XFX RX 480 Radeon graphics cards listed on Amazon UK

While we await the launch/availability/reviews of AMD’s first Polaris-based products it’s good to see a big retailer with some UK prices for RX 480 graphics cards. Amazon UK has a pair of XFX RX 480 Radeon graphics cards for sale – but listed a “temporarily out of stock”. They are available to order and will be delivered when available. Please note that these cards are “Dispatched from and sold by Amazon,” not third parties.

Amazon has described both XFX RX 480 8GB models as ‘Black’ editions in the heading but only the more expensive one is actually described thus on the packaging. The XFX RX-480M8BFA6, priced at £212.99, has a default 1288MHz GPU clock, and the XFX RX-480M8BBA6, priced at £222.99, has a 1328MHz GPU clock. That’s £10 for the 40MHz faster ‘Black Edition’, before you do your own OC tinkering with WattMan.

Other key specifications of both versions of the XFX RX 480 are supplied as follows:

2304 Stream Processors

8GB GDDR5 8Gbps Memory

256-Bit Memory Interface

3x DisplayPort 1.4 & 1x HDMI 2.0b

3.9 x 25.4 x 12.7 cm, 1.2Kg

In both listings it states that the “date first available” will be today. Inside the box XFX supplies the card itself (regular or Black Edition), a 1x 6-pin to 4-pin power cable, and a driver CD.

Overall, as mentioned in the intro, it’s good to see some solid prices for the 8GB version of the AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card. We have a good idea of US pricing from AMD and various leaks/spills – but extrapolating pricing across the Atlantic is never an exact science. So despite the collapse in value of the pound following Brexit (today a pound is worth $1.34 but last Thursday it was worth $1.50), we look to be getting a better than 1:1 ratio on pricing including VAT.

Later today there should be many more UK retailers with Polaris graphics cards priced up, and in the coming weeks we can look forward to AiB partner cards helping price competition further. On top of that there is said to be plenty of stock flowing to retailers worldwide.

Dell announces the C7017T 70-inch Interactive Monitor

Dell has announced a range of new products at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2016 Conference and Expo. The products are targeted at interactive learning, conference rooms and classrooms. Perhaps the most interesting individual product on show from Dell is the C7017T interactive-touch, 70-inch Full HD monitor.

The Dell C7017T 70-inch Interactive Conference Room Monitor is expected to be bought to replace whiteboards in either conference or classrooms. It offers 10-point multi-touch and two styli are thrown in. As such it sounds like a product that is targeted at similar people and companies that might be interested in Microsoft’s Surface Hub range.

While Dell’s product is just the monitor and Microsoft’s are all-in-one PCs, the price difference makes Dell’s solution worth a look. The latest price for Microsoft’s 55- and 84-inch Surface Hub devices are $8,999 and $21,999, respectively (please note that the larger Surface Hub offers a 4K screen). Dell has launched its 70-inch C7017T monitor at $4,999 but you might have to add the price of a PC if you don’t alreqady have one to use with it.

Enough with the comparisons, what does the Dell C7017T 70-inch Interactive Conference Room Monitor offer in terms of hardware and features? Dell provides the following bullet pointed product highlights:

Supreme interaction: Whether you’re using your hand or the two included styluses, the 10-point touch capabilities will ensure accuracy no matter your preference.

Always in reach: Keep your accessories organized by magnetically attaching the styluses and the remote to the side of the screen.

Focused brilliance: Present in Full HD, on a 70-inch screen that conveniently connects to 1920×1080 resolution. Plus, the special coating on the LCD panel reduces reflections and the fingerprints that come with a touch screen setup.

Clear text, graphics and images: Designed for business and educational applications, monitor components will enhance your presentation visuals for incredible readability in both small and medium-sized conference rooms.

Bold colours: Colours remain consistent across the wide viewing angle, so every seat is the best seat in the house.

The monitor includes connection ports such as VGA, DP and 3x HDMI. Furthermore it can be remotely managed via the RS232 and RJ45 interface. Dell offers an optional Wireless Module WR517 for wireless display connections with your laptop, for example. There’s also USB and audio I/O on the back recess panel. A VESA 400mm x 400mm wall mount is thoughtfully included for this 55.5Kg display. Buyers receive a 3 years Advanced Exchange Service and 3 years Limited Hardware Warranty.

AMD Radeon RX 480 review

The Radeon RX 480 is a seriously impressive package. It’s not the fastest graphics card on the market, but then it wasn’t designed to be. AMD has targeted its Polaris technology debut at the mainstream gamer, the idea being to deliver exceptional 1080p gaming performance and VR readiness at a price that simply can’t be ignored. Let’s put this into perspective: Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970 is by far the most popular gaming GPU on the market today. The RX 480 is just as fast overall – if not faster – and AMD has priced it at just $199.

The card we’re reviewing today comes direct from AMD and it’s the reference version, based on a standard ‘blower’ design. We expect to see two distinct SKUs from each major add-in board manufacturer – cards with 4GB of GDDR5, and a more expensive version with 8GB of VRAM. There’s a subtle distinction here between the two – opt for the more future-proofed 8GB design, and you get more bandwidth: 8gbps vs 7gbps on the lower capacity card. Core clocks are unchanged though, as are all other elements of the design.

The reference card itself is well-built, a triumph of function over form. You’ll need to get a custom card if you want a more striking design, but this rather plain-looking version gets the job done admirably. One area where AMD has spent a great deal of focus is the RX 480’s acoustic performance. The product is very, very quiet, although it can get a little hot. There’s the sense that AMD has balanced thermals vs reduced fan noise here in favour of the latter here, a fact borne out by the blower really needing to kick in hard when overclocking. The RX 480 was a 150W TDP, and takes power using just one six-pin PCI Express connector.

In terms of the physical form-factor of the card, it’s business as usual for a mainstream GPU design, with just one exception: video output port selection. The good news is that the RX 480 finally sees AMD deliver an HDMI 2.0 port, with full h.264/VP9/HEVC media decode and HDCP 2.2 support – 4K gaming may be off the table for more demanding games, but as a basis for a media PC, the 480 is fully armed and operational. On the flip-side, the DP ports are 1.3/1.4 HDR compliant, as future-proofed as they can be.

