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Apple Urged to Implement Feature That Sends an iPhone’s Precise Location to Responders in...

EENA, short for the European Emergency Number Association, has called on Apple to integrate a solution called Advanced Mobile Location into iOS to improve the safety of iPhone users in emergency situations. Advanced Mobile Location recognizes when...

iPhone 8 Virtual Home Button Can Likely Resize and Hide Completely As Needed

Yesterday, HomePod firmware revealed that the iPhone 8's facial recognition software will seemingly support Apple Pay, multiple facial profiles, and third-party apps. Now, as the uncovering of Apple secrets within HomePod firmware continues apace, developer Steven Troughton-Smith has revealed details on Twitter about the iPhone 8's virtual home button, stating that it "resizes" as needed to fit certain tasks on the smartphone.

Specifically, Troughton-Smith described a "periphery" area of the system user interface that expands/minimizes and shows/hides the iPhone 8's virtual home button as it's needed. There will be tab bars that extend under this periphery area, and no evidence was discovered of an ability for this part of the UI to change color. According to Troughton-Smith, this means that the indicator Apple is building for the virtual home button area "will have to contrast well" with any background and colors displayed on the rest of the display.

Proposed iPhone 8 "function area" by Ming-Chi Kuo
There was also no evidence found that suggests any piece of app UI will be part of the home button area in any form, meaning Apple plans to keep the bottom home button piece of UI clean and uniform whenever it's brought up. Troughton-Smith did mention that whenever a user plays a fullscreen video, the content will hide the home button controls.

We know some facts re iPhone 8 home button area:

• it resizes
• indicator can be hidden
• no API to change color
• tab bars extend under it

— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) August 10, 2017

The idea of a virtual "function area" on the iPhone 8 began earlier this year in a report written by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who stated the the 5.8-inch screen on the device would have a 5.15-inch usable display. The remaining area of the screen would be reserved for an area of virtual buttons, including a home button, but Kuo's report never hinted that the function area might resize or be "hidden" completely whenever the UI allows it, as Troughton-Smith has discovered.

In addition, Troughton-Smith tweeted out the metrics for the upper status bar on the iPhone 8. The code further confirmed previous HomePod firmware findings that related to a "split" status bar on the device, with what's expected to be camera and sensor hardware sitting between two virtual pieces of UI. Designer Olivier Charavel has already used the metrics to create a mockup of what this status bar should look like on the real iPhone 8, including connection strength and a battery indicator.

Image via @charavel
Previously, Troughton-Smith said the new status bar seemed "more complex and powerful" in its design, and even said that it could be "interactive" in some way.

In regards to the iPhone 8's bottom area and virtual home button findings, Troughton-Smith tweeted that, "all of these things are supported by API evidence, so this is the clearest picture of its functionality we have to work from." HomePod firmware is building up a good indicator of what we can expect from the iPhone 8 when Apple announces the device next month, including advanced facial recognition features likely replacing Touch ID completely, 4K video recording, "SmartCamera" functionality, and more.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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IKEA Trådfri Smart Lighting System Now Supports Apple HomeKit

IKEA's Trådfri smart lighting system is now officially compatible with HomeKit, Apple's smart home management platform.

The support was confirmed in IKEA's response to a question posted on its Facebook page this morning, after a customer noticed a change in the technical specifications on the company's Trådfri product page.


According to a thread in the Philips Hue developer support forum, IKEA's smart lighting is now also compatible with the Philips Hue Bridge, once the products' software has been manually updated.

Therefore, existing product owners need to ensure they have the latest firmware upgrade for their Trådfri devices to pair them with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, or the Philips Hue Bridge.

IKEA had promised HomeKit support for its affordable range of home lighting products back in May. The system was originally announced in late March, and includes LED bulbs, illuminated panels, a motion sensor kit, a gateway kit, and dimming lights.

(Thanks, Tom!)

Tags: HomeKit, Ikea

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Anker’s $35 Smart Speaker With Built-in Alexa Claims Better Audio Than Amazon’s Echo Dot

Popular accessory company Anker launched its own low-cost smart speaker with built-in Alexa on Wednesday called the Eufy Genie. Costing $35, the Genie is a little bigger than Amazon's Echo Dot, which retails at $50, but claims to offer stronger bass and double the volume of Amazon's equivalent device thanks to a 2W speaker.

The Genie's list of features pretty much tally with Echo Dot's abilities, so it can play music, control other smart home devices, order products, answer questions, set calendars, report the weather and news, and more.


According to Anker, it's also possible to use the Amazon Alexa app with the Genie to access over 10,000 skills and services, such as Pandora, Domino's Pizza, Uber, ESPN, NPR News, and more. Future updates from Eufy are said to include the ability directly control Spotify with your voice, and Alexa messaging and calling.

