iTunes Store Accepting Donations to Support Earthquake Relief in Japan and Ecuador

Apple today added banners to the iTunes and App Stores allowing customers to donate to the American Red Cross in support of people affected by the earthquakes that hit Ecuador and Japan last week.

Donations made through iTunes and the App Store can be placed using credit cards already on file with Apple, making the donation process simple. Customers are able to donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 to relief efforts. 100% of all donations made through iTunes will be given to the American Red Cross. [Direct Link to Donations]

redcrossdonations
48 people have died in Japan and thousands more were injured after magnitude 6.2 and 7.0 earthquakes hit southwest Japan on April 14 and 16, causing severe damage in the Kumamoto and Ōita prefectures. More than 140 aftershocks have also affected the region.

In Ecuador, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit approximately 110 miles from Quito on April 16, killing more than 500 people and injuring thousands more.

Apple has used the iTunes Store donation method multiple times in the past to raise money for charity, most recently accepting donations in September to support the refugee and migration crisis across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Other previous relief effort fundraising campaigns have included the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the 2013 Phillippines typhoon, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

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Apple today added banners to the iTunes and App Stores allowing customers to donate to the American Red Cross in support of people affected by the earthquakes that hit Ecuador and Japan last week.

Donations made through iTunes and the App Store can be placed using credit cards already on file with Apple, making the donation process simple. Customers are able to donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 to relief efforts. 100% of all donations made through iTunes will be given to the American Red Cross. [Direct Link to Donations]

redcrossdonations

48 people have died in Japan and thousands more were injured after magnitude 6.2 and 7.0 earthquakes hit southwest Japan on April 14 and 16, causing severe damage in the Kumamoto and Ōita prefectures. More than 140 aftershocks have also affected the region.

In Ecuador, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit approximately 110 miles from Quito on April 16, killing more than 500 people and injuring thousands more.

Apple has used the iTunes Store donation method multiple times in the past to raise money for charity, most recently accepting donations in September to support the refugee and migration crisis across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Other previous relief effort fundraising campaigns have included the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the 2013 Phillippines typhoon, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Discuss this article in our forums

BBC Announces Family-Friendly iPlayer Kids App for iOS

The BBC today unveiled the iPlayer Kids app for iOS, which allows children to safely access CBeebies and CBBC shows directly.

The family-friendly app offers access to over 10,000 shows and enables up to four profiles to be created on one device for the delivery of specialized content to each child.

BBC iPlayer Kids
Parents and guardians can create a profile for children by selecting an age and a character avatar to identify the child’s account, after which specific programs for pre-schoolers or over-fives can be viewed.

Episodes can be downloaded over Wi-Fi to be watched away from the home, and shows are available to stream or download for up to 30 days each.

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s, announced the app as a standalone solution apart from the BBC iPlayer app that caters exclusively for kids and keeps them safe from unsuitable content:

The BBC iPlayer Kids app meets the needs we know are absolute deal breakers for kids and parents. We’re offering choice and control, wrapped up in a child-friendly design and the largest range of home-grown UK content on a platform parents can trust.

The BBC app is both ad and in-app purchase free, and includes a parental control function that locks the app during use so children are unable to access any BBC links, other apps, or settings.

The BBC iPlayer Kids app is a free download on the UK App Store and available for iPhone and iPad. [Direct link]

Discuss this article in our forums

The BBC today unveiled the iPlayer Kids app for iOS, which allows children to safely access CBeebies and CBBC shows directly.

The family-friendly app offers access to over 10,000 shows and enables up to four profiles to be created on one device for the delivery of specialized content to each child.

BBC iPlayer Kids

Parents and guardians can create a profile for children by selecting an age and a character avatar to identify the child’s account, after which specific programs for pre-schoolers or over-fives can be viewed.

Episodes can be downloaded over Wi-Fi to be watched away from the home, and shows are available to stream or download for up to 30 days each.

