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Greenpeace Criticizes Apple's 'Daisy' Recycling Robot, Says Focus Should be on 'Repairable and Upgradeable Product Design'

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 20:35
As part of its 2018 environmental report, Apple today unveiled the latest iteration of its recycling robot, named Daisy. Daisy is an upgraded version of Liam, the recycling robot Apple debuted in 2016. Daisy is smaller, faster, and more efficient than Liam, able to disassemble 200 iPhones per hour and obtain their component parts for recycling.

In response to Apple's environmental report and details about the new robot, Greenpeace has released a statement suggesting Apple's focus should be on product longevity rather than recycling robots.

Daisy, Apple's newest recycling robot.
In a statement, Greenpeace Senior analyst Gary Cook said Apple needs to work on product designs that better accommodate upgrades and repairs, allowing for devices to be used for a longer period of time. Cook says customers clearly want to keep their devices for longer, citing demand for battery replacements under Apple's discounted battery program."Rather than another recycling robot, what is most needed from Apple is an indication that the company is embracing one of its greatest opportunities to reduce its environmental impact: repairable and upgradeable product design. This would keep its devices in use far longer, delaying the day when they'd need to be disassembled by Daisy.

Customers want to keep their devices longer, as evidenced by a 3 to 4 week wait for a battery replacement at Apple retail stores earlier this year, when Apple was compelled to dramatically reduce the replacement cost.Greenpeace often champions device repairability and longevity, especially in regard to Apple products. Last summer, for example, Greenpeace teamed up with iFixit to rate the repairability of Apple devices, accusing Apple of shortening device lifespan with difficult, proprietary repair processes and components, ultimately leading to more electronic waste.

For its part, Apple in its environmental report says that device durability and longevity is one of its goals, citing its efforts to provide parts and repairs for five years after a product is no longer manufactured. "When products can be used longer, fewer resources need to be extracted from the earth to make new ones," reads the report.

While Greenpeace criticized Apple's lack of focus on repairability, it did laud Apple's efforts to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to Apple competitors. Samsung, for example, operates on 1 percent renewable energy, a sharp contrast to Apple's operations that now run on 100 percent renewable energy."Apple's latest environment report highlights the company's continued leadership in aggressively deploying renewable energy to tackle the greenhouse gas footprint of not only its own operations, but also its suppliers who are responsible for the vast majority of its emissions. Apple's leadership on climate change contrasts sharply with its main competitor, Samsung Electronics, who currently operates on only 1% renewable energy.Greenpeace regularly gives Apple high marks for the company's dedication to environmental improvements, which is close to unparalleled in the tech world. Apple received a B- in Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics, beating out Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, HP, LG, and more.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Apple Shares 2018 Environmental Report With Details on Daisy Recycling Robot, Progress on Closed-Loop Supply Chain

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 20:02
Apple today shared its 2018 environmental report [PDF], outlining all of the improvements and changes that were implemented throughout 2017 and early 2018 to lessen the company's overall environmental impact.

As was announced earlier this month, Apple recently hit a major milestone and longtime environmental goal, with 100 percent of its operations around the world powered by renewable energy. Apple has also convinced 23 of its suppliers to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy so far.

A map of Apple's renewable energy projects
These efforts allowed Apple to cut down on its total carbon footprint in 2017. During the year, Apple was responsible for 27.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, down from 29.5 million metric tons in 2016.

A breakdown of Apple's carbon footprint
Through its unwavering commitment to renewable energy, improvements to energy efficiency, and a reduction in emissions from aluminum manufacturing, Apple has reduced emissions by 54 percent worldwide since 2011, and as of 2018, 66 percent of the renewable energy Apple procures comes from Apple's own projects.

Over the course of 2017, Apple worked to implement energy efficiency improvements to its facilities around the world, including Apple retail stores. Upgrades were made to LED lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, resulting in an overall electricity savings of 3.7 million kilowatt-hours per year.


Apple's overall energy footprint was reduced by 14.7 million kWh and 225,000 therms in fiscal 2017, and combined with other efficiency measures implemented since 2011, Apple cumulatively saves 70 million kWh of electricity and 2.4 million therms of natural gas per year. The company has also worked directly with its suppliers to audit facilities and find opportunities for better energy efficiency, with the program saving an annualized 320,000 metric tons of C02e from entering the atmosphere in 2017.

Today's environmental report highlights Apple's newest recycling robot, Daisy. Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour, removing and sorting components more efficiently than Apple's previous recycling robot, Liam. Daisy removes and sorts components from the iPhone, allowing Apple to collect more materials than it would get from traditional recycling methods.

Daisy has a smaller footprint than Liam and can disassemble multiple models of iPhone with higher variation compared to the earlier robot. Using Daisy, Apple was able to make progress towards its goal of creating products without mining materials from the earth, aka the closed loop supply chain that it announced as a goal in 2017.


Apple says that in 2017, it invited "key stakeholders" to small "closed-door roundtables" in Europe, the U.S., and China to get targeted feedback on its closed-loop supply chain ambitions. Apple spoke with academics, NGOs, industry leaders, and other companies.

