New ‘Pixelmator Pro’ Photo Editing App Launching November 29 for $59

Earlier this year, the team behind the popular Pixelmator photo editing app for iOS and Mac announced plans to unveil a new pro-level Mac app, Pixelmator Pro.

At the time the app was announced in September, the Pixelmator team had not provided a release date, but today announced that the new software will be coming on November 29.


Pixelmator Pro features a reimagined editing workflow with simplified editing tools and intelligent image editing features powered by machine learning. It uses a single-window interface and has been built from the ground up for the Mac.

The software uses the new Core ML framework built into macOS High Sierra to power a range of features like automatic horizon detection, a faster and smarter quick selection tool, and an improved repair tool for effortlessly removing objects from photos.

Nondestructive color adjustment tools are available for editing the colors in photos, and there are tools for easily resizing and rearranging layers, plus there's an entirely new painting engine and dynamic paint blending technology powered by Metal 2.

When it launches on November 29, Pixelmator Pro will be priced at $59, a special introductory price. The Pixelmator team plans to raise the price eventually as new updates and features are added, with the intended price for the software set at $99. As with the current Pixelmator app, Pixelmator Pro will be a one-time purchase and updates will be provided to customers for free.


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Fix for iOS Autocorrect Bug Reportedly Arrived in Latest Developer Beta, Coming to Public Beta This Week

For well over a week, many iOS 11 users have been noting a strange autocorrect bug plaguing their devices, which autocorrects the letter "i" to the uppercase letter "A" and a question mark symbol. Apple has issued a support document to help anyone facing the problem figure out a temporary workaround, but The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the bug has been fixed in the second iOS 11.2 developer beta released yesterday.

A few MacRumors forum members also mentioned a fix appearing in the second developer beta of iOS 11.2, although none seem to have yet confirmed the fix is implemented, likely because they never faced the bug in the first place. In The Wall Street Journal's report, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that an update fixing the problem "will be included in this week's public and developer beta releases."


A window for the non-beta fix wasn't given by Apple, but the company said the wide release rollout will follow, which was expected. At this point, it's unclear whether Apple will introduce the autocorrect bug fix in a quick update, or wait and launch it in iOS 11.2. It's been one week since iOS 11.1 launched, so 11.2 will probably not drop until later in November.
Nevertheless, Apple said it would patch the problem in an iOS update. “A fix will be released very soon,” an Apple spokeswoman said. It will be included in this week’s public and developer beta releases, with wide rollout to follow.
Although Apple originally stated that the bug was related to iOS 11.1, Apple confirmed that it "could also appear in earlier versions of iOS 11." Both The Wall Street Journal and multiple MacRumors forum members mentioned seeing the issue surface on devices running iOS 11.0.3.

If you are having trouble with the bug, Apple's temporary solution is to set up a Text Replacement for the letter "i" by visiting the Settings app > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement. After tapping the plus button to add a new replacement, in the Phrase field type an uppercase "I", and in Shortcut type a lowercase "i".

You can also toggle "Predictive" off completely in the Keyboard section of Settings, although that would greatly hinder the keyboard usability for many users. Third-party keyboard apps like Gboard are also available to type on without having to worry about the autocorrect bug.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Apple Glasses Rumors Resurface as iPhone Supplier Tapped to Make Parts for Augmented Reality Product

Catcher Technology, a Taiwanese company that manufacturers metal casings for Apple products like iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, will make parts for an augmented reality product, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Apple Glasses concept via Gadgets Arena

Catcher chairman Allen Horng reportedly said augmented reality products "need to look good" and "be light enough to wear."
"Based on what we have learned, [new AR products] need to look good and be light enough to wear ... that makes the casings for such device very complicated to manufacture and there are still a lot of challenges to overcome currently," Catcher Chairman Allen Horng told analysts and reporters in an earnings conference on Tuesday.
Horng would not disclose which company was behind the augmented reality product, but given the comments and Catcher's relationship with Apple, the report has reignited speculation about so-called Apple Glasses.

Apple is reportedly exploring digital glasses that would connect wirelessly to iPhones and "show images and other information in the wearer's field of vision." The company supposedly has prototyped "several different kinds" of wearable augmented reality products, but a launch is still far away.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has repeatedly expressed a "profound interest" in augmented reality, recently said "the technology itself doesn't exist" to make the glasses "in a quality way." He said there are "huge challenges" with "the display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face."

Jeff Pu, an analyst at Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, believes Apple's glasses will go on sale as soon as the end of 2019. Earlier reports mentioned 2018 as a possible timeframe, but that sounds increasingly unlikely.

Today's report marks the second time Catcher Technology has surfaced in the Apple rumor mill this week. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Monday said the company will supply Apple with "more complex" metal frames for iPhones launching in 2018 for the purpose of improving cellular signal and data transmission.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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AT&T Confirms iPhone X Demand ‘Has Been Strong’ Following ‘Highly-Anticipated’ Launch

AT&T chief John Donovan has confirmed that demand for the iPhone X has been "strong" following the device's "highly-anticipated" launch in the United States and over 50 other countries just four days ago.


