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6
Jun

eBay Launches 20% Off Sitewide Coupon for Father’s Day: Get a Refurbished HomePod for $252


eBay today launched a sitewide savings coupon for Father’s Day that takes 20 percent off “everything” on the online reseller’s storefront, with a few exclusions including coins and paper money, gift cards and coupons, and real estate. Outside of these categories, you’re free to apply the 20 percent off coupon to any other items today, including Apple products like the HomePod, down to a price of $252 for a refurbished model.

eBay explained that the coupon PICKDADSGIFT is valid until 7 p.m. PT tonight, June 6, and it applies to the purchase price of eligible item/items in a single transaction, not including shipping, handling, and taxes. That purchase price has to be $50 or more, and the 20 percent discount will be capped at a value of $100. You’ll need to be an eBay member with a registered address located in the United States, Canada, Latin America, or the Caribbean to take advantage of the coupon as well.

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

If you meet the criteria, you can essentially shop in any category (barring exclusions) on eBay to find something that might interest you for the discount. Once you find the item you want and it exceeds $50, click “Buy it Now,” and before you complete your order type in PICKDADSGIFT in the “Gift cards, coupons, eBay Bucks” section of the checkout process and hit Apply.

For Apple-related items, the Daily Deals tech section is a good place to browse, and one notable savings compatible with the coupon today is a refurbished HomePod (White and Space Gray) for $252.00, down from $315.00. Sold by VIP Outlet, the refurbished speaker has a “Grade A Fully Functional” ranking, described as “Like New, Retail Ready.”


More details follow: “Condition has NO cosmetic defects, blemishes, dents, scratches or signs of age. GRADE A items have been restored to meet manufacturer quality standards.” VIP Outlet provides a 90-day warranty with all refurbished devices and has a 30-day free return policy. Of course, there are also options for getting a brand new HomePod for around $280, down from the original $350 price tag.

As with any eBay reseller purchase, the savings come with the caveat of buying a device that might not be in brand new condition. Still, today’s promo code is compatible across all of eBay, not just its Daily Deals section, so there are many brand new, new, or like new products that you could nab at a discounted price today. Other good browsing ideas include official eBay storefronts for Best Buy, Anker, Mophie, and similar Apple accessory and device sellers.

Head over to eBay to shop, and if you’re interested make sure to place your order by tonight at 7 p.m. PT. For more sales information, be sure to visit our Deals Roundup.

Update: As Boatboy24 pointed out in the comments, Best Buy also has a good deal on an open box HomePod, available for $266.12 with the 20 percent off coupon, down from $321.99

Related Roundup: Apple DealsTag: eBay
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6
Jun

AirPlay 2 Coming to Sonos Speakers in July


Sonos is planning to implement AirPlay 2 support for its speakers starting this July, the company announced today at an event unveiling new technology.

Sonos has previously said that AirPlay 2 will be available on the Sonos One, the second-generation Play:5, the Playbase, and future products.

Older Sonos speakers will not support AirPlay 2 on their own due to processor limitations, but they can be paired with the Playbase, the Play:5, or the Sonos One to enable AirPlay 2 functionality. A Sonos Play:1 grouped with a Sonos One, for example, will support AirPlay 2.

AirPlay 2-enabled Sonos speakers will also work with other AirPlay 2 speakers such as the HomePod, and Apple Music will work on Sonos devices using Siri on a paired iPhone, according to Sonos.

Sonos today also announced that Amazon Alexa works with its devices starting now in multiple countries, and the company unveiled a new smart speaker for the living room — the Sonos Beam. The Sonos Beam, priced at $399, is a smart, compact soundbar designed for the TV, and it too will support AirPlay 2 and Siri. The Sonos Beam and other AirPlay 2 Sonos speakers are the first that have dual-assistant support, working with both Alexa and Siri. Google Assistant support is also in the works.

Apple first enabled AirPlay 2 in the iOS 11.4 update, released in late May, and following the release, Apple published a list of all of the speakers that have announced plans to implement support for AirPlay 2. AirPlay 2 will be enabled on Sonos speakers through a software update.

Pre-orders for the Sonos Beam are available starting today from the Sonos website, with Sonos planning to launch the speaker in July.

