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Hands On: Mail Designer 2 and Mail Designer Pro 2 (OS X)

1 hour ago | Posted in: software, Graphics/Web Design

If you just send a lot of ordinary emails, you can skip this. If you're in a company that already has designers in-house crafting gorgeous and on-message email newsletter designs, you can skip this. If you're in the middle, though, such as a small company sending out newsletters or HTML updates to a few thousand people, or even just the newsletter editor for a club with a few dozen scattered members, Mail Designer 2 and Mail Designer Pro 2 are worth looking at.

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Repatriation bill offers tax break for US return of foreign profits

4 hours ago | Posted in: industry, enterprise, Apple

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer from California, Barbra Boxer, and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky have jointly announced a proposed bi-partisan bill titled the "Invest in Transportation Act of 2015" in Washington today. The bill would provide funds for the US Highway Trust Fund by encouraging the "repatriation" of funds held by US businesses overseas.

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CIRP: majority of Android switchers are outside US

4 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, Apple

During its conference call with analysts on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook noted that "the current iPhone lineup experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches," which he later clarified was how long the company has been measuring the metric rather than that switching rates were higher in 2011. Further analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners suggests that most of the switching is happening overseas rather in the US.

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Apple updates iTunes to version 12.1, adds Notification widget

9 hours ago | Posted in: software, audio, Apple

On Thursday, Apple released iTunes 12.1, a minor update for Yosemite users only that brings only one new feature, along with a general improvement in syncing performance with iOS devices. The big change is that the program now includes a widget that can be optionally added to the Mac's Notification Center. This will allow users to control and get info on a playing song at a glance, whether the user is listening to their own library or to iTunes Radio.

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Briefly: Facebook Paper improves photo sharing, Pro Pinball for iOS

10 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Facebook has released an update for its Paper app for iPhone users this week, offering improved photo sharing. Paper is an alternative fullscreen layout for viewing one's Facebook feed, including customization options and gestures. The latest update includes the Camera Roll now organized by the date they were taken, as well as the new ability to quickly share photos from the Favorites album that was introduced in iOS 8. The app is free to download, and requires iOS 7 or later.

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Google posts increased earnings in quarterly report, misses estimates

10 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Google managed to bring in gross consolidated revenues of $18.1 billion for the last quarter, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent and up from the previous quarter's $16.52 billion, according to its latest financial results. Increased traffic acquisition costs (TAC) of $3.62 billion bringing the ex-TAC revenues down to $14 billion. Net income also increased to $4.76 billion from $3.38 billion the same period last year, but the search company failed to meet analyst expectations.

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Prime membership rescues Amazon from loss, $241 million profit posted

11 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Amazon released its fourth quarter and annual numbers today, through a its investor relations site and a web cast conference call. Prime service membership was called out as a key contributing factor towards increases in Q4 and full year 2014 numbers, with new Prime membership growing slightly faster in markets outside North America.

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Apple offers iOS, Mac productivity sales on App Stores

11 hours ago | Posted in: software, developer, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

On Thursday, Apple gathered 19 leading productivity apps and put them under a banner sale called "Get Productive" for iOS, with a mostly-different set of 20 apps for Mac users, each at their respective App Stores. Among the better-known offerings are the popular calendar program Fantastical 2 for iPhone now $2 (normally $5) and Fantastical for Mac (half off its normal $20 price), to-do app Clear for both platforms ($2 versus $5 for iOS, $5 versus $10 for Mac) and Duet Display, a new app that allows users to connect their iPad to a Mac and use the former as a second display (normally $15, now on sale for $8).

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Elgato issues recall for faulty Smart Power battery packs

13 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, accessories

Elgato has alerted customers to a recall of some of its Smart Power 6,000mAh battery packs. The warning is being issued through a variety of means, including a notice for people updating the packs' associated iOS app. Affected units could potentially overheat while recharging.

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Hands On: Microsoft Outlook (iOS)

13 hours ago | Posted in: networking, iPhone apps, iPad apps

There must be people who use Outlook for pleasure but you'll probably find all their names on a staff directory at Microsoft. Yet this might actually change now: the brand new Outlook for iOS, released today, is strong, capable, quick, and has a good-looking design to boot.

