iOS update fixes minor issues, Safari 9 for Mac offers new features
[Updated with news of new iOS 9.1 beta] Ahead of the release of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple has released its latest major Safari for Mac update, boosting the browser to version 9.0, for both Yosemite (OS X 10.10) and El Capitan (10.11) users. Safari's earlier supported versions for Mavericks and Mountain Lion are also likely to see minor updates released later for compatibility reasons. In addition, Apple on Wednesday released another minor update for iOS 9, bringing it to v9.0.2, and unveiled a third developer and public beta of iOS 9.1.
Keep your power-hungry electronics topped off on even the longest car trips
Most cars only feature one cigarette lighter (or DC port as they're called these days), which can be a bit frustrating if you're a household of multiple devices. So what are you to do if you're on a long trip with two near-dead phones? Snag the Y-Charge Quik and charge both, of course.
New Apple iPod touch has the Nintendo DS, and Sony PS Vita in its sights
Once the darling of the Apple product range, the Apple iPod touch has become a sideshow in Apple's product range. Despite this, Apple recently gave its iPod range a small refresh, which included new color options -- but the iPod touch did also get a substantial spec bump up to the Apple's 64-bit A8 processor that powers the iPhone 6. While the upgrade will go unnoticed by most, both Nintendo and Sony will not have missed the significance of its launch.
High-end headphones offer superior sound at significant cost
Today is the fourth installment in an unplanned series about Audiofly in-ear headphones. We've taken a look at their starter models, the respectable A33 and the bolder version, the Clublife Paradise, but today we get to take a look at the high-end headphones from the company. Only the testing block today is the Audiofly AF56 in-ear headphones.
Convenient cable boasts two ends: micro USB and Lightning
If yours is a house of multiple devices chances are you leave with at least a couple of different cables in tow. But is it absolutely necessary? Doesn't it become a hassle trying to keep track of all those cords? Lucky for you, Tylt is here to fix that problem with the Flyp-Duo reversible USB charge & sync cable, a cable that lets you charge your iOS and Android products without excess cord clutter.
In-ear headphones that offer great sound but come with a high price tag
If you're like us, in your day-to-day lives you probably prefer listening to music with in-ear headphones -- and chances are you're used to trading off certain things, like great bass and overall clarity, for portability and comfort. Today, we're here to show you that there is a better option, provided you're willing to invest the money. We take a look at our third in Audiofly's in-ear headphone series, the improved AF45s.
Wall will stock units for direct sale rather than pulling stock from backroom
As part of a minor reorganization of the company's stores, Apple will make some changes to its signage, display, and layout in its Apple Stores over the next week that will see the iconic iPod line "demoted" to being a stockable product on the accessories wall rather than having its own section. Currently, a small iPod section has been used to sell both the music player and demonstrate Beats headphones, but this will be cannibalized to create space.
Cheap and cheerful fitness tracker offers features for new and seasoned gym-goers alike
Fitness tracking is hip right now, which is probably one of the more beneficial things we've done as a species, as far as trends go. If you've not jumped on the bandwagon yet, you might be a little wary about dropping a significant amount of cash on something you're not sure you're going to utilize. But if you're interested in getting started, we'd like to introduce you to Misfit Flash, a budget-friendly, feature-packed fitness tracker.
At last, some other topics not related to Microsoft -- and some MS stuff too
It's August, and that means festival season, almost everywhere. MacNN Editor Charles Martin is out on the road again enjoying a big one in Edmonton, Alberta, but he's not letting that stop him from hosting this week's episode of the show. Joining him this week are staff writer Malcolm Owen in Wales, Bradley McBurney in Kelowna, BC, and William Gallagher in Birmingham (UK, not Alabama). We predict, we blame ourselves, we mention Microsoft. Show notes after the jump.
Plug-in powerbank saves you the worry of dead batteries without taking up much space
We've all been there -- that moment when you realize that your phone or tablet is dying, and you're barely through your day. And of course, this only ever seems to happen when being near an outlet just isn't an option. For most people, we go into critical battery saving mode, dimming the screen, turning off the vibrate function -- we've all got our own battery conservation strategies. Scosche has got our backs, though, with their portable powerbank, the GoBAT 6000.
