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Updated: 17 min 6 sec ago

With the iPhone 11 Pros, Apple stripped all meaning from the ‘Pro’ name

Wed, 2019-09-11 07:00

If you head over to right now, the first thing you’ll see at the top of the page is the iPhone 11 Pro. It boats pro cameras, a pro display, and pro performance alongside an image of a triple-camera array that looks intense. Inside, Apple calls it “the first iPhone powerful enough to be called Pro.”

Hogwash. The iPhone 11 Pro runs the same A13 Bionic processor as the iPhone 11. It has many of the same camera features, including the new ultra wide lens. And the battery life, while rated for a fantastic 18 or 20 hours of video playback, isn’t all that much better than the iPhone 11’s 17 hours. In fact, in its intro teaser vid, the only feature Apple showed off was the camera bump.

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AirTV Mini review: A streaming dongle for Sling TV diehards

Wed, 2019-09-11 06:00
This Sling-centric streaming dongle gets the hardware right. It's the software and Sling TV service that remain iffy.

Anker Soundcore Motion+ Bluetooth speaker review: Big sound in a rugged, compact package

Wed, 2019-09-11 06:00
This $100 Bluetooth speaker could do with a little more high-end detail, but its attention to mid-range audio pays dividends when it comes to delivering rich, robust sound.

Hands on with the iPhone 11 cameras

Tue, 2019-09-10 21:30

When it comes to smartphone features, photography reigns supreme. The iPhone 11’s camera was the main focus of the most prominent product images in Apple’s iPhone event Tuesday, and consumed the most overall time on stage. The iPhone 11 features major upgrades to the iPhone camera system across the product line, which is good, because the perception among smartphone-market watchers is that Apple’s photography game had fallen behind competitors like Google, Samsung, and Huawei.

After the event I got to spend some time with an iPhone 11 Pro and its Camera and Photos apps, both of which have been modified to support the new features of the iPhone 11 line. Here’s a look at what’s new and how it all fits together.

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iPhone 11 cases: What you can get right now

Tue, 2019-09-10 19:15

Last year Apple called its lower-cost current-generation iPhone the “XR,” but this year’s comparable model gets the dignity of simply being called the “iPhone 11.” Case makers already have a pile of cool cases ready to go mere minutes after Apple’s announcement, and here we’ve compiled some of the standout models we know about for your convenience.

One note: We haven’t actually had a chance to handle many of these cases, so we don’t know how well they fit. Prior to an iPhone launch, case makers are usually working with schematics or dummy units, so occasionally you’ll find buttons that don’t properly line up once you slip them on the bonafide phone.

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Best TVs: Our top picks, plus plain-language explanations of the most important specs and features

Tue, 2019-09-10 18:59
There are plenty of great smart TVs. Our guide cuts through the alphabet soup to tell everything you need to know to buy the one that's right for you.

All the things Apple didn't announce at its 'By innovation only' event

Tue, 2019-09-10 17:41

There can be no denying that Apple’s “By innovation only” event on September 10 was packed full of rapid-fire announcements. We got a new 10.2-inch iPad, Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro (in two sizes), along with pricing and release details for Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.

That’s a busy morning! But we didn’t get everything we expected or hoped for. The rumor mill was abuzz with lots of leaks leading up to the event, and it painted a picture that, as usual, didn’t quite match reality. Here are some of the things we heard about and hoped to see, but didn’t.

Apple Tags

The most obvious omission (if you can call it that) was Apple’s Tile-like trackers, which most have taken to calling “Apple Tags.” There were multiple rumors—from reliable sources, no less—of their existence prior to the event, with some even claiming references to them in internal iOS 13 software builds.

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iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max: 5 features that justify the 'Pro' designation

Tue, 2019-09-10 15:27

At long last (and after months of rumors), the first “pro” iPhones are here—the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have officially arrived. As the first iPhones with the the Pro surname, they mark a real sea change for Apple’s iconic handset and join a lineage of devices that carry an expectation of not just greatness, but also productivity prowess and cutting-edge performance.

But exactly what kind of pro device is the iPhone 11 Pro? It doesn’t have a USB-C port or a Smart Connector like the iPad Pro. It doesn’t stand alone as the fastest in its class like the Mac Pro, nor does it reinvent basic functionality like the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. In fact, to look at them, you might not see much that’s pro about them at all—at least no more so than the iPhone XS and XS Max.

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iPhone 11: Five things you need to know about Apple's new entry-level phone

Tue, 2019-09-10 15:11

At its “By Innovation Only” event on Tuesday, Apple revealed its newest entry-level iPhone—though you can’t necessarily tell it’s entry-level from its name. The iPhone 11 starts at $699, which is $50 less than the introductory price for the phone it replaces, the iPhone XR. It’s also significantly cheaper than the new chart-topping iPhone 11 Pro. Here are five standout features of the new baseline phone.

Dual rear camera, new Camera UI, and new night mode

Apple upgraded the camera to a 12-megapixel dual-lens setup that replaces the single-lens camera that was on the iPhone XR. The setup includes a 26mm, 6-element, f1.8 wide camera with optical image stabilization and 100 percent Focus Pixels, and a 13mm, 5-element f2.4 ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view.

