iDrop News Apple News, How Tos and Culture. Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:59:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 iDrop News 32 32 iPhone 8 Buyers Report ‘Annoying Static Sounds’ During Calls Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:59:11 +0000 Several iPhone 8 and 8 Plus handsets are allegedly emitting “very annoying” static sounds through their front-facing earpieces when owners conduct routine phone calls, according to a growing number of complaints posted to the MacRumors’ Support forums. The issue was first published to said forums by a user who goes by vask on Friday, shortly after the handset launched. Since then, a somewhat concerning number of iPhone 8 Plus owners, in particular, from across the U.S., Europe, and Australia, have contributed reports of similar issues.

Interestingly, while most of these iPhone 8 Plus buyers report experiencing the static, crackling sounds when they conduct phone calls through the handset’s earpiece, the issue appears to correct itself when headphones are plugged in or speakerphone is enabled, which may suggest that whatever’s causing the noise is software-related, rather than a hardware defect.

“It is a high-pitched crackle like an audio pop that happens in the earpiece top speaker intermittently during calls. Some calls are fine and others crackle. It is not audible on earphones or on speakerphone, only through the earpiece. The caller on the other end doesn’t hear it,” explained forum member jgpsolo, while Switzerland-based forum member, ManuCH, added that the problem occurs “With or without Wi-Fi calling, with 4G voice (VoLTE) on or off, with phone noise cancelling enabled or disabled under accessibility, and even with third party VoIP apps over several different carriers.”

Is There a Solution?

At present, it appears that some of those affected have tried one of several potential fixes, garnering mixed results, such as performing a hard reset, erasing the iPhone and resetting it from scratch, and even outright returning what they thought was a defective device, only to be given a replacement that’s beset by the same issues, according to MacRumors.

The good news, at least, is that Apple is aware of the problem and is currently looking into how it can be fixed.

macOS High Sierra Vulnerability Could Put Your Passwords at Risk Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:43:24 +0000 A major security vulnerability has been discovered in the newly released macOS High Sierra. The exploit can be used by an attacker to steal usernames and passwords stored in Keychain.

The vulnerability was first pointed by security researcher and former NSA analyst Patrick Wardle, who tweeted about the exploit early Monday morning. According to Wardle, certain unsigned apps on High Sierra (and possibly older versions of macOS) can reportedly access data stored within Apple’s Keychain platform — and that data is displayed as plaintext, even without a user’s system password. Waddle also shared a video showing the vulnerability in action (see below).

Waddle, for his part, created an example app he named “keychainStealer” to demonstrate the exploit. Using the app, he was able to access plaintext user login information for various accounts stored in Keychain — including Facebook, Twitter and Bank of America.

It’s worth noting that the exploit can only work if a user downloads an app with malicious code from a non-trusted source. Apple discourages these types of downloads and even blocks apps from unknown developers by default. A user can explicitly override the built-in security settings, however. And presumably, many popular apps from non-trusted developers would harbor malicious code. Wardle told Forbes on Monday that it isn’t too difficult to run malicious code on a Mac, even with Apple’s strict security platforms in place.

“Without root privileges, if the user is logged in, I can dump and exfiltrate the keychain, including plaintext passwords,” Wardle told the publication. “Normally you are not supposed to be able to do that programmatically.”

The researcher went on to add that most attacks today involve social engineering “and seem to be successful targeting Mac users.” He noted that his keychain exploit might not be “elegant,” but it doesn’t require root access and is successful 100 percent of the time.

In order to help prevent malicious attackers from taking advantage of the vulnerability, Wardle did not release the full exploit code. Because of that, however, exact details on the exploit aren’t currently known and haven’t been corroborated by any other source thus far. It’s also impossible to tell whether malicious entities have access to similar code, or if the vulnerability has been used in the wild.

Apple only just released its macOS High Sierra update to the public this morning. But with an exploit this dangerous, the company is likely to patch the problem in a future update — one that’ll likely come in the next few days. As of the writing of this article, the company has not responded to requests for comment.