Active stylus boasts thin tip without drawbacks of Bluetooth pairing
We've checked out a couple of styluses in our day, and for the most part, they're all pretty similar. Most consist of a thick squishy tip, a conductive body, and are there for you through thick and thin, but are only slightly better than using your finger. Of course, there's some newcomers out there that have done their part, creating art-centric Bluetooth styluses that are capable of pressure sensitivity and boast thin tips at the cost of occasionally cutting out. But what about a stylus that takes the best of both worlds? Stilo figured out a way to make that happen with their thin-tipped, non-Bluetooth active stylus.
Latest seventh-generation Nanos receive new OS update
When the iPod nano was refreshed last month, the only changes were to offer three new colors: gold, pink, and blue. Although no internal hardware or software changes were made, the company on Wednesday issued a standalone software update for the device and its proprietary, custom operating system.
Tiny speaker promises to brave whatever you throw at it
Portable speakers are great, but there's still usually some sort of caveat. They're portable with an asterisk -- generally intended for indoor use, or outdoor use in "optimal conditions." If you lead an outdoorsy lifestyle, however, rarely will you be in "optimal conditions." That's why EcoxGear came up with the EcoPebble, a durable little speaker that can go wherever you do.
Fashionable speaker doubles as power bank, falls a little short on sound
If you're like us, you like your technology to work well and look good. There's nothing wrong with wanting your devices to be stylish, and there's something to be said for a device that wows you with its appearance and its capabilities. Braven takes that philosophy to heart with Lux, a Bluetooth speaker that's capable of turning heads.
Sleek headphones offer style and cordless convenience
We check out a lot of headphones here, which you've probably noticed by this point. Most headphones we check out tend to be geared toward a certain type of listener, music enthusiasts, club kids, gamers... You name it, we've reviewed it. But today we take a look at a set of headphones that could suit just about anyone's needs, especially when it comes to being downright convenient. Today, we check out the Plattan ADV Wireless headphones by Urbanears.
Flexible silicone keyboard is lightweight, portable, and damage resistant
There's no denying that we love our tablets and smartphones, but we find that extended typing on them isn't nearly as comfortable as one would hope, especially in the case of smaller tablets. Our iPad Mini is too big to thumb-text, but too small to home-row, touch-type. Having a full-sized keyboard on hand to make extended typing easier is nice. Having a full-sized keyboard that is light, portable, and damage-resistant? Even better. That's where Scosche's FreeKEY roll-up Bluetooth keyboard comes in, offering both convenience and portability.
Modestly priced earbuds deliver big sound in small, stylish package
Earbuds. We're big fans of those humble, tiny headphones that we pop in just about every time that we leave the house that seem to reproduce when left unattended in our junk drawer. And for the most part, we tend to think headphones are like pizza -- when they're good, they're great. When they're not good? Well, it's better than not having headphones. But maybe it's time we upgraded from our $8 beater headphones and tried something a bit better, so we took a look at Audiofly's AF33 in-ear headphones.
Bluetooth enabled LED bulbs create fantastic scenes in your home
If you're like most people, you don't think too much about the light bulbs that hang out in the sockets in your house. Maybe you've got a preference, but most of us are happy as long as they work and illuminate the area adequately. Still, innovation is generally a good thing, which is why we were so excited to try out the Satechi Spectrum iQ Bulb, an LED bulb that utilizes Bluetooth to give users nearly-endless lighting options.
Durable Lightning Cable stands up to abuse with multiple reinforcements
We're the first to admit that we are not easy on cables. It's not unheard of them to end up in the bottom of our laptop bag, bunched up and crushed together. We also might have a slight problem with being able to put our iPhones and iPads down long enough for them to charge fully, which often leads to the ends becoming crimped, which eventually leads to wire breakage, which eventually leads to the death of a poor, defenseless cable. Sound familiar? That's why Griffin decided to make their Premium Braided Lightning Cable, to give us serial cable-breakers something that can live up to the abuse.
