MacNN has posted a review of AKVIS Retoucher, a Photoshop plug-in designed to simplify the process of fixing dirty and damaged pictures . The software also claims to repair photographs with unwanted blurs by allowing users to select problem areas that require correction. In our full review, we test the plug-in to find its limitations and explain the process of fixing images using the software.
Amazon has begun taking pre-orders for the forthcoming Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The company is offering the software for Apple's announced price of $29 for OS X Leopard users. The retailer also provides an "Upgrade Path Alert" designed to notify customers that the upgrade is only available for Intel computers currently running OS X Leopard.
Radio Shack today teased a major rebranding of the company that signals a greater push into the same space as general electronic chains like Best Buy. Also supported by a leak stemming from Engadget, the store name should just be shortened to "The Shack" and will see the entire store network reflect this in displays this week and for signs by the end of the year. Under this change, only the corporate infrastructure would still retain the old naming scheme.
AGF has expanded its line of iPhone accessories with the new Precision HSD case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The flip-style design guards both the front and back of the device, pairing a hard outer shell with a soft microfiber lining. The case does not latch to the phone, enabling users to orient the device with the screen facing either in or out.
MV Pro Audio has released the WIVI EPIC Bundle, a complete set of Wallander software instruments including orchestral brass and reed selections. The EPIC Bundle offers realistic modeled instruments and provides an interface for playing, editing and arranging music.The package includes two libraries of saxophone samples containing 27 unique instruments, along with 47 different brass sounds and 71 woodwind entries.
While most headset makers are focused solely on audio quality -- if even that -- BlueAnt has tried to make hands-free calling a priority with its most recent headset, the Q1. It faces stiff competition from Aliph's Jawbone Prime as well as rivals from Plantronics and other high-end manufacturers. We find out in our full Q1 review if extensive voice activation is genuinely effective and if BlueAnt has paid attention to other aspects as well.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R