Apple announced the AirPods during September’s “See You” event with a scheduled launch at the end of October. But late that month, the company delayed shipments without setting a release date in the future. Well, the tech titan’s wireless headphones still haven’t come out and it’s unclear when they’ll finally be ready for the public. For a company that places enormous emphasis on the pageantry of dramatically unveiling and releasing its products to a ravenous public, this is an unusual and humbling letdown.
It’s the first product postponement since the white iPhone 4 back in 2010, which Apple claims was delayed due to manufacturing challenges. But the company has kept mum about why they’re withholding the AirPods from store shelves. It’s likely caused by their added complexity, a source familiar with their development told The Wall Street Journal. Unlike normal wireless headphones, which receive signal over Bluetooth in only one earpiece, both AirPod pieces do. That means Apple’s product must reconcile any delays and sync audio between them, while also addressing what happens if one of the pair’s battery dies or is lost.
Apple’s silence is tough luck for folks hoping to snag a pair for a Christmas gift. But as we noted when the AirPods were first delayed, their iPhone 7-interfacing W1 chip is present in two models of Beats headphones, the Solo3 and Powerbeats 3. Otherwise, Apple’s loss is their competitors’ gain: Wireless headphones finally outsold wired in the first half of 2016. Technically, people are still buying more pairs of wired ones, but Bluetooth headphones’ high prices mean the money has finally tipped into that camp. Just how much Apple lost out by failing to make its $160-per-unit AirPods available this holiday season is anyone’s guess.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Apple was clear from the jump that it had bigger plans for its streaming service than just audio. Today, the Apple Music subscribers get an exclusive look a music-focused documentary: 808: The Movie. We first learned about the film that chronicles the history of the iconic 1980s drum machine back in 2014 and it was set to hit theaters last year. It debuted at SXSW in 2015, but had yet to see a wider release.
808: The Film is directed by Alexander Dunn with You Know Studios and Atlantic Records’ own Atlantic Films teaming up for the production. Narrated by Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, the film takes a deep dive into music history with commentary from Afrika Bambaataa, Beastie Boys, Questlove, Rick Rubin, Lil Jon, Diplo, Phil Collins and many others. As you might expect, there’s also a soundtrack on which some of those names make a second appearance. Both the film and its audio counterpart are streaming on Apple Music starting today.
If you’re not an Apple Music subscriber, the documentary is available for pre-order on iTunes for $17 and is slated to release on December 16th. Vinyl versions of the soundtrack and several other bundle options are also available from the Warner Music Store. For a brief look at what you can expect from the full-length film, watch the official trailer down below. Meanwhile, that Cash Money documentary that was supposed to stream on Apple Music this fall has yet to be released.
Throughout the holiday season, B&H Photo is offering discounts on a range of Apple products, including Macs, iPads, and the Apple Watch.
B&H Photo is discounting 2015 and 2016 MacBook Pro models by up to $200. B&H isn’t offering discounts on the new Touch Bar models, but there are discounts on upgraded non-Touch Bar models.
– 13-inch 2.0GHz/16GB RAM/256GB SSD (Space Gray) – $1,699, down from $1,749 ($50 off)
– 13-inch 2.0GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Space Gray) – $1,449, down from $1,499 ($50 off)
– 13-inch 2.4GHz/16GB RAM/1TB SSD (Space Gray) – $2,499, down from $2,599 ($100 off)
– 13-inch 2.0GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Silver) – $1,399, down from $1,499 ($50 off)
– 13-inch 2.0GHz/16GB RAM/512GB SSD (Silver) – $1,849, down from $1,899 ($50 off)
– 13-inch 2.0GHz/16GB RAM/256GB SSD (Silver) – $1,649, down from $1,699 ($50 off)
– 13-inch 2.4GHz/16GB RAM/256GB SSD (Silver) – $1,899, down from $1,999 ($100 off)
– 13-inch 2.9GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD – $1,599, down from $1,799 ($200 off)
– 13-inch 2.7GHz/8GB/128GB SSD – $1,179, down from $1,299 ($120 off)
– 13-inch 3.1GHz/16GB RAM/512GB SSD – $2,099, down from $2,199 ($100 off)
– 13-inch 3.1GHz/16GB RAM/1TB SSD – $2,549, down from $2,599 ($50 off)
– 13-inch 2.7GHz/16GB RAM/128GB SSD – $1,399, down from $1,499 ($100 off)
– 13-inch 3.1GHz/16GB/256GB SSD – $1,899, down from $1,999 ($100 off)
– 15-inch 2.8GHz/16GB RAM/512GB SSD – $2,399, down from $2,499 ($100 off)
– 15-inch 2.2GHz/16GB RAM/512GB – $2,099, down from $2,199 ($100 off)
Early 2016 12-inch MacBook models are discounted by $50 to $150 depending on model, a solid deal on Apple’s smallest notebooks.
