel guide, users will be able to view two weeks ahead, rather than just what's on now and next. In general, users will also see a refreshed palette for the interface, including background artwork and movie

Instagram Now Lets Users Post to Multiple Accounts Simultaneously

Instagram is rolling out a new feature that allows posting content to multiple accounts at the same time. The social network confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is now rolling out to all users of its iOS app: An Instagram spokesperson confirms this option is becoming available to all iOS users, telling TechCrunch, "We are rolling out this feature to provide a better experience for people who often post to multiple accounts."The ability to select which accounts to simultaneously publish the same post to is being made possible through the use of simple toggles that appear when the New Post option is selected. The new feature is likely to be welcomed by users who have multiple accounts for whatever reason (to separate content, for instance) but it's sure be a hit with marketing companies who manage various social accounts. Whether users will be able to publish Stories to multiple accounts simultaneously is yet to be

Apple Maps Gains Turn-by-Turn Directions for India

Apple has added turn-by-turn navigation to Apple Maps for India. The app now offers the detailed directions for driving and walking, with options to book a ride through Uber and Ola also showing within the app. Still missing for users in India is public transit information, lane guidance and speed limits, although given that the addition of turn-by-turn directions is part of an ongoing improvement to Apple Maps, these are likely to follow. Rival Google Maps has been the de facto navigation app in India for some time, thanks to its driving, walking, and public transport modes. Users of the app have also benefited from the development of region-specific special features like "two-wheeler" mode which provides motorcycle and scooter users with shortcuts across cities. By contrast, Apple's navigational contributions in the country have come in for some criticism, with some users calling out the app's sparse data for a number of cities and towns, including missing landmarks. The introduction of turn-by-turn directions comes nearly three years after Apple announced the opening of a Hyderabad-based development center focused on improving Apple Maps in India. (Thanks, Ram!)

How to Create a Virtual Home Button in iOS Using Assistive Touch

After testing some apps on an old iPhone 6 recently, I started to notice the device's Home button was becoming less and less responsive to finger presses, especially when it came to double-clicking it. Sure enough, after a few more days' use, the Home button stopped working completely. In memory of the Home button Now, ordinarily this would have left me in the unenviable position of having to power off my iPhone and turn it on again whenever I wanted to exit out of a launched app, until I relinquished the device and sent it away for a costly repair. Fortunately, however, the event jogged my memory of a friend who was able to continue using their iPhone even after a drop had left its Home button dangling by a wire (by some miracle, Touch ID still worked). They had set up iOS's Assistive Touch feature as a virtual Home button while they waited until they could afford a replacement. If your iPhone's Home button is dead or dying and you want to take similar action, or if you just fancy reminding yourself what using a Home button was like before Apple removed them from its latest iPhones, here's how to set up Assistive Touch to mimic a virtual one. Note that if your Home button is already broken and your iPhone is stuck in a launched app, simply power off the device and turn it on again to boot back into the Home screen and follow these steps. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap General. Tap Accessibility. Scroll down and tap AssistiveTouch. Slide the AssistiveTouch toggle to the green position to turn it on. Next, under Custom Actions,

Apple to Present Plaque to Korean Police for Cracking Down on Sale of Fake Accessories

Apple will express its gratitude to Korean police for seizing fake accessories worth 1 billion won ($892,000) by presenting a plaque to officers at a local police unit, reports The Korea Herald. As a token of thanks, Donald Shruhan, senior regional director for Apple's Asia-Pacific operations, will visit the Bucheon Sosa Police Station in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Friday to deliver a plaque of appreciation to investigators who arrested local distributors of fake Apple charging cables and earphones. The fake products are said to have come from China, although authorities are still trying to work out how they made it into the country. The distributors are reportedly under investigation on suspicion of fraud and trademark violation, said the paper's sources. Apple has a history of suffering from counterfeit Apple products originating from China, with authorities breaking up counterfeit iPhone rings and shutting down fake Apple Stores in the country down the years. In 2015, one Chinese company was even caught selling fake versions of the then yet-to-be-released Apple Watch for $30 a pop at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las

