General Stories April 22, 2016

Giveaway: SteelSeries Apex M800 Mechanical Keyboard

Last week, we reviewed the SteelSeries Apex M800 Mechanical Keyboard. The review was largely positive, citing the keyboard’s Mac-centric keycaps, individual LED lights and tactile key switches.

The SteelSeries Apex M800 is one of the more unique keyboards that we’ve tried, as each individual key can be customized with key bindings and LEDs. With SteelSeries’ Engine 3 software, customization is only a few clicks away.

We’re giving away this $170 keyboard to one of our fabulous readers. Check inside to learn how to win.

General Stories March 22, 2016

AT&T now officially supports Wi-Fi Calling for international travels

AT&T is currently sending out text messages letting eligible customers know that they may use Wi-Fi Calling when traveling abroad. Users on iOS 9.3 will be able to use Wi-Fi Calling when traveling abroad to place calls that won’t accrue airtime charges.

General Stories March 2, 2016

Kanye West gets caught pirating copy of $200 Logic Pro plug-in on his Mac

Kanye West must actually be $50 million in debt like he claimed, as today he’s getting called out for exposing his own illegal downloading activity in a tweet.

General Stories February 29, 2016

Image Credit: Christina Samuelson

Image Credit: Christina Samuelson

Last week, the Silicon Valley Forum held a Visionary Salon Dinner event with Tony Fadell. Kevin Surace, Appvance’s CEO, interviewed Fadell on his past accomplishments and journey through technology. An edited transcript of the conversation shows just how in-depth the conversation went. Fadell’s interview is a personal look at what drove the creator forward while building the iPod, the iPhone, and the Nest Thermostat.

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General Stories February 23, 2016

Mac Pro case clone Kickstarter is perfect for your next DIY gold Hackintosh project

We’ve seen DIY solutions in building a Mac Pro-style Hackintosh out of actual trash cans, but others who aren’t as inclined to follow a DIY route may be excited to hear about the Dune Case. Dune Case is currently running a Kickstarter campaign of its Mac Pro-inspired PC case. The case would allow anyone to get a Mac Pro look at a fraction of the cost at only $189. Boasting a design that helps support airflow, strikingly similar to the Mac Pro, the Dune Case comes in either a black or gold color options.

General Stories February 19, 2016

Donald Trump calls for boycott on Apple … while tweeting from iPhone

Update: In a conference call with reporters, Apple responded saying, Trump’s call for Apple boycott puts the company in standing with other good people he has criticized

Okay, this may be my favorite “via Twitter for iPhone” gaffe yet. It’s Friday afternoon so presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a boycott on all Apple products. His announcement follows this week’s FBI request that Apple help it unlock the San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone, which Tim Cook says would set a dangerous precedent.

General Stories February 18, 2016

Google releases open-source iOS UI testing framework, EarlGrey

On Wednesday, Google released their aptly named UI testing framework, EarlGrey. Having been using the framework in a few of their current iOS apps already for functional testing, it’s good to hear that the product has been validated before an initial public release.

General Stories February 17, 2016

Apple's New Big-Screen iPhones Draw Long Lines As Sales Start

New details on Apple’s ‘Reuse and Recycle’ trade-in program have surfaced in a new Bloomberg report. Tim Culpan details the break down and destruction process that each iPhone, Mac, and iPad receives at one of the many Apple recycling contractors’ plants. With over 50 agreed upon regulations and requirements, the contractors have a heavily imposed process to adhere to.

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General Stories February 15, 2016

58th Annual Grammy (Featured Image)

The 58th Annual Grammys are broadcasting tonight and thanks to CBS All Access, nearly anyone can watch it for free without a cable subscription or TV set. The show starts at 8PM ET, with a pre-telecast red carpet show at 7PM ET. Viewers can catch the show on CBS’s site, or by using the iOS or Apple TV app. Here’s how to do it for free:

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General Stories February 12, 2016

Eddy Cue Craig Federighi

John Gruber surprised podcast listeners today by getting Apple’s own Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi on The Talk Show to discuss a variety of topics behind Apple. Since Tim Cook took leadership at Apple, it hasn’t been unheard of for Apple execs to appear on Gruber’s show. The first occurrence was last June when Phil Schiller met John Gruber on stage during WWDC to discuss Apple’s recent announcements and decisions over the past few years. This marks the second time that Federighi has been on the The Talk Show, and Cue’s first.

