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eBay launches ‘Instant Selling’ program for used iPhones

eBay has launched a new Install Selling program designed to allow users of iPhones and other smartphones to effectively get immediate trade-in value for their used devices. Under the new program, consumers can list their devices for sale and get paid instantly with an eBay voucher, without having to worry about managing the selling process. In addition to providing instant payment — eBay promises the whole process should take only a matter of minutes — eBay is also offering higher returns of up to 40 percent above average trade-in values by competing services. Users can participate in the program by visiting and entering their device info; eBay will determine if it’s eligible for Instant Selling, and after the user adds images, lists the item, and accepts the terms, they will receive an eBay voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a new device on eBay, along with a dedicated eBay shopping label that they can print off to return their old iPhone.

Apple releases fifth betas for iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1

Apple has released a fifth series of developer betas for iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, and watchOS 5.1, again only a week after the fourth betas were released for Apple’s mobile and television operating systems. As with the prior betas, the release notes contain no specific information on what’s changed, or even on what’s being worked on, although prior reports hav suggested that iOS 12.1 will include the promised Group FaceTime and Dual-SIM Standby (DSDS) features. Details on what’s new in watchOS 5.1 and tvOS 12.1 remain considerably more vague. A new public beta of iOS 12.1 will also likely be coming soon via Apple’s Beta Software Program.

Apple reveals iPhone XR repair fees

Apple has updated its Service Pricing page ahead of this week’s launch of the iPhone XR, confirming what the repair costs will be for Apple’s latest iPhone model. In the U.S., an out-of-warranty iPhone XR with a damaged screen will set users back $199 for a repair, while other damage will cost $399 — pricing that’s roughly on par with the iPhone 8 Plus and considerably cheaper than even last year’s iPhone X, much less the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models. These prices of course exclude problems that are covered under warranty as a result of manufacturing defects, as well as any incidents of accidental damage from handling that may be covered under an AppleCare+ agreement; AppleCare+ for the iPhone XR costs $149 and provides coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage, with screen repairs charged at $29 and other damage billed at $99. [via MacRumors]

Apple designed 371 logos for its Oct. 30 event invites

Last week Apple sent out media invites for another special event being held in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct. 30, and while a number of reports revealed that each of the invites contained artistic variations on the Apple logo, it turns out that there was far many more versions created than most expected — 371 in total according to a tweet by CNN reporter Heather Kelly, potentially enough for a unique logo to have appeared on every individual invite that was sent out to the press.

Apple debuts USB-C Apple Watch charger

Apple has quietly added a new USB-C compatible magnetic charger for the Apple Watch to its online store. The new Apple Watch Magnetic Charger to USB-C Cable sells for $29 and appears to be designed primarily to accommodate users who may need to charge their Apple Watch from Apple’s new MacBooks that only provide USB-C ports. The USB-C version of the charge is notably only available in a 0.3-meter version, which sells for the same $29 price as both the 0.3-meter and one-meter USB-A chargers. The charger otherwise appears to work in the same manner as Apple’s other inductive Apple Watch chargers, and users should not expect any faster charging as the Apple Watch is not capable of drawing any higher current than a basic USB-A connection can provide anyway. [via 9to5Mac].

Google Maps for iOS gets real-time trip and ETA sharing

Google has announced that its real-time location sharing feature is now available in the iOS version of Google Maps. Introduced into the Android version last year, the feature allows Google Maps users to share travel details, such as letting friends and family know when you’re expected to arrive somewhere. Users can easily begin sharing live location, route, and ETA with selected contacts by selecting “Share Trip Progress” from the menu, and with today’s update users on both Android and iOS will be able to share trip information via third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The feature isn’t designed to provide full “Find My Friends” style persistent location sharing, but rather only to help those close to you keep track of your progress while on a specific trip; sharing automatically ends once your journey does. The feature is supported not only for driving, but also in walking and cycling navigation modes as well.

Square announces Terminal standalone point-of-sale solution

Square has just released Square Terminal, a new all-in-one point of sale solution for the company’s payments service. Rather than relying on an accessory attached to an iPhone or iPad, Square Terminal provides full end-to-end credit card processing for traditional swipe and chip card payment methods as well as contactless payments, including support for Apple Pay. The device connects to Square via Wi-Fi, and includes a touchscreen for keying in transactions and amounts, as well as a built-in receipt printer for issuing paper receipts (although Square’s e-mail and text receipt options are also still available with the terminal as well). A built-in battery and durable construction allows the terminal to be used anywhere without needing to be tethered to a desk, meaning it can be used in environments like restaurants and also be easily set up at trade shows and other events, although merchants will need to either have a Wi-Fi network or mobile hotspot available, although an offline mode allows users to keep taking payments even when no internet connection is available. Terminal is available in the U.S. only for now, and sells for $399, although Square is offering a $300 processing credit for merchants who are new to Square.

