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News from around the community

Hands On: Air Scanner (iOS)

Say you need to share something with a group of people, either in a meeting or on campus, but you don't have a document camera to project the image. Instead of passing around documents, photos, or items for people to look at one-by-one, what if you could simply broadcast the images over LAN? It's a surprisingly simple solution to a common problem. That's exactly what Air Scanner, by Qrayon, does....

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Upcoming Chongqing Apple Store copies design of...

Apple's next store in Chongqing, China, will feature a smaller glass cylinder nevertheless mimicking the design of the company's flagship outlet in Shanghai, photos show. Construction workers this week dismantled a steel structure that was concealing the 30-foot-tall cylinder, which in turn tops a staircase leading to the actual store. Another similarity with Shanghai is that the Chongqing store is based in a plaza and surrounded by taller structures....

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Monster Sues Beats, Alleging ‘Sham’ Transaction that...

Recent Apple acquisition Beats is facing another lawsuit, this time from Monster. The suit alleges that Beats executives Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre orchestrated a 'sham' transaction to cut Monster, the original manufacturer of the headphoens, out of millions in profits when Apple aquired the company.

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With Filming to Begin this Month, Steve Jobs Biopic...

Actress Perla Haney-Jardine has reportedly been cast to play the role of Steve Jobsâs daughter Lisa in the upcoming biopic about the late Apple co-founder. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin says that the role of Jobs's daughter will be pivotal to the film, calling Lisa Jobs the story's "heroine."

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Roundup: The best Apple-compatible accessories seen...

With the first official day of CES in the books, AppleInsider offers a roundup of the best new products we spotted at the annual consumer electronics event that tap into the Apple ecosystem.

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Samsung feeling the squeeze from success of Apple...

Virtually everywhere in the world that research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech tracks smartphone market data, Apple saw marketshare gains, thanks to the popularity of its latest flagship iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets.

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CES: Alcatel OneTouch Watch will work with Android,...

The Alcatel OneTouch Watch will be shipping in March for $150, it has been revealed. The recently-launched round-faced smartwatch also uses its own software rather than Android Wear, allowing the device to work with iPhones and iPads running iOS 7 or later, as well as Android devices running version 4.3 or later of the mobile operating system....

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ShowStoppers @ CES highlights industry focus on home...

This year's ShowStoppers @ CES event was chock-full of new and novel products marketed across a range of tech segments, but the main theme centered around smart home products, with startups showing off everything from LED light bulbs to ambitious "Internet of Things" solutions.

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Hands-on: IK Multimedia's iRig 2 guitar...

IK Multimedia, a leader in iOS-enabled audio production hardware and software, hit the CES show floor with an all-new lineup of products for 2015, including the new iRig 2 mobile guitar interface, iRig microphones and more.

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Monster suing Beats, HTC over previous partnership...

Electronics company Monster, known for its high-priced HDMI cables and car audio gear, has filed suit against now-Apple-owned Beats and its founders, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, as well as former Beats partner HTC, claiming that Beats and HTC misled the company when it bought back enough shares of itself through the HTC investment to sever its contract for headphone partnership with Monster. The lawsuit does not directly involve Apple, but does revolve around the possibility that Beats knew when it left Monster that it was going to be acquired.......

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First look: Next-gen FLIR ONE thermal imaging camera...

At CES on Tuesday, Thermal imaging pioneers FLIR debuted a next-generation FLIR ONE consumer-level thermal camera that one-ups its predecessor by trading in the large semi-permanent iPhone case form factor for a small plug-and-play dongle with higher resolution sensors.

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Apple updates Yosemite Server to 4.0.3, formalizes...

Apple has updated OS X server for Yosemite to version 4.0.3, adding a number of new features and minor improvements to the $20 add-on that provides enterprise-level tools to administer OS X and iOS devices running the latest respective OS releases. The update requires OS X 10.10.1 to run, and iOS 8 on remote iOS devices. The new version promotes SMB3 as the default protocol for sharing files, and updates Profile Manager to support the new features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, such as Handoff....

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Hands on: FLIR One for Android and iOS

FLIR has introduced a new thermal-imaging accessory for mobile devices. The new FLIR One attaches via Apple's Lightning port or to an Android device's Micro USB port, rather than integrating the thermal camera into an iPhone 5 case. We checked out the upgraded model at CES to see how it stacks up against its predecessor....

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Backup company iDrive goes local with iDrive Wi-Fi

The iDrive online backup service company today revealed a local network backup peripheral. Presented at the Consumer Electronics Show, the iDrive Wi-Fi local backup drive allows users to backup and restore up to 2 TB of their data between devices over a local connection, with data protected by encryption....

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CES: Otterbox and Incipio debut out two new iPhone 6...

Otterbox and Incipio announced today at CES new cases for the iPhone 6 with built in batteries to boost up time. The new offerings, which join today's announcement of the Mophie's Juice Pack series are the Otterbox Resurgence and the four-model Incipio offGrid series....

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Narrative's next-gen Clip 2 'life cam...

Improving on its eponymous first-generation life-logging wearable camera, Narrative on Tuesday introduced the 8-megapixel Narrative Clip 2, which boasts Wi-Fi connectivity for uploading footage and remote smartphone control via Bluetooth.

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Monster sues Apple's Beats, says headphones...

Apple's Beats is once again being sued, this time on assertions that cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre committed fraud by stealing the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone lineup from audio company Monster and its CEO Noel Lee -- who claim to have invented the popular headphones -- in a "sham" sale to HTC.

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Hands on: Sony Walkman NW-ZX2 media player

Sony has introduced a new flagship Walkman, the NW-ZX2, that serves as the successor to the ZX1 model that was introduced less than six months ago. The revised edition marks Sony's latest attempt to engage the audiophile market, capable of playing Hi-Res Audio formats, traditional lower-bitrate audio files, streaming content and other media. We stopped by Sony's CES booth to try out the new gadget and ponder its four-figure price tag....

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First look: Magellan Echo Fit sports watch boasts 8-...

Consumer GPS solutions pioneer Magellan on Tuesday introduced the Echo Fit Sports Watch, an expansion to the company's Echo Series product line that bakes in activity and sleep tracking to existing remote smartphone display and control features.

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G-Technology introduces rugged external storage,...

Storage accessory maker G-Technology has expanded its line of external storage devices today at CES with three new ruggedized drives and a new protective case. The new hard drives are outfitted with shock-proof cases to survive drops onto hard surfaces or into water. Prices range from $80–$230, depending on model and storage capacity, and offers options for either USB 3 or Thunderbolt connectivity. In addition, the company is selling its latest protective case separately, so that users can "ruggedize" existing G-Tech drives.......

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My uNu's iPhone 6 battery cases provide...

Among a number of new Lightning-connected iPhone 6 battery cases unveiled at CES this week, AppleInsider found a more affordable option in My uNu's lineup, which starts at $59.99 for the company's forthcoming extended battery case.

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Briefly: Accessories, cameras from Sakar, Kodak,...

Sakar International and Eastman Kodak today announced a variety of new mobile and DSLR photography accessories at CES in Las Vegas. The partnership has produced a new Smartphone Cradle, All-in-one HDMI Smartphone Cable, and Selfie Tripod with Remote Shutter Release, aimed at those who use their smartphone for the majority of their photo taking. In respects to DSLR users, Sakar and Kodak are launching a professional-grade Rig Stabilizer, for supporting a camera while capturing a shot. The Rolling DSLR Bag and Knapsack aim to simplify transporting gear, and the OTG/USB Card Reader for SD and mic......

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Apple to report Q1 2015 earnings on January 27

Apple has announced that it will release the results of its fiscal first quarter of 2015 on Tuesday, January 27. An earnings call is scheduled for 2PM PT that day, or 5PM Eastern, but the company typically issues a press release about 30 minutes beforehand. Barring unexpected developments, the call should include commentary by CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri as they respond to questions from analysts and investors, and is expected by most pundits to result in a record quarter for the company....

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Apple Watch now pegged for March, sources say

The Apple Watch will miss a previously-rumored launch date and instead ship by the end of March, sources say. Although Apple has only ever officially stated an "early 2015" window, some rumors had suggested Apple was aiming for a February date, possibly by Valentine's Day. Even then, it was often believed that Apple was likely to overshoot its goal....

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Hands On: Samsung Portable SSD T1

While Samsung is generally known for its lavish TV announcements during CES, one of the more interesting products it presented during yesterday's keynote was a portable SSD. Dubbed the Portable SSD T1, Samsung's new drive has been designed with a very specific market in mind. Following Samsung's event we met up with a rep and spent a little bit of time talking about the brand new SSD....

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Sources claim new details on 12-inch MacBook Air

Sources said to be within Apple have leaked details about the company's rumored 12-inch MacBook Air. Based on prototypes, the laptop is said to be even narrower than the current 11-inch model, albeit a quarter of an inch taller in order to fit a bigger display. To shrink the computer as a whole, Apple has reportedly trimmed the bezels to a minimum not only on the display but around the keyboard and trackpad....

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Audi talks self-learning cars at CES, perfecting HMI

After the smoke cleared, strobe lights dimmed, and high-energy music stopped at Audi's morning press conference at CES on Tuesday, the German automaker promised evolutions of its in-car tech, going as far as to introduce a concept that would drive and park itself, with no occupants at all. To drive the point home, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the Board Member for Technical Development of AUDI AG, started the company's updated, 690-horsepower Prologue concept with an LG smartwatch, pressed another command, and the car drove itself onto the stage.......

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Hands On: Nikon D5500

Every year CES acts as a launching ground for a range of new products, and this year is no different. Nikon decided to use the event as an opportunity to officially unveil its new D5500 DSLR, which acts as an evolution of the existing D5300. While the newly announced D5500 advances upon its predecessor in a number of ways, the most significant change is the introduction of a touchscreen. While the show floor isn't really an optimal ground for testing a new camera, we managed to get our hands on the new Nikon and spent a little time checking out just what this new product has to offer.......

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How To Use iTunes Power Search

There's a lot of content in the iTunes stores. If you want to improve your search, you need the Power Search. Kelly shows how to get there and use it to level up iTunes searches.

