Sony Introduces New Aftermarket CarPlay and Siri Eyes Free Systems

Sony today introduced its new XAV-AX200 in-car audio receiver, which doubles as an aftermarket CarPlay system.

Sony’s previous-generation XAV-AX100 receiver


The double-DIN XAV-AX200 has a 6.4-inch touchscreen, but Sony didn’t specify if its capacitive, or resistive like its XAV-AX100 predecessor.

Other key features include both CarPlay and Android Auto support, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio compatibility, a built-in four-channel amplifier, three external camera inputs, and a built-in DVD player.

Sony also unveiled a MEX-GS820BT receiver that can pair with two smartphones at once via Bluetooth. It doesn’t appear to support CarPlay, but it does feature Siri Eyes Free, and similar voice controls on Android smartphones. Sony said the unit has a high-contrast vertical-alignment LCD of an unspecified size.

Siri Eyes Free helps minimize driver distraction with Siri voice recognition, allowing drivers to interact with an iPhone 4s or later without needing to look at the in-dash screen. The feature can be used to make calls, play music, hear and compose text messages, read notifications, use Apple Maps, and more.

Sony said the XAV-AX200 and MEX-GS820BT will be available across North America by the end of the year. Pricing wasn’t disclosed. The older XAV-AX100 generally retails for between $499 and $549 in the United States.

Sony’s press release did not include pictures, and the company didn’t respond when we requested them directly.

Other aftermarket CarPlay systems are available from Alpine, Clarion, Kenwood, JBL, JVC, Pioneer, Sony, and other manufacturers.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tags: Sony, Siri Eyes Free

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Apple reportedly in talks with Aetna to bring the Apple Watch to millions of customers

 Apple and Aetna have held several secret meetings to discuss offering the Apple Watch to Aetna’s 23 million customers, according to CNBC. Aetna could roll out the plan as early as next year. Read More

Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of Upcoming tvOS 11 Update to Developers

Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update designed for the fourth-generation TV, one week after seeding the fifth beta and more than two months after releasing the first beta during the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download tvOS 11 by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes.



tvOS 11 didn’t receive much attention at the Worldwide Developers Conference because of time constraints, but according to Apple’s release notes, it introduces a few new features to the operating system.

tvOS 11 brings automatic switching between light/dark mode based on local time, Home screen syncing options that keep multiple Apple TVs in a household in sync, new background modes and notification support, Focus API improvements, custom sound support, network-based pairing and development support, improvements to Mobile Device Management, and more.

The sixth beta of tvOS 11 most likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and other small refinements, as the first five betas did. Apple’s new tvOS 11 update is available for both registered developers and public beta testers. It will see a public release later this year.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)

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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of macOS High Sierra to Developers

Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fifth beta and more than two months after introducing the new software at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

The sixth beta of macOS High Sierra can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air using the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

Today’s update brings a fix for a bug that caused apps to quit unexpectedly when printing to Canon printers, and it addresses an issue that caused QuickLook to preview things to force a MacBook Pro to switch to a discrete GPU (pertains to models that have both discrete and integrated GPUs).

macOS High Sierra builds on features first introduced in macOS Sierra, focusing on new storage, video, and graphics technology. It brings a new Apple File System (APFS), High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), and an updated version of Metal with support for VR and external GPUs.

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Several apps are gaining new features in macOS High Sierra. The Photos app features a new sidebar to make it easier to access editing tools and albums, and there are new filters and editing options like Curves and Selective Color. Photos also supports external editing apps like Photoshop and Pixelmator, saving changes made in those apps back to Photos, and it interfaces with new third-party printing services.

Safari is gaining speed enhancements, an option to prevent autoplay videos, and a new feature that cuts down on cross-site data tracking. Siri in macOS High Sierra has expanded music capabilities and a new, more natural voice, and Spotlight supports flight status information. There are also improvements to iCloud, FaceTime, Messages, and Notes.

macOS High Sierra is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and will see a few more weeks of testing ahead of its expected fall public release.