Tag: Sonos
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6
Jun

Apple Executive Greg Joswiak Dismisses Planned Obsolescence as ‘Craziest Thinking in the World’


Daring Fireball writer John Gruber sat down with Apple’s VP of marketing Greg Joswiak and VP of AR/VR engineering Mike Rockwell at the California Theatre on Tuesday for a live recording of his The Talk Show podcast.

MacRumors was in attendance during the interview, which reflected on a wide range of topics, including augmented reality, privacy, the latest software updates, and other announcements from the WWDC keynote on Monday. A replay of the event is also available on YouTube, starting around the 29:40 mark.


One of those announcements, revealed by software engineering chief Craig Federighi, was that iOS 12 more quickly ramps up peak performance when needed for a faster and more responsive experience on all supported devices, going all the way back to the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, both released in 2013.

On an iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 12, for example, Apple says the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster, apps launch up to twice as fast under heavy load, and the camera opens up to 70 percent faster from the lock screen.

Gruber expressed that part of Apple’s emphasis on those performance improvements on stage must be to counter the notion of planned obsolescence, or the idea that it deliberately slows down older iPhones with software updates to drive customers to upgrade to the latest and greatest models.

Joswiak quickly dismissed the idea as “about the craziest thinking in the world,” and talked up iOS 12 as a “really good update.”

“Which is about the craziest thinking in the world, where I give you a shitty experience so you go buy our new product,” quipped Joswiak. “But, to your point, there’s been so much that people forgot about how great software updates are. First of all, we have a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate with iOS 11… it’s great. We have delivered through the years amazing features, from the App Store to iMessage.”

“Software updates are super important,” he added. “You have got to remember, we’re supporting devices that were introduced in 2013. Devices that are more recently introduced… iPhone X… are a lot faster than those, just by the nature of how fast our chips have gotten. We’ve got the fastest chips in the business. Our chips last year are faster than theirs this year.”

Joswiak said Apple wanted to pay “special attention” to older devices that may be experiencing “slowdowns” under heavy workloads.

“Craig was making a point of showing, look, we did a lot of engineering, and a lot of testing… to show that we’re going to double the performance for those people on iOS 12,” he said. “iOS 12 supports the same set of devices that iOS 11 did, again going all the way back to 2013… all the way back to the iPhone 5s, and it’s going to be a really good update for those people.”

“If we only wanted you to buy new hardware, we would only have updates that support like six percent of our users,” he joked.


The first beta of iOS 12 was seeded to registered Apple developers on Monday, and a public beta should follow in the coming weeks, ahead of an official release in September. The software update is compatible with the iPhone 5s and newer, iPad Air and newer, and the sixth-generation iPod touch.

Tags: Greg Joswiak, iPhone Slowdown
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6
Jun

Apple Orders ‘Little Voices’ Series from Producer J.J. Abrams, Featuring Original Music by Sara Bareilles


As its stable of original television shows increases, Apple has now ordered a new half-hour dramedy called “Little Voices” straight to series (via Variety). The show comes from executive producers J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles, and is described as a love letter to “the diverse musicality of New York.”

Little Voices will explore the lives of characters in their early 20s as they struggle to find their “authentic voice,” and with Bareilles as executive producer the show will also debut original songs throughout the ten episode first season.

J.J. Abrams via Wikimedia Commons
Screenwriter Jessie Nelson (“I Am Sam”, “Stepmom”, and “Corrina, Corrina”) will serve as the showrunner, and is set to write, executive produce, and direct the first episode. No word on actors who will be cast in the show has been given.

Little Voices marks the first time a show from Apple will be connected to J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, which also produces current shows like “Westworld” on HBO, “Castle Rock” on Hulu, and brought previous series like “Fringe” and “Lost” to the air.

Apple is quickly collecting shows, the first of which are rumored to premiere sometime before March 2019. Recent show announcements include the Hailee Steinfeld starring “Dickinson”, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series, an animated show called “Central Park” from the creator of “Bob’s Burgers”, and more.

Tag: Apple’s Hollywood ambitions
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6
Jun

Moto Z3 Play hands-on: Dual cameras meet Moto Mods


The Moto Z2 Play was Motorola’s most successful smartphone in a long time and today the company announced its follow up, the Moto Z3 Play. Designed with the features that made its predecessor popular and a few updates to bring it line with a phone in 2018, does the new phone fit in Moto’s affordable premium Z Play range? Let’s find out!

