Following a pair of new ads that debuted on Tuesday, Apple has followed it up with an unusual single additional ad in the current campaign, which again features Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and entertainer Justin Timberlake. In the new TV spot, called "Voice Text," the pair demonstrate the WhatsApp-esque Voice Text feature in iOS 8, which allows for easy recording of voice which is then sent as an MMS message or iMessage (depending on the recipient) for times when texting is too inefficient.
Top Stories | AAPL Stock: 119 ( + 1.4 )
7 hours ago | Posted in: Apple
Apple has confirmed that the first official trailer for next year's new chapter in the saga, The Force Awakens, will debut online on Friday on iTunes. Disney, which now owns the rights to the franchise, had previously said that only 30 cinemas in the US would be screening the trailer on Friday, implying a wider release later. Rumors began shortly afterwards, however, that there would be an online debut as well.
7 hours ago | Posted in: security
In the face of increasing security measures on consumer devices, the US Department of Justice appears to be returning to old school tactics to get at data in devices. A judge in New York ordered an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to provide technical assistance in unlocking a device, something prosecutors argued under the All Writs Act of 1789. While the All Writs Act has been used in the past in technological situations, it could be the de facto means of law enforcement data requests in the future.
Apple's iOS 8 adoption rate has returned to normal levels following a brief stagnation in the wake of the botched 8.0.1 update that was only very briefly available but caused havoc for the thousands who downloaded it, and temporarily made users hesitant to upgrade. In an update on iOS 8 distribution posted to its developer website, Apple said 60 percent of users registered with the iOS App Store are now running some version iOS 8 (up four percent from two weeks ago), with 35 percent running iOS 7 (down five percent from the same period).
Home improvement retailer Home Depot is still locked into a battle over the security breach it reported in September that put 56 million credit cards at risk. However, the fight is no longer against cyber criminals, but rather consumers affected by the breach and government agencies. To date, the retailer is involved in "at least 44 civil lawsuits" in the US and Canada.
12 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, software
Microsoft has released a minor update to Skype for Mac, v7.2. The software mainly copes with several bugs, including crashes caused by changing a profile picture, playing the test sound in the Welcome tour, and/or launching Skype with Ecamm Call Recorder 2.5.11 installed. It also deals with Call and SMS buttons not working on a contact's profile page.
13 hours ago | Posted in: software
A seller of mobile phone spyware has pleaded guilty to federal charges, the Department of Justice has revealed. Danish citizen Hammad Akbar has been fined $500,000 for the advertisement and sale of the StealthGenie app, which can be used to monitor the calls, texts, and other messaging systems with few in the way of signs to the target that they are being watched.
13 hours ago | Posted in: Apple
Actress Natalie Portman is in negotiations to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic, according to Deadline. Who she might play is unmentioned, but the role is said to be a "major" one. Given Portman's age and the resemblance, that role is likely to be Lisa, Jobs' daughter.
15 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, networking
Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's Net Neutrality and Title II regulation discussion.
Apple is turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.
15 hours ago | Posted in: gaming
Firaxis and Aspyr have announced that Civilization: Beyond Earth will be available later today for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store, and on GameAgent. The game requires OS X 10.9.5 or greater, an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of drive space, and at least the Intel HD 4000 with 256MB of VRAM. Civilization: Beyond Earth retails for $50. Look for a MacNN giveaway of the title soon.
16 hours ago | Posted in: computers, peripherals, accessories, audio
Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we're attempting to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.
With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.
17 hours ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps
While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is not yet on us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.
PDFpen Scan+ is an OCR tool that can be used to create searchable PDF documents directly on an iOS device. Version 1.5 introduces an improved camera layout and a new image stabilization feature. Along with these additions, support for iCloud Drive is also included and a number of minor bugs have been addressed.
Skype is an alternative iOS keyboard that learns how a user types in order to reduce the number of typing errors. Users can type by hitting keys one after the other, or simply starting at the first letter and sliding their finger to the corresponding letters. The v1.1.1 updates includes significant improvements to the language model in Hungarian, Finnish, and Turkish.
