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Apple continues to stand its ground on producing family friendly video content

A new report from the Wall Street Journal provides some more insight into Apple’s ambitions for keeping its original video content as “family friendly” as possible. It was reported last year that Apple has aims to steer clear of the “edgier” content typically seen in many of the original shows from competitors like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, but beyond simply looking at the types of shows the company has been ordering, it’s been less clear what the thought process has been behind the scenes. According to the WSJ report, the discussion gained steam when Tim Cook screened Apple’s first scripted drama, “Vital Signs” — a dark, semi-biographical tale of Dr. Dre that featured drugs, drawn guns, and an “extended orgy” — and axed the show outright as being “too violent,” adding “Apple can’t show this.” From that point, the message from the top within Apple has been to find high-quality shows that have top stars and broad appeal while steering well clear of gratuitous sex, profanity, or violence.

Fall detection on Apple Watch Series 4 only enabled by default for users 65 and over

Apple has published a support document outlining the new “fall detection” feature on the Apple Watch Series 4, most notably pointing out, as reported by MacRumors, that the feature will only be automatically enabled for users who have identified themselves as 65 or older when setting up the Apple Watch or the Health app. Other users can enable the feature manually, however, by visiting the “Emergency SOS” section of the iPhone Watch app. The support document also provides more details on the Fall Detection feature, which Apple introduced at its launch event earlier this month, noting that users will be prompted with an alert after a “significant, hard fall” allowing them to call emergency services, acknowledge that they fell, but that they’re not in need of emergency assistance, or responding that they did not in fact fall — presumably the latter two options will be used to help the Watch refine its fall-detection algorithms to avoid false alerts, but also determines whether an actual fall should be recorded in the Health app.

Belkin announces Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone + Apple Watch

Belkin has announced the expansion of its Boost Up wireless charging dock family with a new model specifically designed to charge the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR alongside the Apple Watch Series 4. The new Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone + Apple Watch ($160), provides optimized 7.5-watt wireless charging for iPhones or other Qi-enabled devices along with standard five-watt charging for the Apple Watch, while an additional USB-A port can charge a third device at a five-watt charging speed. The Apple Watch portion is designed with Nightstand Mode in mind to place the Apple Watch at an optimal viewing angle, and as with Belkin’s other docks, it can charge an iPhone through most cases. A 45-watt AC adapter is included in the box, and of course it’s both Qi and MFi certified. Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone + Apple Watch will be available in December exclusively to Apple Stores.

iFixit publishes iPhone XS and XS Max teardown

As expected, iFixit has posted its [teardown of the new iPhone XS and XS Max], this year doing a simultaneous teardown to explore the innards of both new models side-by-side. iFixit notes that from the outside, the new iPhone models don’t suggest much has changed from last year’s iPhone X, other than the new gold color option and the larger version, suggesting a return to the “tick/tock upgrade cycle” typical of “S” models. Despite the new, higher IP68 rating, opening the new iPhone models was no more difficult than last year’s iPhone X. Inside, the iPhone XS Max sports a larger Taptic Engine and an extended logic board, while the smaller iPhone XS switches up the traditionally rectangular batteries for a single-cell L-shaped battery. The iPhone XS battery actually has a hair less capacity from last year’s iPhone X, coming in at 10.13 Wh (2,659 mAh at 3.81 V) versus 10.35 Wh (2716 mAh at 3.81 V); the iPhone XS Max naturally packs in a larger battery with 12.08 Wh (3,179 mAh at 3.80 V), but remains the more familiar configuration of a pair of rectangular cells. While the L-shaped single-cell design in the iPhone XS is noteworthy, iFixit suggests that the extra corners and edges may make it prone to extra stress.