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s, announced the app as a standalone solution apart from the BBC iPlayer app that caters exclusively for kids and keeps them safe from unsuitable content:

The BBC iPlayer Kids app meets the needs we know are absolute deal breakers for kids and parents. We’re offering choice and control, wrapped up in a child-friendly design and the largest range of home-grown UK content on a platform parents can trust.

The BBC app is both ad and in-app purchase free, and includes a parental control function that locks the app during use so children are unable to access any BBC links, other apps, or settings.

The BBC iPlayer Kids app is a free download on the UK App Store and available for iPhone and iPad. [Direct link]

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New Apple TV Ad ‘Father Time’ Released Starring Kobe Bryant

Apple has released a new television ad for the fourth-generation Apple TV called “Father Time,” starring NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and actor Michael B. Jordan. It is the tenth ad for the new Apple TV since it launched in late October.

The one-minu…

Apple has released a new television ad for the fourth-generation Apple TV called “Father Time,” starring NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and actor Michael B. Jordan. It is the tenth ad for the new Apple TV since it launched in late October.



The one-minute spot centers upon Bryant and Jordan using the Apple TV and Siri Remote to open the NBA app, play a movie, and fast forward to a specific time in the movie. The ad uses the same trailer backdrop as the earlier “The Kiss” spot.

The underlying “Father Time” theme of the ad lightly pokes fun at how Bryant’s all-star career with the Los Angeles Lakers, whom he will play the last game of his 20-year career for on Wednesday, is coming to an end.

The ad closes with the tagline “future of television” and colorful bars as seen throughout the rest of Apple’s advertising campaign for the new Apple TV, including billboards in major cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Hollywood.

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

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Apple Celebrates Autism Acceptance Month With Two New Videos

Earlier this morning, Apple posted a pair of videos onto its YouTube channel to join in on celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. The videos – titled “Dillan’s Voice” and “Dillan’s Path” – show how the company’s technology, namely the iPad, has helped a …

Earlier this morning, Apple posted a pair of videos onto its YouTube channel to join in on celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. The videos – titled “Dillan’s Voice” and “Dillan’s Path” – show how the company’s technology, namely the iPad, has helped a young man with autism navigate a world that doesn’t fully understand what he’s going through.

Dillan narrates the first video, Dillan’s Voice, using the help of an assistive communication app on the iPad. He mentions that most of his life it was impossible to convey what he felt to people around him, but with the help of the iPad he can finally speak and have conversations with his friends and family.


So many people can’t understand that I have a mind. All they can see is a person who is not in control. But now you can hear me. The iPad helps me to see not only my words but to hold onto my thoughts. Having a voice has changed everything in my life. No more isolation. I can finally speak with the people that love me. I can say what I think and let them know I love them too.

Dillan’s mom Tami, and his therapist Deborah Spengler, provide some background into Dillan’s past in the second video. Dillan was born in 1999 and Tami mentions that what the iPad has done for her son is “just the most incredible thing ever, to suddenly start to hear your child’s voice.” Before he could use the iPad to type, Dillan describes “a lonely existence” where he had to create relationships with his various toy animals since he couldn’t communicate with his family.



Apple has been known as a big proponent for first-party accessibility features on its devices, as well as encouraging the development of third-party apps that facilitate educational experiences for users with vision, hearing, physical, or learning impairments. Many of its award-winning efforts have yielded results such as bringing gaming to the blind on iOS, and even various assistive technologies like VoiceOver and haptic feedback on the Apple Watch.

Apple has also launched a section of the app store, called Voices of Autism, inspired by Dillan’s story. There users can download educational and every-day apps, helpful books, and listen to podcasts about “real-life stories” from people living with autism.

More can be discovered about Apple’s extensive accessibility features on the company’s website.

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Belkin Puts HomeKit Compatibility Plans for WeMo Product Line ‘On Hold’

In January of 2015, Belkin said it was working with Apple to add HomeKit compatibility to its popular line of WeMo smart products “in the very near future,” but more than a year later, HomeKit-compatible WeMo products have not debuted.

