App Store, iTunes Store, Apple Music and More Experiencing Downtime [Update: Outage is Over]

The App Store, iTunes, Apple Music, and other Apple services appear to be experiencing downtime right now, with multiple MacRumors readers reporting outages across multiple systems.

When attempting to access the App Store, users are receiving a message that it can't be reached, while Apple Music says "We've run into a problem" when attempting to access the For You or Browse features. As for iTunes, streaming iTunes content was interrupted and can't be reaccessed.


The outage appears to be affecting Apple customers in multiple countries, including the United States, the UK, and Germany. Given the volume of reports, most if not all users seem to be unable to access Apple's services.

Apple's System Status page is not reporting an outage at this time, and it is not known how long Apple's services will be down for. We'll update this post when the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and other features are once again functional.

Review: WaterField Designs' Time Travel Apple Watch Case Organizes Your Apple Watch Accessories

WaterField Designs is a San Francisco-based company that makes a range of different cases and bags for Apple's product lineup, from the iPhone and iPad to Macs, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.

For Apple Watch, WaterField Designs has the Time Travel Case, which is designed to organize your Apple Watch accessories into one easy place for commuting and traveling so nothing gets misplaced or lost.


Made from either black leather or "cowboy" brown leather that's soft and supple to the touch, the Time Travel Case for the Apple Watch measures in at 7.5 inches long and 4.25 inches wide, and it's slim enough to tuck into the pocket of a purse or backpack.

It zips along the top and one of the sides and opens up into a u-shape so that you can get to the contents inside. The entire inside is lined with a soft material that will ensure nothing gets scratched, and there's padding at the sides to keep expensive watch bands safe.


At the right side of the pouch, there's a wide side pocket that's designed to hold Apple Watch bands, and I found that you can fit three to four inside comfortably, which is ideal if you want to bring a few extra bands along when traveling.

On the left side, there are two smaller pouches that can hold an Apple Watch charging puck with cable and your headphones or AirPods case. The larger left side pocket is perfect for cables, while the smaller pouch is the perfect size to house AirPods.


Between the two sides of the pouch, there's a middle section that can fit additional cables or accessories, or a device up to the size of an iPhone XS Max.

If desired, you can also put the Apple Watch either in this main middle pouch or in the left side pocket in place of a band when the Apple Watch is not in use, though some bulkier bands may not fit on the left side super well. My 38mm Apple Watch band with Sport Loop or Milanese Loop fit in either location.


At the outside, there's a diagonal pocket that's also perfectly sized to hold an iPhone, and it fits an iPhone XS Max in an Apple-designed case. A thicker case probably wouldn't work, but a naked iPhone certainly fits. Smaller devices like the iPhone X will also fit without falling out thanks to the grip of the leather.

The outside pocket features a large WaterField Designs logo, which is the only negative that I see to the design of the case. I'd prefer to have no visible logo, but it might not bother some people.


I was able to fit three Apple Watch bands, AirPods, an Apple Watch charging cable, a Lightning cable, an Apple Pencil, and my iPhone XS Max inside the Time Travel, with additional room available to stick something in the outside pocket, so it can hold a good amount of gear.

When packed full, though, it does expand to be about an inch and a half wide, but when limited to accessories instead of an iPhone, it's slimmer and easier to carry.


Bottom Line


Because of its higher price tag, the Time Travel Case for Apple Watch may not be for everyone, but it neatly organizes your extra Apple Watch bands and charging cable in a logical way, plus it has space for other accessories like an iPhone.


If you're looking for a high-quality storage pouch that will keep your Apple Watch gear and other bits and bobs organized in a way that cheaper pouches will not, the Time Travel Case is potentially worth checking out, and as a bonus, it will match well with other WaterField Designs gear.

How to Buy


The Time Travel Case for Apple Watch can be purchased from the WaterField Designs website for $59.

Note: WaterField Designs provided MacRumors with a Time Travel Case for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

AirPlay 2 and Dolby Atmos Help Apple Make Inroads as a Hub of Your Home Entertainment Ecosystem

With the release of AirPlay 2 earlier this year and the follow-up addition of Dolby Atmos support for Apple TV with tvOS 12, there have been significant improvements in the home entertainment experience for Apple users.

While AirPlay 2 support initially launched for HomePod with other speaker and receiver brands to come, the rollout has taken a bit of a time, and in fact there are still only a few brands that support the standard. Sound United's Denon and Marantz brands were the first standalone receivers to gain AirPlay 2 support back in August, and I've had a chance to test out the setup using a Denon AVR-X3500H receiver.

