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 Store App Offers Free Redeem Codes for 'Obscura 2' Camera App

The official Apple Store app for iOS devices has recently undergone changes in design and function, but Apple still occasionally uses it to host time-limited offers to download select paid apps for free. From today, users who scroll down the Discover tab should find an option to download camera app Obscura 2 for free via a redeem code, rather than paying $4.99 to download it from the App Store. Obscura brings together incredible features in an easy-to-use interface that helps you take great photos, without getting in your way. It has a bunch of gorgeous filters to make your photos pop, and plenty of pro features to help push your photography skills further.Obscura 2 allows users to shoot in a range of formats including RAW, HEIC, JPEG, Live Photo, and Portrait modes, and offers 19 filters designed for use with a wide range of scenes. The Obscura camera features also provide flash control, grids, shutter time, and spirit level, while a dedicated library browser lets you edit, share, copy, favorite, hide, delete, and trash your pictures. To download the app for free, tap on the featured app in the Discover section of the Apple Store app, tap Download now for free, and you will be redirected to the App Store's Redeem code screen. Your free redeem code should already be entered – all you need to do is tap Redeem in the upper right corner to begin downloading the app. The offer to download Obscura for free through the Apple Store iOS app expires on September 25, 2018. Note that free app offers usually vary from region to region.

Hands-On Video Shows Alleged 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone Dummy Units

Mobile leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer this morning shared a hands-on video featuring alleged dummy units of the upcoming 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, just two days after rival leaker Ben Geskin posted images of two similar-looking dummy units. The video, provided by Tigermobiles.com, offers a clearer view size-wise of the two new Face ID-equipped all-screen models, which are expected to accompany a second-generation iPhone X in Apple's 2018 smartphone line-up, due to launch in the fall. Besides size, the clearest differentiator between the two handsets is the dual-lens rear camera on the iPhone X Plus and the single-lens on the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. Both lenses clearly protrude from the back of the chassis. Both models in the video feature a shiny silver frame, although Geskin's images depicted a frame on the 6.5-inch device that better matched the body color, similar to the current-generation iPhone X. Apple is thought to be using a steel frame on the larger device and an aluminum frame on the 6.1-inch iPhone as a cost-saving measure. Less clear on the video are the larger bezels on the 6.1-inch device to accommodate the lower-spec LCD display. The dummy units used here both have white backs; well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the next-generation iPhone X models will be available in Black, White, and Gold, while the 6.1-inch model could come in a wide array of colors, including red, blue, orange, gray, and white. Dummy units are typically based on design schematics leaked from Apple's supply chain in China, and these

Logitech Acquires Blue Microphones for $117 Million in Cash

Logitech has announced its acquisition of Blue, the California-based maker of studio-quality microphones, in a $117 million cash deal. Blue, creator of the popular Yeti and Snowball microphone lines, will join Logitech's portfolio of other brands, which includes Jaybird, Ultimate Ears, and ASTRO gaming. In a blog post, Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell explained how the acquisition would allow the firm to expand into the growing broadcast market and complement its existing range of accessory products. Logitech's acquisition of Blue Microphones will accelerate our entry into a growing market, and offers another way for us to help bring people's passions (from music to blogging) to life. Joining with Blue is an adjacent opportunity for us – a new way to grow – with additional synergies related to our existing gaming, PC webcam and audio categories. In a separate blog post, Blue Microphones CEO John Maier said he was "super excited" about the partnership, which would allow his firm to continue making "the coolest microphones on the planet". All of us here at Blue will keep creating cool stuff for professional musicians, gamers, podcasters, YouTubers, and streamers; Logitech will help us conquer the world. It's a great partnership full of possibilities. Logitech has gained a favorable reputation for acquiring companies with a view to investing in established brands, so the purchase shouldn't overly concern fans of Blue products going

Leaked Images Depict 6.5-inch 'iPhone X Plus' and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone Dummy Units

