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Capital return program goosed; Apple will raise dividends 11 percent

04/27, 7:18pm

On Monday, Apple announced major increases in dividends, as well as an increase in both the share buyback program and total capital return to investors. Apple will expand its buyback program to $140 billion, an increase of $50 billion over the current program. Dividends will increase starting with fiscal Q2, rising to 52 cents per share from 47 cents per share -- and the company has reiterated that there will be more dividend increases annually.

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Briefly: Instagram adds three filters, NBC Sports on Roku, Apple TV

04/27, 5:04pm

Instagram has updated both the iOS and Android versions of the photo app with more filters. Lark desaturates reds and adds more to blues and greens for landscapes, Reyes adds a dusty layer to the image, and Juno tints cool tones green while making warmer tones pop. The app also introduces the option of using emoji when writing hashtags for images.

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Apple breaks records for fiscal Q2 with strong iPhone, Mac sales

04/27, 4:54pm

Unexpected strength in Mac sales along with the previously-predicted strong staying power of the iPhone 6 line has helped Apple see record-breaking performance for a fiscal second quarter this year. The company sold more than 61.17 million iPhones, about 80 percent of the number sold during the holiday quarter, which is usually followed by a drop of about 40 percent. Macs sold 4.56 million units, another record for a fiscal Q2 and up 10 percent year-over-year.

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Apple enlists iTunes to solicit American Red Cross donations to Nepal

04/27, 4:12pm

Following a major earthquake and series of aftershocks on Saturday in the small nation of Nepal, Apple has set up a special iTunes page for donations to the American Red Cross to aid in disaster relief. Visitors can donate in denominations ranging from $5 to $200, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the charity to help survivors and the families of the estimated 3,617 who have been reported as killed by the quake.

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Daily Deals: Chromecast, Tascam recorder, Samsung external drive

04/27, 2:40pm

Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, sales, offers, and bundles for you, the discerning reader. Since it is the start of a week, the deals slate has been wiped clean for new items, with the additions including the Google Chromecast, a Tascam digital audio recorder, and a Samsung 4TB external storage drive.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 12: Apple Watch Day, TW-Comcast, more

04/27, 12:00pm

If podcasts were eggs, The MacNN Podcast would be ready to deliver in a cardboard carton! We're up to episode 12, and we take a look at the top stories of the past week, including the retail debut -- such as it was -- of the Apple Watch, where a few select high-fashion stores did actually have stock to sell to walk-in customers. We also chat about the big industry news of the Time Warner-Comcast merger collapse, Randy Ubillos' retirement, and more.

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The Feature Thief, part one: Pages

04/27, 10:35am

Welcome to The Feature Thief, a mini-series of columns where we take a look at some of Apple's rollercoaster of change when it comes to software -- from apps that got a makeover to a sex change, or even some that just got tossed out entirely. Each day this week, we'll take a fairly recent example of each of the three types of sometimes-painful change users have been subjected to when Apple gets a new idea, what to do about it, and where to look for alternatives if necessary.

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Pointers: Unreadable Attachments in iOS Mail (iOS)

04/27, 9:02am

Perhaps you haven't personally come across one yet, but there are one or two iPhones in the world. Yet despite their ubiquity, there are still people who don't have them and who do email you attachments that iOS can't fathom. We don't mean the times when they send you a document made in an iOS application you don't happen to have. Often you will need to get that app but if they send you Excel, for instance, and you haven't got that then iOS 8 offers to open it in Numbers. Your iPhone works hard but still there are attachments that stymie it.

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Dropbox Notes collaborative document editing surfaces in beta

04/27, 8:58am

Dropbox has started to publicly test a new note-taking service that could be competition for other online productivity services, such as Evernote. A beta sign-up page for the new service advises it is called Dropbox Notes, with it revolving around allowing individuals and groups to collaboratively write and edit a document, all at the same time.

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Review: 12-inch MacBook with Retina display

04/27, 7:55am

It is an exciting time for consumer technology, with gadgets and devices that once used to the stuff of dreams now coming to fruition. Currently, the focus and excitement is largely around mobile and wearable devices, but the stunning and groundbreaking Mac Pro (Late 2013) showed that Apple still has a keen interest in pushing the development and innovation of its computer product lines right to the edge of the design envelope. Although the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display might look, at first glance, like a natural evolution of an Apple ultraportable MacBook, it packs a full suite of technical and design innovations that we feel make it the definitive statement of what's next in the state-of-the-art in notebook design. Read our full review for our analysis.

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Mac Game Review: Hero Generations 1.17

04/27, 7:34am

Click. Move. Click. Fight. Click. Eat. This is a familiar pattern if you are a fan of the rogue-like. But, what happens when your rogue-like isn't quite a rogue-like by accident or design? You just might get a game like Hero Generations from Heart Shaped Games, an original take on the formula that was Kickstarted back in April of 2014.

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Jay-Z defends Tidal's growth, claims over 770,000 subscribers

04/27, 6:58am

Rapper Shawn Carter, known as Jay-Z, has taken to Twitter to claim artist-owned music streaming service Tidal is doing fine. Defending against suggestions that the service isn't as popular as initially anticipated, Jay-Z claims the service has grown to over 770,000 subscribers in the month since the celebrity change of ownership, and that it won't be as big as other services for quite some time.

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Game Replay: Silent Hills canned, Steam mods, Telltale Marvel game

04/26, 10:12pm

The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look back at the more notable stories in the world of gaming from the last few days. Today's edition covers the potential cancellation of the next Silent Hill game, the launch of paid mods on Steam and the subsequent complaints, and a future Telltale game produced in collaboration with Marvel.

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Living With: a (non-Apple) smartwatch

04/26, 7:30pm

Anyone who's been listening to The MacNN Podcast knows there's been some discussion among the staff about wearing smartwatches, and if they think it would be beneficial to do so. Some of us are dubious it would be a useful addition to our workflow, some are skeptical but hopeful an application of value will arise, and some have already ordered theirs and are waiting patiently. Recently, a friend of ours scored several refurbished MetaWatch Frames from Meh.com for what we're going to call "a really good price." So we bought one, in an effort to see if there was any point to wearing a smartwatch.

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Review: Bracketron PowerFlex external battery

04/26, 7:00pm

When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a laptop or netbook. Power for both our tablet, phone, and any other chargeable devices is always an issue. Our personal motto is "ABC," or "Always Be Charging." When we're not in our car or near an outlet, if we're lower than 75 percent on something we plug it into an external battery. Really all anyone needs is power to nourish these digital brains, but extra features are generally useful. The Bracketron Power Flex Stand is a 10,400mAh battery with a built-in tablet stand and flashlight. It will not only support one's tablet or smartphone at a pleasant viewing angle, but will also charge two devices at the same time with dual USB ports. Is it a must-have? Check out our review to find out.

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