Every so often, people browse the Internet and the Mac App Store to try and find useful things to add to their app arsenal, but sometimes it's hard to find discounted apps that you really want to get. For App Deals for OS X, the MacNN staff has compiled a list of apps for your Mac that are either a great bargain, or even free for a short while.
The App Store is a constantly-changing place, with new apps joining the catalog, while others adjust their prices to encourage some new sales. App Deals for iOS aims to point you in the direction of apps for your iPhone or iPad that have been reduced in price, making them an essential purchase, or in some cases, even free.
You seem nice, can't you do do something about this? I am being directed to quit iTunes, and not open it again for a week. Now, if you're one of the many who find this software confusing, you could well be shrugging. Yet compare and contrast: MacNN managing editor Mike Wuerthele has devised this series about being forced to reexamine one's workflows and device preferences. I had to quit iTunes, while he had to force himself to wear an Apple Watch. The humanity.
There are niche markets, and there are niche markets that you should belong to. If you aren't already an Amazon Associate, think about it. Then get Associate: Simple Affiliate Linking for Amazon 1.0 as it helps speed up how you use the system. If you haven't used it, if you're not an Associate or if you've never heard of it, this is what's going on and why you should sign up.
This week's Pointers includes a tip your humble narrator did not know about until he was the recipient of a forwarded message from a mutual friends quite recently, whereupon he dropped everything and had to learn how to do it himself, and then found a head-scratching mystery. There are times when each of us has to act as a "middleman" in the iOS or Mac version of Messages -- either forwarding a message accidentally sent to the wrong friend (you), or creating (and then managing) a group chat.
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the writing team of MacNN scours online retailers to find offers, discounts, promotions and bargains for our readers to consider purchasing. The new items added to the list today includes a Vizio 32-inch HDTV for $145, an Asus Onhub dual-band wireless AC1900 router for $150, and a Monoprice graphic drawing tablet for $36.
At today's Google I/O conference, the search engine giant revealed a pair of upcoming communications apps. The first, Allo, is a Google-assisted text chat application, combined with Google's new information engine. The second is Duo -- Google's interpretation of person-to-person video calls, designed by some of the pioneers from WebRTC.
Google is altering the way it performs voice search queries to take on Siri and other competitors, becoming more conversational and assistant-like, with the upgraded Google Voice Search renamed Google Assistant. At the same time, it is attempting to fend off dedicated assistant devices, like the Amazon Echo and Alexa, confirming the rumors by announcing Google Home, a similar network-connected speaker device the company expects to ship later this year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, traveling in India this week, started his trip with a visit to a famous temple in Mumbai on Wednesday before meeting with prominent businessmen and the heads of the major carriers in India at the Taj Mahal Hotel. According to local media reports, Cook will also have dinner with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and meet with local government officials, such as Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis. Also on Cook's agenda are meetings in Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Delhi during the five-day trip, including a meeting with the country's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Printer producer Brother has added two more all-in-one device packages aimed at small office and home users to its "INKvestment" range, which combines a printer with enough ink cartridges to last for a very long time. The MFC-J985DW is able to print a black and white page for less than a penny, while the XL version of the same package increases the number of cartridges to a point where most intended users won't need to pay for a new cartridge for up to two years.
As happens every two weeks, Apple has updated its Apple Pay partners page to add yet more US financial institutions that are now supporting adding their credit and debit cards to Apple's Wallet app on iOS devices and the Apple Watch, enabling Apple Pay after a verification check. In this round, another 30 banks and credit unions have jumped on board, bringing the total to at least 1,270 institutions now offering support for the mobile wallet technology. At this point, the remaining institutions to be added are generally small local or regional institutions.
Alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's items all center around digital security, including a VPN service, a way to keep your phone number private, a tool for recovering lost data from your iPhone or iPad, and for the curious, a course teaching you about the world of white hat hacking and penetration testing.
Apparently, I'm a snob. I truly did not realize this, but I am revealed by this band. For whatever reason, I got to try the Caseit 42 mm Stainless Steel Chain Strap for Apple Watch before I got to find out the price. When I didn't know what it cost, I thought it was rather swish and expensive; I liked waving my wrist around. Then I found out it's the equivalent of about 20 bucks, and now it just feels cheap.
Apple has hired two former uBeam engineers in the past four months, and over a dozen engineers over the past two years, all of whom specialize in wireless charging. The hires align with a report from Bloomberg earlier this year that Apple was working towards an introduction of the technology for the 2017 iPhone. Currently, the only product that supports a form of wireless charging is the Apple Watch, which uses a standard method of inductive charging to keep the device powered up. The rumored technology that Apple is working on for a future iPhone would allow wireless charging from a distance.
The updated fourth-generation Apple TV appears to have given the streaming box a big boost in sales, but this wasn't enough to move it up the streaming device sales rankings, according to new data from Parks Associates. Still leading the market is Roku, with its streaming sticks and boxes claiming a 30 percent share of the US market. Amazon's Fire TV and Google's Chromecast hold a 22 percent share each, while the Apple TV retained its fourth-place ranking overall -- even though sales were up 50 percent year-over-year, thanks to the launch of the upgraded model in the fourth quarter of 2015.
For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated reliably storing three bits of data per cell, instead of one, in a technology known as "phase-change memory." The breakthrough lowers the cost of the memory, and has a wide array of uses across mobile and high-performance computing.
BitTorrent has unveiled a new video streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live, that will be available on multiple platforms -- including Apple TV, iOS and OS X. The app will support a number of live streaming channels at launch that span news, sport, music, tech, and youth culture. The BitTorrent Live app for tvOS is expected to launch this week, while the iOS and OS X versions are currently targeted for a June release window. The aim of the new app is to use its BitTorrent P2P protocols to provide customers with optimized video streams, and is the company's attempt at bringing live TV-style content across the many ways that viewers now consume it.
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, if you're in the market for a MacBook, we have a pair of offers from Groupon involving refurbished Core i7 15.4-inch MacBook Pro notebooks with Retina displays, at a hefty discount. If you act fast, one of the models can be had for $1,000!
While they're generally designed with kids in mind, we find that we also enjoy doll-maker apps that let you customize your own figure by picking your own colors, adding accessories, and more. Figuromo Kids: Simply Missy is another doll maker app that we've recently run across, and we wanted to see how it stood up to others we've tried.
Apple has taken steps to try and fix an extremely rare bug in iTunes where a user's local music files were being deleted, by sending two engineers to one user's home to find the source of the problem. A blog post from one affected user claims a pair of senior software engineers from the company were flown from California to his home in Atlanta to analyze the situation, in response to increasing reports of unauthorized music file deletions.
Apple's decision to enter the wearables market appears to be vindicated, with the latest data from IDC showing that worldwide shipment volumes have increased dramatically, to 19.7 million units in the March quarter, a 67.2 percent increase year-over-year. While smartwatches increased in popularity, basic wearables that focus on health tracking continue to dominate sales, with Fitbit the market leader. Despite selling an all-in-one smartwatch solution that is markedly more expensive than most fitness trackers, Apple still made the top five list of vendors with Apple Watch, although it dropped from second to third place.
Apple is going to help software producers in India create apps for iOS devices, by establishing a Design and Development Accelerator in the country. Based in Bengaluru, said to be the center of India's startup ecosystem, the initiative aims to provide assistance to thousands of developers in producing apps for iPhones, iPads, and the iPod Touch, teaching participants about the best practices in iOS app development and honing their skills.
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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