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Hey, good lookin’: Apple’s near the top of the World’s Most Attractive Employers

1 hour 14 min ago

Business and engineering/IT students in the world's 12 largest economies have chosen their favorite employers — and Apple’s near the top of the list. More than 267,000 millennials in Universum's Talent Survey have ranked the companies they find most desirable for employment.

On the engineering/IT side, Google retains its top position, followed by Microsoft, Apple, BMW and IBM, which took over GE's spot at 5. On the business rankings, Apple which moved up 5 spots from 7th to 2nd place is challenging Google for the top position, followed by EY and Goldman Sachs. PwC fell three places to 5th place.

Universum is an insight driven research, consulting and activation firm specialized in employer branding. For more info, click here.

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Wi-Fi Alliance announces expanded 802.11ac standard

1 hour 27 min ago

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced the expansion of the 802.11ac standard to include new features that provide a higher-performance connectivity experience. Most Apple products offer 802.11ac compatibility, including Macs, the AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. The expanded 802.11ac could see implementation in future versions of the latter two devices, which are overdue for an upgrade.

New features in the expanded 802.11ac standard include:

  • MU-MIMO: Networks with MU-MIMO are capable of multitasking by sending data to multiple devices at once rather than one-at-a-time, improving overall network efficiency and throughput
  • 160MHz channels: Wi-Fi Certified ac increases the maximum channel bandwidth from 80 MHz channels to 160MHz channels, potentially doubling transmission speeds
  • Four spatial streams: Device speeds are proportional to the number of spatial streams. Wi-Fi Certified ac now includes support for four spatial streams, up from three spatial streams.
  • Extended 5GHz channel support: Wi-Fi Certified ac encourages device support for a greater number of available channels in 5GHz.

The features are designed to improve the efficiency of network traffic and ensure consumers can access the 1.3 Gbps top speed that the 802.11ac protocol can provide. For example, efficiency is particularly important in situations where the number of devices handled by one Wi-Fi access point increases exponentially (e.g. sports events, live concerts, LAN parties, etc.)

Wi-Fi Certified ac was the first version of Wi-Fi to break the gigabit barrier, accelerating the shift to greater utilization of the 5 GHz band. Now, more than 65 percent of devices are dual-band, operating in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

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How to become a Maestro of your Mac keyboard

2 hours 25 min ago

The good ol’ OS X Dictionary defines maestro as, “a great performer, especially a musician.” While Keyboard Maestro isn’t a musician, it’s definitely a great performer when it comes to saving time and effort. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to name another app that saves me as much time or as many keystrokes every day as Keyboard Maestro.

The Swiss Army Knife-on-steroids thing is overdone, so I’m gonna call Keyboard Maestro the Leatherman Multi-tool on crack of Mac utilities. Simply put, Keyboard Maestro makes macros. But to call it a mere macro-maker does it a supreme disservice. Yes, it’s a macro-maker, but it’s much more than that.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t pause at this point and explain what I mean by, “macro.” As far as I’m concerned, a macro is any sequence of actions on your Mac that can be saved, and then invoked and played back with a single keystroke or other trigger.

Actions you can string together in your macros include launching an app; moving or clicking the mouse; typing text; choosing a menu item; opening a file or folder; and hundreds more. And creating macros is easy with its easy-to-use macro editor and huge library of actions.

The figure above shows a macro that clicks the Don’t Save button in dialog boxes when I type Control + Shift + D. I use this macro all the time, and every time I do it saves me from having to grab the mouse.

Or, if you don’t want to drag-and-drop to construct your macro, use Keyboard Maestro’s “Record” feature to record what you do, then save it for playback. 

Warning: If you choose to record rather than drag-and-drop, you’ll probably have to tinker with the recording to make it work exactly as you expect.

This nugget of info is from my “Working Smarter for Mac Users” newsletter.  You can sign up for free and get free timesaving tips, and more, every week.