Serial mobile leaker Benjamin Geskin today shared images depicting what he claims are dummy units of Apple's upcoming 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus" and mid-tier 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. Images of iPhone dummy units have become something of an annual tradition in the rumor mill and these pictures come at the expected time in the yearly iPhone cycle, just a couple of months ahead of Apple's usual September-October launch timeframe. 2018 iPhone X Plus (6.5-inch) and iPhone (6.1-inch) Dummy Models. pic.twitter.com/QrgkT6u0vS— Ben Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) July 29, 2018 Dummy units are usually based on chassis design schematics sourced from the Chinese supply chain, and like previous years, these images conform with details we already know. Apple is expected to launch two flagship OLED iPhones this year that measure in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches. The latter model shown in the leaked images features the same vertically oriented dual-lens rear camera as the current iPhone X. One uncorroborated report claimed the 6.5-inch iPhone will use a triple-lens camera setup, but that's actually something that's been rumored for the 2019 iPhone lineup. Apple is also expected to debut a lower-cost 6.1-inch device that features an LCD display to keep the price tag more affordable. As predicted, the 6.1-inch dummy unit in the images has slightly larger bezels to accommodate the lower-spec LCD panel. As a mid-range device, the 6.1-inch model will feature some iPhone X features including Face ID, but Apple is planning to make other compromises apart from the screen to keep the cost down. The

LinkedIn Adds Voice Messaging Feature to its Mobile App

LinkedIn has introduced a new voice messaging service that's built in to the latest version of its mobile app. Called LinkedIn Messaging, the feature gives users the ability to record and send audio messages up to one minute long. Voice messaging is rolling out now in the LinkedIn app on iOS and Android, and you can receive voice messages on mobile and on web. This feature will be available globally to all members in the next few weeks. We hope this makes it easier than ever to communicate when you want, how you want with your professional community.Voice messages are recorded by tapping the microphone icon on the mobile messaging keyboard. Users then tap and hold the microphone symbol in the circle to record their voice message and release their finger to send. The business networking platform is touting voice messages as an easier way to communicate when you're on the go or multi-tasking, but many account holders will likely be wary of the feature given the already high volume of unsolicited messages sent over LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a free download for iPhone available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

How to Use Automatic Strong Passwords and Password Auditing in iOS 12

In iOS 12, Apple has introduced new password-related features that are designed to make it easier for iPhone and iPad users to create strong, secure, and unique passwords for app and website logins. In this guide, we'll show you how to use two of those features: automatic strong passwords and password auditing. Automatic strong passwords ensures that if you're prompted by a website or app to make up a password on the spot, Apple will automatically offer to generate a secure one for you. Password auditing meanwhile flags weak passwords and tells you if a password has been reused for different account login credentials. Here's how to use the two features. How to Use Automatic Strong Passwords in iOS 12 Launch Safari and navigate to the site asking you to create new login credentials, or launch a third-party app asking you to sign up for a new account. Enter a username or email address in the first field. Tap on the Password field – iOS will generate a strong password. Tap Use Strong Password to accept the password suggestion and save it to your iCloud Keychain.Pro tip: Next time you need one of your passwords, you can ask Siri. For example, you could say: "Siri, show me my BBC password." Siri will then open up your iCloud Keychain with the relevant entry, but only after you authenticate your identity with a fingerprint, a Face ID scan, or a passcode. How to Identify Reused Passwords in iOS 12 Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap Passwords & Accounts. Authenticate via Touch ID, Face ID, or your passcode. Scroll down the list of

