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4
Oct

Add Bluetooth to nearly any car with this $8 AmazonBasics kit


Go hands-free with this discounted Bluetooth kit.

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The AmazonBasics Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit is on sale for only $7.89 right now which is an insane deal. It sometimes sells for as much as $30. In the past, when it’s dropped this low, it was an add-on item. This time around, there are no $25 requirements, if you want just this kit, you can order it right now without anything else!

You don’t need to replace your head unit or trade in your current car, all you need is this hands-free Bluetooth kit and a few minutes of time to install it. All you do is plug the power cable into the cigarette lighter socket and then the 3.5mm audio cable into the Aux input of your vehicle. Then simply pair your phone with the setup, and voila, you have Bluetooth to receive calls, listen to music and more.

See at Amazon

4
Oct

Deals: Save on the 2017 MacBook Pro and Shop Flash Sales With Belkin and RAVPower Chargers


B&H Photo has launched savings on Apple’s 2017 line of MacBook Pro models, both with and without the Touch Bar. A few of the MacBook Pros in the sale are seeing lowest-ever prices for both 13-inch and 15-inch models, and in general all are beating out rival prices from Best Buy, Adorama, and Amazon.

We’ve listed a few of the MacBook Pros on sale below, but be sure to visit B&H Photo to see the full collection. As a note, B&H Photo’s sale includes both Apple’s basic models and a few custom configurations.

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

13-inch MacBook Pro

  • Touch Bar, 3.1 GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,499.00, down from $1,799.00
  • Touch Bar, 3.1 GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $1,549.00, down from $1,999.00
  • No Touch Bar, 2.3 GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,649.00, down from $1,849.00
  • Touch Bar, 3.1 GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $1,799.00, down from $2,199.00

15-inch MacBook Pro

  • No Touch Bar, 2.8 GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,899.00, down from $2,499.00
  • Touch Bar, 2.8 GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,999.00, down from $2,399.00
  • Touch Bar, 2.9 GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,099.00, down from $2,799.00
  • Touch Bar, 3.1 GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD – $2,699.00, down from $3,399.00

In other sales, Best Buy today has a one-day sale on a few of Belkin’s chargers, including the USB-C to USB-A cable for $8.99, down from $29.99. The retailer is also offering Belkin’s universal vehicle charger for the same price, $8.99, down from $29.99.


Amazon also has a notable flash sale today, offering shoppers a chance to save on a few of RAVPower’s charging devices. Those interested can get the USB-C Wall Charger — which has five USB-A ports for fast simultaneous device charging — for $20.99, down from $29.99.

Over on Tile, the Bluetooth tracking company this week debuted new devices, and is now offering some sales on each of its new products. Shoppers can get the Tile Pro 2-pack for $60, down from $70; the Tile Mate 4-pack for $60, down from $100; and the

Tile Combo Pack for $70, down from $110.


Check out our full Deals Roundup for information on other sales happening this week, including savings on Apple’s iPhone X silicone cases, BeatsX, and more.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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4
Oct

PSA: HomePod Launches in Spain and Mexico on October 26


For those who may have missed the news, Apple has confirmed the HomePod launches in Spain and Mexico on Friday, October 26.

Apple actually made the announcement last month, but it was buried in a footnote of a press release on the day of its iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4 event, so the news did not make many headlines at the time.

HomePod will be available in Space Gray or White for €349 in Spain and 7,999 pesos in Mexico, according to Apple’s online store.

A recent HomePod software update added support for Spanish in Spain, Mexico, and the United States, enabling Siri to communicate in that language. Siri also gained the ability to search by lyrics, set multiple timers, make phone calls, and more.

Spanish users will be able to receive the latest headlines, entertainment news, and sports updates directly on the HomePod, with Univision Noticias, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo Entretenimiento, and other sources now available.

HomePod will be available to purchase from Apple.com, Apple Stores, and select authorized resellers in Spain and Mexico.

The smart speaker first launched in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom in February, followed by availability in Canada, France, and Germany in June. Apple has yet to detail availability in other countries.

Related Roundup: HomePodTags: Spain, MexicoBuyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)
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4
Oct

How to Stop Receiving Beta Updates for macOS Mojave


If you signed up to test an early beta version of macOS Mojave, it’s very likely that your system hasn’t been updated to the final official release. Before your Mac can be updated to the latest stable version of Apple’s new desktop operating system, you’ll need to manually opt out of the beta program. This article shows you how.

Note that after following the simple steps below, you’ll stop receiving future beta updates for Mojave and will only be invited to install stable updates that are shipped to the general public.
Launch the Mac App Store on your Mac ( -> App Store… from the menu bar).
Type “Mojave” in the App Store search field to locate the public release of macOS, otherwise it won’t show up for you.
Click View on the result for Mojave.

