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Apple drops Bing for Siri and Spotlight searches, moves to Google

Apple has switched Siri and Spotlight’s default searches to Google, leaving Bing behind and bringing the searches in line with Safari, TechCrunch reports. Apple’s web browser already used Google — both on macOS and iOS — so the move should make the results returned in Siri and Spotlight more consistent with Safari. For the time being Bing is still the go-to for Siri image searches, and video results are delivered courtesy of YouTube. Now if users want to use Bing for Siri searches they’ll have to specify that in their request, but Google is far more popular so the change is unlikely to cause many problems.

Apple hiring editor to curate live sports content, developing AR technology for MLB

Apple is making a push into the sports world on multiple fronts, posting a job opening for a sports editor “to lead content curation and programming for the recently-announced live sports feature in the Apple TV app.” Unsurprisingly the post is looking for someone who lives and breathes sports of all kinds and has extensive experience in all aspects of the television business. The new live TV features coming down the pipe with tvOS 11 include on-screen notifications for games and all kinds of tracking abilities for fans, but direct deals with the sports leagues that are streaming the content will still be necessary for access to live events.

Some 2018 iPhones may stick with LCD screens, include new 3D Touch sensors

The iPhone X hasn’t even opened up for pre-orders yet and speculation has already turned to what’s in store for 2018, with The Korea Herald reporting that Apple is eyeing releasing a 5.85” OLED iPhone and a larger LCD model. The report claims Apple has scrapped work on a 5.28” OLED iPhone in favor of the larger devices and has already placed orders with Japan Display for LCD screens larger than 6”. It’s unclear whether both of the new devices will feature the same narrow bezels of the iPhone X, so it’s hard to tell how the purported increase in screen measurements will affect the overall footprint of the device.

Report: 3D camera improvements slowing down iPhone X production

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple suppliers are having trouble shipping the TrueDepth camera components the company needs to produce the iPhone X, MacRumors reports. “The 3D sensing (TrueDepth camera) on iPhone X is composed of a structured-light system, time-of-flight system and a front-facing camera, which represents a far more complex structure than those of rivals,” Kuo said in a note to investors. “It will therefore be harder to achieve mass production.” Kuo sees production finally ramping up in mid-October, but with pre-orders slated to begin on October 27, Kuo thinks the iPhone X will likely be in very limited supply for a few months at least.

Apple Watch Series 3 teardown finds little change outside of LTE chips

The iFixit teardown of the Apple Watch Series 3 found the guts of the device are mostly the same as the Apple Watch Series 2, minus the new LTE components that give the new device its cellular capabilities. The 1.07 Whr battery only provides a 4 percent increase over the previous model — by comparisson the Apple Watch Series 2 got a 32 percent improvement in battery capacity over the original Apple Watch. Apple promoted the barometric pressure sensor as a new addition during its Keynote, and while iFixit found it in a new place in this model, the site discovered one in the Apple Watch Series 2 as well. The lack of changes to the new device has led to speculation that Apple had been planning to make the Apple Watch Series 2 a cellular device but didn’t quite make it in time — as was reported at the time — but it’s also possible that making the Series 2 GPS-compatible laid the groundwork for what would come after.

Super Mario Run new levels and characters, temporary price cut

After users complained about the high price and lack of updates to Super Mario Run, Nintendo will be releasing an update with a new playable character, new levels, new enemies and a “Remix 10” mode that challenges users to “play a set of 10 super-short sections from Super Mario Run’s existing levels in quick succession.” Rescuing Daisy in Remix 10 mode will unlock her as a playable character and give users access to her double-jump to help best difficult levels. The company will release the update Friday after last updating the game in March, and for the two weeks after the update the game will cost $5 instead of the usual $10 on the App Store.

Apple increases iTunes movie rental time to 48 hours for US users

Apple has increased the time a user has to finish or rewatch a movie rented from iTunes from 24 hours to 48 hours for U.S. users, according to the company’s updated support document. Users in the U.S. users have 30 days from the time they rent a movie to begin watching it, and now they’ll have twice as much time to finish it. The 48 hour window to watch an iTunes rental has been available since the beginning of iTunes movie rentals in Canada and the U.K. — among other countries — and it’s not entirely clear why the U.S. had a shorter time limit. The company also recently made 4K movies available for rent at the same price as HD movies (but they can’t be downloaded for offline viewing).

iPhone 8, 8 Plus support Enhanced Voice Services, but users reporting static in calls

Takashi Tanaka, President of Japan’s KDDI cellular provider, said the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support Enhanced Voice Services that provide clearer calls and boost the connection’s reliability, according to Engadget’s Japanese-language site. The codec is the next step in Apple’s HD Voice, which has been around since the iPhone 8. The latest incarnation — which Gizmodo reports is being called “Enhanced HD Voice” in the UK — boosts the upper frequency range of calls from 7kHz to 14.4kHz, but it only works when both users have phones with the capabilities.