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Incipio’s USB-C product line-up makes life more convenient for MacBook owners

2 hours 55 min ago

Incipio’s latest USB-C product lineup supports charging solutions and adapters that are great for users of the 12-inch MacBook, which has only one USB-C port. I’ve tested ‘em all; they work just fine. Instead of serving up a dozen mini-reviews, I’ll just provide a round-up of the USB-C items here:

The 3.1 USB-C TO USB-C Cable lets you connect devices utilizing USB-C into newer laptops, desktops, and chargers that also use a USB-C connector. It’s reversible and costs $24.99 .

The $14.99 USB-C TO USB-A Adapter lets you easily connect your standard USB devices and accessories into the new MacBook. Simply insert the USB-C end of the adapter into your laptop, and you’re ready to connect your USB device including external hard drives, cameras, or flash drives. With its compact size, you can keep it plugged in all the time or you can store it away for traveling.

The $29.99 USB-C Dual Port Adapter lets you connect all USB devices to any USB-C type device. No USB-C cable? No problem. The USB-C Dual Port Adapter has a built-in USB-C connection tip. You just plug it into your compatible USB-C device, then connect traditional USB devices to the open ports.

The 15W USB-C Car Charger ( for $34.99 has a built-in USB-C connecter design that eliminates the need to carry around a separate cable. With it you’ll never have to worry about forgetting or losing your cables. The Car Charger is compatible with all USB-C supported devices.

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WD expands storage capacity of several of its My Passport drives

4 hours 25 min ago

Western Digital Corporation has launched its My Passport Ultra, and upcoming My Passport for Mac and My Passport Ultra Metal portable hard drives, with up to 4TB capacity. 


The drives include WD Backup automatic backup software1 with cloud-ready Dropbox integration and 256-bit AES hardware encryption with password protection to help safeguard against unauthorized drive access. My Passport Ultra 4TB portable hard drives have a three-year limited warranty and are available now from the WD store and at select retailers and distributors. The My Passport Ultra 4TB hard drive has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $159.99. The My Passport for Mac and My Passport Ultra Metal 4TB hard drives will be available next quarter.

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AWT News Update: June 28, 2016

Tue, 2016-06-28 16:00

Get away from the bad news of the world for a while, and listen in on some rather good news from the world of Apple on today's Apple World Today News Update:

  • Apple's opening the watchOS 3 beta to its own retail employees who use wheelchairs to help test out new accessibility and Activity features
  • The COO of the biggest chip assembly and testing firm on the planet says Apple has been "conservative" with orders
  • Walgreens will now let Apple Pay users digitally clip and use coupons
  • The Amazon Kindle app for iOS gets a new feature

The text version of the podcast can be found below. To play the podcast, simply click the "play" arrow on the player found here:

Subscribe to the Podcast

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for June 28, 2016. This week’s sponsor of Apple World Today is Contexts, the simpler and faster window switcher for Mac. Find out more about Contexts and how to get a 25% discount on the app on the right sidebar of the Apple World Today website.

If you watched the WWDC keynote a few weeks ago, you may remember that Apple mentioned a new watchOS 3 feature that provides Activity tracking for wheelchair users. With the Activity options, it’s possible for moving a wheelchair to contribute to daily calories goals, there are workout options that are specific to wheelchair users, and that pesky “time to stand” reminder is replaced with a “time to roll” reminder. Well, Apple has already beta tested the changes with the Lakeshore Foundation and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and now it’s inviting its own retail employees in wheelchairs to test watchOS 3. It’s expected that this retail beta test and testing by developers will allow Apple to capture more movement data to better optimize the wheelchair exercises found in the workout app.

In case you’re wondering about Apple’s plans for the next generation iPhone, Tien Wu, the Chief Operating Officer of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering — the biggest chip assembly and testing firm on the planet — noted that Apple has been a “little more conservative” when placing orders this year. However, the executive suggested that iPhone component sales for the year should improve quarter by quarter, but refused to speculate on whether those orders would be greater or smaller than those from 2015.