The company has also been investing in research to figure out the barriers to implementing a closed-loop system, and it has been launching pilot programs to determine possible solutions. Apple outlines several materials and programs it's currently focusing on, including aluminum (sourced from old iPhones), cobalt (battery scrap is now shipped to a recycler), copper (reducing copper usage on PCBs), glass (new reuse and reprocess methods), paper (sustainable forests), plastics (aiming to eliminate plastics), rare earth elements (exploring new recycling technologies), steel (increasing recycled content), and tungsten (recovered from the Taptic Engine and sent to specialty recycler).

Apple's main accomplishment in 2017 was the use of 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on the main logic board in the iPhone 6s. Recycled tin is now being used for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

For those interested, Apple's full environmental report [PDF] goes into much greater detail on landfill usage, water usage, dangerous materials, recycling, product efficiency, and more, and it's well worth reading if you want to brush up on Apple's environmental protection efforts.

Tags: Environmental Responsibility, Apple environment
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Best Buy Discounts Entry-Level 15-Inch MacBook Pro to $1,499 in One-Day Sale

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 18:50
Best Buy currently has a limited-time sale hitting the 15-inch MacBook Pro from mid 2015, with a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 256GB flash storage. Under the sale, those interested can get this model for $1,499.99, priced originally at $1,999.99. Students and parents of students can knock the price down an additional $50 to $1,449.99.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Although it's three years old at this point, Apple still sells this configuration of the 15-inch MacBook Pro as an entry-level option for those customers not interested in the more recent additions to MacBook Pro models, like the Touch Bar and Touch ID. Best Buy's discount is also $200 cheaper than it's ever been before in our tracking, and the deal will last today only.

Best Buy's sale on the 2017 MacBook Pro models is still going on as well, with savings of up to $200 or more. Prices start at $1,149.99 for the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2.3 GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB HD), or as low as $1,099.99 with Student Deals.

In a separate one-day-only sale, Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the Day for today is also focused on MacBooks from 2015. Sold by Woot, these are certified refurbished models of the original 12-inch MacBook that Apple introduced in early 2015, with prices starting at $779.99 (1.2 GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB HD) and rising to $969.99 (1.2 GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB HD).

Below is a quick rundown of other sales currently happening on Amazon:
For more details on the latest sales -- today including Apple Watch Series 1 for as low as $150 at Walmart -- head over to our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Apple Open Sources FoundationDB

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 18:32
Apple owned-company FoundationDB today announced that the FoundationDB core has been open sourced with the goal of building an open community with all major development done in the open.

FoundationDB, a database company, was purchased by Apple back in 2015. As described in today's announcement, FoundationDB is a distributed datastore that's been designed from the ground up to be deployed on clusters of commodity hardware.


By open sourcing the project to drive development, FoundationDB is aiming to become "the foundation of the next generation of distributed databases.The vision of FoundationDB is to start with a simple, powerful core and extend it through the addition of "layers". The key-value store, which is open sourced today, is the core, focused on incorporating only features that aren't possible to write in layers. Layers extend that core by adding features to model specific types of data and handle their access patterns.

The fundamental architecture of FoundationDB, including its use of layers, promotes the best practices of scalable and manageable systems. By running multiple layers on a single cluster (for example a document store layer and a graph layer), you can match your specific applications to the best data model. Running less infrastructure reduces your organization's operational and technical overhead.Following the open sourcing of FoundationDB, the company believes the quantity and variety of FoundationDB layers will develop rapidly. FoundationDB has adopted a new set of project governance rules and a code of conduct for community development.

The source for FoundationDB is available on Github as of today, and those who wish to join the project are encouraged to visit the FoundationDB community forums, submit bugs, and make contributions to the core software and documentation.

Tag: FoundationDB
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Apple Debuts New iPhone Disassembly Robot Daisy and GiveBack Environmental Program

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 18:00
Ahead of Earth Day on Sunday, Apple today announced a few initiatives that support the company's commitment to the environment, including its goal of making its products using only recycled or renewable materials.

Apple's new iPhone disassembly robot Daisy
First, for every device traded in or recycled at Apple Stores or on Apple.com worldwide between today and April 30, the company will make a donation of an undisclosed amount to the non-profit environmental organization Conservation International, which has worked to protect the nature in more than 30 countries.

Second, Apple introduced a new iPhone disassembly robot named Daisy as an improved version of Liam, its first disassembly robot launched in 2016. Daisy is located in Austin, Texas, with a second robot coming to Breda, Netherlands.Daisy is made from some of Liam's parts and is capable of disassembling nine versions of iPhone and sorting their high-quality components for recycling. Daisy can take apart up to 200 iPhone devices per hour, removing and sorting components, so that Apple can recover materials that traditional recyclers can't — and at a higher quality.Apple's environmental chief Lisa Jackson:At Apple, we're constantly working toward smart solutions to address climate change and conserve our planet's precious resources. In recognition of Earth Day, we are making it as simple as possible for our customers to recycle devices and do something good for the planet through Apple GiveBack. We're also thrilled to introduce Daisy to the world, as she represents what's possible when innovation and conservation meet.Apple will also release its annual Environment Report today, detailing the company's environmental progress in three priority areas: reducing its carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, conserving precious resources, and pioneering the use of safer materials in its products and processes.

Last week, Apple announced its global facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy, including its retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities across the United States and 42 other countries.

Last, Apple Watch owners today will receive a notification about an Earth Day activity challenge, as we revealed earlier this week. To earn the badge, users will have to complete any workout for 30 minutes or longer on April 22.

