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Apple doubles Australian tax contribution, still increases profits

01/26, 11:30pm

Apple paid more than twice as much in taxes in Australia for 2014 as it did in 2013, but still managed to grow profits in the country -- despite increasing scrutiny about its legal but aggressive tax avoidance techniques. According to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Apple paid AU$80.4 million in taxes for 2014 ($64 million US) compared to just AU$36.4 million (roughly $32 million US at the time) in 2013.

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New mural created for upcoming Chongqing flagship store

01/26, 9:00pm

Following in the footsteps of recent murals that "drape" under-construction standalone stores (such as the one that covered the recently-opened Hangzhou store), Apple has created another mural to cover the cylinder-shaped forthcoming Chongqing store, which is set to open this Saturday. The new location, the second for the city, will be the third of five store openings in China promised by the company before the arrival of the New Year on February 19.

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Hands On: TaskTime4 (OS X)

01/26, 7:45pm

This is you. You're rubbish at the money side of anything. Unless you're an accountant, in which case we apologize. Everyone else, though, most especially anyone who works freelance or in a one-man or one-woman company struggles with this because the money part is not why you got into business. Hopefully you'll be earning lots but you started your business because you wanted to do what that business does and nobody else was employing you for it. Consequently your interest is on the job plus the demands of being a small business owner mean that your energy goes on the job too. Somehow you have to also keep an eye on the money and that's where TaskTime4 comes in.

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Apple Store in Hangzhou, China opens over weekend

01/26, 6:34pm

A new Apple store based on its latest two-story designs (as seen in San Francisco and elsewhere) has opened in Hangzhou, China. As is typical for such openings, lines of enthusiasts trailed around the block to experience Asia's largest and latest Apple Store, the second in a series of five that will open around China by the start of the official Chinese New Year on Thursday, February 19. The first new store was opened in Zhengzhou earlier this month to similar acclaim and excitement.

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Apple upgrades Maps Connect, iCloud.com Photos services

01/26, 4:07pm

Apple has upgraded the iCloud.com Photos app with a couple of new features, users note. The first is a zoom slider for uploaded content. People can also more easily share photos via email, using a new pop-up window on the site. Access to Photos requires activating the iCloud Photo Library beta through iOS' Settings app, and will remove any images on a device that were synced via iTunes.

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Briefly: 1Password, Twitterrific 5 updates for iOS

01/26, 3:03pm

1Password has announced an update for its password manager and secure wallet app for iOS. Allowing users to create strong, unique passwords for every site, 1Password stores them all and logs in with one tap, including credit cards and identities, without typing. 1Password v5.2 features a new login creator, and a new layout that features a renewed aesthetic for the password editor, icons, and more. When one's master password is changed on the OS X version of 1Password, it also changes on the user's iOS device, and backups synchronized from iTunes for Windows can now be restored. The 1Password Extension for third-party apps will now lock automatically after the pre-determined security timeout, visual accessibility measures have been improved, and its translation service has received an update.

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MasterCard to bring Apple Pay to PGA Tour

01/26, 2:29pm

MasterCard has partnered with a company called Prom Management Group to bring Apple Pay to at least one stop on the PGA Tour, according to an announcement. At the 16th hole of the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, people will be able to pay for food and drinks at concession stands through an Apple Pay-ready iPhone. Other mobile payment systems (such as Google Wallet) could be supported; while only Apple Pay is mentioned by name, the concessions are said to be generally "contactless enabled."

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Standalone TestFlight service to shut down on February 26

01/26, 12:54pm

The standalone version of TestFlight -- located at TestFlightApp.com -- will be shutting down on February 26, according to an email sent to developers. Apple last year bought out Burstly, the creator of TestFlight, and began migrating the beta-testing service over to iTunes Connect and an iOS app. The company warns developers that apps won't automatically leap from one platform to the other, and must be set up anew in iTunes Connect.

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Briefly: STM debuts Dux rugged cases, Ooma's new Nest alerts

01/26, 11:51am

STM Bags has announced the release of its new Dux case for iPad and iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Described as offering "rugged" protection from drops and general wear and tear, the Dux case consists of a rubberized bracket and polycarbonate exterior. Its clear back allows for customizing the appearance of the device, or letting the back of the iPhone or iPad remain visible. The Dux for iPad (priced at $50) features sizes designed for iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 2 through 4, iPad mini, as well as mini 2 and 3, and is available in blue, red, and black. Dux for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (priced at $30) are available in black and red.

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OS X 10.10.2 will integrate iCloud Drive content into Time Machine

01/26, 11:38am

(Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix) Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.

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Apple blamed for lack of fingerprint sensor on Google Nexus 6

01/26, 10:26am

The Google Nexus 6 was going to have a fingerprint sensor, but Apple forced a change in the phone's design, the ex-CEO of Motorola claims. The Android smartphone was initially going to have a fingerprint reader on the back, where a Motorola-branded dimple now resides, but Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec is said to have put a stop to those plans completely.

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Samsung to produce 75 percent of processors for next iPhone

01/26, 10:13am

Samsung will indeed be the chief supplier of processors for Apple's next iPhone(s), according to South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper. The company is expected to take about 75 percent of orders. Maeil doesn't mention how much the deal is worth, or who else will be producing chips, but Samsung's manufacturing will reportedly take place at its plant in Austin, Texas, the original home of Apple's A-series processors.

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Apple introduces 'Free on iTunes' section at iTunes Store

01/26, 9:13am

Apple has launched a new area on the iTunes Store, simply dubbed Free on iTunes. The section highlights free song and TV downloads. Some musical examples include singles from Nude Beach, Machine Head, Purity Ring, and Washed Out. TV content includes episodes from Backstrom, 12 Monkeys, The Musketeers, and other shows.

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Hands On: Brushstroke (iOS)

01/26, 8:51am

There's a good chance that everyone reading this, at one point or another, has seen those "turn a picture into a painting or sketch" apps that were making the rounds a few years ago. More often than not, these ended up looking like nothing more than poorly Photoshopped images, which was essentially what they were. We checked out Brushstroke by Code Organa to see if it managed to improve on the technology.

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Briefly: Sprint targets T-Mobile customers, T-Mobile Score discounts

01/26, 5:57am

Sprint is refocusing its trade-in offer directly against main rival T-Mobile. Running until April 9, Sprint will offer T-Mobile customers a minimum instant trade-in value of $200 for their smartphone if they transfer their number over. Sprint is also allowing the offer to work alongside another promotion, granting up to $350 per line to cover early termination fees or installment billing balances.

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