Another reliable source corroborates 2018 iPad Pro USB-C rumor

Japanese publication Mac Otakara has reportedly heard from several accessory makers attending the Global Source Mobile Electronics Trade Fair that the upcoming iPad Pro tablets for 2018 would indeed ship with a USB-C port, not Lightning.

The fairly reliable Japanese publication Mac Otakara claims to have heard from sources in Apple’s supply chain that the upcoming iPad Pro models for 2018 would sport a USB-C port.... Read the rest of this post here


"Another reliable source corroborates 2018 iPad Pro USB-C rumor" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

homepod-features

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker sure sounds good, but is it worth the $349 asking price? Should you wait for the company to release a cheaper version, or hold off buying altogether? There’s no lack of great-sounding wireless speakers on the market, and most of them cost significantly less than the HomePod. But the HomePod is the only smart speaker that comes with a few of Apple’s signature tricks up its sleeve. Today we’ll take a look at the feature list to help you make a better informed purchase. 1. Flawless Apple Music Support If you’re an Apple Music user, there’s…

Read the full article: 12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

homepod-features

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker sure sounds good, but is it worth the $349 asking price? Should you wait for the company to release a cheaper version, or hold off buying altogether?

There’s no lack of great-sounding wireless speakers on the market, and most of them cost significantly less than the HomePod. But the HomePod is the only smart speaker that comes with a few of Apple’s signature tricks up its sleeve.

Today we’ll take a look at the feature list to help you make a better informed purchase.

1. Flawless Apple Music Support

If you’re an Apple Music user, there’s no better smart speaker on the market. HomePod comes with built-in support for Apple Music. That means you don’t even need to use your iPhone to control the speaker—you can simply play songs from the service with a voice command using Siri.

With a simple “Hey Siri” you can search for a song, artist, or playlist by name. As of iOS 12, you can now search Apple Music by lyric too. You can also directly control Apple Music on the HomePod using your iPhone or iPad, or output to HomePod via the Apple Music for Android app.

Apple HomePod

Siri also allows you to add currently playing songs to playlists and your iCloud Music Library. You can start radio stations based on songs or artists too. And it’s easy to train Siri by saying “I like this” or “I don’t like this” to improve recommendations across all devices.

2. Play Any Audio From iOS, Mac, or iTunes

HomePod in iTunes

If you prefer to listen to music via Spotify, your own personal iTunes collection, or another app entirely, you can. But it won’t work flawlessly like Apple Music since the only streaming service built into the HomePod is Apple Music.

Select HomePod as an output on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or in iTunes for Mac and Windows to transmit audio. You can output system audio from a Mac, play chiptunes from your smartphone, or use multiple HomePods to enjoy your iTunes collection in more than one room.

Unfortunately, HomePod doesn’t function as a regular Bluetooth speaker. That means you can’t pair it with an Android smartphone or Windows PC.

3. HomePod Supports Apple’s Podcasts Catalog

You can play any podcast from Apple’s Podcasts directory without the need for any subscriptions. Simply tell Siri what you’d like to listen to, and enjoy. Since podcasts really found their footing during the era of the iPod and iTunes, Apple’s directory is enormous and offers a huge range of shows to choose from.

You can use the following modifiers to find exactly what you’re looking for:

  • “Hey Siri, play the newest episode of [podcast].”
  • “Hey Siri, play the first episode of [podcast].”
  • “Hey Siri, subscribe to this podcast.”
  • “Hey Siri, play my new podcasts.”

4. Play Beats One for Free

Even if you’re not an Apple Music subscriber, you still get access to Apple’s only free radio station, Beats 1. Just tell Siri to start playing Beats 1 and enjoy the curated channel whenever you like. It’s a paltry offering, but it’s better than nothing.

5. Send and Read Your Messages

Since HomePod syncs to a single Apple ID via an iOS device, you can use your voice and Siri to send and read messages via the smart speaker. It works just how it does on iOS—tell Siri who you want to send a message to and what it says.

HomePod Personal Requests

You can also ask Siri to read your messages, though be aware that everyone will be able to do the same if you leave Personal Requests on and disable Require Authentication under HomePod settings.

Try the following commands:

  • “Hey Siri, send a message to my wife.”
  • “Hey Siri, read that last message.”
  • “Hey Siri, read my messages.”

