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The Week in iPhone Cases: Ballistic’s sparkly design will brighten up your day

3 hours 21 min ago wallet cases, slim picks, and more!

This week’s roundup of new iPhone cases includes wallet cases from Lab. C and Elago, extra battery power from Zero Lemon, and a variety of catchy designs from Native Union, Incase, iLuv, and more!


The Jewel Spark (iPhone 6; $25) features a transparent shell with raised edges and reinforced corners for advanced protection against bumps and impacts.

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Mobile credit reader for iOS devices brings Apple Pay to small retailers

7 hours 51 min ago

Missing from the ranks of businesses that accept Apple Pay are small retailers like food trucks and local coffee shops that may lack the capital to invest in sales terminals for accepting mobile payments.

But a partnership between Apple and credit card processing company North American Bancard could soon bring mobile wallet transactions to neighborhood vendors.

Starting in September, Apple will start selling an updated version of the PayAnywhere mobile credit card reader, developed by North American Bancard. The device plugs into iPhones and iPads and will allow retailers to accept payments made with Apple Pay as well as other mobile wallets that use near field communication (NFC) technology to carry out transactions.

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How to check your Mac's free hard drive space

7 hours 51 min ago

In today’s era of multi-terabyte hard drives, many of us don’t keep as close an eye on our disk usage as we used to. Still, even the largest drives fill up eventually. If you don’t know how to check your disk space use on OS X, here’s where to look.

Option 1: From the About box

OS X’s About box is the easiest way to see your hard drive’s free space.

In recent versions of OS X, you can easily check your disk usage from the About box. Pop open the Apple menu, then select About This Mac. On OS X Yosemite or newer, click the Storage tab in the toolbar to see how much disk space you have available. (On OS X Mountain Lion or Mavericks, click the More info... button, then click Storage.) You’ll also get a simplified overview of what sort of files are eating up your storage space.

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Facebook to crack down on pirated videos

8 hours 5 min ago

Facebook is improving its technology to better identify videos uploaded to its site without the permission of copyright holders.

The move comes amid an explosion in the amount of video viewed on Facebook, posted by regular users, publishers and advertisers alike. 

Alongside the uptick in video content, copyright holders have complained about videos posted without their permission. A recent report by video marketing and social media consulting companies Tubular and Social@Ogilvy estimated that a majority of the most popular videos on Facebook were pirated.

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Instagram steps out of the box, allows posts in landscape and portrait orientation

9 hours 44 min ago

Your already-packed Instagram feed is about to get a little bit taller. Or wider. Or both. On Thursday, Instagram announced that everyone’s favorite photo-sharing app will now support posts in both landscape and portrait orientation, stepping away from the perfectly square limit that has defined Instagram since its launch. This expanded posting option will apply to both photos and videos, and you’ll select which orientation you’d like to use during the formatting process—similarly to how you choose a filter, you’ll now be able to choose to post in landscape, portrait, or the traditional square.

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iPhone 6s rumors: Overhauled camera with 12-megapixel sensor and 4K video support

10 hours 9 min ago

The yearly iPhone refresh is a fact of life, as unmistakeable a sign of fall as back-to-school sales and baseball playoffs. And one thing you can count on just as certainly as a new iPhone is the rumor mill spinning out of control leading up to its unveiling. The iPhone 6s is no exception.

To help make sense of the chaotic hearsay, we’ll collect every rumor that surfaces about the iPhone 6s, from its reported specs to its guesstimated release date, and everything in between—as well as try to discern the plausibly of the rumor. It’s been a long, rumor-packed summer, but Apple will finally take the wraps off its new phones on Sept. 9. Until then, here are the latest and greatest rumors to tide you over.

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Apple Sept. 9 event: We asked Siri to give us a hint. The answers will amuse you

10 hours 26 min ago
Hey Siri...

Apple’s invitation to its September 9 event features the tagline, “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” So what happens when you ask Siri for a hint? Here are some of the answers.

Playing coy

Got it. But we’re going to ask again.

