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Hands On: Samson Go Mic Direct

1 minute ago | Posted in: computers, audio

Laptop sound, especially on el cheapo computers, is generally terrible. Compounding this, the diminutive microphone installed is about the same quality. Fortunately, we all have USB, and Samson has introduced the Go Mic Direct to fill one of these ports. At two by two inches, with no boom, how does the compact package stack up, and is it a worthwhile addition to your go tech bag?



Acemile debuts wireless Bluetooth surround sound with Theatre Box

18 minutes ago | Posted in: audio

Consumer electronics manufacturer Acemile has introduced the Theatre Box, a portable wireless speaker that delivers a 360-degree surround sound audio experience to everyone in the room, no matter the orientation to the speaker. The company claims that the speaker fills a 2,000 square foot room, using four two-inch full range drivers and one three-inch active bass driver.



Hands On: 1Password 5.2 (iOS)

8 hours ago | Posted in: security, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Admit it: if you've already got 1Password, then you use it for creating superbly strong passwords for any site you use -- but the password you use to unlock the app itself is rubbish. That's partly because you've used this password since the dawn of time, and it's ingrained in you, but it's also because changing it across your Mac, iPhone and iPad is a pain. Not anymore. The new update is to the iOS version, but now if you change you password on your Mac, it will automatically change on your iOS devices.



Apple to developers: Watch apps ready by mid-February

12 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, developer, Apple

Recent reports have suggested that Apple is notifying its highest-profile developers who are known to be working on Apple Watch apps to be sure the programs are ready for launch by mid-February, about a month earlier than expected. Similarly, Apple is asking Apple Pay partners who will be creating iOS apps with Watch support to have them ready by specifically the 12th of February. Apple CEO Tim Cook has already announced that the Apple Watch will ship in April.



Hands On: iRemocon Smartphone-based home electronics controller

14 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, networking

The iRemocon is an Internet-connected device, intended to allow the user to control multiple home electronics from an app on their smartphone. This is intended to simplify wireless control of one's "appliances" either at home or while out and about. Unfortunately, the device relies heavily on infrared signals, which offer some severe limitations regarding placement and reliability.



Chongqing Apple Store revealed ahead of opening

16 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple is opening its latest Chinese Apple Store -- this time a new, standalone store in Chongqing, the second Apple store for the city. Local media were allowed access to the interior as the previously-reported cityscape mural was removed to reveal an all-glass cylinder shape, similar to the store in Shanghai, with a glass staircase leading below ground to the actual store. This will be the third of five stores Apple has promised to open in China by the start of the Lunar New Year.



MacNN Forums: wireless docking is the future

19 hours ago | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, computers, troubleshooting, software, Apple

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.



Apple deals: expanded Mac Pro selection

19 hours ago | Posted in: computers, Apple

Apple has added a boatload of refurbished current Mac Pro configurations to their lineup this week at Apple's online store. Starting at $2,549 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics. For $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe-based flash storage.



DealNN: curved monitors, MacBook Airs and more

19 hours ago | Posted in: computers, peripherals, upgrades/storage, Apple

Right now at, take advantage of a $211 price cut on the Dell UltraSharp 34-inch WQHD curved LED monitor. It was $1,200, but has been discounted to $988. That discount makes this the best price we have seen by roughly $160. This monitor offers a resolution of 3440x1440, an aspect ratio of 21:9, an 8ms response time, and includes HDMI, MHL, Mini DisplayPort and DisplayPort connectivity options. It is backed by a three-year warranty on parts and labor from Dell.



Twitter launches Vine Kids app for iPhone

21 hours ago | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, iPhone apps

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.



Amazon, Apple, Google reach deal with Italy on 'free-to-play' apps

22 hours ago | Posted in: industry, gaming, developer, Apple

Major app store operators Amazon, Apple, and Google -- as well as French publisher Gameloft -- have reached a deal with Italy's Antitrust and Competition Authority that will let them avoid fines for misleading people about so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps. The Wall Street Journal reports that the companies have agreed to remove the word "free" from apps that may require in-app payments to be useful. The parties have also committed to making it clearer when a person is about to make an in-app purchase. All of the changes will be applied across the European Union.