6. Place and Answer Calls

HomePod with Black Cat

As of iOS 12, you can now use your HomePod to place and answer calls to contacts via your iPhone. You’ll need your iOS device powered on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this to work. You can place regular phone calls, FaceTime and group FaceTime calls, and even listen to voicemail messages.

Try the following commands:

  • “Hey Siri, call my wife.”
  • “Hey Siri, answer the phone” (when a call is incoming).
  • “Hey Siri, check my voicemail.”
  • “Hey Siri, who just called?”

You can also transfer a call to your HomePod from your iPhone. During a call, tap on the audio button and select HomePod from the list of outputs. Wait a second and you should be able to continue your call on the speaker.

7. Ask Siri Just About Anything

Siri functions similarly on the HomePod as on any other iOS device, give or take a few limitations. This includes all manner of music-based trivia, like “What song is this?” and “When was this released?” to “Play the latest Grammy nominees” and “Who plays drums for Iron Maiden?”

HomePod

Siri can also turn up or down the volume (“Hey Siri, turn it up”) or pause your currently playing audio. You can ask for local knowledge like “Find a nearby garage” or “I’m hungry” and get news and sports headlines with “What’s the news?” and “Who’s top of the Premier League?”.

Siri can also answer questions about the weather, perform basic math, convert currency and units of measurement, create reminders, and spell words for you. If in doubt, ask Siri!

8. Control Your HomeKit Devices

HomePod HomeKit

If you have smart home appliances, connected lighting, and other HomeKit gadgets, HomePod can function as a smart home hub. Since the microphone on a HomePod is generally a lot better at hearing you than the one on your iPhone, it makes a lot of sense to use HomePod for this purpose.

It functions exactly the same way it does on your iPhone. Simply ask Siri to “turn off the lights” or “set the temperature to seventy degrees” and your will shall be done. If you take the time to set up rooms in the iOS Home app, you can tell Siri to “turn off the living room lights” too.

You can also create Scenes in this app to automate several devices at once, then trigger them using your HomePod.

9. Set Multiple (Cooking) Timers

I have a single HomePod in the kitchen. It’s the room where I spend the most time, and where I find the HomePod most useful. By far the most-used function on my HomePod is its ability to set timers when cooking. As of iOS 12, you can now set multiple timers.

Simply ask Siri to “set a timer for 45 seconds” or half an hour, several hours, or however long you like. At any point you can ask “Hey Siri, how’s the timer?” or even tell the assistant to repeat the timer when you’re done.

You can also convert measurements on the fly, listen to music or podcasts while you cook, answer the phone or send messages while your hands are covered in flour—there’s no better room in which to place to your HomePod.

10. Translate Anything on the Fly

Another Siri trick that could come in handy when you least expect it is language translation. You can ask your HomePod to translate text from English to Mandarin, Spanish, German, Italian and French. Apple plans to add more languages in future updates.

11. Use HomePod as a Speaker for Apple TV Content

HomePod playing music

If you’re going for a HomePod in your living room, why not use Siri as a speaker for your TV? This only works with the Apple TV, but the devices handle the slight delay introduced by Bluetooth so that the picture and audio match up perfectly.

You can do this two ways. Head to Settings > Video and Audio on your Apple TV and select Audio Output where you can specify your HomePod. Or hold the Play/Pause button on your Apple TV remote to bring up the audio menu and select your HomePod. It’s a great feature to have if you’re using Apple Music to play music videos and your TV speakers just aren’t cutting it.

12. Trigger Siri Shortcuts With HomePod

A few years ago Apple acquired Workflow, an app that facilitated automating certain tasks on iOS. As part of iOS 12 it relaunched as Shortcuts, providing the same functionality with one key improvement: custom Siri commands.

If you’ve taken the time to set up Shortcuts in iOS 12, you can trigger these shortcuts using Siri on your HomePod. Just make sure the HomePod is linked to the same Apple ID!

And the Apple HomePod Sounds Great!

This is not so much a feature, but definitely a selling point. If you’re using Apple Music, HomePod uses custom equalizer settings for each song. When you pick the HomePod up and set it down again, it automatically tunes itself to the room you’re in. It’s truly impressive that such high-quality audio can come from something so small.