Moto Z3 Play

The Moto Z3 Play is focused on solving a few key pain points in the smartphone market. This begins with the display, which is the largest noticeable difference over the Moto Z2 Play. The display is taller, with narrower bezels, thanks to its 18:9 resolution. The taller aspect ratio offers a screen-to-body ratio of 79 percent. The Super AMOLED panel offers FHD+ resolution, alongside the characteristic vibrant colors and deep blacks of AMOLED screens.

The Moto Z3 Play is focused on solving a few key pain points in the smartphone market, starting with the display

Motorola opted for Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and back over the newer Gorilla Glass 5 standard as the company found little difference in the scratch resistance performance. Between the two panels is a 6000-series aluminum metal shell, which adds a nice feel. This is further compounded by an impressive 6.75mm thickness. It certainly delivers on the premium experience Motorola’s been pushing for.

Motorola Moto z3 Play showing fingerprint scanner on the side

The biggest change with the larger display is the fingerprint sensor, which has now moved to the right of the phone. Unlike other devices with a right fingerprint sensor – like recent Sony devices – the fingerprint sensor doesn’t double up as the power button. Instead, Motorola moved the power button to the left of the Moto Z3 Play. While this may seem annoying, it’s not that big of a deal, especially as you don’t interact with the power button a lot during a day. By keeping them separate, the fingerprint sensor remains lightning fast too.

the back of the motorola moto z3 play showing moto mod pins

Editor’s Pickrelated article

The full list of current and upcoming Moto Mods

While we’ve seen many smartphone makers try and fail to sell smartphones with “modular” hardware features, Motorola seems to have been the most successful with its Moto Mods. Okay, they may not technically be “modular” …

The design and overall footprint of the Moto Z3 Play is almost identical to other Moto Z devices, and it’s compatible with all 14 of the current Moto Mods. The company plans to bundle the Moto Z3 Play with a Moto Mod in the box, because apparently it increases overall adoption of the Mods concept. Unsurprisingly, the Moto Z3 Play also drops the headphone jack, which we’ve come to expect from most smartphones in 2018.

the oled screen of the moto z3 play viewed from the side

The Moto Z3 Play is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor, which Motorola says offers 30 percent faster performance than the Moto Z2 Play. In the U.S., the Moto Z3 Play comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage while globally, there will also be additional variants offering up to 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. The battery is still 3,000mAh with TurboCharging, and it should offer similar battery life to the Moto Z2 Play.

Read: The best mid-range phones you can get right now

The Moto Z3 Play also supports Cat 12 LTE, offering 600Mbps download speeds and 24-bit audio. There’s also 4 mics with far-field capability and a 7-core DSP for natural language processing — used for the crystal talk feature, which aims to offer more clarity in calls even when you’re surrounded by loud background noises.

motorola moto z3 play with dual camera on the back

The other major change is on the phone’s back, where Moto Z3 Play now sports two cameras. The main camera is a 12MP shooter with an f/1.7 aperture and a 1.4-micron pixel size, while the secondary 5MP sensor is used to capture depth information. The main camera supports dual autofocus pixel and offers zero shutter lag as with previous Moto Z devices. The front facing camera has also received a boost, now using an 8MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and a 1.12-micron pixel size. The front and rear cameras both offer portrait mode, although the secondary camera on the rear allows for more features in the rear portrait mode.

cinemagraph captured with moto z3 play

The big new addition to the camera experience is the cinemagraphs feature, which lets you capture a picture with motion and then pick where the motion is. You could capture a plant swaying in the wind, as well as the shadow, and freeze the motion of the plant while the shadow continues moving. The image is then saved as a GIF, so it’s easy to share on social media or with your friends and family. The feature works rather well and can add a unique touch to otherwise boring scenes. The camera also supports Google Lens natively in the camera app, which brings all the Google Lens features you’d expect.

