MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Gesture-Based 'Tap' Keyboard That You Wear on Your Hand

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Tap to give MacRumors readers a chance to win one of the company's wearable keyboard setups, which Tap believes will be the keyboard of the future.


Priced at $199, the Tap is a futuristic keyboard that turns your fingers into the keys, allowing you to type letters, numbers, and symbols with different finger tap combinations.


Tap features a series of rings with built-in sensors, with the rings designed to fit over your thumb and each finger to detect your tap gestures. The rings are adjustable and can fit a wide range of hand sizes, and with the sensors, you can essentially use the Tap Keyboard anywhere you are.


Each letter of the alphabet is a different tap. To create an "A," for example you tap your thumb in a downwards motion onto a desk or flat surface. A tap of the index finger makes an "E," while to create a "K," you tap your thumb and ring finger downwards at the same time. To make a "B," you tap your pinky and index finger at the same time.


Learning to use the Tap Keyboard takes just a few days, but because it's an entirely new way of typing, mastering it can take some time. We reviewed the Tap last year and were able to learn the taps in about a week practicing 30 minutes per day.


Tap recently came out with new software that's designed to help you learn faster than ever. The TapAcademy, one of the Tap apps available from the App Store, is a 30-day course that's used for 10 minutes a day to memorize the letters, numbers, and symbols you need to use the Tap as a keyboard replacement for iOS devices, Macs, and more.


By completing TapAcademy, Tap users can greatly improve their typing speeds. According to Tap, its current regular Tap users type at an average of 40 words per minute, while some can type up to 70 words, which is impressive for a wearable keyboard with an entirely new input method. TapAcademy uses both games and daily exercises to improve typing speeds, and the company has a money back guarantee. After a Tap purchase, customers who are unable to reach 30 words per minute after finishing TapAcademy can return the product and get their money back.


Tap is a Bluetooth keyboard so it works with all of your Bluetooth enabled devices like any other keyboard. It also has a built-in mouse replacement feature that lets you use your thumb as a mouse for navigation purposes.

There are a selection of games that use the Tap keyboard as an input method, and Tap is fully customizable so you can create different Tap Maps for various games and use cases.


We have two of the Tap Keyboards to give away to MacRumors readers. 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 winners and send the prizes. 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 (February 22) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 1. The winners will be chosen randomly on March 1 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Review: Eve's New Light Strip is a Great HomeKit-Enabled Hub-Free Accent Lighting Option

Eve (formerly known as Elgato) was one of the first companies to come out with HomeKit accessories when HomeKit was announced in 2014, and since then, Eve has been expanding its portfolio of HomeKit-connected products.

The newest addition to the Eve HomeKit lineup is the Eve Light Strip, first introduced at CES and launched in February. The Eve Light Strip is one of several HomeKit-connected LED-based light strip options on the market, but Eve has a few new innovations worth noting.


Design


Design wise, the Eve Light Strip looks similar to many other light strips on the market, including the Philips Hue version, which is probably one of the closest competitors in terms of price and functionality.


The Eve Light Strip measures in at 6.6 feet, though it can be cut at one foot intervals. It also includes a connector at the end which is designed to allow for extension strips to be attached, and the extension strips are more affordable. A single Eve Light Strip can be extended to 32.8 feet via the extension options.


As with all light strip-style products, this is a thin, flexible strip that has interspersed LEDs in different colors along the strip that are used to make up different color shades when it's turned on.

Colors are accurate, with the Light Strip able to reproduce red, pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue accurately, along with in-between shades. Purple is more of a blue or a pink, but that's true of most LED lights.

➜ Click here to read more...

Tag: Eve

Flash Sales: Woot Offers Refurbished HomePod for $235 ($115 Off) and 12-Inch MacBook for $1,000 ($600 Off)

There are a few notable flash sales going on today, including a discount on a refurbished model of Apple's HomePod smart speaker. The speaker is on sale for $234.99, $115 off from its original retail price of $349.99. That's also $65 below the price of Apple's own refurbished HomePod model, which run for $299.00.

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.

Although not brand-new, Woot is a well-known third-party reseller that promises its refurbished products have been thoroughly inspected and come in good working condition. The retailer's "refurbished" status also covers all returns, making it easier to get your money back if necessary. Head to Woot to check out the refurbished HomePod and if you're interested, make your purchase before the sale ends later tonight.

Woot via Amazon has another flash sale today on refurbished products, offering up to 30 percent off of Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro models from 2017. This sale includes a notable low price for Apple's latest 12-inch MacBook, discounted to $999.99 in refurbished condition, the lowest price for the model available online from major retailers.