If you haven’t downloaded macOS High Sierra, it might be smart to hold off until Apple addresses the issue. If you have, be extremely careful about the kind of apps you download. In fact, you should entirely avoid downloading or running apps from non-trusted sources until the vulnerability is patched.

macOS High Sierra Vulnerability Could Put Your Passwords at Risk A major security vulnerability has been discovered in the newly released macOS High Sierra. The exploit can be used by an attacker to steal usernames and p macOS High Sierra,Security
iPhone 8, 8 Plus See Lowest-Performing Launch in Four Years Mon, 25 Sep 2017 20:59:06 +0000 The iPhone 8 rollout over the last few days may very well be one of Apple’s lowest-performing launch weekends in several years. But it’s not exactly unexpected and it’s not entirely a bad thing for Apple.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have seen the lowest adoption rates of any iPhone in the last four years, according to new data by mobile engagement firm Localytics. Combined, the devices achieved an estimated 0.7 percent market share of iPhone models — the lowest percentage tracked since the iPhone 5s launch weekend in 2013.

Here, it’s important to note that the data doesn’t necessarily represent overall sales for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Rather, the numbers track how many users have used one of the new iPhones on an app that utilizes Localytics’ platform to track user engagement — roughly, there are about 37,000 apps using the firm’s SDK. Even with that in mind, the results are pretty telling.

Specifically, the data suggests that the type of consumer who rushes out to buy a new iPhone during a launch weekend are likely holding out for the premium OLED iPhone to launch in November. “Apple is betting big on the iPhone X, and so far it looks like consumers may be doing the same,” the firm wrote in a blog post.

There’s another explanation for the lower percentages. Namely, the fact that the total iPhone market is growing steadily larger could skew the numbers. Put simply, there are more iPhones in more users’ hands, meaning that Apple has to sell more new devices to equal the same percentage as previous years.

The numbers do show an uptick in the demand for larger-sized phones, however. The iPhone 8 Plus alone recorded a 0.4 percent market share, higher than any other first-weekend adoption of a Plus model iPhone. The upgraded camera tech and dual-lens module in the larger iPhone are likely also attracting higher demand.

There’s no way to corroborate Localytics’ data with actual sales statistics, as Apple decided to stop releasing first-weekend sales data for its new flagships last year. Since iPhone sales are increasingly governed by supply rather than demand, Apple said, first-weekend sales numbers are no longer a “representative metric” for the company’s investors or customers.

In addition to iPhone adoption rates, Localytics also tracked the adoption of Apple’s new iOS 11 software — which was released last Tuesday. According to its data, iOS 11’s adoption percentage was also lower than previous versions through the first six days of its availability.

Of course, Localytics’ report may not be entirely representative of the iPhone 8’s sales. But it does correlate with other reports suggesting that the initial buzz surrounding the iPhone 8 has been “bleak” compared to previous years. Taken together, these reports suggest that demand for the iPhone X will be substantial and Apple could very well see the long-rumored upgrade supercycle when that premium headset launches on Nov. 3.

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Jim Carrey’s Bizarre ‘Face ID Will Enslave Humanity’ Interview Is Fake Mon, 25 Sep 2017 20:14:34 +0000 Actor Jim Carrey did not say that Apple’s Face ID will be used to “enslave humanity” and will lead to “a totalitarian New World Order.” Last week, a site called ‘YourNewsWire’ published a story claiming that Carrey raised concerns about Apple’s new facial recognition system while at the Toronto Film Festival. Allegedly, Carrey told a reporter that Face ID is the “latest step on the march towards total surveillance.” That claim is patently false.

“If George Orwell wrote 1984 today, it would have been about tech companies ruling over a totalitarian state instead of communists, the stores would be called ‘town squares’ and the phones that you are forced to buy would read your face,” the actor ostensibly said, according to the site. “Only when they can read our thoughts will they stop. And by then it will be too late. They will have total power.”

Except he didn’t say any of that. While Carrey did attend the annual, Canada-based film festival, he did not make any of the above remarks to any news outlet. Put simply, the quotes and story about Carrey and Face ID are fabricated. And more than that, YourNewsWire is a known fake news website, according to both the non-profit organization and the rumor-debunking site Gossip Cop.

Granted, Carrey did give a bizarre interview to an E! reporter at Fashion Week earlier this month. But that fact also hints at the fake news site’s motivation. YourNewsWire’s fake claims about Carrey and Face ID are obviously a move to capitalize on that weird interview while tying in Apple’s newly unveiled biometric platform (and even their decision to rename Apple Stores “Town Squares”).

One of the biggest clues is that the site is the only outlet with Carrey’s alleged “comments.” A celebrity as high-profile as the actor would attract a lot more media coverage, particularly for such a weird and unusual story.

