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The Mac Observer

Apple iPhone, Mac, Watch and iPad News, Opinions, Tips and Podcasts


How to Post 3D Photos to Facebook on iPhone

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-20 15:52, modified at 16:17

Screenshot from iPhone showing 3D Photos on Facebook

Facebook recently started rolling out 3D Photos for iPhone users. Problem is, not everyone has it yet and you want it. Thankfully, Apple-industry legend, Sam Levin, found a path and posted the instructions for us all.

To add 3D Photos to Facebook on your iPhone

  1. Launch the Facebook App
  2. “Like” the Facebook 360 Page on Facebook (this is the trick!).
  3. Force Quit the Facebook app on your iPhone.
  4. Relaunch Facebook and create a new post. You’ll see the “3D Photo” option in the list of things you can add to your post.

Facebook will only use Portrait Mode photos for its 3D Photos option. Portrait Mode is currently supported by the Camera app on iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

Thanks, Sam! And if you want to see an example of this, check out the photo I added to my own feed this morning.

All 370 Apple Logos from the ‘There’s More in the Making’ Media Event

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 22:29, modified at 22:31

Apple made 370 different versions of its own logo as part of the “There’s more in the making” media event set for October 30th. Alix Rezak of ApplePersian did the hard work of ferreting out all of them and then assembling them into one image.

From Twitter:

Which, really, is just a lot of logos.

Here’s the larger version of the image:

370 Logos from Apple's "There's more in the making" media event

Experiment: Go Without an iPhone For a Week. Apple Watch Only

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 22:05, modified at 22:06

Could you do it? Give up your iPhone and depend on just an Apple Watch? “Loup Ventures went phoneless last week. That is, some of the Loup team turned off our iPhones for a full week and only used Apple Watches for connectivity. It was freeing. And frustrating.”  There’s a lot of substance in this report, including a discussion of the “Eisenhower matrix” a “four-quadrant graph … meant to help people analyze where they’re spending time.” Fascinating stuff.

Apple’s Tim Cook Asks Bloomberg for a Retraction. No Spy Chip

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 21:42, modified on 2018-10-21 00:59

• Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has called upon Blomberg to retract its story about the Chinese spy chip embedded in certain servers. BuzzFeed has the interview. “Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Calling For Bloomberg To Retract Its Chinese Spy Chip Story.

Tim Cook angry about Donal Trump import tariffs

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, went on the record for the first time to deny allegations that his company was the victim of a hardware-based attack carried out by the Chinese government. And, in an unprecedented move for the company, he called for a retraction of the story that made this claim.

‘There is no truth in their story about Apple,’ Cook told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. ‘They need to do that right thing and retract it.’

The drama continues and, according to BuzzFeed, the “result has been an impasse between some of the world’s most powerful corporations and a highly respected news organization…”

When this is all resolved, it’s going to be fascinating.

More Debris

• Apple’s iPhones are getting more and more waterproof. The iPhone XS is rated IP68. According to Apple: “Maximum depth of 2 meters up to 30 minutes under IEC standard 60529.” However, sometimes an iPhone will, surprisingly, exceed the specs. In this case, it’s an older iPhone X. The story’s at Cult of Mac: iPhone X miraculously survives 8 hours in the ocean.”

What’s that called again? Under promise. Over deliver. Oh, yeah.

iphone x front back

• You’ve heard of Apple’s Gatekeeper, found in macOS System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Now Apple is adding another layer of security. Soon, apps from outside the Mac App Store will need to be notarized by Apple. For the well written background, see: “Gatekeeper will enforce app notarization in an upcoming macOS release.

This is a good thing. I like what Apple is doing here.

• Engadget has a column, B@d P@ssw0rd, that looks at our eroding privacy. This column provides some stinging commentary. “Uber, Google, Facebook: Your experiments have gone too far.” The problem would just go away if people took columns like this one seriously. Evidently, they do not.

• We’ve heard rumors about a new, low-cost notebook from Apple. But we don’t know its name, and we don’t know how it relates to the MacBook Air. Macworld UK takes a good shot at figuring it all out. “MacBook Air 2018 release date, UK price, features, specifications.

• The Eclectic Light Company has been writing some interesting and fairly deep technical articles about Apple technology. I’ll pass this one on for your consideration. “AirPrint or you’re on your own: macOS printing changes.” With Mojave:

Apple has now discontinued support for its printer compatibility listing. For those printers which don’t support driverless printing via AirPrint, you’re on your own trying to obtain a driver from the printer manufacturer’s support site, unless of course you happen to discover that Apple does still support your old printer.

I expect this story to evolve as we come to grips with what Apple is doing.

• Google is giving Apple some grief for patching some security flaws in secret.
The argument seems sound to me, on the surface, in that too many Apple customers don’t take their OS upgrades seriously. Fewer notices can breed over-confidence. But, I can also imagine that Apple has its reasons for keeping some flaws, as they’re fixed, quieter than others. In any case, here’s the story. “Google warns Apple: Missing bugs in your security bulletins are ‘disincentive to patch’.” Digest with caution and perspective.

• It’s beginning to look like the new iPads, likely to be announced on October 30, will change the data/power port. “Evidence mounts that iPad Pro will ditch Lightning for USB-C.” The question is, what kind of cool, new capabilities will this allow? We’ll know soon.

TextExpander 6.1.3 with MacBook Pro Touch Bar support

It was hard to understand the full impact of Apple’s Touch Bar on the MacBook Pros when it was introduced in 2016. Now, two years later, Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac offers up his analysis. “Is the Touch Bar a gimmick? …

I fear he’s right.

