Apple Begins Selling Updated Rotor Riot Game Controller With Redesigned D-Pad and Pass-Through Charging

Apple today began selling an updated version of the Rotor Riot wired game controller for iPhone and iPad through its online store. The new model features a redesigned directional pad, a built-in Lightning port for pass-through charging of iOS devices, and an improved device holder with a "zero gravity" effect.


Rotor Riot is the only Apple-certified controller that has clickable L3 and R3 thumbsticks, and it uses a wired connection for zero latency. The device holder is removable, allowing the controller to be used on a standalone basis.

The controller is available for $49.95 from Apple.com as well as Amazon and Best Buy and requires a device running iOS 7 or later.

This is just one of many accessories that Apple has added to its online store over the past few days, alongside new iPhone-connected blood pressure monitors from Withings, the Smart Panda educational playset, new charging accessories from Mophie, Belkin, and Anker, the Netgear Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system, and more.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and Best Buy.


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Trade-In Survey Claims iPhone Loyalty Down to 8-Year Low

iPhone loyalty has hit its lowest level since 2011 and Samsung has been the main benefactor, claims a new survey conducted by trade-in service BankMyCell.

The survey, cited by CNET, tracked 38,000 people who had traded in iPhones since October 2018 and found that 73 percent upgraded to a later model. The finding suggests iPhone retention rate is down 15.2 percent when compared with data from March 2018.

The survey suggests that 26 percent of people trading in their iPhone X moved to another brand of smartphone, whereas just 7.7 percent of Samsung users switched to an iPhone.

Using data from other companies to supplement its own findings, BankMyCell said iPhone loyalty is at its lowest since 2011, while the all-time high for iPhone retention was 92 percent in 2017, according to the survey.

That shouldn't distract from this survey's small sample size, which consists entirely of people who have used BankMyCell's own online gadget buyback and trade-in service. Claiming that its data reflects overall iPhone retention rates is therefore questionable.

BankMyCell's data also contrasts with a January 2019 CIRP survey which found that 91 percent of iOS users upgraded to another iPhone. On releasing its report, CIRP additionally said that loyalty for both iOS and Android has steadily increased, reaching the highest levels last quarter that it has ever measured.


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‘Sky: Children of the Light’ Now Available on iPhone and iPad

Sky: Children of the Light, by Journey developer thatgamecompany, is now available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Its release follows last year's launch of the beta version of the game, titled Sky: Light Awaits.


The title was first unveiled on stage in 2017 during Apple's headline iPhone X event. Originally it was billed as an Apple TV-only game that would support single-finger play using the Siri Remote, but the developers have since focused on getting the game out for iPhone and iPad users first.

According to the Sky website, the game's "coming soon" to Android, Mac, Apple TV, PC, and consoles. Sky was originally supposed to come out for iOS on July 11 but last-minute issues caused a weeklong delay.


Sky: Children of the Light is free to download on the App Store [direct link], and offers a variety of in-app purchases starting at $0.99.


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Plex Gains HDR Support on Apple TV, Face ID/Touch ID Support on iOS

Plex today announced a few updates for its Apple TV and iOS apps, adding notable new features that are worth highlighting.

The Apple TV app now supports HDR video playback, and Plex Pass subscribers can get early access to HDR through the Settings > Advanced section of the app.


According to Plex, HDR support provides sharper video output, better performance, and improved subtitle support.

On iOS devices, the Plex update allows users to log in with either Face ID or Touch ID as an alternative to requiring a passcode for a locked Plex library.

Plex has added new TIDAL features as well, allowing Plex iOS and web app users to listen to 30 second clips from the TIDAL library for the purpose of searching for and sampling songs even without a TIDAL account. Artist TV, a feature for subscribers, is now also available on the web, Smart VS, the PS4, and the Plex Media Player.

Plex for iOS and Apple TV can be downloaded from the App Store for free. A Plex Pass is priced at $5 per month and unlocks extra features including HDR. [Direct Link]


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Apple Renews ‘Carpool Karaoke’ for a Third Season

Apple is renewing its "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" show for a third season, Apple announced on YouTube today via James Corden's YouTube channel. The new season is already in production and will feature an episode with the cast of hit Netflix show "Stranger Things."

First launched in 2017, "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" is based on the "Carpool Karaoke" segment made popular by late night talk show host James Corden.


Apple's version of the show pairs up celebrities, musicians, athletes, and more, putting them in a car together to sing popular songs.

Last season featured pairings like Jason Sudeikis and the Muppets, Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg, Weird Al paired and Andy Samberg, Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, and more.

While "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" was initially developed as a way to promote Apple Music, Apple has been making the episodes available for free through the TV app. Previously, it was limited to Apple Music subscribers.

The second season of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" began airing in October 2018, so third season episodes could come this fall.


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Apple Highlights Upcoming 2019 Emoji in Celebration of World Emoji Day

In celebration of World Emoji Day tomorrow, Apple has shared details on new emoji that are coming to iOS devices this fall following the Unicode 12 emoji release.

Unicode 12 brings 59 new emoji characters, 75 with gender variations, and 230 total emojis when gender variations and different skin tones are counted.



Orangutan, sloth, otter, skunk, and flamingo are the new animals included in the update, while new food items include garlic, onion, waffle, falafel, butter, oyster, beverage box, maté, and ice cube.

New faces, gestures, and poses include yawning face, pinching hand, person kneeling, person standing, and new people holding hands options that are both gender and skin tone inclusive.

To celebrate World Emoji Day, Apple is previewing a selection of new emoji coming this fall, revealing the newest designs that bring even more diversity to the keyboard, alongside fun and exciting additions to popular categories of food, animals, activities and smiley faces.

In a major update to the Holding Hands emoji typically used to represent couples and relationships, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone, in addition to gender, to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.

Several new accessibility-related emojis are included, such as ear with hearing aid, deaf person, mechanical arm/leg, person with cane, person in wheelchair, guide dog, wheelchair (manual and motorized), and probing cane.

Following Apple’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium last year to introduce more disability-themed emoji, a new guide dog, an ear with a hearing aid, wheelchairs, a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg will be available in the emoji keyboard. Celebrating diversity in all its many forms is integral to Apple’s values and these new options help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard.

Other miscellaneous emoji include Hindu Temple, auto rickshaw, parachute, ringed planet, diving mask, yo-yo, kite, safety vest, sari, one-piece swimsuit, briefs, shorts, ballet shoes, banjo, diya lamp, axe, drop of blood, bandage, stethoscope, chair, razor, white heart, and circles and squares in various new colors.



A full list of the emoji included in Unicode 12 are listed on the Emojipedia site.

Last year, Apple released new emoji in an iOS 12.1 update released in October, and the launch of new 2019 emoji could follow a similar timeline. New emoji won’t be included in iOS 13 at launch, but could come in one of the first major updates to the new operating system.

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Apple’s Rainbow Logo May Return to Some New Products as Early as This Year

Apple may be planning to reintroduce its classic rainbow logo on some of its new products as early as this year, according to a well-connected MacRumors tipster, who in turn cites a corporate Apple employee in Cupertino.

MacRumors concept

We don't know which products might be involved, but the Mac would be a good candidate, as the multicolored Apple logo was used on the original Macintosh in 1984 and on many other Apple computers before and after it. iPhones and iPads could also be suitable — perhaps special editions along the lines of (PRODUCT)RED.

To be clear, this rumor could very well be untrue. We have elected to share it since it comes from a tipster who has longstanding connections to both Apple and related industries, but no other sources have shared similar information that we know of. And, even if true, the plans could certainly change.

MacRumors concept

Apple's rainbow or "six-color" logo made its debut on the Apple II computer in 1977 and was widely used until 1998, when it began to be phased out in favor of a monochrome Apple logo similar to the one used today.

Despite not officially using its rainbow logo in over 20 years, Apple has continued to embrace its colors over the years.

Apple Park was recently decorated with the colors of the rainbow logo in celebration of the formal opening of Apple's new headquarters, and as a tribute to Steve Jobs. The colors were splashed on stairs, walkways, coffee cups, and even a stage with a rainbow arch used for an employee-only Lady Gaga performance.



Apple's departing design chief Jony Ive recently reflected on the rainbow's significance:
There is the resonance with the rainbow logo that's been part of our identity for many years. The rainbow is also a positive and joyful expression of some of our inclusion values and I think that one of the primary reasons the idea resonated so immediately and so profoundly with us was the form -- the connection from an aesthetic design point of view. A semi-circle relates so beautifully and naturally to the form of the ring.
Again, we do not know if this rumor is true, but our tipster is reputable enough in our opinion for us to at least share what we have heard.