The HomePod’s sound is powerful, with rich bass and clean mid-tones, making it perfect for a range of genres. Even if Siri integration leaves you unimpressed, the HomePod delivers excellent sound quality for the admittedly steep price tag.

Check our full HomePod review for further thoughts.

Read the full article: 12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

The 7 great features that will hopefully return to the MacBook Pro

I miss the old MacBook Pro. Remember when the MacBook Pro had a good keyboard? Or an SD Card slot? Or an escape key? I miss the time when the MacBook Pro was 2mm thicker than the current version but had a full-size USB port. Remember the wonder of MagSafe? Or the glory that was […]

I miss the old MacBook Pro. Remember when the MacBook Pro had a good keyboard? Or an SD Card slot? Or an escape key? I miss the time when the MacBook Pro was 2mm thicker than the current version but had a full-size USB port.

Remember the wonder of MagSafe? Or the glory that was using a MacBook Pro outside because of the matte screen?

Remember when the power adapter for Apple’s laptops had little fold-out tabs to hold the cord? There was also a time that a random brush of the keyboard wouldn’t trigger Siri.

There was a time when Apple made great laptops and there is now.

Yesterday Apple announced an upcoming event where the company will likely release new laptops and iPads. These are some of the features TechCrunch writers hope return to Apple’s notebook computers.

Escape Key

The Touch Bar is clever. I like it most of the time. But I like the escape key more. Right now, on Macs equipped with the TouchBar, the escape key is a temporary button on the TouchBar. It’s positioned off-center, too, which forces users to relearn its location.

It’s silly. The escape key has been with PCs for generations and is critical across applications and use cases. Everyone from causal gamers to coders use the escape key on a regular basis.

Keep the TouchBar, but make it a bit smaller and position it between an escape key and a real power button. Just give me my escape key back. And make Siri optional. I’ve had a TouchBar-equipped MacBook Pro for nearly two years and have yet to find a reason to use Siri.

USB Ports

I’m over living the dongle life. From everything from charging a phone to connecting a camera, standard USB ports need to return to the MacBook Pro. Since we’re dreaming here, I would love to have one per side. The PC industry has been slow to jump on USB-C. Even Apple hasn’t gone all-in and that’s the issue here.

Think about it: If a person buys a MacBook Pro and iPhone, that person cannot connect their iPhone to their new MacBook Pro without buying an adapter or cable. Same goes for an iPad. If a person wants to buy a new iPad and new MacBook Pro, the two products cannot connect out of the box.

Apple launched the USB-C equipped MacBook Pro in 2016. It’s 2018. For a company that understands ecosystems, Apple has done a poor job ensuring all of its products are compatible out of the box. The first USB-C Apple Watch cable was released today.

SD Card Slot

The MacBook Pro is billed as a laptop for the mobile professional yet it doesn’t allow some mobile professionals to connect their gear without adapters.

The SD Card is the overwhelming standard of photographers and videographers — a key audience for the MacBook Pro — and yet these folks now have to use adapters to connect their gear. Until the latest MacBook Pro redesign, there was a built-in SD Card reader, and Apple should (but won’t) build one into the next version.

External battery level indicator

A few generations ago, the MacBook and MacBook Pro had tiny button on the side that, when pressed, illuminated little lights to give the user an approximation of the remaining battery life. It was lovely.

You know the drill: You’re running out the door and need to know if you should bring your large power adapter. You don’t need to know exactly how much time until your laptop dies. You need an idea. And that’s what these lights provided. With just a press of a button, the user would know if the laptop would last 20 minutes or 2 hours.

Clever Power Adapter

For generations, Apple laptop chargers had little tabs that folded out and gave the owner a place to wrap the cable. It’s a simple and effective design. Steve Jobs is even listed on the 2001 patent. Those tabs disappeared when Apple went USB-C in 2016.

The latest charger is the same shape as the previous version but lacks the tabs, forcing owners to store the USB-C cable apart from the charging block. It’s a little thing but little things was what made Apple products delightful.

MagSafe

The elimination of MagSafe is nearly too painful to talk about. It was magical. Now it’s dead.

Here’s how it worked: The power cable was magnetic. Instead of sticking into the laptop, it connected to the side of it. If someone tripped over the cable, the cable would harmlessly disconnect from the laptop.

