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Apple News: The Beat Goes On

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The rumored purchase of Beats by Apple has caused a fair amount of headshaking, but it makes a lot of sense. Sure, at $3.2 billion, it would be one of the larger purchases by Apple, but it's a smart move. Purchasing of Beats would give Apple several advantages, overnight. First, street credibility. With every iPhone and iPod, Apple gives away a pair of cheap earbuds. Sure, they were enhanced recently, but still there's no prestige in those nondescript white EarPods. Beats, however, made it cool to spend $300 on a pair of headphones. And their "b" logo is everywhere, even on smartphones and laptops.



Rumor: iPhone 6 May Include Near Field Communication (NFC) Chip

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Brightwire, a global investment newswire, reported last week that the iPhone 6 will likely include a Near Field Communcation (NFC) chip, a chief purpose of which is using one's phone to complete point-of-sale transactions. You simply tap the NFC terminal at the checkout counter to make a purchase. According to the report, which is based on "a source close to the matter," the impetus for this move appears to be a deal Apple has made with China UnionPay, which Brightwire describes as "the only domestic bank card organization and interbank network in China." In short, if you want to sell lots of iPhones in China, and if the only bank card company wants NFC, then Apple does NFC. The two companies are also reportedly working together on a mobile payment system for use in Apple Stores in China.



Reuters Reports iPhone 6 Coming in August, "Phablet" in September

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Reuters reported today that the much-anticipated 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be coming in August — a month earlier than everyone has been expecting. And the report said that the larger 5.5-inch device will make its appearance in September. This too diverges from earlier rumors, which have stated that it wouldn't arrive until the end of 2014. The source of the Reuters report was media reports in Taiwan, which were based on unidentified sources in Apple's supply chain.



Apple Set to Keep Your Heads Ringing with Acquisition of Beats Electronics

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At this very moment Apple is rumored to be involved in active talks to buy Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics. At over 3 billion dollars, this would be Apple’s biggest acquisition ever, far surpassing the $429 million Apple spent in 1996 to buy NeXT, its largest purchase to date.



Apple News: Sir Jony Ive Knighted in the UK, Now Honored in the US

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Sir Jony Ive, already a British Knight, is now being honored stateside for his work on design, or at least he will be on October 30th. The New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has always had an affinity for Apple's designs, so it's only fair that the head of design at Apple get his due from the San Francisco MoMA.



Apple News: Laying Down the Law on Customer Information

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Whatever your feelings on government wiretapping, it is no surprise, now, that technology firms are cooperating with the government. But Apple has just shed some light on the process thanks to a web page that details their terms for cooperating with U.S. Law Enforcement. While lengthy, the document itself is, ironically, far shorter than the iTunes Terms of Service agreement that most users gloss over on their way to downloading apps and music.



Apple News: iPad Still Champion According to JD Power

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Apple's iPad may have reinvented the tablet computer years ago, but they haven't rested on those laurels. The iPad continues to rank highest in every category tracked by JD Power in their 2014 U.S Tablet Satisfaction Study, except of course, price. To be fair to Samsung, Amazon, and Asus, the margin of victory (0.8%) is quite small, but a win is a win!



Apple Is Number 2 in Online Sales, Just Behind Amazon

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According to the Wall Street Journal Apple has gained the number two spot in online retail sales revenue, passing Staples to come in just behind Amazon. Considering Amazon makes all of their money online, and Apple has an impressive retail channel as well, and sells through other businesses (including Staples, Amazon, and BestBuy), this accomplishment is even more impressive. Recently, Apple has offered trade-in incentives as part of their effort to bring in more direct iPhone business, at the expense of wireless carriers and other retailers. Clearly, this is paying off.



Apple News: Taking Stock of Apple Shares

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Apple has made dramatic moves in the post-Steve Jobs era to shore up their position on Wall Street. For the first time, Tim Cook issued dividends to shareholders, making Apple stock an even better investment. Apple believed in their own stock, perhaps more than investors, and began a significant buy-back campaign, to own more of their own destiny. And more recently, they announced a stock split that will see the average share at a much more attainable sub-$100 price compared to flirting with $600 pershare.



Apple News: Samsung Trial Over? Not So fast!

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In the seemingly never-ending patent infringement case between Apple and Samsung, it looked like the end was in sight. Apple and Samsung were each awarded damages, although Apple's reward was orders of magnitude more than Samsung's. The jury awarded Apple over $120 million and Samsung over $150,000. So that's the end of it, right? Nope. According to Bloomerg, Samsung wants to pay less (or not at all) and is appealing the decision.



What I played this week: Games...!

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I'm trying to get back in the WIPTW swing again, and I found three relative newcomers to iOS that are refreshingly original and mostly free! Tales of Honor (free) is a space strategy and time management game that represents the honor universe well. Arena of Heroes (free) is a turn-based MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) that pits you against a computerized component or other ranked players in a pitched battle of warrior and magic-using archetypes. Uber Racer 3D Monster Truck Nightmare ($0.99)—yes that is the name, and I can't believe it did not overflow an App Sstore field buffer or set off an alarm or something—is a Mad Max-style crash and dash game, thrusting you in the seat of a monster truck during the last days on earth (or something like that). Let us proceed to the reviews shall we?



