iTunes Brand's Slow Demise Continues as Apple Updates URLs for App Web Listings

Apple switched its URL structure for hosting app listings on the web this week, in another sure sign that the company is gradually moving on from its all-encompassing 18-year-old iTunes brand.


When viewing an iOS or Mac app listing on the web, the URL address now contains apps.apple.com, where previously it was itunes.apple.com.

The change follows similar URL updates reported earlier this month for songs and music artists, which now direct to music.apple.com rather than the old itunes.apple.com nomenclature.

Apple is also in the process of replacing all iTunes links for podcasts, TV shows, movies, and books with category-specific links such as podcasts.apple.com, tv.apple.com, movies.apple.com, and books.apple.com. The company has also wiped all its iTunes pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Apple's move away from the iTunes brand for its web-hosted storefront follows its decision to sunset the iTunes app and replace it with standalone Music, Podcasts, and TV apps as part of macOS Catalina, unveiled last week and coming in the fall.

Apple says users' existing iTunes music libraries will be imported automatically when they update to the new macOS, and the iTunes Store will live on in the new Music app's sidebar to allow users to buy music on Mac, iOS, and Apple TV. However syncing iOS devices like iPhones and iPads on Mac will take place in Finder instead.

Thanks, Micah!

Tag: iTunes

How to Create a Custom iMessage Profile in iOS 13

In iOS 13, Apple allows you to create a standardized iMessage profile that includes your name and photo – or an Animoji/Memoji – which accompanies the messages you send to friends so that they know who you are.

The idea behind the new feature is that contacts in the Messages become more easily identifiable, similar to the way WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger contacts have recognizable profile pictures.

If you choose to use a Memoji as your profile pic, you'll be happy to learn that iOS 13 also provides options for customizing it, including pre-selected poses and background colors.

How to Add a Custom Message Photo Profile in iOS 13


  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap Messages.

  3. Tap Share Name and Photo.

  4. To use a photo in your new profile, tap the Camera button and take a picture of yourself. Alternatively, tap All Photos to choose an existing picture from your photo albums.

  5. Once you've selected a picture, you'll be given the option to move and scale it in the circular frame. Click Choose once you're done.

  6. You'll then be asked to select a filter to apply to the photo. Alternatively, tap Original to skip this step.

  7. Tap Done.

  8. Tap the empty fields alongside your profile picture to enter your first and second name.

  9. Make sure the Share Name and Photo switch is toggled to the On position.

  10. Choose from one of the automatic contact sharing options – Contacts Only, Always Ask, or Anyone.

How to Add a Message Animoji/Memoji Profile in iOS 13


  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap Messages.

  3. Tap Share Name and Photo.

  4. Select an Animoji from the default list. If you've created a Memoji, it will also appear in the list for you to choose.

  5. In the next screen, select a pre-defined Pose.

  6. Move and scale the image in the circular profile frame, then tap Choose.

  7. Select a background color.

  8. Tap Done.

  9. Tap the empty fields alongside your profile picture to enter your first and second name.

  10. Make sure the Share Name and Photo switch is toggled to the On position.

  11. Choose from one of the automatic contact sharing options: Contacts Only, Always Ask, or Anyone.
In iOS 13, you can also turn your Memoji into stickers, which can be used across numerous apps like Messages and Mail. Memoji stickers and the Memoji editor are also supported by all devices with an A9 chip or later – not just those with TrueDepth cameras.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

iTunes Gift Card Deals: Save Up to 15% on iTunes Credit From PayPal, Target, and Costco

Earlier this week we shared discounts on App Store and iTunes gift cards happening at Costco and PayPal on eBay, and now Target has joined in on the sales with an offer of its own. With so many bargains happening on iTunes gift cards, we decided to quickly round up these sales to make it clear where the best deals are happening this week.

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.

PayPal on eBay


To start, the best all-around discount for most people (in the United States) will be PayPal's 15 percent discount on eBay. By visiting the PayPal Digital Gifts storefront on eBay, you can get the $100 iTunes gift card for $85 for a limited time.