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The Quirky Apple Accessories Kit for Cord Management...

Check out our deal on the Quirky Apple Accessory Kit, a collection of cord management accessories sure to tickle your quirky bone. There are five devices included in the bundle for $36, There's a power strip, an earbud winder, a Lightning charger, a MacBook charger, and a device to keep the ends of whatever cords you need so they don't get tangled.

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CES 2015 - olloclip Intros new iPhone 6 Photo Lens...

LAS VEGAS - When Apple changed the form factor for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, that means olloclip's add-on camera lenses and cases wouldn't fit any more. The company took care of the lenses, and now it's almost ready to release updated cases, too. The olloclip case has a special cutout to fit its camera lenses, has a hard plastic body for durability, and rubberized edges for grip action. The cases are sleek and good looking, plus they do away with the flip-out panel the previous version needed to give you access to your iPhone's cameras. Final pricing hasn't been set yet, but the company did tell us at CES 2015 it's very close to shipping.

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Pioneer, Kenwood show new CarPlay, Android Auto-...

Pioneer and Kenwood have used CES to announce a slate of new headunits, all of which are compatible with both Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. The Pioneer offerings include the AVIC-8100NEX ($1,400), AVIC-7100NEX ($1,200), and AVH-4100NEX ($700). Each has an external microphone for voice commands, as well as a wired remote and support for HDMI input, Bluetooth, HD Radio, and dual-zone audio/video playback. The 8100 sports a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, whereas the other two models use lesser resistive touchscreens. The products should ship in March.......

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CES 2015 - Arcosft Adds Facial Recognition to...

LAS VEGAS - Arcsoft announced on Tuesday the addition of facial recognition to its Simplicam camera through the Closeli app one uses to manage Simplicam. The new Face Recognition Manager feature allows users to register and store up to ten different people that can then be flagged and noted through Simplicam.

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CES 2015 - Netatmo Welcome: Facial Recognition...

LAS VEGAS - Netatmo has expanded beyond weather tracking with its new Welcome camera that identifies friends and family, and knows when someone is a stranger. As the Welcome snaps more photos it gets better at identifying people you know, and it announces who it sees. The images it captures are stored in an encrypted format so data you want to keep private stays that way, and it includes an iPhone app you can use to set alerts for specific people or receive notifications when you're away from home. Netatmo hasn't set their final pricing yet for Welcome, but the company does plan on shipping the device in the next few months. TMO checked it out at CES 2015, and it looks pretty cool.

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CES 2015 - Wacom Intros New Hiresolution Cintiq...

LAS VEGAS - Wacom is ramping up its professional graphics tablet game yet again with its brand new Cintiq 27QHD and27QHD touch tablets. Both were introduced at CES 2015 on Tuesday with 2560 x 1140 27-inch built-in display surfaces sporting over 1 billion colors covering 97 percent of Adobe's color gamut. The new Qintiqs support 2048 pressure sensitivity levels and multiple stylus nibs, too. The 27QHD is priced at US$2,299.99. The 27QHD touch, which adds support for touch-based gestures, costs $2,799.99. Both will ship before the end of the month.

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CES 2015 - Devialet’s ‘Phantom Implosive Sound...

LAS VEGAS - French company Devialet was showing off its Phantom Implosive Sound Center Tuesday night at Pepcom. This powered speaker system looks amazing and sounds even better. There's a caveat, though: listening to any speakers or headphones on a convention show floor is a terrible idea. It's just too noisy, but I was impressed with this device. The company designed them so that you can use from 1 to 24 of them together. They sync using Wi-Fi, and they're priced at $1,999 [price corrected] per unit. I have a lot of questions about the Phantom Implosive Sound Center, and I can't wait to test them out. In the video I posted to Instagram, the iPhone did a remarkable job of capturing the sound. Plus, you can see the subwoofers moving. Check it out.

Amazing Phantom Implosion speaker. $199. Looking forward to testing. #CES2015

A video posted by Bryan Chaffin (@geektells) on Jan 1, 2015 at 8:10pm PST

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Apple’s New Patent Reveals Foldable, Bendable iPhone...

Apple this week was awarded a patent for design ideas that could lead to a future bendable, flexible, and foldable iPhone. By combining existing manufacturing techniques in new ways, Apple describes how such a device could not only prove to be more durable than current smartphones, but also more functional.

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Forums: Yosemite Install problems, Broadwell chips...

Today in the MacNN Forums, one distressed Fresh-Faced Recruit was looking for help resolving a problem with installing Yosemite after something went wrong and the external hard drive they were trying to install it on died. Yesterday Moderator "P" started a discussion about the release timeline for Intel's latest Broadwell chips that were just announced at CES....

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Apple deals: 27-inch iMacs and Mac Pros

Right now at Apple's online store, find big savings on refurbished 27-inch iMac and Mac Pro models. The refurbished 27-inch iMac with a 3.2GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive has seen a $310 discount, dropping the cost down to $1,489. A $340 discount drops the price on the refurbished 27-inch iMac with a 3.4GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive down to $1,659....

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DealNN: MBPs, 4K monitors and more

At B&H right now save $300 on the previous-generation 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro which has been slashed from $1,949 down to $1,649. That's around $100 less than the lowest price offered on this model anywhere else. This MBP features a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 dual-core Haswell processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe-based flash storage. As always it is backed by Apples standard one year limited warranty on parts and labor....

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Android Dominated 2014 with 1.1 Billion Devices...

Device shipment numbers for 2014 are out, and Anroid unsurprisingly ruled the roost, accounting for more than 1.1 billion of the 2.3 billion total devices shipped during the year. But Apple controlled the high-end of the market, while Google, Microsoft, and others fought for an increasingly large low-cost segment.

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TMO Daily Observations 2015-01-06: CES and GoGo’s...

The Mac Observer is on the ground at the Internation Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, and we have more cool products to talk about today. Dave Hamilton and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to talk about some interesting startup companies they saw, audio gear, home automation, and what's up with GoGo's man in the middle hack to block YouTube streaming on flights.

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Toshiba adds more capacity, wireless options to...

Toshiba launched four devices in its Canvio range at CES. The Canvio Connect II portable hard drive was joined at the trade show by a new addition to the Canvio Basics range, while the Canvio AeroCast and Canvio Cast Wireless Adapter are devices able to offer wireless sharing of content, to mobile devices as well as streaming to set-top boxes....

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Briefly: Patriot's new storage, speaker, and...

Patriot has announced the launch of a variety of products, including the second generation of Supersonic Magnum and Rage USB flash drives, and the Ignite SATA III SSD. The Supersonic Magnum 2 and Supersonic Rage 2 both include 3.0 USB connectivity. The Magnum 2 will be available in 256GB and 512GB capacities, with read and write speeds reaching 400MB per second and 300MB per second respectively. The Magnum is designed with a matte black metal housing that features shock resistance up to 15Gs to protect stored data, and its detachable cap covers the USB connector to protect from damage and debr......

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CES: Seiki rolls out pair of 4K computer displays

In keeping with the goal of accelerating the adoption of 4K Ultra HD standard, 4K television manufacturer Seiki today announced its entry into the desktop monitor segment with 32- and 40-inch 4K Ultra HD displays. The new Seiki 4K displays will be branded Seiki Pro, and are on display at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show....

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Perla Haney-Jardine cast as Lisa in Universal's...

Actress Perla Haney-Jardine has been cast as Steve Jobs' first daughter, Lisa, in the upcoming Universal biopic of the former Apple CEO. Haney-Jardine is just 17 years old and a relative unknown, having only held supporting roles in movies like Kill Bill Vol. 2, Dark Water, and Spiderman 3. Her spot in the Jobs biopic may potentially be a breakthrough, since screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has described Lisa as the "heroine" of the movie. At one point Natalie Portman was attached to the role, but she decided to pass....

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Apple Pay gains eight new banks

Apple has added another eight banks to the list supporting Apple Pay, sources say. The collection includes Customers Bank -- based in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey -- and seven credit unions. Those are Security Service Federal Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Virginia Credit Union, Cyprus Federal Credit Union, Fairwinds Credit Union, Mountain America Credit Union, and Partners Federal Credit Union....

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These ‘The Price is Right’ Contestants Have No Idea...

Many Americans now own smartphones, and a large percentage of those smartphones are iPhones. So how much would the average American pay for a year's worth of enjoyment and utility from Apple's flagship device? Or, more interestingly, what do these The Price is Right contestants think the average American would pay?

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Apple begins selling SIM-free iPhone 6, 6 Plus

Apple has begun selling SIM-free versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at its US online store. Unlocked iPhone 6 models have been available since September, but until now came with a T-Mobile SIM inserted. As with the T-Mobile option, a SIM-free iPhone 6 starts at $649 for 16GB, and an equivalent 6 Plus is $749. Costs scale up to $949 for a 128GB Plus....

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Some iOS and OS X Developers Just Found a Way to...

App Store Bundles are a nice way to pick up apps and save a little cash. As nice as that is, they also include a bonus feature: A way for developers to offer long-awaited upgrade pricing. We explain this apparent loophole and speak to some veteran iOS and OS X developers to get their take.

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Hands On: Dungeon Village (iOS)

Resource management games are about balance. Balancing spending resources with gaining them, balancing time and effort versus reward -- all these things go into making a challenging, yet rewarding game. One such offering is Dungeon Village, by Kairosoft, which is a charming little medieval adventure about growing your own village....

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Parrot Announces In-Dash Entertainment System with...

A new aftermarket in-dash entertainment system may give users the best of both worlds, with support for both Apple CarPlay and Google's upcoming Android Auto. The device, codenamed "RNB6," features impressive automotive connectivity options, an integrated 4x55-watt amplifier, 5GHz Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

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Nikon adds rear touchscreen controls to D5500 DSLR

Nikon has introduced its consumer-grade follow-up to the D5300 DSLR camera, one which includes a touchscreen display on the back for the first time. The D5500's main upgrade compared to its predecessor, the rear 1037K-dot 3.2-inch display can be used to alter camera settings directly, with the screen still being able to flip out to the side and rotate around like in previous models....