Apple announces Oct. 30 special event in Brooklyn, New York

Apple today sent out media invites for another special event on Oct. 30, this time being held in Brooklyn, New York, and therefore starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, rather than Pacific Time. It’s widely expected that Apple will announce new iPad Pro models and Mac hardware at this event, as has been the trend in the past toward keeping the company’s September event focused on the iPhone. The tagline on the invites for this event is “There’s more in the making,” and Apple’s new event page actually lists a whole collection of different stylized Apple logos, with a new one appearing each time you load the page. Event invites sent to media also featured different logos, and according to MacRumors, it appears to be several dozen, with approximately 10 shown randomly on the event page, while others were used only on the event invites. [via The Verge]

Apple hosting special Today at Apple sessions for ‘The Big Draw’

Apple is hosting special drawing-themed Today at Apple sessions in celebration of The Big Draw Festival taking place this month. A worldwide celebration of drawing, The Big Draw is the world’s largest drawing festival, and Apple is participating this year by offering 108 different sessions in eight of its flagship stores, including 22 sessions hosted in London, five of which will be in association with the Royal Academy. Other stores in Milan, Dubai, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, and Singapore will also be offering the special sessions.

Apple cracking down on misleading in-app free trial subscriptions

Following an exposé earlier this week that revealed a number of apps using deceptive marketing practices to trick users into signing up for expensive in-app subscriptions, Apple now appears to be cracking down on such apps, according to a follow-up report by Forbes, who originally broke the story earlier this month. According to multiple app develops, Apple has begun “systemically combing through” subscription apps on the App Store, looking for those with potentially confusing terms of service, removing those “that look problematic.” According to one developer, Albert Renshaw, who received a rejection notice after Apple “re-evaluated” their app, it appears that Apple is automatically removing many “non-big-name” apps that are showing high in-app subscription revenues, sending out notices to developers indicating that auto-renewable subscriptions are being “marketed in a manner that may mislead of confuse users about the subscription terms of pricing,” citing section 3.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

Apple’s full Data & Privacy Portal now available in U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Apple’s full Data and Privacy Portal is now available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, MacRumors has discovered. While the data download option is being gradually rolled out, soon all Apple users in those countries will be able to download a complete copy of the data that Apple has associated with their Apple ID, including not only the standard information such as calendars, reminders, photos, and iCloud documents, but also purchase history, Game Center activity, AppleCare support history, app usage history, and more. The expanded version of the Data and Privacy Portal, which previously only allowed users to correct their data or delete their account, launched earlier this year in the European Union in order to comply with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), although Apple said at the time that it would eventually be rolling out the feature worldwide. While Apple has allowed customers to manually request this data for some time, the new portal streamlines the process considerably.

Apple announces iPhone XR pre-orders opening, iPhone XS coming to 30+ more countries Oct. 19

Apple has posted an announcement outlining the expecting opening of preorders for the iPhone XR this Friday, Oct. 19, while also adding that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will be landing in over 30 new countries on the same day. As usual, Apple will open pre-orders for the iPhone XR on Friday, Oct. 19 at 12:01 a.m. PST via the Apple online store on the web and in the Apple Store app, and the iPhone XR will be available in over 50 countries and territories beginning next Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 a.m. local time, with some amount of stock in Apple Stores being reserved for walk-in customers. The iPhone XR is being sold in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB versions in black, white, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED, with all models expected to be available for pre-order and retail purchase on launch day, and a portion of the proceeds from iPhone XR (PRODUCT)RED purchases will go directly to Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants. Apple has also announced that the iPhone XR will be coming to Israel on Nov. 1, and Armenia, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Macau, Maldives, Myanmar, Ukraine and Vietnam on Nov. 2. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will also be available for pre-order in more than 30 additional countries and territories including Chile, Colombia, Malaysia and Thailand on Oct. 19, and will be coming to South Korea and over 10 other countries and territories on Nov. 2.

The Sims FreePlay adds augmented reality with ARKit 2

Electronic Arts and Maxis have released a new “Brilliant Backyards” update for The Sims FreePlay, adding support for Apple’s ARKit 2 to allow users to not only place their Sims in real-world settings, but also share real-time co-op building experiences with a friend. Users can build their Sims’ dream homes in a real-world environment, and even tie the AR experience to a specific location so they can return to it anytime. A trailer has also been published demonstrating the new ARKit features.

Report: Apps using deceptive practices to trick users into expensive subscriptions

A new report from TechCrunch reveals that a number of developers are taking advantage of Apple’s in-app subscription model to trick users into signing up for expensive recurring plans. While the apps in question aren’t always running blatantly afoul of Apple’s App Store Guidelines, they do appear to be skirting the guidelines by internationally confusing and misleading users with promises of “free trials” that require payment after only a few days. TechCrunch notes that the worst offenders appear to be in the “Utilities” category, where apps like QR code readers, document scanners, translators, and weather apps are placing in the Top Grossing apps chart not far below legitimate leaders like Fortnite and Netflix.

