Electronista

Friday, July 25

ComiXology starts offering DRM-free backups of digital comics

ComiXology, the digital comic book retailer owned by Amazon, is now allowing users to make backups of some downloaded comics. For a number of publishers, the service will make PDF and CBZ versions of comic book purchases free of any digital rights management (DRM), effectively letting customers view the comics they own in other reader apps. ...

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OS X Yosemite public beta includes iTunes 12 beta access

Apple is pushing OS X Yosemite public beta users access to the new iTunes 12 beta. Developers were granted access to the iTunes 12 beta earlier in this week, and similarly OS X Yosemite public beta users will receive a notification via the Mac App Store software update function to install the optional update. iTunes 12 comes with a redesigned interface along with new features. Like the OS X Yosemite beta, the softwar...

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Briefly: Gmail for iOS update, EverWeb for Mac 1.5

Google has updated its Gmail for iOS (free) to allow users to leverage the company's Google Drive in two new ways: users can now save attachments in emails directly to Google Drive, and users can now access Google Drive directly from within the Gmail app to add attachments to outgoing messages. The update to version 3.14159 (yes, pi) also gives users more options with account management, such as deciding which of the...

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Review: Razer Taipan mouse

The list of gaming devices is growing larger with each passing day. A large number of companies have entered the gaming input arena, already containing some well-known names in the industry. Many PC gamers know one such name, Razer, as the go-to company for mice and other controls. The Taipan is a mouse that Razer has offered since 2012, but gave it new flair with a white finish this May. Does the new finish give gam...

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Thursday, July 24

Judge expresses concerns over Apple's e-book settlement deal

In an unsurprising move, US District Court Judge Denise Cote hinted that she may overrule a settlement worked out between Apple and the attorneys general of 33 states and territories along with consumer groups over e-book pricing, expressing "concern" that one of the terms of the deal allows Apple to pay little or nothing if they are ultimately found innocent on appeal. She also objected to another agreed-upon aspect...

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Potential 5.5-inch iPhone flex cables, SIM trays leak

A new set of pictures from a Taiwanese enthusiast site could provide the first evidence of the existence of a 5.5-inch iPhone if legitimate. The images, showing flex cables for the volume-mute button as well as the wake-sleep control, also include an unknown longer flex cable previously unseen in an iPhone model, as well as a set of micro-SIM trays. All are said to be for a 5.5-inch iPhone which has been long-rumored...

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FCC gets a chance to flex muscle on municipal broadband issue

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could soon have a chance to act on Chairman Tom Wheeler's promise to overturn state laws when it comes to municipal broadband networks. Today, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) filed a petition with the agency asking that they step over state law to allow them to expand access....

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Crowdfunding Critic: Pond wireless charging system

Historically, MacNN and Electronista have covered few, if any, in-progress crowd-sourced projects unless there was something unusual about them, like making 100x their goal. Starting this week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons we're going to look at crowd-funded projects that we find interesting. Keep in mind that we aren't specifically endorsing any projects, or telling you that there aren't any risks in funding a...

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Network glitches hit iCloud Mail, iTunes, App Store services [u]

[Updated with spreading service issues] Apple online services have been affected by a pair of problems on Thursday, the company's system status page indicates. Still ongoing is a glitch with iCloud Mail, resulting in "slower than normal response" for some users. Trouble appears to have begun shortly after 2PM Eastern....

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SampleTank 3 gets new interface, built-in MIDI engine

IK Multimedia has started shipping SampleTank 3, an upgraded version of its "groove workstation" for Mac and Windows users. The main addition is a redesigned interface, newly streamlined into three pages: Play, Mix, and Edit. The first allows for performance, layering, and adjustments, while Mix handles effects and processing. Edit enables more in-depth sound control, including access to 10 filters....

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Review: Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS

Every computer with a microphone or headphone port has one -- a digital to analog converter (DAC). There are nearly as many chipsets and DAC models as there are models of laptop, and as many opinions on the efficacy of various implementations. Cambridge Audio has a USB one to supplement its line -- the DacMagic XS. Does the little device do as it promises, and actually boost the listening quality of digitally encoded...

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OS X Yosemite public beta now available

As promised earlier this week, Apple has begun seeding the first public beta of OS X Yosemite. Access is limited to the first million people entered into the OS X Beta Program. That requires having both an Apple ID and a Mac running OS X Mavericks....

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Briefly: Oyster for web, mobile web browsers, IFTTT's Square channel

Oyster, an e-book subscription service, has announced its launch of new web and mobile web readers. The expansion marks its second new platform in the past month (with the first launch specifically for Android users in June). Pages in the web reader will scroll smoothly from top to bottom, with five reader themes to select from. Oyster is partnered with over 1,600 publishers, and offers access to a diverse library fo...

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Apple's iPad maintains global dominance, but loses further ground

Although Apple's iPad is still the leading tablet globally, the company is continuing to lose marketshare, according to new IDC shipment data. Year-over-year, Apple's June-quarter tablet share fell from 33 to 26.9 percent, based on shipments of 13.3 million iPads this quarter versus 14.6 million in Q2 2013. The company's next closest competitor, Samsung, saw its share slip from 18.8 percent to 17.2....

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Wuxi, China Apple Store to open on August 2nd

Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores....

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Google adds Explore location discovery to Google Maps mobile apps

Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out. ...

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Swatch denies any involvement with Apple on iWatch tech

Swatch has quickly denied a report that it's working with Apple on iWatch-related projects, according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the company claims that the report is unfounded, and that the only involvement Swatch has with phone makers is supplying various components, such as integrated circuits. Apple's iWatch is expected to ship in the fall....

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Apple seeds new betas of Safari 7.1 and 6.2 to developers

Apple is distributing new developer betas of Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for OS X Mountain Lion. In release notes for both, the company is asking developers to test AutoFill, extension compatibility, and "general website compatibility." The updates' main feature though will be WebGL, making it possible to run 3D content without third-party plugins....

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Briefly: Booq's Cobra pack, NatureArt 6.0 released

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 ...

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Wednesday, July 23

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

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 normall...

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

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 tar...

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

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...

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Gameloft early access contest for Modern Combat 5 results in piracy

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 illegal distribution. Afterward, thousands of players turned up in the game before its release on Android, iOS an...

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

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

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

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...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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...

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

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

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....

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

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 headline...

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

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 run...

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

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 kno...

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

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 i...

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Review: D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

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...

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