The Most Interesting Products We Saw at CES 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show is wrapping up today, bringing an end to a week’s worth of non-stop announcements about all of the new products we can expect to see over the course of the year.

For our last video, we asked MacRumors videographer Dan to spend some time on the show floor, hunting down the most interesting products he could find. Not everything we’re sharing today is Apple related, but we thought MacRumors readers might want to see some of the zanier things on display at CES.

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Robots were big at CES, some of which were offering an impressive level of detail and intelligence. Jibo, a $900 “social” robot that’s already for sale, was on display, as was the CLOi Robot from LG. LG’s CLOi is designed to control smart home products and , but it had a bit of a rough start this week when it failed to perform at an LG event.

LG’s CLOi


You might have seen Jibo in person already, because the company has been showing it off at mall kiosks and other locations. Jibo has a built-in camera for both facial recognition and capturing “special moments,” plus he can dance, answer questions, play music, and more.

Jibo


Other robots on display were just plain odd. Robotis had a bunch of its programmable $499 Mini Humanoid Robots set in a choreographed dance to South Korean hit song “Gangnam Style.” Robotis also had a pet dog robot on hand, which was able to roll over, wag its tail, and even pretend to go to the bathroom.

Robotis Mini


Some robots were more conceptual than consumer oriented. Omron, for example, was showing off its Forpheus ping pong robot, which can play a mean game of table tennis. In the future, Omron has goals beyond ping pong or Forpheus, but for now, it’s an interesting proof of concept demonstrating what robots are capable of.

Omron’s ping pong robot


Beyond robots, there was some impressive TV tech being demonstrated at CES. LG created an entire tunnel filled with OLED TVs to simulate walking through a forest, while Samsung showed off its 146-inch microLED modular TV, “The Wall.”

The Wall scales out to as large as 146 inches, which is the average size wall a consumer might have in a house. It’s modular, though, so if your wall is smaller, it can be built smaller, too. Samsung hasn’t provided pricing on The Wall, but we imagine it’s going to be a lot more than most people want to spend for a TV set, even one as cool as this.

The Wall from Samsung


Though not quite as visually interesting, the latest Vivo phone was being shown off on the show floor. The Vivo is notable because it’s the first phone that includes an in-display fingerprint sensor, courtesy of Synaptics. Apple was rumored to be working on this kind of technology, but the company ultimately went with Face ID.

Synaptics’ Clear ID in-display fingerprint sensor


Cars and other alternative transportation methods were also a highlight of CES, with companies showing off everything from the luxurious to the futuristic. There were also plenty of electric bikes and scooters, including an FAA-approved collapsible electric scooter from Immotor. It’s sleek, folds down into a tiny package, and offers a 16 mile radius on one charge, but it’s expensive at $1,500.

Immotor Go


Our CES coverage is at an end for 2018, but we’ll be seeing more of many of these products over the course of the year. If you want to catch up on our coverage, make sure to check out our CES 2018 hub, and don’t miss our roundup of some of the best Apple-related accessories we saw at the show.

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Office Depot and OfficeMax Offering $28 Aftermarket iPhone Battery Replacements Until February

Office Depot and OfficeMax today informed us they have lowered their iPhone battery replacement fee to $27.99 at select stores across the United States through February 4, 2018, essentially matching Apple’s discounted $29 price.



The lower price, down from $49.99 regularly, is applicable to the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE, subject to battery availability and while supplies last.

Office Depot and OfficeMax promise same-day battery replacements. If the order is not completed by the end of regular store hours, the customer receives a repair discount of $25, according to fine print on its website.

One very important caveat is that Office Depot and OfficeMax are not Apple Authorized Service Providers, meaning their replacement batteries are not supplied by Apple, and having an aftermarket battery installed can void your iPhone’s warranty, although iFixit argues that Apple cannot do so under U.S. law.

A spokesperson for Office Depot and OfficeMax informed us that their iPhone batteries are built to Apple’s specifications for each iPhone model and added that all of their batteries carry a one-year warranty against defects.

We still highly recommend only having an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider replace your iPhone’s battery, but Apple is currently running low on some batteries, and Office Depot and OfficeMax may be an option worth considering for customers with an iPhone that is already past its warranty.

