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Briefly: Otterbox's Alpha Glass protectors, Booq's Cobra Brief

3 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, accessories

Rugged accessories producer Otterbox has announced its introduction of a new screen protection product for iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Alpha Glass consists of fortified glass that features reactive touch and anti-shatter properties. Suitable for standalone use as a screen protector, Alpha Glass is installed by lightly coating the protector with its accompanied alcohol wipe, clean with the microfiber cloth and align it against the screen. Gentle pressure secures the protector, pushing out air that can create bubbles. Alpha Glass is removable with no leftover residue. Priced at $30, the new screen protectors can be purchased online through Otterbox.

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Sprint takes a jab at carriers with $60 single-line unlimited plan

3 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

With the exit of Dan Hesse and the appointment of CEO Marcelo Claure earlier in the month, Sprint is kicking into a new gear with a bunch of new offerings. Following on a new family plan structure, including a $100 plan with up to 10 lines and 40 GB of date, Sprint announced a new single line plan that offers unlimited text, talk and data for only $60 per month. The new plan follows on previous reports that a similar plan was in the works for $50 a month.

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Apple removes anonymous Secret app from Brazilian App Store

5 hours ago | Posted in: industry, software, iPhone apps, mobile phones, Apple, iPad apps

Following a ruling by a Brazilian judge that anonymous social apps such as Secret violate the Brazilian constitution, Apple has removed the program from the App Store in that country, citing that its own guidelines require that apps comply with local laws in the country they're sold in. In addition to Apple, the judge ordered Google and Microsoft to also remove the app or similar apps. There has not, however, been any reports of Apple or the other companies remotely deleting the app from users' devices.

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Apple CEO Cook visits iPad-using VA hospital in Palo Alto

7 hours ago | Posted in: Apple, iPad

One day after US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald called the Palo Alto Veterans Administration hospital one of the "crown jewels" of the VA healthcare system," the facility received a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who tweeted that he was "honored" to meet doctors alongside California legislator Anna Eshoo, noting that the facility is "now using iPads to help treat vets and families." The message was accompanied by a photo of Cook with an iPad-using staffer.

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Briefly: Google Play Music iOS update, N3twork personal TV network

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

Google Play Music has updated its app for iOS devices, featuring improved library management and additional functionality. Google Play Music is a music streaming subscription service, featuring access to millions of songs and custom radio stations. The latest version (1.3.2.2559) allows users to remove content from their library. The "Thumbs Up" playlist can now be sorted in reverse chronological order, and overall library management has been improved to include fewer duplicates and better playback to avoid skipping audio. Additional accessibility features are also included. The app is free to download, with music subscription priced at $10 monthly.

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Apple issues minor updates to OS X iMovie, iWork suite

9 hours ago | Posted in: software, Apple

On Thursday, Apple issued minor updates to its OS X versions of iMovie, Pages, Keynote and Numbers. The most significant of the updates appears to be for iMovie, updated to version 10.0.5 that offers iCloud compatibility improvements for iMovie Theater, though there is still no fix for the program under the Yosemite Public Beta. Also updated were Keynote (to v6.2.2), Pages (to 5.2.2), and Numbers (to version 3.2.2).

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Twitter details how it fights off spam with BotMaker anti-spam tool

9 hours ago | Posted in: software, developer

Twitter offered details on how it battles with spam on the service, showing off a specialized tool that the company made in the process. BotMaker was built by the team, which has so far been responsible for a reduction of 40-percent "in key spam metrics" since its launch. The company went into spill some of the specifics of its creation, something it needed to make since it offers real-time interactions and an exposed developer API.

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Apple in talks with insurance companies about HealthKit

11 hours ago | Posted in: industry, Apple

Apple is talking with at least two insurance companies about its HealthKit platform in iOS 8, according to Bloomberg. These include Humana, and UnitedHealth, the US' biggest such firm. It's not clear, though, what the parties might have in mind.

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Numerous Apple online services hit with outages

12 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, networking, Apple

Many Apple online services were caught in a severe outage on Thursday, according to the company's official system status page. This included every iCloud service, such as Photos, device backups, Keychain, Mail, Documents in the Cloud, and web apps. Also impacted were Back to My Mac, Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, and iMovie Theater.

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UPS Stores hit by 'malware intrusion,' customer data possibly exposed

12 hours ago | Posted in: security

The UPS Store, Inc. reported that a number of its stores have been the target of a "broad-based malware intrusion," adding that customer data could have been accessed. The United Parcel Service (UPS) subsidiary became aware of the breach on July 31, the same day that the Department of Homeland Security sent out notices regarding a malware called "Backoff" according to the New York Times.

