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Review: The Twelve South HiRise is an Ideal Stand for App...

Today, 08:53 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Twelve South is an accessory company that's known for its high-quality stands for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, so it's no surprise that it was one of the first to announce a dock for the Apple Watch.

The Twelve South HiRise for Apple Watch follows in the footsteps of the company's other HiRise docks, offering an Apple Watch storage and charging solution that's attractive, well-designed, and suitable for use in a wide range of locations, from a desk in an office to a nightstand in a bedroom.

I've been using the HiRise for Apple Watch for over a week now, as have a few of my colleagues both at MacRumors and TouchArcade, and the universal consensus is that it's a great stand, albeit with a premium price tag.

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HiRise for Apple Watch is made from brushed metal and is available in black or silver to match the finishes of the Apple Watch Sport and standard Apple Watch. It also matches the company's HiRise products for other devices, if you happen to own any of those.

There's a circular cutout for the Apple Watch charger (you will need to supply your own) and a rectangular cutout for the band, allowing it to work with all Apple Watch bands, from the open Sport-style to the closed-loop Milanese. Cutouts are lined in soft silicone, so at no point does the Apple Watch come in contact with metal.

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As I've learned first hand, the Apple Watch in stainless steel is extremely prone to scratching. When looking for a dock for the Apple Watch, it's advisable to make sure all surfaces on the dock that touch the watch are covered with something that doesn't have the potential to cause damage.

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The HiRise's base measures in at 3.9 inches by 4.76 inches, giving it enough surface area to sit on a desk or table without wobbling or shifting when an Apple Watch is placed on it. The bottom of the base is also coated in rubber for additional grip.

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Twelve South ships the HiRise for Apple Watch in several pieces, so some assembly is required. There's the base, the portion of the stand that holds the Apple Watch, and a cable cover, coated in leather. Twelve South calls the cable cover a "landing pad," with the leather in place to prevent the buckle of a band from being scratched should it come in contact with the base of the dock.

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The stand fits into the base and is then held in place with the cable cover. Twelve South includes a screw in the package to secure the stand to the base, and while the instructions suggest this is optional, I'd recommend using it (even though installing it is a bit frustrating). Without the screw in place, the stand can be pushed backwards when a small amount of force is supplied, making the setup feel unstable. If you plan to travel with the dock, you may not want to use the screw, as it prevents it from being easily disassembled.

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An Apple Watch charger fits into the circular cutout at the top of the HiRise, while the cord is routed down the back and under the cable cover, where it can then be plugged into the adapter for charging. The charger fits perfectly into the cutout and is held in place by the aforementioned silicone.

I never had an issue with the magnetic charging plate coming loose from the stand, but if it does get knocked out of place, it can be re-secured by pushing it back in. If you need to remove the Apple Watch Charging Cable from the HiRise, it takes only seconds to pop it out and release the cord.

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Because of the cutout for the band, the Apple Watch can be placed on the HiRise with the band fastened or unfastened. Some bands, like the Milanese Loop, are closed-band designs, while others, like the Sport, are open designs. An open-band Apple Watch can charge with the band flat and open or with it closed, and in either orientation, the Apple Watch stays firmly in place.

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Most of us probably don't use our Apple Watches while they're charging, but the HiRise puts the Apple Watch at a tilted angle that makes it easy to check the time during the night or snooze an alarm in the morning.

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Bottom Line
Overall, I had no complaints about the Apple Watch HiRise from Twelve South. It does everything I'd expect an Apple Watch dock to do, which consists of looking nice on my desk, holding my watch and making it easy to place the watch on the charger.

It is a superior solution to a bare charging cable that requires the watch to be placed flat on a desk, as it keeps the Apple Watch elevated and out of harms way. It's also quicker to stick the Apple Watch on the HiRise than it is to fiddle with picking up a cable and making sure it's aligned properly.

No one who purchases the HiRise for Apple Watch is going to be disappointed with how it performs, but it is worth noting that $50 is a lot to pay for an accessory that does little more than give you an attractive place to put your watch.