Moto Z3 Play camera samples

The Moto Z3 Play runs on Android 8.1 out of the box and Motorola will support two OS upgrades during the life of the phone. It offers the nearly stock Android experience we’ve come to expect from Motorola, with new features in areas where it feels the Android OS needs some tweaking.

motorola z3 play sitting on a stand

One of those new features is the Moto Z3 Play’s gesture-based navigation, an onscreen equivalent to the same feature found on previous Moto Z devices. Swiping left on the gesture bar takes you back a step, while swiping right opens the recent apps menu. Tapping the gesture bar brings up the home screen, while long pressing the bar opens the Google Home screen. This is like the navigation feature found on Android P, which will be coming to the Moto Z3 Play not long after Google officially releases its new OS.

$499 unlocked

The unlocked Moto Z3 Play will be available for $499, bundled with the Moto Mod battery pack in the U.S.. The Moto Z3 Play will be available globally with the Moto Mod JBL speaker, although exact variants, pricing and bundled Mods will depend on your country. The Moto Z3 Play will support most U.S. carriers when it launches later this summer.

What do you think of the Moto Z3 Play? Do you plan to buy one? Let us know in the comments below!

Read next: Moto Z3 Play specs and features walkthrough

6
Jun

Hands-on: The Asus ROG gaming phone is a beast


Asus isn’t known for its high-end phones. Traditionally, they’ve skirted the mid-range and attempted to bring a lot of value to the consumer at a lower price. That changed a bit with the ZenFone 5Z, which packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 among other high-end specs. While this seemed like a pretty beefy phone on its own, Asus has upped the ante with the announcement of the ROG Phone.

This is our Asus ROG Phone hands-on.

ROG, or Republic of Gamers, is Asus’  high-end gaming brand for their laptops and peripherals. This includes things like mice and gaming headsets, and — traditionally — flashy branding and RGB lighting. With the ROG Phone, Asus is bringing those aspects to Android. Not only does thing phone have flashy branding and RGB lighting, but it brings the specs to match.

See also:related article

Razer Phone review

Gaming laptop and peripheral giant Razer surprised everyone with its entry into the smartphone space, born from the acquisition of contentious, but fondly remembered Nextbit. The result of this new partnership is one of the most …

The Asus ROG Phone is sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 8 GB of RAM, a 4,000 mAh battery, and 128 or 512 GB of storage. This is a special edition of the 845 as well, which is overclocked to 2.96 GHz. The higher-end model takes the crown as the highest-spec’ed Android phone on the market today, beating out the previous leader, the OnePlus 6. This phone is also sporting a 90Hz AMOLED display, losing to Razer in raw speed, but arguably beating them in quality. AMOLED displays traditionally have much better color and contrast than LCD’s, and Asus’ model looked great in person.

The back of the device looks quite aggressive, with the glowing ROG logo stamped in the center being surrounded by sharp edges and exhaust windows. This phone screams “gamer” like no other phone we’ve seen before, and it matches very well with the rest of Asus’ ROG lineup. The rear cameras are dual 12 and 8 megapixel shooters and have some AR capabilities. Asus didn’t talk about these at all at the launch, so while they’re likely fine, they clearly aren’t the focus of this device. The front camera is 8 megapixels.

Display 6.0-inch, 18:9, 2160×1080, AMOLED with 90Hz refresh rate
CPU Exclusive Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip @2.96GHz
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 630
RAM 8GB
OS Android 8.1 Oreo with custom “ROG Gaming” ZenUI skin
Storage 128GB / 512GB
Rear camera 12MP + 8MP (120-degree wide-angle)
Front camera 8MP
Fingerprint scanner Yes
Battery 4,000mAh, USB Type-C, 20W fast charging
Speakers Dual front-facing stereo speakers with smart amplifier
Sensors Accelerometer, e-compass, proximity sensor, Hall sensor, ambient-light sensor,
fingerprint sensor, gyroscope, 2 x ultrasonic AirTriggers
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad 2×2 MIMO
Wi-Fi Direct and WiGig 802.11ad wireless display support
Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack
Dimensions 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6mm
Weight 200g

On the bottom of the Asus ROG you’ll find a USB Type-C port and a headphone jack, and you’ll find two more USB Type-C ports on the lefthand side of the device. While this may look a little strange, it’s made to accommodate the variety of accessories Asus is shipping with this phone.

