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Review: Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS

51 minutes ago | Posted in:

Every computer with a microphone or headphone port has one -- a digital to analog converter (DAC). There are nearly as many chipsets and DAC models as there are models of laptop, and as many opinions on the efficacy of various implementations. of Cambridge Audio has a USB one to supplement its line -- the DacMagic XS. Does the little device do as it promises and actually boost the listening quality of digitally encoded music? Read our review and see.

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OS X Yosemite public beta now available

1 hour ago | Posted in: software, Apple

As promised earlier this week, Apple has begun seeding the first public beta of OS X Yosemite. Access is limited to the first million people entered into the OS X Beta Program. That requires having both an Apple ID and a Mac running OS X Mavericks.

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Briefly: Oyster for web, mobile web browsers, IFTTT's Square channel

2 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, iPhone apps, mobile phones, iPad apps

Oyster, an e-book subscription service, has announced its launch of new web and mobile web readers. The expansion marks its second new platform in the past month (with the first launch specifically for Android users in June). Pages in the web reader will scroll smoothly from top to bottom, with five reader themes to select from. Oyster is partnered with over 1600 publishers, and offers access to a diverse library for $10 per month.

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iPad maintains global tablet dominance, but loses further ground

2 hours ago | Posted in: industry, Apple, iPad

Although Apple's iPad is still the leading tablet globally, the company is continuing to lose marketshare, according to new IDC data. Year-over-year, Apple's June-quarter tablet share fell from 33 to 26.9 percent, based on shipments of 13.3 million iPads this quarter versus 14.6 million in Q2 2013. The company's next closest competitor, Samsung, saw its share slip from 18.8 percent to 17.2.

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Wuxi, China Apple Store to open on August 2nd

4 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores.

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Google adds Explore location discovery to Google Maps mobile apps

4 hours ago | Posted in: software, iPhone apps

Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.

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Swatch denies any involvement with Apple on iWatch tech

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

Swatch has quickly denied a report that it's working with Apple on iWatch-related projects, according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the company claims that the report is unfounded, and that the only involvement Swatch has with phone makers is supplying various components, such as integrated circuits. Apple's iWatch is expected to ship in the fall.

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Apple seeds new betas of Safari 7.1 and 6.2 to developers

5 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, software, developer, Apple

Apple is distributing new developer betas of Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for OS X Mountain Lion. In release notes for both, the company is asking developers to test AutoFill, extension compatibility, and "general website compatibility." The updates' main feature though will be WebGL, making it possible to run 3D content without third-party plugins.

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Apps: Little Snitch, Output Factory, Cyberduck

6 hours ago | Posted in apps

    23MB

    Little Snitch 3.3.4 ($35)

    Little Snitch is an internet traffic monitoring and management utility. The software informs a user when a program attempts to establish an outgoing internet connection and provides options for allowing or denying the connection. The latest release has removed a leftover Network Monitor logging message, as well as improved OpenVPN, AFP, and SMB support. In addition, the Network Monitor should now display the correct TCP connection state.

    7.5MB

    Output Factory 1.5.6 ($170)

    Output Factory automates the process of printing and exporting from Adobe InDesign. Users can export as single pages with variable file names, update modified links on the fly, preflight InDesign files before output, and more. In v1.5.6 the export to ePub Fixed Layout option is now supported by InDesign CC 2014.

    57.7MB

    Cyberduck 4.5 (free)

    CyberDuck is an open source FTP and SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer) browser licensed under the GPL. The application features integration with external editors, as well as support for many Mac OS X system technologies such as Spotlight, Bonjour, the Keychain, and AppleScript. Version 4.5 now allows users to connect to Windows Azure Blob storage, and includes a new SSH//SFTP protocol implementation. In addition, the update now supports TLS mutual authentication with client certificate.

    8.1MB

    Together 3.2 ($40)

    Together is a tool for storing, previewing, editing and searching a variety of files. Most items can be dragged to Together's main window or Shelf for quick access. Version 3.2 lets users share iCloud libraries with the iOS versions of Together, and also makes a number of improvements to the tag browser, item list and Shelf. In addition, the software now automatically repairs libraries overwritten by Dropbox, preventing "File cannot be opened" errors.

    5.3MB

    Tweetbot for Mac 1.6.1 ($20)

    Tweetbot for Mac is a desktop Twitter client that offers support for multiple timelines, multiple windows and columns, Mountain Lion's Notification Center, and Retina displays. An issue with images being upscaled in the full-size image view has been resolved with this update, along with an issue related to Flickr image previews. Other problems related to OS X 10.7 and the editing list descriptions have also been fixed.

