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Jan 04
Ford’s SYNC connectivity system will add support for CarPlay

Ford is expanding its SYNC connectivity system, adding Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE and several new AppLink apps.

“SYNC allows customers to bring the smartphone technology they’re comfortable with into a vehicle and use it without hassle,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services. “With SYNC, we move at our customers’ pace – making it easy for them to maintain a connected lifestyle no matter their choice of smartphone, apps or services inside and outside their vehicle.”

With more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020, Ford’s industry-leading communications and entertainment technology is offering customers even more connectivity. Connectivity is one part of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

Starting this year, owners of SYNC 3-...

| Read more »
Jan 01
Happy New Year!

MacTech and MacNews will be closed today for New Year's Day. We wish all our readers a great 2016. We’ll be back up and running on Monday, Jan. 4.

| Read more »
Dec 30
Apple settles Italy tax fraud case

Apple's Italian subsidiary has agreed to pay €318m (about US$348m million) following an investigation into tax fraud allegations, Italy's tax office says. Italy's tax authorities say the company failed to pay €880m in tax between 2008 and 2013, according to “La Repubblica” — as noted by “BBC News (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35197547)

The settlement follows an investigation by prosecutors in Milan. Apple hasn’t commented on the settlement, but has previously denied any attempts to escape paying tax owed on profits made around the world.

The investigation, which dates to 2013, examined whether Apple had moved around $1.1 billion in revenues from its Italian operations through an Irish subsidiary to lower the taxes that the company was to to pay in Italy.

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Dec 30
Waves Audio shipping the Greg Wells PianoCentric plugin

Waves Audio is shipping the Waves Greg Wells PianoCentric plugin (http://tinyurl.com/gvz9cvg), part of the Waves Signature Series.  

Created in collaboration with multiple GRAMMY®-nominated producer, songwriter, musician and mixing engineer Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry, Mika, One Republic, Twenty One Pilots), it’s a an user friendly one-knob plugin that gives users direct access to the customized tools, signal flow and piano processing techniques perfected by Wells. Waves Greg Wells PianoCentric is a solution for shaping your piano or keyboard recordings, with options varying from full-range piano to lo-fi filtered sounds.  

A demo is available for download. PianoCentric normally costs US$149, but it’s on sale for $99 for a limited time.

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Dec 30
Apple accused of planned planned obsolescence regarding the...

A class action lawsuit (http://tinyurl.com/pss99mc) filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern Division of New York, claims Apple engages in planned obsolescence and knew of potential compatibility issues iPhone 4s owners upgraded to iOS 9.

“The update significantly slowed down their iPhones and interfered with the normal usage of the device, leaving Plaintiff with a difficult choice: use a slow and buggy device that disrupts everyday life or spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone,” the lawsuit reads. “Apple explicitly represented to the public that iOS 9 is compatible with and supports the iPhone 4S. And Apple failed to warn iPhone 4S owners that the update may or will significantly interfere with the device’s performance.”

Those filing the class action lawsuit want: the “maximum amount” of award or damages the law allows, an order enjoining Apple’s unlawful practices and corrected...

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Dec 30
Answers for Mac OS X is now a 64-bit app

Tim Parnell has announced Answers 1.1.6 (http://nswrs.com), an update to his FAQ and Help documentation tool for Mac OS X. It’s designed to help users write help documents.

Using a content-based approach you can make a help book or FAQ. You can create your text, then select a sleek theme to stylize your work. Version 1.1.6 is now a 64-bit app.

Answers 1.1.6 is available now. There’s a free version and a more fully featured, $29 pro version.

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Dec 29
SIGNUL Beacon System is now commercially available

The IoT Design Shop at Finger Food Studios has announced the commercial availability of the SIGNUL Beacon System. Geared specifically for personal use, SIGNUL enables a unique smartphone-as-presence system that enables you to automate your digital life.

SIGNUL beacon zones are established by placing a SIGNUL beacon at a physical point of interest. You can send text messages, launch apps, and control home automation systems simply by being present with your smartphone. Beacons are in stock and shipping now.

SIGNUL retails for US$50, and is available for order now on the IoT Design Shop Store (http://fingerfoodstudios.com). iOS and Android are supported, and beta access to the SIGNUL IFTTT channel is available.

