Quick Takes


'Quick Takes' Articles

Quick Takes: Mac Mini Turning 3.5 Years Old, But Unlike Mac Pro, Apple Remains Silent About Future Updates

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Thursday, April 5Mac mini is three-and-a-half years old: Apple today confirmed that its revamped Mac Pro will be released in 2019. It's an opportune time for a reminder that the Mac mini hasn't been refreshed in three-and-a-half years as of April 16. 1,267 days ago as of today, according to our MacRumors Buyer's Guide. We asked Apple for a comment, but it's unlikely they'll break silence. Apple predicted to accelerate its capital return program due to corporate tax reform: In a research note to investors, Citigroup analyst Jim Suva estimates that Apple will expand its share repurchase authorization by an additional $100 billion on its May 1 earnings call, versus a $50 billion addition a year ago, as a result of the U.S. corporate tax rate dropping to 21 percent. FCP Exchange takes place at NAB 2018 in Las Vegas next week: The series of free Final Cut Pro workshops begin Monday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time in room S219 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Final Cut Pro version 10.4.1, previewed by Apple today, will be released on the same day with support for a new ProRes RAW format and advanced closed captioning. Apple has published an entry titled Introducing the Payment Request API for Apple Pay on its WebKit blog. For more coverage of Apple, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also head to our forums to join in the

Quick Takes: WebKit Team Teases 'Cool New Apple Products' as Rumors Persist About Red iPhones

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Monday, April 2WebKit's verified Twitter account teases "cool new Apple products" in the pipeline: WebKit is the open source web browser engine used by Safari on macOS and iOS, so the tweet from the Apple-owned account could be referring to a wide range of different products. Pssst! Can you keep a secret? Cool new Apple products are coming and WebKit needs your help to take full advantage of the [redacted]. The WebKit Platform Integration team is waiting to hear from you! https://t.co/lEHK68DWZi— WebKit (@webkit) April 2, 2018 What Apple's education announcements mean for accessibility: Accessibility expert and former special educator Steven Aquino believes that an iPad is far superior to a Chromebook in many levels of special education. Nevertheless, he feels there is enormous potential for Apple to go further. For example, he says Apple could broaden its new Schoolwork app to incorporate Individualized Education Programs. Red-colored iPhones may still be coming: On March 21, 2017, Apple unveiled a special (PRODUCT)RED edition of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Rumor has it Apple may do so again this year with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and/or iPhone X at some point this month. Same and still "unverified" source "confirms" new red colored #iPhone(s) is on his way and may be released this month...— Steve H. (@OnLeaks) April 1, 2018 macOS 10.13.4 and

Quick Takes: What Wasn't Announced at Apple Event, CarPlay Vehicles at New York Auto Show, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Wednesday, March 28 What Wasn't Announced at Apple's Event Yesterday, we shared a video recap of everything Apple announced at its education-themed event, including a new entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, a new Schoolwork app for classrooms, and other education-related software updates. Apple's invite made it very clear that the event would be focused on education announcements, but there were still quite a few hardware and software possibilities that had a slim chance of being—but ultimately weren't—mentioned: Lower-priced MacBook Air: KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a more affordable MacBook Air will launch in the second quarter of 2018. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said the notebook probably wouldn't be ready for Tuesday's event, which proved to be the case. When to expect it: Apple has refreshed the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro in April or May before, and announced the updates via press releases, so that's one possibility. Otherwise, the new MacBook Air will likely debut at WWDC 2018 on June 4, near the end of the second quarter. AirPower: A trio of reports claimed Apple's multi-device charging mat will be available to order by the end of March. However, despite Apple's online store going down ahead of Tuesday's event, the AirPower wasn't anywhere to be found when the site came back online. When to expect it: There are still two weekdays