A literally complete handbook on keeping your iOS devices running smoothly
Today's Pointers column was inspired by a real-life incident in which an acquaintance asked me for help in picking out a new iPad. Knowing that they had a fourth-generation iPad -- not far removed from the iPad Air 2 that I have -- I asked why. "Doesn't work anymore," they grumbled resentfully. "Lots of crashes, some apps don't even launch now." I asked if it had ever been turned off. "Every night," they said. I said, "no, not put to sleep -- turned off." "You can do that?!" they exclaimed.
Simple near-universal bluetooth remote allows for easy music and media control
Let's paint a scenario for you: you're driving along, letting your iPhone serenade you with favorites from your music collection, when suddenly it plays that one song that you hate more than anything. You look away from the road to grab your phone and switch the song to something else, and in that brief moment, you've drifted into the other lane. Sound familiar? If this sounds like something that you can relate to, we'd like to introduce you to the Satechi Media Button, a Bluetooth enabled media remote designed to help you avoid moments just like that.
Wintel installed base still larger, but Apple sees expansion headroom still
Apple reached a new milestone with its most recent quarterly report, according to analyst Benedict Evans, in that the combined sales of iOS devices now match annual sales of all Windows devices made by various manufacturers. While not unexpected, the change demonstrates the changing nature of computing in the 21st century, which has become increasingly mobile-centric and cloud-dependent -- two trends that have had significant ripple effects through the entire PC industry.
Too busy enjoying Apple Music streaming on my iPod touch
In this early season of presidential candidate pronouncements, its refreshing to see someone not running for office who can crazy with the best of them. On this week's MacNN Podcast We celebrate 10 years of podcasts along with Apple, as well as the new, updated iPod touch. We then proceed, like all good parties, to trash some things -- in this case, iTunes and Neil Young's crazy (high) horse. Show notes after the jump.
Or: I guess relative planet size and albedo makes no difference, huh?
July is well more than half over! Hard to believe, but this is already our fourth Sunday installment of the MacNN Week That Was column. In case you're not familiar, Week that Was is about the stories that entertained us, informed us, or amused us in our patrols around the Internet during the week. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game. Read on for thoughts on the events of the week in the tech world.
New 64-bit model offers up to 128GB storage, not particularly repairable
A new teardown of the latest sixth-generation iPod touch by iFixit -- a firm that sells repair tools and services -- has ranked the unit as slightly more repairable than the previous model, but continues to criticize the new device for things that would be important only to tinkerers, such as the lack of external screws and the use of adhesive to keep the device together. The teardown revealed some specifics on the new model, including a larger battery.
New iPods ship in five colors, plus PROJECT(RED) version
As expected, Apple has taken the wraps off a new iPod touch. Predictions for the device were generally correct, with the new version getting a new 8MP rear camera, 64-bit A8 processor, and M8 motion coprocessor. The new iPod touch is available in five colors: space gray, silver, gold, pink and a darker blue than the previous offering.
Store outage began at 8:50 EDT, return time unknown
[Update: store back up!] Apple's online store is down. Expected today is a refresh of the entire iPod line, bolstered by information gleaned out of last week's iTunes and OS X update. Expected are a sixth-generation iPod touch with 64-bit processor, new colors, and perhaps a new camera. No significant change is expected to pricing or specifications of the iPod nano or shuffle.
Rumored relaunch still MIA, internal specs of new models still unknown
While a rumored refresh of the iPod line -- confirmed through art leaks in the latest iTunes releases -- allegedly set for today has not yet materialized, shipping times for the devices have gotten longer on Apple's US online store, suggesting that a refresh is imminent. While full details of the updated iPods is not yet known, new color options -- including strong shades of blue, pink, and gold -- are on tap for the new models.
What do we do when Apple doesn't release 20 updates in a week?
This is the third Week that Was column, and our first since the omni-release week that was the Apple Music rollout. Seems almost desolate around here. Anyway, lets jump into it, in this third week of our Sunday discussion of the stories that entertained us, informed us, or just plain tickled us in the course of the week. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game.