Tags: Apple environment, Earth Day
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Tim Cook Insists Merging Mac and iPad Would Result in Compromises

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 16:45
Apple CEO Tim Cook remains against the idea of merging the Mac and iPad to create one unified hardware and software experience, according to a brief conversation he had at Apple's education event in Chicago last month.


"We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other," said Cook, speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Wells. "One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises."

"So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day, but that's not what it's about," he added. "It's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."

Cook reiterated that he generally uses a Mac at work, and uses an iPad at home and for travel, but added "I use everything and I love everything."

Apple's boss also revealed that an Apple IIc, released in 1984, was his first computer. "I first used it for a project, as a senior in engineering school, making an inventory control program or for a rental business that was close by," said Cook, who majored in industrial engineering at Auburn University.

Cook's comments echo those he shared with the Irish Independent in 2015, when he said Apple is not interested in creating a "converged Mac and iPad."

"What that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways."

While the Mac and iPad will remain distinct products, Apple has and will continue to bridge the gap between its desktop and mobile platforms. In 2014, for example, it introduced Continuity features like Handoff and Universal Clipboard that enable more seamless experiences across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.


Apple may go one step further in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, as Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently reported that developers will be able to design a single third-party app that works with both a touchscreen, and a mouse or trackpad, depending on whether it's running on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, starting later this year.

Tag: Tim Cook
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eBay for iOS Gains Barcode Scanning Feature That Can Complete Listing Process 'Within Seconds'

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 16:22
eBay today announced a new update for its iOS and Android apps, aimed at further simplifying the item listing process. The headlining feature of the update is a new barcode scanner, allowing sellers to quickly scan the box of an item (if they still have it), select a condition, and click "list your item."

The barcode scanner will automatically populate the listing with all of the requisite details (images, description, suggested starting price), and the process can be finished "within seconds," according to eBay. If you don't have the item barcode you can still search for it by typing in a description, which should populate the listing at around the same rate as the barcode scanner.


eBay's announcement states the streamlined update is aimed at new sellers who aren't yet familiar with the service's in-depth listing options.
“At eBay, we’re dedicated to delivering a seamless and efficient selling experience for both first-time and seasoned sellers alike,” says Kelly Vincent, eBay’s VP of Consumer Selling Product & Engineering.

“This latest update continues to leverage eBay’s structured data, which helps catalogue the 1.1+ billion items on the platform, to instantaneously populate product details, pricing and shipping information in the listing flow. Not only does the catalogue facilitate a superior listing experience, it enables buyers to easily find the great deals offered by our sellers. This is one of many enhancements we’ll be making this year. We’ll continue to leverage structured data and new technology developments to help our sellers ‘get it sold.’” Late last year eBay updated its search function with the ability for users to find items on its marketplace by taking pictures. Using computer vision technology powered by AI, Image Search lets buyers snap a picture or upload one from their iOS device's Camera Roll to find similar results based on their image.

More recently in 2018, eBay announced major changes that will be coming to its online marketplace regarding how buyers and sellers exchange money. The company's three-year plan is to phase out its partnership with PayPal and eventually make Amsterdam-based payments company Adyen its "primary partner for payments processing globally."

Tag: eBay
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Verizon Announces Updated 'Smart Family' iOS App With Screen Time Management, Content Filters, and More

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 15:43
Verizon today announced the evolution of its existing "FamilyBase" parental controls product into "Smart Family," a redesigned app that lets parents track screen time, set content filters, monitor whereabouts, and more.

With the Verizon Smart Family app, parents can instantly pause the internet to manage their kids' screen time, check the battery status of their phone, and look at a summary of their text and call activity. Usage limits can be set by reducing access to texts, calls, and data, and what the parent deems inappropriate can be blocked with content filters for websites and apps.


There is also a location tracking feature with alerts that push to the parent's smartphone, notifying them when their kid arrives or leaves a specified location.
“Being a parent in today’s digital world can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Susie Fernandes, senior product manager at Verizon. “We created Verizon Smart Family to give parents the tools they need to help them raise tech savvy kids with a healthy and responsible approach to screen time and content viewing.” Verizon Smart Family is available to download for free [Direct Link], but eventually requires a monthly subscription to access its features. The two subscription tiers include an entry level $4.99/month option that lacks location tracking and alerts, and a $9.99/month Premium plan with all features included (a 30 day free trial is available for Premium as well).


Smartphone over-use has become an increasingly debated topic in the past few months, with Apple investors urging the company to do more to protect its younger users from device addiction. Soon after, Apple said that new and "robust" parental controls would be coming, and such features are now rumored to be one of the major updates to iOS 12 this fall.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has touched upon the topic as well, discussing in an interview earlier this year how he has "put some boundaries" on his nephew's smartphone use. He continued: "There are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network."

Tag: Verizon
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Popular Sleep Cycle iPhone App Expands to Apple Watch With 'Snore Stopper' and Haptic Wake Up Features

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 14:38
Sleep Cycle, a popular and highly downloaded alarm clock and sleep tracking app available for the iPhone, today announced a new Apple Watch app that introduces more features for an even better waking up experience. With the Sleep Cycle for Apple Watch, Sleep Cycle users can enable "snore stopper" and silent wake up options.

