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Holiday Gift Guide: Audio gear

6 minutes ago | Posted in: computers, peripherals, accessories, audio

Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we're attempting to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.

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Union, Rev. Jackson push for better terms for Apple security guards

1 hour ago | Posted in: industry, security, Apple

With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.

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Pre Black-Friday Deals: iPads, WQHD display, Parallels Bundle

1 hour ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps

While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is not yet on us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.

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iOS apps: PDFpen Scan+, Swype, Runtastic Pro

1 hour ago | Posted in iOS apps

  • 37.9MB

    PDFpen Scan+ 1.5 ($7)

    PDFpen Scan+ is an OCR tool that can be used to create searchable PDF documents directly on an iOS device. Version 1.5 introduces an improved camera layout and a new image stabilization feature. Along with these additions, support for iCloud Drive is also included and a number of minor bugs have been addressed.

  • 23.3MB

    Swype 1.1.1 ($1)

    Skype is an alternative iOS keyboard that learns how a user types in order to reduce the number of typing errors. Users can type by hitting keys one after the other, or simply starting at the first letter and sliding their finger to the corresponding letters. The v1.1.1 updates includes significant improvements to the language model in Hungarian, Finnish, and Turkish.

  • 47MB

    Runtastic Pro 5.4.6 ($5)

    Runtastic Pro can track cardio workout progress time to help users monitor their health goals. The software can track a number of different metrics, such as time, distances, speed, elevation, and calories, and includes audio feedback for every mile completed in a run. The latest release has been optimized for use on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and now includes direct integration with Apple’s Health app.

  • 46.1MB

    Over 2.6.15 ($1)

    Over allows users to add customized text to their images. The app comes preloaded with a number unique fonts, while even more can be added via In-App Purchases. A number of new Fonts & Art Packs have been added as In-App Purchases in this release. The packs include hundreds of illustrations, as well as four unique fonts, and can be purchased individually or as a big bundle. All of the proceeds from these new packs will go directly to REDs fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

  • 25.1MB

    Vine 3.1 (free)

    Vine can be used to create short looping videos. These videos can be shared directly on Vine, as well as through Twitter and Facebook. Within the latest update users can select their favorite accounts and receive a notification whenever a new video is posted. A number of performance enhancements are also included, along with other minor bug fixes.

 
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iPhone 5c production to halt in mid-2015, report says

1 hour ago | Posted in: iPhone

Two Apple suppliers, Foxconn and Wistron, will stop their production of the iPhone 5c by the middle of 2015, says Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times. The 5c was originally launched in 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s, and like its sibling, made available in several different models. It has since become the lowest-end iPhone however, and is currently relegated to an 8GB model free on contract, or $450 unlocked.

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Shareholder suit accuses GT Advanced of failing to disclose risks

3 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.

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Judge grants Apple post-judgement royalties from second Samsung trial

3 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.

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Review: iDrive cloud backup and sync service

4 hours ago | Posted in: security, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

There are a lot of cloud services out there, and nearly all of them can be used for backing up key files and folders. A few dedicated services are focused on backing up nearly everything the user has, and thus offer large quantities of space needed for the task, but are expensive and slow. Others, like Dropbox, offer far less space but allow instant access to files across a range of devices. IDrive appears to have hit on a good middle ground: offer lots of space at a very reasonable sum, while providing a lot of configuration options, full data encryption, instant sync, multi-platform support, and even alternate ways of getting the data uploaded in the first place. Is it right for you? Find out in our review.

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Hands On: Snoopy's All Star Football (iOS)

4 hours ago | Posted in: education, gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Cupcake Digital is a well known name in the ring of games for elementary age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. Cupcake Digital tackles two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?

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Hands On: Learn Guitar (iOS)

15 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

Learning to play an instrument takes a lot of things. For instance, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of effort, and frequently it also takes a lot of money. Usually, it's the money that stops someone from picking up the hobby. But what if it was possible to learn to play guitar for just a couple of dollars? If you've been putting off learning to play guitar, now is the time to dust off that old six-string, or head over to the consignment shop, and start strumming with Learn Guitar by Insider.com.

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Apple gadgets, accessories dominate Time's top 10 for 2014

16 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, gadgets, accessories, Apple, iPad

Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.

