Uber’s Siri and Apple Maps Integrations Have Disappeared

Uber's latest app update appears to have removed several important iOS integrations, with the service now unavailable to both Siri and Apple Maps.

If you ask Siri to get you an Uber, a feature that has been available since the launch of iOS 10, Siri will say that Uber hasn't activated that feature. In the "Siri & Search" section of the Uber options in the Settings app, there's also no longer a "Use with Siri" toggle.


Similarly, in Apple Maps, you can no longer select Uber as an option when choosing "Ride" when getting directions. This is also a feature that debuted in iOS 10.

Both Siri and Apple Maps integrations are still available for other ride sharing apps like Lyft, so the problem seems to be with the Uber app rather than with Apple's services.

The removal of both features was noticed by MacRumors readers and reddit users starting last week. It is not clear if Uber has deliberately removed these features or if it's a bug, and the company did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by MacRumors earlier this afternoon. We have also contacted Apple and will update this post when we hear back.

Uber integration with Siri, enabled through the SiriKit API, was a much touted feature when iOS 10 first launched, as was Apple Maps integration. Both Apple and Uber heavily promoted the two options when iOS 10 rolled out.


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Nintendo Working on ‘Mario Kart Tour’ Game for Mobile Devices

Nintendo this evening announced that a new mobile game is in the works, and this time the company is planning to bring a major fan favorite series to iOS devices — Mario Kart.

According to Nintendo, a new Mario Kart game called “Mario Kart Tour” is in development. Little is known about the game at this time, but Nintendo says it will be released by March 2019.





Mario Kart is on of Nintendo’s most popular titles, and a Mario Kart mobile game would follow successful mobile versions of games in the Super Mario, Animal Crossing, and Fire Emblem franchises.

Nintendo’s other mobile games include Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Fire Emblem Heroes. The company’s first game on iOS devices was Miitomo, which was released in March of 2016. Nintendo this week announced that it plans to shut down Miitomo on May 9, 2018.

Though Miitomo was not a successful venture for the company given its imminent termination, Nintendo’s other games have done better. Nintendo’s smartphone profits reached 11.2 billion yen this fiscal quarter, seeing growth thanks to the recent launch of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The game has generated an estimated $17 million globally.

Nintendo also said back in October that Fire Emblem Heroes is on track to meet its business and profit objectives. Unfortunately, Super Mario Run, Nintendo’s one game that is a paid app rather than free-to-play, had not reached an “acceptable profit point” as of late 2017.

Nintendo says it has “learned a lot” about game development and deployment from Super Mario Run, however, and it is too early to tell whether the new Mario Kart game will be free-to-play or another game with an upfront purchase.

With more than a year to go before Mario Kart Tour launches, we’ll likely learn more about it over the course of the next several months. Given the current example of mobile versions of Nintendo games, it’s unlikely to be a full Mario Kart title, but fans of the series will undoubtedly be looking forward to the debut of a Mario Kart smartphone game.

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DirecTV Now’s Revamped Interface and Cloud DVR Features to Debut This Spring

During its fourth quarter earnings report this afternoon, AT&T shared release details (via Engadget) for its next-generation DirecTV Now video streaming platform, which will be a major revamp of the existing service.

When the update rolls out this spring, DirecTV Now subscribers will gain access to a new cloud DVR feature, allowing them to record and access their shows from anywhere.


DirecTV Now will also be gaining an entirely new interface to provide a "consistent look and feel" across all of the company's consumer video services, and subscribers will be able to stream to one additional device concurrently.

DirecTV Now subscribers have had access to the cloud DVR features in a beta capacity since late 2017, but it will be launching officially in the spring.

AT&T said in December that additional features are planned for DirecTV Now, including support for 4K video, individual profiles, and more on-demand titles.

According to AT&T, DirecTV Now has a total of 1.2 million subscribers, with the company gaining 368,000 new subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2017.