Denon AVR-X3500H

For those unfamiliar with component home theater systems, the AV receiver acts as the center of your entire system, managing both audio and video to connect all of your various content sources to outputs like your television and speakers.

They've become increasingly packed with technology over time depending on how much you're willing to spend, offering support for such features as decoding various surround sound formats, driving an ever larger number of speakers, accepting direct wireless audio streaming via Bluetooth or AirPlay, connecting to Internet services via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and more.

I've paired the Denon receiver with Focal's Sib Evo 5.1.2 system that includes Dolby Atmos support, giving me the opportunity to check out both of the recent technological additions to the Apple ecosystem for a quick overview.

Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 speaker system with Cub Evo subwoofer

The Sib Evo 5.1.2 includes two front loudspeakers with upward-firing Dolby Atmos speaker drivers, three satellite speakers with one intended to be turned on its side and used as a center speaker, and a Cub Evo active subwoofer.


Denon's AVR-X3500H can handle eight HDMI inputs and up to three HDMI outputs. With support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and DTS Virtual:X, all of the top surround sound formats are included. Add in AirPlay 2 and Alexa voice control, and you've got a powerful and flexible centerpiece for your home entertainment system.

AirPlay 2


If you're an Apple fan, you likely already have an Apple TV hooked up to your home entertainment system, so you can stream multi-room audio to the system via the Apple TV. But built-in support for AirPlay 2 on the AVR-X3500H and other Denon receivers gives you another option for direct delivery of audio to what in some cases may be the best speakers in your house.

Denon AVR-X3500H Wi-Fi and AirPlay setup

When you set up the Denon receiver for the first time, it walks you through a network setup process that can grab your Wi-Fi network details from an iOS device, getting your receiver online so that it can directly access content and serve as an AirPlay 2 destination. As is pretty typical for electronics like this, the on-screen setup process isn't particularly pretty, but it makes each step clear and relatively easy to navigate through using the receiver's remote.

Once you have the receiver online and set up for AirPlay 2, you'll see it pop up in your list of speakers in the music widget on your iOS device. With AirPlay 2, you can send synchronized audio to multiple speakers located throughout your home and control all of it right from your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or iTunes on Mac.

Denon receiver showing up in AirPlay 2 in iTunes for Mac, iOS Music widget, and iOS Home app

Setting up the receiver in the Home app lets you assign it to a room and zone, allowing it to integrate with other speakers in various areas around the house.

When sending audio to multiple speakers via AirPlay 2, you'll see several sliders for controlling volume, allowing you to control either individual speakers or the entire set. If you have different speakers set at different volume levels, adjusting the master volume slider will change the individual speaker volume levels proportionally.

Now Playing screen displayed when audio is being sent to Denon AVR-X3500H via AirPlay

You can use AirPlay 2 to route audio directly to an Apple TV hooked up to a home audio system, so I wouldn't run out and buy a whole new receiver just for AirPlay 2 support, but it's nice to have the extra option for direct AirPlay 2 streaming to a receiver if you don't have an Apple TV on that setup or just want to cut out the middleman and stream directly to your high-quality speakers.

Dolby Atmos


Dolby Atmos takes advantage of three-dimensional space to offer a more immersive sound experience for your home theater system, typically using either downward-firing speakers mounted in the ceiling or upward-firing speaker drivers to reflect sound off of the ceiling, and when combined with the rest of the traditional speakers in your system, you'll find sounds coming at you from all angles.

Focal's Sib Evo system uses upward-firing drivers built into the main front left and right speakers. The Atmos drivers use their own speaker wire connections and connect to their own terminals on the receiver, and the Denon manual walks you through exactly which terminals to use for which speakers, as a host of speaker configurations are supported.

Close-up of front speaker with upward-firing Dolby Atmos driver (left) and dual speaker wire connections on rear (right)

A key component of the Dolby Atmos experience is speaker calibration, which ensures that output from the receiver is properly adjusted for optimal sound quality. With different sizes and shapes of rooms, sound can bounce around in unpredictable ways, and it's important that your home audio system be configured for your unique environment. That's particularly true with the Dolby Atmos speakers, which in this setup will project sound upward and off the ceiling before hitting your ears. Everything needs to reach your ears at the proper time and in the proper balance, and calibration will make sure that happens.


Receivers like the Denon AVR-X3500H include a wired microphone to be used in the calibration process, and a setup wizard will walk you through the process of situating the microphone in as many as eight closely-spaced locations where the viewers will be sitting, and at each position the system will rotate one by one through each of the eight speakers in the Sib Evo 5.1.2 system, generating loud tones to be picked up by the microphone. Once each speaker has been assessed at each calibration location, the receiver will configure its output to optimize the sound field.

