Apple Lists FLAC Audio Playback Support for 4K Apple TV, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X

Apple has quietly included support for playback of FLAC audio files on the 4K Apple TV, iPhone 8, and iPhone X, with compatibility also added retroactively to the iPhone 7 when iOS 11 gets its public release.

Support for the lossless compression codec now appears in the technical specifications on Apple's website for all of the above devices. However, as it stands, Apple's Music app does not currently support the format, so device owners who want to listen to the higher quality audio files will have to use the native Files app or a third-party app specifically made for FLAC playback, such as VLC or Plex.


Apple's support for the FLAC codec doesn't officially extend to the iPhone 6s or iPhone SE, which may be because an A10 processor is a minimum requirement for hardware decoding and Apple is not satisfied with the power consumption tradeoffs of FLAC software decoding.

That said, Apple's latest iPad Pro range should also be capable of FLAC playback thanks to their high performance A10X Fusion chips, yet Apple hasn't updated its iPad Pro tech specs to indicate they will also support the standard.

It's possible that Apple is still testing FLAC support for its range of mobile devices, and may even have plans to offer the lossless compression standard as a download option in iTunes and playback in the Music app further down the line. However, it's worth noting that mobile users would only get the full benefits of FLAC by listening using Lightning-connected wired headphones, since a Bluetooth audio connection doesn't offer enough bandwidth to make the experience worthwhile.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iOS 11, iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Google Chrome Desktop Browser to Introduce Autoplay Blocking Features

Google will follow Apple's lead by adding an autoplay blocking feature to its desktop web browser in an update set to arrive in January, the company announced on Thursday.

One of the most common irritations of web browsing is unexpected media playback, which can eat up data allowance, consume more power, and cause unwanted noise.

When Safari 11 is released as part of macOS High Sierra, Mac users will be able to control media playback settings on a per-site basis, ending the frustration of auto-playing media while browsing.

Starting in Chrome 64, Google's desktop browser will feature a customization option along the same lines. In a post on its Chromium blog, Google said that with the new settings, autoplay will only be allowed if the media on a website doesn't play sound, or if the user has frequently chosen to play media on the site before.
This will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users' wishes when they don't. These changes will also unify desktop and mobile web behavior, making web media development more predictable across platforms and browsers.
Since not all users have the same preferences for autoplaying media, Google said it would add a new user option in Chrome 63 to completely disable audio for individual sites that will persist between browsing sessions.

Based on the available evidence, Chrome's autoplay blocking options won't actually be as granular as Safari's, which will enable users to mute autoplaying media with sound, or block all autoplaying media completely, both for individual sites and globally.

According to Google's roadmap, Chrome's new autoplay policies will be rolled out by January 2018. macOS High Sierra – which includes Safari 11 – gets its public launch on September 25.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
Tag: Chrome

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iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3 Pre-Order Shipping Estimates Begin Slipping

Pre-order supplies of the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are beginning to dwindle, with several new iPhone models now displaying shipping estimates beyond the September 22 launch date.

Space Gray T-Mobile and SIM free models in some capacities, for example, will not ship out for one to two weeks, and those shipping estimates could fall as people continue placing orders. T-Mobile stock in general seems to be selling out faster.


Apple Watch Series 3 supplies appear to have been limited, with some models, like the 38 and 42mm stainless steel watches listing shipping estimates of two to three weeks. Several Sport models have sold out, with the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum with Dark Olive Sport Sport Loop, 42mm Gold Aluminum with Pink Sand Sport, and 38mm Silver Aluminum with Seashell Sport Loop all listing shipping dates a few weeks out.


Apple started accepting pre-orders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, September 15, and shipping estimates for the above mentioned products began slipping within about 20 minutes. Additional products could begin selling out soon, so it's best to place orders right away.

While pre-order supplies of some iPhone 8/8 Plus and Apple Watch Series 3 models are beginning to sell out, it may still be possible to get one of the new iPhones on launch day by visiting an Apple retail location on Friday, September 22. In fact, for some products with higher shipping estimates, in-store pickup is still available for launch day, but that could change quickly.

The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus come in 64 and 256GB configurations with three color options: Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. In the United States, iPhone 8 pricing starts at $699, while iPhone 8 Plus pricing starts at $799. Apple Watch Series 3 pricing starts at $329 for non-LTE models and $399 for LTE models.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4, iPhone 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Don't Buy)

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iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Now Available for Pre-Order

Apple is now accepting pre-orders for the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus through its online storefront and the Apple Store app.

