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Details Emerge on Apple's Forthcoming Subscription Streaming Music Service

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Last year Apple purchased Beats, which makes popular headphones and offers a subscription streaming music service. And now details of plans for Apple's new music subscription service based on Beats are emerging. 



Decals May Help Attract Apple Pay Customers

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Apple Pay is off to a good start, but it's not always apparent that a retailer accepts it. The other day, I asked if I could pay with Apple Pay at Staples, and they said yes. At my local Panera Bread, two of the three registers are set up to accept it, but one isn't. Apple is trying to address this by making Apple Pay decals available to retailers. There's no catchy phrase like "Follow Us" or "Check In" or even "Access Us," just "Pay" preceded by the Apple Logo. In a way it reminds me of the movie They Live and their subliminal signs like "SUBMIT" and "OBEY," except Apple's command is "PAY!"



Martian Watch Notifier Gets You in to the Smart Watch Owners Club at a Discount

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If you want a smart watch, but can't wait for the Apple Watch, or don't want to spend $349 or more and still end up with a watch with one day of battery life, the Martian Watch Notifier has always been an attractive option. Today, however, it's available at a blow-out price. Instead of the normal $130, it's almost half off, at $69.99 from BestBuy.com. Martian Watches differ from traditional smart watches by offering an analog face and using a regular watch battery that can last for six months or more. They add a scrolling digital display that notifies you of incoming text messages, caller ID, etc. The guts that power the display capabilities do require charging every few days via USB, but you will always have the correct time. Most people won't even know you have a smart watch, until you start seeing your text messages on your screen! 



Apple Praises More Positive New Jobs Biography; Free Excerpt in iBooks Store

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A new biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs will go on sale Tuesday, March 24, and those who were closest to him are saying it's a much more accurate and nuanced picture of the man than the official biography by Walter Isaacson. 



Samsung Bows to Users and Google and Makes Bloatware Removable

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Bloatware is the term for undesired apps that fill up a brand new computer or device. PC makers have added bloatware for years because they would get compensated by software makers for doing so. As margins on PCs diminished, this became a valuable revenue stream. But it was relatively easy to delete unwanted programs or ignore them on a PC with hundreds of gigabytes of storage. 



The Apple TV Is Now Just $69, But Is It Worth It?

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How would you feel if you had just gone out and bought a fancy new Apple product only to have it updated with a newer, better version within only a few month's time? We've kind of grown used to Apple product cycles where products aren't outdated for at least a year. If you think there's a chance that you'd feel at all slighted by spending hard-earned money on a device that's about to become outdated, you may want to consider holding off on purchasing the Apple TV.



Rumor: New Apple TV Coming in June Will Include Siri and App Store

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For well over a year rumors have been floating around that Apple would come out with a new Apple TV set-top box that would include Siri and an App Store. Now, according to BuzzFeed, it's finally going to happen. Citing "sources familiar with the company's plan," BuzzFeed says the new Apple TV will be introduced in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and that it represents a major overhaul of the device. That overhaul not only includes a new interface but also the capability of controlling smart home devices. With the introduction of HomeKit at WWDC last year, many had expected the Apple TV to play a central role in controlling HomeKit-compatible devices. It looks like that may be happening. 



Used Apple Watches Just a Matter of Time

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Apple products have always kept their value pretty well and there is a healthy marketplace for used MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads. I don't mind the "Apple Tax" because I'm likely to get a good portion of that value back at trade-in time. My Pebble Watch, which sold a year ago for $150, is only worth $20 on trade but the $349 Apple Watch should do better. Cnet is reporting that Gazelle already has plans to take in, and sell, used Apple Watches.



Apple Stores to Offer 15-Minute Apple Watch Try-on Appointments

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As it gets closer to April 10, when you'll be able to get your hands on a demo Apple Watch in the Apple Stores, details are leaking about the preparations Apple is making for the large crowds that are expected. According to 9To5Mac, which apparently has sources inside the company, Apple will be making 15-minute appointments for customers to come in and try on an Apple Watch. The post said that it may not be necessary to have an appointment, but that in every case people will be limited to 15 minutes. And having tried on an Apple Watch, they can make a reservation to come into the Apple Store to purchase an Apple Watch beginning on April 24. The stores are expected to have enough stock to also service walk-in customers.



Apple Selling Sugared Water, Thanks to Apple Pay

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Steve Jobs was a great salesman. Perhaps too good. He lured John Sculley away from the CEO spot at Pepsico by asking him if he really wanted to be selling sugared water for the rest of his life. Sculley became Apple's CEO and within a year, Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple. He formed NeXT, which Apple ended up acquiring and Jobs returned to Apple, like Moses returning from the wilderness and the rest is history. But that sales pitch hit home during Apple's Spring Forward keynote. Tim Cook showed a slide of a Coca Cola machine that accepts Apple Pay. The very next day, I saw one of those machines at a college campus, and it occurred to me that Apple is now "selling" sugared water!