This price is about $300 under the current price for a new version of the same computer available at Amazon, and $600 under the regular retail price of the MacBook sold from Apple. The refurbished device is shipped and sold by Woot on Amazon, so you'll be getting the same refurbished warranty as Woot offers on its website, including a promise that it works and looks like new and a 90-day return warranty.
More sales are available to browse in our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Apple Launches Promo in China Offering Interest-Free Financing When Purchasing New iPhone

Apple is teaming up with Chinese payments company Ant Financial Services Group, along with several local banks, to offer local customers interest-free financing on iPhones in China (via Reuters). Apple is continuously looking to boost smartphone sales in China, and this appears to be the latest move in the company's long-term plan to do so.


On its China website, Apple explains that customers can pay 271 yuan ($40.31) per month for the iPhone XR, and 362 yuan ($53.87) per month for the iPhone XS. If customers trade in older models of iPhone, they'll get cheaper installment plans.

In total, customers buying an iPhone worth a minimum of 4,000 yuan (around $595) will qualify for interest-free financing that can be paid over three, six, nine, 12, or 24 months.

Apple has always struggled with iPhone sales in China, and according to Strategy Analytics, the company shipped an estimated 2.5 million fewer iPhones in China in 2018 than in 2017. The company's products have historically been categorized as too expensive for the China market, losing out to low-cost alternatives from popular local rivals like OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

In recent weeks, reports have suggested that Apple is seeing improved iPhone sales in China thanks to recent price cuts to the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and older models. According to Feng, data sourced from Alibaba suggests that iPhone sales on the site have increased by 76 percent in China since January 13, 2019.

The launch of China's limited-time promotion follows similar offers that have rolled out to a few regions around the world, including a trade-up promo in the United States. In emails sent to customers and on its website, Apple encourages shoppers to upgrade to an iPhone XR from $449 or iPhone XS from $699, with the trade in of an iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8.

Tag: China

Deals: Monoprice Discounts Thunderbolt Cables by Up To 35%, Amazon's Magic Trackpad 2 Sale, and More

Well-known cable and accessory maker Monoprice today introduced a new sale on Thunderbolt cables, with discounts reaching as much as 35 percent off of original prices during the limited-time event. The retailer offers Thunderbolt cables of various speeds, wattage, and length, affecting the price of each.

The cheapest cable in the sale starts at $13.99, down from $19.99 for the 20 Gbps, 60W, 1.0 meter cable, and prices increase from there. Check out more Thunderbolt cables on sale below and head to Monoprice for the full list (including Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 2 cables):

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.

Thunderbolt 3 Cables


Magic Trackpad 2


Additionally, Amazon today has marked down Apple's Magic Trackpad 2 (Silver) to $99.00, $30 off from its original retail price of $129.00. This is the lowest the Magic Trackpad 2 has ever been on Amazon, and is the current best price online for a new version of the device among the major retailers.

10.5-inch iPad Pro (2017)


Amazon also has a few sales on the previous generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro, marked down by as much as $200. These iPad Pro models launched in mid 2017, include a 10.5-inch Retina Display with ProMotion, an A10X Fusion chip, Touch ID, and a 10 hour battery life.

Anker Discount Codes


Lastly, Anker has introduced a new set of discount codes as February comes to a close, with savings on portable battery packs, USB-C cables, Bluetooth headphones, and more. You can find the expiration dates for each code below, and remember that to see the discounts you'll have to enter the relevant code during the checkout process on Amazon.

Head to our full Deals Roundup for more information on this week's sales.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Deals Spotlight: Buy or Upgrade to Parallels Desktop 14 and Get 10 Mac Apps for Free

Parallels this week debuted a new promo bundle for both new and current users, offering a chance to buy or upgrade to Parallels Desktop 14, and then get ten other Mac apps for free. New owners can purchase Parallels Desktop 14 for $79.99, and existing users can upgrade to the new software for $49.99 (both prices represent Home & Student use).