With tvOS 12, the Apple TV now supports Dolby Atmos, although content must be specifically made available in the format to support it. The number of Dolby Atmos titles on the iTunes Store is growing, but it's still a small portion of the overall library.

tvOS audio format settings

So if you've already got a Dolby Atmos system hooked up to your TV or are looking to add one (and they're getting even simpler and cheaper with more sound bar options available), make sure to keep an eye on your current titles to see if they get upgraded with Dolby Atmos and look for the Dolby Atmos icon when browsing the iTunes movie selections on your Apple TV.

Dolby Atmos icon on tvOS iTunes movie listings

For those titles that do include Dolby Atmos, you can definitely tell the difference. The soundscape is more encompassing and it really does feel like you're truly immersed in the movie.

Wrap-up


It's still early for AirPlay 2 and Dolby Atmos support in the Apple ecosystem, but they're setting the stage for making Apple's products a more important part of your home entertainment system. In this age where we have our portable devices on us at all times, it's nice to be able to directly beam audio all around our homes, including to what are in many cases the highest-quality audio systems we own hooked up to our TVs.

And for when we sit down in front of those TVs to watch movies, it's great to have the Apple ecosystem starting to support technologies like Dolby Atmos that improve the experience. Yes, support is still limited and it will take time for all studios to get on board and update much of their back catalogs, but the list of Atmos-compatible movies on the iTunes Store is getting longer and is rapidly becoming an expected feature for new releases.

There are plenty of Dolby Atmos-compatible home theater systems on the market already, whether they be component systems, theater-in-a-box systems, or sound bars, so there are lots of options if you're looking to upgrade your television experience.

AirPlay 2 support is rolling out to a number of wireless speakers, but support in separate receiver components remains rare, led by Sound United's Denon and Marantz brands.

Denon's AVR-X3500H carries an MSRP of $999, but can frequently be found discounted by as much as $200 at third-party retailers including those selling through Amazon.

Focal's Sib Evo 5.1.2 is priced at $1299 from a variety of retailers including Amazon sellers.

Note: Sound United loaned MacRumors the Denon receiver and Focal loaned MacRumors the Sib Evo 5.1.2 system to assist with this article. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Tumblr Removed From App Store Over Failure to Filter Out Child Pornography

Apple removed Tumblr from the iOS App Store late last week because the Yahoo-owned social network failed to filter prohibited content, it emerged today.

The Tumblr app for iPhone and iPad went missing from the App Store on Friday, November 16. Shortly afterwards, Tumblr announced that it was "working to resolve an issue" with the app, but stopped short of explaining the problem.


It wasn't until Download.com approached Tumblr with sources claiming child pornography had been found on the service, that the social network issued a statement providing more information.

In its statement, Tumblr said that every image uploaded to the service is "scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material," and images that are detected never reach the platform. However, a "routine audit" had revealed content that had not yet been included in the industry database, and Tumblr had acted "immediately" to remove it.

"Content safeguards are a challenging aspect of operating scaled platforms," it added. "We're continuously assessing further steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team."

This isn't the first time a popular app has been removed from the App Store for prohibited content. In February, Apple pulled encrypted messenger app Telegram from its store for violating Apple's iOS developer guidelines, which require all apps that host user-generated content include a method for filtering objectionable material from being posted.

When Telegram fell foul of Apple's guidelines, the app was back on the App Store within 24 hours. Tumblr said getting its app reinstated is its "top priority," yet it continues to be unavailable for iOS devices, although Android users can still download Tumblr via the Google Play Store.

(Via The Verge.)

Review: Nimble's Wireless and Portable Chargers are Reliable and Beautifully Designed

In late August, a new accessory brand called Nimble emerged from a trio of former Mophie employees, offering customers various charging devices that are all built and shipped with a focus on the environment and sustainability.


Led by Ross Howe (Nimble CEO), Jon Bradley (creative director), and Kevin Malinowski (brand marketing), Nimble's lineup of accessories remains modest two months in, focusing specifically on a collection of eight wireless chargers and portable chargers. Over that period of time I've had the chance to use all of Nimble's products, and while there are a few issues with the lineup, it's clear that quality over quantity takes precedence at Nimble.

Design


Specifically, Nimble sells four portable chargers, four wireless chargers, and three accessories, and a few of the same design elements emerge across the device lineup.


Nimble names the portable chargers by estimating about how long you'll be able to get battery out of them: a 3-Day (10,000 mAh, $49.95), 5-Day (13,000 mAh, $59.95), 8-Day (20,000 mAh, $69.95), and 10-Day (26,800 mAh, $99.95). Each of these includes a magnetic attachment for cable management, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and the 10-Day Portable Charger throws in an AC adapter brick.


For the wireless chargers, Nimble sells a Wireless Pad ($39.95), Wireless Dual Pad ($49.95), Wireless Stand ($49.95), and Wireless Travel Kit ($59.95). Individually, you can buy a Dual USB Wall Charger ($19.95), USB Wall Charger ($12.95), and USB-C Cable 2-Pack ($12.95-$17.95).


Each Nimble product is built in partnership with a supplier that uses recycled aluminum, plant-based bioplastics, organic hemp, and other naturally occurring materials to ensure that the company's production has less of an impact on the planet. When packaged, Nimble uses boxes made of 100 percent recycled scrap paper that has no harmful inks, plastics, or dyes.

➜ Click here to read more...

Tag: Nimble

Satechi Launches New USB-C Wireless Charger for Qi-Based iPhones

Satechi today announced the launch of a new Aluminum Type-C PD & QC Wireless Charger that's designed to charge iPhone and Android devices at their maximum wireless charging speeds.

For iPhones, that means the wireless charger will offer 7.5W charging speeds, while Android devices will charge at up to 10W.


Satechi's new wireless charger is a flat charger that's made from silver or space gray aluminum with a black mat at the top to keep the smartphone from shifting around while charging.

According to Satechi, the wireless charger has multiple safety features built in, including temperature protection and foreign object detection that will turn the charger off if unwanted metal objects or temperature spikes are detected.


An integrated LED light is included to let users know when a device is charging, and light color will vary based on charging speed.

Satechi's Aluminum Type-C PD & QC Wireless Charger can be purchased from the Satechi website or from Amazon for $44.99. A quick charge adapter is not included and will need to be purchased separately for maximum charging speeds.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tag: Satechi

PayPal on eBay Discounts $100 App Store and iTunes Gift Cards to $85

PayPal on eBay today is offering $100 App Store and iTunes gift cards for $85, marking the latest 15 percent discount on the cards and a good chance for those who have been waiting on a deal to get free iTunes credit. While the sale lasts, anyone with a PayPal account can take advantage of the deal, and you'll receive the code for the iTunes credit via email within a few hours after the purchase.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The gift card will be valid only on purchases made in the United States App and iTunes Stores. Like all iTunes gift card sales, this is a great opportunity to stock up on iTunes credit at a reduced price, which you can put towards third-party app subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu, iTunes movie rentals, iBooks purchases, and your Apple Music subscription. As the holidays approach, this is also a good time to stock up on gifts for friends, or store the credit in your own iTunes account for Apple's yearly movie discounts.

PayPal's iTunes gift card sales can last anywhere from a few hours to a day or two, so be sure to head over to the Digital Gifts eBay store and pick up your iTunes gift card while the discount lasts.

Since we're just four days out from Black Friday, it's also worth noting that more Black Friday sales have appeared at a few retailers, including an Early Access sale for My Best Buy members at Best Buy. This event has notable discounts on Beats headphones, Apple's iMac, Philips Hue lights, and more.


Best Buy also has the Apple Watch Series 3 for $50 off, but remember that Macy's and Target will have these models for as much as $80 off on Black Friday, so you should hold off for one of those sales if you're interested. Check out our full Black Friday Roundup for information on these discounts and more.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Adobe Updates Lightroom for iOS With Support for New iPad Pro, Apple Pencil 2, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR

Adobe today updated its Lightroom app for iOS devices with support for Apple's latest iPhones and iPads.

Lightroom CC for iOS will now display properly on Apple's fall devices, including the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS, and the iPhone XS Max.

Today's update also introduces support for the second-generation Apple Pencil, allowing you to double tap on the Pencil to switch between paint and erase modes with selective tools.

Adobe's Lightroom for iOS is designed to work in conjunction with the Lightroom CC app for Mac, but it can be used on a standalone basis, too. Lightroom is free, but a Premium subscription is required to unlock cloud storage and all of the app's features.

Adobe Lightroom CC can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Adobe

Tap Launches New 'TapAcademy' for Learning to Use Its Wearable Keyboard

Tap, the company behind the futuristic Tap wearable keyboard, today announced the launch of a new TapAcademy app for iOS that's designed to make it easier to learn to use the keyboard.

Tap is a keyboard that you wear on your thumb and fingers, using a series of finger taps to type different letters, numbers, and symbols.


Sensors built into the finger rings detect the movement of your fingers, translating your gestures into words for a novel, type anywhere experience. Of course, because it uses gestures, the Tap requires customers to learn a whole new way of typing.