Apple Supplier LG Display's Quarterly Losses Unlikely to Affect OLED Investment

Apple supplier LG Display has reported a second quarterly loss and cut its investment plans by $2.7 billion up to 2020, on mounting concerns for the smartphone market (via Reuters). LG shares fell 7 percent after it posted faster-than-expected declines in the price of display panels and an unpredictable outlook. The announcement follows news that another Apple supplier, Taiwan-based TSMC, also scaled back its revenue and investment estimates over uncertainty in the mobile market linked to risks of oversupply and unbalanced competition. Crucially for Apple, LG said the $2.7 billion investment cut would not impact the speed of the Korean firm's transition from LCD to OLED production, although existing LCD operations could be affected. The investment cut would not impact plans to "speed up the shift" from LG’s mainstay liquid crystal display (LCD) business toward next-generation organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, the company said. Plans to invest about 20 trillion won in OLED panels by 2020 remained unchanged, meaning the cuts would apply mainly to LCD operations.LG's traditional LCD business, which analysts estimate makes up more than 90 percent of its sales, is reportedly struggling with falling prices as fast-growing Chinese panel makers ramp up their capacity. Against that backdrop, Apple is investing $2.67 billion in LG's OLED panel business, with the Korean firm said to be building a production line dedicated to iPhone orders only, as part of its agreement with Apple. Separately, LG is believed to have signed a deal with Apple to supply both

Highly Requested Dark Mode Comes to Outlook Web Mail Service

Microsoft today launched a much-requested dark mode for its Outlook.com web mail service. The company teased the new mode earlier this month, suggesting it would be reminiscent of last year's Halloween theme for Outlook. The new dark mode actually adopts shades of grey to generate panel contrast, providing a more polished look as a result. You can enable it from the Quick settings menu (the cog wheel icon in the upper right). Currently it only works with the default blue theme. The dark mode for Outlook.com is one of the most highly requested features for Microsoft's web mail service, according to listings on the Outlook.com feedback site, although there's still no word on whether a similar mode is coming to the mobile Outlook app. Last month, Microsoft launched a rebranded version of its Microsoft News app for iOS with a dark mode. Several other iOS apps have similar modes, including Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and Twitch, while Apple's upcoming macOS Mojave also includes dark mode

WhatsApp Message Notifications to Support Media Previews in Future Update

WhatsApp received an update overnight that suggests media previews will soon be coming to the app's iOS message notifications for the first time. Currently in WhatsApp iOS notifications, images included in messages are replaced by a camera emoji, requiring the user to open WhatsApp to see the media. Likewise, GIF messages are represented in notifications by the space invader emoji. However, WABetaInfo reports that WhatsApp version 2.18.80 lays the groundwork for full media previews in iOS notifications. The upcoming notification extension feature is said to support images as well as GIFs. Image via WABetaInfo To view the media preview, users will need to use the Peek and Pop gestures or swipe down on the notification in Notification Center. Users should also be able to download the media directly from the notification if they have disabled WhatsApp's media auto-download option. Aside from the notification feature that's still under development, the latest version of the app lets you use Siri to send messages to WhatApp groups. WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Apple Previews New Piazza Liberty Store, Opening Thursday in Milan

Apple today premiered this week's opening of Apple Piazza Liberty in the center of Milan, Italy. Set to open its doors on Thursday, the retail location features a dramatic glass fountain that serves as the entrance to the store and a backdrop to the large outdoor amphitheater. The piazza, clad in Beola Grigia, a stone used throughout Milan, will be open to the public 24 hours a day and will host special events year-round amongst 14 Gleditsia Sunburst trees planted in the area. "There's no better expression of our vision for Apple stores serving as modern-day gathering places than Apple Piazza Liberty," said Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of Retail. "In a city with such rich history of art, entertainment and creativity, it's an honor to establish a space where anyone can be inspired to learn, create and connect with their neighbors."Apple Piazza Liberty will host a variety of Today at Apple sessions, taking in photography, filmmaking, music creation, coding, design and more. This September, Apple Piazza Liberty will also host a special month-long Milan Series, where 21 local artists will share their visions for the creative future of Milan, as previewed on a special Apple.com web page. There will be live music in the location's amphitheater on the opening night by musician LIM, a "crazy self-portraits" session with Olimpia Zagnoli on July 27, a photographic laboratory with Piotr Niepsuj on July 28, and a "draw the summer" class on July 29. "To work within one of Italy's historic piazzas is both a great responsibility and wonderful challenge,"