Based on the new Polaris 10 graphics core, this is the first 14nm FinFET product produced by AMD. It features 36 compute units in total, perhaps suggesting a pared-back version of a so-far unannounced 40CU product.

Architecture: GCN 4th Generation
Shaders: 2304
Compute Units: 36
Base Clock: 1120MHz
Boost Clock: 1266MHz
Peak Performance: Up to 5.8TFLOPs
Memory Clock: 7gbps or 8gbps
Memory Bandwidth: 224 or 256GB/s
Process: 14nm FinFET
Connectors: 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.0
Power Connector: 1x 6-pin
TDP: 150W
The RX 480 is scheduled for release at $199 for the 4GB model, rising to $230 for the 8GB SKU. As usual, partner boards with custom cooler designs and factory overclocks will attract their own price premiums. UK pricing is £180 for the 4GB reference model, rising to £215 for the 8GB version reviewed here. In an ideal world we would have hoped for £15 less on each model, but it’s still reasonable enough following the plummeting value of GBP in the post-referendum world.

The not-so good news is that the reference card features three DisplayPort outputs when ideally, for a product aimed at the mainstream market, at least one dual-link DVI port would have made more sense. This is something we hope to see addressed by the third party board manufacturers.

[embedded content]

Rich presents this video analysis of the Radeon RX 480, covering off the physical form-factor of the card, performance, overclocking – and the actual experience of playing games using it.

But the success of this debut Polaris product is all going to come down to the performance level offered by the card. AMD promised a value-orientated product that meets the minimum VR spec set out by Oculus – putting us firmly in R9 290 territory. And that’s going to be challenging, because Polaris is based on the same core GCN architecture, but only offers 36 compute units (2304 shaders) compared to the R9 290’s 40 (2560). Furthermore, the older card also featured a mammoth 512-bit memory bus – this has been pared down to a more efficient 256-bit interface for the RX 480.

And on top of that, ideally we’d like to see the RX 480 go one better by providing performance up there with the more modern R9 390, which took the R9 290’s design and overclocked it, and paired it with faster memory. Fast, but brutally power-hungry, the R9 390 was AMD’s initial answer to the GTX 970 and in recent times, great driver updates and impressive DX12 performance have seen it power ahead of its Nvidia competitor.

Well, efficiency has been delivered but realistically, it can only go so far – titles like Assassin’s Creed Unity, The Witcher 3 and The Division see the RX 480 handily beat the R9 390, but other games deliver lower frame-rates, the extent of the deficit varying. However, the news overall is good: the profile is very much along the lines of the GTX 970, with all the advantages of the DX12 performance boosts we’ve seen in titles like Ashes of the Singularity and Hitman.

In assessing RX 480, we’ve tweaked our benchmark line-up once again – Project Cars, which still has profound issues on AMD hardware is out, and Hitman’s newly revised benchmark is back in, tested here in its DX12 iteration. We’ve tested a range of Radeon hardware here, and also included Nvidia’s GTX 960 (which launched in January 2015 at the same $199 price-point as the RX 480) along with GTX 970, the current market-leading discrete video card. All cards were configured to operate at reference core and memory clocks. All titles were run from SSD on a Core i7 6700K system overclocked to 4.6GHz and running 3000MHz DDR4 system memory.

[embedded content]

In most titles, the GTX 1070 not only matches Titan X performance, it offers a small boost on top. Not bad for a £330/$380 price-point.

1920×1080 (1080p)
RX 480
R9 380
R9 380X
R9 390
GTX 960
GTX 970
Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ultra High, FXAA
Ashes of the Singularity, Extreme, 0x MSAA, DX12
Crysis 3, Very High, SMAA T2x
The Division, Ultra, SMAA
Far Cry Primal, Ultra, SMAA
Hitman, Ultra, SMAA, DX12
Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ultra, SMAA, DX12
The Witcher 3, Ultra, Post AA, No HairWorks
In terms of the generational leap compared to the outgoing R9 380, we’re looking at anything from a 38 per cent improvement (Hitman) to a 44 per cent jump (AC Unity) – impressive stuff. The 380X at reference clocks only adds a couple of frames to the 380’s performance, perhaps explaining why models such as the Sapphire R9 380X we reviewed came with a meaty factory overclock out of the box.

Sticking to the existing $199 market sector, there’s a vast gulf in performance up against GTX 960 here. Now, it’s worth pointing out that our reference card here is the 2GB model, which almost certainly explains the vast increases seen in AC Unity and especially Hitman. But even factoring those results out, we’re still seeing an average 56 per cent improvement in favour of the RX 480 – and that’s important because after GTX 970, the GTX 960 is the most prolific discrete GPU tracked by the Steam hardware survey.

It’s the battle between RX 480 and R9 390/GTX 970 that proves most fascinating though. Compared to the R9 390, we’re seeing a pitched battle between efficiency and raw, brute power paired with vastly higher memory bandwidth (256GB/s vs 384GB/s). It’s interesting to see AC Unity, The Division and The Witcher 3 pull ahead of the R9 390, while the older card runs Far Cry Primal and Ashes of the Singularity 10 to 11 per cent faster.

Up against GTX 970, the RX 480 once again demonstrates some seriously impressive DX12 performance in Ashes and Hitman, but falls short in Rise of the Tomb Raider. In DX11-land, the RX 480 inches ahead in most titles, though The Division is nine per cent faster. It’s important to stress that outside of AMD’s DX12 champions, the real life experience of using these cards is very, very similar – no bad thing when the GTX 970 remains such a strong performer overall.

[embedded content]

In most titles, the GTX 1070 not only matches Titan X performance, it offers a small boost on top. Not bad for a £330/$380 price-point.