Apple Hires Prominent Facebook Critic for Internal-Facing Product Privacy Role

Apple has recruited a former Facebook employee who went on to become one of the social network's most ardent critics, reports The Financial Times (paywall). Sandy Parakilas monitored the privacy and policy compliance of Facebook developers for 18 months before leaving the social network in 2012. Sandy Parakilas talking to Bloomberg During his time at the company, Parakilas felt his concerns about its data-sharing policies were downplayed, according to FT. Last year, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Parakilas also gave evidence to the British parliament's digital, culture, media, and sport committee, and told MPs that Facebook's data protection practices were "far outside the bounds of what should have been allowed" between 2010 and 2014. Mr Parakilas has urged the tech industry to improve its data protection practices, increase the use of encrypted messaging and "verify the truth of statements that can be viewed by millions of people". "We now live in a world where racist demagogues and their dictator buddies can cynically exploit our tools to seize power," he wrote in a blog post in late 2016. "There is no such thing as a 'neutral platform'. Facebook, Twitter and Google all profited from this perversion of democracy."According to FT's sources, Parakilas will work in Apple's privacy team as a product manager, an internal-facing role designed to ensure that new products in development protect users' privacy and minimize data collection. Apple has made much of its privacy focus in recent years. In 2018, CEO Tim Cook singled out user privacy a "core

CES 2019: Anker Announces Soundcore 'Rave' Series of Portable Speakers

Anker has announced a new line of portable speakers under its Soundcore home audio brand. Dubbed the Rave series, the high-watt speakers are aimed at providing the soundtrack to your next outdoor summer party. The standard Rave speaker costs $200, is splash resistant, and comes with dual two-inch tweeters and two 5.25-inch woofers that combine to deliver 160 watts of sound. Next in the line-up is the $150 Rave Mini, an IPX7-rated waterproof speaker that packs a two-inch tweeter and identical woofers, and offers 80W output for up to 18 hours on a single charge. While both of those models aren't set to launch in the U.S. until the summer, Anker does plan to bring two additional Rave speakers to market as early as this spring. Called the Icon and Icon Mini, these two smaller models are both dust-resistant and waterproof, and are light enough to float in water. The standard Icon features a 12-hour battery and will cost $50, while the Icon Mini offers eight hours' battery life and will cost $30. In addition to the Rave series of speakers, this spring Anker is also launching the $100 Soundcore Wakey, an alarm clock that doubles as a wireless

Plex Said to Be Mulling Ad-Supported Movies and More Premium Content Subscriptions

In a bid to compete with the likes of Amazon Prime and Roku, Plex is reportedly planning to offer users ad-supported movies and premium content subscriptions through its platform. Plex Web Shows According to TechCrunch, the personal media management service is already in discussions with rights holders and networks to bring ad-supported content to the Plex platform, in a manner similar to the way in which The Roku Channel got up and running. It's also said to be in talks with premium networks and content providers about offering their programming and subscriptions through Plex. The idea apparently emerged out of Plex's agreement to bundle Tidal's music streaming service, as this meant it had to build transactional capabilities into its platform that were previously non-existent. "Now we have the ability to sell other services and bundles," noted Plex co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Scott Olechowski, in a discussion this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "We're bundling a Plex Pass with TIDAL. That took a little bit of backend work," he continued. "You can imagine a bunch of different premium [content] that comes together in a single or multiple bundles, potentially."The premium content would be presented to users through the existing Plex interface, which is organized by media type (music, movies, TV, etc.), and would allow them to easily see what sort of content they have access to based on their subscription. Meanwhile, ad-supported movies would be delivered using Plex's existing ad tech platform, which serves ads in its existing

Xiaomi Unveils Its Own AirPods Clones

Xiaomi today unveiled a new version of its AirDots wireless headphones, and it's safe to say that the average consumer on the street would be hard pressed to distinguish the look from Apple's own AirPods. The Chinese mobile maker first appeared to take a leaf out of Apple's playbook back in November with the launch of its original AirDots, which were more akin to classic earbuds in design but offered much of the same functionality as AirPods, including gestural controls and a compact charging case. Xiaomi's newly announced AirDots Pro (aka "Mi Bluetooth Headset Air") buds however look like a straight-up clone of Apple's best-selling wireless headphones, complete with the signature "arm" that houses the Bluetooth receiver and beamforming microphone. Like AirPods, the earpieces feature touch controls for music playback and invoking personal assistants, and they're able to function independently of each other thanks to adaptive pairing. They also offer water resistance and a four-hour battery life, while the charging case offers an additional 10 hours of charge and can recharge the buds fully in one hour. To their credit, the AirDots Pro have silicone tips for improved sound isolation and additional active noise cancelation. A black pair is also reportedly in the works. Still, the biggest difference is probably the price – Xiaomi's buds cost 399 Yuan (around $60), whereas Apple's come in at $159. How that saving impacts on sound quality and general performance remains to be seen. Xiaomi devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets, have been criticized in