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Apple searches for engineers to work on VoLTE tech for iPhone

12 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, networking, Apple

Apple has posted two job listings asking for people with experience in voice-over-LTE technology, better known as VoLTE. The first asks for a "cellular systems protocol engineer," while the second asks for a "wireless communication software engineer" familiar with "SIP, RTP, and VoIP related protocols." Although it's dependent on carrier support, VoLTE can allow for much better call quality than regular or even 3G voice channels.

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Apple releases second public OS X Yosemite beta, new iTunes 12 test

13 hours ago | Posted in: software, Apple

Participants in the OS X Beta Program can now download a second public beta of OS X Yosemite via the Mac App Store. Changes are unlisted, but since it's following just a few days after the release of Developer Preview 6, it presumably incorporates that code's fixes and feature additions. Apple is believed to be building towards a final launch of Yosemite in October, which could mean one or two more public betas in the interim.

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Law firm mulls possible suit over problems with 2011 MacBook Pro

15 hours ago | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting

A DC-based legal firm, Whitfield Bryson & Mason, is considering a possible class-action lawsuit over graphics problems with the 2011 MacBook Pro. In a post to a Facebook group organized around the issue, the firm says it has "commenced an investigation leading us to your community." The firm adds that while other posts are providing information, it wants people to fill out a survey to "determine if any legal claims may exist." The company's track record includes suits against companies like Google and Lenovo.

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T-Mobile taunts Sprint, offers year of free LTE data to new customers

15 hours ago | Posted in: industry

T-Mobile is ramping up its fight against Sprint, by attempting to coax subscribers to switch carrier. From August 29th, whenever a T-Mobile customer convinces another person to sign up to the carrier, both accounts will receive unlimited LTE data free for an entire year, or in the case of existing T-Mobile Simple Choice customers already having unlimited LTE, a $10 monthly credit for one year instead.

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Apps: Web Snapper, Videobox, Tidy Up

16 hours ago | Posted in apps

    15.7MB

    Web Snapper 3.3.5 ($15)

    Web Snapper allows users to capture screenshots of entire webpages. Web links can be added to the software through drag and drop functionality, or through a toolbar button in Safari. Pages can then be saved as an image, a vector-based file, or a multi-page PDF. Version 3.3.5 fixes a perpetual issue users faced in the Preferences pane, as well as a problem with some dynamic web pages. The update also includes a new licensing mechanism that should be both easier to use and more reliable.

    50.7MB

    Videobox 4.1.1 ($15)

    Videobox is a tool for downloading flash video content from most video sharing sites. The software can also convert video into a native Quicktime format for viewing on a Mac or iOS device. In the latest release some fast downloaders will now automatically update when the app is launched. The series search has also been updated and a conversion bug that occurred when using 2-pass conversion has been fixed.

    63.7MB

    Tidy Up 3.0.15 ($30)

    Tidy Up enables users to search for duplicate files and packages while utilizing various filters. A bug that caused the app to crash has been fixed in this update, along with several other minor issues.

    12MB

    Yate 2.7.7 ($20)

    Yate can be used to tag and organize digital audio files. Version 2.7.7 will now process MP4 files. Each file will be treated as an M4A file, which is essentially what they are if they pass the open criteria. Some regressions in FLAC and Tag Set preferences UI that were introduced in v2.6 have also been resolved with this update.

    20.4MB

    Arq 4.5.4 ($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. An “absurd string length” error that was caused by an index file with incorrect offsets has been fixed in this release. Users must simply recreate the index file from the pack data, and replace the bogus index file.

 
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Schematics suggest iPhone 6 may come in 16, 64, and 128GB models

16 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone

Another new schematics leak from Chinese repair firm GeekBar suggests that the iPhone 6 may come in 16, 64, and 128GB capacities. Modules from suppliers Toshiba and Hynix are listed, notably excluding 32GB. If the schematics are indeed representative of planned iPhone models, it may hint that Apple is doing a significant shakeup of its usual 16/32/64GB tiers.

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Quicken 2015 for Mac brings new features, strips others

18 hours ago | Posted in: software

Intuit has officially released Quicken 2015 for Mac, a long-awaited update of its personal finance software. Some improvements include a new UI design, matched to OS X Yosemite, and support for syncing data with a companion iOS app, which can also be used to snap photos of receipts to record purchases. New investment tools update quotes continuously, and track factors like cost basis and capital gains.

