Roundup: AirPower Removed From AirPods Page, iOS 12.2 Arrives Next Week, and More

Apple today unveiled second-generation AirPods with a new H1 chip that enables hands-free Siri and up to an extra hour of talk time, and there are a handful of details worth mentioning surrounding the announcement.

Apple removed this AirPower image from its AirPods page today

Five thoughts:
  • The new AirPods require iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, or macOS 10.14.4 and later, which are all currently in beta testing. With the new AirPods arriving to customers early next week, this means the software updates should be publicly released on or around March 25 event day.
  • Apple removed an image of its AirPower wireless charging mat from its AirPods page today. However, many sources believe the AirPower is coming soon. Apple announced new iPads on Monday, new iMacs on Tuesday, and new AirPods on Wednesday, so it is possible the AirPower could follow on Thursday or Friday, but no reliable rumors have indicated that will be the case.
  • Apple has discontinued the original AirPods. The new lineup includes the second-generation AirPods paired with either a wired charging case for $159 or with a wireless charging case for $199. The wireless case is also sold separately for $79 and is compatible with the original AirPods.
  • According to Mark Gurman, these AirPods were initially planned to go on sale last year. As he has previously reported, Gurman says Apple is working on a subsequent pair of AirPods with noise cancellation and water resistance that were originally planned for release later this year, but he now speculates that they could arrive in 2020.
  • MacRumors received a tip earlier this month claiming that Apple would announce new iPads, iMacs, and iPods on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, and while most of this information proved to be accurate, new AirPods ended up arriving on Wednesday instead of a new iPod touch. Multiple sources still expect a new iPod touch, but announcement timing is unclear.
For more details about the new AirPods, read our earlier coverage of the announcement.

Related Roundups: iOS 12, AirPods 2
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)

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Apple Releases Sixth Developer Beta of iOS 12.2

Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming iOS 12.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fifth beta of iOS 12.2 and two months after the release of iOS 12.1.4.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


iOS 12.2 will see the launch of a new subscription service within Apple News, which Apple is planning to unveil at an upcoming March 25 event. Apple plans to offer unlimited access to magazines and paywalled news services for a single monthly fee, with all of the content available through the News app.

iOS 12.2 expands Apple News to Canada for the first time, with Canadian iPhone and iPad users able to read news stories in English, French, or both. Apple says that during the beta, content will be more limited than it will be when the update is released.


There are four new Animoji included the iOS 12.2 beta, including a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl. Animoji can be used within the Messages and FaceTime apps.


The software introduces initial support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on third-party TVs in light of recent AirPlay 2 announcements, with a new option for limiting TV access joining the speaker access option in the Home app. There's also a redesigned TV remote in Control Center, and when paired with tvOS 12.2, you can ask Siri to play specific TV shows, movies, and music on your HomeKit devices like the Apple TV.


For some AT&T users, there's a new "5G E" icon for the cellular signal, replacing the standard LTE icon. This is a bit misleading of AT&T, because the iPhone does not support 5G, nor is the network AT&T calls 5G E actual 5G. Instead, it's an upgraded version of LTE, with more info available here.

The Wallet app's interface has been streamlined and tweaked because Apple is planning to introduce support for an Apple credit card that will be made available through a partnership with Goldman Sachs. The credit card could have unique features like rewards tracking, access to balance management tools, notifications about spending habits, and options to set spending limits.

The Downtime feature in Screen Time can be customized by day in iOS 12.2, Apple has made minor changes to some icons (including Apple News, AirPlay, and Remote in Control Center), audio messages are now better quality, and there are new Safari features, with a full list of changes introduced throughout the beta testing period available in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.

Apple is improving Safari's privacy in iOS 12.2 through a new Motion & Orientation toggle located under Settings > Safari > Privacy >Security, which is disabled by default. The setting needs to be enabled on to allow websites to display content that relies on motion data from the accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12.2 confirms that Apple is planning to release second-generation AirPods with "Hey Siri" support, thanks to a hidden "Hey Siri" AirPods setup screen in the beta. The inclusion of the AirPods setup option in the beta indicates that Apple could perhaps be planning to release new AirPods when iOS 12.2 is released. There have also been hints of additional work on AirPower, suggesting that product is still coming.

Apple plans to introduce the Apple News service at an event that will take place on March 25, and it's likely the company plans to release iOS 12.2 shortly afterwards to provide iOS users with access to the new subscription options.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Apple Improves Audio Messages Quality in iOS 12.2

In the iOS 12.2 beta, Apple has improved the quality of the audio messages sent in the Messages app after switching to a new Opus codec at 24000 Hz, up from the previously used AMR codec at 8000 Hz.