For a complete overview of changes coming in macOS High Sierra, make sure to check out our dedicated macOS High Sierra roundup.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Canary Announces Two-Way Audio Calling Between Security Camera and iOS App

Security camera company Canary recently announced a trio of new features coming to its smart home security system and mobile apps, including two-way audio calls between a Canary camera and smartphone, a live security feed with reduced latency, and an all-new web app with live streaming.

Rolling out over the course of this week is a refreshed version of Canary’s “Watch Live” feature, which “dramatically” reduces the latency of live videos being recorded by the Canary camera. The company said it’s done away with a five second delay previously found in Watch Live, allowing users a “virtually real-time” look into their home while watching on an iOS or Android device.

Prior to the release of 2.7.0, you may have experienced a delay of about 5 seconds between what you saw in the Canary app and the activity that was actually occurring in an environment. With the new and improved Watch Live experience, latency has decreased, giving you a virtually real-time view into your home.

To achieve this, we completely redesigned the backend of Watch Live to prioritize real-time video delivery. By implementing a dedicated video pipeline, and adding adaptive video quality to the Watch Live experience, we were able to make Watch Live truly live.

Canary also announced a user-requested feature that enables two-way audio calls between the security camera in a home, and a user with a smartphone outside of the home. Called “Canary Talk,” the company described the feature as a home intercom, allowing users to simply tap a microphone button when in Watch Live to have their voice broadcast to anyone in the vicinity of their Canary. At-home users can then respond to the call by simply talking anywhere near the Canary.



Canary Talk will be available in the new version update 2.7.0 on the company’s iOS and Android apps, but will debut first in the Canary All-in-One device, then launch sometime in September for Canary Flex devices. No matter which Canary it’s used on, Canary Talk will require the company’s $9.99/month subscription membership.

Whether you’re using it to talk to the kids, a nanny, an aging parent, your new puppy, or to ward off an intruder, Canary Talk gives you a voice at home no matter how far from it you are.

Additionally, any Canary membership users can now stream live video and view recorded content from their camera while on a desktop or mobile browser. The company said that the introduction of its new live-streaming web app will help Canary users watch their home while they are at work, without needing to bring up their smartphone.

The 2.7.0 update for Canary is available to download now on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Canary

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New Blurry Videos Potentially Show iPhone 8 on Production Line at Factory

Less than one month before Apple is expected to unveil its new iPhone lineup, two videos have surfaced that may show the so-called iPhone 8 passing through the production line at a factory presumably located in China.



The videos surfaced on Chinese microblogging service Weibo earlier today, and were later uploaded to YouTube by Dutch blog TechTastic.

Both videos are short and blurry, so it’s hard to make out exactly what is being shown. The production line could simply be for the multitude of iPhone 8 dummy models that have surfaced over the past few months.

Apple’s contract manufacturers like Foxconn have strict security measures in place to prevent employees from bringing smartphones inside factories, so the videos could very well be completely unrelated to real iPhone 8 production.

In the first clip, factory workers appear to be polishing or cleaning the rear shell of what could be the iPhone 8. At the very least, the device appears to have a vertically-aligned camera, one of the smartphone’s frequently rumored features.



In the second clip, just eight seconds long, dozens of potential iPhone 8 devices appear to be affixed to some kind of metal shelving rack.



Given the lack of real iPhone 8 part leaks, we’re still stuck firmly in iPhone silly season—including infamously low-quality videos.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will begin production verification tests for the iPhone 8 in late August, followed by mass production in mid-September, so higher-quality leaks could be on the horizon.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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Multiple Apple Suppliers Share Revenue Reports Ahead of ‘Peak’ iPhone and Apple Watch Season

A collection of Apple suppliers have shared revenue reports today, which also provide a glimpse into the upcoming “peak” iPhone and Apple Watch manufacturing season. Starting off, Foxconn looked back at its profits in July and reported consolidated revenues of NT$315.06 billion (US$10.62 billion) for the month, which marks an increase of 7.53 percent year-on-year. For the first seven months of 2017, Foxconn’s combined revenues were NT$2.2 trillion, increasing by 1.64 percent year-on-year (via DigiTimes).