Anki launches Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition

Anki has launched Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition ($170), taking the company’s evolved battle-racing game to new levels by blending it with the adrenaline-fueled world of Fast & Furious. Players will be able to challenge Toretto crew A.I. characters, including Dom, Hobbs, Letty, and Tej, as well as battle against their friends and family in two film-inspired robotic supercars — Hobbs’ iconic and tough International MXT and Dom’s super-fast Ice Charger. The modular track pieces also get an upgrade in the new edition, with a new Power Zone track piece that triggers a massive “hack” as players drive through it. The new Fast & Furious Edition is compatible with the existing Anki Overdrive product family, including the already available roster of supercars and expansion kits. Be sure to check back for our full review of the new kit.

iFixit posts teardown of iPhone 8

iFixit has posted its usual complete teardown of the iPhone 8, as usual confirming much of the information that’s already been revealed while discovering a few additional interesting details. The new iPhone 8 model appears very similar to its predecessor on the outside, and is only a fraction of a millimetre larger in its dimensions. The model is identified from the box as A1863, although the report notes that it’s now conspicuously absent from the iPhone 8’s new all-glass back, thanks to a recent law that allows this information to be displayed only in the software.

Apple Watch Series 3 unboxing photos

The new Apple Watch Series 3 has also just arrived, so we’re posting a quick first look at Apple’s latest wearable. The images highlight some of the subtleties of the new model, such as a red circle on the Digital Crown that’s used to distinguish the GPS+Cellular version from the non-cellular version of the Series 3. Otherwise, the Series 3 bears a striking resemblance to last year’s Series 2; Apple noted a very slight thickness increase, but as we’d expect it’s not noticeable to the naked eye. While it looks the same on the outside, the internals have been significantly upgraded, not only adding a cellular radio and eSIM, but also a considerably faster processor, a more power-efficient “W2” wireless chip, and a barometric sensor. The box includes the usual 5W USB power adapter and Apple Watch charging adapter. We’ll be putting the Apple Watch Series 3 through its paces over the next few days so be on the lookout for our full review next week.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Unboxing + comparison photos

We’ve just gotten our hands on Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models, and we’ve posted a quick first look with some unboxing and comparison photos. Users familiar with past iPhone models will find no real surprises here; despite support for rapid charging, Apple still only bundles its standard 5W power adapter, along with the usual wired EarPods and standard Lightning cable. The new glass backs on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus hearken back to the iPhone 4 era, and make the space gray version look closer to last year’s jet black iPhone 7 than the matte black version. The high gloss glass back on the silver iPhone 7 still isn’t quite as white as the iPhone 4/4s models, but it definitely bears a closer resemblance. The new iPhones both ship with iOS 11. Keep your eyes out for our full, independent, comprehensive review of the new iPhone models next week once we’ve had a chance to put them through their paces.

iPhone X production faces further ‘incremental delay’ to mid-October

Apple’s new iPhone X is experiencing an “incremental delay” in its build plans that will likely delay production until mid-October, according to a new investor note obtained by Barron’s. The note reveals that production of the flagship iPhone doesn’t appear to have started yet, and the mid-October production start represents a one-month delay compared to previous expectations. The investor note primarily concerns itself with aspect of when Apple would be able to realize earnings from the sale of the new iPhone, noting that production would shift more into “the December quarter” and that it relates to the “tone and expectations” for that quarter. It’s not entirely clear, however, whether Apple has already factored in these production delays into its promised Nov. 3 ship date, or whether that date could possibly slip, however the note does seem to make it more likely that availability of the new iPhone X may be more limited than originally anticipated.

Toshiba nears deal to sell chip business to group that includes Apple

Toshiba has chosen a group led by Bain Capital — which includes Apple — to buy its ailing chip business, The Wall Street Journal reports. Toshiba has outlined a plan to stay involved in the business after the estimated $18 billion sale, signing a “nonbinding document saying they intended to reach a deal by September 30.” The deal still has to clear a review from antitrust regulators and objections from Toshiba partner Western Digital, which claims it has the right to veto the sale. Toshiba disputes that claim, and the issue is headed for international arbitration. If the deal ends up going through, Apple would likely find it much easier to secure its chip supply as demand continues to increase. Some Apple products have seen slight price increases in the past few weeks, leading to speculation that rising memory costs could be to blame, so locking down a reliable supply would leave one less thing for Apple to worry about as it continues pushing the limits of its internal components and trying to bring more of its production in-house.

