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'Steve Jobs' biopic to premiere at Telluride Film...

Today, 06:48 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


The upcoming and highly anticipated Steve Jobs biopic will be shown for the first time to the public as part of the 42nd annual Telluride Film Festival. The movie, which centers on Apple's late co-founder, played by Michael Fassbender, will be shown at the festival in Telluride, Colorado on Saturday, September 5, with an encore on Sunday, September 6.

If you are wondering why you are just hearing about this event two days before it happens, it's because the organizers of the Telluride Film Festival always reveal its schedule at the last minute. The show will also host a special tribute to the director of "Steve Jobs", Danny Boyle, just before the movie's premiere.

The movie was written by Aaron Sorkin, and is based on the biography of Apple's co-founder by Walter Isaacson. Along with Fassbender, "Steve Jobs" also features Seth Rogen as Apple's other co-founder Steve Wozniak, along with Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley. The Universal movie will open in theaters nationwide on October 9.

Source: Telluride Film Festival





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Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is a flexible way to add ambi...

Today, 01:53 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Philips has combined a flexible design with advanced lighting technology to launch the new Hue Lightstrip Plus. This new lighting fixture can be shaped, bent, even cut, and extended by up to 10 meters to introduce ambience to spaces throughout the home. If you're tired of relying on standard bulbs, and have places throughout the home where said lighting could be installed, the new Philips tech could be the ideal option for you.

The lighting itself is touted as being self-adhesive and easy to install, enabling you to place them along the bottom of a room, coving of a ceiling, or even along shelving. Since we're talking about Philips Hue here, you'll be able to configure the lighting from compatible apps and even have them change color depending on what's currently displayed on the big screen.

The only potential issue is the pricing, which may deter potential buyers. The two meter strip will set you back €79.95/$89.95, while the one meter extension strips will cost you €24.95/$29.95 each. Philips will launch the new lighting in Europe and the US come October.

Learn more about the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus

Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus: light bright enough to paint a whole room

Enhance your home with flexible connected light that can instantly switch a relaxing environment into an energizing one

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), the global leader in lighting, combines flexible design with cutting-edge connected lighting technology to deliver a whole new way of using light, Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus. A hidden source of light, Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus can be shaped, bent, cut and extended up to 10 meters to add atmosphere to any space in the home. With every shade of beautiful white light from cool blue white to warm yellow white as well as atmospheric colored light, Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is a high quality, high output light that is bright enough to completely transform the character of a space. So whether it's entertaining friends or cooking a meal for the family, Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus lets you 'paint with light' to create the perfect moment.

"With Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus we're encouraging people to get creative with light and really interact with it," explains Leonardo Avezzano, Product Marketing Director of Philips Hue. "Its extendible design along with its connectivity and high lumen output, means that it's even easier for people to use light to create the experience they want across their home."

As an indirect source of light, Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus can be placed anywhere in the home to complement and enrich existing Philips Hue lights, delivering a uniformed color. Self-adhesive and easy to install, place along the bottom of a hallway choosing a beautiful shade of white light to create a sense of spaciousness; run along coving high up the walls of a room to wash the entire space with light instantly transforming its look and feel; or line along shelves and cabinets to add a stylish touch of ambience to match a mood or moment.

Taking flexible connected lighting to a whole new level, Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is a part of the Philips Hue ecosystem, so it benefits from all the unique features of Philips Hue including interaction with more than 300 third-party apps. Check out apps that sync Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus to the TV and enjoy a completely new viewing experience where the lights change the atmosphere to enhance what's on screen. With Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus you can instantly change the ambience of any space in your home at the swipe of a finger, giving you unlimited flexibility and freedom to experience light as you want it.

Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus two meter strip including the power adaptor is €79.95/ $89.95; one meter extension strips are €24.95 / $29.95 each. Available in Europe and North America from October 2015.





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4K iMac reportedly on track for October launch

Today, 06:11 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

Apple is reportedly preparing to introduce a new high-resolution iMac into its lineup. The company is said to readying a new model of its 21.5-inch all-in-one desktop with a 4K display. The new model could arrive by the end of October, coinciding with the release of OS X El Capitan.

From 9to5Mac:

Apple is indeed planning to release a new version of its 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display this fall, according to reliable sources. The current plan is to announce the refreshed version of the smaller iMac by the end of October alongside OS X El Capitan and begin shipping the product by the beginning of November.