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Apple Stops Signing Older Versions of iOS 11

Following the release of iOS 11.2.5 on January 23, Apple stopped signing older versions of iOS 11, including iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, and iOS 11.2.2.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners who have upgraded to iOS 11.2.5 will no longer be able to downgrade to earlier versions of iOS.

Apple routinely stops signing older versions of software updates after new releases come out in order to encourage customers to keep their operating systems up to date.

iOS 11.2.5 is now the only version of iOS 11 that can be installed on iOS devices by the general public, but developers and public beta testers can download iOS 11.3, an update that is being beta tested ahead of a spring release.
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Slack Nixes its Standalone Apple Watch App

Over the course of the last few months, several companies have decided to end development on apps for the Apple Watch, focusing instead on Apple's iOS platform. The latest company to nix its Apple Watch app is Slack. If you're unfamiliar with Slack, it's a team communication and collaboration platform for businesses.

In an update to its iOS app today, Slack eliminated its standalone Apple Watch app. Slack customers will, however, still be able to respond to incoming messages on their Apple Watch thanks to rich notifications.

Apple Watch users, there's now one iOS app for all of your needs. We've removed the standalone Watch App, but rest assured, receiving and replying to messages from your wrist works the same as before. It's like two for the price of one, but with apps.
Slack's Apple Watch app, like many of the Apple Watch apps that have been abandoned, was never particularly useful, so it's no surprise Slack has decided not to dedicate additional resources to it. The Slack Apple Watch app let users view unread mentions and view and respond to direct messages, but these features were not easy to use on a wrist-worn device. It also let users receive and interact with notifications, features that are still available through an iPhone.

When the Apple Watch was released, most companies developed an Apple Watch app for the device even if the app didn't do anything useful, because it wasn't yet clear how and when people would use apps on the wrist. As the Apple Watch has matured, though, it's become clear that most dedicated apps offering anything beyond a quick interaction aren't used often enough to be a worthwhile use of company resources.

For example, Twitter in September ended support for the Apple Watch, eliminating the standalone Twitter app on the device. At the time, Twitter said that it felt notifications were the most helpful part of the Apple Watch Twitter experience, which is also what Slack is now relying on.

Other companies that have stopped offering Apple Watch apps include Target, eBay, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Google (for Google Maps). eBay and Google have both said Apple Watch support might return in the future, but have not yet released new apps.

Tag: Slack

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Spotify Testing Free Pandora-Style ‘Stations’ App on Android Devices

Spotify is doubling down on free music and has begun testing a standalone app that offers a station-based streaming music experience similar to Pandora's original music service, reports Variety.

"Stations," available on Android devices in Australia, is designed to let users stream free music from curated radio-like stations. The app's description says that Stations "is an experiment by Spotify that makes it easy for anyone to listen to great music."

Stations is the easiest way to listen to the music you love. Totally free.

When you have access to all the music in the world, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge. With Stations, you can listen immediately, and switching stations is simple and seamless--no searching or typing needed. As you listen, it learns what you like and creates personalised stations that you'll love.
Based on the app's description, Stations is designed to make it quick and easy to find new music, with the app offering up personalized stations after it "learns what you like." Spotify says there's no searching or typing required to use the app.

It's not clear what Spotify plans to do with Stations in the future, and it's not known if the company plans to eventually release an iOS app, but Stations does fill a much-needed function - it provides more free listening options for customers on mobile devices.

Spotify's main app also has a free ad-supported listening tier, but the on-demand service is limited to customers who use Spotify on the desktop. On mobile devices, listening options are far more limited.

Spotify's main app boasts 140 million total active subscribers and 70 million paying subscribers, so the unpaid market is still huge for Spotify and one consumer group that Apple does not reach. Apple Music has no free listening tier, and Apple has no plans to implement one.

For now, Spotify's new Stations app is limited to a select number of Android devices in Australia and it is supported via ads.

Tag: Spotify

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Logitech’s HomeKit-Enabled Circle 2 Cameras Gain Notification Snapshots and Subscription Discounts

Logitech today announced the launch of new features for its HomeKit-compatible Circle 2 security cameras via an update to the Logi Circle app.