As it turns o…

In January of 2015, Belkin said it was working with Apple to add HomeKit compatibility to its popular line of WeMo smart products “in the very near future,” but more than a year later, HomeKit-compatible WeMo products have not debuted.

As it turns out, Belkin appears to be putting its plans to introduce HomeKit compatibility on hold because there is no way to add HomeKit to products that are already on the market. Belkin would need to develop an entire line of new HomeKit-enabled WeMo products, something that the company says it is not interested in doing in at the time being. The information was shared with MacRumors reader Steve on Facebook after he asked about HomeKit.

belkinwemo

We’ve been trying to integrate with HomeKit for sometime, as you know, but as of yet have not found a way to make existing WeMo products work with HomeKit that fall within the Apple guidelines. HomeKit integration requires a specific hardware component – it cannot happen with just a software or firmware update – which means that we would have to make a separate line of HomeKit enabled WeMo products in addition to the ones already out on the market.

This also means that all of the WeMo products you already own still wouldn’t work with HomeKit and you would have to buy new ones in order to get compatibility. We have put HomeKit compatibility on hold until we can find a way to make it work for both new and existing users. We are sorry for the disappointing news.

The WeMo Facebook representative goes on to say that “nothing is off the table” but the company wants to be sure that its product decisions “make sense for the entire WeMo ecosystem” and all current and future users.

Apple’s HomeKit system has specific and stringent security requirements [PDF] that must be included with products that Apple certifies as HomeKit compatible. Existing Belkin WeMo products may not meet Apple’s security specifications, which have been described as “bleeding edge.”

Apple’s demand for strong end-to-end encryption, even for Bluetooth LE, has been citied as one of the reasons why HomeKit-enabled products were slow to roll out to consumers following the mid-2015 HomeKit launch. Unless Apple relaxes its requirements, which seems unlikely, HomeKit compatibility won’t come to the WeMo line until Belkin decides to create new HomeKit-enabled products.

With a huge range of WeMo products, from smart outlets and bulbs to cameras and crockpots, already on the market, it’s not hard to understand Belkin’s reluctance to create all new products and alienate its existing customer base. Some customers using the WeMo line could have hundreds of dollars invested in various products, and for existing customers interested in HomeKit compatibility, all of those items would need to be repurchased.

Tags: Belkin, WeMo

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Walmart Offering $100 Discount on All iPhones, Including New iPhone SE

Starting today, Walmart is offering $100 off its selection of Apple iPhones, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and newly released iPhone SE, making the already affordable device available at an even lower price point.

The discount applies to iPhones purchased through AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint and is available on devices bought using a monthly installment plan. The discounted price will be reflected through each customer’s cell phone bill, with the monthly payments lowered by an appropriate amount.

iPhone-SE-Front-Back
Customers who want to purchase an iPhone eligible for the discount will need to do so in store, as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint iPhones are not sold online. Walmart plans to offer the $100 off deal through the end of June.

In other deal news, Belkin.com is offering a 25 percent discount on all of its products through the end of the day with the promo code IMNOFOOL, and Best Buy is offering solid discounts on the 12-inch Retina MacBook, MacBook Air, and Retina MacBook Pro dropping prices by up to $300.

For a full list of this week’s deals and discounts, make sure to check out our dedicated deals roundup, which is updated on a daily basis with new accessories, significant deals, and app discounts. It also contains a price list for all of Apple’s major products and is an excellent resource for finding the best deal on a Mac or iPad.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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Starting today, Walmart is offering $100 off its selection of Apple iPhones, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and newly released iPhone SE, making the already affordable device available at an even lower price point.