You'll need a PayPal account to complete the checkout process, and the gift card will be emailed to you within 24 hours after purchase. A discount of 15 percent is largely the best savings you'll find on iTunes gift cards these days, and other than needing a PayPal account (which is free to make), this sale is the most accessible.

Costco


If you have a Costco membership, however, you can get a bit more savings at the big box retailer this week. Costco has $100 iTunes gift cards priced at $84.49 through June 15, providing a slight edge over PayPal's sale on eBay.

You can use iTunes credit on movies, Apple Music subscriptions, Apple Books, and more

You can also purchase the $25 iTunes gift card for $21.49, and both cards will be delivered via email after purchase. As with any Costco purchase, you'll have to be a subscriber to the company's annual membership program, which starts at $60/year.

Target


Target is offering you a chance to buy one iTunes gift card and get 20 percent off another, which isn't quite as good a deal as PayPal or Costco. The $15, $25, $50, and $100 iTunes gift cards are available in the sale, and they'll be emailed to you after you checkout.

If you buy two $100 iTunes gift cards, you'll get the second for $80 at a total of $180 for both cards, down from $200. Comparatively, two $100 iTunes gift cards purchased for $85 via PayPal on eBay will set you back $170, down from $200. Still, Target REDcard holders have a chance to save an extra 5 percent. Target's offer expires on June 15 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

All of these sales and more can be found in our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Octane Fitness Adds GymKit Support to Select Ellipticals, Enabling Two-Way Data Sharing With Apple Watch

Nautilus has announced that three of its Octane Fitness ellipticals are now compatible with Apple's GymKit, including the LateralX, XT-One, and XT3700, at commercial establishments like gyms and colleges.


GymKit enables two-way synchronization of fitness data between an Apple Watch and gym equipment. In this case, the Apple Watch sends specific calorie and heart rate measurements to the elliptical, and the elliptical forwards metrics like level, distance, and workout duration to the Apple Watch.

At the end of a workout, data from the equipment appears in the Activity app on the user's Apple Watch and iPhone. No data is stored on the Octane machines.

Octane Fitness equipment is available at a variety of gyms and athletic clubs, including select 24-Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Equinox, Gold's Gym, GoodLife Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Retro Fitness, Snap Fitness, UFC Gym, Wellbridge, and YMCA locations, according to its website.

Octane Fitness says its equipment is also used by companies like Facebook and Google, colleges like Duke and Columbia, some NFL and MLB teams, the CIA and FBI, various fire and police departments, and many others.

It will likely take some time for the GymKit-enabled ellipticals to make their way to all of the locations listed above, as gyms and other commercial establishments gradually renew and replace their equipment over time.

GymKit was introduced in watchOS 4.1 in October 2017.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, watchOS 6
Tag: GymKit
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

MacRumors Exclusive: Get 15% Off Any One Item From Mophie This Month

This summer, MacRumors is partnering with well-known battery accessory company Mophie for an all-new exclusive sale. During the month of June, you can get 15 percent off any one item sitewide on Mophie.com by using the code RUMORS15 on the shopping bag screen.

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

This means that you can save on Mophie accessories like the Powerstation, Juice Pack, Charge Stream Pad+, and anything else on the company's website. Mophie has a wide arrange of devices that work with Apple products like the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and MacBook Pro, as well as Android devices.

We've listed a few ideas to shop for on the website, but be sure to head to Mophie.com to browse the full array of options. As long as you enter the promo code RUMORS15 in your shopping bag on Mophie.com before July 1, 2019, you'll get 15 percent off of one item.

MacRumors + Mophie Exclusive Sitewide Sale


Images via @mophie on Instagram
For anyone on the hunt for more sales, check out our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
Tag: Mophie

Apple Highlights How iPads Are Helping Students and Teachers in Multilingual Classrooms

An Apple press release today looked at how teachers across Europe are using iPads to help them work with students learning a new language alongside their regular educational subjects.


Apple chose to highlight teachers at Wilhelm Ferdinand Schussler Day School in Dusseldorf, Germany, who say iPads are allowing them to prepare written and video lessons for immigrant students from war-torn areas of the Middle East to help them learn at their own pace and consequently improve their grades.