China's BOE Seeking to Become OLED Panel Supplier to Apple

China-based BOE Technology Group is stepping up its bid to become an OLED panel supplier for Apple's future smartphones, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. BOE is the world's top producer of large liquid crystal screens and already makes displays for Apple's iPads and MacBooks, but the firm now has its sights set on the lucrative OLED panel market. The earliest BOE could supply the OLED screens would be from 2020, one person familiar with the matter said. For iPhones intended for release later this year, Apple is set to procure screens mainly from Samsung, with a small portion coming from LG Display Co. , people have said.If Apple and BOE were to agree to a deal, the Chinese manufacturer would become Apple's first OLED supplier outside of South Korea and Japan. Samsung exclusively produces OLED displays for the current iPhone X, but Apple is in the process of opening up to LG, Sharp and Japan Display. Apple has considered using BOE as an OLED supplier before. In February 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple had been testing BOE's OLED displays for months, but that it hadn't decided whether to add the company as a supplier. One of the reasons for the delay may have been down to the OLED panel manufacturing process, which is much more difficult than making liquid crystal displays. If so, BOE will need to do more to convince Apple that it can produce large numbers of OLED panels while maintaining the highest quality controls. If it succeeds, BOE will not only prove its manufacturing prowess with a technically challenging product, but also

Apple Singapore Investigating Multiple Fraudulent Charges to iTunes Accounts

Apple is investigating dozens of cases of fraudulent iTunes account charges in Singapore, according to local news reports over the weekend. Channel News Asia spoke to two people in the Southeast Asian country who said they had both lost several thousand dollars through fraudulent transactions processed through their iTunes accounts. Apple Orchard Road in Singapore (Image via Strait Times) Two people told Channel NewsAsia that they lost at least S$7,000 each to iTunes purchases with one saying she was billed on her HSBC credit card. She added that she only realised something was amiss when she received a text message from HSBC that she had less than 30 per cent of her credit limit left. She realised the extent of the issue after speaking to a customer service operator.The affected customers had reportedly been banking with Singapore banks including UOB, DBS, and Oversea-Chines Banking Corporation (OCBC). OCBC alone confirmed 58 similar cases of fraudulent charges. One iTunes user who banked with DBS also told Channel News Asia that six fraudulent transactions had "completely wiped out" their account. As a result of the cases, UOB said that it was stepping up monitoring of all iTunes spending over recent weeks due to increase in cases of fraudulent activity. Apple Singapore told the news organization that it is looking into the charges and had already cancelled many of the transactions identified as fraudulent. We'll update this article if we hear

HomePod OS 12 Beta Software Said to Support Multiple Timers, New Phone Call Features, and More

A new HomePod firmware update due to be released in the fall could include some significant new features for Apple's smart speaker. French tech blog iGeneration reports that a beta version of the software currently in internal testing enables HomePod users to make calls and answer them, ask Siri to Find My iPhone, and set multiple timers on the device. Currently, HomePod owners who want to use the built-in speakerphone feature must make or receive a call on their iPhone and then switch the audio output to the HomePod when the call connects. With the beta software, however, the HomePod appears to have access to the user's contacts, allowing them to initiate the call directly on the speaker. In addition to the above, the report suggests HomePod users could soon be able to listen to voicemails and search their call history over the speaker. Improvements to Siri's general knowledge are also hinted at, including specific enhancements to the virtual assistant's food and nutrition knowledge base. Lastly, the report mentions a new Wi-Fi feature that appears to allow HomePod users to switch the speaker to another wireless network as long as a paired iPhone knows the password. As it stands, users can only choose which network to connect their HomePod to during the initial setup. As with all beta software, these features may be changed, delayed, or removed completely by the time the firmware is officially released. The last software update for HomePod came with iOS 11.4.1, but it was limited to stability and quality improvements. We'll know more about what's in

