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Hands On: Tunable v1.2 (iOS)

1 hour ago | Posted in: audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Being a musician today certainly has its perks. Between the accessibility of starter instruments and the wide variety of sounds available to musicians, it's a great time to start playing, regardless of skill or previous experience. Of course, there's also the added bonus of the wide variety of apps available to musicians, which can do everything from teach you how to play, to recording, to keeping everything working just the way it should. Today we checked out Tunable, an easy to use app for both the iPhone and the iPad that lets musicians tune their instruments on the go.

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Hands On: Give It Up! 1.3 (iOS, Android)

Sat May 2, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps

We enjoy rhythm games, particularly when the music is catchy -- and if there's a character that makes adorable squeaky noises, so much the better. There's a lot to be said for the satisfaction inherent in getting into a groove and becoming one with the music. If the groove is elusive, than finding it becomes so much sweeter. One such app is Give It Up! by Invictus, and we really wanted to like it. The music is fun, and the little character is an adorable blob of ink that bounces and squeaks when the player is doing well, and even its death animation is cute. Unfortunately, we followed the advice given in the app's title.

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Hands On: Split v1.0.2 (iOS)

Sat May 2, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

Switching back and forth between web pages in Safari on the iPad is a massive pain. Trying to compare any sort of information becomes tedious and frustrating, and more often than not, we find ourselves bolting to the nearest desktop or notebook computer to do our research instead. That's where Split comes in, a simple little browser that allows you to compare two webpages, side by side, at the same time.

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Hands On: Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Sat May 2, 2015 | Posted in: audio

The Beats Solo2 Wireless on-ear headphones is the latest product to emerge from the now wholly Apple-owned subsidiary. While it is unlikely Apple's engineering and design teams have had much, if any, influence on its latest products, most agree that the second generation of Beats headphones is much improved over its first generation of products. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the asking price for a set of Beats headphones. This new wireless model will run you $299, putting them on roughly on par with high-end competition from Bose and Sennheiser. So -- are they worth it?

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Briefly: More BBC Radio 1 Beats hires, iMovie update, App Analytics

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: industry, troubleshooting, developer, audio, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

Following the hiring of influential former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe in February as part of both iTunes Radio and a speculated revamp of the Beats Music service, a trade magazine for the music industry has reported that as many as four other top producers for Radio 1 are leaving to join Lowe to work on the revamped subscription service at Apple, which could be announced as early as June's Worldwide Developer Conference.

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Hands On: Debate Time 1.0 (iOS)

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

You've got 18 months of hard political campaigning left before your Presidential elections: here in the UK we have less than a week. Next Thursday, 7 May, is our General Election and while take very seriously the job of choosing the least worst candidate available to us, it is fair to say that we are ready for some relief. Debate Time is an iOS game that intends to do exactly that by switching our attention from the political party leaders to cartoon images of the same people.

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Hands Off: This is My Apple Watch, not yours!

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: Apple

My wife Angela is classy, elegant, charming and considerate -- but she can afford to be, she's just got an Apple Watch. I bought it for her at the precise same second I bought one for myself yet while hers just raced through the Preparing to Ship and on to Dispatched and is today on her wrist, mine is stuck on Processing, with as far as I can tell two million others'. You can call me romantic for buying her one and actually I'd like it if you did, it would help me feel better that mine is nowhere in sight yet.

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Apple Game Roundup: Shadowrun, Frozen Cortex patch, DOS in Twitter

Fri May 1, 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 the release of Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown, a big patch for This War of Mine, the ability to embed classic DOS games on Twitter, and a major renovation to leagues and players in Frozen Cortex.

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Hands On: Drop Wizard 1.0 (iOS)

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Drop Wizard is a single-screen 2D arcade platformer, with an adorable 16-bit style in the tradition of the original Mario Brothers. In Drop Wizard, the only thing the player controls is direction of travel. Every time the wizard drops down to a new level, he shoots a bolt from his wand in the direction he's facing, hence the name.

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Daily Deals: MacBook Air, Nikon D3300, Sennheiser HD 203

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming, gadgets, software, digital imaging, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, Apple

Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, savings, sales, and money-off offers for you, the discerning reader. Today's last roundup of still-alive deals from earlier in the week comes along with a fresh batch of offers, including an entry-level DSLR from Nikon, half-price Sennheiser headphones, and a $750 MacBook Air

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Forums: choppy video playback

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, Apple

This week in the MacNN forums, one Fresh-Faced Recruit is looking for answers as to why they are getting choppy video playback in all their video players except for VLC video player. Today Mac Elite "rotuts" was looking for a way to open folders in the same way that they were able to when using older operating systems such as 10.6, and so far has yet to find an answer.

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Apple deals: Mac mini

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: computers, Apple

Apple's online store has restocked their refurbished shelf with wide selection of Mac mini's. They start at $419 for the refurbished Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive. A $110 discount is offered on the refurbished Mac mini with a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, now $589.

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Apple continues to struggle as Apple Watch ship times slip

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, troubleshooting, Apple

Shipping estimates for certain models of the Apple Watch -- specifically the 42mm size of both the aluminum-based Sport edition and stainless steel Watch version -- are now in short supply around the world, from China to the UK as well as parts of Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and the US. The smaller 38mm version of the same models are still listed as shipping in June, and not all countries have pushed back the 42mm.