• Finally, some fun. There are now almost too many robots to keep track of now. Almost. IEEE has created a database of “200 robots from 19 countries with hundreds of photos, videos, and interactives to get people excited about robotics and STEM.” Here’s the introductory article: “Explore the World’s Coolest Robots, All in One Place.” In turn, that points to the compendium.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

Facebook Hires Former UK Politician to Head Global Affairs

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 19:43, modified at 20:35

LONDON – Former UK Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg is joining Facebook’s as Vice-President of Global Affairs and Communications. The move signals Facebook turning to politicians as it faces mounting criticisms from consumer watchdogs and governments around the world.

Nick Clegg with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg

Making the announcement on Facebook, the ex-leader of the Liberal Democrat party said:

“Having spoken at length to Mark [Zuckerberg] and Sheryl [Sandberg] over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large. I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey.”

The new role will begin on Monday, with Sir Nick reporting to Ms. Sandberg. He will relocate to California with his family in early 2019. Sir Nick has previously criticized tech giants such as Facebook for the ways in which they reduce the tax they pay in the UK.

Politics and Tech

In his new role, Sir Nick will help Facebook navigate key upcoming issues, including fake news, data protection and the potential for government regulation in the UK and Europe. Writing for The Guardian today, he said, “it is time to build bridges between politics and tech”.

Ms. Sandberg also posted on the news, saying:

“Our company is on a critical journey. The challenges we face are serious and clear and now more than ever we need new perspectives to help us through this time of change.”

Controversial figure

Sir Nick Clegg became a controversial figure in British politics. He shot to prominence in the UK during the 2010 General Election campaign, leading his party into government for the first time. However, a lot of that support fell away when the party went back on a key pledge not raise university tuition fees for students.

Sir Nick lost his seat in parliament in the 2017 General Election. He has since been a high-profile figure in the anti-Brexit movement in the UK. He said he has “mixed feelings about leaving the UK’s public debate about the future of our country’s relations with the rest of Europe.”

Scanmarker Air, a Wireless OCR Pen Scanner for $89

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 19:31

Check out today’s deal of the day on Scanmarker Air. It’s a wireless OCR pen scanner, meaning a scanner you hold in your hands, and it does optical character recognition. This device can scan one line per second, and it can also translate text in 40 different languages. The Scanmarker Air is $89 through our deal.

Humans are Slowly Killing the World’s Biggest Organism Pando

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 17:59, modified at 18:00

Pando is the world’s biggest organism. It’s a forest made up of genetically identical aspen trees numbering 47,000. Scientists think it’s anywhere between 80,000 and 1 million years old. And humans are slowly killing it.

“People are at the center of that failure,” Paul Rogers, an ecologist Utah State University who co-authored the paper, told Earther. Nearby ranchers have allowed their cattle to roam and snacked voraciously on young stems, and as human populations have grown in the area, deer hunting has decreased for safety reasons. But thriving deer populations wreck havoc on young aspen stems. For the past 40 years, it appears the root system has not been able to reproduce fast enough to keep up with the decimation.


Discord Prevents Users From Suing the Company

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 17:34

Chat app Discord recently updated its terms of service to prevent users from suing the company.

In a section of the terms of service titled “Dispute Resolution,” Discord asserts that “most disputes can be resolved without resorting to arbitration.” Any Discord user wishing to raise issue with the company must now provide “notice of the dispute,” which includes “a brief, written description of the dispute, the relief requested and the contact information of the party giving it.”

The policy goes into effect on Oct. 23. Those wishing to opt out will have 30 days to send a notice to Discord.

Why do I have a dark feeling that Discord will announce a data breach within the next six months? If that happens, users can’t sue Discord for mishandling their data.

Click Farms Manipulate Apple’s Top Podcasts List

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 17:24

Click farms have been found to be manipulating Apple’s list of Top Podcasts. Analysis from podcast industry tracker Chartable found this, calling the list ““the closest thing to the Billboard Top 100 in the podcast world.”

[Why Does Podcasts Suddenly Have iTunes U Stuff?]

Top Podcasts

After Apple introduced the Podcast Directory in 2005 it became the world’s biggest podcast aggregator. Podcast rankings have two purposes: Showing the popular podcasts, and helping advertisers figure out which podcasts to support.

Which is why having a click farm manipulate top results is bad. Chartable (via Venture Beat) gives an example:

As of September 30, the show ranked #218 on the charts. By October 7, the show was #1, displacing the top-ranked podcast Serial, despite no individual episode achieving a higher rank than #271.

“Listeners also subscribed to” showed Bulletproof Real Estate subscribers also selecting multiple and seemingly unrelated podcasts from a podcasting network called “Warrior Empire.”

Additional podcasts seemingly came out of nowhere to take places in the top 10, unseating well-established podcasts, with unusual activity noted across clusters of Warrior Empire offerings, as well as other “also subscribed to” podcasts.

Apple’s role in combating this will be difficult, but not impossible. One solution would be figuring out a way to measure a podcast’s popularity with a metric other than the number of new subscribers.

[Apple Podcasts Now Hosts More Than 550,000 Active Shows, 18.5 Million Episodes]

Dave Buys an iPhone XR – TMO Daily Observations 2018-10-19

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 17:23, modified at 17:24

  • Dave bought an iPhone XR
  • Our iOS 12 Shortcuts experiences
  • TMO Daily Observations Twitter feed

Did Apple Seize This Man’s Mac Batteries?

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 16:59, modified at 17:05

Louis Rossman, a computer repair technician in New York City, recently made a YouTube video accusing Apple of using U.S. Customs to seize his shipment of Mac batteries.

“Make no mistake. I am not an Apple customer I do not take to being ripped off nicely. I don’t care if I have to spend $50,000 in legal fees, to get back my $1000 worth of batteries. This is principle. Apple, you are not going to get away with this. And don’t think I don’t notice the timing on this stuff,” explains an angry Rossmann.

