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5 things we learned from Apple’s latest quarterly results

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 06:00

Apple’s holiday quarter of calendar-year 2018 was, by most measures, incredibly successful. Revenue of $84.3 billion, $20 billion of that profit. The second largest quarter in Apple history. And yet, the fact is, Apple’s holiday quarter was down five percent from the previous-year’s holiday quarter, and iPhone revenue dropped 15 percent year-over-year. And when the iPhone is hurting, Apple is hurting.

Here are some observations from Apple’s financial results for its fiscal first quarter of 2019 and Tuesday’s customary hourlong conference call between Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri and a gaggle of Wall Street financial analysts.

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Fortnite for iPhone now supports MFi controllers, and that’s a total game-changer

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 19:05

You can now play Fortnite on your iPhone with a MFi (Made for iOS) controller such as the SteelSeries Nimbus or the SteelSeries Stratus XL, and that’s a pretty big deal. The standard touch controls worked well enough when you were playing against other iPhone players, but they made you a walking target when you joined friends who were playing on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or PC. True controller support, though, gives you a fighting chance.

It works so well, in fact, that this could be a landmark moment in mobile gaming. We’ve had MFi controllers for years, of course, but rarely have they been put to such good use and for such a noteworthy property. Now that anyone can play the world’s most popular video game on an iPhone as easily as they can play it on the Switch or the Xbox, other studios might be tempted to release ports for current games to the iPhone as well.

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Apple’s first quarter 2019 results include some bright spots: Macs, iPads, Services, Wearables all up

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 16:41

As expected, Apple on Tuesday announced first-quarter 2019 results that were decidedly lower than the initial guidance of $89 billion to $93 billion. For the holiday quarter, Apple posted revenue of $84.3 billion and a net profit of $19.9 billion, a 5 percent drop over last year and the clearest sign yet sign that iPhone sales are slowing.

We don’t know how much iPhone unit sales fell, of course, since Apple has stopped providing those numbers. (Apple CFO Luca Maestri did state that the iPhone XR is Apple’s best-selling phone, and the there are 900 million iPhones in use.) But we do know how much revenue the iPhone brought in. For the holiday quarter, Apple made $52 billion on iPhone sales, compared to $61 billion in the year-ago quarter, a 15 percent drop. Assuming Apple sold fewer iPhones than last year, it’s hard to extrapolate what that means for models and sales.

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Apple's event calendar: When is the next Apple event?

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 16:16

Updated 01/29/19: Apple has not yet officially announced any events for 2019, but we have updated this article with our current best estimates.

Apple doesn’t often participate in big industry-wide events like CES or E3. The most valuable company in the world holds its own events, thank you very much. Several times a year, Apple invites the press and industry professionals out to a theater to hear all about its latest products and services. Apple calls these “Special Events,” and streams them online to its millions of fans.

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Macworld Podcast: Join us on Wednesday, January 30, at 10 a.m. Pacific

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 16:00

FaceTime has a huge security bug. Apple announced its Q1 2019 financials. What’s new in the public betas of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave? Could an Apple gaming service succeed? We also respond to your comments and questions for Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, Roman Loyola, and Dan Masaoka in the Macworld Podcast, episode 638.

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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Aetna customers can get a free Apple Watch just for keeping close tabs on their health

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 11:56

Apple is getting serious about the Apple Watch’s health benefits. Starting this spring, Apple and Aetna are teaming up to offer a new watchOS app that “is designed to give you real ways to be healthier so you can hit achievable goals—and earn rewards when you do.” And if you don’t have an Apple Watch, Aetna will give you one to try it out.

According to Aetna’s description of the app, Attain works something like Apple’s own Activity app. The app will establish daily and weekly goals as well as nutrition challenges and sleep schedules based on your health history, which will then become prompts throughout the day. It’ll also let you know when you’re due for a check-up, flu shot, and prescription refill so you can stay on top of your care. Aetna also says the app will help track down preferred labs and testing centers and spotlight the lowest-cost options based on your plan.

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Apple's handling of scary FaceTime spying bug shows that privacy is a right when it's good PR

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 11:19

In the span of about an hour last night, things went from bad to worse for Apple. What started with the report of a seemingly unbelievable bug ended with the disabling of one of the premium features of iOS 12 as Apple scrambled to save face and prevent an epic privacy snafu.

Here’s what happened: After a tip, 9to5Mac exposed a weird FaceTime bug that let callers eavesdrop on the people they were calling, whether or not the person on the other end picked up or was even aware a call was coming in. The process isn’t exactly easy, involving adding your own number to a Group FaceTime call after dialing, but it’s not something out of the realm of inadvertently implementing it either.

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Four letter words: This year’s flop

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 07:00

When writing about Apple, it’s always important to find the fail first and lead with that.

Writing for The Motley Fool, Ashraf Eassa says “Apple’s iPhone XS Looks Like a Flop in the United States.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Mickey.)

Over the course of fiscal 2018, Apple’s iPhone X proved to be a successful product.

It was! And, yet, here’s Eassa’s colleague at The Motley Fool, Evan Niu, all the way back in November of 2017:

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How to use the Walkie-Talkie app on Apple Watch

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 06:00

You probably already know the Apple Watch is great at making phone calls. It’s still something of a secret, though, that you can unleash your inner Dick Tracy by using the Apple Watch as a walkie-talkie. As long as the person on the other line has you as a contact in their Apple Watch’s Walkie Talkie app and has watchOS 5 installed, you can immediately contact them with a real-time voice message regardless of where they are or what they’re doing.

