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Updated: 4 hours 26 min ago

Can you replace a fan in Apple’s AirPort Extreme?

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 08:00

A mysterious whirring and grinding noise from his late-model AirPort Extreme Base Station disturbed one Macworld reader. Why would it make such a sound? He hadn’t turned it on for a year, but was about to reactivate it with a new broadband connection.

My reply: The polite verbal equivalent of a shrug, because—I wrote—there’s no fan in an AirPort Express, and only a Time Capsule has a hard drive. Time Capsule drives certainly fail, like any spinning storage media, but the grinding described would surely have meant the drive was on its way to failure, if not already destroyed.

But your faithful Mac 911 columnist failed to do his research. I own a newer AirPort Extreme—one of the “crackerbox” models that looks like a gleaming white micro-tower. It’s never made a peep. I even thought I’d even looked at pictures of the insides of this version from Apple’s now-discontinued series of routers.

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The Technics Grand Class SL-G700 Network Super Audio CD Player plays discs and streams high-res music

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:00
Audiophiles still love listening to music on disc, but this high-end SACD player can also stream tunes from any source on your network—including the internet.

Koogeek O1US Smart Surge Protector review: A power strip for the HomeKit set

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:00
With just three outlets and a $60 price tag, this one is a tough sell.

What is dead may never die: Two products Apple may be looking to revive

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:00

Apple’s not a company that’s ever been afraid to kill off its products. At the height of the iPod mini’s popularity, Steve Jobs famously axed it in order to introduce the iPod nano. The underperforming iPod Hi-Fi got the hook, and in recent years we’ve said goodbye to both the AirPort line and most of the iPods.

But when a product lies fallow for many years, sitting without an update, it hangs in that liminal space between life and death, leading many to wonder whether it still has a future. Is it ready to shuffle off this mortal coil or could it be rescued from the edge of the abyss? The Mac mini, MacBook Air, and even the Mac Pro have seen this kind of revival in recent months, and just in the last week, two Apple products thought to have run out of time have been the subjects of rumored returns, hinting that perhaps death isn't what it used to be for the company.

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Best soundbars to improve your TV's audio

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 17:54
Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.

How to buy a refurbished Mac, MacBook, iPhone, or iPad from Apple

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 15:00

Updated 1/17/19 to reflect the inventory changes in the store.

Looking for a way to save some money on the latest Apple products? Consider a refurbished MacBook, refurbished iPhone, or refurbished iPad from the Apple Certified Refurbished store. A refurbished product is just like a new, but at a lower price.

Here’s a quick guide with links to the best deals you can find on the refurb store, along with a FAQ guide if you want to know more about the ins and outs of the Apple Certified Refurbished store and buying a refurbished MacBook, desktop Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

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What to do when the Mac App Store won’t assign applications to your account

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 08:00

The Mac App Store sometimes throws out odd errors when you try to download and install software, errors that lack information on Apple’s support pages. These seem to come up most often with Apple’s own software, especially the five free apps (GarageBand, iMovie, Keynote, Numbers, and Pages) that require an Apple ID, but no prior purchase.

Just a few weeks ago, I explained how to solve “Update Unavailable with This Apple ID,” but that’s not the only one.

Another one that comes up with little help is, “Could not assign applications to your account.” Here are four ways that may resolve the problem and let you download the apps you’re attempting to.

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Failure is not an option: Tim Cook’s operational skills

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 07:00

Hello and welcome to another edition of “Hey, You Know That Thing That You Know? What If That Weren’t True?!”

Writing for The Mac Observer, John Kheit says, “Tim Cook Is a Failure at Operations.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Aaron.)

A failure! We’ve gone from “Tim Cook is a mastermind at operations” to “Tim Cook is a failure at operations” in seven years and it only took Apple having just its second-best quarter ever.

First, he has failed to keep the trains (i.e., products) running on time.

Stupid Cook! Be more like Mussolini! (Who, despite the credit given, did not actually make the trains run on time.)

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In defense of smart TV snooping

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:00
Data collection on smart TVs reveals an ugly truth about streaming video.

What Intel’s 2019 roadmap can tell us about the future of the Mac

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:00

The future of the Mac might be Apple-designed CPUs, but the present of the Mac is Intel. Apple is increasingly in charge of its own destiny, adding features like the T2 chip to Macs to handle as much of the system’s security, encryption, and other miscellaneous tasks as it can. Still, we expect Apple to ship most or all of its laptops and desktops this year with Intel inside.

The chip giant hasn’t yet announced the specific processors it will ship this year, but it has delivered a few sneak peaks at its roadmap. Here’s what we know about what Intel is cooking up for 2019, and how it might impact the Mac.

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Sennheiser’s AMBEO soundbar promises acoustic alchemy

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:00
Best known for building high-end headphones and mics, Sennheiser is now getting ready to enter the soundbar market. We got a demo during CES.

How to watch the 2019 NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl without cable

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 22:21
Options abound for checking out all the championship action on whatever screen you choose.

