Benjamin Mayo

@bzamayo

Benjamin develops app for iOS and writes about Apple news, product reviews and more on 9to5Mac and his personal blog. Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. You can also email him directly.

Support Benjamin by buying his apps on the App Store, Bingo Machine and Writing Aid.

Benjamin Mayo's Recommended Gear

July 14

AAPL: 98.79

1.92
Stock Chart

We have a pretty clear idea about what to expect for the iPhone 7 at this point. One rumor that has been floated a few times is the addition of a fifth color, matching the dark Space Black appearance of Apple Watch. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus yet on whether this new color will come to fruition.

However, a new image from MacityNet sadly refutes this possibility, suggesting that the iPhone 7 will ship in the same four colors as the iPhone 6s: silver, space gray, silver, gold and rose gold. The dummy unit also shows off a previously-unseen new design for the camera bulge …

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Pokémon Go is now officially available in the UK! Download it for free in the UK App Store here. The official rollout in the United Kingdom follows Pokémon Go’s expansion to Germany yesterday and brings even more people into the scope of the smash hit title, which is now the most successful mobile game of all time.

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July 13

AAPL: 96.87

-0.55
Stock Chart

A new photo filter app, Prisma, is taking the App Store by storm this week (if you can ignore the Pokémon GO fervor) with good reason. At first glance, Prisma seems like any other photo filter app: choose a filter, pick an image, share to social media. What sets Prisma apart is the diversity and quality of the filters themselves.

There are some incredibly rich and unique options on here, that go beyond the usual shadowy color shifts popularized by Instagram. Prisma features a diverse set of filters that correspond to known paintings and art styles, including Mondrian Cubism, Mosaic, Heisenberg, The Scream and many more.

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9to5toys 

As has been widely reported, it is all but confirmed that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will not feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. This means buyers of the new iPhone will have to search for alternative types of headphones, whether that be via wireless Bluetooth or Apple’s Lightning cable.

Right now, Apple bundles EarPods with every iPhone. It obviously makes no sense for Apple to continue bundling 3.5mm headphones with the headphone-jack-less iPhone 7. What’s apparently shown in these photos (via Weibo) is a new version of Apple’s EarPods that can connect to an iPhone via the 8-pin Lightning port. More photos after the jump …

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Pokemon GO is now available to users in Germany, the official Pokémon GO Twitter account announced today. A report earlier in the week indicated Pokémon GO would launch in the UK and other parts of Europe in a matter of days: it appears Germany is the first lucky country to be able to officially play the hit mobile game. Find the game in the App Store.

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July 12

AAPL: 97.42

0.44
Stock Chart

At least in the current beta seed, the iOS 10 lock screen has a bit of a loophole due to the new expanded notification system that developers and public beta users should be aware of. In short: anyone can view and reply to iMessages or text messages from the lock screen without entering the device passcode or authenticating with Touch ID. This security issue persists even while the ‘Reply With Message’ setting is disabled and applies to other apps like Twitter as well.

This means that anyone can reply to messages if you are running the iOS 10 developer or public beta. Occasionally, the phone will correctly ask for passcode input, but in the majority of cases in our testing iOS 10 allowed us to reply freely without fingerprint or passcode. To try this out for yourself, follow the steps after the jump …

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9to5google 

It appears Apple may be working to expand the Dark Mode feature for macOS. Introduced with Yosemite, OS X Dark Mode changes the appearance of just the Dock and menubar to a black translucent style rather than white/silver.

A developer/hacker on Twitter has seemingly found a way to activate a more comprehensive dark appearance for some system apps such as Safari or System Preferences, as pictured. It’s unclear what method or technique the developer is using to activate this and there’s no indication that this headed to public release anytime soon.

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Following our clearest look yet at the 4.7 inch phone yesterday, this morning photos of the larger 5.5 inch ‘iPhone 7 Plus’ have purportedly appeared on Weibo. Some sources have described the 5.5 inch model as a separate SKU, an ‘iPhone 7 Pro’ as it were, although whether this will come to pass is unclear. These latest iPhone 7 photos once again show a very similar design to the iPhone 6s Plus … with the interesting addition of a Smart Connector, visible at the bottom of the device on the back side.

There have also been rumors of a flush capacitive Home Button in the cards for iPhone 7. Although the quality of these photos are not very clear, it does appear that the Home Button design has been tweaked. More details after the jump …

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electrek 

Via USA Today, Apple has become the first US company to donate to China aid efforts following the mass flooding and rainfall in the region since June. The natural disaster has affected over 30 million people in 500 cities; 164 people have been killed in the tragedy.

Although a million dollar donation pales in contrast to Apple’s total business, the donation will significantly help relief efforts in China and Apple is the only American company to offer financial support so far. Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the catastrophe on Chinese social media site Weibo.

