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

Apple Watch debut doesn't materially affect debut, China growth up sharply

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

Spotlights on The Feature Thief mini-series, Amazon's sustainability, Deliveries app

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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Review: 12-inch MacBook with Retina display

Thin, light, new keyboard, new trackpad, USB-C. Is it missing anything?

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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Ahrendts in China, lines at boutique locations for Apple Watch launch

Few locations have some actual selling stock, but mostly demos rule on former retail debut

While Apple has since abandoned its former April 24 retail launch day for the Apple Watch due to a global sellout , a few select stores -- almost entirely third-party fashion boutique sellers who secured allotments early -- are said to have or have had actual stock of Apple Watches to sell. Customers hoping to score one today are lining up outside these shops, even as Apple Retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts spent the day in China.

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Plug officially pulled on Time Warner Cable and Comcast merger

Future uncertain for AT&T and DirecTV merger, future suitors for TWC

As expected, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have both walked away from the blockbuster merger deal, citing governmental resistance from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. In a statement about the collapse, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that "we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away."

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Hands On: Tiffen Dfx v4 digital filter suite with video demo

New filters style, enhance video like filters for photographs

For more than 70 years, Tiffen has been a leading manufacturer of professional filters for photography and film. Generally, their premium glass filters are the first thing that comes to mind for anyone who hears the name "Tiffen." These filters would need to be applied at the time the photos or videos were being shot, but now in the digital age they can be applied in the post-production world as well with Tiffen's Dfx filter packs. Earlier this year, an update to version 4.0 was released, and we got our hands on a set to see what changes have been made.

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Mac Game Review: Pillars of Eternity

Classic RPG style reimagined for the modern age

Pillars of Eternity is an ode to classic Infinity Engine role-playing games (RPGs) that would likely not have been possible without the support of more than 70,000 backers on Kickstarter. The game, originally listed in 2012 under the name "Project X" and then "Project Eternity" on Kickstarter, launched with a goal of $1.1 million. Only five days after starting the campaign, Obsidian had already surpassed its initial goal by reaching the $1.6 million dollar mark, and announcing the game would be coming to OS X. When all was said and done, Pillars of Eternity managed to raise a total of $3,986,929, making it the most highly-funded video game on Kickstarter at the time. Now, two years later, Pillars of Eternity is here, meaning its time to see if Obsidian was able to live up to all of the hype and expectations that come with a highly-crowdfunded project.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 11: best backup practices, AMD in trouble

Announcing expanded gaming news, examining the LA School iPad debacle, more

Another week, another roundup on the week in tech through the eyes of our MacNN and Electronista staffers! This week, The MacNN Podcast takes a poll on backup strategies among our writers, while Managing Editor Mike tells campfire tales of data loss from his days as a network consultant. We spend some time talking about our own expanded gaming coverage, adding more Mac game reviews and coverage as well as doubling our overall industry news . We dissect what's getting chipmaker AMD down, try to figure out the LA School District's iPad waffling, and more.

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Researcher: OS X 'Rootpipe' attack fix not reliable, attacks possible

Yosemite-only patch seemingly does little to mitigate Rootpipe-based attacks

Researchers from security firm Synack have determined that Apple's latest patch for the "Rootpipe" privilege escalation flaw remain mostly unfixed, even on OS X 10.10 "Yosemite." Ex-NSA staff member Patrick Wardle examined the new patch, and found a new path around Apple's security fix, leaving the computer unprotected from hostile users with physical access. In other developments, the malware is loose in the wild and has been for some time, but is a discrete app and still not a remote attack.

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First Look: All-new 12-inch Apple MacBook

Apple takes lessons from mobile to make the ultimate ultraportable notebook

The all-new 12-inch Apple MacBook is here and MacNN and Electronista have our hands on it! It is Apple's definitive statement on the future of notebooks, but it is available right now to customers who want to go along for the ride. If you're in the market for an ultraportable notebook made for the mobility age, the MacBook has to be on the top of your shopping list. There is nothing else quite like it on the market, with the device boasting several firsts for Apple and the industry.

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Apple WWDC announced for June 8, ticket lottery begins today

The future of Apple operating systems to be shown at the convention

Calling this year's show "the epicenter of change," Apple has announced its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. At this year's show to be held on June 8 through June 12, "the future of iOS and OS X" will be seen, the Apple Design awards will be presented, over 100 technical sessions will be hosted, and there will be over 1000 Apple engineers on hand for developer's questions.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 10: now available on iTunes

Apple Watch hands-on reports, a look at Photos, new videos, more

Following a longer-than-expected submission process to Apple, we're pleased to report that episode 10 of The MacNN Podcast , along with all previous episodes, has finally arrived on iTunes . Listeners can now search for, subscribe to, and generally wallow in our backlog of tech news, app picks, and bad jokes. The latest episode has a couple of remote reports from Australia and the UK about the Apple Watch concierge try-on experience, the arrival of Photos with OS X 10.10.3, our new videos, and more.

