About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

@bzamayo

Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. Benjamin blogs about Apple news and rumors, and posts insightful product and app reviews. Read his work on 9to5Mac and his personal blog.

Benjamin Mayo also creates apps for iOS as a professional indie developer and contractor; more details here. Email to discuss making your iOS project a reality.

Benjamin Mayo's Favorite Gear

Today

Digitimes today reports that Apple is reallocating MacBook Pro orders from Quanta to Foxconn in order to lower costs and reduce risks. The company is willing to shift production this year reportedly because Apple does not have a major hardware update for MacBook Pro in the pipeline for this year.

This means that supply of 2017 MacBook Pro will remain strong even if Foxconn encounters yield and quality control problems whilst it ramps up. Apple first launched the modern MacBook Pro design in 2016.

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A new research note from Counterpoint shows that whilst Apple’s dominance in China is not as high as its peak, it is the only foreign smartphone brand that matters in the region. iPhone 7 Plus was the no.2 best selling handset across all of 2017, and the smaller iPhone 7 took fifth place (via CNBC).

China’s propensity towards larger-screened phones is shown by the Plus’ popularity compared to the regular iPhone 7. Apple was the only foreign brand to feature in the top 10 phone models, with 5.2% total market share from both iPhone 7 models.

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Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover

January 12

Apple reportedly met with augmented reality component makers at CES as Apple AR headset rumors continue

Bloomberg reports that representatives from Apple held meetings with suppliers of parts for augmented reality devices at CES 2018. The company is believed to be working on an AR headset of its own, with an approximate 2019 release timeframe.

January 10

[Update: Party’s over! Older OS versions are no longer being signed once more. As suspected, it was an accidental change and has been reverted. Original story below …]

Apple is currently signing iOS 10 version updates for many devices including iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models as shown by IPSW.me. Whilst the upgrade servers remain in this state, users are able to downgrade from iOS 11 by restoring their firmware to iOS 10.2 and 10.3.

It is not clear why Apple is suddenly allowing this to happen and there is a good chance it is a bug. If you want to downgrade your OS, get in quick before Apple reverts back to signing iOS 11.2 and later only.

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Apple has taught Siri more about sport ahead of the Australian Open starting this weekend. iPhone, iPad , Apple Watch and Mac users can now ask questions to Siri like ‘Hey Siri, how is Roger Federer doing’ or ‘Hey Siri, who is ahead in the Pebble Beach tournament’.

You can also ask for player biographies and more information relating to the sporting events coming up and historical records. Details below on exactly what Siri knows about in golf and tennis …

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Apple has today announced a date for when it will hand over operations of iCloud data services for residents of mainland China to GCBD. The change was announced last year so that Apple can comply with local laws. GCBD will manage a new Apple data center in China that will eventually store all iCloud data for Chinese customers.

Affected customers are now being notified about the transition which will start on February 28. Apple reassured users that the data will be protected by the same encryption standards as its current US policies and that no special backdoors will be created.

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January 9

Apple offers various parental control features for iPhone and iPad with the Restrictions settings. You can block access to some system apps altogether, like making it impossible to launch Safari, but there are also more fine-grained controls to restrict younger users from freely surfing the web.

The iPhone and iPad include a website content filter that can automatically detect explicit and adult content not suitable for younger viewers and prevent access to those pages. You can also block private browsing completely and prevent browsing history from being deleted, disabling the ability to activate the incognito feature. Full how-to instructions after the jump …

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January 8

At CES, Belkin announced that the Wemo Bridge is now available to order, priced at $39.99. The bridge adds HomeKit support to the wide array of existing Wemo smart home accessories which includes smart plugs, dimmers, motion sensor and a light switch.

HomeKit support allows these accessories to be controlled through the native Apple Home app on iOS devices and Apple Watch. It also unlocks voice control with Siri.

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Significant Apple investors have published a new open letter, ‘Think Differently About Kids’, asking Apple to dramatically improve the parental control features in iPhone and iPads, citing research into the negative psychological effects of kids over-using technology.

The letter asks Apple to add new iOS features which allow parents to limit screen-on time, hours of use, monitoring and other features. It also wants Apple to assign a high-profile executive to the case and release annual progress reports.

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January 2

[Update: Apple has changed its page back to allowing users to check their device’s warranty status without logging in with an Apple ID.]