CES 2019: Arlo Unveils HomeKit-Enabled Ultra 4K HDR Security Camera and All-in-One Home Security System

Arlo Technologies today announced its new Arlo Ultra 4K wire-free HDR security camera and Arlo Security System, the latter of which is being billed as a comprehensive security solution for the home or business. The HomeKit-compatible Arlo Ultra 4K HDR video camera features both color and black and white night vision via an LED integrated spotlight, a 180-degree panoramic field-of-view lens, and two-way audio with advanced noise cancelation. The Arlo Ultra ships with the Arlo SmartHub, which will also become Zigbee and Z-Wave compatible in the second half of 2019, allowing users to control a wide range of "Works with Arlo" certified third-party smart home devices via the Arlo app. As part of the Arlo ecosystem, the SmartHub will also support the newly announced Arlo Security System, which consists of the Arlo Multi-Sensor, Arlo Siren and Arlo Remote, to form a comprehensive security solution. The Arlo Multi-Sensor detects windows and doors opening and closing, motion, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, water leaks, temperature changes and more. The battery-operated Arlo Siren features a loud siren accompanied by a red strobe light to deter intruders. Users can also enable presence simulation to emit audio sounds, such as dog barking or TV audio. In addition, a built-in melody can be activated to notify users of specific events, such as the Multi-Sensor detecting a door opening. Meanwhile, the Arlo Remote lets owners arm and disarm the system without using the Arlo mobile app. It also features two customizable buttons that can be programed to

CES 2019: Netatmo Announces Smart Video Doorbell With HomeKit Support

Following its recent acquisition by Legrand, French company Netatmo has announced an Apple HomeKit compatible smart doorbell at CES 2019. The Smart Video Doorbell features a typical design that includes a 1080p camera at the top with 160-degree lens and built-in motion sensor, two-way communication via built-in speaker and microphone, and a button at the bottom for visitors to ring. The HomeKit support means that users can receive an instant iOS notification when someone rings the doorbell which enables them to jump straight into the Home app to see who's at the door. The Apple HomeKit integration also extends to automation rules, so users can set up trigger actions like turning on outdoor smart lights when motion is detected. Other smart services like IFTTT are also supported. The Netatmo Smart Doorbell stores video on an onboard microSD card and doesn't need a subscription like some other doorbell security systems. Owners can also choose to automatically save videos in a personal Dropbox or FTP server. On the other hand, Netatmo's product is designed to be a straight doorbell replacement, so a wired connection is required to get it up and running. Pricing information has yet to be disclosed but product availability is expected in the second half of

CES 2019: Withings Unveils 3-in-1 Cardiovascular Monitor and Analog Smartwatch With ECG Feature

French consumer electronics company Withings has announced a trio of new wearable products at CES, including a three-in-one health monitor and two smartwatches, one with electrocardiogram (ECG) capability. The health monitor is an upper arm cuff called the BPM Core that can take blood pressure, valvular health, and ECG readings, the latter of which can identify atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat in users. The cuff inflates to take the blood pressure readings and heart-rate measurements, and displays them on the built-in LED matrix display, which includes instant traffic-light feedback showing normal, moderate, and high blood pressure readings. To use the ECG function, the wearer has to place the hand of their other arm on the stainless steel sensor for 20 seconds, while the digital stethoscope involves placing a sensor on the user's chest for 20 seconds. In-depth results are sent wirelessly to the Withings Health Mate app. Withings says its BPM Core is currently awaiting FDA clearance but that the cuff should go on sale for $249 in the second quarter of this year. The company's two new analog-face fitness trackers come under the Move moniker and both track activity and sleep, with the Move ECG also able to take electrocardiogram readings when users touch both sides of the bezel. The watches can recognize activities including running, walking, and swimming, feature water resistance up to 50 meters and up to 12 months of battery life. The Move will initially be available in five color options priced at $70, with pre-orders now open and

Apple Offers 'New Year Special Edition' Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones in Chinese New Year Gift Guide

