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Apple is now launching refreshed AirTag firmware to more customers with a different build number from the previous AirTag firmware which had a build number of 1A291e.
Revised AirTag firmware begins rolling out to all users
The firmware started rolling out in August 2023
A few days later, it received a new build number
In September, the build number was updated again
The version now rolling out has yet another new build number
The latest AirTag firmware is now rolling out to all
According to online reports, the new AirTag firmware has a build number 1A291f.
The only difference between it and the previous one seems to be the removal of the deployment limit that the previous firmware set to 25 percent, which restricted the availability of that firmware to no more than 25 percent of active devices in the wild. With the deployment limit entirely removed, all AirTag owners should soon get the latest firmware update.
Apple does not provide release notes for these things so we don’t really know if the latest firmware enables any new feaures. So far, online reporting indicated bug fixes only.
→ How to read AirTag’s embedded NFC tag
So what’s up with the ever-changing build numbers? As MacRumors speculates, Apple’s over-the-air delivery mechanism for AirTag software updates could be why we saw several AirTag firmware releases lately, each having a different build number.
There have been several minor releases with different build numbers, and behind the scenes, those tweaks were to meter the number of people who were seeing the AirTag update at one time. […] It is not clear why Apple has metered the release of the AirTags firmware update, but it may have to do with the over-the-air distribution method.
To find the firmware version of your AirTag, go to the Items tab in the Find My app:
Open the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac
Choose the tab labeled “Items”
Select the AirTag you’d like to see more details about.
Hit the battery icon below the AirTag name to reveal the firmware version.
So how do you update the software powering your AirTag?
Apple doesn’t provide a manual update mechanism for AirTags. Instead, AirTag automatically updates itself when new firmware becomes available. For that to work, however, your AirTag and iPhone must be within Bluetooth range because the phone delivers the AirTag firmware.
This AirTag software has had a very rocky start
The latest AirTag firmware is arriving two months after the previous one brought out new anti-stalking features. On August 26, 2023, the new firmware began rolling out to some AirTag owners as an automatic update.
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The software came with a version number of 1.0.291 and build number 1A291a.
A few days later on August 31, an updated version of the AirTag firmware launched with the same version but a higher build number at 1A291c versus the previous one. And on September 7, the company replaced that firmware with yet another one carrying a build number of 1A291e.
So far, none of our Apple-branded personal item trackers have received the latest 1A291e update. Once we do get it, however, we’ll be making sure to check if the version number in the Find My app matches the latest AirTag firmware available, then report our findings back to you.
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Picture this: after a long and exhaustive flight, you finally arrive at a hotel. But instead of waiting on the lines clogging the front desk to pick up a key, simply bypass the receptionist and head straight to your room safely knowing that an iPhone in your pocket doubles as the room key.
It’s precisely the kind of fantasy that Hilton has dreamed up and now working to make a reality across the vast majority of their hotels by 2023.
This is according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday. That’s right, beginning 2023 some Hilton hotels will allow for door unlocking with a smartphone, with the global roll-out expected to complete by the end of 2023…
Craig Karmin, writing for WSJ:
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is placing a $550 million bet that hotel guests increasingly will use smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.
The company plans to announce this week new technology intended for its 4,200 properties world-wide. Targeting younger travelers, Hilton is aiming to leapfrog competitors that already have rolled out new services like turning mobile phones into room keys.
Currently, Hilton’s free iPhone app (pictured top of post) supports checking-in electronically. By the end of this summer, customers will be able to use a forthcoming app update to directly select their own rooms at six brands, from the midscale Hilton Garden Inn to the luxury Waldorf Astoria.
And beginning 2023, travelers will be permitted to use iPhones and other smartphones to unlock the doors to their rooms, rolling out to most of Hilton’s hotels globally by the end of 2023.
With the proposed system, you’d no longer need the room key because your iPhone would receive a secure key code used to unlock the door wirelessly.
This is great news for the adoption of the iPhone as a physical door key replacement. Four years ago, the company had over 530 Hilton-branded hotels across the world in 78 countries across six continents. All told, the group operates or franchises a whopping 650,000 rooms worldwide.
Competition in this space is fierce and with Hilton hotels adopting digital door locks that work with a smartphone app, rival companies will be compelled to follow suit and therefore help mainstream this cool technology.
Matter of fact, Starwood is now testing virtual room keys at two of its Aloft brand hotels, with plans to offer the feature at its 150 Aloft and W hotels by the end of 2023.
And 967 Marriott hotels already offer check-in and check-out features via a mobile app, with more than 4,000 hotels globally set to offer similar services by year-end.
Consumers looking to install wireless door locks in their homes currently have several options available, such as Kwikset’s Kēvo. Pictured above, the Kēvo is a UniKey-powered wireless deadbolt door lock that connects to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad through wireless Bluetooth Smart technology.
Earlier this year, a company called Openways announced an iPhone-controlled Okidokeys. It works over Bluetooth while supporting RFID tags to unlock the door in case you misplaced your iPhone or the battery died on you.
Other well-known names are joining the iPhone-controlled door lock market, too, including accessory maker Jawbone which announced the $199 “August” door lock designed by industrial designer Yves Behar and crafted of anodized aluminum, shipping by year-end.
Belkin’s Linksys brand has confirmed that it is now rolling out support for HomeKit integration to users of the Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers. This gives Velop users additional security controls over the smart home accessories connected through HomeKit.
The benefits of HomeKit-enabled routers are primarily related to additional security features, including the ability to firewall off accessories to prevent them from accessing your entire network. Apple describes it as the ability to “enhance security by monitoring the network activity of your Home accessories and preventing unsafe connections.”
In the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac you can customize the level of connection security for each HomeKit accessory. The most secure option will ensure that your HomeKit accessory can only interact with HomeKit through your Apple devices. Here’s how Apple explains the options:
Restrict to Home: Most secure. Your accessory can interact only with HomeKit through your Apple devices. The accessory won’t connect to the Internet or any local devices so any third-party services, like firmware updates, might be blocked.
Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and connections recommended by its manufacturer.
No Restriction: Least secure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device in your network or Internet-based service.
Amazon’s Eero was the first networking company to add support for HomeKit routers, bringing the feature to the Eero and Eero Pro systems. Linksys was touted as a partner for HomeKit router functionality when Apple announced the platform and WWDC 2023, so today’s rollout has been a long time coming for Linksys Velop users.
The full press release from Linksys is below. If you use the Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, you can check for the HomeKit software update in the Linksys app for iOS. Linksys says this will be a “phased rollout” and that it will roll out slowly to a “limited number of users in the United States” to start.
Linksys Velop Tri-Band Mesh Routers Now Support Apple HomeKit For Added Security
A Free Software Update Offers More Secure Management of Smart Home Accessories Connected to Linksys Velop Routers
LOS ANGELES – Sept. 22, 2023 – Linksys, the connected home division within the Belkin International and Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) (HK: 6088) entity, today announced HomeKit support for its Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, providing customers even more privacy and security of their smart home accessories.
Using the Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh router customers are able to manage secure access to their HomeKit-enabled accessories and define how each accessory is allowed to communicate inside the home and through the internet. With HomeKit support, Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers can firewall HomeKit accessories, preventing them from communicating with other Wi-Fi devices connected to the home network and untrusted services via the internet.
“At a time where much of the world continues to work, live and learn from home, we’re excited to offer our customers a simple way to enhance the security of their Linksys Velop Tri-Band routers with HomeKit to offer even more robust privacy features within the home,” said Matthew Keasler, senior global product manager, Linksys. “These routers are powered by our Intelligent Mesh Technology so we can continue to additionally serve users with value-adds such as software security, health and wellness services like Linksys Shield, Linksys Aware, and more to come over time.”
Linksys customers can enjoy these added security and privacy features available through HomeKit with a free software update to their Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, which will soon be available in the Velop app for iOS and iPadOS. This feature initially will be available to a limited number of Velop Tri-Band users in the United States and later in a phased rollout to most countries worldwide. Security settings for all HomeKit accessories are available in the Apple Home app on iPhone and iPad.
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This is as agressive on both pricing and placement as I’ve ever seen Apple and the biggest indication yet that they aren’t just after the 20% “high end” market in tablets that the Mac commands. Apple wants to be the mainstream tablet maker and have the iPad be as ubiquitous as iPod.
When Apple started selling iPhones at WalMart last year, you knew that they were aiming at big market share numbers for iOS products. How far will they go? Moving to TJ Maxx is another giant step. What’s next?