There are certainly some valid privacy concerns about the proliferation of facial recognition technology. But fabricating stories and conspiracy theories about celebrities isn’t constructive. Let’s not forget that Apple has been pro-privacy for quite some time, even going so far as to wrestle with the FBI to protect its user security. So it’s not likely that Apple would suddenly team up with the government to “enslave humanity.”

iPhone with Massive 6.46-inch Display Rumored for 2018 Mon, 25 Sep 2017 19:51:02 +0000 Apple’s all-new iPhone X is still weeks away from officially being available for pre-order, and already, a new report out of South Korea is claiming that Apple has much, much bigger plans for its iPhone models in 2018.

The report, which was published Monday morning by South Korea’s The Investor, specifically cites local component suppliers who say that Apple has been examining two new OLED screen sizes, including a massive 6.46-inch LED-based display, for its next installment of iPhone devices.

Earlier reports had suggested that the Silicon Valley tech-giant was working with Samsung Display Co. to develop two new display sizes for its 2018 iPhone models — including 5.28- and 5.85-inch OLED panels. However, today’s report, which cites “local parts makers” in the Far East, claims that Apple has since suspended development of the smaller, 5.28-inch display, and has instead opted for a considerably larger, 6-inch+ OLED panel, in addition to the much, much larger 6.46-inch display that will allegedly be built on Apple’s current LED technology.

While it should certainly be nice to see iPhones featuring much larger, more interactive and immersive displays for enjoying our digital content, the report goes on to claim that Apple’s shift towards larger displays has created “changes” in its well-established supply chain, and especially so among manufacturers of the company’s ubiquitous 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone LCD panels.

Nevertheless, Apple’s shift towards developing much larger displays is a clear and decisive response to the growing popularity of large smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, and all-new Note 8 devices, which boast massive 5.8-, 6,2-, and 6.3-inch AMOLED displays, respectively. The iPhone X, meanwhile, will feature a 5.8-inch Samsung-built ‘Super Retina’ AMOLED display this year, while Cupertino and its South Korean counterpart have supposedly inked a deal under which the latter would handle the bulk of Apple’s future display development.

macOS High Sierra Now Officially Available to Download Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:46:12 +0000 Apple on Monday officially released macOS High Sierra to the general public. The software update is now available in the Mac App Store.

macOS High Sierra has fewer outward-facing changes than Apple’s other software updates this year, but it is still a significant upgrade to the Mac operating system. Most of its changes happen behind the scenes and the end result allows a Mac to run faster and more efficiently.

  • For starters, macOS’ core file system is being upgraded to Apple’s new APFS (Apple File System). It’s faster and more reliable than the previous file system. Users will notice a difference when moving or backing up files.
  • High Sierra also adds support for a new photo and video standards: HEIF and HEVC, respectively. They’ll slash the amount of space that photos and videos take up on your system, while retaining the same image and video quality.
  • It also features a revamped Metal 2 graphics API that’ll allow for high-quality virtual reality content, machine learning and will support external GPUs.

Aside from those and other under-the-hood changes and improvements, macOS High Sierra also has a number of user-facing tweaks.

  • The first-party Photos app has gotten a big upgrade with the addition of a suite of new and powerful editing tools, a rehauled user interface, and native support for iOS features like Live Photos and Memories.
  • Siri, like in iOS 11, has some significant updates, including a more natural-sounding voice and the ability to learn a user’s Apple Music preferences and tastes.
  • Safari is getting privacy-minded updates, with cross-site anti-tracking prevention features and a new blocking ability for auto-playing videos.
  • Spotlight will now show flight details, and Notes is getting some added functionality with the ability to pin notes.

All Mac computers from 2010 and later are compatible with the update — certain models from 2009 can also run the new software. Certain features, like the new HEVC standard, are restricted to Macs with a 6th-generation or newer Intel Core processor.

As of 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST), macOS High Sierra should be available to all users via the Mac App Store.

How to Fix 9 Common Problems Caused By iOS 11 Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:12:32 +0000 Given all of the new features and improvements that are included in iOS 11, it’s not surprising to see that many users have already updated their devices to the new firmware. Just like with every iOS software update, there are a handful of users who face unexpected issues. The issues range from poor battery performance to random freezes and wireless connectivity problems. Press the right arrow to learn about 9 common problems found in iOS 11 and how you can fix them. 

