Apple Releases iTunes 12.7.3 With Support for HomePod

Alongside the public debut of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, Apple today released an updated version of iTunes for Mac.

iTunes 12.7.3, according to Apple's release notes, introduces support for the HomePod. A new AirPlay menu built into iTunes 12.7.3 is designed to make it easy to choose the HomePod as an audio source and control what plays next using an Apple Music subscription.

Apple's full release notes for iTunes 12.7.3 are below:
iTunes is now designed to work with HomePod. Use the improved AirPlay menu to easily choose HomePod can control what plays next with your Apple Music subscription. To learn more about HomePod, visit https://www.apple.com/homepod.
Today's iTunes update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Software Update function.

iTunes 12.7.3 follows iTunes 12.7.2, a December update that also focused on minor improvements. iTunes 12.7, released in September, was the last major update to iTunes, eliminating the built-in App Store to focus solely on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks.

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Everything New in iOS 11.2.5: Siri Audio News, HomePod Support, New Control Center Music Interface and More

Apple this morning officially released the iOS 11.2.5 update to the public, introducing support for the upcoming HomePod smart speaker, which is set to be released on February 9.

In addition to adding support for HomePod, the update also introduces several HomePod-related features such as Siri podcast-based audio news reports and a new music interface, along with bug fixes and security improvements. Check the video and post below for everything that's new in iOS 11.2.5.

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Today's update introduces official support for podcast-based audio Siri news reports, a feature that first began rolling out on all devices last week.

When you ask Siri about the news of the day via Hey Siri or another hands-free method, the new feature allows the personal assistant to provide Podcast news from sources like NPR, Fox News, CNN, or The Washington Post.

While asking Siri about the news of the day will provide generic news updates from the aforementioned sources, you can also ask for more specific news about topics like sports, business, and music. Sports news provides podcasts from ESPN or NBC, business news offers podcasts from Bloomberg or CNBC, while music news offers Apple Music Beats 1 content.


Siri podcast news is available in the United States, Australia, and the UK, the three countries where the HomePod is launching in February. Siri news can be accessed on devices in other countries according to Apple's release notes for the iOS 11.2.5 update, but content will only be provided in English and the feature appears to be incomplete in unsupported countries.

The only significant outward-facing change introduced in iOS 11.2.5 brings a new layout for audio controls. When accessing the music widget on an iPhone or iPad, when you 3D Touch or press on the icon in the upper right hand side, all available audio playback sources are now listed as separate tiles.


Tapping on one of the audio sources, such as an Apple TV, allows audio to be played on the device and controlled separately from the iPhone. Using this feature, you can listen to music on one device, like the Apple TV, without interfering with audio playing on the iPhone.

Today's update introduces new functionality for the VoiceOver accessibility feature in iOS devices, allowing it to announce playback destinations and AirPod battery level.

Other, smaller improvements and bug fixes were also included in iOS 11.2.5, addressing issues in Mail, Messages, and CarPlay. From Apple's official release notes:

- Addresses an issue that could cause the Phone app to display incomplete information in the call list
- Fixes an issue that caused Mail notifications from some Exchange accounts to disappear from the Lock screen when unlocking iPhone X with Face ID
- Addresses an issue that could cause Messages conversations to temporarily be listed out of order
- Fixes an issue in CarPlay where Now Playing controls become unresponsive after multiple track changes

The iOS 11.2.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible devices over-the-air using the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings --> General --> Software update.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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iTunes Opens ‘Double Features’ Movie Sale With $9.99 HD Bundles

A new sale on the iTunes Movies storefront has opened up today, with two-movie bundles that are all priced at $9.99.

These "Double Features" include films that are either part of a series, represent the original and rebooted versions of the movie, are the same genre, or include the same actors. Before the sale began, the bundles were priced between $19.99 and $27.99, so now you have the chance to add two films to your iTunes movies library for the price of one.


You can find the list of bundles in iTunes Movies on iOS, macOS, or tvOS, located after scrolling down past the first few categories like New & Noteworthy. Check out the full list of HD bundles on sale below:

The only two films offered in 4K in these bundles are TMNT: Out of the Shadows and Magic Mike XXL, although iTunes has also discounted The Maze Runner two-movie bundle in 4K to $12.99, down from $19.99. During a sale in December, iTunes marked down 4K films based on studios and genres, but after the initial $19.99 sale price all of the bundles have since increased to cost $29.99 and more.

In addition to the iTunes Movies sale, Amazon's Gold Box deal today includes a refurbished model of the 21.5-inch 4K iMac from late 2015 (3.1GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HD) for $899.99, down from $1,299.99. The iMac is being sold by Woot on Amazon, which describes its refurbished computers as "professionally restored to working order" and "inspected, cleaned, and repaired to meet manufacturer specifications."