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Forums: MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air

20 hours ago | Posted in: computers, Apple

Today in the MacNN forums, Dedicated MacNNer "ClaraT" reported that their six-year-old MacBook is starting to have intermittent graphics issues where her screen will go black, and is now contemplating getting a new system, but is looking for advice on what to buy; a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Yesterday, Senior User "mkerr64" was considering upgrading the graphics card in his Mac Pro, and is wondering if the PSU has will be powerful enough.

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Apple deals: Mac Pros and Accessories

21 hours ago | Posted in: computers, Apple

At Apple's online store right now, save on refurbished Mac Pro models and accessories. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced by $450 down to $2,549. Save $600 on the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel six-core processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, now $3,399.

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DealNN: LG 34-inch monitor, storage and 3D printer

21 hours ago | Posted in: computers, peripherals, upgrades/storage

Save $490 on the LG 34-inch UltraWide LED backlight LCD monitor right now at Newegg.com. It carries a retail price of $1,299, but has been slashed to $899. Use coupon code EMCWWHE25 to drop the price further to $809, making this the lowest price we have seen on this monitor by about $90. The LG UltraWide monitor features a resolution of 3440 x 1440, aspect ratio of 21:9, sRGB 99 percent color reproduction and is compatible with both Mac and PC.

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Yahoo, Microsoft vying to become default search option in Safari

21 hours ago | Posted in: industry, software, Apple

Yahoo and Microsoft are courting Apple in hopes of becoming the default search provider for the Safari web browser, a report says. Apple renewed a mapping and search partnership with Google in 2010, but that contract is set to expire next year, which could give other companies an entry point. Both Yahoo and Microsoft executives are said to have approached Eddy Cue -- Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services -- about a potential deal. So far though there's no sign that Apple has made a decision, and indeed it could choose to remain with Google.

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BlackBerry Trade Up program offers Passport buyers cash for iPhones

23 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, mobile phones

Beginning on December 1st, BlackBerry will be offering up to $550 for people willing to trade in an iPhone towards the purchase of a Passport. Shoppers will be able to trade anything from an iPhone 4S through to an iPhone 6, and receive a $150 "top-up" in addition to the phone's actual estimated value. Hitting the $550 mark requires a mint-condition iPhone 6 valued at $400.

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Hands On: Logitech Keys-To-Go

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: accessories, iPad

When looking for an external keyboard to use with something like the iPad, you are generally limited to two streams of products: Bluetooth keyboards designed for desktop use, and keyboard cases. While wireless desktop keyboards offer a superior typing experience when compared to keyboard cases, they suffer from a design not intended for extensive portability. Meanwhile, keyboard cases are easy to tout around, but force users to add bulk directly to their so-called "portable" device. Enter Logitech's Keys-To-Go, a small Bluetooth keyboard that offers no means of attaching itself to a mobile device, yet has been designed to throw in a bag and carry around.

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Apple market cap breaks through $700 billion mark

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Apple's market capitalization has surpassed $700 billion in early Tuesday stock trading, setting an all-time record for the company. The company's previous peak -- ignoring gains earlier this month -- was $658 billion, achieved in September 2012. Shortly after, Apple stock prices dropped substantially and took some time to recover.

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New iPhone 6 ads push gaming, Continuity features

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Apple

Apple has premiered a pair of new iPhone 6 ads (below), continuing a series starring the voices of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. The first, "Gamers," depicts the pair playing the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) title Vainglory, used in some previous Apple marketing as well. The ad touts the speed of the A8 processor in the 6 and 6 Plus.

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Apps: PopChar X, Arq, Voila

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in apps

    4MB

    PopChar X 7.0 ($38)

    PopChar X allows users to add special characters without the need to remember a keystroke combination. Version 7.0 introduces a new “Shape Finder” that performs a character search based on a shape that the user draws. This can also be used with the new “Find Similar Shape” context command, which allows a user to start with a character in the table, optionally add a few extra strokes, and quickly find characters that look similar.

    20.5MB

    Arq 4.7.4 ($40)

    Arq is a backup utility that will make incremental backups to an online storage account. The software keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for everything older than a month. In v4.7.4 the ISO 8601 date has been set using US locale in order to avoid the error “AWS authentication requires a valid Date or x-amz-date header". In addition, a memory leak that could occur when backing up to Google Drive has also been resolved.

    24.7MB

    Voila 3.8.1 ($30)

    Voila is a screen capture utility that includes more advanced options than offered by default in Mac OS X. With this utility users can designate the area they wish to capture using circular, polygon, or freehand tools. The latest release offers improved support for OS X Yosemite.