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Hands On: iMindQ 6.2.0 (OS X)

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

The easiest way to describe iMindQ is to say that it is a mind-mapping application: you can jot down stray ideas, then sort them out, join them up into groups, and be sparked into thinking of more related ideas. Even the makers start by calling it mind mapping, but really this is something more than that.

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The Feature Thief, conclusion: AppleWorks and the lessons learned

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: software, Apple

Over the past week, we've been having a picnic in the software graveyard of Apple's various revamps, do-overs, and outright murders of programs that sometimes suffered from having too small a niche to devote the time to (such as Aperture), sometimes got dumped by most users who outgrew them (iWeb), and occasions where Apple painted itself into a corner (iMovie, Final Cut Express, iDVD). Today, we conclude the series with the grand-daddy of Apple abandonware: AppleWorks.

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Apple updates Watch support page, admits tattoos may be a problem

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: Apple

In a response to complaints about tattoos affecting the heart rate sensor, Apple has updated a support document to admit that it may be a problem. In a new update to the document, Apple now says that "Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings."

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Grooveshark saga concludes; service dead, handed to music industry

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: audio

As part of a "settlement agreement with the major record companies," music discovery service Grooveshark has shut down. The company has agreed to "cease operations immediately, wipe clean all of the record companies' copyrighted works" and turn over the website, all mobile apps, and intellectual property including patents and copyrights to the recording industry.

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Briefly: Amazon Instant Video on iOS, Sprint Wi-Fi deal with Boingo

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: industry, iPhone apps

Amazon Instant Video now allows iOS users to watch HD content. Version 3.0 of the app upgrades the available resolution from standard definition to HD for both TV shows and movies. The same update adds cellular streaming to the app for the first time, as well as new mobile data usage settings, and also introduces streaming of content to an Apple TV using AirPlay.

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Hands On: Moshi iGlaze Armour (iPhone 6)

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, accessories

A number of cases have emerged in the marketplace for owners of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus seeking some protection for their devices without detracting from the overall style. For those not wanting to shy away from the look and feel of the aluminum-adorned phones, Moshi introduced a simple case option with the iGlaze Armour. The minimalistic case features aluminum on the back, all while adding a thin layer of protection. But does the iGlaze Armor do enough to protect iPhones without turning them into an eyesore, or should consumers look elsewhere to protect their electronic investments?

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Pointers: BusyContacts group emailing

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: software

We've said that we think BusyContacts is the best address book software on the Mac, so here's some proof. One feature that we've found we keep coming back to is the ability to email a group of people. You can select a group in Apple's own Contacts, and you can choose that group in Mail, but we never did. It was a chore. Yet with BusyContacts, we do it a lot.

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Hands On: Apple Season v1.0.1 (iOS)

Fri May 1, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

If we've said it once, we've said it a dozen times: we like arcade games. We like beating our own high scores, and we even begrudgingly admit to liking the fact that we'll eventually lose when we play them. Maybe it's nostalgia from our arcade days, or maybe it's some form of gamer-based masochism. Whatever it is, we keep coming back to the genre, time and again. One example is Apple Season, which will challenge your reflexes and ability to quickly catch apples as they fall from the sky.

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Apple Watch: UK charger, S1 teardown, battery specifics

Thu April 30, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, accessories, Apple

Along with the debut of the Retina MacBook and Apple Watch, Apple has quietly updated another item it manufacturers with a new design -- this time, the UK 5W charger for the Apple Watch and iOS devices, which sports a previously-unseen design that may change other UK Apple device chargers. First revealed by a friend of Apple design chief Sir Jonathan Ive on social media, the new adapter features foldable pins that make it less bulky than the current fixed-pin chargers seen for the iPad and other devices.

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Briefly: iOS 8 cracks 80 percent, Apple TV slips to 1-2 weeks shipping

Thu April 30, 2015 | Posted in: peripherals, software, developer, Apple

Apple has updated its App Store distribution graph for developers, showing that iOS 8 has now been adopted by 81 percent of active iOS devices. The figure, which has risen two percent from the previous report in mid-April, reflects the overall improvements brought to the system since its initial release, as well as the wide compatibility of iOS 8, which goes back to 2011's iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. The rapid adoption rate continues to be a major platform advantage for developers.

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Daily Deals: HP EliteBook, HP Envy 4000, Seiki 4K TV

Thu April 30, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming, gadgets, software, digital imaging, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, Apple

Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search for discounts, sales, offers, and money off hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of still-active deals from earlier this week is accompanied by a new batch of deals, including a $400 4K television, HP EliteBook notebooks with hard drive and SSD options, and a $50 HP Envy printer.

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Apple: EU Ireland investigation could have 'material' profit impact

Thu April 30, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

Apple has filed its latest quarterly report with the US government, and in so doing noted that an ongoing European Commission investigation of Ireland and its government's corporate tax rate could "require Ireland to recover from the company past taxes covering a period of up to 10 years reflective of the disallowed state aid," calling that potential amount "material." While difficult to gauge, the eventual impact could be in the billions for Apple.

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Anonymous sharing app Secret shutting down

Thu April 30, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone apps

Secret, the app that allowed people to share private thoughts or information publicly and anonymously, is shutting down. After consulting with the board of directors, CEO David Byttow has decided to wind down the company over the next few weeks, closing access to the apps and deleting data, declaring "Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company."

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