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Unlocked SIM-Free iPhone 6 Now Available in the U.S...

Almost four months after the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is now offering unlocked, SIM-free versions of the companyâs latest phones via its U.S. online store and, soon, U.S. Apple Retail Stores. Pricing for the unlocked iPhones remains the same as the unsubsidized cost of carrier-specific models.

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Wacom announces cloud-based storage and device-...

Wacom, makers of digital input tablets and other devices for artists, have announced two new free cloud-based services for their customers. These two services, which allow content and device settings to be stored and shared across platforms, are the first in a series of services planned for release over the course of 2015. The Dropzone service allows an initial 2GB of free storage, while the Control Room service lets existing users upload device settings so that they can retrieve the settings when using the device on a different platform.......

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New iBeek beacons demoed by Texas Instruments at CES...

At CES on Monday, the iBeek beacon by Bluvision was deployed today at the Texas Instruments (TI) booth. When a device with Bluvision's CMS platform, BluZone, comes into proximity, the beacons will provide information and an interactive experience for visitors. The system was designed to provide accurate tracking using minimal energy with large-scale deployments, such as equipment tracking in a warehouse, in mind. However, the beacons can be customized for home automation, wearables, and other applications, the company says.......

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Briefly: Redesigned Kube launches, Casio releases G...

Portable audio system and food storage container Kube launched Monday at CES in Las Vegas. Designed for outdoor and indoor usage, the Kube offers a Bluetooth range of 50 feet for pairing with a Bluetooth-enabled device, and can deliver sound for up to 20 hours. Its exterior is comprised of aluminum and coated polymer, with five back-lit tactile buttons for controlling audio. Kube additionally includes the ability for charging USB devices with an available port, and its interior insulated food storage compartment features LED lights that automatically engage when the container is opened. Weighi......

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New portable projector from Epson announced at CES

Today, Epson America announced a new compact digital projector in its PowerLite line at CES. The Home Cinema 600 can scale up its display to roughly 25 times larger than a 60-inch television screen. The projector is designed to be plugged into everything from a laptop to a gaming console, and uses Epson three-LCD projection and four pre-set color modes, including a game mode. This allows for watching in even a well-lit environment, from a conference room to a backyard side-of-the-house movie night....

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Hands On: Exposure -- Photo Filters and Effects (iOS)

The cameras in our iPhones are so good that they are destroying the point-and-shoot digital camera market. We all have high-resolution lenses that create vibrant, brilliant images -- and then we slap a sepia filter over every photo. Even if you would never apply iOS 8's Chrome or Transfer filter, however -- even if you have never heard of Instagram -- take a look at Exposure. It's one of those apps that is genuinely unexpected and new....

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IK Multimedia releases iRig 2 guitar-to-smartphone...

Unlike its predecessor -- which only recently added support for Android devices (and then just the Galaxy Note 4) -- the iRig 2 guitar-to-phone interface, announced today, will support both iOS and Android right out of the gate, developer IK Multimedia says. Outputs on the device have been improved and added -- not only provide studio-quality sound from a smartphone, but to allow musicians to additionally plug into a traditional amplifier without an adapter....

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Roku announces partnership plans: 4K streaming, Roku...

Entertainment streaming platform provider Roku made a number of announcements today at CES regarding Roku televisions and expanded HD content streaming. Roku will be partnering with television manufacturers Haier and Insignia to produce new HDTV models of Roku televisions, while NetFlix works on delivering 4K compatible content through Roku's platforms, and a previous Roku TV maker will focus on debuting a Roku 4K Ultra HD TV for the new year....

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Hands On: Toca Mini (iOS)

One of the best parts about video games is character customization. Upon starting a game, we're given a blank slate to turn into whatever we want. There's something undeniably fun and very personal about designing a character, which is why the option is given in so many games. What if there was a game that was centered only around character customization, allowing yout to create an endless stream of different characters? Developer Toca Boca AB has created Toca Mini, a game that promises to help scratch that itch, at least for the younger users.......

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Apple’s Quarterly Conference Call Scheduled for...

Apple has announced the Q1 2015 conference call, it's slated for January 27. We'll hear about how Apple did over Christmas, and hopefully get progress reports on other things Apple is currently working on.

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CES: iDevices debuts Switch, first HomeKit...

Internet of Things (IoT) developer iDevices has debuted Switch, the company's first Apple HomeKit-enabled device at CES in Las Vegas. The device is a hubless home automation solution which plugs into a power outlet and gives the user control of anything plugged into it using an iOS app -- extending "smart home" capabilities to non-smart devices....

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Follow-up: Apple said to have fixed iDict hacking...

Apple appears to have fixed a flaw in its password security just one day after a hacker announced a new tool that could conceivably breach the existing protection against "brute force" attacks on accounts by taking advantage of an exception. On January 1, a new tool called iDict emerged in a rough state that could bypass repeated password-attempt blocking due to an exception made for iPhones. On January 2, Apple closed that exception and began locking accounts iDict was being used against....

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Briefly: Panasonic 2015 headphones, Phiaton...

Four new models of headphones from Panasonic made their debut today at CES. The offerings included a foldable on-ear model, Bluetooth headphones with near-field communication (NFC), and two premium in-ear models. The Panasonic Foldz are designed to allow the ear cups to swivel around into a compact formation for storage and portability. The RP-BTD5 Bluetooth headphones include NFC connectivity that allows the user to connect them to a device by simply touching it to one of the ear cups....

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Parrot Pot and Parrot H2O Monitor and Water Your...

LAS VEGAS - Parrot showed off two new products in its Flower family called Parrot Pot and Parrot H2O. Where the original Parrot Flower monitors your plants and reports conditions to your iPhone or Android device, Pot and H2O both add automated watering. Pot is a self-contained pot for your plant that includes a separate reservoire for water, sensors for monitoring the the soil and exposure to light, and then a mechanism for delivering that water to your plant when it needs it. H2O does the same thing, but it's a standalone device you can use with any pot. H2O gives you three weeks of "autonomous waterimg," while Pot delivers a full month. Plus, it works with PArrot's database of more than 7,000 plants to get it exactly right. Pretty cool, right? Parrot hasn't announced pricing and said only that both devices will ship sometimes in 2015....

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Ozobot Bit Is a 1-Inch Programmable Robot that Can...

LAS VEGAS - Evollve Inc. showed off Ozobot Bit Sunday night at CES Unveiled. This 1-inch robot can sense colored lines, detect patterns such as intersections, read flashing light codes, and play back up to 500 commands. It's also programmable using a color-based code language and a block-based programming editor. The company is aiming it at kids as an interactive tool that can teach them programming skills by allowing them to make their own courses for Ozobot Bit to follow, or by making their own games. The device also interacts with an Android and iOS app. In the included image, several Ozobot Bits are following paths that cross from tablets to hand-drawn paper and back again. Ozobot Bits are shipping now for US$49.99 for one, or a two-pack for $99.99.

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Dish launches Sling TV, semi-a la carte Internet...

Dish today announced specifics of its Internet television service. The new pay-as-you-go service, Sling TV, includes ABC Family, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the Travel Channel. However, possibly the biggest draw for the nascent service is ESPN and ESPN2....

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Hands On: Space Qube (iOS)

Shoot 'em ups, often called shmups, are action-shooters that pit the player against hoards of oncoming enemies. Players are able to usually control their ships left and right motion and only get to rest between levels. These games originated in the 60s and have been incredibly popular ever since, and it's easy to see why once you begin playing them. Space Qube, by Owen Wu, is a shoot 'em up for iOS that's worth taking a look at....

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HP Announces Gorgeous Displays, Inclucing 27-inch 5K...

LAS VEGAS - Hewlett Packard has announced several new computer displays today, including a new 24-inch Virtual Reality display, a new 27-inch 5K display and both 27-inch and 34-inch curved displays.

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CES: Linksys debuts new 802.11ac routers, other...

Belkin-owned Linksys has announced several new networking products at CES. Leading these is the EA8500, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi router capable of some of the company's highest speeds, in part since it uses MU-MIMO to improve performance for simultaneous device connections, and a 1.4GHz dual-core processor. In terms of connections the device has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a separate WAN Ethernet jack, and ports for eSATA, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 devices. It should ship this spring for $280....

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CES: Philips rolls out 34-inch curved QHD computer...

At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, Philips has unveiled a massive curved computer display. The new 34-inch Philips Brilliance Curved UltraWide LCD Display offers 3440 x 1440 resolution at 60Hz with panoramic 21:9 cinematic aspect....

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AT&T expands WebRTC cross-platform voice, video...

AT&T announced that it will be the first US carrier to launch commercial support for Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) via its AT&T Enhanced WebRTC API. The WebRTC standard, which is already enabled on more than a billion browsers across multiple platforms, allows voice and video calling between browsers without the need to install any software or plugins....

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Resolve to Protect Your Data in 2015

There are only two kinds of Mac users: Those who have lost data, and those who will. Itâs sad that so many users still donât start backing up until after theyâve lost irreplaceable files. Youâve heard me say it year in and year out, but at least some of you (and you know who you are), are not paying attention. Read my first column of the year and resolve to back up your stuff and avoid heartache in 2015.

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Valedo: Get Your Back in Shape with Your iPad

LAS VEGAS -- Staying on top how healthy you are typically hasn't included dealing with reducing ongoing pain, but Valedo is doing just that with it's set of light weight sensors. Instead of a bulky and unwieldy contraption with snaps and buckles, Valedo uses medical adhesive to keep its two sensors in place. Once there, you can play specialized iPad games to reduce back pain and strengthen your muscles. The company said it's planning on updating its software so you can track motion on other parts of your body, too. We checked out Valedo at CES 2015, and were surprised at how well it worked. You can pick up the two-sensor set for US$359 at the Valedo website.

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Apple Watch Has Success Built-in, by Design

One can produce estimates of the Apple Watch sales. One can do surveys and discover what people think they're willing to pay. But the real prospects for the Apple Watch lie in Apple's unique ability to capture our heart and imagination.

