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Updated: 16 hours 51 min ago

Three features Apple should borrow from Google’s I/O announcements

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 07:00

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the onslaught of tech companies announcing the latest updates to their products. This week, it was Google’s I/O keynote that took the main stage, as the Mountain View company catalogued all of the new devices, features, and promises it had targeted for 2019.

Many of the features that Google talked about were a clear attempt to catch up in areas where Apple already excels: privacy, for example, or distribution of security updates. I’m not about to suggest that Apple needs to crib from anybody, but the whole purpose of competition is to drive innovation.

With that in mind, I’ve laid out three areas that Google touched on during its keynote where Apple might benefit from following the lead of one of its most prominent frenemies.

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Anker PowerCore+ 19000 PD review: Fresh design and new features make this battery pack very appealing

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 06:30
A portable battery pack with USB-C that doubles as a USB hub? Go on, we're listening.

Best mesh Wi-Fi routers: Reviews and buying advice

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 06:00
Few elements of your home’s infrastructure have a bigger impact on your tech life. We recommend mesh Wi-Fi routers for most people, and we’ll help you find just the right one for your needs.

What Intel’s latest roadmap updates mean for the Mac

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 06:00

Apple may end up making Macs with processors of its own design, but that’s not expected to happen soon. And if it does happen, it probably will take several years before the entire Mac lineup has transitioned to Apple-designed chips.

In the meantime, it’s safest to assume that the Macs of the next couple years will primarily use Intel processors. So any time we can get a look at Intel’s roadmap, we’re getting a peak at the heart of the Mac.

On Wednesday, during an investor presentation, Intel extended its public roadmap through 2020 and gave an update on future products and manufacturing processes. Here’s what that means for the Mac.

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iOS 13, Google I/O’19, create custom vibrating iPhone ringtones, and your hot takes

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:00

On the show, we talk about iOS 13 and Apple Watch rumors, and more. Google is having its developers conference; is there anything of interest for Apple users? Plus, we have an iPhone tip, and we wrap up the show with your hot takes from the Macworld social media feeds.

This is episode 650 with Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, and Roman Loyola.

Listen to episode 650

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Powerbeats Pro review: Better than AirPods, but not for everybody

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 07:00

AirPods are a cultural icon, and for good reason. More than two years ago, Apple released a set of true wireless earbuds that solved many of the problems that made us hate Bluetooth headphones, making them as convenient and reliable as we’ve always dreamed. And now Apple has newer AirPods with a custom H1 chip that makes them even better.

But the second-generation AirPods aren’t the best true wireless earbuds Apple makes. Not anymore. That honor now belongs to the company’s Beats by Dre subsidiary and its new Powerbeats Pro earbuds.

The first true wireless earbuds by Beats, the Powerbeats Pro, are better than AirPods. You pay a premium for this quality—$249, compared to $159 for AirPods—and you won’t find the Powerbeats Pro quite as portable as AirPods. But if you want true wireless earbuds that work with your iPhone as effortlessly as AirPods and sound better and last longer, they’re well worth the premium price.

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How to find out if your Mac’s software is 32- or 64-bit

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 06:00

One of the major announcements (among many) at Apple’s 2018 WWDC was that macOS 10.14 Mojave, the current version of the Mac operating system, is the last version that supports 32-bit software. With macOS 10.15, only 64-bit software will be supported.

The clock is ticking. We’ll probably see macOS 10.15 this fall, after it’s previewed at WWDC this June. If you decide to upgrade to the new macOS, you need to do a bit more than usual to prepare your Mac—you need to make sure your apps are 64-bit versions. If your app is a 32-bit version, it will not work.

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Apple TV+ original shows, series, and movies: Jon Favreau's series Prehistoric Planet shows us the last days of the dinosaurs

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 14:49

Apple is said to be spending a couple billion dollars over 2018 and 2019 on the development of exclusive original programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s nothing compared to the $12 billion Netflix spent on content in 2018, but it’s still a very big investment.

What can you get for a couple billion dollars? Apple hopes to attract some of the best talent in TV and film production, including huge stars and directors, and to lock down the television and movie rights to best-selling books. Though the company has only given us a glimpse at a handful of shows, the Hollywood trade press has uncovered many more through its reporting on deals from casting agents and production companies.

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Naim ups its high-end music-streaming game with the Mu-so 2nd Generation

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 14:00
There’s nothing so-so about Naim Audio’s Mu-so 2nd Generation, now on display at the High End audio show in Munich.

What to do if your Mac’s hard drive starts unmounting itself unexpectedly

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:00

When you mount a drive in the Finder, you expect it to stay there. If you’ve found that your previously reliable external hard disk drive or SSD starts ejecting itself, trouble is obviously afoot.


The message “Disk Not Ejected Properly” usually appears when you unplug a cable or disconnect power to a drive without making sure the disk has unmounted from the Finder after selecting it and choosing File > Eject [Name] or clicking the Eject icon next to its name in the sidebar.

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Why the Mac won’t end up locked down like iOS

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 07:00

As macOS and iOS keep getting closer in terms of functionality (including low-level fundamentals and a shared software platform), I hear a lot of fear from Mac users who are concerned that the Mac is in danger of becoming a locked-down platform that will lose a lot of the capabilities that advanced users have come to expect from their devices.