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Dec 29
New version of DJ Mixer Express for Mac OS X released

DJMixerSoft has announced the next generation of DJ Mixer Express for Mac OS X. New features in the DJ software include advanced loop features.

You can create and recall loops and set up cue-points. DJ Mixer Express now offers automatic/manual mixing, a mixer with crossfading between two tracks, automatic beat detection, iTunes library integration, the ability to apply multiple audio effects, support for mixing video and karaoke, and more,

DJ Mixer Express Version 5.6.2 costs $29.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.10 or newer.  It may be downloaded as a free 30-day demo from the macdjmixer.com website. The demo version is full-featured and may be used for 30 days for evaluation purposes only.

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Dec 28
Flexihub for OS X allows UBS, serial port sharing

Eltima Software has released FlexiHub (http://www.flexihub.com), a file sharing solution for Mac OS X. It was specifically developed for sharing of USB and serial (COM) ports over network.

According to the folks at Eltima, iIt doesn't matter where shared ports with devices are; they can be across the road, in the same room, or across the globe. FlexiHub allows management of remote devices, connection and disconnection are held without user's physical presence at the USB or serial port.

Paid subscriptions allow sharing multiple devices among multiple nodes (computers) for unlimited periods of time. Users can use FlexiHub's own redirection server and automatic reconnection in case connection with a shared device is interrupted. Pricing starts at $6.59 a month.

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Dec 28
Corona Labs brings app, game development to tvOS

Perk.com, a cloud-based mobile rewards platform provider, has announced that Corona Labs, the leader in 2D mobile game and app development, has released a new version of the Corona SDK [software development kit] for their community of 300,000-plus developers.

Developers can now publish apps to iTunes Connect for tvOS, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV supported through the Corona SDK. Also included in this release is support for OS X allowing developers to build apps for Apple desktop computers. New features will continue to be added but the release marks a stable point in OS X platform support.

“We’re proud that Corona Labs developers will be able to publish apps to exciting new channels, including Apple TV, Android TV, and desktop computers, using the same fast, easy platform they are already using to build great games and apps for mobile,” says Roj Niyogi, President and founder of Perk and newly appointed CEO of Corona Labs. “These updates prove that Corona Labs’...

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Dec 24
Happy holidays from ‘MacTech/MacNews’

Today and tomorrow MacTech and MacNews will be closed for the holidays. We wish all our readers a great holiday season. We’ll be back up and running on Monday, Dec. 28.

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Dec 23
OWC announces the OWC Mercury Pro

Other World Computing has released the OWC Mercury Pro, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 optical drive for plug and play support of CD, DVD, M-DISC and/or Blu-ray disc reading and writing with Macs and PCs. It brings optical media back to your workflow with USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectivity for playback of optical media, data transfer and archiving with bandwidth to spare.

The OWC Mercury Pro sports an aluminum chassis and is s available in two configurations:

° 24x DVD burner, for rapid backup, sharing and creating, and playback of any DVD media up to 4.7GB capacity and full read, write and playback of CD media as well;

°16x Blu-ray disc burner, for recordings and large project storage up to 100GB. It allows you to play back retail and personally-created Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and CDs.

The folks at OWC say that, when backing up audio, video, archives or other data for the long term, M-DISC makes the perfect partner for the Mercury Pro. The M-DISC is an archival-quality storage...

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Dec 23
Just Mobile shipping AluCable USB-C cables

Just Mobile (www.just-mobile.com) is now shipping two AluCable USB-C cables: the US$19.95 USB-C 3.1 to UB adapter and the $29.95 USB-C to UBC-C cable.

"USB-C is a new hot industry standard equipped in the 12-inch MacBook launched this April, and we believe in the near future it will be accepted by all majority of PC manufacturers and become the standard to replace all existing USB connectors. In order to connect a USB-C device to existing USB-A peripherals, we created the AluCable USB-C 3.1 to USB adapter to connect to a myriad of possibilities." says Nils Gustafsson, co-founder of Just Mobile.

The Just Mobile AluCable USB-C to A is an USB adapter to  connect USB-C enabled devices – such as the new Apple MacBook to USB-A peripherals. Running the USB 3.1 standard, this 15cm-long adapter can transfer data at up to 5Gbps while charging devices with a powerful 3A current.  

The AluCable USB-C...

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Dec 22
PhotoFast launches iOS microSD Card Reader

PhotoFast (www.photofast.com) has announced global availability of the PhotoFast iOS Card Reader. Built with a Lightning connector, it offers the power to store, transfer, stream and back-up data from a microSD card so you can access your photos, videos and songs anytime, anywhere.

It can be plugged directly into an iOS iPhone or iPad, enabling people on-the-go to access, transfer and store up to 128GB of extra storage on their Apple device.
 
The iOS Card Reader is supported by PhotoFast’s i-FlashDrive ONE app, which includes a variety of online and offline capabilities. Users can store and back-up data from cloud-based services such as iCloud, Google Drive and DropBox, as well as social media accounts, Facebook and Instagram. The i-FlashDrive ONE app also offers enhanced security and file management features, including a USB accessory lock and app lock supported by Touch ID, says Warren Wang, CEO...

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Dec 22
DxO announces Photos extensions for OS X El Capitan

DxO (www.dxo.com) has released two new extensions for OS X El Capitan:, DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos and DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos - DxO ONE Camera Only. They provide DxO's image processing within the Photos app on OS X.

DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos adds access to “tens of thousands” of DxO Optics Modules that enable DxO's automatic optical corrections for distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration and lens softness for most popular cameras and lenses. It’s a paid download ($9.99) from the Mac App Store. When installed, it automatically appears as an extension that can be accessed via the editing tools in Photos. The DxO Optics Modules automatically identify the camera and lens used to capture each photo, then use this information to correct for a variety of optical flaws, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, and lens softness.

DxO ONE owners can download DxO OpticsPro for OS X Photos for...

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Dec 22
Apple products spur growth in Force Sensing display tech

Apple’s use of Force Touch technology in the Apple Watch and 3D Touch in the iPhone 6s line is leading to growth in force sensing and other touch-panel enhancements in mobile devices, according to IHS ().

Other brands and integrated-circuit (IC) makers are now responding by preparing their own force sensing solutions, mainly for high-end and mid-range smartphones due to the high cost. In 2016, force sensing module shipments are expected to grow 317 percent to reach 461 million units in 2016. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of new smartphones shipped will include the technology, according to the IHS (www.ihs.com) research group.

“Aside from force sensing solutions, touch controller IC makers are aggressively expanding production of in-cell and on-cell touch displays to further improve touch interfaces for smartphone users,” said Calvin Hsieh, director of touch and user interface research for IHS Technology. “In-cell...

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Dec 22
Spitfire Audio adds piano to Signature range from Hans Zimmer

Spitfire Audio (www.spitfireaudio.com) has announced the availability of HZP - HANS ZIMMER PIANO, its fourth collaboration with Academy Award-winning Hollywood film-scoring supremo Hans Zimmer.

It’s the “ultimate piano” to the Signature range of sample-based virtual instruments by trailblazing talent for Native Instruments’ KONTAKT platform. Until Dec. 26, HANS ZIMMER PIANO can be purchased and downloaded directly from Spitfire Audio for an introductory promotional price of $344. Afterward, the price will be $450.

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Dec 21
Waves Audio shipping the Element 2.0 Virtual Analog Synth

Waves Audio is shipping the Element 2.0 Virtual Analog Synth, an analog-style polyphonic instrument designed to deliver the sounds of classic analog synths with the precision, flexibility and control of a software instrument.  

The first synthesizer to take advantage of the next generation of Waves’ Virtual Voltage technology, Element 2.0 includes an array of features and functions, including five integrated effects, a 16-step sequencer, MIDI learn for all controls, and a massive, fully tweakable preset library.  Other features include: high resolution oscillators and analog envelope behavior; filters with zero-delay feedback; effects such as delay, reverb, distortion, chorus and two distinct crushers; the ability to choose between Element 1 and Element 2 modes at the click of a button; and a 16-step sequencer with Hold and Retrigger modes that can be used as a modulation source.

You can use Element 2.0 as a plugin or as a standalone application. Go to...

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Dec 21
Scripps Networks Interactive launches channels on the Apple TV

Scripps Networks Interactive has launched its HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel brands on the fourth get Apple TV.