The Genie also links up to other smart products under Anker's Eufy brand, which include a robotic vacuum cleaner, air purifier devices, and a range of domestic lighting. According to The Verge, Anker also plans to introduce a $40 version of the Eufy Genie that includes Bluetooth support, which might let it connect to external speakers for playing music.

The Eufy Genie is available to pre-order off Amazon today but doesn't ship until August 16. Further details on the Genie and Anker's other products under the Eufy brand can be found on the Eufy website.

Note: Amazon is an affiliate of MacRumors and we may benefit from clicked links in this article.


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Vivaldi Web Browser 1.11 Brings Enhanced Reader Mode and Accessibility Features

Vivaldi web browser, the spiritual successor to Opera 12, reached version 1.11 on Thursday, bringing an improved Reader Mode, animation controls, and advanced accessibility features to the highly configurable Mac app.


Vivaldi, which claims to be the most customizable browser for power users, has quietly been carving its own niche in the desktop web browser market and now boasts over 1 million users. The browser is aimed at staunch technologists, heavy internet users, and previous Opera web browser users disgruntled by Opera's transition to the Blink layout engine, which removed many popular features.


First up in v1.11, there are tweaks to Vivaldi's existing Reader Mode, which offers a clutter-free reading environment by stripping off unwanted advertisements, videos and other distractions. Users can now adjust the settings at the top of the page they're currently viewing in the Reader Mode, including the ability to choose the font type and size of the text, set the column width and line height, as well as select either dark or light background.


On top of those changes, Vivaldi's custom Themes add another dimension, allowing users to choose their custom Theme and apply it to the Reader Mode. Custom Themes in Vivaldi also have programmatic support to enforce minimal contrast, which aims to make the browser more comfortable for people with visual impairments.

Elsewhere, Vivaldi now offers a simple way of turning off GIF animations, for people who react to flashing images and want to avoid them. Clicking on the Toggle Images icon in the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen reveals three options for loading animations – always, once or never.


There's also an improvement to Editable Mouse Gestures in Vivaldi that let users execute a command with a simple movement of the mouse. In version 1.11, users have increased control over this feature with the ability to set the minimum stroke length for the gesture they want to register. Additional accessibility options in this version also include quick commands and keyboard shortcuts, and the ability to zoom on selected pages and set a zoom level on a per tab basis.

Vivaldi browser is a free download for Mac available directly from the Vivaldi website.


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Facebook Announces ‘Watch’ Platform for Facebook-Exclusive TV Shows

Facebook today announced the launch of an upcoming platform called "Watch," which is designed to Facebook-exclusive TV shows. Watch is Facebook's official platform for shows on Facebook, and it will be available on mobile, desktop, and in Facebook's...

iPhone 8 Facial Recognition Appears to Support Payments, Multiple Faces and Third-Party Apps

Developers are still digging into the recently released HomePod firmware to suss out additional details on Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8," and the latest information, sourced from developer Guilherme Rambo, hints at several features we might see in the new device.

According to strings of code uncovered by Rambo, the facial recognition feature coming in the iPhone 8 appears to support authentication for Apple Pay payments, seems to work with multiple faces, and may be accessible by third-party apps, much like Touch ID.


A line in the code references a payment authentication error with "Pearl," Apple's internal code name for face recognition in the iPhone 8, while a string that reads "numberOfAppsUsingPearl" suggests facial recognition functionality can be accessed by third-party apps, likely as a passcode replacement. Given this information, facial recognition appears to be a full replacement for Touch ID, just as rumors have suggested.


Apple's upcoming facial recognition system is said to be faster and more secure than Touch ID. It can unlock an iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, and it captures more data points than a fingerprint scan. Thanks to previous firmware leaks, we also know that it works when the iPhone is laying flat on a table and it mutes notification sounds when a face is in view.

In addition to unveiling new information about facial recognition, Rambo has also found a few other interesting bits of code that may hint at additional features coming in the iPhone 8.

There are references to multi biometrics, modern HDR, 1080p240 camera capture functionality for a "back" and a "front" (suggesting 240 fps video capture at 1080p, an upgrade from the current 720p limit), and mentions of "FrontPearl" and "BackPearl" camera support.

"Back Pearl" pic.twitter.com/amAFPMzDw4

— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 9, 2017

While the HomePod firmware has provided us with a range of details on what to expect from the iPhone 8, it's important not to read too much into ambiguous code and make too many assumptions about features that are as-of-yet unclear. "BackPearl" could suggest facial recognition for both the front and rear cameras, for example, but it could mean something else entirely. The same goes for multi-biometrics and modern HDR.

Additionally, not all of the referenced features are guaranteed to make it into the iPhone 8, so take this code as a suggestion of what might be coming rather than concrete proof of a feature.