The Beats 1 that just can't go wrong today
Time once again for another episode of The MacNN Podcast, this time episode 22! Since it was quite a notable week, this week's chat between Editor Charles, Managing Editor Mike, and staffers Michelle, Bradley, and Sanjiv is pretty jam-packed. The big story of the week was the launch of Apple Music, and we spend time on both the good and bad of that, but we talk about a lot more as well. Show notes after the jump.
Shuffle, Nano, Touch to continue, but no obvious visible changes seen
An image buried inside the resources of iTunes 12.2 offers a surprising revelation to iPod fans: Apple's iPod lineup, which has seen diminishing sales for years, will get another -- though possibly final -- hurrah, with new color options and likely upgraded processors and storage. All three of the company's current iPod models -- the wearable Shuffle, the diminutive Nano, and the full-sized "iPhone with no phone," the iPod touch -- will see new colors, including strong shades of blue and pink, as well as the now-expected gold option.
iPads and iPods
Right now at Apple's online store, find great bargains on refurbished iPads and iPods. The refurbished 5th generation iPod touch with 16GB of storage can be had for only $149 after a $30 discount, while $159 will get a 4th gen. 32GB Touch. Priced at $199 is the refurbished 5th generation 32GB iPod touch in blue, pink or space gray. Also available is the 5th gen. 64GB Touch in yellow or space gray for $239.
Announces new Chinese educational programs to be offered in schools
In a new interview given to the Chinese-language version of Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook admits that the company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account in its product designs, along with other factors. Cook specifically pointed to the gold color option -- first introduced with 2013's iPhone 5s and now expanded to the iPad and new 12-inch Retina MacBook line -- as reflecting in part "the popularity of that color among Chinese users."
Ford should stop selling cars because they sell more trucks, paper argues
In case you haven't heard, the Wall Street Journal has run an embarrassingly blinkered editorial called "Why Apple Should Kill Off the Mac" which is, on the face of it, nonsensical. We expect this sort of asinine fodder from the logic-averse scrawls of established nitwits like your Dvoraks, your Enderles -- but the Wall Street Journal was once a respected, legitimate newspaper (at least until Rupert Murdoch bought it).
iPods, iPads and iMacs
This week at Apple's online store, save on a selection of refurbished items from iPods to iMacs. A $30 price cut is offered on the refurbished fifth-generation 16GB iPod touch, which has been reduced to $149 from $179. The 32GB fifth-generation Touch has been cut to $199, while the 64GB configuration has seen a $60 drop to $239.
Unique headphones use bone-conduction to help keep you safe
Headphones, the humble hero of everyday life. Boring commute on public transportation? Just pop in your headphones and listen to an audio book. Noisy construction outside of your window? Slip your headphones over your ears, and have an impromptu Netflix marathon. Avid jogger? A great playlist can help workouts fly by, but in this case, headphones are more of a hindrance than a boon. Cutting out important audio cues, such as sounds of construction, car horns, bike bells, or yelling pedestrians can be dangerous. But there is a solution -- headphones that don't work by closing off your ears. We took a look at Aftershokz Bluez, headphones designed to help keep you alert at all times.
An app controlled wireless smart lamp that works with notifications
Perhaps you've already seen our review of the Dotti LED display from Witti Design. Meet Notti, Dotti's "sibling". Notti is a softball sized, asymmetric crystalline shaped, opaque white smart lamp that can glow any color. Much like Dotti, the lamp can integrate through an iOS or Android app and provide colored notifications for the user's various services. It can also act as an audio visualizer, pulsing its light in any color in time with the music. We've spent a bit of time with Notti, and people react well to it when we show off the features, but there are a few things we wish it did a little better -- check out our review to see what they are.
iPods, iPads and accessories
At Apple's online store right now, take advantage of price cuts on refurbished iPods, iPads and Apple Accessories. The fifth-generation refurbished 16GB iPod touch is now only $149 after a $30 price break, but for even more bang for your buck, get the 32GB fourth-generation Touch for only $10 more, now $159. The fourth-generation 64GB Touch is also a steal at $209, after a $120 discount.
Safari troubles, Mighty Mouse programming and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss problems they have been having recently with the copy bounding box in Safari on the iPhone as it seems to be broken at the moment. One Mac Elite who is new to OS X and the Mighty Mouse is wondering how to program the Mighty Mouse to work different.
