All aboard the hyperbole train: Manhattan district attorney says iPhone security helps terrorists

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Van

We’ve heard some pretty outrageous ramblings from the government regarding Apple’s use of encryption in its mobile devices in the past—including a claim from the Department of Justice that some day it will result in the death of a child—but Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. might have just dethroned the DOJ as king of hyperbole.

Yesterday morning during a radio interview, Vance claimed that Apple’s encrypted software will make the iPhone the communication tool of choice for terrorists:

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Just when you thought the failed LA schools iPad program couldn’t get any messier, it did …

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We learned yesterday that the Los Angeles Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” following the collapse of its plans to provide every student with an iPad. The mess eventually led to an FBI investigation and a federal review.

The latest development, as ever reported by the LA Times, says that the program is now the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into whether funds were misused in the $1.3B project …  Read more

The best Apple Watch headphones and earphones

Up until now, Bluetooth wireless audio was purely optional for Apple’s devices: every iPad, iPhone, and iPod has shipped with a 3.5mm audio port to connect with wired earbuds and headphones. The Apple Watch is different: it’s Apple’s first fully wireless device, with no user-accessible ports to connect accessories, even though it can work as a standalone music player during workouts. The lack of a headphone port is actually a positive, since tethering your wrist to your head with a cable would look silly, and isn’t ergonomically ideal. Thankfully, Bluetooth headphones have come a long way over the past few years, shrinking from gangly and boxy earmuffs into earphones comfortable enough to exercise with.

Since one of the Apple Watch’s major selling points is fitness functionality, this quick guide to the best Apple Watch headphones and earphones focuses mostly on accessories that can work anywhere, rather than options you can’t wear while exercising. But I’ll include some larger options, too, just in case you’re picking a pair for non-athletic use, or to share with your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac…

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Purported 12-inch ‘iPad Pro’ cases show stereo speakers, iPhone rumored to use same 7000 Series aluminum as Apple Watch Sport

Sonny Dickson has today posted images of an iPad Pro case that reiterates previous manufacturing renders and reports. Like a render seen in January, the case has holes for stereo speakers situated on top and bottom of the device.

The ‘iPad Pro’ has been widely reported to be in development for some time, featuring a larger 12.3 – 12.9 inch display. It is unknown if the new case images offer any new information — they could have been conjured up based on the previously leaked renders. Chinese case manufacturers have offered mixed indications of future Apple product plans. The iPhone 6 design was widely leaked through cases appearing online, but other instances have not been as fruitful.

Today, there has also been a rumor around the next iPhone’s materials …

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L.A. Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” over failed iPad project

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The Los Angeles Unified School District is exploring the possibility of litigation against Apple over the failed project intended to provide every student with an iPad, reports the LA Times.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking to recoup millions of dollars from technology giant Apple over a problem-plagued curriculum that was provided with iPads intended to be given to every student, teacher and administrator.

The project ran into early problems when students figured out how to bypass the restrictions designed to ensure the devices could be used only for school work, shortly before the district was accused of having miscalculated the cost of the program. The program was suspended last year, and later abandoned after deciding iPads were the wrong device. This was far from the end of the story, however …  Read more

Apple adds new Apple Watch video guided tours for Phone, Siri, Maps & Music

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Update: Apple just uploaded the four new guided tours to its YouTube channel, as well. They are embedded below.

Apple has now updated its Apple Watch Guided Tour page with four more videos, featuring Phone Calls, Siri interactions, Maps navigation and the Music app. Apple began this series earlier in the month.

The videos demonstrate different Apple Watch features, such as taking a phone call, asking Siri for directions, getting navigation turn-by-turn directions in Maps or controlling music playback in the Music app.

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Review: Mophie’s Spacestation more than doubles smaller iPads’ storage and power, for a price

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Mophie’s Juice Packs are unqualified success stories. After debuting the first Juice Pack in late 2007, Mophie became synonymous with “iPhone battery cases,” and enjoyed years of popularity despite increasing competition. But the company’s USB battery packs aren’t as well-known. Ranging from minimalist to ruggedized, Mophie’s Powerstations range from 3,000mAh to 12,000mAh in capacity, and carry hefty $80 to $150 MSRPs. Regardless of whether they’re judged by features or battery performance for the dollar, they’re hard to pick over rivals, since you can now get a high-quality 25,600mAh battery for the same price as a 3,000mAh PowerStation.

Based upon last year’s iPhone 5/5s-specific Space Packs, the brand new Spacestation is Mophie’s shot at differentiating its USB batteries from the masses. Offered in 32GB ($150), 64GB ($200) and 128GB ($300) capacities, Spacestation combines an app-managed USB flash drive with a 6,000mAh battery, which promises “3X extra battery” life. Realistically, that’s enough power for a full recharge of the original iPad mini or three recharges of older iPhones. But since 6,000mAh batteries are getting cheaper every week, Spacestation’s appeal is mostly in its ability to at least double the number of videos, music, photos, and documents that can be accessed by your iOS device on the road…

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Samsung reportedly has new 200 employee team exclusively working on screens for Apple

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In a new report by Bloomberg, Samsung apparently has created an independent group of about 200 people that work solely on screens for Apple products. Bloomberg claims this is part of a plan to “strengthen business ties” between Apple and Samsung, which obviously have had a shaky history since the lawsuits over iPhone technology.

The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were dropped in mid 2014, which led many to speculate that relations between the two companies may improve. This report by Bloomberg suggests exactly that.

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Survey: 11% of teens plan to purchase Apple Watch, iPhone & iPad still most popular smartphone & tablet

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According to the latest data from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, interest in the Apple Watch among teens remains low. An October 2014 survey showed that only 16 percent of teenagers planned to purchase an Apple Watch, and now, a more recent survey shows that interest has dropped to 11 percent among the age group.

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Review: Aukey’s 12,000mAh PB-N28 is the $25 battery that fully refills any current iPad

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Last month, budget charging accessory maker Aukey released PB-N30, the first external battery with a female Lightning recharging port. For only $15, PB-N30 seemed like a steal given its 3,600mAh capacity — just right for use with any iPhone — but wasn’t capacious enough for power-hungrier iPads. So Aukey has released PB-N28 ($25) as a solution for tablet users, remarkably equipping it with over three times the power for only $10 more.

PB-N30 is an upgraded sequel to the company’s older PB-18, which stuffed a 12,000mAh battery into an iPhone 5-shaped enclosure. While the new model’s capacity is the same, PB-N30’s USB ports jump from 2.1-Amp/1-Amp charging to 2.4-Amp/1-Amp support, and it has a more neutral design that neither sticks out nor knocks off an Apple product. Not surprisingly, it cuts a corner or two to achieve its super-low price…

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Apple’s open source ResearchKit framework for medical researchers is now available

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Apple announced today that its new ResearchKit platform is now available to medical researchers as an open source framework. Apple first unveiled ResearchKit on stage last month during the March event, promising that it would be available as an open source framework for developers and medical researchers this month. The framework enables the medical community to use the iPhone to distribute actual medical and health research through ResearchKit-enabled apps. Read more