Sleep Cycle uses "sound analysis technology" to detect when someone is snoring, subtly alerting them with a silent vibration sent to the Apple Watch for a more restful night of sleep. The company says that this will "not cause you to wake up," but instead simply encourage you to change position and stop snoring.


Additionally, the app has a silent wake up function that taps you with haptics to wake you from sleep and avoid disturbing anyone else nearby. Sleep Cycle will also continuously track your heart rate average, providing data that you can revisit when you wake up. Available from today, Sleep Cycle’s Apple Watch app release features a snore stopper, a welcomed added feature. In addition to the snore tracker, already available in the existing Sleep Cycle alarm clock app using patented sound analysis technology. Snoring is more likely to occur in certain positions. For example, sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of your mouth.

The Sleep Cycle snore stopper uses the silent haptics function of the Apple Watch to gently nudge your wrist when it detects snoring. The alert will not cause you to wake up. But it will have you change position without knowing it and stop snoring. Much like the old trick of sewing tennis balls onto the back of your pajama shirt. No more snore means better quality sleep – for both the snorer and to the delight of potential roommates.Sleep Cycle on iPhone also uses the same sound analysis technology that tracks snoring to detect movement in an effort to distinguish different sleep phases and provide information on sleep length and quality. This information, which can be viewed on either iPhone or Apple Watch, is used to determine the best time to wake a sleeping person up in the morning, with the aim of cutting down on grogginess by waking people up during the lightest sleep phase.


Sleep Cycle on Apple Watch follows a few sleep tracking apps that have been popular on the App Store, including Sleep++ (which updated recently with automatic sleep tracking), Pillow, and AutoSleep. For Sleep Cycle, the app is free to download and has a collection of features for free, while other features can be added on with a "premium" subscription at $29.99/year.

Beddit is another well-known sleep monitor app, which was acquired by Apple about a year ago. Beddit's sleep tracking data is accumulated using a thin, flexible sensor -- sold for $149.95 on Apple.com -- that provides detailed sleep analysis in areas like respiration, temperature, movement, snoring, and more. Apple's acquisition of Beddit hinted at potential implementation of similar sleep tracking technology in a future Apple Watch, but as of yet the company has not launched a wearable device with built-in sleep analysis features.

Sleep Cycle is available to download for free on the App Store [Direct Link].

Mitchel Broussard contributed to this report.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Pay Offering Free Fries From McDonald's in New Promotion

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 13:02
Anyone who uses Apple Pay to checkout in the McDonald's iOS app on a Friday in April will have the opportunity to get free Medium fries with their order. The offer for a free side of fries is Apple's latest promotion for Apple Pay, and customers have two more Fridays to take advantage of it: April 20 and April 27.


The McDonald's promotion is valid only with a minimum $1 purchase (excluding tax), is available to each user once per week, and can only be used with Mobile Order & Pay at participating McDonald's. With this feature, customers can place their order in the McDonald's app, pay using Apple Pay during checkout, and then head to their local McDonald's to pick up their food.

The promotional email also touts Apple Pay's support in other fast food restaurants, including KFC, Pizza Hut, and Subway. Within apps, Apple reminds users that they can order ahead in Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and Jimmy John's. Lastly, the company mentions Apple Pay Cash as a way for users to split lunch orders with friends.

The last few Apple Pay promos offered savings for Adidas and Hotwire, Fanatics, Grubhub and Seamless, TouchTunes, and Fandango.

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Apple Pay promo
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Netflix Adds 30-Second Preview Videos to iOS App

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:22
Netflix today added a slew of 30-second video trailers to its iOS app, after limited testing of the feature since early March.

Optimized for mobile, the trailers ape the look of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, appearing as circular icons on the app's main screen and playing back in a vertical format on iPhones. Netflix offered its rationale for the feature in a blog post on its website:

Today, we are excited to introduce mobile previews (launching today on iOS and coming soon to Android) to the mobile experience. Mobile previews present members with a fun, simple, and easy way to learn about all the new content on Netflix -- and find something great to watch even faster.

Years of testing has made it clear that video previews help our members browse less and discover new content more quickly. With the launch of mobile previews, we are bringing a video browse experience to your mobile phone in a fun and mobile-optimized way.While watching a trailer, users can tap to play the content being previewed, get more information on it, or add it to their Watch Later list. Tapping the video or swiping across it also skips to another trailer without having to return to the main screen.

The company introduced video previews to its TV and web interface last year, but Netflix says around a fifth of all viewing occurs on mobile devices, which is why previews will be a permanent feature of the app going forward. Currently in the list are 75 custom-crop previews for both original and licensed content, with Netflix expected to add more in future.

Netflix exceeded Wall Street expectations this week by adding 7.4 million new subscribers between January and March, giving it a total of 125 million paying subscribers worldwide – far more than Amazon and Hulu.

The service is now available in 190 countries, and users of the streaming service can expect a crop of new television shows from around the world to debut this year, including a six-part British series called The English Game, a look into the invention of football, written by the creator of Downton Abbey. Netflix says several newly announced movies will also be added in 2018, along with new seasons of existing series, such as Glow.

Tag: Netflix
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How to Apply Color Tags to Items in macOS Finder Using Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:00
In one of our previous macOS how-to guides, we explained how using tags can help you organize your files and folders and quickly locate them when they're needed. In this article, we're going to show you how to tag items in Finder using a simple custom keyboard shortcut, for even faster tagging.

