Siri, Alexa and Cortana are helpful around the house, but can their respective tech follow you around the house like something out of a science fiction movie? Big-I, the personal robot, can do just that.
The robot resembles a cuddly trash can, standing at waist length with one large “eye” where the trash can’s lid would be. It’s actually sort of cute, when you think about it. Big-I can see, hear, move and respond to voice commands you program it with, including IFTTT-like instructions. The robot is seen in its promotional clip reminding a father to send jackets with children if the temperature is below a certain threshold. It’s told to play music when the father raises his hand a specific way.
The robot’s open API and unique operating system mean there’s room for customization as well, in addition to integration with your smart home appliances like lights and thermostat systems. It can also be educated, meaning you could potentially train your own little personal housekeeper. Just make sure Roomba doesn’t see it and get jealous.
Big-I is slated to come in several colors, but it’s not quiet ready yet for purchase. If you’re interested in possibly grabbing one in the future, you can sign up for updates now to get $50 off a unit as well as access to the developer version when it makes its debut.
Over the past few weeks, images have claimed to show Apple’s upcoming Lightning-enabled EarPods, but most were found to be fake as the design language of the headphones largely deviated from Apple’s usual aesthetic, especially in regards to not having a thin, rectangular Lightning plug. Today, MobileFun posted a video of a working pair of Lightning EarPods, and the overall look of the accessory appears more in line with Apple’s design than any of the previous leaks.
As is expected, the headphone part of the new EarPods is structured the same as the EarPods currently being sold by Apple, with a clean, white design, right and left markers on each earpiece, and in-line volume and play/pause controls. Interestingly, the in-line controls are placed farther down on the EarPods, directly below the right/left split in the cable design. If real, this would mark a design change from the current generation, which places the volume rocker along the right cable, above the bifurcation in the cord.
The most notable part is, of course, the long-rumored addition of the Lightning plug onto the EarPods, adapted to take advantage of the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The plug on the Lightning-enabled EarPods appears slightly bigger than Apple’s traditional Lightning adapters thanks to the inclusion of a digital-to-analog converter needed for music playback and not just straightforward charging.
In the video, the EarPods are proven to be completely functional through the playing of a few songs as well as using the in-line controls to play, pause, and skip some tracks. MobileFun concluded to its viewers, “as you can see, these are fully working, they aren’t just a mock-up of what you might receive,” believing that the working headphones will be what Apple sells alongside the new generation of iPhone in September.
Multiple solutions for the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack have sprouted up over the past few weeks, with one of the most prevailing alternatives centering around a Lightning to 3.5 mm dongle that the company could potentially bundle into the box of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to cushion the transition for customers. More recently, it was reported that Apple could be working on completely wireless “AirPods” as an option for iPhone users, allowing simultaneous iPhone charging and headphone music playback, which is one of the most commonly occurring grievances surrounding the loss of the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Previous Coverage: Lightning Headphones: Are They Better or Just an Inconvenience?
Related Roundup: iPhone 7
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After acquiring live filter app MSQRD back in March, Facebook today has begun officially integrating its capabilities into the main Facebook mobile app, focusing first on a soft rollout in Brazil and Canada (via TechCrunch). The Olympics-themed launch will greet users with an open, front-facing camera window when first jumping into Facebook, letting them swipe between various filters that add animations and graphics onto their face, which they can then take a photo or video of and then post directly to their feed.
For now, Brazilian and Canadian users will only see filters inspired by the Rio Olympics — like Brazilian flags and a “Go Canada!” motto — that attach to the user’s face and move around with them, similar to Snapchat’s popular camera filters. Facebook is also introducing static banners in its rollout, with similar country and team-supported messages that attach to any picture or image.
“The way that people share has changed a lot” Facebook Product Manager Sachin Monga tells me. “12 years ago, most of what was shared was text” so Facebook’s status composer with a big white text box. “Now, mobile changed things a little bit, but we didn’t really change our tools. If you look at what people are sharing, now it’s mostly photos, and soon it will be mostly videos. Our strategy is really simple. We want to make it really easy to share photos and videos” Monga explains.
