July 30

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Less than two years after they each went into service, only one of the three Lightning cables pictured above is actually working properly. It’s not the big Belkin cable on the left, which is visibly pretty wrecked, or the thick, no-name 6-foot cable on the right, which looks fine on the surface but can’t properly supply power to a connected device. The one that works without problems is, amazingly, Apple’s official Lightning cable — the one that has been pilloried by numerous dissatisfied users, notably including our own Zac Hall, for coming apart after months or years of use.

These complaints aren’t without merit: even Apple-authorized Lightning cables do break, which is particularly infuriating given how expensive they tend to be. But there’s a lot of bad information about Lightning cables floating around right now, and having spent a lot of time using them and reading user complaints, I wanted to help people avoid some of their preventable failures. Taking a few precautions can save you a $10 to $20 replacement cost, as well as wasted time and stress…

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The first round of Apple Watch stands were just that, accessories designed to keep your Apple Watch from rubbing against your nightstand or desk. This month, we officially moved into the second wave — powered Apple Watch docks — with the release of Boostcase’s Bloc and Nomad’s Pod ($60). Boxy, flat, and long, Bloc was a clean design with questionable practicality, but Pod makes a lot more sense: like the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable it holds inside, it’s a partially metal and partially plastic puck you can easily take anywhere and use to charge any Apple Watch. Having previously designed the beautiful Stand for Apple Watch, Nomad promises that the rechargeable 1800mAh battery inside Pod “keeps your watch powered all weekend.”

From my perspective, the Apple Watch’s single biggest issue is its one-day battery life, which has meant risking a dead watch while traveling or otherwise away from a power outlet. Although you could just carry around a device-agnostic USB battery, Pod solves the power problem at a more aggressive price point than Bloc, and in a convenient form factor that will appeal to a lot of people. You can choose from a silver and black version, as shown in the photos here, or a space gray and black version made to match darker Apple Watches. Read on for the details…

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July 29

Following Fantastical’s recent debut on the Apple Watch, which includes the full iCloud Reminders experience and more, Flexibits is delivering a neat new drafts feature to the intelligent calendar app and newly added support for another language. expand full story

July 28

Famed designer Surenix and developer Kyle Howells have teamed up to create a new iOS task switcher/Control Center replacement called Alympus, which combines a full screen of toggles with a new music controller and a customizable grid layout for running apps.

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July 23

Apple is officially putting its weight behind new LGBT anti-discrimination legislature currently being proposed in Congress. The company said in a statement to the Human Rights Campaign that it actively supports the Equality Act.

At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. We fully support the expansion of legal protections as a matter of basic human dignity.

Apple’s support for the bill that would expand federal protections in the workplace to LGBT Americans in all states follows several years of Apple CEO Tim Cook calling on Congress to pass such legislation, and Apple’s backing is in line with its own company policies. expand full story

July 21

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With iOS 9 coming out later this year, there will once again be a number of articles proclaiming that jailbreaking is now unnecessary because so many of the most popular tweaks have been added as native features. While jailbreaking may not be as popular as it was in the iOS 4 days, there are still a lot of great reasons to give it a try.

I recently downgraded from iOS 9 to jailbreak my phone again. Here are just a few reasons I recommend you consider jumping off of the beta bandwagon.

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July 17

Image: n3rdabl3.co.uk

Popular iOS and Android apps from companies like Walmart, ESPN, Slack and SoundCloud have been found vulnerable to password cracking, according to a recent report from AppBugs. The security firm found that dozens of the most popular apps are lacking, in that they allow you to make any number of attempts to login without restriction. These clearly opens up a gap for attackers who have the means to guess those passwords and gain access to your accounts.

The most secure apps will force you to reset your password if you don’t enter it correctly, or they’ll lock you out after you’ve made a certain number of attempts.

AppBugs tested the most popular apps to see how they stacked up. It checked 100 popular apps which support password-protected web accounts and limited themselves to apps which had been downloaded at least 1 million times. Of those 100 apps, 53 were found to have the vulnerability.

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July 14

Editors note: Will Strafach (@chronic) runs a mobile security services firm helping enterprises protect their employees and confidential data from mobile threats. Fast and thorough analysis of the compiled binaries found within the HackingTeam dump was possible using their upcoming cloud-based iOS application analysis platform, using highly advanced pattern-matching and heuristic techniques to detect threats and privacy leaks within applications installed on enrolled mobile devices. He can be reached at will@wstraf.me if any readers have further questions or concerns regarding HackingTeam or other iOS malware. 

Written by: Will “Chronic” Strafach

There has been a lot of mixed information and speculation in the media recently in regards to the HackingTeam leak and what it all means for iOS users. Do the surveillance tools the group has reportedly provided to governments and law enforcement present a risk to the average iPhone and iPad user? That’s a question we’ve been getting a lot, so I will attempt to present all of the facts based on the recently leaked documents detailing the HackingTeam’s tools, as well as my opinion on the impact of certain aspects for iOS devices. Advanced users will already be aware of what I am about to state, but for everyone else, here’s what we’re dealing with:
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July 11

In an interesting development, Pitchfork reports that Apple is making music videos for artists in-house. It claims the music videos for Pharrell William’s ‘Freedom’, Drake’s ‘Energy’ and Eminem’s ‘Phenomenal’ were all made by Apple content studios. These artists have certainly helped with the Apple Music launch (with both Pharrell and Drake having their own radio show on Beats 1) so it wouldn’t be out of the question that Apple is ‘compensating’ them with produced music videos. It certainly seems like a good way of brokering a deal for music exclusivity.

Of course, the idea of Apple content creation is weird — especially in such a niche area of music videos. Pitchfork is adamant however and says that Apple is working with more artists including Purity Ring, Diddy and James Bay. Another Apple Music exclusive launching on Monday from ‘M.I.A’ is also said to feature a music video been produced entirely by Apple’s internal team.

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July 6

Last week, we noted that Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 release with Apple Music removes support for the long-existing Music Home Sharing feature. This function allows an iOS device user to stream music from a computer running iTunes on their own WiFi network. Today, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services noted on Twitter that Apple is “working” to restore Home Sharing functionality in iOS 9. It is likely that Home Sharing was removed in iOS 8.4 due to changes necessary with the record labels to launch the new streaming music service. Cook previously revealed details on this week’s iOS 9 beta, streaming bit rates, and more via Twitter.

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July 5

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we will take one final look at some of the new additions to Logic Pro X 10.1. We have already gotten a taste of a number of very helpful new features including custom plug-in menus, Track Stacks, the Brush Tool and the powerful new Drummer features, but today Retro Synth is on tap.

While Logic already had a number of classic synth-inspired virtual instruments like ES1, 2 and more, we are talking about instruments that have been around for 10 years+. A serious breath of fresh air for Logic users, Retro Synth (RS) wraps all the major synthesis disciplines of yesteryear – classic subtractive, hard sync, FM and more – into one, neatly packaged virtual instrument. Not only does RS standup to many of the basic analog synth emulations out there, but the LPX 10.1 wavetable updates just put it toe-to-toe with many of the $200+, third-party flagships: expand full story

July 1

The first in-depth video preview trailer for the upcoming, official Steve Jobs movie has gone live. The movie features Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, and it was written by Aaron Sorkin. The film is based off of Jobs’s official biography by Walter Isaacson. Earlier this year, the first teaser trailer for the movie appeared, but it did not provide an extensive look into the story or characters. The movie starts showing in theaters in October 9th.

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Back when white earbuds dominated the market, Beats by Dre proved that mainstream customers were willing to pay $300 for large wired headphones and nearly $400 for wireless versions — even plasticky, overly bassy ones. The subsequent shift towards big headphones nearly killed makers of premium in-ear models, leading many audio companies to mimic Beats’ formula. But there were holdouts: iconic audio companies including Bowers & Wilkins refused to compromise their materials or change their sonic signatures to match Beats. Instead, B&W offered premium-priced headphones made from premium-quality materials, and let customers pick between plastic Beats or metal and leather alternatives.

Today, Bowers & Wilkins is debuting P5 Wireless ($400), a Bluetooth version of last year’s luxurious P5 Series 2 (and the since-discontinued original P5). Mixing chrome, brushed aluminum, and ultra-soft sheep’s leather, P5 Wireless is virtually indistinguishable from P5 Series 2 apart from its ability to operate with or without a 3.5mm audio cable. Classy in ways that even the top-of-line Beats Pro can’t match, P5 Wireless is the first Bluetooth headphone I would recommend to fans of classic premium audio gear…

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June 30

In addition to iOS 8.4, Apple has now publicly released OS X 10.10.4 to all users. The point update focuses on security and stability improvements with a fix for notable networking issues with OS X Yosemite as well as fixes for Mail, improvements to Photos migration from iPhoto and Aperture, and more. Apple first began testing the update to the Mac with developers in late April. expand full story

Apple has continued making lots of progress at its under construction Campus 2 site in Cupertino ahead of plans to move in late next year, evident by this latest drone flyover courtesy of our friend MyithZ. expand full story

Speaking to Rolling Stone about creating Beats 1 radio, Trent Reznor said he wanted to recreate the feeling you got when walking into a really good independent record store.

I want that feeling of walking into an independent record shop, if there are still any that exist, like Amoeba [Records], and being delighted by the choices and the way music is presented to you with love and care. It’s exciting. And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.

Reznor, who was previously Chief Creative Officer at Beats Music, said that listening to Zane Lowe’s BBC radio show totally inspired him …  expand full story

June 26

With Apple’s new subscription-based streaming music service launching early next week, the company is still seeking a producer for Apple Music to act as the point person for curating content as well as producing original content for the service’s streaming radio station called Beats 1.
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