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How the iPad might influence the future of the Mac interface

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 06:00

Much has been written—a lot of it by me, admittedly—about how Apple’s commitment to let iOS developers bring their apps to macOS in 2019 has the potential to dramatically change the Mac. But adding iOS apps to the Mac might not be where Apple stops. What if the company uses macOS 10.15 (or, dare I suggest, macOS 13?) to further unify the interfaces of its platforms?

For all the discussion about whether iOS apps running on a Mac can possibly live up to the platform’s interface standards, it’s entirely possible that this year, Apple will choose to redefine what it is to be Mac-like in a way that turns iOS and macOS into a continuum of interface decisions that are all, for lack of a better phrase, “Apple-like.” Longtime Mac users might chafe, but iOS users might welcome it. As someone who is both, I am not sure where I fall, but it’s worth considering just what Apple might do to make the Mac more closely resemble iOS.

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Best Fitbit: We help you choose the right one for your lifestyle

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 18:40

As one of the biggest names in fitness trackers, Fitbit is an easy pick for recording your daily steps or sleep patterns. Selecting the best Fitbit model for your needs, however, isn’t quite as simple.

The different Fitbit trackers have a lot of overlap in features, and so it’s not straightforward which one is the “best.” Moving up the scale in price doesn’t necessarily mean you get all the features of the cheaper trackers plus additional ones. (This quirk is particularly relevant if you need water resistance.)

That’s where we come in. We’ve boiled down the options into three simple picks that should match most people’s activity levels and styles.

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Apple now selling $129 battery cases for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 16:55

Rumors suggested late last year that Apple was working on a battery case for the iPhone XS and XR, but the products sort of fell off the radar after weeks went by without no information. All of a sudden, though, Apple is selling battery cases for all three of the iPhones on its website.

The cases come in either black or white and cost $129, and remarkably, that price applies regardless of whether you get one for the iPhone XSRemove non-product link, iPhone XS MaxRemove non-product link, or iPhone XRRemove non-product link. They’re made of the same grippy silicone I love from Apple’s regular cases, and taking a cue from its previous battery cases, Apple designed it so the battery sits snugly against the back of the device.

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Join us on Wednesday, January 16, at 10 a.m. Pacific

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 16:00

Apple replaced a lot of iPhone batteries last year. Should Apple switch to AMD processors? We also respond to your comments and questions for Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, Roman Loyola, and Dan Masaoka in the Macworld Podcast, episode 636.

Watch us live

The Macworld Podcast broadcasts live on the internet on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Pacific. You can watch on Twitter via Periscope or on the Macworld YouTube channel.

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Apple’s original TV shows and series: Apple's first feature film is Sofia Coppola's On the Rocks, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 15:08

Apple is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on original TV programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s not the $8 billion Netflix is going to spend, but it’s still a huge commitment.

What can you get for a billion dollars? Well, some simple math gives us 200 episodes at $5 million a piece (a reasonable per-episode price for high-end TV). But we’re not likely to actually see 10-20 shows with 10-20 episodes each, all costing around that much. For starters, that billion dollars has to cover a lot more than per-episode production costs.

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DuckDuckGo switches to Apple Maps

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 13:20

It didn’t make a big splash, but Apple unveiled a new mapping tool last year at WWDC. MapKit JS is a JavaScript library that anyone can use to put Apple Maps on the web. It’s currently still in beta, but can be used by any registered Apple developer (with a daily limit on how many map views can be called).

Today, privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo announced that it will use the new MapKit JS tool for all its location-based search results. Previously, the site used OpenStreetMap for its results, with a drop-down box kicking you off to Bing, Google, or Here maps if you asked for directions.

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Best high-resolution digital audio player: Which DAP reigns supreme?

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 12:08
We review hi-res audio players from Astell&Kern, Pioneer, Questyle, and more. Find out which shine above the others.

Amazon's Fire TV Stick gets a much better remote

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 11:24
The Amazon Fire TV Stick gets volume and power controls on its remote.

Stuck in macOS Recovery with a language you don’t speak? Here’s what you can do to fix this

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:00

When you start up a Mac while holding down Command-R on the keyboard, the Mac boots into macOS Recovery. In this mode, you can run Disk Utility, access the command-line Terminal app, and reinstall the operating system. But what do you do if you restart your Mac into Recovery mode and a language appears other than one you know?

This doesn’t seem to happen at random, but it can occur when you’ve purchased a computer from someone who installed the system using another language, which can remain in place in the Recovery partition, a separately organized part of your startup drive.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to resolve this.