Facebook has long been pushing its video content, whether created by media companies or everyday users, as a main focus of the social network in the future. Although the company didn’t confirm a wider launch for the new MSQRD features, it seems like the new live filter abilities would be a logical next step for the company to make in the video space. In a different vein, but still edging closer to the popularity of Snapchat, Instagram recently debuted a “Stories” feature with posts that disappear after a day.
Users on iOS and Android within Canada, and iOS in Brazil, will start seeing the new update rolling out to the Facebook mobile app today, and it will “run through the end of the Olympics.” Facebook is available to download from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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Every time you visit a website you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This article runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple’s Safari browser to access the web on a Mac.
It also covers methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your computer. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it’s possible for them to unintentionally discover what you’ve been looking at, just by using Safari or performing an innocent search on your Mac. If you’re interested in a similar overview covering Safari on iOS, check out this guide.
This guide assumes you are using the latest public release of OS X El Capitan (10.11.6 as of initial writing), which you can check by clicking the symbol in the menu bar at the top left of your screen and selecting “About This Mac”. The version number appears beneath the OS X version name. If you’re not up to date, you can download and install the latest version of OS X via the Mac App Store located on the Dock or in the Applications folder.
Cookies, Location Services, and Tracking
Many websites attempt to store cookies and other web page data on computers used to access online content. Cookies are small data files that can include things like your IP address, operating system, web browser version, the date you last visited the site, as well as any personal information you may have provided, such as your name, email address, and any relevant preferences. This information is used to identify you when you revisit a site, so that it can offer tailored services, provide specific content, or display targeted ads.
Additionally, you may have noticed how Safari asks if you want to share your location whenever you visit a geolocation-enabled website. If you don’t expect the site to provide helpful location-based services such as regional weather information or local amenities, you can deny the request and continue to do so like this on a case-by-case basis. Alternatively, you can change Safari’s behavior whenever it encounters such a site, as described in the following steps.
Lastly, Do Not Track is a feature you can enable to prevent websites from tracking your site visits across the web. With the feature turned on, Safari specifically asks sites and their third party content providers (including advertisers) not to track you. In reality, it’s up to the website to honor this request, but it’s an option worth enabling for a potential extra layer of privacy.
Here’s how to change Safari settings for cookies, location services, and tracking:
From Safari’s menu bar, select Safari -> Preferences…, and click on the Privacy tab.
Select how Safari should deal with cookies and website data by clicking on the relevant button. Your options are: Always block, Allow from current website only, Allow from websites I visit (the default setting), and Always allow.
This tab also lets you check any existing website data stored in your browser cache. You can get more information on it, as well as remove data for individual websites, by clicking the “Details…” button.
To remove all data completely, press the button on the Privacy tab labeled “Remove All Website Data…” and confirm with “Remove Now”, or click “Remove All” from within the “Details…” dialog.
In the section labeled “Website use of location services”, choose from: Prompt for each website once each day; Prompt for each website one time only; and Deny without prompting.
To enable the Do Not Track feature, check the box at the bottom of the Privacy tab next to “Ask websites not to track me”.
Enable Private Browsing
By enabling Private Browsing, you can prevent Safari from remembering the pages you visit and any AutoFill information, while any tabs you open within a private window won’t be stored in iCloud. Safari also automatically asks sites and third-party content providers not to track you, prevents sites from modifying any information stored on your Mac, and deletes cookies when you close the related tab or window.
In Safari’s menu bar, select File -> New Private Window. You’ll notice the Safari address bar appears dark instead of light in a private window, indicating that Safari will not cache your browsing history, store snapshots of pages you visited or save your search history, and any AutoFill information will be lost after the window (or tab) is closed.
If you want to default to private browsing, you can set Safari to open a new Private Browsing window every time the app is launched. Choose Safari -> Preferences…, click General, select the “Safari opens with” pop-up menu, then choose “A new private window”.
Clear Browsing History
Safari for Mac enables you to remove all records of your browsing history including cookies and other cached website data over a specific timeframe of your choosing.
Browsing records that are cleared using the first method described below include any Top Sites not marked as permanent, your Frequently Visited Sites list, recent searches typed into the Safari search bar, web page snapshots shown in the open tab preview screen, download lists (but not downloads), sites you asked to send you notifications, and sites supporting Quick Website Search (the ability to search within specific sites from the Safari search bar).
Note that this method also clears history and web data from any devices logged into the same iCloud account.
To clear all history including cached website data and cookies, select Safari -> Clear History… from the Safari menu bar.
In the dialog window that appears, select the timeframe that you’d like to clear from the dropdown menu. Your options are: the last hour, today, today and yesterday, and all history. Click “Clear History” to confirm.If you want to clear your history but keep cached website data and cookies, hold the Alt/Option key on your keyboard during step 1 above, and the “Clear History…” menu option will change to “Clear History and Keep Website Data”. Choose this description instead and continue on to select your clearance timeframe.
If you only want to remove specific websites from your history, ignore the steps above and instead click “History” in the Safari menu bar, select “Show History”, right-click a site in the list, and then select “Remove” from the contextual menu.
Exclude Browsing History From Spotlight Searches
If you’d rather retain your browsing history but don’t want web pages you’ve visited to appear in system-wide Spotlight Search results, follow these steps.
Open System Preferences and select the Spotlight pane.
In the Search Results tab, uncheck the box next to “Bookmarks & History” (and “Bing Web Searches”, if this is your default search engine).
Switch Search Engine and Disable Safari Suggestions
Just because you cleared your browsing history and web data in Safari or browsed in a Private window, doesn’t mean your searches aren’t still recorded elsewhere. For example, if you logged into a Google account during the session, searches you performed may be logged by Google and later show up as search suggestions when you start typing in the Google search bar in the same account. In fact, your search and ad results may be customized based on your search-related activity, even if you’re signed out of your account.
To get around this issue, either consult the privacy help page of your preferred search engine to learn how to turn off tracking settings, or set a non-tracking search engine such as StartPage as your home page (using the General tab in Safari -> Preferences…). The next series of steps shows you how to set up Safari to use the non-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo when you type search queries into the address bar.
Another thing to reconsider is your use of Safari Suggestions. With this option enabled, your search queries, the Safari Suggestions you select, and related usage data are sent to Apple. Additionally, if you have Location Services turned on, when you make a search query in Safari with Safari Suggestions enabled your location is also sent to Apple. If you don’t want this information shared, turn off Safari Suggestions as shown below.
From the Safari menu bar, select Safari -> Preferences…, and click on the Search tab.
Select the DuckDuckGo search engine from the dropdown menu. You can also choose whether you want search engine suggestions appearing in the Safari search bar using the checkbox immediately below.
Uncheck the box next to “Include Safari Suggestions” in the Smart Search Field options; you can also disable the Quick Website Search function if you prefer by using the checkbox below.
Disable Frequently Visited Sites
By default, Frequently Visited Sites appear below your Favorites whenever you open a new tab or a new Safari window. You can turn this feature off.
There are two ways to prevent frequently visited sites from appearing in new tabs and windows. The simplest way is to click Bookmarks in the Safari menu bar and untick “Show Frequently Visited in Favorites”. The second method described below prevents Favorites from appearing in new tabs and windows altogether, but removes the option to display your Top Sites as well.
From the Safari menu bar, select Safari -> Preferences…, and select the General tab.
In the dropdown menus for “New windows open with:” and “New tabs open with:”, select an option other than Favorites, such as “Empty Page”.
Turn Off AutoFill
Safari’s AutoFill feature remembers text and values you enter into online forms, and can be useful for speeding up logins and registrations as well as online purchases. If other people use your Mac, you might not want this information to show up when websites are revisited. Here’s how to disable AutoFill.
In the Safari menu bar, select Safari -> Preferences… and click on the AutoFill tab.
Uncheck the boxes next to the details you wish to prevent Safari from autocompleting in web forms. You can also edit already saved information by clicking the “Edit…” buttons.