2560×1440 (1440p)
RX 480
R9 380
R9 380X
R9 390
GTX 960
GTX 970
Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ultra High, FXAA
Ashes of the Singularity, Extreme, 0x MSAA, DX12
Crysis 3, Very High, SMAA T2x
The Division, Ultra, SMAA
Far Cry Primal, Ultra, SMAA
Hitman, Ultra, SMAA, DX12
Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ultra, SMAA, DX12
The Witcher 3, Ultra, Post AA, No HairWorks
Moving up to 1440p performance, the RX 480 remains a totally viable contender, just like the R9 390 and GTX 970. However, aggressive settings management is required to maintain smooth, consistent frame-rates at this resolution. Bearing in mind that this class of card runs virtually anything you want at ultra or high settings at 1080p60 with only minor compromises, we can’t help but feel that trading quality for pixels isn’t the best way to use these GPUs.

However, performance-wise, the 480X continues to see off its last-gen predecessors: it’s 40 per cent faster than R9 380 on aggregate with a 33 per cent uptick compared to the R9 380X. Perhaps not surprisingly bearing in mind its mammoth memory bandwidth, the R9 390 really begins to flex its muscles at this higher resolution – it’s 12 per cent faster in Ashes of the Singularity, 15 per cent faster in Crysis 3 and has an 11 per cent boost in Far Cry Primal. However, the RX 480 still commands a four per cent uplift with The Division, rising to five per cent in The Witcher 3.

Rise of the Tomb Raider DX12 aside, the RX 480 manages to effectively trade punches with GTX 970 at 1440p – perhaps down to them both using a 256-bit memory interface. However, the RX 480 continues to dominate in DX12 versions of Ashes of the Singularity and Hitman. In fact, the new AMD card is only 5fps slower running at Hitman at 1440p compared to GTX 970 running the same benchmark at full HD. The jury’s still out on AMD’s mooted advantages with DX12, but results like this are certainly a great boost for the red team.

The bottom line is the same whether you’re gaming at 1080p or 1440p – the RX 480 is effectively offering a $300-$330 performance level with a $100 discount. Put like that, it’s difficult to ignore the value proposition AMD is offering here.

[embedded content]

In most titles, the GTX 1070 not only matches Titan X performance, it offers a small boost on top. Not bad for a £330/$380 price-point.

1920×1080 (1080p)
RX 480
RX 480 OC
R9 390
R9 380X
R9 280X
R9 270X
Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ultra High, FXAA
Crysis 3, Very High, SMAA T2x
The Division, Ultra, SMAA
Far Cry Primal, Ultra, SMAA
The Witcher 3, Ultra, Post AA, No HairWorks
Our final round of testing serves two purposes – to compare Polaris 10 with fully enabled versions of AMD’s older Tonga (380X), Tahiti (280X) and Pitcairn (270X) processors, while at the same time overclocking the 480X to see if we can indeed match or exceed the R9 390. Testing is limited to DX11 here, owing to the current lack of ‘v-sync off’ support in DX12 on the AMD driver on the older chips.

Using AMD’s new overclocking tool, we raised the power threshold to 150 per cent, but only achieved a stable, reliable core clock increase of four per cent, taking us up to 1315MHz. However, the 8gbps GDDR5 modules overclocked nicely to 8.8gbps with no problem whatsoever. Far Cry Primal posted a low 7.5 per cent increase, but the other games averaged a 10.5 per cent boost. We wouldn’t recommend pushing Polaris 10 to the max on the reference card – it required fans speeds that compromised the RX 480’s excellent acoustics. Serious overclocking is perhaps best reserved for partner cards with far meatier cooling solutions.

The core clock increase of just four per cent is interesting bearing in mind the larger increases overall. The fact is that with our review card at least, our RX 480 sample doesn’t always reach its max 1266MHz during gaming, often levelling out at 1190-1230MHz. The overclock seems to overcome that limitation and then gives you the additional OC on top of the max 1266MHz stock boost clock. Regardless, the end result is that the R9 390 is still faster in Far Cry Primal, but the 480 pulls ahead in our other DX11 test games.

At 1080p, the differentials in comparing Polaris 10 with previous generation processors sees the 480 post a 34 per cent increase over R9 380X, rising to 44 per cent with the older Tahiti-based 280X. And finally, there’s a mammoth 86 per cent boost over the R9 270X. The latter measurement is fascinating. The slice of silicon used for Polaris 10 at 14nm is very similarly sized to the 28nm Pitcairn found in 270X. Polaris is running around 150-200MHz faster depending on the title, but regardless, an aggregate 86 per cent increase in performance from the same area of silicon is a great result. And the comparison is even more fascinating as the 480 utilises a fully unlocked version of Polaris 10 – the design itself is limited to 36 CUs, so prior speculation of a potential 40 CU 480X won’t come to pass.

This scene from Crysis 3 is easily repeatable and incurs a heavy, sustained load on the GPU – good for testing overclock stability and peak power draw.

RX 480
RX 480 OC
R9 390
GTX 970
GTX 1070
Peak System Power Draw
We test peak power draw from our test system by disabling the Core i7 overclock on our test system, then manoeuvring to the end of the Welcome to the Jungle stage in Crysis 3, running the game maxed at 2560×1440 resolution. The scene pictured above places an high sustained load on the graphics core, causing a big, sustained spike in power consumption. We like to use this scene not just for ascertaining the amount of juice taken from the wall in extreme conditions, but also for locking down stability on GPU overclocking. We should stress that typical power consumption will be lower.

The RX 480 offers a touch more power efficiency than the GTX 970 here (offset a little by its slightly lower performance) while offering a colossal 166W reduction in consumption compared to the R9 390. It’s a creditable enough showing from AMD, but it is put into shade somewhat by the phenomenal result of the GTX 1070 – it’s in an altogether different league in terms of performance and yet it offers the same ballpark consumption as the RX 480. This is perhaps not surprising bearing in mind that both cards are based on a 150W TDP.

Overclocking-wise, pushing Polaris 10 hard results in a notable increase in power draw, and based on the performance returns we got, it strongly suggests that AMD has chosen a very nice balance between power efficiency and performance at reference clocks. We’ll be really interested to see what partner cards bring to the table here. On a more general level, as things stand, there are some concerns with the advantages AMD has managed to extract from 14nm FinFET technology – clocks are much lower than rival Nvidia parts, and gaming performance per watt is closer to the green team’s 28nm Maxwell technology than the latest 16nmFF Pascal. We’ll be interested to see how other the Polaris parts and the forthcoming Vega leverage the new chip manufacturing process.

