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HomePod Launches in Japan and Taiwan [Updated]

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Update: On schedule, the HomePod has now launched in Japan and Taiwan.

Original story follows.



Apple's HomePod is set to launch in Japan and Taiwan next week, on Friday, August 23, Apple announced today. Ahead of the launch, Apple is accepting pre-orders through its online stores in Japan and Taiwan.


The HomePod is available for ¥32,800 in Japan and NT$9,900 in Taiwan, which is $10 to $15 higher than the price in the U.S. When the HomePod first launched in the United States in 2018, it was priced at $349, but the price was lowered to $299 in April of this year.

Apple announced plans to expand the HomePod to Japan and Taiwan earlier this summer, and added support for the new countries in the 12.4 software made available for the HomePod in late July.

Apple now sells the HomePod in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong, along with Taiwan and Japan.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, "HomePod Launches in Japan and Taiwan [Updated]" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Debuts New iCloud.com Beta Site With Fresh Look, Reminders App

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Ahead of the launch of iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina, Apple has updated its iCloud.com beta site with a fresh look and a new Reminders app (via Federico Vittici).

The beta version of iCloud.com has a plain white interface with smaller icons, and rather than a Settings app, there's now an "Account Settings" section.


Most of the beta iCloud apps are identical to the iCloud apps available through the standard iCloud.com website, with Mail, Contacts, Photos, Notes, iCloud Drive, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Find Friends, and Find iPhone unchanged.


There is a new Reminders app on beta.iCloud.com though, which mirrors the iOS Reminders app and allows iCloud users to create, view, and manage their tasks.

The new version of iCloud.com will likely go live following the launch of iOS 13 and Apple's other new software this fall.


This article, "Apple Debuts New iCloud.com Beta Site With Fresh Look, Reminders App" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Bose Announces AirPlay 2-Equipped Portable Home Speaker

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Bose today announced the launch of a new speaker, the Bose Portable Home Speaker, which is designed to work with Apple's AirPlay 2 protocol.

The Bluetooth-enabled Portable Home Speaker is designed to be compact, and it's got a rather HomePod-like design with a cylindrical body that features speaker mesh at the bottom and an aluminum shell at the top to deliver 360 degree sound. It measures in at 7.5 inches high and 4 inches across.


The Portable Home Speaker has a handle so you can move it from room to room, and it weighs just 2.3 pounds. There's also a built-in battery with 12 hours of battery life, so it can go where you go. It has an IPX4 water resistance rating, so it can survive minor spills and splashes of rain.

Bose says that the Portable Home Speaker delivers deeper bass than any other portable speaker in its size. With Bluetooth, you can stream music from your phone or tablet while on the go, and while at home, you can use AirPlay 2, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.


With AirPlay 2 support, you can play any music you like from an iOS device, and it can be paired up with other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers for a whole home audio experience. You can also pair it up with other Bose products using the Bose Music app.

Buttons on the top of the Portable Home Speaker allow manual control over power, volume, play/pause, and skipping tracks, plus there is a proprietary privacy-focused "mic-off" feature that disables power to the microphone so you can make sure you're not being recorded.


Inside, the speaker features three passive radiators, a high-excursion driver, and what Bose says is a proprietary deflector to distribute "clear, lifelike sound evenly in every direction."

Bose's new Portable Home Speaker is priced at $349, which is what Apple used to charge for the HomePod before dropping the price down to $299 earlier this year. It will be available for purchase starting on September 19.


This article, "Bose Announces AirPlay 2-Equipped Portable Home Speaker" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Law Firm Capitalizes on Reports Apple's iPhones Exceeded Radiofrequency Radiation Safety Levels in Some Tests

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A report yesterday from The Chicago Tribune suggested Apple's iPhones were emitting radiofrequency radiation beyond federal safety limits following independent lab testing, and now, a law firm is capitalizing on that report and has announced the launch of an investigation into the claims.

Fegan Scott, a Chicago-based law firm, has not yet levied a lawsuit against Apple, and it's not clear what "investigation" will be conducted. Beth Fegan, a managing partner, said that "this could be the Chernobyl of the cell phone industry, cover-up and all."

"If we found that produce sold in grocery stores contained twice the levels of pesticides as the law allows, we would be up in arms, demanding the products be pulled from the shelf - this is no different," said Beth Fegan, managing partner of Fegan Scott. "In this case, we know the cell phone radiation is dangerous, but the terrifying part is that we don't know how dangerous, especially to kids' brain development."
Fegan went on to claim that research suggests that cell phone manufacturers "knew or should have known" that radiation levels were well above claims, despite no evidence.
The fact that the Chicago Tribune can convene a group of experts and develop such convincing findings shows that the phone manufacturers may be intentionally hiding what they know about radiation output.
The Chicago Tribune's investigation contracted an accredited lab to test several smartphones according to federal guidelines. The testing facility found that some of Apple's iPhones emitted radiofrequency radiation beyond the legal safety limits, and in some cases, double what Apple reported to federal regulators.

The iPhone 7 was the worst performer, measuring well over the federal radiofrequency radiation limits across multiple tests, but higher than expected levels were also detected from the iPhone X and the iPhone 8. Smartphones from other companies like Motorola and Samsung were also tested with similar over-limit results.

Apple told The Chicago Tribune that testing had not been conducted properly and was not "in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models." Apple also said that it re-tested the smartphones and confirmed its devices meet all exposure guidelines.
"All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold," the statement said. "After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable ... exposure guidelines and limits."
In response to the report, the United States Federal Communications Commission said that it will be doing its own retesting of smartphones in the coming months.

Fegan Scott provides no other details on the upcoming investigation or what testing will be done to verify the claims made by both The Chicago Tribune and Apple and other cell phone manufacturers. Those interested in learning more, says the law firm, can send an email with contact information.


This article, "Law Firm Capitalizes on Reports Apple's iPhones Exceeded Radiofrequency Radiation Safety Levels in Some Tests" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Android 10 Announced as Google Drops Dessert-Inspired Names

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Google today announced its next major version of Android will be named Android 10, as the company has decided to move past dessert-inspired names for the operating system like Ice Cream Sandwich, Lollipop, and Marshmallow.

Android's new logo

Android's naming scheme is now consistent with iOS. Android is only on version 10 though, compared to iOS 13, because Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat were all considered version 4.0 through version 4.4.4 releases between 2011 and 2014. Android also launched over a year after the original iPhone.

Until now, Android 10 was expected to be named Android Q, but there are few well-known desserts that start with that letter, perhaps contributing to Google's decision to switch to a numbered scheme. Google also admitted that the dessert names "weren't always understood by everyone in the global community."

Google has also revamped the Android logo for the first time since 2014 and shared a video to unveil the new branding:


The final beta of Android 10 was seeded earlier this month. The update will be publicly released in the third quarter.


This article, "Android 10 Announced as Google Drops Dessert-Inspired Names" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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