The discount applies to iPhones purchased through AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint and is available on devices bought using a monthly installment plan. The discounted price will be reflected through each customer’s cell phone bill, with the monthly payments lowered by an appropriate amount.

iPhone-SE-Front-Back

Customers who want to purchase an iPhone eligible for the discount will need to do so in store, as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint iPhones are not sold online. Walmart plans to offer the $100 off deal through the end of June.

In other deal news, Belkin.com is offering a 25 percent discount on all of its products through the end of the day with the promo code IMNOFOOL, and Best Buy is offering solid discounts on the 12-inch Retina MacBook, MacBook Air, and Retina MacBook Pro dropping prices by up to $300.

For a full list of this week’s deals and discounts, make sure to check out our dedicated deals roundup, which is updated on a daily basis with new accessories, significant deals, and app discounts. It also contains a price list for all of Apple’s major products and is an excellent resource for finding the best deal on a Mac or iPad.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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9.7-inch iPad Pro First Impressions: Major Improvement Over iPad Air 2, True Tone Display is Great

Apple’s newest iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch model, made its way into the hands of customers on March 31, and now that a day has passed, many people who purchased the powerful little tablet have shared their thoughts on the device on our forums.

ipadpro97inchlineup
Reviews and impressions from media sites came out earlier this month, but there are always new details and small tidbits of information that come out when products see a wide release. First impressions from actual Apple consumers can also be valuable for those considering a purchase, so we’ve gathered up some of the details MacRumors readers have shared about the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

A thread querying users about their happiness level with the new iPad Pro suggests opinions on the device are largely positive. More than half of respondents said the device is “amazing” or a “great upgrade.” While some are upgrading from an iPad Air 2 or earlier, there are buyers who traded their 12.9-inch iPad Pros for the smaller models. MacRumors reader Traverse outlined a long list of positives about his iPad Pro, highlighting the speed improvements over the iPad Air 2.

ipadproheader

Noticeably faster performance than my Air 2. I loved the Air 2 and never thought of it as slow and expected the A9X to yield no real world benefit in day to day use. I think a combination of that and the NAND flash improvements are huge. Apps install faster, many app launches are noticeably faster. The Music app is nearly instant open whereas the Air 2 took 2-3 seconds. I set up my iPad as new and launched Sky Guide for the first time by accident when I was putting it’s widget in NC and by the time NC swiped up the app was already loaded and waiting :eek:. It’s noticeable more zippy.

The True Tone display, unique to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, is getting some rave reviews, but not all iPad Pro owners are fans of the yellowing of the display. Patriot24 says it’s “insanely great,” but BitSlap says he prefers bright and crisp whites. On the whole, most readers seem to like the feature quite a bit.


truetonedisplayapplevideo

Can we talk about how insanely great (yeah, I went there) True Tone is?

I had to switch to my MacBook Pro/iPhone every few minutes during the setup process of my new iPad Pro to get two-factor authentication codes, and holy cow is it a major difference. I didn’t realize just how stark all of the displays around me are until now. I think it has ruined me forever.

People aren’t going to run out and buy iPads because of it, but it isn’t hard to imagine a future where all displays have this feature.

Sound on the new iPad Pro is described as “stunning,” but Cakefish points out that the speakers are prone to vibrating at high volume levels, much like the iPad Air 2. 3goldens says the vibration issue is less pronounced, though.

I personally couldn’t care less. Does not bother me at all with my Air 2. But I know it aggrevates some people enough to want to rip their own hands off. So for all of you who are sensitive to the speakers vibrating I’ll give you a warning that the speakers on the Pro 9.7″ also vibrate. By the same amount as the Air 2. I checked it out in store today.

Some prospective buyers were concerned about the protruding rear camera on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro as it could potentially prevent the tablet from laying flat on a surface, but many report that is not the case.

ipadprorearcamera

The camera sticking out doesn’t affect it’s ability to be stable while laying flat. I usually use a foldable stand with my tablets so it’s a non issue for me. The flash is great and it takes great pictures, I won’t use that feature often but it’s nice to have when my phone isn’t nearby.