Google Releases 2 New Free Apps: Google Docs and Google Sheets

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With the free availability of Apple's iWork suite, and its robust collaboration tools, you may not need to use Google's suite. But if you're a user of Google Docs, you'll be happy to know that on Wednesday Google released Google Docs (free) for word processing and Google Sheets (free) for doing spreadsheets. Plus, they'll soon be releasing a free Google Slides app for creating presentations. Google Docs and Google Sheets let you create new documents and edit existing documents. They also let you work offline. Whether you're working online or offline, all your changes are immediately saved. In addition to collaboration and sharing features, you can also read and respond to comments from your collaborators. Google Sheets lets you format cells, enter/sort data, perform various sheet operations, and more.



iPhone Life Would Like to Pay Your iPhone Bill!

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Paying your iPhone carrier bill every month can add up quickly! Here at iPhone Life magazine we have decided to eliminate that frustration for two of our lucky readers. We will be giving away up to $324.42 to each winner to cover their iPhone bills for three months.

Here's how the giveaway works: enter your email at the GIVEAWAY PAGE. Earn one additional entry each time you share the giveaway with a friend via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Get 10 more entries every time someone you shared with signs up. There is no limit to the number of additional entries you can get by sharing the giveaway; so if you go all out, your chances of winning will shoot off the charts!



Benefits of iOS 7.1.1 Update Include Faster, More Accurate Touch ID

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Apple released iOS 7.1.1 last week, and you'd be well advised to download it to your devices. You can do so over the air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can connect your device to your computer and do the update via the iTunes software. The update fixes important security issues as well as bugs. Most importantly for iPhone 5s owners, it reportedly helps to make Touch ID faster and more accurate. According to a detailed explanation on Cult of Mac, accuracy would decay over time. Quoting a Reddit user, the post explains how the update improves Touch ID: "With iOS 7.1.1 Apple now takes multiple scans of each position you place finger at setup instead of a single one and uses algorithms to predict potential errors that could arise in the future." In the past, if you didn't get a good scan during setup, it would later cause problems. The increased accuracy of the update results in a faster response because the phone needs to make fewer calculations while unlocking the phone.



Lunecase Makes it from CES to Kickstarter!

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Last week I posted up a review on the Blumoo bluetooth entertainment system controller, a CES gadget for which I was eagerly awaiting release. This week, yet another cool accessory product seen at CES is now on Kickstarter (with an improved design, IMO.)



FreedomPop Offers Free Voice, Data, and Text

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It's hard to beat free, and with FreedomPop, you get it all for free: 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages, and 500MB of data per month. If you want more, you can sign up for an inexpensive plan starting at $5 per month. 



Apple and Nike Rumored To Be Collaborating on "Smart Band" Wearable Device

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The rumblings began 10 days ago when Nike, as reported by CNET, laid off 70–80 percent of the employees working on their Nike FuelBand, one of the more popular fitness trackers. Plus, they acknowledged they would be stopping development of the hardware side of fitness tracking, though indicated they planned to continue selling the second-generation FuelBand SE. That move raised lots of eyebrows, and some even speculated that Apple's rumored iWatch was a factor. Then, last week GeekTime reported that Apple and Nike are gearing up for an announcement this fall of a "smart band." The website claims to have received this information from two sources in Cupertino, where Apple is located. According to the report, "Apple is looking to launch a smart band toward the end of this year whose collection of sensors will be able to be used not only to monitor the activity of the wearer, but also to operate other devices as a gestural controller."



Apple Posts "Powerful" New Commercial Featuring Many Uses of the iPhone

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Last week Apple posted a new ad on their YouTube channel showing the amazing range of things an iPhone 5s can be used for, from making music and videos to launching model rockets and controlling stage lighting. The ad is reminiscent of earlier iPad commercials. The background music is "Gigantic" by the Pixies. The tagline of the ad is "You're more powerful than you think." I always enjoy watching their ads.



Rumor: Curved Edges for iPhone 6

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on Wednesday, a report  on AppleInsider citing a Japanese blog said that the iPhone 6 will have curved edges.: That is, both a curved casing and curved glass. The blog is known to have generally reliable sources, so this rumor may have credence. And to help visualize what the iPhone 6 would look like with curved edges and glass, you can see some great renderings by Martin Hajek on the French website Nowhereelse.fr. The renderings show rounded corners and the glass of the display wraps slightly around the edge. In addition to the curved edges, the report says the back of the iPhone 6 will differ from the 5 and 5s, in that it will no longer have the glass-covered antenna windows seen on those models.



Apple News: See Where Your iCloud Data Is Located

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Apple learned a lot from their underperforming Mobile Me service, and doubled down on the data center to support iCloud. Apple's cloud service handles iOS backups, iMessages, notes, music, videos, photos, iWork documents, Siri, FaceTime, and more; and for the most part, it performs without downtime.



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