The first series of steps below shows you how to create a handy key shortcut to activate Finder's inline tagging menu. Once you've done that, we explain how you can use one or more custom shortcuts to directly apply specific color tags to selected items in a Finder window.


This more powerful color tagging method requires creating a simple Automator service. If that sounds scary, don't worry – it's a simple process, and if you're a frequent user of tags then you'll find this quick recipe well worth the effort. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Create a Shortcut for Tagging Items in Finder

  1. Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).
  2. Select the Keyboard preference pane.
  3. Click the Shortcuts tab.

  4. Select App Shortcuts in the left column and click the + button.
  5. Select Finder.app in the Application field.
  6. Type Tags... in the Menu Title field.

  7. Click inside the Keyboard Shortcut field and press your preferred key combination for activating the service. In our example, we've used Shift-Command-T.
  8. Click Add.
Now your shortcut is set up, it's time to try it out. Open a Finder window and select an item (or several) for tagging. Hit your chosen key combination and you should see a tag menu pop up beneath the selected item(s), like so.


From there, just start typing the name of the tag you want to use and it should appear in the input field. Hit Enter to apply it. Alternatively, use the down arrow key to choose the tag you want from the dropdown list, and hit Enter.

How to Create a Color Tagging Service in Automator

  1. Launch Automator from the Applications folder.

  2. Click New Document.
  3. Choose Service as the type of your document.

  4. Type label into the Library search field at the top of the Automator sidebar.
  5. Drag the Label Finder Items action into the empty workflow area.

  6. Click the tag color you want to use for your first keyboard shortcut. (We're going for red in our example.)
  7. Select files or folders in the Service receives selected dropdown.
  8. Select Finder in the in application dropdown.

  9. Select File -> Save from the Automator menu bar, and give your service a name. We'll be using the name "Tag Red".
  10. Click Save.
How to Assign a Shortcut to Your New Tagging Service

  1. Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).
  2. Select the Keyboard pane.
  3. Click the Shortcuts tab.
  4. Select App Shortcuts in the left column and click the + button.

  5. Select Finder.app in the Application field.
  6. In the Menu Title field, type the exact name of the service you just created in Automator ("Tag Red" in our example).

  7. Click inside the Keyboard Shortcut field and press your chosen key combination for activating the service. We've used Shift-Command-R.
  8. Click Add.
You should now be able to tag selected items in Finder with your chosen color using the keyboard shortcut you created.


To create additional shortcuts for applying other tag colors, simply follow the Automator steps again but choose another color, and save the service under a corresponding name. Then simply assign a shortcut to the named service in the Keyboard preference pane as described above.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Drafts 5 Overhauls Note-Taking App With New Themes, Editor Options and Action Features

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:15
A new version of Drafts, the simple note-taking app from Agile Tortoise, was released today. Drafts 5 stays faithful to its predecessor's primary goal of allowing users to quickly jot down text, thoughts, ideas, and notes, and builds on these functions by introducing a ground-up rewrite of the app with a raft of new features and customization options.

Agile Tortoise has opted to release Drafts 5 as a standalone app, which means it doesn't replace Drafts 4, but installs alongside it, allowing users to migrate previous drafts, actions and keyboard customizations from the earlier app.


Once they've done that, long-time users can look forward to new interface theming options – like the ability to switch between light and dark modes – and granular control of a host of draft appearance settings in the new editor. These include the ability to adjust margins, line height, line numbering, auto-correct, smart quotes/dashes, and more.

Drafts 5 also introduces new organization options with multiple tags, which can be used to filter the draft list and queries for all inbox, archived, and flagged drafts. Elsewhere, a new Focus mode disables the automatic creation of new drafts after a specific time period, allowing users to continue adding to drafts long after they were first created. Siri integration is another new addition in this version, so users can add a note to Drafts by just using their voice.

Elsewhere, there's enhanced support for inline syntax highlighting for several different types of markup, interactive to-dos, drag and drop support, multiple extended keyboards for grouping actions into categories, a new Action Directory, and automated backup. Small changes have also been made to improve the Apple Watch complication of Drafts 5, which allows dictation and note-taking from the wrist, as well as flagging and tagging of drafts.

The comprehensive list of changes and improvements can be found on the GetDrafts.com website. Drafts for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link], while Drafts Pro is a universal subscription ($20 per year / $2 per month) that unlocks more features. These include themes, custom icons, editing of actions, saving workspaces and more. According to the developer, Draft 4 will continue to be supported and available, so users can choose to migrate to Drafts 5 if and when they feel they are ready.

Tag: AgileBits
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Apple May Offer Two 6.1-Inch iPhone Models in 2018 With Price Tag as Low as $550

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 23:19
Apple's upcoming lower-cost 6.1-inch iPhone could be available in two models, one that includes a single SIM and a second that offers dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS) functionality, aka two physical SIM card slots, according to an investor's note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo believes that the 6.1-inch dual-SIM iPhone could be priced at $650 to $750, while a single SIM model could potentially be less expensive at $550 to $650. Prospective prices for the two OLED iPhones Apple plans to introduce in 2018 were not mentioned in today's note, but those two devices are expected to be significantly more expensive.