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General Stories February 11, 2016

TestFlight updated with support for watchOS 2.2 and iOS 9.3

Apple’s TestFlight iOS app has received an updated today with support for watchOS 2.2 and iOS 9.3, as well as the standard “stability and performance improvements.” Upon first glance, users who were having trouble installing beta apps from TestFlight onto the latest watchOS 2.2 betas won’t see much more success with today’s TestFlight update.

Anova Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker for sous-vide cooking works with iPhone, on sale $139 (reg. $179)

Learning chefs that want to get a start on cooking sous-vide and get restaurant quality results, take a look at Amazon’s Gold Box deal today with the Anova Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker currently available at $139 (normally $179). Anova’s precision cooker clamps to the side of any deep pot or tank and continuously circulates the water inside to ensure that food is cooked evenly throughout. Connect the Anova to an iPhone via Bluetooth, and you can then wirelessly control and monitor food easily, even finding new recipes to use.

General Stories February 10, 2016

‘Tim Cook’ got as many votes in New Hampshire’s GOP primary as a former presidential candidate

Apple CEO Tim Cook already leads the most profitable company in history and holds meetings with powerful world leaders and heads of state, and now he can add to that list receiving several votes for President of the United States in yesterday’s New Hampshire primary.

General Stories February 9, 2016

Rendering of the new Brickell City Centre in Miami

Apple is set to open its largest Florida-based Apple Store yet in Greater Downtown Miami, according to a new report. Sources close to The Real Deal and South Florida Business Journal have confirmed that Apple has signed a lease with Miami’s new Brickell City Centre to open the new retail location.

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General Stories February 4, 2016

iTunes, App Store, and other services experiencing outage preventing purchasing [U: Resolved]

A list of App Store and iTunes services are currently down preventing users from processing downloads, making purchases or in some cases even streaming their music from iTunes in the Cloud. Apple’s system status currently (as of 10:52AM EST) lists App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, and the Volume Purchase Program as potentially being unavailable for some users.

General Stories January 19, 2016

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with Apple and Samsung logos as he poses with Samsung S3 and Samsung S4 smartphones in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS) - RTX12L6W

Apple has finally managed to secure a sales ban over some Samsung phone features that infringe on its patents and intellectual property. However, the victory is effectively meaningless despite the milestone in its continuing patent litigation suit with Samsung in ever-longer court battles.

Apple’s ban resides over three features encumbered by its patents: the controversial ‘slide to unlock’ patent, predictive text technology and autocorrect. Getting a ban is a huge symbolic achievement, but the effect it will have on day-to-day business of the two companies is minor. The ban is effectively useless as FOSS Patents explains …

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CBC News is reporting that Apple would not disclose Apple ID passwords to a widow after presenting her late husband’s death certificates and her will. Instead, Apple demanded Peggy Bush, 72, to attain a court order in order to gain access to the account. See the video after the jump for the full story.

Initially, Apple said that a death certificate would suffice but the company changed its mind on followup calls, making this situation even more frustrating for Bush. She just wanted to play her iPad freemium card game in peace. Law regarding digital assets after death is murky, although Bush points out that death certificates enabled her to transfer pensions and benefits, making it seem ridiculous that Apple would also not cooperate with the same information.

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General Stories January 15, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 00.24.04

In an email circulating to customers, Apple has announced that the ad-supported iTunes Radio stations available in the US and Australia are going away on January 29th. Beats 1 will be the ‘premiere free broadcast’ going forward. All other radio station features, i.e. the algorithmic stations like Charting Now or Pop Workout, will require an active Apple Music subscription.

The full email is included below …

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General Stories January 6, 2016

computestick2

One year after introducing the original Compute Stick, a version of which was featured in our guide to building a $150 iTunes media server, Intel today announced the 2nd-gen Compute Stick ($159-$499) with many noteworthy improvements. Still shaped like a pack of gum, the new Compute Stick fits a full-fledged PC into a small black enclosure, elongated modestly to accommodate a second USB port and new wireless hardware. This year, Intel is offering Atom, Core M3 and Core M5 versions, though even the $159 quad-core Atom version has enough power to serve as a full-fledged iTunes media server…

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General Stories January 4, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of Jeremy’s 5, my latest quick roundup of 5 interesting little things that aren’t big enough for full articles, but are still worth sharing with you.