To see a 4K version of Apple's smaller iMac seems like a natural step from last year's introduction of the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display. Additionally, if last year is any indication, expect the non-Retina versions of the 21.5-inch iMac to stick around at their lower price point, as a 4K version would likely have a noticeably higher starting price.

Source: 9to5Mac





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NetNewsWire returns to both Mac and iPhone with sync, boo...

Today, 05:55 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


NetNewsWire, once the RSS reader of choice for many a Mac user, has made its return with NetNewsWire 4. It includes a new interface for OS X Yosemite, bookmarking for articles, and critically missing from previous versions, its own sync service. There's also a version of NetNewsWire 4 for iPhone now as well.

NetNewsWire 4, both on Mac and iPhone, has been completely rewritten from the ground up. Both apps take advantage of NetNewsWire Cloud Sync to keep everything up to date across devices. With a free Cloud Sync account, you can sync sites, read status, bookmarks, and favorites between Mac and iPhone.

On the Mac, NetNewsWire is now completely at home on OS X Yosemite. It also has new interface features like tabs, letting you keep multiple stories open at once. If you're just starting out with RSS, NetNewsWire 4 will also give you suggestions with the new Popular Sites feature, which can also be found on the iPhone app.

Speaking of the iPhone app, it has a few unique features of its own. First is gesture support, which allows you to swipe articles to mark them as read and swipe through to new articles as you read. Second, there's VoiceOver support, making NetNewsWire 4 more accessible for more users.

NetNewsWire 4 for Mac and iPhone are available now. The Mac app can be downloaded both from the Mac App Store, as well as developer Black Pixel's site, where it can be downloaded and used for free for 14 days. After the trial, the app will cost you $9.99.





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Gazelle vows to beat carrier and Apple's iPhone trade...

Yesterday, 10:11 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Gazelle, the service that allows you to trade-in your old tech and receive cash in return, is running a promotion from today through September 9 where they promise to beat carrier and Apple trade-in prices. This offer covers the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and you'll be covered by the standard 30-day offer lock, just in case you'll need some more time to think about a possible upgrade to the new iPhone 6s.

Should you happen to locate a better deal at either Apple or your local carrier, Gazelle will beat that price during this promotional period. All colors and capacities of the aforementioned iPhone smartphones are included, but fear not if you have older units or other handsets as the company will also offer competitive pricing on anything you have available for trade-in.

Gazelle will offer up to $450 for trading in an old iPhone 6 Plus in flawless condition. The model, capacity and whether or not the unit is unlocked will also affect the amount you'd be set to receive. It's certainly worth analyzing your available options to see exactly which solution is best for you. Be sure to check out the Gazelle website and see how much you'd receive.


Will Beat Major Wireless Carriers and Apple with Special Promotional Pricing

BOSTON, Mass., Sept. 2, 2015 – Gazelle, Inc., the nation's leader in buying and reselling pre-owned consumer electronics, today announced a limited time promotion guaranteeing the best price on trade-ins of certain iPhone models from today through September 9th. The special promotion guarantees that Gazelle's cash offer for the iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus will beat the trade-in credit offered by a customer's wireless carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint) or Apple.

"Gazelle has always offered cash and great customer service but we're now also guaranteeing consumers the best price," said Sarah Welch, Gazelle's Chief Marketing Officer. "Consumers are frustrated by confusing carrier offers that often require a lengthy commitment or other terms and conditions. Unlike the carriers, Gazelle prides itself on offering a simple customer experience with no strings attached. Gazelle's industry-leading online experience also let customers sell their phones from home in just minutes, avoiding the long lines consumers are likely to run into at carrier stores following an iPhone launch."

Gazelle's Best Price Guarantee ensures that consumers will receive the best value through its trade-in service – paid out in cash not credit. If customers find a better offer from either their carrier or at Apple through September 9, 2015, Gazelle will beat the offer. The promotion covers all colors and capacities of the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As always, Gazelle will offer competitive pricing on older models, as well. Terms of the promotion can be found here.

Gazelle recently commissioned a survey of more than 500 smartphone owners across the U.S. and found that many consumers are confused and angry at their wireless carrier and looking for alternatives. The survey showed that 42% are angry about losing carrier subsidies on the purchase of new iPhones, which now cost $650 or more, whether paid upfront or in monthly installments. Maximizing the value from trade-in is a great way to offset the high cost of upgrading.

