Technology News


You Can Now Pay For iTunes and App Store Purchases With Your Phone Bill in Three More Countries
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 7:22am MacRumors

Apple has expanded mobile phone billing to Denmark, Hong Kong, and Sweden, according to an updated support document on its website.


The feature is now supported by the carrier Three in each of the countries, in addition to SmarTone in Hong Kong and Telenor in Sweden.

The payment method enables customers to pay for iTunes Store content, App Store apps, iBooks, and Apple Music subscriptions without needing a debit or credit card, or even a bank account. Instead, purchases are added to a customer's mobile phone bill and paid off at the end of the month.

Mobile phone billing is already available to customers of select carriers in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Apple's support document explains how to set up mobile phone billing in the iTunes Store on both iPhone and iPad and Mac and PC.


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Insanely Gr8: The iPhone 8 paradox
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 7:00am Mac World

The iPhone 8 summer of doom continues with a surprising twist that is so logically challenged it should not be viewed by small children, the infirm or those prone to episodes, even if they’re just episodes of the long-running supernatural drama, Supernatural.

Which the Macalope believes is in its 427th season. He may be off by one or two seasons.

Writing for The Boy Genius Report, Jacob Siegal says “Delays and an inflated price could doom the iPhone 8.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Kegan Tyler.)

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SwiftKey Update Brings Emoji Prediction, 'Oxygen' Themes, and More Languages
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 6:08am MacRumors

Microsoft today released an update for SwiftKey that includes a handful of new features including emoji prediction and enhancements to 3D Touch gestures.

Users who tap on the emoji key will now see a new prediction panel that automatically suggests up to 18 relevant emoji depending on what they type, saving them the trouble of searching through the entire list.


The update also includes eight new "Oxygen" themes adding up to a spectrum of vibrant colors for SwiftKey keyboards. The new hues can be found in the Design section of the app and include Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Light Blue, Blue, Purple, and Pink.

In addition, Microsoft said it had made substantial improvements to the responsiveness of 3D Touch gestures in SwiftKey on supporting iPhones, including those that trigger cursor control and cursor movement. Haptic feedback has also been implemented for some keyboard actions, such as opening the emoji panel.

Lastly, SwiftKey added support for 15 new languages including Egyptian Arabic, Tanglish, Bambara, Wolof, Mossi, Greenlandic, and Northern Sami. See here for the full list.

SwiftKey is a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Hoping for a small Mac mini revival
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 6:00am Mac World

A funny thing happened to the Mac mini last week. The single Mac model that’s the most long in the tooth surpassed 1,000 days without an update. But this shouldn’t be too surprising to Mac mini fans: that update, in October 2014, was 723 days after the previous Mac mini update, in October 2012. The quad-core Mac mini released in 2012 (and discontinued in 2014) still stands as the fastest Mac mini ever made, since the 2014 models maxed out at two processor cores.

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Phiaton BT 460 Bluetooth headphone review: Sleek, smart, and feature rich. But they sound best wired
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 6:00am PCWorld

Innovative features and strong battery life set these headphones apart from the pack. Unfortunately, their Bluetooth audio performance falls short.


Changes to iCloud Put Apple on Collision Course With Governments Seeking Access to Encrypted Message
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 5:29am MacRumors

Apple has sent its top privacy executives to Australia twice in the past month to lobby government officials over proposed new laws that would require companies to provide access to encrypted messages.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Apple privacy advocates met with attorney general George Brandis and senior staff in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's office on Tuesday to discuss their concerns about the legal changes, which could compel tech companies to provide decryption keys to allow access to secure communications such as that provided by WhatsApp and iMessage.

Apple has consistently argued against laws that would require tech companies to build so-called "back doors" into their software, claiming that such a move would weaken security for everyone and simply make terrorists and criminals turn to open-source encryption methods for their digital communications.

While Apple's position is clear, the Turnbull government has yet to clarify exactly what it expects tech companies to give up as part of the proposals. A source familiar with the discussions said that the government explicitly said it did not want a back door into people's phones, nor to weaken encryption.

However, given that encrypted services like WhatsApp and iMessage do not possess private keys that would enable them to decrypt messages, a back door would seem the only alternative. "If the government laid a subpoena to get iMessages, we can't provide it," CEO Tim Cook said in 2014. "It's encrypted and we don't have a key."

As it happens, Cook's comment only applies to iMessages that aren't backed up to the cloud: Apple doesn't have access to messages sent between devices because they're end-to-end encrypted, but if iCloud Backup is enabled those messages are encrypted on Apple's servers using an encryption key that the company has access to and could potentially provide to authorities.

However, Apple is moving in the same direction as WhatsApp and Telegram to make encryption keys entirely private. As announced at WWDC in June, macOS High Sierra and iOS 11 will synchronize iMessages across devices signed into the same account using iCloud and a new encryption method that ensures the keys stay out of Apple's hands.

As senior VP of software Craig Federighi noted in interview with Daring Fireball's John Gruber, even if users store information in the cloud, "it's encrypted with keys that Apple doesn't have. And so they can put things in the cloud, they can pull stuff down from the cloud, so the cloud still serves as a conduit — and even ultimately a kind of a backup for them — but only they can read it."