One other interesting camera quirk — wdam123 points out that there’s no flashlight option in the Control Center on the iPad Pro despite the fact that it now includes a rear flash like the iPhone. For those wondering about the color of the Space Gray iPad Pro, CD3660 says it matches the iPhone 6s but is lighter than the 2015 MacBook and the original iPad Air.

A list of all of the threads mentioned in the post is included below, along with other interesting 9.7-inch iPad Pro forum discussions.

iPad Pro 9.7 pictures/opinions

How happy are you with your new 9.7″ iPad Pro?

Space Gray Lighter on iPad Pro

iPad Pro 9.7 has no option in Control Center for flashlight

If speaker vibration was a deal breaker for you with the Air 2, don’t bother getting the new Pro.

True Tone is a Great Innovation

The Big Pro or Little Pro

Will itWobble?

iPad Pro 9.7 Screen is Nice

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is now available online, in Apple retail stores, and from third-party retailers. Pricing on the tablet starts at $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only model and goes up to $1,029 for the 256GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple’s newest iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch model, made its way into the hands of customers on March 31, and now that a day has passed, many people who purchased the powerful little tablet have shared their thoughts on the device on our forums.

ipadpro97inchlineup

Reviews and impressions from media sites came out earlier this month, but there are always new details and small tidbits of information that come out when products see a wide release. First impressions from actual Apple consumers can also be valuable for those considering a purchase, so we’ve gathered up some of the details MacRumors readers have shared about the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

A thread querying users about their happiness level with the new iPad Pro suggests opinions on the device are largely positive. More than half of respondents said the device is “amazing” or a “great upgrade.” While some are upgrading from an iPad Air 2 or earlier, there are buyers who traded their 12.9-inch iPad Pros for the smaller models. MacRumors reader Traverse outlined a long list of positives about his iPad Pro, highlighting the speed improvements over the iPad Air 2.

ipadproheader

Noticeably faster performance than my Air 2. I loved the Air 2 and never thought of it as slow and expected the A9X to yield no real world benefit in day to day use. I think a combination of that and the NAND flash improvements are huge. Apps install faster, many app launches are noticeably faster. The Music app is nearly instant open whereas the Air 2 took 2-3 seconds. I set up my iPad as new and launched Sky Guide for the first time by accident when I was putting it’s widget in NC and by the time NC swiped up the app was already loaded and waiting :eek:. It’s noticeable more zippy.

The True Tone display, unique to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, is getting some rave reviews, but not all iPad Pro owners are fans of the yellowing of the display. Patriot24 says it’s “insanely great,” but BitSlap says he prefers bright and crisp whites. On the whole, most readers seem to like the feature quite a bit.

Continue reading “9.7-inch iPad Pro First Impressions: Major Improvement Over iPad Air 2, True Tone Display is Great”

iPhone SE First Impressions: Small Size is Perfect and Performance is Impressive but Power Button Rattles

Yesterday marked the official launch date of the iPhone SE, with the device arriving to pre-order customers and becoming available for purchase in retail stores. Now that the new 4-inch iPhone is in the hands consumers, many MacRumors readers have been sharing their opinions on the iPhone SE in the forums.

iphoneseback
We’ve already seen reviews and first impressions of the 4-inch iPhone from media sites, but details and thoughts shared by actual customers are often more informative. We’ve rounded up some of the more interesting tidbits that our readers have shared, which can be seen below.

On the whole, reactions to the iPhone SE are positive among customers who have been awaiting a smaller 4-inch iPhone. PaladinGuy finds the 4-inch form factor to be more comfortable, but does miss the 3D Touch feature of the iPhone 6s.

It’s WAY more comfortable in my hand to have 4″ again, but I have to say that I keep trying to use 3D Touch for different things, and then remembering the SE doesn’t have it. We’ll see how big of a deal it is to me.