Details on the improvement in audio quality were shared on Twitter this morning, and we confirmed the change on our own devices. Apple previously used the .AMR file format for its audio messages, but in the beta, has swapped over to .CAF.

New audio file in iOS 12.2, old audio file in iOS 12.1.4

On iOS devices running iOS 12.2 or macOS 10.14.4, .CAF files sound much crisper, clearer, and louder, marking a significant improvement over the previous audio quality.

Right now, to hear the improved audio quality, audio messages need to be sent from a device running iOS 12.2 to a device running iOS 12.2 (or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14.4). An audio message sent to a device running iOS 12.1.4 uses the original .AMR file format and not the improved .CAF file format. The Twitter user who first shared the news has a comparison on Twitter:


The new 24000 Hz Opus codec appears to result in larger file sizes, but that shouldn't be much of an issue as Messages defaults to deleting audio content after just a few minutes.

All iOS users can expect to see significant improvements in audio message quality in the Messages app upon updating to iOS 12.2. We're expecting to see iOS 12.2 released shortly after Apple's March 25 event, as it will also allow Apple to enable the new Apple News subscription service that's set to be introduced.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Apple Releases Fifth Developer Beta of iOS 12.2

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming iOS 12.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fourth beta of iOS 12.2 and more than a month after the release of iOS 12.1.4.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


iOS 12.2 expands Apple News to Canada for the first time, with Canadian iPhone and iPad users able to read news stories in English, French, or both. Apple says that during the beta, content will be more limited than it will be when the update is released.


There are four new Animoji included the iOS 12.2 beta, including a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl. Animoji can be used within the Messages and FaceTime apps.


The software introduces support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on third-party TVs in light of recent AirPlay 2 announcements, with a new option for limiting TV access joining the speaker access option in the Home app. There's also a redesigned TV remote in Control Center, and when paired with tvOS 12.2, you can ask Siri to play specific TV shows, movies, and music on your HomeKit devices like the Apple TV.


For some AT&T users, there's a new "5G E" icon for the cellular signal, replacing the standard LTE icon. This is a bit misleading of AT&T, because the iPhone does not support 5G, nor is the network AT&T calls 5G E actual 5G. Instead, it's an upgraded version of LTE, with more info available here.

The Wallet app's interface has been streamlined and tweaked, there's a new interface for Apple Pay Cash, and the Downtime feature in Screen Time now allows you to customize by day. Apple has also made minor changes to some icons (including Apple News, AirPlay, and Remote in Control Center) and has introduced new Safari features, with a full list of changes introduced throughout the beta testing period available in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.


Apple is improving Safari's privacy in iOS 12.2 through a new Motion & Orientation toggle located under Settings > Safari > Privacy >Security, which is disabled by default. The setting needs to be enabled on to allow websites to display content that relies on motion data from the accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12.2 confirms that Apple is planning to release second-generation AirPods with "Hey Siri" support, thanks to a hidden "Hey Siri" AirPods setup screen in the beta. The inclusion of the AirPods setup option in the beta indicates that Apple could perhaps be planning to release new AirPods when iOS 12.2 is released.

The update also features hints of an upcoming Apple News subscription service, which could see a Texture-like magazine service added to Apple News. The Apple News subscription service is expected to be introduced at an upcoming March 25 event, and we could see iOS 12.2 released shortly afterwards.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Apple Releases Fourth Developer Beta of iOS 12.2

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 12.2 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the third beta of iOS 12.2 and a month after the release of iOS 12.1.4.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


iOS 12.2 expands Apple News to Canada for the first time, with Canadian iPhone and iPad users able to read news stories in English, French, or both. Apple says that during the beta, content will be more limited than it will be when the update is released.


There are four new Animoji included the iOS 12.2 beta, including a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl. Animoji can be used within the Messages and FaceTime apps.


The software introduces support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on third-party TVs in light of recent AirPlay 2 announcements, with a new option for limiting TV access joining the speaker access option in the Home app. There's also a redesigned TV remote in Control Center, and when paired with tvOS 12.2, you can ask Siri to play specific TV shows, movies, and music on your HomeKit devices like the Apple TV.


For some AT&T users, there's a new "5G E" icon for the cellular signal, replacing the standard LTE icon. This is a bit misleading of AT&T, because the iPhone does not support 5G, nor is the network AT&T calls 5G E actual 5G. Instead, it's an upgraded version of LTE, with more info available here.

The Wallet app's interface has been streamlined and tweaked, there's a new interface for Apple Pay Cash, and the Downtime feature in Screen Time now allows you to customize by day. Apple has also made minor changes to some icons, including the AirPlay icon, and introduced new Safari features, with a full list available in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.


