Category Archives: Apple

Apple’s HomePod in stereo: When two become one

Apple was late releasing the HomePod. And even though the company took a few extra months to finish things up, it shipped without two key features: multi-room audio and stereo pairing. Without those, there wasn't a compelling case for buying mult…

WatchOS 5 first take: Walkie Talkie, workout auto detect, and smarter Siri

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

SAN JOSE—Just three years after the release of the first Apple Watch, Apple announced the fifth iteration of its wearable operating system at WWDC 2018.

Unlike iOS updates, most watchOS updates haven’t brought drastic changes to Apple’s device in terms of look and feel. WatchOS 5 doesn’t radically alter the experience of using an Apple Watch, but it does add a number of helpful features across different use categories like fitness, communication, and general life organization. We spent some time demoing the software update to learn more about the changes.

Workouts and Activity

My colleague Samuel Axon and I were immediately excited by the announcement of workout auto detection. (Auto detection allows the Apple Watch to know when you’ve been working out even if you haven’t officially started a workout on the watch.)

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A host of new security enhancements is coming to iOS and macOS

(credit: Nathan Mattise)

Apple on Monday previewed a variety of security and privacy features it plans to add to macOS and iOS operating systems, including encrypted Facetime group calls, password-management tools, and camera and microphone protections. The company also released a beta version of the upcoming iOS 12 that, according to Motherboard, all but kills off two iPhone unlocking tools used by police forces around the world.

The feature, known as USB Restricted Mode, requires that users unlock their iPhone with a password when connecting to it a USB device. Motherboard said the beta requires a password each time a phone that hasn’t been unlocked in the past hour tries to connect to a device using a Lightning connection. The password requirement largely neutralizes iPhone unlocking tools provided by companies called Cellebrite and GrayShift, which reportedly use USB connectivity to bypass iOS restrictions on the number of incorrect PIN guesses can be entered into an unlocked iPhone. With those limitations removed, police can make an unlimited number of PIN guesses when attempting to unlock a confiscated iPhone.

Previous iOS betas had USB restrictions that required the entering of a password when it hadn’t been unlocked for seven days. Those USB Restricted Modes were later removed before Apple issued final versions of iOS. The restrictions this time around are much more stringent, because police would have no more than 60 minutes between the time they obtain an iPhone and connect it to an unlocking tool. Readers should remember that Apple has previously removed USB Restricted Mode before releasing final versions and may do so again with iOS 12.

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Senators want to know how Facebook shares data with device makers

If you're concerned that Facebook may have shared more of your data with device makers than you were comfortable with, you're not alone. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey have sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to answer questions…

The secret lives of Apple developers

Apple used its strongest Attenborough voice to poke a little fun at its 2018 WWDC attendees on Monday. The keynote's opening video called back to last year's mega-hit BBC documentary series Planet Earth II and provides the viewing public, for perhaps…

Apple announces macOS 10.14 “Mojave”


SAN JOSE—Apple detailed its next major operating-system update at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today: macOS 10.14, which the company has named “Mojave” in keeping with its California-based naming convention. Tim Cook told the audience that MacOS included a lot of new features for both everyday and pro users, and Craig Federighi kicked off the demo with something that will likely be near and dear to many Ars readers’ hearts: dark mode.

Night-owls and others who prefer a light-on-dark appearance can now take advantage of an official dark theme for the entire OS. Previously macOS allowed turning the menubar and dock dark, but this new preference appears to apply more extensively throughout the operating system. The new dark system theme matches well with a matching one for XCode, enabling developers to bathe their development environment in cooler dark colors.

Desktop help

Federighi showed off a live desktop wallpaper updating function that changes your wallpaper throughout the day, but far more interesting was the “desktop stacks” feature, which allows you to organize icons on the desktop into piles, rather than having them spread across the entire desktop willy-nilly. On activating the option, files on your desktop are auto-arranged into stacks based on selectable criteria, such as document kind, date, or by tag.

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Apple TV 4K to receive Dolby Atmos support

(credit: Valentina Palladino)

SAN JOSE—Apple announced tvOS updates on the WWDC stage, though the company didn’t confirm whether these features amount to a whole new version number. No huge changes mark the latest version of tvOS, but Apple did include support for Dolby Atmos surround sound, a feature that many pointed out as a missed opportunity in the Apple TV 4K.

The Apple TV 4K came out at the end of last year, and it represented a pretty big update to the streaming device since competitors like Roku added 4K support to their devices already. While it supported Dolby Vision HDR, the device did not support Dolby Atmos surround sound at launch. Apple’s next tvOS update will bring that feature to its set-top boxes, essentially allowing streamed content to produce richer sound experiences than they did before.

Existing iTunes purchases will receive Atmos sound channel upgrades for free, Apple confirmed during the WWDC keynote. The company did not confirm whether similar support will come to older Apple TV devices.

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‘Hey Siri’ is purely optional in watchOS 5

Why do you need to say Siri when you've already got your Apple Watch hovering right in front of your face? Soon, you won't have to . WatchOS 5 will drop the need for you to vocally summon Siri, instead, as soon as your raise your device up, it'll sta…

Apple’s Shortcuts app lets Siri do everything

Apple's virtual assistant, Siri, doesn't have the best reputation — especially when you compare it to Google's incredibly smart counterpart. But, the company has been making efforts to make Siri more useful for those of you with an iOS or Mac device…

iOS 12 introduced, to run on everything that runs iOS 11

(credit: Valentina Palladino)

SAN JOSE—iOS 12 is official, and, as predicted, it puts a heavy emphasis on improving performance and stability. At the same time, the latest iteration of Apple’s mobile OS is poised to bring a handful of noteworthy new features to iPhones and iPads as well.

The software update was announced during a keynote presentation at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). A developer preview is available today, with a public beta scheduled for later in the month. A full release will then arrive in the fall.

Apple says the update will be available on all the same devices as the current iOS 11 release, which includes the iPhone 5s and later, every iPad released since the original iPad Air and iPad mini 2, and the 6th-generation iPod Touch.

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