Apps: Comic Life, DEVONthink Pro, Cyberduck

23 hours ago | Posted in apps


    Comic Life 3.0.8 ($30)

    Comic Life can be used to turn digital images into personalized comic book panels. The v3.0.8 update has fixed a bug that forced extension balloons to be the same type as the primary balloon.


    DEVONthink Pro 2.7.7 ($80)

    DEVONthink Pro is an organization tool that mimics the functionality of a filing cabinet. Within the software users can store and manage all of their important documents, e-mails, and multimedia files. The latest release now lets users select and copy text from Quick-Look-based views, and offers automatic wiki-linking support for plain text. A number of issues with syncing have also been addressed, along with other minor bugs and glitches.


    Cyberduck 4.6.4 (free)

    CyberDuck is an open source FTP and SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer) browser licensed under the GPL. The application features integration with external editors, as well as support for many Mac OS X system technologies such as Spotlight, Bonjour, the Keychain, and AppleScript. A crash that occurred when opening preferences without the default editor installed has been resolved with the v4.6.4 update. Downloading files with Content-Encoding metadata will also now decompress and truncate the content.


    Ember 1.8.3 ($50)

    Ember is a digital scrapbooking app that can be used to store and organize websites, photos, apps, and many other things. Any content added to the app can be organized into collections, while tags can be used to further sort items. In the latest update, Ember will now automatically detect any new GIFs added to a library. Problems with snapping webpages in the Ember browser have also been fixed, along with issues with screen recording on OS X Yosemite.


    Todoist 6.1 (free)

    Todoist automatically syncs a users tasks across all of their devices. Keyword searches can be used to retrieve any desired task from within the app, while reminders can be set to show up as both e-mail and text notifications. Version 6.1 solves an issue that prevented users from uploading files from either Dropbox or Google Drive. The default date on a quick add has also been removed in this release.


Friday Deals: 60-inch LG TV, Silicon Power SSDs, PlayStation TV

23 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gaming, software, upgrades/storage, networking, audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps

It's the end of the working week, and that means it is just two days until a major sporting event involving football. It's also the time we publish Friday Deals, the post where we collect together deals and offers from around the Internet for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just as always, deals may change or end in the future, but are correct at the time of posting, so check beforehand, and come back over the weekend as more deals will be posted later.



Hands On: Tengami (OS X, Windows)

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming

When it comes to video games, the puzzle genre may very well be the most varied kind. There are the match-3s, the codebreakers, the word games, and the classic puzzle-adventure. Popularized by games like Myst and Monkey Island, the genre has been a long standing fixture of gaming. We took a look at newcomer Tengami, a point-and-click adventure game by developer Nyamyam.



TUAW, Joystiq to close and fold into Engadget [u]

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: industry

(Updated with UK rumors) Later today, AOL will announce the closure of two of its best-known websites, Joystiq and TUAW, reports say. Both publications are expected to be folded into Engadget. Another site, AOL Autos, is being merged into Autoblog. In the process AOL will allegedly fire some 150 people, most of them in sales.



Jay Z looks to join streaming music industry by acquiring Aspiro

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, audio

Rapper Jay Z is moving into the streaming music business, by attempting to acquire the parent company of two services. A press release and local media reports claim management of Swedish company Aspiro AB has agreed to the takeover by Jay Z's own companies, with the acquisition deal said to be worth approximately 464 million krona ($56 million).



Briefly: RunKeeper adds Spotify, Nickelodeon streaming service inbound

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: industry, software, iPhone apps

RunKeeper has added Spotify integration to its iOS app. The fitness app will now offer access to Spotify playlists, created both by the user and by Spotify, and stream music while a workout is underway. Both Spotify and Runkeeper have to be installed on the same device with RunKeeper connected to the Spotify account in order to function, and though it is only on iOS for the moment, a similar update to the Android app may also happen in the future.


