T-Mobile Announces $200 Rebate Offer for iPhones and BOGO Deal for Apple Watch Series 3

T-Mobile today announced a new iPhone offer for customers thinking about purchasing one of Apple's latest smartphones. Following a BOGO deal from January, T-Mobile is now offering customers the chance to get a $200 rebate when purchasing the iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, or 7 Plus on a 24-month Equipment Installment Plan, received in the form of a prepaid MasterCard card. That's in addition to the value of an eligible smartphone that users can trade in to T-Mobile.

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The company said that customers can combine this deal with its current free line offer from Valentine's Day, letting them add a line to any T-Mobile ONE family plan and get another for free. T-Mobile's new offer will go live this Friday, February 23, and customers who purchase an eligible iPhone should see their rebate card arrive in the mail within eight weeks. Full details on the new deal can be found on T-Mobile's website, and the carrier is still running its BOGO iPhone sale as well.

Additionally, another deal is launching this Friday at T-Mobile, this one focusing on the Apple Watch Series 3. Anyone who purchases a model of Apple's latest smartwatch will be able to get another one for 50 percent off (up to $125, according to T-Mobile). The company didn't release any more details about the Apple Watch sale yet, so it's unclear which models and collections will be available for the BOGO deal. Once the sale goes live this Friday, we'll update this post with more information.


Head over to our full Deals Roundup for more on the latest deals happening right now, today including an Amazon sale on certified refurbished 12-inch MacBooks from early 2015.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 11.3 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.3 update to its public beta testing group, one day after providing the third beta to developers and two weeks after releasing the second tvOS 11.3 public beta.

The new tvOS 11.3 public beta can be downloaded by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.


Earlier versions of tvOS 11.3 introduced support for AirPlay 2, allowing the Apple TV to be added to the Home app as part of a HomeKit setup and enabling multi-room audio across multiple Apple TVs.

In tvOS and iOS 11.3 beta 3, all AirPlay 2 functionality has been removed. It is not yet clear if Apple plans to re-add these features to the beta, so it remains to be seen if AirPlay 2 will be coming in iOS 11.3.

Other new features in tvOS 11.3 include enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV (a feature that was added to Apple TV 4K in a past update), and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.

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

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Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 50 With Bug Fixes and Feature Improvements

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced nearly two years ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced in future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 50 includes bug fixes and feature improvements for Service Workers, Web App Manifest, Payment Request, Web API, Rendering, Web Inspector, Web Driver, Accessibility, and Javascript.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has previously downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.


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Apple Releases Third Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today released the third beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update to public beta testers, one day after seeding the third beta to developers and two weeks after releasing the second 10.13.4 public beta.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the new macOS High Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 introduces support for some features that are also available in iOS 11.3, like Messages on iCloud, which uploads all of your iMessages to the cloud. It will also support Business Chat, a feature coming when iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are released to the public.

The new macOS update also includes the smoke cloud wallpaper that was previously only available on the iMac Pro, it changes the name of the "iBooks" app to just "Books," and it introduces a warning when opening up a 32-bit app as part of an effort to phase them out.

In the future, Apple plans to phase out 32-bit Mac apps, just like it did with 32-bit iOS apps. Apple says macOS High Sierra is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps without compromises.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple Releases Third Beta of iOS 11.3 for Public Beta Testers

Apple today released the third public beta of an upcoming iOS 11.3 update for 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 are members of Apple's beta testing program will receive the new iOS 11.3 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.

Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple's beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. iOS betas are not always stable and should not be installed on a primary device.

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The third betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 remove AirPlay 2 features that were present in earlier betas. Prior to today's update, AirPlay 2 functionality allowed the Apple TV to be added to the Home app on an iOS device, and it enabled multi-room audio playback across multiple Apple TVs. These features are no longer available and it is not clear if they will be re-enabled in a later beta ahead of the launch of iPS 11.3.

iOS 11.3 is a significant update that introduces multiple new features like Messages on iCloud for storing your iMessages in iCloud, and ARKit 1.5, a new, upgraded version of ARKit that can more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces, detect images, and recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls.

Four new Animoji (lion, skull, dragon, and bear) are available for the iPhone X, the Health app has a new Health Records feature where you can store your medical records, and as of iOS 11.3 beta 2, the update includes a new "Battery Health" option that's designed to provide iOS users with more information about their batteries.


Battery Health offers details on maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability, and for devices with degraded batteries, it provides information on if and when a device is being throttled with performance management features. It also provides a way for customers who do have a device with a degraded battery to turn off performance management all together.


By default, iOS 11.3 disables performance management on the iPhone, and the feature is only re-enabled once a device experiences an unexpected shutdown.

Other new features in iOS 11.3 include an Apple News "For You" section that displays the top videos of the day, info on version and download size for app updates in the Purchased tab of the App Store, Advanced Mobile Location (AML) for sharing more accurate location data when placing an emergency call in a supported country, and a new Privacy icon that will show up whenever Apple asks you for info. iBooks has also had the "i" removed from its name, so it's just "Books" now, and in the App Store, you can sort app reviews by rating and date for the first time.

