Verizon follows AT&T w/ increased data for $80 & $100 More Everything plans

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Verizon is increasing data for customers on $80 and $100 More Everything plans, the company announced today following a similar announcement from AT&T. The carrier is now offering 10GB for $80 and 15GB for $100 up from the 6GB and 10GB those tiers previously offered. Verizon notes that the deal isn’t restricted to new customers, but it is a limited time offer available through its website. Read more

U.S. court rules that phone passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment, but fingerprints aren’t

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While Touch ID makes sense for most of us as a secure and convenient way to protect our phones, there is one group of people who may want to stick to good old-fashioned passcodes: criminals.

A Virginia District Court has ruled that while phone passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment, which says that those accused of crimes cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves, there is no such protection against using a suspect’s fingerprint to unlock a phone …  Read more

Trade-in service Gazelle begins selling certified pre-owned iPhones and iPads

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Gazelle has long been a popular choice for conveniently turning a used iPhone or iPad into cash, and today the electronics trade-in service announced its own certified pre-owned store for buying “gently used devices” at a discounted price. While the pre-owned store lists categories including iPhone, cell phones, iPads, and tablets, Gazelle inventory is currently limited to pre-owned Apple devices including iPhone 4 and up, iPad 2 and up, and iPad mini. Read more

Apple’s market-leading tablet share falls to 22% against growing cheap media consumption options

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Worldwide unit shipments for the top 5 tablet plus 2-in-1 device vendors over last five quarters

New data from IDC tracking worldwide tablet shipments shows that Apple has maintained its lead during the third quarter despite “a decline in overall iPad shipment volume in 3Q14.” Specifically, Apple grabbed 22.8% of the market with 12.3 million shipments during the quarter compared to 14.1 million units and 29.2% share in the year ago quarter. That compares to Samsung at 18.3% of the market and 9.9 million units shipped up from 19.3% and 9.3 million units shipped in the third quarter last year: Read more

Android Wear Devices won’t be iOS or Mac compatible this year

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Google invited us to check out their new line of Nexus products running Lollipop earlier today.   The Motorola Nexus 6 is about the size of the iPhone 6 Plus with a slightly bigger screen and thicker/heavier profile. On the other hand, the HTC Nexus 9 is smaller than the iPad Air with a 9-inch display and stereo speakers. Both run Android 5.0 Lollipop which has a new Material Design. The new products will go up against Apple’s iOS devices for global electronics consumers’ holiday shopping money.

However, one set of devices won’t be competing for Apple users’ shopping dollars. An Android Wear project manager told me that there were no current plans to make Android Wear compatible with iOS but that they were continuing to evaluate other platforms because they wanted to get Wear devices into as many hands as they could. When I pressed and said something to the effect of “if ever there was a time to sell these to Apple users, it was the holiday season before the Apple Watch is released”, the product manager said something akin to  “Our Christmas lineup of announcements is set and over”.

On one hand, it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard. After all, Google eventually got Google Glass to work on iOS devices.

Microsoft, on the other hand, just announced its new Fitness Band which will work with Android, iOS and of course Windows Phones.

Macworld today suggested that you take a $99 Pebble for a spin to see if it could act as a smartphone gateway drug until users get their Apple Watch fix next year.  Read more

Apple reportedly in ‘preliminary contact’ with distributors to bring iPhone to Iran

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in early talks with “Iranian distributors” to bring the iPhone to Iran:

Apple Inc. is in preliminary contact with Iranian distributors about a possible entry into the country should Western sanctions ease sufficiently, people familiar with the matter said.

The report notes that financial and banking sanctions as well as political tension has thus far prevented companies like Apple from conducting business in Iran, but points to a policy change in May that lifted the ban on sales of “consumer communications technologies” in the country. The report goes on the claim that “senior Apple executives” have already met with “potential Iranian distributors” at Apple’s regional headquarters in London. Read more

Kantar: iOS market share outgrowing Android in Europe, slipping in US & Japan

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The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that iOS market share is just outgrowing Android across the five largest markets in Europe, growing 1.5% year-on-year against Android’s 1.4%, but dropping 3.3% in the USA.

iOS market share now stands at 32.6% in the USA and 15.4% across the top 5 European markets …  Read more

‘WatchSpring’ tweak brings functional Apple Watch-style layout to jailbroken iOS devices

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Last week 9to5Mac‘s own Michael Steeber wrote about his idea for an Apple Watch-inspired home screen interface for the iPhone. Within a few days a developer had created a standalone app that simulated the interface, but due to Apple’s restrictions on iOS, there was no way to make it work as a true home screen replacement.

Now, a new jailbreak tweak called WatchSpring has actually brought this functionality to the iPhone. The modification replaces the current iPhone home screen with a fluid grid of circular icons that can be zoomed in or out to show as many apps as you’d like. It can also open apps natively (no need for URL schemes or anything like that), though it doesn’t seem to support folders just yet…

Video and more below…

Apple profiles its effort in Obama’s ConnectED education program: 114 schools receiving Macs, iPads, & Apple TVs

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The White House shared earlier this year that Apple is a participant in President Obama’s ConnectED education program focused on bringing Internet access and technology to schools in need, and today Apple has provided a micro site profiling its effort in the program.

While it was already known that Apple has pledged $100 million to provide iPads, MacBooks, and other products toward the program for schools across the United States, Apple has shared that Apple ConnectED grants are being received by a total of 114 different schools across the country with these schools spread out across 29 states. Apple added that “92% of students from our partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.” Read more

Alpine announces 7-inch iLX-007 aftermarket receiver, its first CarPlay display

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Alpine today announced its first aftermarket in-dash receiver with support for Apple’s CarPlay feature for iPhone users. The new Alpine iLX-007 will be the company’s first display to support CarPlay following Pioneer’s rollout of the feature to its latest NEX displays earlier this month. Alpine’s new in-dash receiver features a 7-inch capacitive touch screen comparable to Pioneer’s high end NEX8000 CarPlay compatible model ($1,400), but at a much lower price point of $800 as it lacks other hardware features.

Alpine’s CarPlay offering is still one of the first on the market yet and joins Pioneer in allowing drivers to have CarPlay without buying a new car. Several automakers have already announced CarPlay availability on certain models of new cars, some of which are already on the road, but will require firmware updates in the future before CarPlay is present. Read more

iPad Air 2 anti-reflective screen a ‘major innovation’ but last-gen brighter/more efficient

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Today DisplayMate Technologies published its usual detailed analysis of Apple’s latest product releases with an in-depth review of the display technology in the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 displays.

One of the more notable improvements in the new iPad Air 2 display is the anti-reflective coating that, according to DisplayMate, “reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other Tablets and Smartphones (including the previous iPads), and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing Tablets and Smartphones (including the new iPhone 6).” Read more