Click the Get button.
You’ll be switched to the Software Update pane in System Preferences. Click Download to download Mojave when prompted, and wait for the download to complete in the Update pane, but don’t start the installation procedure just yet.

Click Details… at the bottom left of the pane.

Click Restore Defaults.
Enter your admin password when prompted and click Unlock.Now that you’ve successfully opted out of the beta program, you’re free to start the installation procedure for MacOS Mojave 10.14 that you just downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave
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4
Oct

Apple Earns Top Spot as World’s Most Valuable Brand for Sixth Consecutive Year


Apple remained the world’s most valuable brand this year, according to Interbrand’s Best Global Brands Report for 2018. With its position at the #1 spot again, Apple has topped Interbrand’s annual rankings for the sixth consecutive year.

Apple’s brand value grew by about 15 percent and increased to $214.5 billion, up from $184.1 billion in 2017. Apple beat out Google ($155.5 billion), Amazon ($100.7 billion), Microsoft ($92.7 billion), and Coca-Cola ($66.3 billion), rounding out the top five spots. Apple and Google have remained the #1 and #2 spots for several years, and this year Amazon rose from #5 to #3 on the rankings.

“A decade after the global financial crisis, the brands that are growing fastest are those that intuitively understand their customers and make brave iconic moves that delight and deliver in new ways,” said Charles Trevail, Global Chief Executive Officer of Interbrand.

Because of this, Amazon led the Top Growing Brands category with 56 percent growth, followed by Netflix (45 percent), Gucci (30 percent), Salseforce.com (23 percent), and Louis Vuitton (23 percent). Facebook held the #1 spot as the Top Growing Brand for five years in a row, until this year, as it declined six percent and disappeared from this category.

On the main list of 100 most valuable brands, other companies include Samsung (#6), Facebook (#9), Disney (#14), Philips (#42), Netflix (#66), PayPal (#73), Spotify (#92), and Nintendo (#99).

To determine a brand’s cumulative value, Interbrand considers the financial performance of branded products products and services, the role the brand plays in purchase decisions, the brand’s competitive strength, its ability to create loyalty, and sustainability for demand and profit into the future.

Tag: Interbrand
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4
Oct

BBC Radio DJ Charlie Sloth Leaving Company After 10 Years, Reportedly Headed to Apple Music


BBC Radio DJ Charlie Sloth has announced this week that he is leaving the company, and according to various sources speaking to Music Business Worldwide, Sloth is headed to Apple Music. On the BBC, Sloth’s last appearance on “The Rap Show” will be on November 3.

Image via BBC News
On an Instagram post announcing his departure, Sloth said that he “seeks a new challenge,” and he will be announcing what comes next soon.

After almost 10 years of dedicating my life to BBC radio 1xtra & Radio 1 and achieving everything I set out to I’ve decided the time has come to leave the BBC and seek a new challenge.

At Apple Music, the DJ is expected to host a new worldwide show on Beats 1, while also contributing to the creation of exclusive playlists, similar to existing Beats 1 hosts. Sloth’s “Fire in the Booth” franchise is coming with him to Apple Music, since he owns the brand and licenses it to the BBC.

Fire in the Booth on BBC Radio 1Xtra features music and interviews with numerous artists, including the Wu Tang Clan, Logic, and Drake. Sloth is known for promoting the hip-hop and rap genres, so his Beats 1 radio show is expected to continue to focus on this area of music.

Sloth’s departure from the BBC to Apple Music would also be similar to Apple’s hiring of Zane Lowe in 2015, who left a job at the BBC to help steer the launch of Beats 1 radio on Apple Music. If Sloth does come on to Apple Music, the number of former BBC employees who now work for Apple Music would reach at least four known names (Sloth, Lowe, former head of music at BBC Radio 1 George Ergatoudis, and BBC 1Xtra Editor Ryan Newman) and multiple producers behind the scenes.

Tag: Apple Music
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4
Oct

Adobe Unveils Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2019


Adobe today released updated versions of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, the company’s more affordable photo and video editing software aimed at casual home users who want to improve their images and videos with easy-to-use editing tools.

Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2019 feature a new Home Screen that offers up information on what’s new since the last version, inspirational ideas, suggestions for edits to try, tutorials, and auto-generated photo and video slideshows.

The new Auto Creations feature that provides the automatic photo and video slideshows on the updated Home Screen is powered by Adobe’s Sensei AI technology.

Photoshop Elements 2019 includes revamped photo collages with new templates, frames, and backgrounds, some of which are ideal for sharing on social media, and there are a series of new guided edits that are designed to walk Elements users through different creative tasks.

A multi-photo text option guides users through creating visual text with a photo inside of each letter for creating words or names for use with scrapbooking, card making, and more, while another new guided edit teaches users how to turn photos into memes for sharing on social media.


