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CES 2015: Headphone Bliss at Showstoppers!

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ShowStoppers at the 2015 CES was awash in great tech products and featured two noteworthy headphone vendors that we were able to demo at the show. The excellent Sennheiser announced at least two new models, and Cleer had several of their DJ-oriented models on display. Read on for the full report.



Apple Watch Rumored for March

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Much is known about the Apple Watch — except for the date of its arrival. And we'll likely be seeing many rumors in that regard. On Tuesday 9To5Mac passed along the rumor that the Apple Watch will go on sale in March, with staff training scheduled for mid-February. Citing sources familiar with the Apple Watch's development, 9To5Mac said that representatives from Apple Stores across the US will be sent for training Feb 916 to familiarize them with the new watch. Prior to the release, these employees will then train other Apple Store personnel. At least that's the plan. Apple itself probably hasn't yet pinned down a date when it will go on sale, since it all depends on how smoothly production goes.



Dish, Not Apple, Disrupts Cable Industry with New $20 Streaming TV Service

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Despite Apple's best efforts to line up a streaming TV offering and disrupt the cable TV industry, Dish has succeeded where Apple has failed, announcing their new Sling TV service that will cost $20 per month. Their bundle of 12 channels will initially include ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, TNT, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, and Cartoon Network. More are expected to be added. Plus, for $10 per month one can purchase add-on packages of special-interest channels, such as news and children's programming. This is the sort of low-cost, à la carte offering that many had been hoping for. The web-based service can be streamed to one's computer, smart TV, and mobile devices. There's no contract, no installation fee, no special equipment, and no credit check.



Apple Now Selling Unlocked iPhone 6, 6 Plus

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Apple began selling unlocked iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models on Tuesday that can be used with carriers around the world, as well as with with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint in the U.S. An unlocked iPhone 6 with 16GB costs $649 and 6 Plus $749. Apple had already been selling an unlocked model, but it came with a T-Mobile SIM card. 



Apple Pay May Work with All Newer NFC Terminals, Including in Europe

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The New York Times has a helpful article that narrates writer Mike Isaac's spending a day using Apple Pay. His experience varied widely, going off without a hitch at some businesses and causing a bit of confusion at others. His best experience was at Whole Foods, where the clerk estimated that three out of every 20 customers use Apple Pay. At Babies "R" Us he never did get it to work after waving his iPhone four times. At some places the clerks were familiar with Apple Pay, at others they just gave him a blank look. Overall, he feels that there's room for improvement among the retailers.

But what really caught my attention in this article were two comments that were posted explaining that the newer "chip-and-PIN" credit card terminals apparently accept Apple Pay by default. One person posting a comment said that these terminals are universal in Europe and that he was able to use Apple Pay a number of times there. He just waved his iPhone and it worked.



CES 2015: What to Expect

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CES 2015 is just around the corner and the iPhone Life team will be bringing you live, on-the-ground coverage of what is the largest international gathering in the tech industry. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, this sprawling event will cover over two million square feet and is expected to attract well over 150,000 industry professionals to the city of Las Vegas. CES 2015 is sure to offer plenty of surprises as well as previews of some amazing new technology. Read on after the break for some of our CES predictions and a glimpse into what we can expect from this year's grand event.



What to Expect from Apple in 2015

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As 2014 comes to a close, we're seeing lots of predictions related to Apple for the coming year. And many enthusiasts (and some market analysts) are expecting great things. It seems a safe bet that we'll see a 12.9-inch iPad in 2015. Lots of rumors have been circulating, and Apple's partnership with IBM is giving Apple's iOS devices more of a presence in the enterprise — which would be a prime market for a larger iPad. Of course, 2015 will also see the launch of the Apple Watch, with estimates suggesting Apple could sell some 30 million. Not only will the new watch make a huge splash in the wearables market, it will finally help bring out some of the potential of Apple's Health app and the HealthKit platform. Both were introduced with much fanfare, but haven't made much of an impression since the introduction of iOS 8 in September. The Apple Watch will likely change that, with its ability to feed data to the iPhone's Health app.



Studies Suggest Use of iDevices at Night Harmful to Health

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Did you just score a new iPhone or iPad over the holidays? Well, not to rain on your parade, but evidence continues to mount that these devices aren't quite as safe for us as you might think. Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone and my iPad, but they are a double-edged sword. Previously I've written about the potentially dangerous side-effects of harmful EMFs that these pocket-sized microwaves emit. I've also written about steps that those concerned about the effects of constant low-level radiation exposure can take to mitigate these effects. Now new scientific studies are again calling into question the safety of these devices, which for many of us, are practically an extension of our body.



Apple Pay Coming to Chevron Gas Pumps; Rollout in UK Next

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By many measures Apple Pay has been a success, and usage is only going to increase. It's one more instance in which Apple has figured out a better way to do something. Monday's big news is that Apple Pay will be coming to Chevron gas pumps in early 2015. According to AppleInsider, Chevron posted the news on their official Twitter channel. Chevron was an early adopter of Apple Pay, allowing customers to use it to make payments inside their stores and at Texaco Extra Mile locations, but now their service will be extended to the gas pump itself.



