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The MacNN Podcast, episode 12: Apple Watch Day, TW-Comcast, more

2 hours ago | Posted in: industry, gadgets, software, developer, Apple

If podcasts were eggs, The MacNN Podcast would be ready to deliver in a cardboard carton! We're up to episode 12, and we take a look at the top stories of the past week, including the retail debut -- such as it was -- of the Apple Watch, where a few select high-fashion stores did actually have stock to sell to walk-in customers. We also chat about the big industry news of the Time Warner-Comcast merger collapse, Randy Ubillos' retirement, and more.

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The Feature Thief, part one: Pages

3 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, software, Apple

Welcome to The Feature Thief, a mini-series of columns where we take a look at some of Apple's rollercoaster of change when it comes to software -- from apps that got a makeover to a sex change, or even some that just got tossed out entirely. Each day this week, we'll take a fairly recent example of each of the three types of sometimes-painful change users have been subjected to when Apple gets a new idea, what to do about it, and where to look for alternatives if necessary.

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Pointers: Unreadable Attachments in iOS Mail (iOS)

5 hours ago | Posted in: software

Perhaps you haven't personally come across one yet, but there are one or two iPhones in the world. Yet despite their ubiquity, there are still people who don't have them and who do email you attachments that iOS can't fathom. We don't mean the times when they send you a document made in an iOS application you don't happen to have. Often you will need to get that app but if they send you Excel, for instance, and you haven't got that then iOS 8 offers to open it in Numbers. Your iPhone works hard but still there are attachments that stymie it.

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Dropbox Notes collaborative document editing surfaces in beta

5 hours ago | Posted in: Graphics/Web Design

Dropbox has started to publicly test a new note-taking service that could be competition for other online productivity services, such as Evernote. A beta sign-up page for the new service advises it is called Dropbox Notes, with it revolving around allowing individuals and groups to collaboratively write and edit a document, all at the same time.

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Review: 12-inch MacBook with Retina display

6 hours ago | Posted in: computers, Apple

It is an exciting time for consumer technology, with gadgets and devices that once used to the stuff of dreams now coming to fruition. Currently, the focus and excitement is largely around mobile and wearable devices, but the stunning and groundbreaking Mac Pro (Late 2013) showed that Apple still has a keen interest in pushing the development and innovation of its computer product lines right to the edge of the design envelope. Although the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display might look, at first glance, like a natural evolution of an Apple ultraportable MacBook, it packs a full suite of technical and design innovations that we feel make it the definitive statement of what's next in the state-of-the-art in notebook design. Read our full review for our analysis.

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Mac Game Review: Hero Generations 1.17

6 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

Click. Move. Click. Fight. Click. Eat. This is a familiar pattern if you are a fan of the rogue-like. But, what happens when your rogue-like isn't quite a rogue-like by accident or design? You just might get a game like Hero Generations from Heart Shaped Games, an original take on the formula that was Kickstarted back in April of 2014.

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Jay-Z defends Tidal's growth, claims over 770,000 subscribers

7 hours ago | Posted in: audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Rapper Shawn Carter, known as Jay-Z, has taken to Twitter to claim artist-owned music streaming service Tidal is doing fine. Defending against suggestions that the service isn't as popular as initially anticipated, Jay-Z claims the service has grown to over 770,000 subscribers in the month since the celebrity change of ownership, and that it won't be as big as other services for quite some time.

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Game Replay: Silent Hills canned, Steam mods, Telltale Marvel game

16 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, software

The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look back at the more notable stories in the world of gaming from the last few days. Today's edition covers the potential cancellation of the next Silent Hill game, the launch of paid mods on Steam and the subsequent complaints, and a future Telltale game produced in collaboration with Marvel.

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Living With: a (non-Apple) smartwatch

18 hours ago | Posted in: industry, peripherals, gadgets

Anyone who's been listening to The MacNN Podcast knows there's been some discussion among the staff about wearing smartwatches, and if they think it would be beneficial to do so. Some of us are dubious it would be a useful addition to our workflow, some are skeptical but hopeful an application of value will arise, and some have already ordered theirs and are waiting patiently. Recently, a friend of ours scored several refurbished MetaWatch Frames from Meh.com for what we're going to call "a really good price." So we bought one, in an effort to see if there was any point to wearing a smartwatch.

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Review: Bracketron PowerFlex external battery

19 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, accessories

When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a laptop or netbook. Power for both our tablet, phone, and any other chargeable devices is always an issue. Our personal motto is "ABC," or "Always Be Charging." When we're not in our car or near an outlet, if we're lower than 75 percent on something we plug it into an external battery. Really all anyone needs is power to nourish these digital brains, but extra features are generally useful. The Bracketron Power Flex Stand is a 10,400mAh battery with a built-in tablet stand and flashlight. It will not only support one's tablet or smartphone at a pleasant viewing angle, but will also charge two devices at the same time with dual USB ports. Is it a must-have? Check out our review to find out.

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Apple fiscal Q2 predictions abound, expect healthy quarter

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

Last month, Apple announced that its financials for fiscal Q2 2015 would be released on April 27. Just one day before the conference call, analysts are rushing to get their predictions out regarding what is very likely to be another monster quarter for Apple. The short version is that the iPhone will continue to drive the lion's share of revenue and grow sales from the year-ago quarter, while the downward pressure on earnings from the iPad will continue -- and nobody's really sure what's going to happen with the Apple Watch.

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Review: JBL Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones

Sun April 26, 2015 | Posted in: audio

All headphones are not created equally, especially when it comes to use during vigorous activities or workouts. Over-the-ear headphones are cumbersome and in the way, but in-ear versions can constantly pop out making them a hassle to constantly manage. So what is left for people that need entertainment during their workout routines? JBL offers a potential solution with the Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones. But are the Synchros Reflects something worthy of considering, or are they just another hindrance to deal with? Find out in our review.

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Hands On: Carrot Hunger 1.0.1 (iOS)

Sat April 25, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

A sad by-product of being made of meat is that we must eat, but not too much. Enter Carrot Hunger, the talking calorie counter. Did you ever wish you could get nutrition advice from GLaDOS? Well you can't, but that's okay, because Carrot has three times the attitude, and actually cares about your health. No really you guys, she cares. She's just also a big proponent of tough love; and by "tough love" we mean massive amounts of sarcasm and dry wit.

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Collapse of Time Warner Cable, Comcast merger evolved over months

Sat April 25, 2015 | Posted in: industry

This past Friday, the Comcast Time Warner Cable (TWC) merger was officially canceled. A report by Bloomberg Business indicates the resistance by both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been in play for quite a bit longer than just the week prior to when the deal was nixed.

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European Commission selects complainants for case against Google

Sat April 25, 2015 | Posted in: industry

The European Union's first antitrust case against Google -- where the advertising giant is accused of giving more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors -- will include 19 companies as complainants, giving them the ability to see and comment on the full list of charges leveled against Google. However, a number of the companies are not directly involved in online shopping, suggesting that the charges brought against Google could be more wide-ranging than previously suspected.

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Ive, Newson talk Apple Watch, modern craftsmanship at conference

Sat April 25, 2015 | Posted in: industry, gadgets, Apple

Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive and fellow designer Marc Newson appeared at the first Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy on Wednesday and gave an interview to International Vogue editor Suzy Menkes, during which they reiterated the standard speaking points on Apple's overall design philosophy and missing, but also discussed the Apple Watch in the context of the strata of the luxury market, and the meaning of craftsmanship in the 21st century.

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Previous News

Hands On: SmartDown 1.0.4 (OS X)

Sat April 25, 2015 | Posted in: software

It's not as if you are stuck for applications to write in: whether you go for Microsoft Word or TextEdit, there are just about 40 different word processors for every man, woman and child on the planet. It's just that not many work in Markdown, which is a form of writing, a format, and a syntax that works well for the web. SmartDown is one of those, and it works very well.