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The iMac isn't guaranteed to come in its original packaging, but it shows limited or no wear and includes all original accessories, as well as a 1 Year Apple Warranty. Comparatively, the refurbished computer is $300 cheaper than the latest 2017 models of Apple's 4K 21.5-inch iMac, which start at $1,199.00 for the base configuration (3.0 GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HD) and increase from there. For those interested, the Gold Box deal will expire tonight at midnight.

Visit our Deals Roundup for more sales happening this week.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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AppleCare+ for HomePod Will Cost $39

The HomePod, set to be released on February 9, will be eligible for an AppleCare+ protection plan like all of Apple's devices.

AppleCare+ for the HomePod will be priced at $39, according to an internal memo sent to retail employees and shared by 9to5Mac. AppleCare+ for HomePod will extend warranty coverage for the HomePod from one year to two years, with two years of telephone support included.


The AppleCare+ coverage will provide support for two incidents of accidental damage, each subject to a $39 service fee. Accidental damage includes damage done to the HomePod by the user - repairs for manufacturing issues will be free.

Like AppleCare+ for Macs, Apple TVs, and iPads, coverage for AirPort devices is included in AppleCare+ coverage for HomePod. The AirPort must be purchased up to two years before the iPad or during the term of the HomePod's AppleCare+ coverage to be eligible for included repairs.

At $39, AppleCare+ for the HomePod is relatively inexpensive, and comparable in cost to AppleCare+ for the Apple TV, which is priced at $29.

AppleCare+ for HomePod will likely be available for purchase this Friday, right alongside the HomePod. Apple plans to begin accepting orders for the device on January 26, with an official launch to follow two weeks later on February 9.

Related Roundup: HomePod

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Apple’s Rumored 6.1-Inch iPhone Said to Be 18:9 With 2,160×1,080 Resolution and Ultra-Slim Bezels

While the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone isn't expected to feature an OLED display like the iPhone X, the device will still have a more advanced LCD display than previous iPhones, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times.

Japan Display's Full Active LCD

The report, translated from Chinese, claims Apple will be adopting Japan Display's so-called "Full Active" LCD technology. Unlike traditional LCDs, like those of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Full Active LCDs only require ultra-slim 0.5mm bezels on all four sides, even smaller than those on the iPhone X.

Japan Display says its Full Active LCDs are six-inch displays with a resolution of 2,160×1,080 pixels. Accordingly, the panels have an 18:9 aspect ratio, meaning their length is double their width.

This suggests the 6.1-inch iPhone will have a taller display, likely with a cutout for the TrueDepth camera system, although not quite as tall as the iPhone X with its unique 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The device is already rumored to resemble the iPhone X's nearly full-screen design, so this would make sense.

A 6.1-inch display with a resolution of 2,160×1,080 pixels would have around 395 pixels per inch. KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo said the 6.1-inch iPhone's display will have 320-330 PPI, however, so there's conflicting information.

This rumor is consistent with a report from The Wall Street Journal in September, which said Apple was considering using Japan Display's advanced LCD panels in some 2018 iPhone models. Full Active LCDs have already been used by some Chinese smartphone makers, including Xiaomi for its Mi Mix 2.

The use of Full Active LCDs instead of OLED displays is one design compromise that will allow Apple to sell the 6.1-inch iPhone at a cheaper price point. Others include an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel, a single-lens instead of dual-lens rear camera, and no 3D Touch, according to Kuo.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors today, Kuo predicted the 6.1-inch iPhone will be a mid-range device priced between $700 and $800 in the United States, up from his previous $650 to $750 estimate.

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

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Apple Addresses Meltdown and Spectre in macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan With New Security Update

Along with macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, Apple this morning released two new security updates that are designed to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities on machines that continue to run macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan.

As outlined in Apple's security support document, Security Update 2018-001 available for macOS Sierra 10.12.6 and OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 offers several mitigations for both Meltdown and Spectre, along with fixes for other security issues, and the updates should be installed immediately.


Apple addressed the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in macOS High Sierra with the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, but older machines were left unprotected. Apple initially said a prior security update included fixes for the two older operating systems, but that information was later retracted.

Spectre and Meltdown are two hardware-based vulnerabilities that impact nearly all modern processors. Apple in early January confirmed that all of its Mac and iOS devices were impacted, but Meltdown mitigations were introduced ahead of when the vulnerabilities came to light in iOS 11.2 and macOS 10.13.2, and Spectre was addressed through Safari updates in iOS 11.2.2 and a macOS 10.13.2 Supplemental Update.

Spectre and Meltdown take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU. As these use hardware-based flaws, operating system manufacturers are required to implement software workarounds. These software workarounds can impact processor performance, but according to Apple, the Meltdown fix has no measurable performance reduction across several benchmarks.

The Spectre Safari mitigations have "no measurable impact" on Speedometer and ARES-6 tests, and an impact of less than 2.5% on the JetStream benchmark.