The security philosophy Apple has nurtured over the past decade as it has built iOS is one that’s based on strictly limiting what third-party software can do, in turn limiting what users are able to do. But I’m optimistic that Apple isn’t planning on barring Mac power users from some of the best things about using a Mac, and there are many ways Apple can create a fundamentally more secure platform without destroying its appeal.

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Ecovacs Winbot X review: This robot window cleaner is novel, but not entirely practical

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 06:00
It's a capable cleaner, but its expensive and demands a lot of attention.

Apple should bring back the iPhone SE and model it after Google’s Pixel 3a

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 06:00

At its annual I/O developer’s conference on Tuesday, Google took the wraps off a pair of brand-new phones that are Pixels through and through. They’ve got big screens, great cameras, and all-day battery life. They run the latest version of Android and promise three years of updates. And they have a headphone jack.

But the Pixel 3a and 3a XL aren’t $900 phones—they’re cheaper than Apple’s iPhone 7. Google has built a pair of handsets that retain the heart of their flagships but dispense with the luxury. In short, they’re Pixels for those who can’t afford a Pixel 3. Apple should follow suit.

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DriveDx review: Mac utility provides hints and warnings when your drive is about to fail

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 09:00

Your hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) “know” quite a bit about how well they’re functioning. Nearly all modern drives of both kinds have internal diagnostics and track other information about usage and wear. But it can be hard to surface that without Terminal commands, and tough to interpret the context, especially for SSDs.

DriveDx from Binary Fruit puts a friendly face on complicated data, and can offer critical information about the state of your drives before a failure. With a database of drive information that the company has compiled, it offers insight that would take far longer to assemble for anyone but a technical expert.

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He’s no Steve Jobs: Tim Cook’s existential failure

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 08:00

Here’s the thing about successful people: they come up with more dumb ideas before 10 a.m. than other people do all day. They implement more in January than other people do all year. This is just math.

Writing for Inc., Peter Cohan says, “Apple Can't Design World-Changing Hardware Anymore, So It's Doing This Dumb Thing Instead.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Chris.)

Just because a company is doing well now, it doesn't mean that it will stay that way.

This is the last fundamentally correct thing you will read in this article. Sadly, it’s the lede.

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11 little-known iPhone features you should start using

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 07:00

You probably think you know your iPhone well. After all, these days we probably look at our phones more than we look at our loved ones. But the truth is, even those of us who’ve remained loyal to Apple’s handset since 2007 can still be surprised by the tricks in each new version of iOS. The biggest ones get explained in the tutorials for the heftiest patches, but many others must be coaxed out of the Settings app.

Below, you’ll find our favorites. If you also want to see the tricks your iPad is capable of, we’ve made a guide for that, too.

Turn on Smart Invert for an impromptu iOS Dark Mode

iOS doesn’t have a true Dark Mode yet—although believable rumors suggest we’ll be getting one in iOS 13—but you can approximate one with an existing Accessibility setting. This isn’t the regular Invert Colors that makes everything look like a psychedelic fever dream; instead, Smart Invert Colors changes elements like the background to black but keeps the colors of app icons, photos, and similar graphical elements. (It does, however, make colored graphics look duller.) The catch is that it only consistently works well with Apple’s own apps, so you’ll have a better time using it on, say, Safari instead of Chrome.

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Roborock Xioawa Plus E35 review: a budget-priced robot that mops as well as vacuums

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 06:00
Erroneous error interruptions hampered this otherwise powerful cleaner.

Etymotic ER4XR in-ear headphone review: Top-notch sonics and a comfortable fit

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 06:00
Though definitely on the pricey side, Etymotics ER4 XR's deliver the musical goods, and the flanged tips are more comfortable in the ear than the standard memory foam types.

Four Wear OS problems Apple needs to solve with its on-device Apple Watch App Store

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 06:00

If the rumors are to be believed, the Apple Watch is finally getting an App Store of its very own. We’ve always been able to install apps on our watches, but in watchOS 6, Apple is reportedly building an App Store right on the device, so we can find and install apps even if our phone isn’t around.

On paper, that sounds like a killer feature. App installation is a big annoyance on the Apple Watch, requiring a tethered iPhone and tandem downloads, so an on-device App Store would certainly give the Apple Watch some much-needed independence. But you need look no further than a Wear OS watch to see how the experience could be frustrating. Here are four problems to look out for and how Apple could solve them on the Apple Watch.

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Apple’s first game in 11 years is both fun and tacky

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 16:28

What does it take to get Apple to make a new video game? Apparently investing a few billion dollars helps. This weekend, Apple released Warren Buffet’s Paper Wizard, which was made in honor of the outspoken Berkshire Hathaway billionaire investor. It’s Apple’s first game since Texas Hold ‘Em appeared on the iOS way back in 2008. I took a few minutes to play through it—and yes, that’s really all it takes—and I enjoyed it well enough.

But I also can’t help but find it a little tasteless.

First things first: There’s a story behind its appearance. As the Omaha World-Herald reports, Apple made Warren Buffet’s Paper Wizard for one of Apple’s dad-jokey video shorts, and this one was shown for Apple CEO Tim Cook’s visit to Berkshire-Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, this weekend. In the video, Buffet attempts to come up with good app ideas at an Apple facility, and Cook recommends a newspaper-throwing game based on Buffet’s early job as a paperboy.

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