I think the situation is a little odd. I watched the video, which you can find here. It sounds like Mr. Rossman got the batteries from China. He doesn’t outright say they aren’t counterfeits, he just implies it. But if they are counterfeits, then U.S. Customs is just upholding the law. If the batteries are genuine, he should explicitly state that.

iOS Screen Time Doesn’t Block Violence and Racism

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 16:49

Motherboard reports that iOS 12 Screen Time blocks searches for sexual education, but doesn’t block violence and racism.

Activity Report in iOS 12 Screen Time

[How to Use Screen Time in iOS 12]

Screen Time

In previous versions of iOS, there was a section in settings called Restrictions. Here you could use it as a parental control. Now those settings have been included in Screen Time. Screen Time lets parents block certain things, but it seemingly doesn’t work for everything.

This was first reported by sex education platform O.school. Websites like O.school are block, as well as Teen Vogue, but extremist websites like The Daily Stormer are still allowed under these content filters.

The filter in question “limits adult websites” on Safari. When Motherboard tested this filter, we found several similarly blocked searches and websites: The searches “how to say no to sex,” “sex assault hotline,” and “sex education” were all restricted, but the results for the searches “how to poison my mom,” “how to join isis,” and “how to make a bomb” were allowed.

I don’t want to make excuses for Apple, but it seems to me that Screen Time was built with screen addiction in mind, and less that of parental controls. As always, it’s my opinion that parents should be talking with their kids about topics like this, and shouldn’t rely solely on a content filter.

[Kids Already Working Around iOS 12 Screen Time Limitations]

Tweetbot 5 for iPhone, iPad, gets Interface Updates, New Dark Mode for OLED Screens

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 15:40, modified at 15:41

Tapbots released Tweetbot 5 for the iPhone and iPad on Thursday. The update for the Twitter client app includes interface updates, an improved dark theme for OLED iPhones, and more.

Tweetbot 5 on the iPhone

The improvements in Tweetbot 5 include:

  • GIF support in compose view
  • Redesigned profiles
  • Redesigned tweet status details
  • New iconography and app icon
  • Optimized dark theme for OLED displays
  • Support for haptic feedback
  • Auto video playback in timeline (can be disabled)
  • Ability to add descriptions to images when composing

Tweetbot 5 is available on Apple’s App Store and is priced at US$4.99. The new version is free for version 4 users, and there’s an option for “tipping” to help support the app.

Apple Unveils New Ads for iPhone XR

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 15:05, modified at 15:11

It’s iPhone XR pre-order day, so Apple has two new ads out showing off its latest smartphone model. “Introducing iPhone XR” focuses more on specs, while “iPhone XR — Spectrum” has more of the emotional feel Apple ads are known for. They’re both available on YouTube.

The iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD screen instead of OLED, a single 12 MP rear-facing camera, front-facing Face ID camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo speakers, and NFC support for Apple Pay contactless payments. It also uses the same A12 Bionic processor as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and offers dynamic depth of field despite its single-lens camera.

The iPhone XR is available in aircraft-grade aluminum in coral, black, blue, yellow, white, and PRODUCT(RED) with 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB capacities. Pricing starts at US$749.

Apple Intros USB-C Apple Watch Magnetic Charger

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 14:33, modified at 14:34

If you want to charge your Apple Watch from your new Mac, or its power brick you’re in luck because Apple just released a USB-C Magnetic Charger cable.

Apple Watch USB-C charger cable

The new charger cable works just like the USB A version the Apple Watch ships with. The exception, of course, is that it has a USB-C instead of USB A plug.

The Apple Watch Magnetic Charger to USB-C Cable is .3 meters long and costs US$29. It’s available through Apple’s online store and should be in stores soon.

Apple Starts iPhone XR Pre-orders, Availability Still Good

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 13:25

Apple’s new iPhone XR has been available for pre-order for several hours and availability is still good. The only model showing a shipping delay so far is the 128 GB yellow model from T-Mobile.

iPhone XR smartphone available in several colors

Pre-orders for the iPhone XR started shortly after midnight pacific time. Deliveries and in-store availability starts next Friday, October 26th. The 128 GB yellow model from T-Mobile, however, is showing as shipping in one to two weeks.

The iPhone XR costs less than the iPhone XS and XS Max, but is physically larger than the XS model. It has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD screen instead of OLED, a single 12 MP rear-facing camera, front-facing Face ID camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo speakers, and NFC support for Apple Pay contactless payments.

The new model matches the iPhone X styling with a thin bezel and display notch for sensors and cameras. It also uses the same A12 Bionic processor as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and offers dynamic depth of field despite its single-lens camera.

The iPhone XR is available in aircraft-grade aluminum in coral, black, blue, yellow, white, and PRODUCT(RED) with 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB capacities. Pricing starts at US$749.

3 Things I Like and One Thing I Really Hate About My Apple Watch Series 4

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-19 01:01, modified at 01:53

I’ve been using my new Apple Watch Series 4 for a week. There’s a lot to like and one thing that infuriates me.

Apple Watch Series 4: The Good Stuff

First, and most important in my mind, is the speed of the “S4 with 64-bit dual-core processor.” Apple says that it’s up to 2x faster, presumably over the S3, 32-bit processor in the S3 series. But where it really shines is in the pairing process. My original AW Series 0 seemed to take an eternity to pair or upgrade. The Series 4 feels a lot faster to set up than just 2x. This is just terrific.

Next, and high on my list, is the battery life. I realize that this battery is brand new, but I don’t recall, in my AW Series 0, going to bed with consistently 80+ percent battery life remaining. Apple seems to have done a great job with efficiencies in watchOS 5 on this new watch. That said, I haven’t had a chance to push the watch into a wider range of activities—those that gulp electrons.

AWS4 Infograph face

The Infograph watch face, the one used to promote this new model, is just amazing. It’s my new “position #1” face, supplanting my geeky modular face back to #2. Perhaps there isn’t as much room for my calendar entries and the text for sunrise/sunset isn’t big enough to read easily. But no matter. It’s beyond cool. But then it’s also a matter of preference. My wife hates it. Our Jeff Gamet thinks it’s too busy. But I think it’s Spockian cool. It’s only available in watchOS 5 if you have an AW Series 4. It’s almost worth the upgrade all by itself.