How to Put iPhone X into DFU Mode Sat, 23 Sep 2017 19:00:46 +0000 How to Hard Reset iPhone X Sat, 23 Sep 2017 17:00:00 +0000 How to Take Screenshots on iPhone X Sat, 23 Sep 2017 15:00:16 +0000 Uber Loses License to Operate in London Sat, 23 Sep 2017 00:01:53 +0000 In a huge blow, Uber has lost its license to operate in London. The city’s transportation agency, Transport for London (TfL), refused to renew the license on Friday after determining that the ride-hailing giant was not “fit and proper” to hold one due to a lack of corporate responsibility.

“Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” TfL said in a statement.

The TfL statement specifically cited the Silicon Valley giant’s “approach to reporting serious criminal offences” and approach to conducting background checks on drivers as issues driving the decision to ban it from London. The agency also cited Uber’s approach to explaining Greyball, a controversial software it has used worldwide to evade regulatory authorities and in some cases operate in cities without permission.

If upheld, the decision could prove to be a major setback for a beleaguered company that has already weathered numerous scandals and controversies in the past year, ranging from allegations of sexual harassment and the ouster of its founder Travis Kalanick as CEO.

Just last month, as TfL was deliberating over whether to renew Uber’s license, the London metropolitan police accused the company of failing to report sexual assault by one of its drivers, allowing him to strike again. Earlier this month, a group of MPs from different parties signed a joint letter calling on TfL to strip Uber of its license as the company was not “fit and proper” to hold one, the Evening Standard reported.

London mayor Sadiq Khan also announced that he “fully supports” TfL’s decision.

“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect — particularly when it comes to the safety of customers. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security”, Khan said in a statement.

The decision was unsurprisingly hailed by London cabbies, according to Techcrunch, and rival startup mytaxi, which works solely with London’s black cabs and took the opportunity to announce a 30 percent discount until the end of the month.

Uber London Limited’s current license, which was initially issued in 2012, was due to expire in May but was extended for a period of four months as regulators deliberated over their decision. It is technically due to expire on September 30. However, the company has the option of launching an appeal within 21 days, and will be allowed to continue operating in London until the appeal proceedings are concluded.

Uber has already said that it will “immediately challenge this [decision] in the courts”, in a statement obtained by Techcrunch.

“Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” Uber’s general manager in London, Tom Elvidge, said. “If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.”

In his statement, Elvidge denied that Uber had ever used Greyball software and claimed that the company had observed proper protocols in reporting criminal offences and conducting background checks on drivers. He also shot back at London’s government, noting that the ban shows “the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.”

Uber claims to serve 3.5 million Londoners and employ more than 40,000 drivers, some of whom criticized the outright ban as a blow to their livelihoods. Uber users in London were also dismayed at the inconvenience posed by the ruling, given the significantly higher prices charged by licensed black cabs and lack of viable public transport alternatives.

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, tweeted out a plea for support to Londoners on Friday afternoon.

“Dear London: we r far from perfect but we have 40k licensed drivers and 3.5mm Londoners depending on us. Pls work w/us to make things right,” the tweet read.

Uber has also launched a petition to Khan, which has already garnered more than 400,000 signatures in a matter of hours.

“I don’t believe black cabs should run London like a cartel. If Uber has problems let’s resolve them not just ban them,” wrote James Pace, one of the petition’s supporters. Others wrote that beyond harming drivers and limiting consumer choice, the decision would repel innovative companies from London.

Ahmad Shoaib, an Uber driver, told the New York Times that the decision was unfair. “I know there have been some problems with drivers, but most of us are good and reliable and play by the rules,” he said. “It is not fair to punish everyone because of the mistakes of one or two people.”

Uber may stand a chance of earning a reversal of the ban if it makes changes according to the list of offences cited by TfL.

iPhone 8’s A11 CPU Beats MacBook Pro in New Speed Test Fri, 22 Sep 2017 21:49:11 +0000 The iPhone 8 is mind-blowingly fast for a mobile device. It’s faster than any other current generation smartphone by a long shot. And today, there’s another benchmark test to prove it.

Essentially, the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are outfitted with a MacBook Pro-level CPU. In fact, Tom’s Guide carried out a test comparing the new handset with a 13-inch MacBook Pro equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor. In the site’s testing, the iPhone 8 was actually faster. Tom’s Guide notes that the Geekbench 4 score for the A11 Bionic was 10,170 — edging out the 7th-Gen Core i5’s score of 9,213.