Pre-orders are available in all first wave launch countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands.


All of the major U.S. carriers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, are accepting pre-orders for the new devices. Major online retailers including Best Buy and Target are also accepting pre-orders starting today.

It's not clear if supplies of the two new devices will be constrained, so it's best to place orders as early as possible for launch day delivery. There were some rumors suggesting there could be supply issues, and those issues almost always impact Plus models.

Apple's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus feature the same general design as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but use a True Tone display and new glass bodies to enable a Qi-compatible inductive wireless charging feature. Inside, there are upgraded internals with a new A11 Bionic chip, and improved rear cameras with a new Portrait Lighting feature in the 8 Plus.

Pricing on the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus begins at $699 and $799, respectively. Pricing for iPhone Upgrade Program customers starts at $34.50 for iPhone 8 and $39.50, and Apple today began offering pre-approvals for iPhone Upgrade Program users who want a streamlined ordering experience.

Apple is only offering the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in 64 and 256GB with three colors available: Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.

The earliest pre-orders will be delivered to customers starting on September 22, the official launch date of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K Now Available for Pre-Order

Alongside the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple TV 4K are now available for pre-order from Apple's online storefront and through the Apple Store app.

First wave launch countries for the Apple Watch Series 3 include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands.


The LTE Apple Watch Series 3 models are only available for purchase in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, the UK and the US, as those are the only countries where Apple Watch cellular service is supported at this time.

The new Apple Watch Hermès models are available for pre-order in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the UK and the US, while Apple Watch Nike+ pre-orders are being accepted in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, the UK and the US.

Supplies of the Apple Watch Series 3 could potentially be limited, so customers interested in launch-day delivery should order as soon as possible. In addition to a new LTE option, the Apple Watch Series 3 features a faster processor, a new W2 wireless chip, and better battery life.

The earliest pre-orders placed today for the Apple Watch Series 3 LTE and non-LTE models and the Apple Watch Series 3 Hermès models will deliver on Friday, September 22, while Nike+ models will be available starting on October 5.

As for the new Apple TV 4K, which offers 4K HDR connectivity for the first time, Apple has not provided a specific list of countries where it will be available for pre-order so presumably it will be available in all countries where the fourth-generation Apple TV is sold. Apple TV 4K orders placed today will ship out on Friday, September 22.


Apple Watch Series 3 pricing starts at $329 for the non-LTE model and $399 for the LTE model, with prices going up based on case material, size, and band. Apple TV 4K pricing starts at $179 for the 32GB model.


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4K HDR Content Rolling Out on iTunes Ahead of Apple TV 4K Launch

Ahead of next week's launch of the new Apple TV 4K with HDR support, Apple has begun releasing 4K HDR content on iTunes in the United States and other countries.

4K movies are denoted by a new "4K" and "Dolby Vision" tags visible in the iTunes Store and in the TV app on iOS devices, Macs, and the Apple TV. 4K content is not universally displaying across all devices just yet, but it should be rolling out fully soon.


A limited number of 4K movies are available at the current time, but availability should expand before the new Apple TV launches next week.

Apple's 4K movies are available at the same price as HD movies, and for iTunes customers who have already purchased HD quality content, Apple is upgrading the HD content to 4K at no additional cost.


The Apple TV 4K will be available for pre-order starting tonight at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time or 3:01 a.m. Eastern Time. Orders placed tonight will be delivered next week, on Friday, September 22, the official launch date of the device. Pricing on the 4K Apple TV starts at $179 for 32GB of storage.
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Apple’s Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV Pre-Orders

Apple has taken its online storefront down in order to prepare for the launch of the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus, the Apple TV 4K, and the new Apple Watch Series 3 models. Pre-orders are expected to begin at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time or 3:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, September 15 in the United States.

In other countries, pre-order times will vary. Pre-orders kick off at 5:01 p.m. in Sydney, for example, 3:01 p.m. in China, and 8:01 a.m. in the UK. Apple has confirmed the time for the iPhone 8 and Apple TV 4K launch, and while the company has not listed a pre-order time for the Apple Watch, orders for the wearable device is likely to begin at the same time.



