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Apple News: New iTunes Festival App Arrives, for Apple TV, too, But iOS 7.1 Still Missing

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The rumor mills pegged iOS 7.1 coming out any day now, to support an updated iTunes Festival app (free). However, that app update was released and did not require a new version of iOS after all. The app lets iOS users stream live video from the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in Austin, Texas, as well as other Apple events.

UPDATE: Apple already released iTunes Festival as an app/button for those of us with Apple TV!  This is a great way to enjoy the concerts at SXSW this week!



Rumor: Siri May Be Opened Up to Third-Party Apps

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Apple is reportedly working on making Siri available to third-party apps, allowing you to use Siri for things such as booking flights or making hotel reservations. Currently Siri is limited to Apple's apps, and to interfacing with Apple partners such as Open Table for making restaurant reservations. It's likely, though, that if this is true, Apple would exert a fair amount of control over which apps Siri worked with, according to iMore. A post on AppleInsider says that this move toward compatibility with third-party apps is tied closely to Apple's rumored iWatch. The iWatch would be sensitive to context, and Siri would offer apps that the iWatch senses you need at the moment, depending on what you're doing. AppleInsider cites an example that appeared in a report on Monday in The Information, which said:



Limited-Time iPad Sale at Best Buy Includes Savings of Up To $295 on Cellular Data Models

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If you're in the market for a new iPad that can access the cellular data network, Best Buy has a fantastic sale going on through Saturday, March 8. If you buy a 3G or 4G iPad, you'll receive a $30 discount, PLUS another $100 discount at checkout if you activate the iPad and data plan in the store. In addition, the $35 activation fee is waived. PLUS, if you activate a plan with Verizon or AT&T, you'll receive a $100 credit toward your data plan. So altogether that amounts to a savings of $265! 



Apple News: The Fate of Older iPhones

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As rumors of the next iPhone swirl (do they ever stop?) it's fitting to look back at what happens to older iPhones. I've found great success in selling older iPhone's via services like SellYourMac.com, as long as I keep my iPhone in good condition. So I was intrigued by some just released research from ProtectCell.



Apple News: Anticipation Mounts for iOS 7.1

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Anticipation has been mounting for an update to iOS 7 for several reasons. There are still some outstanding bugs that cause Safari or the iOS device to crash, and betas have been available since November. The latest rumors indicate iOS 7.1 will ship any day now because a certain app from Apple will require it.



Great Video from Volvo Demos Apple's New CarPlay

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On Monday our blogger Todd Bernhard posted a helpful overview of Apple's new CarPlay, which is getting a lot of attention this week because of the automobile trade show taking place in Geneva. A number of the carmakers are featuring CarPlay, and Volvo has posted a great video demo showing it in action, giving you a good idea how it works.



Education News: ConnectED Initiative Adds Adobe Software

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Not to be outdone by Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon, the executives at Adobe decided to contribute software to the President's ConnectED initiative.  Here's the official press release from Adobe.  The ConnectED program is designed to bring computers and Internet connectivity to those in need, particularly in rural America.  Now, Adobe will add $300 million worth of software such as Photoshop Elements and Captivate, as well as teacher training to the equation.



WSJ Reports Apple Intent on Speeding Up Product Development; Hints from CEO Tim Cook

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An article today in the Wall Street Journal says that Apple is hiring hundreds of engineers and managers in China and Taiwan with the goal of speeding up product development and launching a wider range of products more frequently. This is just what Apple fanboys want to hear. We love Apple's products, and the biggest complaint is that there ain't enough of 'em. We want more gadgets, and we want them now. And that pretty much sums up the attitude of investors. If this is true, it certainly signals a shift for Apple, which has always taken its sweet time, and has always kept it's product line focused. Apple is expected to launch two new phones this fall, a new Apple TV, and possibly an iWatch. Plus, we'll likely see updated versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini. So already Apple is juggling a wider range of products than in the past.



Apple News: CarPlay Coming to a Car Near You

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Apple's "iOS in the Car" was first discussed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June of 2013, but at this week's Geneva Motor Show, it was formally introduced and rebranded as "CarPlay." The system lets Apple compete with Microsoft, BlackBerry, and Livio Radio and bring the Apple experience inside the car, fresh from the factory.



Through March 5 Get $25 Gift Card When You Purchase an Apple TV

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Rumors were swirling on Friday that a new Apple TV device was imminent. The reason for the rumors? Apple began offering a $25 iTunes Store gift card with the purchase of each Apple TV. Analysts and enthusiasts concluded that Apple was clearing out inventory to make room for a new device, especially as it's been over two years since Apple has released a new version of the hardware. And then Jim Darlymple dashed all hopes with a single word: "Nope." He apparently has contacts inside Apple, because he's always been right when he says there's no truth to a rumor. So while the gift card offer may not herald a new device, it's an appealing offer in its own right.



You Have Been Selected: An Unlikely Invitation

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“Hi there," began the e-mail.  Even for a devoted Apple fan, this moment was still exciting—an e-mail for Google Glass.  I, Jake Underwood, high school senior, had been included in the chosen group. I had been offered a chance to buy Google Glass for $1500 plus tax. Can I borrow some cash?



