Apple will replace swollen batteries in newer MacBook Pros

It hasn't been that long since the iPhone battery fiasco, but Apple already has another battery issue to deal with. The tech giant has launched a battery replacement program for 13-inch MacBook Pros without Touch Bar manufactured between October 2016…

How to recycle your used and unwanted gadgets

You're probably used to sorting your garbage into bins: green for paper, or blue for plastic and glass. But when it comes to electronics, we're still used to selling those off or tossing them into the trash heap. Unfortunately, our gadget addiction h…

Apple Announces Battery Replacement Program for 2016 and 2017 Non-Touch Bar 13-Inch MacBook Pro Models

Apple today announced a new battery replacement program designed for 2016 and 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro models that do not have a Touch Bar.

Apple says that a limited number of these units feature a component that can fail and cause the built-in battery to expand. It is not a safety issue, according to the company, and Apple will replace all eligible batteries.



Customers who want to see if their machines are eligible for a fresh battery should use the serial number checker on the MacBook Pro Battery Replacement page.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Don’t Buy)

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Apple Notifying WWDC 2018 Scholarship Winners

Each year, Apple offers free WWDC scholarships to students and STEM organization members who don’t have the $1,599 necessary to purchase a ticket to the company’s annual developer conference.

For the upcoming 2018 event, Apple accepted scholarship applications from March 26 to April 1, and since then, Apple has been going through the submissions and choosing winners. As of today, all scholarship applicants who are being awarded with free WWDC attendance are receiving emails from Apple.



Apple is awarding up to 350 scholarships, all of which include a free WWDC ticket, free lodging, and a free one year Apple developer membership.

Scholarship applicants were asked to create a short, three-minute interactive scene in Swift Playground. Apple judged applications based on technical accomplishment, creativity of ideas, and content of written responses on the accompanying application.

All applicants were required to be enrolled part-time or full-time in an accredited course of study or were required to be members of a STEM organization. Apple held its developer ticket lottery back in March and notified developers who won a full-price ticket on March 23.



This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off on Monday, June 4 and it will last through Friday, June 8 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple is expected to hold a keynote on June 4 where new software and perhaps new hardware products will be unveiled.

Scholarship students and developers who were not chose to attend the event will be able to follow along with the conference using the WWDC app.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2018

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U.S. Department of Justice Investigating Claims AT&T, Verizon and GSMA Colluded to Prevent Customers From Easily Switching Carriers [Updated]

The United States Department of Justice today launched an antitrust investigation to determine whether U.S. carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, have coordinated to prevent consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, reports The New York Times.

AT&T, Verizon, and GSMA, an industry group that sets mobile standards, were asked in February for documents related to their efforts to hinder the implementation of eSIMs. An embedded SIM, or eSIM, is a standardized chip that’s designed to replace a physical SIM card.

A physical SIM card slot in an iPhone, via iFixit


With eSIM technology, there is no need to swap out SIM cards when switching carriers, making it easier to make a switch from one carrier to another. eSIMs are designed to be compatible with all major carriers, regardless of network type.

eSIMs are a major change from physical SIM cards, which require customers who wish to switch carriers to obtain a new SIM card when changing providers. eSIMs make it simpler for customers to swap carriers while traveling, and, of interest to device makers, they free up space currently taken up by a SIM card.

AT&T and Verizon are accused of colluding with the GSMA to create standards that would allow devices with eSIM technology to be locked to their networks. Representatives from the two carriers attended a meeting for a private task force called GSMA North America earlier this year and advocated for the ability to keep eSIM devices tied to a single carrier.

Verizon reportedly claimed that phones needed to be locked to its network in order to prevent theft and fraud.

At the heart of the investigation is whether the nation’s biggest wireless carriers, working with the G.S.M.A., secretly tried to influence mobile technology to unfairly maintain their dominance, in a way that hurt competition and consumers and hindered innovation in the wider mobile industry.

AT&T and Verizon together control about 70 percent of all wireless subscriptions in the United States. A technology that made it easy to switch carriers could lead to more churn and fewer subscribers for them.

The Department of Justice launched began the probe several months ago following formal complaints from at least one device maker and one wireless carrier. The investigation may include other carriers beyond Verizon and AT&T.

