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Apple's AirPods are nowhere to be seen, or heard

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 17:21

When Apple unveiled the iPhone 7, much ado was made over the new model’s missing headphone jack. But Cupertino had a solution to assuage those worries: a pair of $159 Bluetooth earphones called AirPods that would ship just a few weeks after the new iPhones. But October came and went without an AirPods release date, and now that the holidays are upon us, it’s clear that Apple’s cord-free earphones just aren’t ready for the public yet. So what’s going on?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple may have run into trouble with the connection between the wireless pods. Each piece receives Bluetooth signals independently, but they must play audio at the same time. Apple hasn’t said what the problem is (and they likely won’t), but Bluetooth and audio experts told the WSJ that common problems wireless earphones face are losing Bluetooth signal outdoors, ensuring the microphone picks up the wearer’s voice while blocking out background noise, and figuring out what to do if buyers lose one piece (free or cheap replacements?).

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Super Mario Run's always-on Internet requirement could ruin the fun for many gamers

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 11:17

When Super Mario Run debuts on iOS next Thursday, players hoping to while away their subway commute with Nintendo’s runner game will be in for a shock. Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto—the creator of the Mario series—recently told Mashable that the game will require a persistent Internet connection to play.

To hear Miyamoto tell it, this is all about reducing the risk of piracy and protecting Nintendo’s intellectual property. “We want to make sure that we’re able to offer...Super Mario Run...in a way that the software is secure, and that they’re able to play it in a stable environment,” Miyamoto told the website.

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Apple names its picks for best apps of the year

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 14:30
The best of the best

On Tuesday, the App Store editors announced 2016’s best apps and games for iOS devices, alongside popular music, TV, and movie picks from Apple Music and the iTunes Store. Looks like 2016 was quite the year for Apple entertainment. Did your favorite apps and games make the list? Here’s the full rundown.

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Facebook's Year in Review for 2016 isn't just fun and games

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 12:10

In November, John Oliver “called it early,” declaring 2016 a truly terrible year. On Thursday, Facebook pretty much backed up that claim, releasing its Year in Review that reveals the most-discussed topics around the world on the social network.

Facebook put together its year in review by ranking the most frequently mentioned topics in Facebook posts between January 1 and November 27. That data was then analyzed (and anonymized) to get a sense of the year’s most discussed issues in 2016.

It probably comes as no surprise that with just a few exceptions, the list includes one controversial and sad topic after another. Topping off the chart is the U.S. Presidential Election. Regardless of which candidate you were pulling for, almost everyone was glad to see this year’s overly long, overly divisive campaign drift into the history books.

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Apple in talks with the NHL to put the iPad at center ice

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 10:55

In early 2016, Apple struck a deal to put the iPad Pro in dugouts throughout Major League Baseball. Now, Apple wants to put the iPad on ice—no, not like that. TSN, Canada’s version of ESPN, is reporting that Apple and the National Hockey League are in “late-stage negotiations” to bring the iPad to the league’s 30 teams—31 by 2017.

One aim behind the deal is to equalize the use of technology for each team. An unnamed source told TSN that currently, the more affluent teams have iPads for use in their facilities, while others don’t. The deal is “about having a consistent platform that every team can use in every rink,” the source said.

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The Week in Mac apps: Organize your email with Spark's smart sorting tools

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 10:00
New Mac apps of the week

This week’s roundup of new Mac apps includes an update from Spark, Readdle’s awesome email client. Plus, Fantastical just got a bit more... fantastical, and more apps continue to get Touch Bar support. Read on!

Artistry Photo Pro: Studio FX & Effects Editor 2.0

Turn even the dullest photo into a great shot with It’s About Time Products’s $20 Artistry, a great utility that comes with a vast selection of adjustments and filters.

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Podcast 537: Amazon Go or no?

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 18:16

How cool would it be to walk into a store, scanning a QR code off your phone when you enter, and then just taking things off the shelves and walking out? Your answer to that might vary based on your experiences in stores today—after all, the Apple Store lets you check yourself out with the iOS app, which can feel either freeing or like someone's about to tackle you before you reach the door. Amazon is experimenting with a convenience store that's staffed by sensors instead of a clerk, and Glenn and Susie have plenty of thoughts.

Elsewhere, we talk about iPhone 6s batteries, the slow death of Flash, the holy-crap-kind-of-confirmed Project Titan, mesh routers, giant batteries, and the craziest adapter chain yet.

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Apple might offer iTunes movie rentals two weeks after they premiere in theaters

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 17:08

New movies could be coming to iTunes just days after the theatrical premiere.

Apple is reportedly pressing film studios to make movies available to rent on iTunes just two weeks after they’re released in theaters. According to Bloomberg, Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, and Universal Pictures are looking into allowing for these earlier home-rentals and are considering striking a deal with Apple to have them on iTunes.

The deal is far from finalized, however, and the movie studios could end up choosing another platform, like Amazon or Google Play, according to the report. So, it sounds like the studios are looking to pick just one platform to exclusively offer earlier rental as a way to secure a better licensing deal.

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T-Mobile's Digits looks to expand your phone number to all of your devices

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 15:11

T-Mobile is no stranger to shaking up the mobile world, having previously unveiled unlimited video streaming, streamlined data plans and hassle-free device upgrades, and now it has a new Un-carrier trick up its sleeve: a single number for all your devices and multiple numbers on a single device.

Called Digits, the unique program lets you share your T-Mobile number with any Internet-connected device, including smartwatches, computers, and tablets. As the company explains in its press release, “Just log in and, bam, your call history, messages, and even voicemail are all there. And it’s always your same number, so when you call or text from another device, it shows up as you.”

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Apple Music now boasts 20 million subscribers, and more than half are outside the U.S.

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 14:55

Apple Music continues to amass new paid subscribers, but Apple is not done growing the service just yet.

On Wednesday, Apple confirmed that Apple Music now has 20 million paid subscribers, up from 17 million in September. More than half of Apple Music’s subscribers reside outside the U.S., according to Apple. But Apple’s senior VP of Internet software and services Eddy Cue told Billboard magazine that there’s still room to grow—especially when to comes to catching up to Spotify’s 40 million paid subscribers.

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Amazon replaces cashiers with AI and computer learning

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 13:56

Amazon wants customers to be able to leave their wallets at home and still go shopping, as long as they have their smartphones on hand.

The online retail giant is opening up a brick-and-mortar store in Seattle called Amazon Go, and the store uses a mix of sensors and computer learning to track what items customers pick up and to automatically add them to their Amazon accounts.

Amazon identifies each customer using a QR code, which individuals scan before entering the store. The store offers groceries, ready-made food, and Amazon meal kits. Currently, Amazon Go is only accessible to the company’s employees, but Amazon says it will open its doors to the public in early 2017. 

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New MacBook Pros plagued by complaints about battery life and graphics glitches

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 13:48

There’s something strange happening with the new MacBook Pros.

Some buyers of the recently released 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar-equipped models are reporting problems with their laptops’ GPUs and batteries. The complaints, which have popped up in recent weeks on forums like MacRumors, Reddit, and Apple Support, mention crashes, red and green flashes, boot-up glitches, screen tearing, flickering—you name it, weird things are happening to Pro displays, as you can see in these videos rounded up by 9to5Mac. Some users report issues when using Adobe apps, others have had graphics troubles when syncing images in Apple’s own Photos app.

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Fitbit scoops up rival fitness tracker maker Pebble

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 11:47

Fitbit, the maker of popular fitness trackers, has acquired assets owned by rival Pebble, including key employees and intellectual property related to software and firmware development.

The deal, which was reported last week, closed on Tuesday, Fitbit announced on Wednesday. Amid slumping sales in the overall smartwatch market, Fitbit was interested in the PebbleOS, which has a large number of apps running on it and can be paired with both Apple’s iOS and Android.

