Google Home now supports free Spotify accounts

The Verge:

Google Home can now stream music from free Spotify accounts, as spotted by Android Police. Google promised to make its Home speaker compatible with more music and video streaming services back at I/O in May, with a list included Deezer, SoundCloud, HBO Now, and Hulu; Home already supports premium Spotify accounts.

With Home, you can ask the device to play a particular song, artist, or album, and with a free-account, requesting these will start a station of songs inspired by the item you choose. If you request a playlist, the music will start playing in shuffle mode. You’re also able to ask for music to be played based on genre, mood, or activity, or for Spotify-curated playlists on a free account, Google says.

If you want to set up your free Spotify account with Home, open the Google Home app, and tap “music.” To choose your default service, tap the radio icon next to the service you want. Spotify needs to be linked, so to connect your account, tap on “link,” and sign into your Spotify account.

Until HomePod comes out from Apple, voice-activated music playing using Spotify and Google Home and/or Amazon Echo the best, fantastic, living-in-the-future service.

Apple Releases iOS 11 and iPad How-To Videos

John Vorhees:

Apple has published a series of six short videos to YouTube highlighting the marquee features of iOS 11 on the iPad. Each of the how-to videos is about one minute long and shows how to use a new feature:

  • ‘How to harness the power of the amazing new dock’ demonstrates how to add items to the dock, access recent files, and drag files into apps like Messages.
  • ‘How to mark stuff up with Apple Pencil’ shows how to mark up notes from the lock screen, Mail attachments, photos, and screenshots.
  • ‘How to manage and fly through your files with iOS 11’ is a quick tour of the new Files app, including how to use recents, favorites, and various cloud services.
  • ‘How to effortlessly scan, sign, and send a document with iOS 11’ shows someone scanning, signing, and sending a lease using the the Notes app.
  • ‘How to get more things done more quickly with multitasking with iOS 11’ explains how to share images in a Keynote presentation in Messages using Slide Over.
  • ‘How to get the most out of your hands with iOS 11’ demonstrates how to use two hands to drag and drop multiple images.

The videos do an excellent job of describing and demonstrating each new feature quickly and simply. With iOS 11 just weeks away, a little pre-launch education about its new capabilities on the iPad is a smart move by Apple.

Apple Watch with LTE Potential

Chance Miller:

The Apple Watch argument is a bit different. There are countless instances where I would love to leave my iPhone in the car or at home, but simply can’t due to the possibility of a family emergency or something else that requires an immediate response. With an LTE Apple Watch, however, I could do just that. Leave my iPhone behind, yet stay connected wherever I go. Whether it be out for a hike with the dog, out to dinner, or even just for an “iPhone-free day,” which sounds quite appealing a lot of the time.

There’s much more to this argument, though. Apple has to ensure that Apple Watch truly remains fully functional without an iPhone connection. This should include app notifications, calls, SMS messages and iMessages, and more. The whole lot. One missed notification because of a weird forwarding bug completely erases the peace of mind that an LTE Apple Watch provides.

Wi-Fi Assist and Wi-Fi Calling: What’s the difference?

Wi-Fi Assist and Wi-Fi Calling: What’s the difference? | Macworld:

Wi-Fi Assist is a feature in the iPhone to help with internet connections. The name is a little misleading, though as reader Bob Andres finds out:

Does Wi-Fi Assist boost cell phone reception in a low-service area?? We have poor service in our stone office building and are hoping Wi-Fi Assist will make the difference.

Unfortunately, no. Wi-Fi Assist is exactly the opposite. If you’re on a Wi-Fi network and access is spotty, iOS will “assist Wi-Fi” by tapping into an accessible cellular network. (And, warning, a lot of people in the past have sucked down massive amounts of data unintentionally by enabling this feature, which Apple has turned on by default. I haven’t received horror stories lately, so perhaps it’s been fully tamed.)

If this is about cellular calling, however, there’s a separate feature on an iPhone 5c or later that can help: Wi-Fi Calling. It lets you place phone calls via a Wi-Fi network, which routes them to your carrier’s telephone network, rather than use cellular signals. Your carrier has to offer this as a feature, and many do. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are three that do.

The Wi-Fi Calling setting in iOS requires support from your mobile carrier. In Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling, you tap the switch on, and then wait for carrier activation. You have to enter a fixed address for emergency or 911 calls. This is meant as a sort of extra backup in case your location can’t be obtained from a cellular network when an emergency call is placed, since you can use Wi-Fi Calling on networks other than your home network.

Once the feature is enabled, the label Wi-Fi appears to the right of the carrier name in the status bar in iOS. If you turn on Calls on Other Devices for other iOS hardware and Macs—models released mostly in the last five years—that use the same iCloud account, you can also make Wi-Fi calls from those devices.

What’s new in iOS 11 beta 6

What’s new in iOS 11 beta 6? Hands-on with new features and changes [Video] | 9to5Mac:

Earlier today Apple released iOS 11 beta 6 to developers, and like previous beta iterations, it comes with several new updates and changes. The most obvious change is found in a new controversial App Store icon update, along with an update to the Apple Maps icon that highlights the company’s new Apple Park campus. Have a look at our video inside for a brief hands-on walkthrough.

Some of the changes/features covered in this video

New App Store icon

New iMessage app icon

New Maps app icon highlighting Apple Park

Fixed Reminders app icon with check circles on left

Bolder numbers for the Clock app

New splash page for Photos

Fish live wallpapers have been removed

Auto-brightness is now an accessibility option, defaults to on

Control Center Music widget AirPlay indicator tinted blue during use

New AirPods overlay animation

KGI: Apple Watch 3 to come in LTE and non-LTE models

KGI: Apple Watch 3 to come in LTE and non-LTE models, no obvious form factor change | 9to5Mac:

Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has released a new forecast on the next generation Apple Watch. According to Kuo, the Apple Watch 3 will ship later this year with both LTE and non-LTE models offered. Kuo also expects the next Apple Watch will retain the same general design and not feature an obvious new form factor.

Kuo specifies that the Apple Watch will continue to ship in two size configurations: 38mm and 42mm cases.

KGI’s latest prediction comes 10 days after Bloomberg’s recent report which first mentioned the new Apple Watch with Intel modems for LTE connectivity. John Gruber at Daring Fireball later hinted that the new model would feature a new form factor, although he later backtracked on the timing of that claim.

KGI further predicts that the third-generation Apple Watch with cellular connectivity will not support 3G connections, only LTE, which will limit which markets in which it can be sold and used

Consumer Reports stops recommending Microsoft Surface PCs over reliability concerns

Consumer Reports stops recommending Microsoft Surface PCs over reliability concerns – The Verge:

Consumer Reports is stripping its “recommended” badge from Microsoft’s entire lineup of Surface PCs because the hardware was found to be “significantly less reliable than most other brands.”

In a survey of 90,000 tablet and laptop owners, Consumer Reports found that roughly 25 percent of Surface users have encountered “problems by the end of the second year of ownership.” Those problems include freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and touchscreen response issues. Reuters reported on the latest Consumer Reports reliability study, which was published on Thursday.

“These conclusions are based on our breakage rate estimates for laptops by the end of the second year of ownership, gathered from subscribers’ experiences with 41,304 laptops purchased new between 2014 and the first quarter of 2017,” the nonprofit publication wrote.