Many PCs with Intel processors have been facing serious issues following the installation of patches with fixes for Meltdown and Spectre, but these problems do not appear to impact Apple's machines.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple Releases New Beta Software for HomePod

Alongside this morning's release of the new iOS 11.2.5 update, which introduces support for the HomePod, Apple has also released new beta software for HomePod.

The new software is not available through the Developer portal like a standard beta software update, but it will be downloadable by testers who have a HomePod. It is available via third-party software sites, so the general public can download it if desired.


Apple's latest HomePod software update comes just over two weeks ahead of the official launch date of the device. Apple this morning announced plans to debut the HomePod on Friday, February 9, with initial orders to kick off on Friday, January 26.

Ahead of launch, HomePod devices are in the hands of Apple employees who are testing the smart speaker to iron out bugs before it becomes available for purchase later this week.

Apple has been beta testing the HomePod with its employees for several months now and has released several previous firmware updates.

Once the HomePod is released, it will presumably get regular software updates much like iOS devices, Macs, the Apple TV, and the Apple Watch.

Specifically, Apple has promised a future update that will bring support for multi-room playback and pairing multiple HomePod devices together for stereo sound, two features that will not be available at launch.

HomePod is Apple's Siri-based smart speaker that focuses heavily on high-quality sound. It incorporates a 7 tweeter array, an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer, and an A8 chip to power features like spatial awareness.

A lot of new information was shared about HomePod this morning, so make sure to check out our HomePod roundup for complete details on Apple's smart speaker.

Related Roundup: HomePod

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Apple Releases Minor tvOS 11.2.5 Update With Bug Fixes and Security Improvements

Apple today released a new update for tvOS 11, the operating system designed to run on fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 11.2.5 comes more than a month after the release of tvOS 11.2.1, an update that introduced a fix for a HomeKit bug.

tvOS 11.2.5 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System -> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to the tvOS 11.2.5 automatically.


As a minor 11.x.x update tvOS 11.2.5 focuses on performance improvements and bug fixes to address issues that were discovered following the release of tvOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2.1.

During the beta testing process, no major outward-facing changes were discovered and Apple does not typically provide detailed release notes for tvOS 11.2.5, but security fixes will be listed in Apple's Security Updates support document.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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Apple Releases watchOS 4.2.2 With Bug Fixes

Apple today released watchOS 4.2.2, a minor update to the watchOS operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 4.2.2 comes over a month after the release of watchOS 4.2, an update that introduced Apple Pay Cash.

watchOS 4.2.2 can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it needs to be placed on a charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone.


During the beta testing period, no major outward-facing changes were discovered in watchOS 4.2.2. According to Apple's release notes, the update "includes improvements and bug fixes." No other details are available.

For more on the watchOS 4 operating system, make sure to check out our dedicated watchOS 4 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Apple Releases iOS 11.2.5 With Support for HomePod and Siri Audio News

Apple today released iOS 11.2.5, the tenth official update to the iOS 11 operating system that first came out in September of 2017. iOS 11.2.5 comes two weeks after the release of iOS 11.2.2, an update that introduced Safari mitigations for the "Spectre" vulnerability impacting Apple's iOS devices.

The iOS 11.2.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings --> General --> Software Update.


According to Apple's release notes, the iOS 11.2.5 update introduces support for the HomePod, which will be released on Friday, February 9, and it brings fixes for several bugs in CarPlay, Messages, and Mail. The update also includes audio-based podcast news delivered via Siri, which was also officially unveiled in iOS 11.2.2 last week.

iOS 11.2.5 appears to address a bug that allowed a malicious link to freeze the Messages app on iOS devices. As of the sixth beta, the link in question no longer affects the Messages app.

Full release notes for the iOS 11.2.5 update are below:
HomePod support

- Setup and automatically transfer your Apple ID, Apple Music, Siri and Wi-Fi settings to HomePod.

Siri News

- Siri can now read the news, just ask, "Hey Siri, play the news". You can also ask for specific news categories including Sports, Business or Music.

Other improvements and fixes

- Addresses an issue that could cause the Phone app to display incomplete information in the call list
- Fixes an issue that caused Mail notifications from some Exchange accounts to disappear from the Lock screen when unlocking iPhone X with Face ID
- Addresses an issue that could cause Messages conversations to temporarily be listed out of order
- Fixes an issue in CarPlay where Now Playing controls become unresponsive after multiple track changes
- Adds ability for VoiceOver to announce playback destinations and AirPod battery level
Apple is supposed to be releasing an iCloud Messages feature that was pulled ahead of the iOS 11 release, and which many people are eagerly awaiting, but there is no sign of the feature in iOS 11.2.5.

Apple has also promised that new, more extensive details about battery life will be coming in early 2018, but those new tools are also missing from iOS 11.2.5, so we may instead see them in the next iOS update.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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