Asus Rog Phone gaming smartphone in hands from behind in half case. Asus

The first Asus ROG Phone accessory is a heatsink that mounts to the back of the phone. This has a fan in it to keep the phone cool, and includes an additional USB Type-C port and a headphone jack so you can keep charged while gaming. This is extremely useful placement for a USB Type-C port, because it means you can charge your phone and use headphones while using your device in landscape mode. Because most mobile games are played in this way, it made a lot of sense for Asus to create this attachment.

The second Asus ROG phone accessory is a gamepad for the device which can stream wirelessly to your TV. This gamepad connects via the USB Type-C port on the bottom of the phone, and connects wirelessly to a special receiver inserted into your TV. This allows you to play on your TV as if you were using a wireless Nintendo Switch, and opens up quite a lot of possibility for couch gamers.

Asus Rog gaming phone being used with a PC setup. Asus

Asus is also selling a dock that helps connect your ROG Phone to any monitor. This opens up support for keyboards and mice as well, meaning you could play competitive mobile games with a full mouse and keyboard setup. Using this in competitive games could get a little controversial, but it’s great seeing the Samsung Dex getting some competition.

Asus Rog Phone gaming smartphone in hands from behind. Asus

The last accessory being sold alongside the Asus ROG Phone gaming phone is a screen-enabled shell device that effectively turns this phone into a high-end Nintendo DS. This peripheral is essentially a shell with a screen and triggers, and the phone can power this to enable a high-end gaming or emulation machine. This accessory is probably my personal favorite, because it gives your phone a complete second use case.

Pricing and availability of both the Asus ROG Phone and accessories has yet to be announced, but we’re sure it won’t be cheap. The ROG line has traditionally been very premium for Asus, and we could see them taking the same approach with this device.

Asus ROG Phone image gallery

What do you think of the Asus ROG Phone? Is it a true competitor to the Razer phone?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

6
Jun

TSA hopes Windows 10 upgrades will keep its systems safe for travelers


The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and several other arms of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), are in the midst of a transition to Windows 10, and the process is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year. TSA CIO Russel Roberts cited better security as part of the agency’s decision to migrate to Microsoft’s latest version of Windows.

“It should be a significant enhancement for the security,” Roberts said in an interview with Federal News Radio. “We are addressing the multiple tools to detect, monitor, and respond and that all ties into Windows 10. That will help us with the new computers and all the end points out there.”

The migration to Windows 10 started in 2016, and so far, it has been a smooth process. The operating system update coincides with the agency’s recent completion of a hardware upgrade of its laptops and desktops. Together, these upgrades help lower TSA’s cybersecurity risks, Roberts said.

Although TSA explored sleeker form factors for its hardware refresh, like thin clients, Roberts decided against drastic changes. Instead, he opted to maintain the same hardware form factors that the agency wanted replaced. New form factors may be explored again when the agency performs its next hardware refresh in three to five years.

When Microsoft launched Windows 10, it changed from a software license to a software-as-a-service, or SaaS, model, essentially turning its Windows business into a Windows-as-a-service platform. Windows 10’s SaaS model means that the operating system and the built-in antivirus tool are kept continuously updated by Microsoft. The TSA also wants to use the SaaS model for its custom software, like the air marshal scheduling program.

“My philosophy is to move the easy ones and move those into a SaaS tool,” Roberts said. “Then we could build some new ones that would allow us to shut down six or seven others. That is a little more challenging than it would seem on the surface.” In addition to Windows 10, Roberts is also looking at moving to Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 productivity suite.

TSA and DHS aren’t the only U.S. agencies that are switching to Windows 10. Prior to joining DHS as CIO, Dr. John Zangardi had helped the Department of Defense (DoD) upgrade as many as four million PCs to Windows 10. As part of DHS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also in the process of upgrading to Windows 10, Fed Tech Magazine reported, as is the United States Coast Guard.