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Hey Siri, give us a hint: Apple's iPhone event is Sept. 9

11 hours 21 min ago

Apple just sent out press invitations to its annual iPhone event, to no one’s surprise. The date: Sept. 9. Time: 10 a.m. Pacific. Location: The spacious Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

Cupertino continues its tradition of teasing what’s to come in its event invites, this time with the tagline, “Hey Siri, give us a hint.”

As usual, the phrasing is coy and vague, but based on Apple events of yore, we know a few things: There will be new iPhones, and we will see final updates to iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, which will be released in the fall.

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Ex-Apple CEO Sculley's new firm preps stylish budget phones for Asia

11 hours 30 min ago

A company founded by ex-Apple CEO John Sculley has launched a set of low-cost yet stylish smartphones aimed for emerging wireless markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The Obi Worldphone SF1 and SJ1.5 models both start at under $199 but offer capabilities found in more expensive smartphones.

The phones use a customized interface, called Obi Lifespeed, which runs on the Android operating system, version Lollipop.

With these phones, Obi wants to reach the billion or so users who market analyst firm Creative Strategies predicts will upgrade in the next three years from low-end smartphones to ones with greater functionality.

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IDC: Newcomer Apple Watch challenging wearables champ Fitbit

12 hours 17 min ago

Fitbit retained its title as the world's top wearables vendor for the second quarter of 2015, but Apple is quickly gaining ground.

During its debut quarter in the wearables market, Apple shipped 3.6 million Apple Watches compared to Fitbit's 4.4 million fitness trackers, IDC said Thursday.

Overall, 18.1 million wearables shipped during the quarter, versus 5.6 million units in the year-ago quarter.

Apple began selling its smartwatch in April, but hasn't released sales figures, claiming that disclosing this information would give competitors an advantage.

The company has been vague in describing how consumers have reacted to the Apple Watch. During a call with analysts to discuss Apple's third quarter results, CEO Tim Cook said sales beat expectations while demand exceeded supply.

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Fire Phone's flop may jeopardize Amazon's future hardware endeavors

12 hours 46 min ago

Amazon’s Fire Phone wasn’t a bad phone, per se, but its handful of neat gimmicks couldn’t compensate for the fact that it was priced like an iPhone despite existing solely to get you to buy more stuff from Amazon. The Fire Phone found itself on fire sale after promptly being ignored by the masses, and its epic failure may now be jeopardizing the future output of Amazon’s hardware labs.

Amazon’s putting its ongoing phone plans on the backburner and even laying off dozens of engineers from Lab126, its hardware division, The Wall Street Journal reports (though Amazon declined to comment).

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Market sharing: These predictions are useless

14 hours 21 min ago

Remember market share? Turns out people are still trying to make a big deal out of market share, even after history has shown it really isn’t that big a deal, at least when it comes to Apple.

Well, a research firm is, which is not technically a person. This one in particular is more like a clown rodeo, except actually funny.

“Here's why the iPhone isn't going to catch up to Android any time soon.” (The Macalope’s allowing a link here because BI is mostly just reporting a research firm’s numbers.)

Apple might trounce Android manufacturers when it comes to the profitability of its smartphones…

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How to find Photos' image files in the Finder

15 hours 21 min ago

Peter Philpott wonders how to access his media files in Photos for OS X: “In iPhoto, I could right-click on a photo and get it to reveal the original in the Finder.” Photos has an option when you right-click media, as well as in the File menu, labeled Show Referenced File in Finder—but it’s grayed out for him on the images with which he attempts this.

While Photos stores original images just as iPhoto did, as well as modified versions and thumbnails, it’s more cautious about letting you get to them. If you import images into Photos (Preferences > General, and Copy Items to the Photos Library is checked next to the Importing label), then you can’t easily get to the original file in the Finder.

