Sesame is a $99 smart lock that lets you unlock your current deadbolt from your iPhone

Sesame iPhone smart lock

Note: Kickstarter currently appears to be down possibly because of a certain new smartwatch

The iPhone-connected smart lock market is getting a new player today as Candy House introduces a new, competitively priced device called Sesame—a play on the phrase “open sesame”—that retrofits your existing deadbolt lock with modern smarts.

While current smart lock options carry higher price tags and require replacing existing hardware, Sesame starts at $99 ($89 early bird special) and adds smart lock features to most existing door locks. Check below for an excellent video demo and more info: Read more

Results: 60% want Apple to thicken the next iPhone to improve battery life

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A recent poll of over 3,100 9to5Mac readers indicates that most are not satisfied with current-generation iPhone battery life. Over 90% of respondents said that they want to see Apple improve iPhone battery life, versus less than 7% saying that “iPhone battery life and battery cases are good enough as-is.”

The split in responses interestingly suggests that Apple can safely stop prioritizing thinness over superior battery performance. A solid majority of over 60% of respondents said that Apple should thicken the next iPhone to improve its battery life, which is especially noteworthy given that there were other poll options. Over 31% said that Apple should achieve whatever battery improvements it can by improving the iPhone’s chips, while just under 2% said that Apple should instead focus on improving battery cases.

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Prong’s PWR case for iPhone 6 provides the easiest way to juice up (Video)

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There are a ton of power accessories on the market for iPhone that it’s almost difficult to tell them apart. They all fit a ton of battery power in a case, but they are all pretty much the same, except for one.

Prong has recently launched a new Indiegogo campaign for its new PWR case for iPhone 6. Not only does this case have a built-in battery pack, it also features a power supply as well. This means you could get away with never using a cable again to charge up your iPhone…

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Samsung remains a key supplier for Apple’s iPhone despite patent disputes, competition

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No matter which way you cut it, it remains remarkable that Samsung continues to serve as a key component supplier to Apple for the innards of the iPhone and iPad line while also being a major competitor in the mobile phone space. In fact, to this day, it is hard to argue that there is a bigger Apple component partner than Samsung.

Just as Samsung prepares to unveil its latest flagship Galaxy S6 next week, The Korea Times reports that Apple and Samsung have struck a deal for the latter company to supply the former with at least 50% of the mobile DRAM chips used it Apple’s followup to the iPhone 6 expected later this fall. But that’s the tip o’ the iceberg as they say… Read more

Supporting payment infrastructure for Apple Pay will be in place in Europe by mid-April

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Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on. MasterCard has advised us that it already supports tokenisation globally.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available on the Visa network in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too …  Read more

Opinion: Should Apple improve iPhone battery life, or just battery cases?

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As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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Review: Lenmar’s Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 streamlines a familiar design, offers 112% extra power

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Featured in our guide to the best Apple device batteries, the one-of-a-kind MacBook external battery pack ChugPlug demonstrated that Lenmar knows how to make unique accessories. By comparison, Lenmar’s new Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($100) isn’t quite as distinctive. It’s basically a softer-curved and more powerful version of the company’s iPhone 5/5s battery case Meridian, which makes it extremely similar to numerous rival iPhone 6 battery cases I’ve tested from other companies.

But with four color options, the ability to refuel itself at 2-Amp speeds, and better button openings than certain lower-priced competitors, the 3,000mAh Maven does have some merits. Here’s a more detailed look at what makes this case blend in and stand out…

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Apple airs filmmaking iPad ad narrated by Martin Scorsese for the Oscars

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On the day of the annual Academy Awards ceremony, Apple has begun airing a new iPad Air advertisement highlighting how the tablet is used in the filmmaking industry. The new video advertisement is narrated with excerpts from notable movie director Martin Scorsese’s 2014 commencement speech at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The video, embedded below, is accompanied by a website highlighting specific stories of the iPad being used to make movies. These video stories were actually filmed and edited on iPads. The new website also discusses key video planning, filming, and editing applications for the iPad such as Final Draft, Garageband (but not the consumer-focused iMovie), and VideoGrade. This film-focused advertisement follows a music-oriented one that aired on the day of the Grammy Awards.

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Apple will fight iOS bugs with first-ever iOS Public Betas: 8.3 in March, 9 in summer

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In an effort to eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions ahead of their general releases, Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to multiple people briefed on the plans. Following the successful launch of the OS X Public Beta program with OS X Yosemite last year, Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March, according to the sources. This release will match the third iOS 8.3 beta for developers, which is planned for release the same week. Apple then expects to debut iOS 9 at its June Worldwide Developer Conference, with a public beta release during the summer, and final release in the fall…

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Virgin Mobile drops complete iPhone lineup from its online store

Virgin Mobile iPhone 6

Since the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last fall, we’ve noticed that Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile USA has offered limited-to-no stock on its iPhone lineup with “out of stock” messages on each of their iOS device and seemingly no plans to replenish inventory. Specifically, the pre-paid carrier went head first into the holiday season without any iPhone inventory for shoppers.

Virgin later confirmed that it had no specific plans to carry the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the time, and now the prepaid carrier has completely scrubbed the entire iPhone lineup from its online store. Read more

Apple Pay adds another 19 banks & credit unions, 80+ institutions supported

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The second wave of the month for new banks and credit unions supporting Apple Pay is happening now adding to the more than 60 institutions already supporting Apple’s mobile payment service. The mid-February wave includes 19 additional banks and credit unions bringing the total to more than 80 institutions. Here are the new banks listed as supporting Apple Pay as of today: Read more

Two UK banks now allowing mobile app login using Touch ID

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Two UK banks–Royal Bank of Scotland and Nat West–are now allowing customers to login to their mobile banking apps using Touch ID, reports the BBC. The updated RBS app is expected to hit today, with the Nat West one following tomorrow.

RBS and NatWest customers must activate the feature with their security information, but would only need to use Apple’s Touch ID thereafter.

The banks–owned by the same parent company–said that use of Touch ID is subject to a number of security safeguards …  Read more