My first edition of 2016 looks at two separate topics related to this week’s 2016 CES: first, Apple’s continued absence from the show, and second, the annual event’s seemingly declining interest to Apple fans. I also wanted to share some additional thoughts on Apple’s Remote Loop for the new Apple TV’s Siri Remote, the classic (but ever-evolving) iOS app Akinator the Genie, and the continued scourge of free-to-play games…

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General Stories December 30, 2015

apple-tv-siri-2

Every time we post an Apple TV-related opinion piece, the comments show that some people are still really upset that Apple left 4K Ultra HD support out of the fourth-generation model when new Roku and Amazon boxes included it. It seems like merely mentioning the new Apple TV is enough to start fights, which commenters have spread from article to article without resolution. So we wanted to give everyone with opinions (strong or otherwise) a place to share their thoughts on this subject — hopefully to spark an intelligent, well-reasoned discussion.

Does 4K support matter at this point, given how many/few 4K TV sets are in use today? It’s been suggested by some that it really should have been included in the new Apple TV, given that 4K video recording was a major new feature for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. But there are also a few reasons 4K support might have made the set top box impractical to release this year…

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General Stories December 28, 2015

slimpack-0

Ever since I upgraded from an 11″ MacBook Air to a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, I’ve been hunting for the perfect hybrid computer and camera bag — a compact backpack that could hold my laptop, DSLR, lenses, and accessories at the same time. Six months ago, I covered several MacBook/camera bags from Incase, including the DSLR Sling Pack I’ve loved for years, and larger “Pro” options for bigger laptops. Each hybrid bag makes different compromises: for my needs, the Sling Pack’s too small, and the Pro bags are too large. But users of 11″ MacBooks might find the Sling Pack “just right.”

Seeing potential in a new alternative, I jumped at the opportunity to test Booq’s upcoming Slimpack ($195), a MacBook-sized evolution of its earlier iPad/DSLR backpack $145 Python Slimpack. Booq makes excellent bags, but apart from offering a multipurpose camera/headphone compartment in Boa Flow, it hasn’t taken a deep dive into the camera-laptop hybrid category. While the new Slimpack’s laptop compartment is just a hint too small for the 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad Pro I’m currently using, it’s right-sized for 12″ or smaller MacBooks, as well as 10″ or smaller tablets, any of which can be paired with a full-sized DSLR, three or four lenses, and accessories. Bundled with a rain shield and Booq’s standard Terralinq loss recovery protection system, it’s a very nice bag, and one I would certainly use if I switch to a 12″ MacBook next year…

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General Stories December 11, 2015

Banksy uses Steve Jobs as an example of Syrian immigration at a refugee camp in France

With the Mediterranean refugee crisis as much a hot-button issue in Europe as it is in the U.S., famous graffiti artist Banksy has used Steve Jobs as a subtle reminder of the benefits immigrants can offer to a country. Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant.

The artwork appears at a refugee camp in Calais, where many Syrian refugees are among those hoping to enter Banksy’s home country, the UK. The image depicts him carrying a bag with one hand and a Macintosh (sadly with very inaccurate proportions) in the other.

Earlier in the crisis, more than 15,000 people retweeted a photo posted by tech entrepreneur David Galbraith with the caption ‘A Syrian migrants’ child.’

[tweet https://twitter.com/daveg/status/639167370091720704 align=’center’]

Back in September, Apple supported humanitarian aid efforts by making its own ‘substantial’ donation to relief agencies, inviting iTunes users to donate to the Red Cross, and by offering to match employee donations. Earlier this week, Tim Cook mentioned the refugee crisis in a speech to the RFK Center.

[tweet https://twitter.com/krishgm/status/675318860313178112 align=’center’]

General Stories December 10, 2015

michael-fassbender-as-steve-jobs

Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic ultimately may not have performed so hot in theaters with reports saying the film likely lost money, but Michael Fassbender who portrayed the title character in the movie is being recognized for his performance. Earlier today the Golden Globe Award nominees were announced with Kate Winslet, Michael Fassbender, and Aaron Sorkin among the list of nominees credited for their roles in the Steve Jobs movie.