In our Tap review earlier this year, we found it easy to learn to use the Tap through the existing Tap system, but this new method makes it even simpler to learn and then master.


TapAcademy is a 30-day course that you use for 10 minutes a day to learn all of the letters, numbers, and symbols that you need to use the Tap effectively as a keyboard replacement for iOS devices, Macs, and more.

Tap says that its TapAcademy app will turn Tap users into expert tappers, with most people achieving speeds of 30 to 40 words per minute.


TapAcademy is available from the iOS App Store starting today, and the Tap Keyboard can be purchased from the Tap website or from Amazon for $179.

Tag: Tap

Verizon Launches New 'My Numbers' Feature for Adding Up to 5 Numbers to a Single Smartphone

Verizon today announced the launch of a new "My Numbers" feature designed to let you add up to four additional numbers to a smartphone with unlimited calling and texting, for a total of five phone numbers connected to one device.

To add additional numbers to a Verizon account, customers will need to download the My Numbers app from the iOS App Store.


From there, Verizon users can choose the number to add from the available list, and it's ready to use alongside a device's primary phone number. This will allow customers to have one phone number for business and a separate phone number for personal use on one device.

With each number, there are separate voicemail and text messaging boxes in the My Numbers app to keep content from different numbers from getting mixed up.

According to Verizon, each number added to your smartphone will cost $15 per line per month.

Verizon's "My Phone" feature is similar to what Apple is doing with dual-SIM functionality in its latest iPhones, but it's not cross-carrier.

In the U.S., carriers (including Verizon) are not yet supporting the eSIM, which means the dual-SIM feature that allows for two phone numbers to be used at once is not yet available.

Tag: Verizon

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Pro Photography Lens Set For Your iPhone From SANDMARC

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with SANDMARC, a company that makes camera lenses for the iPhone, to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a kit that includes a set of Pro Photography lenses, a set of Cinema lenses, and a $100 SANDMARC gift card.


SANDMARC makes high-quality camera lenses that are designed to fit the iPhone 7 and later, with individual kits available for each iPhone. The Pro Edition lens set, priced at $289.99, includes a 60mm telephoto lens with 2x magnification, a 16mm wide-angle lens, a 10mm fisheye lens, and a 25mm macro lens with 10x magnification.


The telephoto lens is ideal for portraits, animal shots, and other scenes where you want to get just a bit closer, while the wide-angle is perfect for landscapes. The fisheye is a lens that's used for super wide-angle images, and the macro lens lets you get up close to whatever you're photographing.


SANDMARC's Pro Edition lens set also comes with an iPhone case that's designed to hold the lenses in place, but there are also four clips included if you want to use the lenses without the case. If you don't need all of the lenses, SANDMARC also sells them individually.


Along with its Pro lenses, SANDMARC also has a $100 Cinema Edition lens, which will be included in the giveaway. The Cinema is a polarizer that is compatible with both lenses on the iPhone, offering up Scape ND4, ND8, ND16 filters.


These neutral density filters offer up better aerial shots, introduce a motion blur for more natural looking videos, and compensate for variations in lighting. The polarizer filter is designed to be used when photographing water and can also bring out better colors in your pictures.


There are lens sets that are much cheaper, but SANDMARC is producing higher-quality components designed to compete with companies like Moment. SANDMARC lenses produce crisp, sharp photos that are free of the distortion and artifacts often seen with lower-quality options.

We have one SANDMARC bundle available, with Pro lens set, Cinema lens set, and $100 gift card. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, following us on Instagram, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest will run from today (November 16) at 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time on November 23. The winner will be chosen randomly on November 23 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Weather Atlas Gains Major Update With Name Change, Event Forecasts, Fresh Icons and More

Popular weather app Weather Atlas, made by Contrast and Agile Tortoise, today received a major 2.0 update that adds new functionality and a new look to the app.

With the 2.0 update, Weather Atlas is now known as "Weather Up," a revamped name for a revamped app. Much of the app has been rewritten with usability improvements and fixes for lingering bugs.


Weather Up's main new feature is Event Forecasts, designed to provide weather information about upcoming events that you're attending. Once you provide Weather Up with calendar access, it will let you know the weather conditions for your events, so you're never taken by surprise when doing something outdoors.

Along with the new Event Forecasts look and the new name, Weather Up features a new set of weather icons and a redesigned mapping feature. The Weather Up map features standard radar and cloud layers, along with options for temperature, humidity, and precipitation accumulation.

There are also warning layers for the map to let you know about incoming thunderstorms, tornados, hurricanes, and tropical storms.

Weather Up can be downloaded from the App Store for free. A Weather Up Pro subscription costs $9.99 per year or $1.99 per month. [Direct Link]