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Living With: Blue Snowball USB microphones

An affordable, high-quality digital mic for podcasts, VOIP, more

We've been writing a lot lately about some of the aspects involved in podcasting -- see this Pointers column as an example -- as well as moving our own site example of the form, The MacNN Podcast , to Soundcloud and now (finally) iTunes for better distribution. For some of our staff that contribute to the broadcast, its meant getting a decent microphone for the first time. As a veteran podcaster, currently a regular on no less than three very different podcasts, I generally recommend the Blue Snowball USB .

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Apple Watch: Pre-orders live, delays, Apple Care+ prices revealed [U]

Apple Watch shipping times already blown out

Apple Watch pre-orders are now live in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US, but only after a delay of several minutes past the scheduled go-live time. Despite renewed warnings that shipments would be constrained, some users may be disappointed, even shocked, to learn that some models may not be available until as late as August, according to live shipping information from the Apple Store. Users who seek an aluminum or one of the steel models might be getting theirs in a reasonable time frame -- but those hankering for a gold Edition could be waiting until August.

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Apple Watch: in-store fitting and hands-on experience

Apple Watch launches in store in select markets world-wide

Apple has officially launched the Apple Watch in stores, with Australian and New Zealand customers among the lucky first around the globe to finally get their hands on the smartwatch. MacNN and Electronista were on hand at the Penrith Store launch, about a hour west of Sydney, Australia. There were a small number of eager Apple fans keen to try on the device from a wide cross-section of age groups, but the throng of Apple Store employees on hand to mark the occasion easily outnumbered them. It certainly helped to create a buzz around the event. Pre-orders are now being accepted in the US and other countries, starting at 12:01AM Friday local time.

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Hands On: Photos 1.0 (OS X)

Apple's new photography app is superb

Ditch iPhoto, ditch Aperture, ditch Light -- okay, no, let's not go crazy here. You should probably keep Lightroom if you have it and definitely also Photoshop or Pixelmator . Hold on to those because Apple's new Photos app does not replace them -- but it is so very good that you'll find yourself using them less. You may also find yourself taking more photos. You just won't realize that the first time you open up Photos. This free app, included in the new OS X 10.10.3, is a very bald, white, minimalist application that initially takes some time to get going.

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Apple releases OS X 10.10.3, Photos for Mac, iOS 8.3

Widely beta-tested, each brings new features to devices

With today's release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 , Apple is officially releasing its iPhoto replacement program Photos for the Mac. While the program has already been in use on iOS for some time, the new program sits alongside existing iPhoto or Aperture libraries with its own copy, and adds new abilities and features we have previously reported on . The update, leaked earlier today , also brings a non-beta version of iCloud Photo Library and new emoji, while the iOS 8.3 release shares the emoji improvements and adds wireless CarPlay support, along with new Siri accents and languages.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode nine: 2015 MBP, BBC on BitTorrent, more

Staffers reflect on the fifth anniversary of the iPad, ponder the Surface 3

Presenting episode nine of The MacNN Podcast , which this week features a hands-on report on the new 2015 MacBook Pro, along with some chatting about the recently-revealed new MacBook benchmarks, well ahead of its April 10 debut. We also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the iPad by talking about the many ways, big and small, it has changed our lives. We discuss the new Surface 3 from Microsoft, the Doctor Who BBC bundle on BitTorrent, and more.

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Apple Watch: Guided Tours webpage launches, features video tutorials

Introductory, Digital Touch, Messages, Faces videos up now, more coming soon

On Friday, Apple added to the Apple Watch section of its website with a Guided Tours page that features short videos showing off some of the features of the new device, which will start appearing stores and become available for pre-order on April 10, followed by a full retail debut on April 24. A general introductory video is followed by tutorials on Faces, Digital Touch, and Messages.

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Living With: Five years of the iPad

Has it really been just five years since the tablet shipped to the world?

If you wanted to find out what was going on this day in history, five years ago, the odds are that you'd now pick up your iPad and start searching online. These devices have become visibly invisible: they still have the new-toy status, they still get noticed, yet when we use them, we forget what marvellous devices they are -- and we focus instead on what we're doing. We think of what we're looking for, what we're creating. We have a split view of them, in which they are both the norm and the exception: they are what we automatically use for work or pleasure, and they are so much better than alternatives that they are just everywhere.

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Full review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Early 2015)

Full review of Apple's new 13-inch MBP with Force Touch trackpad

Although the new darling of the Apple MacBook line up is the all-new MacBook , Apple has given its popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display a solid refresh. While the stunning new MacBook caters to a select audience of users who value portability above all else, the MacBook Pro is a much more well-rounded machine that is still portable, but offers much more power and flexibility. It also gains one of the marquee features of the new MacBook, the Force Touch trackpad, that ditches a mechanical clicking mechanism for one that has been completely re-engineered around haptic feedback. Read on in our full review to see how the new 13-inch MacBook Pro shapes up.