Pre-orders will be available through Apple’s website, the Apple Store app, several carrier sites, and from major retailers like Target and Best Buy.

Apple will accept pre-orders for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in first wave launch countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands.



Customers planning to purchase an iPhone 8, Series 3 Apple Watch, or a 4K Apple TV should order early. There were rumors suggesting that supplies of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus would be constrained alongside the iPhone X, and Plus models in particular are often in short supply. There’s no word on whether supplies of the new Apple Watch might be limited.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 8 is available in 64 and 256GB capacities for $699 and $849 in the United States. The 5.5-inch iPhone 8 is also available in 64 and 256GB capacities for $799 and $949. For customers using Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, pricing starts at $34.50 for iPhone 8 and $39.50 for iPhone 8 Plus.

Pricing on the Apple TV 4K starts at $179 for the 32GB model, and for the Apple Watch Series 3, LTE models start at $399 and non-LTE models start at $329.
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Pinball Game ‘INKS’ Available for Free as Apple’s App of the Week

Each week, Apple chooses an "App of the Week" to highlight in the App Store, making it free to download for seven days. This week's pick is pinball app INKS, which is normally priced at $2.99. INKS was first released in May of 2016 and has never been available for free before. INKS was also a 2016 Apple Design Award winner.

INKS is a modern interpretation of pinball, combining the fun of a pinball game with tactical skill-based challenges and art creation. As you play, the ball sends bursts of ink across the game board, so it's a different experience each time.


The game features more than 100 unique pinball tables to conquer, balanced gameplay, the ability to share high scores and favorite canvases, and, best of all, no in-app purchases. Apple's Editors' Notes:
Pinball meets paintball in this gorgeous Apple Design Award winner from the team behind Lumino City. Inks ditches the stressful not-so-fun parts of pinball, focusing instead on a breathtaking experience that's part puzzle-solving, part artistic explosions of color. We seriously want to frame our best levels--inks is that beautiful.
In a review, our sister site TouchArcade gave INKS four and a half stars and called it a "clever spin on one of the oldest concepts in electronic gaming" with superb level design and visuals.


INKS can be downloaded for free for the next seven days, and after that, a new App of the Week will be chosen. [Direct Link]


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Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone X’s Controversial Notch

Given the iPhone X's design was leaked months before it was unveiled, many people wondered how Apple would choose to approach the notch housing the device's new TrueDepth front camera and facial recognition system.


Now that the iPhone X is official, we know the answer. Apple's new human interface guidelines for the device advise developers to embrace the notch by ensuring the layout of their apps fill the entire screen.
Don't mask or call special attention to key display features. Don't attempt to hide the device's rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Don't use visual adornments like brackets, bezels, shapes, or instructional text to call special attention to these areas either.
In fewer words, Apple doesn't want developers to hide the notch or swipe indicator by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Continue reading "Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone X’s Controversial Notch"

Here’s a Look at Discounted and Upcoming Qi Charging Pads for iPhone 8 and iPhone X

Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, all of which will launch with inductive wireless charging support on Qi-compatible accessories. Since Apple's first-party "AirPower" mat won't be available to buy until 2018, new iPhone owners will be left to sift through the current market of Qi-compatible wireless charging pads, which is pretty large.

For this reason, we've rounded up a few Qi accessories that are currently discounted and that should work with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, most hitting below the $30 range. We've also included a few Qi charging pads that are confirmed iPhone 8/X compatible that accessory makers like Belkin and Mophie announced this week alongside Apple's big unveiling of each smartphone. Since virtually any Qi-supported charging pad should work with the new iPhones, buying decisions will come down to personal preferences of design, size, and color.

Qi Chargers Under $60





Choetech's T511 charging pad comes in blue and black, and includes a battery light indicator on the front side of the device to confirm that the inductive wireless charging connection has been made with the smartphone. The small pad measures at 3.6 inches on all sides, and is one of the most popular and inexpensive Qi pads currently on Amazon. The downside is that it doesn't come with a micro-USB cable, which you'll need to connect the pad to a wall outlet or USB port, priced at about $5-$10 on Amazon.


Aukey's wireless charger is slightly smaller than Choetech's with a 3.4-inch diameter across its circular footprint. It has a flashing LED to indicate when the smartphone sitting atop it is charging, and the USB power cable is included.