  • Choose the third menu from the left, which is labeled File when in English, and pick the first option, which is labeled Change Language in English. You should be able to select the language you want.
  • Launch Terminal, which is in the fifth menu from the left, labeled Utilities in English. The apps have icons next to them, and Terminal is a little rectangle with a prompt in it. After Terminal launches, type sudo languagesetup and press Return. You can then select the language to use.
  • If you have a Keyboard menu at the far right of the screen, you can select the one with a tiny U.S. flag to switch to English.
  • If all else fails, you can reinstall macOS by restarting your Mac and then holding down Command-Option-R. This will re-download installation files and prompt you for a language choice, while also upgrading the Recovery partition. It won’t overwrite your hard drive, but installs in place the latest version of macOS that works on your computer.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Curtis.

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So long, iPhone: Relegating Apple’s hits to history

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 07:00

Bad news about Apple once again as it turns out that the company and its products are nor—repeat: not—immune to the effects of time.

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, John D. Stoll tells us how the destroyer of all things will eventually get Apple as well.

“Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?” (Tip o’ the antlers to Philip.)

People love iPhones. But were you aware that death eventually catches up to all of us? Where is your god now?

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Fiio M7 digital audio player review: aptX HD and LDAC support for streaming high-res audio over Bluetooth

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 06:00
This entry-level player delivers wireless high-resolution audio in a pocket-sized package for the audiophile on the go, but it's dearth of features might be too bare bones for some.

HDHomeRun teases simpler hardware and (maybe) a Roku app

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 06:00
The HDHomeRun Scribe Duo and Servio can record broadcast TV channels without a separate server device.

Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 18:24
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

How to use the iPhone’s Today View and manage its widgets

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 08:00

The iPhone has a Today View that provides access to at-a-glance information from your most-used apps. It’s a great way to use your apps without actually tapping them on the Home screen. For example, the Weather widget in Today View shows the local forecast. You can even access Today View from the iPhone’s Lock screen.

Here’s how to access and manage the widgets in Today View.

IDG How to access Today View

On the iPhone Home or Lock screen, swipe to the right edge of the screen. You can do this swipe from anywhere: the far left edge, the middle, or even close to the right edge of the screen.

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Best organizer bags, fanny packs, and pouches for your gear

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 06:45
For most of us, even our most pared-down tech includes not just a phone, but also cables, adapters, and other sundry accessories. This is where an accessory pouch, bag, or organizer comes in. We've rounded up some of our favorites.

Electrolux Pure i9 review: This robot vac is a few features short of justifying its price tag

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 06:00
The storied brand has produce a robot vac that boasts excellent suction and superb navigation skills, but the Electrolux Pure i9 lacks the extra features of comparably priced robot vacuums.

TaoTronics TT-BH060 Bluetooth headphones review: Affordable noise cancellation, but the sound lacks sparkle

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 06:00
TaoTronics TT-BH060 headphones feature noise cancellation and a very comfortable design, as well as supporting Bluetooth 5.0. But the sound leans heavily towards the bottom end of the spectrum and lacks high-end brilliance.

Thunderbolt 3 adapter guide: How to connect an iPhone, display, hard drive, and more to a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 15:57

The new MacBook Pro comes with two or four external ports, depending on the model you pick. And the new MacBook Air has a pair of ports. But those ports are only of one type: Thunderbolt 3, which is compatible with USB-C.

But you probably have devices that use USB-A, Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, DisplayPort, HDMI, or something else. How do you connect these devices? With an adapter.

If you’re planning to buy a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, make sure you set aside a considerable amount of cash for the adapters you need. Apple doesn’t include any in the box, except for a power adapter.

Your best bet is to get a combination dock, like the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter ($60 on Amazon). It connects via USB-C, and includes a USB-C pass-through port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port with 4K (30Hz) support. With this, you don’t have to carry around multiple adapters.

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The most important thing to do if your Mac has a Fusion Drive: Back up your data

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 07:00

SSDs (solid-state drives) offer extremely reliable, fast, and consistent performance over many, many years. They aren’t subject to problems that can harm even the best-designed modern hard disk drives (HDDs): exposure to magnetic fields or the failure of moving parts inside the drives.

But SSDs remain expensive many years after they first appeared. Nearly all other aspects of computation—from processors to RAM to LCD displays—have dropped dramatically in price while improving in quality and performance year after and year. SSDs initially followed that curve, especially for lower-capacity drives, but tapered way off. The cost of manufacturing higher-capacity memory chips used in SSDs hasn’t dropped much in recent years.

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Best of CES: The coolest smart home and home entertainment gear we saw

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 06:30
From a smart wall outlet to a new range of smart lights to an amazing roll-up TV—and more!—we name the most impressive connected home and home entertainment gear of CES 2019.