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Zensorium gets Moody with Being Smartwatch

LAS VEGAS -- Fitness tracking smartwatches can log how far we walk, how we sleep, and now Zensorium is tracking how we feel. TMO checked out the company's new Being watch at CES. It tracks how you're feeling by monitoring heart rate and blood pressure then converts that into four mood states: distressed, excited, normal, and calm. If you're showing signs of stress, Being will offer tips on calming down, and all of the data it collects is sent wirelessly to your iOS or Android smartphone. The built-in battery runs for about three days on a charge, and the OLED display is easy to read in bright or dark light conditions. The Being will ship in March for US$199, or you can pre-order now for $169.

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Canon intros eight new PowerShot, ELPH, and VIXIA...

Digital imaging giant Canon has announced several new cameras at CES, spread across its PowerShot, ELPH, and VIXIA lines. The leading model is the $430 PowerShot SX530 HS, which has a 50x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-1200mm on a full-sized camera. The unit also has optical image stabilization and a 16-megapixel sensor, capable of 1080p video, plus a pop-up flash and high-speed autofocus. It also includes Wi-Fi and NFC support, which can be used to connect to a smartphone and various other devices....

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TMO Daily Observations: 2015-01-05

The Mac Observer is on the ground at the Internation Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, and we're already checking out some pretty cool products. Dave Hamilton and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to talk about the new tech they saw at CES Unveiled, including fitness gear, wireless routers, and robots ready to help you shop.

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Samsung Keynote

Join us at 5pm (2pm PST) as we liveblog Samsung's CES keynote.

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Google brings Cast audio to speakers, receivers

Google has announced that its Cast technology will soon be able to send audio-only feeds to devices such as speakers and AV receivers. Users will be able to cast from Android and iOS apps, as well the web, presumably via Chrome for Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS. Some compatible services will include Deezer, Google Play Music, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, and TuneIn....

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Logitech unveils bigger UE Megaboom Bluetooth speaker

Logitech-owned Ultimate Ears has announced a new Bluetooth speaker, the UE Megaboom. The design is based on the original Boom -- which likewise aims sound in a 360-degree arc -- but is substantially larger. It should last up to 20 hours on a single charge, and UE is promising a 100-foot range, well beyond most Bluetooth devices, which are typically limited to about 30 feet. By comparison, the original Boom has a 15-hour battery and a 50-foot range....

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Intel ships new dual-core PC Broadwell, mobile...

Today, Intel finally unveiled the fifth Generation Intel Core processor family. Named "Broadwell," the long-expected chip technology is introduced in 14 new processors for consumers and businesses, including ten new 15W processors with Intel HD Graphics and four new 28W products with Intel Iris Graphics. Alongside the release is the "Cherry Trail" mobile processor, offering 64-bit computing, and improved graphics for the mobile user....

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Analyst: Apple Watch to Sell 18.5M Units, Account...

Apple Watch will play a âmeaningfulâ role in Appleâs 2015 bottom line, with sales of 18.5 million units representing 36 percent of the company's revenue growth for the year, according to a new investor note Monday from advisory firm Evercore Partners. The watch is expected to launch in the March time frame.

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iPad Pro schematics may hint at more powerful...

Leaked schematics suggest that Apple's rumored "iPad Pro" will have a more powerful set of speakers than the iPad Air or iPad mini. A captured 3D rendering, said to come from a Foxconn factory worker, depicts the Pro as having a speaker grille next to its power button. If authentic, the image (below) indicates either that Apple is relocating the speaker or that the Pro will have both top- and bottom-facing units -- making it the first iPad with true stereo sound. The iPad Air 2 has twin grilles, but these are both on the bottom and connected to the same speaker.......

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New 4K Drone Footage Provides Aerial Update on Apple...

Continuing the trend of aerial progress updates on Appleâs spaceship-style Campus 2 development, new drone footage uploaded Sunday provides a 4K look at how construction has progressed in recent weeks.

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Following Unexplained Removal, iCloud Photos App...

After being removed last week, the online iCloud Photos app is working again, although the app's icon has yet to return to the iCloud.com home screen. Many users report that the app, and their photos, can be viewed by directly navigating to the iCloud Photos URL while logged in to iCloud.com.

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CES: D-Link unveils three stylish routers, two...

D-Link has used CES to launch a new range of strikingly-designed Wi-Fi routers, as well as more powerline networking products. The AC5300, AC3200, and AC3100 Ultra Wi-Fi Routers all tout high wireless network speeds, while the PowerLine AV2 1000 and 2000M kits claim to provide fast wired network speeds using the home's power supply....

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Leaked Rendering Suggests Four Speakers for the 12-...

A new leaked rendering from a Foxconn employee purports to show the long-rumored 12-inch iPad, and reveals two new speaker grilles on the top of the device, suggesting that Appleâs larger iPad wonât simply be an enlarged version of the companyâs existing 9.7-inch model.

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Hands On: Winged Sakura: Mindy's Arc (Linux, OS...

Tower defense is perhaps one of the most saturated genres of video games, leaving developers to create a new spin if they want to get the attention of potential players. Winged Sakura: Mindy's Arc takes a lane-based approach that is similar to Popcap's Plants vs. Zombies, but adds additional depth with role-playing game (RPG) elements and an anime sheen. But does Winged Sakura do enough to entice players into picking it up, or are they better off snagging something from the endless list of flash-based tower defense games?......

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Hands On: Perfectly Clear by Athentech (OS X, iOS,...

Unless you are a supremely-gifted photographer with a bucketful of top camera gear, you may often find yourself wishing a shot you had taken could be sharper, clearer, or otherwise "better," and are always looking for an app that can deliver this magic to your pictures consistently. Honest to gosh, we think we've found it -- or at least, pretty darn close. The program is called Perfectly Clear by Athentech, it's available as a mobile app or a plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom, and -- we kid you not -- it's like Windex for most photos.......

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Nvidia unveils Tegra X1 processor, platforms for...

To kick off the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took to the stage to unveil the company's newest offerings for mobile computing and in-car systems. Nvidia's newest processor, the Tegra X1, leverages the Maxwell GPU technology released last year to produce a new "mobile super chip." The invention of the new processor was necessary to power Nvidia's two other announcements during the show that look toward the future of the automotive industry, the Drive CX and Drive PX systems....

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Cerevo XON Snow-1 bindings lets snowboarders analyze...

Just in time for the snow season, Japanese company Cerevo introduced the XON Snow-1, a set of connected snowboard bindings that records data and lets users analyze their run, much like a data analyzer for race car drivers. Each binding has a pair of load sensors to measure lean angle and a flex sensor to gauge weight distribution, along with LED lights that just look cool....

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Parrot shows off Carplay, Android Auto RNB6 head...

France-based Parrot's latest unveiling at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was the RNB6 double-DIN automotive head unit. The new RNB6 supports both Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen unit also offers many other features to prospective buyers, such as an included dashcam, navigation, and Bluetooth 4.0....

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CES: Griffin adds to charging, iTrip lines, updates...

Griffin is using CES to launch a large number of accessories for mobile devices, as well as something for audiophiles. The collection includes four items in its charging-related accessory range and two iTrip devices, along with an upgraded version of its Twenty digital audio amplifier, adding Bluetooth connectivity and a refined physical design....

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Wheeler submitting new Net Neutrality rules, FCC to...

US Federal Communications Chairman commissioner Tom Wheeler is reportedly planning on unveiling a new set of net neutrality rules in the beginning of February. The new rules which are said to be more aggressive than originally proposed, which should incorporate feedback from the public comment process, should come to a vote at the February 26 meeting....

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Weekly Game Replay: Steam hits 8.5M users, Xbox Live...

Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer a look back at some of the big news from the video game world in the previous week. To roll in the New Year for Weekly Game Replay, we take a look at Steam's new concurrent user record, Xbox Live founder Boyd Multerer's departure from Microsoft, Planetside 2 beta coming to the PlayStation 4 in January, Croteam's trap for video game pirates in The Talos Principle, and the new free games for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live gold subscribers....

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Hands On: PDF to ePub Converter (OS X)

Lets just cut through it -- if you need to convert PDF documents into the ePub format that iBooks or the Kindle app for iPad and Mac use, then the eponymously named PDF to ePub Converter does the job. It's quick and it's easy to use, too, plus it has options for setting different colors for the text and page background. Only, there aren't many situations when you'd need to use any converter at all: iBooks and Kindle both open and display PDF files natively....

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Fugoo bolsters Bluetooth streaming line with Fugoo...

Fugoo, makers of the Go Anywhere speaker line, today announced their newest product line at Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show. The new Fugoo XL series is larger and louder, ruggedized, and 100 percent waterproof. Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, the new speaker has quadruple the wattage and two new jacket styles that float. ...

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Hands on: Duckie Deck Collection (iOS)

There are tons of games available for elementary age students in the app store, and most center around simple puzzle solving and basic game play. However, parents of younger children might not realize that there are also games available for toddlers. One such game is Duckie Deck Collection, by Duckie Deck Development, which aims to entertain even the youngest gamers....

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CES: Seagate shows Seven, Personal Cloud, Wireless...

Alongside the LaCie releases, the consumer division of Seagate has released three new products. Also shown today at the Consumer Electronics Show are the Seagate® Personal Cloud and Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay network attached storage devices, the Seagate Wireless 500GB portable drive, and the Seagate Seven ultra-thin external drive....

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Hands On: Runtastic Pro (iOS)

Running is easy enough that most people can pick it up, regardless of whether they want to simply take up light jogging or train for a marathon. One of the harder things, as with most exercise regimens, is tracking your progress. That's why the folks over at Runtastic have created Runtastic Pro, an app that helps runners of all skill levels hone their skills and enjoy the run....

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LaCie shows Rugged RAID and Gorilla Glass-clad LaCie...

Today, LaCie, the premium brand of Seagate technology, unveiled its latest storage solutions at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. Shown today were the LaCie Rugged RAID capitalizing on the company's other rugged hard drives, and the LaCie Mirror -- a drive clad in Gorilla Glass....

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Hands On: God of Light (iOS)

Puzzle games generally come in two varieties: casual and often too easy, or hard and often too stressful. Some puzzle games feel like they're designed only for children, while others feel like they're only designed for professional code breakers. Rarely are there games that flirt with the middle ground of being both enjoyably challenging, yet not so frustrating that you want to quit playing. One such game that has managed to come close is God of Light, by Playmous....