Drugstore chain Walgreens has supported Apple Pay since it was first introduced, and the company later added support for loyalty card acceptance through Apple Pay. Now Walgreens is going all in with the ability to do digital coupon clipping through Apple Pay. Beginning today, if you’re looking at a product online or in the Walgreens app, Walgreens will alert users of coupons that are available. With a tap, the coupon can be digitally clipped. The coupon can be applied in Walgreen stores, online, and in the Walgreens app as well. To apply clipped coupons, users simply wave the iPhone or Apple Watch near a terminal. One more wave allows the use of an Apple Pay debit or credit card to complete the transaction.

Finally, do you use Amazon’s Kindle app on your iOS device? If so, there’s going to be an update bringing some new features to the app that will make it easier to read and browse around an ebook. The features make up Page Flip, which allows you to zoom out of a page to get a bird’s-eye view of the book to find what you’re looking for. While you’re looking, Page Flip automatically saves the page that you’re reading in a book by pinning it to the side of the screen for easy navigation. The update just showed up for me, so if you haven’t seen it yet, it should appear in the App Store app soon.

Do you like Apple World Today? Become a Member of Team AWT!
Team AWT provides exclusive access to extra Apple World Today content, delivered every other week. It’s a great way to support the website, which is primarily funded by reader generosity.

Team AWT will help you discover new apps, learn ways to unplug from the world of tech, provide helpful tips, and point you to the best gear and apps available. It’s just $5 a month through Patreon, and you can pay with credit card or PayPal.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.

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Man says his drawings inspired iOS devices, sues Apple for $10 billion

Tue, 2016-06-28 12:22

Another day, another lawsuit. Florida resident Thomas S. Ross has filed a lawsuit against Apple this week, claiming the company infringe upon his 1992 invention of a hand-drawn "Electronic Reading Device" (ERD), reports MacRumors.

This image courtesy of MacRumors.

The court filing claims the plaintiff was "first to file a device so designed and aggregated” and that the device inspired the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. He's seeking a jury trial and is seeking restitution of $10 billion and a royalty of up to 1.5% on Apple's worldwide sales of “infringing” devices. 

No word on why Ross waited so long to sue. After all, the iPad arrived in 2001, and the iPhone debuted in 2007. No word on why Ross waited nine years to sue. After all, the iPhone debuted in 2007. What’s more, Apple came out with the Newton -- a personal digital assistant -- in 1993, and was working on the project some five years before Ross produced his drawings.

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Review: Pad & Quill Bella Fino case for iPhone SE

Tue, 2016-06-28 12:00

Pad & Quill’s cases for iPhone and iPad leverage years of experience making top-quality leather and wood products. Today we’re looking at the $49.99 Bella Fino case for iPhone SE, 5 and 5s, a combination wallet and phone case that typifies the craftsmanship and design savvy of Pad & Quill’s products.


While some of Pad & Quill’s products use wooden or polycarbonate frames to hold the iPhone in place, the Bella Fino uses a super-sticky 3M adhesive pad to keep your phone inside the case. That pad is on one side of a leather bifold wallet; on the other side are three credit card slots and a larger money slot.

Pad & Quill Bella Fino iPhone case. Photo ©2016 Steven Sande

The exterior of the Bella Fino is made of beautiful hand-stitched leather in one of two finishes, a dark brown “Dark Chocolate” and lighter “Whiskey”. The interior leather color depends on the exterior finish chosen. With “Dark Chocolate” comes a choice of “Deep Sea Blue” or “Slate Gray”, while “Whiskey” will get you “Deep Sea Blue” or “Forest Green”.

One very nice feature of the wallet part of the Bella Fino case is the front card slot, which uses a semi-transparent material that reveals the card — like an ID card or driver’s license — without removing it. To make removal easy if you do need to pop the card out, there’s a thumb slot in the clear cover.

The inside of the Bella Fino is just as nice looking! Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

For something as personal as a wallet that also contains your electronic lifeline to the world, you may want to have the Bella Fino personalized with debossed initials on the front ($9.99 extra).

Most Bella Fino owners will find that the 3M adhesive pad that comes with the phone will be quite sufficient, but if you’re the type of person who changes cases often, you might want to order some extra adhesive pads. They’re available for just $5.99 each.