Office Depot and OfficeMax offer iPhone battery replacements at hundreds of locations across the United States. Those interested can enter their ZIP code on Office Depot’s website to find a participating location near them.

iFixit has also discounted its iPhone battery replacement kits to $29 or less as a do-it-yourself option, but again, we recommend letting a professional at Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider complete the process.

For customers who want to keep things official, read our guide on how to get your iPhone’s battery replaced with an appointment at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple also offers a mail-in option.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SE

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Apple Shares New Video Highlighting Portrait Lighting on iPhone X

Apple this afternoon uploaded a new iPhone X video to its YouTube channel, this time showing off the new Portrait Lighting mode on the iPhone X.

In the 38-second video entitled “A New Light,” Apple explains that Portrait Lighting offers studio quality lighting effects without the studio, while also showing off each of the different Portrait Lighting options.

Portrait Lighting on iPhone X creates studio-quality lighting effects. See portraits and selfies in a whole new light.

Portrait Lighting is a feature available for both the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus, but the iPhone X is the only device that offers Portrait Lighting effects for both the front and rear-facing cameras thanks to its front-facing TrueDepth lens system.

Apple’s Portrait Lighting feature uses sophisticated algorithms to calculate how your facial features interact with light, to create unique lighting effects. There are several Portrait mode lighting presets, including Natural Light, Studio Light (lights up your face), Contour Light (adds dramatic shadows), Stage Light (spotlights your face against a dark background), and Stage Light Mono (Stage Light, but in black and white).

Portrait Lighting is one of the new features that Apple has focused on a few times before in past videos, sharing Portrait Lighting tutorials and demonstrations of Portrait Lighting in action. Most of Apple’s prior videos focused on the iPhone 8 Plus, though, while this one is specific to iPhone X.

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

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Adorama and Best Buy Sales Include Up to $200 Off New MacBook Pros and MacBook Air

Adorama has marked down a collection of MacBooks this week, with instant rebates that start at $150 off Apple’s mid 2017 refresh of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and increase to $200 off the 15-inch model. Adorama’s markdowns on the latest MacBook Pros provide some of the best sale prices for these custom configurations found online, and other retailers like B&H Photo and MacMall are matching discounts in many instances.

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

13-inch MacBook Pro from mid 2017

  • 2.3GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $1,549 at Adorama and B&H Photo, down from $1,699
  • 2.3GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $1,749 at Adorama and B&H Photo, down from $1,899
  • Touch Bar, 3.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,049 at Adorama and B&H Photo, down from $2,199
  • Touch Bar, 3.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,349 at Adorama and B&H Photo, down from $2,499

15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from mid 2017

  • 2.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $2,199 at Adorama, down from $2,399
  • 2.9GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,599 at Adorama and MacMall, down from $2,799
  • 2.9GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD – $2,989 at MacMall / $2,999 at Adorama and B&H Photo, down from $3,199
  • 3.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD – $3,199 at Adorama and B&H Photo, down from $3,399

In addition to Adorama’s instant rebates, Best Buy today started a new 2-day sale that will last until tomorrow, January 13 at 11:59 PM CT. Discounts include $200 off the MacBook Air, around $60 off the HP ENVY printer, as well as savings on 4K tvs and various smart home products. We’ve rounded up some of the most notable deals during Best Buy’s 2-day sale in the list below.


If you were interested in T-Mobile’s BOGO iPhone offer announced earlier this week, remember that the carrier’s trio of deals go live today. For more of the latest discounts and sales — including a third-party Rose Gold Milanese Loop for $8 on Amazon — head over to our Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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Visa Dropping Signature Requirement for Chip Cards and Apple Pay Starting in April

Visa today announced it will eliminate its signature requirement for EMV payments beginning April 2018 in the United States and Canada.



The change will apply to both chip-and-signature credit and debit cards, and contactless payment solutions like Apple Pay when linked to a Visa credit or debit card. The change is designed to allow for a more consistent, streamlined, and quicker checkout experience for both merchants and cardholders.

For years, customers have been required to sign the receipt when making a purchase to verify they own the debit or credit card they are attempting to use. A cashier is supposed to match the signature on the receipt against the one on the back of the card, but in reality, this process is often skipped nowadays.