Video Shows How To Convert iPhone 6s Into An iPhone 7

By Oliver Haslam | June 30th, 2016

Sometimes we come across a YouTube video that takes our breath away. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes we just can’t quite make up our minds. Once we spotted a video in which an iPhone 6s is apparently turned into an iPhone 7, we knew this was one of those occasions.

The video, apparently filmed at Liberty Bridge in Budapest, shows a poor, helpless iPhone 6s being ripped apart with all manner of power tools. In a quest to attempt to make the iPhone 6s look like an iPhone 7, its headphone port was filled with a soldering iron and an extra camera unit was taken from another unsuspecting iPhone in order to give this Frankenstein’s iPhone 7 an extra lens in order to match up with rumors that a dual-camera iPhone 7 is on the cards.

Other rumors that were machined into the poor iPhone 6s include dual speakers, redesigned antenna bands and the new Deep Blue chassis. If there is one thing we can say about this little project, it’s that no rumor was left unturned in order to achieve as close to 100% authenticity as possible, assuming you can call it that.

While we obviously wouldn’t suggest that anyone follow suit and create their own iPhone 7 in this way – it would definitely be best to just wait for September to roll around – we have to take our hats off to the people behind this video. It’s not every day you see an angle grinder taken to a high-end smartphone. We’re not sure it should be happening more, but still, it makes for a damned fine video!

With the iPhone 7 expected to be announced in September we don’t have long to wait in order to find out what the new smartphone will bring to the party. Without a shadow of a doubt the most controversial rumor is that which claims the headphone port will be removed from the iPhone 7, and we can’t wait to see how that pans out.

Just a few weeks of rumors left!

[embedded content]

(Source: PeripateticPandas [YouTube])

You may also like to check out:

This Is What The Space Black iPhone 7 Could Look Like
Download iOS 10 Beta 1 & Install On iPhone 6s, 6, Plus, SE, 5s, 5c, 5, iPad, iPod [Tutorial]

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NVIDIA SHIELD TV Update v3.2 Released With Plex Server Support, 4K60FPS YouTube Videos, More

By Oliver Haslam | June 30th, 2016

The Android TV-powered NVIDIA SHIELD has today received the sizeable software update that was announced in June, bringing a raft of new and improved features to the set top box. Without a doubt, the headline feature is the addition of Plex Media Server support, allowing users to have the device transcode media on the fly just like PC, Macs and some NAS drives.

Being able to stream video, music and photos from the SHIELD to other devices is a great addition, and obviously makes considerably more sense to users of the SHIELD Pro with its 500GB of internal storage.

With that being said, however, another of the new additions in this latest update is support for shared drives, allowing users to attach the SHIELD to a NAS via a network, pulling media as it goes. Now, anyone with a NAS on their home network, such as a Synology, can have all of their media stored there, transcoded by the SHIELD and then streamed to another device in the home. It’s like we live in the future.

As part of the update, the SHIELD’s internal or shared storage is now accessible to Macs and PCs via the network, making the management of local media much easier than the hacks that had to be employed previously. If Plex Media Server support isn’t enough to get you interested, there are of course plenty more features to choose from.

There’s support for VUDU 4K videos and HDR Netflix (once it is enabled), CbCr 4:4:4 color space, HDMI-CEC to power off the TV automatically when the device goes to sleep, and 4K Ultra HD playback at 60fps for YouTube. In addition to all this, the update offers Dolby Atmos sound pass-through for apps that support the system, enhanced picture quality for RGB televisions, improved video on 23.976Hz displays and the latest Android AOSP security patches.

The update is available now, and as NVIDIA pushes its updates out to everyone simultaneously, those who haven’t received the update yet may want to check for new updates manually. That should trigger the download soon enough.

If you are interested, you can grab NVIDIA SHIELD 16GB from Amazon right now for as low as $199.

You may also like to check out:

Google Releases Android TV Remote App For iOS, Download It From Here
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How to set up and use the News app for iPhone and iPad

How do I set up the News app for iPhone?

If you don’t feel like getting the newspaper every day and prefer your news on the go, the News app for iPhone and iPad is there to keep you up-to-date on all the news that’s important to you. Here’s how to get started!

How to get started with the News app for iPhone and iPad
How to read articles in the News app
How to add new channels to Favorites
How to remove a channel or genre from Favorites

How to get started with the News app for iPhone and iPad

The first time you launch the News app, you need to tell it what you like to read. You do this by selecting channel and category favorites.

Launch the News app from your Home screen.
Tap Get Started.
Tap the channels you’d like to make your Favorites.

Tap Continue when you feel you’ve chosen enough Favorites. You can always add more later.
Tap Sign Me Up if you’d like to receive news-related emails. Otherwise, tap Not Now.

When you’re done, the app switches to the For You screen and presents articles from your selections.

If you use more than one iOS device, be sure to go to Settings > iCloud and turn on the News option for syncing your articles between them.

How to read articles in the News app

Reading articles that interest you is simple enough: You can either read selected articles for you from the Spotlight screen or pop into the News app itself.

How to read a news article using Spotlight for iPhone and iPad

Swipe right on your Home screen to open Spotlight.
Swipe up to scroll down.
Tap the news item you’d like to read.

The news item will now open in the News app.

How to read a news article in the News app for iPhone and iPad

Launch the News app from your Home screen.
Tap one of the five options along the bottom of your screen.

For You: Gives you a list of articles based off channels or genres you’ve selected and liked
Favorites: A collection of all channels and genres you’ve added
Explore: Displays other suggested channels and topics for you to peruse
Search: Helps you find new articles, channels, and genres
Saved: Stores your reading history, along with any articles you’ve saved for later reading

Tap the channel or news item you’d like to view. If you’ve tapped a channel, you’ll need to tap a news item to start reading.

If you own an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus a number of 3D Touch options are available for your devices. Press firmly on the News icon on your Home screen to peek and jump directly to the For You screen or to one of your three most-visited channels; when viewing articles, you can also press firmer on one to get a 3D Touch peek of its contents, and press even harder to pop into the full article.

