According to The New York Times, upwards of 48 billion Americans were hounded by robocalls in 2018, an increase of 56.8 percent over the previous year. That averages out to roughly 150 scam, telemarketing, and unwanted calls annually for every adult with a phone—a number expected to balloon higher in the future.
That’s precisely why a cottage industry flourishes on the App Store, supplying tools to combat this menace. Unfortunately, most call blocker solutions rely on outdated, ineffective blacklists, or worse yet, require users to do the heavy lifting by reporting rogue numbers as they pop up. A new app called Firewall takes the opposite approach: Whitelisting everyone you know and sending the rest to limbo.
I don’t remember much about the physical experience of playing Journey, Thatgamecompany’s stylized 2012 PlayStation 3 masterpiece about a pilgrimage up a distant light-crowned peak. I remember the emotion, though, and that memory sometimes leads me to describe it as “the religious experience as game.” I wept during the credits. I let the music sweep me away, and I felt love for the nameless player who trudged with me up the mountainside. And in that flood of emotion, the last things thought about were the controls.
After an eight-year absence, Thatgamecompany has a new game out called Sky: Children of the Light, and I suppose we in the Appleverse should be grateful that it came to iOS first. As we’ve come to expect from the studio, it’s lovely, both in sight and sound. Its tale of returning souls to constellations champions empathy, flying, and puzzle-solving, not combat, and almost moment is worthy of a screenshot. Much like Journey, it strips multiplayer interactions of voice and text and leaves us with the universal language of gestures and actions. It’s a wonderful game.
The best indoor air-quality monitors: Identify the pollutants that can compromise your health and comfort
A 16-inch MacBook Pro with reduced bezels and possibly a new keyboard design is coming in October, according to a report in the Economic Daily News relayed by 9to5Mac. Most notable in this latest suggestion of Apple’s next-generation laptop is the price—EDN suggests a starting price around an eye-watering $3,000.
Should we be surprised? Apple has never been focused on being the low-price leader, and at the top end of its product range, it has been unafraid to charge a whole lot of money... especially for products bearing the name “pro.”From power users to pros
Long after the arrival of the iMac as a low-cost consumer computer, most Mac power users still bought Power Macs. But during the Intel switch, Apple turned the Power Mac into the Mac Pro—and that was more than just a marketing change. If the Power Mac was used by power users (and yes, its name also signified that it had a PowerPC processor inside), the Mac Pro was meant to be used by pros and is priced accordingly.
The most oft-used app on our iPhones is probably Safari. It is the default web browser, after all. But just behind that, and arguably more important, is the app we use to find, download, and update most of our other apps: the App Store.
Back in iOS 11, Apple gave the App Store its first big facelift in a years when it added its own editorial content in a new Today tab, split Games and Apps into their own tabs, and redesigned app pages. In iOS 13, the App Store is going through another significant revision. It’s not quite as big a reorganization as in iOS 11, but it’s a significant change to how you update and manage your apps.
Here’s what’s new in the iOS 13 App Store.
Remember iPhones? Seemed like everyone used to have one. But now? Nope.
According to TNW, “Tons of iPhone users are joining the dark side by switching to Samsung.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Alan.)
It seems Apple fans are finally shaking off the iPhone mania…
Yes, after… [pretends to check calendar]… 12 years, the fad is finally dying. No one is buying iPhones anymore.
…compared to last year, fewer people are trading in their old iPhones for the latest models.
Now, remember that no one has weighed these people who are ditching the iPhone so it is possible that, combined, they do weigh “tons.” It is also unknown if these are metric or imperial tons.
It only took a few years, but this fall the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV will finally support PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controllers and some models of Xbox One controllers. It’s super easy to set up these controllers, too, as you’ll see below.
For this story, we’ll focus on pairing the Sony DualShock 4 with an iPhone or iPad. All you need is an iPhone or iPad running iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 (which at this point means you’ll need the still-buggy beta) and any model of wireless DualShock 4 controller for the PlayStation 4.
Here’s how to get in the action.How to pair a DualShock 4 with an iPhone or iPad
Open the Settings app.
