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Sony Looks for a Way to Stand Out in Wearables

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Sony made Walkmans for years. I owned several, and recently impressed my daughter when I dug out one of my trusty Walkmans after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which featured one prominently. Then Apple introduced the iPod, and soon, the Walkman became irrelevant. Likewise, Sony, along with Ericsson, made cell phones, but Apple introduced the iPhone and Sony is losing money on their smartphones. Sony makes videogame consoles and handhelds like the PSP, which are threatened by mobile gaming on Apple and Android gadgets. And there's always the ongoing rumor of an Apple TV which could threaten Sony's bread and butter. Sony also made and still makes smartwatches, but with the Apple Watch on the horizon, that's another market that could slip out from under them. 



Apple iPads in Education Under Threat from Chromebooks

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Apple has always been a strong player in education. They believed that if a student's first computer is an Apple, then that could influence their future purchases. It certainly did with me, as I first used an Apple ][ Bell & Howell (the black one) in high school, and while I purchased an Osborne 1, a Radio Shack Color Computer, a Sinclair ZX-80, and an IBM PC, I always had a special place in my heart for Apple. So when it was time to go to college, I picked a school (Carnegie Mellon University) that had a deal on Macs, and bought one the day I arrived on campus. I even applied for (and got) a job at the school's computer store, and became Apple's Campus Representative. I was at CMU when Steve Jobs came there to acquire the Mach Kernel for his NeXT Computer company, and I got to see him speak. So that first Apple computer set my career in motion.



Rumor: New Details of 12.2-inch "iPad Air Plus," iPad Mini 4

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Many rumors have now suggested Apple will be coming out with a larger iPad next year, with the most recent courtesy of the Japanese magazine Mac Fan, as reported by the website Macokatara. The magazine's January issue, which came out November 28, has published a schematic of a 12.2-inch iPad that it calls the "iPad Air Plus." The report says that it will ship sometime between April and June of next year. It will be powered by a new A9 processor and will have four speakers, one on each edge of the casing. The placing of the speakers will allow for stereo sound even if the iPad is rotated. The size is expected to be 305.31 x 220.8 x 7 mm.



Survey Suggests Apple Will Sell 24 Million Apple Watches by Sept. 30

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A new survey by UBS reported by Business Insider found that 10 percent of the 4,000 consumers they surveyed expected to buy a smart watch next year. Extrapolating that figure of 10 percent to the number of iPhone users, UBS estimated that Apple will sell 24 million Apple Watches by the end of their fiscal year on September 30. Based on an average price of around $425, that would generate over $10 billion in revenue and would likely add over $3 billion in profit for the company's fiscal year.



Beyond Black Friday, What Comes Next for Apple users?

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Black Friday is behind us, and thoughts turn to what's next to come out of Cupertino (and China) from Apple. Obviously, the Apple Watch is expected in early spring, but rumors are already swirling regarding the next iPad. A larger screen version has been discussed for some time, but it wasn't ready for this season. Sources in Japan, as reported by Apple Insider, have given us a peek at what to expect from such a device. They are calling it the iPad Air Plus, but I think that's too long a phrase and iPad Pro is a more likely moniker.



Unlock Your Mac Using Touch ID with FingerKey

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Unlocking your computer just became a whole lot easier thanks to the FingerKey ($1.99) app. Using Apple's Touch ID functionality, Mac-owners can login from a distance with their iPhone 5s, 6, or 6 Plus.



Apple Honors World AIDS Day, Supports (RED)

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Monday, Dec. 1, is World Aids Day, and a portion of every product Apple sells will go to support (RED) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS. In addition, through December 7, 100 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of (or in-app purchases in) select apps will go to support (RED). You can see a list of the apps in iTunes.



iOS 8 Now on 60% of iOS Devices

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More iOS users are running iOS 8 than those that are on an older version, as reported by Apple Insider and Apple. It took a while, by Apple standards, but it was still a lot faster than Android. And with Black Friday upon us, the numbers should go up, as more users pick up the next generation of iPads and iPhones, which require iOS 8. Indeed I just added an iPad mini 3 to my stable thanks to BestBuy's early Black Friday offering.



Time Magazine Names Apple Watch Top Gadget of 2014

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Three Apple products made Time magazine's list of Top 10 Gadgets of 2014, with the Apple Watch coming in at number one. (Which is a bit ironic, since it won't be available until 2015.) The iPhone 6 Plus ranked fifth on the list and the iPad Air 2 ranked ninth. Time described the watch as a "daring foray into the wearable market" and said that "Apple could be the first company to make wearable computers ubiquitous."



Sonos Offers Rare Gift Card Promotion This Holiday Season

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We have reviewed several Sonos wireless speakers and audio accessories at iPhone Life, and in this reviewer's opinion, there are few products that compare. The speakers sound astonishingly great, with solid wireless performance, and their streaming app and service library keeps getting richer and more refined. They don't often do sales or special offers, but the word on the street is they are offering gift cards and store promotions at select retailers for the Play family line. 



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