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Updated: 3 years 36 weeks ago

Apple explores proprietary search tools as walls close in on Google

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 09:53

Ever since the first iPhone launched with just a dozen apps, Google has had a central role in Apple’s handset. But according to the Financial Times, Apple is preparing for a world where that isn’t the case anymore.

While the publication has no direct information about Apple’s post-Google strategy, it has pieced together several clues that could add up to big changes for how we search on our iPhones. In iOS 14’s new spotlight search, for example, Apple has “begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen.”

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What to do when iTunes prompts you to update when connecting an iPhone

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 08:00

Apple generally tries to explain itself when it prompts you to download a file, install an update, or otherwise take an option. Readers have suggested the company has fallen down in a prompt that appears in the following set of circumstances, in which all are true:

  • You’re using iTunes in Mojave or earlier in macOS.

  • Your iPhone or iPad is running a version of iOS or iPadOS released in a year later than the macOS version (i.e., Mojave and iOS 14, or High Sierra and iOS/iPadOS 13 or later).

  • You connect your phone to your Mac via a USB cable.

iTunes may prompt with a dialog that reads, “A software update is required to connect to your iPhone.” It offers three buttons: Learn More, Not Now, and Install. Some readers and forum posters have found clicking Learn More leads them to learn exactly nothing more, as no page appears.

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iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone that’s future proof

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 06:30

Every year Apple releases a new iPhone, and every year we note that it is faster and has a better camera, along with one or two other small feature changes. In rare years, like with the introduction of the iPhone X, we get a dramatic shift in design and capabilities.

The iPhone 12 Pro is sort of an odd entry in the series. Yes, it’s faster and has a better camera, though neither change is exactly seismic. And it’s got a really nice new design, but even that feels familiar and cautious. But it also has several significant new capabilities that may eventually prove to be transformative.

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The 5 best streaming services cord-cutters need to visit this Halloween

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 06:00
It’s never too early to watch scary movies, and our top picks have fiendishly good treats.

Peace by Hampton A19 LED Wi-Fi smart bulbs review: Powerful automation tools, but you can’t buy just one

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 06:00
The new A19 color smart bulbs from Hampton Products are reasonably priced, but they only come in packs of four.

Apple TV+ originals: Jon Stewart to return with a multi-year deal for a new current affairs series.

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 17:59

Apple is planting its own flag in the streaming wars with Apple TV+, its in-house streaming service that focuses almost entirely on original programming rather than an extensive library of existing TV shows or movies.

Though the service has been available for only about a year and and doesn’t yet have a lot of shows or films available, there’s a lot in the works. This is a list of all the Apple TV+ content we know of so far, along with details about prominent stars, directors, producers, and release dates.

Updated 10/27/20: The Hollywood Reporter says that Apple has made a deal with Jon Stewart for a multi-year run of a new current affairs series.

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Wyze Cam v3 review: Wyze adds color night vision and IP65-level protection to its $20 security camera

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 13:00
A wider viewing angle, simultaneous two-way talk, and outdoor weatherproofing are among the other new features.

Touch-enabled dashboard for smart devices coming to Amazon Fire tablets

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 12:47
The new Device Dashboard will be accessible from the navigation bar of selected Fire tablets.

Where to buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro—all the best deals from carriers and retailers

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 09:06

It’s been a long time since you could only get an iPhone directly from Apple or from AT&T. Today, it’s offered by all major carriers and big retailers, and many of them want to entice you to buy with them by offering special deals. Of course, you can always buy from Apple directly, either in-store or online.

If you haven’t yet put in your order for an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, here’s a summary of some of the deals and promotions offered by different retailers to help you make up your mind. For each, we’ll tell you about any current special deals, when you should consider buying there, and when you shouldn’t.

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Audio Design Desk review: Make impressive video soundtracks without breaking your budget

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 07:00

Over decades working on low-budget movies, I’ve seen my fair share of producers who skimped on the post-production process. Novice filmmakers devote attention to what happens on set between “action” and “cut,” but race through editing and sound design, crucial steps that can make or break even the most visually spectacular production.