How to add new channels to Favorites

There are two ways to add Favorites to your collection in the News app.

How to add new channels to your Favorites using Explore in the News app for iPhone and iPad

Launch the News app from your Home screen.
Tap the Explore button at the bottom of your screen.
Swipe left and right on the suggestions at the top of your screen. Or tap a category at the bottom of your screen to view channels associated with those topics.
Tap the Add (+) button to add an item to your Favorites collection.

How to add new channels to your Favorites using Search in the News app for iPhone and iPad

Launch the News app from your Home screen.
Tap the Search button at the bottom of your screen.
Tap the search bar at the top of your screen.

Type in your search query.
Tap the Add (+) button next to the topic or channel you’d like to add to your Favorites.
Tap Done.

That channel will now appear in your Favorites tab and you’ll see news items related to the topic.

It’s also possible to add partner websites from outside of the News app. In Safari, for example, you can tap the Share button; if the website supports News, you’ll see an Add to News button in the share sheet that appears.

How to remove a channel or genre from Favorites

Launch the News app from your Home screen.
Tap Favorites on the bottom of your screen.
Tap the Edit button in the top right corner of your screen.
Tap the X button in the corner of the channel(s) or topic(s) you want to remove.

On the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, you can use 3D Touch to streamline the process:

Launch the News app from your Home screen.
Tap the Favorites button on the bottom of your screen.
Firmly press a Favorite to peek at it.

Swipe up to view options.
Tap the Remove from Favorites button.

Here are the ten most underrated features in watchOS 3

Serenity Caldwell has been writing and talking about and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. Managing editor of iMore, she hosts a number of popular podcasts and speaks frequently at conferences. In past lives she worked at Macworld and Apple Retail.

The big watchOS 3 features are pretty great — but there are lots of small features to love, too.

There’s a lot to love about the impending watchOS 3 update dropping this fall. Apple has previewed a bunch of the tentpole features coming to your Apple Watch, and I took an in-depth first look at the new version of watchOS but there are still always little tidbits to highlight. Here are ten of the most underrated features coming to your Apple Watch this fall.

1. Siri processes in the background

Siri on the Apple Watch is superior in many ways to the iPhone: It understands you better thanks to a closer mic, for one. Because it has to talk to your phone to get an Internet connection, however, users can find themselves holding their wrist up for what feels like an eon while Siri prompts a frustratingly vague “Hold on…”.

No longer. In watchOS 3, Siri listens to your command and queues it if it can’t get an immediate internet connection. If you have to wait for more than a second for Siri to process your command, the digital assistant tells you to feel free to drop your wrist and continue about your other business; it will tap you lightly on the wrist once everything’s been processed.

2. More app taps

Siri’s not the only one with some haptic buzz: The new Breathe app incorporates wrist taps, too, to help you get your breathing under control. Those wrist taps are an eerie slow-fast-slow series that feel much like an actual rib cage expanding; they’re a great example of what can be done with Apple’s haptic technology. (Sadly, third-party apps are still limited to incorporating an assortment of pre-created taps as of watchOS 3 — maybe next year.)

3. Kill the Screenshot option

The second day my fiancé wore his Apple Watch, he came to me after work with a bemused expression on his face.

“Is this supposed to happen?” he asked, holding up his iPhone’s camera roll. It was full of Apple Watch screenshots.

Now, in the year I’ve owned my watch, my rate of accidental screenshots has been few, but I know that others — my fiancé included — have not been so lucky. But Apple has a solution for accidental button-pressers: a new toggle in the Apple Watch app that disables the snapping of smartwatch screenshots.

4. Add recent apps to your Dock

watchOS 3’s new Dock feature lets you quickly press the Side button to view and quickly access your favorite apps. But it also serves as a way for you to view your most recently opened app — and add it to the Dock, if you plan on launching it in the future.

5. Phone home

I use the Ping iPhone button in watchOS’s Control Center daily — it’s one of my favorite and most-used features. But what if it’s your Apple Watch you can’t find? In watchOS 3, that’s no problem: You’ll be able to Find My Apple Watch right from the Apple Watch app or Find my iPhone app on your paired iPhone.

6. Find your friends, too

If you’re a fan of iCloud’s Find My Friends feature, you’ll be able to use it directly on your Apple Watch as of watchOS 3: There’s an official app and complication on the watch to help you find your friends and family in town, at a theme park, or wherever life takes you. (Siri doesn’t yet send you to the Find My Friends app on the Apple Watch, but I’m hopeful we’ll see that in the Fall.)

7. Reorganize your watch faces

Swiping through Apple Watch faces is a great addition to watchOS 3, but even better: Come the fall, you’ll be able to use the app on your iPhone to browse all faces, customize new additions with colors and complications, and even rearrange the order of those faces. No more having to delete every face and manually re-make them in order of which faces you want close together.

8. Scribble your message

It’s easy to send replies to messages with your Apple Watch, but there are times when using Siri’s voice dictation or pre-set replies doesn’t quite work. And while I’m sure Apple’s engineers had a good laugh trying to squeeze a keyboard onto a 38mm Apple Watch display, that’s thankfully not the route they chose to go in watchOS 3. Instead, if you want to send a custom message without pulling out your iPhone or using your voice, you’ll be able to use Scribble: Like Palm devices of yore, it gives you a shaded area to “scribble” out letters, numbers, and punctuation. (Unlike Apple’s Newton, there’s no need to use long dashes or scribbles to delete letters — Scribble comes equipped with both Delete and Space buttons at the bottom of the screen, along with a numbers and symbols screen in case you can’t get the handwriting recognizer to understand question marks or numerals.

9. Change your Workout metrics

With watchOS 3, Apple is offering a centralized option where you can see all your workout data on one screen. It’s neat, but you may not want all of that information for every exercise — or you may just want to see information at a larger scale. Luckily, it’s an easy fix: In the Apple Watch app, you’ll soon be able to customize the Workout screen for each of the app’s options, and choose whether you want to see that information on multiple screens or one central location.

10. Name your Other workouts

I’m saving my personal favorite watchOS 3 feature for last: Named Other workouts! There are lots of exercises that don’t quite fit so neatly in Apple’s prescribed workout boxes — roller derby, for one — and the Health app can track information on many more sports than currently provided for on the Apple Watch. But just because Apple hasn’t customized the sensor readings for your workout doesn’t mean you can’t log that workout.

In watchOS 3, you’ll be able to log workouts in other apps, which can tie your exercise to the proper type; you’ll be able to log that you did yoga after going through a session in your Yoga app, for instance. But if you use Apple’s default Workout app to track your workouts, you’ll have the option of picking your activity at the end of the session to properly track it. Apple doesn’t have every activity listed — still no roller derby in the list — but there are enough close approximations (like skating sports) to make it work. Better still, once you’ve saved that first workout, it gets added to your Apple Watch’s list as a regular option, so you can continue to track your progress in that activity.

Your favorites?

Any tidbits you’ve seen that you think beat my list? Let me know, folks.

Apple Watch

watchOS 3 first look
Apple Watch review
Apple Watch buyers guide
Apple Watch users guide
Apple Watch news
Apple Watch discussion
Buy at Apple

SanDisk announces new super-fast 256GB Extreme UHS-I microSD card

Western Digital-owned SanDisk has announced new 256GB microSD cards, including the super-fast Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card. The new family of high-capacity microSD cards offer something for everyone, whether you wish to add storage to your smartphone or require new medium to store your RAW camera roll.

The 256GB of storage (should your device support said amounts being plugged in) will allow for saving of not only high-quality photos, but also 4K video, high-fidelity music, and more. The Extreme 256GB card from SanDisk delivers transfer speeds of up to 100MB/s, as well as write speeds of up to 90MB/s. The Ultra variant is perfect for smartphones and other portable devices.

As an added bonus, the new cards are both waterproof and shock proof. The Ultra 256GB card will be available in August for $149.99, while the super-fast Extreme will hit stores in Q4 2016 for $199.99.

Press Release

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI, China – June 29, 2016 – Western Digital® Corporation
(NASDAQ: WDC), a global storage technology and solutions leader, today introduced a new suite of 256 gigabyte (GB) microSD™ cards, which includes the new 256GB SanDisk Extreme® microSDXC™ UHS-I card – the fastest microSD card in its class. The new suite of cards also includes 256GB SanDisk Ultra® microSDXC UHS-I card, Premium Edition, the first 256GB card optimized for mainstream consumers. The new additions deliver leading speed and capacity in a fingernail-sized card, giving smartphone, drone and action camera users the performance and capacity they need to capture professional-grade videos and photos without worrying about running out of space on their device.

“Our microSD cards are now at the center of many consumer devices, and we’re excited to not only raise the bar with the launch of the world’s fastest microSD card, but to also offer a family of 256GB microSD cards that give consumers the flexibility they need to capture life at its fullest,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president of SanDisk product marketing, Western Digital. “As a leading global storage provider with one of the most trusted flash brands, we take pride in transforming the way consumers capture, store and share their content.”

Whether taking pictures, shooting 4K UHD or Full HD video, or storing high-fidelity music, the new 256GB cards give consumers the freedom to capture and carry a massive amount of content on their devices without concern about storage limitations.

“At DJI we focus on creating easy-to-use drone technology for consumers to capture everyday exploration and photography, and our customers need quick and reliable access to their high quality aerial footage,” said Eli Morgan Harris, strategic partnerships, DJI. “With the new 256GB SanDisk microSD UHS-I cards, they now have greater flexibility to capture their content on high-performance storage and the peace of mind knowing they can continue shooting when it matters most.”

The Ultimate Combination of Capacity and Performance

The 256GB SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card delivers unmatched transfer speeds of up to 100MB/s**, allowing users to save time transferring large files, as well as write speeds of up to 90MB/s** for rapid capture of photos. Users can record an estimated 14 hours of 4K UHD video1 on the 256GB card, making it ideal for high-performance drones, action cameras, and 4K-capable smartphones, among other devices.

The 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card, Premium Edition, is ideal for Android-based smartphone and tablet users who don’t want to worry about running out of space on their devices. The new card is capable of storing more than 24 hours of Full HD video1, and also features premium transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s**. At this speed people can move files quickly – up to 1,200 photos in just one minute2.

Built to perform in harsh conditions, the new cards3 are also waterproof, temperature-proof, shock proof, and X-ray proof. Additionally, the SanDisk microSD card line up is compatible with the SanDisk® Memory Zone app for Android™, giving users an easy way to manage and back up content on their device. The app is available for free through the Google Play™ Store4.

Heritage of Memory Card Innovation

The new suite of cards is the latest breakthrough offering to join the cutting-edge SanDisk portfolio of mobile memory solutions. The first to introduce 128GB and 200GB microSDXC, and 512GB SDXC™ high-capacity cards, SanDisk continues to pioneer technology that keeps up with consumers’ evolving storage needs.

Pricing and Availability

The 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card, Premium Edition, will be available worldwide in August 2016 with a U.S. MSRP of $149.99. The 256GB SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card will be available worldwide in calendar Q4 2016 with a U.S. MSRP of $199.99.

The complete line of SanDisk microSD cards can be purchased at more than 300,000 retailers worldwide.

How Digital Touch and handwriting work in iMessage for iOS 10

How do you send Apple Watch-style Sketches, Heartbeats, and Taps from your iPhone or iPad? Easily, thanks to Digital Touch in iOS 10!

Digital Touch — the ability to send a hand-drawn Sketch, haptic Taps, or sensor-read Heartbeats — was one of the debut features of the Apple Watch. Now, with iOS 10, all those communication features are making their way to the iPhone and iPad as well. Will Digital Touch on the phone and tablet come off as a gimmick, or will it go mainstream? If you’re.a developer, you can try it out now and decide for yourself.

Apple’s 2016 software updates — iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra — are currently available only as closed developer previews. While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That’s why we strongly recommend you stay away, at least until the public iOS and macOS betas in July, if not the general releases this fall.

How do you send a Sketch in iMessage?
How do you send a Heartbeat on iMessage?
How do you send a Tap on iMessage?
How do you add Digital Touch on top of a photo or video in iMessage?
How do you send Handwriting on iMessage?
Can you receive Digital Touch and Handwriting on your Apple Watch and Mac?