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General Stories November 23, 2015

iphonegiftguide-1

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s iPhone Holiday Gift Guide. Bookmark it or send it to your favorite people, because either you or someone you care about is going to find the ideal iPhone holiday gift inside!

I’m genuinely excited to present this collection to you, because the iPhone is the one Apple product I take everywhere — and couldn’t give up. Since I’ve been using iPhones and their accessories since the first iPhone debuted in 2007, I have a lot of experience sorting the good and great stuff out from the junk.

My iPhone Holiday Gift Guide picks are all best-of-breed options, selected for their combination of reasonable pricing and excellent performance. Whether you’re looking for the perfect case, great headphones, a smart car mounting solution, a battery pack, or a way to improve your iPhone’s camera, you’ll find the smartest iPhone gift picks below…

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General Stories November 18, 2015

nomad2015

Nomad is ending 2015 with a bang. Having moved from small plastic accessories into using luxury materials including metal, leather, and wood, Nomad is flexing its design muscles with four new Apple device chargers that are equally attractive and creative. There’s a deluxe metal Apple Watch/iPhone travel charger called Pod Pro, the wood-encased iPad battery pack PowerPlant, a hybrid iPhone battery and car charger named Roadtrip, and a Lightning battery-equipped leather Wallet. Three of the accessories look as if they were expressly designed to be holiday gifts, while the fourth is less exotic, but practical.

The common thread here is “portable power.” Pod Pro steps up from Nomad’s Apple Watch-only Pod (reviewed here) by more than tripling the power to 6,000mAh, and adding iPhone charging. PowerPlant packs an iPad-ready 12,000mAh cell inside a solid American Walnut wood block. Roadtrip serves as a car charger in your car, doubling as a portable iPhone battery pack for on-the-go use. And Wallet guarantees you’ll have a 2,400mAh battery and Lightning cable anywhere you go. Below, I’ll quickly walk through all of these new accessories so you can get a sense of whether any or all of them is right for you, or your favorite gift recipient…

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General Stories November 16, 2015

curatewithme-1

Human curation matters. We trust recommendations from friends and experts more than suggestions by the best computers. That’s why millions of people come to 9to5Mac each month to discover our product recommendations!

Product reviews are great if you know the exact product you want to buy, but they rarely cover all the best products in one place. That’s why Curate With Me is here — to connect you with curated lists of great products recommended by friends and experts.

Curate With Me helps you canvas categories of products, apps, and dining experiences that other people are recommending, combining the power of Reddit-style upvotes with Pinterest-like visuals. Lots of experts, including the 9to5Mac team, are already creating Curate With Me guides. It’s a place where Apple fans, beauty mavens, foodies, gamers, home decorators and everyone with product knowledge can come together to spotlight the best of everything!

Want a shot at winning this year’s best Apple gift? Sign up for Curate With Me at this link and contribute ideas to our 2015 Ultimate Apple Holiday Gift Guide. After one week, the person who contributed the most upvoted item in the Guide will get to pick one or more items from the list (worth up to $200), courtesy of Curate With Me! So get curating right away to maximize your votes! More details are below…. (Update: Congrats, Aaron P!)

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General Stories November 12, 2015

photoshopimages

If you own an iPhone or Mac, you’re probably a photographer — either with your iPhone’s camera or a standalone camera you connect to your Mac. Just as iPhoto’s simple editing and storage tools helped Apple sell iMacs, photography has become a major marketing focus for iPhones, empowering people to capture increasingly beautiful images and videos with the one device they’re always carrying.

Over the past year, I’ve reviewed some of the very best hardware, software, and services available to Apple-loving photographers. And I’ve spent the last month adding new choices to the list. So just in time for the holidays, I’ve put together 9to5Mac’s Holiday Gift Guide with top photography picks, at price points ranging from $2.99 to $2,200. From basic accessories to smart photo backup solutions to amazing photo-to-wall art printing services, there’s something for everyone inside…

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General Stories November 11, 2015

Mophie introduces new power banks with a sleek aluminum design and Bluetooth monitoring

From 9to5Toys.com:

Just a few weeks after launching a new slim iPhone 6/s battery case and power bank, Mophie is back again today with five new external batteries. We’ve seen a lot of power banks in our day – and regularly have deals too – but the new Mophie powerstations use an aluminum shell that, from pictures alone, standout from the pack.