Of course, there’s an argument to be made about the merits of testing performance across platforms. A smartphone isn’t liable to replace your laptop — at least, not yet. But when compared to other flagship smartphones, the iPhone 8’s powerful internals made for a night and day difference in terms of performance.

Sure, the speed difference when performing routine tasks such as opening apps is negligible. But the iPhone 8’s MacBook Pro-level processor affords it a staunch advantage in real-world performance, particularly for CPU-intensive tasks. When it came to a real-world test — such as exporting a two-minute 4K video clip — the iPhone 8 put the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ to shame, as you can see in the Tom’s Guide infographic below.

“To really put the A11 Bionic chip through its paces, we put the same 2-minute video, shot in 4K by a drone, on the iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+, and then added the same transitions and effects before support and saving the video,” the publication wrote of its testing. “The iPhone 8 finished this strenuous task in just 42 seconds, while the Note 8 took more than 3 minutes. The Galaxy S8+ took more than 4 minutes.”

In short, the A11 Bionic — and the smartphones that have it — is seriously impressive. It’s more likely than not that Apple’s 2017 devices will be the fastest smartphones available for some time, and not it’s not even close.

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iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Performing Smartphone Camera Ever Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:13:27 +0000 The iPhone 8 Plus has the best performing camera ever installed in a smartphone, according to well-respected camera firm DxO Labs. What’s more, the camera installed in the iPhone X is expected to be better.

While the smaller iPhone 8 scored a very respectable — and similarly record-breaking — 92 in the company’s DxOMark Mobile testing, the iPhone 8 Plus was awarded the highest score in still photography ever achieved by a handset camera: 94. For comparison’s sake, the last record was a 90 held by the Google Pixel. In addition, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus scored 85 and 88 points last year, respectively.

In their testing and in-depth review, DxO said that both models of iPhone 8 performed much better than the previous iPhone 7 Plus. Specifically, for HDR capture, the new handset cameras boast better detail preservation and overall exposure quality than last year’s iPhone 7 Plus. The Labs noted that HDR quality was on-par with performance seen in the Google Pixel.

As far as iPhone 8 Plus-specific features, the device’s zoom feature scored a full five points better than the zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus. Another significantly upgraded feature is Portrait Mode, with DxO claiming that it’s the best bokeh effect smartphone camera that it’s ever tested. Presumably, that’s due to the significantly upgraded processor and internals of this year’s handset.

In addition, the camera performed well in low-light environments — with generally accurate exposure. The iPhone 8 Plus’ color performance is also a bit higher than its smaller sibling, as it avoids visible color shading even in low light. The company wrote that the phone is a “natural” for photographers wanting to shoot indoors.

“It features outstanding image quality, zoom for those needing to get closer to their subjects, and an industry-leading Portrait Mode for artistic efforts,” DxO wrote in its in-depth review. “It is at the top of our scoring charts in nearly every category — and in particular, its advanced software allows it to do an amazing job of capturing high-dynamic range scenes and images in which it can recognize faces.”

DxO Labs concluded that the camera on the iPhone 8 Plus was the “best smartphone camera (they’ve) ever tested.” The company added that the iPhone 8 Plus is an “excellent choice” for “nearly every smartphone photographer.”

According to its website, DxO Labs has tested and analyzed over 10,000 cameras and lenses — including those installed in mobile devices. The company’s opinion is well-respected — and, as a result, its DxOMark testing is an industry standard as far as ranking camera image quality.

And if there’s one device that could beat the iPhone 8 in terms of camera quality this year, it might be another Apple smartphone. While the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X share similar camera upgrades, the latter device will ship with a wider aperture. DxO notes that the iPhone X’s camera will likely be on “the cutting edge of zoom and portrait performance.”

T-Mobile and Sprint Agree on Tentative Terms for Merger Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:39:19 +0000 T-Mobile and Sprint are nearing a potential merger. Reportedly, the two carriers are close to agreeing on “tentative terms” for such a deal, Reuters described on Friday.

Sprint’s stock price rose Friday in the wake of initial reports suggesting that it could merge with rival T-Mobile, CBS News reported. Although the terms are preliminary at this point, the two companies could finalize an agreement by October, according to sources familiar with the matter cited by Reuters. News of the deal comes as the entire telecom industry explores how it spur investment in 5G wireless technology and infrastructure.