6.1" LCD iPhone may have model that supports DSDS. If the 6.1" LCD iPhone comes with DSDS and single-SIM models, we believe it will result in two benefits: (1) more price segments would be created, significantly boosting shipments via the low-price single-SIM model. For instance, if the DSDS model sells for US$650-750, the single-SIM model may sell for US$550-650; and (2) the DSDS model will help increase market share in China and commercial markets.Kuo has mentioned dual-SIM dual standby functionality in prior notes, where he said at least one of the three new iPhones expected in 2018 would offer the feature. In this note, Kuo clarifies that both the 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch devices will support DSDS, while the 5.8-inch iPhone will not.

Kuo also previously said that Apple will use Intel's XMM 7560 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X20 modems for faster LTE speeds, and that the DSDS devices will support LTE+LTE connections to allow two SIM cards to be active simultaneously using one set of chips. A dual-SIM feature would make it easier for people to switch carriers when traveling by allowing and Kuo believes it would be highly popular in China.

Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce three iPhones in 2018, the 6.1-inch LCD model outlined here, a 5.8-inch OLED model positioned as a sort of second-generation iPhone X, and a 6.5-inch OLED model that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus."

Kuo believes that mass production on the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will start three to five weeks later than the two OLED models because of the recent decision to add a DSDS model. Apple's supply chain will see strong growth in 4Q18-2Q19F, says Kuo, with the 6.1-inch iPhone's low price and DSDS feature to "significantly boost shipment momentum."

Kuo predicts the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone and the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone will be Apple's most popular devices next year, with consumers less interested in the 5.8-inch model due to its smaller screen, higher price tag, and lack of DSDS functionality compared to the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.

The 6.1-inch LCD model in particular could account for 65 to 75 percent of total iPhone shipments from 3Q 2018 to 3Q 2019.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones
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Most Useful 3D Touch Gestures on iPhone

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 21:37
3D Touch is a feature that's been around since the 2015 release of the iPhone 6s, and it's become an integral gesture system on all of Apple's latest iPhones.

Though it's been around for a while, there are several hidden and less obvious 3D Touch gestures that you may have forgotten or might not be aware of, especially if you don't use the feature often. In our most recent YouTube video and in the guide below, we've highlighted some of the most useful and lesser known 3D Touch gestures.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
3D Touch Cursor
Whenever you're typing something using the default iOS keyboard on the iPhone, if you 3D Touch, the keyboard turns blank and morphs into a trackpad that allows you to quickly move the cursor on the screen through the text you've written.

This is a useful gesture that allows you to make quick edits without having to reach up and tap the display.


If you hold the cursor over a word for a short length of time, you can also use it to select text for deleting multiple words, copying and pasting, formatting, and other purposes.

You can use this cursor gesture in Mail, Notes, Messages, and more on 3D Touch-enabled devices running iOS 11.

Control Center
In Control Center on devices running iOS 11, you can 3D Touch on almost all of the included icons to get additional control options and shortcut access.


Some of the available options are listed below:

  • Wi-Fi - 3D Touch the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth box to get additional options for AirPlay and Personal Hotspot.

  • Music - 3D Touch for additional Music control options both for the iPhone and for connected devices that include HomePod and Apple TV.

  • Brightness - 3D Touch the brightness control to see a larger slider and to access options for Night Shift and True Tone.

  • Volume - 3D Touch to see a larger slider.

  • Flashlight - 3D Touch to change the brightness of the rear flash, aka the "Flashlight." There are four brightness levels.

  • Timer - 3D Touch to choose a timer length using a built-in slider bar.

  • Calculator - 3D Touch to copy your last result.

  • Camera - 3D Touch to access quick options for taking a selfie, recording a video, recording a Slo-mo video, or taking a portrait.

  • Home - 3D Touch to access controls for your favorite scenes and accessories.

  • Screen Recording - 3D Touch for options that include screen recording to camera roll or Facebook, turning the microphone on and off, and starting a recording.

  • Wallet - 3D Touch for a shortcut to your default credit or debit card and an option to access your last transaction.

  • Notes - 3D Touch to access shortcuts to create a new note, a new checklist, a new photo, or a new sketch.

  • Remote - 3D Touch for a full Apple TV Remote interface.


Prioritizing App Downloads
When you're downloading a bunch of updates from the App Store, if you 3D Touch on an app that's pending, you can force it to download first. This is useful if you're stuck with an app that's loading but need to access it quickly.


You can also cancel downloads and pause downloads with this feature.

Bonus: In the App Store itself, if you 3D Touch on the icon, you can update all of your apps with a quick tap that doesn't require actually opening up the App Store app and navigating to the Updates tab. There are also shortcuts for accessing your purchased apps, redeeming a gift card or promo code, and conducting a search. Note: The "Update All" icon doesn't seem to appear reliably at all times, which may be due to a bug.

Previewing, Sharing, and Saving Photos
In the Photos app, if you 3D Touch on a thumbnail, you can see a preview of the image without needing to tap to open it, which is known as a Peek and Pop gesture. Swipe up after the initial 3D Touch to get access to options to copy a photo, share a photo, favorite a photo, or show additional photos from the same day.

You can use this same gesture in Safari and other apps that have images, such as Messages, Mail, and Apple News. For example, 3D Touch on an image in Safari, swipe upward, and you'll see options to save the image to your camera roll or copy it. Make sure to 3D Touch and then immediately swipe, because if you continue to hold down it will initiate a full "pop" gesture which eliminates the quick save option.


