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Apple offers first OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 beta, focuses on stability

04/16, 6:26pm

Just a week after the official release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 and days after the first beta of iOS 8.4, Apple has posted the first 10.10.4 beta for developers and testers, though it is has not been (and is not likely to be) made available to public beta testers until future builds are released. The sparse announcement of the new beta says only that the update focuses on "stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac," which suggests it will build on the improvements made in 10.10.3.

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Apple Watch: new videos, accessibility features, Lagerfeld gold band

04/16, 4:44pm

Yesterday, Apple posted four new videos to its site and YouTube channel showcasing additional tent-pole features of the Apple Watch, including handling phone calls, interacting with Siri, music playback, and Maps usage. Last week the company had posted a general overview tutorial video, along with shorter ones focusing on Digital Touch, messaging, and customizing the watch face. The videos reveal minor details of the various operations previously not publicized.

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Apple releases supplemental 10.10.3 update over video issues

04/16, 3:10pm

On Thursday, Apple released a rare supplemental update to OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 that resolves a bug in a video driver that was causing some Mac owners to report startup issues or even full-blown kernel panics "when running certain apps that capture video," said the company. Users were reported longer-than-normal startup times or crashes. Not fixed by the new update are scattered reports of problems opening large JPEG files using Preview of QuickLook, but this is again not a universal issue.

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The Conservation Fund, Apple team up to buy 36,000 acres of woodland

04/16, 3:05pm

Apple, in conjunction with The Conservation Fund, is planning on a 36,000 acre purchase of forest land. The forests will be harvested in an eco-friendly way to supply Apple, and other companies needing pulp for packaging, and will be managed with "an eye toward the long-term economic well-being of the forest," according to a joint press release.

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Daily Deals: Belkin WeMo, Dell laser printers, Garmin Vivofit

04/16, 2:14pm

Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we find great offers, discounts, sales, and deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of still-active deals from earlier this week comes alongside new items including the Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi enabled light switch, an all-in-one laser printer from Dell, and the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band.

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Hands On: TapSlide v1.0 (iOS)

04/16, 1:26pm

Puzzle games are considered casual gaming, requiring little skill to solve the problems presented. However, every so often we come across a game that poses an actual challenge, a game that is mind-meltingly difficult, and that's what we've discovered today. We took a look at Tapslide, a game that will give even the most battle-hardened puzzle players a mental workout.

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Time names Tim Cook to list of 100 most influential people

04/16, 1:08pm

Time magazine has named Apple CEO Tim Cook as one of the "100 Most Influential People," saying that his work at Apple proves "that even the most successful companies can and should be judged by more than just their bottom line." The profile on Cook was written by long-time civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, while Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive was tapped to write a profile of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in the same article.

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LA school district seeks refunds from Apple, Lenovo, Pearson

04/16, 10:06am

In the wake of its collapsed iPad program, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is seeking millions of dollars in refunds from Apple. The district's board of education has authorized state and city attorneys to investigate litigation to claim money from Apple and Pearson after the district itself broke the contract.

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Apple Watch online ordering to continue, retail units possibly in June

04/16, 9:32am

A letter by Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has informed the Apple retail chain that the Apple Watch won't be available in store at all on launch date. Additionally, "high global interest combined with our initial supply" is preventing retail availability until June, at the earliest.

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Hands On: DevonAgent Pro (OS X)

04/16, 9:24am

You've got to really need to find something before you'll bother going away from Google, and you've really, really got to need to find it before you'll spend money on a search utility. Yet don't see this as a reason why DevonAgent Pro must be a niche product, or see it as telling that this app satisfies those most demanding searches and searchers. It's a $50 utility for your Mac that does just do searches, but it does them through an intelligent and supremely customizable set of tools.

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Backup Utility Smackdown (OS X)

04/16, 7:15am

This is a rubbish smackdown. Where's the drama? Where's the bit where one of these backup utilities gets voted off the island? Here's the thing, though: over the last month or so, we've reviewed three very powerful applications that broadly do the same thing. They all backup your data to external hard discs, they all create ways that you can startup your Mac again even if your internal drive dies on you. Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper! and ChronoSync are surely the leading applications in this and they are certainly needed. We just wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't pitch them against each other to help you pick one.

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Hands On: Mophie Space v2.0.2 (iOS)

04/16, 7:11am

We love using our iPhones and iPads as much as anyone else, but we do have a few issues with the process as a whole. Sometimes transferring files between our computers and our iDevices is a real hassle. What if we don't have iTunes on the computer we want to use? What if we need to do it quickly? What if we forgot our cables? That's why we checked out Mophie Space, an app that helps you out if you're ever in any of these situations.

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WSJ: American Express, Jawbone planning mobile payments announcement

04/15, 9:46pm

Yet another wearable device will be offering alternative payments in the future, according to a report. According to the Wall Street Journal, American Express and Jawbone are planning to announce a new system that will allow AmEx card owners to use the manufacturer's fitness bands to make payments at a number of retailers in the United States.

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Briefly: three new stores, rare functioning Apple I up for auction

04/15, 9:39pm

Apple plans to open at least three new stores in time for the retail debut of the Apple Watch -- though it is unclear if any of the stores will actually have Watches to sell, as the company has switched to an online pre-order system only ahead of the debut date. The stores will open in Hangzhou, China; Miami Beach, Florida; and Sao Paolo, Brazil. The latter two have already been officially announced for April 24 by Apple. Of these, Brazil is the only new store not to be part of the first wave of countries receiving the Apple Watch.

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Pointers: Creating a podcast, part two

04/15, 6:56pm

This should be considered part 2.5 of a short series of Pointers that concern themselves with the finer points of podcasting (we sort-of started with a Pointers about voice recording on the Mac generally, then went into the first requirements specifically for a podcast). This week, the Wednesday Pointers will focus on defining your podcast, including which of three media types you want to go for; recording tips for local, field, and remote discussions; and then some focus on editing.

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