T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, would retain a majority stake in the merger, while Sprint’s owner SoftBank would own between 40 and 50 percent. Allegedly, T-Mobile CEO John Legere would lead the combined company. If the deal pans out, it would represent a significant consolidation of the current U.S. telecom market.

If the deal pans out, it would represent a significant consolidation of the current U.S. telecom market. Sprint and T-Mobile are currently the third and fourth largest carriers in the country. But even with a combined subscriber base of about 133 million customers, the merged company would still be slightly smaller than the two largest U.S. carriers, Verizon and AT&T — who have around 147 million and 136 million subscribers, respectively.

Verizon Wireless 147.2 million (Q2 2017)
AT&T Mobility 136.5 million (Q2 2017)
T-Mobile US 73.9 million (Q2 2017)
Sprint Corporation 59.7 million (Q1 2017)

The two carriers had previously discussed a merger back in 2014, with Sprint seeking the majority stake. The deal fell apart, however, due to FCC and Justice Department concerns that it could hurt competition in the marketplace and raise wireless costs for customers.

The new deal could still be struck down by regulatory agencies, although the resumed talks hint that the companies believe the U.S. antitrust environment will be more receptive to the merger. Earlier this year, Legere noted that the deal could face a “potential future outcome” under the Trump administration.

14 Ways to Improve iPhone X and 8’s Battery Life Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:19:10 +0000 The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have smaller batteries compared to iPhone 7 models, but Apple claims that they will have the same battery life when it comes to internet use, talk time, and audio and video playback. If you’ve gotten your hands on a brand new iPhone 8 and have noticed battery performance issues, then we have some tips for you to overcome this problem. Press the right arrow to learn 14 ways to improve the battery life of iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone 8 Launch Considered ‘Bleak’ As Customers Hold out for iPhone X Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:30:52 +0000 Apple officially launched its iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus devices across the globe, along with the Apple TV 4K and Apple Watch Series 3.

The company, as it usually does, celebrated the launch event by sharing pictures of customers purchasing and trying out the new devices for the first time on its website. But the happy-looking photos leave out one detail about the device launch: the turnout seemed much smaller when compared to previous years.

In some of the countries where the devices launched first, namely New Zealand, Australia, Japan and China, Reuters reported that there was a “bleak turnout” for the new handsets. At the George Street Apple Store in Sydney, for example, fewer than 30 people lined up in front of the retail outlet. A similar situation was reported at the Regent Street flagship store in London, according to Mashable. In certain places, the crowds did seem bigger — in Singapore, for example, more than 200 people stood in line for the iPhone 8 handsets.

It’s an unusual atmosphere for a Cupertino release. Typically, when a new Apple device rolls out, hundreds of customers line up — often days beforehand — to get their hands on the latest and greatest product. But even though some customers still happily waited in line for the new handsets, the reception just wasn’t as impressive as previous Apple device launches.

To many consumers, most of the features of the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus may seem incremental. While the glass backs of the handsets allow for wireless charging, their design and styling are essentially identical to their predecessors. The upgraded speakers, camera and internals on the new devices may not be that much of an incentive for current iPhone 7 owners to upgrade.

More important than that, however, is the impending launch of the iPhone X. That device carries a number of groundbreaking features, and although pricey at $999, is largely expected to spur an “upgrade super-cycle” for Apple. Anticipation for that flagship device already seems to be much higher, and building by the day. In most cases, it’ll be hard for many to actually purchase the device due to the high demand and supply constraints.

A few analysts theorized that one of the reasons Apple is launching the iPhone X late is to avoid cannibalizing sales of its iPhone 8 lineup. In hindsight, that tactic may not have worked as well as the company had hoped. But, judging by today’s low turnout and the building consumer excitement for the iPhone X, it’s likely that the reception for the revolutionary Apple handset is going to be a lot more impressive.

Pre-orders for the iPhone X begin on Oct. 27, and the device will hit stores and begin shipping to consumers on Nov. 3.

How to Fix Apple TV ‘Re-Authenticate’ Error Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:09:39 +0000 iOS 11 Forces Uber to Relax Aggressive Location Tracking Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:04:34 +0000 Late last year, a number of Uber users were dismayed to learn of the ride-hailing app’s intentions to collect their background data and to continue tracking their whereabouts even after they’ve reached their destination.

In response to the flak, Uber defended its decision, claiming that its data collection efforts were necessary to enhance the accuracy of its pick-ups and drop-offs. In any case, the company left its customers with little choice: users could either opt-in to location tracking wholesale (“Always”) or refuse it entirely (“Never”), which would hamstring the user experience rendered by the app. While Uber promised that it would limit its location tracking to a period of 5 minutes after drop-off, many were leery of the practice.