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Facebook introduces Foursquare-style Place Tips

14 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, iPhone apps

Facebook has introduced a new feature to its iPhone app, called Place Tips. These appear at the top of a News Feed while on the go; tapping on an entry expands it and shows not just related posts and images from friends, but popular menu items and any upcoming events. Tips are triggered based on location tracking, and Facebook is currently testing them in New York City areas including Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and JFK Airport.

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FCC redefines broadband speeds as 25Mbps downloads, 3Mbps uploads

15 hours ago | Posted in: industry, networking

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has changed its definition of broadband, after commissioners voted 3-2 in favor. The previous definition of 4Mbps download, 1Mbps upload minimum speeds have been increased to 25Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, a move which pushes higher the proportion of households in the United States declared to be incapable of receiving broadband Internet access.

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Briefly: Soundcloud, Tumblr iOS apps receive updates

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

Music discovery and streaming service Soundcloud has received an update for the iPad version of its iOS app. Soundcloud allows users to explore trending music and audio feeds, as well as search directly for tracks, artists and other users. In v3.7.1, the iPad app offers an over-all simplified experience. The previously available audio recording feature has since been removed, meaning that users need to upload any locally stored sounds before upgrading. Free to download, Soundcloud is available for iOS devices running iOS 7.0 or later.

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iOS apps: Castro, Instagram, OneDrive

16 hours ago | Posted in iOS apps

  • 4.3MB

    Castro 1.2.2 ($4)

    Castro is a mobile podcast client that can help users keep up to date on all the shows they follow. Version 1.2.2 includes new URL schemes for play and pause, as well as a fix for an issue where broken SSL certifications prevented feed/artwork updates. The activity indicator has also been resoled, and several crashes have been fixed.

  • 12.8MB

    Instagram 6.3.2 (free)

    Instagram is a popular social network for sharing images and videos. Within the app users can edit their media and share it with all of their followers in a photo feed, or privately share content directly with friends. Various bugs fixes and performance improvements are included in this update.

  • 53.6MB

    OneDrive 5.0 (free)

    OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service that can be used to store and manage files. The v5.0 release includes an improved design, as well as the ability to create photo albums that enable users to view photos together in one place without copying or moving the actual files. Integration is also included with several password managers, including AgileBits, 1Password, and LastPass, and several known bugs have been fixed.

  • 1.8MB

    TimeStamp 1.6 ($1)

    TimeStamp is a simple tool that can be used to log time spent on any number of projects and activities. Version 1.6 no longer requires an in-app purchase to unlock unlimited projects, and includes fixes for a variety of known bugs.

  • 35.8MB

    Map My Fitness 5.7.2 (free)

    Map My Fitness can be used to track over 600 different types of workouts. Support is included for connecting with most popular activity trackers for importing detailed data, as well as for sharing data between other health and fitness apps. The latest update includes new challenges for 2015, as well as an improved user experience and fixes for a few minor bugs.

 
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Google Play beats App Store in downloads, fares worse in revenues

16 hours ago | Posted in: industry, developer

Google Play is vastly outpacing the iOS App Store in terms of downloads, but the latter is generating more revenue, according to analytics company App Annie. Google saw about 60 percent more downloads than Apple during 2014, but the App Store produced 70 percent more revenue. This includes both initial and in-app purchases.

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Amazon WorkMail seeks to replace Google, Microsoft corporate email

17 hours ago | Posted in: enterprise

Amazon is taking on Google, Microsoft, and other suppliers of remote workplace communications, with its own corporate email service. Dubbed WorkMail, the service is claimed to be a "secure, managed business email and calendaring service," hosted in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and could be an easier and cheaper corporate email system to manage than current services like Exchange servers.

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Users of iTunes Connect report being logged into wrong accounts [u]

17 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, developer

[Updated with possibly-related Testflight issues] A variety of developers have reported being logged into the wrong account after signing into iTunes Connect. Earlier today, signing into the service would display apps belonging to different developers; one person, for example, says they encountered an account belonging to someone at BlackBerry, showing apps such as BBM and BES12 Client. Anyone engaging in further actions would trigger an "unable to process request" message, and a redirect to the right account. In some instances, people had trouble logging in at all.