Business Chat, which will let you interface with businesses like Wells Fargo, Delta, Hilton and Lowe's right in the Messages app is coming when iOS 11.3 is released, and improvements to Apple Music will bring better support for music videos.

Apple says iOS 11.3 will be released to the public in the spring.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 4.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.3 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second beta and two days after releasing watchOS 4.2.3, a minor update focusing on bug fixes.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it has to be placed on the charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone it's paired to.

watchOS 4.3 introduces support for Nightstand mode in portrait orientation, a feature that was previously only available when the watch was placed in landscape orientation. There's also a new charging animation when the Apple Watch is placed on the charger, and your Activity data is now displayed on the Siri watch face.

In watchOS 4.3 beta 3, the Apple Watch's battery complication more accurately reports battery life. In the release notes, Apple says the battery complication "no longer reports remaining battery percentage in increments of 5."

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The watchOS 4.3 update brings the return of a much-desired feature that allows music playing on the iPhone to be controlled using the Music app on the Apple Watch. In prior versions of watchOS, starting with watchOS 4, the Music app could only be used to control music playing on the watch itself. With tvOS 11.3 installed, there's also an option to control music playing on the Apple TV with the watch.

Apple plans to release watchOS 4.3 to the public in the spring, and until then, it will be limited to developers. Apple offers public betas of tvOS, iOS, and macOS, but watchOS betas are not available for public beta testers.

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

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Dish Reports Sling TV Has Grown to 2.2M Subscribers as of the End of 2017

Dish Network today reported official numbers for its streaming television service Sling TV, which marks the first time that the company disclosed the service's subscriber numbers separately from its traditional pay TV numbers. According to Dish, Sling TV had 2.212 million subscribers as of the end of 2017, aligning with previous estimates that the service had well over 2 million subscribers (via TechCrunch).

Sling TV was one of the first streaming TV bundles to launch, so its continued high ranking in regards to subscriber numbers makes sense. Following Sling TV remain services like DirecTV Now (1 million subscribers as of December 2017), PlayStation Vue (455,000 as of December 2017), Hulu with Live TV (450,000 as of January 2018), and YouTube TV (300,000 as of January 2018). Sling TV and PlayStation Vue launched in 2015, DirecTV Now launched in 2016, and Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV each debuted in 2017.


Dish further detailed Sling TV's subscriber growth in its 10-K filing this week, stating the service had 623,000 subscribers in its first year on the market, then grew to 1.5 million by 2016, and 2.21 million by the end of 2017. More users switching from traditional TV bundles to streaming services are believed to be impacting Dish's revenue, however, with its total 2017 revenue at $14.39 billion, down year-over-year from $15.21 billion. In total, 1.1 million users were reported as having dropped Dish's pay TV bundles in 2017.

Like other streaming TV services, Sling TV allows users to choose between various tiers, with prices that start at $20/month for a small amount of channels and then increase in price as more channels are added. Sling TV is one of the cheapest services to enter with this price, while rivals like YouTube TV cost $35/month, and Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue start at $39.99/month. DirecTV Now also starts at $35/month, and has an ongoing deal where new subscribers can pay for three months of service at $105 and get a 32GB Apple TV 4K for free.

Although Sling TV has been out for longer and subsequently has more robust features, some of the newer services are still in beta and testing updates that have yet to launch to a wide audience. These include DirecTV Now's beta test of a Cloud DVR, which is now said to be coming this spring, as well as Hulu's decision to add a more traditional channel guide for its users. Earlier in February, YouTube TV launched an app for Apple TV after delaying the initial launch from 2017.


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Tim Cook Says Apple is Always Focused on ‘Products and People’ Over Wall Street Expectations

Fast Company today published an interview with Tim Cook after naming Apple the world's most innovative company yesterday.

Image Credit: Fast Company/Ioulex Photography

Apple's CEO primarily reflected on the iPhone maker's culture and approach that has led to products such as the iPhone X, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, and as to be expected, he talked up the company he runs.

Cook said Apple's focus is always on "products and people," for example, rather than the company's earnings results or stock price.
Fast Company: What makes a good year for Apple? Is it the new hit products? The stock price?

Tim Cook: Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself. For me, it's about products and people. Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people's lives? If you’re doing both of those things–and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other—then you have a good year.
Apple is "not in it for the money" with Apple Music, for instance, according to Cook, who says the streaming music service is more about ensuring that artists are funded in order to have a "great creative community."
Fast Company: Music has always been part of the Apple brand. Apple Music has had a lot of user growth, but streaming is not a major money­maker. Do you think about streaming as a potential stand-alone profit area, or is it important for other reasons?

Tim Cook: […] Music is a service that we think our users want us to provide. It's a service that we worry about the humanity being drained out of. We worry about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world, instead of the art and craft.

