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Updated: 6 hours 38 min ago

Apple’s iPad, iMac, and AirPod launches weren’t just a surprise, they were a smart strategy shift

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 16:45

I expected “one more thing” yesterday, and I was bummed when I didn’t get it. Sure, I was disappointed, but my anticipation for another hardware refresh only proved that Apple’s experiment with dribbling out modest product releases is working.

On each of the first three days of this work week, Apple dropped updated versions of existing products with little of its typical fanfare or event theatrics. It began with the iPad mini and iPad Air on Monday and then progressed to the iMac on Tuesday and the AirPods on Wednesday. Nobody would call these earthshaking updates. Certainly none would have made the crowds ooh and ahh during a keynote. You could even argue they were disappointing on some level.

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With Apple, everything old is new again

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:00

Whoever said “out with the old, in with the new” clearly wasn’t talking about Apple’s playbook.

The company may have its fair share of new and updated devices, but it’s also made a habit of building off of its existing devices—and not just in terms of spec bumps and speed boosts, but in actively finding ways to use old products as launching points for brand new devices. It’s a move that most companies probably couldn’t pull off, but one with which Apple has had great success—and which it will probably continue to use in the future.

Something in the Air

When Apple launched the redesigned 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros late last year, it discontinued the 10.5-inch iPad Pro after only a little over a year of service. Apple’s certainly no stranger to quick turnarounds on products—remember the seven-month reign of the third-generation iPad?—but it seemed extra strange to build out an entire new screen size of device only to summarily replace it.

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Bent iPad Pros may develop logic board issues, but good luck getting the Apple Store to fix it

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:00

Editor's note: A reader contacted Macworld with this tale of a bent iPad Pro and his struggle to get it repaired, but requested that we only use his first name in the article.

When reports started surfacing late last year of bent iPad Pro devices and Apple’s unwillingness to repair or replace affected units, they didn’t register on Marcus's radar. Having just bought a tablet in July, he wasn’t in the market for a new one. Even though his 10.5-inch iPad Pro was part of the previous Touch ID generation, Marcus was perfectly happy with it, having safely secured it with an Otterbox Defender case from the moment he unboxed it.

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3 things cord-cutters should look for at Apple’s ‘show time’ event

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 07:00

Monday’s Apple event won’t be the first that’s been dubbed “Showtime.” The landscape was very different for the first Showtime event back then. There was no iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Apple Watch. Streaming was a thing that relied heavily on buffering. Netflix was shipping out DVDs in red envelopes.

That event was over 12 years ago. It brought a slew of new products, including an updated iPod, a brand new iPod nano, an even smaller iPod shuffle, and a sneak peek at “iTV,” which would eventually become Apple TV. But the star of that show was the addition of movies to the iTunes Store. Previously limited to music, the store’s new section had a grand total of 75 movies from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax in “near-DVD” 640x480 quality.

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7 things you need to know about Apple’s new AirPods

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:00

This week, Apple finally announced the sequel to the AirPods, its true wireless earbuds that have proven to be way more popular than anyone ever expected. After more than two years, Apple’s follow-on to the AirPods is...AirPods?

Okay, so the new second-generation AirPods aren’t exactly the true sequel we’ve all been hoping for. They still look and act like the AirPods we love. But they are substantially different than the first-generation model. Here are the most important things you should know.

[ Further reading: Best true wireless earbuds ] They’re not AirPods 2

The new AirPods are just that: new AirPods. They are not named AirPods 2, not billed as such on Apple’s site, and not sold separately from original AirPods. Apple still has only one AirPods page on its site, and it only sells the new model. If you buy AirPods from Apple, you will only get this new version. In fact, if you buy AirPods from another source, you may want to double-check that they’re not selling you the old model.

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Swann Outdoor Security Camera review: a straightforward way to monitor the exterior of your home

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:00
With only the most essential features, this weatherproof camera is ideal for security novices.

The best indoor air quality monitors: Identify the pollutants that can compromise your health and comfort

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:00
Whether you suffer from allergies or asthma or just want to optimize your indoor environment, these devices will give you insight into the air you're breathing.

Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 18:36
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

Best password managers: Reviews of the top products

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 17:24
The best password is one you probably can't easily remember—that's why a password manager is so crucial to your online security. We review LastPass, Dashlane, Keeper, 1Password, and others to find the best one for managing passwords.

Apple issues updates for Final Cut Pro and iMovie

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 15:43

They aren’t as glamourous as this week’s AirPods, iPad, and iMac announcements, but you could say that Apple’s updates for Final Cut Pro and iMovie on Thursday allows the company to maintain its release streak this week.

Final Cut Pro 10.4.6 and iMovie 10.1.11 both feature the ability to detect media files that could be incompatible with future versions of macOS, and converts those files to a compatible format. The update also “improves reliability when sharing video to YouTube.” Apple also issued updates for Motion and Compressor that address the same issues.