Those watching Foxconn’s revenue report are now expecting the October-December period to be the “peak of 2017” for the company, thanks to its status as one of Apple’s biggest suppliers and the launch of the iPhone 8 sometime in September. Foxconn’s revenue will increase “gradually” in August, according to market watchers, and will continue until the end of the year. Holiday spending traditionally helps increase Apple and its suppliers’ revenue, even boosting Foxconn’s December period in 2016 in the face of an overall year that saw its first-ever profit decline.

Check out our recent hands-on with an iPhone 8 dummy model

Some market watchers expect Foxconn’s revenues to increase gradually beginning August and the growth will last until the end of 2017 with the fourth quarter being the peak of 2017 for Foxconn.

Apple Watch supplier Quanta Computer announced revenues for the second quarter of 2017 at NT$235.37 billion (US$7.93 billion), growing 3.3 percent from the previous quarter and 13.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. Today’s report stated that next-generation Apple Watch shipments will begin in the fourth quarter, gradually increasing Quanta’s financial performance in the second half of 2017 — a sentiment that’s been shared in previous supply chain reports due to Quanta’s status as the sole supplier of the “Apple Watch Series 3.”

With the notebook market entering the traditional peak season, its server shipments expected to enjoy growth and the next-generation Apple Watch set to begin shipments in the fourth quarter, some market watchers expect Quanta’s financial performances to gradually pick up in the second half of 2017.

In other supply chain ramp-up stories, TSMC has entered mass production on the iPhone 8’s A11 chip in the third quarter of 2017. The next-generation chip is being crafted with a new 10-nanometer FinFET process, and originally began production back in May after a month-long delay. TSMC is also using its 10nm manufacturing process to build the new iPad Pro’s A10X processors, and it’s predicted the A11 processors will also find their way into the “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus.”

In addition, TSMC has already started mass production of 10nm FinFET chips in the third quarter, driven by Apple’s orders, the report indicated. TSMC’s 10nm FinFET process has been adopted by Apple for its A10X processors for use in its 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets and A11 chips that will power the upcoming iPhones.

There have been numerous reports from Apple’s supply chain in recent weeks, timed ahead of the rumored announcement of the iPhone 8 in September. These include a report centered on Lumentum and “massive” orders it has received for components related to its vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers. Such technology is believed to be for the advanced camera and 3D sensing features of the iPhone 8.

Last week, all three new iPhones were reportedly entering volume production, and Samsung Display began gearing up to operate seven of its next-generation OLED lines at full capacity earlier this month, all aimed at the iPhone 8. In terms of the main suppliers for Apple’s next-generation OLED smartphone, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron are predicted to hit a sales high in the period running from September to November of this year, due to shipments of finished iPhones that will “start gaining momentum” as soon as this month.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: TSMC, Foxconn, Quanta

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LightwaveRF Unveils New HomeKit-Enabled Accessories With UK Compatibility

U.K. smart home solutions provider LightwaveRF announced on Monday that its forthcoming product range, which includes a light dimmer and smart socket, will be fully compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform.

On October 3, LightwaveRF will launch its new Generation 2 Link Plus smart hub, Smart Dimmers, Smart Sockets, and a Smart Radiator Valve. The Link Plus connects to a Wi-Fi router and controls the LightwaveRF smart home system for lighting, heating, power and security.


“This is a further exciting development for LightwaveRF,” said chief executive officer Andrew Pearson. “We look forward to working with Apple as a HomeKit technical partner and a supplier to its retail outlets. The exposure and awareness from this partnership should enhance our market visibility and greatly benefit our customers via easier management of their smart home solutions. We look forward to expanding our relationship with Apple as we launch further HomeKit compatible devices for both the UK and international markets.”

The new LightwaveRF range is said to be the result of a two-year research and development program, with new features of the system including built-in energy monitoring, color-changing LEDs to indicate status, and wire-free two-way switching.

The new range will be sold in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates through Apple retail stores, online via Apple.com, and other chosen retail outlets.

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