Ikea, Overstock.com, Game Insight, Strava and more launch ARKit apps

With the release of iOS 11, a series of companies are debuting their ARKit apps to the world. Ikea’s Ikea Place app — first revealed at WWDC — allows users to place models of Ikea furniture right in their room to see how it would look at home in real time, and a similar feature in Overstock.com’s app allows the placement of thousands of the site’s products in a similar fashion. SmartPicture Technologies’ PLNAR app will help users measure the dimensions of the room itself, providing digital measurements of any surface by mapping the room’s anchor points. Strava has used the framework to create Fitness AR, an app that lets users see the surroundings from their planned rides, runs and hikes plotted out on a 3D map that shows terrain and elevation. Game Insight’s My Country and Guns of Boom games are both adding new AR capabilities, allowing users a bird’s eye view of the game environments. These are just a few of the ARKit apps popping up so far, so let us know in the comments what you’d like to see or which new apps you find useful and entertaining.

Apple still working bugs out of Apple Watch Series 3 Wi-Fi connectivity, iOS 11 Mail app

While Apple has done extensive hardware and software testing before rolling out its new products, reviewers have found a serious problem with the way the Apple Watch Series 3 handles Wi-Fi connectivity, The Verge reports. The new LTE Apple Watch is supposed to be more of a standalone device than the previous models, able to use cellular data rather than relying solely on Wi-Fi, but the reviewer found that two separate Apple Watches both experienced the same problem of trying to connect to unknown (and potentially dangerous) Wi-Fi connections rather than switching to cellular. With the device set to ship Friday, Apple has admitted that the company has “discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release.”

Apple waiting on iPhone X performance to decide if 2018 iPhones all get Face ID

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has already turned his focus to next year’s iPhones, claiming that Apple is waiting on the reaction to the iPhone X to see if all the 2018 models should feature Face ID, according to a report seen by 9to5Mac. If the customer reaction proves positive, all of next year’s models could get the TrueDepth front camera that facilitates Face ID. Even if the reaction is mixed, Face ID could still come to all the next iPhones due to difficulties in embedding a fingerprint sensor under the 3D Touch-capable screen to eliminate the home button. But if Face ID is a flop with users, Kuo says it might be worth the effort for Apple to kunckle down and get the fingerprint scanner working after all.

Apple releases iOS 11 with improvements to HomeKit, new App Store, updates to Camera, Siri and more

After months of betas, Apple has released iOS 11 to the general public. Coming mostly as it was advertised at WWDC, the new operating system features a long list of updates, including new HomeKit compatibility thanks to AirPlay 2 capabilities and improved controls for timers, location triggers, speakers and sunrise/sunset times. For devices with cameras that support it, Portrait mode has been expanded to include image stabilization, HDR and True Tone flash, and all photos and videos will take up half as much space thanks to Apple’s new photo and video formats. Maps gain support for indoor details of some larger buildings — like airports and malls — and Apple Music will gain new social features, adding a new “Friends are Listening to” section in the Music app. The Control Center has been completely reimagined and Siri has gained new natural male and female voices built using deep learning along with a new visual interface.

Apple releases tvOS 11 and watchOS 4 to the public

Alongside today’s iOS 11 release, Apple has made tvOS 11 and watchOS 4 available to all users. The tvOS update isn’t quite as flashy as its iOS counterpart, but it does add some cool new features like automatic Dark Mode, iCloud home screen syncing, support for the new AirPlay 2 protocol and tweaks to the interfaces of the Computers, HomeKit and Music apps to streamline the experience. Music also gets an update in watchOS 4, adding support for storing multiple playlists on the Watch itself, as well as automatically saving music from the paired iPhone to the Apple Watch based on a user’s listening habits.

August updates Smart Lock, unveils Smart Lock Pro, Doorbell Cam Pro

August has updated its Smart Lock and created the new Smart Lock Pro, adding an integrated DoorSense sensor that can let users know remotely whether their door is open or closed. The new Smart Lock ditches the large cylindrical look of the original for a more traditional thumb turn, and also shaves the price from $229 to $149. The more upscale Smart Lock Pro ($279) maintains the original look and includes a Connect Wi-Fi Bridge to allow for control through HomeKit, Bluetooth and Z-Wave Plus. The company’s Doorbell Cam Pro has added a flood light to its original design, and the light can be motion triggered to monitor outside the home at night. As soon as we get our hands on the new models we’ll post full reviews, so check back soon.

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