Available in five different capacities, each model provides a different feature set focused on a variety of needs. The smaller 1X provides a 2,000mAh battery with speeds up to 1.8A. Going up to the larger 2X and 3X models provides 4,000 and 6,000mAh capacities along with 2.4A charging speeds, the latter of which adds a second USB port to the mix.

Mophie has added a couple of standout features to the largest powerstations, the 5x and 8x, including Bluetooth monitoring via the free Power iOS and Android app. The smaller model packs 10,000mAh of power, while its bigger brother has 15,000mAh. Each model has dual-USB charging ports and LED indicators.

Most of the new power banks are available for purchase today via Verizon Wireless, and will be coming to Apple Store locations as well. Pricing is as follows:

 

ipadpro-1

Just as predicted by my colleague Mark Gurman, the iPad Pro became available to purchase today, making a rare simultaneous appearance in Apple’s online and physical stores without any preorder period. Consequently, it’s actually possible to walk into an Apple Store today to buy one — and if my experience today is any indication, there probably won’t even be much of a line.

If you’re still unsure as to whether you want an iPad Pro, I’ve put together this quick guide to some of the real-world things people will want to know about the new 12.9″ iPad before making a purchase — including some comparison photos and other hands-on details. Enjoy the details and galleries below…

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General Stories November 10, 2015

lp-mq-binge-on-desktop-1240x565

As was widely rumored, T-Mobile has today announced at their UnCarrier X event that customers can now stream unlimited video from certain services without impacting their data caps. The new program is called Binge On (not all too different than the company’s previously-launched Music Freedom in principle), and the list of compatible services includes many favorites like ESPN, Netflix, HBO Now, and more. The company also announced new Simple Choice plans… expand full story

General Stories November 9, 2015

powerportsolar-7

For whatever reason, accessory companies commonly send out review samples of solar-powered Apple accessories late in the year — rarely if ever in July, when the sun is at its peak pretty much everywhere in the United States. So even though I’m a fan of solar power, my ability to make the most of these accessories is naturally limited by the modest sunshine available for testing. The wisest solar-powered accessories I’ve tested hedge their bets by storing energy in batteries that can be used (and wall-recharged) even when the sun’s not out. Others become worthless when the sun goes away.

Anker’s 21W PowerPort Solar Charger ($55) and RAVPower’s 15W Solar Charger ($50) are portable solar panels connected to USB ports. They’re extremely similar to one another, each hiding two USB ports in a pocket to the right of three solar panels. Unlike Solartab (reviewed here), neither has a built-in battery, so you can only use them when the sun’s out — and optimally, directly overhead. One strikes me as a slightly better pick than the other, but unless you live in a frequently sunny climate and have hours to spare under the sun, or plan to travel somewhere with sunshine and no wall outlets, there are better-priced and more practical ways to keep your devices fueled up…

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General Stories November 5, 2015

Campaign uses Apple Store opening queue clip to encourage organ donor registrations [Video]

A Belgian campaign group used the queue for the recent opening of the Apple Store in Brussels to create a clever video encouraging people to register as organ donors.

People on the waiting list for organ transplants ask those in the queue how long they have been waiting at the store, say they know how it feels to wait and offer to take their place in return for signing up to join the organ donor register. Organ donors can save up to eight people’s lives after their own death.

Back in 2010, Steve Jobs – who himself had a liver transplant – helped a California bill pass to make joining the register there a simple tickbox on the driver’s license form. You can also record your preference in the Medical ID section of the Health app, introduced in iOS 8.

General Stories November 3, 2015

nomadwallet

With thousands of generic battery packs now on the market, it takes something special to make a new option stand out, and Nomad’s new Wallet for iPhone certainly succeeds. Shaped like a standard bifold wallet, the Wallet hides a 2,400mAh battery pack in its spine, as well as a 3″ Made for iPhone-certified Lightning cable.