Anker's fast charging pad delivers 10 watts of power to smartphones, but will likely function like other 7.5W mats when used with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, since those devices are believed to reach only half (7.5W) of current Qi standards (15W). Anker's solution has non-disruptive LEDs surrounding the pad to indicate the smartphone's charge, a non-slip pad, and measures 3.4 inches on all sides.



Samsung even has a few Qi-compatible charing accessory options that should work with iPhone 8 and iPhone X, including a Fast Wireless Charging Pad (again note such fast charging features will be incompatible with iPhone devices). This one is available in black sapphire and white, includes an LED indicator halo, and is slightly more elevated in comparison to other Qi mats. You can find the same Samsung accessory for nearly 50 percent off from select Walmart resellers, as well.


Incipio has quite a few Qi chargers, two of which it lists as iPhone-compatible options: the Ghost Qi 3-Coil base and Ghost Qi 15W base. Both are priced at $59.99, with the standout differences related to the design and shape of each base. The 3-Coil is a rectangle measuring 5.37 inches by 2.73 inches, while the 15W is a simple 3.5-inch square. Both come in black, have the usual LED indicator lights, and provide audio cues when the charging begins and ends.

Upcoming Qi Chargers





Opening for orders this Friday, September 15, Belkin's BOOST UP Wireless Charging Pad has been specifically designed for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Belkin said it worked closely with Apple when designing and optimizing the pad, and it'll provide charge to the iPhone through "most lightweight cases." The 7.5W pad has a battery indicator LED, non-slip surface, and AC adapter included. Belkin's accessory will be sold on Apple.com and in Apple stores as well.


Mophie was directly mentioned during Apple's keynote as an accessory maker coming out with support for the iPhone 8 and X's wireless charging features, with a device called the Mophie Wireless Charging Base. A pre-order date has not yet been confirmed, but we do know Mophie's solution provides the expected 7.5W of power to an iPhone when placed on its small, circular, and rubberized base. It'll also be available from Apple.

If you want to buy a Mophie Qi charging pad right now, the company's Charge Force Wireless Charging Base is a universal Qi solution with noted support for the upcoming iPhones, priced at $39.95 from B&H Photo.



Griffin's upcoming PowerBlock Wireless Qi Charging Pad provides 15W of power to compatible Qi devices when placed on its synthetic wool surface. Griffin notes compatibility with all of the new iPhones, but no release date has been confirmed.


RavPower has revealed a new Qi charging pad, confirming compatibility with Apple devices and coming sometime this fall. RavPower's base is a bit unique in comparison with other companies since it can both sit flat on a surface, or act as a sort of iPhone dock with an angled stand. The accessory maker said the product will be available in either a standalone charging pad or pad + stand bundle.

Public Qi Chargers




There will be multiple options for wirelessly charging your iPhone when you're out and about in public spaces, thanks to the confirmation of Apple support from a few inductive wireless charging companies. One is Aircharge, which confirmed that iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X owners will be able to use the company's own app to locate nearby public Aircharge locations, which amount to 5,000 around the world. These are in restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, airports, and train stations.
"We're a long time partner of Apple via its MFi program and we're excited Qi wireless charging is now a standard feature in the new iPhone models. The inclusion of wireless charging from a major mobile phone and tech manufacturer like Apple will accelerate and drive widespread consumer awareness and mainstream adoption", said Steven Liquorish, founder and CEO of Aircharge.
Powermat made a similar announcement this week, confirming that owners of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X will be able to charge their smartphones on Powermats "around the world." Powermat locations support the Qi standard, and the company has a supported app so users can discover where the closest pad is to their location, including places like Starbucks and Samsung stores.

AirPower



Of course, Apple's own first-party solution for your home will arrive sometime next year. Apple's mat, unlike the ones mentioned above, will be able to support as many as three Qi devices, and Apple has shown an iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods all charging at once on AirPower. When one device is placed next to the iPhone X (or 8/8 Plus), they alert the iPhone, which displays a notification message on the lock screen confirming the presence of the Apple Watch/AirPods along with the battery level.

Although unconfirmed by Apple, Macworld has reported that all previous generations of the Apple Watch will work on AirPower, including Series 2 and Series 0 devices.

For more information on prices for current and upcoming Qi inductive wireless chargers -- which includes bedside tables and lamps from IKEA -- check out the MacRumors Deals Roundup.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tags: wireless charging, Qi

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