Chris Evans returning to TV to star in new Apple drama series

Chris Evans has signed on for a new limited Apple drama series, “Defending Jacob,” Variety reports. The actor behind “Captain America” will reportedly both star in and executive product the new series, which will be based on a 2012 best-selling novel by William Landay, which chronicles the life of a father whose 14 year old son is accused of murder. This will be only the second role in a regular television series for Evans, who made his name on the big screen starring in Marvel superhero movies such as the “Fantastic Four” films and of course the recent hit “Avengers: Infinity.” The new Apple drama series was created by Mark Bomback, who will also be writing, executive producing, and serving as showrunner, and who is also known for writing “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Academy Award-nominee Morten Tyldum will executive produce and direct the series.

iPhone XS manual includes references to AirPower

Despite understandable concerns raised after Apple’s iPhone launch event, it seems that reports of AirPower’s death may be greatly exaggerated. Although Apple has been extremely quiet about the AirPower charging pad — even by the company’s usual standards of secrecy — and has tacitly removed every mention of the product from its website, developer Gavin Stephens noted that the printed quick start guide for Apple’s new iPhone XS actually contains a blatant reference to AirPower that seems to have snuck through the cracks. A photo posted by Stephens on Twitter shows a “Charging” section on the same page that appears to describe the Emergency SOS feature, which reads, “Place iPhone with screen facing up on AirPower or a Qi-certified wireless charger.” The manual goes on to add that users can “also use the Lightning connector to charge iPhone” [emphasis added], suggesting that Apple at one point intended to ship the AirPower at the same time as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Audible adds offline playback support for Apple Watch

Audible has updated its Apple Watch app for watchOS 5, offering support for syncing Audible titles from the iPhone to the Apple Watch and then listening to them via Bluetooth headphones without the need for the iPhone nearby. Users can rewind, pause, or even set a sleep timer directly from the Apple Watch, although downloading or streaming of books directly to the Apple Watch over Wi-Fi or cellular doesn’t appear to be supported — users will still need to load them on from the iPhone app before leaving their iPhone behind. [via 9to5Mac

Apple releases Apple Music for Android 2.0 with Android Auto support

Following a beta period late last month, Apple has now released Apple Music for Android on the Google Play store, bringing Android Auto support for its streaming music service at the same time as Apple opens up CarPlay to let Google Maps into the tent. The addition of Android Auto support allows Android users to control the Apple Music experience from their dashboard in much the same way as with other Android audio apps, and the update also adds other new Apple Music features, bringing the app more closely in line with the iOS experience, including the ability to search by lyrics, view new artist pages, access the new Friends Mix, and global Top 100 charts.

Sonarworks now supports over 200 headphones, with iOS app on the way

Earlier this year we took a look at Sonarworks True-Fi, a DSP headphone reference app for Mac users that can round out the sound signature of cheap headphones but also be a great tool for audio enthusiasts by comparing various headphones to true “reference” sound signatures. This week, the company has announced that True-Fi has achieved the milestone of supporting 232 different headphone models, covering a range from common consumer headphones from popular companies like Panasonic, Pioneer, and Behringer — and even Apple’s AirPods — to gaming headsets and wireless earbuds; a list of all supported headphones can be found on the company’s website. Even more significantly, Sonarworks has announced its mobile app set to be released “in the coming weeks,” allowing iPhone users to take advantage of the app’s ability to provide “reference sound” at the push of a button. Sonarworks also continues to add to its growing array of headphone models, which are made available to consumers through updates at no extra cost. True-Fi for Mac and PC is available for $79, and the mobile app is expected to be out “very soon.”

Internal code suggests Memoji iCloud sync, landscape Face ID support may be coming in iOS 12.1

Although the notes for yesterday’s release of the first iOS 12.1 beta offered no information on any upcoming new features, developers have already begun digging through the code to discover what the next point release of iOS 12 may have in store for us. Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac has discovered a new background process named avatarsd that appears to be designed to allow Memoji to sync to other iOS devices via iCloud, although he notes that the feature only seems to be enabled for Apple internal builds of iOS 12.1 at the moment and not developer builds. As Rambo notes, custom Memoji created in iOS 12 is currently only stored locally, which isn’t a problem for most users as it’s currently only supported on the iPhone; however if the rumours are correct that a Face ID capable iPad Pro is in the works, the ability to have custom Memoji synced via iCloud would make a lot of sense.