– 1.2GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD (Space Gray) – $1,499, down from $1,599 ($100 off)
– 1.3GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD (Space Gray) – $1,599, down from $1,749 ($150 off)
– 1.1GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Space Gray) – $1,199, down from $1,349 ($150 off)
– 1.3GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Space Gray) – $1,399, down from $1,549 ($150 off)
– 1.1GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Silver) – $1,199, down from $1,249 ($50 off)
– 1.3GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD (Silver) – $1,649, down from $1,749 ($100 off)
– 1.1GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Gold) – $1,199, down from $1,349 ($150 off)
– 1.2GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD (Gold) – $1,499, down from $1,599 ($100 off)
– 1.1GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD (Rose Gold) – $1,199, down from $1,249 ($50 off)
– 1.2GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD (Rose Gold) – $1,499, down from $1,599 ($100 off)
– 1.3GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD (Rose Gold) – $1,649, down from $1,749 ($100 off)
A selection of 2015 21.5-inch iMacs are also on sale, with prices discounted up to $120. Both stock models and iMacs with build-to-order upgrades are available.
– 21.5-inch 3.1GHz/8GB RAM/1TB Fusion – $1,549, down from $1,599 ($50 off)
– 21.5-inch 3.1GHz/8GB RAM/1TB HD – $1,399, down from $1,499 ($100 off)
– 21.5-inch 3.3GHz/16GB RAM/2TB Fusion – $2,099, down from $2,199 ($100 off)
– 21.5-inch 3.3GHz/16GB RAM/1TB Fusion – $1,949, down from $1,999 ($50 off)
– 21.5-inch 3.1GHz/16GB RAM/1TB Fusion – $1,719.99, down from $1,769.99 ($50 off)
– 21.5-inch 2.8GHz/8GB RAM/1TB HD – $1,219, down from $1,339 ($120 off)
– 21.5-inch 2.8GHz/8GB RAM/1TB Fusion – $1,299, down from $1,399 ($100 off)
– 21.5-inch 1.6GHz/8GB RAM/1TB HD – $1,029, down from $1,099 ($70 off)
– 21.5-inch 2.8GHz/16GB RAM/1TB HD – $1,399, down from $1,499 ($100 off)
– 21.5-inch 2.8GHz/16GB RAM/1TB Fusion – $1,549, down from $1,599 ($50 off)
– 21.5-inch 2.8GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD – $1,419, down from $1,499 ($80 off)
On the previous-generation 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, B&H Photo is offering prices up to $50 off. Discounts range from $20 off the entry-level 32GB model iPad Air 2 to $50 off the 128GB iPad Pro.
Original Apple Watch models are available for as little as $199 depending on the model, which is a significant savings.
It should be noted that the original Apple Watch features a first-generation S1 processor and it is a good deal slower than the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 models, but if you’re looking for the lowest-cost option and don’t plan to use apps, B&H’s deals are worth checking out.
B&H Photo will have rotating “Giftsgiving” deals throughout the holiday season, so make sure to keep an eye on the price charts in our Deals roundup to always get the top price on a Mac or iPad.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner of B&H Photo.
Discuss this article in our forums
Over 200 vehicles now support Apple’s in-car infotainment system, the tech giant boasted on its website. Apple has updated its CarPlay-compatible vehicle list with 50 new entries, some of which are upcoming 2017 models from Audi, Honda, Kia, Maserati, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Volkswagen. While Audi’s list includes the 2018 version of the Q5 luxury crossover SUV, the other new additions to the page are current and older (2014-2016) vehicles. One older but notable entry is the 2017 BMW 5 series — as 9to5mac noted, it’ll be the first car with built-in wireless CarPlay.
If you own any of the older models Apple just added but still can’t use CarPlay on your display unit, expect your carmaker to roll out a firmware update in the future. But if you don’t ever expect your vehicle to support the technology, check out Sony’s $500 in-dash stereo system that can run both CarPlay and Android Auto.
News leaked in late August that chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and Apple were working shrinking the A11 processor set to go in next year’s iPhone down to 10nm. But to ensure it stays in business with the tech titan and other device manufacturers, TSMC is planning to build a new plant to build future chips at 5nm and 3nm sizes.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, TSMC announced the new $15.7 billion facility a day after Taiwan’s minister of science and technology, Yang Hung-duen, told local media about it. His ministry might select a site in Kaohsiung for the factory, which could start production as early as 2022.