"All the signs are that customers love it. It's probably the most highly-anticipated version… and demand has been strong. So we're pleased," Donovan said at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal, per CNBC.

Apple no longer provides first weekend sales numbers for iPhone launches, and it doesn't reveal iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis in its quarterly earnings results, but it did say pre-order demand was "off the charts."
We are thrilled to be taking orders for iPhone X, the future of the smartphone. We can see from the initial response, customer demand is off the charts. We're working hard to get this revolutionary new product into the hands of every customer who wants one, as quickly as possible.
Apple's guidance for the current quarter is between $84 billion and $87 billion, which would easily be an all-time record even at the lower end of that range, suggesting that iPhone X sales are and will remain very strong.

Localytics, a mobile engagement platform used by more than 37,000 apps, said iPhone X adoption outpaced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus adoption over the first three days of availability following each device's respective launches.

iPhone X online orders placed today are estimated to ship in 3-4 weeks around the world. The device is also available to purchase in stores, but inventory is extremely limited right now, especially outside of the United States.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tag: AT&T
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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iPhone X Launches in 13 More Countries on November 24

Apple today announced that the iPhone X will be available to customers in Albania, Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey beginning Friday, November 24.


Apple also said the iPhone X will be available to customers in Israel beginning Thursday, November 23, one day earlier.

In all of the countries and territories, the iPhone X will be sold by authorized third-party resellers and carriers. Apple also operates two retail stores in Turkey, at Zorlu Center and Akasya Acıbadem, and one in Macau at Galaxy Macau.

iPhone X will also be available through Apple's online store in some of the countries, with prices varying based on local currencies.

Malaysia — starting at RM 5,149
South Korea — starting at ₩1,420,000
Thailand — starting at ฿40,500
Turkey — starting at 6.099 TL

Given that online orders are estimated to ship in 3-4 weeks in countries where the iPhone X has already launched, coupled with limited in-store availability, supplies will likely be low in the second wave of launch countries as well.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple Opening New Store at Domain Northside in Austin This Weekend

Apple today announced it will be opening a new store at Domain Northside in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 11 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Apple's current store at The Domain shopping center in Austin, Texas

Apple's nearby store at The Domain should permanently close after business hours on Friday, over 10 years after it originally opened in March 2007. Most employees will presumably transition to the new store.

Domain Northside is a new shopping and dining district of The Domain, an upscale outdoor shopping center in northern Austin. The first of more than 70 stores and restaurants at Domain Northside opened in 2016.


The new store will feature Apple's latest retail design, which typically includes large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

All of Apple's stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the updated aesthetic. Apple has also renovated or relocated nearly 50 existing stores around the world as part of the modernization of its retail chain.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Walmart Pay ‘Close to Surpassing’ Apple Pay in U.S. Mobile Payments Usage

Walmart announced "Walmart Pay" in December of 2015, bundling its mobile payment solution directly into the Walmart app for iOS and Android devices and entering the market one year after Apple's own Apple Pay launched in 2014. Now available nationwide in 4,774 Walmart stores, Walmart Pay is "close to surpassing" Apple Pay in terms of mobile payments usage in the United States (via Bloomberg).

According to Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services and digital acceleration, Walmart Pay is enrolling "tens of thousands of new users a day," and has seen a steady growth over the past few months. Two-thirds of those who try it use it again within twenty-one days. These statistics give Eckert confidence that Walmart Pay will soon beat Apple Pay in the U.S., "in terms of use by shoppers in stores where they're accepted."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s app is close to surpassing Apple Pay in usage for mobile payments in the U.S., giving the world’s largest retailer even more clout as a growing number of people shop with their smartphones.

“If daily enrollments don’t slow down, I think that’s pretty well in the cards shortly,” said Eckert, senior vice president for services and digital acceleration. “I would have to imagine we are getting pretty close.”
Market researcher Richard Crone predicted that Walmart Pay will grow bigger than Apple Pay in active U.S. users (who use the mobile wallets for at least two transactions per month) by the end of 2018. Walmart and Apple reportedly held discussions in early 2016 that centered upon incorporating Apple Pay into the Walmart iOS app, but fell through because of the "difficulty of blending the technology underpinning each company's approach."

Walmart is said to have begun gaining ground on Apple earlier in 2017, when 5.1 percent of Walmart shoppers said they used Walmart Pay this past June, just below the 5.5 percent of iPhone users who said the same at locations that accept Apple Pay. In terms of other competitors, Walmart Pay's adoption rate is "higher than Samsung Pay and Android Pay combined." One analyst pointed out this is likely because Walmart owns and controls the mobile wallet software and "can make quick changes."