If your web privacy concerns extend to a desire for enhanced security and comprehensive end-to-end encryption, consider subscribing to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service (Private Internet Access and IPVanish are two popular choices) and using Tor browser for OS X.
Tags: Safari, privacy
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For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with smart home app Yonomi to give away a Smart Home Starter Kit consisting of a Sonos Play:1, an Amazon Echo, and two LIFX Wi-Fi connected lightbulbs, all of which can be controlled together using the Yonomi app for iOS devices.
Yonomi is designed to connect to more than 60 smart home products from companies like Withings, Philips, Quirky, Sonos, Nest, Belkin, and more, allowing users to group and control devices that normally would not work together.
Smart home products come from a wide range of manufacturers and usually require their own dedicated apps that don’t interface – Yonomi bridges them all together and makes it possible to create Routines for a true automated smart home experience. Yonomi also includes easily accessible favorites options and customized smart home recommendations.
With Yonomi and the products in the giveaway, for example, a “Wake Up” routine can be created that’ll turn both the LIFX light bulb and the Sonos speaker on at the same time through a voice command to the Amazon Echo. Yonomi is highly customizable and routines can be created for all kinds of situations.
A “Bed Time” routine might dim the LIFX bulbs to night light level and turn on soft lullabies on the Sonos for the kids, while a “Party” routine might set the bulbs to different colors and play the appropriate music. All of the routines can be initiated through the Echo, which is super convenient, and the Echo can also control other connected products and respond to individual commands.
As for the products themselves, the Sonos Play:1, LIFX bulbs, and Amazon Echo are all popular smart home choices that tap into a home’s Wi-Fi network. The Play:1 is one of Sonos’ most popular speakers, the LIFX bulbs can turn any color, and the Amazon Echo is a central hub that can play music and respond to a huge range of voice commands.
Yonomi’s app is available directly from the App Store for those who would like to try it out with their existing products, and one MacRumors reader will also win the full Smart Home prize pack. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.
You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (August 5) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on August 12. The winner will be chosen randomly on August 12 and will be contacted by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.
Tags: giveaway, Yonomi
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Accessory maker Incipio today announced that it has acquired Griffin Technology, a company known for its wide range of accessories for Apple’s line of devices. Incipio and Griffin did not disclose the terms of the deal.
“Griffin has a 25-year history of designing, manufacturing and distributing iconic mobile accessories,” stated Andy Fathollahi, Founder and CEO of Incipio Group. “As part of Incipio Group, Griffin strengthens our product development and manufacturing capabilities, complements our existing product lines in rugged cases, power and connectivity, and allows our brands to reach a broader domestic and international audience through enhanced distribution in the business-to-business, enterprise and education verticals.”
Under Incipio, the Griffin Technology brand name will be maintained and it will continue to retain its global headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. Products, such as Griffin’s Survivor series, will still be sold.
Incipio has made a number of acquisitions in recent months, purchasing brands that include Skullcandy, Clamcase, and Incase.
Tags: Griffin, Incipio
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With the controversial removal of the headphone jack from Apple’s upcoming iPhone range a seeming inevitability, audio companies are already ramping up Bluetooth headset options ahead of the devices’ launch in the fall.
In June, premium audio heavyweight brand Bose debuted a wireless version of its flagship over-the-ear headphones with the QuietComfort 35’s. Not to be outdone, last month Danish audio big hitter B&O entered the fray with its Beoplay H5 Bluetooth buds, a pair of high-end magnetized earphones designed “for music lovers who live to move.”
Design and Features
As with most products bearing the Bang & Olufsen moniker, the Beoplay H5 buds aren’t exactly cheap at $249, but apart from the luxury brand cachet that comes with them, they promise premium performance in a compact package whatever your lifestyle, designed to segue seamlessly between a fitness routine and a daily commute, for example.
The dust and sweat-proof earpieces are made of a featherweight polymer-rubber compound with a branded aluminum disc on the rear, and each bud has a neck about an inch in length, with the power/pairing LED on one ear.
The buds are connected by a 52 cm (~20 in) cord sheathed in a soft braided textile that sits over the nape of your neck during wear, with an inline remote on the left-hand side and a hidden omnidirectional mic built in for taking calls.