AT&T, Verizon, and other U.S. carriers have long resisted features that would make it easier for customers to switch carriers at will without being tied to a specific network. Verizon, for example, refused to allow Apple to offer Verizon service through the Apple SIM built into newer iPads. The Apple SIM, a multi-carrier SIM card, is designed to make it easier for customers to choose a carrier after an iPad purchase and switch to a new carrier when traveling.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other wireless carriers in the United States are proponents of the eSIM. Apple, for example, is said to want to use eSIM technology in its 2018 iPhones, but may instead opt for dual-SIM technology because “some carriers are resistant to the idea.”

Apple has already implemented eSIM technology in the Apple Watch Series 3 models equipped with LTE connectivity. The eSIM is also a feature of the Google Pixel 2 smartphone and the Microsoft Surface.

Update: According to CNBC, all four major U.S. carriers received requests from the U.S. Justice Department.

Update 2: Apple is one of the companies that submitted a complaint to the Department of Justice, according to Bloomberg.
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Featured Apps in Revamped iOS 11 App Store Can See 800% Download Boost

Earning a featured spot in the revamped iOS App Store can increase app downloads by up to 800 percent, according to new data sourced from app analytics site Sensor Tower and shared by TechCrunch.

The data, collected from September 2017 to the present, suggests an app that’s highlighted using either the “App of the Day” or “Game of the Day” feature in the U.S. sees the greatest increase in downloads.



Specifically, “Game of the Day” apps have seen a median download increase of 802 percent for the week following the feature, while “App of the Day” apps have seen a boost of 685 percent.

Other features, such as a developer story or an app list can increase downloads by up to 240 percent. Stories resulted in a 222 percent boost in downloads, while app lists increased downloads by 240 percent. A theme feature had the lowest impact at a 164 percent increase in downloads.



Sensor Tower has also outlined what kind of data Apple has chosen to highlight through the new App Store design. Many of the top publishers that have been featured are larger companies, like Electronic Arts, Warner Bros., Square Enix, Gameloft, Noodlecake Studios, and King, which is unsurprising as these companies have put out some of the most popular apps in the App Store.

13 of the top 15 featured publishers had at least one million U.S. iPhone downloads since the launch of the new App Store.



Apple has, however, also focused on highlighting indie apps. 29 percent of apps featured since the launch of the new App Store have been from publishers who had fewer than 10,000 downloads at the time.

“While it’s clearly the case that big publishers are more likely to receive the largest number of features, small publishers still very much have their chance to benefit from a feature on the App Store,” said Sensor Tower’s Mobile Insights Analyst, Jonathan Briskman.

Apple introduced the redesigned App Store in iOS 11 to offer additional opportunities for exposure to app developers. The new App Store includes a “Today” section that’s updated daily with app suggestions, featured spots, app lists, developer features, and more, and it splits apps and games into two distinct categories.

Content featured in the new App Store is chosen and curated by Apple’s App Store editorial team, which ensures high-quality recommendations that don’t rely solely on popularity rankings.

As noted by TechCrunch, Sensor Tower’s data suggests that Apple’s goal of increasing developer exposure through the new App Store design has largely been a successful venture.

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iOS 11’s new App Store boosts downloads by 800% for featured apps

When Apple launched its new App Store in iOS 11 back in September, it aimed to offer app developers better exposure, as well as a better app discovery experience for consumers. A new study from Sensor Tower out today takes a look at how well that’s been working in the months since. According to its findings, getting a featured spot on the new App Store can increase downloads by as much as 800 percent, with the “App of the Day” or “Game of the Day” spots offering the most impact.

The app store intelligence firm examined data from September 2017 to present day to come to its conclusions, it says.

During this time, median U.S. iPhone downloads for apps that snagged the “Game of the Day” spot increased by 802 percent for the week following the feature, compared to the week prior to being featured.

“App of the Day” apps saw a boost of 685 percent.

Being featured in other ways — like in one of the new App Store Stories or in an App List — also drove downloads higher, by 222 percent and 240 percent, respectively.

The numbers seem to indicate that Apple is achieving the results it wanted with the release of its redesigned App Store.

Over the years, Apple’s app marketplace had grown so large that finding new apps had become challenging. And developers sometimes found ways to bump their apps higher in the top charts for exposure, leaving iPhone owners wondering if a new app was really that popular, or if it was some sort of paid promotion.