Chart via Bloomberg
“Apple Pay’s road is much more difficult than Wal-Mart’s is,” Brendan Miller, an analyst at Forrester Research, said in a phone interview. “It means that Wal-Mart can make quicker changes, they can move faster in many respects than Apple Pay.” Forrester’s survey of 58,000 online consumers in the first half of 2017 found that 7 percent of them used Apple Pay in the past three months, while 6 percent used Walmart Pay.
Although the services are similar in their payment goals, there are a few differences between Walmart Pay and Apple Pay. Walmart's mobile wallet presents users with a barcode that has to be scanned to complete a transaction, unlike Apple Pay's NFC tap-based system. Walmart Pay also incorporates all of a user's in-store offers, promotions, rewards, and gift card balances in one place, which Apple Pay is still inconsistent in supporting for many stores.

Despite their close rivalry in the mobile wallet space, Walmart is reportedly "more interested" in directly competing with Amazon than Apple. Over the past year, Amazon has been expanding quickly in the grocery space with its various test projects like Amazon Go and its acquisition of Whole Foods. Walmart said it will continue focusing on expanding the features of Walmart Pay as more competition emerges, and according to Crone the debut of the software has provided a solid launchpad for the company's future: "They flawlessly deployed the system, and it works."

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Google Arts & Culture iOS App Showcases England Heritage Exhibition

Google has teamed up with the English Heritage Trust to give users of its Arts & Culture app a rare opportunity to explore the annals of England's historical, architectural, and cultural heritage.

Spanning 5,000 years of history and taking in archeological artifacts, castles, forts and monuments, the in-depth exhibits celebrate the famous sites and the stories behind them by using the latest digital capture methods and offering users immersive VR experiences to virtually visit the historical locations themselves.

Through more than 30 multimedia exhibits and 10 editorial features on Google Arts & Culture, you can experience online almost 3,000 historic gems from the Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Civil War and Stuart periods through the 21st century and from the perspective of the historians, experts and curators who manage the collections and heritage sites across England. You can explore by time period or, with the help of machine learning tools that recognize color patterns, you can sort through items by color.
Highlights of the vast collection include a zoomable high resolution image of the Elysium Closet in Bolsover Castle in never-before-seen detail, a Google Art Camera capture of "The Battle of Hastings" by Francis William Wilkin – the biggest ever at nine meters across – as well as a Google Museum View of 7th century monastery Whitby Abbey, which was one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's Dracula.


The Google Arts & Culture app is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google

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Xiaomi’s Expansion into Europe Kicks Off With Smartphone Sales Launch in Spain

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is about to make good on stalled plans to expand into Western Europe, beginning with a sale launch in Spain on Wednesday. Xiaomi will initially offer to Spanish consumers its flagship Mi A1 device (229 euros) and its all-screen Mi Mix 2 smartphone (499 euros), pictured below.

In 2014, Xiaomi was briefly the world's most valuable startup in China, but intense competition from local rivals Huawei, Vivo, and Oppo saw its sales stall within two years.


Since that time, however, the company has overtaken Apple to become China's fourth largest mobile vendor by sales and has launched in dozens of other countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine, as part of a $1 billion overseas expansion drive.

The company also has a strong presence in India, where it currently comes second behind Samsung in smartphone sales. However, after past stumbles in more untested markets like Brazil, Xiaomi is now aiming for a more considered expansion across Europe.

"In order to be focused, we want to make Spain successful first," said Wang Xiang, Xiaomi's global sales VP, speaking to The Verge. "And then we can think of other markets and countries. We want to learn from the customers about the taste of European people."

Xiaomi had sold about 10 percent of its smartphones outside China since the middle of last year. However, the company also plans to sell other products in Spain, including internet-connected scooters, air purifiers, and coffee makers.

Tags: Spain, Xiaomi

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Facebook Rolls Out Messenger Instant Payments Service to Users in the UK

Facebook said on Monday that Messenger users in the U.K. will be able to send money to each other through the app as it rolls out its peer-to-peer payments feature in the next few weeks (via BBC).

The Messenger payments service was originally launched in 2015, but hasn't been available to users outside the United States until now. The social network said it has been used in that time to make all sorts of transactions, including to split restaurant bills, pay babysitters, and send cash gifts. Most users send less than $50 (£38), according to the company.


Facebook said it had chosen to bring Messenger payments to the U.K. because it has so many "mobile-savvy consumers". It is collaborating with major banks and credit card firms to launch the feature, which requires both the sender and recipient to register their cards.

Facebook is also introducing M suggestions, a virtual assistant that recognizes when users are discussing payments and suggests the Messenger payments as a quick and easy solution.

The U.K. is already home to a similar bank-run peer-to-peer payments service called Paym, which allows registered users to pay each other using just their phone number.

Paym says four million people have used the service at one time or another over the past three and a half years, amounting to £400 million worth of transactions, but Facebook will hope that it is uniquely positioned to become more widely used, thanks to its large existing Messenger user base.


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