Each earpiece contains a magnet, so you can clasp them together securely for them to rest around your neck when they’re not in use. In another neat design feature, clicking the magnets together also auto-powers down the earphones to save battery.
Seven pairs of eartips come supplied – three sizes of Comply Sport memory foam tips offering a malleable seal, and four sizes of standard silicone molded tips.
Also included in the box are cable clips, a carry pouch, a quickstart guide, and a unique magnetized “cubic charger” with two molded recesses that the earpieces snap into, with a cable running out the rear with a USB connector attached.
The earbuds connect to a source device using the latest version of Bluetooth (4.2) and support high-quality AAC and aptX codecs – only newer MacBooks, not iPhones, support the latter as of writing.
Audio output can be adjusted via the easy-to-use Beoplay iOS (or Apple Watch) app, which offers four presets for different activities (workout, commute, clear, podcast) and a ‘Tonetouch’ graphical equalizer to customize the sound further.
Once you’ve adjusted the output to your liking, you can save the audio profile directly to the earbuds, allowing you to set and forget. If you’re an Apple Watch wearer, you can choose between presets from your wrist, too.
Pairing the buds was a one-click affair of the power button on the inline remote, and the volume buttons proved to have the typical dual-functionality for moving between tracks, with the power/pair button also taking and ending calls.
Out of the box, the H5’s sound decent enough, offering a flat, natural reproduction and a close, friendly soundstage. Treble was a tad too crisp at times, but with a bit of adjustment via the accompanying app it was easily dealt with, and once I had a custom profile set, they really came into their own.
The controlled bass and clearly defined mid- and high-range detail of the H5’s serve rock, hip-hop, and instrumental genres extremely well, with jazz tracks reminding me of Vibe’s eminently balanced Brass Ba11 buds and their intimate, inclusive sound. As for the mic, it had no trouble picking my voice out over the din of a typical commute on public transport.
The earphones remained comfortable to wear, whether I was working out or casually listening to music, although the left earpiece had a habit of slowly loosening when I was on the move which broke the insulating seal and let sounds leak in from outside.
That got annoying after a while, so I switched to the Comply eartips and chose a larger left tip (I have odd-sized lugholes, apparently) which solved the problem.
I loaned the H5’s to a friend who complained that the left bud kept flying out of her ear during a high-intensity exercise routine due to the added weight of the inline remote, even after she swapped the tips for a bigger size. I couldn’t replicate the issue myself using the memory foam tips and the buds stayed securely in place whatever I was doing, but this should serve as a warning to potential buyers.
I was underwhelmed by the stated five-hour battery life of the H5’s (confirmed in my own tests) given that buds in Jaybird’s wireless range offer up to eight hours’ listening time, but in practice I only wore the H5’s two hours a day on average and it wasn’t a huge inconvenience to charge them for a couple of hours every other night – your mileage may vary.
$250 earbuds will be a hard sell for many people. Personally I couldn’t justify it, but if you have the spare cash and are fond of luxury kit, then I suppose it’s not a deal breaker. Overall, the Beoplay H5 earphones are a lovingly designed, solid bit of kit. To be fair, it’s the least I’d expect at this hefty price, and happily they deliver.
The magnetized buds and auto-off feature are signature B&O design wins, as is the supplied charging cube – it’s just a shame the charge doesn’t last a few hours longer. I’d also advise to be careful not to lose the charger; it’s not like you’d be able to replace it with a standard micro-USB cable, as with some other wireless buds.
My only real design gripe was with the inline remote – its surface smoothness made it hard to find which was which volume control when out of my line of sight. After a while though, I became familiar with the layout and it became a non-issue.
Sonically the H5’s are rich, well-balanced, and pack a satisfying punch, and with some subtle audio profile manipulation you can easily adjust the output to your musical taste. Still, this is a significant investment, and for that reason I’d recommend you try the buds before you buy, even if that’s just to see if the tips play nice with your earholes. If they sound great and sit securely – and you can live with the middling battery life – then this luxury wireless headset could be an ideal match for your iPhone, headphone jack or no.