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CES: Acer launches pair of low-response-time gaming...

As part of its pre-CES announcements, Acer has released a pair of gaming monitors. The Acer XB270HU is the world's first Nvidia G-Sync gaming monitor equipped with IPS technology, and the Acer XG270HU is the world's first gaming monitor with an edge-to-edge frameless display. Both of these 27-inch displays come with WQHD (2560x1440) resolution, and a 144Hz refresh rate....

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iPhoneography 101: Basic Workflow Tips

Shot a bunch of pix on your iPhone this holiday season? Vern Seward helps you manage them with workflow tips in this week's iPhoneography 101.

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Hands On: OmniOutliner 2 (OS X, iOS)

If you're a writer or do any kind of long and complex work, then you're typically either a planner or you're not. You work out every detail of what you're going to do or you're a pantser: you do everything by the seat of your pants. Traditionally, the only difference between the two that mattered was that planners find it easier to get paid because they can show what they're going to end up with. Otherwise, it was down to you which you were and not even raging arguments would change a pantser into a planner. So as an outlining and planning tool, OmniOutliner is clearly for the planner type of......

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The Om/One Levitating Bluetooth Speaker: $179.99

The Om/One Levitating Bluetooth Speaker. It's a speaker that's a globe and it levitates. It floats in mid-air while it plays music or acts as your speaker phone, or whatever. Magnets are frakking cool. Check out the video in the deal listing to see it in action. It connects to an audio source via Bluetooth, plus it levitates. Drop in Luke Skywalker with a helmet over this eyes, and you can have yourself a proper SciFi shindig. The Om/One Levitating Bluetooth Speaker ships in January for $199. Stack Social has it on preorder for $179.99.

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Friday Deals: Resolutions, 2.33Gbps Router, Yamaha...

Welcome to Friday Deals, the first installment of 2015 (alternately known as the "Santa didn't get me everything I wanted" edition) of the money-saving post where we find great offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just like last year, the offers are correct at the time of writing, but may change, so check before purchasing. Also, come back to this post later, as we will be adding more deals to it throughout the weekend....

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Hands On: Remoter VNC (iOS)

Most of us still have computers, but they're not always convenient given the average person's fast-paced life. If you have a laptop or desktop, there have probably been a few times when you've wished you could check up on your computer, only to find yourself at the store, or stuck somewhere far away from your desk. But what if there was a way for you to easily check your computer while you're out and about? Remoter VNC by Remoter Labs, allows you to take control of your computer from anywhere right from the palm of your hand....

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US sanctions North Korea for Sony Pictures cyber-...

On Friday, US President Barack Obama placed new sanctions on North Korea as a "first measure" of retaliation against the country's cyber-attacks on Sony Pictures through an executive order that targets individuals and companies or other entities affiliated with the North Korean government. Obama referred to the North Korean government as "destructive and coercive," and painted the incident as an attack on both a US company and at attack on the right of free expression. The movie that North Korea objected to, The Interview, has since been released and sailed to the top of the iTunes movie chart......

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Peraso to demonstrate WiGig USB 3.0 Adapter at CES...

Networking hardware maker Peraso of Toronto, Canada focuses its efforts on designing integrated circuits but doesn't fabricate its own designs, instead outsourcing them to "foundries" -- as such, Peraso refers to itself as a "fabless semiconductor company." Next week at CES, however, it will be demonstrating a new USB 3.0 adaptor for the 802.11ad standard also known as "WiGig." The standard offers LAN speeds up to 10 times that of conventional Wi-Fi, and the adapter is expected to help home equipment take advantage of the increased speed as 802.11ad becomes more commonly used.......

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CES: Nyne expanding its line of water-resistant...

Last year, speaker maker Nyne unveiled its "Aqua" at CES 2014 -- a Bluetooth speaker with an IPX7 rating, which means it's considered "waterproof" (immersion for up to 30 minutes at 3.3 feet (1m) of water). This year, three new "adventure models," the Edge, the Verge, and the Rock will be available to demo at Nyne's CES booth. While these new models don't have ratings high enough to designate them as waterproof, they are still water-resistant....

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Hands On: Stuffit Deluxe 16 (OS X, Windows)

Curiously, Stuffit Deluxe was the king of compression -- or at least serious monarchy -- back when our files were always minuscule anyway. It was when hard disks were measured in megabytes instead of terabytes, and a large file was one that filled a floppy disk. Now that we routinely fling around gigabytes of files and complain when we can't just email a feature film to someone, Stuffit Deluxe could be making a comeback with the new version 16....

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Follow-up: Apple Stores now showcasing user-created...

Less than a week after having expanded its "Start Something New" campaign from its Japanese site to the US and most other global Apple sites, the company has begun adding some of the pictures from its curated collection of artwork made on Macs or iOS devices to selected retail stores. The campaign focuses once again on how users use the products to enhance their own lives, but this time focuses on active productivity in the form of artwork creation. Photographs, drawings and videos dominate the collection....

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Friday Deals: Resolutions, 2.33Gbps Router, Yamaha...

Welcome to Friday Deals, the first installment in 2015 of the money-saving post where we find offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just like last year, the offers are correct at the time of writing, but may change, so check before purchasing. Also, come back to this post later, as we will be adding more deals to it throughout the weekend....

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Swiss Watchmaker Montblanc Announces eStrap...

Montblanc announced Thursday a wearable computing option for mechanical watch owners. Being launched initially for the Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed line of watches for 2015, the eStrap includes an OLED screen and various fitness-related sensors.The Mac Observer Spin: The smartwars in the watch industry are just starting, all thanks to Apple Watch. I personally expect a lot of smartstraps to be introduced throughout 2015, from startups and established watch brands alike.

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Forums: two operating systems, one Mac

Today in the MacNN forums, one Dedicated MacNNer was asking if it was possible to run two different operating systems on the same Mac as they are planning on replacing their original drive with a solid state drive. Grizzled Veteran "PHoynak" is looking for a way to use their old white MacBook as a second display with a 27-inch iMac and wonders if anyone has any advice on how this could be accomplished....

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Apple deals: up to $400 off refurbished MacBook Pros

At Apple's online store right now save big on a wide selection of refurbished MacBook Pro configurations. Prices start at $929 for the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive and SuperDrive. For $999, after a $200 price break, is the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage....

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DealNN: 21 percent off 13.3-inch MBP and more

MacMall.com's end-of-the-year clearance sale includes the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro, complete with dual-core Intel Core i5 2.4GHz processor, Retina display, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage, and a battery life of approximately nine hours. Available for only $1,029.99 after the $40 mail-in-rebate, customers save 21% off the once $1,299 list price, and about $100 when compared to the next best deal we have seen on this MBP....

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TMO Daily Observations: 2015-01-02

There's a new hack out that supposedly makes everyone's iCloud account vulnerable to attack. Bryan Chaffin and TekRevue's Jim Tanous join Jeff Gamet to look into whether or not there's a real security concern behind the hack, plus they ramp up for next week's International CES event, and Jeff shares his new favorite weather forecast site.

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Apple hikes some European prices for developers,...

Apple has increased the costs for developers and products in a range of countries across Europe, reports say. German developers note that the cost of an annual Developer Program membership has jumped from €80 ($96) to €99 ($119). The change is presumably affecting all European Union countries, since Apple rarely makes changes in one euro market to the exclusion of others. In the UK, developer registration fees have been hiked from from £60 ($92) a year to £79 ($121)....

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MGG 534: New Year, New Questions, Same Geeks

It's the same week but it's a new year and your two favorite geeks are at it again. Topics in this week's show include changing window size defaults, managing plain text documents (important for passwords!), RF interference with hard drive enclosures, advanced IMAP settings for Mail, managing large Dropboxes and more. Download and enjoy today!

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New iCloud account hacking tool dodges Apple...

A new hacking tool available on GitHub is claimed to be able to brute-force access to an iCloud account in a way that avoids Apple safeguards. Dubbed iDict, the tool performs "dictionary" attacks on target iCloud email addresses. Normally these would be stopped by Apple's rate-limiting measures for logins, but iDict disguises itself as an iPhone, a device which for whatever reason is exempt from those limits....

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iPhone Apps: Infuse Pro, GoodReader, Dropbox

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Weather From: Your Daily Weather Forecast, from...

We always ask what today's temperature will be, but what we really need to know is whether or not we need a jacket. That's exactly what you'll get from Weather From, delivered from your grandmother. She's let you know if it's going to be cold or hot, if you need a jacket, and always has something to say about life, family, or politics. I can't imagine why you'd need to get your weather forecast anywhere else.

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Montblanc e-Strap adds smartwatch functionality to...

Watch manufacturer Montblanc has created a way to add smartwatch functionality to traditional wristwatches, by replacing the strap with one housing an extra screen. The e-Strap band introduces a secondary face to the watch on the inside of the wrist, with the extra module offering smartphone notifications via a 0.9-inch monochrome OLED display....

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Beta iCloud.com site loses Photos app [u]

(Updated with indications of potential technical difficulties) The iCloud.com beta site has suddenly dropped access to the Photos web app, users note. The app first appeared last October, and until this week was actually gaining features. Its icon no longer appears in any menu, and manually entering the app's URL returns an error message....

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The Mac Observer at CES 2015

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off next week, and The Mac Observer will be on location to check out the latest tech products and trends for 2015. The trade show runs from January 6 through January 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and there'll be plenty of Apple-related gear for us to look at.

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New iCloud Exploit Claims to Circumvent Failed...

Hackers are ringing in the new year with another public threat to Appleâs online iCloud service. A new tool released Thursday claims to utilize a âpainfully obviousâ bug in Appleâs iCloud security infrastructure that enables the circumvention of automatic account lock-outs and multi-factor authentication.The Mac Observer Spin: A hack that circumvents the automatic account lock-out is certainly believable, but we'd want to see a bit more evidence before we're convinced that this tool can succesfully defeat two-factor authentication.