Apple is improving Safari's privacy in iOS 12.2 through a new Motion & Orientation toggle located under Settings > Safari > Privacy > Security, which is disabled by default. The setting needs to be enabled on to allow websites to display content that relies on motion data from the accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12.2 confirms that Apple is planning to release second-generation AirPods with "Hey Siri" support, thanks to a hidden "Hey Siri" AirPods setup screen in the beta. The inclusion of the AirPods setup option in the beta indicates that Apple could perhaps be planning to release new AirPods when iOS 12.2 is released.

The update also features hints of an upcoming Apple News subscription service, which could see a Texture-like magazine service added to Apple News.

The iOS 12.2 is likely to see several rounds of beta testing before it launches to the public.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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iOS 12 Now Installed on 83% of All Devices From the Last Four Years

Four and a half months after launch, the iOS 12 operating system is installed on 83 percent of devices released in the last four years, according to updated iOS 12 installation statistics shared on the App Store support page for developers.

Since the launch of iOS 12, Apple has been presenting its data in two ways, offering up installation rates on both recent devices and older devices.


While 83 percent of devices from the last four years are running iOS 12, 80 percent of total active iOS devices have the update installed. 12 percent of devices continue to use iOS 11, while five percent of devices from the last four years run an earlier version of iOS.

At the beginning of January, iOS 12 was installed on 78 percent of devices, so adoption rates have grown five percent over the course of the last several weeks.

Apple has released iOS 12.1.3 and iOS 12.1.4 since the beginning of January, along with the iOS 12.2 beta. iOS 12.1.3 and iOS 12.1.4 were bug fix updates while iOS 12.2, which is also available to public beta, expands Apple News, brings new AirPlay 2 features for TVs, introduces new Animoji, and more.

People have been adopting iOS 12 faster than iOS 11. In April 2018, iOS 11 was still only installed on 76 percent of devices, perhaps because of the myriad bugs that plagued the iOS 11 operating system over its lifetime.

Though just released in September, focus on iOS 12 will be shifting to iOS 13 in a matter of months. Apple will preview iOS 13 at its Worldwide Developers Conference, and the new update is rumored to feature some promising changes such as a long-awaited dark mode and important interface updates for the iPad.

Related Roundups: iOS 12, iOS 13

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Apple Will Soon Let Developers Entice Past Subscribers With Discounted iOS, macOS, and tvOS Subscriptions

In an article posted to App Store Connect, Apple has detailed how iOS, macOS, and tvOS app developers will soon be able to offer discounted subscriptions to past subscribers in an attempt to win those customers back.


As with introductory offers for new subscribers, there will be three categories of promotional offers for previous subscribers:
Free
Customers access your subscription for free for a specific duration — for example, a 30-day trial for a subscription with a standard renewal price of $4.99 per month.

Pay As You Go
Customers pay a promotional price for each billing period for a selected duration — for example, $1.99 per month for three months for a subscription with a standard renewal price of $9.99 per month.

Pay Up Front
Customers pay a one-time promotional price for a specific duration — for example, $9.99 for the first six months of a subscription with a standard renewal price of $39.99 per year.
Developers will be able to offer up to 10 different promotions at once to test the waters.

The promotional offers will also be available to existing subscribers, allowing developers to both retain and win back subscribers. A customer who has yet to subscribe to an app will not have access to the promotional offers, but may be presented with an introductory offer if the developer offers one.

Using receipt validation, developers will be able to identify subscribers who have turned off auto-renewal so that they can act quickly with a promotional offer in an attempt to win them back before the end of their current subscription period.

Once the promotional period ends, the subscription auto-renews at the standard price, according to Apple.

Promotional offers for previous and existing subscribers will be available in iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 and later. Developers can get ready now by creating offers in App Store Connect and by downloading the Xcode 10.2 beta and implementing the new StoreKit APIs into their apps.

Apple first announced this change in its iOS 12.2 beta release notes. More information is available on the Apple Developer website.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12, macOS Mojave, iOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Third Public Beta of iOS 12.2 Coming Today

Apple today plans to release the third beta of an upcoming iOS 12.2 update to its public beta testing group, one day after seeding the third beta to developers and two weeks after releasing the second public beta.

Beta testers who have joined Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 12.2 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device. The update will become available right around 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time or 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


Those who want to download the new beta can do so after signing up for the beta program, which gives access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

The iOS 12.2 update expands Apple News to Canada for the first time, with Canadian iPhone and iPad users able to access news stories in English, French, or both. It introduces infrastructure for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on third-party TVs, a feature announced in early January.

The TV remote feature in Control Center has been redesigned to take up the full display of an iPhone (with further tweaks introduced in the third beta), and there are tweaks to the Wallet app with a refined interface and a new look for Apple Pay Cash. Changes have been made to Safari with warnings about unsecured websites and new search arrows, and there's now a setting to set Downtime for apps on a day by day basis.