In addition to its Back to University promotion launched in Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil today, Apple has also unveiled a pair of special edition Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones as part of its Chinese New Year gift guide. Available in Silver Wing Grey, the New Year Special Edition Beats headphones, which are currently only available in China, continue a new Apple trend of decorating Beats in unique celebratory decals. In October last year, Apple unveiled limited edition Mickey Mouse Beats Solo3 models to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the famous Disney cartoon character. Previous to that, Apple released a Decade Edition model of the Solo3 as a salute to the longevity of the Beats brand, which the company acquired in 2014. As well as the new Beats, Apple's annual Chinese gift guide is also promoting the latest iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad Pro models under the banner of family reunion over the holiday

How to Rename Several Files at Once in macOS

In early versions of Mac OS, users looking for a way to quickly rename multiple files simultaneously (commonly referred to as batch renaming) had to use the command line or download and install a third-party tool dedicated to the task. Since OS X Yosemite however, Apple has integrated several useful batch renaming capabilities directly into Finder. To rename several files of the same kind on your Mac at once, follow the steps below. In our example we're going to be batch renaming some photos. Open a Finder window and locate the files you want to rename. Drag a selection box over the files with your mouse or hold the Shift key and click them one by one. Click the Action button in the Finder toolbar. Alternatively, right-click (or Ctrl-click) one of the selected files in the Finder window. Select Rename [XX] Items in the menu. Select Format from the first dropdown menu in the Rename Finder Items panel. In the next dropdown, select a Name format. We're going to use Name and Index, but you can optionally select Name and Counter or Name and Date. Enter a common name for your files in the Custom Format field. Enter a starting number for the file series in the Start numbers at field. Note that if you selected a number format, you can use the Where dropdown to choose whether the sequential numbers appear before or after the common name of your files. Make sure you're happy with the preview example at the bottom of the Rename panel, then click Rename. The selected files will now be renamed with your chosen nomenclature. Note that if you're note happy

Tim Cook to Address Q1 Earnings Concerns at All-Hands Meeting With Apple Staff

Apple CEO Tim Cook today plans to hold an "all-hands meeting" with employees to alleviate any fears surrounding the company's revision to its Q1 2019 earnings expectations. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who spoke to a person familiar with the matter, Cook plans to address concerns from Apple staff by taking questions from workers during Thursday's meeting. Further details on the meeting have yet to be disclosed, but Cook will likely seek to dampen internal worries about what the revised earnings guidance means for the company's plans as it gears up for another year. In his earnings call on Wednesday, Cook revealed that Apple expected to end the first quarter of 2019 with $84 billion in revenue, which is down over 7 percent from the $89 billion to $93 billion forecast the company predicted at the end of the last fiscal quarter 2018. In interview with CNBC, Cook said trade tensions with the U.S. put additional pressure on the Chinese economy, which led to less traffic in stores and lower sales. He also blamed fewer carrier subsidies, a stronger dollar, and the $29 battery replacement program, suggesting that those factors led to fewer iPhone upgrades than expected. Writing for Bloomberg, Gurman claims that stagnating smartphone sales mean Apple needs to look beyond the iPhone as its core product, but that the company shouldn't rely on its AirPods or Apple Watch lines because they're exclusively tied to iPhone use. Likewise, Apple's services business is providing an increasingly sizable income, but the long-term success of its services also relies

Investor Rights Law Firm Investigates Apple's Earnings Cut for 'Potential Securities Fraud'

Apple is to be investigated by an investor rights law firm for potential securities fraud following yesterday's revised Q1 2019 earnings guidance for the company, it emerged on Wednesday. Bernstein Liebhard LLP, which calls itself "a nationally acclaimed investor rights law firm," announced on its website that it was investigating the fraud claims on behalf of Apple shareholders, based on "allegations that Apple and/or its executives may have issued materially misleading business information to the investing public." The firm's complaint with Apple focuses on comments about China made by CEO Tim Cook in his November Q4 2018 earnings call, compared to what he told investors yesterday. In his letter on Wednesday, Cook revealed that Apple expected to end the quarter with $84 billion in revenue, which is down more than 7 percent from the $89 billion to $93 billion forecast the company predicted at the end of the last fiscal quarter 2018. Cook put the revised guidance down to "lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, [which] accounts for all of our revenue shortfall to our guidance and for much more than our entire year-over-year revenue decline." The statement contrasts with Cook's comments on China during Apple's November Q4 2018 earnings call, in which he told investors that "our business in China was very strong last quarter. We grew 16 percent, which we're very happy with. iPhone in particular was very strong, very strong double-digit growth there." Essentially, Bernstein Liebhard claims that the difference between the two