With these purchases you'll gain access to the following ten Mac apps for free (note that some of the apps are one-year subscriptions and not lifetime licenses):
  • 1Password Families ($60 value) - Securely store you and your family's most needed passwords.
  • Pocket Premium ($45 value) - Save articles to read later with a permanent archive, unlimited storage, and no ads.
  • Painter Essentials 6 ($50 value) - Create blank canvas and photo art creations using realistic art tools.
  • Acronis True Image 2019 Cyber Protection Premium ($100 value) - Securely backup your personal information with 1TB of cloud storage.
  • PDF Expert 2.4 ($80 value) - Modify text, change images, create hyperlinks in PDF documents, and more.
  • WinZip Mac 6.5 Pro ($50 value) - Zip and unzip large files instantly with simple drag-and-drop controls.
  • Parallels Toolbox ($20 value) - A toolbox of useful features like password protecting files, file copying to iPhone, screen recordings, and more.
  • Parallels Access ($20 value) - Access all of your Mac's apps and files from your iPhone.
  • TrackOFF ($60 value) - Protect your data from invasive online tracking.
  • Cylance Smart Antivirus ($69 value) - Detects and prevents malware attacks on your Mac.
Parallels Desktop 14 itself is software that allows users to switch between Mac and Windows without needing to restart their computer. This allows for easy sharing of files and folders between Mac and Windows applications, seamless access to Windows apps on Mac, and more.

The Parallels promo bundle will be live for the next week, expiring on the evening of Thursday, February 28. If you're interested, head to the Parallels website to check out more information about each app in the bundle, and place your order before the end of the month.

For more information on this week's sales, head to our full Deals Roundup.

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

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Apple Pay Promo Offers $5 Off Two or More Fandango Movie Tickets Ahead of The Oscars

The latest Apple Pay promotion offers you the chance to get $5 off movie tickets with Fandango. To see the discount, you'll have to purchase two or more tickets within a single transaction using the Fandango app or on the Fandango website.

During the checkout process, enter the code APPLEGOLD and use Apple Pay to complete your order. This will take $5 off your movie tickets, and you have until February 24 to use the promo code.


The new promo is launching a few days ahead of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 24, so it should be perfect for anyone looking to catch up with a few of the Oscar nominees before the event at the end of the weekend. Head to Fandango.com to browse movie times and use the promo code before it expires.

Apple debuted a similar promotion for the Oscars last year, and continuously celebrates major events and holidays with themed Apple Pay promos.

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

Google Maps on iOS Gains 'Follow' Button So You Can Keep Track of Events and Offers From Local Businesses

Google Maps this week updated its iOS app with a new "Follow" feature, letting you keep track of events and news from your favorite local restaurants, bakeries, or bars. You can follow a location by searching for it in Google Maps on iOS, and then tapping "Follow" under the hours of operation.


After you follow a business, all of their updates then appear in the new "For You" tab of Google Maps. In this area, you can keep track of all the notable updates and promotions offered by the various companies you follow in the app.

This is a feature that has been on Google Maps for Android since last fall, and is now just rolling out to Apple device owners. It works in conjunction with Google's revamped My Business app, which also launched last fall, allowing businesses to post updates to their profiles on Google in the same fashion as a Facebook post or Tweet [Direct Link].

Because of this, many users can now turn to Google Maps as a sort of alternative to keeping up with their favorite local spots, if they've turned away from Facebook in recent months. These posts on Google Maps can include notifications about upcoming events, special offers for customers, menu updates, and more.

The Follow button in Google Maps is rolling out to all iOS users starting this week.

Twitter Taking Applications for Prototype 'Twttr' App for Testing New Features

Twitter today launched its Twitter Prototype Program and is accepting applications from people who want to beta test new Twitter features on iOS devices. Twitter's tests will be done through a new app called Twttr rather than in the existing Twitter app.

The first feature Twitter plans to test is a new design for conversations, which will make it easier to follow replies to an initial tweet.


Twitter asks beta testing applicants for their user name, which device they most often use Twitter on, primary language, and country of residence.

After filling out the form, the company says users who have applied will receive an update on application status within a few weeks.

Tag: Twitter

Apple-Owned Shazam App for iOS Drops Third-Party SDKs in Latest Update

Shazam, the song discovery app that's now owned by Apple, received a minor bug fix update last week, which, according to AppFigures, removes all third-party SDKs.

Shazam for iOS is no longer using ad networks, analytics trackers, or open-source utilities that had the potential to provide app usage data to third-party companies.


Admob, Bolts, Doubleclick, FB Ads, FB Analytics, FB login, Inmobi, IAS, Moat, and Mopub SDKS were all eliminated in the update. The only third-party SDK still in the Shazam iOS app is HockeyApp, which is a Microsoft testing app similar to TestFlight.

Multiple third-party SDKs were also uninstalled on Android, though some services remain in place.

Following the completion of its acquisition of Shazam in September, Apple pulled ads from the app and made it ad free. Prior to Apple's purchase of Shazam, the app featured several advertisements.

Tag: Shazam

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication for Multiple Apple IDs on One Device

As of February 27, 2019, Apple is requiring that all Developer accounts with an Account Holder role be secured with two-factor authentication in order to ensure that only the account owner is able to sign into the account.


Two-factor authentication involves a pop-up code being generated on trusted devices linked to an Apple ID any time a login attempt is made unless you've logged with that same browser within the past 30 days and selected the option to trust it. That verification code from the trusted device must then be entered for the login to be approved.

The requirement has caused some confusion among developers who have multiple Apple IDs, particularly those who use a dedicated Apple ID for their Developer account that is separate from their primary iCloud account used on their devices.

Apple has posted a developer support document that outlines a few ways to enable two-factor authentication on a non-primary Apple ID, but Apple's suggestion for iOS involves signing out of your primary iCloud account. That can be a hassle as your phone unsyncs and tries to delete content associated with that account, so it's better to use other methods if you can.

Turning on two-factor authentication for an alternate Apple ID and getting it to work properly with trusted iOS devices without signing out of your primary Apple ID requires a few steps, but once they're done the feature should work seamlessly.

Activating Two-Factor Authentication on an Alternate Apple ID


For this portion of the process, you'll need access to a Mac where you have permissions to create new user accounts.
  1. Open System Preferences and click on Users & Groups.

  2. Click the lock at the bottom left corner and enter your administrator password to allow changes.

  3. At the bottom of the user list on the left, click the + button and set up a new Standard user account, entering a name, account name, and password and clicking on "Create User."

  4. If you have fast user switching activated, click on your name or icon near the right side of the menu bar, and choose the new user account you just set up. If fast user switching is not active, you'll need to either turn it on in the Login Options section of Users & Groups in System Preferences or completely log out of your current account and then choose the new account.

  5. Enter the password to log into the new account, and skip through the setup steps as quickly as possible, unchecking options or selecting "set up later" for various features whenever possible.

  6. Once the user account is configured and you've reached the Mac desktop, head to System Preferences and click on iCloud.

  7. Sign in with the Apple ID you want to activate two-factor authentication for. Once you've entered the password, the system will ask if you want to set up two-factor authentication. Select Continue.

  8. Enter a phone number where you can receive a text message or phone call to verify your identity.

  9. When you receive a verification code at that number, enter it on your Mac and finish the setup steps, unchecking all options. Two-factor authentication is now up and running on your Mac for your desired Apple ID. Keep this user account open on your Mac for the next step unless you want to use a text message verification code to the phone number you entered as a fallback.

Setting Up an iPhone or iPad as a Trusted Device


You don't want to leave this unneeded user account up and running on your Mac as the only method for approving logins that doesn't require a text message, so you'll want to set up an iPhone or iPad as a trusted device for this Apple ID.
  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device and tap on Passwords & Accounts

  2. Tap on Add Account and choose iCloud, then enter the Apple ID and password for the account you just set up two-factor authentication for on your Mac. You'll be prompted for verification, which should pop up on your Mac where you can allow the login and view the verification code to enter on your iOS device. (If you already logged out of or deleted the Mac user account, you can choose the "Didn't get a verification code" option and select "Text Me" to receive a code via SMS.)

  3. Once you're authenticated, the Apple ID login will finish and you'll be offered a list of iCloud features including Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders on your iOS device. Turn all of these toggles off and tap Save.

  4. Your Developer Apple ID account is now logged in on your iOS device and it can receive verification requests whenever you try to log into that Apple ID. It will show as "Inactive" in the account list on your device because all of the iCloud features of the account have been toggled off.
The final step of the process is to clean up the Mac you used to turn on two-factor authentication. Log out of the account on the Mac, switch to an account with administrator privileges, head back to the Users & Groups section of System Preferences, click on the lock to allow changes, highlight the temporary account you agreed, and hit the minus button. Choose to delete the account entirely rather than archiving it, and you're done.

If you'd like to also be able to approve logins and generate verification codes from your Mac, you can log into the alternate ID from your main Mac account. The steps are similar to the ones for setting up an iPhone or iPad as a trusted device for a secondary Apple ID: Go to System Preferences > Internet Accounts, and add your developer Apple ID as another iCloud account. Don't forget to uncheck all of the iCloud services to make it inactive so that it's only used for approving two-factor requests on that account.

Apple Seeds Third Public Beta of tvOS 12.2 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.2 update to its public beta testing group, one day after providing the beta to developers and a week after releasing the second tvOS 12.2 public beta.

The tvOS 12.2 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.


tvOS 12.2, paired with iOS 12.2, lets users ask Siri to play specific media on an Apple TV from an iOS device. You can, for example, ask Siri to play Modern Family on the TV in the living room. This works for music and TV content.


No other new features were discovered in the tvOS 12.2 beta as of yet, and it's often difficult to determine what's new because Apple does not provide release notes letting us know what's changed.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)