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Apple Japan's 2015 'Lucky Bag'...

Apple has run the 2015 edition of its annual "Lucky Bag" promotion, in which its Japanese stores sell bags containing surprise goods worth more than their initial price tag. This year's bags cost 36,000 yen (about $300) each, but held products worth anywhere between $640 and $1,280. Each one had a "big" surprise, along with an Apple TV, Beats Powerbeats2 wireless earbuds, a New Year's edition of a Mophie powerstation, and a 1,000-yen iTunes gift card. All of the items were secured in Incase ICON Slim Pack backpacks....

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iPhoto: Ordering Prints

The Quick Tip Melissa Holt's got for us today is all about ordering prints from iPhoto. After you learn about this, no longer will you need to upload your images to a third-party service or schlep down to a photo-processing store. It's almost immoral how easy it is, folks.

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Happy 2015 from The Mac Observer!

We'd like to wish everyone a wonderful 2015, and we look forward to the best year Apple has yet had. Click through for a short walk down Memory Lane.

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Hands On: Files United (iOS)

If you're like most of us, chances are you've got at least one cloud service -- probably more. And if you're like most of us, chances are you've probably loaded up your phone or tablet with individual apps for every single one. Instead of installing separate apps for every cloud service, why not check out Files United by developer Zuhanden GmbH?...

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Japanese media claims most of Mt. Gox stolen...

Citing sources close to the law enforcement investigation, Japanese media is reporting that the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange theft was an inside job. A report published today claims that of the 650,000 purloined coins, only about 7,000 are missing as a result of external theft, with the rest having been stolen by a source internal to the exchange. However, the newspaper stops short of naming any specific suspects in the case....

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Hands On: A Better Finder Rename 9 (OS X)

It's been a long time since you came back from a vacation with just 24 or 36 photographs. These days, you're taking hundreds of shots on your iPhone, and every tourist spot you visit is trying to sell you a few more. It's not really as if it will take you another vacation in order to sort out your photos, but it feels like it, and one problem is how they're all named. If cameras could automatically label a photo as 'Great Day at Santa Barbara With Aunt Mabel 001' you'd be set and A Better Finder Rename 9 would be out of business. For ABFR--– a utility that saves you time really shouldn't hav......

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ACM 287: GTAT Bonuses, Twitter Shenanigans, and...

GT Advanced Technologies wants to pay out US$6 million in bonuses to company executives in the midst of its bankruptcy proceedings, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Jeff and Bryan look at the pros and cons of GTAT's bonus plan, plus they rant on Twitter's sponsored links in our Following lists, and they share their favorite Apple-related stories for 2014.

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NewerTech releases new mounts for iMac models 2012...

NewerTech has released a new adapter that allows a 2012 or newer model iMac (including the latest Retina 5K iMac) to be hung with a universal VESA mounting system. Since 2012, Apple has made it so that iMacs must be ordered with a VESA mount at the time of ordering, which means four screw holes would be drilled into the back -- if the original purchaser did not order the custom VESA fitting, there was no option to remove the stand, or add the option to mount it later....

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Register for the Xbox One and Grand Theft Auto V...

We have another cool giveaway for you: we're giving away an Xbox One plus a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. All you have to do is register to receive our Deal emails-which you should do anyway, and you're entered. So do it.

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Chick-Fil-A reports nine-month-long payment security...

A rash of credit and debit card fraud cases have been tracked back to accounts that were all used at various Chick-Fil-A locations around the US. The fast food restaurant joins the ranks of retailers with point of sale security issues. This particular breach appears to have run from December of 2013 to September of 2014....

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FTC finalizes settlement with Snapchat over privacy...

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finally finalized its settlement with Snapchat over privacy issues. Initially settled in May but only finalized by the FTC on December 23, the settlement requires the messaging service to allow itself to be subjected to independent privacy monitoring for a 20-year period, among other items....

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Apple's iTunes Connect open, 2014 app deals...

Yesterday, Apple re-opened it's iTunes Connect developer portal to allow app creators access to sales reports, analytics of app downloads and use, and the ability to submit, delete, and change prices on apps. The service was shut down between December 22 and December 29, which also contributed to the late addition to iTunes of the movie The Interview. Some bargains on apps and other items that are set to expire at midnight, or sales that have been extended, are explored below....

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Apple goes global with 'Start Something New...

Having started a new ad campaign in Japan, Apple has expanded its "Start Something New" online art gallery to many of its international sites, including the US -- offering a curated collection of photos, illustrations and other pieces created using iOS or Mac hardware and software. As is typical for the company, the aim of the campaign isn't to blatantly push hardware as it is to provide inspiration to action, and showcase how people use the products rather than the products themselves. Apps such as VSCO Cam, Waterlogue, Final Cut Pro and Brushes 3 are among the apps featured.......

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Don’t Fear The Reaper, Even in iPad Form

A fun one to put up on the Apple TV during New Year's Eve festivities, here's YouTuber Samurai Guitarist using an iPad (he notes in the comments that it's borrowed) to cover Blue Oyster Cult's classic Don't Fear The Reaper. Sadly he doesn't mention the apps involved, because I'd love a good cowbell app. Anyway, aside from the digitized vocals and the lack of "needle to the record" noise, it sounds really close to the original. I love videos like this, partly because of the novelty of it, and partly because it might introduce this song to someone who hasn't heard it before. And let's be honest when it comes down to it, we all need a little more cowbell. Check out the full video below.

(via Melissa Davis)

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Kelly’s Top Mobile Accessory Picks for 2014

2014 was the year of mobile accessories for Kelly. Always on the lookout for bits and bobs that make mobility even easier, Kelly scored some goodies in 2014 she's happy to share with all of you.

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The August Smart Lock for Doors: Convenient and Cool

If you haven't heard of the August Smart Lock, here's the scoop-it's a Bluetooth device that unlocks your door when you approach with your iPhone and relocks it a set number of minutes after you come home. It also lets you issue temporary electronic keys, so you can allow the cleaning lady in for a couple of hours and receive a notification when she leaves. Come on in for the whole review of this spiffy little gadget!

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Briefly: Goodreader loses some iCloud functions,...

PDF reader app Goodreader has gotten rid of several functions related to iCloud Drive, in compliance with Apple's guidelines. Users can no longer create and delete new folders inside iCloud, or move iCloud files. Other changes made with the latest release include VoiceOver compatibility, and a fix for opening iCloud containers. Goodreader is priced at $5, and is available for iPhone and iPad....

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How to Visually Distinguish the 3 iPad mini Models

There are minor visual differences between the iPad mini, mini 2 and mini 3. If you don't want to fuss with looking up model numbers and serial numbers, there's an easy way to distinguish the three models just by visual inspection. John Martellaro shows how easy it is.

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Review: iRig Pads

When it comes to mobile music products, IK Multimedia has positioned itself as one of the top suppliers. Right from the early days of iOS, IK Multimedia has remained at the forefront of the iOS music creation market with products like the original iRig and iRig Mic. As iOS has developed and become more powerful, so has the line-up of iRig products - its latest introduction, iRig Pads, brings musicians a full-featured 16-pad MIDI groove controller. Is the iRig Pads worthy of the space in your bag for creating a mobile loop workstation? We put the hardware through its paces in our full review.......

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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-31

Word on the Internet is that it's pretty easy to trick Touch ID and get into someone's iPhone. Kelly Guimont and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet explain why hacking Touch ID isn't nearly as simple as the media would have you believe, plus they offer up some iPhone security tips, and take a look at the Apple employee pay class action lawsuit that was just dismissed.

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Apple Encourages People to ‘Start Something New’...

Apple has launched a new subsite called "Start Something New" encouraging people to do something creative with their Apple gear and third party software. The company highlights several artistic endeavors from photographers, artists, and filmmakers, including examples.

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Reviews: iRig Pads

When it comes to mobile music products, IK Multimedia has positioned itself as one of the top suppliers. Right from the early days of iOS, IK Multimedia has remained at the forefront of the iOS music creation market with products like the original iRig and iRig Mic. As iOS has developed and become more powerful, so has the line-up of iRig products - its latest introduction, iRig Pads, brings music ......

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Lawsuit says Apple deceptive about space iOS 8...

A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action....

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Supreme Court Ruling Spurs Judge to Dismiss Apple...

Apple employees hoping to get back pay for the time they spend undergoing bag checks with their work shifts are in for a disappointment. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsop dismissed employee lawsuits following a Supreme Court ruling in a similar case that says the security checks don't fall under paid time requirements.The Mac Observer Spin: Regardless of what Apple's employees think they're owed, it makes sense that Judge Alsop dismissed their case. The circumstances in the Supreme Court's ruling in the Amazon employee case are similar enough to apply here, too. Apple's employees will have to get pretty creative to convince Judge Alsop to change his mind.

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Some iPhone 6 owners unable to update Apple Pay...

A number of iPhone 6 owners are complaining that they have been unable to add their cards back to Apple Pay after restoring iOS. The problem -- described in Apple's support forums -- can manifest whether restoring from a backup or starting fresh, and so far the only solution involves getting a replacement phone from Apple. Genius Bar technicians appear to be offering replacements to most affected people, whether in the form of a refurbished or genuinely new device....

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GTAT Wants to Pay Executives $6M Bonuses Amid...

GT Advanced Technologies wants to pay out US$6 million dollars in bonuses to company executives, which likely won't sit well with creditors hoping to recoup their money. GTAT filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after its finances spun out of control from a failed deal to produce synthetic sapphire glass for Apple.The Mac Observer Spin: Paying out $6 million in bonuses to executives leading a sinking ship will be a hard sell. GTAT has plenty of creditors who want their money, and they won't take kindly to that going to the company's own executives instead.

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Uber suspends Uberpop service in Spain following...

Uber is closing its Uberpop ride-sharing service in Spain, following a court request. The service is temporarily suspended in the country, as Uber is planning to appeal a court ruling granting an injunction requested by the Association Madrileña Del Taxi, the taxi drivers association of Madrid, as well as working with politicians to make the service legal in the country....

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New York City mulls enabling Apple Pay for parking...

