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AAPL Stock: 108 ( + 1.02 )

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Trent Reznor 'fully in it' on unannounced Apple/Beats project

Said to be related to role on Beats Music

Trent Reznor -- the Nine Inch Nails frontman and one-time chief creative officer at Beats -- says he is "fully in it right now" on an unannounced music project for Apple and Beats. While he is unwilling to go into much detail, in a new interview, he says his work is "related" to his role with Beats Music. "Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them," the musician notes . "I can't go into details, but I feel like I'm in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. This is very creative work that's not directly making music, but it's around music."

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Apple adds 15-inch 2014 Retina MacBook Pros to refurb store

Models discounted by as much as $570, still have standard one-year warranty

Apple stocked its refurb store with 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on Thursday, offering discounts on the brand-new models just three months (to the day) after their debut of up to $570 off the current retail price. A wide range of configurations is available at this writing, ranging from a 2.2GHz Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage selling for $1,700 (15 percent off) up to a quad-core i7 model at 2.8GHz, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a Nvidia GeForce GT 750M for $2,719, the most deeply-discounted model.

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Hands On: WaterField Outback Slip Case for iPad Air 2

As much a fashion statement as practical

Modern iPad cases are built not only to suit a wide range of uses, but a wide range of incomes, and both of those factors come into play with one of WaterField's first products for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, the Outback Slip Case. On a functional level, it's relatively straightforward: it's a cushioned sleeve that you slide an iPad into. WaterField makes four variants, split between the Air and the Mini, and whether you want one sized to accommodate a Smart Cover as well. We tested the Air 2/Smart Cover edition.

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Hands On: PicTrove 2 Pro (iOS)

Web image search engine with built-in editing tools and multiple saving, sharing options

PicTrove 2 Pro is an app that has taken the time-intensive act of image-searching on the web and streamlined it. Users are able to search multiple websites, including Google, Bing, Flickr, Pinterest, and more all at once, and compare them side-by-side. Tapping and swiping through allows a user to browse images one at a time from a specific search site. There is also the ability to refine searches per site, allowing a user to specify whether they would like photographs or clipart, or decide on the size or quality of the image. Even animated GIFs are fully supported within PicTrove 2 Pro.

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Hands On: PluralEyes 3.5 (OS X, Windows)

Synchronization software removes headache from matching up video clips, audio recordings

DSLR shooters often have a troublesome workflow when trying to put together videos recorded with the dual-purpose cameras. While many consumers might look to a dedicated camcorder to produce a short film or conduct an interview, DSLR cameras provide the necessary technology needing only an external audio recorder to do the job. But how do users bring video and audio together? In the past, filmmakers entered into a time consuming process to match peaks in waveforms. However, that is no longer needed as Red Giant offers a supremely better solution with PluralEyes 3.5 .

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Apple reveals that iOS 8 has topped 50 percent adoption

Milestone comes far slower than it did for iOS 7 due to early-release glitches

As of October 27, iOS 8 was installed on 52 percent of eligible devices , Apple has announced in a posting on its developer website. While far slower than the take-up rate of iOS 7 last year, the milestone was achieved in a little less than six weeks' time -- still far faster than comparative figures for other mobile and desktop platforms. Early delivery and quality glitches in iOS 8 -- most notoriously the short-lived 8.0.1 bugfix release -- may have made the public more gun-shy about trusting later updates.

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Giveaway: win one of five copies of Printworks [CLOSED]

win one of five copies of Printworks

MacNN just finished its hands-on review of Belight Software's latest update to their page layout and design software title, Printworks. This software can be used for everything from creating business cards and calendars, to CD labels, postcards and more, and for a limited time it's priced at only $30 (normally $50). We have five copies to give away to our readers.

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Apple's 2014 10-K shows surges in R&D, acquisition spending

Company admits to sagging iTunes music sales

Apple's 2014 10-K filing, just published by the Securities and Exchange Commission, shows major increases in acquisitions and research spending. Even excluding its $3 billion Beats takeover , the company still managed to increase acquisition spending from $496 million to $957 million during the last fiscal year. Annual research and development spending has more than doubled during the past three years, rising from $2.4 billion to $6 billion.

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First look: Apple iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

iPad Air 2 is anything but an incremental update

Apple is heading into the holiday season with what it says is its "strongest holiday product line up ever." The arrival of the new iPads certainly helps to underscore the point. Most expected that Apple would bring the popular Touch ID feature to both models, while processor upgrades were also in the cards. With leaks increasingly taking some of the surprise out of Apple's product launches, it still managed to keep a few things secret until it took the wraps off the  iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 .

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New Apple webpage touts company's ConnectED participation

Says 114 schools getting iPads, MacBooks, Apple TVs

Apple has launched a minisite promoting the company's involvement in the US federal government's ConnectED initiative . The program is concerned with getting better Internet access and computing equipment to underfunded schools, and Apple has pledged some $100 million. Newly revealed in the minisite is that Apple's grants have reached 114 schools in 29 states, and that 92 percent of the students at those schools "are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage."