Notification Snapshots, a new in-app feature, are designed to provide a visual "snapshot" notification of an event whenever motion is detected by the Circle 2 camera.

With this option, you'll get a visual representation of exactly what triggered the motion detection feature rather than a simple text-based notification that lets you know motion was detected. Snapshots will be sent via push notification and should let you react more quickly to incoming motion detection alerts.


For customers who also subscribe to Logitech's Circle Safe premium service, Notification Snapshots offer up a zoomed-in view of the object or person that triggered the motion detection based on the Circle's Person Detection feature.

Enabling Notification Snapshots on existing Circle 2 cameras will require you to download the updated Logi Circle app from the App Store and install a new firmware update from within the app.

Along with new notification features, Logitech is also introducing new Circle Safe Home subscription plans designed for customers with multiple cameras.

Circle Safe pricing starts at $3.99 per month for the basic subscription for a single camera and goes up to $9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year) for the premium subscription, but customers with multiple cameras can now get discounted prices.

For up to five cameras, Circle Safe Basic starts at $6.99 per month or $69 per year, while Circle Safe Premium starts at $17.99 per month or $179 per year.

Circle Safe Basic and Circle Safe Premium allow you to store video in the cloud for a longer period of time and access premium features. Logitech's cameras, available from Logitech and Amazon for $180, can be used sans subscription, but only 24 hours of video footage is stored in the cloud.


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Five iOS Apps Worth Checking Out – January 2018

Over on our YouTube channel, we've started a new monthly video series highlighting new, interesting, and useful iOS apps that we think are well worth checking out.

With so many apps available in the iOS App Store, it can sometimes be hard to find new content, and it's easy to overlook some older apps that are also great. Our app lists will include both older and newer apps that we personally recommend and have used over the course of the month.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

This month's video includes apps that run the gamut from productivity to exercise, and we've also included our favorite game of the month. All of the apps we mention are listed below with download links:

Bear (Free) - Bear is a writing, coding, and note taking app that has a clean, simple interface and a rich feature set. It's available on iOS and Mac devices, and it offers Apple Pencil support, todos, multiple export options, an Advanced Markup Editor with support for more than 20 programming languages, SmartData Recognition, in-line images and photos, hashtags for organization, and more.

Bear is free to download, but if you want to sync your notes between your devices, unlock themes, and use advanced exporting options, you'll need to pay $1.49 per month or $14.99 per year for a subscription.

Workout (Free) - There are an endless number of workout apps available from the App Store, but we're highlighting Workout for its easy-to-create workout plans, tutorial videos, progress tracking, and exercise database. Workout is free to download, but to unlock all of the features, you'll need a subscription. It's $15 for one month, $30 for a year, or $40 for lifetime access.

Adobe Spark Video (Free) - Adobe's Spark Video app is designed to allow anyone - even someone who is new to video editing - to create high-quality videos from video clips and photos in a matter of minutes. It's a great way to spruce up your Instagram and Facebook videos.

A Color Story (Free) - A Color Story is a photo editing app that has tons of preset filters and effects you can apply to your photos, similar to popular app VSCO. You can choose a filter and then add effects like bokeh, confetti, color overlays, or light flares. The best feature is batch edit, which lets you get the same effect on multiple photos at once.

A Color Story is free with some filters unlocked, but adding additional filters will require in-app purchases.

The Room: Old Sins ($4.99) - The Room: Old Sins is the fourth game in the popular The Room series, and this one has the same escape room-style puzzles you've come to know and love from past games. Old Sins takes place in a super creepy dollhouse and it's well worth checking out if you loved the other games in the series. Check out our sister site TouchArcade's review for more details.

If you're looking for great Mac apps that are worth downloading, make sure to check out our list of five essential apps for the Mac. And if you have favorite iOS apps, share them with us - we'll be highlighting interesting, useful iOS apps on a monthly basis.
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Developers Demo Augmented Reality Improvements Coming in iOS 11.3

The iOS 11.3 update, seeded to developers and public beta testers last week, introduces ARKit 1.5, an upgraded version of the set of tools developers can use to create augmented reality apps for the iPhone and the iPad.