You're right, we're not in it for the money. I think it's important for artists. If we're going to continue to have a great creative community, [artists] have to be funded.
He added that Apple is an "outlier" in the sense that Wall Street has "little to no effect" on the company—which is the world's most valuable.
Fast Company: Do the investment markets make innovation harder? Or does Wall Street motivate change?

Tim Cook: The truth is, it has little to no effect on us. But we are an outlier. More generally, if you look at America, the 90-day clock [measuring results by each fiscal quarter] is a negative. Why would you ever measure a business on 90 days when its investments are long term?
Cook said what drives Apple is creating products that "change the world for the better" with innovative new features.
Tim Cook: Take iPhone X, the portrait-lighting feature. This is something that you had to be a professional photographer with a certain setup to do in the past. Now, iPhone X is not a cheap product, but a lighting rig–these things were tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He added that one of Apple's unique qualities is patience in perfecting its products, rather than rushing to be first to the market.
Fast Company: Sometimes Apple takes the lead, introducing unique features–Face ID, for instance. Other times you're okay to follow, as long as you deliver what you feel is better, like HomePod, which is not the first home speaker. How do you decide when it's okay to follow?

Tim Cook: I wouldn't say "follow." I wouldn’t use that word because that implies we waited for somebody to see what they were doing. That's actually not what's happening. What's happening if you look under the sheets, which we probably don't let people do, is that we start projects years before they come out. You could take every one of our products–iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch–they weren't the first, but they were the first modern one, right?

In each case, if you look at when we started, I would guess that we started much before other people did, but we took our time to get it right. Because we don't believe in using our customers as a laboratory. What we have that I think is unique is patience. We have patience to wait until something is great before we ship it.
Cook's comments are similar to ones he has shared in the past, and the interview portrays Apple in the best possible way, but the full article is still a worthwhile read for those who want more perspective about the company's beliefs.


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Facebook Messenger Streamlines Controls for Creating Group Video and Audio Chats

In December 2016, Facebook Messenger rolled out the ability for users to create group video chats with up to six members participating, and today the company has further streamlined the feature. Before today's update, if users were already in a one-on-one video or audio call they had to hang up, start a new conversation, and choose every member to invite to the new group chat.


Now, while in a video chat or voice call, there will be a new "add person" icon so that users can simply scrub through a list of their Facebook Messenger friends, tap who to invite, and wait for them to join -- all without leaving the original call.
With the ability to add more people seamlessly to your calls, you can continue your conversation in the moment, just like if you were together in real life. Never again worry about skipping a beat when sharing your BFF’s spontaneous karaoke performance on Messenger. Sharing moments like these is now a few quick taps away.
Otherwise, the feature remains the same with six total users able to video chat at once and various filters and effects still supported. After the call ends, Facebook Messenger also creates a group chat automatically in each user's inbox, so that members can keep texting one another.


Facebook's refinement to group video chats in Messenger comes as a similar feature has yet to debut in Apple's FaceTime app. The long-requested, multi-person FaceTime call update is now being rumored for a potential launch within iOS 12 later this year, but Bloomberg has stated that it may not be ready for a debut in 2018.

If group video calls don't make it into iOS 12, other improvements to FaceTime are rumored to be coming in the update this fall. Mainly, Apple is planning to integrate Animoji into FaceTime, allowing people to use the animated emoji characters when making a video call.

For Facebook, the company said that the new Messenger update will be available today on iOS and Android devices worldwide.


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Things 3.4 Update Introduces URL Linking Support, App Handover and Automation Features

Popular to-do app Things reached version 3.4 today and gained a trio of additional features made possible by the introduction of all-new Things URL links. Basically, the app now supports a special kind of link that starts with "things:" and enables users to send a variety of commands to the app.

For example, it's now possible to link to your Today list, as well as the contents of your Upcoming and Logbook lists, from anywhere, such as in another app or within Things itself. In addition, links can be tied to specific to-dos within lists.

On Mac, links can be generated within Things by right-clicking on any to-do or list in the sidebar and selecting Share -> Copy Link. On iOS, the same option can be found in the Share menu, accessed via the chevron button in the upper right corner of a list. Some examples of the new links users can generate include:
Apart from simple navigation, more advanced users can use Things URLs to execute powerful commands from outside of the app – to create to-dos, show tag filters, perform searches, and so on – while other apps will soon be able to use the URLs to send data to Things. For example, MindNode now lets users brainstorm on an empty canvas and then "hand it over" to Things as a project via a link.

The popular Drafts app is planning support for Things URL links in its next version, and with the publication of Things' open source Swift library, more are likely to follow suit.

Things 3.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99 and from the iOS App Store. The iPad version is priced at $19.99 [Direct Link] while the iPhone version (which includes Apple watch support) is priced at $9.99. [Direct Link] A 15-day trial of Things for Mac is available on the Cultured Code website.


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