SCAM ALERT Part 2: App Developers and Buyers Beware

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Yesterday I wrote a SCAM ALERT warning about telemarketers attacking Windows users. Today, I received an email offering to market my apps. I'm always interested in increasing sales of my apps, as most developers are (except for the guy who created, and pulled, Flappy Bird!) I had to download a PDF for the details, so I did, after verifying it was safe to do so. 



Apple Supply Chain Rumors: iPhone 6 Possibly in July, Apple TV and iWatch in Fall

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StreetInsider.com reported Wednesday that a securities analyst who has contacts in Apple's supply chain says production of the iPhone 6 appears to be ramping up earlier than one would expect for a September launch, meaning that it could appear as early as July. It seems doubtful, and the bulk of the recent rumors have been suggesting September. On the other hand, analysts have been saying Apple needs to come out with a larger iPhone ASAP in order to stay competitive in a market that's rapidly moving toward larger devices. So perhaps Apple has indeed decided to try to speed things up. The analyst also says that his checks confirm that Apple's next generation of phones will have larger displays. His supply chain checks also indicate that Apple appears to be gearing up for a launch of an Apple TV set-top device and an iWatch, both no earlier than the second half of 2014.



Medical Emergencies Shows Use of iDevices Among Healthcare Workers

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So far, 2014 hasn't been the best year for my family health wise. Three days into the new year, my son broke his wrist while in a snowboarding lesson. Last week, I was hospitalized for two days because of a bad reaction to a new medication.

Through these two health emergencies, I noticed something in common with the different hospitals we visited; they both used iDevices as part of their care. While using iDevices is nothing new to the healthcare industry, I still found it interesting.



SCAM ALERT: "Microsoft" Remote Tech Support Telemarketers

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One of the great things about being an Apple-based environment is the lack of (or at least scarcity of) viruses and malware.  So I found it intriguing today when I received not one but two phone calls from 000-000-0000 according to Caller ID, trying to sell me anti-malware software.

The first time they called, I explained I had a Mac and that ended the call.  The second time, I played along.



iPad Air Named Best Mobile Tablet of 2014; Best Buy Offering iPad Sale

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The iPad Air took the top award for "Best Mobile Tablet" this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Well deserved. According to the judges, "The iPad Air packs class-leading performance in an attractive and svelte frame, while its ecosystem has an undisputed advantage in the number of format-optimized apps." That certainly makes it stand apart. Accompanying the judges' comments is a description, which reads:



Evidence Mounts for Super Hard Sapphire Crystal Display in iPhone 6

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If Apple pulls this off, it's doubtful that any other phone manufacturer will be able to match it anytime soon. Forbes reported today that the iPhone 6 will indeed come with a sapphire crystal coating on the display. This material is nearly indestructible, and would make it virtually impossible to scratch the display. That would really set the iPhone apart, and is just the sort of touch that Apple adds to their products to foster consumer love. Apple is already using sapphire crystal to cover the camera lens and Touch ID to avoid scratches.



Apple Developer News: iTunes Connect Sales Dashboard

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Apple just made a major enhancement to their 'iTunes Connect' service which is where app developers download sales reports, among other things. Before, the service was a utilitarian, mundane web page, with basic sales data, but was weak on charting and analysis. This gap in functionality spawned a variety of service providers who would crunch your sales reports and create elegant graphs including revenue and rankings. I can't share my sales data or any proprietary screens, as it might be covered by Apple's non disclosure rules for developers, but here is a screenshot from Apple's official iTunes Connect documents on their public-facing website.



New App from Disney Offers Free Movie and Ability to Bypass iTunes Store

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On Tuesday Disney released a new app, Disney Movies Anywhere (free), that lets you stream or download your movies from Disney, Pixar, and Marvell, as well as browse and purchase additional movies. Plus, just for creating an account, the app offers a free movie, Pixar's The Incredibles (regularly $19.95). The app also offers free exclusive Disney content, including original programming and never-before-seen videos. The idea behind the app is that it lets you keep your movies from these studios all in one place as well as buy new movies. This includes viewing movies that you purchased from the iTunes Store. You can watch your movies via streaming or download them and watch offline. Each purchase carries with it Disney Movie Rewards points.



Apple TV: To Buy or Not to Buy?

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The current Apple TV device turns two years old in March, and throughout those years, speculation about the development of a more robust Apple TV has been ongoing. The latest educated guesses predict a new Apple TV with Time Warner support by April, as detailed by my colleague Jim Karpen on February 13. Presumably, that box will replace your existing cable DVR box while making it easier to access content from iTunes and other Internet channels like Netflix. If anyone can make the cable guide more appealing, it's Apple. It would be ironic if the next iteration of Apple TV were to actually embrace cable and be sold or rented directly from your cable company, when so many people look to devices like the Apple TV or Roku to "cut the cord" and eliminate their cable bill altogether.



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