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Briefly: Booq's Cobra pack, NatureArt 6.0 released

6 hours ago | Posted in: accessories

Booq has announced the release of its newest laptop backpack offering this week: the Cobra pack. Comprised of a 1680 denier ballistic nylon exterior with a water-repellent coating, items within the pack are protected from weather conditions, and its quilted inner lining prevents damage during transport. The bag's main compartment features two open pockets and a slip pocket that offers easy access to something like a magazine or book while travelling. Its zippered mesh window pocket keeps passports, tickets and important items accessible, and its separate zippered padded laptop compartment can accommodate a 15- to 17-inch laptop. A second zippered back pocket can hold a tablet.

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Rumor: Apple working with Swatch, Timex, more for 'iWatches'

8 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, gadgets, Apple

Though Swatch is perhaps best-known these days for pooh-poohing the idea that Apple's forthcoming "iWatch" health device would "be a revolution," a new rumor from anonymous sources claims that the Swiss watchmaker may be among other watch firms working with Apple to bring the "iWatch" technologies to a wide range of co-branded devices for different markets. While such collaborations would be unusual for Apple normally, the company has been opening itself up to more partnerships lately.

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RBC follows others, raises AAPL to $110 by year's end

10 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, Investor, industry, Apple, iPad

Despite some disappointments in Apple's latest quarterly earnings report, analysts appear to be satisfied that the company's overall financial picture is in order, particularly on the strength of rising margins and strong developing market sales. The stock closed up $2.47 on Tuesday (an increase of 2.61 percent) to close at $97.19, not far from its 52-week high. On Tuesday, RBC Capital Markets raised its year-end target price to $110, joining Barclays and Morgan Stanley in predicting the company would hit an all-time high this year.

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Report: Apple could debut payments system, e-wallet with iPhone 6

13 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, enterprise, developer, Apple

A new report is claiming that Apple is accelerating its plans for a grand "digital wallet" mobile payments system, which could even be ready to debut in the same time frame as the expected "iPhone 6." The company is said to be in talks with Visa to create a partnership agreement that would allow consumers to pay for goods and services using only their iPhone, leveraging the "secure enclave" portion of the A7 chip and Touch ID to create what would be expected to be a seamless mobile payment system.

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Gameloft early access contest for Modern Combat 5 results in piracy

13 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

It turns out that winning an early access to game isn't enough to satisfy every fan as mobile developer Gameloft recently learned. In a contest that gave fans access to Modern Combat 5: Blackout before its expected July 24 release date, one of the lucky winners decided to crack the game and upload it for distribution. Afterward, thousands of players turned up in the game before its release on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices.

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Briefly: New Griffin iPad Air case, new apps for FiftyThree's Pencil

13 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, software, developer, accessories, Apple, iPad

Griffin Technology has announced the release of a new rugged case for use with iPad Air. The Survivor Slim aims to deliver protection for all conditions, featuring a shatter-resistant shell and silicone bumper for absorbing the shock of a drop. Its accompanying screen shield prevents scratches and smudges, and the flexible button covers deflect dust, dirt, and rain from entering vulnerable places on the tablet.

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Facebook hits $2.9 billion in second quarter revenues, up 61 percent

14 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Facebook released its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of 2014, showing a large increase year-over-year. Revenues topped out at $2.9 billion, a staggering $1.1 billion, or 61 percent, increase from 2013. The revenue jump is due largely to advertising revenue and an increase in daily and monthly active users.

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AT&T misses revenue guidance, blames customer transition to AT&T Next

15 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Communications giant AT&T has released its quarterly earnings report for its second quarter of the fiscal year. AT&T's consolidated revenues totaled $32.6 billion, up 1.6 percent versus the year-earlier period. Compared with results for the second quarter of 2013, operating expenses were $27.0 billion versus $26.0 billion; operating income was $5.6 billion versus $6.1 billion; and operating income margin was 17.2 percent versus 19.1 percent.

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FCC reminds broadband providers that they can't lie to customers

15 hours ago | Posted in: industry

In a public notice to Internet service providers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminded business that they cannot lie to consumers about the services they offer. The notice informs business and the general public that "every provider of broadband Internet access in the United States" is subject to the Open Internet Transparency Rule.

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Procreate 2.1 adds ColorDrop, reference layers, other new features

15 hours ago | Posted in: Graphics/Web Design, iPad, iPad apps

Savage Interactive has released v2.1 of Procreate, its professional-level illustration app for the iPad. The update is a major one, adding a number of new features, most significantly ColorDrop. Users can now simply drag and drop a color to a location to fill; before dropping, continuing to hold will bring up fill threshold controls.