Quick Takes: iOS 11.4 Confirmed, Apple Watch Trade-Up Program Expands, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Today's edition of Quick Takes focuses on tidbits from Apple's education-themed event at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago today. For bigger news from the event, we've put together a roundup of links and a video that recaps everything that Apple announced on stage in under three minutes. Tuesday, March 27Apple confirms there will be an iOS 11.4 software update: It will be the first point-four version since iOS 8.4 was released with Apple Music in June 2015. iOS 11.3 remains in beta testing, so we're likely a few months away from the public release of iOS 11.4. From the Introducing ClassKit for Education Apps entry in the News and Updates section of Apple's Developer Program website:The ClassKit framework, coming in iOS 11.4, works with a powerful new iPad app called Schoolwork that helps teachers and students keep track of assignments and progress. With ClassKit, you can help teachers easily discover specific learning activities in your app, take students directly to the right activity with a single tap, and securely and privately share progress data to help teachers personalize instruction.Apple Watch's trade-up program expands: The program is now available online or at Apple Stores in Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and select other countries. Trade-in values for the

Quick Takes: Spotify for Apple Watch and StreamKit for watchOS 5 to Debut at WWDC 2018?

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Monday, March 26 Highlights 1. Spotify for Apple Watch to debut at WWDC? An anonymous and unverified tipster has informed MacRumors that Spotify will unveil an official Apple Watch app at WWDC 2018 in June, based on personal involvement with the project. Third-party Spotify app Snowy, which was never released, as its developer Andrew Chang was hired by Spotify to help build their official Apple Watch app The app will supposedly be a lead example of Apple's tentatively named StreamKit framework that will enable cellular Apple Watch models to receive push notifications from third-party apps like Facebook and Twitter, completely independent from a paired iPhone, on watchOS 5. 2. Are corporations that use Wikipedia giving back? Wikimedia's revenue chief Lisa Gruwell expresses some concerns about seemingly one-sided relationships with companies that utilize its information."I don't mean to sound like the Lorax here," said Gruwell. "If you overuse something and you don’t give back to it, you can harm it. In the case of Alexa and Siri, our content gets intermediated. Wikipedia works because people can contribute to it, people can edit it. Also, once a year, when we ask people can donate. When they get their information not from us — but Wikipedia content through something like Siri or something like Alexa — that opportunity to either contribute back as

Quick Takes: (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X?

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Friday, March 23 1. (PRODUCT)RED edition iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and/or iPhone X very soon? Steve Hemmerstoffer, who runs the OnLeaks account on Twitter, says at least one red-colored iPhone might be released soon. However, he says his source is unverified, so treat this rumor with a dose of skepticism. (PRODUCT)RED edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Take this with a pinch of salt because I got it from a new and therefore still "unverified" source but I heard that new red colored iPhone(s) might be on his way... pic.twitter.com/LKkGB99ylK— Steve H. (@OnLeaks) March 23, 2018 Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang also said Apple may release a (PRODUCT)RED edition of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and/or iPhone X. A year ago this week, Apple unveiled a special (PRODUCT)RED edition of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, so there's certainly some precedence to suggest this rumor may be true. 2. Apple edits iPhone X ad that captured an animation glitch: A week ago, 9to5Mac's Benjamin Mayo noticed the iPhone X ad "Unlock" captured a minor bug causing some text to briefly appear outside of notification bubbles on the lock screen. The bug can be seen in the tweet below or in GIF form over at The Verge. OMG Apple’s latest iPhone X ad includes a shot of the bugged notification bubbles (see thread for explanation)Yes, I did file a radar on this months ago. I think

Quick Takes: The Comfort of Apple's Ecosystem, Using a 2009 Mac Pro in 2018, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Thursday, March 22 Highlights Image Credit: MacStories 1. Erasing Complexity: The Comfort of Apple's Ecosystem: MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci explains how, after years of testing competing products and ecosystems, he has decided to fully embrace Apple's ecosystem given the simplicity and integration of apps, services, and hardware.It took me years to understand that the value I get from Apple's ecosystem far outweighs its shortcomings. While not infallible, Apple still creates products that abstract complexity, are nice, and work well together. In hindsight, compulsively chasing the "best tech" was unhealthy and only distracting me from the real goal: finding technology that works well for me and helps me live a better, happier life.2. Retro Review: 2009 Mac Pro in 2018: iMore's Anthony Casella examines whether the 2009 Mac Pro, upgraded with dual Radeon RX 580 GPUs, is still a capable machine in 2018 compared to a 2014 iMac and entry-level iMac Pro, based on transcoding HD video, rendering video in Final Cut Pro, and gaming. Image Credit: iMore Casella notes that his article isn't intended to be a scientific comparison, but rather more of a fun project to see if a nine-year-old workstation can still keep up in 2018, if someone were to have upgraded its components over the years instead of buying a whole new system. His answer is very much