Consumers should do their homework when looking at trade-in offers. The best offers from carriers may include conditions like new account activation or delayed bill credits, leaving many consumers with far less value for their phone than the trade-in value promoted in ads. Also, promotional pricing is often not offered to customers in carrier upgrade programs like AT&T Next, T-Mobile Jump and Verizon Edge. Carrier upgrade programs often require consumers to return their old phone without paying the consumer for the phone. Trading in with a third party like Gazelle could prove to be more financially lucrative and Gazelle's cash offer lets consumers choose how and when to spend the value from their old phone.





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Samsung Gear S2 versus Apple Watch

Today, 05:13 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

There's a new smartwatch in town.


[custom:ifa2015] Since the launch of the Apple Watch, there hasn't been much in the way of true competition. Sure, Samsung had their older (and weirder) Gear S2 smartwatch with its relatively large curved rectangular display and built-in 3G radio. And sure, Android Wear watches have been steadily improving in capability, performance, and design. But when it came to hardware quality, interface design, and snappy performance, the Apple Watch really had no equal. Until possibly now, with the launch of the Samsung Gear S2.

Right off the bat, these are very different watches. The Apple Watch is rectangular, the Gear S2 is round. The Apple Watch is curvy, the Gear S2 (especially the Classic pictured here) is a bit more angular and traditionally watch-like in design. The Apple Watch uses a small digital crown dial and touch display to navigate the interface, while the Gear S2 gets around with a spinning bezel and a touch display. Okay, that last bit isn't all that different, at least in concept. In execution, the larger ring on the Gear S2 offers a bit more travel before you have to pull your finger back and start spinning again than the Apple Watch's digital crown.


There are a few interface comparisons to make. Take the round icons, for example, which Apple uses extensively on their watch, though you could argue that they perhaps make more sense on a round watch like the Gear S. Sure, a lot of them are similar, but when you're making icons this small, there are only so many ways to show what the app is. The Gear S2 does have a slight advantage here in displaying the name of the app in the center, but at the same time that also means it can only display eight apps at a time, whereas the Apple Watch displays nearly four times that many icons — but you can navigate the Gear S's app launcher with that spinning bezel, while the Apple Watch's digital crown only lets you zoom in and out.

And that icon in the launcher that's a circle of smaller circles that sent the tech-watching internet into a Samsung's-copying-Apple-again tizzy when the first images were teased? That signifies the next and previous rings of apps on the Gear S, not the favorite friends feature as it does on the Apple Watch. The use of a black background simply makes sense here, with an AMOLED display the pixels light up individually (there's no single backlight), so dark pixels use less power than bright ones. It's why the Apple Watch has a black background and mostly dark watch faces, as do other AMOLED-equipped Android Wear watches like those from LG.


This is, quite possibly, the best-built and designed hardware for a non-Apple Watch smartwatch. That said, even as solid as the Gear S2 is, the Apple Watch hardware is a notch above. That's not to say that the Gear S2 feels cheap, but something about the Apple Watch made it feel a bit more 'premium' in hand and on wrist. It might just be the weight of the Apple Watch, our 42mm stainless steel version clocks in at 50 grams, while the Gear S2 Classic is a relatively lighter 42 grams. Spinning the bezel and pressing the buttons yielded satisfying clicks all around (yes, the Apple Watch's digital crown spins freely, though some 'watch guys' have argued it should do otherwise). The quality of the bands of the Gear S2 falls short, however, with both the rubber and leather straps feeling and looking cheaper than Apple's offerings.

But when it comes to software quality and performance, the Gear S2 matches the Apple Watch in our estimation. It was blazingly fast and responsive, the navigation was generally clear, discoverable, and sensible. The selection of third-party apps from the likes of CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and Uber were all quality designs that kept to just what they needed to do and nothing more (Uber lets you call a car to your location, for instance, but there's no account management). Just check out this video:

There's one more notch for the Gear S2: compatibility. Previous Samsung smartwatches have only worked with Samsung smartphones, and even then a selection of the most recent ones. And the Apple Watch obviously only works with the iPhone. But in the same week that Android Wear smartwatches picked up iPhone compatibility, Samsung's announced that the Gear S2 will work on all Android smartphones running Android 4.4 or higher with more than 1.5GB of RAM.

That's a huge change for Samsung, which while still the dominant Android manufacturer, has acknowledged here that there are more than just Samsung smartphones out there (and to serve as a lure for non-Samsung Android phone users into their ecosystem). There are some features that won't work with non-Samsung phones (like Samsung Pay, for obvious reasons), just like there are some Android Wear features that don't work on the iPhone.