 
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Briefly: Booq's Cobra pack, NatureArt 6.0 released

13 hours ago | Posted in: accessories

Booq has announced the release of its newest laptop backpack offering this week: the Cobra pack. Comprised of a 1680 denier ballistic nylon exterior with a water-repellent coating, items within the pack are protected from weather conditions, and its quilted inner lining prevents damage during transport. The bag's main compartment features two open pockets and a slip pocket that offers easy access to something like a magazine or book while travelling. Its zippered mesh window pocket keeps passports, tickets and important items accessible, and its separate zippered padded laptop compartment can accommodate a 15- to 17-inch laptop. A second zippered back pocket can hold a tablet.

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Rumor: Apple working with Swatch, Timex, more for 'iWatches'

15 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, gadgets, Apple

Though Swatch is perhaps best-known these days for pooh-poohing the idea that Apple's forthcoming "iWatch" health device would "be a revolution," a new rumor from anonymous sources claims that the Swiss watchmaker may be among other watch firms working with Apple to bring the "iWatch" technologies to a wide range of co-branded devices for different markets. While such collaborations would be unusual for Apple normally, the company has been opening itself up to more partnerships lately.

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RBC follows others, raises AAPL to $110 by year's end

17 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, Investor, industry, Apple, iPad

Despite some disappointments in Apple's latest quarterly earnings report, analysts appear to be satisfied that the company's overall financial picture is in order, particularly on the strength of rising margins and strong developing market sales. The stock closed up $2.47 on Tuesday (an increase of 2.61 percent) to close at $97.19, not far from its 52-week high. On Tuesday, RBC Capital Markets raised its year-end target price to $110, joining Barclays and Morgan Stanley in predicting the company would hit an all-time high this year.

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Report: Apple could debut payments system, e-wallet with iPhone 6

19 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, enterprise, developer, Apple

A new report is claiming that Apple is accelerating its plans for a grand "digital wallet" mobile payments system, which could even be ready to debut in the same time frame as the expected "iPhone 6." The company is said to be in talks with Visa to create a partnership agreement that would allow consumers to pay for goods and services using only their iPhone, leveraging the "secure enclave" portion of the A7 chip and Touch ID to create what would be expected to be a seamless mobile payment system.

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Gameloft early access contest for Modern Combat 5 results in piracy

19 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

It turns out that winning an early access to game isn't enough to satisfy every fan as mobile developer Gameloft recently learned. In a contest that gave fans access to Modern Combat 5: Blackout before its expected July 24 release date, one of the lucky winners decided to crack the game and upload it for distribution. Afterward, thousands of players turned up in the game before its release on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices.

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Briefly: New Griffin iPad Air case, new apps for FiftyThree's Pencil

20 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, software, developer, accessories, Apple, iPad

Griffin Technology has announced the release of a new rugged case for use with iPad Air. The Survivor Slim aims to deliver protection for all conditions, featuring a shatter-resistant shell and silicone bumper for absorbing the shock of a drop. Its accompanying screen shield prevents scratches and smudges, and the flexible button covers deflect dust, dirt, and rain from entering vulnerable places on the tablet.

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Facebook hits $2.9 billion in second quarter revenues, up 61 percent

21 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Facebook released its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of 2014, showing a large increase year-over-year. Revenues topped out at $2.9 billion, a staggering $1.1 billion, or 61 percent, increase from 2013. The revenue jump is due largely to advertising revenue and an increase in daily and monthly active users.

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AT&T misses revenue guidance, blames customer transition to AT&T Next

21 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Communications giant AT&T has released its quarterly earnings report for its second quarter of the fiscal year. AT&T's consolidated revenues totaled $32.6 billion, up 1.6 percent versus the year-earlier period. Compared with results for the second quarter of 2013, operating expenses were $27.0 billion versus $26.0 billion; operating income was $5.6 billion versus $6.1 billion; and operating income margin was 17.2 percent versus 19.1 percent.

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FCC reminds broadband providers that they can't lie to customers

22 hours ago | Posted in: industry

In a public notice to Internet service providers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminded business that they cannot lie to consumers about the services they offer. The notice informs business and the general public that "every provider of broadband Internet access in the United States" is subject to the Open Internet Transparency Rule.

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Procreate 2.1 adds ColorDrop, reference layers, other new features

22 hours ago | Posted in: Graphics/Web Design, iPad, iPad apps

Savage Interactive has released v2.1 of Procreate, its professional-level illustration app for the iPad. The update is a major one, adding a number of new features, most significantly ColorDrop. Users can now simply drag and drop a color to a location to fill; before dropping, continuing to hold will bring up fill threshold controls.

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Sources call for Yosemite in late Oct., Retina MacBook, Mac with 4K

23 hours ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, Apple

OS X Yosemite -- which is going into public beta tomorrow -- should eventually ship in late October, sources claim. The present plan is reportedly to keep releasing new developer betas every two to three weeks through September 29th. Work should then shift to a gold master build, due October 10th. Final details, including a launch date, may be announced at Apple's October media event.

