All things iPod, iPhone, iPad and Beyond | iLounge

Mac: SmallCubed Mail Act-On

For those who aren’t quite comfortable living entirely on the web, Apple’s macOS Mail is actually a pretty capable e-mail app, providing a nice, clean user interface and all of the features that most users would need. However, like most Apple apps, power users will probably find Apple Mail to be a bit light on more advanced features, which is where third-party developers come in with to fill the gaps with plugins to extend Mail’s functionality while preserving it’s straightforward design. SmallCubed’s Mail Act-On ($30) is at the top of our list of indispensable plugins that add significant power to the Apple Mail experience — allowing you to file messages into folders using only the keyboard, set up sophisticated “macros” using standard Apple Mail rules that can be triggered using keyboard shortcuts, and even creating rules that can be applied to outgoing messages. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Mail Act-On also bakes in the ability to create templates for quickly sending canned replies.

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iDevices adds dynamic automation, enhanced scheduling to ‘Connected’ app for HomeKit

iDevices has released a major update to iDevices Connected, the company’s app for controlling HomeKit-based devices, including its own Switch, Socket, and Thermostat devices. Version 3.0 of iDevices Connected adds support for HomeKit location triggers, as well as “characteristic” triggers that can initiate HomeKit scenes when another HomeKit device is controlled, such as activating an “arriving home” scene when unlocking a HomeKit-enabled door lock. The new version also adds new services and characteristics to expand Scene capabilities, and brings a number of enhancements to scheduling, including a visual timeline the presents schedules in a calendar-like view, the ability to save and re-apply schedules across multiple scenes, and an initial setup assistant to create a baseline schedule for iDevices’ connected thermostat. The app also allows individual iDevices products to be scheduled without having to create single-device scenes, and makes some nice improvements to energy reporting. Firmware updates for iDevices’ accessories are also included as part of this update, improving responsiveness and addressing several minor stability bugs pertaining to certain Wi-Fi configurations.

Apple reports that iOS 10.2.1 significantly reduces unexpected iPhone 6s shutdown issues

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple has indicated that improvements made in iOS 10.2.1 have addressed most of the problems with unexpected shutdowns that some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s users were experiencing. Apple notes that approximately 50 percent of iOS devices are already using iOS 10.2.1 and that Apple has been receiving diagnostic data from users on that version revealing a reduction of over 80 percent on iPhone 6s devices, and over 70 percent on iPhone 6 devices. Apple notes that in the unlikely event users are still experiencing unexpected shutdowns, with iOS 10.2.1 the iPhone can now restart without needing to be connected to power. In its statement, Apple emphasizes that these shutdowns are not a safety issue, however the company naturally wants to mitigate the inconvenience of the issue for its users. iPhone 7 models are not affected by the issue.

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Daily Deal: Disk Drill PRO 3 for Mac, Lifetime License

In Friday’s iLounge Deal we’re offering a lifetime license for Disk Drill PRO 3 for Mac for only $34.99 — that’s 70% off the regular price. Disk Drill Pro makes it easy to recover documents, music, photos, videos, or even whole partitions that have gone missing from your computer, and with only a single push of a button, Disk Drill can ferret out and recover over 200 types of files on your computer. You can even recover deleted files from iPhone and Android devices, and add additional tools for cleanup, duplicate finding, disk health, data protection, and more, absolutely free. Best of all, this lifetime license means that all future updates and major upgrades are included at no extra charge.

Get a lifetime license to Disk Drill PRO 3 for Mac now for only $34.99

Mobiata announces sunset of FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps

Mobiata has announced that it is shutting down its popular FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps, effective Mar. 1, 2017. Although the company admits that it hasn’t provided many updates to the two apps in recent months, FlightTrack was one of the first and best flight tracking apps on the App Store, and quickly became a mainstay for iPhone travellers. Mobiata was acquired by Expedia in 2010, and although it continued to run largely as an independent unit in developing its FlightTrack and FlightBoard apps over the past six years, a recent “critical assessment” by the larger parent company regarding the demand for travel app products suggests that a decision was made to focus Mobiata’s resources on implementing the technology in FlightTrack and FlightBoard into the main Expedia app in order to provide a “one-stop shopping” travel app solution.