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July 11

AAPL: 96.98

0.30
Stock Chart

While I upgrade my iPhone every year, I’ve found that I stick to the same basic set of accessories thanks to their reliability, style or functionality. What to buy in terms of cables and docks is a common question for iPhone users, new and old. Here are my picks for essential iPhone accessories: lightning cables, dock, case and headphones.

These are my recommendations based on what I have bought, used and kept over the years. Are these the only good choices? Of course not. They do have the potential for universal appeal, however. In general, the things I use are relatively inexpensive and focus on practicality, not style, so keep that in mind. Read on for my recommendations for essential must-buy iPhone accessories.

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Pokemon Go has become a smash hit (available for free on the App Store), rallying hundreds of millions of players in just a few short days. Widespread media coverage of the game (and its consequences) has made the Nintendo freemium title somewhat of a phenomenon, continuing to top App Store charts.

This success — likely propelled by pent-up demand for a ‘real’ Pokemon game available on iOS  — comes despite the game only launching three regions; the United States, New Zealand Australia. A new report from the Wall Street Journal indicates fans from other countries will not have to wait long for an official launch of Pokemon Go in the UK, Europe and more.

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9to5toys 

About eight weeks away from the next iPhone debut, widely dubbed the iPhone 7, it seems like we have a pretty clear idea about what to expect: similar design to iPhone 6s, revamped cameras, upgraded internals, removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Although it doesn’t show anything we haven’t seen before (via NowhereElse.FR), a new high-quality photo of the iPhone 7 has surfaced that gives us the clearest image yet of what the back device will look like …

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July 7

AAPL: 95.94

0.41
Stock Chart

Apple is continuing its expansion of its NFC mobile payments service, Apple Pay, today. This time around, Apple Pay has made its way to Switzerland, the second European launch after the United Kingdom. iPhone users in Switzerland can now setup their Visa and MasterCard bank cards in Apple Wallet and start using contactless payments at merchants from today. Apple Pay requires an iPhone with integrated NFC chip: iPhone 6, iPhone 6s or iPhone SE.

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July 5

AAPL: 94.99

-0.90
Stock Chart

Update: Apple has posted an official press release detailing the new organ donor options in iOS 10 Health. Apple will allow users to sign up for organ, eye and tissue donor registry via Donate Life America. The registrations are sent to the National Donate Life Registry — the interface will surface as part of Health’s Medical ID feature.

Apple will promote organ donation with its newest mobile operating system, iOS 10, when it ships in the fall. Via the Associated Press, Apple will include a new simple sign-up button inside the Health app to enable users to register to become an organ donor in a national donor registry. It appears the integrated sign up option will only be available to US iPhone customers, at least at launch.

Tim Cook told the AP that he hopes Apple’s efforts will help improve the availability of organs to those that need them, saying that the problem “hit home when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endured an excruciating wait for a liver transplant in 2009”.

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9to5google 

June 30

AAPL: 104.21

-0.13
Stock Chart

Apple is bringing some clever intelligence for Siri with iOS 10, in addition to the publicly-announced features like third-party app integration. Thanks to a reader tip, we’ve discovered a clever enhancement for Siri on iPhones and iPads running iOS 10. When using ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation in a room with multiple nearby devices, only one device will respond. For example, with iOS 10 installed, an iPhone 6s is smart enough to stop listening for voice input if an iPad Pro is also listening.

Although both devices initially wake up, once one starts recognizing voice input, it appears to send a message to other nearby devices to cancel out the operation. This means that only one device keeps listening and prevents the naive havoc that happened on iOS 9, where all devices would try to answer the ‘Hey Siri’ question causing a confusing cacophony of sound from every nearby iPhone and iPad. You can see an example of this behavior in the video after the jump …

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Spotify has become very vocal in recent weeks about Apple’s business practices for its App Store. Apple recently revamped its subscription policy for iOS developers, offering a 85/15 split if developers keep customers for more than a year, but Spotify is still not happy with proceedings.

In a letter to Washington seen by Recode, the company now says Apple is being anti-competitive by rejecting its latest update to the Spotify app in order to encourage sales of its own $9.99 Apple Music subscriptions. Spotify is making a lot of noise to suggest Apple is using illicit business practices to elevate the success of Apple Music, by crippling Spotify and other third-party services.

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June 26

AAPL: 96.67

-0.67
Stock Chart

Apple is once again celebrating the LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco with employees (including Apple CEO Tim Cook) joining the march earlier today, showing support of human equality and diversity across ethnicities and sexual orientation.

For the first time, Apple is gifting limited edition Pride Apple Watch bands to employees who take part, with rainbow colored nylon strap and red lugs.

More pics after the break …

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electrek 

June 25

AAPL: 97.34

-1.32
Stock Chart

The latest round of iPhone 7 images, via NowhereElse.fr, once again purportedly show new camera components for Apple’s upcoming flagship phone lineup.

Although the design is expected to largely resemble the iPhone 6s, rumors have shown redesigned antenna lines and new cameras are on the cards for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

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