Apple TV AirPlay Mirroring Could Work Both Ways

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Apple TV's AirPlay mirroring feature has been a great reason to own an Apple TV. Users can launch videos on a portable iOS device and "throw" the display to the big screen. Games can be shared with an audience as well. It's a great tool for education, as teachers can find a video on their iPad or iPhone and share it with the classroom.



How to Watch the Movie "The Interview" on Your iPhone or iPad [Update]

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You must be aware of the huge security breach suffered by Sony Pictures, and that the FBI has blamed North Korea. The supposed impetus for the attack was the imminent release of Sony's movie "The Interview," a comedy in which two TV journalists (Seth Rogen and James Franco) travel to North Korea and assassinate leader Kin Jong-un as part of a CIA plot. The hackers uploaded documents, emails, movies, and extensive personal information from Sony's servers to the Internet. And they threatened terrorist attacks on theaters showing the movie. As a result, Sony withdrew the film from distribution.



Want an Apple Watch Today?

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If you've been waiting patiently, or impatiently, for an Apple Watch but just can't wait any longer, or if you can't justify the $349+ price tag, I have good news for you. You can get an "Apple Watch" today, in the same way that I once bought a "Rolex" for $50 on the streets of Taipei, Taiwan. A Chinese gadget site called Everbuying.com offers a $40 clone of the Apple Watch that is available today.



The Real Cost of an iPhone

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Think the iPhone 6 costs $199? According to a new report, the real "cost" of an iPhone should be for the next model up, the $299 64GB iPhone. They claim that, increasingly, a 16GB iPhone is almost unusable. While that's not exactly true, it is correct that iOS consumes a fair chunk of the 16GB, leaving more like 12GB available. While competitors, like Windows Phone, use a lot more, it still limits the capability of that entry level model. Apple's own apps like Pages, Numbers and more are not part of iOS, and will take up part of that 16GB. Music, photos, videos, text messages (including photos and videos) and more increasingly make a 16GB model impractical. Let's not even discuss the 8GB iPhone 5c.



iPhone Life Blogger's Choice Awards: Best Apps of 2014

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We know you've come to rely on the bloggers at iPhoneLife.com for helpful reviews of all the best offerings in the App Store. With over 1 million apps for your iPhone and over 475,000 apps for your iPad, deciding which apps to download can be overwhelming. That's why we asked all of our bloggers to vote for their favorite apps released or updated in 2014. Here are their top two apps in each of six categories!



Rumor: Apple to Bring Out New 4-Inch iPhone in 2015

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A rumor keeps popping up that Apple may be developing a new 4-inch iPhone that it will launch next year alongside its larger brethren. According to a post on AppleInsider, which cites a market analyst with sources in Apple's supply chain, the phone may be called the iPhone 6s mini and have the same styling as the current iPhone 6 models, such as curved screen edges. It would take its place of the low end of Apple's offerings, replacing the iPhone 5c. And I'm guessing also the iPhone 5s. It's also rumored that Apple will use low-cost components from Qualcomm to keep the costs down.



Seven Percent of iPhone Users Planning to Buy Apple Watch

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According to AppleInsider, which cites a survey by the investment firm Piper Jaffray, some 7 percent of iPhone users say they're planning to buy an Apple Watch. That doesn't sound like a lot, except that over the past 3 years Apple has sold over 450 million iPhones worldwide. So 7 percent of that figure is 31 million. That's a significant number, and some analysts are predicting that Apple will sell that many Apple Watches in 2015. Interestingly, that figure of 7 percent is a slight decline from the 8 percent who said after the September Apple Watch announcement that they were planning to buy. AppleInsider suggests that consumers have a wait-and-see attitude toward the Apple Watch: they're waiting until they have more information before making a decision.



Holiday Crunch Time: Last Minute Deals

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Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Those days are in the past. It is now the week of Christmas and any hopes of getting a gift in time require either spending a fortune in shipping, buying a virtual gift online, or, my preference, buying local. If I needed a reminder of this, all I had to do was look at my inbox this morning. While it's normally full of app review requests, today I saw a ton of "Last Chance" emails!



iPhone Life Blogger's Choice Awards: Best Games of 2014

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We know you've come to rely on the bloggers at iPhoneLife.com for helpful reviews of all the best offerings in the App Store. With over 1 million apps for your iPhone and over 475,000 apps for your iPad, deciding which apps to download can be overwhelming. That's why we asked all of our bloggers to vote for their favorite apps released or updated in 2014. Here are their top two apps in each of six categories!



Apple Pay Off to Strong Start, Has More Active New Users Than PayPal

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All indications are that iPhone 6 users love Apple Pay, finding it both convenient and secure. In fact, new users of Apple Pay use the service approximately three times more frequently than new PayPal users, according to a report by ITG Investment Research. Their analysis found that "60 percent of new Apple Pay customers used Apple Pay on multiple days through November, suggesting strong customer engagement. In comparison, New PayPal customers used the service on multiple days during the same time period just 20 percent of the time." The top five locations where people used Apple Pay in the first six weeks of its availability were Whole Foods, Walgreens, McDonalds, Panera Bread, and Subway.



Holiday Gift Guide: A Stylus for Your iOS Device

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Every iOS user can use a stylus once in a while, no matter what Steve Jobs said. Some games are easier to play if your finger (and hand) don't obstruct the view. Sometimes you might need to draw or sign a signature. Here are some styluses that work well:



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