How to Use App Limits and Downtime in iOS 12

In iOS 12, Apple's digital health push includes a couple of special new features for iPhone and iPad users who want to cut down on their app usage: App Limits and Downtime. In this article, we'll show you how to use them. App Limits allows you to set specific time limits on a particular app category (games, for example). When you've spent the designated time using the app category, iOS sends you an alert notifying you of the fact. Of course, you're free to ignore these alerts, but the idea behind them is that they'll help you manage your time better. The second feature, Downtime, enables you to set a daily schedule for when you'd rather not use your iOS device at all. Once activated, the feature restricts device usage to phone calls and any apps you've specifically exempted from Downtime. Like App Limits, you can override these restrictions – they're more like good guidance than anything else, and can still help if you honestly want to self-regulate your mobile usage.

Original Apple Watch Named, Current Models Omitted in Latest Proposed U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Goods

The latest proposed U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods name Apple Watch and other activity trackers assembled in China, according to government rulings. Reuters reports the latest rulings list names the original Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge, Charge HR and Surge models, and Sonos Play:3, Play:5 and SUB speakers. If the list goes into effect this fall following its public comment period, affected companies could face a 10 percent tariff and could consider passing the cost onto the consumer. However, Apple discontinued the original first-generation Apple Watch in September 2016 when it released the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2, so the proposed tariff makes little practicable difference to Apple. It is possible that the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos no longer fall under tariff codes in the $200 billion list, trade experts said. The codes applied to specific products are only public knowledge because their makers asked regulators to rule on their proper classification. And some of the products have been replaced by newer models that could be classified differently.Nevertheless, while smartphones and computers have so far avoided the threat of import duties, the rulings show that technology companies aren't completely immune to the tariffs, which could end up hitting a range of smaller product lines. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials have decided the devices listed above fall under the subheading "data transmission machines", one of more than 6,000 codes in the most recent round of proposed tariffs released in early July.

WhatsApp Limits Message Forwarding to Cut Down on Hoaxes and Misinformation

WhatsApp says it is limiting the ability to forward messages to multiple chats at once in an attempt to reduce the spread of spam and misinformation. The news follows WhatsApp's recent decision to add labels that indicate to users that a message has been forwarded. The change was announced by the company in a blog post that specifically mentions India, where the spreading of fake messages over the chat platform has reportedly incited lynchings. Today, we're launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India - where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world - we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we'll remove the quick forward button next to media messages. We believe that these changes — which we'll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.WhatsApp's wording suggests the limit is a test, however a spokesperson told Recode that the company was "horrified" by the violence in India, and that it had announced several changes to help address the issues. On Thursday, the BBC reported on one incident in India that left one man dead and two others severely injured after false rumors went viral on WhatsApp that they had tried to abduct children. It's the latest in a series of viral message-related crimes in the country that has resulted in 12 dead over the last month. (Via TechCrunch

1Password for iOS Updated With Secure Notes Markdown Support and Several Fixes

Popular third-party password manager 1Password received an update today that takes the iOS app to version 7.1 and introduces Markdown support in secure notes, stickers for Messages, and a couple of notable fixes. Following on from the Mac version updated in May, 1Password for iOS now lets you create rich secure notes that can include headers, bold and italic text, lists, tappable links, and more. Also in this version is a collection of 1Password stickers for users to enliven their chat threads in the Messages app. Several lingering bugs have been squashed in version 7.1, but two stand out: Searches no longer return broken or incorrect results, and creating a new item no longer causes 1Password to become unresponsive. Elsewhere, an issue where search borked when vault items where syncing has been resolved, and occasional crashes when users add new items should no longer occur. Lastly, the developers have updated all text in the app to make it more consistent, and improved the rendering of template icons in list and detail views. 1Password for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free, but there is an in-app fee to access the service. A standard 1Password account is priced at $3.99 per month and a multi-user family account is priced at $6.99 per month. [Direct Link]