    13.1MB

    Clear 1.1.5 ($10)

    Clear is a simple organization app that can help users create and manage todo lists. iCloud sync is built right into the software so that lists are available on all connected devices, and reminders ensure users will not forget important tasks. The v1.1.5 update adds support for the new (RED) theme, however, the developers note that the theme must be purchased on an iOS device before it will become available within the app.

    3MB

    ForeverSave 2.1.3 ($20)

    Forever save automatically saves all documents a users is working on, while simultaneously creating backup versions in the background. Within the software users can set a custom time interval for backing up data, as well as choose which applications to backup. A bug where the menu bar icon would stay highlighted on OS X Yosemite has been fixed with this update.

 

Briefly: Moleskine iPhone 6 case, Landscape 1.2

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, software, accessories

Moleskine has announced the release of an iPhone 6 case, featuring style attributes of its simple notebook. The black case features a book style cover, held closed by a Moleskine elastic band, and its inside front pocket can store an extra small Moleskine Volant journal, as well as business cards, credit cards and more. Its interior includes padded suede lining, and inner rubberized shell keeps the iPhone 6 protects while still allowing access to all ports, buttons, speakers and cameras. Priced at $37, the Moleskine iPhone case is available online.

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Hands On: Improvox (iOS)

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Until recently, the average person could not get their hands on pitch correction software. The software had a tendency to cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars and required an engineering degree to use. However, there has been a surge of software available to everyone in the last few years. Among these is ImproVox is available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch and ImproVox by developer MuseAmi, a clever app that puts a simple recording studio in your hands.

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Universal officially takes over Jobs biopic, Fassbender to star

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

As a follow-up to a story we reported on last week, Universal Studios has officially bought the rights to the Steve Jobs biopic already in pre-production from Sony, which had placed the project in "turnaround" on Thursday. Universal is said to have paid Sony $30 million to transfer the picture to the latter's control, retaining director Danny Boyle and reportedly confirming actor Michael Fassbender to play the lead role. There is still no firm announcement on when shooting will commence.

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Apple responds, points out flaws in AAA study of 'distracting' Siri

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: industry, audio, Apple

Apple has issued a statement criticizing a study conducted by the University of Utah for the American Automobile Association in October that rated Apple's Siri (and other naturalistic voice-command virtual assistants by proxy) as "the most" distracting in-car task compared to just driving, adjusting the car's radio or temperature, or using built-in car navigation or infotainment systems. In its response, Apple points out some serious flaws in the study, including the fact that it deliberately avoided using the driving-specific Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay options.

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City of Cupertino, Apple share new photo of Campus 2 progress

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: Apple

A new photo of the construction site of Apple Campus 2 has been posted to the City of Cupertino's official website for the project. Multiple structures can now be seen taking shape -- mostly support buildings, while infrastructure and progress on the "moat"-like tunnel system around or under the main building continues. There has been no update to the overall schedule for the project of late, suggesting that things are moving along on the revised schedule that will see the main building ready for use sometime late in 2016.

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Hands On: Acky's Breakout Reloaded (Mac, iOS, Android)

Mon November 24, 2014 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Vintage gamers and arcade cabinet enthusiasts are likely to remember Arkanoid, which was a riff on a game called Breakout. The aim of the game was to clear a board of all of its bricks by using a paddle to bounce a small ball against them. At first, the game primarily showed up on arcade cabinets. The various remakes have shown up for just about every platform since. One such game is Acky's Breakout Reloaded by Isotope 244.

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T-Mobile, FCC reach agreement to help inform data-throttled customers

Mon November 24, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

US carrier T-Mobile and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced an agreement today that changes the way T-Mobile handles customers that go over their data caps in any given month. The FCC says T-Mobile will take steps to ensure customers are better informed about the reduced speeds, including providing accurate speed tests.

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Chase debuts new TV ad promoting Apple Pay partnership

Mon November 24, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Apple, iPad

Megabank Chase has aired a new TV commercial featuring the band Bleachers using a Chase Freedom credit account to purchase a variety of items and services ahead of a rooftop gig in Los Angeles -- with the difference being that the band members used their iPhones and Apple Pay instead of their credit cards. A representative from Chase told AdAge that representatives from Apple were involved in the creation of the ad, but asked mainly that the Apple Pay be shown in realistic situations.

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