There are some other niceties. The recessed side button looks and feels better. The semi-wrap-around display is gorgeous. I have the 44 mm model, and while the watch is no bigger, the display certainly is. The display, in pixels, went from 312 by 390 (42 mm) to 368 by 448 (44 mm). My congrats to Apple.

What Irritates Me

With each new version of watchOS, I thought, for sure, Apple would introduce the time in seconds to the digital displays of time. Or add it as a complication. I’ve been very upset about this omission over the years. All along, the time in hh:mm:ss has only been available in the Activity Digital face. So we know the Apple Watch can do it. The omission is especially egregious in the Astronomy face. I’ve made a fuss about this, and I’ve received reader complaints.

[watchOS 4 Astronomy Face STILL Doesn’t Display ‘Seconds’]

watchOS 4 Astronomy face.

I can only describe this ongoing joke on Apple Watch customers as petulance by Apple.

Final Thoughts

The AWS4 is a remarkable piece of technology. When the electrical heart sensor is activated, it will flesh out a very nice set of health and activity sensors. I think the Apple Watch has a very bright future, and customers are beginning to realize the benefits based on estimated sales numbers. Now, can we please get hh:mm:ss sometime soon in the Astronomy face? It’s time.

Weird Al Yankovic and Andy Samberg on Apple Music Carpool Karaoke

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 21:45, modified at 21:57

Weird Al Yankovick and Andy Samberg are doing an episode of Apple Music’s Carpool Karaoke, and the trailer looks like a lot of fun. Andy Samberg is being joined by his The Lonely Island partners, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. I’m guessing just about everyone knows who Weird Al is, and many will be familiar with Andy Samberg, but it was The Lonely Island trio who produced Lazy Sunday, Natalie’s Rap, I’m on a Boat, and many more popular SNL Digital Shorts. This Carpool Karaoke episode looks suitably zany, with a mix of straight songs and parody bits. I’m looking forward to it!

Apple Highlights 18 Top Apps that Support Siri Shortcuts (with Links)

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 19:56, modified at 20:07

Apple published a press release touting 18 top apps that support Siri Shortcuts. There’s little specific about each app, but we put together links to each one of them so you can more easily check them out. The apps: The Weather Channel, CARROT, Dark Sky, CitymapperTransit, Evernote, Day One, Fantastical, Trello, Omnifocus 3, ThingsLose It!, Yazio, WaterminderMyTherapyStreaks10% Happier, and Headspace.

Avoid Google Data Collection By Not Using Two Services

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 19:13, modified at 19:14

Leonid Bershidsky writes how you can avoid Google data collection by not using the company’s two biggest tools: Search and Chrome.

Ditching Chrome and Search, however, is an easy way to reduce the amount of information Google gets, essentially without users’ informed consent despite its pro forma compliance with European regulations.

Google says it uses the data collection of Chrome and Search to subsidize other products. Well, if the company is willing to charge phone manufacturers for those products, why not end users? Putting a price on the Google apps, against a promise of no data collection, would quickly show which of them are viable.

I really think Google should offer a paid tier for all of its services. And have the paid tier be free of advertising and data collection. Otherwise it’s eventually going to get regulated into the dirt like Microsoft in the 90s.

Flyington Selfie Drone: $69.99

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 19:09

We have a deal on the Flyington Selfie Drone. It shoots 720p HD photo and video, with real-time camera transmissions to iPhone or Android device. But it’s also built to flip, roll, and slice through the air, and also features one-key auto landing. It’s $69.99 through our deal.

iOS 12: Find Songs by Lyrics in Apple Music

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 18:54

You don’t always know the name of a song or the artist’s name when you’re searching for music, but there’s a good chance you know at least some of the lyrics. iOS 12 lets you use your vast knowledge of lyrics to find the songs you want in Apple Music, and it’s easy to do.

Let’s say you know the phrase “Didn’t I see you crying” is in song you want to hear. Just tap the Search icon in the Music app on your iPhone or iPad, then type the lyrics into the search field. Next, tap Search.

Music app on iPhone showing song lyrics search for Apple Music

The top result in my search was “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. That’s exactly what I was looking for.

The cool thing is searching for songs in Apple Music looks at artist and band names, song and album titles, and lyrics at the same time. That means the odds of finding exactly what you’re looking for is pretty good.

If you need me I’ll be over here listening to some Cheap Trick.

This Month Apple Retail Stores Will Host The Big Draw 2018 Festival

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 18:49

Every year Apple retail stores celebrate The Big Draw 2018 festival, a worldwide celebration of drawing held every October. Eight stores will be hosting special Today at Apple Sessions.

[iOS 11: How to Draw in Mail]

The Big Draw Festival

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional artist or an occasional scribbler. If you like drawing, you can use Apple’s page to find a Today at Apple session near you.

A total of 108 sessions will be held this month at Apple Regent Street in London, Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan, Apple Dubai Mall in Dubai, Apple Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Apple SoHo and Apple Williamsburg in New York, Apple Orchard Road in Singapore, and Apple Union Square in San Francisco.

Each session includes Live Art and Sketch Walks. They are free to attend as long as there is enough space for everyone. Sessions typically last about 90 minutes.

[iOS 10: Drawing on Your Pictures in Messages]

Powering Apple Reminders With Shortcuts

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 18:32

I came across this article via The Loop. It’s an article written by Matthew Cassinelli, a member of the Shortcuts (née Workflow) team, about how he powers Reminders with Shortcuts.

When it comes down to it, what Reminders provides for Shortcuts (and you) is really a nice, big bucket for text that you can add to with Siri.

Any time you’re lost in thought, you can just Ask Siri to save that one-liner, and then do something useful with it using Shortcuts instead of letting it drift away in the wind.

He also shares seven Shortcuts he uses with Reminders.

iOS: How to Use Pages as a Teleprompter for Presentations

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 18:21, modified at 18:22

Pages for iOS has a mode that lets you turn it into a teleprompter for presentations. It’s called Presenter Mode, and here’s how to turn it on.

using presenter to use an ipad as a teleprompter for presentations

[Apple Updates Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for macOS and iOS – Dark Mode, Recordings, More]

Presenter Mode

If you’re using Pages when you’re doing a presentation or speech, Presenter Mode will make the text automatically scroll like a teleprompter. The words appear in a big font against a dark background without images or other media, so they will be easy to read.

  1. Open your Pages document.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner, then tap Presenter Mode.
  3. Do one of the following: Swipe up to scroll manually, or tap Aa then turn on Auto Scroll. Drag the slider to adjust the scrolling speed.
  4. Tap the document to start scrolling, and tap it again to pause.
  5. Tap Aa to change the display settings like background color, font size, and line spacing.
  6. To return to your document, tap Done.

You can also Presenter Mode on the iPhone too, by following the same instructions.

[Pages: New Options for Formatting Links]

Apple’s October 30 Media Event, iPhone X Versus iPhone X – TMO Daily Observations 2018-10-18

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 17:58, modified at 17:59

  • Apple’s October 30th media event
  • iPhone XR versus iPhone X for upgraders
  • Adam Christianson’s The Maccast
  • TMO Daily Observations Twitter feed

Apple Announces October Media Event, iPads and Macs up to Bat

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 17:44, modified at 17:51

Apple announced a new media event on Thursday, with the tag line, “There more in the making.” This event will take place at the Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, NY, on October 30th. The company is widely expected to announce new iPad models at the event, and some hope there will be new Macs, too.

There’s More in the Making

If you go to Apple’s event page, you’ll find a stylized Apple logo promoting the new event. And if you reload that page, you’ll get a different stylized Apple logo. I grabbed five of my favorites below, bu there are others, too.

Apple logos promoting the "There's more in the making" media event

Let the tea-leaf reading begin, but I imagine these stylized Apple logos foreshadow an art-related aspect of this event, perhaps for new iPad Pros and Apple Pencil 2.


How China Rips Off the iPhone and Fragments Android Even More

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 17:22

Sam Byford writes how China rips off the iPhone and continues to fragment the Android market with new operating systems and knockoffs.

For the unfamiliar, Chinese phone software can be garish, heavy-handed, and quite unlike anything installed on phones that are popular outside of Asia. If there’s anything that’s going to turn you off the brand-new Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example — unsubstantiated Cold War-esque paranoia aside — it’s likely to be the software.

Back when I used to write for an Android website (I know, shocking!) I had received a Chinese phone to review. It had adware and possibly other malignant stuff built right in, so I won’t gush over Chinese hardware like The Verge does.

Oh, and the aforementioned Cold War-esque paranoia? I assume Mr. Byford refers to the government ban on Huawei and ZTE. But I guess it’s a personal choice if you want to heed the warning or not.

Hacker Tried to Sell iCloud Data, Appeared in Court

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 17:01, modified at 17:02

IT analyst Kerem Albayrak tried to sell iCloud data, specifically the details of 319 million users. He filmed himself accessing certain accounts and tried to blackmail Apple for US$174,000 worth of Bitcoin and US$1,100 in iTunes gift cards (via Cult of Mac).

[Here’s How To Protect Yourself From The iCloud Extortionists (Update)]


Mr. Albayrak appeared in the Westminster magistrates’ court in London yesterday. He received charges of blackmail and two counts of unauthorized acts with intent to impair the operation of a computer. He hasn’t offered pleas yet, and was granted unconditional bail until a preliminary hearing on November 14.

Data Leak

The prosecutor said,

Mr Karem Albayrak is accused of sending emails to Apple making financial demands for downloading database iCloud accounts and factory resetting those iCloud accounts. He entered into the accounts of the alleged victims and posted a video of his hack onto YouTube.

It’s unknown where he got the iCloud data. Apple users can visit the Apple ID page to change their password and other information.

[Apple Apologizes for Chinese Apple ID Hacks]

Build Your Own Pop-up Book with LEGO

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 14:57

I love how LEGO inspires creativity, and I’m always impressed with the amazing new things people create with the bricks. That’s why I’m a so excited about the latest Ideas kit that’s about to be released: the LEGO Ideas Pop-up Book. It was submitted by Grant Davis and Jason Allemann. It lets you recreate the Jack and the Beanstalk or Little Red Riding Hood stories, includes Little Red Riding Hood, Grandmother, the Wolf, the Giant minifigures, and a Jack microfigure. It also works just like a real pop-up book because you can open and close it and watch the scene unfold or collapse. The LEGO Ideas Pop-up Book includes 859 bricks and is priced at US$69.99. It’ll be available on November 1st.

Pixelmator Pro gets macOS Mojave Dark Mode Support, More

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 14:27

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 for the Mac is out with macOS Mojave Dark Mode support, along with new Automator actions.

Pixelmator Pro for the Mac

Pixelmator Pro is a professional image editing app with non-destructive edits, and a machine learning engine that identifies objects in your images and mades edits and selections more precise.

The included Automator actions let you perform white balance and color adjustments, auto enhance images, and apply effects to multiple images. The 1.2 update also supports SVG fonts.

Pixelmator Pro is available on Apple’s Mac App Store for US$29.99. The version 1.2 update is free for current users.

macOS: How to Check a Printer’s Supply Levels

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 13:38

If your printer is far away from your Mac and you’re curious about its supply levels, you don’t actually have to get up and walk over to it to check things out. I mean, you CAN if you want (or if you need the exercise like I do), but if you’d prefer, you can look at that info from your Mac instead. To do so, start by clicking on the Apple Menu at the upper-left corner of your screen and choosing “System Preferences.”

