If there was one word to summarize what's at the top of US Christmas gift lists when it comes to electronics, the word is "Apple." Retail analyst firm Parks Associates revealed that in its latest survey, the iPhone maker -- long the most popular brand for tablets, smartphones, MP3 players and TV set-top boxes -- is now also the hottest brand in desktop computers. The top spot for desktops was previously held by Dell for the last two years, with Apple coming in second until the 2013 survey.
Top Stories | AAPL Stock: 565 ( -1.32 )
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
7 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps
Google has updated its Google Wallet application for iOS, allowing users to add credit or debit cards simply by taking a picture of it using the built-in camera on a user's iPhone. The update also adds instant sign-in if users are already logged into any other Google service or site that supports single sign-on, and users can utilize the physical Google Wallet card at most MasterCard locations as well as withdraw cash from any ATM. The app also stores various loyalty and reward cards and can be disabled online if the users' phone is stolen.
8 hours ago | Posted in: security
A recently-discovered botnet has been accused of pilfering over two million logins to popular web services, including Facebook, Gmail, some payroll services, and an assortment of Russian social networking services, according to Trustwave SpiderLabs. The botnet, driven by the "pony" controller software, is infecting PC users in 102 countries.
9 hours ago | Posted in: Apple
A new Apple Store planned for the Union Square area of San Francisco has been in the planning stages for some time, but a new revision to the company's plans that specifically addresses some prior concerns may finally win approval. The iPhone maker submitted new renderings and a new 3D architectural model redesigning a planned plaza with a new water feature, preserving but moving (slightly) an existing fountain, and breaking up an originally monolithic steel wall along Stockton Street.
10 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, mobile phones
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Verizon's $130 million buyout of Vodaphone's share of Verizon Wireless. The ruling paves the way for Verizon's complete ownership of the wireless business when all aspects of the transaction are concluded in the first half of 2014.
12 hours ago | Posted in: industry
The newest version of Samsung's Galaxy S line of flagship devices may well have appeared in online benchmark tests. Fone Arena on Wednesday pointed to new results from GFXBench, showing an as-yet-unannounced Samsung device with the model number SM-G900S. If the device shown off were to prove to be Samsung's next flagship handset, it would signal a huge push on the part of the manufacturer to differentiate its gadgets, as the handset in the benchmarks appears to sport a 2K resolution screen.
13 hours ago | Posted in: industry, software, digital imaging, upgrades/storage, Graphics/Web Design
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
(Updated with Twitter comment on buyback cap) Investor Carl Icahn filed a shareholder proposal for an Apple stock buyback on November 26th, a new TIME interview reveals. Icahn has been trying to pressure Apple into expanding its current buyback from $60 billion to $150 billion, and having it take effect immediately, rather than run through 2015. In response to the interview, Apple has issued a statement. "As part of our regular review process, we are once again actively seeking our shareholders' input on our program, and as we said in October, the management team and our board are engaged in an ongoing discussion about it which is thoughtful and deliberate," a spokesperson says.
13 hours ago | Posted in: industry
Beats Music, the streaming music site spun out from the maker of the popular premium headphones, will make its debut in January of next year, it was revealed on Wednesday. The site for the service has gone live, and users can now register a user name for when it goes live next year. The particulars of Beats' new music offering are as yet unknown, but the company will likely reveal them in the weeks leading up to its unveiling.
14 hours ago | Posted in: computers
A German retailer, Conrad Electronic, has begun taking pre-orders for the 2013 Mac Pro with an alleged December 16 release date. Quad- and six-core models are listed, priced at €2,999 and €3,999. The date is the first specific target from a retailer, although Apple has yet to announce a window beyond "December."
15 hours ago | Posted in: software
Mac-only software directory MacUpdate has released its latest app bundle for the winter holiday season. Containing 10 apps (with an addition two bonus apps for early buyers), the bundle is worth nearly $400 and sells for $39, a 90 percent savings. The Winter Bundle consists of primarily of productivity and office utility apps.
15 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, software, Apple
Apple is now seeding the latest build of OS X 10.9.1 -- 13B40 -- to AppleCare workers, a report says. The code reached developers Tuesday night, but its distribution to AppleCare is believed to be more significant, since it implies that the software is close enough to completion that AppleCare workers can start familiarizing themselves. A finished update might therefore reach the public within the next week or two.
16 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, iPad
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
16 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps
British broadcaster Sky has made a number of updates to its online services. The Sky+ app for iOS and Android has received some usability updates, Sky Go for Android now has a version specifically made for tablets, and its Sky Store streaming rentals service has been opened up to all of the UK, including those not subscribing to Sky's satellite TV offering.
Boxie is alternate Dropbox client for the iPhone that provides users with complete access to a Dropbox account. Users can navigate across folders, as well as store specified files locally for offline access. The v1.2.1 update has fixed an issue that prevented some original premium users from unlocking the Power pack for free.
WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform message service that allows users to send both messages and multimedia. Unlike other services, WhatsApp can automatically add contacts by using the information stored in a user's Contacts app. Version 2.11.5 includes an all new interface designed for iOS 7, as well as an improved share location feature and the ability to crop images before sending.
Procreate is an iPad painting app that features 48 different brushes to choose from. The software runs on the 64 bit Silica engine and includes support for canvas resolutions of up to 4096 x 4096 on the latest iPad models. The latest Adonit SDK is included in this release, along with various performance and user experience improvements.
Angry Birds Star Wars is a physics based puzzle game where players must help the Rebel Birds take down the evil Imperial Pigs. In v1.2.1 players gain access to 44 new levels and 3 additional characters. New levels include 20 Pork Side levels and 20 Bird Side levels, as well as 4 secret levels that can be unlocked by finding hidden maps.
PopCalc goes beyond the standard calculator app through the integration of basic spreadsheet functionality. Version 2.5 has been redesigned for iOS 7 and now features hour, minute, and second functions. The ability to search through calc sheets has also been added in this update, along with support for sharing calc sheets via AirDrop.
17 hours ago | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, iPhone apps, Apple
Apple is now giving away Christmas music via the Apple Store iPhone app, users observe. Some of the songs made available this week include "The First Noël" by Mary J. Blige, "Silent Night" by Kelly Clarkson, and "Ave Maria" by Il Volo. The music is only available in the US, and is missing from the recently-launched iPad app. The offer will expire on December 31st.
19 hours ago | Posted in: accessories, iPad
STM is one of those companies that seems to fly under the radar when it comes to iPad accessories. They're better known for their general-purpose tablet and laptop bags; they are making inroads, though, having caught some attention with their Skinny and Grip cases. The Studio is a new design built exclusively for the Air and Mini, and in our review, we'll see if STM can make good on earlier progress.
19 hours ago | Posted in: software
Fanurio has released a major update of its self-named time-tracking software, v3.0. The new software expands tracking beyond strict billing purposes; users can for instance create tasks and follow their progress, and record expenses, which can be tallied at actual cost or with a markup. Trip tracking includes options for distance and time, and product tracking can be used to bill for goods and services that don't fall under tasks or expenses.
21 hours ago | Posted in: mobile phones
The three major carriers in China have been issued licenses to operate TD-LTE networks in the country. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has provided the licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom today, which opens the door to Chinese mobile users being able to use faster mobile connections in the future.
22 hours ago | Posted in: industry, peripherals
Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.
22 hours ago | Posted in: audio
YouTube's long-rumored music service has allegedly been delayed until sometime in early 2014. The subscription music offering is said to be preparing for a first-quarter launch, though an exact date has yet to be set, and it is thought that the delay itself has been caused by Google's dissatisfaction with the service as a whole.
Wed December 4, 2013 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps
Video software maker FireCore has debuted a major upgrade to its Infuse multi-format video player for iOS, now at version 2.0. The update introduces an iOS 7-compliant UI redesign, network streaming from almost any drive or device without syncing, additional supported media formats, integrated Dolby Digital Plus mobile surround sound, and better 1080p and AirPlay support. The app is free but many of the new features are only available with a new "Pro" upgrade that costs $5.
Tue December 3, 2013 | Posted in: gadgets, digital imaging
Provider of high-quality video connectivity solutions DVDO today announced the availability of the Matrix6, bringing 4K UltraHD matrix switching to residential and commercial A/V systems. Developed for easy integration into whole-home theater control systems, the Matrix6 switcher displays two 4K sources simultaneously on two TVs or projectors, removing the need for additional investment in source equipment.
Just less than two weeks after the second OS X 10.9.1 beta was released, Apple has made a third available, this time with build number 13B40. The new release offers further advances on GMail integration in Mail and Smart Folders, both mentioned as areas of improvement in the second developer beta. Developers are still asked to focus on Mail, along with Safari, graphics drivers for various video cards and chipsets, and VoiceOver -- the same areas of attention as the previous beta.
Rumors and other unconfirmed reports about Apple products -- particularly those that are only in an experimental prototype or testing phase -- are difficult to sort out. Readers who see similar reports on multiple sites or in various print and online outlets have a tendency to believe them after a while, even if the reports are just echoing each other. New reports have emerged recently from different sources claiming that Apple is at least probing the idea of larger iPad and iPhone models, but a healthy dose of skepticism is often required.
Tue December 3, 2013 | Posted in: accessories, audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps
Mobile music-making apps developer IK Multimedia has announced the expansion of its iRig Keys line with two new products for mobile musicians: iRig Keys Pro and iRig Keys with Lightning connector, compact MIDI keyboard controllers with 37 velocity-sensitive keys.
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