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Sources call for Yosemite in late Oct., Retina MacBook, Mac with 4K

17 hours ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, Apple

OS X Yosemite -- which is going into public beta tomorrow -- should eventually ship in late October, sources claim. The present plan is reportedly to keep releasing new developer betas every two to three weeks through September 29th. Work should then shift to a gold master build, due October 10th. Final details, including a launch date, may be announced at Apple's October media event.

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Apple 8-K filing shows Apple spent $1.6B on June-quarter R&D

19 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Apple's spending on research and development jumped 36 percent year-over-year in the June quarter to $1.6 billion, according to the company's latest 8-K filing with the SEC. That brings the company's R&D totals for fiscal 2014 so far to $4.36 billion, 32 percent more than it spent during the same timeframe in 2013. The pacing of R&D has also accelerated throughout 2014.

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Apple 'tentatively' planning mid-September event for iPhone 6, iOS 8

19 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, developer, Apple

Apple is "tentatively" scheduling a press event for mid-September to reveal the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and final launch details of iOS 8, sources say. The people add that the second and third weeks of September are the most likely target, but that uncertainties about manufacturing timetables are a factor. The 5.5-inch iPhone may also be shown at the event, but that has likewise yet to be decided.

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Sony puts $345M towards boosting mobile image sensor production

20 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, digital imaging

Sony has announced plans to invest 35 billion yen, or about $345 million, on scaling up production of image sensors for phones and tablets. Manufacturing of stacked CMOS sensors will increase at two factories in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu; meanwhile, the company is planning to complete work on a factory in northwestern Japan that it bought from Renesas. The hope is to boost wafer output 13 percent to 68,000 per month by August 2015, moving towards a longer-term target of 75,000, itself just a mid-term goal.

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iOS apps: Instapaper, Hootsuite, Dropbox

22 hours ago | Posted in iOS apps

  • 17MB

    Instapaper 5.2.1 ($4)

    Instapaper is a tool for saving web pages for later offline reading. Optimized for readability on iOS devices, the software saves most webpages as text only and includes options for changing fonts, text sizes, line spacing, and margins. Version 5.2.1 includes an option delete confirmation, as well as fixes for share sheet clipping on the iPad and and a missing “Shake for Random” row in Advanced Settings.

  • 13.5MB

    Hootsuite 2.6 (free)

    Hootsuite is a social media management app that can help users share and schedule posts for multiple accounts simultaneously. The latest release includes an all new Compose and Profile Picker interface, which includes the ability to mark social networks as favorites so that they are selected by default when composing new messages. A new image viewer is also included, allowing users to view images in full screen and easily share them with others.

  • 28.1MB

    Dropbox 3.2.1 (free)

    Dropbox provides users with access to all of the files that have been stored in their cloud-storage account. Furthermore, users can select favorite files that can be viewed even when no internet connection is available. Support for animated GIFs has been added in this release, along with various other minor bug fixes and improvements.

  • 1.4MB

    ReplayCam 1.2 ($2)

    ReplayCam can be used to access the maximum frame-rate an iOS device is capable of for creating slow motion replay videos. While recording users just need to tap and hold the replay button and the last three seconds of the video will be replayed in slow motion. The latest release addresses a number of reported bugs.

  • 62.9MB

    Fliptastic 1.45 ($1)

    Fliptastic is a tool for creating slideshows that can be shared on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Several bugs have been addressed with this release, including one related to Add Text alignment issues. A number of crashes have also been resolved and the overall stability of the Instagram photo selector has been improved.

 
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First public beta of OS X Yosemite to go live on July 24 [U]

22 hours ago | Posted in: software, developer, Apple

The first public beta of OS X Yosemite will be made available on Thursday, July 24, Apple has revealed in a meeting with The Loop's Jim Dalrymple. The public release will be the same code seeded to developers on Monday. To get it, people must sign up for the OS X Beta Program, which is limited to the first million participants.

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Apple document attempts to explain alleged backdoors in iOS

22 hours ago | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, security, Apple, iPad

In another step to address concerns of possible backdoors in iOS, Apple has published a newdocument explaining what three services are intended to do. The first, com.apple.mobile.pcapd, is said to support "diagnostic packet capture from an iOS device to a trusted computer," something useful for "troubleshooting and diagnosing issues with apps on the device as well as enterprise VPN connections." Another, com.apple.mobile.file_relay, "supports limited copying of diagnostic data from a device."

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Previous News

Cook: Apple has made 30 acquisitions thus far in fiscal 2014

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, developer, audio, Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed during Tuesday's conference call with analysts that Apple had acquired 30 companies and/or their talent over the course of the past nine months, back to the beginning of the fiscal year which began last October. Of these, less than half have been publicly revealed -- though a few of the higher-profile buyouts, such as the record-setting Beats Electronics and Music deal, have made headlines. On the topic of the latter company, Cook shared a bit more detail on the thinking behind it.