Bonus: 3D Touch on the Photos app icon to get access some fun and useful shortcuts to your most recent photos, your favorite photos, photos from one year ago, or a search interface.

Third-Party App Shortcuts
Apple made 3D Touch available to third-party developers, and there are now hundreds of popular apps that have incorporated it, offering up new options on compatible iPhones.


3D Touch, for example, enables pressure sensitive drawing and writing in note taking and sketching apps, and it's even been incorporated as a control method in some games. Blackbox, Asphalt 8: Airborne, and BADLAND 2 are all examples of games that incorporate 3D Touch in some way.

On a more basic level, most apps have Home screen shortcuts accessible using 3D Touch. Instagram, for example, lets you access the camera, create a new post, view activity, or switch accounts using 3D Touch options, while Facebook has shortcuts for things like scanning a QR code, searching, or writing a post.


Many apps also support 3D Touch gestures in app. For example, within Instagram or Facebook, 3D Touch on a thumbnail or a link for a preview of the content. These kind of Peek and Pop gestures have been built into quite a few third-party apps for a consistent usage experience on devices that support 3D Touch.

3D Touch-Compatible Devices
3D Touch continues to be a feature that's limited to the iPhone, and it's enabled through a built-in Taptic engine included in every generation since the iPhone 6s. 3D Touch is available on the following iPhones:

  • iPhone 6s

  • iPhone 6s Plus

  • iPhone 7

  • iPhone 7 Plus

  • iPhone 8

  • iPhone 8 Plus

  • iPhone X


Conclusion
3D Touch can do a whole lot more than what's included in this guide, and the best way to discover everything is liberal use of the feature. 3D Touch on third-party app icons to see what shortcuts are available, 3D Touch within apps to see if there are built-in 3D Touch gestures, and give it a try in all of Apple's apps, most of which have been built with 3D Touch integration.

Use 3D Touch in apps Messages, Safari, and Mail on links and photos to preview content with Peek and Pop or to find new sharing options, and 3D Touch on notifications to get more information.

Have a favorite 3D Touch gesture that we didn't cover in the guide? Let us know in the comments.

Tag: 3D Touch
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Apple Releases Second Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 to Public Beta Testers

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 19:21
Apple today released the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 update to public beta testers, two weeks after seeding the first beta and three weeks after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.4. Today's public beta is identical to the second beta provided to developers earlier this week.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the new macOS High Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 once again introduces support for Messages on iCloud, a feature that was present in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 betas but pulled ahead of the release of the updated software.

Messages on iCloud is designed to store your iMessages in iCloud for improved syncing. Right now, incoming iMessages will be sent to all devices where you're signed into your Apple ID, but it's not true cloud-based syncing because your old messages don't show up on new devices nor does deleting a message remove it from all of your devices, both features enabled through Messages on iCloud.

The Messages on iCloud feature also allows your older iMessages to be stored in iCloud rather than on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, saving valuable storage space. Older attachments are also stored in iCloud.

No other major outward-facing changes were discovered in the first two developer betas, but the update likely includes bug fixes and improvements to address issues discovered since the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4. Because Apple does not provide detailed release notes for macOS High Sierra updates, we may not know exactly what's included until the new software is provided to the public.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
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Popular YouTuber Says Apple Won't Fix His iMac Pro, But Disassembly Violated Apple's Repair Policy

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 18:15
Linus Sebastian, who runs the popular YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips, recently shared a video in which he claimed Apple and an Apple Authorized Service Provider denied to service his damaged iMac Pro.


For background, Sebastian and his team fully disassembled the iMac Pro in January for their video review, which shows components like the main logic board and memory modules laid out individually. The real-time footage of the damage occurring in the new video appears to be a reenactment with visual effects.

The damage resulted when they dropped the display while attempting to reattach it to the aluminum chassis. Towards the end of the video, Sebastian also says the iMac Pro requires a new logic board and power supply unit, suggesting there may have been a short circuit that caused damage to internal components as well.


Sebastian contacted Apple to inquire about repair options, and visited the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, but the company ultimately declined to service the iMac Pro. In an email, an Apple support advisor placed blame on limited availability of replacement parts, but the actual reason is likely rooted in policy.

As has long been the case, Apple's terms and conditions for repairs stipulates that the company will not service products that have failed due to "unauthorized modification," including "faulty installation, repair, or maintenance by anyone other than Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

Apple's limited one-year warranty is also void if a product has "damage caused by service, including upgrades and expansions, performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

In his defense, Sebastian confirms he is aware of those policies, but his argument is that Apple should still be obligated to repair the iMac Pro if he pays out-of-warranty fees. In the video's comments section, reaction is mixed, with some people agreeing with him and others siding with Apple.

iMac Pro is a non-user-upgradeable, all-in-one workstation by design, so it's easy to see why Apple may not be interested in servicing one that was fully disassembled. While the team at Linus Tech Tips may be more tech savvy than some, a lot can go wrong when an average customer tampers with internals.

After the repair was declined by Apple, Sebastian and his team contacted an Apple Authorized Service Provider in Canada, where they are located. The repair shop also declined the repair, but their reason was allegedly that Apple has yet to offer the required certification courses to service the iMac Pro.