In addition to the recent hardware upgrades, the agency also replaced its routers. Routers recently became a hot news topic after the FBI issued a warning for consumers to reset and reboot their devices to combat Russian hacking.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • How to move Windows 10 to an SSD
  • Everything you need to know about the Windows 10 April 2018 Update
  • Windows 10 can hear you now with expanded dictation features and more
  • Windows 10 ‘Lean’ shows up in a preview build for Windows Insiders
  • Windows is back on your phone, and this time it’s a good thing


6
Jun

Explore our planet through an immersive AR experience with the Earth app


As outdoor enthusiasts, we care deeply about the planet we live on. There is always more to learn about our changing world including past, present, and future information. AstroReality has launched the project Earth on Kickstarter — a 3D hand-painted globe that, when paired with a unique application, can provide in-depth information about the planet we live on. The physical globe is brought to life with the AR/A.I.-driven app to help you learn about our past, present, and future on Earth.

The AstroReality application displays information in several categories including the migration and habitats of animals both past and present; biomes, crops, and plants of the world; geology highlighting the formation and evolution of our physical planet; environmental issues including climate change; anthropology focused on the human experience; and meteorology centered around the world’s weather systems. The technology takes you on an interactive journey through time, highlighting the planet’s rich geological history and providing visual evidence of how climate change is impacting our world.

The application is multi-layered and loaded with basic geographic information such as landmarks, latitude and longitude, time zones, and regions. Complicated visualization overlays provide information on heatmaps, cloud atlases, point maps, texture maps, and more. In addition to the augmented reality aspect provided by the immersive application, you can also control Earth with your voice.

While you explore the painted globe with your hands, you can speak to Gaea — the company’s smart voice technology powered by Microsoft LUIS — to direct the app to provide you with the exact information you’re seeking. When you just start using the app, you can even ask Gaea to help you navigate around the app and unlock features you may not have discovered on your own. For example, you can ask Gaea to run a timeline of cloud coverage for today or ask about the behavior of killer whales — the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Earth serves as an educational tool that utilizes art, science, and technology in order to make knowledge about our planet more accessible to the public in a fun and interactive form. It was designed using poly-resin density, 3D printing, and paint applied with a precise printing resolution along with a hand-painted layer on each product. From schools to everyday explorers, model collectors, and outdoor enthusiasts — Earth has something to offer to everyone.

Although crowdfunding products are not guaranteed, Earth has exceeded its funding goal, but as always, proceed with caution when it comes to crowdfunding projects. A $200 pledge on the company’s Kickstarter campaign page awards you the best chance of getting your hands on one of the first Earth models.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • To unlock secrets of evolution, scientists want to sequence all life on Earth
  • Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier
  • NASA and ESA will team up to bring Martian soil samples back to Earth
  • ‘Pokémon Go’ is gamifying garbage and wants your help on Earth Day
  • Great heights and spectacular sights: The 17 coolest buildings on Earth


6
Jun

The Nik collection lives on with DxO Labs update — but at a cost


The Nik Collection is no longer nixed — on Wednesday, June 6, DxO Labs launched the Nik Collection 2018 by DxO, a bug-squashing and compatibility update for the Photoshop and Lightroom plug-ins long favorited by photographers. Several of the Nik features are also migrating into DxO PhotoLab, which also sees an update today as version 1.2 adds U-Point technology for local adjustments.

Both updates come as DxO Labs faces bankruptcy and refocuses the company on four software programs while discontinuing the DxO One camera. The company says it expects to leave bankruptcy in a few months after refocusing on the software and reorganizing the company.

The Nik Collection 2018 by DxO

The update doesn’t exactly add anything new to the Nik collection, but it does bring the set of seven plug-ins back from the dead. Google originally acquired the Nik Collection in 2012 with the purchase of Nik Software, the company also behind Snapseed. But after making the plug-ins free in 2016, Google stopped updating them. The company announced the end of the Nik collection last year, when the plug-ins, at the time, were already no longer fully compatible with Photoshop. DxO Labs stepped in to save the plug-ins by purchasing the collection from Google, then spent six months updating code that hadn’t been touched in years.

The seven plug-ins that have been updated are Analog Efex Pro for analog film simulation, Color Efex Pro for color correction and effects, Dfine for noise reduction, HDR Efex Pro for high-dynamic range photography, Sharpener Pro for enhancing finer details, Silver Efex Pro for black and white images, and finally Viveza for adjusting color and tone in a specific area rather than the entire image

Photographers who have worked with Nik before won’t notice any new tools, but the plug-ins are now fully compatible with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements running in current operating systems.

Customers also get support in four different languages on DxO’s website for the Nik Collection. The support area is also slated to expand with tutorials on using the plug-ins.