When Apple first launched MagSafe, the company loudly proclaimed they did so because customers kept breaking the connectors that plugged into the laptop. You know, like what’s in the current MacBook.

A good keyboard

I could forego all of the above if Apple could fix the keyboard in the latest MacBook Pro. It’s terrible.

Our Natasha Lomas said it best in her excellent piece called “An ode to Apple’s awful MacBook keyboard,”

The redesigned mechanism has resulted in keys that not only feel different when pressed vs the prior MacBook keyboard — which was more spongy for sure but that meant keys were at reduced risk of generating accidental strikes vs their barely there trigger-sensitive replacements (which feel like they have a 40% smaller margin for keystrike error) — but have also turned out to be fail prone, as particles of dust can find their way in between the keys, as dust is wont to do, and mess with the smooth functioning of key presses — requiring an official Apple repair.

Yes, just a bit of dust! Move over ‘the princess and the pea’: Apple and the dust mote is here! ‘Just use it in a vacuum’ shouldn’t be an acceptable usability requirement for a very expensive laptop.

Seriously. The keyboard is the worst part of the latest generation of the MacBook.

Alternatives

For the first time in 15 years I’m considering switching back to a Windows laptop. Microsoft’s Surface Book is not without flaws, but it’s a solid machine in my limited experience. I would be willing to try the less-powerful Surface Laptop 2, too. They’re just missing one thing: iMessage.

Apple’s $749 iPhone XR Now Available To Pre-Order, Are You Getting It?

Apple’s “Brilliant. In every way” 2018 iPhone XR is now officially available to pre-order. After initially announcing the 6.1-inch iPhone XR at last month’s dedicated media event, the Cupertino-based company has started accepting XR pre-orders. [ Conti…

Apple's "Brilliant. In every way" 2018 iPhone XR is now officially available to pre-order. After initially announcing the 6.1-inch iPhone XR at last month's dedicated media event, the Cupertino-based company has started accepting XR pre-orders.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Apple’s $749 iPhone XR Now Available To Pre-Order, Are You Getting It?

Apple’s “Brilliant. In every way” 2018 iPhone XR is now officially available to pre-order. After initially announcing the 6.1-inch iPhone XR at last month’s dedicated media event, the Cupertino-based company has started accepting XR pre-orders. [ Conti…

Apple's "Brilliant. In every way" 2018 iPhone XR is now officially available to pre-order. After initially announcing the 6.1-inch iPhone XR at last month's dedicated media event, the Cupertino-based company has started accepting XR pre-orders.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Apple To Live Stream Its October 30th iPad, Mac Event

Here’s how you can live stream the Apple October 30 2018 iPad and Mac event dubbed ‘There’s more in the making’. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Here's how you can live stream the Apple October 30 2018 iPad and Mac event dubbed 'There's more in the making'.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Here’s How Apple Is Cracking Down On Fake Component Repairs Of iPhones By Unauthorized Third-Parties

It is definitely not unusual for large companies to produce internal measures and proprietary technology designed to make efficiencies within its business. It’s being reported that Apple Inc. has done exactly this in order to reduce mass repair fraud b…

It is definitely not unusual for large companies to produce internal measures and proprietary technology designed to make efficiencies within its business. It's being reported that Apple Inc. has done exactly this in order to reduce mass repair fraud by operating a 'Zombie Check' system to crack down on stolen serial numbers in its devices.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Ember Smart Mugs Add Apple HealthKit Integration On iOS

If you’re all-in on Apple’s HealthKit platform, you’re going to love what the folks at Ember have been able to do with their latest smart mugs. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

If you're all-in on Apple's HealthKit platform, you're going to love what the folks at Ember have been able to do with their latest smart mugs.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Ember Smart Mugs Add Apple HealthKit Integration On iOS

If you’re all-in on Apple’s HealthKit platform, you’re going to love what the folks at Ember have been able to do with their latest smart mugs. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

If you're all-in on Apple's HealthKit platform, you're going to love what the folks at Ember have been able to do with their latest smart mugs.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

ARM Processors To Power Macs By 2020, Apple Car Coming In 2023

ARM processors will be powering Macs by 2020, while the Apple Car could be coming to us in 2023 according to an analyst. Here are the details. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

ARM processors will be powering Macs by 2020, while the Apple Car could be coming to us in 2023 according to an analyst. Here are the details.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]