That gives TSMC’s competitors a few years’ breathing room, but the race to smaller and smaller chips continues. While Intel claims it will produce a 10nm processor before its competitors, it conceded that production facilities equipped to pump out increasingly-smaller chips will only get more expensive. That’s why the company is slowing its two-year cycle “tick-tock” innovation cycle to reduce chip size every three years instead, focusing instead of improving internal architecture and performance in the interim.
But even that lead might not be enough: On a conference call back in January, TSMC said it has a plan to push out 7nm chips by 2017 and 5nm by 2020.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review
If you use the official Twitter iOS app, you may have noticed something missing today: @username handles in replies. I wasn’t a fan of the reworked style when it popped up on my Android device recently, and neither were many of the people affected by the change today. The one upside however, was that since @names no longer applied to the character count, some users created a massive “Twitter canoe” mentioning everyone they could. Anyway, it has now reverted back to normal for all users, and in a tweet, the company explained: “an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly.”
Twitter is removing @ replies from conversations pic.twitter.com/vuKJ9ty5gi
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) December 8, 2016
fyi when you update your twitter app you’ll find that @ replies have been brutally murdered. RIP pour some out https://t.co/YP1XofVkGb
— Saved You A Click (@SavedYouAClick) December 9, 2016
@mcwm @dlberes @MikeIsaac @shaneferro @TaylorLorenz @alex @jmcduling @iankar_ @davegershgorn @AlexJamesFitz @mekosoff @mat @Nicole @snackfight I love new mega canoe twitter. So excited to ruin the mentions of hundreds of people.
— Roberto Baldwin (@strngwys) December 8, 2016
got mad at the twitter update but then i realized they might just be trying to confuse trump and i chilled
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) December 9, 2016
Today, an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly. Upside, we got helpful feedback – we’re listening!
— Twitter Support (@Support) December 9, 2016
Source: @Support (Twitter)
Rumors last month suggested Apple Music rival Spotify was in advanced talks to acquire audio distribution platform SoundCloud, but it appears discussions have ended after Spotify pulled out of the deal.
According to TechCrunch, though months of talks took place, Spotify ultimately decided not to purchase SoundCloud because of worries the acquisition would negatively impact its impending IPO.
Spotify hasn’t officially said it will go public in 2017, but there has been plenty of speculation, including a funding round with incentives tied to a listing. The source said Spotify went cold on SoundCloud because “it doesn’t need an additional licensing headache in a potential IPO year.”
SoundCloud, which allows users to upload, promote, and share audio recordings, would have allowed Spotify to add user-created content to its own music catalog, but Spotify would have needed to deal with licensing issues, something it did not want to do ahead of an IPO.
SoundCloud has upwards of 175 million total listeners a month, while Spotify has 40 million paying subscribers. Apple Music, Spotify’s main competitor, has been gaining subscribers steadily and as of December 2016, boasts 20 million subscribers.
Discuss this article in our forums
It’s no stretch to say that Super Mario Run (launching December 15th for iOS; an Android version will arrive next year) is one of the most notable mobile games in years. It’s Nintendo’s first real smartphone game and one of the only instances in which the company has developed a Mario game for non-Nintendo hardware. It’s the first of several mobile titles planned and could mark the start of a major business shift for Nintendo. But let’s put aside all these heady concerns about what Super Mario Run means for the company and answer the most important question: Is the game fun?
Based on the all-too-brief demo I had earlier this week, the answer is a resounding yes. With Super Mario Run, Nintendo has successfully built a Mario title that makes perfect sense for a mobile phone while still featuring surprisingly deep gameplay and a level of polish seen in a small percentage of games, regardless of platform.
The gameplay appears to be identical to what Nintendo first showed off onstage at Apple’s event this past September. Mario runs automatically from left to right, and the player can tap the screen to make him jump. The goal is to get to the end of a course, which seems to take a minute or two, while avoiding death and collecting as many coins as you can.
Naturally, there are a lot of variations on what you can make Mario do here beyond that: Holding longer when you tap makes him jump higher; you can tap again to get a brief momentary hover; you can wall-jump; landing on enemies gives you a chance to string together multiple jumps; and so on. There are a handful of environmental items that change things up as well — jumping off of certain bricks will send Mario soaring to the left instead of to the right, and standing on some bricks will stop Mario so you can assess the coming challenges and plan your route.
In the few levels I tried, getting to the end wasn’t a big challenge. But the replayability should be excellent here because I didn’t come close to grabbing all of the coins in the course — those among us with OCD tendencies are going to be playing these levels multiple times to perfect our route and jump timing. Furthermore, each course has five pink special coins to grab. Getting those unlocks five more purple coins in harder-to-reach locations. Getting those unlocks five black coins, again in even tougher places in the level. It’ll take at least three playthroughs to grab everything in a given level, and to get all the standard coins will be another challenge.