Apple releases fourth set of betas of iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1

Apple has released a fourth set of developer betas for iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, and watchOS 5.1, less than a week after the release of the third betas. The release notes on this new beta cycle continue to be sparse, with no notes or known issues, suggesting Apple is likely just continuing to fix bugs and performance issues and polish the Group FaceTime and Dual-SIM Standby (DSDS) features that have been discovered in prior iOS 12.1 betas. Details on what’s new in watchOS 5.1 and tvOS 12.1 remain considerably more vague. A new public beta of iOS 12.1 will also likely be coming soon via Apple’s Beta Software Program.

Adobe officially previews Photoshop on the iPad, coming in 2019

Adobe officially announced its plans today to bring the full Photoshop CC experience to the iPad. The announcement confirms a report from the summer, which suggested that the new app would be unveiled at Adobe’s MAX conference in October, with the release scheduled for 2019, but didn’t provide too many details other than that it would be a full release of Photoshop CC, rather than the scaled down “lite” or focused single-app attempts that Adobe has previously come up with. While today’s announcement still doesn’t provide a specific release date beyond “in the future,” Adobe has provided some additional details on what the iPad experience will be like, noting that it’s “bringing real Photoshop to mobile devices with an approachable user experience and the power and precision needed for image compositing” and that it will work as a standalone app or as a companion that will sync with Photoshop on the desktop via Adobe’s Creative Cloud platform. Users will be able to open PSD files natively directly on an iPad, and use the same editing tools, optimized for the touchscreen interface, and Adobe notes that the iPad version will use “the same underlying code and algorithms” as the desktop version, providing the same results from editing on either platform, and direct round-tripping of the same PSD files between the iPad and the desktop versions of Photoshop.

Apple donating 1000 Apple Watches in support of UNC binge eating study

Apple plans to donate 1000 Apple Watches to the Binge Eating Genetics INitiative (BEGIN), a new study being conducted by the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine on binge-eating disorders, according to CNBC. The study is intended to provide a better understanding of compulsive overeating and compensatory behaviour such as purging or excessive exercise, known as bulimia nervosa, with the goal of developing better treatments for both conditions. According to the report, the researchers for the study, which is part of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at UNC under the auspices of the Department of Psychiatry, are hoping to recruit 1000 participants aged 18 or older who have experience with one of the subject disorders.

Apple acquires music analytics startup Asaii

Apple has acquired music analytics startup Asaii, according to a report by Axios. Citing unnamed sources, the deal was reportedly worth less than $100 million, and was presumably done as part of Apple’s attempt to bolster its content recommendations to end users as well as possibly helping Apple to identify smaller artists to work with. Asaii has been pioneering efforts to use machine learning that it claims can help discover new, up-and-coming artists weeks before they break out on the top charts, as well as viewing trends of all artists to identify areas where promotional and marketing campaigns are most successful. Asaii was founded two years ago by Sony Theakanath, Austin Chen, and Chris Zhang, who between them have previously worked at Apple, Facebook, Uber, Salesforce, and Yelp, however according to their LinkedIn profiles, all three are now part of the Apple Music team. [via MacRumors]

Pocket rolls out major app redesign for better reading and listening experience

Popular read-it-later service Pocket has just announced a major update to its Pocket app for iOS, featuring a more modern and clean design layout along with an improved listen feature for users who like to have their save articles read to them. The new user interface provides a noticeably more comfortable reading experience with better use of white space to reduce the feel of clutter in the article listing, along with new typography and an improved dark theme for better night reading. The full-screen reading experience is entirely distraction-free, hiding all controls when in scrolling mode to focus entirely on the text, and the lower toolbar has been redesigned to place commonly used tools toward the right corner, along with the more prominent placement of the “Listen” button. The voice narration also now features a new and more human-sounding voice for those who want to be able to listen to their articles when on the go or simply relaxing on the couch. Pocket continues to offer the iOS app and basic bookmarking service for free, while a $45/year “Premium” tier adds additional features such as full-text search, a permanent archive of saved articles, suggested tags, additional customizability, and an ad-free experience.

Apple plans to release a clear case for the iPhone XR

It appears Apple may be planning a new addition to its traditional lineup of silicone and leather iPhone cases with a new clear case option for the upcoming iPhone XR. An observant Twitter user in Canada discovered a reference at the bottom of Apple’s Canadian iPhone XR press release, noting that “Apple-designed accessories for iPhone XR including a clear case will be available starting at $55 (CAD)” — a note that is conspicuously missing from the main U.S. release. While the omission of any reference to the new case from the U.S. press release might suggest that Apple doesn’t plan to release the new case option in the U.S., this would be a particularly odd move on the part of Apple, which traditionally takes the opposite approach of making its products available in the U.S. in advance of international availability. [via 9to5Mac]

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