Huawei Targets 200 Million Phone Sales Globally in 2018, Closing in on Apple

Chinese mobile maker Huawei expects to ship 200 million smartphones globally by the end of the year, bringing it within range of Apple as the second-largest vendor worldwide behind Samsung (via The South China Morning Post). The target was announced by mobile chief Richard Yu Chengdong as the Chinese company launched the latest additions to its mid-range smartphone line-up, the Nova 3 and Nova 3i. Yu said Huawei had shipped 100 million phones as of July 18, the fastest pace of shipments Huawei has seen in years. Huawei's Nova 3i "Previously Huawei reached the 100 million shipments mark on December 22, 2015, October 14, 2016 and September 12, 2017. As it's only taken just over six months to reach the target this year, we are now aiming for shipments of 200 million units by the end of 2018," Yu said during the product launch.Huawei's success comes despite headwinds in the global mobile market affecting top brands like Apple and Samsung. In the 2017 fiscal year, Apple sold 216.76 million iPhones, but reported declines in shipments of 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Market-leader Samsung finished the year with 317.3 million shipments, but also reported declines in Q1 2018, amounting to a 2.4 percent fall in sales. Huawei meanwhile shipped a total of 39.3 million phones during the first three months of 2018, gaining ground on Apple's 52.2 million units over the same period, according to an IDC research note released in May. Huawei calculates its global mobile shipments by combining its Huawei phones and budget Honor-branded phones, which have taken off in

'Doppler' Music Player Now Lets Users Import Tracks From Safari and Edit Album Info

Doppler received a significant update today, bringing some notable track and album features to the increasingly popular third-party music playing app for iPhone. For those unfamiliar, Doppler offers mobile users an alternative way to experience their music library, sporting an adaptive minimalist interface with an emphasis on reliable offline playback, and built-in support for importing MP3, FLAC, AAC, and WAV file formats without ever having to connect your iPhone to a computer. On first opening the app, any existing iTunes music library tracks and playlists are imported into Doppler. Thereafter, users have several additional import options at their disposal, including via iTunes, AirDrop, the Files app, and now Safari (see below). The interface supports full library search by song, artist or album, provides quick access to the editable playing queue, and includes options to create and edit new playlists, as well as stream music to AirPlay and Bluetooth devices. Today's update, version 1.2, adds support for editing the album information and artwork for any music imported into Doppler (excluding iTunes library tracks). The app is now able to search for and download artwork, or you can opt to set artwork using images from your Photo Library or clipboard. Doppler 1.2 also comes with an iOS Share Sheet extension for Safari, enabling you to easily import non-commercial music tracks discovered online (mixtapes available from music blogs, for example). Next time you open a song hosted on the web, bring up the Share Sheet and tap "Add to Doppler", and the

How to Use Instant Tuning in iOS 12 and Change Notification Behavior on the Fly

As part of its digital health initiative in iOS 12, Apple has introduced some improvements to the way app notifications can be managed, enabling users to more easily reduce the number of daily distractions their iPhone or iPad throws their way. One of these new features is called Instant Tuning, which allows you to quickly adjust the future behavior of app notifications whenever they appear in the Lock Screen or the Notifications Center. Here's how to make the most of it. How to Use Instant Tuning in iOS 12 Next time an alert appears in your device's Notifications Center or on the Lock Screen, swipe left on it, then tap Manage. Alternatively, if your device supports 3D Touch, hard press on the alert and then tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the expanded notification. A Manage Notifications pop-up will appear on the screen featuring two blue button options. Deliver Quietly ensures future alerts from this app only appear in the Notification Center (accessed by swiping down from the top of your device's screen). Note that selecting this option means alerts will no longer show in the Lock Screen and you won't see any banner notifications on any other screens. Deliver Quietly also turns off any sound or vibration alerts set for the associated app. If you tap Deliver Quietly and then decide you'd rather not stick with the setting, open the Manage Notifications pop-up again in the same way and tap the Deliver Prominently button to reinstate the previous settings. The second option, Turn Off..., completely disables all notifications for the