Nomad notes that the goal was to produce a wallet that wasn’t any thicker than what “guys are already sitting on.” Made from Saffiano leather and measuring 4.7″ by 3.5″ by 0.75″ when closed, Wallet can hold six cards and a bunch of cash, in addition to providing at least a full recharge for pre-iPhone 6 models of the iPhone, and around 100% for the just-released iPhone 6s. Wallet for iPhone is available for preorder now for $79, and shipping on November 16; the price will go up to $99 for all orders placed after November 15. A gallery of images is below…

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General Stories November 1, 2015

Mophie debuts iPhone 6s Reserve batteries, TechLink offers iPad, iPhone 6 Plus Recharge

With the post-launch dust now settled for the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPad mini 4, two accessory makers have released four batteries designed to fuel Apple’s latest devices. While they carry significant price premiums over top-rated batteries we’ve covered, both vendors have received Apple’s seal of approval for device compatibility.

Mophie has officially released Juice Pack Reserve for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 ($60), officially guaranteeing compatibility with both versions of the 4.7″ iPhone. Juice Pack Reserve is a form-fitting battery case promising over 60% extra battery life with an 1,840mAh integrated cell. It features built-in button protectors and a very small “chin” for audio and charging. Power Reserve 1x ($35) is a device-agnostic, 2,600mAh battery shaped like a large pack of gum, reliant on a self-supplied Lightning cable to charge your iOS device. Each Reserve battery is available in 5 soft touch rubber colors, and comes with a micro-USB to USB cable for recharging.

U.K.-based TechLink has launched Recharge 5000 ($90) and Recharge 12000 ($120), Lightning cable-equipped batteries for the iPhone 6s Plus/6 Plus and iPad mini/iPad Air, respectively. While each battery works with other Apple devices, the partially aluminum Recharge 5000 is specifically pitched at iPhone 6/6s Plus users, as it’s bundled with a leatherette carrying case that holds both the slim 5000mAh battery and either 5.5″ iPhone, promising a 1.2X recharge. Made entirely from plastic, the dual-port Recharge 12000 has iPad-ready 2.4-Amp power and a really nice built-in stand that holds an iPad on a recline while it’s charging. Capable of delivering at least one full recharge to any recent iPad, the 12,000 mAh battery also includes a zippered carrying case. Each has a micro USB cable for recharging.

 

General Stories October 30, 2015

nexus-6p-bends

There’s nothing like a little controversy when a new smartphone is launched to get people debating online. Remember ‘#scratchgate’ when the iPhone 5’s slate blue anodized finished scratched off really easily? Or last year’s iPhone 6 Plus, which some said bent really easily? Put those two hashtag-gates together and you apparently have the latest flagship Android phone. The Nexus 6P is the newest pure Android phone from Google, and is about to come under some new scrutiny from prospective buyers thanks to a video from Jerry Rig Everything on YouTube

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Pill+ App

Apple can’t catch a break on Android. When Apple released its first app on Google’s platform last month called Move to iOS, Android fans were quick to negatively rate the app that only existed to help people switch from Android to iPhone. To date, Move to iOS has roughly 30,000 1 star reviews to only 10,000 5 star reviews with not much happening in the middle.

Now Apple has its second Android app on the Google Play Store called Beats Pill+. It’s a companion app to Apple’s new portable Bluetooth speaker with the same name, allowing both Android and iPhone users to pair two speakers as stereo or amplified and use a DJ feature for queueing up tracks from multiple phones.

And the reviews? Just as extreme despite Beats speakers working with both iPhone and Android and only recently being bought by Apple… expand full story

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After years of waiting, the Apple TV finally has its own App Store, and it’s already populated with a surprisingly large number of worthwhile apps and games. We’ve been testing them and looking to see what’s hot and not for day one Apple TV buyers, including some titles compatible with third-party Apple-authorized game controllers.

Here are 10 of our top early picks, plus some honorable mentions that you may want to grab anyway despite some early issues. There are even several games that support 3DTVs (which are now heavily discounted), a little-known feature of the new Apple TV…

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General Stories October 29, 2015

Apple refuses to sell Adele’s new album as a physical CD in Apple retail stores

Adele has been turned down by Apple as the company is refusing to sell her new album in its stores. Whilst that may sound surprising, it turns out Apple actually declined from stocking physical CD album copies of her album in Apple retail stores as per Adele’s representative’s request (according to The Daily Mail). Apple declining to stock physical media … shocking right?