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Previous News

Hands On: Mail Designer 2 and Mail Designer Pro 2 (OS X)

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: software, Graphics/Web Design

If you just send a lot of ordinary emails, you can skip this. If you're in a company that already has designers in-house crafting gorgeous and on-message email newsletter designs, you can skip this. If you're in the middle, though, such as a small company sending out newsletters or HTML updates to a few thousand people, or even just the newsletter editor for a club with a few dozen scattered members, Mail Designer 2 and Mail Designer Pro 2 are worth looking at.


Repatriation bill offers tax break for US return of foreign profits

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: industry, enterprise, Apple

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer from California, Barbra Boxer, and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky have jointly announced a proposed bi-partisan bill titled the "Invest in Transportation Act of 2015" in Washington today. The bill would provide funds for the US Highway Trust Fund by encouraging the "repatriation" of funds held by US businesses overseas.


CIRP: majority of Android switchers are outside US

Fri January 30, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, Apple

During its conference call with analysts on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook noted that "the current iPhone lineup experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches," which he later clarified was how long the company has been measuring the metric rather than that switching rates were higher in 2011. Further analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners suggests that most of the switching is happening overseas rather in the US.


Apple updates iTunes to version 12.1, adds Notification widget

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: software, audio, Apple

On Thursday, Apple released iTunes 12.1, a minor update for Yosemite users only that brings only one new feature, along with a general improvement in syncing performance with iOS devices. The big change is that the program now includes a widget that can be optionally added to the Mac's Notification Center. This will allow users to control and get info on a playing song at a glance, whether the user is listening to their own library or to iTunes Radio.


Briefly: Facebook Paper improves photo sharing, Pro Pinball for iOS

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Facebook has released an update for its Paper app for iPhone users this week, offering improved photo sharing. Paper is an alternative fullscreen layout for viewing one's Facebook feed, including customization options and gestures. The latest update includes the Camera Roll now organized by the date photos were taken, as well as the new ability to quickly share photos from the Favorites album that was introduced in iOS 8. The app is free to download, and requires iOS 7 or later.


Google posts increased earnings in quarterly report, misses estimates

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, industry

Google managed to bring in gross consolidated revenues of $18.1 billion for the last quarter, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent and up from the previous quarter's $16.52 billion, according to its latest financial results. Increased traffic acquisition costs (TAC) of $3.62 billion bringing the ex-TAC revenues down to $14 billion. Net income also increased to $4.76 billion from $3.38 billion the same period last year, but the search company failed to meet analyst expectations.


Prime membership rescues Amazon from loss, $241 million profit posted

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, industry

Amazon released its fourth quarter and annual numbers today, through a its investor relations site and a web cast conference call. Prime service membership was called out as a key contributing factor towards increases in Q4 and full year 2014 numbers, with new Prime membership growing slightly faster in markets outside North America.


Apple offers iOS, Mac productivity sales on App Stores

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: software, developer, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

On Thursday, Apple gathered 19 leading productivity apps and put them under a banner sale called "Get Productive" for iOS, with a mostly-different set of 20 apps for Mac users, each at their respective App Stores. Among the better-known offerings are the popular calendar program Fantastical 2 for iPhone now $2 (normally $5) and Fantastical for Mac (half off its normal $20 price), to-do app Clear for both platforms ($2 versus $5 for iOS, $5 versus $10 for Mac) and Duet Display, a new app that allows users to connect their iPad to a Mac and use the former as a second display (normally $15, now on sale for $8).


Elgato issues recall for faulty Smart Power battery packs

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: troubleshooting, accessories

Elgato has alerted customers to a recall of some of its Smart Power 6000mAh battery packs. The warning is being issued through a variety of means, including a notice for people updating the packs' associated iOS app. Affected units could potentially overheat while recharging. The company notes that the faulty products were sold between September and January, and fall within a specific serial number range.


Hands On: Microsoft Outlook (iOS)

Thu January 29, 2015 | Posted in: networking, iPhone apps, iPad apps

There must be people who use Outlook for pleasure, but you'll probably find all their names on a staff directory at Microsoft. Yet this might actually change now: the brand-new Outlook for iOS, released today, is strong, capable, quick, and has a good-looking design to boot.


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