Quick Takes: Apple Music Debuts K-Pop Ad, iPhone SE 2 Concept, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Wednesday, March 21 1. Apple Music ad released with Korean girl group TWICE: The 15-second video features their 2017 single Heart Shakers and is accompanied by a link to an Apple Music playlist with their other k-pop songs. 2. Apple is an exception to nearly every rule: Dutch entrepreneur Haje Jan Kamps explains how using Apple as a template for how to build a startup is not a great idea due to its unparalleled hardware design, logistics, and even packaging. Commentary: As the world's most valuable company, Apple has tremendous leverage over its supply chain and logistical partners like Foxconn and UPS respectively. Given how valuable a contract with Apple can be, these companies will bend over backwards to accommodate the iPhone maker in any way. 3. 3D designer Martin Hajek shares iPhone SE 2 renders: The concept imagines the iPhone SE with a glass back for wireless charging, in the same color as the gold iPhone 8. Overall, the device looks like a refined version of the current iPhone SE, which is likely what we can expect if it does receive a refresh. For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the

Quick Takes: Smartwatches to Have More Than Just 15 Minutes of Fame as GymKit Rollout Continues

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Tuesday, March 20 Highlights 1. IDC forecasts that smartwatch shipments will nearly double within four years: IDC believes smartwatches will account for almost two out of every five wearable devices shipped in 2022, with an estimated 84.1 million shipments that year, compared to an estimated 43.6 million units in 2018. Commentary: Apple Watch is the world's most popular smartwatch by a significant margin, having outsold all competing smartwatches combined in 2017, and there's no sign that momentum will slow down. 2. Stack Overflow releases the results of its 2018 developer survey: The results, based on over 100,000 respondents from around the world, outline this year's most loved, dreaded, and wanted technologies and platforms, how developers around the world code, learn, live, and work, and more. Apple-related highlights: 26.7 percent of developers said macOS is their primary operating system for work, versus 49.9 percent for Windows iOS was the most loved mobile operating system for development, with 64.6 percent of respondents expressing interest in continuing to develop for the platform, versus 63.8 percent for Android Developers using Apple's open source Swift programming language earned a median salary of $57,000 in the United States, versus a leading $74,000 for programming language F# 3. Introducing IBM Watson Services for Core ML: The

Quick Takes: Audiophile Calls AirPods Best Truly Wireless Earbuds He's Ever Heard in Year-Later Review

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Monday, March 19 Highlights 1. AirPods: the audiophile review: The Verge's Vlad Savov finally got around to testing a pair of AirPods, over a year after they launched, and now understands why so many people are fans of Apple's wireless earphones. Once dismissive of them, he now thinks AirPods are the best truly wireless earbuds he's heard.I say the AirPods aren't technically amazing, but that's only when comparing against existing standards for sound quality. In the category of truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods are the best I've yet heard. Bragi's The Headphone and Dash Pro left me underwhelmed, with the latter being especially bloated and disfigured by an overabundance of bass.Commentary: AirPods are easily one of Apple's best new products in the past few years. They're easy to set up, easy to use, easy to carry around, and more than likely sound "good enough" for the majority of customers. 2. The case for an ePad: Drawing inspiration from the education-only eMac, released in 2002, 512 Pixels' Stephen Hackett envisions what an education-only iPad or so-called "ePad" could be. His suggestions include a more rugged design, Apple Pencil and external keyboard support, and more competitive pricing. 3. HQ Trivia had a weird night: The smartphone-based live trivia show offered a winner-takes-all $25,000 prize on Sunday night, but the would-be winner was