All said and done, there's a new smartwatch in town that's poised to rival the Apple Watch. We won't call it an Apple Watch killer — there's no way it could be, considering that they are tied to different ecosystems. And so far we've only had a brief time with the new Samsung smartwatch, so it's hard to say whether or not it's explicitly better, or if it's even possible to make such a judgement. Regardless, it's good to see another company, even if it's Samsung, stepping up and offering a quality smartwatch.

Check out our hands-on with the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch





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Intel's grand Skylake unveiling promises faster, more...

Today, 05:04 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


A gradual rollout means you shouldn't hold your breath for new Mac hardware, though.

Intel used this week IFA event in Berlin to unveiled its full line of Skylake processors. They're the sixth generation of Intel's Core processor technology, which powers the Mac and countless PC compatible computers. Hallmarks of the new Skylake processors include improved battery efficiency for laptops and performance improvements to computing and graphics processing. Now Mac users are waiting for the other shoe to drop: When will Skylake processors appear in the Mac?

Evolution of Core technology

First, a look at Skylake: Intel made famous a "tick-tock" approach towards semiconductor manufacturing and design, alternating architectural improvements with die shrinks. The new processors are the second generation to sport a 14 nanometer (nm) transistor size - the "tock" to the "tick" introduced with the release of Intel's fifth-generation "Broadwell" processors.

Broadwell was famously delayed, as Intel hit unanticipated manufacturing delays with the 14 nm process. As a result, Macs sporting Broadwell processors didn't hit their stride until this year, when Apple refreshed the MacBook Air and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with the new chips. A Broadwell-based Intel Core M processor graces the 12-inch MacBook, too.

Other Macs, including the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, also refreshed this year, as well as the iMac and Mac mini, continue to use "Haswell" (fourth-generation Intel Core) processors. The Mac Pro uses a workstation-level Intel "Xeon" chip of even older design, built to more exacting tolerances than the processors found in Apple's other Macs.

Intel's marketing material for the Skylake processor touts remarkable performance claims. "30x better graphics, 3x battery life" litter the page. But that's comparing Skylake's performance to the processors found in five-year-old PCs.

Intel is hoping to strike a chord with PC users who are interested in upgrading to Windows 10 and are looking for better-performing systems. Intel seems anxious to strike the beleaguered Broadwell product release from the world's collective memory altogether. But that same five-year-old apples to new apples comparison scales to the Mac: We can't all buy a new Mac model every time Apple announces one. Many of us are working with systems that we bought during the first Obama administration (or earlier). Skylake's release does promise some good performance and efficiency boosts there.

Refresh cycles


If you pay heed to Apple's refresh cycle and are familiar with current-generation Mac performance, expect more modest gains. On average, Intel says that Skylake will sport 10 percent overall better CPU performance, a robust 30 percent improvement in graphics performance, better memory performance and an additional hour of battery life compared to their Broadwell forebears. Broadwell represents the current state of the art on the Mac.

Expect to see USB 3.1 on more Macs, thanks to Skylake, along with Thunderbolt 3 where Intel's Alpine Ridge controller is present. Thunderbolt 3 doubles Thunderbolt 2's bandwidth to 40 GB per second. That's enough to drive a 5K display externally at 60 Hz, giving rise to hope that Apple will finally refresh its Thunderbolt display with something to match the detail present in the 5K iMac.

I've already mentioned Intel's introduction of Skylake-based Xeon chips for mobile. The idea of a Mac Pro-level MacBook Pro is certainly appealing to a certain segment of Mac users who depend on serious number-crunching abilities for graphics rendering and compute power. Lenovo was first out of the gate with a Xeon laptop announcement.

A gradual rollout


Intel isn't releasing Skylake processors all at once. They'll be released gradually over the coming months. In total, Intel now has plans for more than four dozen different Skylake processor variants. Only a fraction of these will be suitable for Apple's use.

Intel's staggered Skylake rollout started with desktop chips in early August. The first laptops with Skylake will start to appear in the next month or so, and Intel expects that consumers will see plenty of Skylake-equipped computers on store shelves in time for the holiday buying season.

As a result, I don't anticipate a sudden glut of Skylake-equipped Macs hitting the shelves all at once.

The iMac seems ripe for the Skylake treatment, as it hasn't been significantly updated in nearly a year. Apple did come out with a lower-priced 5K iMac with detuned specs earlier this year, but that's it. Even though the iMac is desktop model, its thin size means Apple relies on lower-powered, cooler mobile components, so the desktop Skylake chips we've already seen are unlikely candidates.