The iPhone and iPad will finally feel like proper traditional game systems this fall, as iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 introduce support for some Xbox One controllers and PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers. We’re focusing on the Xbox One S controller in this article, so you’ll want to head here if you need to hook up a DualShock 4. You can try this feature now if you want, but keep in mind you'll need to download the still-buggy iOS 13 public beta.
After updating your iPhone to iOS 12.4 and then launching the Watch app to update it to watchOS 5.3, you may be a little disappointed by the release notes. In the Watch app, Apple only says, “This update includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes and is recommended for all users.”
Truth be told, unless you were a big fan of the Walkie-Talkie app, you’re not likely to notice much of a difference in watchOS 5.3. That is, unless you have a Series 4 watch and live in Canada or Singapore.
The latest release fixes a security flaw in the Walkie-Talkie app that could potentially allow users to listen in on others’ conversations. Apple disabled the app until it could fix the problem, which watchOS 5.3 apparently does. The Walkie-Talkie app doesn’t appear to be terribly popular, so there may not be that many truly affected by the fix.
Apple releases iOS 12.4 with Walkie-Talkie fix, Apple News reorganization, and improved iPhone migration
Apple released iOS 12.3 in the second week of May, bringing us its new TV app with Channels subscriptions. Just days later, it started releasing betas to developers for another point release, iOS 12.4. Now, after seven beta releases, the final iOS 12.4 is out.
Update 07/22/19: Apple has released the final build of iOS 12.4. It improves iPhone migration, fixes a Walkie-Talkie security flaw, and reorganizes Apple News+. It was assumed this release was to prepare iOS for the release of Apple Card, but it is still nowhere to be found.
As our iPhones and iPads increasingly become the primary way we interact with others online, really good text management features have become more important. The old “shake to undo” gesture just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
With iOS 13 (and iPadOS 13), Apple’s addressing text input in a big way with the new QuickPath swiping keyboard and several new three-finger gestures. Once you get used to them, you’ll find it easier to work with text on your iOS device than ever before.Undo and Redo IDG
Undo and Redo gestures get easier in iOS 13.
We’ve been hearing for months that longtime customers are souring on the iPhone upgrade cycle, and now there may be some evidence to back that up. According to a study conducted by BankMyCell of some 38,000 people, iPhone owners are 15 percent less loyal to their handset than they were last year, with 73 percent of responders claiming that they were sticking with Apple. Those are still strong numbers, but it’s the lowest retention rate since the company started tracking in 2011.
You can quibble with BankMyCell’s methodology all you want, but the numbers are significant. According to its tally, 24.5 percent of users trading in their iPhone during the fourth quarter of 2018 (when the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max launched), did so because they moved to a new brand of smartphone, overwhelmingly Samsung and LG. (I’m willing to bet it wasn’t the Galaxy Note or V40 ThinQ.)
The end goal of Apple’s augmented reality program is currently a mystery, particularly in light of a recent DigiTimes rumor claiming that Apple disbanded the team for responsible for its AR head-mounted display. This rumor flies in the face of a slightly earlier report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming we’d see some kind of Apple AR headset as early as next year.
There’s little doubt, though, that Apple is still championing augmented reality with a zeal we find in few other competitors, and the progress in the new ARKit 3 (and so in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13) feels like a great leap forward. That leap is so great, in fact, that the many of the features only work with iPhones or iPads running A12 chips or better. (And for that matter, that progress strongly suggests that Apple is designing a headset or glasses that will allow these features to shine, but anyway.)
It’s been four years since Microsoft scooped up Wunderlist, the popular cross-platform to-do app. Although that software has thus far received a stay of execution and remains available, the introduction of Microsoft To-Do two years later with no native Mac app in sight had many longtime users adding “Find a new to-do app” as a new task.
For those who made do with just iOS and web apps over the last couple years, Microsoft To-Do has finally arrived in the Mac App Store. Overall, the free app is a faithful port from Windows, although those who prefer the dark theme found in that edition will be disappointed to find it missing here, nor does the Mac version currently support Mojave’s built-in dark mode.