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Apple Store App Updated With iOS 11 Enhancements and Support for iPhone Purchases Without Carrier Pre-Activation

Apple today updated its Apple Store app to version 4.4, introducing iOS 11 enhancements and a new scanner feature for quickly adding your credit card information at checkout.

According to the release notes, the app update also allows customers to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones, a purchasing option that has been available for the iPhone X on the Apple Store website since November.
What's New in Version 4.4
- iOS 11 enhancements
- Scanner now available to easily add your credit card information at checkout
- Customers now have the option to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones on AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint
The Apple Store app is Apple's iOS storefront, allowing customers to find and purchase a range of Apple products and accessories. It can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Lifeprint Launches Larger WiFi-Equipped AR Photo Printer That’s Available Exclusively From Apple

Lifeprint, known for its photo printers that come equipped with augmented reality technology, today announced the launch of its latest printer, which is larger than the original version to let iPhone users print bigger pictures.


The new Lifeprint photo printer can print images that are 3 by 4.5 inches, up from 2 by 3 inches. WiFi is new to this version of the printer, which means you can print to a Lifeprint printer from anywhere in the world and send photos to printers owned by friends and family. Bluetooth is also available for local printing.


With Lifeprint printers, you also can print a still of a video or a Live Photo and then use the Lifeprint app to see an augmented reality version of the video, essentially bringing your photos to life. It's a little bit gimmicky, but it can be a fun way to share videos with friends. It's also a neat way to print and share Live Photos.


Like many of the miniature iPhone printers on the market, Lifeprint printers use ZINK paper, which allows for color images without ink cartridges. ZINK also has a sticky back, so all of your printed photos double as stickers. On the downside, ZINK is expensive at over $1 per photo when using the Lifeprint-branded paper in the new size.


You can print photos, videos, Live Photos, GIFs, Snaps, and more with Lifeprint, and the Lifeprint app has built-in tools for editing your images and adding stickers, filters, and captions. There's also integration with Instagram and Facebook so you can print directly from your social network.
"For our second printer, we wanted to go bigger and broader. The larger film is classic instant camera size and really captures that retro look and feel. Perfect for decorating your walls. But more importantly the WiFi capability means you're always connected. This allows users to print to and from anywhere in the world. No matter where you are, you're connected and ready to print. And of course, the magical Harry Potter-like Hyperphotos still bring those videos to life in your hands. Super cool."
Lifeprint's new 3x4.5 printer is available exclusively from Apple.com and Apple retail stores for $149.99 starting today. Film is priced at $50 for a pack of 40 and $30 for a pack of 20.


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Apple Retail Stores Offering iPad Pro ‘Sketch Walks’ in Celebration of Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary

Apple is offering a series of "sketch walks" hosted by well-known artists to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers, a global community of artists that are dedicated to on-location drawing.

Many artists who are members of Urban Sketchers have adopted the iPad Pro as a drawing tool of choice, including Uma Kelkar from San Francisco, Rob Sketcherman from Hong Kong, Don Low from Singapore, and Omar Jamarillo from Berlin, all of whom will be teaching the sketching classes.

A member of Urban Sketchers for over four years, Rob has been creating artwork exclusively on iPad for just as long, and began drawing on iPad Pro in 2015 when it was introduced.

Rob says, "the flexibility [iPad Pro] offers fuels experimentation with line, texture and look, allowing any number of iterations. It's also very forgiving, expelling all fear of the dreaded blank page and of potentially 'ruining sketchbooks' in case an experiment goes awry."
All of the 10th anniversary sketch walks hosted by Urban Sketchers artists will take place on Thursday, November 30 at Apple retail locations around the world. Don Low will teach in Singapore, Rob Sketcherman will teach in Hong Kong, Uma Kelkar will teach in San Francisco, and Omar Jaramillo will teach in Berlin.

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers with artist Uma Kelkar, and explore how to free yourself from the notion of art as an exact science. She'll demo her free-flowing process, which sets aside space, proportion, and even gravity to tell a complex story in unexpected ways. And you'll practice sketching overlapping vignettes to tell your own unique story with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Each class requires customers to bring an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, along with comfortable shoes. Walks range from 0.5km to 2km.

Apple also offers several other classes dedicated to drawing and sketching on Apple devices, all of which are part of its "Today" program. The Today program allows Apple retail stores to offer classes on a wide range of subjects, providing help and instruction for customers of all skill levels.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Reach Robotics’ ‘MekaMon’ AR Gaming Robot Available at Apple Stores for $299

Augmented reality gaming company Reach Robotics today announced that its MekaMon gaming robot is coming to Apple Stores throughout the US and UK starting on November 16.


Priced at $299.99, MekaMon is a real-life robot that melds real-world gameplay with augmented reality. MekaMon, a four-legged spider-shaped robot that measures in at 11.8in x 11.8in x 5.9in, is designed to let players battle their robots in both the physical and virtual worlds using iOS devices.


MekaMon is compatible with newer iOS devices and adopts the iPhone's camera and infrared sensors for what Reach Robotics calls "precision gameplay." MekaMon robots connect to one another using infrared signals as players' iPhones connect over Bluetooth, letting friends battle against each other or participate in arcade and cooperative gameplay.


With the built-in augmented reality support, gamers can choose to play with their MekaMon robots either in the real world or using augmented reality. Once a battle is engaged, MekaMon is able to move and use objects in the room like tables, chairs, and more to block attackers.

Each MekaMon robot can be customized by adding weapons or shields to make the robot more aggressive, defensive, or technically inclined, and the MekaMon robots are compatible with Swift Playgrounds, so users can control their robots using Swift code.


MekaMon can be used as a code learning tool with users able to implement "fundamental coding concepts" to control MekaMon's movements, reactions, and startup and shutdown features.
"We've created an entirely new video gaming platform," said Silas Adekunle, CEO of Reach Robotics. "MekaMon straddles both the real and virtual worlds while taking the gaming experience beyond a player's screen and turning their sitting room into a limitless robotic battle zone. MekaMon represents a quantum leap forward in the leveraging of augmented reality. Players can whip out their smartphone to battle their multi-functional, connected battlebots in the physical and virtual worlds at the same time."
MekaMon can be purchased from Apple.com or MekaMon.com for $299 starting today. It will be in Apple retail stores tomorrow.


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Apple’s Extended 2017 Holiday Return Policy Said to Begin November 25

Apple's annual extended holiday return policy will begin November 25 in the United States, according to a senior Apple support advisor.


Most products and accessories purchased between November 25 and December 25 of this year will be eligible for return until January 8, 2018 in the United States, and the extended window likely applies to Australia, Canada, and select other countries as well. Last year, in most of Europe, the end date was January 20.

Apple products that can be returned include, among other things, the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The few items that cannot be returned include Apple or iTunes gift cards. Apple products can be opened and used prior to the return date, but must be returned undamaged with the original packaging.

When making a purchase at an Apple retail store, we recommend that you ask for printed and emailed copies of your receipt. Both printed and emailed receipts will indicate the return date for each product purchased, while Apple also lists the cutoff date under the "Your Account" section on its website.

All purchases made before November 25 or after December 25 are subject to Apple's standard 14-day return policy in most countries.


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