Apple acknowledges temporarily missing Awards in iOS 12 Activity app

Apple has acknowledged that some Limited Edition Activity Challenge awards may be missing from the Activity app after updating to iOS 12. Specifically, awards won for the Thanksgiving Day Challenge 2016, Mother’s Day Challenge 2017, Veterans Day Challenge 2017, Thanksgiving Day Challenge 2017, and China National Fitness Day 2018 are not appearing for iOS 12 users. An Apple [support document] notes that “Apple is aware of this issue and will address it in an upcoming software update.” [via 9to5Mac]

Apple releases first iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1 betas

Apple has already released the first developer betas for iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, and watchOS 5.1, barely 24 hours after the public releases of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5. With this new round of betas, Apple appears to have moved its release notes into an HTML web page, rather than the PDF versions that have been the norm for the past several years, although all three versions note that “There are no notes or known issues for this software update” although 9to5Mac notes that group FaceTime appears to have returned — a feature that was promised for iOS 12 but pushed to a later version. iOS 12.1 may also add dual-SIM support for the new iPhone models, although there is currently no evidence of that, and in fact there are currently no restore images available for the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, so anybody planning on upgrading to one of the new models may want to avoid installing the new betas for now, as it won’t be possible to restore an iCloud or iTunes backup made with iOS 12.1 onto an iPhone running iOS 12; a similar situation occurred last year with iOS 11.2 and the iPhone X, although Apple was quick to release an iOS 11.2 restore image later the same day as the iPhone X was released. Whether or not that will be the case this year remains to be seen.

Google Maps update adds CarPlay support

Only two days after [going into beta testing], Google has already released an update to Google Maps, adding support for CarPlay in iOS 12. Google Maps 5.0, now available on the App Store, will allow the Google Maps app to be displayed on the in-dash screen in any vehicle support Apple CarPlay, providing turn-by-turn directions and other navigation features for users who prefer using Google Maps. Previously, only Apple Maps could be used with CarPlay, but with iOS 12, developers of third-party navigation apps can now extend their user interface to the CarPlay screen.

Catalyst updates its Impact Protection cases for iPhone XS, XS Max + XR

Catalyst has introduced its full range of impact protection cases for Apple’s new 2018 iPhone lineup. The Catalyst Impact Protection Cases for iPhone XS ($40), iPhone XR ($40), and iPhone XS Max ($50) provide the same high-performance and protection standards that Catalyst is known for, in sizes and form factors for Apple’s newest iPhones. Catalyst’s cases feature one of the highest drop specifications available, protecting an encased iPhone from drops of up to 9.9 feet (3m) and feature a grippy rubber bumper, lanyard attachment, rotating mute switch, and clear back to show off the iPhone. The new versions also feature an angular modern form that better matches the new iPhone styles, and are available in stealth black, clear, and blueridge/sunset color options.

Anki announces Cozmo Limited Edition in Interstellar Blue

Anki has announced another new Limited Edition version of its award-winning Cozmo robotic sidekick, coming in Interstellar Blue later this month. The new version features the same continually expanding capabilities as the standard model and last year’s Liquid Metal edition, providing a fun and expressive robot pet that works with a companion iOS app to allow users to program routines and engage in games and challenges, all while displaying an endearing personality through complex facial expressions on its OLED display and little animal-like noises. In addition to simply playing games and letting Cozmo roll around and act cute, Anki also offers Code Lab that turns Cozmo into more of a STEM toy for learning to code robotic routines in a fun and engaging way. Anki also continues to expand Cozmo’s capabilities through software updates, having pushed out close to 25 free updates in the past two years since the original version was released, providing new interactive experiences, new games, facial animations, and more. The new Limited Edition Cozmo is available on Anki.com for $179.99 and will be arriving in stores in November, and in Canada will be available exclusively through Best Buy, starting on Sept. 23, along with a rollout on various other dates in the U.K., France, Germany, and Australia.