Apple is improving Safari's privacy in iOS 12.2 through a new Motion & Orientation toggle located under Settings --> Safari --> Privacy & Security, which is disabled by default. The setting needs to be enabled on to allow websites to display content that relies on motion data from the accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone and iPad.


There are new Animoji in the second iOS 12.2 beta, including a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl. Animoji can be used within the Messages and FaceTime apps. For some AT&T users, there's a new "5G E" icon for the cellular signal, replacing the standard LTE icon. This is a bit misleading of AT&T, because the iPhone does not support 5G, nor is the network AT&T calls 5G E actual 5G. Instead, it's an upgraded version of LTE, with more info available here.


The third beta revamps the Remote in Control Center with a darker interface, changes the logo of Apple News, tweaks the About screen, and includes a new feature that will offer Today at Apple session suggestions via Siri. It also fixes the Group FaceTime bug and reenables Group FaceTime for beta users, and it fixes that pesky Lock screen bug that replaced battery charge with the date.

For a full list of everything new in the third beta, make sure to check out our iOS 12.2 beta 3 tidbits post. A complete list of all of the new features found in iOS 12.2 so far can be found in our full iOS 12.2 overview.

The iOS 12.2 update will likely see several rounds of beta testing over the course of the next month or so before it launches to the public.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Everything New in iOS 12.2 Beta 3: Apple TV Remote Redesign, Apple News Tweak, Bug Fixes and More

Apple this morning released the third beta of iOS 12.2 to developers, and as with most early betas, the new software introduces refinements and user interface changes for various features.

There are several minor tweaks, such as an update to the Apple News logo, along with more major updates that include a new Apple TV Remote design and multiple important bug fixes. We've outlined everything new in the third beta of iOS 12.2 below.

- Apple TV Remote redesign - The Apple TV Remote has been redesigned again with a darker interface, both in the Remote app itself and in Control Center.


- Lock screen charging fix - The second beta of iOS 12.2 had a pesky bug that caused the iPhone's charge to be displayed on the Lock screen instead of the date. In beta 3, that's been fixed.

- Apple News logo - In the Apple News app, instead of spelling out "Apple News," Apple uses the "" symbol along with the word "News," similar to Apple Pay.


- About screen - The interface for viewing information about your iPhone has been updated and rearranged in a more logical way with info like model number and serial number at the top with carrier information at the bottom.


- Group FaceTime bug fix - The Group FaceTime bug has been addressed in iOS 12.2 and Group FaceTime is now once again available to iOS 12.2 users.

- Developer updates - Alongside iOS 12.2 beta 3, Apple introduced new resources for developers. Siri Shortcuts design resources are available, as are new iOS system design templates, Adobe XD Apple Watch design resources, and an SF Compact Rounded font. Developers are also now able to offer subscription discounts on a broader basis thanks to a new API.

Apple has introduced many other changes over the course of the beta testing period, with most of the updates outlined in our iOS 12.2 tidbits post.

Additional details on iOS 12 can be found in our iOS 12 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Group FaceTime Bug Fix Included in iOS 12.2 Beta 3

The third beta of iOS 12.2, released to developers this morning, includes a fix for the Group FaceTime bug, which also reenables Group FaceTime on devices running the iOS 12.2 beta.

Apple addressed the Group FaceTime bug in the iOS 12.1.4 update released on February 7, but there has been no new iOS 12.2 beta until today, so the Group FaceTime feature has remained unavailable to iOS 12.2 users because the server has been offline.

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The FaceTime bug allowed someone to spy on you without your permission or knowledge. By exploiting the bug, a person could initiate a Group FaceTime call with you and then add themselves to the call again to force a Group FaceTime connection, as demoed in the video below.


When the Group FaceTime connection was forced using this method, the bug caused the person to be able to hear the audio on your end, even if you did not answer the call. In fact, on your end, it would continue to look like the standard incoming FaceTime call interface. In some situations, if you pressed the side button to silence a call, it would even give the person access to your video.

Given the severity of the bug, Apple took its Group FaceTime server offline while preparing the iOS 12.1.4 update. Group FaceTime was reinstated on devices running iOS 12.1.4, but it does not work on iOS 12.2 beta 2 or devices with iOS 12.1.3 or earlier installed.

It should be noted that Group FaceTime is still somewhat broken following the update. In iOS 12.1.4, there is no option to add a person to a one on one Group FaceTime call because the "Add Person" button is grayed out. Group FaceTime calls need to be started with two or more people at the current time.

Other users have been unable to use Group FaceTime at all, and have had trouble adding additional people even during a call with more than one person. Apple is presumably working out these bugs and will have further fixes available in the future.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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