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Previous News

Apple TV 'unavailable for pickup' at many US Apple Stores

18 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, Apple

The Apple TV is showing as "unavailable for pickup" at many Apple Stores across the US, including the most high-profile ones in California, Texas, and New York. The absent stocks are reportedly being blamed on the ongoing $25 iTunes card bundle. Sales may also be influenced by a recent Lollapalooza livestream, and Apple's planned coverage of iTunes Festival London.

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Briefly: Walmart iPhone sale, new Tesla car-starting app

Thu August 21, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

Giant retailer Walmart has lowered the cost of the 16GB iPhone 5c to a mere 97 cents as part of what appears to be an early move to clear stock ahead of the arrival of the iPhone 6, or to bring in back-to-school shoppers. The chain has also lowered the price on the 16GB iPhone 5s to $79, cut from $99 previously. Both offers require signing a new two-year contract with either AT&T, Verizon or Sprint (T-Mobile is not included in this promotion).

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Judge Koh blocks Apple attempt to recover attorney fees from Samsung

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple, iPad

On Wednesday, US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled on two motions in the ongoing leftover matters related to the first Apple vs. Samsung patent trial from 2012. The first ruling denied Apple the opportunity to recover attorney's fees from Samsung related to its guilty verdict on trade dress claims, and the second returned a $2.6 million Apple bond the company had put up to enforce a sales injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was found to have copied Apple's iPad technology. No action was ever taken on the ban due to the appeals process, and both companies have since agreed to drop the injunction.

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Alleged iPhone 5.5-inch chassis backplate leaked in photos

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Apple

New photos allegedly from "deep within Apple's supply chain" have revealed what could be the backplate for the little-leaked 5.5-inch version of the "iPhone 6." The photos show the chassis of the larger "phablet" device next to the same part from the 4.7-inch version, suggesting that the models will be similar apart from sizing. It should be noted that these images could well be from Chinese knock-off devices based on rumored specs, such as the Android-based Goophone.

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Apple updates Safari 7.1/6.2 beta, OS X Mavericks Server beta

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: software, developer, Apple

On Wednesday, Apple released two betas for its Safari web browser, as well as a new beta for OS X Server. The Safari betas, 7.1 for Mavericks and 6.2 for Lion and later, add new features to WebKit, the rendering engine at the heart of the browser. In addition, Apple has asked testers to focus on general website compatibility in light of changes in some defaults, and tie-ins to forthcoming features in OS X and iOS. The new OS X Server beta requires the latest Mavericks (10.9.4).

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Twitter makes random tweets, favorites on timelines official feature

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: software

Twitter users may have seen a number of items showing up in their feeds from users they don't follow for the last few weeks. In what was thought to be one of the company's experiments, tweets from users that aren't followed and random favorites from others were showing up in timelines. It appears that the feature is no longer in testing, as Twitter has added the new feature to its help page about timelines.

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Briefly: FEMA's Spanish-language app, PopChar X 6.6 supports Unicode

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched a free Spanish-language app that provides disaster-related information for families and communities. Key features of the app include preparation-related safety tips for events such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters, and an emergency meeting location tool that allows users to plan primary, secondary and out of state meeting locations. Users can locate a disaster recovery center after a Major Disaster Declaration with Individual Assistance has been issued. The feature provides information about how to offer volunteer services as well as donations. The app is available to download through iTunes.

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Heartbleed suspected to be point of entry for CMS records breach

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: security

Security firm TrustedSec says that it learned how hackers were able to obtain records from Community Health Systems (CHS). According to a statement released by the firm yesterday, the initial attack occurred through an OpenSSL vulnerability. An anonymous source tied to the investigation told the company that Heartbleed, a vulnerability that has made headlines in recent history, is to blame for the breach.

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Latest OS X Yosemite beta enables screensharing via Messages

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: software

The sixth OS X Yosemite beta enables promised screensharing via Messages, a report notes. The feature requires simply that a person have an iMessage or Apple ID account. Some options include turning audio conversation on and off, pausing sharing, and blocking requests from a particular user.

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Symantec condenses security line-up into one suite, Norton Security

Wed August 20, 2014 | Posted in: security, software

Symantec announced earlier this week that it would be issuing a sweeping change to its line of antivirus software to offer consumers a single solution. Starting September 23, the company will begin offering Norton Security for around $80 per year. The change effectively ends releases of Norton Antivirus, the company's main product line that has seen annual releases since the early 90s.

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