How do you send a Sketch in iMessage?

Sketches on iPhone and iPad work similarly to Apple Watch.

Launch Messages from your Home screen.
Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you’ve already begun typing, it’ll be hidden and you’ll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >)
Tap any of the swatches to change colors.
Touch and hold (long press) any of the swatches to reveal the custom color palette.
Draw your sketch on the canvas area in the middle.
You can change color as often as you like, and draw as much as you like, but as soon as you stop the Sketch will send.

How do you send a Heartbeat on iMessage?

Though neither the iPhone nor iPad have heart rate sensors like Apple Watch, you can still use them to send Heartbeats.

Launch Messages from your Home screen.
Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you’ve already begun typing, it’ll be hidden and you’ll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >.)
Touch and hold down (long press) with two fingers on the canvas
You can hold down for a short or longer period of time. When you release, your Heartbeat will be sent.

How do you send a Tap on iMessage?

Taps on the Apple Watch let you subtly communicate with someone, because you know whatever you send will be received right on their wrist. With iOS, there’s no such expectation of contact, so Taps take on a subtly different meaning.

Launch Messages from your Home screen.
Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you’ve already begun typing, it’ll be hidden and you’ll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >.)
Tap the canvas.
You can Tap as little or as often as you like, and in any pattern you like.

How do you add Digital Touch on top of a photo or video in iMessage?

Unique to iPhone and iPad, you can also Sketch, Heartbeat, or Tap on top of a photo or video.

Launch Messages from your Home screen.
Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you’ve already begun typing, it’ll be hidden and you’ll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >.)
Tap on the Expand Canvas button at the bottom right. (Looks like ^.)
Tap on the Camera button at the bottom left.
Tap on the Camera Switch button at the bottom right to switch between the rear and selfie camera.
Tap on the white Camera Shutter button at the bottom left to take a still photo, or the red Video Shutter button at the bottom middle to start recoding up to 10 seconds of video.
Swipe your finger to Sketch, touch and hold two fingers to add a Heartbeat, or Tap with one finger as you would normally.
Tap Send at the bottom right. (Looks like an upward arrow)

How do you send Handwriting on iMessage?

While you can write out messages using Sketch in Digital Touch, iOS 10 also has a feature designed specifically for handwritten messages.

Launch Messages from your Home screen.
Rotate your iPhone to landscape mode to bring up the handwriting canvas.
Tap a stock or previously sent handwritten message to send or re-send it immediately, or write out a new message using your finger.
Tap Done.
Add text, if desired.
Tap the Send button. (Looks like a up arrow.)
If you change your mind about sending the handwritten message, you can cancel it by tapping the X button at its top right, or deleting it using the backspace key.

Can you receive Digital Touch and Handwriting on your Apple Watch and Mac?

Absolutely. Digital Touch sent from iOS 10 are received on Apple Watch exactly as if another Apple Watch had sent them. The Mac, though, renders the graphics but not the haptics.

Handwriting also shows up on both.

What do you think about Digital Touch in iOS 10? Will it get you to Sketch, Heartbeat, and Tap more? Let me know!


iOS 10 overview
iOS 10 news
iOS 9 review
iOS ultimate guide
iOS Discussion

U.S. carriers enable free calls to Turkey following Istanbul terror attacks

Following the devastating terror attacks at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have announced that their customers can call and text friends and family in Turkey for free.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere condemned the attack, saying that the carrier will offer free calls and texts to Turkey through July 5:

The attack in Istanbul is horrifying & senseless. We’re making it free to call/text from the US to Turkey thru Tues. https://t.co/ZXXeFsYzCL
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) June 29, 2016

Sprint CEO mentioned that all calls and texts to Turkey from Sprint, Virgin Mobile USA, and Boost Mobile customers will be waived off until July 5:

.@Sprint, @virginmobileusa & @boostmobile will waive fees for customer call/texts to & from #Turkey thru July 5 pic.twitter.com/hVq6oVfK52
— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) June 29, 2016

From AT&T:

AT&T will waive or credit charges incurred for consumer or business calls placed by AT&T’s customers from the United States to Turkey between June 28, 2016 to June 30, 2016, in the local time zone. This includes landline, texting, and mobility (Postpaid and GoPhone) calls.

Verizon is offering free calls and texts to Turkey until June 29:

More than 170,000 Verizon employees worldwide extend condolences to all our friends and family in Turkey. In this time of uncertainty, we want to support our customers affected by the attack at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, so Verizon is offering free wireless and wireline calling from the U.S. to Turkey to connect with family and friends.

Wireless users will incur no charges for texts or international long distance calls originating from the U.S. to Turkey on June 28 and 29, 2016 (applicable taxes and surcharges will apply).

Home wireline telephone customers can make free calls to Turkey on June 28 and 29, 2016 (applicable taxes and surcharges will apply).

How to download the tvOS 10 beta for developers

Installing the tvOS 10 beta is more complex than an iOS or macOS beta, but it’s also for developers only.

Apple hasn’t announced a public beta for tvOS the way the company has for iOS and macOS. That means, until it is released to everyone this fall, it’s only available to developers and only to test apps. It also means installing it on the Apple TV (4th generation) is more complicated than a simple download and go. If you’re a developer and you’re having trouble getting the tvOS beta installed, here’s what you need to do.

Apple’s 2016 software updates — iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra — are currently available only as closed developer previews. While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That’s why we strongly recommend you stay away, at least until the public iOS and macOS betas in July, if not the general releases this fall.

How to install the tvOS 10 beta over USB-C
How to install the tvOS 10 beta over-the-air
How to install the tvOS 10 beta over USB-C

If you don’t want to overwrite your existing Apple TV installation, you can install only the configuration profile and go from there.