The $399 price tag is “Crazy Eddie” insane. That’s $200 less than the smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab (the only “real iPad competitor”). Looking at Apple’s own line, $399 is the same price as a 64GB iPod touch and about $200 less than the base iPhone 4 when purchased off plan, not that you’d ever find any of those products at a TJ Maxx or Marshalls.
How can Apple make any money off of a $399 iPad? This could be what Tim Cook was referring to when he said Apple’s margins would be significantly lower going forward.
A new sales model.
Apple’s other retail partners have to be upset with this model. Perhaps we’ll see some more pricing changes arriving for Black Friday.
Is Apple trying to kill off the competition before they even have a chance to gain a footing?
You might notice that there aren’t any real iPod touch competitors out there. Why is that? Up until recently, you could get an iPod touch for under $200 (and you can often pick up a previous edition iPod touch for $150). I don’t think you can make a competitor for much less than that. Even with the free Android OS, device manufacturers simply can’t make a competing hardware much cheaper. Samsung (who make a lot of the parts in Apple’s iOS products) aren’t even trying to push their Galaxy Player in the US because they can’t make it cheap enough.
Apple has sewn up the iPod touch market because of aggressive innovation and pricing. It wants to do the same for tablets, a much bigger potential market and one that could become as big as PCs.
Looking closer, is Apple offloading excess inventory?
Another less plausible theory is that Apple went overboard on production. Apple initially wasn’t able to meet iPad demand for almost a half year, but there is a possibility they’ve over-compensated and will need to sell a lot more products for the holidays than they could at their March $499 price points. If they are already getting production ready for the iPad 2, they’ll need to make sure Holiday inventory moves.
But TJ Maxx and Marshall’s aren’t just aren’t first run stores. They buy up excess inventory from manufacturers and other stores at lower prices “and pass the savings on”. Literally nothing in their stores is first run products. That’s why I initially thought that these products were refurbished. Apparently, they aren’t.
Did they do the same with Apple?
…and what about the Apple Brand.
It is going to take a hit, that’s for sure. TJ Maxx carries Polo and Chanel and other top fashion brands but those are overproduced, irregular and last season. Apple is putting their flagship product in TJ Maxx. There is no other way to put it: TJ Maxx is a glorified wap meet (no judgements, most of my underwear probably comes from TJMax/Marshalls/Ross). But there’s no way to spin this as good for the brand. So much for high end. Welcome to mass market.
Whatever the case, the $399 iPad changes the game in a big way. Christmas iPad shoppers: It is time to get a deal.
(top image via the Onion)
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Launched about two years ago, PUBG Mobile has completely changed the mobile gaming landscape. It has given birth to a new niche of smartphones, and the stream of amazing content never stops flowing. PUBG Mobile version 0.17.0 update has gone live today and this update brings a myriad of new features, including 2nd Anniversary celebration, a new character, Kill Cam, new EcoGround mode, and the return of Hardcore mode among other things. It weighs in at 1.76GB on Android.New Features in PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 Update
Amusement Park in Erangel
The biggest addition in PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 update comes in the form of the ‘Anniversary Celebration’ mode or ‘Amusement Park’ mode. Here, you’ll jump into Erangel in a Classic match and see old school amusement parks appear randomly in three locations. You will find arcade machines, what’s in the box, shooting range, trampoline (jump to higher new locations for loot and scouting enemies), and Reverse Bungee + Wingsuit in amusement park locations for some added fun apart from taking down enemies.
As teased a couple of days ago, the PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 update brings one of the most-requested features – Death Replay. It’s better known as Kill Cam and will offer players a closer look at how they were eliminated by an opponent. “Players can watch from the attacker’s perspective for a certain time prior to their deaths,” says the patch notes.
Arctic Mode (EvoGround)
The storm, as described in the patch notes, lowers the body temperature so you need to get inside, light a fire with the woods that you pick up while looting. You will also need to hunt chickens and collect raw meat, which you can then cook over the fire, to keep your body temperature in check. You will also find heat packs and heaters in this mode, along with drones to add scouting into the mix.
I know that sounds exciting, but the only catch here is that the Arctic Mode will be made available in the coming weeks.
Brothers in Arms
One of the biggest additions to PUBG Mobile comes in the form of the ‘Brothers in Arms’ feature that will see experienced players play with and help rookies to learn the game’s basics. This is an amazing feature as you can help newbies learn new skills and you can earn rewards in return. Brothers in Arms will work only in Classic mode matches.