For the company that revolutionized digital music and released a streaming music service with much fanfare earlier in the year, it’s quite hilarious that a top artist’s team even tried such a request. You can, of course, get the debut single ‘Hello’ from Apple’s digital stores including Apple Music … but getting the Apple Store to sell physical media, especially when practically none of its products include optical disk drives, is a step too far in the past.

General Stories October 28, 2015

9to5mac-app

Earlier in the year, we released a major redesign for all of the 9to5 sites and we continue to roll out improvements to this design. However, we’ve also been working on something else for 9to5Mac … today we are releasing the 9to5Mac app for iPhone and iPad. As a complement to the website, you can now read our latest stories directly from your Home screen.

Download the app from the App Store for free right now. The app runs on iPhone and iPad with custom layouts for the respective screen sizes. It’s the essence of our website, the news stories, reflowed into a format that’s optimized for iOS.

We love the website, but the app allows us to offer you many additional features to further the 9to5Mac experience for our readers. You can subscribe to breaking news notifications, jump into Dark Mode for late night reading and add our latest headlines to the Today view with the included widget. More details after the break …

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General Stories October 27, 2015

owcthunderbolt2dockcompare

Apple and Intel’s Thunderbolt 2 standard has given Mac users — particularly professional Mac users — a premium, high-speed connector option for situations where bandwidth and speed are necessary: hooking up big, fast hard drives, high-resolution monitors, or even external graphics cards. The latest iMacs, Mac Pros, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs all feature at least one Thunderbolt 2 port, a boon for expandability.

This year, Thunderbolt 2 docks have really taken off. Long-time Mac accessory makers have come up with a few different riffs on the same basic idea, leveraging a single cable to connect a bunch of Thunderbolt, USB, and audio/video accessories all at once to a Mac. This enables MacBook users to return home and make one connection to everything from an external monitor and speakers to external hard drives and card readers; it can also allow iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini users to connect devices built with connectors not found on their machines.

Here are the best Thunderbolt 2 dock options out there — and my suggestions as to which of them are best-suited to various usage scenarios…

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General Stories October 26, 2015

Home tracking firm Zillow demonstrates the Apple effect on housing prices in San Francisco & San Jose

It’s long been taken as read that high tech company salaries push up housing costs in the surrounding areas, but the WSJ commissioned home tracking company Zillow to provide some hard data. By tracking the increase in values of homes owned by Apple employees, it was able to prove that home values in those areas rose further and faster than in surrounding areas with similar demographics.

The piece notes that zoning laws and regulatory red tape also have a significant effect, by limiting the supply of housing at a time when demand is increasing, but the comparison does suggest that there is a direct link to tech companies like Apple.

Homes occupied by Apple workers are appreciating at 18% a year, compared with 11% for San Francisco as a whole and 12% for San Jose. Since iPhone sales launched in June 2007 [and stock values rose], the Zillow analysis found, the average difference between the median home value of Apple workers and San Jose workers has swelled to 20% from 13%.

The problem of lower-paid workers finding it hard to find housing within reasonable commuting distance of tech companies like Apple has been highlighted in the past. Apple took the decision back in March to hire the majority of its previously contracted security guards as staff, providing them with health insurance and retirement benefits. The company also arranged for its contracted shuttle bus workers to get an improved deal.

General Stories October 23, 2015

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls 1997 investment saving Apple “craziest thing we ever did”

In a Bloomberg interview this morning former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spent some time discussing competition with Amazon for talent in Seattle and then moved on to Apple and Tesla.

With regard to Apple, Ballmer first said that Apple has “done a good job” and took credit for saving Apple with an investment in 1997 when Steve Jobs returned – which was part of a patent lawsuit over Windows 95/stolen Quicktime code. Ballmer went on to describe the investment this way: “In a way you could say that was the craziest thing [Microsoft] ever did.”

Ballmer then moved to the current landscape where he said that Microsoft is the only company (in addition to Samsung) really competing with Apple with its SurfaceBook in a new category.

Ballmer currently is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team and now owns around 4% of Twitter stock. The relevant clip can be found here with Apple conversation starting halfway through.

 

PSA: Steve Jobs movie goes nationwide today, as cast discusses the man’s legacy [Video]

If you’ve been waiting impatiently for the Sorkin/Boyle movie Steve Jobs to reach a theater near you, your wait should be at an end as the phased rollout completes today, going nationwide.