Most of Apple's laptop models are still early or mid-way through their release cycle, which makes them unlikely candidates for new processors in the short term. One thing I'm particularly excited about, though: Intel is also touting significant improvements to the Core M architecture this time around.

Boon for MacBook

Intel claims the Skylake Core M variants have 40 percent better graphics performance and more effective performance scaling under load. If you're interested in the extraordinarily portability and light weight of the MacBook but have been unimpressed with its forgettable performance, the promise of a Skylake-equipped MacBook should get your mouth watering. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one before 2016, though.

I'd be happy to be wrong on all this, of course: Only Apple knows for sure what its Mac release schedule is going to be.

One thing for sure: If you're working with a four or five year old Mac, the coming months are going to be a great opportunity for you to refresh your hardware with something new that's going to be faster, more efficient and better than what you can get today.

Source: Intel





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Google introduces new Street View app to let you tour and...

Today, 04:56 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Google has announced a standalone Street View app, outside of Google Maps, which now allows you to both explore and capture 360-degree views of your favorite places. Previously, Street View was a part of Google Maps, but this new release brings it out on its own. With the app, you will now be able to:

  • Explore: In one gallery, you can explore Street View collections and content from Google Maps alongside photo spheres contributed from people around the globe.
  • Contribute: Now you can publish photo spheres of your favorite places from around the world (or around the block!) to Google Maps instantly.

You will be able to shoot photo spheres directly from your iPhone, or with other spherical cameras like the Ricoh Theta S or NCTech iris360. The Street View app is available now in the App Store.





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Say hello to @AppStoreGames on Twitter!

Today, 04:32 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


While Apple has long maintained a Twitter account for @AppStore, promoting new apps, deals, and more, the company now offers an account devoted specifically to games: @AppStoreGames. The account, registered in July, made its first public appearance today, offering a classic greeting and app-centric animated GIF.

Tap. Tap. Hello, world. pic.twitter.com/zp9yT0PLpF

— App Store Games (@AppStoreGames) September 3, 2015

The account is maintained and curated by the App Store's games editors. Apple's been amping up the human curation in the App Store games sub-categories as well.

There should be some fun stuff coming our way this fall, so if you're into App Store Games, give them a follow!





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BB-8 by Sphero is every Star Wars fan's dream robot

Today, 01:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


When the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed to the world, a whole lot of people had the same thought about one of the little robots in the trailer. It looked suspiciously like a giant Sphero robot with a little floating head on top, so naturally a ton of people asked Orbotix if they would be able to make a version of their popular Sphero robot to look like this thing from the trailer. Not long after, the world learned that not only was Orbotix capable of making a small version of that BB-8 droid, but was the company responsible for making the big one being used in the movie.

Today, BB-8 be Sphero is finally a real product you'll soon be able to buy for yourself, and it's shaping up to be the toy every Star Wars fan is going to want to own.

On the surface, this little droid closely resembles a Sphero orb with a little head on top, but the overall feature set blows away anything we've come to expect from the folks at Orbotix. BB-8 by Sphero pairs to your phone or tablet and lets you control movement, and as you'd expect it's the same kinds of movement we've seen from the larger BB-8 appearing in The Force Awakens. The BB-8 app includes several control methods, including voice controls tuned to the owner, sentry mode between pre-determined areas, and even autonomous behavior if you just want the droid to roam around and play. Sphero describes BB-8 as having an adaptive personality, and claims its behavior will change based on interaction with you. A line you'll see repeated in marketing material is how this droid is more than a toy, it's your companion.


The BB-8 app also includes a communication mode, allowing you to record messages from your phone and have them play back in an Augmented Reality field that looks as though your message is being played through a holo-projector baked into BB-8. If you've got friends who also have BB-8 droids, you'll be able to send holographic messages back and forth to one another through the app.

As you'd expect from a Sphero-like toy, the wireless docking cradle lets you drop BB-8 in when you're done playing and pick it back up when you're ready to go. Like the robot itself, the cradle is sporting heavy Star Wars theming, and when BB-8 is placed in its cradle the head adjust automatically to face forward, acknowledging that charging has started and just plain looking cool.

BB-8 by Sphero is launching on Force Friday, September 4th for those who haven't been paying attention to every little thing in the Star Wars Universe, for $149. Everything you need to know about grabbing one of these for yourself can be found over at the Sphero site.





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