In the wrong hands, of course, this could be maddening. Fortunately, Apple makes it easy to turn the feature on or off, and it’s also easy to get rid of contacts who abuse it. You can also add a complication for easier access.

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A serious new FaceTime bug lets you listen to people before they pick up

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 23:12

You might want turn off FaceTime right this second. There’s a nasty new bug in iOS 12 that lets FaceTime callers hear sound from the recipient’s microphone even if they haven’t picked up. It works by exploiting a bug with Apple’s newish Group FaceTime feature introduced in iOS 12.1, but fortunately Apple says a fix is already in the works.

Update 8:15pm: Apple wasted little time in making sure the problem didn’t get out of hand. According to Apple’s System Status page, Group FaceTime is currently unavailable (as of 8:00 p.m. Pacific time). We can confirm that Group FaceTime doesn't work. 

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Apple’s gaming subscription service has tough challenges ahead of it

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 17:30

According to a new report from Cheddar (citing multiple sources), Apple is planning a subscription gaming service. Development is apparently rather early on this “Netflix for games,” so we don’t have any idea what any of the specifics would look like. What would it cost? What’s included? But even knowing nothing about it, I see several serious challenges. 

It’s probably safe to assume that the heart of an Apple subscription gaming service would be iOS games—gaming on the Mac exists, but it’s quite small by comparison, and so many Mac games are sold outside of the Mac App Store (through Steam, for example) that a Mac-only game subscription service would be dead on arrival. Gaming on Apple TV is an even smaller market. The inclusion of Mac games could be a bonus incentive, but iOS is where the action is.

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iOS 12.2 beta 1 is available to public testers, adding Apple News in Canada and AirPlay TV support

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 14:39

After releasing iOS 12.1.3 with a few minor bugfixes, Apple has has moved on to iOS 12.2. The first beta was released to developers on January 24, 2019. Currently, there is no public beta release.

Registered developers can download the iOS beta profile by visiting using the device on which they want to run the beta. Non-developers can enter the public beta program by visiting on the device they wish to enroll in the beta.

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Apple is reportedly planning yet another premium subscription service, this one for video games

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 14:31

Apple and gaming might seem like an oxymoron to some (especially to serious gamers), but a new report says the iPhone maker is hoping to change that in a big way. According to Cheddar, Apple is planning to launch a subscription service for games and may partner with third-party developers as a video game publisher.

The report Is light on specifics, but a Netflix-style premium subscription service for games would represent a major move by Apple to expand its gaming cred beyond the App Store. Presumably an Apple-branded gaming service would require an Apple TV, but Apple could also simple charge a flat fee for access to iOS App Store games, cutting out the middle-men for things like in-app purchases and updates.

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macOS Mojave 10.14.4 Public Beta 1 is now available

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 13:40

Apple has a macOS Mojave Public Beta for anyone willing to try the new versions Mac operating system before it is officially released. Why would you want to run a beta operating system? If you’re a developer, you’ll want to see how your product can use the new features. But if you’re a regular user, it’s a opportunity to try the new features and see how the OS works with your current apps and hardware.

Here’s what you need to know about the Public Beta.

The latest: macOS Mojave Public Beta 1 now available

Apple has released the latest version of the beta, called macOS Mojave 10.14.4 Public Beta. New features include Apple News in Canada, support for TouchID and Safari AutoFill, and the ability for Safari to automatically display a website in Dark Mode if the site has a dark theme.

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Luminar 3 review: A viable alternative to Adobe Lightroom

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 07:00

Photographers who use photo management and editing apps have been caught in a changing market. Users of Apple’s Aperture had to deal with the demise of the app. Then there’s Adobe Lightroom, which used to be sold with a perpetual software license, but then Adobe changed it to a subscription-based model.

If you’re a photographer seeking a powerful, traditionally licensed package, Skylum Software’s Luminar may be what you need. The new Luminar 3—also known as Luminar 3 with Libraries—offers a superlative, easy-to-use image editing app twith photo management capabilities.

Jackie Dove

Luminar's expansive photo wall gives a scenic overview of your collection.

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Fantastic video-streaming services that are not named Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 06:00
Everyone knows the big online services. TechHive’s resident film critic recommends checking out these lesser-known entertainment sources, some of which are absolutely free.

Winegard FlatWave Amped indoor TV antenna review: This one pulls in the channels

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 15:40
The FlatWave Amped (model FL-5500A) is one of a series of small, lightweight indoor antennas in Winegard's collection.

How to make 3D photos on iPhone and post them to Facebook

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 17:00

A couple of months ago Facebook launched a feature that transforms your iPhone’s Portrait Mode images into “3D Photos.” It works better than I expected (so long as you don’t push the effect too far when interacting with a photo), and it’s a great way to liven up an otherwise staid Facebook feed.

As with all such gimmicky effects, some photos are better suited than others. I marveled at the multiple perspectives in a 3D photo of the junk scattered on my desk, but I recoiled at the sight of fleshy bars shooting from my head in a selfie when I moved the image too far to the right. Apparently the app was trying to figure out how to fill in the background behind me.

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The most useful Siri Shortcuts for iPhone

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 11:38

The Shortcuts app simplifies complex tasks on your iPhone into a single action that could otherwise require a massive number of steps. So far, so cool. But as I’ve said elsewhere, finding the best Shortcuts outside of Apple’s pitiful in-app gallery typically involves taking grueling longcuts into third-party pages like the Shortcuts subreddit, Routine Hub, and Shortcuts Gallery. So much to taking shortcuts.

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Brinno Empower TLC2000 review: This time-lapse security camera meets a niche need

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 06:00
Here's a highly specialized security camera that capture hours of video and play it back in just a few minutes.