For teacher Nick Kyriakidis, 47, and his colleague Sinaan El Haq Hadjeri, 31, who alternate teaching the class on different days, one of the most powerful tools they have to bridge potential language divides is iPad.
"Kids withdraw when they're afraid of [making] mistakes," says Kyriakidis. "If we try to reduce this fear, it's much easier for them to work with us because they don’t have anything to lose."

"With iPad … it's different than when they write something [on paper] and I come in with my red pen and say 'that’s wrong,'" says Hadjeri. "[With iPad] they learn for themselves."
Since the Wilhelm Ferdinand Schussler Day School began the 1:1 iPad program, every student has had access to their own iPad, and 100 percent of participants have graduated – an increase of more than 20 percent.

Likewise, at Stenkulaskolan School in Malmo, Sweden, where 98 percent of students speak Swedish as a second language, teachers have seen an 80 percent jump in math grades since they started sending home similar instructional videos, recorded by a teacher in Swedish.

It's a similar story at St. Cyres School in Penarth, Wales, where the 2018 senior class of "English as an Additional Language" students working with iPad increased their grades by an average of 3.8 points during the year — outperforming their peers who speak English or Welsh as their native language for the third year in a row.

Interested readers should check out Apple's full press release, which continues a series spotlighting teachers and students using innovative technology in the classroom.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Don't Buy)

Belkin's Wemo Brand Launches New HomeKit-Compatible 3-Way Light Switch

Belkin today announced a new addition to its lineup of HomeKit-compatible Wemo-branded smart devices, the Wemo 3-Way Light Switch, which is now available.

Announced at CES, the new 3-Way Light Switch is priced at $49.99 and adds HomeKit functionality to your household lights.


The new Light Switch joins the Wemo Mini Smart Plug and the Wemo Dimmer, Belkin's other devices that offer full HomeKit compatibility without the need for the Wemo Smart Bridge.

Other Wemo products, such as the Insight Smart Plug, Motion Sensor, and existing Light Switch connect to HomeKit setups through the Wemo Smart Bridge. The newest Wemo products are much more convenient, offering a HomeKit connection without the use of the bridge.

You're able to control the Light Switch using the Home app, the Wemo app, or Siri functionality, and it also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The 3-Way Light Switch is available today from Belkin or from Amazon, and it will be available from Apple starting on June 18.

iMovie for iOS Gains Green Screen Effect, New Soundtracks and More

iMovie for iOS was today updated to version 2.2.7, adding a long list of new features to the video editing app for the iPhone and the iPad.

The update brings a new green screen effect that lets you remove the background of clips shot in front of a green or blue screen, a neat new feature for quickly swapping in a new background.


Still images with transparent backgrounds, such as logos or graphics, can be inserted on top of your video, and photos can be used as overlays to create picture-in-picture and split-screen effects.

Apple has added 80 new soundtracks across genres that include pop, chill, sentimental, and more, all of which automatically adjust to match the length of your video.

Apple has removed the ability to share to iMovie Theater, and all movies and trailers are now saved to iCloud Photos to watch them on other devices.

There are also a few other minor tweaks and bug fixes, with Apple's full release notes below:
- Transform your video with the new green screen effect that lets you instantly remove the background of clips shot in front of a green or blue screen
- Adjust the green screen effect with a 4-point mask and strength slider
- Choose from 80 new soundtracks in genres including pop, chill, and sentimental that automatically adjust to match the length of your movie
- Drop in still images with transparent backgrounds to use as logos or custom graphics on top of your video
- Add photos as overlays to create picture-in-picture and split-screen effects
- Choose to hide the border that surrounds picture-in-picture and split-screen effects
- Instantly return to the edit screen of your project when switching back to iMovie from other applications
- ClassKit support lets students deliver video assignments to teachers using the Schoolwork app
- For users with videos in iMovie Theater, the Theater window is now accessible from the ••• menu at the bottom of the Projects screen
- Sharing to iMovie Theater is no longer supported; save your movies and trailers to iCloud Photos to watch them on other devices including Apple TV
- Resolves an issue that could lead to a black viewer when previewing your video fullscreen on an external display
The iMovie for iOS app is a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: iMovie

Apple Seeds Third Beta of Upcoming tvOS 12.4 Update to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.4 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the second tvOS 12.4 beta and a month after releasing the tvOS 12.3 update with the new TV app.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 12.4 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV through a profile that's installed using Apple's Xcode software.


