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

November 19

Just like last year, Apple is once again hosting an Apple Watch Activity Challenge on Thanksgiving Day. This year, Apple Watch owners need to record a 5K workout on Thursday, 23rd November to earn the 2017 Thanksgiving Activity badge and iMessage sticker. Thanks to Kyle for the heads up.

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November 16

YouTube competitor Vimeo today announced that it is rolling out support for High Dynamic Range video uploads on its video hosting platform. Usually seen as the slightly more professional video site, Vimeo notes it is the first platform to support playback of HDR content on Apple’s latest devices including the iPhone X and Apple TV 4K.

This is because YouTube favors a VP9 codec that iOS and tvOS do not support, so the YouTube app on the new Apple TV 4K currently maxes out at 1080p.

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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Even a year on, Apple’s AirPods (Best Buy, eBay) are largely unrivaled. They may look a bit funny to wear, and only come in one colour, but it’s hard to argue anyone else is close to matching Apple in the truly-wireless headphone space.

AirPods are dead simple to use and intelligent enough to be helpful, without being annoying. They aren’t even expensive compared to the competition.

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VFX artist shows how iPhone X TrueDepth camera could be used for 3D animation

A tech demo video by VFX artist Elisha Hung shows how data from the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system could be used to animate 3D characters and objects in a CGI movie.

The availability of iPhone X continues to improve. The Apple Online Store is now reporting 2-3 week delivery estimates for new iPhone X orders, across both Space Gray and Silver colors on all carriers. Reports indicated that iPhone X supply would be improving throughout November, after the initial production holdups, and that is certainly corroborated here.

It’s also true that the rush of early adopter demand for the phone has likely waned at this point, although the holiday shopping season is always a busy period for iPhones sales.

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November 15

According to TrendForce, Apple managed to secure the fourth spot in global shipments of laptops in the third quarter. Apple notebook sales beat the market in quarterly growth; MacBook sales increased 11% whilst the market rose 7% overall.

The analysts believe Apple shipped 4.43 million Mac laptops in total across July, August, and September. Apple benefited from the launch of the 2017 MacBook Pro refresh ahead of the busy back-to-school season.

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Early testing shows 7.5W ‘fast’ wireless charging has small effect on Qi charging speed

The iOS 11.2 betas include support for faster 7.5 watt wireless charging; the current public releases of iOS 11 limit iPhone 8 and iPhone X to 5W Qi wireless charging only. However, what is the practical impact of this change? Early testing shows that the improvements in charging speed using a 7.5 W charger is very slight.

GymKit is a new integration between the Apple Watch and fitness equipment, that allows the two to cooperate and sync workout and activity data between them.

The first gym to feature GymKit-compatible equipment is now up and running in Australia. Users just tap their watches to the treadmill (or other GymKit equipment) using NFC, and they start sending data back and forth automatically …

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Amazon reportedly cancels plans for ‘skinny bundle’ TV service, echoing Apple’s rumored TV attempts

Amazon has seemingly cancelled plans to launch an unbundled a la carte internet TV service, featuring top channels. Reuters says Amazon was unable to convince networks to sign on and struggled to find profitable business arrangements. It has been widely reported that Apple wanted to launch a similar skinny bundle of streaming channels, but also faced industry backlash and failed to bring the service to market.

Apple has been fighting the Indian government over approving an iOS app to block spam calls and texts in the region for some time now. A new report from Reuters suggests that Apple has changed its tune slightly, agreeing to provide assistance to help make such an app, but with ‘limited capabilities’.

Apple does not want to give a third-party app access to iPhone call logs on privacy grounds, but it’s not clear what compromise has been reached.

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November 14

Face ID is undeniably more secure than Touch ID in a random sampling of population. Apple says the chance of a person unlocking your phone with Face ID is 1 in a million.

However, the probability of an incorrect match can be considerably higher fotr siblings, twins and children under the age of 13. A new video from a mother highlights exactly these limitations; she finds her 10-year old son can reliably unlock her phone using his face. Video after the jump …

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Foxconn quarterly profit falls by 40% due to iPhone X production delays

Foxconn reported its largest year-over-year earnings decline in a decade because of the initial iPhone X production problems. Via Bloomberg, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (Foxconn) profits fell to $700 million in calendar Q3, a 40% decline compared to the same quarter in the previous year.

At its earnings call, Apple said the Apple Watch grew 50% year-over-year in sales but continued its silence on revealing exact numbers for its wearables. Estimates from Canalys suggest that unit sales almost hit 4 million for Apple Watch in the third quarter.

The analyst says the cellular LTE Apple Watch Series 3 has proved popular, with demand outstripping supply and carriers surprised by the demand for the cellular Watch …

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Bloomberg today reports that Apple is developing a new 3D sensor system for the 2019 iPhone. This sensor would work differently to the TrueDepth sensor system used for Face ID and would be used to add depth sensing features to the rear camera.

Adding depth data to the rear camera would allow for more advanced augmented reality applications. iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus simulate depth by using a dual-camera system, and comparing the parallax of the images from the two lenses.

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Update: We have tested wireless charging speeds running the latest iOS 11.2 beta and have been unable to notice a meaningful difference in how quickly the iPhone 8 charged on a 7.5 watt Qi charger compared to a  5w Qi charger.

The release of iOS 11.2 will bring faster wireless charging speeds for Apple’s latest iPhones: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X (via MacRumors).

Right now, all wireless charging on the 2017 iPhones runs at a maximum of 5 watts. The update will unlock 7.5 watt Qi charging for the Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Pad and Mophie Wireless Charging Base.

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November 13

With the iPhone X, Apple had to redesign the top of the iOS user interface significantly to accommodate the notch in the display.

Rather than just dividing the status bar in two, Apple designed and engineered a significant overhaul to status items. New icons, new animations, new transitions … with one strange exception that was seemingly left unchanged.

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Users report battery drain with YouTube app on iOS 11

There are many reports to the YouTube customer support account on Twitter complaining about battery drain when running the app on iOS 11. The company is apparently ‘actively working to fix this’.

A cybersecurity firm have apparently successfully tricked Face ID into unlocking with a specially made mask, imitating a real person’s face. The security researchers say they only unlocked the iPhone X with a real person’s face, so the iPhone could not learn false data from the mask.

How much of a security flaw this really represents is up for debate of course. Making the mask only cost $150 in materials, but required access to a detailed scan of the person’s facial features and many hours of work by artists …

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Apple has been slowly updating its Apple Stores around the world with the major new redesigns led by Jony Ive, during a redefining of the retail stores as ‘town squares’ by Angela Ahrendts.

The new look will now make its debut in Australia for the first time later this month, with a new Apple Store in Chadstone opening November 24.

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November 10

With the lack of a physical home button of any kind with iPhone X, Apple has a new interaction metaphor: the home indicator. This is the thin bar that sits at the bottom of the iPhone screen.

At first glance, it might seem like an annoying blemish on the edge-to-edge design. But just like the notch at the top of the phone, the home indicator plays an important role.

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