Runtastic Pro can track cardio workout progress time to help users monitor their health goals. The software can track a number of different metrics, such as time, distances, speed, elevation, and calories, and includes audio feedback for every mile completed in a run. The latest release has been optimized for use on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and now includes direct integration with Apple’s Health app.
Over allows users to add customized text to their images. The app comes preloaded with a number unique fonts, while even more can be added via In-App Purchases. A number of new Fonts & Art Packs have been added as In-App Purchases in this release. The packs include hundreds of illustrations, as well as four unique fonts, and can be purchased individually or as a big bundle. All of the proceeds from these new packs will go directly to REDs fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Vine can be used to create short looping videos. These videos can be shared directly on Vine, as well as through Twitter and Facebook. Within the latest update users can select their favorite accounts and receive a notification whenever a new video is posted. A number of performance enhancements are also included, along with other minor bug fixes.
18 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone
Two Apple suppliers, Foxconn and Wistron, will stop their production of the iPhone 5c by the middle of 2015, says Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times. The 5c was originally launched in 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s, and like its sibling, made available in several different models. It has since become the lowest-end iPhone however, and is currently relegated to an 8GB model free on contract, or $450 unlocked.
A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.
20 hours ago | Posted in: security, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps
There are a lot of cloud services out there, and nearly all of them can be used for backing up key files and folders. A few dedicated services are focused on backing up nearly everything the user has, and thus offer large quantities of space needed for the task, but are expensive and slow. Others, like Dropbox, offer far less space but allow instant access to files across a range of devices. IDrive appears to have hit on a good middle ground: offer lots of space at a very reasonable sum, while providing a lot of configuration options, full data encryption, instant sync, multi-platform support, and even alternate ways of getting the data uploaded in the first place. Is it right for you? Find out in our review.
20 hours ago | Posted in: education, gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps
Cupcake Digital is a well-known name in the ring of games for elementary-age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. The company is now tackling two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?
Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps
Learning to play an instrument takes a lot of things. For instance, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of effort, and frequently it also takes a lot of money. Usually, it's the money that stops someone from picking up the hobby. But what if it was possible to learn to play guitar for just a couple of dollars? If you've been putting off learning to play guitar, now is the time to dust off that old six-string, or head over to the consignment shop, and start strumming with Learn Guitar by Insider.com.
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
Today in the MacNN forums, Dedicated MacNNer "ClaraT" reported that her six-year-old MacBook is starting to have intermittent graphics issues where her screen will go black, and is now contemplating getting a new system; however, she is looking for advice on what to buy -- a MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. Yesterday, Senior User "mkerr64" was considering upgrading the graphics card in his Mac Pro, and is wondering if the PSU has will be powerful enough.
At Apple's online store right now, save on refurbished Mac Pro models and accessories. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced by $450 down to $2,549. Save $600 on the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel six-core processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, now $3,399.
Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, upgrades/storage
Save $490 on the LG 34-inch UltraWide LED backlight LCD monitor right now at Newegg.com. It carries a retail price of $1,299, but has been slashed to $899. Use coupon code EMCWWHE25 to drop the price further to $809, making this the lowest price we have seen on this monitor by about $90. The LG UltraWide monitor features a resolution of 3440x1440, an aspect ratio of 21:9, 99 percent color reproduction of the sRGB standard, and is compatible with both Mac and PC.
Yahoo and Microsoft are courting Apple in hopes of becoming the default search provider for the Safari web browser next year, a report says. Apple renewed a mapping and search partnership with Google in 2010, but that contract is set to expire next year, which could give other companies an entry point. Both Yahoo and Microsoft executives are said to have approached Eddy Cue -- Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services -- about a potential deal. So far, though, there's no sign that Apple has made a decision, and indeed it could choose to remain with Google.
Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, mobile phones
Beginning on December 1, BlackBerry will be offering up to $550 for people willing to trade in an iPhone towards the purchase of a BlackBerry Passport. Shoppers will be able to trade anything from an iPhone 4S through to an iPhone 6, and receive a $150 " rel='nofollow'top-up" in addition to the phone's actual estimated value. Hitting the $550 mark requires a mint-condition iPhone 6, which is valued at $400.
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