A third guided edit is available for turning just one part of a photo into a pencil sketch, and the final new guided edit helps users embellish photos with borders and text, also ideal for social media.

In Premiere Elements, there’s a redesigned Quick Edit mode that walks users through creating movies with instructions on trimming a video, combining clips, and adding photos, titles, music, and more.

There are two new guided edit options for adding glass pane effects to a video and creating dramatic scene transitions by fading colors from darkest to lightest.


Photoshop Elements now includes support for the HEIF photos captured with the iPhone, while Premiere Elements supports HEIF, HEVC, and VFR. Both Photoshop and Premiere Elements feature faster performance for common tasks.

Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2019 are available for purchase for $99 each from the Adobe website starting today. Bundles are available for $149.99, and existing users can upgrade for $79.99 for one product or $119 for the bundle.

Tag: Adobe
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4
Oct

Apple Denies Report Claiming Chinese Spies Planted Microchips in iCloud Servers


Bloomberg Businessweek today reports that around three years ago, the Chinese military began inserting microchips on Supermicro server motherboards while they were being manufactured in China, providing the Chinese government with a stealth doorway into any network that used the tampered hardware.

The report cites an official who said investigators found the attack eventually affected nearly 30 companies, including Apple and Amazon, along with a major bank and government contractors in the United States.

The microchip was placed on the motherboards in a way that allowed it to inject its own code or alter the order of the instructions the CPU was meant to follow, according to the report. One government official said China’s goal was “long-term access to high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks.”

No consumer data is known to have been stolen, according to the report, but the extent of the attack appears to be unclear.

Apple was a longtime Supermicro customer, with plans to order more than 30,000 of its server motherboards in two years for its global network of data centers, which power services like the App Store and Siri.

Documents seen by Businessweek show that in 2014, Apple planned to order more than 6,000 Supermicro servers for installation in 17 locations, including Amsterdam, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose, Singapore, and Tokyo, plus 4,000 servers for its existing North Carolina and Oregon data centers. Those orders were supposed to double, to 20,000, by 2015.

The report claims Apple had around 7,000 of the motherboards in its data centers when its security team came across the microchips.

Apple reportedly discovered the suspicious chips on the motherboards around May 2015, after detecting odd network activity and firmware problems. Two senior Apple insiders were cited as saying the company reported the incident to the FBI, but kept details about what it had detected tightly held.

The insiders cited in the report said in the summer of 2015, a few weeks after Apple identified the malicious chips, the company started removing all Supermicro servers from its data centers. Every one of the 7,000 or so Supermicro servers was replaced in a matter of weeks, according to one of the insiders.

In a strongly-worded statement, Apple denied Bloomberg Businessweek’s report:

Over the course of the past year, Bloomberg has contacted us multiple times with claims, sometimes vague and sometimes elaborate, of an alleged security incident at Apple. Each time, we have conducted rigorous internal investigations based on their inquiries and each time we have found absolutely no evidence to support any of them. We have repeatedly and consistently offered factual responses, on the record, refuting virtually every aspect of Bloomberg’s story relating to Apple.

On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, “hardware manipulations” or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. Apple never had any contact with the FBI or any other agency about such an incident. We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement.

In response to Bloomberg’s latest version of the narrative, we present the following facts: Siri and Topsy never shared servers; Siri has never been deployed on servers sold to us by Super Micro; and Topsy data was limited to approximately 2,000 Super Micro servers, not 7,000. None of those servers has ever been found to hold malicious chips.

As a matter of practice, before servers are put into production at Apple they are inspected for security vulnerabilities and we update all firmware and software with the latest protections. We did not uncover any unusual vulnerabilities in the servers we purchased from Super Micro when we updated the firmware and software according to our standard procedures.

We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg’s reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed. Our best guess is that they are confusing their story with a previously-reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of our labs. That one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack against Apple.

While there has been no claim that customer data was involved, we take these allegations seriously and we want users to know that we do everything possible to safeguard the personal information they entrust to us. We also want them to know that what Bloomberg is reporting about Apple is inaccurate.

Apple has always believed in being transparent about the ways we handle and protect data. If there were ever such an event as Bloomberg News has claimed, we would be forthcoming about it and we would work closely with law enforcement. Apple engineers conduct regular and rigorous security screenings to ensure that our systems are safe. We know that security is an endless race and that’s why we constantly fortify our systems against increasingly sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals who want to steal our data.

Supermicro said it remains unaware of any such investigation, while Amazon denied having any knowledge of a supply chain compromise. Chinese officials did not directly address the report, stating that “supply chain safety in cyberspace is an issue of common concern, and China is also a victim.”

