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Twitter introduces Digits, a new way to log into applications

10/22, 9:32pm

Digits offered in Twitter's Fabric development kit, uses only a phone number

Twitter started putting the pieces into place to distance users from password requirements with the announcement of Digits. The company unveiled the new platform at its first mobile developer conference in San Francisco today as a part of its Fabric suite of development tools. Rather than relying on a username and password for every app, Digits uses a telephone number and text messages to confirm identities instead.

Apple found not guilty of infringing on expired GPNE patents

10/22, 9:09pm

Company directly refers to plaintiff as 'patent troll,' calls for continued patent reform

Non-practicing entity GPNE, which had tried to sue Apple over alleged infringement of expired pager-related 3G wireless patents, has come away completely empty-handed after a jury exonerated Apple of all charges. The firm, which has attempted to sue or sued most other big-name tech firms over the same or similar patents, had sought $94 million in damages (which Apple had referred to as an "attempt to extort money" from the iPhone maker), but was awarded nothing.

AT&T reveals third quarter earnings, falls short of estimates

10/22, 8:11pm

Carrier pulls $33 billion in revenue, added over 2 million mobile, broadband customers

AT&T's quarterly results fell short of industry projections when the company announced $32.9 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2014. The resulting earnings per share (EPS) was $0.63, missing the projected $0.64 EPS on $33.25 billion in revenue. While the company may have missed projections, it announced that it picked up more than 2 million mobile and broadband customers.

Teardown of iPad Air 2 by iFixit confirms 2GB RAM, smaller battery

10/22, 8:00pm

Lack of antenna for NFC radio hobbles unit for Apple Pay retail buying

A new teardown of the iPad Air 2 has confirmed much of what was speculated about the device, but has also revealed some minor surprises. The team at iFixit have rated the new iPad a "two" on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most repairable. The company says that while the new "fused" display is better visually, and sturdier when opening up the iPad, it will also increase the cost of repair for a cracked screen. The teardown also revealed that the latest full-size iPad features a smaller battery and more RAM.

Google debuts Inbox as tool for managing email with automated bundling

10/22, 7:35pm

Inbox created by same team behind Gmail, invitation-only at first

Google has started to invite people to try out its new email service, one that has been in development for a number of years. Made by the same team behind Gmail, Inbox aims to help users manage their incoming e-mail by automatically grouping similar emails together and by picking out what it believes to be the more important incoming messages.

Rare Apple I computer sold at auction for $905,000

10/22, 6:42pm

Takes second place in all-time high price paid for a personal computer

On the same day that Apple's stock closed at the second-highest price it has achieved in 2014, a new record-high price for its first computer -- the original Apple I -- has also been set, by a considerable margin. While an incredibly rare still-functional Apple I model (thought to be one of just six in such pristine condition) along with a letter from Steve Jobs was sold in May 2013 for $671,400, the latest auction in New York saw this latest unit -- one from the original first batch of 50 -- change hands for $905,000.

FCC freezes clock on merger reviews of Comcast/TWC, AT&T/DirecTV

10/22, 5:33pm

Confidential programming agreements requested in early October source of the delay

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped its "180-day informal time clock" in the review of the merger proposals for between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as AT&T and DirectTV. The reason for the stoppage involves the modified joint protective orders that the FCC created at the beginning of October, which content companies are now using to bar outside sources from reading confidential programming agreements.

OS X Yosemite nudges Chrome, Firefox users into trying Safari

10/22, 5:08pm

Marketing built into new OS

People using Chrome or Firefox within OS X Yosemite are seeing push notifications asking them to try Safari, accounts say. The messages tout Safari as "fast, energy efficient, and with a beautiful new design," and even include "Later" and "Try Now" buttons. They appear to be triggered by launching Chrome or Firefox for the first time after the Yosemite upgrade.

Giveaway: Rapoo 3920P wireless laser mouse

10/22, 4:42pm

Rapoo 3920P wireless laser mouse

What is Rapoo? Rapoo makes peripherals for computers, gaming and mobile phones as well as smart home devices. Why does that matter? Because Electronista has one Rapoo wireless laser mouse to give away to our readers. This mouse retails for $40 and we think one of our readers should own one, so we are giving it away.

iPad Air 2, Mini 3 now available for Personal Pickup at Apple Stores

10/22, 4:14pm

Option temporarily restricted to Wi-Fi models

Shoppers at Apple's online store now have the option of selecting Personal Pickup as a delivery option for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. When preorders opened last Friday, the company required all orders to be shipped. Notably, some stores are listed as having iPads ready for pickup today, even though Apple Store workers are saying they won't have tablets on sale until later this week, or even next week. Shipped orders are beginning to arrive on doorsteps however.

Barnes & Noble unveils Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1

10/22, 4:14pm

Second Nook-branded Samsung tablet goes on sale in time for holiday shopping

Samsung is continuing to produce devices under its Nook agreement with Barnes & Noble, by launching its second co-branded tablet in time for the holidays. The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1 follows the same pattern as laid out by the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, in using effectively the same hardware as the standard Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, but combined with Nook software.

FBI director asks Congress to update law to circumvent encryption

10/22, 3:50pm

Comey seeking update to CALEA to give law enforcement a 'front door' into devices

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey isn't giving up his crusade to persuade the government and businesses that law enforcement should have access to encrypted phone data. Comey took his fight to Congress recently, asking that it update the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to cover newer technologies.

Avast 2015 adds Home Network Security, SecureDNS

10/22, 3:20pm

Mac will have to wait for key features

Avast Software has launched Avast 2015, an update of its multiplatform security suite. The main addition this year is a tool called Home Network Security, which scans a local network for potential vulnerabilities. These may include things like weak or default router passwords, unprotected IPv6 use, and already-compromised Internet connections. A related new feature is called SecureDNS, which offers encrypted traffic between a computer and an Avast-operated DNS server, reducing the chance of DNS hijacking.