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Yosemite adoption outpacing last year's Mavericks, now at 12.8 percent

Both most recent OS releases caught on at double the pace of previous paid upgrades

Users are getting used to the idea of upgrading to the latest OS X versions very quickly after release, a new study from ad agency and trend analyst Chitika shows. The latest major OS X upgrade, 10.10 Yosemite, has already achieved a 12.8 percent share of all Internet-connected Macs -- slightly ahead of where last year's release, Mavericks, was at the same point, six days after release. However, both Mavericks and Yosemite have enjoyed adoption rates more than twice as high as the last paid upgrade, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in 2012.

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WSJ says iTunes Stores sales down 13-14 percent in 2014

Beats Music expected to be rebuilt, integrated into iTunes

Sales at Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent in 2014 so far, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . That represents a steepening decline , coming in the wake of a 2.1 percent dip in 2013. The trend is believed to be connected to the music industry's overall swing away from downloads, and towards streaming subscription services like Pandora and Spotify.

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Editorial: In defense of the new $499 Mac mini

On paper, its not as strong as the 2012 model, but why worry?

After its release, we came out pretty strongly against Apple's new $499 Mac mini . We thought it to be underpowered, and despite some minor improvements, generally a step backwards. Time has passed, tempers have cooled a bit, and we've given it a second thought. While we're not saying that its a must-buy, there are some good use cases for it, and in some instances it trumps the 2012 model.

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GT Advanced confirms split with Apple, will repay $439 million [u]

Former sapphire supplier will keep control of Mesa assets

(Updated with Apple response, hints at future initiatives) GT has confirmed its split with Apple via a press release, offering further details on the terms. "GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple," the statement explains. "GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa [Arizona] and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF sales.

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Tim Cook posts photo from latest China visit

CEO as already met with Vice Premier Ma Kai over China iCloud attacks

Apple CEO Tim Cook has posted a picture from his latest trip to China on Twitter, showing him sharing a laugh with a factory worker named Zhang Fan, who helps assemble the iPhone 6 at a factory in Zhengzhou. While Foxconn's factories manufacture equipment for a wide variety of technology firms including Google, Microsoft and others, Cook is the only CEO to routinely visit the facilities and personally investigate conditions and safety at the plants. He called the meeting with Zhang "an early highlight" of the trip.

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Apple found not guilty of infringing on expired GPNE patents

Company directly refers to plaintiff as 'patent troll,' calls for continued patent reform

Non-practicing entity GPNE, which had tried to sue Apple over alleged infringement of expired pager-related 3G wireless patents, has come away completely empty-handed after a jury exonerated Apple of all charges. The firm, which has attempted to sue or sued most other big-name tech firms over the same or similar patents, had sought $94 million in damages (which Apple had referred to as an "attempt to extort money" from the iPhone maker), but was awarded nothing.

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Teardown of iPad Air 2 by iFixit confirms 2GB RAM, smaller battery

Lack of antenna for NFC radio hobbles unit for Apple Pay retail buying

A new teardown of the iPad Air 2 has confirmed much of what was speculated about the device, but has also revealed some minor surprises. The team at iFixit have rated the new iPad a "two" on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most repairable. The company says that while the new "fused" display is better visually, and sturdier when opening up the iPad, it will also increase the cost of repair for a cracked screen. The teardown also revealed that the latest full-size iPad features a smaller battery and more RAM.

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Rare Apple I computer sold at auction for $905,000

Takes second place in all-time high price paid for a personal computer

On the same day that Apple's stock closed at the second-highest price it has achieved in 2014, a new record-high price for its first computer -- the original Apple I -- has also been set , by a considerable margin. While an incredibly rare still-functional Apple I model (thought to be one of just six in such pristine condition) along with a letter from Steve Jobs was sold in May 2013 for $671,400 , the latest auction in New York saw this latest unit -- one from the original first batch of 50 -- change hands for $905,000.

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Hands On: RapidWeaver 6 (OS X)

Improved graphic-focused website creator now more powerful

Just because you need a website, doesn't mean that the best option is to hire someone to create one out of whole cloth. The alternative is either learning HTML, CSS, and a host of other acronymic technologies, or seeking out all-in-one website design software that allows users to publish a website without requiring coding knowledge or a ton of design expertise. Realmac Software has announced the release of RapidWeaver 6 , an upgrade to its longstanding website creation app, and we've had a chance to put it through its paces.

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Cook reveals surprising $17B AAPL stock buyback in Q4

Now at $45 billion in buybacks for the year, double its 2013 buying spree

During its conference call to analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned that the company had spent $17 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter on further stock buybacks, the largest amount since the March quarter and bringing the total spent across the fiscal year to $45 billion. About half of the money was spent buying shares on the open market rather than through banking partners, an unusual move for a large corporation. The stock came close to another record high on Tuesday, but has yet to crack its $110 all-time (adjusted for both splits and buybacks) share high.