However, in addition to the three Apple insiders, the report says four of six U.S. officials confirmed that Apple was a victim.

Apple did acknowledge a 2016 incident in which it discovered an infected driver on a single Supermicro server in one of its labs. Apple said that one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack.

Early last year, The Information reported that Apple cut ties with Supermicro in 2016 after unearthing a security vulnerability in at least one of its servers, which seems to be the incident that Apple is referring to in its statement. Apple has since moved on to other server suppliers, including ZT Systems and Inspur.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China
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4
Oct

Disney has created an autonomous paint-spraying drone for some reason


The folks at Disney Research get to work on a lot of fun stuff. From a so-called Force Jacket for heightened virtual reality experiences to a human-sized acrobatic robot, the team experiments with a range of offbeat ideas that sometimes lead to further development.

Somewhat curiously, the latest idea to emerge from its workshop seems to have more to do with maintenance work than entertainment.

The PaintCopter, as its name suggests, is a paint-spraying drone, though admittedly a rather clever one as it can apply specific designs to 3D objects as well as flat surfaces. The idea is that by painting surfaces using an unmanned aerial vehicle, we’ll be able to do away with the need for scaffolding, saving time and improving safety in the process.

Instead of a battery, the quadcopter —  a modified DJI Matrice 100 — receives power via a cord attached to a source on the ground so it can stay in the air till the paint job is complete. Likewise, instead of loading the drone with heavy containers full of paint, the machine receives the liquid from a tube connected to a large container back on the ground. The paint is applied to the target area via a nozzle fixed to the front of the drone.

But it’s not just a case of sending the drone up and hitting the spray button. Disney Research’s technology means the drone can carry out its task autonomously. So, before the painting begins, the drone’s cameras map the target area as part of the preparation process. Using the collected data, the designer can then program how they want the paint to be applied, which could be a general “fill,” or something more detailed such as line drawings.

As you can see from the video, those line-drawing skills clearly need honing, but overall the technology appears to function pretty effectively.

It’s not clear if Disney has plans to one day use the technology to touch up some of its aging theme park attractions as and when required, or to market the system for commercial use. The design is nevertheless the latest example of the potential of drones to transform a number of industries.

Disney Research’s drone brings to mind Aerone’s huge multi-rotor flying machine used for cleaning wind turbines. Like Disney’s contraption, it has a hose for spraying liquid, and receives its power from a source on the ground.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • 7 ambitious DARPA projects that could revolutionize the armed forces
  • 7 amazing anti-drone technologies designed to swat UAVs out of the sky
  • Explore the deep blue sea with these awesome underwater drones
  • This quadcopter is a ‘flying battery’ that can stay in the sky for 2 hours
  • Engineered sand could remove nasty toxins to produce drinkable water



4
Oct

Twitter’s new Data Saver feature does what it says on the tin


If you’re on Twitter and like to have full control over data usage on your smartphone, then a new Data Saver mode will be of interest.

Introduced as part of an iOS and Android update on Wednesday. You can access it by tapping on your profile picture, then Settings, and finally Data Usage. At the top of the page you’ll see the Data Saver option, which you enable by tapping.

Data Saver prevents videos from autoplaying and loads lower-quality images. Should you want to see a particular image in higher resolution, you simply tap on the picture, then on the three dots at the top right of the display, and finally on “load high quality.”

If you happen to be on a restricted or low-data plan, Data Saver is a surefire way to keep your Twitter data down and, if you’re a particularly heavy user of the social media app, perhaps give you some peace of mind toward the end of the month.

Data Saver makes the app a little more like Twitter Lite, the bare-bones version of Twitter built for developing markets where data caps and slow connections can be more of an issue for users. In fact, should data — and storage for that matter — be an issue for you, then the so-called “lite” versions of apps are the way to go, if you can get hold of them. Twitter Lite, for example, uses less than 1MB of storage, and minimizes data usage via a number of data saving features.

Twitter’s latest update also makes a few other changes, including a simpler way to manage who’s in your group messages, improvements to how people interact with polls using VoiceOver, and improved labels for certain types of ads.

Whether you’re a long-time Twitter user or just getting started, Digital Trends has some great ideas on how to get the most out of the microblogging app, how to save tweets using its bookmarking tool, suggestions for accounts to follow, and, if you really must, how to change your Twitter name. Alternatively, if it’s been invading your life and you want to take back control, here’s how to delete your Twitter account.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Google’s Datally now adds ‘Emergency bank,’ ‘Bedtime mode’ features
  • Worried about extra data charges? Here’s how to check your usage on an iPhone
  • We tried Visible’s $40 unlimited data plan for two weeks to see how it fares
  • Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook team up on new data transfer project
  • When we run out of room for data, scientists want to store it in DNA



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