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Apple’s update to macOS Sierra is called High Sierra

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Apple announced an update to macOS Sierra, in the form of macOS High Sierra. As simple as the name, the update to the world’s most advanced desktop operating system brings​ an all-new file system, update to Metal, refinements to stock Mac apps, and more.

macOS High Sierra uses Apple File System (APFS) which makes common operations such as copying files and directories instantaneous, and helps protect data from power outages and system crashes. The new files system is fully compatible with previously formatted HFS drives and data.

macOS High Sierra Homescreen

Apple also updated Metal, with a refined API and improved performance that help third-party developers to tap into the GPU power more efficiently, to version 2. Metal 2 adds support for machine learning and external graphics. There’s also an External Graphics Developer Kit that provides developers access to all the hardware and software required for optimizing their apps on Mac. For High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), Apple is now moving to H.265 standard from H.264.

With macOS High Sierra and new Mac notebooks and iMac Pro, Apple is focusing more on new experiences such as virtual reality and machine learning. For the first time ever,  developers will be able to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac. Apple is working with Valve to bring SteamVR on macOS — with support for HTC Vive, of course — while Unity and Epic will launch their VR development tools for macOS later this year.

As far as refinements are concerned, Photos, which got a huge update last year with macOS Sierra, has gained more improvements this time. Perhaps the biggest update to Photos in macOS High Sierra is the ability to launch third-party photo-editing tools like Photoshop, Pixelmator from within the app, with changes being synchronized automatically to the Photos library. There’s also an always-on sidebar that curates albums and organization tools. Plus, you can now easily edit Live Photos with fun effects in the app.

macOS High Sierra Storage

Safari can now automatically open articles in Reader, and stop media with audio from automatically playing in the browser with Autoplay Blocking. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention, as the name suggests, protects your web activity from being tracked by advertisers. It uses machine learning to identify and eliminate the tracking data.

To your surprise, Safari on macOS High Sierra is now the world’s fastest desktop browser, according to Apple. A modern Javascript test claims it to be 80 percent faster than Chrome. Mail gets faster and easier with Top Hits, and Siri on macOS now gets a natural and more expressive voice — just like on iOS 11. There are bunch of improvements under-the-hood, which you’ll be experiencing when Apple launches macOS High Sierra later this fall.

Meanwhile, developers can get their hands on the preview build of macOS High Sierra now at developer.apple.com. Public beta program will follow later this month at Apple Beta Software Program.

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Android 8.0 Oreo Open Beta Now Available For OnePlus 3/3T

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Android 8.0 Oreo

OnePlus has released Android 8.0 Oreo Beta as part of its Open Beta program. The Open Beta program from OnePlus is similar to Apple’s Public Beta program, allowing users to test the phone’s software before it launches to the public. Let’s welcome the first Open Beta build of Android 8.0 Oreo for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. And yes the name, OxygenOS!

As long as you’re comfortable encountering a few bugs in the system, you can install and use the Open Beta based on Oreo for the OnePlus 3/3T. Following is the changelog of the software that comes along Android 8.0.

Android 8.0 Oreo Changeling (Open Beta)

  • System changes
    • Update to Android O (8.0)
      • Added Picture in Picture
      • Added Auto-fill
      • Added Smart text selection
      • New Quick Settings design
      • September security patch
  • Launcher changes
    • Added Notification dots in Launcher
    • Added OnePlus account login for access to Shot on OnePlus
      • Now able to upload photos directly to Shot on OnePlus through wallpapers

OnePlus has already highlighted some common known issues prevailing with this build of Android 8.0 Oreo Open Beta.

Known issues with Android 8.0 Oreo (Open Beta)

  • Fingerprint actions may be slower than you are used to.
  • Shortcut to access Google Photos is unavailable
  • Some stability issues with NFC and bluetooth
  • Performance and compatibility of 3rd party apps will continue to be optimized

If you’re already enrolled into the OnePlus Open Beta program, you should see the update prompting from the Settings app. Else, you can follow the installation instructions to get into the Open Beta.

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Apple releases iOS 11.0.3 with bug fixes

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Apple has released iOS 11.0.3 today, almost a month after the official release of iOS 11. The software update for iPhone fixes bugs discovered since the push of iOS 11.0.2 past week.

The previous two versions of iOS 11 focused on bug fixes and security improvements, and the third one is no different, either. Apple’s iOS 11.0.3 software release fixes an issue dealing with audio and haptic feedback on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, whereas on iPhone 6s the update addresses an unresponsive display issue. Official release notes for iOS 11.0.3 follows below.

iOS 11.0.3 for iPhone

  • Fixes an issue where audio and haptic feedback would not work on some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices
  • Addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 6s displays because they were not services with genuine Apple parts

“Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information,” notes Apple.

Apple is also testing iOS 11.1 among developers and public beta testers, and will be dropping off the public stable build by the end of the month. The upcoming iPhone X is likely to ship with iOS 11.1 on board when it launches next month. Anyways, you can grab today’s update through Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone, as you always do.

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Pixelmator 3.7 brings full support for macOS High Sierra

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Pixelmator for Mac

Pixelmator for Mac has been recently updated to fully support macOS High Sierra. The update to version 3.7, codenamed Mount Whitney, brings a lot of changes to the table, including the ability to launch Pixelmator from the Photos app, support for the new iPhone-shot HEIF images, and Continuity features like Handoff and iCloud.

“People love using Pixelmator on the Mac, and one of the biggest reasons is its extensive integration with macOS,” said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “And with Pixelmator 3.7 Mount Whitney, we think users are really going to love the much more seamless experience of launching Pixelmator right from the Photos app and automatically saving changes back to the same image in the Photos library.”

Pixelmator now makes it possible to drag and drop images from Safari and Photos directly into Pixelmator documents, along with improved support for Photoshop images. In addition, you can now launch the photo-editing app right from Photos and save your edits back to the original image in the iCloud Photos library seamlessly. Simply right click on a photo and select ‘Edit with Pixelmator.’

Bug fixes and improvements follow after the break…

  • The Pixelmator extensions for the Photos app would quit unexpectedly on certain newer Mac computers. Fixed.
  • The Quick Selection Tool’s live preview would appear in the lower left corner of the image. It’s back to where it should be.
  • The Pixelmator Change Type of Images Automator action would not convert files to PSD. Fixed.
  • Rulers would sometimes disappear when editing text. Fixed.
  • Improvements to the Repair Tool algorithm make the Repair Tool faster and more accurate.

Pixelmator for Mac is available on the Mac App Store for just $30.

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