There are often good reasons for this, usually budgetary limitations or lack of technical know-how. Although movie fans have probably heard terms like “Foley” before, it’s surprising how few filmmakers even know what it means, let alone how to incorporate those sounds into their work.

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Spooky Mac stories: Scare-mongering Apple’s chip transition

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 06:15

It’s the scary season!

No, not the election season. (But, yes, also the election season.) Halloween! In addition to Halloween coming up, it’s the season when Apple is on the verge of making a big change that could impact its customers.


Writing for the Forbes contributor network and artisanal hysteria works, Ewan Spence says “Apple’s Future Is The End For The MacBook Air.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nick.)

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Focal Chora 806 bookshelf speaker review: A taste of high-end audio

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 06:00
The Chora's beautiful build and styling is outmatched only by its sonic punch.

Leviton Decora Smart Zigbee dimmer (model DG6HD) review: An in-wall switch with an understated design

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 06:00
Premium pricing makes this dimmer a bit of a tough sell.

Microsoft Office for iPad gets updates for trackpad and mouse support, start screens and Ribbon

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 14:44

Microsoft of Monday announced that its Excel, Powerpoint, and Word apps for the iPad have new features to better take advantage of the platform. In a post on the Office Apps Blog, Microsoft said that the updates have started to be issued through a phased roll-out, with availability to all users in a “couple of weeks.”

iPad users who use the tablet with a Magic Keyboard or a mouse should take note of the update, which bring the experience a lot closer to that of Office on a Mac or PC. When using the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad, the cursor automatically changes to the appropriate tool when you move the cursor over the content you are working on. Microsoft also says the using a trackpad or mouse for common tasks is “as simple and intuitive as ever.”

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Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 review: Good value and solid protection

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 13:50

UPDATE: This article was updated on October 21, 2020 to reflect the new capability to detect Windows malware.

It’s not that common to find full-featured security suites for the Mac. Quite often major antivirus makers provide a stripped-down version of their Windows product with notable bells and whistles missing. Not so with Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle X9, a security solution purpose-built for Apple users. This top-tier suite has a variety of solid tools that any Mac user would be happy to use.

But is that enough to recommend this product?

Note: This review is part of our best antivirus roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them. IDG

Intego’s VirusBarrier. 

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Apple reportedly plans to launch new AirPods models, possible third HomePod speaker

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 11:21

If you were disappointed with the lack of AirPods announcements at the iPhone 12 event, you might not have to wait much longer. A new report from Bloomberg says that Apple is working on two new AirPods models, including a cheaper AirPods Pro, as well as a third-gen AirPods and the long-rumored over-ear studio headphones.

 According to Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, the new earbuds will feature a new H2 wireless chip and reportedly won’t arrive until 2021. The cheapest model, which looks to be a slight revamp of the existing AirPods, will have “a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips.” Despite a similar look, they would not, however, include the higher-end features of the AirPods Pro such as noise-canceling. it’s not clear whether Apple would keep the $169 (with wired charging case) and $199 (with wireless charging case) prices the same.

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How to manage the Bluetooth headphone connection dance among devices

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 08:00

Bluetooth is a miraculous technology for audio when it works perfectly, letting you stream crisp, high-quality sound from a variety of devices you own. But most Bluetooth headphones have a limitation: they can pair to multiple devices—anywhere from two to eight—but they can only be actively connected to one playback device at a time.

Bluetooth multipoint technology was released a decade ago along with the Bluetooth 4.0 specification to allow audio devices to receive streaming input from multiple paired sources at once. However, few headphones implement this, and often only with specific Bluetooth audio compression profiles.

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Hunter Douglas Duette PowerView smart shade review: Ultimate luxury, sophistication, and privacy

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 06:00
This motorized smart shade protects your privacy without blocking any light or your view.

The best smart shades: These luxurious window treatments blend high tech with high fashion

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 06:00
Smart, motorized shades and blinds cost a pretty penny, but do they ever bring the wow.

Sense energy monitor review: Your patience will be rewarded with great insight into your home's electricity use

Sun, 10/25/2020 - 16:10
Sense is a bright-orange box that sits in your electrical breaker box and gives keen insight into your home's entire power usage.