Our previous Apple Watch stand reviews:

- Mophie Watch Dock
- Duet Two-in-One Apple Watch Stand

How to Buy
HiRise for Apple Watch can be purchased from the Twelve South website for $49.99.mf.gif


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How-To: Build a $150-$300 iTunes video + music...

Today, 08:50 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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In May 2005, iTunes evolved from a music player into a video library manager, paving the way for video iPods (October 2005), Apple TV (March 2007), and AirPlay video streaming (September 2010). Since then, iTunes libraries have become bigger and more central in homes, as users now stream iTunes content to Apple TVs, iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches.

Apple has resisted calls to release a standalone, inexpensive iTunes home media server for years: 2008’s release of Time Capsule came tantalizingly close, but couldn’t act as a standalone streamer. So when my video library became too large to keep on my iMac, I bit the bullet and bought a used Mac mini to serve as an iTunes server. It works well, but it’s a full-fledged $700 computer — overkill for streaming videos to the Apple devices in my home.

Today, I’m going to help you build a much less expensive iTunes media server. Depending on the size of your iTunes library, it could cost as little as $150, or as much as $300, in either case much less expensive than a Mac mini. The key is a tiny computer based on Intel’s new Compute Stick technology, a full-fledged Windows PC that can plug into your TV, run iTunes, and stream videos across your network. For around $150, you can now get an iView-branded Compute Stick with a CPU similar to the 12″ Retina MacBook, bundled with a wireless keyboard and trackpad. Although there are some important caveats you should understand up front, the Compute Stick can become an iTunes server using a $20-$80 microSD card, or a near-silent $90 to $130 hard drive with 2TB-5TB of capacity

img.php?z=1288305&k=0d0633b70e3c2bda246a
iview-12.jpg?w=655&h=437The Apple Option: A Mac mini ($500 and up)

When my iTunes library outgrew my iMac, there was only one Apple-built option that made sense to me: a 1TB Mac mini. Devoting a screen-laden iMac solely to sitting around as a file server for iTunes struck me as a huge waste of both components and electricity. An energy-efficient Mac mini, even a previous-generation model, would save a lot of cash up front and hopefully over time, as well.

You can get an entry-level, current-generation Mac mini now for $465, including a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and 500GB hard drive. It has an HDMI port on the back and can be connected to any HDTV in your house with a $5 HDMI cable. If you want to step up to a faster version with a 1TB hard drive, you can get one for $664 through this link.

To set up the Mac mini and occasionally use it for OS X updates or managing files, you can either use a $22 dedicated Bluetooth track pad and keyboard combination, whatever spare USB or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse you already have on hand, or Apple’s official Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard. (More choices are in my Best Mac Accessories article here.) So the total cost of a Mac mini-based iTunes server solution starts at $500 and goes up from there.

There are several major advantages of using a Mac mini as a media server. Apple’s hardware runs near-silently, has great long-term reliability, and is typically trouble-free when it comes to running OS X and iTunes. You shouldn’t expect the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to just stop working, your iTunes library to disappear from the network, or the computer to just not turn on after a few years of active use. Moreover, depending on the Mac mini you buy, it may be able to do lots of other things on an as-needed basis. Even if you go with a cheap Mac mini, it will still be a problem-free iTunes server.

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The DIY Option: A Compute Stick Plus Additional Storage ($150-$300)

Thanks to Intel’s release of the Compute Stick, you don’t need to spend $500 or more to get a basic, quiet-running iTunes media server — so long as you’re willing to accept an extremely basic computer that won’t reliably do anything else. You can get an Intel-branded Compute Stick for $170 through this link or faster for $199 through this link, adding the Bluetooth keyboard and track pad yourself. Or you can buy iView’s Cyber PC bundle, which includes a Compute Stick and wireless keyboard/track pad combo. It sells for $130 at Walmart$150 at Newegg, or $174 via Amazon; as of this moment, it’s in stock at Amazon and Newegg but on backorder at Walmart.