As it turns out, ARKit 1.5 can do a lot of neat things. It can map irregularly shaped surfaces for better detection of your surroundings, and it can also recognize and map vertical surfaces like walls and doors, so you can use AR to place and detect items on walls.

Over the course of the last week, developers have been testing out ARKit 1.5 and sharing short demo videos on Twitter, providing a look at just what will be possible with augmented reality apps when iOS 11.3 is available.


Vertical surface detection, for example, is shown off in the video below. A realistic-looking tunnel is projected on a wall, and while this doesn't have any immediate usage implications, it's a useful demo of how ARKit sees walls in iOS 11.3.


An example of how vertical plane detection can be used in augmented reality games is demonstrated in the video below, where creatures projected into open space take advantage of the area around them.


Another demo adds virtual artwork to a blank wall, a concept that could potentially be used in an art gallery or museum where art is invisible without a smartphone.


Vertical plane detection is used in the video below to show a realistic-looking virtual cockatoo coming through a window and landing on a windowsill.


In addition to mapping oddly shaped spaces and recognizing vertical surfaces, ARKit 1.5 also includes image detection features that work on everything from movie posters to barcodes, as demoed below. In the future, you might be able to scan a barcode with ARKit to get a virtual popup of nutritional information, calories, and more.


Image detection could be useful in settings like art galleries and museums, where visitors could use it to scan paintings and exhibits to receive more information, as shown off in the video below.


Though not visible in the demo videos shared by developers, ARKit 1.5 also introduces a higher camera resolution, so passthrough video is 1080p rather than 720p, and there's also support for autofocus capabilities, another feature that will improve the augmented reality experience on iOS devices.

Recent data has suggested that the ARKit framework has seen only modest adoption from developers and stagnating growth since its debut in iOS 11, but improvements like ARKit 1.5 may change that in the future. Augmented reality on iOS devices is still in its infancy and it will take time for developers and users to discover the best real-world use cases for the technology.

Apps using ARKit 1.5 will be available starting this spring when iOS 11.3 is released to the public.


Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: ARKit

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AppleCare+ for Mac Now Available in Australia and New Zealand

AppleCare+ for Mac, previously limited to the United States and Japan, is available to purchase in Australia and New Zealand starting today.


AppleCare+ extends a Mac's in-warranty hardware coverage to up to three years from its original purchase date, and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of AU$149 or NZ$169 for screen or external enclosure damage, or AU$429 or NZ$499 for any other damage.

AppleCare+ for Mac also includes 24/7 priority access to software support by chat or phone. It replaces the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac, which was essentially the same as AppleCare+, but didn't include accidental damage coverage like Apple has long offered for devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

The plan itself also has an upfront cost, which varies based on the type of Mac:

Australia
  • Mac mini: $119
  • iMac and iMac Pro: $199
  • 12-inch MacBook: $299
  • MacBook Air: $299
  • Mac Pro: $299
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro: $329
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro: $449
New Zealand
  • Mac mini: $149
  • iMac and iMac Pro: $249
  • 12-inch MacBook: $349
  • MacBook Air: $349
  • Mac Pro: $349
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro: $379
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro: $539
AppleCare+ for Mac benefits are in addition to any legal rights provided by consumer law in Australia and New Zealand.

Apple offers warranty coverage on most Mac parts for up to 24 months after its limited one-year warranty period, under consumer law in each country, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors last month.

AppleCare+ can be purchased alongside a new Mac on Apple's website in Australia and New Zealand, at Apple retail stores in Australia, and at select Apple Authorized Resellers or Service Providers. It can also be added within 60 days of a Mac's purchase date, pending an inspection or diagnostic test.

Customers with a Mac purchased between December 1, 2017 and January 30, 2018 must contact Apple Support to purchase AppleCare+ for Mac, according to an internal memo distributed by Apple today and obtained by MacRumors.


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