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Hands On: Sorcery! 3 – The Seven Serpents 1.0.2 (iOS, Android)

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

The third installment of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! game series is now available from iTunes. It isn't necessary to play the first two chapters to enjoy the third; each leg of the journey is its own self-contained quest and story. However, for those willing to put in the time, a magic word is given at the end of each game to add input into the next. Friendships, items, curses, abilities, and knowledge transfer from one to the other, giving the whole experience a richer feel.

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Apple wins three-year Chinese patent case against Siri technology

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: Apple

After two legal defeats, Apple has won its case on appeal in a lawsuit brought by Zhizhen Network Technology that dates back to 2012. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Apple did not violate any patents held by the Shanghai-based Zhizhen, and thus no infringement has occurred. Apple first attempted to have the Zhizhen patent, which covered only "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," invalidated, but later sued the government and the company when authorities ruled in favor of Zhizhen.

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Hands On: Hazel 3.3.5 (OS X)

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: software

You don't hear enough about Hazel from Noodlesoft. Its simplest description is that it automatically does things for you to do with files and folders, it moves and renames and sorts them. Unfortunately one reason you don't hear enough about it is that once you've set it up, you never have to think about it again. It just keeps right on doing its stuff. That's admirable and it's also a shame for Noodlesoft which should be lauded more. It's also a shame for you because you genuinely forget that it's there when you could be using it for more and more.

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Apple unveils three new TV ads for Apple Watch

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, Apple

Celebrating the launch of the Apple Watch, the company has posted three new ads showcasing its newest device -- complete with Apple's signature style of illustrating everyday use of the Watch ahead of explaining features or giving the product a false image equating it with power, sex, or glamor. The three ads -- "Us," "Up," and "Rise" -- offer dramatized but realistic normal uses for the Apple Watch, with differing emphasis.

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The Feature Thief: Apple taketh away, sometimes giveth back

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: software, Apple

Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple takes one of its key software applications, radically changes it, losing important features along the way. Existing users say Apple has dumbed down an app that was perfect, while new users say this is fantastic, they can finally understand the application. Flash forward a few months, and Apple has stealthily added back some or all of the features. We've seen this with iMovie and Final Cut Pro, we saw it with Pages, we are seeing it now with iPhoto turning into Photos. It is a well-worn path by Apple, and if we're not fans of the way they go about it, we are often fans of how these new applications turn out ... eventually.

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Forums: New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, computers, troubleshooting, software, Apple

Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Harvey" explained some troubling behavior with their 8-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit jpg files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use.

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Apple deals: up to $600 off Mac Pros

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: computers, Apple

At Apple's online store this week save big on refurbished Mac Pro models, with savings of up to $600 off. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced to $2,549 for a savings of $450 off the list price. Priced at $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel 6-core E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

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Daily Deals: Crucial 960GB SSD, Jongo T2 speaker, Garmin Vivofit

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming, peripherals, gadgets, software, digital imaging, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad, iPad apps

Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search online and offline retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on an array of hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, we cover the still-active deals from throughout the week, while the new deals list includes a sub-$300 960GB SSD, the Pure Jongo T2 wireless speaker, and the Garmin Vivofit fitness band.

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Apple Game Roundup: Batman GOTY, Total War: Warhammer, D&D VTT

Fri April 24, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming

On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at Total War: Warhammer's announcement, Retina MacBook gaming benchmarks, Dungeons & Dragons downloadable content for virtual tabletop Fantasy Grounds, and Feral's release of Batman: Arkham Asylum – Game of the Year Edition

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    Apple 12-inch Retina MacBook

    It is an exciting time for consumer technology, with gadgets and devices that once used to the stuff of dreams now coming to fruition. ...

    JBL Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones

    All headphones are not created equally, especially when it comes to use during vigorous activities or workouts. Over-the-ear headphone ...

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    When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a ...

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