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The major advantages of the Compute Stick are its size, low power consumption, and extremely low price. Roughly the same size as a candy bar, the Compute Sick has a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, is pre-installed with Windows 8.1, and connects directly to a TV’s HDMI port — no extra HDMI cable is required, but an extender is included for tight-ported HDTVs. Power is supplied via an included micro-USB wall adapter. It has Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi built-in, 32GB of storage space, and 2GB of RAM. You can easily expand the storage space using microSD 32GB to 128GB cards, doubling or quadrupling the capacity, for $80 or less.

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Whether that’s enough for your needs depends on how you plan to use your iTunes media server. Of the built-in 32GB storage space, 18GB is usable, which means that a 32GB card will give you 50GB of total space, with up to 146GB total if a 128GB microSD card is installed. If you just want to stream a music collection and relatively small number of videos throughout your house, that may be enough space for you.iview-5.jpg?w=655&h=437

If you’re planning to share your entire video library over your network, you’ll want a bigger external drive, and that’s where the Compute Stick’s USB port comes in. For $90 to $130, you can get a 2TB, 3TB, 4TB or 5TB Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 hard drive (shown below), which has earned a lot of positive reviews (4.4/5 stars from 178 Amazon users) for operating whisper-quietly, waking very quickly from sleep, and delivering incredible storage capacity for the price.

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There are pricier options with longer warranties and greater long-term reliability in my best external hard drive guide, but they’ll push the total Compute Stick price up from under $300 to around $400. At that point, you may want to consider the Mac mini instead, as you’ll get a more powerful machine (albeit with less storage space) for the price.

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Setting Up The Compute Stick

Unlike the Mac, which will arrive with OS X ready to go after a really quick Wi-Fi and Bluetooth setup process, the iView Compute Stick will take a little work. The hardware part is fairly easy: once it’s unpacked, you can just plug it directly into an HDMI port on your TV, and then into the wall with its wall adapter. Some TVs may require you to connect it to the port labelled HDMI 1, while others will not.iview-3.jpg?w=655&h=437

After the Compute Stick is connected to your TV and wall, you’ll need to plug its combination keyboard and trackpad in using an included mini-USB cable. This is necessary to charge the remote’s integrated lithium ion battery, as well as to set it up as a wireless device within Windows. Once it’s charged and wirelessly paired, you won’t have to do this again; an included USB wireless dongle will let it operate independently, while an included micro-USB to USB adapter can be used to connect a USB hard drive. (You may want to keep the remote’s charging cable connected to a separate USB charger in case the remote’s battery runs out.)

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Setting up the Compute Stick will require jumping through standard Windows hoops, including the aforementioned pairing process, joining your home’s Wi-Fi network, and installing updated drivers. The keyboard is small, but surprisingly capable, and the trackpad is similarly tiny but entirely functional for occasionally navigating the Windows 8/iTunes environment. Once the computer’s all set up, you’ll want to grab the latest version of iTunes from here for free and install it.

Although PC-to-PC iTunes library transfers are fairly easy, the single biggest pain point for Mac users will be moving the content of a complete iTunes library from a Mac to the Compute Stick’s PC hard drive. Reformatting the external hard drive as exFAT will make it easier to access the drive on either a Mac or PC. Apple provides an iTunes library moving guide here, but it’s mostly intended for Mac-to-Mac or PC-to-Mac transfers. Preserving a larger iTunes library’s structure when transferring from Mac to PC will require additional guidance beyond the scope of this articleiview-9.jpg?w=655&h=437

If you’re using a microSD card instead of a hard drive, the process is less painful. You can put that card into an SD Card adapter, plug the adapter into your Mac’s card slot, and drag-and-drop individual files to transfer them between platforms. Alternately, you can set up Home Sharing on the Compute Stick’s copy of iTunes and iTunes on your Mac, then drag and drop files from the Mac’s library to the PC. The transfer over Wi-Fi will probably take a lot longer than using a card or hard drive for the transfer, but you won’t have to do it more than once.