Apple first released the HomePod firmware in late July, and because it was meant for employees testing the not-yet-available HomePod speaker, which runs a version of iOS, Apple did not strip out references to upcoming products and features.

Images of an iPhone 8 dummy model shared by Ben Miller
From the firmware, we've seen glimpses of the final design of the iPhone 8, and have found references to infrared-based facial recognition features, a split status bar, a tap to wake feature, new SmartCamera functionality, and more.

Details on other upcoming products, including the HomePod itself, the Series 3 Apple Watch, and a possible 4K Apple TV have also been uncovered in the firmware.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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Apple Stops Signing iOS 10.3.2

Following the release of iOS 10.3.3 on July 19, Apple has stopped signing iOS 10.3.2, the previous version of iOS that was available to consumers. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners who have upgraded to iOS 10.3.3 will no longer be able to downgrad...

New Dummy Video Compares iPhone 7s Plus to iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 Plus

With the upcoming OLED "iPhone 8" bringing major design and functionality changes, its two LCD companion devices, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus haven't received much attention, despite the fact that these two iPhones are also going to see some design tweaks.

YouTuber Danny Winget today shared a new video that focuses on the iPhone 7s Plus, comparing an iPhone 7s Plus dummy model to an iPhone 8 dummy model and an existing iPhone 7 Plus.


The iPhone 7s Plus features the same silver glass backing that we've seen used in iPhone 8 dummy models, and these colors are in line with information sourced from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Apple is planning to release all three devices in just three colors - silver, gold, and black. The device also includes a shiny metal frame connecting the two glass halves.

It's believed that all of the iPhones coming in 2017 use a glass casing to enable an inductive charging feature that will let them charge wirelessly, much like many current Android phones.

Aside from the glass body, the iPhone 7s Plus looks quite similar to the current iPhone 7 Plus, with the same horizontal dual-lens rear camera, ports, buttons, thick front bezels, and Touch ID Home button. Antenna lines are less noticeable, however.

While the iPhone 8 does not have a Home button and is rumored to have a facial recognition authentication instead of Touch ID, the iPhone 7s Plus and the iPhone 7s will retain standard Home buttons and Touch ID functionality.

Size wise, the iPhone 7s Plus is the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, but it’s much larger than the iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 has a display that’s around the size of the iPhone 7 Plus display, but because it does away with all of the thick bezels, its body is closer in size to the iPhone 7.

All of the dummy models that are circulating are based on factory specifications, CAD drawings, and other leaks, and appear to accurately reflect what we're expecting to see when the three devices launch this fall. Dummy models are never a sure thing, but case makers often use them to design and create cases ahead of a new iPhone's launch, so a good amount of money goes into making sure the design is accurate.

Based on the rumors, part leaks, and design leaks we've seen, these dummy models offer a solid look at what to expect from Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

Discuss this article in our forums

New Dummy Video Compares iPhone 7s Plus to iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 Plus

With the upcoming OLED "iPhone 8" bringing major design and functionality changes, its two LCD companion devices, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus haven't received much attention, despite the fact that these two iPhones are also going to see some design tweaks.

YouTuber Danny Winget today shared a new video that focuses on the iPhone 7s Plus, comparing an iPhone 7s Plus dummy model to an iPhone 8 dummy model and an existing iPhone 7 Plus.


The iPhone 7s Plus features the same silver glass backing that we've seen used in iPhone 8 dummy models, and these colors are in line with information sourced from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Apple is planning to release all three devices in just three colors - silver, gold, and black. The device also includes a shiny metal frame connecting the two glass halves.

It's believed that all of the iPhones coming in 2017 use a glass casing to enable an inductive charging feature that will let them charge wirelessly, much like many current Android phones.

Aside from the glass body, the iPhone 7s Plus looks quite similar to the current iPhone 7 Plus, with the same horizontal dual-lens rear camera, ports, buttons, thick front bezels, and Touch ID Home button. Antenna lines are less noticeable, however.

While the iPhone 8 does not have a Home button and is rumored to have a facial recognition authentication instead of Touch ID, the iPhone 7s Plus and the iPhone 7s will retain standard Home buttons and Touch ID functionality.

Size wise, the iPhone 7s Plus is the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, but it’s much larger than the iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 has a display that’s around the size of the iPhone 7 Plus display, but because it does away with all of the thick bezels, its body is closer in size to the iPhone 7.

All of the dummy models that are circulating are based on factory specifications, CAD drawings, and other leaks, and appear to accurately reflect what we're expecting to see when the three devices launch this fall. Dummy models are never a sure thing, but case makers often use them to design and create cases ahead of a new iPhone's launch, so a good amount of money goes into making sure the design is accurate.

Based on the rumors, part leaks, and design leaks we've seen, these dummy models offer a solid look at what to expect from Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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