Sling TV Update Brings Interface Improvements for Apple TV Users

Sling TV has updated its Apple TV app in an effort to simplify access to content and enhance discoverability on the online streaming television platform. The new user interface upgrades, which are based on customer feedback, include improvements that put content front and center, while enabling subscribers to manage favorites and see more information about shows before viewing. In the new larger grid guide view, more images and blurbs now appear for the currently selected show, while filters on the left-hand side of the screen filter channels by categories including My Channels, Sports, Movies, and Kids. Meanwhile, individual channel guides can be accessed by clicking the channel logo on the left of the grid guide to see all the content available on that channel, and clicking a show now also offers more images and information on other seasons available via the streaming service. Elsewhere in the update, Favorite channels gain some visual UI improvements, and can now be managed by selecting an orange icon at the front of a row, allowing subscribers to view their recordings and edit content in the continue watching ribbon. Lastly, tapping the Apple Remote touch pad during streaming now lets users view more information about what they're watching, including show name, description, closed caption options, player controls are more. Sling says the new features for Apple TV are set to come to other Sling TV-supported devices in the future. See the Sling blog for more

How to Use Google Lens on iPhone

Google Lens can now recognize over a billion items in the world around us, the search engine giant announced this week. That's four times as many things that the AI-powered feature could identify when it was first launched last year, thanks partly to a huge number of Google Shopping products which have been added to its knowledge base. While its optical character recognition engine has been optimized to read more product labels, Google has also honed its machine learning and AI to recognize more animals, including common pet breeds. In addition, you can use Lens to get more information about places as well as word definitions and translations of words. Google Lens can now also recognize people, Wi-Fi network names for auto-connecting, and geometric shapes. And if it isn't sure what an object is, it will offer up similar photos that match. Google Lens originally appeared on iOS as part of Google Photos and could only be used on pictures you'd taken. However, last week Google added the feature to its flagship search app, and this implementation is better since it allows you to aim your phone's camera at things in your environment in real time. Follow the steps below if you'd like to give it a whirl. How to Use Google Lens on iPhoneIf you don't have it already, download the Google app [Direct Link] from the App Store and launch it. Sign in with your Google credentials or create an account. Tap the Lens icon to the left of the microphone in the Search bar. Tap the blue button that says Turn on camera to use Lens. Tap OK in the permissions alert to

Apple Will Reportedly Launch iPad Mini 5 and Entry-Level 10-inch iPad Next Year

Apple is preparing to launch a new fifth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2019, according to sources in the Apple supply chain cited by the China Times, followed by a new entry-level iPad in two versions. The report, first spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara, claims that Apple is preparing to launch a low-priced so-called iPad mini 5 in the first half of next year in an attempt to halt a general decline in iPad sales, with mass production expected to start by the end of December. Apple hasn't updated its smallest iPad since September 2015, but the device did receive a price cut in March 2017, with a 128GB capacity model costing $399. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in October that Apple is working on a new version of the iPad mini with an upgraded processor and a lower-cost display panel, with the device being launched in 2018 or early next year. Notably, Kuo's prediction came two months after DigiTimes said it did not believe Apple plans to introduce an updated iPad mini, and in fact has "no further plan" for the smaller tablet. As for Apple's entry-level iPad, today's report claims that next year Apple will replace its sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad with a similarly priced model that features a 10-inch display within a narrower frame. Following strong sales of the 2017 model, Apple is said to be launching two low-priced versions of the iPad in 2019 to boost sales growth. A more exact timeframe for launch was not given beyond the "second half" of 2019. Apple's 9.7-inch iPad was last updated in March 2018 and in the same month

DirecTV Now iOS App Update Adds 2018 iPad Pro Support, Cloud DVR for HBO and Cinemax, and More

AT&T's live TV streaming service DirecTV Now officially supports Apple's latest iPad Pro models, thanks to an update to the iOS app that was pushed out on Thursday. After installing the update, owners of this year's 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models will be able to watch shows on the service in fullscreen mode minus any letterboxing, which blighted previous versions of the DirecTV Now app. In addition to support for the new iPad Pro displays, the update introduces Cloud DVR support for HBO and Cinemax programming, albeit in a beta form. Apart from performance improvements and bug fixes, the DirecTV Now app also makes Cheddar programming available as part of the Just Right plus channel lineup. DirecTV Now is available on the App Store as a free download. [Direct Link] The service offers streaming packages starting at $40 per month, including a 7-day free