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Mid-2011 MacBook Air EFI update causing crashes, other issues

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: troubleshooting, software, Apple

A firmware update, issued on Monday for "Mid-2011" MacBook Air models running OS X 10.9.2 and later, apparently has a bug in either the code or the downloaded file, which is causing reports of system crashes and occasionally a failure to install properly, leaving MBA owners unable to boot the machine. The purpose of the firmware update was to correct two "wake from sleep" issues that affected only "mid-2011" MBAs running 10.9.2 or later. Some users have found that an SMC reset can restore the units to functional status.

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Hands on: Power Support Air Jacket for iPhone 5s, iPad Air

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, accessories, iPad

Finding the right case to protect your gadgets can be an expensive hit-or-miss affair. With plastic smartphone cases typically priced at around $20-$30 and tablet cases typically priced at around $30-$40, it can be an expensive mistake if you end up with one that you aren't happy with. Power Support is a Japanese-based company that has been making Apple accessories for the past few years. In particular, they are known for developing relatively thin and light, translucent polycarbonate cases for Apple's iPhone and iPad range that are popular because they help to preserve the beautiful appearance Apple's products without covering them up completely. Are they worth a look?

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Review: D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets, accessories

Home automation fans have been getting their fair share of gadgets and accessories in the last few years. Starting with light bulbs, and ramping up to larger machines like refrigerators and washing machines, the home automation market appears to be growing every day. Smaller devices are still paving the way for consumers to jump into "smart home" products, giving companies like D-Link a chance to test the waters with new offerings. One such product, the Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215) gives consumers a small taste of remote home control and monitoring. But is it the correct entry item for users to try? Find out in our review.

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Cook: iPhone 5c, not 5s, was fastest-growing phone in June quarter

Wed July 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Investor, industry, mobile phones, Apple

One of the most surprising things analysts heard on Tuesday in Apple's quarterly earnings conference call that was low on surprises was that year-over-year growth of the iPhone 5c is strong -- so strong, in fact, that its share gain outpaced that of its previous-year rival in the mid-tier "slot" in Apple's lineup, the iPhone 4S, at the same point in the previous cycle. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts that it even outpaced the growth rate of the iPhone 5s vs the iPhone 5, and the 4S versus the iPhone 4, each in their respective tiers.

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Apple TV, Roku getting FXNow with Simpsons World in next 12 months

Tue July 22, 2014 | Posted in: software

According to news from television writer Jason Lynch, Apple TV and Roku streaming devices will gain the FXNow on-demand service within the next 12 months. The news emerged from today's Fox and the FX Network stop on the Television Critics Association Press Tour. With the new app comes "Simpsons World," a new service that provides streaming of the 522 episodes of the animated television series.

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Apple hit with new employee lawsuit in California court

Tue July 22, 2014 | Posted in: Apple

While Apple wrestles with a lawsuit alleging an improper "gentleman's agreement" that prevented it and other tech firms from "poaching" their most valuable employees, the company has now been named in another legal action that concerns itself with labor violations for its retail and corporate operations workers. The new lawsuit, granted class certification on Monday, charges Apple with mismanaging and providing inadequate breaks and meal times, as well as being slow on issuing final paychecks.

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Briefly: Airframe+ phone car mount, Yantouch Diamond + speaker

Tue July 22, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets, accessories, audio

Kenu has released a new extended size of its Airframe phone car mount, the Airframe+. The Airframe+ allows drivers to have their smartphone at eye level in the vehicle, ready for accessing GPS directions, streaming music, and engaging in hands-free calls. Its expandable, spring-loaded jaw supports a full range of smartphones and "phablets", the mount is capable of accommodating devices that include the iPhone 5 and 5s, with a four-inch screen, to the Lumia 1520, with a six-inch screen. Oversized cases, such as the Otterbox Defender and Mophie battery cases, can also fit inside the mount.

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Cook blames second quarterly drop in iPads on anticipation

Tue July 22, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple, iPad

For the second time in as many quarters, Tim Cook has had to explain away drops in iPad sales. Last quarter, the iPad saw a 16 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, but Cook detailed a credible explanation that channel inventory from the holiday season had overstuffed retailers and that the drop was actually only three percent because of that, which fell within normal ranges. This time, iPad sales were down about 9.2 percent, which Cook largely blamed on anticipation for the next iPad coming this fall.

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Apple Q3 breakdown shows biggest growth in China

Tue July 22, 2014 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, Investor, accessories, Apple, iPad

In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.

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