About the Author

Zac Hall

@apollozac

Editor at 9to5Mac + 9to5Google

Zac covers Apple news and product reviews for 9to5Mac, contributes to 9to5Google, and hosts the weekly 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast.

Email tips, typos, and any feedback to: zac@9to5mac.com

Tweet and follow: @apollozac

Zac Hall's Favorite Gear

Today

Hunter is a company known for commercializing ceiling fans over 130 years ago, and today the company is the only firm making smart home ceiling fans that work with Apple HomeKit. Hunter’s SimpleConnect line includes three ceiling fan models available in multiple finishes that are priced from $299.

Each Hunter ceiling fan includes a built-in LED light that makes SimpleConnect a 2-in-1 essential for HomeKit homes. This enables Siri control from Apple devices, Control Center access on iPhone and iPad, automation with other smart accessories through Apple’s Home app, and much more.

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November 17

This week Benjamin and Zac discuss changes coming to watchOS apps, the launch of GymKit in Australia, changes in iOS 11.2 beta for iPhone X, iPhone rumors for next year including a larger OLED model and a mid-sized LCD update, and anticipation of HomePod and AirPlay 2.

9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, StitcherGoogle Play Music, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Apple’s TV app is about to become a lot more useful for sports fans. We’re hearing that integration with live sports in the TV app is set to arrive next month. Apple demoed this feature for its TV app on tvOS with Apple TV back in September; the TV app on iPhone and iPad will also include live sports integration when it ships.

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A day after releasing macOS 10.13.2 beta 4, Apple has released the fourth beta version of iOS 11.2 beta for developers. tvOS 11.2 beta and watchOS 4.2 beta are also available for testing.

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Bad news for Apple customers hoping to purchase a HomePod before the end of the year. Apple has released a statement saying it has pushed the HomePod’s release target into early 2018. HomePod was originally unveiled back at WWDC in June as a preview ahead of a promised December release.

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It’s been two weeks since the iPhone X hit the market and many popular apps are still awaiting updates to take advantage of the taller 5.8-inch display. Spotify is the latest major app to update for the iPhone X.

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November 16

Denise Young Smith is leaving Apple at the end of the year, TechCrunch has reported. Young Smith currently serves as Apple’s first VP of Inclusion and Diversity, a position created for her after Deidre O’Brien took over general HR duties.

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WWDC iOS app updated for iOS 11 and iPhone X

Apple has updated its WWDC app for iOS 11 and iPhone X. The new version, 6.0.3, takes full advantage of the larger iPhone X display and is no longer letterboxed. The update also includes a fix for a media bug:

Apple has released the iOS 11.1.2 software update for iPhone and iPad. The update includes a fix for unresponsive iPhone X screen at cold temperatures

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Black Pixel has built a new collaborative whiteboard app for iPad called Pixelboard.

Pixelboard is the best way to whiteboard collaboratively on iPad. With powerful features and a beautiful design, the app is the perfect tool for remote teams and distributed workers to turn any meeting into a creative meeting.

Black Pixel says it built Pixelboard as a solution to collaborating and whiteboarding with its team remotely.

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ecobee is the maker of what I consider the best HomeKit thermostat on the market, and the new version called ecobee4 adds built-in Amazon Alexa voice control and works with Google Home. ecobee4 offers the same features as the HomeKit-enabled ecobee3 which we reviewed last year, so should iPhone users spend the extra money on the new version?

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macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 beta 4 now available

Apple has released the fourth developer beta version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 ahead of its general release. The update is available as an OTA upgrade on the Mac App Store while the developer installer is available on Apple’s developer center.

Apple details how it performs on-device facial detection in latest machine learning journal entry

Apple has published its latest machine learning journal entry with a new article detailing the challenges of implementing facial detection features while maintaining a high level of privacy.

November 15

Deciding whether or not to buy AppleCare+ with Apple products can be a tough decision, and the $999-$1149 price of the iPhone X doesn’t make the decision any easier. The cost of AppleCare+ increased for pricier iPhones, but so did the repair costs for out-of-warranty damage.

No one wants to get stuck with a huge out-of-pocket fee to repair a busted iPhone X, although it’s worth considering the math before buying or passing on AppleCare+ for iPhone X.

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Apple’s new Animoji feature has proven to be a viral and fun part of the iPhone X, but the $999 starting price is an understandable roadblock for a lot of potential customers. Apple says Animoji requires the TrueDepth camera system to work, but a quick hands-on test appears to show the playful messaging app working even when the IR camera unique to iPhone X is covered…

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AirPlay 2 is coming soon to iOS after being previewed at WWDC earlier this summer. While we haven’t tested AirPlay 2 yet, the upcoming feature has a lot of promise. AirPlay 2 enables multi-room audio playback, works with Apple TV, and compatible speakers will work with HomeKit and Siri.

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November 14

watchOS 4.1 brought iCloud Music Library and Apple Music streaming to Apple Watch, but the redesigned Music app on watchOS 4 killed a feature that it offered since launch. watchOS removed the ability to remotely control music playing on your iPhone from your Apple Watch in favor of focusing solely on music playable from the watch.

While this change makes the Music app much easier to use and understand for most users, removing a useful function from the Apple Watch isn’t progress for everyone. Fortunately, I think the answer to this problem is right in front of us.

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UPDATE 11/17: Apple has delayed HomePod into 2018.

With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3 and iPhone X behind us, there’s still one more new Apple product on my shopping list this year: HomePod. Apple previewed its new smart speaker back in June at WWDC, and now it’s almost time for HomePod to hit the market. Here’s what we know about HomePod so far:

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November 13

Siri is steadily getting better with new features and improvements, but one place where the voice assistant could still learn a thing or two is how it pronounces city names. Siri tries its best to pronounce the names of cities based on their spelling, but this often leads to a comically bad mispronunciation that makes Siri sound like a complete out-of-towner.

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Apple Watch Series 3 lets you make calls even when your iPhone isn’t nearby, and the new cellular feature is already coming to the rescue out in the wild. A recent Daily Mail report tells the story of kitesurfer John Zilles who crashed into water a mile offshore where sharks have been known to swim. Equipped with just Apple Watch Series 3, Zilles phoned home to let his family know he’d be in late then guided the Coast Guard to his location.

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