The Bella Fino case excels both as a wallet and as protection for your iPhone SE, 5 or 5s. The leather exterior adds about .28 inch to both the front and back of the iPhone, which is just thick enough to add padding in case of a drop but not so thick as to add bulk to your pocket.

The quality of craftsmanship exhibited in the Bella Fino case is top-notch. It’s honestly one of the best-made, iPhone cases I’ve seen, and if you’re able to get away with carrying only a scant few credit and membership cards, it’s also a thin and sexy wallet.

The amazing leather of the Bella Fino, with camera cutout... Photo ©2016 Steven Sande

There’s a cutout in the back of the case that allows the iPhone camera and flash to peek out, so there’s no need to remove the iPhone from the Bella Fino to take photos.

One thing to remember is that natural materials like leather get more supple and aged-looking with use, so if you expect the case to look the same three year from now as is does when you pull it out of the box, you might be unhappy. I’ve used the iPhone 6s Plus version of the Bella Fino for a while and I like how it’s aging — your mileage may vary.


Pad & Quill’s workers put a lot of skill and effort into each one of the products they make, and it’s really apparent in the Bella Fino for iPhone SE. Anyone who owns an iPhone SE, 5 or 5s who wants a top quality wallet case should definitely consider the Bella Fino.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★

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Analyst: Apple’s growing iPhone base is increasingly ripe for upgrades

Tue, 2016-06-28 11:06

In a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Acuri says that continued focus on the upcoming iPhone (probably to be dubbed the “iPhone 7”) and its rumored lack of a major redesign is the wrong way to look at the big picture.

He thinks about a third of the iPhone installed base is currently running iPhone models that are greater than two years old. That's expected to grow to about 43% in the next four or five quarters; that's growth of between 60 million and 70 million.

"In other words, the entire growth of the base — and then some — will be from older units that are ripe for upgrades, especially to a new OLED-enabled form factor," Arcuri says. [An OLED iPhone is — according to the rumor vine — coming next year.”

The analyst estimates that the current installed base is growing by about 70 million units per year, but less than 30 million of those are devices more than two years old. By the end of next year, Arcuri estimates that installed base growth will slow to 45 million units year over year, but the number of devices more than two years old will be growing by between 60 million and 70 million.

He adds that either the "iPhone 7" cycle will prove better than investors fear, or Apple is setting up for a "super cycle" with a major redesign of the iPhone in 2017.

What of the iPhone 7? Here are the most popular prognostications (followed by my thoughts):

  • It will ditch the headphone jack (probably true); 
  • It will tweak the rear camera, which protrudes slightly on the iPhone 6 and 6s, so that it will sit flush with the rear casing, enabled by a thinner camera module (almost certainly true);
  • It will sport a dual-lens rear camera (likely, but perhaps on an iPhone 7 Plus only.
  • It will ditch the 16GB model and add a 250GB model (almost certainly true);
  • It will add a USB-C port, like the 12-inch MacBook (nope, ain’t gonna happen).

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Why it's critical that you join Team AWT

Tue, 2016-06-28 09:30

Apple World Today has been around for almost 17 months now, and we've made some great strides in becoming your favorite source for Apple-related news and reviews. Financially, we're still struggling, and that's why we're making an appeal to our readers today to become members of Team AWT or to increase your monthly giving.

Despite adding limited advertising and the Apple World Today Deals Shop, we're still not making a decent living. Our primary source of income is readers like you, who signed up through Patreon to support the site with a monthly donation. The biggest boost to our income came last August when we were very close to shutting down. As you can see from the chart below, each month since then we've seen lower income through attrition. We're currently at about 50% of our Patreon goal -- what is needed to make the website sustainable -- and that must change.

If you're already a Team AWT member -- meaning that you donate $5 or more towards the site each month -- we thank you. What we're asking is that the rest our readership consider joining Team AWT. For your $5 or more monthly donation, you get:

  • Member-only discounts and giveaways
  • Exclusive access to the Team AWT Slack chatroom
  • Access to the weekly Patron Podcast
  • A regularly-emailed newsletter with fresh and fun content not available elsewhere
  • More goodies as we add them to the program

With additional revenue coming in, we can consider adding other benefits for all of our readers:

  • A part-time editor to check our content before it is published
  • True discussion forums instead of the Slack chatroom
  • More videos and video podcasts

Help ensure Apple World Today's continued survival and growth by joining Team AWT or increasing your monthly giving on Patreon. We appreciate your support.

Updated: One of our readers requested that we make annual payment an option, so that has been set up. You can now pay for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5-year subscriptions! This is done through the Squarespace Stripe eCommerce integration and is safe and secure.

One More Thing: You don't need to give $5 a month to help Apple World Today; anything helps. The $5 level just gives you the perks of Team AWT, and if you're not interested in those, we'll gladly take a smaller monthly donation through Patreon. Just select "No Reward" and put in your amount of less that $5 per month - thank you!

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China: app stores by Apple, other companies, must track user activity for 60 days

Tue, 2016-06-28 08:23

 Apple’s China woes continue. App stores operators such as the Cupertino, California-based company must establish the identity of users, while monitoring and reporting postings that contain banned content, reports Bloomberg. The legitimacy of developers who post apps for download must also be verified, according to new rules posted on the Cyberspace Administration of China’s website.

All app stores and providers are now required to keep a record of users’ activity for 60 days. The regulations mark one of the most comprehensive efforts so far to oversee mobile applications, which are mushrooming in popularity alongside smartphone use. Bloomberg says they’re part of a broader effort by President Xi Jinping’s government to clamp down on content deemed sensitive.

Earlier this month Apple's China branch was fined 50,000 yuan ($7,595) for "serious dishonest acts” such as suspected tax evasion. Also this month, Shenzhen Baili, a Chinese company won a Beijing patent office ruling, that the the iPhone 6 copied its own Baili 100C smartphone (although Shenzhen Baili is apparently no longer operating).

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Apple is second in the 2016 ‘Top 100 Global Brand Love List’

Tue, 2016-06-28 07:29

Facebook and Apple took the top two spots in the second annual NetBase Brand Passion Report 2016: Top 100 Global Brand Love List, which reveals the brands consumers expressed the most love for on social media. The report leveraged the social analytics technology of NetBase a company that specializes in enterprise social analytics, to examine more than 265 million posts, ranking the most loved brands in technology, consumer goods, automotive, food and beverage, financial services and energy companies globally.

“Most consumer purchases are won over by emotion-- the more passion the consumer has for the brand, the less they rely on price as the deciding factor,” says Paige Leidig, chief marketing officer at NetBase. “Listening and identifying brand emotions related to certain brands can help those organizations pinpoint conversations causing issues and also optimize on positive conversations, keeping ahead of the curve to stay nimble with their fans.”

The NetBase Brand Passion Report 2016 is based on brand conversations across social networks, review sites, blogs, forums and news sites worldwide between May 18, 2015, and May 17, 2016. The brands originate from 11 countries across 15 different industries. The food and beverage industry dominates the list with 22 different brands, representing 24% of the total 100 brands. The retail industry takes second place, representing 18% of total brands, followed by the technology industry, at 16% of total brands.

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Patent report: Macs and Apple TVs with ‘3D, gaze-enhanced’ interfaces, more

Tue, 2016-06-28 07:16

Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product, so here are today’s patent highlights: 

Apple has repeatedly denied plans for adding touch screens to its Mac line (though I think it will happen), but a newly granted patent (number 9,377,863) hints at an iMac with a “3D, gaze-enhanced virtual touchscreen.” The invention probably takes advantage of technology that Apple acquired when it bought a company called PrimeSense, an Israeli gesture recognition company, in 2013.

This patent, and others like it, provide a user interface in which 3D sensing technology allows the Mac to “observe” a scene in three dimensions and react accordingly. The computer could “see” what you’re gazing at on its screen, as well as watch your hand gestures, to generate a sequence of three-dimensional (3D) maps. The 3D maps are analyzed to detect a gesture performed by the user, and an operation is performed on the selected interactive item in response to the gesture.

And if you’re going to be able to control an iMac via gaze and gestures, might as well be able to control your Apple TV by hand gestures, as well. Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,377,865) fora “zoom-based gesture user interface” that would allow this on the set-top box, as well as an iMac.

The patent involves an interactive video display system, in which a display screen displays a visual image, and a camera captures 3D information regarding an object in an interactive area located in front of the display screen. A computer system — which, technically, the Apple TV kinda is — directs the display screen to change the visual image in response to changes in the object. 

Finally, Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,378,755) for “detecting a user’s voice activity using dynamic probabilistic models of speed features.” It’s designed to improve Siri, Apple’s voice activated personal digital assistant, by reducing background noise.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that when using electronic devices that receive speech via microphone ports or headsets, a common complaint is that the speech captured by the microphone port or the headset includes environmental noise such as secondary speakers in the background or other background noises. This environmental noise often renders the user's speech unintelligible and thus, degrades the quality of the voice communication. Apple wants to change this.

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Apple to announce third quarter fiscal results on July 26

Tue, 2016-06-28 06:44

Apple will announce its quarterly earnings for its third fiscal quarter of 2016 on Tuesday, July 26, at 2 p.m. (Pacific). There will be a conference call with analysts and the press to discuss the financial results.  

A link to the live audio webcast will be provided at a later date. Apple has provided guidance for between $41 billion and $43 billion in revenue and a gross margin between 37.5% and 38% for the quarter. Operating expenses are projected to fall between $6 billion and $6.1 billion.

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South Korea's Fair Trade Commission is investigating ‘some matters’ regarding Apple

Tue, 2016-06-28 06:38

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating "some matters" relating to Apple, reports Reuters. Speaking at a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday, FTC Chairman Jeong Jae-chan declined to comment on the specifics of the regulator's investigation when asked to do so by a South Korean lawmaker, the article adds.

Domestic media reports have reported that the FTC was reviewing details of the U.S. firm's contracts with South Korean mobile telecoms carriers. The commission is South Korea's regulatory authority for economic competition. It was established in 1981 within the Economic Planning Board. 

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Apple should consider its own version of the Razer Core GPU enclosure

Tue, 2016-06-28 06:00

There are rumors/hopes that Apple will replace its discontinued Thunderbolt Display with a monitor that packs a built-in graphics card. I think the rumor has some validity. If not, perhaps Apple might consider releasing a GPU enclosure for its Mac line-up akin to the Razer Core

The $499.99 Razer Core (pictured) is a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) external graphics enclosure. It designed to allow users to transform a notebook (PC, not Mac) into a desktop gaming experience. It offers plug and play support with compatible graphics cards. With the Razer Core, you can upgrade or customize your preferred level of performance with support for full-length, double-wide PCIe desktop graphics cards (sold separately, of course).

The Razer Core is targeted to gamers, but it offers appeal to just about any sort of “power user.” Intel has also introduced two external graphics enclosures that let compatible notebooks connect a desktop graphics cards and utilize their increased graphical horsepower. This means laptop users can experience graphics far superior to what a notebook can do since even the best notebook graphics card can't compete with top-of-the-line desktop cards.

What’s more, Mac laptops can't be upgraded with better graphics cards. Even if you could, mobile graphics cards are more expensive than the equivalent desktop cards. An Apple version of the Razer Core could be a hot seller for owners of MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and even MacBook Pros.

Come to think of it, even if Apple does launch the “5K Thunderbolt Display With GPU” (my moniker, not an official one), there’s no reason an Apple GPU box couldn’t be sold in addition to the monitor.

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The SurfacePad: its beauty is not only skin deep

Tue, 2016-06-28 05:30

Twelve South’s $69.99 SurfacePad for the iPad mini 4 is a great product for those who are looking for a cover with features, if not necessarily a case for protection. 

The SurfacePad has an adhesive back that sticks on to the back surface of the iPad. Applying it can be a little tricky. However, the great thing about repositioning the adhesion is there is not any residue left behind. Even now, after using my SurfacePad for a solid two months, I can peal back the adhesion and see there will not be any residue remaining when I decide to change to a different case. However, I doubt that the SurfacePad will have enough adhesion left to be reused at a later time.

Once my SurfacePad was securely in place that is it, I was ready to begin anew; —  or so I thought. While the SurfacePad provides a “hidden” stand for typing, it falls easily and is not extremely functional if you add any pressure to your iPad. Still, with some finagling you can learn where and where not to put pressure. 

The biggest drawback for me while using the SurfacePad for my iPad mini was the case itself. When you open up the front cover and fold it back, it is quite easy to lose your grip on your iPad (at least for those with small hands). Several times I found myself holding onto the case while it fell forward like an accordion. Most of these "gotchas" are easy to work out while you are getting to know your new SurfacePad.

The SurfacePad is certainly a great product for those looking for a sleek design without bulk. The hands-free viewing stand works like a charm (as long as you remain hands off). The magnetic strip turns you iPad on and off, saving your iPad sleep/ wake button from over use. That's my favorite feature.

Overall I would recommend Twelve South’s SurfacePad. Keep in mind it is beautiful and useful, but ultimately not going to provide much protection.

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This outdoor system is one (Turtle) Shell of a wireless speaker

Tue, 2016-06-28 05:00

If ever there were a speaker system built for use in the summer, it's the $79.95 Turtle Shell wireless from Outdoor Tech. It's a water and dust resistant Bluetooth boom box designed for the great outdoors. 

However, note that it's water and dust RESISTANT, not water and dust PROOF. Drop the Turtle Shell into the pool, and it's going to end up as one very quite tortoise. Note also that, though it's described as shock proof and is, indeed, rugged, you're not going to want to, say, run over it with your Jeep.

Actually, the angular, tri-themed construction doesn't resemble a turtle that much -- though the green one does with a little stretch of the imagination (the speaker is also available in white, red, blue, pink and "sea foam"). The design is to allow it to fit into a variety of places and spaces, which it does with aplomb. 

The shell itself has a rubberized coating that can be cleaned, which comes in handy since it's a speaker system designed for use in the sometimes-dirty outdoors.

The Turtle Shell boasts Hi-Fi sound of good, though not great, quality. The speaker's tiny, up-drivers can’t muster any real output below 300 Hz, so the Turtle Shell is a midrange/treble system. The bass is surprisingly deep for such a small device, though the gadget emits tabletop vibrations at higher volumes.

Integrated controls Provide fast access to control tracks, volume and calls directly at the touch of a button. What's more the Turtle Shell includes a built-in speakerphone and microphone functionality with integrated track, volume and call controls. However, the microphone function only works when the speaker is connected via Bluetooth.

The Turtle Shell is versatile. It connects to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. There's also a jack for wired audio. The folks at Outdoor Tech say it streams audio for up to 30 feet for eight hours on a single battery charge (which takes close to three hours). I found those claims to be relatively accurate.

You pair the Turtle Shell with your Bluetooth device by pressing and holding the multifunction button. You use your source device to select the Turtle and play tunes. 

The Turtle Shell has a cleat so you can hang it from a hook if you wish. You can also buy additional mounting accessories for placing the Turtle Shell on your bike handle bar or stroller. The bottom of the speaker has a metal loop which can be used with a carabiner to, for instance, attach the speaker to a bag. The Turtle Shell speaker also sports a standard tripod mount sized threaded socket that lets you hook it onto items such as Joby Gorilla Pod tripods. On the other hand, it's too bulky to fit into most pockets.

The Turtle Shell is tough, easy to use and has an interesting look. You'll find it a fine outdoor speaker with the expected audio limitations due to its size.

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AWT News Update: June 27, 2016

Mon, 2016-06-27 16:10

Image from the Firewatch game website. Buy the game for Mac!

Let's hear it for #Iceland in the Euro 2016 final 16, which today beat England 2 - 1 to move onto the quarterfinals. That's not Apple news, but this is:

  • Twitter announces that stickers for tweeted photos are coming soon to the iOS app
  • A French TV talk show relies on iPhones to film the remainder of an episode when a power outage knocks out cameras
  • A regional Ford dealership in Massachusetts rips off some great art from the game "Firewatch" by Panic and Campo Santo

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Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for June 27, 2016. This week’s sponsor of Apple World Today is Contexts, the simpler and faster window switcher for Mac. Find out more about Contexts and how to get a 25% discount on the app on the sidebar of the Apple World Today website.

Twitter is making a lot of changes in order to survive the next few years, and today the company announced stickers. Yes, these will be little stickers that you place on images that you’re tweeting, like putting a sunglasses sticker on your cat. Tap on the sticker once the tweet has been posted, and you’re able to see a feed of other tweets using the same sticker. The feature will be rolling out to iOS, Android and Web users soon; there’s no word on when the feature will make it to the official Twitter Mac client.

So, what happens if you’re filming a popular talk show in France and the power goes out in the studio, taking the video cameras with it? Simple! You just pull out some Plus model iPhones and continue filming. The show “On nest pas couché” was being filmed when the power died, and after a three-hour break the crew decided to use the iPhones to continue shooting. The footage from the iPhones was then edited and broadcast, as well as uploaded to YouTube. It’s believed that this is the first time that a major TV show has been shot on iPhones without it being done intentionally. Although we’re not sure what iPhones were used, if they were using the iPhone 6s Plus the video quality would have been great as the phone shoots in 4K resolution with optical image stabilization.

Someone at the Quirk Ford dealership in Massachusetts is hopefully going to get fired. The dealership apparently wanted some really cool artwork showing a fire watchtower to sell its Ford Freedom Sales Event, so they “borrowed” the artwork from the game Firewatch by Panic and Campo Santo. The company didn’t have any permission to use the images, and Campo Santo co-founder Sean Vanaman was quick on the draw with some great snarky tweets. He said “Come on down to the Quirk Ford Freedom Sales event where ur free from such things as “copyright” and “infringement”. Game Informer apparently called the dealership to find out why they used the artwork without credit, and they were hung up on.

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That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.

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Notable apps and app updates for June 27, 2016

Mon, 2016-06-27 14:41

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

macOS Apps/Updates

Tension Software has launched Counter 1.0 for Mac OS X. The app does one thing: it allows to count a discrete number of elements.

Using Counter you can solve any kind of situation where you have to computer enumerate a total number of elements (physical or abstract), and you want to be sure the process will be error free. You can add to the total a new unit simply pressing the space bar on your Mac to count it. Counter will keep track of the counting as it progress and will add +1 to the total at any space bar press.

Counter 1.0 requires OS X Yosemite or El Capitan. It costs $0.99 and is available at the Mac App Store.

Match Software has announced Fonts Manager 3 for Mac OS X El Capitan and macOS Sierra. It’s a font management system for users who need to manage large font collections. 

Fonts Manager supports instant activation of single fonts or entire folders, support of iCloud Drive, DropBox and Google Drive, and is compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud and QuarkXPress. Each font can be visualized in continuous sizes 8-500 with the user own phrases.

Fonts Manager’s list price is $19.99. It’s available at the Mac App Store, as well as on the Fonts-Manager site, where users can download a fully functional 30 days evaluation copy.

Reggie Ashworth has released AppDelete 4.2.6, an update to his application deletion utility for Mac OS X (10.7 and higher). 

Via drag and drop, it can uninstall anything, along with all of the associated items. Mac users will no longer have to hunt through their system to find and delete these items manually. Version 4.2.6 improves the “Undo from Folder” option, and includes other fixes and improvements.

AppDelete costs $7.99 for a single user license. Upgrades from version 2/AppDelete Lite are $3.99. A demo is available for download. Also, note that version 3 licenses without a serial number are also eligible for the upgrade.

iOS Apps/Updates

iClassics Collection has introduced iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia 1.0. The $1.99 adaptation of the detective story allows the reader to interact with the mystery using all five of their senses. 

Covalent Gaming has debuted Star Charge 1.0. In the game, gamers must rely on sharp reflexes and hand-eye coordination to avoid crashing into planets, meteors, black holes and ice comets, and ultimately stay alive for as long as possible. Star Charge is free, but does tout in-app purchases.

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