About the Author

Zac Hall

@apollozac

Editor at 9to5Mac + 9to5Google

Zac covers Apple news and product reviews for 9to5Mac. Zac also contributes to 9to5Google.

Email tips, typos, and any feedback to: zac@9to5mac.com

Tweet and follow: @apollozac

August 9

Review: Sony WF-1000XM3 true wireless noise-canceling earbuds are the new champs

Over the past month, I’ve used the Sony’s poorly-named but pretty incredible WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds for gym workouts (recommended) and bike rides (at your own risk). These $228 earbuds fall between Apple’s $159 AirPods and $259 PowerBeats Pro but offer something both don’t: active noise cancellation.

In fact, I reviewed the PowerBeats Pro last month and thought I was done with my search for the perfect wireless earbuds. Turns out I was wrong…

June 27

Can smart home devices get viruses? Experts separate fact from fiction …

Can smart home devices get viruses? There’s been a lot of talk about the idea of IoT (Internet of Things) devices being infected by viruses, not least because Samsung this month recommended scanning its QLED televisions for viruses every few weeks.

Security experts from Avast and Symantec have set out to separate fact from fiction. They say that while a virus isn’t impossible, it is extremely unlikely – but there are four other ways the security of your smart home can be compromised, and we outline some simple steps you can take to reduce the risks …

May 22

Having Siri, Google Assistant & other intelligent assistants female by default is sexist, says UN

Apple’s decision to make Siri’s voice female by default in the US and many other countries reinforces gender bias, claims a new United Nations report. The same complaint is levelled at Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.

The problem with this, says the report, is that it ‘reflects and reinforces’ the idea that assistants – acting in a support role – are female …

November 27, 2018

Podcast listeners have gone from three-quarters white to reflective of US population

A decade ago, podcast listeners were almost three-quarters white. Today, says a new report, the audience for podcasts is almost as ethnically diverse as the US population …

October 25, 2018

[Update: Rollout details] Pokemon Go will soon use Apple Health and Google Fit data to hatch eggs and earn candy

Niantic has announced a new feature called Adventure Sync that’s coming soon to Pokemon Go on iOS and Android. Adventure Sync will use Apple Health and Google Fit activity data to credit players with distance traveled in the real world for hatching eggs and earning candy — even when Pokemon Go is not running.


Update 11/1: This post has been updated with information about the Adventure Sync feature rollout and how it works.


June 11, 2018

Snapchat messaging has always been ephemeral in nature with chat logs disappearing moments after being opened, but what about taking back messages that you regret sending before they’re opened? Now you can do that with Snapchat’s new clear chat feature! Snapchat is also making it easier to buy its photo and video capturing shades…

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May 30, 2018

Plex is out with a major new app update today that includes two big changes. First up is a new personalization feature that lets you arrange your home screen within the app as well as top-level navigation. And second is podcast support with subscribing to shows and playing back episodes.

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April 25, 2018

Snapchat update introduces Snappables — a new way to play fun AR games with your friends

Snapchat is continuing to build features on top of its signature selfie filters, and its newest addition may have you making crazy faces in public. Snappables are augmented reality-based games that let you compete with your friends uses Lenses.

April 17, 2018

Snapchat is updating its Lens Studio tool with the ability to create custom Face Lenses for the first time. Lens Studio previously offered the ability to create World Lenses, or AR effects applied to your environment, and now users can create custom selfie effects as well.

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April 3, 2018

Apple Music for Android gains ‘new music video experience’ in latest update

Apple Music for Android continues to receive new updates that bring it in line with the iOS 11 version. The latest update released this week includes a ‘new music video experience’ following the same enhancements added in iOS 11.3 last week.

March 15, 2018

Apple Music for Android updated with crash fix, playback reliability improvements

Apple Music for Android has received its second app update of the month — an uncommon occurrence for the rarely updated Apple Music client.

March 13, 2018

After being teased last summer, ecobee has officially announced pricing and availability for its new Switch+ smart home accessory. Switch+ is available for pre-order starting today and ships on March 26 for $99 in the US and $119 in Canada. Like other smart light switches, Switch+ includes Alexa integration as well as Google Assistant support for controlling lights  — but Switch+ takes integration with Amazon’s voice assistant a step further by building it in to the light switch.

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March 7, 2018

Gigantic dinosaurs may soon be roaming the planet once again — at least on Android and iOS. Universal Studios and Montreal-based video game company Ludia have teamed up to create Jurassic World Alive. The title is a new augmented reality game launching this spring, and the premise is similar to Niantic’s Pokémon GO.

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January 12, 2018

Niantic is still cracking away at its AR-hit game Pokémon GO with a new series of events called Community Day. These events will be scheduled once a month around the world and aim to bring Trainers, or Pokémon GO players, together with special perks.

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November 29, 2017

Snapchat teased out earlier this month that its app would soon see its first major redesign, and today we’re seeing the first look at the new Snapchat. The details come a bit earlier than expected, although the rollout will be gradual…

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November 8, 2017

Instagram continues Snapchat assault, lifts 24 hour limit on Stories clone

Instagram is continuing its assault on Snapchat (which is working) by opening up its Stories clone to any photos and videos in your photo library. Stories were originally limited to shots and footage captured in the app, then later updated to include photos and video captured within the last 24 hours.

October 19, 2017

Pokémon GO is kicking off its second in-game Halloween event with new ghost-type pocket monsters from the Hoenn Region, a special Pikachua with a witch hat, and more rewards and perks.

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October 10, 2017

Snapchat is partnering with several services including OpenTable and Lyft to launch something new called Context Cards. These location-based cards bring relevant information like business hours, reviews, contact information, and travel options to Snapchat.

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October 4, 2017

In addition to promising Google Assistant support next year, Sonos has unveiled its latest wireless speaker: the Sonos One. The new model replaces the Sonos Play:1 in the lineup at the $199 level with models available in both white and now black. Sonos One is the company’s first wireless speaker with built-in voice control.

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September 25, 2017

It looks like Siri and Google are friends again and Bing is in the rear view mirror. In a major shift, Apple is changing its search results provider for Siri and Spotlight on iOS and macOS from Microsoft’s Bing to the vastly more popular Google.

TechCrunch says the change has started to roll out today (it’s also live for me) and should be in effect for all users by the end of the day. For users, this means Siri and Spotlight will now provide the same search results as Safari by default (and in a lot of cases show better search results).

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