In an update to its warranty coverage utility, Apple now requires users to log in with the Apple ID associated with a device before being able to check its warranty coverage status.

Previously, users could check the warranty of an iPhone using just its serial number or IMEI. This was especially useful for second-hand buyers.

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Apple has clarified its policy on battery replacements. As long as the owner of the iPhone 6 (or later) handset is willing to pay the $29 fee, and the device is not otherwise damaged, Apple will process the repair without requiring further checks of condition.

This comes after some reported cases where Apple Store employees were refusing customers with ‘ineligible’ batteries which still passed Apple diagnostics testing.

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December 31, 2017

Apple Watch celebrates the New Year with fireworks on the clock face

As the hours roll around in each timezone, Apple Watch owners are discovering a new easter egg to celebrate the New Year on their wrists. When the clock strikes twelve, the Apple Watch watch face lights up with animated fireworks.

December 26, 2017

The App Store charts always provide some interesting nuggets of information on Christmas Day and other big holidays as you can see the sudden influx of app downloads.

This year, the Alexa app for Amazon Echo smart speakers topped App Store free charts, hitting the #1 in a few regions, with Google Home also charting in the top ten. Smart speakers were a hot holiday shopping item this year for sure.

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December 21, 2017

Apple will waive $99/year App Store developer fee for governments and nonprofits in 2018

[Update: Apple has officially announced it is making developer memberships free for qualifying groups, institutions, and government entities.]

Apple dropped some new App Store review guidelines yesterday that detailed the latest policies and rules developers must abide by to see their apps approved. For template-generated apps, Apple will require that all apps published to the store must be submitted by the true owner of the app, with their own developer account. This adds some financial burden to charities and nonprofits that didn’t exist before, but Apple has announced a solution …

December 20, 2017

Apple will add new developer tools that will enable developers to design and engineer a single application that runs on iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, according to a report from Bloomberg. This will be a huge step for the Mac app ecosystem especially, as it should make it easier for third-party developers to maintain one app that runs on iOS and Macs.

The apps would be designed in such a way that they can work with a touchscreen, mouse, and trackpad depending on which platform the app is running on. The new ability is scheduled to launch with iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 next year, but the timeline could change.

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For the second year in a row, Apple will launch an Apple Watch Activity Challenge to celebrate the New Year. Set to start showing up from the 28th December, the new activity challenge promotes fitness by asking users to complete their Activity rings (Move, Exercise, and Stand) for seven consecutive days in January 2018.

Apple Watch owners can earn a special iMessage sticker (pictured below) and achievement medal in the Activity app. The design of the rewards are the same as the 2017 challenge, with an updated number for the 2018 year.

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It took almost six months since the initial murmurings, but Apple and Amazon have finally resolved their differences. The Apple TV 4K and fourth-generation Apple TV are available to buy from Amazon.com, following the launch of the Prime Video tvOS app earlier this month.

Amazon refuses to sell media devices that do not offer its content, which meant Apple TV was pulled from the biggest online storefront for more than 2 years. Just shy of Christmas, the device is listed again.

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December 19, 2017

Supposed Apple email describing app review policy changes is fake

A screenshot of an email being circulated around the internet in the last day supposedly revealed new strict app review policies. We have confirmed with sources that this email is not legitimate communication and does not reflect a real Apple policy decision.

Apple analyst KGI Ming-Chi Kuo today released a report indicating Apple will launch a new version of AirPods in the second half of 2018. The analyst does not go into much detail about what exactly will change in the next-generation model, however he notes that they will adopt a smaller quartz component.

Apple has already announced a new AirPower inductive charging case for next year. It seems that Apple may also be lining up a small update to the earbuds, if KGI’s reporting proves accurate.

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December 18, 2017

Cuphead was a smash-hit game this year, with Studio MDHR releasing on Windows and Xbox. This morning, Cuphead appeared on the App Store with recognizable app icon, screenshots and branding. Except it is all fake. Whilst the game is actually somewhat playable, it is a stolen port of the desktop game and should not be downloaded. Update: The game is no longer available in the App Store.

The criminal who published it to the App Store also made a fake website as the support link, to confuse App Review in believing the game was legitimate. The game has yet to be pulled from the App Store, and sadly appears to be one of many cases from the same unscrupulous person.

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