Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches, and after spending too much over the holiday. Freebie Friday is the post where the MacNN staff find stuff you can make use of this weekend and afterwards, including a fitness app to help keep to your New Year's resolution to get fitter, an app to keep your Mac fighting fit as well, an extremely difficult iOS game, and a Jeff Buckley album.
The NFL will host three exhibition games in London in 2016 -- a country that associates the world "football" with something quite different -- and the league plans to stream on the web, and technology companies -- including Apple, Google, Amazon, and presumably the firm that streamed last year's sole exhibition match, Yahoo -- are in talks with the NFL to buy the rights to the streaming. Live-streaming of sports events is seen as key to encouraging more people to "cut the cord" of traditional cable TV, which would benefit companies that can bridge the gap in sports coverage.
Apple has filed for a permit to re-double its 412,000 square-foot existing data center cluster in Reno, Nevada. The site has always had the possibility of expansion available to it, but the new filing indicates that Apple plans to build yet another data center alongside the existing two of roughly similar size. The current facility, which has been online for some time but is not yet listed as officially finished, was called "Project Mills" during construction. The new adjacent site will be known as "Project Huckleberry."
Last month, Apple registered three car-related domain names -- apple.car, apple.cars, and apple.auto -- using the MarkMonitor registrar and fueling further speculation on the plans and timetable for a rumored foray into either advanced car augmentation or outright car manufacturing. While there is little firm evidence that Apple actually plans to make a car -- numerous regulatory and federal filings would be required, which the company doesn't appear to have done -- it seems likely that it is researching, and possibly working with a secret partner, on more advanced car technology beyond the existing CarPlay option.
Congratulations, we've all survived a five-day work week. Reward yourself with something nice! Today, like every weekday, the MacNN staff pores over the deals so you don't have to! Pick from our list, which is highlighted by Star Wars Battlefront for $35, a QNIX 27-inch WQHD monitor for $200, and Polk Audio Nue Voe in-ear headphones for $30.
Mobile broadband provider Karma is starting to reduce the speed of its Neverstop subscription service, after some users used the service for their home Internet connection. A small contingent of subscribers have allegedly used hundreds of gigabytes of data, some also apparently getting around Karma's restrictions on home video streaming devices, with the high usage forcing the company to look into placing more restrictions on the available speed.
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 new deal on system cleaner CleanMyMac, as well as cover recent updates to Git client Tower, iTunes library manager beaTunes, PDF reader Skim, geotagger HoudahGeo, HDR merger Hydra Express, and screenshot software Snappy.
There are rumors aplenty about whether Apple will drop the old 3.5mm jack plug for headphones in favor of wireless and the slimmer Lightning port. If it happens, though, we know exactly how it will go down in every sense, because we've seen this over and over again. We've seen it in hardware and we've seen it in software: Apple is remarkably consistent in how it makes changes that hurt us -- but it's also astonishingly consistent about how it works out for the best in the long run, most of the time.
Gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer's latest attempt at the wearables market is a watch, though the company claims it to be a "watch with smart functions" instead of a typical smartwatch. Following after the Nabu fitness tracker, the Razer Nabu Watch borrows many of the traits of its predecessor, combining it with a digital watch that includes a second screen, one that can display notifications from a smartphone connected over Bluetooth.
Olympus has introduced the Stylus Tough TG-870 to its ruggedized camera range, one built to withstand the elements and the knocks expected from outdoor activities. Stablemate of the TG-860, the TG-870 offers a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom, with the camera able to survive 50-foot dives into water, temperatures as low as -10C (14F), seven-foot drops, dust, and can resist crushing by up to 220 pounds of force.
In addition to the newly announced 4TB drive upgrade for the Mac Pro, upgrade vendor OWC has revealed three product updates. Leading the announcements are a capacity expansion to its mini SSD line, significant price cuts on memory upgrades for the Late 2015 27-inch iMac line, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 included in the Mercury Elite Pro Dual hard drive enclosure.
Two things: first, MailChimp is one of many services that you can use to send out mass emails, and we're covering it here partly because the way it works is illustrative of them all. We're just also covering it mostly because we like it: MailChimp is a powerful tool with decent iOS apps, and it's free to use up to a certain generous limit.
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's collection is all about improving your photography, from a pair of accessories to help while on the move, to a new camera, and even a course on how to upgrade your image-taking skills.
Devices using Apple's HomeKit technology to allow users to control or monitor devices in the home has been a significant trend at the CES showcase in Las Vegas this year. In addition to upgrades to add HomeKit compatibility to existing equipment and all-new devices along the same lines (smart thermostats, garage door openers, smoke detectors, and lighting control), companies well-established and new are bringing out other "smart" devices for the home. Announcements from Lutron, First Alert, Insteon, and Kwikset highlight some of the versatility of the emerging "smart home" trend.
Sprintis becoming the latest carrier in the United States to end two-year contracts for new accounts, according to a leaked internal document. The carrier will allegedly only offer subsidized agreements for smartphones to customers on a "reactive basis to select customers," forcing subscribers on new accounts to either pay for a device outright or to take up a leasing agreement for the hardware, instead of getting their mobile device paid for as part of a contract.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE