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Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:26:50 PDT

 



Review: Elgato's $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers a Solid Set of Ports in a Slim Design

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:53:11 PDT

Over the past few months, I've taken a look at a number of Thunderbolt 3 docks that all hit the market around the same time, including models from OWC, CalDigit, Belkin, and Kensington. There's at least one more major player in the market, so today I'm sharing my thoughts on Elgato's $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Elgato's dock has a lot in common with many of its competitors, including a slim horizontal design of brushed aluminum and plastic, an array of ports for expanding the capabilities of your Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac, and more. The dock looks nice on a desk, with a black matte plastic front and back wrapped by a brushed aluminum enclosure that's rounded around the sides. A small Elgato wordmark is printed in the front left corner of the dock's top, but it doesn't mar the overall look of the accessory, which remains rather unobtrusive. Measuring just under 8 inches wide, Elgato's dock is slightly narrower than some of the other docks, which to my eye makes it look a bit better sitting on the foot of my LG UltraFine 5K display. Belkin's dock at a little over 8 inches also fits pretty well, but wider docks like OWC's and Kensington's overhang a bit. Of course, everyone's desk setup is different so variations of around an inch in the width of all of these docks may not be a deal-breaker, but it's worth noting this is the narrowest of the horizontal designs I've tested. At about 3.15 inches deep and an inch high, Elgato's dock is otherwise pretty much on par with competing docks in terms of size. While the dock itself is slim and weighs just over two thirds of a pound, as with competing docks it has a large external power brick. In fact, it's the exact same power brick used by Belkin and Kensington, but with a small Elgato mark stamped into the top. A 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable is also included in the box. Unlike most other docks, Elgato's does not include any LEDs to show whether or not it has an active connection to power or a computer. It's not really an issue, as for the most part a dock is meant to just work when it's plugged in and it's easy to tell whether or not that's the case. Matching what is becoming standard for the latest docks, Elgato's Thunderbolt 3 Dock supports up to 85 watts of charging power, letting you power even a 15-inch MacBook Pro over the same cable used to transfer data and eliminating the need for a separate power adapter while connected to the dock. Docks such as OWC's at 60 watts may be unable to keep up with the power demands of a 15-inch MacBook Pro under heavy load. Elgato's dock also has roughly a standard set of ports, with a single USB 3.0 (5 Mbps) Type-A port and a pair of 3.5 mm audio jacks (one mono mic input and one amplified analog stereo output) on the front for easy access. The rear of the dock includes a Gigabit Ethernet port, two more USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a DisplayPort port. My usual complaint of wanting more USB ports such as the five offered on OWC's dock still stands here, but three is the number just about every other manufacturer is going with. Unlike many other docks, Elgato's supports standalone USB charging, so an iPhone, Apple Watch, or other accessory connected via USB will continue to charge even if the dock isn't connected to a computer or a connected computer is turned off. I ran a few speed tests using Elgato's dock paired with CalDigit's 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 Tuff external SSD and found speeds of around 345 MB/s read and 325 MB/s write through the Type-A USB 3.0 port, which is pretty typical for docks like this but a bit slower than connecting directly to a computer via USB 3.0. Connecting the drive to one of the dock's Thunderbolt 3 ports using USB-C yielded read and write speeds of around 500 MB/s and 460 MB/s respectively, which is pretty close to the 505/485 MB/s speeds seen connecting directly to a 10 Gbps MacBook Pro. Of course, connecting a drive this way means you no longer have a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port available for an external display if your setup requires it. Using a c[...]



Microsoft Partners With Johnson Controls for New Cortana Thermostat 'GLAS'

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:27:53 PDT

Microsoft and Johnson Controls today revealed a new product partnership in a smart thermostat called "GLAS." The thermostat has been built by Johnson Controls, the company that made the first electric thermostat, with Microsoft providing all of the internal software, including the ability for users to awake and control its functions with smart AI assistant Cortana (via The Verge).

In the announcement video, GLAS is showcased as having an aluminum edge that attaches the thermostat to a wall, as well as a translucent touchscreen display that will let users tap and swipe through different temperature and control settings. The video mentioned that GLAS will monitor indoor and outdoor air temperature, as well as be knowledgeable of when a user is in the room or away from home, saving them money on their energy bills.

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GLAS will run using Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core operating system as well as the company's Azure Cloud computing platform. Microsoft provided the following description on its YouTube channel for the device, although any other official information has yet to come out:
Heating and cooling account for roughly 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most families. In the commercial building sector, the cost is approximately 40%. Johnson Controls, one of the leading providers of HVAC, Fire and Security systems in the world, is changing how spaces are viewed and controlled. As the inventors of the first thermostat, Johnson Controls has innovated once again with GLAS.

Utilizing Windows 10 IoT Core, Cortana voice services, and Azure Cloud, GLAS is a simple to use, elegant thermostat that brings leading energy savings and air quality monitoring to everyday spaces. Johnson Controls is reinventing the thermostat and our lives.
The upcoming Johnson Controls GLAS thermostat is one of the newest devices using Microsoft's Cortana Devices SDK, which enables third-party hardware manufacturers to bake in the voice-activated AI to new devices. The company announced it would be opening up Cortana to new hardware makers late last year, confirming it wanted to see Cortana placed within fridges, toasters, thermostats, and other Internet of Things devices.

One of the first devices coming out of the announcement is tipped to be a Cortana-based smart speaker made by Harman Kardon. That speaker is rumored to launch sometime this fall, and will enter the market as a competitor to the Amazon Echo and Apple's upcoming HomePod.

Tag: Microsoft

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Apple Earns Title of World's Most Profitable Company on Fortune Global 500 List

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:48:20 PDT

In June, Apple was ranked as #3 on the 2017 Fortune 500 annual list of the top U.S. corporations based on gross revenue. Today, the Fortune Global 500 rankings have been released, using the same data collected in the earlier rankings but expanding it and adding in companies on a global scale, resulting in a list that shares the 500 largest companies in the world. Apple sits at #9 on the list in terms of total revenue, a spot it retains from 2016, and having climbed from #15 in 2014 and 2015. Where Apple sits above all other companies is in the profits category, earning the title of the most profitable company in the world with an annual profit of $45.6 billion. Apple earned the top spot despite a 14.4 percent drop in its annual profits compared to the previous year. Rounding out the top 5 slots below Apple are all banks based in China: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ($41.8 billion), China Construction Bank ($34.8 billion), Agricultural Bank of China ($27.6 billion), and Bank of China ($24.7 billion). Further down the most profitable rankings are Alphabet at #9 ($19.4 billion), Samsung Electronics at #10 ($19.3 billion), and Microsoft at #13 ($16.7 billion). Apple's profile on the Fortune Global 500 ranking includes a chart of its history on the list, including its origins at #422 in overall revenue back in 1995, its dropping off of the list from 1998 to 2005, and its peak growth to #9 in 2016. Otherwise, Apple's profile includes the same quote as its Fortune 500 ranking, describing a company that "appeared to hit a wall" this past year with iPhone sales. After more than a decade of solid growth fueled first by the iPod music player and then by the even more popular iPhone, Apple finally appeared to hit a wall, with lackluster sales “relatively speaking” for other products such as the iPad and Apple Watch and a heavy reliance on upgraded phone models. But the most profitable publicly-traded company in the world is investing heavily in software and its efforts in new areas of opportunity, including automobiles, remain in development (and under wraps). Apple was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Cupertino, Calif. Lackluster iPhone sales contributed to an overall revenue decline for Apple throughout much of 2016, but now it's predicted that the company will see a noticeable uptick in sales thanks to the launch of a significantly redesigned "iPhone 8," expected to be announced and debut this fall.Tag: Fortune 500 Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Bear Notes 1.2.2 Update Brings Text Highlighting, Multiple Windows, and More

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 01:29:04 PDT

Popular note-taking platform Bear received an update on Wednesday across Mac and iOS that adds a number of community-requested features to the Apple Notes rival.

Top of the feature list in version 1.2.2 is the ability to highlight parts of notes in a neon color to indicate importance, by bracketing text in "::" tags.

(image) Over on the Mac, it's now possible to break out Bear notes into separate windows for easy reference between multiple entries, simply by double-clicking them in the notes list.

To simplify organization, Bear 1.2.2 also has a new option to edit note tags right from the sidebar and notes list. To do this on Mac, click a tag in the sidebar to view all notes with that tag, and then right-click any note and select "Remove tag (X)". The same option can be accessed on iPhone and iPad by tapping a tag in the sidebar, swiping left on a note, and tapping More.

In addition, the app has gained some new advanced search options or "Special Search" triggers. It's now possible to add "@today" or "@yesterday" to searches to find notes with those creation dates. The new functions join existing triggers such as "@untagged" to find all untagged notes, "@tasks" for all notes that contain tasks, and "@files" for notes that have attachments.

Elsewhere, there's new shortcuts for quickly inputting the current date/time in various formats, a new Print Note option and note counter at the top of the notes list, while an AirDrop option has been added over on iOS Share Sheets. It's also now possible to share notes as rich text.

Bear is available to download on the App Store for iPad and iPhone [Direct Link], as well as on the Mac App Store [Direct Link].
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Apple Releases iTunes 12.6.2 With Minor App and Performance Improvements

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:27:51 PDT

(image) Alongside the release of macOS Sierra 10.12.6, which came after a two month beta testing period, Apple has introduced a new version of iTunes, iTunes 12.6.2.

iTunes 12.6.2 is a minor update, with Apple's release notes saying only that it introduces minor app and performance improvements.

Today's iTunes update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Software Update function.

iTunes 12.6.2 follows iTunes 12.6.1, another minor update that was released back in May.

Tag: iTunes

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Panic Releases Transmit 5 With Major Improvements, but No Mac App Store Version

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 11:57:18 PDT

Panic today announced the launch of Transmit 5, the newest version of its popular Mac-based file transfer app. Transmit 5 is a massive update, introducing an improved UI, new features, additional servers, and a Panic Sync feature.

According to Panic, everything from the core file transfer engine to the "Get Info" experience was entirely rethought, overhauled, and improved, for an even better file management experience.

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For those unfamiliar with Transmit, it's designed to allow users to upload, download, and manage files on local and remote servers, turning file management into a simple drag-and-drop affair with a clean easy-to-use interface. Transmit 5 works with FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and S3, and it connects to Backblaze B2, Box, Google Drive, DreamObjects, Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace.

The new version of Transmit also features Panic Sync, designed to offer a quick and safe way to sync sites and keep Panic data up to date across all apps and devices. Panic Sync is part of another major change - Transmit 5's absence from the Mac App Store.

Panic will not be releasing Transmit 5 in the Mac App Store, which, the company explains, is due to its inability to offer a demo through Apple's storefront. "This allows us to distribute a demo which we think is extremely helpful for people considering Transmit," reads an FAQ on the blog post announcing the release.

Panic says the company plans to "constantly re-evaluate" the Mac App Store and hopes to return at some point, presumably if Apple introduces a wider range of features for developers, such as free trials and demos.

Transmit 5 is priced at $35 for the next week, and after that, the price will go up to $45. There is no upgrade discount for customers who have purchased an earlier version of Transmit, but those who purchased Transmit 4 after June 1 can get a free update.

A free trial is available from the Transmit 5 website for those who would like to try Transmit before making a purchase.

Tag: Panic

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Apple Updates Logic Pro X With New Drummers and Performance Improvements

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:53:04 PDT

(image) Apple today updated its professional audio editing software Logic Pro X to version 10.3.2, introducing bug fixes, performance improvements, and a couple of new features.

Today's update brings three new Drummers able to play percussion in the styles of Pop, Songwriter, and Latin, and the new Drummer loops can be added to songs and customized with performance controls.

Apple has also improved the responsiveness of the graphical user interface, introduced an automatic time align feature for improved morphing in Alchemy, and debuted new tools for fine tuning the pitch of an audio region. The full change list is below:
What's New in Version 10.3.2
- Includes 3 Drummers who play percussion in the styles of Pop, Songwriter, and Latin
- New Drummer loops can be added to your song and then customized with performance controls
- The pitch of an audio region can now be transposed or fine tuned
- Improves responsiveness of the graphical user interface
- Alchemy includes an automatic time align feature for improved morphing
- New additive effects in Alchemy expand the options for filtering and modulating sound
- The length of individual steps in the Arpeggiator plug-in are adjustable
- Volume automation resets as expected when a cycle returns to the beginning
- Low Latency Mode works as expected for hardware outputs above Output 1-2
Apple has also updated Logic Pro X companion app MainStage 3 with stability and performance improvements.

Logic Pro X can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $199.99. [Direct Link]

MainStage 3 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $29.99. [Direct Link]


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'AirBar' Accessory That Gives 13-Inch MacBook Air a Touchscreen is Now Available

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 06:30:30 PDT

Neonode today announced that AirBar for the 13-inch MacBook Air is now available to purchase for $99 at select retailers in the United States, including Fry's Electronics and Evine.com. It'll also be available online through Amazon, Best Buy, and Staples, but it doesn't appear to be in stock on those websites yet.

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AirBar, a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree, is a thin aluminum bar that magnetically attaches below the 13-inch MacBook Air's display, connects to a USB port, and transforms the notebook into a touchscreen device.

AirBar projects an invisible light field on the surface of the MacBook Air's display. When a finger, stylus, brush, or other object breaks the light, users are able to interact with the screen without actually touching it, including gestures such as tap-to-select, swiping, scrolling, and pinch-to-zoom.

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Neonode said AirBar requires 17mm of free space below the display, so it won't fit any MacBook Pro, 12-inch MacBook, or 11-inch MacBook Air.

AirBar is a plug-and-play sensor that "instantly activates" upon being plugged into any USB port on the right side of the 13-inch MacBook Air. Neonode also offers multi-touch software as a one-time installation to enable additional gestures.

AirBar is also available for select Windows laptops with displays sized 13.3 inches, 14 inches, and 15.6 inches.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Tag: AirBar
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

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Google Launches 'Backup and Sync' Mac App for Google Photos and Google Drive

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:47:56 PDT

Google today announced the launch of Backup and Sync, a new app for Macs and PCs that's designed to back up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos. The new app is meant to replace the existing Google Photos desktop uploader and Drive for Mac/PC.

To use Backup and Sync, Google Drive/Photos users just need to download the app and then choose the folders they want to back up. From there, the selected folders will be continually backed up to Google's services, providing an alternative to Time Machine and making it easier to automatically store important files in the cloud.

(image)
In addition to specific folders on a Mac or PC, Backup and Sync can also automatically import files from SD cards and USB devices when a camera, SD card, or other device is connected to a computer.

There are also specific options users can set to dictate how file deletions are handled, and users can choose to upload photos at a lower quality if space is a concern.

Backup and Sync is available starting today through Google Drive and Google Photos.


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Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 35 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:56:27 PDT

(image) Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced more than a year ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 35 includes fixes and improvements for Media, Web Inspector, JavaScript, Accessibility, WebAssembly, WebCrypto, Web APIs, and CSS. Today's update also includes two performance-related bug fixes for MotionMark Suites and Speedometer.

With Safari 11 now available to developers through the macOS High Sierra beta, Apple is providing two versions of Safari Technology Preview, one for macOS Sierra users and one for those using macOS High Sierra.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.


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Fantastical 2 for Mac Gains Attachment Support, Travel Time and More

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 07:00:29 PDT

Flexibits today debuted Fantastical 2.4 for Mac, which the company says is the biggest Fantastical update since Fantastical 2 for Mac was introduced. Today's update, which is free for all existing users, introduces everything from attachments to travel time to undo and redo tools.

Attachments, one of the most notable new features in Fantastical 2 for Mac, can be viewed, edited, and created on iCloud and Exchange Calendars (and other CalDav servers that support managed attachments), and for Google Calendars, attachments are able to be viewed. Attachments can be added to events using simple drag and drop gestures.

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When creating an event in Fantastical 2 for Mac, it's now possible to add travel time estimates, based either on specific locations or a chosen time. With a travel time set, Fantastical will let you know when to leave for an event to get there on time.

Today's update also adds a feature that will automatically combine identical events that are duplicated across multiple shared calendars, so you won't need to worry about getting multiple notifications for the same event, and the month view has been updated with additional information, including a new "more" option to see all of a day's events at a glance.

The monthly view can also be customized with a set number of weeks that are displayed, from two to eight, and there are new undo/redo tools so if an event is deleted, changed or moved erroneously, it's easy to revert changes. A simple Command+Z keyboard preset works to undo changes, while Shift+Command+Z enables a redo option.

Other new features in Fantastical 2 for Mac include improvements to Google Calendar with options to respond to invitations with responses, Microsoft Exchange improvements with invitation notification options and invitation forwarding, better support for contact anniversaries, immediate Facebook push updates when events are changed, and support for Facebook events in secret groups.

Fantastical 2 for Mac can be downloaded from the App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]


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Security Experts Wary as 1Password Subscriptions Push Users to Cloud-Based Vaults

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 04:14:50 PDT

(image) Password manager app 1Password caused consternation in some quarters of the security community over the weekend when it emerged that the service's new subscription-based model will push users to adopt a cloud-based password storage system over locally stored password vaults.

Previously, 1Password was offered as a one-time license purchase that enabled users to store their passwords in an encrypted local vault, which security researchers say is more secure than keeping user data in a remote server because hackers are forced to break into a specific device.

Going forward, the service will push customers to monthly subscription plans that serve up remotely stored password vaults through the 1Password.com website. This allows users to access their passwords from any computer by logging into their account, but as noted Motherboard, the change has not been universally welcomed.


1Password responded to criticism on Twitter by saying that it had no plans to remove support for locally stored vaults for users who had purchased the app, but that it was advocating subscription-based memberships because "we feel it's the best way to use 1Password".

"We want our customers to get the best. Some people won't agree with that (which is fine!) so we'll work with them to get set up how they want, but for 99.9 percent of people, 1Password.com is absolutely the way to go," Connor Hicks, an engineer at 1Password, told Motherboard.

1Password's new cloud-based option costs $2.99 per month (or $4.99 for an account for up to five people). However, 1Password developer AgileBits reiterated it had no immediate plans to remove support for local/Dropbox/iCloud vaults, and that it was open to speaking with customers to "help them determine if a one-time license is really what's best for them".

Tag: 1Password

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Apple Announces China Data Center Will Comply With New Cybersecurity Law

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 02:09:23 PDT

Apple has announced it is setting up its first China data center in partnership with a local internet services company, in accordance with the country's new cybersecurity laws introduced last month.

Apple told Reuters on Wednesday that the data center would be built in the southern province of Guizhou with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry (GCBD) as part of a planned $1 billion investment in the province.

(image)
"The addition of this data centre will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations," Apple said in a statement. "These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we're partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud," it said, referring to its online data storage service.
According to Reuters, Apple is the first foreign tech firm to announce amendments to its data storage arrangements in China after a new cybersecurity law was implemented in June which requires foreign firms to store data within the country. Other tech firms with data centers in China include Microsoft and Amazon, which will also need to comply with the new rules.

Overseas business groups have been critical of the law's strict data surveillance and storage requirements, which they say are overly vague and burden companies with excessive compliance risks, threatening proprietary data. Authorities say the law is not designed to put foreign firms at a disadvantage and was introduced as a response to the threat of cyber attacks and terrorism.

Apple assured reporters it had strong privacy and security protections in place. "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems," said a company spokesman.

Earlier this week, Apple announced it was building a second data center in Denmark run entirely on renewable energy. The company said a planned data center in Athenry, Ireland, announced in 2015, had yet to begin construction and is awaiting judicial review.

Tag: China

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Apple to Build Second Data Center in Denmark

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 03:12:55 PDT

Apple is set to spend $921 million on a second data center in Denmark run entirely on renewable energy. The news was relayed by the Danish government's Ministry of Climate Energy and confirmed in a statement to Reuters by Apple's Nordic director Erik Stannow.

(image)
"We're thrilled to be expanding our data center operations in Denmark, and investing in new sources of clean power," Erik Stannow, Nordic manager for Apple, told Reuters in an email.

"The planned facility in Aabenraa, like all of our data centers, will run on 100 percent renewable energy from day one, thanks to new clean energy sources we're adding," he said.
Apple said the new data center would begin operations in the second quarter of 2019 and would power its online services, including the likes of iMessage, Siri, Maps, and the App Store.

The data center is located in Aabenraa near the German border, which is a couple of hundred miles south of the data center the company has built just outside of Viborg, which is due to start operations later this year.

Apple said a planned data center in Athenry, Ireland, announced in 2015, had yet to begin construction and is awaiting judicial review. Apple faced multiple objections from local groups because of the planned facility's possibly harmful effects on the nearby wilderness. Originally it aimed to have the Irish data center up and running by early 2017.

(Thanks, Daniel!)


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Still Waiting for Apple's 2017 Back to School Promotion? Here's When It's Launched in Recent Years

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 09:25:29 PDT

For over a decade, Apple has offered an annual Back to School promotion, offering higher education students, parents of higher education students, and educators incentives, such as a free pair of Beats headphones or an Apple Store gift card valued up to $100, with the purchase of a qualifying Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We've been receiving questions about the Back to School promotion for a few weeks now, but there's still no sign of an imminent launch. Some have wondered whether Apple is canceling the program entirely, but it's too early to say, as there are still several weeks remaining before students begin returning to classrooms. Since 2006, Apple has launched its Back to School promotion in the United States and Canada as early as May 25, and as late as July 23. The promotion is usually extended to several European countries such as France, Germany, and Italy on either the same day, or no more than a few weeks later. These have been the exact kickoff dates each year for North America:2016: June 2 2015: July 23 2014: July 1 2013: July 2 2012: June 11 2011: June 16 2010: May 25 2009: May 27 2008: June 3 2007: June 5 2006: June 4Apple's Back to School promotion is highly anticipated because it's one of the few times a year that Apple offers deals to customers, and many hold off on summer purchases until the event begins. Apple offered free Beats headphones in 2016 and 2015, free Apple Store gift cards in 2014, and free iTunes gift cards in 2013. Apple launched a Back to Uni promotion in Australia and New Zealand in February, offering a free Apple Store gift card valued between $70 and $100 with the purchase of a qualifying new Mac or iPad Pro. The Back to Uni promotion in Australia and New Zealand can sometimes foreshadow what Apple plans to offer in other countries, but not always. In 2015, for example, Apple offered an Apple Store gift card worth up to $100 in Australia and New Zealand, but the deal was free Beats headphones in the United States. Tag: Back to School promotion Discuss this article in our forums [...]



iFixit Debuts New Fix Kits for At-Home Retina MacBook Pro Battery Replacement

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 07:18:49 PDT

iFixit today launched six new battery repair kits for Apple's MacBook Pro with a Retina display, allowing users to replace the battery in an older-model MacBook Pro, restoring it to hold a full-day charge and extending its life for 2-3 years, according to iFixit. Each kit "offers all the tools needed" for users to perform the repair at home with a step-by-step guide taking them through the entire process.

The six kits cover battery replacements for the following Retina MacBook Pro models: 13-inch MacBook Pro (late 2012/early 2013), 15-inch MacBook Pro (mid 2012, early 2013), 13-inch MacBook Pro (late 2013/mid 2014), 15-inch MacBook Pro (late 2013/mid 2014), 13-inch MacBook Pro (early 2015), and 15-inch MacBook Pro (mid 2015).

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Tools and contents of each kit include: a replacement battery, installation adhesive, kit bit driver, iFixit 4mm screwdriver bit torx T5, iFixit 4mm screwdriver bit torx security TR6, iFixit 4mm screwdriver bit pentalobe P5, tweezers, iFixit Opening Tool, iFixit Card (2), safety glasses, opening pick, adhesive remover dispensing syringe, adhesive remover solution, cleaning wipes, and gloves.
If you're experiencing bad battery life, we've got everything you need to replace it! These batteries are well adhered to the upper case of the computer so removing them isn't as straightforward as we'd like it to be. Fear not! Our kit offers all the tools needed to perform the repair and our guide shows you how to use the kit. The battery is an original OEM battery.
The fix kits range in price from $89.95 to $119.95, and include battery replacements measuring between 6010 mAh and 8230 mAh. Out-of-warranty Retina MacBook Pro battery replacements directly from Apple cost $199, so users who take advantage of iFixit's new battery replacement kits have the chance to save some money.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tag: iFixit
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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Three Apple Developers Join WebVR Community Group

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 00:02:22 PDT

Three Apple developers yesterday joined an open community initiative that aims to make virtual reality content viewable regardless of device or browser. As reported by UploadVR, the staff added their names to the WebVR Community Group members list on Wednesday, in what looks like a continuation of the company's recent major push into VR.

Apple's senior front-end developer Brandel Zachernuk, multimedia and software standards representative David Singer, and WebGL spec editor Dean Jackson now appear alongside the names of developers from various other major internet companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

(image)
WebVR's mission is to enable web users to enjoy online VR experiences whatever hardware or software platform they use, suggesting Apple's involvement will be focused on Safari compatibility. Working on that assumption, Apple's participation means every major web browser now has representation in WebVR development, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Google's Brandon Jones, who is chair of the WebVR Community Group, was first to notice Apple's appearance in the member list, which includes 147 participants at the time of writing. However, Jones offered the caveat that "group participation does not necessarily imply a commitment to implement".

Last month at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed its first big push into the augmented reality and virtual reality spaces, with a new ARKit developer framework and high-performance iMacs with native support for VR content creation. Native VR support in macOS High Sierra also opens up the possibility for Mac owners to hook up VR headsets to their computer for the first time.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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Apple Stores at CambridgeSide and Danbury Fair Reopen July 8

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 10:39:01 PDT

Apple this week announced that two of its retail stores, located at CambridgeSide Galleria in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Connecticut, will reopen Saturday, July 8 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Both locations have been closed for renovations for the past several months.

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Apple Store with next-generation design in Brussels, Belgium

Each store has received a makeover based on Apple's next-generation retail design, which typically includes wide, open spaces with some combination of large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, large video screens for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

In February, we reported that the Apple Store at Danbury Fair Mall would also expand into a few neighboring units to accommodate more customers.

All new Apple Stores opened since mid 2015 have been based on the new design language, including flagship-tier locations such as Apple Union Square in San Francisco and Apple World Trade Center in New York City. Apple has also renovated over 30 other stores to reflect the newer aesthetic.

Where possible, the new layout includes some combination of The Avenue, Genius Grove, The Forum, The Plaza, and The Boardroom.

(Thanks, Steven!)

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Houses Near Apple Park Met With Increased Tourism and Rising Real Estate Values

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 05:38:35 PDT

Construction progress surrounding Apple Park has been well documented over the past few years, with monthly drone videos providing anyone interested with clear glimpses into Apple's spacious new campus. Less discussed have been the neighborhoods surrounding Apple Park, including how they have been affected by Apple's construction on a campus that measures 2.8 million square feet, spans 176 acres, and will eventually house around 12,000 employees. A new report by The New York Times this week has focused on the positive and negative outcomes following Apple's announcement of its major new site, which officially began construction in 2013. In the town of Sunnyvale, which sits across the street from Apple Park, as many as 95 development projects have entered planning stages in recent years, while local businesses in Cupertino have pivoted to meet the needs of Apple employees, including a Residence Inn opening in September that will be stocked with Macs for guests. Sunnyvale residents, whose home sits across from Apple Park via The New York Times Eventually, onlookers won't be able to see Apple Park's circular "spaceship" building from nearby streets (thanks to Apple's sourcing of 9,000 trees coming to Apple Park as the year progresses). Until then, the campus is attracting tourists to come out and take pictures and fly drones over the site. Some who live nearby welcome to boom to businesses and tourism, even allowing tourists to stand outside on their driveways as they pilot drones over Apple Park. Onlookers snap pictures of the spaceship from the streets. TV helicopters circle above. Amateur photographers ask residents if they can stand on driveways to operate their drones, hoping to get a closer look at Apple Park. “I just say, ‘Hey, go ahead,’” said Ron Nielsen, who lives in Birdland, a Sunnyvale neighborhood across the street from the spaceship. “Why not?” Residents of nearby neighborhood Birdland have been more critical of Apple's construction, complaining about loud noises early in the morning, unpredictable road closures, unsightly barriers, and construction potholes that have resulted in punctured tires. In response, Apple has tried to appease frustrated residents, going so far as to send carwash certificates to a woman who called the company about her vehicle getting covered in construction dust, and offering to pay for a solution to bottlenecked traffic. Homestead Road, the thoroughfare that separates Apple Park from Birdland, became its own subject of debate. Cupertino officials wanted to construct a tree-lined median to calm traffic. Apple offered to cover the costs. But homeowners objected. Residents complained that the island would eliminate one lane, backing up the heavy traffic even more. When 20 or so neighbors approached a Sunnyvale town meeting in solidarity, the city ended up siding with the residents. Apple hosted over 110 community gatherings when Apple Park was in the design phase, intended to get feedback from residents who would be living near the campus. After the meetings, Apple sent out community mailers five times to around 26,000 households in the area. Apple vice president of real estate and development, Dan Whisenhunt, said that the company continues to respond to community concerns as best it can, "and if the issue is serious enough, I will personally visit to see what is going on." With all of the increased traffic of businesses, Apple employees, and interested civilians, the value of property in the neighborhoods surrounding Apple Park has also increased. Local real estate agent[...]



First Person Shooter 'Shadow Warrior Classic' is a Free Download for Mac

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 03:29:09 PDT

Classic first person shooter Shadow Warrior is available as a free download for Mac over on GOG and Steam this morning. The 1997 PC game garnered fans for its wacky humor, multi-function weaponry, and destructible environment, being based on the Build platform that powered Duke Nukem 3D.

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Shadow Warrior was an ambitious game for its time, containing many features not seen until later first-person shooter games, such as drivable vehicles, climbable ladders, and multiple firing modes for various weapons. The game was rebuilt in 2014 with OS X support and published by 3D Realms.

The full game (including two expansion packs) is being offered on Steam as a free download, but picking it up from GOG also gets gamers the original soundtrack in MP3 and FLAC format as an additional freebie. The remastered "Redux" version of the game is also available on Steam for $0.99 as part of a 2017 Summer Sale.

Shadow Warrior Classic has the following minimum requirements: OS X 10.6.8 or later, an Intel Core Duo 2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 64MB of video memory, and 1GB of hard disk space.

(Via MacObserver.)

Tag: Steam

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