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

Today

AAPL: 119.78

-0.21
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There’s a feature on iPhones called Wi-Fi Assist that is a common source of confusion for a lot of users. Wi-Fi Assist helps your iPhone switch to cellular data with your carrier when your local Wi-Fi is too weak to offer fast enough loading speeds.

That sounds risky especially if you have a limited monthly data cap, but most people shouldn’t have to worry about turning Wi-Fi Assist off. Here’s how to check and understand how much data Wi-Fi Assist is actually using.

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Netflix was a major missing piece of Apple’s new TV app when it launched last month, and that’s still the case despite some confusing coverage recently. The confusion is around how Apple’s TV app works with search and opening video apps.

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January 18

AAPL: 119.99

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While rumors about refreshed iPads have been surfacing for months now, there has been no evidence that an Apple Pencil 2 is being planned for this year. A single sketchy rumor making the rounds on Chinese social media, however, claims the Apple Pencil 2 will launch alongside new iPads this year.

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9to5toys 

Facial and gesture recognition could be some of the flagship features of Apple’s new iPhone 8 expected later this year, according to one analyst. Cowen’s Timothy Arcuri (via Business Insider) believes the next iPhone will gain a new front-facing sensor that will be used for these features.

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Apple Music has added CBS Sports Radio to its growing collection of streaming radio stations available to paid subscribers. CBS Sports Radio joins CBS Radio News, NBC Sports Radio, and a handful of other news and sports channels available for streaming.

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[UPDATE 1/19: New China banks added.]

Apple Pay is now available from over a dozen more banks and credit unions around the United States, France, and Australia as part of the latest expansion wave. Apple’s mobile payment service launched just over two years ago with hundreds of additional regional banks and credit unions added every few weeks. You can find the latest banks added below.

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9to5google 

January 17

AAPL: 120.00

0.96
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Update: Qualcomm has aggressively responded to the complaint, effectively alleging that the FTC doesn’t understand the industry it regulates.

Qualcomm believes the complaint is based on a flawed legal theory, a lack of economic support and significant misconceptions about the mobile technology industry […] Qualcomm has never withheld or threatened to withhold chip supply in order to obtain agreement to unfair or unreasonable licensing terms. The FTC’s allegation to the contrary — the central thesis of the complaint — is wrong.

Qualcomm is the target of a new Federal Trade Commission complaint filed today involving Apple. The FTC claims Qualcomm engaged in anti-competitive practices that helped it monopolize the market of a “key semiconductor device” used in products including iPhones and iPads.

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AirPods may not appear to be the best earphones solution for flying based on specs, but I found them to be near perfect on a recent flight across the country. AirPods are a totally different product than my wireless Bose QC35s which have longer battery life and active noise cancellation not to mention superior audio quality, but AirPods were easily preferred as my travel earphones after real world testing for a few reasons.

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Music magazine Complex has a new interview out today with Apple Music’s top talent: Zane Lowe, Bozoma Saint John, and Larry Jackson. The piece is mostly reflective in looking back at the first year and a half of Apple’s subscription music business, but the three also talk about what it’s like competing with Spotify within Apple and the future of Apple Music.

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electrek 

January 16

AAPL: 119.04

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Apple appears to be further optimizing macOS Sierra for battery performance after controversy over MacBook Pro battery life issues. macOS 10.12.3 beta 4 includes a new Display Brightness item under the Battery status indicator on the menu bar when checking which apps and features are using significant energy.

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January 13

AAPL: 119.04

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Apple’s Photos app on macOS Sierra and iOS 10 lets you view photos on a map and search for images based on location, but your images won’t be included if they don’t have location data assigned. iPhones assign this data when shooting, but most standalone cameras can’t collect location by default. Fortunately, Photos lets you easily discover images in your library with missing location data so you can map out all your shots.

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January 12

AAPL: 119.25

-0.50
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This week Benjamin and Zac discuss Swift creator Chris Lattner’s surprise exit and his new job at Tesla, the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone announcement, the first aftermarket Wireless CarPlay receiver from CES, and more. 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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Apple has released the fourth iOS 10.2.1 beta for developer testing on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 10.2.1 is likely a bug fix and performance improvement release. The initial beta was released on December 14 with a second beta issued before the holiday break. A third beta version was released at the start of this week. We’ll update to the latest version and highlight any changes discovered below.

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9to5toys 

Apple has released the fourth macOS 10.12.3 developer beta for testing, the second in a week. New features haven’t been discovered in previous macOS 10.12.3 betas, suggesting the software update is focused on bug fixes and performance improvements. We’ll update with any notable changes below:

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I’ve tested a lot of HomeKit thermostats and Ecobee3 remains my top pick. It’s a Wi-Fi smart thermostat with remote sensors that detect both presence and temperature in individual rooms, and the latest firmware update to Ecobee3 officially adds HomeKit support to these sensors. Here’s how it works:

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Apple has added an additional TV provider to its list of partners supporting its Single Sign-on feature for iOS 10 and tvOS 10. Cable ONE joins ten other providers that let customers authenticate once through the Settings app to access content in paid video apps.

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9to5google 

January 11

AAPL: 119.75

0.64
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Apple’s HomeKit home automation feature can be super convenient when you have the right accessories in place, but finding compatible hardware isn’t always the easiest. That finally started to change last year with the introduction of lots of new HomeKit-enabled smart home products.

That trend appears to be continuing based on new HomeKit accessories we saw at CES 2017 last week. HomeKit works best in my experience when you have lots of accessories like bulbs, plugs, thermostats and locks, and there is plenty of new hardware on the rise.

These are the best new HomeKit products hitting the market this year:

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Back in November, Sal Soghoian shared publicly that his role at Apple was eliminated after almost 20 years leading AppleScript, Automator, and automation efforts at the company. Now Soghoian has resurfaced online with a new guest series covering automation at MacStories.

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January 10

AAPL: 119.11

0.12
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Daniel Gross, a Director at Apple, is leaving the company to join venture capital firm Y Combinator as a partner, according to TechCrunch. Gross first joined Apple three years ago when Cue, an artificial intelligence startup he co-founded, was bought up by Apple.

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electrek 

Sonos CEO and co-founder John MacFarlane is stepping down from his role and giving up his board seat, The New York Times reports. Patrick Spence who previously worked under MacFarlane is taking the lead role at Sonos going forward. The outgoing Sonos CEO wrote about the shift on the company’s blog:

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