The new iPhone XS battery case works with the iPhone X, but don’t expect perfection

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 15:23

The iPhone XS looks almost exactly like the iPhone X, and that similarity is leading many people to wonder if they can use Apple’s spiffy new battery cases with the older handset. The answer appears to be a shaky yes, although enough doubt remains that I’m hesitant to recommend taking the $129 plunge.

Apple’s official landing pageRemove non-product link doesn’t explicitly say that the new case doesn’t work with the older phone. It only lists the iPhone XS under Compatibility.

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What you get when you export Calendar and Reminders in macOS, and how to use those files

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 08:00

The Calendar and Reminders apps in macOS let you create backups through an export option. In Calendar, you can select File > Export > Export or Export > Calendar Archive. Reminders lets you select File > Export. The exported files can used for recovery or imported into other apps and systems.

What’s the difference between these options, and why select one over another? All the options produce some variation on an ICS file, a standard calendar format supported by Apple, Google, and Microsoft, among others.

  • The export in Reminders produces a single ICS file that contains all to-do items you’ve ever set and never deleted when complete, as well as all active items.
  • Select a particular calendar in the Calendar’s left sidebar and then choose File > Export > Export and an ICS file containing all that calendar’s associated events will be exported, past and future. This file doesn’t include reminders that are associated with that calendar, however.
  • Choose File > Export > Calendar Archive, and the Calendar app produces an ICBU file. This is a macOS package (a folder that acts like a file) that contains the entire structure of all calendars and their events as well as all reminders, all in ICS format. Apple highlights that by naming the export “Calendars and Reminders” plus the current date and time.

The splayed out contents of the ICBU package file, which is full of folders of ICS files.

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JBL Everest 710GA headphones review: Superb sound and Google Assistant on demand

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 06:00
JBL's latest wireless headphones can broadcast your music to other Bluetooth headphones, letting you share the fun with friends. And many will find it handy to have Google Assistant available at a touch.

How the iPad might influence the future of the Mac interface

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 06:00

Much has been written—a lot of it by me, admittedly—about how Apple’s commitment to let iOS developers bring their apps to macOS in 2019 has the potential to dramatically change the Mac. But adding iOS apps to the Mac might not be where Apple stops. What if the company uses macOS 10.15 (or, dare I suggest, macOS 13?) to further unify the interfaces of its platforms?

For all the discussion about whether iOS apps running on a Mac can possibly live up to the platform’s interface standards, it’s entirely possible that this year, Apple will choose to redefine what it is to be Mac-like in a way that turns iOS and macOS into a continuum of interface decisions that are all, for lack of a better phrase, “Apple-like.” Longtime Mac users might chafe, but iOS users might welcome it. As someone who is both, I am not sure where I fall, but it’s worth considering just what Apple might do to make the Mac more closely resemble iOS.

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Best Fitbit: We help you choose the right one for your lifestyle

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 18:40

As one of the biggest names in fitness trackers, Fitbit is an easy pick for recording your daily steps or sleep patterns. Selecting the best Fitbit model for your needs, however, isn’t quite as simple.

The different Fitbit trackers have a lot of overlap in features, and so it’s not straightforward which one is the “best.” Moving up the scale in price doesn’t necessarily mean you get all the features of the cheaper trackers plus additional ones. (This quirk is particularly relevant if you need water resistance.)

That’s where we come in. We’ve boiled down the options into three simple picks that should match most people’s activity levels and styles.

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Apple now selling $129 battery cases for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 16:55

Rumors suggested late last year that Apple was working on a battery case for the iPhone XS and XR, but the products sort of fell off the radar after weeks went by without no information. All of a sudden, though, Apple is selling battery cases for all three of the iPhones on its website.

The cases come in either black or white and cost $129, and remarkably, that price applies regardless of whether you get one for the iPhone XSRemove non-product link, iPhone XS MaxRemove non-product link, or iPhone XRRemove non-product link. They’re made of the same grippy silicone I love from Apple’s regular cases, and taking a cue from its previous battery cases, Apple designed it so the battery sits snugly against the back of the device.

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Join us on Wednesday, January 16, at 10 a.m. Pacific

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 16:00

Apple replaced a lot of iPhone batteries last year. Should Apple switch to AMD processors? We also respond to your comments and questions for Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, Roman Loyola, and Dan Masaoka in the Macworld Podcast, episode 636.

Watch us live

The Macworld Podcast broadcasts live on the internet on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Pacific. You can watch on Twitter via Periscope or on the Macworld YouTube channel.

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Apple’s original TV shows and series: Apple's first feature film is Sofia Coppola's On the Rocks, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 15:08

Apple is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on original TV programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s not the $8 billion Netflix is going to spend, but it’s still a huge commitment.

What can you get for a billion dollars? Well, some simple math gives us 200 episodes at $5 million a piece (a reasonable per-episode price for high-end TV). But we’re not likely to actually see 10-20 shows with 10-20 episodes each, all costing around that much. For starters, that billion dollars has to cover a lot more than per-episode production costs.

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