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Apple Arcade: 4 new things Apple revealed

Tue, 2019-09-10 14:44

Apple surprised everyone today by kicking off its “By innovation only” event not with the traditional rundown of corporate achievements, but with more information about its Apple Arcade service. Not only was it strange to see the Cupertino company start off with releases from third-party partners, but it also showed how just how much of an emphasis Apple is placing on its new services.

Here’s what you need to know.

Apple Arcade is coming on September 19

If you want to play Apple Arcade (and you’re in the U.S.), you’ll only have to wait a little over a week. Apple’s subscription-based gaming service will be dropping on September 19, which should be around the time iOS 13 goes live.

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Ring Video Doorbell 2 review: Better features, new frustrations

Tue, 2019-09-10 14:37
Despite a frustrating install, Ring Video Doorbell 2 is still a welcome, improved version of the original doorbell-slash-security camera.

Ring Floodlight Cam review: An excellent choice—if you’re living in Ring’s ecosystem

Tue, 2019-09-10 14:35
If you’re already using one of Ring’s doorbell cameras or spotlight cams, this porchlight replacement will be a great addition.

Apple Watch Series 5: Five things you need to know

Tue, 2019-09-10 14:23

Last year’s Apple Watch Series 4 was perhaps the first major revision for Apple’s marquee wearable. Apple changed the size and shape of the watch (while keeping band compatibility), upgraded all the sensors, and of course made the watch a lot faster. All that, plus it was the first smartwatch with a built-in ECG.

So it’s no surprise that Apple Watch Series 5 is a much more iterative upgrade, akin to the leap from Series 2 to Series 3.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the new watch to get excited about. Here are five of the most important new things to know about Apple Watch Series 5.

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The new 7th generation iPad: 8 cool features

Tue, 2019-09-10 14:14

We normally expect Apple to focus on iPhones during its September event, but this year we also got to see the new 7th generation entry-level iPad. The internals haven’t changed much, but Apple tinkered with enough features to make this an enticing potential buy if you haven’t upgraded your iPad in a few years. Here are the features we're most interested in checking out.

The display is bigger

Apple has been content to keep the display of the entry-level iPad at 9.7 inches for a while now, but today it announced that it’s boosting that to a 10.2-inch Retina display with nearly 3.5 million pixels. This may not seem like huge difference, but it should be palpable when you’re drawing or scribbling notes. Unfortunately though, unlike with the new iPad Pros, you’ll still have to suffer some big bezels.

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Apple's ‘Innovation’ event last-minute rumors: Pencil support is out but a new iPad is in

Tue, 2019-09-10 09:58

Apple’s annual fall iPhone event is mere hours away, but the rumors are still coming in. First, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is predicting that Apple will be dropping the number from the higher-end iPhones, leaving the naming as: iPhone 11, iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max. Previous rumors suggested "11" would be included in all three names.

However, the new devices might not be as “pro” as we think. As Macrumors reports, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has some predictions of his own, and is debunking two rumored features we were counting on. Most notably, he says the new devices will not support the Apple Pencil, so you won’t be able to take notes or draw on the screen.

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How to manage the dance of disk images, Time Machine, and excessively large backups

Tue, 2019-09-10 09:00

Disk Utility lets you create disk images that are virtual volumes. They’re stored as a file on a disk, but can be mounted and managed just like a directly connected or network-mounted volume. You can even use Disk Utility to create an encrypted version using a popup menu when you select File > New > New Image. (Pick 256-bit AES, as there’s no reason to pick the older format; read more in this older Mac 911 column.)

Problem is, Time Machine won’t back up the contents of disk images. They appear in the Time Machine preference pane when you click Options as grayed-out items in the Exclude These Items from Backups list.

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S-yearing analysis: Judging tomorrow’s iPhones today

Tue, 2019-09-10 08:00

There is no better time than just hours before an Apple event to argue about the thing we are about to see.

Writing for CNet, Shara Tibken tells us about “Apple's iPhone 11 challenge: Touting modest upgrades now as 5G comes in 2020.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Jeff.)

The next batch of iPhones may carry a new number in their names, but make no mistake -- this is another "S" year.

Like the iPhone 4S that included Siri? Like the iPhone 5S that included Touch ID? “S” years are sometimes the years to buy.

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Samsung Q90R QLED smart TV review: Samsung puts its best 4K UHD TV on a pedestal

Tue, 2019-09-10 06:00
The Samsung Q90R offers excellent color and puts out tons of peak brightness for dramatic HDR. New smart home features and image tweaks are a plus, but this top of the line 4K UHD model now plays second fiddle to the company's 8K UHD Q900.

Nanit Plus baby-monitoring system review: This pricey tech will soothe anxious parents

Tue, 2019-09-10 06:00
Much more than a baby camera, the Nanit Plus and its companion app can actively warn you if anything goes amiss while your baby is in its crib.

The best video baby monitors: Keep eyes—and ears—on your bundle of joy

Tue, 2019-09-10 06:00
Today's baby monitors are more capable—and more complex—than ever. Here's how to find the right one, so you and your baby can get some sleep.