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Living In an OmniGroup World

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Just outside of Redmond, WA, center of the Microsoft universe, lies a little city we like to call Seattle. Seattle is the home to OmniGroup, a company dedicated to writing some of the best, and more enduring, Macintosh software around, along with complementary iOS apps to facilitate the increasingly mobile lifestyles of their customers.



Last Chance for Special Pricing on MacTech Conference!

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I just heard from MacTech folks that they're making special pricing available to our readers! The below link will get iPhone Life readers an EXTRA $100 off the registration price when they register. In other words, the pre-registration pricing ($1299) will end this weekend. The below link locks in the rate at $1199 during that time. Then it goes up by $200. http://www.mactech.com/conference/sponsored-discount?rid=iPhoneLife



Download iOS 8.1 and Get Ready for Apple Pay!

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Apple promised iOS 8.1 would be out this week and it is. The update uses only 126 MB but adds features like Apple Pay for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as iCloud Photo Library and integrated SMS messaging for iPad and Mac computers. Those are the new features, but of course there are bug fixes and reliability enhancements.



Building a Smarter Home with Ivee and Iris

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Apple didn't release a smart home device this year, but instead unleashed HomeKit, an SDK to help third parties do what they do best... make home automation equipment that, now, can be based on Apple's standards. Several vendors have stepped up to the plate, which is good because it's hard to find one vendor that has everything a smart home owner would need.



Siri Is Much More Than She Seems

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I just read a touching and uplifting story about an autistic boy befriending Siri. I am a huge Siri fan and have written about her more than once in this blog, but I have a new found admiration for the programmers who developed Siri.



SoundHound and TouchTunes - Convergence of Online and On-Premises Music Services

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If you like and use the SoundHound music app (free), which can guess melodies like a musical savant, then you might want to add TouchTunes (free). SoundHound recently announced a team up with TouchTunes: an in-venue entertainment and music platform that provides service at over 60,000 locations. With SoundHound and TouchTunes together, you can now get your online music choices queued up when visiting any TouchTunes supported location!



The Biggest iPad News May Be the Deals on Older iPads

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The enhancements to the iPad Air and iPad mini were expected and appreciated, but they still come with Apple's premium price. Apple has managed to make the iPad family the top selling tablet, but it's still priced higher than typical Android devices.  If you have embraced the Apple ecosystem of apps, music, contacts, ebooks and more, those Android units just don't fit the bill.



Apple Event Takeaway - Driving Nails in the PC Coffin!

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Apple didn't announce anything earth-shatteringly out of this world today. What they announced was more of the same steady excellence that marks all their product releases. More wireless integration and excellent cloud service synchronicity across their product line that will make it all but impossible to want or need to stay connected to the PC realm. If you are a PC, your world became a little bleaker today.



How Do the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Stack Up?

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Today's event showcasing two new iPads (alongside an iMac and Mac Mini) came and went without many unexpected revelations. This was in part due to the constant leaks and incessant rumors that seem to be everywhere prior to Apple's press events.



Apple iPad Announcement Roundup

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Nothing Apple introduced today was truly unexpected, yet it still managed to impress in a big way. Here's a rundown of what excited us most at today's keynote.



Apple Watch SDK and More Great App Developer News

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App developers heard some great news today when Tim Cook announced that WatchKit, the software development kit for building apps for the upcoming Apple Watch will be released next month (November)!

As I discussed previously in my Developing Next-Generation Apps for the Apple Watch post, this provides a great opportunity for app developers to get in the ground floor of a new technology and get noticed.



iPad Air 2 Cellular Works with Multiple Carriers!

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When speculating about the iPhone 6, I postulated that Apple could do something revolutionary and make a single LTE model that worked with multiple carriers. It didn't happen, but when I purchased my (second) iPhone 6 from Radio Shack, the clerk and I discussed how the technology is already there with LTE and SIM cards, and it would make inventory so much easier. Instead of stocking AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint models, stores could just stock the single SKU. It didn't happen with the iPhone 6, but today Apple did it with the iPad Air 2!



Five iPad Models to Choose From

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I greatly enjoyed today's Apple event introducing the new iPads and iOS 8.1. But I didn't get what I was hoping for: a new iPad mini with all the features of the new iPad Air 2. Yes, we got a new iPad mini 3, but apparently it's the same as the previous version with the addition of Touch ID. As you can see in this comparison chart, we now have five iPad models to choose from: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3. As is typical, the new iPads with more features have been introduced at the same price as the older models, and the price of the older models has dropped. Perhaps the biggest news is that the memory configurations of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 now match those of the new iPhones: 16, 64, and 128 GB. That means for the 64 and 128 GB models you're paying $100 less than for a similar amount of memory in the earlier iPads. And both the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 come with a gold-colored option.



A Stellar Year: "Strongest Lineup of Products That Apple Has Ever Had."

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Earlier this year, when Apple's Eddy Cue said that "we've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple," he apparently wasn't exaggerating. This year has been nothing short of spectacular for Apple, with the release of one innovative and impressive product after another. It would seem the creative spirit of Steve Jobs is alive and well in Cupertino California. As Tim Cook reiterated today, this is the "strongest lineup of products that Apple has ever had." Congratulations Mr. Cook, job well done. Now as Apple wraps up itsr last major product announcement of 2014, let's take a quick look back at what a year it's been for this powerhouse company as it proves itself to be more cutting edge and more relevant than ever.



How to Get Today's New Apple Products

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If you're like me, if Apple announced it, you gotta have it. In my case, it's for professional reasons. As an app developer, and writer for iPhone Life, I need to have access to the latest gear. But I also enjoy technology and don't like waiting! So, starting October 17, you can try to pre-order the items just announced today, but even that isn't a guarantee. I was online at 3 a.m. the day the iPhone 6 was supposed to be orderable, but it took a half hour to finally buy one.



New iPad Includes a Barometer

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As a former weather guy, one part of the Apple announcement today really sparked my interest. The new iPad Air 2 will include a barometer. This both excites and makes me wonder just how well this feature will be harnessed. It is likely this is the same sensor introduced in the iPhone 6, though I admit that I haven't been able to test apps leveraging the feature yet.



iPad Air 2, Half as Thick as Original iPad

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The iPad Air 2 was announced today, and many of its features were expected, but it wasn't clear quite how thin it would be. At 6.1mm, you could stack two of them on top of each other and it would be as thick as the original iPad. This makes the iPad Air 2 the thinnest tablet on the market. Apple claims the iPad Air 2 is the only one with an Anti-Reflective Coating.



Apple Continues to Innovate, with Continuity

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Last month, and even before that at the WWDC event in June, Apple showed off a technology called Continuity. This promised to allow seamless integration between multiple iOS devices but also with Mac OS computers. A Keynote presentation could be started on an iPhone, continued on an iPad, and finished on a Mac.



Pay with Apple Pay, Starting Monday

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Apple Pay was preannounced last month, but today Apple let us know when we can start using it. As of Monday, October 20, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners will be able to use the phone's Near Field Communication features to pay.



iPhone Life Liveblog of Oct. 16 Apple Event Starts at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET

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Don't Miss Our Oct. 16 Apple Announcement Coverage!

Tomorrow we will find out just what Apple meant in its event invitation when the company said, "It's been way too long." Will we see an iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3? A long overdue update to Apple TV? A revamped Mac mini? What about Apple's new HomeKit smart-home platform?



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