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Chrome 38 beta for Mac makes jump to 64-bit code

08/29, 11:35am

For Mac users, the latest beta channel release of Chrome -- Chrome 38 -- makes the switch to a 64-bit codebase, Google has announced. The primary benefit is said to be speed, since it grants access to "a superior instruction set, more registers, and a more efficient function calling convention," according to Google. The company points out that in some cases Chrome can be the only 32-bit app that's running, forcing OS X to load 32-bit system libraries that consume extra memory and launch time.

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Photos show what may be near-complete rear shell for iPhone 6

08/29, 10:27am

Photos obtained by French site Nowhereelse show what may be a finished rear shell for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. Unlike ones in previous leaks, the new shell -- all silver -- appears to have had the bands between sections colored in to better match their surroundings. Similar touches could be applied to the gold and space gray versions of the phone.

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iPhone 6 NFC chips coming from Netherlands' NXP, report says

08/29, 9:45am

Apple is indeed planning to incorporate NFC into the iPhone 6, using chips from a Dutch firm, NXP Semiconductor, say sources for the Financial Times. The technology is mainly expected to be used for mobile payments and ticketing, but might enable functions in an "Internet of things" (home automation) context. Both Apple and NXP have refused to comment on the matter.

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Briefly: Quora for iPad, OneDrive's new Photos view

08/29, 1:59am

Quora query-based platform has released an update for its iOS app, now supporting use on iPad. Quora provides space for users to ask questions and receive great answers about anything. Experts on particular topics are accessible as they share their knowledge, including "insider" participants such as those who produce popular TV shows. In addition to adding support for iPad, Quora v4.0 features improved loading speeds. Its new visual design aims to offer a more immersive read, and the format for asking questions has been restructured as well. Quora's new rich-text editor includes more options for how one's text appears on the social platform. Free to download, Quora for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later.

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Review: Life n Soul BM211 Bluetooth speaker

08/29, 1:15am

Bluetooth speakers aren't only for listening to some music at the park or on a long bus ride, but can also be built with tablets in mind. While some manufacturers craft speakers with a shape that is specifically molded to hold a tablet and offer little use otherwise, others have caught on to a better design. Life n Soul attempted such a configuration with the BM211 Virtual Surround Sound Bluetooth speaker. Would the BM211 give consumers flexibility to have a speaker suited for tablets and every day use, or would they be left with another single use sound device? Find out in our review.

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Autodesk brings iOS photo editor Pixlr to Mac

08/29, 12:02am

After years of good reviews as a series of iOS apps, Autodesk has now brought its image-editing app Pixlr to the Mac. While it bears great resemblance to the myriad other filter-and-effect photo editors from the iOS world, the app does offer some features rarely seen in competitors, such as a "double exposure" collaging feature. As with the company's Sketchbook, Autodesk offers several "tiers" of use, the most "pro" level of which is available on an annual or monthly paid subscription.

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Security guards protest low wages, block Apple San Francisco store

08/28, 9:56pm

A group of corporate and retail security guards for Apple stores staged a peaceful protest of what they consider to be low pay relative to other employees at the company's flagship San Francisco store on Thursday. The issue the guards were drawing attention to is not one specific to Apple, but endemic among tech firms in Silicon Valley -- who collectively tend to pay cleaning, support, maintenance and security staff lower wages on average than regular employees.

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Plantronics announces new Bluetooth headphones, BackBeat Pro

08/28, 8:30pm

Plantronics announced a new model of Bluetooth headphones this week with the BackBeat Pro. The over-the-ear headphones feature a long battery life, 40mm drivers, active noise-cancelling technology and "Plantronics signature audio performance and design." Not leaving noise cancelling as the only trick of the headphones, Plantronics also added a smart feature to help consumers pick up where they left off if the headphones are removed.

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Briefly: Original Bioshock for iOS, Notability app comes to Mac

08/28, 7:06pm

Notability, an iOS app well-regarded for its ability to handle multiple ways of taking notes -- audio recordings, handwriting, drag-and-drop and typing -- has arrived on the Mac. The OS X version ($10) matches the iPad and iPhone version feature-for-feature, but is optimized for the Mac environment. Users can drag in various file types to add to the note, scale and transform handwriting and sketches, and -- new to the program -- work with smart keyboard shortcuts. The iOS version is also available as a separate $3 purchase.

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HealthKit policies updated to block data use by advertisers, brokers

08/28, 3:51pm

Apple has updated the language in its privacy policy for HealthKit to prevent apps from selling data to "advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers," notes the Financial Times. HealthKit will allow iOS 8 apps to exchange health and fitness data tracked via various accessories, such as the iWatch. The iOS upgrade is rumored to launch next month alongside the iWatch and the iPhone 6.

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Uber prevails in German court, yet service called 'probably illegal'

08/28, 3:20pm

The Hamburg, Germany court system has reauthorized Uber to operate, at least temporarily. Despite the resurrection, which was based on a technicality, the court did dictate that the service was "probably illegal" as drivers for the service lack a passenger transportation license, similar to the situation that Lyft faced in New York City.

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JPMorgan Chase systems infiltrated, banking data may have been stolen

08/28, 2:39pm

JP Morgan Chase & Co plus at least four other financial institutions have reportedly come under attack by hackers. According to a quartet of people familiar with the investigation, the possibility exists that gigabytes of customer data, including banking information, may have been stolen by the assailants with a "zero-day" attack, who may to be linked to Russian state-sponsored hackers.

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'Massive structure' in place at Flint Center ahead of Apple event

08/28, 1:25pm

A "massive structure" is being constructed on the campus of the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, the site of Apple's September 9 press event, witnesses say. The structure is encased in a white barricade, and appears to be about three stories tall. "Scads" of security staff are reportedly protecting it, and administrators will only say that they "are not at liberty to discuss that [structure] due to client wishes."

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Apple officially announces September 9th press event [u]

08/28, 12:51pm

(Updated with Bloomberg claims of iWatch debut) As anticipated, Apple has formally announced a September 9th press event. Unlike past fall events, however, this one will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, rather than the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It will begin at 10AM Pacific time, or 1PM Eastern.

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iPhone 6 will include NFC-based payment tech, sources say

08/28, 11:41am

The next-generation iPhone should include NFC-based mobile payment technology, sources tell Wired. The magazine doesn't go into specifics, except to claim that the mobile payment system will be "one of the hallmark features of the device when it's unveiled on September 9." A past report from The Information suggested that there might be a "secure element" in the new iPhone that would safeguard financial information, presumably a reference to allowing Touch ID to verify NFC purchases using the secure enclave.

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