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Apple Store Website Goes Down [Update: Back Up]

Apple's Apple Store online site is currently down when attempting to make a purchase of an Apple device or accessory, but it's not quite clear why the site is unavailable.

Sometimes the Apple online store goes down due to an imminent product refresh, but at other times, the store becomes unavailable for routine maintenance purposes.


Apple last week introduced refreshed MacBook Air models and a new 13-inch entry-level MacBook Pro to coincide with this year's Back to School promotion, but there's no word on whether another new product is on the horizon.

Apple could potentially be planning an iPad refresh as five new iPad models recently popped up in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, which could be a new 7th-generation low-cost iPad, but it's not known when that device is set to launch. It may not be coming until later this year, and this could potentially be a situation where Apple is doing site maintenance.

We'll update this post with more info when the store comes back up.

Update: The Apple Store website is back up and there doesn't appear to be anything immediately new, suggesting this was a maintenance update.


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JP Morgan Analyst Expects up to Four New iPhone Models in 2020

JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee expects Apple to reignite its growth next year with the launch of four new iPhones featuring key selling points like OLED displays, 5G modem support, and new rearward-facing 3D sensing AR/VR capabilities.


As quoted by CNBC, JP Morgan's Monday report says it expects Apple to release three top-of-the-line OLED 5G iPhones in 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch sizes, two of which will feature advanced rear camera 3D sensing tech. In addition, analysts expect a fourth lower-cost model to be launched that's the same size as the iPhone 8 but without a 5G modem or OLED display.
"Our positive volume outlook for 2020 is driven by our current expectation for the launch of four iPhone models ... and more significant spec upgrades," Samik Chatterjee, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, wrote in the report.

[...]

"Our expectations include all three Sep-2020 iPhones (5.4"/6.1"/6.7" screen sizes) will adopt OLED displays and 5G baseband modems (with support for mmWave frequencies), and at least two of the three models adopting world facing 3D Sensing (Time of Flight) driving industry leading AR/VR capabilities which can be leveraged by custom built applications (including games)."
Apple's current iPhones have TrueDepth 3D-sensing cameras on the front, but the expectation is clearly that some of the 2020 iPhones will be equipped with similar cameras on the back. The report also says that Apple's lower-cost iPhone model will be aimed at "a much more 'value' category than it has been used to with its recent launches."

Some of the details in the report line up with previous predictions, notably from respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo has said Apple plans to release three new iPhones in the second half of 2020, including high-end 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models with OLED displays and a lower-end 6.1-inch model, which he believes will also have an OLED display.

According to Kuo, the 5.4 and 6.7-inch iPhone options will support 5G speeds, while the lower-end 6.1-inch iPhone in 2020 will continue to work with LTE.

Bloomberg reported in January that Apple isplanning to add a laser-powered time-of-flight 3D rear camera that will result in significant improvements to AR experiences to its 2020 iPhones.

The camera is said to be able to scan areas up to 15 feet from the device. Apple's front-facing TrueDepth camera uses 3D technology but because it's infrared and not laser-powered, it only works at distances of 25 to 50 centimeters.

JP Morgan's Chatterjee says he expects the fresh line-up will help Apple sell 195 million iPhones in 2020, up from an estimated 180 million in 2019. Later this year, Apple is expected to release three new iPhones with triple-lens rear cameras, but without 5G connectivity.


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Moment Pro Camera App Gains Slow Shutter for Long Exposure Shots

Popular photography app Pro Camera from Moment is getting a major new feature today that's going to make it easier to capture long exposure shots.

The new Slow Shutter shooting mode provides manual long exposure controls for blurring parts of images, such as rushing water or cars driving by on a road. It can also be used to create an image without people, if, for example, you're taking a photo in an area that's often crowded but where people pass by frequently.


There's a simple interface that's designed to let you select the motion and the time, and there are options for motion blur or light trails. You can select a pre-determined time or use the Bulb setting to leave the shutter open as long as desired.

The Slow Shutter feature takes images in the background and then blends them together, and all photos are saved as Live Photos so you can use them as photos or short videos.


Moment is the company behind the popular Moment lenses that attach to an iPhone. The app is designed to be used with the Moment lenses, but it also works without them, serving as a standalone photography app with manual controls.

To celebrate the launch of the new feature, Moment is providing anyone who downloads the app with a 15 percent off code to be used in the Moment store.

Moment Pro Camera can be downloaded from the App Store for $5.99. [Direct Link]


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