DxO Labs won’t continue to focus on minor compatibility updates, however. The team says that, now that the plug-ins are once again compatible, DxO is welcoming feedback from users. The compatibility update is only the first stage and the team expects to broaden the plug-ins in the future.

If there is a downside to the Nik Collection coming back to life, it’s that the plug-ins are being offered once again as paid downloads. The entire set of seven plug-ins will retail for $69, with a $19 discount for the launch valid until July 1. That is a steep drop from the  original $500 cost for the entire set, which Google later dropped to $150 before making it free.

DxO Photo Lab 1.2

DxO Labs is also integrating some of the technology into the company’s original software. DxO Photo Lab 1.2 now includes U Point technology — inherited from the Nik collection — along with a handful of other new features. 

U Point is a type of local adjustment that only affects a portion of the image rather than the image as a whole. The edit is non-destructive when working with a RAW file, which means any changes can be undone or tweaked later.  With U Point, photo editors place a point on the image, then use a menu off that point to make specific adjustments only to that area. The three-section menu controls local adjustments like exposure and contrast, but the U Point menu can also be customized to see specific local controls.

The photo editor also now has HSL — hue, saturation, and luminance — adjustments, along with Selective Tone, a tool designed specifically to aid in recovering highlights and shadows that are too bright or too dark, respectively. The updated app now also reorganizes local settings by light, color, and detail. New cameras are also supported, including the Panasonic G9, TZ90, and GF9; the Canon EOS Rebel T7; and the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

The update is free for existing DxO Photo Lab users, while new users can try a 30-day trial or purchase the software for $129 for the Essential version or $199 for the Elite version.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • DxO Labs files for bankruptcy, but will launch Nik Collection update in June
  • Photo FOMO: Fujifilm X-H1 sees bug fixes, Premiere Pro gets 360 plug-in
  • Adobe enables faster workflow with updates to XD, InDesign, and Illustrator
  • Lightroom’s overhauled camera profiles make your RAW photos pop
  • Apple’s iOS 11.3 is now available for download on the iPhone and iPad


6
Jun

RIP, DxO One: The iPhone add-on camera won’t survive DxO’s bankruptcy


David Elrich/Digital Trends

The DxO One, one of the best smartphone add-on cameras ever made, won’t live past the first generation. After entering bankruptcy earlier this year, DxO Labs announced the discontinuation of the DxO One on Wednesday, June 6.

DxO Labs stopped selling the DxO One in March, but the company’s distributors will continue to sell the camera until supplies run out. Distributors will also continue to offer support for current users of the camera. The camera is currently available from a handful of retailers, including B&H and Best Buy.

The discontinuation means that DxO Labs will no longer develop firmware for the DxO One, software updates that have expanded the compact camera’s features several times since the launch in 2015. Updates added features like the ability to shoot without a physical connection to the iPhone and the option to stream to Facebook Live. While the camera won’t see any updates directly from DxO One, the company isn’t yet out of the bankruptcy process and may share additional details on firmware updates after legal proceedings.

While the company plans to emerge from the bankruptcy in a few months, the legal proceedings allow it to restructure, creating a new focus on software and ending the company’s hardware venture. DxO Labs says it doesn’t have plans to design another generation of the DxO One in the future.

Instead, the company is redirecting focus on four software programs: DxO PhotoLab, the DxO ViewPoint, DxO FilmPack and the recently acquired Nik Collection. The company announced updates to the Nik Collection and DxO Photo Lab today, bringing updated compatibility to the plugins bought from Google while adding some of that tech into DxO’s original software.

The DxO One is a standalone camera that uses a smartphone to access the camera’s controls. Unlike other attempts to add a larger sensor and brighter lens to a phone, the DxO one used a physical connection to the camera for performance compared to Wi-Fi-only add-on cameras. The One originally launched with a Lightning connector for use with iOS devices, and late last year DxO launched an early access for an Android version.

DxO Labs filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 7. In a statement earlier this year, the company said they expected the bankruptcy to be brief and suggested the proceedings wouldn’t impact customers. Last year, DxO Labs split from DxO Mark, the side of the company that tests and analyzes camera sensors and lenses., including smartphone cameras.

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