Apple iOS 8 Adoption, By The Numbers

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Apple's iOS 8 is chugging along quite well, as Apple now reports that 77 percent of iOS devices are using iOS 8. AppleInsider is citing Apple's App Store statistics, stating that Apple's iOS 7 still commands 20 percent share of iOS devices, at least of those that visited the App Store. That means 97 percent of app customers are using the current (2014) or last generation (2013) operating system. This is important to developers, myself included, as it means we can focus on the latest features without leaving too many potential customers behind.



What Apple Gear Has Not Been Updated Lately?

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Apple may have just updated a bunch of products and introduced some completely new ones, like the Apple Watch, but there are quite a few products on their price list that are overdue for a refresh. The iPod line hasn't been touched in almost two years. Considering they list for close to the price of an iPad mini, Apple may feel that customers can get a bigger device for the same price, or buy an iPhone or use a hand-me-down iPhone, without a cellular contract, as a de facto iPod touch. The Apple Watch could take the place of the iPod nano, but at a much higher price.



Guitar Gadget iRig 2 Now Available - iPhone Life Full Review Coming Soon!

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Attention, guitarists! IK Multimedia announced that the iRig 2 ($39.99)—the signal converting wonder that lets you rock out with a kaleidoscope of filters and patches using the iPad or iPhone—hit the streets today! We have reviewed the iRig and related audio gadgets in the past, but this new version garnered one of our Best of CES awards this year, and a full review will be forthcoming. You can read on for the technical details and first impressions from my brief experience at CES.



Apple Courts Android Users: Will Offer Them Gift Cards to Trade In Their Phones

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As Apple gears up to sell the Apple Watch, they're upping their efforts to get Android users to switch to the iPhone. After all, you gotta have an iPhone if you want the full functionality of an Apple Watch. 9To5Mac is reporting that in the coming weeks Apple will begin letting users of Android and other smartphones trade in their phones for an Apple gift card that can be used toward the purchase of an iPhone. The report says that the process will be similar to the program already in place for trading in used iPhones. Customers will bring in their old smartphone, and an Apple representative will determine the trade-in value. Extensive training for Apple Store employees is said to begin this week, with the trade-in program expected to start sometime after that. Presumably the new trade-in program will launch before the Apple Watch goes on sale April 24.



Interesting Microsoft News for Apple Users

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Microsoft is reinventing themselves, and using Apple as a blueprint in some ways. Today's news has them making Windows 10 a free upgrade, albeit for a year, for existing Windows 8 customers. Even users of pirated copies of Windows, which are reportedly 75 percent of China's Windows users, will be allowed to upgrade for free. Apple also does this, but they make money on all of the Mac hardware. Microsoft needs to keep Windows' market share high, and fight off Chromebooks on the low end and gain inroads against Android tablets and iPads as well. Plus Microsoft is now in the hardware business and has been for some time. So they can afford to make less profit on the operating system.



Apple TV Rumored (Again) to Get Cable Channels

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Every year, analysts predict the Apple TV will offer a la carte Cable TV channels, and every year they are wrong. Sure, some channels like HBO and ESPN have added "apps" or buttons to the Apple TV, and the HBO NOW announcement, during Apple's Watch event, help Apple inch along towards a set top box replacement. This year is no different, as the Wall Street Journal is getting a little more specific and stating Apple could add about 25 channels and could do so this fall.



Apple Store App Helps You Pick a Size By Letting You Virtually Try On Apple Watches

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If you're thinking of getting an Apple Watch, you'll have lots of decisions to make regarding style and size. This is atypical of Apple, which has usually kept their product line tightly focused. So it will be interesting to see how it does with a device that's also a fashion accessory. In a previous post, I pointed to a website that lets you try various combinations of watch styles and bands to see how your customized Apple Watch will look and to help you decide which to buy. And now iMore has a tip that helps you decide which size Apple Watch to get.



The Steve Jobs Documentary Apple Would Rather You Didn't See

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The annual SXSW festival that's currently going on in Austin, Texas, featured a new documentary on Steve Jobs by the award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney. And it's bad, says 9To5Mac. A number of Apple employees walked out during the screening, and Apple's Eddy Cue tweeted that it's "an inaccurate and mean-spirited view" of his friend. Titled Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, the movie has now been picked up for distribution in theaters by Magnolia Pictures and for airing on TV by CNN. It includes interviews with former Apple employees and with Jobs's ex-girlfriend with whom he fathered a child. It even includes footage of Jobs's testimony to the SEC in 2008. The movie is expected to be released before the movie based on Walter Isaacson's biography that will be in theaters in October.



Motorola Makes it Easy to Visualize Your Smart Watch, as Long as it Is a Moto 360

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Apple has given us so many choices when it comes to the Apple Watch. The case comes in three metals, each with different shades and a wide assortment of bands, and two sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm. The potential downside is known as paralysis of indecision, or analysis paralysis. I can't even decide what to call it, that's how tough it can be to make a decision!



Tip of the Day: Recover Deleted Photos

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If you like to use the camera on your iPhone or iPad, one of the features you'll appreciate in iOS 8 is the ability to recover deleted photos. When you delete a photo, it remains available in the Recently Deleted album on your device for 30 days. If you decide that in fact you want to save a photo you deleted, you can easily recover it.



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