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LG 88Z9 8K OLED TV review: If you've got the cash, this stunning TV delivers the goods

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 06:00
This monster-sized 8K OLED (88 inches measured diagonally) comes to market with a price tag much lower than was rumored, but it will still set you back about $30,000.

Siri is more open than ever, but it still has room to grow

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 06:00

Ever since Siri’s introduction on the iPhone 4s, third-party developers have clamored to integrate their apps more closely with the virtual assistant. And while Apple has relaxed its strictures over the years, Siri has largely—with a few handpicked exceptions—remained wedded to the company’s own software.

But with every major software update, Apple loosens the reins just a tad, and this year is no exception. Not only does iOS 13 once again broaden the categories of apps that work with Siri, but Apple’s also making some of those third-party apps easier to use. And, moreover, these changes to Siri apply in software categories in which Apple itself competes. This bodes well not just for users, who will get the ability to control those types of apps with voice, but also for the future of Siri as a platform.

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23andMe review: It lives up to the hype of DNA testing

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 19:53
23andMe is the second-most popular DNA testing service in the world. Its large database of users and comprehensive DNA test make it our favorite DNA test.

Thunderbolt 3 adapter guide: How to connect an iPhone, display, hard drive, and more to a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 15:53

The new MacBook Pro comes with two or four external ports, depending on the model you pick. And the new MacBook Air has a pair of ports. But those ports are only of one type: Thunderbolt 3, which is compatible with USB-C.

But you probably have devices that use USB-A, Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, DisplayPort, HDMI, or something else. How do you connect these devices? With an adapter.

If you’re planning to buy a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, make sure you set aside a considerable amount of cash for the adapters you need. Apple doesn’t include any in the box, except for a power adapter.

Your best bet is to get a combination dock, like the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter ($60 on Amazon). It connects via USB-C, and includes a USB-C pass-through port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port with 4K (30Hz) support. With this, you don’t have to carry around multiple adapters.

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The iPhone SE 2 will reportedly be little more than an iPhone 8 with an A13 chip, more RAM

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 11:20

If you’ve been waiting for a new iPhone SE to come along, your patience might soon be rewarded. According to a new report from Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is looking to launch a new version of the budget phone early next year, but it might not be all you hoped for.

In a new analyst note, Kuo predicts that the iPhone SE 2 will have a similar “form factor design and hardware spec” to the iPhone 8, which Apple currently sells for $449. That means it will have a home button with Touch ID and a 4.7-inch display. Kuo doesn’t specifically say whether the phone will phone will include wireless charging like the current model, nor does he make mention of the camera. Also unclear is whether there will be an XL version of the iPhone SE 2.

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

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 09:30

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

Update 10/8/19: After reviewing the Fitbit Inspire HR and Versa 2, we've chosen new winners for some of our top picks. We've also added a new category: Best Fitbit under $100.

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Apple Watch Series 5 review, iPad review, your hot takes, and more

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 08:00

What’s to like about the Apple Watch Series 5 and the new iPad? Stay tuned and we’ll tell you! Plus, your hot takes! That and more are all in this episode of the Macworld Podcast.

This is episode 670 with Leif Johnson, Roman Loyola, and Michael Simon.

Listen to episode 670

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ClamXav 3 review: It’s good, it’s cheap, but it doesn’t beat free

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 07:00

After changing from a free app to paid four years ago, ClamXav continues to be a popular choice for protecting Macs. You don’t get a lot of frills with ClamXav, but the price is right and protection is good.

Canimaan Software Ltd., the company behind the popular anti-virus solution, released the latest version of the app, ClamXav 3, in August 2018. The update offers a mild redesign with a more streamlined interface making it easier to use.

ClamXav 3 relies on the open source detection engine ClamAV, which is maintained by Cisco Talos. Overall, protection appears to be good; however, none of the testing houses have released a recent report on ClamAV or ClamXav 3, leaving it up to us to see how it fared.

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Gee, the cost of all these streaming services sure adds up!

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 06:00
How to cut the cord and get everything—and I mean everything—you could possibly want.

Braumm S111 smart switch review: This generic switch won’t break the bank

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 06:00
Like Braumm's Wi-Fi smart plug, there's absolutely nothing sophisticated about the Braumm S111 in-wall smart switch, but it is supremely inexpensive.

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13: How to use Markup on your screen captures and photos

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 06:00

Markup is a hidden powerhouse in iOS and iPadOS. First introduced in iOS 10, the image-annotation tool has added more features and improved its interface. In the latest operating system releases, Markup has had its appearance redesigned and a new we-page capture option added. Using all the options may not be obvious at first glance.

If you want to add a caption to a photo (including speech bubbles), highlight a detail, point at something in an illustration, or add callouts in a screen capture, Markup provides minimal but able tools tailored for quick application and modification.