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GT Advanced, Apple strike deal to 'amicably' part ways

If approved, GT will sell sapphire furnaces to pay back Apple loan

After much bickering in court during bankruptcy proceedings that took Apple and Wall Street by surprise , former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has worked out an agreement with the iPhone maker that will let it pursue its plan of winding down operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and laying off nearly 700 employees. Though Apple had initially said it would work to preserve the jobs involved , the deal instead offers incentives to certain employees to help wind down the plant, and provides a way for GT to pay back the money it owes Apple.

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Apple begins shipping early preorders for iPad Air 2, Mini 3

Some units could ship as soon as October 23rd

Apple is beginning to ship the earliest preorders of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 bought at its online store, accounts say. Notifications are being sent out today. Some orders are scheduled to ship on October 23 specifically, while other people have been given a broader 23rd-27th timeframe.

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Apple launches mini-site promoting Swift programming language

Shows example apps made using Swift, notes colleges adding the language

Continuing its effort to promote its own streamlined object-oriented programming code Swift, Apple has followed up from its Swift blog with a full-blown mini-site on Apple.com. The new site takes a similar approach to Apple's dedicated mini-sites for education and business, highlighting some of the many apps now built using swift and featuring case studies, profiles and links to tutorials and free resources. The new promotional mini-site is in addition to the regular Swift developer site .

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Apple Pay to be used at both 2014 World Series stadiums

MLB was early adopter of Passbook app, iBeacons; MLB app will gain Touch ID functionality

Major League Baseball, which has taken the role of unabashed cheerleader for several of Apple's financial and retail technology initiatives including Passbook and iBeacons, has announced another embrace -- this time, Apple Pay. Both of the two MLB stadiums involved in this year's World Series will be accepting Apple Pay for concessions starting with the event, which begins on Tuesday. San Francisco's AT&T Park and Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium will both have the hardware on hand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users.

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Apple breaks all-time Mac sales record over summer

Emerging markets, price cuts, back to school seen as key factors

In what CEO Tim Cook called the "best ever" quarter for the Mac, Apple's Mac lineup overall jumped a remarkable 25 percent in a single quarter to 5.52 million units. Making the event more noteworthy is the fact that the growth was achieved prior to any notable refreshes . Instead, what appears to be driving the increase in Mac sales is volume in emerging markets, such as China - where Macs were up 54 percent year-over-year. Price cuts and great back-to-school sales also contributed to the jump.

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Apple pulls in $42.12 billion in Q4 revenues, driven by iPhone 6

iPad shipments see decline

Apple pulled in $42.12 billion in revenues during its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended in September, according to an announcement. That figure surpasses the $37.47 billion the company posted in Q4 2013, as well as consensus expectations of $40 billion, and Apple's own guidance in the last quarter. Net profits rose year-over-year from $7.5 billion -- or $1.18 per diluted share -- to $8.5 billion and $1.42 per share. Gross margins increased from 37 to 38 percent.

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Apple releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library, more

Includes delayed SMS Relay tech, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fixes

As planned , Apple has released iOS 8.1 to the public. The main addition is support for Apple Pay, but a number of other important features are present. These include beta support for iCloud Photo Library, and the return of the Camera Roll to the Photos app. SMS Relay enables SMS/MMS messaging via a nearby Mac or iPad, and people can now force a device to use 2G, 3G, or 4G for data, instead of it selecting networks automatically. A minor photo-related improvement generates alerts whenever there's too little storage to start a timelapse video.

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Opinion: iPad Air 2 demo shows power of 64-bit mobile computing [U]

Apple A8X chip in iPad Air 2 set to smoke the competition

Apple's demo for the iPad Air 2 during its latest keynote event was hugely impressive. As the company often does during its live presentations, it invited two developers on stage to highlight not only their apps, but also the power of the new iPad Air 2. Although all the technical details are not yet fully known about the powerful new custom 64-bit A8X chip, Apple did reveal some impressive numbers. But numbers aside, if you ever held any doubts about the benefits of Apple going 64-bit for the iPhone and iPad, the performance capabilities of iPad Air 2 as demonstrated should put them to bed.

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Apple opens up online preorders for iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

In-store pickup options only listed as 'coming soon'

Apple has officially opened up preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at its online store . In the US, Apple is currently promising delivery sometime between October 23rd and the 27th. Delivery in fact appears to be the only option, as in-store pickup is quoted as "coming soon."

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Editorial: Analysis of Apple's October device announcements

Event featured expected news for news iPad, surprises for 5K iMac and Mac Mini

Chatter between the staff of MacNN and Electronista is always occurring behind the scenes, but it ramps up when special events or live reveals happen in the tech world. Excitement was amplified this week as Apple took to the stage barely a month after its last event, the September showcase that launched the iPhone 6. Editors Mike and Charles, along with writer Jordan, debate some of the new device information that trickled out of the Wednesday event, while digging a little deeper on the impact the devices could have on Apple .

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