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Apple Arcade is poised to make Apple the ‘art house’ gaming platform

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 06:00

Almost out of nowhere, Apple is poised to be a major force in mainstream gaming. It’s doing it in its own Apple way, too—not by chasing down the graphics-intensive blockbusters so popular on devices like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (or even the PC), but instead by positioning its upcoming Apple Arcade service as a hub for remarkable and tightly focused games that often get mentioned in discussions of whether games are art.

It’s quite the turnaround. Last year I would have laughed if you’ve have told me we’d be at this point today.

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Best TVs: Our top picks, plus plain-language explanations of the most important specs and features

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 06:00
There are plenty of great smart TVs. Our guide cuts through the alphabet soup to tell everything you need to know to buy the one that's right for you.

Best power banks of 2019: The top USB portable chargers for your phone

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 14:46
These USB battery packs from Anker, Mophie, Xiaomi, and others will keep your Android or Apple phone charged while you're on the go.

iOS 13 enables Siri support in third party media apps: Spotify, Pandora, Overcast, and much more

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 14:36

File this one under Apple should have done this years ago: In iOS 13, you’ll finally have the ability to use Siri with audio apps like Spotify, Pandora, Overcast, Audible, and many more.

To date, Siri has only worked with Apple’s own audio apps. If you want to use a third-party app for music, podcasts, or audiobooks, Siri is limited to basic audio controls—next track, volume up, stuff like that. You can’t kick off your listening session and really use other media apps the way you can use Apple Music or Apple Podcasts.

It’s a frustrating user experience and an unlevel playing field; no wonder it’s one of the chief complaints of Spotify in its current battle with Apple. With iOS 13’s new SiriKit Media Intents, developers of all sorts of audio apps can finally deeply integrate with Siri.

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Can’t import a .peg file? Use the Image Capture app

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 08:00

You’ve heard of a JPEG file, which typically has .jpeg or .jpg at the end of its name. But what’s a “.peg” file? Likely an error on JPEG files, and one that appears to have cropped up years ago but still plagues some users.

It’s unclear why some JPEG files wind up with a “.peg” suffix, even though the image data isn’t correct. However, confronted with a .peg file, Photos for macOS will pop up an error on import that notes it “couldn’t load an asset.” This stymies people, because you can’t rename files in Photos for iOS.

The solution winds up simple enough, however. It requires your Mac.

  1. On your Mac, launch Applications > Image Capture.

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WWDC: What Apple’s biggest announcements mean for the company

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 07:00

As Apple’s biggest event of the year winds down and the dust begins to settle, the shape of company’s future plans is starting to become clearer. And this time around it’s not a matter of digging up a mere smattering of hints about where Apple is taking its products, but of sifting through the metric ton of details that the company divulged. Most people were convinced that this would be a big event, and they were ultimately right—even if not for the reasons initially suspected.

Here are just a few of the big takeaways from the announcements, with an idea of what they might mean for the future of the company’s products.

Putting the “Pad” in “iOS”

Though the iPad has long been one of Apple’s key products, this year it finally got the recognition it deserved as its own platform, as Apple decided to rechristen the tablet’s operating system as “iPadOS.”

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Schlage Encode smart deadbolt review: This Wi-Fi entry lock is a good choice for Key by Amazon subscribers

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 06:00
But the Schlage Encode smart deadbolt also exposes some flaws in Amazon’s broader approach to the smart home.

The five WWDC announcements that will have the greatest impact

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 17:00

Everybody’s talking about the Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR, but at those sky-high prices, Apple’s going to be lucky to sell even a million of them. They’re very cool products for serious creative professionals, but they don’t mean anything at all for the vast majority of the billion-plus Apple users out there.

Some of the other things Apple announced will have much bigger consequences for you.

Privacy crackdown

Take the new privacy stuff in iOS 13. It’s not sexy, but it may drastically change the way popular apps operate.

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iTunes changes on macOS 10.15 Catalina: Not quite dead, but a whole lot different

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 14:00

You might have read a headline or 30 this week proclaiming the death of iTunes. It certainly seemed like that was the case; during the WWDC19 keynote, Apple VP Craig Federighi skewered the longtime media app for doing too much and announced it was breaking up into separate TV and Music apps. Short of holding an iOS 9-style funeral, Apple eliminated the iTunes app from the Mac and shuffled its functionality to new apps and menus.

How does it all work? And is iTunes really dead? Get the answers to those and any other question you may have in this FAQ.

Is iTunes really gone?

Yes, the app named iTunes that we’ve been using on our Mac for nearly two decades is no more. When you upgrade to macOS 10.15 Catalina, you won’t find an iTunes app anywhere.

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Apple recalls three-prong AC wall plug adapter

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 12:12

Editor's note: The CPSC has issued a recall notice for the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit sold between January 2003 and January 2015.

