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Apple news and rumors you care about
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Fun fact: Customizable Home screen app icons are a feature in iOS 10.3.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/03/28/mlb-com-at-bat-custom-icon-options/

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Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.5 update to developers, one day after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.4, which introduced Night Shift for the Mac. macOS Sierra 10.12.5 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Apple's release notes don't often provide much insight into what's included in new beta software, so we don't yet know what features it might offer. As the update follows the release of 10.12.4, which was a major update, this one may focus primarily on bug fixes and other small improvements. Should any new features be found in macOS Sierra 10.12.5, we'll update this post. Related Roundup: macOS Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming tvOS 10.2.1 update to developers for testing purposes, one day after releasing tvOS 10.2, an update that introduced improve scrolling and iPad support for the Apple TV Remote app. The tvOS 10.2.1 beta is designed for the fourth-generation Apple TV. It can be downloaded by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software from a registered developer account using iTunes. Because of the tricky installation requirements, tvOS betas are limited to developers. tvOS 10.2.1 will not be available to the public until the final version of the software launches. Apple does not typically provide detailed beta release notes, so we don't yet know what's included in tvOS 10.2.1. It's likely to focus primarily on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements, so we may not know what's new until the software sees an official release. Should any noticeable changes be discovered in tvOS 10.2.1, we'll update this post. Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10 Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming watchOS 3.2.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one day after the launch of watchOS 3.2, a major update that introduced Theater Mode. watchOS 3.2.2 can be downloaded through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone. watchOS betas require an iPhone running iOS 10 to install, and they're only available to developers because there's no way to downgrade the software on an Apple Watch. It's not yet clear if watchOS 3.2.2 introduces any new features or bug fixes because Apple doesn't typically provide release notes for betas, but we'll update this post should anything new be discovered. Given that this is a minor 3.x.x update, it's likely to focus primarily on bug fixes. Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3.2 update to developers, just one day after introducing iOS 10.3, which included features like a new Find My AirPods feature and Apple File System. Registered developers can download the iOS 10.3.2 update from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed. We don't yet know what features or improvements are coming in iOS 10.3.2 as Apple doesn't offer detailed release notes, but as a minor 10.x.x update, we can expect it to focus on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements rather than major new features. Should anything new be found in the iOS 10.3.2 beta, we'll update this post. Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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Amazon has launched another grocery initiative, this time for Amazon employees in Seattle. The service is called AmazonFresh Pickup and it allows customers to order groceries from the Amazon mobile app on iOS and Android, or on the web, select a pickup time, and show up at the AmazonFresh Pickup location to get their items bagged into their vehicle by an Amazon worker. Although it's limited to Amazon employees right now, when it opens to a wider audience AmazonFresh Pickup will be available to Prime members (who are near a location) as a free addition to their membership (via TechCrunch). The service has no minimum order requirement, so customers can create grocery lists for dozens of items or for a single bottle of mouthwash, for example -- whatever is ordered will be waiting for them when they drive up. Customers can order fresh produce, meats, bread, dairy and a range of household items off of AmazonFresh Pickup, which currently has two locations in Seattle's SODO and Ballard neighborhoods. Amazon previously tested out "Amazon Go" pop up stores, which let customers walk in, purchase groceries, and walk out of the store without needing to go through any lengthy check out process. That service worked by having customers scan their smartphone when entering, and the Amazon Go app tracked every item taken from the store's shelves and tallied it all up in a virtual cart, which charged a customer's connected payment card. Recently, it was reported that Amazon is delaying a wider launch of Amazon Go locations to "work out kinks" related to the cashierless technology that charges customers automatically. Amazon is constantly testing out and slowly launching neat new ideas that could see a wider debut for its customers in the future -- like Amazon Prime Air, which has evolved from futuristic reveal to small-scale, working delivery drone in just over three years. With today's announcement, it appears that AmazonFresh Pickup is the next in line. Tag: Amazon Discuss this article in our forums

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Facebook today is officially rolling out its long-in-testing upgrade to the main Facebook mobile app on iOS and Android, bringing a slew of changes focused on the addition of an all-new camera, filters, themed effects and "Facebook Stories." The company's 24-hour post Snapchat clone was reported to have launched a few weeks ago, but a Facebook spokesperson contacted MacRumors at the time and confirmed that the feature was still in testing ahead of a wide launch, happening today. The new camera can be found in the top left of the Facebook app's main news feed, or users can swipe right on their news feed to open up the camera (similar to Instagram). Here users can take pictures and selfies using masks, filters, and "reactive effects," where they can interact with dynamic objects such as falling snow. Style effects apply a Prisma-like artistic filter onto an image in real-time. Brands and advertisers are also joining in on the Facebook camera launch, with users able to take selfies using filters for upcoming films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Alien: Covenant, and Wonder Woman. Facebook said that the company will consistently update all of these effects in the camera "to give you fun new effects to explore," and even more customization is coming down the line as well. Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera. Our goal is for the camera to be a home to hundreds of dynamic and fun effects that give you new ways to connect with friends, family, and your community. We hope that with the new Facebook camera, Stories and Direct, it will be easier than ever to see the world through each other’s eyes, and we can’t wait to see the photos and videos you create. In the meantime, here’s one of my own in my tropical island disguise, hiding from work with my cat Ebi. The launch of the Facebook camera on iOS and Android is also bringing Facebook Stories to the masses for the first time. The feature hasn't changed since it was originally in testing in January, or since it launched as Instagram Stories last summer: users can post images and videos, add silly effects and captions, and watch them disappear forever after a 24-hour period. For users who don't want to share publicly, a new Direct option will allow Facebook friends to share the same disappearing posts directly to one another. When shared through Direct, a friend or family member will be able to look at the photo or video one time, replay it, and write a reply, but after that it'll be gone forever -- similar to Snapchat's own chat section. Facebook can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free [Direct Link], and the update should begin appearing for users throughout the day. Tag: Facebook Discuss this article in our forums

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Samsung announced on Monday that it will sell refurbished versions of its Galaxy Note7 smartphones, the model it officially discontinued last year because of fire-prone batteries. Samsung's Note 7 devices were permanently scrapped in October and recalled globally, after multiple reports of some phones self-combusting. A highly publicized in-depth investigation by the company discovered that batteries supplied by two different companies were to blame. No other faults were discovered in the components or parts. The news surprised some analysts, coming just days before Samsung officially announces its Galaxy S8, which is generally regarded as the firm's comeback mobile device and "iPhone 8" rival. Samsung said the refurbished Note7 phones will be equipped with new batteries that have gone through new safety checks. "Regarding the Galaxy Note 7 devices as refurbished phones or rental phones, applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand," Samsung said in a statement. "The product details including the name, technical specification and price range will be announced when the device is available. Samsung will not be offering refurbished Galaxy Note 7 devices for rent or sale in the US."The move should allow Samsung to recoup some of the $2.3 billion in losses it suffered because of the ill-fated phone, but the company told The Verge that the main objective of introducing the refurbished devices was "solely to reduce and minimize any environmental impact". Last month, Greenpeace protestors interrupted the company's Mobile World Congress keynote and demanded to know what the company's plans were for its 4.3 million recalled devices, so it's possible Samsung's latest announcement is timed to avoid a repeat incident overshadowing its S8 launch on Wednesday. "Samsung's announcement is the first step to show its effort to set a new path for recycling smartphones starting with Note 7s," Greenpeace wrote in a blog post. Samsung told Reuters the company has not set specifics on refurbished sales plans, including which markets they will be sold in and when they will go on sale. However, it noted that the phones will not be sold in India, as some media mistakenly reported earlier this year. Tags: Samsung, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S8 Discuss this article in our forums

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Siri is set to gain contextual learning abilities and deep integration with iMessage and iCloud in iOS 11, according to an unverified rumor shared by Israeli site The Verifier. Citing information "received directly from the development teams based in Israel and the U.S.", the site says Siri's AI codebase will receive a major update that will enable it to learn a user's usage habits, similar to abilities claimed by Samsung for its new virtual assistant Bixby. The upgrade is said to extend Siri's capabilities beyond its current limited command pool by stacking multiple queries and offering different actions depending on the context. For example, Siri's integration into iMessage means it will be able to offer suggestions relevant to the ongoing conversation, such as where to dine out, how to get there, and one-step Uber taxi booking. In addition, the claim is that Siri's integration with iCloud will enable it to identify meaningful connections between the various devices associated with an Apple ID account and offer practicable actions that crisscross Mac and iOS systems. Moreover, Apple will embed Siri deeper into the Apple TV and Apple Watch experience, with significant updates to tvOS and watchOS. Advanced Siri abilities are also said to extend to a "smart clock" feature, although no other details were given. The Verifier does not have an established track record for accurate rumors, making it unclear how reliable the information is, while the iMessage features described above can already be found in published Apple patents. Previously the site said that group FaceTime cals will be introduced in iOS 11, but so far we've been unable to corroborate the claim. Details of what's in store for iOS 11 have been scant in general, but it is expected to be released with new iPhones in the fall of 2017, while a preview of the new software could come at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2017 held in June. Related Roundup: iOS 11 Tag: Siri Discuss this article in our forums

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Google has revealed that its Amazon Echo rival, Google Home, will arrive in the United Kingdom on April 6. The announcement was made on Tuesday at an event in London, where it was also revealed that the British version of the connected smart speaker will deliver news briefings from several U.K. media outlets including The Guardian and the BBC. Rollout of Google Home beyond American shores has lagged behind its main rival. The Echo range of speakers was released in Germany and the U.K. back in September 2016, allowing Amazon to gain an early foothold in the British market over the holiday period. Google's voice-activated speaker has also recently been dogged by accusations that its virtual Google Assistant responds to some questions with dubious answers because of flaws in the way its online search algorithm operates. Google Home will cost £129 when it arrives in the U.K. next month. (via Pocket-Lint.) Tag: Google Home Discuss this article in our forums
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