However, Apple's internal iMac Pro Service Readiness Guide obtained by MacRumors states that ATLAS online training and learning resources for servicing the iMac Pro have been available in English since December. We also spoke to multiple sources who completed the course and received certification months ago.

The guide adds that iMac Pro service parts availability began in early to mid January, with replacement logic boards, flash storage, and memory available by late February. Multiple sources at Apple Authorized Service Providers also confirmed that iMac Pro displays are available with two-week-or-less delivery estimates.

MacRumors contacted a reliable source who confirmed that Apple Authorized Service Providers are permitted to deny service for any product that has been opened or modified by a customer, regardless of warranty, both for safety reasons and to avoid responsibility if the machine cannot be fixed.

In the end, Apple has to draw a line somewhere, and not everyone will agree with it. MacRumors contacted Apple, but a spokesperson declined to comment. We've also contacted Linus Tech Tips for comment.

Related Roundup: iMac ProBuyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)
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Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 54 With Bug Fixes and Feature Improvements

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 18:04
Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced more than two years ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 54 includes bug fixes and feature improvements for Clipboard API, Beacon API, Web API, WebRTC, and Web Inspector.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Tag: Safari Technology Preview
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'Star Wars: Jedi Challenges' iOS App Updates With ARKit Support for Holochess Mode

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:51
When Apple first announced its ARKit developer platform, one of the examples it gave was an image that showed someone playing Dejarik, a holographic board game from the Star Wars universe. The game has been available in an augmented reality experience on the iOS "Star Wars: Jedi Challenges" app [Direct Link], but it required pieces of hardware -- namely the Lenovo Mirage AR headset -- that currently costs $149.99.


This week Disney updated the Jedi Challenges app with ARKit support, removing the requirement of a Lenovo Mirage AR headset and letting anyone with an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 play Dejarik Holochess for free (via Gizmodo UK). ARKit users are able to access the full Holochess game mode, with 18 levels taking place across six planets and including eight unlockable creatures with unique abilities. Lenovo says that Holochess mode includes around two to three hours of gameplay.
Star Wars: Jedi Challenges adds ARKit compatibility with this update. Users with an Apple device running iOS 11 can now experience the magic of augmented reality directly from their mobile device. Access the full Holochess game mode from Star Wars: Jedi Challenges including 18 levels across 6 planets and 8 unlockable creatures with unique special abilities. Last month, Sensor Tower reported that iPhone and iPad owners worldwide have downloaded more than 13 million ARKit-only apps since the platform launched in September 2017. Games remain the dominant category for ARKit-only apps -- defined as "expressly using" Apple's framework, unlike Jedi Challenges -- having grown from representing 35 percent of downloads one month after iOS 11's launch, to 47 percent today.

Back in January, Apptopia claimed that developer use of ARKit had slowed down since it debuted in September, with growth steadily declining since the official launch. Apptopia's numbers suggested that 300 ARKit-related apps launched in September, around 200 came out in October, and 156 were released in November. The number climbed above 160 for December, but developers are said to still be figuring out the best use cases for augmented reality in general, with many ARKit-enabled apps designated as either games with AR modes attached onto them, entertainment and photo apps, or utilities.

Although ARKit has removed the need for a headset in Holochess mode, anyone who wants to partake in Star Wars: Jedi Challenge's Lightsaber Battles and Strategic Combat games will still need the Mirage headset. While Jedi Challenges is also available for Android smartphones, support for Google's ARCore has not yet been announced.

Tags: Star Wars, ARKit
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Opera VPN iOS App Will Be Permanently Discontinued at the End of April

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 15:22
Just under two years after launching on the iOS App Store, Opera this week announced that its free "Opera VPN" app will be permanently discontinued as of April 30, 2018. Opera's virtual private network app masks the user's true IP address and allows them to bypass firewalls, block tracking cookies, change their virtual location to unlock geo-specific content, and more.

At the end of April, the app will be shuttered on both the iOS and Android App Stores, but the company noted that it aims to "make sure your privacy is still looked after" following Opera VPN's discontinuation. This mainly refers to users who were paying for Opera Gold on mobile, which introduced a Tracker Blocker, 10 additional regions, increased speeds, and dedicated customer support for $29.99/year.


These subscribers will have the option to redeem a free one year subscription to SurfEasy's Ultra VPN and migrate all of their data from Opera to SurfEasy, a company that Opera acquired in 2016. Even those who don't have an Opera Gold plan will have the chance to obtain an 80 percent discount on SurfEasy's entry level Total VPN tier. In terms of pricing, SurfEasy's Ultra plan is currently priced at $6.49/month and the Total plan is $3.99/month.
This is a free upgrade for Opera Gold users, as SurfEasy Ultra offers unlimited usage on up to five devices, access to 28 regions and a strict no-log policy. SurfEasy is also available on more platforms, currently supporting Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Amazon devices. Users will be able to enjoy world-class customer support, too. Opera Gold users will be able to migrate within the latest version of the Opera VPN iOS app. In regards to the closure, Opera said: "All of us here at Opera VPN (including Olaf) are sincerely grateful for all your support over the last couple of years, and we're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause." Opera will still have its main web browser available for Mac users, including a built-in ad blocker and VPN.

Tags: Opera browser, VPN
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