New York City is considering upgrading its options for paying parking tickets to include more modern platforms, such as Apple Pay, according to MarketWatch. The focal point would be a new mobile app allowing people to scan a ticket and then use Apple Pay, or other options such as PayPal or potentially Bitcoin. The same app would give drivers the choice to schedule a hearing instead....

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Apple Hit with Lawsuit over iOS 8 Storage Claims

Apple was slapped with a potential class action lawsuit this week alleging the company intentionally misled customers as to how much storage their iPhone has after installing iOS 8, and then tries to sell more through iCloud subscriptions. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco by the law firm Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca.The Mac Observer Spin: Complaints about stated versus actual storage space aren't anything new. The twist in this case is that the plaintiffs are claiming Apple used that as a bait-and-switch tool to pressure customers into paying for iCloud subscriptions. Still, the case feels an awful lot like a money grab.

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Use Touch ID to Unlock Your Mac with MacID

Touch ID is wonderfully convenient for unlocking your iPhone, and thanks to MacID you'll be able to use your fingerprint to do the same on your Mac. The iPhone app uses Bluetooth LE to talk with your Mac and enter your lockscreen passcode with a touch. You'll need the companion app on your Mac, too, and your laptop, iMac or Mac Pro needs to be new enough to support Bluetooth LE. MacID is awaiting approval for release on the App Store and should be available soon.

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Hands On: Scribe cross-platform clipboard utility (...

Is it our typing speed, or just our attention span? Back in the olden days, we would copy out a telephone number, and type it into our cell phones. Mind you, back in the even more olden days, we would just remember the numbers and, let's be fair, that's completely unreasonable. Now that we all tend to have Macs and iPhones or iPads, we are forever going between the two -- and sometimes, that means the information we need is on the other one. Scribe is a clipboard utility for, well, copying anything from your Mac. If you can select it, you can copy it, and Scribe will send it on over to your iO......

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Hands On: Scanner 2 PDF (iOS)

As great as the cameras are on our iPhones, the only reason to use them as document scanners is when you have no other choice. There are just too many inherent problems -- from the difficulty of focusing evenly, to how hard it is to just line up the paper edges consistently. Then, of course, if you do get it perfectly straight and perfectly lit, the instant you tap the iPhone screen you introduce a judder. Scanner 2 PDF aims to be that best scanner, and specifically to do one particularly important job well, but if it's got the features then it falls down on the execution.......

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Ongoing investigations into Sony hack pointing to...

The saga of "who really stole all that data from Sony" continues, in spite of the FBI's adherence to its findings that North Korea alone was responsible. Independent investigations by security organizations have expanded the suspect list to include ex-employees, while net vandals Lizard Squad have, in their continuing quest for attention, claimed partial credit....

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Analyst: profits for Android hardware down 50...

In a blog post of all the notable developments in the mobile market for 2014, industry analyst Chetan Sharma includes a number of observations about Android hardware and its profit margins. The primary one is that the Android device manufacturer community suffered its "most significant ever" drop in profits during 2014, with earnings having dropped 50 percent from expected levels across 2014....

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GT Advanced seeking court approval for executive...

In a move sure to be opposed by the myriad companies it owes money to, former Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies is currently asking a bankruptcy court judge for permission to hand out over two million dollars in "executive bonuses" designed to help motivate and retain "key" employees -- largely the same group of senior executives who ran the company into the ground. In total, the company expects to apply for nearly $6 million in total bonuses and incentives to various levels of employees....

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Judge dismisses 'wage theft' suit against...

Apple has won in a pair of lawsuits lodged in the summer of 2013 by disgruntled employees that charged the company with a form of "wage theft" by not paying workers while they were being checked during mandatory security and loss-prevention screenings. Citing a Supreme Court decision in a similar case, Federal Court Judge William Alsop ruled that such screenings are not "integral and indispensable" parts of the retail workers' jobs, therefore the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation for the time spent in such activities.......

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Hands On: WordTarget menubar word counter (OS X)

There's a famous Charlie Brown cartoon where he writes out the title "What I Did On My Summer Holiday" and then counts the words. Seven. He has to write some impossibly high number of words, something like a whole hundred, and it is going to be agony. With WordTarget by Kickcode, he wouldn't even have the hopeful delay while he counted: WordTarget displays the number of words constantly....

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The Extreme Micro Drone 2.0 with Aerial Camera for $...

Check out the Micro Drone 2.0, a tiny drone equipped with a camera that you can get for just $74.99 (it's usually $139.99). According to the manufacturer, you can throw it into the air like a frisbee, upside down, or any angle, and its self-righting algorithm and sensors will immediately stabilize it back to its horizontal flying position. Why would you do such a thing? Because you can. Duh. There's a video on the deal site. Check it out.

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The Missing Apple TV Ad: The Case for Apple Pay

So far, major banks have been running TV ads promoting Apple Pay, and that's great. But why is Apple being so shy about its own technology and not running its own ads? John Martellaro has wondered about that too.

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Touch ID Cracked, Requires Complex Steps and...

Common biometric methods for authenticating include facial recognition and fingerprint scanners, which aren't necessarily all that secure. Another authentication method shown to be crackable is Touch ID, and even then it's a pretty tall order.

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Jeff Gamet’s Top iPhone and iPad Apps for 2014

2014 was a good year for iPhone and iPad apps, and a few stood out as must-have choices for TMO's Jeff Gamet. Curious which apps earned a special place on his iPhone and iPad? Read on to see which apps he just can't live without.

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Twitter Goes Over to Dark Side, Decides Who You’ll...

Some Twitter users woke up this morning to find that they were unexpectedly following @MasterCard, perhaps an implied endorsement that was unwanted. William Shatner was the first to notice this, according to Marketing Land. This appears to be a troublesome effort by Twitter to monetize what has become, in essence, a public utility.

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Xiaomi, Apple, others cleared of violating Taiwanese...

Taiwan's National Communications Commission has issued a report clearing a variety of companies of breaking local data privacy laws, according to Reuters. The organization says that all 12 of the previously implicated cellphone brands -- including Apple, Huawei, Samsung, LG, Sony, ZTE, and Xiaomi -- are in the clear, despite Xiaomi being the impetus for the investigation. In August Xiaomi apologized and promised to make changes after a Finnish security firm discovered Xiaomi software was collecting address book data without permission.......

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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-30

Turns out smart home devices can be part of our home entertainment systems, too. John Martellaro and Kelly Guimont join Jeff Gamet to look at SyFy's plans to control Hue LED lights as part of the 12 Monkeys series, plus they dive into why it's time for Jeff to get on the Hue bandwagon, look at the popularity of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus over the holidays, and talk about the distrust in Apple Pay some people are showing.

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Apple deals: Refurbished MacBook Air as low as $769

This week, Apple's online store has a selection of refurbished MacBook Air models on sale for as low as $769. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel-Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage, and 720p FaceTime HD camera has been cut by $130, bringing the price down to $769. Priced at $869 is the refurbished 11.6-inch, 1.3GHz MacBook Air, featuring a larger 256GB flash drive, the same 4GB of RAM and dual-core Intel-Core i5 processor, as well as an LED-backlit widescreen display with 1366 x 768 maximum resolution.......

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Belkin Portable Tablet Stage is a Boon for iPad...

The Belkin Portable Tablet Stage is an ideal accessory for anyone who teaches or makes frequent presentations using their iPad. It folds flat for easy carry and has a nice little feature that lets you instantly include paper images during your presentation by using the iPad's camera.

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DealNN: Zoom video recorder, headphones, and more

Shop year-end deals at BHphotovideo.com this week, which features the Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder, complete with 1920 x 1080p maximum resolution, an integrated mid-side stereo microphone, support for both USB 2.0 and Mini HDMI outputs, as well as a variety of low-cut filters and light selection options. Priced at $79.99, customers now save $160 off its once $239.99 list price, and $15 if compared to the next best deal we have seen this model for. FREE shipping is also available, and sales tax applies for residents of New York.......

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Forums: battery swapping, problems with Notes and...

Today in the MacNN Forums Fresh-Faced Recruit "Ryan700" was asking if it was possible to move a battery from one 13-inch MBP to another 13-inch MBP after the battery in his wife's computer needed to be replaced. A frustrated "jeff k" has turned to the forums hoping someone will be able to help him figure out why it is that the Notes app on his new iPhone keeps deleting notes at the end of the day....

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VLC returning to iOS early next year, developer says

VLC -- a popular multi-platform video player -- should be returning to the App Store early next year, says the lead developer on the iOS project, Felix Paul Kuehne. The title disappeared from the App Store nearly four months ago, shortly after the release of iOS 8. At the time it was only said that the development team was "working with Apple on a solution" to bring the app back....

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Hands On: Ink Cards (iOS)

Taking a trip to the greeting card store can be pretty hit-or-miss, and home printing cards takes quite a bit of time and effort. What if there was an easier way to create customized cards without spending an arm and a leg, or hours of free time? That's where Ink Cards, by Sincerely Inc., comes to the rescue: simply open the app, select the desired template, upload a photo into it, and then order it....

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Macs vulnerable to firmware rewrites via Thunderbolt...

The firmware on some Macs can be rewritten via a Thunderbolt device loaded with a special option ROM, according to Trammel Hudson, a security researcher who spoke at the 31st convention of the Chaos Computer Club, held in Hamburg. The hack is dubbed "Thunderstrike," and reportedly can't be detected once it's installed. More importantly it can't be removed by reinstalling OS X or replacing a hard drive, since it impacts the boot ROM (which is independent) and replaces Apple's public RSA key, blocking future firmware updates unless the attacker's key is used. It can even copy itself to option RO......

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Stained Glass Logos: Taking Your High Tech Logo Old...

Photoshop and Illustrator may be the defacto standard for creating logos, but sometimes going hands on with real world materials can give our business identities a warmer and more personal feel-like the stained glass logo art Howard Perlman makes. Just give him your logo and he'll hand craft it into stained glass, ready to hang. Each piece is unique, and you can check out Howard's handiwork with the WordPress, Drupal, and Linux logos on his website.

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Xiaomi’s MacBook Air Lookalike Outdoes Samsung’s...