How to invoke Markup

Whenever you take a screen capture, the OS puts a tiny preview in the lower-left hand corner of the screen as an overlay on your current app for a few seconds. Tap that and you’re brought right into the Markup environment.

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iOS 13.2: Deep Fusion enters beta (get your sweaters ready!)

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 18:09

After an awkward iOS 13 and 13.1 release schedule, punctuated by two rapid-fire bugfix releases (iOS 13.1.1 and 13.1.2), Apple is ready to move on to iOS 13.2. 

The big new feature in 13.2 is the “Deep Fusion” computational photography upgrade for the camera in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. During its big September event to debut the phones, Apple promised this update is coming “this fall” and showed off its prowess in mid-to-low light with what can only be described as a “hipster in a Cosby sweater.”

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Report: Icon found in iOS 13.2 beta hints at newly-designed AirPods

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 15:30

We’ve heard whispers of new AirPods for what seems like ages now. Yes, Apple released new second-generation AirPods with longer battery life and hands-free “Hey, Siri” support, but those are not the “AirPods 2” that are so often the subject of rumors and speculation. Those are, as the name makes clear, simply a new update to AirPods meant to replace the existing model.

The eagle-eyed reporters at sites like MacRumors and 9to5Mac have noticed that the just-released iOS 13.2 developer beta contains within its code a totally new AirPods icon. The icon is in the Accessibility Settings folder and contains a reference to the product’s code name: B298. 9to5Mac claims that other code shows that these new AirPods will have different listening modes, including a noise-cancelling feature called “focus mode.”

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Microsoft's Surface Earbuds put a $249 trackpad in your ears for controlling Office apps

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 11:17

In our age of diminishing headphone jacks, everyone needs a set of true wireless earbuds. So it’s only natural that Microsoft released a pair alongside its new lineup of Surface products at its New York event Wednesday. Named Surface Earbuds, they’re designed to work closely with both Spotify and…wait for it… Microsoft Office.

AirPods knockoffs these ain’t. Where Apple’s wireless earbuds are small and primarily designed to play music, Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds are bulbous circles that look very noticeable when in one’s ears. That’s because the surface of the earbuds are small trackpads that you can swipe to change music tracks or advance slides when giving a PowerPoint presentation.

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Apple will soon let Siri pick your default messaging and phone apps for you

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 11:04

While Apple has slowly been allowing Siri to integrate with third-party apps—most recently it allowed Spotify to tap into the voice assistant’s vast knowledge for playing music—the experience still pales in comparison to what you get when you use Apple’s own apps. That’s might change soon. Or it might not. It all depends on Siri.

In response to a Bloomberg News story about the iPhone maker’s preferential treatment for its own apps, Apple told the publication that an iOS update later this year will allow Siri to “default to the apps that people use frequently to communicate with their contacts.” If you generally use WhatsApp to contact your friends more than Messages, Siri will eventually switch to WhatsApp when asked to send a text. Apple said the new system will be applied on a per-contact basis and apply to phone calls as well.

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Google's new Password Checkup tells you if your accounts can be compromised

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 09:41
Google's Password Checkup scans your saved Chrome passwords for weak, reused, and flat-out compromised credentials.

Apple’s watch faces are slowly improving. Is it time for third-party faces?

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 08:00

Last year, when Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4, I was surprised that the company didn’t bother to update most of its watch faces, and expressed some hope that the company would place more emphasis on faces in the Series 5.

Thanks to the new always-on display, Apple has definitely made watch faces the center of attention in a way they weren’t before. There’s never been a more on-the-nose Apple marketing campaign than the “The Watch Tells Time” video that Apple unveiled during its special event on September 10. And yet, while I want to report that as of 2019 Apple has prioritized the faces of the Apple Watch, I can’t. Instead, it’s given us a few encouraging new faces—and left a mess everywhere else.

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Inside Apple’s A13 Bionic system-on-chip

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 07:00

Since the very first Apple-designed smartphone chip (the A4 back in 2010), the company has been a force to be reckoned with in mobile silicon design. It was with the A6 a couple years later, when Apple used its own CPU design instead of a licensed architecture, that its performance leadership really started to kick into high gear.

For the last several years, Apple’s CPU has really been untouchable. The A11 Bionic featured not only a custom Apple-designed CPU, but finally ditched the PowerVR-based graphics processor for its own custom GPU. In addition, it introduced the Neural Engine, a custom block of silicon separate from the CPU and GPU, focused on accelerating Machine Learning computations.

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Samsung Q80R 4K UHD TV review: The smart shopper's option in top-tier TVs

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 06:00
Samsung's Q80R is a bargain in the land of top-tier TVs. It has a great picture, but saves you money by omitting unnecessary (albeit nifty) top-of-the-line design flourishes.

Five Android features I miss after switching to the iPhone 11 (and five I want to steal)

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 06:00
I've been using the iPhone 11 for the past week and I there's a lot to like—and not like.