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First Look: 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Force Touch, new GPU

Refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro brings welcome upgrades

Apple has given the 15-inch MacBook Pro a refresh, giving it a fresh lease of life. Unusually, however, it does not include an upgrade to its Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU. Due to delays with Intel's quad-core "Broadwell" parts, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro continues with a fourth-generation quad-core Core i7 part clocked at 2.5GHz. It does however, include some substantial upgrades elsewhere. This new model now features the all-new Force Touch trackpad that debuted on the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display, and which is also found on the recently refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also gains much faster PCIe flash storage, but more importantly, its aging Nvidia Ge Force GT 750M has been replaced with a much faster and all-new AMD R9 M370X.

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Giveaway: Win your choice of Apple device worth up to $700

Win your choice of Apple prize with MacNN Deals

Do you have your eye on an Apple product that you'd like to acquire, but don't feel like spending the money to buy it? MacNN Deals is giving you the opportunity to win your choice of prize from a selection of Apple products in the latest easy-to-enter competition, which can net you an Apple TV, an iPad, an iPhone 6, or even an Apple Watch if you want one.

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Pointers: Mastering the OS X Dock

Gain extra utility with lesser-known functionality in the Dock

The Dock is one of the many features of OS X that is taken for granted -- and often underutilized. Sure, a fair number of users eventually figure out that the can take things off the dock -- usually by accident, resulting in some considerable alarm -- but it has come to our attention that shockingly few users really leverage the Dock as Apple intended. In this installment of Pointers , we'll go over some of the "hidden" powers of the Dock that turn it into a real productivity tool.

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Apple Watch: Watch OS 1.0.1 update out, Cook adds China to June list

First software update for Apple Watch adds emoji, offers bug fixes, more

On Tuesday, Apple issued its first-ever software update for the Apple Watch, nearly a month after its abortive retail debut. The popular device, still facing overwhelming demand and supply shortages due to a now-worked-out part issue, can be updated through the paired iPhone to Watch OS version 1.0.1, which brings the usual "performance improvements and bug fixes" to the device, adds more than 300 new emoji characters, and updates language support.

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The End of an Error: Munster gives up dream of Apple HDTV

Years-long erroneous assumption illustrates double-edged sword of rumor reporting

There's no question that news sites often lean on the rumor mill as the basis for stories (though we are careful to note that rumors are exactly that -- rumors). Sometimes the speculation is fearless, sometimes it amounts to nothing more than an educated guess. Sometimes -- less often than you'd think -- rumors turn out to be true, but we've found that only the ones closest to the actual product release have much veracity. We've turned away from heavy rumor reporting lately -- but they're always in our feeds, or in the MacNN email box. There's a certain cycle to rumors that we've seen, generally from "analysts" with no better sources than we have -- and here's why we don't always report on them.

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Apple rolls out Force Touch 15-inch MacBook Pro, new Retina iMac

New iMac model introduced alongside reduction in high-end iMac price

Apple today updated the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display with the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life and faster discrete graphics, delivering even more performance and capabilities to the MacBook Pro line. Apple also today introduced a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, quad-core processors and AMD graphics, and lowered the price of the top-end iMac with Retina 5K display to $2,299.

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The MacNN Podcast, Episode 15: Man down!

Filemaker Pro 14, Cox Cable's cap testing, Xbox bricking, and more

Episode 15 of The MacNN Podcast is on the air! Regular shenanigans ensue, even if not perpetrated by the regular crowd. This week, we talk about Microsoft up to its old tricks with six versions of Windows 10 at retail, Xbox consoles bricked by Microsoft (or not), Cox Cable's cap testing, and much more!

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Review: FileMaker Pro 14 (OS X, iOS, Windows)

Excellent update to a superb but not flawless tool

Here's the thing. FileMaker Pro is a quietly spectacular app: it's for creating databases but for three decades now it has also created careers. There are people whose entire working lives have been devoted to creating databases in FileMaker Pro and they do it for lone freelancers, corner shop businesses and even corporations. Now a new FileMaker Pro 14 has been released for the app's 30th anniversary and, with one caveat, it is hugely recommended. Check our full review to see what we liked, and what we didn't.

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Hands On: BBEdit 11.1 (OS X)

Is there anything this text editor can't do?

Sometimes you just need a pencil. BBEdit is not that. BBEdit is more like a lifetime of writing and editing tools compiled into one veteran application, and regularly updated with more. It got a shakeup with version 11, but now the new BBEdit 11.1 introduces still more features -- seriously, where do they keep finding features to put into this text editor?

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 14: I can't talk now, I'm on my Watch

Discoveryd issues, Apple Watch giveaway, Origin PC review, more

It's time for episode 14 of The MacNN Podcast , which this week includes a new guest: Bradley, our music provider for the show, who is also a keen reviewer of Bluetooth Speakers and, now, the Origin PC gaming computer. We also do our usual thing of going over the big tech stories of the week, cracking some terrible jokes, talk about some new features on the site, make gratuitous pop-culture references, and even squeeze in an overview of Apple Watch third-party apps.