Just Mobile announces new clear case and glass lines for iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

Just Mobile has updated its Tenc Air ($25/$30) clear slim bumper case and [Xkin] ($20–$30) glass screen protectors for the new 2018 iPhone models. In addition, Tenc Air is now slimmer and tougher, with air cushions on all corner and bumper frames, and Xkin Glass has been re-engineered to be more scratch-resistant and capable of wrapping the full curved screen. Both the case and screen protector are designed with minimalism in mind, allows users to protect their new iPhones without hiding the stainless steel design in a bulky case.

Withings makes its comeback with Steel HR Sport

Withings has risen from the ashes of Nokia’s Digital Health business following its buyback earlier this year by one of the company’s original founders, with the introduction of its first new product under the original Withings brand: the Steel HR Sport. This new multi-sport hybrid smartwatch provides a focus on fitness, with heart rate monitoring, connected GPS tracking, and fitness level analytics through an estimation of VO2 max, while also providing a 25-day battery life and a considerably more traditional design than most smartwatches. Steel HR Sport builds on the company’s 2014 Activité, which broke new ground as the first analog watch with advanced activity tracking features, released well prior to the company’s acquisition by Nokia, and features the same elegant design, made from 316L stainless steel and available with either white or black faces and water resistant to 50 meters. The time is shown on a traditional analog watch face, with an analog sub-dial that shows the percentage of daily activity goals achieved, while a small OLED display provides health and sports metrics and notifications from the paired iPhone.

1Password adds support for iOS 12 Password Autofill

Alongside iOS 12, AgileBits has released an update to [1Password] bringing support for the new Password Autofill feature in iOS 12. With 1Password 7.2 and iOS 12, users will now be able to access passwords stored in 1Password directly from the QuickType bar of the keyboard, allowing them to be quickly filled into websites and apps without having to make a trip into the actual 1Password app. This basically extends the autofill capability that Apple has long provided for its own iCloud Keychain to third-party apps, allowing users to keep all of their passwords in a single trusted app while still gaining the benefits of quick autofill in Safari and any other third-party iOS apps supporting autofill password entry. The update also improves a large number of performance enhancements that will make the app faster and more responsive, and, for users of 1Password’s own cloud service, will automatically remain up to date, even in the background.

Apple updates Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for iOS 12

Apple has updated its Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps for iOS 12, bringing support for Siri Shortcuts to all three apps, along with several other new features. Pages now allows users to animate drawings, and enhances the display and use of Smart Annotations.Numbers adds support for Smart Categories to quickly summarize tables, allowing users to group data based on unique values and date ranges, such as day of week, day, week, month, quarter, or year, and can instantly show summaries such as counts, subtotals, averages, and more for the columns in each group. Charts can be easily created from this summarized data, and categories can be reordered to visualize data in different ways. Keynote users can now adjust the text size in presenter notes and invert colors while presenting. All three apps also now allowing drawings to be saved to the Photos or Files apps or shared directly with others, and also add support for Dynamic Type and a collection of new editable shapes. The three apps still only require iOS 11 or later, although support for Siri Shortcuts requires iOS 12.

Cultured Code releases Things 3.7 with key iOS 12 features

Cultured Code announced the release of Things 3.7 today, adding several new useful features for iOS 12, including support for Siri Shortcuts, the Siri Watch Face on watchOS 5, Dynamic Notifications, and landscape orientation support for iPhone users. Support for Siri Suggestions now allows iOS 12 to provide suggestions for routine tasks, such as offering to open up a today list every morning when noticing that a user routinely views it at around the same time each day, while Siri Shortcuts will allow users to record key phrases that can be used to quickly create predefined tasks — complete with details filled in — and pull up specific lists and filter by tags. Things also now integrates more tightly with Apple’s Shortcuts app to allow multi-step workflows that can create tasks from multiple sources. Dynamic notifications in Things 3.7 will provide users with more options to snooze reminders for 10, 30, or or 60 minutes. Things also now supports iOS 12 password autofill for entering a password for Things Cloud, and a basic single-pane landscape mode is now supported in the iPhone version. More details are available in Cultured Code’s blog post.

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