On your Mac, go to developer.apple.com/download.
Enter your developer username and password to log in.
Click on the blue Download button to the right of tvOS 10 beta configuration profile.
Install the Apple Configurator app from the Mac App Store.
Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) to AC power.
Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) to your Mac using a USB-C cable.
Launch Apple Configurator.
Click on Add Profiles to your Apple TV and add the tvOS 10 beta configuration profile you downloaded previously. (Or simply drag and drop the file to the Apple TV icon.)
Reboot your Apple TV once the configuration profile is installed.
On your Apple TV, click on Settings.
Click on System.
Click on Software Update.
Your Apple TV should detect tvOS 10 and download and install it just like any other update.

If you need to reinstall your Apple TV software while updating, you can use the Restore Image.

On your Mac, go to developer.apple.com/download.
Enter your developer username and password to log in.
Click on the blue Download button to the right of tvOS 10 restore image.
Click on the blue Download button to the right of Xcode 8.
Install Xcode 8 on your Mac.
Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) to AC power.
Connect your Apple TV (4th generation) to your Mac using a USB-C cable.
Launch iTunes.
Select your Apple TV when it appears in iTunes.
Hold down the Option key and click on Check for Updates.
Browse to and click on the tvOS 10 beta you downloaded in step 3.
Once iTunes has updated your Apple TV, hook it back up to your television and you’re good to go.

How to install the tvOS 10 beta over-the-air

There’s no official way to download and install tvOS 10 directly on your Apple TV, though there’s an unofficial way you can try if it interests you. We tested it out and it works fine.

From iDownloadblog:

You will also need the DropBox app, and Remote app for the iPhone to follow this tutorial as it’s written. Of course, you can always type in URLs manually, but it’s a much easier process when using the Remote app. Watch our video tutorial above for the full process.

Have you got tvOS 10 up and running on your Apple TV? Which method did you use and how did it work for you?

Apple TV

tvOS 10 Preview
Apple TV Review
Apple TV buyers guide
Apple TV users guide
Apple TV news
Apple TV discussion
Buy at Apple

Best roaming plans for Canadians travelling to the U.S.

Here are the best ways to save money when taking your phone to the U.S.!

Millions of Canadians visit the U.S. every year and, with nearly every pocket protecting a smartphone and its data plan, they increasingly want to maintain the same quality of service they have at home. Thankfully, roaming options have not only proliferated over the past few years but, due to competition at home and abroad, plans have become significantly cheaper.

Here are the best ones.

Roam Mobility

Roam Mobility has staked its claim as one of the best roaming options for Canadians traveling south. Owned by Vancouver-based Otono Networks, the company figured out early on that most people want to have their roaming service figured out before they cross the border. Roam Mobility offers SIM cards for unlocked phones that can be easily topped up from the company’s website prior to embarking, with options ranging from per-day, for short-term visitors, to Snowbird plans, for Canadians spending longer periods in warmer climes during the winter.

Though Roam Mobility recently raised its fees to hedge against the weakening Canadian Dollar, at $4.95 CAD per day for 500MB of 4G LTE data, plus unlimited calling and texts with a unique local phone number, it is still one of the best deals around.

What to know: Data is cumulative, and doesn’t reset at midnight like some other plans. If you require more data, purchase an extra day or two in advance; those extra megabytes can be used all at once, and are cheaper than purchasing bundled plans.

See at Roam Mobility

Karma Go Hotspot

The only independent solution in the list, Karma’s Go hotspot creates a WiFi signal from a 4G LTE connection, allowing several people to connect to it from up to 100 feet away in nearly 500 American cities.

While the Karma comes with an upfront cost of $149 USD, it can be used with a monthly plan (starting at $40 for 5GB) or a pay-as-you-go flex plan, depending on a user’s needs.

What to know: Karma lasts up to six hours on a charge and can be topped up quickly using a microUSB cord.

Total Cost

Karma Go hotspot: $149 USD
5GB month service: $40 USD
10GB month service: $75 USD
20GB month service: $140 USD
Shipping to Canada: $20 USD
See at Karma

Local T-Mobile SIM

Another great option for Canadians visiting the States is to head straight to a T-Mobile store to pick up a SIM card for an unlocked phone.

While the rates used to be significantly more generous than they are today, T-Mobile still offers some decent options for data-hungry travellers. For $3 per day, you can get 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts, with the option of adding 500MB of 4G LTE data for $5 per day. Longer stay travellers can spend $10 per week for 1GB of 4G LTE data, which is a great option for those who’ll be hedging with plenty of Wi-Fi.

See at T-Mobile

Keeping your own SIM card

For those uninterested in changing SIM cards, nearly all Canadian carriers have all-inclusive roaming plans for visiting the US. The benefits are obvious: you get to keep your phone numbers, allowing you to send and receive calls and texts as if you were at home. The downsides are obvious, too: they tend to be slightly more expensive than the above alternatives.

Rogers Roam Like Home

For $5 per day, customers on Share Everything plans can access their call, texts and data buckets from back home. Enroll by texting travel to 222.

What to know: Customers spending longer than 10 days per month in the US will only be charged for 10 days, to a maximum of $50.

See at Rogers

Bell Roam Better

For $5 per day, share plan customers can visit the US and access unlimited calls and texts, along with 100MB of data that isn’t tied to their data buckets from back home. Enroll by texting roam to 7626.

What to know: Need more data? It’s easy to add another 100MB of data for an additional $5 per day. Plans expire at 11:59pm Eastern Time, regardless of which US time zone the customer is in.

See at Bell

Telus US Easy Roam

For $7 per day, postpaid customers can access their calls, text and data buckets from back home. Enroll by texting travel to 7626.

What to know: Customers will not be charged after spending 14 days in the US, to a maximum of $100 per billing cycle. Unlike Rogers, users don’t have to be subscribed to a share plan — all postpaid plans are valid.

See at Telus

Wind Mobile

Wind Mobile US Roaming Add-on: For $15 per month, Wind Mobile customers can add unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of full-speed data in the US. Wind also offers many plans that include unlimited US talk, text and 1GB of monthly data.

What to know: Instead of charging extra, Wind Mobile will throttle connections to 2G speeds after using 1GB of data per month.

See at Wind Mobile

Your roaming plans?

Is your carrier not listed? Check with them to see if they have inexpensive daily, weekly, or monthly US travel bundles. Have roaming experiences or tips to share? Leave them in in the comments!