Universal Pictures yesterday posted a video of a brief roundtable discussion of the cast and others discussing the legacy of the man. Jeff Daniels, who plays John Sculley, said that Jobs was a creative genius who could be spoken of in the same breath as Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.

A creative genius, a pioneer, one of the great figures of certainly American, maybe world, history.

You can watch the five-minute video below.

General Stories October 22, 2015

Majority of iPhone/iPad workers at Pegatron’s Shanghai factory exceed 60-hour work limit, claims China Labor Watch

China Labor Watch says that an undercover investigation at a Pegatron factory manufacturing iPhones and iPads found that 58% of workers there were working in excess of 60 hours a week – the limit laid down by Apple for its suppliers. It also said that overtime, which is supposed to be voluntary, is effectively mandatory, reports CNET.

The report claimed that the standard shift was nine hours, but that – between September and December last year – staff worked an additional minimum of 20 hours of overtime each week, usually split up between an extra two hours each week day and one 10-hour shift on Saturdays. […] This overtime was essentially a requirement, according to the investigator, who claimed to be told by a trainer that working eight-hour shifts five days a week “does not conform to our hiring requirements.”

The report says that many workers in any case said that significant overtime was necessary to meet their living expenses, with wages at the local minimum wage of around $1.85 per hour.

The report also alleges that Pegatron falsifies documents shown to Apple to give the appearance of complying with supplier audit requirements while failing to do so in reality.

Despite providing only about eight hours of pre-job safety training—where Chinese law requires 24 hours—Pegatron forces each new worker to sign a form that “certifies” that she has undergone 20 hours of safety training. A worker also must sign a trainer’s name on the form. The factory has workers quickly copy answers to the safety information quiz. These falsified forms are the types of documentation that are provided to Apple in their audits.

The report notes some improvements since 2013, with partial improvements in sick leave and the ending of claimed discriminatory hiring practices. CNET says that neither Apple nor Pegatron responded to requests for comments on the report.

It’s not the first time that China Labor Watch has criticized working conditions in factories run by Apple’s suppliers. A report last year on another Apple supplier detailed claims of 22 violations ranging from hiring practices to safety concerns.

A BBC documentary based on an undercover investigation at another Pegatron factory prompted Tim Cook to say he was “deeply offended” by the claims and the show’s failure to include facts and perspectives provided by Apple.

Apple publishes an annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report in which it details the issues it faces in its supply chain and the steps taken to address these.

Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

General Stories October 21, 2015

pixar-walle

Hinting at the sea change that will come to the television and movie industries after the launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV, Disney today announced DisneyLife, a £9.99 ($15.43) per month subscription video, music, and book service that will include Pixar’s entire catalog and classic films such as Snow White and The Jungle Book, report The Financial Times (sub. req.) and Variety. Beyond films, DisneyLife will feature thousands of Disney TV episodes, plus hundreds of books and albums, with new content being added as it’s released. The multilingual service will launch November in the United Kingdom, and is planned for a 2016 rollout across France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

While a U.S. launch has not been ruled out by the company, it’s not imminent, as existing contracts limit what can be offered in Disney’s largest market. As one example, Disney’s upcoming theatrical releases will hit Netflix under previously announced deals for the United States and Canada. According to the report, Marvel movies and Star Wars movies will not be a part of DisneyLife, but could be launched as separate subscription services…

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General Stories October 12, 2015

iOS 9 previewApple is raising prices for apps in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden within the next 3 days. In an email, Apple has notified developers that they are updating prices in the three countries in response to foreign exchange rate variations. Prices are being increased across the board. For example, today a $0.99 app in the Australian App Store is sold for 1.29 AUD. When the changes come into effect, customers will have to pay 1.49 AUD for the same app. This is an increase of about 15% in local currency.

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To help with the international refugee crisis happening right now, Apple and the band Imagine Dragons have collaborated on an exclusive charity single, called “I Was Me” ($1.29). All proceeds of the song sales go to the UN Refugee Agency to support relief efforts. In addition, SAP will be donating an additional 10 cents per download for the first 5 million iTunes downloads. The Imagine Dragons track is exclusive to iTunes and available worldwide.

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