Many MacRumors readers who purchased the iPhone SE favor one handed operation over screen size, and with a 4-inch iPhone, the entire screen can be accessed with a thumb as Hal~9000 points out.


iphonesesizecomparison
There are a surprising number of MacRumors readers who switched from one of Apple’s flagship iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices to the new iPhone. From Z3man, who previously used an iPhone 6s:

Really enjoying using a 4″ phone again, my 6s is definitely getting sold. The 6s really does look big and ugly next to the SE, but it is in the hand i feel the biggest difference, the SE just feels so much better, much easier to use and better balanced, it just feels right, the 6s just feels all wrong. I haven’t found any compromises yet after going to the SE, best iPhone yet.

Some new iPhone SE owners have run into issues with their devices. There are a few complaints of yellow-tinted screens, and a good number of users have noticed a rattling sound coming from the power button of the device that can impact videos. This is also an issue that some iPhone 5 and 5s models suffered from, but some users aren’t bothered by it.

My wife’s and my SEs both have the rattle. I’d prefer that our $500 phones not rattle but in the end it doesn’t seem like it’s a big issue especially if this was prevalent on the 5s and didn’t lead to any larger problems.

Benchmarks (sourced from Engadget) comparing the iPhone SE, 6, 6s, and 6s Plus were shared, confirming that the iPhone SE is on par with Apple’s flagship phones when it comes to performance and leading MacRumors readers to share their own performance tests. The iPhone SE performs as well as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, even beating it in some graphics tests due to the lower screen resolution.

iphonesebenchmark
Early impressions on battery life are positive, but most readers agree more testing needs to be done to reach a solid conclusion on battery performance compared to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. From a raw numbers standpoint, the iPhone SE should last longer than the iPhone 6s. From mattopotamus:

coming from a 6s, this is great. I still have 88% left taking it off the charge at 5:30am. Usually I would be in the 60% range.

Forum users have highlighted a few other shortcomings iPhone SE buyers should be aware of, including its lack of a barometer for including altitude fitness-related data in the Health app and its lack of support for LTE Band 30.

A full list of the threads mentioned in the post is included below, along with some additional threads that include interesting discussion on the iPhone SE.

Just picked up my iPhone SE – OMG!

Rattling iPhone SE’s lock/power buttons. An old flaw reinvented?

iPhone SE battery life

Yellow SE screen

iPhone SE water resistant?

Those who have moved from a Plus to an SE

Any iPhone SE Remorse?

iPhone SE and the missing barometer

People mistaking iPhone SE as better than 6s

The iPhone SE can be purchased in retail stores, through the Apple online store, and through third-party carriers and retailers. Supplies of the iPhone SE have dwindled somewhat and orders placed today in the United States will not arrive until later in the month.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE

Discuss this article in our forums

Yesterday marked the official launch date of the iPhone SE, with the device arriving to pre-order customers and becoming available for purchase in retail stores. Now that the new 4-inch iPhone is in the hands consumers, many MacRumors readers have been sharing their opinions on the iPhone SE in the forums.

iphoneseback

We’ve already seen reviews and first impressions of the 4-inch iPhone from media sites, but details and thoughts shared by actual customers are often more informative. We’ve rounded up some of the more interesting tidbits that our readers have shared, which can be seen below.

On the whole, reactions to the iPhone SE are positive among customers who have been awaiting a smaller 4-inch iPhone. PaladinGuy finds the 4-inch form factor to be more comfortable, but does miss the 3D Touch feature of the iPhone 6s.

It’s WAY more comfortable in my hand to have 4″ again, but I have to say that I keep trying to use 3D Touch for different things, and then remembering the SE doesn’t have it. We’ll see how big of a deal it is to me.

Many MacRumors readers who purchased the iPhone SE favor one handed operation over screen size, and with a 4-inch iPhone, the entire screen can be accessed with a thumb as Hal~9000 points out.

Continue reading “iPhone SE First Impressions: Small Size is Perfect and Performance is Impressive but Power Button Rattles”