Apple Pay bugs cause problems with card images, overcharging

10/22, 2:39pm

Fix for card images in progress, sources say

Although the service appears to be working in general, Apple Pay is encountering some early technical problems. One issue is that in some cases, the correct card designs aren't being displayed in Passbook. Affected cards will show generic logos for their associated institutions, and possibly lack descriptions as well, which can make numbers the only way to distinguish between them when a person has multiple cards from the same firm. Sources claim that a fix for the bug is already underway.

Hands On: RapidWeaver 6 (OS X)

10/22, 2:18pm

Improved graphic-focused website creator now more powerful

Just because you need a website, doesn't mean that the best option is to hire someone to create one out of whole cloth. The alternative is either learning HTML, CSS, and a host of other acronymic technologies, or seeking out all-in-one website design software that allows users to publish a website without requiring coding knowledge or a ton of design expertise. Realmac Software has announced the release of RapidWeaver 6, an upgrade to its longstanding website creation app, and we've had a chance to put it through its paces.

Unity Technologies names ex-EA exec John Riccitiello as CEO

10/22, 2:04pm

Unity founder David Helgason remaining with the company

Cross-platform game development engine designers Unity Technologies has named a new chief executive. John Riccitiello, the prior chief of EA, is the new head of the company, with David Helgason stepping back. Helgason will continue with the company, and is planning on focusing on improving relationships with developers as well as "working with some insanely talented people here at Unity."

Ricoh unveils three laser printers with 23 page-per-minute output

10/22, 1:49pm

Monochrome Ricoh SP 213 series printers include Ethernet, Wi-Fi networking

Ricoh has launched a set of three monochrome laser printers in the United States. The SP 213SNw and SP 213SFNw multifunction printers and the SP 213Nw printer all offer print speeds of up to 23 pages per minute, a low 10-second wait for the first print, minimal warm-up times, and a number of different connectivity and networking options.

Early reviews call Air 2, Mini 3 best iPads ever, but just iterative

10/22, 12:56pm

Mini 3 criticized for not having enough value

Early reviews of the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 are beginning to arrive, and are typically touting the tablets as Apple's best ever, but with some caveats. Re/code's Walt Mossberg for instance says they represent a "modest evolutionary improvement over last year's models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year." He suggests that the Air 2 may be worth buying for people owning an iPad older than last year's model.

Pangu team debuts early, developer-only iOS 8.1 jailbreak

10/22, 11:07am

Said to support latest iPhones, iPads

The Pangu jailbreak team has developed a new hack for iOS 8 and 8.1 devices, reports and the team's website note. The initial release is said to be intended strictly for app developers, since it doesn't install Cydia or other services designed to make jailbreaking simple and practical. The public version is in fact waiting on those services being brought up to speed for iOS 8.

Briefly: Sky+ mobile app update, UberXL launches in United Kingdom

10/22, 10:55am

Sky updates mobile app with refreshed home screen, Smart Series Link

British broadcaster Sky has updated its iOS and Android Sky+ apps to allow users to display their photographs from their mobile devices on the television through the Sky+ HD set-top box. The app also includes a new updated homepage, complete with a dedicated Sports section, and a Smart Series Link option that lets the Sky+ box record all current and future seasons of selected programs.

Apple CEO meets with Chinese official to discuss iCloud hijacks

10/22, 9:51am

Chinese government so far denying involvement

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss man-in-the-middle attacks against iCloud users, according to Reuters and China's state-run Xinhua news agency. Reuters notes that the Chinese government has so far denied allegations of involvement, which in particular tied the attacks to the state firewall used to censor Internet access in the country. As for the meeting, Xinhua says only that the pair shared views on "protection of users' information" and "strengthening cooperation and in information and communication fields."

Moto 360 software update ships, wireless charging dock on Google Play

10/22, 8:33am

Latest Moto 360 update adds battery saving option, mood lighting

Owners of the Moto 360 smartwatch have received two bits of good news this week. The latest Android Wear update for the Motorola smartwatch introduces more battery-related improvements, along with other software tweaks, while Google Play has started to include the Moto 360 Wireless Charging Dock among its hardware listings.

AR start-up Magic Leap secures $542M investment from Google, others

10/22, 7:32am

Major investment made in augmented reality company using eye projection system

A start-up working on augmented reality technology has managed to secure $542 million in its latest round of funding, with the collection of investors led by Google. Magic Leap, which is apparently creating its own augmented reality glasses, will also receive extra guidance from the search company, with Android and Chrome lead Sundar Pichai joining the company's board, with head of corporate development Don Harrison also joining as a board observer.

Google Play Music updates Listen Now page, adds Songza playlists

10/22, 6:49am

Human-curated playlists available on Google Play Music All Access in US, Canada

Google Play Music has been updated for both Android and iOS, with a new look and extra features. While it has received a Material Design-influenced makeover, similar to the leaked Gmail update, the main change users will notice is the inclusion of activity and time-related playlists, something Google has introduced courtesy of its acquisition of Songza in July.

Apple SEC filing reveals executive RSU bonuses, lobbying costs

10/22, 12:13am

Company uses restricted stock units, conditional on performance, as incentives

In its latest SEC 10-Q filing, Apple has revealed certain company details -- including the fact that it still spends a small fraction of the money other tech firms do on Washington lobbying, and that it continues its practice of awarding its executives restricted stock units (RSUs) that could be worth millions if they stay with the company and it continues to do well. CFO Luca Maestri and Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Dame Angela Ahrendts both received their first executive bonuses as part of the disclosure.

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