Quick Takes: Apple Pencil 2 Wishlist, Apple's R&D Spending is Surging

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Friday, March 16 Highlights 1. Apple Pencil 2 wishlist: iMore's Serenity Caldwell offers some good suggestions for a next-generation Apple Pencil, including integration of Apple's W1 or W2 chips for improved pairing, haptic feedback, wireless charging, and multiple nib options both for improved friction and design. Commentary: Apple today invited the media to an education-focused event on March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The artwork for the invite suggests the Apple Pencil could be one focus of the event, with the possibility of both a new version and support added for the 9.7-inch iPad. 2. An Apple R&D bonanza: Above Avalon's Neil Cybart notes that Apple is on track to spend $14 billion on research and development in its 2018 fiscal year, nearly double the amount it spent on R&D just four years ago. $14 billion would also be more than the amount Apple spent on R&D from 1998 to 2011 combined.My theory on the dramatic rise in Apple R&D expenditures is that management is becoming more ambitious. Apple's future is found in new industries. Just as Apple moved from desktops/laptops to personal music players, smartphones, and watches, the company will need to enter new industries to remain relevant. This is not a company that is holding onto the iPhone as tight as possible for fear of change. Apple management is investigating new

Quick Takes: Fitbit Executive Says He Hasn't Met Anyone Passionate About Owning an Apple Watch

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Thursday, March 15 1. Fitbit's financial chief knocks the Apple Watch: "I have yet to meet anyone who owns an Apple Watch who's passionate about the product," said Fitbit's chief financial officer Bill Zerella. "If you don't have an Apple phone, you're not buying an Apple Watch… 80% of the world is Android, not Apple." Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch Commentary: Not only is the Apple Watch the world's most popular smartwatch, but it's the best-selling wearable, ahead of Fitbit. Apple Watch also has a customer satisfaction rate well above 90 percent. 2. iHeartMedia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: The company operates Apple Music rival iHeartRadio, which provides free streaming of thousands of live radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The move will allow the company to restructure more than $20 billion in debt. Commentary: iHeartMedia's day-to-day operations of its businesses are not expected to be dramatically affected, according to reports, so iHeartRadio should remain available for at least the foreseeable future. 3. What the HomePod should become: MacStories' Ryan Christoffel argues that the HomePod isn't a bad product today, but could evolve into a great one by becoming a true hub for all Apple-centric needs.If Siri knew all things about your Apple devices and services,

Quick Takes: 'Why Hasn't Samsung Ditched the Headphone Jack Yet?'

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Wednesday, March 14 - Why hasn't Samsung ditched the headphone jack yet? Daring Fireball's John Gruber remains convinced that headphone jacks are going the way of the floppy drive, but he explains why Samsung might not be ready to ditch the 3.5mm port yet, as Apple did with the iPhone 7 a few years ago.Samsung is more of a "do what the customer is asking for" company; Apple is a "figure out what they’re going to want" company. Samsung’s customers aren't asking for the headphone jack to be dropped, so the path of least resistance is to just keep the jack. But looking at what's available on the market, a big problem facing Samsung (and the rest of the Android world) is that the USB-C headphone market is a mess — and expensive to boot. "No-name brand headphones at high prices" is a hard sell.Commentary: Apple arguably has an advantage in this space thanks to its custom W1 chip, which provides a quick and seamless connection between Apple devices and its wireless headphones like AirPods and BeatsX. - Dutch bank hints that Apple Pay could launch in the Netherlands next week: Dutch mobile bank bunq was recently added to the list of Apple Pay participating banks in Italy. When contacted by the Dutch blog iCulture.nl about the possibility of Apple Pay launching in the Netherlands, the bank said it could not share any details before a press conference it is holding