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Review: Alsoft DiskWarrior 5.0 (OS X)

An old friend returns, but you can't always go home again

For veteran Mac users, the mere mention of the name of DiskWarrior often brings stories of multiple bacon-saving incidents or helping in the resurrection of drives and data nearly written off from across the last three decades. There are few Mac programs that have earned genuine "legendary" status, but DiskWarrior, from tiny outfit Alsoft, is one of them. Recently the company released a version 5.0 for modern Macs after a nearly five-year hiatus since version 4.4, but in the meantime much as changed. DW is still awesome at what it does -- but is what it does as relevant now as it once was? Check out our review to find out .

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Feature: Apple's 'discoveryd' failure in Yosemite and iOS 8

A widely reported bug in new Apple hardware and software remains unfixed

Through all of Apple's patches for OS X 10.10.3, and the accompanying iOS 8 versions, one core networking service remains problematic, it has been discovered. At the heart of Apple's networking is the "discoveryd" routine, introduced in the latest versions of the OS, which drives how OS X and iOS 8 locates and resolves network connections to other devices. However, the new iteration (replacing a much older service) is causing problems with Bonjour, fouling DNS resolution, and generating a host of other problems for many users, which can in some cases be exacerbated by the number of modern OS X and iOS devices on a network, making it a major problem for Apple faithful.

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Giveaway: Win an Apple Watch

Win an Apple Watch with MacNN Deals

The recent launch of the Apple Watch has garnered considerable attention and high sales, despite some considering it to be too expensive to acquire. If you fall into this category but still want the Apple-produced smartwatch, you will probably want to take part in our contest to win the Apple Watch through our own recently-launched MacNN Deals .

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 13: Powerwall to the People

May Day episode features Apple Q2 reports, Apple Watch, Powerwall, more

Welcome, comrades, to episode 13 of The MacNN Podcast as we celebrate the glorious people's revolution and salute labor everywhere this May Day through (mostly) home electronics! In the latest episode, various citizens of MacNN parade like troops on review through a number of Apple- and non-Apple topics under the watchful eye of our Dear Readers! Truly it is worker's playtime with the Apple Watch now arriving, plus Tesla's Powerwall battery reveal.

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Hands On: Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Beats second-generation headphones are much improved

The Beats Solo2 Wireless on-ear headphones is the latest product to emerge from the now wholly Apple-owned subsidiary. While it is unlikely Apple's engineering and design teams have had much, if any, influence on its latest products, most agree that the second generation of Beats headphones is much improved over its first generation of products. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the asking price for a set of Beats headphones. This new wireless model will run you $299, putting them on roughly on par with high-end competition from Bose and Sennheiser. So -- are they worth it?

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The Feature Thief, conclusion: AppleWorks and the lessons learned

In ambitious pursuit of a greater goal, the sleigh ride can become a rollercoaster

Over the past week, we've been having a picnic in the software graveyard of Apple's various revamps, do-overs, and outright murders of programs that sometimes suffered from having too small a niche to devote the time to ( such as Aperture ), sometimes got dumped by most users who outgrew them ( iWeb ), and occasions where Apple painted itself into a corner ( iMovie, Final Cut Express, iDVD ). Today, we conclude the series with the grand-daddy of Apple abandonware: AppleWorks.

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Apple and IBM partnership bearing fruit in Japan Post healthcare deal

New apps tailored for eldercare, long-term monitoring of patients

As part of Apple's partnership with IBM, a new deal has been struck with Japan Post Holdings to improve elder care in the country. IBM will combine forces with Apple and Japan Post, which provides insurance and healthcare solutions in addition to mail delivery, to develop software to assist with information transmission, communications with family, and help monitor health parameters of customers.

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The Feature Thief, part two: Final Cut Pro, iMovie, iDVD

Apple loves video software, Apple hates video software

It's Day Two of The Feature Thief , the mini-series of columns examining just what in the world was in Apple's mind when it abandons years of development in favor of a shiny new application nobody likes. To be fair, though, it's also examining how sometimes that move was necessary, and often how it works out rather well or even superbly in the end. Once the furor has died down, and especially once Apple has put back some features it's dropped, we can often say that the new applications are better. Whether it's worth the ride getting there is a different question –– and whether you should jump ship to rival companies' products is another.

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Hands On: Apple Watch Edition

Bling Bling

Yesterday, we took a trip up to Dallas to try on the Apple Watch Edition. Yes, that's the really expensive gold one . Sadly, there were no flutes of champagne, or tastefully-appointed back rooms. What we did get, instead was a friendly and enthusiastic Apple Store employee, and the heft of four to six ounces of 18-karat gold on our wrist. Keep this in mind: aside from the two sizes of screen to choose from, the price differences between the different models has everything to do with aesthetics and what the casing or band materials are made of, particularly with the Edition.

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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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