Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches. Freebie Friday is the post where the MacNN staff find stuff that you can get, and possibly make use of this weekend, without spending a single penny. The freebies this time include an offer arriving on May 4, a trial of a secure password storage service, and a game where you pilot a dragon and cause chaos.
A lawyer representing the family of Austin Stephanos has revealed in a court hearing that Apple has agreed to attempt data extraction on a recovered iPhone 6 used by the Florida teen, who along with companion Perry Cohen was lost at sea nine months ago. The 19-foot fishing boat the pair used was re-recovered last week after having drifted off following the initial recovery last year. The family of Cohen, along with the Stephanos family, are hoping any relevant data can be extracted from the iPhone, although it spent months in a waterlogged state under harsh conditions. Apple has not confirmed its willingness to help.
[Article updated with additional details, photos] A sales representative for high-profile handbag and satchel maker Coach has revealed that the fashion designer is planning to partner with Apple for a range of fashion bands for the Apple Watch that will likely start to debut in June, though some may follow across the rest of the year. The nine bands, which may reflect that seasonal colors, decorations, charms, and styling of the company's spring line of bags, are said to be retailing for $150 and will likely be sold at the company's boutiques and online. Unlike a collaboration with French fashion company Hermés, the Coach line appears to be offering bands only.
This edition of Pointers is actually a sequel to our column of April 20, which has proven to be a popular one, and was on the topic of changing some habits to reward yourself with big battery-life savings. We got some smart reader suggestions from our smart readers, and we did some further testing on our own (that surprised us a little bit). We'll update you on the further testing of Personal Hotspot, Low Power Mode, and rogue app behavior that can suck up needed power.
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN searches online retailers to find offers, discounts, bargains, and sales for our readers to enjoy. Expired deals from the list created over the course of this week have been purged, while the new deals list includes a 50-inch Element HDTV for $250, a 13-inch MacBook Air for $850, and a Tesoro Excalibur G7NL blue illuminated mechanical gaming keyboard for $70.
Fitbit is now less likely to endure an import ban for some of its fitness trackers into the United States, following a ruling made by a US International Trade Commission (ITC) judge yesterday. In a dispute between Fitbit and Jawbone over alleged patent infringement, ITC Judge Dee Lord ruled the last of the contentious patents owned by Jawbone to be invalid, though the ordeal is not yet over for either of the companies involved.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of the Supreme Court, has authorized a rule change that could allow any judge in any jurisdiction to issue a search warrant for the contents of computers -- including mobile devices such as smartphones -- in any other jurisdiction, a move that would certainly result in judge-shopping and widespread search powers for the government and various agencies. The rule change will take effect on December 1 unless acted upon by Congress. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has already said he will introduce legislation to undo the change, which could have major implications.
Alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's selections are all things you can use with an Apple Watch, including a collection of stands, a portable battery pack, and the ability to seriously customize your wearable device with a personalized watch band.
Do you love music? Do you hate aliens? Do you love listening to music, and killing aliens with lasers? While that's an oddly specific pastime, there's a great chance that if you think you like any of these things, you're probably going to be in the market for checking out Loud on Planet X.
TiVo, the manufacturer of TV set-top boxes, has agreed to be acquired by another company that is also quite big in the digital video recorder business. Rovi will be paying $1.1 billion, made up of approximately $277 million in cash and the remainder paid in stock, to acquire the DVR producer, with the deal apparently being seen as a way for Rovi to significantly increase its patent catalog by including TiVo's collection to the pile.
Apple continues to increase its expenditure on research and development programs. For the period January to March, the company spent $2.5 billion on R&D, a figure 31 percent higher than for the same period last year. Further, as a proportion of its total revenue, Apple's R&D expenditure reached 5 percent for the first time. Historically, Apple's R&D expenditure as averaged at around 3 percent of its total revenue. According to Apple's latest filing with the SEC, the costs were associated with hires, related expenses, compensation and material costs.
Alongside our regular MacNN Deals and Daily Deals posts, the writers of MacNN occasionally find offers that are interesting or major enough to warrant their own Big Deals post. Today, we're highlighting the MacUpdate Spring Bundle, which is offering a collection of ten productivity and creative apps for your Mac, as well as a bonus app for those placing early orders.
The FBI may not have spent as much to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5c than previously claimed by the director of the bureau, according to a report. A previous suggestion by Director James Comey that put the price of the hack in excess of $1.3 million dollars is being declared as an over-inflated number, with numerous government sources of a report putting the figure somewhere below $1 million.
We've got another game for all you casual puzzle game addicts -- something that doesn't rely on stress as a mechanic to trip you up, or something that doesn't force you to do things for a set amount of points. This time we're taking a look at Radiant Grid, a simple puzzle game that is easy to pick up, and harder to put down.
Apple will resume its share buyback program on Friday, following a mandatory period where the program was suspended. Following Apple's relatively disappointing fiscal Q2 earnings report for the period January to March, the company's stock took a battering, wiping around $40 billion from its market cap. However, with share prices dipping down to its lowest level this year, Apple is poised to take advantage of any turnaround that it is able to engineer in the short to medium term.
Luxury camera producer Leica has launched its latest high-end digital imaging device, but one that is missing a very common component that usually appears on digital cameras. The Leica M-D (Typ 262) is a 24-megapixel camera with a full-frame CMOS sensor and the Maestro image processor, but unusually the company has decided to purposely leave off any way of being able to review any shots taken on the camera itself, as it lacks displays.
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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