System Preferences Option from the Apple menu on the Mac

Once System Preferences launches, click on “Printers & Scanners.”

Printers & Scanners Preferences on the Mac

If you select one of your printers from the left-hand list, you can then click the “Options & Supplies” button.

"Options & Supplies" Choice in Printers & Scanners settings on the Mac

Under that will be a “Supply Levels” tab, which’ll show you the approximate ink or toner amounts remaining, assuming your printer is turned on and available on your network.

Supply Levels Options in Printers & Scanners setting on the Mac

I feel like most of us won’t be using printers in the next ten years or so—I myself ran out of ink for a few months in mine before I bothered to replace it—but in the meantime, the devices are still a necessary evil. As someone who has to troubleshoot the darned things, though, I think the emphasis there is on the “evil” part!

Dogbot Twerking, Facebook’s Portal into Your Home, Listener Mail – ACM 484

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-18 02:41, modified at 04:16

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo Says A-series Macs Really Are Coming

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 22:28, modified at 22:40

The clues are all there. Apple has a mind to move its Macs to the A-series CPU. We discussed this at length on our TDO podcast recently. And now, Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities has confirmed it. Mike Wuerthele at AppleInsider reports: “Kuo also predicts that Mac models will adopt Apple’s A-series processor in some form starting 2020 or 2021.” So does that mean the 2019 Mac Pro will remain with Intel CPUs? And then make an abrupt jump in 2020?  The mind boggles.

Getting Started With an Apple TV 4K

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 22:10, modified at 22:39

4K/UHD TV is emerging as mainstream. It has proven advantages and is here to stay. If you’re planning to make the leap, this article will help you get started.

Apple TV 4K

[Is it Time to Move to 4K TV? Absolutely! ]

Apple TV 4K Choice

First, if you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re a fan of Apple products. An Apple TV 4K is probably on your mind. That’s a very good choice as your gateway to today’s 4K/UHD content. Having had one for a year, I can confidently recommend it. The Apple TV is well built, and it supports the popular video resolutions, the popular High Dynamics Range (HDR) formats, and the popular audio formats. Here’s a link to its technical specifications.

Perhaps the major reason 4K/UHD has caught on is the introduction of a video enhancement technology called High Dynamic Range (HDR). Briefly, this technology supports the 10-bit color in your 4K/UHD TV and supports a wider range of contrast and brightness. Here’s a great tutorial on HDR. It’s essential reading for those just starting their 4K/UHD migration.

Select the 4K/UHD TV

The next project is to make sure the 4K/UHD TV you have your eye on has HDR support for the same formats the Apple TV 4K supports. That is, primarily HDR10 and Dolby Vision—secondarily HLG. For example, Samsung 4K/UHD TVs do not support Dolby Vision. Instead, Samsung and Panasonic have partnered on something called HDR10+, and that format is still struggling to gain acceptance in the marketplace. As an owner of an Apple TV 4K, I recommend focusing on Dolby Vision and HDR10.

There’s a terrific tabbed chart at the end of this next linked article that shows which TV brands support which types of HDR. “HDR video formats – the prospects” (The article is slightly out of date, and I’ve asked the author if the chart has been updated.) Here’s a static version of the first tab.

TV Brands and HDR support

Streaming Content in 4K/UHD

Project number three means matching your desired streaming content and its HDR support with your candidate 4K/UHD TV that will be driven by the Apple TV 4K. For example, as of this writing, Hulu doesn’t stream any content in 4K, but many other services do, and they all support HDR10. Notably, Amazon’s Prime TV, Apple’s iTunes, Netflix and Vudu also support Dolby Vision. So matching the TV technology to your desired content and corresponding streaming services is necessary.

Note: you’ll need a minumum of 15 Mbps speed from your ISP to support 4K/UHD. 25 Mbps is better. You may need to upgrade your service plan.

Streaming services vs HDR

Here’s an article that that recaps and expands on all this. “Understanding Apple TV 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision.

Finally, your streaming service of choice may have tiered offerings. That is, you may have to pay a higher monthly fee to get 4K/UHD content. See, for example, “How to Get 4K/UHD and HDR Content on Netflix with Apple TV 4K.

Wrap Up

This may seem like a lot to digest, and it is. The days of buying a new TV and simply plugging it into a cable TV coax line are over. But the payoff is huge. Once you’ve watched streaming content in 4K/UHD and Dolby Vision, you’ll never want to go back to plain old, 8-bit HD.

There’s much more to get into, but I’m out of room. What questions do you have?

The World’s Largest Apple Collection is For Sale

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 19:04

An Austrian computer repairman has amassed what is possibly the world’s largest Apple collection, and it’s currently for sale.

Over the years since he began working for a company that repaired Apples in Vienna in the 1980s, Roland Borsky’s collection has grown to roughly 1,100 computers, he says – far more than the 472 items at Prague’s Apple Museum, which says it is the world’s biggest private collection of Apple products.

Now that his income has dried up, Borsky says he cannot afford the rent on his warehouse. He hopes that a benefactor will put his collection on display and pay off his debt of 20,000-30,000 euros ($23,000-35,000).

If someone doesn’t buy the collection it will have to be destroyed.

macOS: Automate Your Mac with Smart Folders

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:50, modified at 18:51

Smart Folders are kind of a hidden feature of macOS, but can greatly help you manage and organize your files. Here’s how to get started with them.

[Learn to Automate Your iPhone with Apple’s Shortcuts Gallery]

Mac Smart Folders

creating smart folders

A Smart Folder isn’t a folder per se. Rather, it’s a saved search that your Mac displays as a folder for easy access. What do I mean by a search? In Finder there’s a search bar you can use to search for files and folders. You can do more than search for file names. You can drill down and search for file types, creation date, content last modified, and more.