This new distribution will provide Apple TV viewers with access to the vast library of premier home, food and travel content offered by Scripps Networks Interactive. Viewers who sign in and authenticate with their pay-TV provider credentials will be able to access their favorite lifestyle brands on demand. As an added benefit, by selecting Live TV, viewers can watch what is currently airing on the network, says Henry Ahn, president of Content Distribution and Marketing for Scripps Networks Interactive.

Earlier this year, Scripps Networks initiated live linear streaming feeds for HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, as well as its DIY Network and Cooking Channel, through their respective websites, iPhone, iPad, and Android phone and tablet apps, and all five networks’ apps are cast-enabled for Chromecast. In addition, HGTV, Food Network and Travel...

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Dec 21
Appocto Introduces PDF Shrinker for Mac OS X

Appocto has introduced PDF Shrinker for Mac OS X. It lets you shrink and compress PDF files, making them smaller and easier to email.
You can decide how much you want to compress files, and at which quality.

PDF Shrinker sells for $4.99 and is available worldwide from Appocto online (http://appocto.com). It requires Mac OS X 10.7 or later.

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Dec 21
MetroKit 2 for OS X gets a 'Track Mode' feature

Nikolas Konstantakopoulos from Granny's Audio has announced MetroKit 2, a flexible metronome.

Equipped with speed and rhythm trainers, fully customizable beats and accents, and a new "Track Mode” feature, it can create simple exercises or demanding progressive rhythmic practice exercises. MetroKit 2 supports custom beat divisions.

The app requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later. It costs $2.99 and is available worldwide through the Mac App Store (http://tinyurl.com/jey69kx) in the Music category.

| Read more »
Dec 21
Digital Heaven releases Pro Player 2 for video content creators

Digital Heaven has announced Pro Player 2.0, a new version of their professional QuickTime player built for Mac-based video content creators and motion graphics designers.

The free version of Pro Player provides a streamlined way to review or present video content. Pro Player can be extended with an in-app purchase of the Plus Pack to enable other features.

Pro Player 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.8. It’s available for download from the Mac App Store (http://tinyurl.com/jgppml5).

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Dec 18
Republic Bank announces Apple Pay support

Republic Bank is now offering clients the ability to use Apple Pay to conduct payment transactions with their Republic Bank consumer credit and debit cards. Users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by their Republic Bank MasterCard credit and debit cards, including Zero Liability Protection.

“We continually look for innovative approaches to make the lives of our clients easier,” said Michael Sadofsky, senior vice president of Marketing, Republic Bank. “We are excited to offer Apple Pay as an easy, secure payment solution that allows our clients to bank when, where and how they want.”

In participating stores, Apple Pay will work with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch. When paying for goods and services within apps, Apple Pay is compatible with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. For more information on Apple Pay, please visit republicbank.com/applepay or apple.com/apple-pay.

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Dec 18
Musicality for OS X adds support for more music services

Industrious One has introduced Musicality 3 for Mac. Musicality breaks your music out of the browser, with desktop conveniences like keyboard shortcuts and notifications, AirPlay streaming, and an iOS remote.

The app lets you take control of over a dozen popular music websites including Pandora Radio, Google Play Music, Spotify, and more. Version 3.0 sports built-in controls for nearly a dozen more music services.

Musicality costs $11 and requires Mac OS X 10.10 or newer, as well as an Internet connection. It may be downloaded as a free 10-day demo from the Musicality website (http://industriousone.com/). The demo is full-featured and unlocks in-place when purchased. Musicality Remote is available free at the Apple App Store. It requires iOS 8 or newer and a Wi-Fi connection to Musicality for Mac.

| Read more »
Dec 18
Apple and China UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China

Apple and China UnionPay have announced a partnership to bring Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment solution, to China. China UnionPay cardholders will be able to add their bank cards to Apple Pay on the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.

“China UnionPay is dedicated to promoting payment innovations and providing secure, convenient mobile payment experiences for its hundreds of millions of cardholders, aligning multiple parties in the industry,” said Chai Hongfeng, executive vice president of China UnionPay. “We’re very excited to offer Apple Pay among a diverse set of innovative payment options that work with China UnionPay QuickPass.”

“Apple Pay has revolutionized the way millions of people pay every day with their iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a...

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