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Apple's single sign-on for Apple TV and iOS is live

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 11:41

When Apple rolled out tvOS 10 in September we couldn’t help but notice that single sign-on—a feature that lets you enter your cable provider details once and then use them across multiple apps—didn’t make the cut. Apple promised that the new feature would land on Apple TV in December, and recently the company made good on its word.

As first noticed by MacRumors, single sign-on is now available on the fourth-generation Apple TV and iOS 10 devices. The feature is only available for U.S. users, which is where the bulk of cable provider hassles exist anyway. At launch, only 10 cable providers support single sign-on including CenturyLink Prism, DirecTV, Dish, GVTC, GVA, Hawaiian Telecom, Hotwire, MetroCast, and Sling.

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The Week in Mac Accessories: Hellacious hubs

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 11:10
New goodies for your Mac

This week’s roundup of accessories includes several new devices that provide every port your Mac will ever need. Read on!

OWC

The most notable feature on this Thunderbolt 3 Dock ($279 MSRP) is that it has 13 different ports. “Drive two 4K displays, connect and charge up to six USB devices, work with legacy FireWire storage, enjoy pristine audio, wired networks, and read SD cards, all at twice the speed of Thunderbolt 2 and all through a single cable.” The device ships in February 2017.

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YouTube's top trending videos for 2016

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 10:42

YouTube Rewind, the popular video site’s annual review, is due out Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST. Leading up to the big reveal, the Google-owned property released its list of the top 10 trending videos for 2016 to several news outlets including Variety.

The list includes the indescribable madness of carpool karaoke, scientific inquiry, John Oliver, and Vlogger Casey Neistat. This year’s list is interesting because while it does have some weird items that are part of the YouTube tradition. There’s also a lot of particularly mundane items like a six-minute short from a sportswear company and a guided tour of first class. These videos received  550 million views and have been watched for over 25 million hours combined.

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U.S. Supreme Court leaves gap in Samsung-Apple patent ruling

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 09:48

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Samsung Electronics and its backers in the industry in a design patent dispute with Apple, when in a 8-0 decision it said that “the term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product, whether sold separately or not.”

But the top court has left a lot unsaid, including by not providing guidance to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on how the damages Samsung has to pay Apple for the infringement of smartphone design patents will have to be calculated. That could also delay for a long time the resolution of the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, which has already dragged on for a number of years.

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Apple will release an iOS update to help resolve the growing number of iPhone 6s battery shutdowns

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 17:40

The number of people affected by iPhone 6s battery issues is growing to the point that Apple is now looking into a software fix.

Apple admitted on its Chinese support website this week that “customers outside of the affected range” are also experiencing unexpected shutdowns due to a faulty battery on their iPhone 6s. This means that Apple has spotted similar problems with devices that were manufactured outside the original September and October 2015 timeframe.

To address the issue, Apple started offering free replacement batteries to the affected customers. But as the problem continues to appear on more devices, Apple is preparing a diagnostic tool to gather more information and figure out if it can be resolved with a forthcoming iOS update.

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Instagram’s 2 new features let you take control of comments

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 17:18

Where other social networks struggle to give users tools to fight abuse (ahem, Twitter), Instagram is doing its part to make the photo-sharing platform a safer space. How so? By letting you turn off comments altogether.

Instagram

Before Tuesday, Instagram allowed you to filter comments based on specific keywords, but the new feature rolling out soon to everyone will let you turn comments on and off whenever you want. Just tap Advanced Settings at the bottom of a drafted post before you share it and toggle on Turn Off Commenting. You can turn comments back on after a post is live by tapping the ellipses menu.

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Tim Cook: Actually, Apple Watch sales are better than ever

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 13:25

After a research firm estimated that Apple Watch sales were down 71 percent year-over-year, Apple CEO Tim Cook is speaking out. The gist: Um, actually the Apple Watch is doing just fine.

In a statement to Reuters, Cook refuted IDC’s report of declining Apple Watch sales—sort of.

“Sales growth is off the charts,” Cook said. “In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch.”

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