If you own Apple’s World Travel Adapter Kit, and/or you are an owner of Apple devices in Hong Kong, Singapore, or the U.K., you should pay attention to a recall that Apple has announced. The three-prong adapter used in these countries and that comes with the kit “may break,” according to Apple, and the company has recalled the part.

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With iPadOS, Apple’s dream of replacing laptops finally looks like a reality

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 07:00

As recently as last week we could still look at the iPad and smirk at Apple’s dogged insistence that its tablet works as a laptop replacement—one that will even leave us asking questions like, “What’s a computer?” The power was certainly there—especially in latter-day models—but not the freedom.

I know this all too well. For over a year I used an iPad as my main work device, but I crawled back to the Mac after enduring months of unusable thumb drives at press junkets and frustrations springing from actions as simple as selecting text. This week, though, Apple dashed away most of my concerns with a masterstroke that it’s calling iPadOS.

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The star of WWDC wasn’t the Mac Pro or Dark Mode. It was privacy

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 06:00

During Apple’s two-and-a-half hour WWDC keynote, we were treated to lots of great moments. Craig Federighi’s quip about how bloated iTunes has become. The introduction of iPadOS. And of course, the new Mac Pro.

But the theme of the show was a familiar one: privacy. For the past several years, Apple has hammered home its belief in our devices and data staying in our hands, but at WWDC, Apple put its privacy where its mouth is. Rather than rehashing themes or trotting out the usual rhetoric, Apple gave privacy a central role in every new product it announced, drawing attention to both how our devices protect our data and what could be a target.

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WWDC19: New Mac Pro, iOS 13, iPadOS, macOS Catalina, tvOS 6, watchOS 6, and more

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 18:00

Today’s show is all about WWDC 2019. There’s a new Mac Pro, a new pro display, and new versions of iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS. There’s a lot to talk about!

This is episode 654 with Jason Cross, Michael Simon, Leif Johnson, and Roman Loyola.

Listen to episode 654

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Catalyst: The iPad and Mac are tied together like never before

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 10:00

As someone who has been using the Mac for nearly three decades and someone who heavily uses an iPad Pro to get work done, I’m disappointed when I see people try to pit the two platforms against one another. There’s definitely a certain subset of Mac users who seem offended that anyone would dare to use an iPad rather than a Mac.

I hope those people are ready for what’s about to happen, because as of this year, the Mac and iPad are marching in lockstep. They are partners, buddies, siblings. They are co-tenants of Apple’s newest app platform. They need each other in a way that has never been true before. If the iPad and the Mac succeed, it’s going to be as a team.

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Apple’s Pro products are becoming less and less attainable for the professionals they’re made for

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 08:00

There was a time when an Apple Pro device with a gorgeous design and cutting-edge functionality cost just $59. Back in 2000, Apple sold the optical Pro Mouse for $59, because as Steve Jobs said at the time, it’s “such a home run that we wanted all our customers to have one.”

Apple hit another home run this week with the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, except this time a lot of users will never be able to buy one. Together, they cost just a hair under $11,000, and that’s before you factor in the $999 Pro Stand to keep the display upright or other options.

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How to simulate master page text guides in Pages for macOS

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 07:00

I first started using page-layout software in 1985 with Aldus PageMaker 1.0. If I recall correctly, it took a few years before you could create a master template that had items that appeared on every page, including guides that helped with placement of text and items.

With that historical perspective in mind, it's odd that while Pages 8 for macOS has master pages, it lacks a way to create non-printable master guides that appear on layout pages. There’s a way to simulate this effectively, although it triggers a bug in Pages that one hopes Apple will fix in a future release. (Master pages appeared as early as 2005 in Pages, but overhauled the whole iWork suite in 2013. I’m not sure how far back this bug dates.)

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Vizio SB2020 Sound Bar review: This ultra-compact, budget soundbar delivers budget sound

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 06:00
Vizio's entry-level, ultra-compact soundbar breaks the mold with its small form factor, but the very narrow parameters of its audio performance detracts from its value.

Best soundbars to improve your TV's audio

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 06:00
Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.

In summary: Everything Apple announced in its WWDC 2019 keynote

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 19:42

Apple’s big WWDC keynote presentation is over, and our coverage of the new Mac Pro, iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina is just beginning. The tech giant had a lot to say in its over-two-hour presentation. We’ll have tons of details about all these products over the coming days, but if you want to catch up quickly and can’t (or don’t want to) sit through a more than two-hour event, here’s a quick summary.


Apple kicked off the conference by talking about updates to tvOS, which runs on its Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K products. It just got a refresh this spring with the new TV app, and now Apple is giving us a look at how the entire operating system will change in the fall.

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr review: Watch the fur fly

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 12:01
ESO’s new expansion has dragons, necromancers, and cat people, but it doesn’t always have a focus.