Currently, even when using Apple Pay, a signature can be required on occasion for purchases over $25 made with a Visa card in the United States. But with EMV technology and other modern safeguards, Visa is now moving to fully eliminate this requirement, in line with Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

The signature requirement is already much less common in Canada, where customers insert their chip card into a payment terminal and verify ownership by entering a four-digit PIN. You also can’t use contactless payments for transactions over $100 in Canada (update: excluding American Express — thanks Gary Ng!)

Visa says its partners have deployed EMV-chip enabled readers at more than 2.5 million locations around the world. Less than two years since the technology launched in the United States, counterfeit fraud declined 66 percent at EMV-chip enabled merchants, according to the company.

Merchants will remain able to collect signatures if required to do so by an applicable law in a particular jurisdiction.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Visa

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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of tvOS 11.2.5 to Developers

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2.5 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fourth beta and almost a month after the release of tvOS 11.2.1, an update that introduced a fix for a HomeKit vulnerability.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 11.2.5 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that’s installed using Xcode.



We don’t yet know what features or changes might be included in the tvOS 11.2.5 update, but it likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and performance improvements rather than major outward-facing changes.

There were no outward-facing changes discovered in the first four developer betas, but we’ll update this post should new features be found in the fifth beta.

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

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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Adventure Leather Satchel for Your MacBook Pro From Intrepid Bag Co

For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with Intrepid Bag Co to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win an Adventure Leather Satchel Bag designed for Apple’s line of MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro machines.

Available in 13 and 15-inch size options, the Adventure Leather Satchel is made from high-quality full grain tobacco-colored leather that will age into a unique patina, making each bag one-of-a-kind.



Intrepid Bag Co offers several quality-made leather bags, but the Adventure Satchel is its most rugged, made with old-world craftsmanship techniques like hand pounded copper rivets and UV-resistant nylon stitching.

The Adventure Satchel is laden with pockets and can hold quite a bit of gear. Under the front flap, there’s a dedicated laptop section, two medium-sized interior pockets, rainproof side flaps, a key strap, and two pen holders.



There’s also a hidden passport/wallet section for keeping your valuables safe, and on the outside of the bag, there’s a zippered compartment under the flap and a long newspaper pocket at the back.



You can wear the Adventure Satchel cross-body with a side mounted 1.5-inch strap made from leather and canvas, which is padded for comfort even when the bag is packed full, and there’s also a hand strap at the top.



Intrepid Bag Co normally charges $249 for the 13-inch Adventure Satchel or $269 for the 15-inch version, but we’ve got one to give away. Intrepid Bag Co has also provided MacRumors readers with a 10 percent discount on all products using the code “MacRumors10.”

To enter to win the 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 (January 12) at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on January 19. The winners will be chosen randomly on January 19 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

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Air-Gapped MacBook Air Helped Rian Johnson Avoid Leaks When Writing ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Writer/director Rian Johnson did an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, discussing his favorite tech essentials that he uses both casually and professionally, including for the creation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In regards to the scripting process of The Last Jedi, Johnson said that he wrote the entire film on an air-gapped MacBook Air.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi official title via starwars.com


An air-gapped computer is never connected to the internet, ensuring that the device is completely isolated from other, potentially non-secure networks. Johnson explained that this prevented secrets within The Last Jedi‘s script from ever getting out, and he “used it for nothing except writing the script,” although he didn’t specify which model of Apple’s MacBook Air he used.

I typed Episode VIII out on a MacBook Air. For security it was “air-gapped”—never connected to the internet. I carried it around and used it for nothing except writing the script. I kept it in a safe at Pinewood Studios. I think my producer was constantly horrified I would leave it in a coffee shop.

Johnson also mentioned playing iOS game Desert Golfing on his iPhone X, admitting he’s played “more than 1,500 holes” in the game. Other tech discussed included a Leica M6 35mm film camera used on The Last Jedi, his Omega Speedmaster Pro wrist watch used to time out moments on the set, and “The History of Rome” podcast he listened to when writing the movie.

Ahead of the release of The Last Jedi, Apple hosted free Star Wars-themed workshops at select Apple retail stores. The sessions taught participants how to make movie trailers and code droids in celebration of Force Friday II, the day that new Star Wars toys launched for characters, stories, and locations from The Last Jedi. Earlier in the summer, animator and illustrator Wahyu Ichwandardi shared an Apple/Star Wars project of his own when he recreated the entire first trailer for The Last Jedi on a vintage Apple IIc from 1984.

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