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In any case, you’ll need to have Home Sharing turned on to see the Compute Stick’s (or Mac mini’s) iTunes library on your network. So long as iTunes and the Compute Stick are on, your library will be visible and ready to stream to Apple TVs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, and other iTunes computers in your home. Rebooting the Compute Stick and iTunes can help your iOS device or Apple TV to see an upgraded iTunes library that isn’t appearing in their “Shared” library list/tab (generally found within the Videos app).

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Possible Issues

Three potential issues you should be prepared for with the Compute Stick are non-iTunes performance, wireless stability, and Windows 10. While reviews of the Compute Stick have been fine when it’s used for media streaming and web browsing, it’s not capable of more powerful computing, and unlike the Mac mini can’t replace a desktop PC for gaming or other tasks.

Some reviews have noted that its Bluetooth wireless performance is spotty, particularly when its wireless chip is simultaneously being used for Wi-Fi connectivity. Driver updates may well help with this, but there could be other underlying engineering issues that only get improved in later versions. The iView version of Compute Stick works around this by including a separate wireless dongle.

Last but not least, Compute Stick is intended to be compatible with the upcoming release of Windows 10 in late July of this year. It’s unclear whether Windows 10 will improve or reduce its overall performance as an iTunes server, so you might want to hold off on performing a Windows 8.1 to 10 upgrade until its reliability is established.

Those issues aside, a Compute Stick can serve as a nice (and inexpensive) iTunes media server for your home. It runs quiet, consumes little power, and works just like a much larger PC when used to stream audio and video files. If you don’t want to spend the cash on a Mac mini, it may well be your next best option.

Learn More

Check out more of my How-To guides and reviews for 9to5Mac here! I’ve covered a lot of different topics of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch users. Don’t forget to click on Older Posts at the bottom of the page to see everything!


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Apple begins preparing Moscone Center for WWDC as first b...

Today, 08:11 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
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via MacStories

With WWDC coming up next week, Apple has started preparing for the big day. Following the launch of the Apple TV channel for the keynote stream yesterday, the company has started decorating Moscone West with Apple logos and banners.

As spotted by MacStories, the first bits of a large Apple logo on one side of the building have already been put up. There’s not much more to see at the moment, but many more banners are expected to go up in the coming days. As in previous years, some of them will likely be covered to prevent news about upcoming announcements from getting out early.

Apple is expected to announce the next versions of its iOS and OS X software during the event.

If you’re in the San Francisco area and snag some photos of the banners as they go up, send them to tips@9to5mac.com.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: moscone west, WWDC 382663 382663 382663 382663 382663 382663 382663 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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WWDC 2015 Decorations Going Up at Moscone Center Ahead of...

Today, 08:04 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple is set to kick off its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday with a keynote event that begins at 10:00 a.m., and as it does every year, the company has begun decorating the Moscone Center in San Francisco where the conference will be held.

As of this afternoon, work crews have begun placing the iconic Apple stickers on the outside of the building, while also preparing to begin erecting banners in the lobby of Moscone West. As can be seen in photos shared by MacStories, the first leaves of the logo are visible.

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In a few hours, we'll likely see the first banners for the 2015 event, which may sport the tagline "The epicenter of change." Apple will continue decorating the center throughout the week, adding additional signage both inside and outside.

Oftentimes Apple's banners reveal hints on upcoming operating system changes, suggesting potential names and feature sets, but those revelatory banners will likely be kept under wraps until later this week. In 2014, we didn't see signs for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 until Friday.

This year's keynote will include the debut of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, along with a new streaming music service, a revamped version of iTunes Radio, a new Apple TV set-top box, and a rewards program for Apple Pay. For more details on what to expect, make sure to check out our WWDC roundup.