Quick Takes: Tim Cook at Capitol Hill, Apple Hires Events Director From Golden State Warriors, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Tuesday, March 13 - Apple CEO Tim Cook visits Capitol Hill: Cook was spotted in the U.S. Capitol with senators Mark Warner (Democrat-Virginia) and Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina). He reportedly had lunch with Warner. SPOTTED in the US Capitol: Senate Intel Cmte Chair @SenatorBurr, @MarkWarner & Apple CEO @tim_cook (Warner is getting lunch with Cook in the Senate dining room): pic.twitter.com/VwtnE4EQGS— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) March 13, 2018 Commentary: The report doesn't mention what was discussed, but it is fairly routine for Cook to make visits to Washington D.C. given his position. Warner is known to be a tech-savvy senator with concerns about cybersecurity. - Apple hires Golden State Warriors executive as events director: Apple has hired Gail Hunter, who was vice president of public affairs and event management of the NBA's Golden State Warriors team. Hunter will serve as Apple's director of events effective March 19, according to the team. Commentary: Hunter will join Apple just under three months prior to its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company's largest event of the year. The report doesn't mention what her responsibilities will be. - Apple supplier Wistron secures land to build new site in southern India: The contract manufacturer has received approval to build a new facility roughly 40 miles from

Quick Takes: PGA TOUR Gets Augmented, Interview With HQ Trivia's $25,000 Winner, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Monday, March 12 - PGA TOUR introduces augmented reality app: PGA TOUR AR uses Apple's ARKit platform on iOS 11 to project 3D models of featured holes on any flat surface. Fans will be able to select their favorite player on the golf course, compare shot trails from each round, and compare the shots of different players. The first featured hole will be No. 6 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting March 15, while shot trails can be reviewed from the seventh hole of last month's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament. The end goal is for at least one hole to be featured at every tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule. Commentary: PGA TOUR AR is free on the App Store for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and iPad Pro models. The app is somewhat rudimentary at launch, but an update later this year will enable fans to view 3D shot trails for selected players at live golf tournaments. - Apple Bluewater re-opens Saturday, March 24, according to a photo shared yesterday by Joe White on Twitter: The store has been closed for nearly eight months to allow for renovations to be completed. Apple Bluewater is located in Greenhithe, Kent, on the edge of Greater London in England. @Apple Bluewater re-opening March 24 after 9 month refurbishment. pic.twitter.com/8UtXL3ThmO— Joe White (@JoeWhiteLondon) March 11, 2018 - Canada to initiate

Quick Takes: Apple's Ecosystem Explained, Crumb-Resistant MacBook Keyboards, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Friday, March 9 Apple's ecosystem explained: YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee explains why Apple's ecosystem of products and services is so strong. He also advises against becoming too locked into just one ecosystem. Commentary: A good example of the strength of Apple's ecosystem is iMessage and its coveted blue message bubbles, which have essentially become a status symbol. As silly as it may sound, there are a countless number of tweets that mock green bubbles, which is the color Apple uses to display standard text messages. AAPL sets all-time high closing price of $179.98: The previous record was $179.26, set on January 18, 2018. Apple's overall all-time high remains $180.62, set during intraday trading on February 28, 2018. AAPL has been on the rise since bottoming out at $150.24 on February 9 amid a wider stock market selloff. Commentary: Apple shares have technically traded for higher prices, but today's record high factors in multiple stock splits, including a 7-for-1 split in 2014. Apple's market cap now hovers around the $915 billion mark. Timing of Apple's rumored March event: Apple typically invites the media to its special events roughly 10 to 12 days beforehand, so if there is a March event on its agenda, then we'll likely hear about it soon. 2015: Thursday, February 26 invites → Monday, March 9 event 2016: Thursday, March

Quick Takes: Jurassic World Gets New Game, UnitedHealthcare Offers Apple Watch to Members, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Wednesday, March 7 - Apple Watch soon available through UnitedHealthcare Motion: Apple Watch will be integrated into the wellness program, which provides participants with an eligible plan access to activity trackers that can enable them to earn up to $1,000 in incentives per year by meeting certain daily walking goals. Select program participants will have access to an Apple Watch starting in July, with full availability later this year. The cost of shipping and taxes on the Apple Watch is due upfront, and then participants can apply their earnings towards paying off the cost of the device in as little as six months.UnitedHealthcare Motion is available to employers with self-funded and fully insured health plans nationwide. The program enables employees to earn up to $4 per day in financial incentives based on achieving F.I.T. goals: Frequency: complete 500 steps within seven minutes six times per day, at least an hour apart; Intensity: complete 3,000 steps within 30 minutes; and Tenacity: complete 10,000 total steps each day.Commentary: UnitedHealthcare should benefit from offering this program in the long-run by encouraging its customers to live more active lifestyles, ideally resulting in fewer health insurance claims being filed. Similar programs are offered by life and health insurance providers John Hancock and Vitality. - Universal