That’s one example of the game’s depth. The next comes when you factor in competition. The main game’s standard 24 levels are only one part of Super Mario Run. There’s also the “Toad Rally,” in which you compete against friends or people all over the world. Entering a Toad Rally competition costs tickets, which you gain in other parts of the game.
Once you’ve entered the rally, you start a timed course that doesn’t have an end and shoot to get as many coins as you can before time runs out. But you also need to impress the Toad judges by doing combo jumps and other more complicated tricks as you make your way through the level. The more you impress the judges, the more they cheer, and the more points you get.
In both the standard “World Tour” and Toad Rally, the gameplay is excellent. There’s enough of a learning curve that I didn’t feel like I could immediately master each level, but it certainly wasn’t hard to just pick up and start playing. Perhaps the trickiest thing for those of us who’ve played a lot of Mario will be remembering you don’t have to jump on Koopas and Goombas — by default, Mario will automatically vault over them. Jumping gives you more points and the opportunity for more combos, but you don’t have to do it.
The Toad Rally has another twist: You put a few members of your personal Toad posse on the line when you play, and if you lose, those Toads defect to the victor’s team. The number of Toads on your team serves as a good representation of how successful you’ve been in the rally — so you can use them to see how good a potential opponent is before challenging them to a match. Toads also serve as some in-game currency for buying little houses and other objects you can use to customize your very own Mario overworld map. There’s no actual game to be played here, but plenty of fans will likely enjoy tweaking the Mario home screen that they see every time the game starts.
Regardless of what part of the game you’re playing, the graphics look wonderful. I played the game on the iPhone 7 Plus and I’ve never seen Mario look quite so sharp and vivid (the last Mario games I played for more than a few minutes were on the original, standard-definition Wii). And there’s no hint of slowdown or performance hiccups here either. I would have liked to see how it performs on less powerful hardware, but we’ll have to wait until the game launches to see what devices you’ll need to have a good experience with Super Mario Run.
Nintendo decided to price Super Mario Run at $9.99 — more than most iOS games, but less than most games for the company’s own consoles. I think that’s a fair price, given the number of levels included and the replayability factor here. But if you’re wary, the free version of the game lets you play the first three levels and try your hand at a few Toad Rallies so you can see what it’s all about. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said it didn’t feel right to make people pay to keep unlocking levels when there’s so much momentum in the game to keep running through levels, so the company decided to skip all in-app transactions and go with the single one-time purchase.
Ultimately, the entry fee may seem a little high, but I suspect it’ll be one well worth paying — and I think lots of players will agree with me. Having a native Mario experience built from the ground up with the iPhone in mind is a huge win, and the game appears to be equally well suited to quick play on the subway and longer, in-depth sessions when you’re on the plane. I haven’t bought a new Mario game in years, but I’m ready to pull the trigger on Super Mario Run.
Update: If you want to try Super Mario Run out for yourself, Reggie announced on The Tonight Show that starting Thursday, a demo will be available at Apple Stores worldwide.
After you check out our discussion with Nintendo’s president Reggie Fils-Aime, you can get a good look at the new Switch console in operation () on the Tonight Show stage. Reggie and host Jimmy Fallon played the yet-to-be-released console, taking a trip through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild showing off its ability to go portable with the press of a button. Additionally, after previewing a bit of Super Mario Run action, Reggie announced that starting today, you can visit Apple Stores worldwide and try out a demo version before the game launches December 15th.
There’s not a lot of new information if you’ve been paying attention, but it does give a good idea of what using a Switch will be like when it ships in March. As an extra bonus, check out the second video to see Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto playing the game’s theme song along with The Roots.
Source: The Tonight Show (YouTube)
According to Bloomberg, Apple is in talks with major movie studios to offer early rentals on iTunes. The report, which cites sources familiar with the ongoing discussions, suggests 21st Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., are trying to find a partner to help them rent films “as early as two weeks” after they first hit theaters. That said, Bloomberg does note that the Hollywood overlords may “end up choosing another technology platform” instead of iTunes, although no specifics were given.
If such a deal were to take place, chances are viewers at home would have to pay a premium for this type of service, since it would take some revenue away from the box office. For now, all we know is that the studios allegedly want these rentals to be “high-priced,” so you should definitely expect to pay more than the usual $5 or $6.
Sean Parker, Napster founder and tech entrepreneur, is trying to do something similar with “The Screening Room,” which aims to rent movies the same day they come out in theaters for $50 per view. Most importantly, he claims his service offers a secure anti-piracy technology, something that’s crucial to the movie companies.
Even at that price, you’d probably still end up saving a bit of cash by skipping the trip to your local movie theater — time to start stocking up on popcorn and hot dogs.