  1. Open Finder. In the menu bar, click File > New Smart Folder. Or, just start searching for something in the search bar. For example, I searched for PDF documents. Then I added a rule that showed me PDFs modified within the last 3 days.
  2. Add new rules by clicking the plus (+) button. When you’re done, click the Save button.
  3. You can add multiple rules like I did, or stick with a single one. Smart folders will get added to the side bar. You can also find them by clicking on your hard disk name and going to Users > YOURUSERNAME > Library > Saved Searches.
finding smart folders

The sky is the limit when it comes to the different types of smart folders you can create. You can see how it’s not a traditional folder because no content is actually stored inside it. Double-clicking on a smart folder will automatically perform the search you created, so you don’t have to keep typing it in.

[Apple’s Intent Isn’t the Same as Committing to Mac Automation]

BostonDynamics’s Dog Not Only Opens Doors, It Twerks and Moonwalks

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:43, modified at 18:50

BostonDynamics is pressing with the tough job of creating our replacements (may their reign be long and merciful), and released a new video to show their progress. You might remember the dogbot that can open the doors leading to what you hoped was a safe place to hide. That’s cool, and everything, but apparently the newest iteration of that mechanical beast can dance, twerk, keep a beat, and even moonwalk its way into your heart and hiding place. And yeah, for the record, this thing twerking left me mightily uncomfortable. Enjoy the awesomeness!

The Drafts Mac Beta is Available to Download

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:27

The Drafts Mac beta is available to download. Drafts is a productivity app for iOS that lets you do multiple things within a single app. Type out something and tweet it, post to Facebook, send it as an email, add it to Calendars, Reminders, and more. To get started with Drafts for Mac, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:

  • Mac running macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or greater. (Note: macOS 10.14 Mojave is recommended and may be required for final release.)
  • Active Drafts Pro subscription on iOS, with iOS devices running version 5.4.2 or greater of Drafts for iOS.
  • iCloud enabled on the Mac and using the same account as your iOS devices which use Drafts.

1 Year Scribd Subscription for Books, Audiobooks, Magazine Articles: $85

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:24

We have a deal today on a one year subscription for Scribd, which gives you access to bestselling and award-winning books and audiobooks, plus articles from leading magazines, newspapers, even sheet music. It requires iOS 9 and later, Android 4.4 and later, or Kindle Fire OS 4 or later.

iPhone XR pre-orders, 4K is here to stay – TMO Daily Observations 2018-10-17

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:24

Apple Celebrates Mickey Mouse’s 90 Anniversary with Limited Edition Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:23

It’s the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse, so Apple and Disney teamed up for a limited edition version of the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones showing off the iconic mouse. The headphones include a gray felt case with Beats and Mickey emblems, a special 90th anniversary Mickey pin, a decal, and of course Mickey is printed on the headphones, too. You can pick up the 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse Beats headphones for US$329.95.

Automation for iOS 12? Try Shortcuts!

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:10

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #301

I have always loved creating automated shortcuts on my Mac to execute repetitive multi-step tasks with a single keystroke. In the old days, I used QuicKeys (may it rest in peace). Since QuicKeys’ untimely demise, I rely on Keyboard Maestro to automate dozens of repetitive tasks on my Mac, as I wrote in Dr. Mac on August 14, 2018.

Along the same lines, I’ve loved creating automated sequences on my iOS devices with Workflow, one of my all-time favorite third-party apps, for many years.

Apple apparently loved Workflow, too, and it acquired the Workflow app and its development team early last year. That could have been good or bad for users, but current events seem to lean toward good.

Since Apple acquired Workflow, it dropped the price from $4.99 to free while continuing to update it with new features and capabilities.

With the release of iOS 12, Workflow has been renamed Shortcuts. If you had the Workflow app on your iOS device before the upgrade, you’ll find the Shortcuts app has replaced your Workflow app. Don’t be alarmed—it still contains most (if not all) of the workflows you created previously.

If you didn’t have Workflow installed, you can download Shortcuts from the iOS App Store for free. If you haven’t done got it yet, you should. Once you do, you’ll be able to execute sequences with a single tap or voice command.

Some Shortcuts I Love

Here are just a few of the shortcuts I use every day:

  • Share the current item with: myself; my wife; my son; my daughter; or the whole family (five separate shortcuts).
    When I tap the Share button in any app, I can use any of these shortcuts to share what’s on my screen—a link, a picture, or anything else that’s shareable— with the appropriate family member (or the whole family) in an iMessage.
  • Remind me to _______ when I get home.
    I usually trigger this shortcut by voice. If I say, “Hey Siri… Remind me to call my mom when I get home,” Siri creates a reminder in the Reminders app and notifies me when I arrive at home.
  • Directions to home from my current location
    Having this shortcut in my Today View (swipe left-to-right on your 1stHome screen) launches the Maps app and fills in the To and From fields, so all I have to do is select a route (optional) or press the Go button.
  • Send the last screenshot I took to another device (usually my Mac) via AirDrop.
  • Create an audio recording and save it in Evernote.

Most of these shortcuts are in my Today View, where they save me time by eliminating dozens of taps every day.

My Today View with my most frequently used shortcuts.

Finally, all of my customized shortcuts are based on shortcuts from the built-in gallery, which includes literally hundreds of useful shortcuts for you to customize and use.

Shortcuts is free, awesome, and easy to use. If you aren’t already using it every day, why not?

Want to Learn About Automation (on macOS and iOS)?

There is one more thing: I recently discovered an excellent, relatively new podcast (8 episodes to date) focused on automation on the Mac and iOS devices. Hosted by veteran podcaster and creator of the popular MacSparky Field Guide series, David Sparks with co-host Rose Orchard, I’ve found the episodes I’ve listened to so far informative and engaging. If you’re into automation, I think you will, too. 