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Apple 8-K filing shows Apple spent $1.6B on June-quarter R&D

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Apple's spending on research and development jumped 36 percent year-over-year in the June quarter to $1.6 billion, according to the company's latest 8-K filing with the SEC. That brings the company's R&D totals for fiscal 2014 so far to $4.36 billion, 32 percent more than it spent during the same timeframe in 2013. The pacing of R&D has also accelerated throughout 2014.

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Apple 'tentatively' planning mid-September event for iPhone 6, iOS 8

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, developer, Apple

Apple is "tentatively" scheduling a press event for mid-September to reveal the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and final launch details of iOS 8, sources say. The people add that the second and third weeks of September are the most likely target, but that uncertainties about manufacturing timetables are a factor. The 5.5-inch iPhone may also be shown at the event, but that has likewise yet to be decided.

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Sony puts $345M towards boosting mobile image sensor production

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, digital imaging

Sony has announced plans to invest 35 billion yen, or about $345 million, on scaling up production of image sensors for phones and tablets. Manufacturing of stacked CMOS sensors will increase at two factories in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu; meanwhile, the company is planning to complete work on a factory in northwestern Japan that it bought from Renesas. The hope is to boost wafer output 13 percent to 68,000 per month by August 2015, moving towards a longer-term target of 75,000, itself just a mid-term goal.

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iOS apps: Instapaper, Hootsuite, Dropbox

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in iOS apps

  • 17MB

    Instapaper 5.2.1 ($4)

    Instapaper is a tool for saving web pages for later offline reading. Optimized for readability on iOS devices, the software saves most webpages as text only and includes options for changing fonts, text sizes, line spacing, and margins. Version 5.2.1 includes an option delete confirmation, as well as fixes for share sheet clipping on the iPad and and a missing “Shake for Random” row in Advanced Settings.

  • 13.5MB

    Hootsuite 2.6 (free)

    Hootsuite is a social media management app that can help users share and schedule posts for multiple accounts simultaneously. The latest release includes an all new Compose and Profile Picker interface, which includes the ability to mark social networks as favorites so that they are selected by default when composing new messages. A new image viewer is also included, allowing users to view images in full screen and easily share them with others.

  • 28.1MB

    Dropbox 3.2.1 (free)

    Dropbox provides users with access to all of the files that have been stored in their cloud-storage account. Furthermore, users can select favorite files that can be viewed even when no internet connection is available. Support for animated GIFs has been added in this release, along with various other minor bug fixes and improvements.

  • 1.4MB

    ReplayCam 1.2 ($2)

    ReplayCam can be used to access the maximum frame-rate an iOS device is capable of for creating slow motion replay videos. While recording users just need to tap and hold the replay button and the last three seconds of the video will be replayed in slow motion. The latest release addresses a number of reported bugs.

  • 62.9MB

    Fliptastic 1.45 ($1)

    Fliptastic is a tool for creating slideshows that can be shared on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Several bugs have been addressed with this release, including one related to Add Text alignment issues. A number of crashes have also been resolved and the overall stability of the Instagram photo selector has been improved.

 

First public beta of OS X Yosemite to go live on July 24 [U]

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: software, developer, Apple

The first public beta of OS X Yosemite will be made available on Thursday, July 24, Apple has revealed in a meeting with The Loop's Jim Dalrymple. The public release will be the same code seeded to developers on Monday. To get it, people must sign up for the OS X Beta Program, which is limited to the first million participants.

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Apple document attempts to explain alleged backdoors in iOS

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, security, Apple, iPad

In another step to address concerns of possible backdoors in iOS, Apple has published a newdocument explaining what three services are intended to do. The first, com.apple.mobile.pcapd, is said to support "diagnostic packet capture from an iOS device to a trusted computer," something useful for "troubleshooting and diagnosing issues with apps on the device as well as enterprise VPN connections." Another, com.apple.mobile.file_relay, "supports limited copying of diagnostic data from a device."

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Cook: Apple has made 30 acquisitions thus far in fiscal 2014

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, developer, audio, Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed during Tuesday's conference call with analysts that Apple had acquired 30 companies and/or their talent over the course of the past nine months, back to the beginning of the fiscal year which began last October. Of these, less than half have been publicly revealed -- though a few of the higher-profile buyouts, such as the record-setting Beats Electronics and Music deal, have made headlines. On the topic of the latter company, Cook shared a bit more detail on the thinking behind it.

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Mid-2011 MacBook Air EFI update causing crashes, other issues

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: troubleshooting, software, Apple

A firmware update, issued on Monday for "Mid-2011" MacBook Air models running OS X 10.9.2 and later, apparently has a bug in either the code or the downloaded file, which is causing reports of system crashes and occasionally a failure to install properly, leaving MBA owners unable to boot the machine. The purpose of the firmware update was to correct two "wake from sleep" issues that affected only "mid-2011" MBAs running 10.9.2 or later. Some users have found that an SMC reset can restore the units to functional status.

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