The iOS 11 App Store, on the other hand, has taken more of an editorial viewpoint to its app recommendations. While the top charts haven’t gone away, the focus these days is on what Apple thinks is best — not the wisdom of the masses. Apple has applied its editorial eye to things like timely round-ups of apps; curated, thematic collections; as well as articles about apps and interviews with developers. Apple also picks an app and game to feature daily, so the App Store always has fresh content and a reason for users to return.

The end result is something that’s more akin to a publication about apps, instead of a just an app marketplace.

What’s most interesting, then, in Sensor Tower’s report, are what sort of app publishers Apple has chosen to feature.

Apple had touted the App Store changes would be a way to give smaller developers more exposure. But if you’ve popped into the App Store from time to time, you may have noticed that big publishers — not indies — were having their apps featured.

In fact, an early report about the App Store revamp criticized Apple for giving big publishers too much attention. It said that apps from brands like Starbucks and CBS, or game makers like EA and Glu, weren’t exactly hurting for downloads.

But Apple’s favoring of big publishers is only true to a point, says Sensor Tower.

It found that 13 of the top 15 featured publishers (by number of features) had at least one million U.S. iPhone downloads since the launch of the new App Store last September. It’s not surprising that Apple wants to highlight these publishers. Many of them, and particularly the game publishers, have multiple popular apps. So when their apps get an update or they have a new release, consumers pay attention.

Apple, of course, wants to capitalize on that consumer interest because it shares in the revenue app publishers generate through things like paid downloads, in-app purchases and subscriptions.

However, Apple isn’t only giving the limelight to large publishers, says Sensor Tower.

It also found that 29 percent of the apps it has featured since the launch of the revamped App Store were from publishers who had fewer than 10,000 downloads during that time.

“While it’s clearly the case that big publishers are more likely to receive the largest number of features, small publishers still very much have their chance to benefit from a feature on the App Store,” said Sensor Tower’s Mobile Insights Analyst, Jonathan Briskman.

Though Sensor Tower’s published report focused only on the iOS App Store, it’s worth noting how it compares with Google Play.

Getting a featured spot on Google’s app store isn’t as impactful, the firm tells TechCrunch. The largest week-over-week increase to the median it saw there was only around 200 percent.

Image credits, all: Sensor Tower 

MacRumors Giveaway: Win AirPods in a Color of Your Choice From ColorWare

For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with ColorWare to give MacRumors readers a chance to win a set of custom-painted AirPods, which are available in dozens of different colors.

ColorWare is a company that’s been around for quite some time, offering custom paint jobs and unique skins for a range of electronic devices. AirPods can be ordered from ColorWare in custom colors for a fee of $299, with an additional $40 fee to paint the case a matching shade.



At $299 (or $349 with the case), there’s a premium for choosing AirPods from ColorWare, but ColorWare is the only site that offers one-of-a-kind color options you can’t get anywhere else.



ColorWare’s AirPods can be ordered in one of several solid or metallic colors, with both gloss and matte finishes available. Traditional black, gold, silver, and gray shades are options, but there are also a several bright shades in every color of the rainbow. If you want AirPods in teal, red, green, purple, or pink, ColorWare is the way to go.



You can choose to have both AirPods custom painted in the same color along with the case, or you can get each AirPod and the case all in different colors, meaning there are quite a few available color combinations.



ColorWare has been custom-painting devices since 1998 and has had a lot of time to perfect the painting process. The company uses a coating process that includes a primer, an application of a proprietary color formula, and an X2 liquid plastic coating that protects the new color.



Because ColorWare is using traditional AirPods, full AirPods functionality is intact, with a W1 chip for easy pairing, a long battery life, a built-in accelerometer for ear detection, iCloud support for quick device switching, and support for gestures.

We have one set of custom-painted AirPods and Charging Case to give away, with the winner to choose the color and finish of their choice. We’ve also teamed up with ColorWare to offer MacRumors readers an exclusive 30 percent discount on all iPhone, iPad, and Mac skins, which is a more affordable way to get a fresh device color.



To get the discount, just visit ColorWare’s site and click on the MacRumors banner at the top of any page.

To enter to win our giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (April 20) at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on April 27. The winner will be chosen randomly on April 27 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Related Roundup: AirPods
Buyer’s Guide: AirPods (Caution)

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