If I had to pick a favorite episode so far it’s Episode 3, in which a former member of the Workflow/Shortcuts team, Matthew Cassinelli, provides useful tips, hints, and techniques for creating cool shortcuts with the iOS Shortcuts app.

All episodes are free (of course), so give The Automators a try.

New Beats 3 Skyline Collection Now Available

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 18:08

Apple launched a new collection of Beats 3 headphones called Skyline. They come in Desert Sand, Midnight Black, Crystal Blue, and Shadow Gray. They all have gold accents to give it that extra fancy look.

Beats 3 Skyline

Beats 3, or Studio 3, have Apple’s Pure Adaptive Noise Cancellation technology, This helps block external noises while you’re listening to music. They also come with the W1 chip first introduced with the AirPods.image of beats 3 skyline headphonesThe W1 chip is energy efficient and the Beats 3 headphones can last up to 22 hours on a single charge. The Skyline collection is US$349.95. They aren’t yet available in Apple retail stores so you’ll have to buy a pair at the online store.

U.S. Customers Get a New Apple Data Tool

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 17:40, modified at 17:42

Apple customers in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand get a new Apple data tool. This tool is the same that European users got because of GDPR.

Apple devices such as the iPhone or Apple Watch collect detailed data about users, such as whom they email, call or text message and even biometric data such as heart rates and fingerprints. But Apple’s practice has been to keep much of that data on the devices themselves and encrypt it with the user’s pass code, meaning that Apple does not possess the data and cannot unscramble it if asked to do so by law enforcement officials.

It’s good to see Apple do this, and I’m going to use it and see what changes have been made. You can log into the page here.

App Bundles Now Support Mac Apps and Subscription Apps

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 17:35

Today Apple announced macOS developers can now create app bundles that include standard Mac apps and free apps that come with a subscription.

[Developers Aren’t Satisfied With Mac App Store Update]

Mac App Bundles

generic image of an app folder used to represent app bundles

App bundles make it easy for customers to buy up to 10 of your apps in a single purchase. And now, you can create app bundles for Mac apps or free apps that offer an auto-renewable subscription to access all apps in the bundle. Learn how to set up app bundles and effectively market them on your App Store product page.

Developers can create bundles that contain up to 10 apps. This lets users buy the apps all at once or at a discounted price. Until now, bundles were limited to iOS. I just published news yesterday about how Mac developers aren’t happy about the Mac App Store. I’m sure app bundles will be a good improvement.

[Apple Moves Some Safari Extensions to Mac App Store]

Apple Updates Privacy Website with macOS Mojave and iOS 12 Details

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 15:38

Apple updated its privacy website on Wednesday. The site now details security improvements in macOS Mojave and iOS 12, end-to-end encryption for Screen Time and Group FaceTime, improvements to no-tracking for websites, and more. It also includes links for managing your privacy with Apple devices and services, and Apple’s transparency in privacy report. It’s great to see the effort Apple is putting into protecting user privacy, especially since so many other companies are playing fast and loose with our data.

iPhone XS, XS Max Coming to Chile October 26, South Korea November 2

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 15:02, modified at 15:05

Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will be available in several more countries on October 26th and November 2nd.

Apple iPhone Xs

Apple says its new iPhone models will be available in Chile, Colombia, Malaysia, and Thailand on October 26th. Pre-orders are starting this Friday, October 19th.

The list of countries where you can buy an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max gets even longer on November 2nd. Apple says the new smartphones “will be available to customers in South Korea and more than 10 additional countries and territories.”

[Apple Unveils iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR]

Apple introduced the new iPhone models at a media event on September 12th. They include an A12 Bionic processor with a 7nm process. It packs in a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU, plus a Neural Engine. They also sport an OLED Super Retina screen, front-facing Face ID camera, dual rear-facing cameras, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo speakers, Apple Pay, and dual-SIM capability.

Pre-orders for the iPhone XR in the United States start on Friday, October 19th with availability on October 26th.

Popular Web Browsers Dropping TLS 1.0 and 1.1 Support in 2020

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 14:28

The big names in the web browser community, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, are all dropping support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 in March 2020. The protocol allowed for secure and encrypted connections to web servers for online forms and data transmission, but proved to have several security flaws. It has been superseded by TLS 1.2. Ars Technica noted the pending depreciation saying,

The impact of removing the old protocols shouldn’t be too substantial. All four companies cite usage figures for the old versions; Firefox sees the most TLS 1.0 and 1.1 usage (1.4 percent of all secure connections) while the other three vendors claim a figure below 1.0 percent. The current recommendation is that sites switch to TLS 1.2 (which happens to be the minimum required for HTTP 2.0) and offer only a limited, modern set of encryption algorithms and authentication schemes. TLS 1.3 was recently finalized, but it currently has little widespread adoption.

Odds are most people won’t notice the lack of TLS 1.0 and 1.1 support since the vast majority of sites have already moved on to version 1.2.

iPhone XR Pre-orders Start Friday, October 19

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-17 13:42, modified at 13:43

The iPhone XR, Apple’s third new iPhone model this year, is available for pre-order starting this Friday, October 19th. Deliveries and in store purchases start the following Friday, October 26th.

iPhone XR in black, blue, and silver

The iPhone XR is Apple’s lower priced model compared to the iPhone XS and XS Max. It has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD screen instead of OLED, a single 12 MP rear-facing camera, front-facing Face ID camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo speakers, and NFC support for Apple Pay contactless payments.

The new model matches the iPhone X styling with a thin bezel and display notch for sensors and cameras. It also uses the same A12 Bionic processor as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Instead 3D Touch it uses a new feature called Haptic Touch. The single-lense camera supports portrait mode, Smart HDR, and dynamic depth of field, just like the XS and XS Max.

The iPhone XR is available in aircraft-grade aluminum in coral, black, blue, yellow, white, and PRODUCT(RED) with 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB capacities. Pricing starts at US$749.