- Slick, comfy, considered design
- Plenty of supplied eartips to choose from
- Decent built-in mic and excellent audio output
- App presets that make a difference
- Battery life isn’t spectacular
- Inline remote mold unhelpfully smooth
- Achieving a secure eartip fit may be an issue for some
- Very expensive for earbuds
How to Buy
The Beoplay H5 earbuds cost $249, are available in black or dusty rose, and can be ordered on the B&O PLAY website.
Note: B&O PLAY provided the H5 earphones to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.
Tag: Bang & Olufsen
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Apple recently purchased Seattle-based machine learning and artificial intelligence startup Turi, reports GeekWire. Apple is said to have paid around $200 million to acquire the company, which was known as “Dato” until earlier this month.
Turi is designed to help developers build apps with artificial intelligence capabilities that automatically scale. It has developed the Turi Machine Learning Platform, GraphLab Create, and Turi Predictive Services, used for functions like recommendations, fraud detection, sentiment analysis, and more.
Turi toolkits simplify development of machine learning models. Each incorporates automatic feature engineering, model selection, and machine learning visualizations specific to the application. There is no faster way to build performant models.
Citing people familiar with the acquisition, GeekWire says Turi employees will remain in the Seattle area, where Apple has been establishing a presence over the past few years.
Apple confirmed the acquisition with the standard purchase statement it gives to media outlets: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
It is not known what Apple will do with Turi’s technology, but Apple has made several AI-related purchases in recent months including VocalIQ, Perceptio, and Emotient.
Tags: Apple acquisition, Turi
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Apple may be planning to build a research and development center in Vietnam, reports Vietnamese site BizLive. Work on the R&D center, which will be located in the Vietnamese central province of Da Nang, was uncovered following a local government meeting on foreign direct investment.
Da Nang, image via VnExpress
Rumors earlier this year suggested Apple would invest up to $1 billion to build an Asia-focused research and development center in Vietnam, designed to “enhance its competitiveness over major global electronic manufacturers present in the country.” Last October, Apple also established an Apple Vietnam LLC in Ho Chi Minh City, led by Gene Daniel Levoff, Apple’s VP of corporate law who is also in charge of international operations.
Companies like Microsoft, Intel, and Samsung have had investment projects in Vietnam for several years, but the R&D center will be Apple’s first major project in the country.
A final decision on whether the research center plans will move forward is expected in late August.
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Coinciding with the first full day of competitive events at the 2016 Olympic Games, Apple this morning launched a special section of the App Store showcasing official Rio 2016 apps and games. The section reads:
The Olympics unite the world in celebration of struggle and triumph. They’re where legends are born and impossible feats come true. With the official apps, games and music, you can follow the excitement of this year’s events — and relive the glory again and again.
Three apps are currently featured – one made especially for competing athletes – and two games are also listed to help younger viewers celebrate the sporting occasion:
- The Olympics – Official App: News. Highlights. Records. Unforgettable moments. An invaluable guide to Rio and Games past.
- Olympic Athlete’s Hub 2016: Made for competitors, this app offers helpful tips, resources, and a way to connect with fellow athletes.
- Rio 2016: Get the official schedule, real-time results, medal counts, and the latest on Olympic and Paralympic sports.
- Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Go for gold against other players in six fast-action minigames, including tennis and archery.
- Rio 2016: Vinicius Run: Dash through colorful forests and beaches as Vinicius, Rio’s cheerful mascot. How far can you get?
NBC cable subscribers in the U.S. can follow live coverage of the events by downloading the NBC Sports app on iOS and Apple TV.
Meanwhile, U.K. residents can follow the action via the BBC Sport apps for iOS and Apple TV, while residents in Canada can keep track of developments through the CBC iOS app.
Earlier this week, Apple launched its official ad for the 2016 Olympic Games, which ran on Friday night during the opening ceremonies in Rio and took over the Apple homepage.
Part of its “Shot on iPhone” campaign, the ad is called “The Human Family” and uses words from famous poet Maya Angelou to celebrate diversity around the world.
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