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Pointers: voice recording on a Mac or iOS device

Beyond FaceTime calls, there are handy reasons to record

Most Macs (with the exception of the Mac mini and the Mac Pro) -- and all iOS devices -- come with a built-in microphone that is above-average in quality for that sort of device. A typical user might employ it for all kinds of purposes beyond the normal phone calling: dictating emails, voice memos, FaceTime calls. There are times, however, where you need much higher quality, and this Pointers column will talk about some of those situations, and how to create recordings you can be proud of.

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Review: Griffin Twenty

Griffin Twenty brings wireless streaming to passive speakers

A few years ago Griffin launched the original Twenty, a small digital amp that used an AirPort Express to turn any set of passive speakers into a wireless system for streaming music. Unfortunately for Griffin, shortly after the launch of the Twenty, Apple updated the design of the AirPort Express, which instantly antiquated the digital amp. Now, thanks to advancements in Bluetooth technology, Griffin no longer needs to lean on Apple's AirPlay technology for streaming, and is back with a new and improved version of the Twenty Digital Amp . We have spent some time with the updated digital amp -- see what we thought about it in our full review .

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The MacNN Podcast, episode eight: Steve Jobs, Windows 10, more

Staffers discuss new book, new gaming column, new apps

We're now at episode eight of The MacNN Podcast , which this week welcomes our new Apple Gaming column, as well as reminding listeners about our weekly game news roundup. We also discuss the book Becoming Steve Jobs , and Tim Cook's latest honor from the business world. More confusion about Windows 10 pricing outside China has come to light, and tech companies are asking for changes in the Patriot Act.

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Apple stores in US, Europe now accepting non-iPhone trade-ins

Program expected to encourage more switchers, add to iPhone 6 sales

As reported previously , Apple has now expanded its "reuse and recycling" program in the US and Europe to include now taking selected models of non-iPhone smartphones as trade-in towards a new iPhone. The program is now operating throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Italy, and may be operating in other countries as well. Only specific recent models are eligible, but customers can being the process either online or in person at an Apple Store.

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Apple game roundup: Pillars of Eternity, Mr. Jump explodes, Broken Age

Launch of MacNN's twice-weekly Mac-specific gaming roundup

We've had some emails about our Sunday game roundup -- it turns out that some of you want Apple-specific gaming news, as sources for that seem to be in short supply these days. Today launches the first installation of a twice-weekly column, published on MacNN on Tuesdays and Fridays rounding up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at an interview with the developers of This War of Mine , an iOS game boosted by Apple that we reviewed earlier in the week, and the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate released as the fruit of a successful Kickstarter campaign.

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Living with: Nine years of the Apple TV

Prognostications after long term use of Apple's set top box

Once upon a time, there was a nascent technologist in the early part of the century. This writer was flummoxed by having to burn DVD for video playback for his occupation at the time, given the cost of the media. Then, a certain Cupertino fruit-branded computer company released the Mac mini's first iteration. Connected with a $20 video dongle, and an audio adapter, the (at the time) cutting-edge concept of a computer connected to a television solved many local problems. Apple, and this technologist, have both come a long way since then. The vast majority of the functionality of a Mac mini connected to a TV was replaced by the Apple TV shortly thereafter. The future is bright, but vague, for Apple's once-hobby. What's come before, and what's yet to come?

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Fortune names Apple CEO Tim Cook 'World's Greatest Leader'

New interview discusses pressures of leadership, higher profile of colleagues

On Thursday, Fortune magazine named Apple CEO Tim Cook to the top spot of its "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," which largely refers to business and industry leaders rather than government officials. The honor came with a new interview with Cook as well as some of those who work with him, and addresses many of Cook's and the company's successes (and a few missteps) in the lengthy profile.

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Review: Becoming Steve Jobs

Absorbing and informed new look at the man's life

Becoming Steve Jobs is an engrossing account of the Apple CEO's life, and very specifically on his journey to becoming a businessman with art and style. It's not as well written as Leander Kahney's Jony Ive book but it's significantly better than Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography .

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First Look: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Force Touch trackpad)

Apple quietly revolutionizes the trackpad with Force Touch

The new 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display looks exactly like the model that it replaces, though it remains comfortably the most beautifully designed and finished full-power 13-inch notebook on the market. Beneath the hood, however, it has been substantially reengineered with Intel's new 5th-generation Core i5 or i7 dual-core processors, also known by their "Broadwell" codename as well as flash storage that is twice as fast as the previous model. Nice. As an unexpected bonus, Apple has also included its brand new Force Touch trackpad to the equation, which is in many ways the real star of the show.

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