Portable storage for all your mobile devices
It seems like no matter how much internal storage is included today's mobile devices, we, as users, will always find a way to fill them up. This is where Seagate's Wireless can come in handy, especially now that more devices are making the move away from removable media. The 500GB drive can be accessed wirelessly, meaning users can store photos, videos, and music that would normally take up precious space off of their mobile device. On paper, the Wireless seems like a very useful tool, so we managed to get our hands on one, fill it with data, and take it on vacation to see just how well it really worked.
CEO vows to improve quality, says collaboration is why Apple is better
Following an excerpt from the forthcoming biography called Becoming Steve Jobs about the mercurial co-founder and former CEO of Apple, the company's current leader Tim Cook was interviewed by Fast Company about what has changed -- and what has stayed the same -- since Jobs' untimely death in 2011. In the wide-ranging conversation, Cook owns up to some growing pains, but says the spirit of Jobs lives on.
new lower prices
At Apple's online store today, find new reduced prices on refurbished iPods, Macs and accessories. The refurbished Apple TV is now only $59, since a brand new model has been dropped to $69. With the drop in price on brand new iPod touch models (from $199), Apple has also slashed prices on reconditioned models, with the 16GB configuration now only $149.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
Fittingly enough for a racing game, let's get this out front: AG Drive ($4) is a Wipeout clone. That isn't a strike against it – the developer admits it, the Wipeout series has plenty of fans, and many worthy titles have followed the same template. But a game can hew close to that template or build a unique identity, and execution, ultimately, is everything.
win 1 of 5 copies of Workflow 1.1
What is Workflow 1.1? Is it really an "essential" tool to add to your tool kit? What's new in version 1.1? Last week MacNN explored these questions in a complete Hands On review. We discussed who this software title would be good for, and who it might not be so good for. We also secured five promo codes to give away copies of this software to our readers.
Bringing your 'brains' with you, safely and efficiently
You may have noticed that people rarely use the term "getting away from it all" when they talk about vacations anymore. Unless you are going camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere, or trying to do a cruise ship on the cheap, chances are you are in fact bringing some of "it" with you -- probably in the form of your iPhone, iPad or Mac (or all three) and a connection to the Internet. As jet-setting journalists, we have come up with a few tips for this over the years, which we now pass on to you.
Prediction based on likely development time, Apple Watch timing
Speculators are now predicting, based on the usual development cycle and other factors, that Apple will release the currently-in-testing iOS 8.2 upgrade next month. Conventional wisdom has the release as likely in the second week, approximately a month prior to the Apple Watch rollout, which is estimated for April. In related news, Apple has updated its gauge for iOS 8 adoption, now at 72 percent of users.
monitors, Macs, iPods and iPads
Apple's online store currently has a vast selection of refurbished products, from iPods and iPads to Mac Pros and accessories. Save $200 on the refurbished 27-inch Apple Cinema display with 2560x1440 resolution. It was $999, but is now $799. That monitor would pair nicely with the six-core Mac Pro which has a 3.5GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a price tag of $3,399.
Releases enter later testing phase
Apple has released fifth betas of iOS 8.2 and Xcode 6.2 to developers. Both are available through the Dev Center; iOS 8.2 is also accessible as an over-the-air update for people already using beta firmware. Exact changes have yet to be discovered, but Xcode has been updated to include the latest set of WatchKit tools for Apple Watch developers.
wireless docking is the future
This week, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with talk of everything from wireless docking to favorite apps. Yesterday, Moderator "P" shared an article about Broadwell vPro processors and wireless docking, then goes on to explain how he thinks Apple will use this technology. Yesterday, "jeff k" was trying to figure out a problem he was having with Sophos security software and Time Machine, so far a solution hasn't been found.
Strips out recording options, potentially offensive material
Twitter has released a new iPhone app linked to its Vine video-sharing network, Vine Kids. The app offers a curated selection of videos "appropriate for a young audience," and further removes the core client's ability to record new material. Animated characters guide kids through clips.