There were no new features discovered in the first two betas of tvOS 12.4, suggesting the update focuses on under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements rather than outward-facing features, which is typical for new tvOS software.

Apple offers up little information on what's included in tvOS updates, so we may not know what's new in tvOS 12.4 even after release. Despite the limited information, we share news of new tvOS updates so developers are able to download the software upon release.

Should we discover new features in the third tvOS 12.4 beta, we'll update this post with details.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12, tvOS 13
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 5.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 5.3 update to developers, two weeks after releasing the second watchOS 5.3 beta and two weeks after the launch of watchOS 5.2.1, an update that expanded ECG availability and introduced new pride watch faces.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

There were no new features discovered in the first two watchOS 5.3 betas, suggesting that it focuses on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements.

There could also be hidden changes that will be available after the update is released, such as support for the upcoming Apple Card, set to debut this summer. If new features are discovered in the third watchOS 5.3 beta, we'll update this post with details.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

TomTom Revamps iPhone App With CarPlay Support, Lane Guidance, Offline Maps With Weekly Updates, and More

Dutch company TomTom today announced that it has significantly revamped its iPhone navigation app with several new features, including customizable offline maps with weekly updates, lane guidance, and CarPlay support. The app has also been renamed from TomTom GO Mobile to TomTom GO Navigation.


The offline maps are available on an à-la-carte basis, meaning that users can download maps only for the regions they need to save storage space. TomTom says the maps will automatically receive weekly updates to help users avoid newly blocked lanes, active road construction, and other traffic delays.

CarPlay support enables users to access the TomTom app from their dashboard display in vehicles equipped with Apple's software platform, complete with new lane guidance functionality that helps users avoid missing turns and last-second merges by zooming in on their lane as they approach an intersection or exit.


Unfortunately, the iPhone app's route bar is not available on CarPlay at this time:


TomTom GO Navigation also provides point-of-interest search, real-time traffic conditions, speed camera alerts, and other services.

TomTom GO Navigation is available in the App Store and is expected to launch on Android later this year. The app offers a free trial, followed by one-, three-, and six-month subscriptions for $1.99, $4.99, and $8.99 respectively.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: TomTom

Deals Spotlight: Best Buy Kicks Off Huge Sale Discounting Apple Watch Series 3 ($80 Off) and Series 4 ($50 off)

Best Buy has introduced a new sale this week, highlighting discounts on both the Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4. The sale covers numerous models of each Apple Watch from 2017 and 2018, including stainless steel cases, aluminum cases, GPS only models, and GPS and cellular models.

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

Although there are many devices in the sale, you'll find the same savings for each Apple Watch model: Series 3 devices are discounted by $80 and Series 4 devices are discounted by $50. This means that prices on Apple Watch Series 3 start as low as $199 and prices on Apple Watch Series 4 start as low as $349.

We've listed a few devices on sale below, but be sure to head to Best Buy to browse every Apple Watch that's been marked down.

Best Buy's Apple Watch Sale


The Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4 are both rated for immersion in water as deep as 50 meters, but there are a few differences between the two models. The newer Series 4 has an upgraded processor, a bigger display area, fall detection, and an electrical heart sensor that lets you measure your own ECG, which is one of the big new features of the wearable.

Series 3 models lack these features, but you'll still be getting all of the expected health tracking features, the ability to log your workouts, and iPhone-connected benefits, like receiving texts on your wrist. If you're looking to jump into the Apple Watch ecosystem for the first time and don't care about having the newest gadget, Series 3 models are definitely a solid place to start.

Head to our full Deals Roundup to stay up-to-date on all of the latest and greatest sales happening now.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals