Electronista

Friday, August 01

Briefly: Wunderlist, Indiegogo apps; Typo 2 keyboard in pre-order

To-do app Wunderlist has reached version 3.0, and is celebrating with fresh, iOS 7-inspired look, among other changes. The biggest changes users would immediately notice are the design, the real-time sync and a new option to make a list public. Users can also share lists with selected other Wunderlist users (such as family) across nearly any mobile or desktop platform, with instant updating....

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Briefly: Roam Mobility's new low rate plans, iKlip Stage app

Roam Mobility, a Canadian independent roaming replacement provider, has announced its new unlimited roaming plans for travellers while in the US. Upon purchasing a one-time upgrade to the network ($2), users can access Roam Mobility's new Text+Data plan ($2 per day) offering unlimited texting and data; plans that include 4G LTE data, flex scheduling, a Snowbird incremental option, and more. Roam Mobility can be purc...

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Review: SMS Audio Sync Sport on-ear wireless headphones

When hitting the gym or going out for a trail run, headphones can cause a number of problems. From the ear buds getting slimy with sweat or the ear cups not holding onto the user's head tightly enough, there are a bunch of inconveniences that occur. This isn't even considering the cords that can get in the way, resulting in headphones flying off someone's head or a plug being yanked from a device. Is there a set of h...

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Thursday, July 31

Apple updates Epson drivers, Yosemite Feedback Assistant

On Thursday, Apple updated its supported drivers for Epson printers and scanners for all OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9) users, and also added an update intended only for those testing the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta (either developers or members of the Beta Seed Program). The latter is just a small incremental update to the Feedback Assistant used to send App...

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Briefly: Wikipedia for iOS revamped, Ember screen recording launches

The official Wikipedia app for iOS has received a major update, including a complete native rewrite and new additions. The free encyclopedia contains more than 32 million article in 280 languages; the newest version now features localization and internationalization support. Wikipedia Mobile v4.0 includes a table of contents sidebar, so that users can easily navigate articles. Editing is enabled, meaning that users c...

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Square announces expansion into EMV chip card readers for business

Square, a company that helped open mobile payments up to the masses, released news today that it would be expanding its device offerings with a reader for chip-based credit cards. While the company states that typical Europay, Master Card and Visa (EMV) solutions are costly, it will release an affordable model to enable sellers to accept the secure payments....

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Facebook updates photo app Slingshot, chat app Messenger for iOS

On Thursday, Facebook updated two of its applications for iOS users: the now-required Messenger chatting program, and its SnapChat-like photo-messaging app Slingshot. The latter's biggest change is the removal of what was previously a puzzling core requirement of the app -- users no longer have to "reply" with a message, photo or video before being allowed to see the message, photo or video sent to them. The now-mand...

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Briefly: Telltale's The Walking Dead season 3, Blood Bowl on tablets

During last's weeks San Diego Comic Con, Telltale Games, the developer of narrative-based adventure games like The Wolf Among Us, announced that it would be producing a third season of its popular The Walking Dead game. Details on the next season of the title are scarce as it was only mentioned during a panel for Skybound Entertainment, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's imprint. The game likely won't be out a...

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Office for iPad gets PDF export, new fonts and Picture tools

Microsoft has updated its trio of Office apps for the iPad -- Word, Excel, and PowerPoint -- adding a number of significant features. Perhaps the biggest addition is support for PDF export, but new third-party fonts have also been added, as have new Picture tools that let people crop an image or reset it to an unaltered state. Other changes are specific to Excel and PowerPoint....

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Apple CDN now live in US and Europe, analyst says

Apple's proprietary content delivery network is now operational in the US and Europe, says Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn. Its status was determined by conducting traceroutes for OS X downloads, which show that files are being shuttled directly from Apple to ISPs. The network is estimated to be capable of delivering multiple terabits per second. ...

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US, Canadian Apple Stores to start iPhone 5s screen replacements

US and Canadian Apple Stores will finally start conducting iPhone 5s screen replacements on or around August 4th, sources say. Some US stores have been piloting the service for the past several months, but now Apple Stores are reportedly receiving "large quantities" of replacement screens. iPhone 5c screen services began in January....

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Sky Mobile wireless service launches in US on Sprint frequencies

Sky Communications has launched a new wireless provider, Sky Mobile, across the US. The new carrier offers several options for mobile users with basic users still being able to purchase flip phones, with smartphone users being able to choose from devices from Apple, LG, Samsung, and Kyocera....

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Apple confirms Beats layoffs; 200 people expected to lose jobs

Apple has confirmed reports of job losses at Beats as a part of its $3 billion acquisition. "We're excited to have the Beats team join Apple, and we have extended job offers to every Beats employee," says Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. "Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we'll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permane...

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Macphun brings Tonality to photo-editing lineup for B&W images

Photo software maker Macphun has unveiled a fourth tool in its suite of image-editing apps, this time creating one aimed at the art of black and white photography, whether the image was originally shot in color or not. Called Tonality, the program works with up to 16-bit RAW images or JPEG files and offers a range of tools that go far beyond simply removing color. In addition to serious tools like adaptive exposure, ...

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Researchers: USB firmware exploitable for computer malware install

A pair of researchers are going to discuss a giant security exploit in how the Universal Serial Bus (USB) firmware can be exploited. Security researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell have developed "BadUSB," a malware package resident in USB firmware that can be used as an attack vector to install any manner of software on a PC, with little or no warning to the user, and as of right now, no effective way to stop the a...

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Apple opens first 'open-air' temp shop in Switzerland's Glattzentrum

As anticipated, Apple has launched its first-ever "open-air" temporary store, located inside of the Glattzentrum mall in Wallisellen, Switzerland. The mall's primary Apple Store is undergoing an expansion. Workers won't say how long construction is expected to last, but the temporary shop has opened earlier than rumored, which could mean that the expansion will be ready in time for product launches expected in Sept...

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Shazam arrives for Mac with always-on detection

Music and TV recognition service Shazam has today launched its first-ever Mac app. While similar in design to the iOS client, the Mac app is able to listen constantly, generating an ongoing list of items it hears. Notifications give users the ability to jump quickly into pages for lyrics and/or buying the media in question. ...

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Apple environmental chief expanding green power efforts

In a new report for the UK newspaper The Guardian, Apple Senior VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson has acknowledged that the company needs to do more to facilitate more use of renewable energy by its suppliers and partners as well as itself. The iPhone maker has had tremendous success in converting its data centers to renewable energy, and has implemented similar measures in 120 of its stores. The next tar...

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Wednesday, July 30

Briefly: Echoes voice announcements for Mac, Amberlight 1.2

Parliant has announced the release of its new voice messaging product for Mac users, Echoes. Functioning on a local network, users can contact other Macs running Echoes and send a voice message instantly, without the need for "dialing" like Skype or FaceTime. To send a voice announcement, one selects "Announce" from the Echoes icon found in the menu bar. Users can announce to both individuals or groups, and quickly r...

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Report: Apple offers fastest delivery among online sites

Customer service analytics company StellaService has released a new report that ranks Apple as number one for online delivery speed, up from an eighth-place ranking in April. The iPhone maker captured the top spot for the first time in June with an average processing-and-delivery time of just 2.3 days, beating mostly online clothing outlets such as Abercrombie, Zappos, Nike and others. In a separate study that ranked...

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AgileBits' 1Password previews iOS 8 extension, Touch ID support

AgileBits, makers of the security and password vault 1Password, are among the first to implement and preview an iOS 8 extension and third-party Touch ID support, allowing other app makers to utilize the program's stored passwords outside of the 1Password app itself. Apple announced the concept of iOS extensions at June's Worldwide Developer Conference, which enables one app to use tools or services found in a differe...

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FCC 'deeply troubled' over Verizon's decision to slow down customers

Last week, one of the largest mobile carriers in the United States announced it would begin throttling some unlimited accounts that access 4G LTE. Verizon stated that it would begin the effort in October, but it would be limited to only the top five percent of data users on unlimited plans. While the slowdown won't have an effect on all LTE customers, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler belie...

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UBS again praises Cook, urges investors to 'buy in' to AAPL for fall

Six weeks after it rebutted a New York Times editorial that cast doubt on Apple's CEO, investment firm UBS has again praised Tim Cook's vision and leadership of Apple in a note to clients. In particular, analyst Steven Milunovich was taken with Cook's plans to expand iOS to automotive, gym, medical and home markets through its CarPlay, HealthKit and HomeKit initiatives, as well as the continuing growth of the entire ...

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Apple re-issues MacBook Air EFI firmware update

Apple released a new update for MacBook Air EFI firmware today, updating to version 2.9.1 for "Mid-2011" models of the notebook. The company states that the update fixes a few issues for owners facing problems with waking from sleep and fans running at full speed in a specific instance. The update replaces a previous version that caused a number of additional problems for owners....

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Apple seeds first betas of OS X 10.9.5, Safari 7.0.6/6.1.6 to devs

Apple has started seeding the first beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The code is listed as built 13F7, and available through the Developer Center. Users are asked to focus testing on just a handful of areas, including Safari, graphics, and USB, including smart cards. ...

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No redesigned Apple TV set-top until 2015, report says

Apple is indeed working on a new set-top that will let people will watch both live and on-demand TV, but won't have it ready until sometime in 2015, a source indicates. Engineers at the company are allegedly being told not to expect to ship the device this year, and working along that timeline. The issue is claimed to be cable companies "dragging their heels," and the possible Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, whic...

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Major layoffs impacting Beats during Apple takeover, sources say

Although the takeover has yet to be fully approved legally, some workers and technology resources are already being shifted from Beats to Apple, sources say. Apple executives have allegedly visited Beats' California headquarters this week and the last, offering some workers new positions at Apple while telling others that their jobs will be cut. Many Beats employees in creative or development roles are being offere...

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Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury claimed as 'fastest gaming mouse'

Peripheral producer Logitech has created what it claims is the world's fastest gaming mouse ever manufactured. The G402 Hyperion Fury uses Logitech's Fusion Engine system on a built-in 32-bit ARM processor for tracking, allowing it to keep up with tracking speeds faster than 500 inches per second, more than the preceding G502 Proteus Core's 300 inches per second tracking. ...

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QuarkXPress 10.2 adds rendering, notes features,bugfixes

Quark has released a v10.2 update for QuarkXPress, its flagship publishing software. The code makes significant feature additions, for instance letting people adjust rendering quality for different balances between performance and fidelity. Users can also add notes to projects that are separate from content and exportable as PDFs; redlines meanwhile show where changes have been made, and allow groups to approve or ...

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Best Buy CEO: Post-PC era ending, tablet sales 'crashing'

In an interview, electronics retailer Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly believes that the day of the tablet may already be over. Citing observations at his stores, the CEO claims that the company has "actually had a revival of the PC business at Best Buy," giving credit to Microsoft for discontinuation of Windows XP, and to Apple for continuing to innovate for consumers....

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Russia asks Apple, SAP to turn over source code as anti-spy measure

The Russian government has proposed that two Western companies, Apple and SAP, grant access to their source code so it can determine whether or not products are tools for spying on state organizations and/or the public, Reuters reports. Russia's communications minister, Nikolai Nikiforov, is said to have made the request when he met last week with Apple's local general manager, Peter Nielsen, and SAP's local managi...

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Crowdfunding Critic: Modbook Pro X

Last week, we launched the Crowdfunding Critic here on MacNN and Electronista, and promised that every Tuesday and Thursday we'd highlight a new campaign. While we were working on yesterday's selection, we got wind of this -- the Modbook Pro X, by Modbook, Inc., a modification of Apple's 15.4-inch MacBook Pro into a massive pen-enabled tablet. Based on it, we decided to do our second article in the series a day late,...

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Updated Apple page promotes taking advantage of US tax holidays

Apple has updated a promotional page to let shoppers know about tax holidays coming up in nine US states between August 1st and the 3rd. The states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee. During the holidays, Apple has said it will drop sales tax charges for qualifying purchases made online or at retail. Although taxes will still appear duri...

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FreedomPop brings free plans to iPad mini, Galaxy Tab 3

Free voice, texting, and data service provider FreedomPop is extending its plans to tablets, starting with the Apple iPad mini and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, according to an announcement. In the case of Minis, subscribers will be given mic-equipped Apple headphones and a special app, allowing them to make calls through FreedomPop's VoIP platform. Each person will have a unique phone number, and associated features s...

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Apple Boot Camp page also points to 'mid 2014' 27-inch iMac

The same Apple support document that references a 2014 Mac mini also lists a "mid 2014" 27-inch iMac, checks show. It's mentioned alongside a 2014 21.5-inch iMac, but that presumably refers to the low-end model Apple introduced in June. To meet a mid-2014 launch date, Apple would have to ship an updated 27-inch system within the next month....

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Opinion: iPad Air + Logitech Folio + Office for iPad = Productivity?

The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of...

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Briefly: Updated bags for MacBook Pro, Teacup InDesign CC plug-ins

WaterField has announced the release of new sizes for two of its bags, designed to fit the previous and refreshed MacBook Pro Retina laptops. The new 15-inch Outback Solo will fit the 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina, and the new 13-inch Indy leather satchelfits the smaller Retina. ...

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Review: Adesso Xtream S3B Bluetooth speaker

Finding a speaker purpose-built for a specific need is challenging. Even when a Bluetooth speaker can be paired with a mobile device, it doesn't mean that it's the right speaker for the job. When it comes to tablets, a speaker that can be kept to the side may not be the best purchase for something that's meant to be as portable as possible. So why not look for a device that can attach to an iPad or Android tablet, li...

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