Copyright © 2015
Every so often, MacNN finds a deal that is too good to go into our usual deals lists, and is deserving enough to be highlighted in its own Big Deals post. If you have already exhausted the catalogs of online streaming video services, today's selection of a Getflix: Lifetime Subscription could help you find more content to enjoy in your free time.
We keep saying that you're joining us in the kitchen: finally we're going to make you a mug of tea. There's some cans in the fridge, too, we won't judge. Just get yourself something, do not under any circumstances take even one pixel of that chocolate cake we're saving, and let's have a natter.
I think that we've got a unique thing going on here at MacNN. We feature a lot of editorials, a lot of different looks at things that you might not encounter too many other places. I think that's probably the best thing about this job: that I get to read and write so many articles that actually end up being quite a bit different than a lot of the others that I come across. Here's a few of my favorite examples of the last year.
While most of the services and products Apple will announce in 2016 are not yet known for certain, one expansion effort is now clear: Apple Stores will start offering more advanced "iPhoneography" courses focusing on both creative and fundamental camera techniques, as well digital drawing and painting classes beginning next month. The higher-level courses will include technical fundamentals as well as creative ideas, and center around the iPhone and iPad Pro (with Apple Pencil).
It's a terrible reflection of us that our first instinct to protect our expensive investments quite soon disappears and we begin slinging the things in our bags. Yet if it's a brief urge, give in to it because it's also wise. DODOcase for iPad Pro comes in at around 10 per cent of the cost of the device itself and it's worth it.
[Updated 5:27PM ET with additional deals] The time between Christmas and New Years' isn't exactly known as a bargain bonanza online. However there are deals to be found -- the MacNN gang is ready with today's installment of Daily Deals! All of the dead deals have been relentlessly purged, and a new set of deals awaits your approval. Today's highlights include a 1TB Mushkin SSD for $240, Beats Solo HD Drenched Headphones for $100, and a Roku 3500R Streaming Stick for $15.
Wireless carrier AT&T appears to be completely retiring two-year contract subsidized phone plans. According to leaked employee documents, effective January 8, 2016 the only purchase plans that will remain are full-price purchases, or installment plans through the AT&T Next program. This casts a pallor over existing unlimited data-plan holdouts, as any transition to AT&T Next invalidates the older contract with the unlimited data, leaving only full-price purchases of devices as an option.
Not many people know that I am the one who writes the Game Replay column, the "thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming" MacNN has. In this second Pick of 2015 collection, I will be highlighting some of the major or interesting items that turned up on MacNN primarily through that column, though I do warn you that not everything you will read will revolve around Mac or iOS gaming.
This is sort of a "part two" to the Pointers we wrote last week about how to back up your Mac, both for immediate common-sense reasons and for other goals, such as long-term archival preservation, or for preparing to transfer data to a new machine, for example. This week, we'll do the same for iOS devices, where -- as with most things iOS -- the process is quite a bit simpler. We'll explain how to back up your iTunes purchases, your other data (and keep it safe), and how to transfer it to a new iOS device.
Spotify has become the target of a class action lawsuit, for allegedly failing to obtain proper licenses allowing it to stream certain songs and compositions. David Lowery, the frontman of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, filed the suit using law firm Michelman & Robinson LLP, demanding at least $150 million from the streaming service for "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully" streaming the unlicensed content.
Charles said that he didn't have the time, nor the inclination, to game on OS X. The same is not true for all of us here, manning the MacNN ramparts. Maybe it's because I don't work in the bit-mines for Mike full-time, but I've got the opportunity to spend some time hammering away at the keys, blasting bad guys from time to time. This year was a pretty good one for new experiences: here are four of my favorites, and they all can be found on digital game service Steam, and run on OS X in addition to Windows.
App development has taken off in the last few years, making it increasingly difficult to stay on top of all the latest versions. To help all of you out, we here at MacNN are dedicated to sorting through new update releases, and highlighting some of the important ones, as well as showcasing apps that we find to be interesting. Today, we highlight a 50 percent discount on network monitor Network Logger Pro, and also detail recent updates to mail client Thunderbird, maintenance utility MacBooster, system utility Padlock, file renamer NameChanger, and iOS app builder Compose.
Despite what the Luddite-slash-technophobe crowd is thinking, we're aware that a lot of people use their smartphones and tablets as a social, face-to-face device for both work as well as recreation. Maybe that's why we're always on the lookout for new local multiplayer games for iOS, because like you, we know that there's no reason why you can't have face-to-face fun around an iPad. Today, we check out Magic Touch, a finger-twisting multiplayer game for all ages.
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today, since we are close to the end of the year, we are highlighting items listed in the Best of 2015 section of the store, which includes some of the more popular bundles and deals sold throughout the last year.
A class action suit has been filed on behalf of iPhone 4s owners, claiming that Apple knew that the iOS 9 update would essentially cripple the older phones, and willingly didn't tell users about performance problems. The filing, made in the Eastern District of New York alleges that Apple was engaging in false advertisement by claiming compatibility, and forcing users to choose between an essentially nonfunctional phone, or taking the financial loss of upgrading to a new phone, or the double-impact of switching to Android and losing all of the purchased media and apps compatible with the iOS ecosystem.
The Wunderkinder company, makers of Wunderlist 3.4.0, was bought by Microsoft back in June 2015 and if you thought that meant the app would get subsumed into Outlook, well, you weren't alone there. However, it's had four updates since then and if it all stopped tomorrow, it'd still be a superb To Do app.
Every so often, MacNN finds a deal that is too good to go into our usual deals lists, and is deserving enough to be highlighted in its own Big Deals post. Today's selection is the Transcend 512GB MLC SATA III 6Gb/s 2.5" Solid State Drive, which enterprising users could put to work as an upgrade for their desktop or notebook, giving themselves a considerable speed boost for little outlay.
Apple is ending an investigation into its tax affairs by Italian authorities, by paying a settlement of €318 million ($347.5 million) to the country, far less than it could have ended up paying. The payment effectively ends Italy's probe into Apple's local subsidiary's finances, with authorities suspecting Apple of tax fraud by failing to comply with local tax laws for a five-year period ending in 2013.
Every so often here, I like do to a "living with" to discuss products that I've been, well, living with. Generally, I tend to do them on products that I like, but are concerned about the longevity of. After all, some products are really cool, but if you're not going to use them longer than a month, why waste the money? Well, this time it's a little different. Think of this particular Living With as a second chance -- a shot at redemption, perhaps. Today, I talk about my last two months with the iHealth Core Body Composition Scale.
So, we're all doing these must-have app articles, but here's the thing -- I use my iOS devices a bit differently than my more mobile staff. The assorted Apple fondleslabs in the house are our media extenders, educators, and entertainers. We do less creating on them then consuming, so the flavor of my four is going to be a little different. Along the way, I'm going to talk a bit about the top four apps being used in my house, and not just on my personal devices.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