Electronista

Wednesday, October 22

FCC freezes clock on merger reviews of Comcast/TWC, AT&T/DirecTV

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped its "180-day informal time clock" in the review of the merger proposals for between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as AT&T and DirectTV. The reason for the stoppage involves the modified joint protective orders that the FCC created at the beginning of October, which content companies are now using to bar outside sources from reading confidential programm...

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OS X Yosemite nudges Chrome, Firefox users into trying Safari

People using Chrome or Firefox within OS X Yosemite are seeing push notifications asking them to try Safari, accounts say. The messages tout Safari as "fast, energy efficient, and with a beautiful new design," and even include "Later" and "Try Now" buttons. They appear to be triggered by launching Chrome or Firefox for the first time after the Yosemite upgrade....

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iPad Air 2, Mini 3 now available for Personal Pickup at Apple Stores

Shoppers at Apple's online store now have the option of selecting Personal Pickup as a delivery option for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. When preorders opened last Friday, the company required all orders to be shipped. Notably, some stores are listed as having iPads ready for pickup today, even though Apple Store workers are saying they won't have tablets on sale until later this week, or even next week. Shipped or...

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FBI director asks Congress to update law to circumvent encryption

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey isn't giving up his crusade to persuade the government and businesses that law enforcement should have access to encrypted phone data. Comey took his fight to Congress recently, asking that it update the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to cover newer technologies....

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Avast 2015 adds Home Network Security, SecureDNS

Avast Software has launched Avast 2015, an update of its multiplatform security suite. The main addition this year is a tool called Home Network Security, which scans a local network for potential vulnerabilities. These may include things like weak or default router passwords, unprotected IPv6 use, and already-compromised Internet connections. A related new feature is called SecureDNS, which offers encrypted traffic ...

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Apple Pay bugs cause problems with card images, overcharging

Although the service appears to be working in general, Apple Pay is encountering some early technical problems. One issue is that in some cases, the correct card designs aren't being displayed in Passbook. Affected cards will show generic logos for their associated institutions, and possibly lack descriptions as well, which can make numbers the only way to distinguish between them when a person has multiple cards fro...

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Hands On: RapidWeaver 6 (OS X)

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 RapidWeave...

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Unity Technologies names ex-EA exec John Riccitiello as CEO

Cross-platform game development engine designers Unity Technologies has named a new chief executive. John Riccitiello, the prior chief of EA, is the new head of the company, with David Helgason stepping back. Helgason will continue with the company, and is planning on focusing on improving relationships with developers as well as "working with some insanely talented people here at Unity."...

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Ricoh unveils three laser printers with 23 page-per-minute output

Ricoh has launched a set of three monochrome laser printers in the United States. The SP 213SNw and SP 213SFNw multifunction printers and the SP 213Nw printer all offer print speeds of up to 23 pages per minute, a low 10-second wait for the first print, minimal warm-up times, and a number of different connectivity and networking options. ...

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Early reviews call Air 2, Mini 3 best iPads ever, but just iterative

Early reviews of the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 are beginning to arrive, and are typically touting the tablets as Apple's best ever, but with some caveats. Re/code's Walt Mossberg for instance says they represent a "modest evolutionary improvement over last year's models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year." He suggests that the Air 2 may be worth buying for pe...

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Pangu team debuts early, developer-only iOS 8.1 jailbreak

The Pangu jailbreak team has developed a new hack for iOS 8 and 8.1 devices, reports and the team's website note. The initial release is said to be intended strictly for app developers, since it doesn't install Cydia or other services designed to make jailbreaking simple and practical. The public version is in fact waiting on those services being brought up to speed for iOS 8....

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Briefly: Sky+ mobile app update, UberXL launches in United Kingdom

British broadcaster Sky has updated its iOS and Android Sky+ apps to allow users to display their photographs from their mobile devices on the television through the Sky+ HD set-top box. The app also includes a new updated homepage, complete with a dedicated Sports section, and a Smart Series Link option that lets the Sky+ box record all current and future seasons of selected programs. ...

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Apple CEO meets with Chinese official to discuss iCloud hijacks

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss man-in-the-middle attacks against iCloud users, according to Reuters and China's state-run Xinhua news agency. Reuters notes that the Chinese government has so far denied allegations of involvement, which in particular tied the attacks to the state firewall used to censor Internet access in the country. As for the meeting, Xinh...

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Google Play Music updates Listen Now page, adds Songza playlists

Google Play Music has been updated for both Android and iOS, with a new look and extra features. While it has received a Material Design-influenced makeover, similar to the leaked Gmail update, the main change users will notice is the inclusion of activity and time-related playlists, something Google has introduced courtesy of its acquisition of Songza in July. ...

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Apple SEC filing reveals executive RSU bonuses, lobbying costs

In its latest SEC 10-Q filing, Apple has revealed certain company details -- including the fact that it still spends a small fraction of the money other tech firms do on Washington lobbying, and that it continues its practice of awarding its executives restricted stock units (RSUs) that could be worth millions if they stay with the company and it continues to do well. CFO Luca Maestri and Senior Vice President of Ret...

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Tuesday, October 21

Cook reveals surprising $17B AAPL stock buyback in Q4

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....

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Early benchmarks show Retina iMac processor's power against Mac Pros

Early benchmarks of the new iMacs show the Retina 5K iMac as having high enough performance to beat the 2013 Mac Pro in some tasks, suggesting that in some cases it may be better to buy the new high-end iMac than a base-level Mac Pro. Results for the range, appearing on the 64-bit Geekbench 3 benchmark, has the high-resolution 5K iMac's 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor option dominating the board for single a...

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

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 inste...

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Briefly: Alpine Headphones, iDevices iShower2

A new set of consumer headphones was released by Alpine Electronics that sets out to bring the concert experience to users in order to "feel their music." The patented TKR3 full frequency immersion technology attempts to recreate the sensation of a live show with a "unique sound field expansion." The Bluetooth headphones feature 40mm drivers, programmable audio processing, powered digital amplifiers, and a lithium ba...

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Apple says it's aware of Chinese iCloud hijacks, servers not affected

Apple is aware of "intermittent organized network attacks" against people trying to sign into iCloud.com, says Dow Jones. It insists however that iCloud servers haven't been breached, and that people using iOS or the latest version of OS X -- Yosemite -- should be unaffected. The company doesn't specifically mention China, which is where the browser hijacks are taking place....

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Briefly: Civilization Beyond Earth data, Total War: Shogun 2 expansion

The latest installment of the Civilization franchise from developer Firaxis Civilization: Beyond Earth, today has a slightly narrowed release date for OS X as well as declared hardware and OS requirements. While the PC release is imminent on October 24, the Mac version will ship in time for holiday 2014. Civilization: Beyond Earth, will require OS X 10.10 Yosemite, an Intel Core i3 processor or greater, running at 2....

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Apple Pay loyalty program may be coming in time for holidays

A loyalty program for Apple Pay may be ready to go in time for the holidays, says Bank Innovation. Some retail sources had previously suggested this was unlikely, in part because of doubt about the prospects of a large shift in customer behavior happening right before the holiday season. Real-world market demand may be pushing up the timetable for a loyalty offering, however....

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Review: Kenu Airframe Plus

Simple, stylish and effective, the Kenu Airframe + portable car mount is the latest addition to Kenu's lineup. Released earlier this year, the Airframe + takes the same basic design of the Airframe and gives it a little extra stretch in order to hold larger 6-inch phones. In our review we thoroughly put the Airframe + to the test to see what exactly it is that puts the "plus" in this portable car mount. ...

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

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 23rd specifically, while other people have been given a broader 23rd-27th timeframe. ...

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Extensis releases Suitcase Fusion 6, with Yosemite compatibility

Extensis today released a major update to its Suitcase Fusion 6 font manager. The new version brings full OS X 10.10 Yosemite compatibility, Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 integration, font library synchronization with Dropbox or Google Drive accounts, as well as continuing bug fixes and speed enhancements....

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Razer Nabu fitness tracker passes through FCC, could launch soon

Razer's Nabu connected wristband is getting closer to launch, after finally receiving approval from the FCC. The wearable, which first surfaced at the start of the year before undergoing public beta testing and being subject to delays over hypoallergenic testing, is tantalizingly close to meeting a supposed October launch time, which could allow Razer to capitalize on holiday sales in an increasingly congested market...

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T-Mobile to start preorders for iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 tomorrow

T-Mobile's US branch has announced that it will start offering preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 on Wednesday. While the hardware available to preorder since last Friday already supports T-Mobile, ordering directly from the carrier opens up financing options. 16GB LTE models can be had for no down payment on a two-year contract, monthly fees being approximately $26 for the Air 2 and $22 for the Mini 3. Tha...

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Forums: All iOS apps must support 64-bit code??

One headline on MacNN this week has caused a bit of a stir in the forums, when Mac Elite "WizOSX" pointed out that Apple has announced that all iOS apps must support 64-bit code by February. One Fresh-Faced Recruit is having trouble playing video with their Windows notebook computer, and is wondering if the MacBook Air would be able to handle it better. ...

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Apple deals: 17-inch iMacs from $1,399

Apple's online store has been slashing prices on refurbished 27-inch iMac models in the wake of last week's unveiling of their current-generation 5K model. The 27-inch iMac with a 2.9GHz quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive is now $1,399 after a $400 discount. A $310 discount is offered on the refurbished 27-inch iMac with a 3.2GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, now ...

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DealNN: $120 off 13.3-inch MacBook Pro

Right now at B&H.com, get the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro notebook on sale for $1,280. That's a savings of $120 off the regular price of $1,400, and it is $109 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. Also provided is a free gift of either security software LoJack or Windows virtual environment software Parallels. This MBP features a 2.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe-based fl...

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Apple Pay functions internationally with US-based cards, users say

Even though Apple Pay -- launched yesterday with iOS 8.1 -- is nominally supposed to be US-only at the moment, it's already working overseas, anecdotes indicate. In particular the service is functional in Australia, as long as a person is using both US credit cards and region settings on their iPhone. The region toggle is needed to make Apple Pay show as an option....

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Sponsored: Top 5 Barcode Scanners for Your Retail Business

When it comes to choosing the barcode scanner you are going to buy for your business, there are a lot of choices. But you can't just go out and buy the first scanner you come across. There are some significant differences between some types of barcode scanners. The most important criterion to get a handle on is the type of barcode you use. There are 1D codes like the UPC codes you can find in just about every retail ...

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Staples likely latest company suffering customer payment info breach

Office supply store Staples appears to be the latest victim of a breach of customer payment information. The company issued a brief statement saying that they were looking into the matter, after several banks reported fraudulent activity with a pattern pointing to the source being Staples stores in the US northeast. ...

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Second Turkish Apple Store to open on Saturday

Apple's second store in Turkey is launching this Saturday at 10AM, the company has announced. The outlet is situated on one of the middle floors of Istanbul's Akasya Shopping Mall. It will be open from 10AM to 10PM seven days a week, and the company is already beginning to accept reservations for appointments including workshops and Genius Bar service....

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Hands On: Steam Marines (OS X, Windows)

Following a year of development in Steam's Early Access program, Steam Marines finally made its way to the general public a few weeks ago. Similar in style to games like Space Hulk and XCOM, Steam Marines is a top-down strategy shooter that requires players to carefully plan out each turn. Available for $15 through Steam, Desura, and the Humble Store, is this 2D retro-styled game worth your time and the unavoidable s...

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iPhone production may shift even more heavily toward 6 Plus

Apple may, for a second time, have to adjust the ratios of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus production to more equally favor the Plus, sources tell Digitimes. Earlier this month the company is said to have noticed that global demand for the Plus was stronger than expected, and adjusted accordingly. After last weekend's launch in China, though, the company is said to have discovered strong demand there too. Chinese wanting a regul...

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Realmac updates RapidWeaver 6 web publishing tool, now 64-bit

Realmac Software today announced the immediate availability of RapidWeaver 6, a major new upgrade to the company's long-running website creation app. RapidWeaver 6 has over a dozen major new features, and hundreds of enhancements and refinements, and is built exclusively for OS X Mavericks and OS X Yosemite....

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Verizon continues double-digit profit growth, posts $21.8B revenue

Verizon today reported double-digit year-over-year percentage growth in reported and adjusted earnings per share for the 10th time in the past 11 quarters. Verizon reported $0.89 in earnings per share in third-quarter 2014, compared with $0.78 per share in third-quarter 2013. Total revenues for the company were $21.8 billion in third-quarter 2014, up 7 percent year over year....

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Follow-up: Apple clarifies use of data in Spotlight searches

While it may sound like a report from the Department of the Obvious, the new version of Spotlight included in Yosemite includes searching beyond the local drive, and consequently gathers and sends to Apple some information on what users are searching for, their (city-level) location -- if Location Services is turned on -- and what Spotlight Suggestion was selected. That one needs to get certain data to perform a web ...

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Apple launches mini-site promoting Swift programming 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 ...

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