How this will play out in Apple's discussions with the Australian government – and indeed other governments in the "Five Eyes" intelligence sharing network seeking similar access to encrypted communications – is anything but clear. According to sources, Apple and the Turnbull government are taking a collaborative approach in the discussions, but previous statements by officials imply a tougher stance behind the scenes.

Last week, Senator Brandis said the Australian government would work with companies such as Apple to facilitate greater access to secure communications, but warned that "we'll also ensure that the appropriate legal powers, if need be, as a last resort, coercive powers of the kind that recently were introduced into the United Kingdom under the Investigatory Powers Act... are available to Australian intelligence and law enforcement authorities as well".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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What happened to Fling, Amazon's Chromecast clone on Fire TV?
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 5:00am Mac World

Amazon Fling was supposed to bring Chromecast-like features to Fire TV devices. Two years later, that effort has fizzled.


Bear Notes 1.2.2 Update Brings Text Highlighting, Multiple Windows, and More
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017 3:29am MacRumors

Popular note-taking platform Bear received an update on Wednesday across Mac and iOS that adds a number of community-requested features to the Apple Notes rival.

Top of the feature list in version 1.2.2 is the ability to highlight parts of notes in a neon color to indicate importance, by bracketing text in "::" tags.

Over on the Mac, it's now possible to break out Bear notes into separate windows for easy reference between multiple entries, simply by double-clicking them in the notes list.

To simplify organization, Bear 1.2.2 also has a new option to edit note tags right from the sidebar and notes list. To do this on Mac, click a tag in the sidebar to view all notes with that tag, and then right-click any note and select "Remove tag (X)". The same option can be accessed on iPhone and iPad by tapping a tag in the sidebar, swiping left on a note, and tapping More.

In addition, the app has gained some new advanced search options or "Special Search" triggers. It's now possible to add "@today" or "@yesterday" to searches to find notes with those creation dates. The new functions join existing triggers such as "@untagged" to find all untagged notes, "@tasks" for all notes that contain tasks, and "@files" for notes that have attachments.

Elsewhere, there's new shortcuts for quickly inputting the current date/time in various formats, a new Print Note option and note counter at the top of the notes list, while an AirDrop option has been added over on iOS Share Sheets. It's also now possible to share notes as rich text.

Bear is available to download on the App Store for iPad and iPhone [Direct Link], as well as on the Mac App Store [Direct Link].
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How to use an Android Wear watch with an iPhone—and why you might want to
Posted on Wednesday July 19, 2017 11:45pm Mac World

Editor's note: This article originally ran in May 2016, but was updated in July 2017 to include info on Android Wear 2.0 and the latest Android Wear watches. 

Apple built the Apple Watch to coexist with your iPhone, and they’re a near-perfect pair if you want a connected device on your wrist. However, it’s not the only smartwatch out there for iPhone owners. The dearly departed Pebble watches are compatible, as is the Samsung Gear S3 and S2—and yes, even Google’s Android Wear watches work with your iPhone.

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Steve Jobs Opera Premieres in Santa Fe This Saturday
Posted on Wednesday July 19, 2017 7:54pm MacRumors

An opera based on the life of late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs is set to open in Santa Fe, New Mexico this Saturday. Called The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the opera will have its world premiere showing on July 22 at 8:30 p.m on the Santa Fe Opera's open-air summer stage.

The opera has been in development since 2015, created by electronica DJ Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell. It tells the story of the Jobs and his struggle to balance life, family, and work, and is set to a live orchestra accompaniment, guitar, natural sounds, and expressive electronics, including Apple's own devices.


Bates described one of the scenes to ABC News in an interview last week, highlighting the moment where Steve Jobs introduces the first iPhone before being exhausted by illness.

At this moment in Mason Bates' opera "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs," a harrowing sound emerges from the orchestra pit, a crushing downward progression that's described in the score as an "electronic shutdown."

"It's a combination of a stand-alone synthesizer with the actual sound on the old Macs of hard drives turning off -- and one in reverse booting up," Bates explained in an interview last week at the Santa Fe Opera, where his work will have its world premiere on Saturday.

"That moment is the realization of his mortality, so I wanted to have that kind of shutdown sound," Bates said. "Even if you can't recognize it, it adds a little authenticity that the guy who is the subject of this opera is the creator of some of the devices we're hearing."
The opera, which is approximately 90 minutes long, kicks off with a prologue in the garage of the Jobs family home in Los Altos, California, with Jobs father, Paul Jobs, gifting him a workbench.

From there, it jumps to 2007, where Jobs unveils the first iPhone, and then shifts back and forth between 2007 and Jobs' early years developing Apple. Campbell and Bates, who say the opera does not vilify or glorify Jobs, aimed for a non-chronological timeline dictated by emotion and memory. It will feature Jobs and several supporting characters like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Chrisann Brennan, with each character highlighted through a unique series of sounds.


The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs has been financially backed by opera companies in San Francisco and Seattle, with guaranteed performances coming to both California and Washington in the future.

Since his death in 2011, Steve Jobs' life has been the subject of myriad books, movies, and documentaries, including an Aaron Sorkin-penned Danny Boyle-directed feature film that debuted in 2015.


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