Now, Uber users, won’t be faced with such an unpalatable decision, thanks in part to iOS. Following months of heavy criticism for its privacy practices and other corporate scandals, Uber announced last month that it would restore when-in-use authorization in an updated version of the app that would be released on iPhones.

The rollout of Apple’s next mobile platform, iOS 11, gives users the option to authorize location services only when an app (Uber or otherwise) is in use, even if an app developer demands more expansive authorization. In a notice to developers, Apple recommended that they “request only when-in-use authorization whenever possible”. The notice also admonished app makers “always request authorization at the point where [they] actually plan to use location services to perform a task”, which would likely entail pushing alerts to users and giving them the option to deny the request.

The new rules have forced Uber to give users the third option of permitting location tracking only “while using the app”. Uber’s updated iOS app, which is also available on iOS 10, gives users a third option to share location data “while using the app”.

Apple TV 4K Expected to Gain ‘Dolby Atmos’ Sound Tech Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:30:50 +0000 Apple has tentative plans to add Dolby Atmos surround sound to its Apple TV 4K set-top box in a future software update, according to a new report.

Dolby Atmos is a technology designed to add a three-dimensional quality to audio from movies and TV shows. And while the current Apple TV 4K doesn’t have support for the sound tech, that’s not a result of a “hardware limitation,” Apple told The Verge’s Nilay Patel. According to Patel, Apple said that “support (for Atmos) is on the roadmap.” Presumably, that means that the tech could be added in a future version of tvOS.

Atmos works by placing sounds in 3D space, rather than confining them to specific channels in specific speakers. Audio engineers figure out where to place these sound “objects” in three-dimensional space. In turn, when a movie or TV show is playing, a receiver will intelligently figure out how to re-create that 3D map of sound in your own home sound system. As Patel puts it, the technology is the “next generation of surround sound formats.”

Several streaming and gaming platforms already offer support for Dolby Atmos, including the Xbox One S and Roku. Additionally, digital content providers are also adopting the technology into their media — Netflix, for example, has begun rolling out content with Dolby Atmos since July. The format is already creeping into movie theaters, and older big-box titles are being remastered with the Dolby Atmos sound design.

Patel theorizes that Apple is working on implementing Dolby Atmos technology into Siri’s voice on the Apple TV platform. That’s could be one of the primary causes of any delay in implementing the technology.

Support for Dolby Atmos is just one of several features that Apple plans on adding to its devices in future updates, including Apple Pay Cash and wireless fast-charging. On the bright side, any delays in feature rollout could be indicative of Apple trying to get the tech and systems as close to perfect as possible before releasing them.

Apple SVP Says 3D Touch App Switcher Gesture Will Return Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:00:17 +0000 The 3D Touch App Switcher gesture has been removed in iOS 11, much to the chagrin of newer iPhone users. But according to Apple, the feature could return in a future update.

The popular gesture allowed users with a 3D Touch-equipped handset (iPhone 6s or later) to quickly open the App Switcher by pressing down on the left side of the screen, swiping right and releasing. While the feature has been around since iOS 9, it stopped working in the first iOS 11 beta. Apple engineers later confirmed that its removal was an intentional decision rather than a bug. Its absence might be temporary, however.

Reportedly, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Engineering, said that the company had to drop support for the feature due to an unidentified “technical constraint,” according to an email apparently sent by Federighi to MacRumors reader Adam Zahn.

“We regretfully had to temporarily drop support for this gesture due to a technical constraint,” the full email reads. “We will be bringing it back in an upcoming iOS 11.x update.” Federighi did not elaborate on what the technical constraint was.

As far as its authenticity, MacRumors wrote that it independently verified the email exchange and cross-checked it with an IP address known to be linked to Apple HQ in Cupertino. Federighi has also been personally responding to various emails since Apple’s fall announcement event. Still, it’s smart to take any rumor with a grain of salt.

On a side note, the App Switcher is activated on the iPhone X by a similar swipe-up-and-pause gesture. In the meantime, however, if you’re on an iPhone 8 or older device, you’ll need to rely on double-clicking the Home button.

The gesture is just one of several features that Apple is rumored to add to iOS in future updates. Other features on the horizon include Apple Pay Cash and faster speeds for wireless charging.