— PUBG MOBILE (@PUBGMOBILE) March 2, 2023
Under the Arcade selection menu, you can notice that the ‘Hardcore Mode’ has made a comeback. How’s this different from other modes? Well, it’s for more experience PUBG Mobile players or for those who like a challenge as you cannot see sound prompts (gun shots and footsteps) on the map, auto-pickup and door opening is turned off, and gun mechanics are more realistic.
Minor but Important Changes
PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 update also brings a number of improvements including colorblind mode to offer more color options to the players (can be enabled from Graphics settings menu), independent volume control for teammates, new markers for locations, supplies, vehicles, death crates, and doors.
The update adds a new AirDrop weapon, the DBS Shotgun. It was introduced in the PC version of PUBG last year.Royale Pass Season 12
Finally, if you are looking for information on the next Royale Pass, well, it’s dubbed the “Royale Pass Season 12: 2gether We Play.” It is in line with PUBG Mobile’s second-anniversary celebrations and will go live on 9th March, i.e. Monday, next week. So, go ahead and update the game to try out the aforementioned new features.
I argued recently that Apple is at far greater risk than Epic in the standoff between the two companies over Apple’s 30% cut of in-app purchases. One of the risks I outlined is that Apple wins the case, but the publicity prompts antitrust regulators to make legislative changes.
That risk just increased substantially …
Here’s how I described the potential outcome:
Third, Epic loses the lawsuit, but the publicity is enough to influence the many lawmakers around the world who are carrying out antitrust investigations into Apple. Not everyone agrees, but my personal view is that this is the direction in which the tide is moving, so I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see this outcome.
Apple has since doubled-down on its uncompromising stance, telling Epic that its developer account would be terminated on August 28 if it hasn’t removed the alternative in-app payment method by that date. That’s no problem: Epic can end the dispute anytime it likes.
But the Cupertino company apparently went further, saying that it would also target Epic’s Unreal Engine tool (explained below), which is used by many third-party developers who are not a party to the dispute.
Here’s how Epic expressed it:
Apple retaliated ferociously. It told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms—including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy. Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas.
The tone of Apple’s response was far gentler but remained firm — the epitome of Roosevelt’s approach to diplomacy: “speak softly and carry a big stick.”
We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and its apps on the Store. The problem that Epic has created for itself is one that can be easily remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.
But this isn’t just carrying a stick — it’s poking antitrust regulators with it. By going after Unreal Engine, Apple has increased the stakes for Epic — but has also increased its own exposure here.
For those not familiar with it, Unreal Engine is a gaming engine that makes it easier for developers to create very realistic-looking 3D graphics. It’s used by a significant number of developers in a wide variety of games. Epic charges developers a 5% royalty for using it, which means Epic gets income from every game in the App Store that uses the engine. Apple wants to cut Epic off from that income too.
The problem is, this means developers who are not in any way related to this dispute and are in most cases independent freelancers or very small businesses will now see their apps impacted. It’s unclear whether Apple would pull existing apps from the store, or just prevent the development of new ones, but it’s a drastic action either way.
This is very different from just pulling Epic’s own games. Epic brought this on itself. It chose to do battle with Apple and knew it had little to lose. It can at any point give in to Apple’s demand, remove its own IAP option, and be welcomed back by Apple. It clearly has no intention of doing this, instead choosing its own way to double-down on the dispute, but the important thing is that it has the choice.
But third-party developers using Unreal Engine don’t have that option. They are innocent victims caught in the cross-fire. For anyone wanting to make the case that Apple has too much power and is able to act in monopolistic ways, this is titanium-plated ammunition. Apple can hurt small businesses who have done absolutely nothing wrong and who are powerless to prevent it. (Of course, it can be argued that Epic has that same power too, so it may need to be careful what it wishes for …)
Of the four possible outcomes I outlined, Apple is clearly very confident that the final one will apply.
Finally, nothing changes. Epic loses the court case, and legislators do what they so often end up doing after all the fierce words: nothing. The Apple/Epic battle fizzles out.
As I said then, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least. But if I were a betting man, my option would be that antitrust regulators do eventually intervene. Apple has, I think, made my bet very much more likely.
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