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Facebook passwords for hundreds of millions of users were exposed to Facebook employees

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 12:49
Facebook confirms that user passwords were being stored in a readable format on Facebook servers. Hundreds of millions of accounts will be notified accordingly.

iPad mini review roundup: Apple’s new tiny tablet is exactly what you think it is

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 11:12

The new iPad mini was only announced three days ago, but the first round of reviews has already arrived. And guess what? It’s an iPad mini 4 with a better processor. The new model is pretty much identical to the old one, and as such, its “throwback bezels” and “outdated” design are definite drawbacks to the $399 device. But if you can overlook it, you’ll be getting a solid device that gives Apple’s “Pro” laptops a run for their money.

The new iPad mini is available for pre-order today in silver, space gray, and gold for a starting price of $399. Estimated ship date is currently April 9-12.

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New iPads, iMacs, and AirPods, WWDC19, Spotify vs. Apple Music, and your hot takes

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 08:00

In the latest episode of the Macworld Podcast, we cover the news about WWDC19 and Apple’s new AirPods, iPads, and iMacs. Our feature discussion will cover the Spotify and Apple Music fracas. In our two-minute tip, learn how to add other people’s fingerprints to Touch ID, and we also go over audience hot takes. This is episode 644 of the Macworld Podcast with Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, and Roman Loyola.

Before we go any further, we want to let you know that we have set up an email address for you to send comments and questions about the Macworld Podcast. Drop us a line at podcast@macworld.com and let us know what you think of the podcast.

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Rotor Riot Game Controller for iOS review: The herald of a new age of iOS gaming

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 07:00

Game controllers have been a part of the extended iPhone experience for years, but Apple’s older certification requirements kept them from fully mimicking the same experience you get from an Xbox One controller or Sony DualShock 4. Even with the best ones, there’s usually a catch. Sometimes you need to mash the buttons before they register. In other cases the latency is awful (particularly when the controllers run on Bluetooth). Worst of all, you usually can’t press down on either of the controller’s thumbsticks, which effectively makes some games all but unplayable.

That’s why I’m so happy to see the Rotor Riot Game Controller. It’s the first MFi (Made for iPhone) controller that takes advantage of Apple’s looser restrictions that dropped with iOS 12. It has a handful of its own drawbacks, but it doesn’t fall into any of the traps mentioned above, and its new support for the thumbstick buttons makes it particularly well-suited PS4 Remote Play at a time when it's a fairly hot item on iOS. Considering gaming’s outsized presence on the App Store, I’m just a little surprised that a company that’s best known for making drone parts was the first one to pull it off.

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Lutron Caséta Fan Control review: Smart control for your dumb ceiling fan

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 06:00
The latest addition to the Lutron Caséta family delivers an excellent way integrate ceiling fans into your smart home.

It’s time for a new iMac, and here are 9 improvements we’d like to see

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 06:00

The current iMac design is positively ancient, by computer design standards. The 27-inch Retina iMac, with its slim design and 5K resolution, was launched in the fall of 2014. It was really only a small tweak on the existing “slim unibody” iMac that dates back to 2012, itself only a thinner version of the unibody iMac design that goes back to 2009.

The basic look and physical features of the iMac have barely changed in a decade.

It’s a testament to the elegance of the design that it’s still desirable after all that time, but it’s well past time for a change. This week, Apple updated the iMac line with new internal hardware, but it the design and features remain fundamentally unchanged.

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The best ways to watch March Madness without cable

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 06:00
Cord-cutters now have plenty of options for watching the NCAA Tournament, but not all are equal.

Amazon's All-new Kindle for $89.99 is priced for budget users

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 15:46
It's $40 less than Amazon's popular Kindle Paperwhite.

Google’s Stadia service could shatter the barriers of Mac gaming

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 15:00

Did Google just save Mac gaming? The Mountain View company never mentioned Apple during the reveal of its Stadia game streaming service at the Game Developers Conference yesterday, but Stadia sounds all but tailor-made for Mac users. A service that let you stream games from a remote server straight to your browser! The ability to play the latest games without needing to invest in fancy eGPUs, graphics cards, and yes—even PCs! Even in 2019, so much of this still sounds like science fiction.

I love my Mac, but necessity compels me to keep a massive PC running at home so I can play graphically intensive games like The Division 2 or Devil May Cry 5 when they release. As we all know, many of these games never come to the Mac at all. If Stadia works as well as Google implies it will, I’ll never have to feel too guilty about using only a Mac for gaming ever again. Google itself would handle all the heavy lifting; all I would need is a browser.

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Apple’s launch week continues as new AirPods arrive with wireless charging case, ‘Hey Siri’ support

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:04

If Apple’s strategy this week is to build excitement for next week’s “Show time” event, then it’s doing a bang-up job. Following Monday’s iPads and Tuesday’s iMacs, Apple updated another popular product today with the launch of the second-generation AirPods that bring a new chip, new features, a new case, and more convenience.

The new AirPods look exactly like the first-generation model, but include several key enhancements. The biggest is the addition of a new H1 chip, which Apple says was “developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri.’” That means you no longer need to tap your ear to get Siri’s attention.

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