Xiaomi, like Samsung, has a reputation for copying the look of Apple products, and its first effort at making a laptop outdoes even Samsung's efforts. Aside from an orange logo, Xiaomi's laptop is a dead ringer for the MacBook Air.The Mac Observer Spin: Xiaomi is amazingly good at copying Apple designs, and their new laptop is no exception. Samsung could take notes from these guys.

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Hands On: DockPhone (OS X)

A stand-out, landmark, must-have feature of OS X Yosemite is how you can now make phone calls from your Mac. We knew it wouldn't be quite as easy as it sounds and we were fine with having to set it up, we were fine with having to have an iPhone for it to work. We've been less fine since, because it's proved too fiddly. DockPhone, an app that promises to simply the process somewhat, is not perfect either -- but it's so very good that it caused us to start using the feature more than we have since it launched....

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Briefly: Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack ships, Hue syncs...

The Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot has gone on sale in the United States. The XLTE-ready device is able to provide connectivity to Verizon's 4G LTE network for up to eight devices over Wi-Fi, with the 2.9-ounce unit also sporting a 0.9-inch OLED display to show signal strength, data usage, and remaining battery life. The Ellipsis Jetpack is priced at $150, or $1 on a two-year contract, and can be added to an existing More Everything plan for $20 per month....

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Apple ends '12 Days of Christmas' iTunes...

As has become obvious, Apple has decided to end its six-year tradition of giving iTunes-based "gifts" to its customers as part of a "12 Days of Christmas" campaign that had been running since 2008 in Europe, the UK, Canada and -- finally, in 2013 -- the United States. No reason has been given for the ending of the promotion, which offered free apps, e-books, movies, music and other offerings starting on Boxing Day (December 26) and continuing until January 6, celebrated by Orthodox Christians as Jesus' birthday....

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Hands On: GraphicConverter 9 (OS X)

Perhaps you're used to getting a BMP image from a Windows user, and having to convert it to JPEG to make it usable online. If you do that a lot, you immediately see the benefit of software like GraphicConverter 9, which is best known for its conversion abilities – though you can also use Photoshop if you're the sort that does this for a living. Both can do myriad conversions, and you can set them up to run in batches: drag a folder full of images onto Photoshop, and it chugs through converting the lot for you. GraphicConverter does this too, but as part of a rather dizzying number of options......

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Xiaomi laptop that shamelessly clones MacBook Air...

If you've ever wondered why top-rated startup Xiaomi -- now valued at more than $45 billion thanks to its ability to attack Samsung successfully in the former's home market of China -- hasn't yet entered any major first-world markets like the US, the answer is because the company has a distinct tendency to model its mid-range offerings as direct copies of popular Apple products, to a level that puts even Samsung's "shameless" copying to shame. Xiaomi's latest notebook, recently leaked to GizmoChina, is a direct lookalike of Apple's MacBook Air.......

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Apple took lion's share of worldwide holiday...

Mobile analytics firm Flurry posted new data on the holiday buying season on Monday, and summarized its findings on global mobile devices purchases for Christmas in a single sentence: "It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies -- he prefers Apples." On a worldwide scale, 51.3 percent of mobile activations between December 19 and Christmas Day were Apple devices, outstripping the combined might of all competitors and leaving each individual company -- even Samsung -- far behind....

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SyFy Expands Light Track Support to Philips Hue in...

SyFy has updated their Sync app to expand the feature that controls Philips Hue lighting and coordinates it with what's on TV, now including all episodes of a new series that starts airing in January.The Mac Observer Spin: This could be cool if it's subtle. However this is from the makers of Pirahnaconda so I'm reserving judgment until we actually get a good look at both the show and this effect.

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MGG 533: Schrödinger’s Boson

For this last show of the year Dave and John talk about Dave's iMac repair (it was the graphics card, but took a lot to get there, and Dave benefitted nicely!), then a tip for scanning WiFi networks on your standard (non-jailbroken) iPhone, how to create iTunes Extras, Aperture to Lightroom migration techniques and lots more. Download and enjoy today!

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Hands On: Quick Paint image creation (OS X)

It doesn't seem to matter just how many drawing apps come around -- because sometimes, you still just want to have a really basic one that looks familiar right away. What ends up being deemed "familiar" can take many forms, of course, but in this instance we refer to the glory days (okay, maybe that is a tad hyperbolic) of MS Paint, which first appeared in Windows 1.0 and remains something of a cult favorite for "pixel art" and basic usage. Today, we are taking a hands-on look at a contemporary OS X equivalent, available for $5 on the Mac App Store: Quick Paint....

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Apple reports progress in latest Environmental...

On Monday, Apple updated its previously-released 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report and its Environmental Initiatives website with new figures covering both fiscal 2013 and some revised figures from fiscal 2012. Due to a recalculation of energy use in 2012, the company now says it reduced carbon emissions for that year by three percent -- and that while energy use overall has increased 44 percent since fiscal 2011, the carbon footprint has been offset dramatically by the use of renewable resources....

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Apple's Campus 2 project to preserve historic...

Apple's upcoming Campus 2 complex will preserve a historic structure, the Glendenning Barn, says the San Jose Mercury News. The barn was built in 1916, and is one of the few remnants of Cupertino's past as an orchard. The News writes that while tearing down the abandoned HP campus previously on the site, Apple dismantled the barn and made detailed notes on its construction, promising to restore it elsewhere....

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The Next Generation Flying Car from Aeromobil

The future, in the 1950s, was supposed to be all about flying cars. But they didn't come to pass except for some rare, early prototypes. But thanks to Aeromobil's co-founder Åtefan Klein, advanced technology may yet bring the dream to fruition. According to the website, "Mr. Klein has devoted the last twenty years into making his dream come true. It is a dream that only few people believed in-a flying car. Currently he works on prototype of AeroMobil 3.0 after he successfully tested concepts and pre-prototype." Version 3.0, shown here with wings extended, seats two, has a top speed in the air of 124 mph (200 km/h), and has a range 435 miles (700 km). The car's (ground) specs are similar to that of a small, economy car. The site's photos are phenomenal, and the prototype is said to be close to commercial availability, subject to each country's certification....

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Chevron to roll out Apple Pay at gas pumps in early...

Chevron is planning to bring Apple Pay to its gas pumps starting early next year, according to Bloomberg. The company actually first laid out that goal when Apple Pay debuted on October 20th, but has stayed relatively quiet since. In the meantime the company has been deploying the technology elsewhere, such as in stores; some previously announced Apple Pay partners include Chevron's Texaco and Extra Mile brands....

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EU iTunes Stores, App Stores get 14-day Refund Policy

iTunes Store, App Store, and iBook Store customers in many EU countries can now request refunds for any reason up to 14 days after making a purchase. The change brings Apple into compliance with EU consumer rights regulations that allow for a 14 day right of cancellation or return.The Mac Observer Spin: Just because Apple is complying with the EU's 14-day refund policy doesn't mean there's a loophole that lets people buy apps, use them for two weeks, and get their money back. Sorry, cheapskates, Apple has your number.

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Hands On: Necklace of Skulls (iOS)

Gamebooks combine the enjoyment of reading a book with the interactivity of a text adventure. Similar to a choose-your-own adventure with quite a bit more control, gamebooks are becoming ever more popular. We checked out Necklace of Skulls, a Mayan action-adventure, by Cubus Games recently to see if it's earned it's place in the genre....

| Read more »
Apple Device Activation at Christmas Crushes...

Flurry Analytics tracked device activations worldwide from December 19 to 25th and found that Apple accounted for over half. The runner-up was Samsung with 18 percent. In addition, Flurry also found that, at Christmas 2014, iPhone 6 Plus activations were cannibalizing iPads.

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Fast & Furious: Legacy's Creati...
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N-Fusion and 505's Ember is Totally...
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These are All the Apple Watch Apps and G...
The Apple Watch is less than a month from hitting store shelves, and once you get your hands on it you're probably going to want some apps and games to install. Fear not! We've compiled a list of all the Apple Watch apps and games we've been able to find so far. Games Rules! By TheCodingMonkeys App Store Description: RULES! is a cute puzzle game... | Read more »
Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me to grow as a writer and for giving me the opportunity to write about what I love: playing innovative... | Read more »
Hands-On With Allstar Heroes - A Promisi...
Let’s get this out of the way quickly. Allstar Heroes looks a lot like a certain other recent action RPG release, but it turns out that while it’s not yet available here, Allstar Heroes has been around for much longer than that other title. Now that copyright row is out of the way, I can say that Allstar Heroes seems pretty fun. It’s not out here... | Read more »
Macho Man and Steve Austin Join the Rank...
WWE Immortals, by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and WWE, has gotten a superstar update. You'll now have access to Macho Man Randy Savage and Steve Austin. Both characters have two different versions: Macho Man Randy Savage Renegade or Macho King, and Stone Cold Steve Austin Icebound Watcher or Texas Rattlesnake. | Read more »
Fearless Fantasy is Fantastic for the iF...
I actually had my first look at Fearless Fantasy last year at E3, but it was on a PC so there wasn't much for me to talk about. But now that I've been able to play with a pre-release version of the iOS build, there's quite a bit for me to talk about. | Read more »
MLB Manager 2015 (Games)
MLB Manager 2015 5.0.14 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 5.0.14 (iTunes) Description: Guide your favorite MLB franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2015, officially licensed by MLB.com and based on the award-winning Out of the Park Baseball series, is the most fun and realistic baseball game ever created for... | Read more »
Breath of Light (Games)
Breath of Light 1.0.1421 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1421 (iTunes) Description: Hold a quiet moment.Breath of Light is a meditative and beautiful puzzle game with a hypnotic soundtrack by Winterpark.BEAUTIFULInspired by modern minimalism combined with a range of meditative art styles, from Zen... | Read more »
WWE WrestleMania Tags into the App Store
Are You ready to rumble? The official WWE WrestleMania app, by World Wrestling Entertainment, is now available. Now you can get all your WrestleMania info in one place before anyone else. The app offers details on superstar signings, interactive venue maps, event schedules, WrestleMania Superstore hours, stadium information, and more. You can also... | Read more »
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