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Harman announces first Wireless CarPlay implementation

Photo: Business Wire

Harman has announced the first successful commercial implementation of Apple CarPlay over a wireless connection, allowing vehicles using Harman’s infotainment systems to use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect to an iPhone for CarPlay rather than requiring a wired USB/Lightning connection. Harman’s press release notes that the solution is currently “being deployed in the market on HARMAN infotainment systems for a luxury German automaker,” and although it does not mention a specific automaker by name, it likely that it’s referring to BMW as this is the only automaker that is including wireless CarPlay support on current model vehicles. Although Harman has not disclosed plans to roll out wireless CarPlay to other automakers, it gave a statement to MacRumors noting its business relationships as a tier 1 supplier of infotainment systems to other automakers including Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep, suggesting that it could expand wireless CarPlay to other car makers in the future.

Mac: Henge Docks Horizontal Docking Station

Henge Docks’ Horizontal Docking Station ($499) remains one of the coolest and most powerful docking stations we’ve seen for the MacBook Pro. While it doesn’t come cheap, you’re getting what you pay for here, providing your MacBook Pro with Retina Display with a solid and attractive “home base” on your desk and a ton of extra ports to go with it. If you regularly hook up your MacBook to an external monitor in your home or office and have a lot of external accessories, it’s a much more elegant solution than juggling cables and smaller hubs — you just drop your MacBook Pro into the Horizontal Dock’s base and all of the necessary connections automatically extend from the sides into the appropriate ports on your MacBook. When you’re ready to hit the road, a press of the button or click of a menu bar app will automatically eject all of your mounted external drives from within macOS and then retract the connectors to disconnect from the dock. It’s so slick and effortless that it borders on magical.

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Report: Apple still considering several possible wireless charging solutions for ‘iPhone 8’

A new report in Reuters discussing the state of Apple’s work on this year’s iPhone reveals that Apple may not have yet settled on a wireless charging solution for the upcoming “iPhone 8,” despite the company’s recent entry into the Wireless Power Consortium backing the Qi standard. The Reuters report cites a person with knowledge of the matter who indicates that there are presently five separate groups at Apple currently working on wireless charging technology, suggesting that each group is pursuing and testing different standards to determine which of them will be Apple’s preferred choice.

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Mini Metro adds Endless Mode

Playdigious and Dinosaur Polo club have released an update to their highly-acclaimed Mini Metro, adding the long-awaited Endless Mode. Covered in our App Diary and selected as our 2016 Game of the Year, Mini Metro is an addictive puzzle-strategy game with a simple premise: players are tasked with creating an efficient rail system in a growing city, connecting rail stations on a variety of different maps to ensure the smooth flow of passengers within a limited amount of time — the goal being to move the highest number of passengers before one of your stations fills up to capacity, ending the game. With Endless Mode in the latest update, players now have the option of open-ended gameplay where time is no longer a stress factor, allowing for a more zen-like gameplay experience to experiment, design, and operate the subway grid of your dreams.

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Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights

Apple has issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s recent decision to rescind protections for transgender students that would have allowed them to use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Trump overruled his own education secretary’s recommendations, siding with his attorney general in a decision to reverse the Obama administration’s interpretation of nondiscrimination laws, stating that the directive was “improperly and arbitrarily devised ... without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” In a statement to Axios, an Apple spokesperson criticized the Trump administration’s decision, effectively calling it a step back in the rights and acceptance of transgender students.

Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections.

Apple has long been a supporter of LGBT rights and anti-discrimination in general, getting involved as far back as early 2014 in urging the Governor of Arizona to veto a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs. In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed column for the Washington Post in response to a similar “religious freedom” bill passed in Indiana, declaring such laws as dangerous, and stating that “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”

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