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Stop ad injections with HTTPS connections or a VPN

16 hours 12 min ago

AT&T got caught with its hands in the proverbial cookie jar. It was testing injecting advertising at one of its airport Wi-Fi hotspot locations, and one of the nation’s leading privacy advocates with expert technical proficiency was passing through. Jonathan Mayer wrote up his experience on Tuesday; AT&T said on Wednesday it was an “experiment” it’s already discontinued.

Mayer’s curiosity was piqued when sites that feature no advertising (academic and government) and that already had some advertising sported more, including a banner stretched across the bottom, and pop-up ads that couldn’t be dismissed before a period of time had passed.

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How to listen to audiobooks on iOS

17 hours 21 min ago

If you’re an audiobook fan, you probably like to listen to your favorite books in many places: at home, in the car, in the gym, or when you’re out walking or running. You can use your iOS devices for this, and you can use a number of apps, depending on where you get your audiobooks. Here’s an overview of apps for listening to audiobooks on iOS.

You can get audiobooks from a number of sources. You can buy and download books from, or from Apple’s iBooks Store, or you can rip your own audiobook CDs. You can also buy some audiobooks on MP3 CDs; these CDs contain books already converted to MP3 files, which you can add to your iTunes library without ripping.

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Pondering a name change for OS X

17 hours 26 min ago

Back in May I made a modest proposal for Apple to change OS X back to Mac OS and abandon the X once and for all. It was a plea, not a prediction–which is a good thing, because it didn’t happen.

Then again, we’ve got another year before iOS 9 and OS X meet like gunfighters crossing paths in an old west town at high, er, ten. It could still happen.

But since I wrote that column, I’ve heard from a lot of people who have coalesced around a different concept for the future of how Apple’s platforms are labeled. And at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, we got a few clues about what Apple might be thinking.

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Apple vs. Google: Replacing Apple's stock iOS apps with Google apps

17 hours 51 min ago

For about a year now, I’ve been joking that it’s entirely possible—if you want—to have the Android experience on an iOS device. Why not? While Apple keeps its own app offerings pretty strictly tied to its own devices (Apple Music being a forthcoming exception to the rule), Google is more willing to take customers wherever it can get them. Don’t have an Android phone? That’s fine: Google has an app for many of the things you already want to do on your iPhone, like email, instant messages, news, streaming music, and of course maps.

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Podcast 471: The iOS 9 content-blocking reckoning is coming

Wed, 2015-08-26 17:04

Apple makes a tall router with multiple antennas. It's called the AirPort Extreme. Now Google is about to make a tall router called the OnHub with *thirteen* antennas, not to mention a speaker, a ring of LEDs, and ZigBee support. Speaking of companies making stuff outside their normal comfort zone, the Apple Car! It's possibly being tested! The Guardian uncovered some amazing email evidence, although they did get one little tidbit wrong—because they don't use Macs.

But our biggest discussion this week is content blockers, coming soon to iOS 9. Glenn is testing a few already (look for an article on Macworld soon), and it's great news for users like us—and possibly really scary news for content creators like us. Everything is about to change...yes, again. That's baseball.

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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX evolves the classic formula—and puts it into overdrive

Wed, 2015-08-26 13:00

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play. 

It’s been 35 years since Pac-Man first hit arcades, and Bandai Namco has celebrated the classic chomper’s big birthday in a couple key ways. For example, the company opened a huge Pac-Man-themed arcade restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, and hosted a huge bash that featured original game creator Professor Toru Iwatani. On the other hand, Pac was a big part of this summer’s execrable Adam Sandler film, Pixels

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Facebook 'M' deploys army of virtual assistants to help fix your life

Wed, 2015-08-26 12:38

In February, a startup introduced Magic, a service that promised that you could order up virtually anything via text message, than have it delivered to your door. It launched, went viral, then...faded. Now Facebook wants to do Magic one better.

As of today, Facebook is launching a trial of M, a service that lives on top of its Messenger application in iOS and Android. Dial M for Messenger, as it were, and a hybrid team of algorithms and real-life assistants promises to help you with your mundane tasks. To try the new service, users can tap a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a note to M. (If you use Messenger, you may already be signed up for the trial.)

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