Apple plans to provide a live stream of the WWDC keynote on the Apple TV and through its website. MacRumors will also provide live coverage of the event for those unable to watch, both on MacRumors.com and through our MacRumors Live Twitter account.mf.gif


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Pinterest will become a giant store thanks to buy buttons

Today, 07:47 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
If you’ve ever been browsing through the Pinterest app and saw something that made you think, “OMG WANT,” but you were away from your computer or just didn’t feel like going online to make that thing yours, you may bemf.gif


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Thunderbolt 3 is now twice as fast and works with USB-C p...

Today, 07:36 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple completely removed all ports from the new MacBook except for a solitary USB Type-C that was mocked by fanboys across the world, but now that Intel has taken the wraps off of the new Thunderbolt 3 protocol, new MacBookmf.gif


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Pinterest becomes a storefront with Buyable Pins on the i...

Today, 06:31 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Pinterest is graduating from a place where you discover and bookmark items to a storefront where you can actually make purchases. This is made possible using Buyable Pins, which the company says are coming soon to Pinterest for the iPhone and iPad. Pinterest users will be able to buy items from a handful of partners at launch with Apple Pay planned as a payment method to make the process instant.

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At launch, Pinterest is partnering with premium retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus to allow users to buy the items they pin in the app. The platform is also working with Shopify and Demandware to include Buyable Pins on items from Cole Haan, Michaels, and more.

By supporting Shopify, Pinterest is allowing vendors that use the platform to easily include Buyable Pins on their own items. Merchants that use Demandware will be able to do the same by working with the service’s management.

As Pinterest’s side, the social network says it won’t be taking any cut of the deal as it just wants to offer its users a way to do more with the items they’re pinning.

Pinterest says the new Buyable Pins with Apple Pay support will be added soon to the iPhone and iPad apps while Android and web users will gain the new feature later in the future.

Earlier this year, Apple teamed up with Pinterest for the first time to promote iOS apps on the platformincluding download buttons.


Filed under: Apple Pay, Apps Tagged: Apple pay, Buyable Pins, Demandware, Macy's, Pinterest, Shopify 382630 382630 382630 382630 382630 382630 382630 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Our Facebook page has been hacked, and it’s impossible to...

Today, 06:22 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Much to our horror, Cult of Mac’s Facebook page got hacked Monday and turned into a spam site. The hackers have locked us out and we’re finding it impossible to regain control. We’re trying desperately to contact Facebook, but themf.gif


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Putting a case on your Apple Watch might be overkill

Today, 06:19 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Let’s be honest — the Apple Watch is already kind of bulky, and most of us aren’t climbing mountains with them on anyway. The craziest I get is maybe leaving it on while I shower at the gym. For thosemf.gif


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Apple’s iconic company store is closing its doors next we...

Today, 06:18 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Apple will be closing its official Company Store at its 1 Infinite Loop campus later this month and plans to relaunch a modernized version of it this fall, according to sources familiar with the plans.

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Notices on Apple’s campus confirming the upcoming renovations read: “Architectural and Site Approval to allow facade improvements of approximately 102 linear feet of an existing office building.” But Apple has much more planned than just a fresh coat of paint, according to sources.

The company store, pictured above, has long been the only place to purchase Apple-branded clothing and other items, but it never sold Macs or most products the company sells through its retail stores. The company store was, however, open to the public for visitors to the campus in addition to Apple employees.

So how does Apple plan to revamp the store? We’re told that part of the plan will be to modernize the space and possibly include historical items from the company. Historical items could turn the store into a half-museum of sorts and make the store an even more popular stop for visitors to the campus.

We’ve also heard that Apple might do away with merchandise bearing the Apple logo for the new store as part of these changes. So you’ll want to hit up the store before it closes as they clear out current stock if you want an Apple t-shirt or hat. 

Whether or not the new store might be part of Jony Ive’s new plans to take on retail in his new position as Chief Design Officer is unclear, but not unlikely.

Apple plans to shut down the company store on June 12 as WWDC wraps up in nearby San Francisco and reopen later this year in the fall.


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