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Hands On: CoinKeeper (iOS)

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

There's something to be said for sticking to a budget; it helps ease stress, and promote financial stability. That being said, budgeting is something that can be difficult to do, especially if you're a busy person. Sitting down to a table full of receipts and papers isn't always doable. That's why CoinKeeper, a budgeting app by Disrapp, exists: to help make budgeting available to even the busiest of people.

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Apple Back to School promo goes live in Australia, New Zealand

19 hours ago | Posted in: education, Apple

Apple has launched the Australia and New Zealand editions of its annual Back to School promotion. Qualifying university students, parents, and educational staff are being given gift cards matched to the device they buy; unlike last year, though, the cards are for the Apple Store, rather than for the Mac or iOS App Store. A similar change was made last year for the American Back to School promo.

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Microsoft OneDrive upgrades photo functions, offers Mac sync client

19 hours ago | Posted in: software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Microsoft has made some changes to its cloud storage service OneDrive, with updates primarily concerning photography. Overall updates to image organization, searching, and sharing are accompanied by changes to the iOS app for work-related items, alterations which make it easier to access files stored on OneDrive for Business accounts without requiring a dedicated app, as well as a Mac client -- making file synchronization smoother.

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Hands On: Gravity Ghost (OS X, Windows)

19 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gaming, software

Indie games have seen a lot of success in recent years, and with good reason. Now that game design has become more accessible due to the wide availability of tools, and publishing has become easier due to things like Steam Greenlight, the gaming community is able to play an ever-expanding catalog of strange and wonderful games. One such game is Gravity Ghost, a physics-centric puzzle game by Ivy Games.

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Apple, Samsung effectively tied for lead in global smartphone market

20 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, Apple

The timing of Apple's surge during the last quarter and Samsung's respective slump has put the two corporations in a dead heat in terms of smartphone marketshare, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm estimates that the companies each shipped about 74.5 million smartphones worldwide; while only Apple has announced that figure specifically, Samsung says that of the 95 million handsets it shipped in total, the number of smartphones went into the "high 70 percent range." That could mean anything between 71 and 75 million units.

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Pointers: 10 Fast Tips for Safari (OS X)

21 hours ago | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, Apple

You hear more criticism of Safari than you do of any other browser on OS X -- but then, of course you would. It's the one that comes on your Mac, and if nobody ever criticized it, you'd never think to try Chrome or Firefox's latest build (that will likely be incremented before you finish this paragraph), or any of the other options. There are things that rival browsers do better, but by far the biggest difference between them all is your personal taste - but bailing on Safari means you're missing out on excellent features, and most especially so in the very latest release. Here are ten fast and short pointers for getting more out of Safari on your Mac.

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Microsoft releases Outlook preview, ships Office for Android apps

22 hours ago | Posted in: software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Microsoft has made its Office apps available to all Android users, following the limited preview release and the iOS version. The apps, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, are accompanied by a new preview of another Office app, with a rebranded version of email app Acompli as Outlook downloadable from both Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

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Hands On: Comic Zeal (iOS)

22 hours ago | Posted in: iPad apps

There are a lot of reasons to make the leap to digital formats when buying comics. For one, it's a lot easier to carry a digital collection of comics around, and for another, it's a lot harder to bend the pages of a digital comic book. Whatever your reasons are, Comic Zeal Comic Reader by Bitolithic Pty is a great digital comic book reader.

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Samsung fourth-quarter, fiscal year 2014 results shows drop in profits

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, industry, mobile phones

Samsung released its Q4 and FY 2014 results today, and as expected, the news was not good. The past three years have resulted in growth for the company, but fiscal 2014 shows an annual earnings decline, in spite of strong performance by the company's chip division. The earnings from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices fell to 1.96 trillion Korean won ($1.8 billion), a 64.2 percent decline from the year-ago quarter. The news comes on the heels of a record-shattering report from its main rival, Apple.

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R&D at Apple increases by 42 percent, hits $1.9B

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Although the iPhone now makes up some 69 percent of Apple's revenues, it will not always do so -- and thus the company is undoubtedly working on at least one product that is destined to be the successor (in terms of revenue) to the iPhone, which itself displaced the iPod as the company's top money-maker. Barely mentioned in the conference call with analysts but noted in the breakdown of expenses, Apple has significantly increased spending on research and development (R&D).

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