Quick Takes: iTunes LP Submissions Ending, Free Apple Music With Select New Vehicles, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Tuesday, March 6 Apple confirms it will stop accepting new iTunes LP album submissions at the end of March: Apple says existing LP albums will not be removed and will remain available to download via iTunes on Mac or PC. Commentary: iTunes LPs, introduced in 2009, are interactive albums with multimedia such as lyrics, liner notes, artist and band photos, performance videos, and more. A lot of this content can now be found in Apple Music, so it's no surprise that Apple is beginning to phase out this long-forgotten feature. Get up to six months of free Apple Music with the purchase of a new Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, or Ram: The offer is available between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019. CarPlay is a standard feature in all of those vehicle brands, while some models include built-in BeatsAudio speakers. Commentary: The six-month offer only applies to first-time Apple Music subscribers. If you've already taken advantage of Apple Music's standard three-month trial period, you'll only receive an additional three months of complimentary service. Volkswagen is also offering a similar deal in Europe. Microsoft begins accepting pre-orders of new Surface Pro with LTE Advanced: The new Surface Pro gains cellular connectivity, with support for 20 LTE bands, but it's otherwise the same as the previous generation. The tablet-notebook hybrid starts at $1,149,

Quick Takes: Xiaomi Plans to Enter U.S. Within a Year, Ritual Launches Apple Pay Promotion, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Monday, March 5 - Xiaomi plans to enter U.S. market within a year: "We've always been considering entering the U.S. market," Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun said at the sidelines of China's annual legislative session in Beijing, according to the WSJ. "We plan to start entering the market by end 2018, or by early 2019." Commentary: Xiaomi was the world's fifth-largest smartphone maker in 2017, with an estimated 92.4 million shipments, according to research firm IDC. To be successful in the United States, where Apple and Samsung reign supreme, the Chinese company will need a sales agreement with a big carrier like AT&T. - Ritual launches Apple Pay promotion: Today through March 16, any customer who orders with the Ritual app and pays with Apple Pay will have access to exclusive daily deals at 1,300 restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, and Toronto. Commentary: Ritual is a mobile app for ordering and paying ahead of time at participating restaurants and coffee shops, enabling customers to skip the line and pick up their food instantly upon arrival. - iPhone X supplier Finisar gives tour of its Texas facility: "We are trying to make this the VCSEL capital of the world," said Finisar Vice President Curt Barratt, referring to the small town of Sherman, Texas. Commentary: VCSELs, or vertical-cavity surface-emitting

Quick Takes: Apple Hires a Latin TV Head, New Owner of Reserve Strap Plans to Sue Apple, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Friday, March 2 Apple announces hiring of Sony TV's Angélica Guerra as Head of Latin American Programming: Guerra oversaw Sony Picture Television's production business across Latin America, including Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. She will report to Morgan Wandell, Apple's head of international creative development. Commentary: Apple has poached several Sony executives, including Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who run the company's new Worldwide Video Programming division. Apple has already placed orders for over 10 original series with well-known actors and producers such as Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg. Apple hasn't revealed how it plans to distribute its original content, but it will soon. The company could launch a streaming service like Netflix, or it could release the series through its TV app or iTunes. In the past, episodes of Apple's "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" and "Planet of the Apps" were exclusive to Apple Music. Microsoft releases Soundscape: The app for iPhone uses 3D audio technology to enhance a person's surroundings, helping people with blindness or low vision to explore unfamiliar areas. An audio beacon can be placed on a point of interest, which users hear as they move around. Soundscape provides information about your surroundings with synthesized binaural audio, creating the effect of 3D sound. It can run in the