Mophie announces Space Packs for iPad mini, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, universal SpaceStation

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Continuing its line of combination battery cases and external storage solutions for iOS devices, Mophie today announced a collection of new accessories in the Space family: Space Pack for iPad mini ($200-$400), Space Pack for iPhone 6 ($150-$300), Space Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($150-$300), and SpaceStation ($150-$300). The three Space Packs combine iPad or iPhone-recharging battery cases with 32, 64, or 128GB of storage capacity, while SpaceStation offers the same three storage capacity choices with a standalone, device-agnostic USB battery pack. A free Space app lets you access movies, music, photos, and data that have been separately stored in the Space accessories by your computer, using an included USB cable.

Mophie’s batteries differ considerably between the devices. The iPhone 6 Space Pack has a 3,300mAh battery, which is said to provide a 100% recharge of the device, while the iPhone 6 Plus version has a smaller 2,600mAh battery that Mophie says will deliver a 50% recharge. An 8,000mAh battery in the more expensive iPad mini case promises a 100% recharge, and a 6,000mAh battery in SpaceStation is claimed to offer “3X extra battery” for unspecified devices — certainly smaller phones, rather than the iPhones and iPads supported by the other models.

All of the new Space Pack batteries are available for preorder now from Mophie’s web site, and will ship in May. The SpaceStation and lower-priced Space Packs for the iPhone 5/5s (16GB / 32GB / 64GB) are in stock now. Read more

Apple confirms Apple Watch orders are exclusively online for the launch period, expects demand to outstrip supply

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Leaked delivery details from Apple.com indicated supply would be constrained.

Update: A reader got a reply from Apple CEO Tim Cook about the situation. See below.

Apple has today posted a press release reaffirming that Apple Watch try-on sessions and preorders start tomorrow, Friday April 10th. It also confirms that Apple Watch orders will be exclusively online for the launch period.

Angela Ahrendts says that Apple expects demand to outstrip supply at launch on the back of tremendous interest from customers viewing watches online and in the Apple Store app. As such, this has forced the company to limit orders to online only for the time being.

“We are excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet. Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. “To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period.”

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Twitter now supports the iPhone’s gorgeous slow-motion videos

One of the stand-out features of the iPhone 5s was the 120fps slow-motion video, and the iPhone 6/Plus took this even further, allowing silky-smooth 240fps video at 720p. Sharing that video, however, isn’t always easy: many online services don’t recognize that the video is slo-mo, and play it instead at full speed.

There are clunky workarounds, but these are no longer needed for Twitter: upload slo-mo video from your iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus and it now plays at the correct speed …  Read more

iOS 8.3 expands iPhone WiFi Calls to Sprint in the U.S., EE in the U.K.

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In addition to adding a slew of more diverse Emojis and several bug fixes, iOS 8.3 has expanded the iPhone’s WiFi calling feature to a pair of new carriers: Sprint in the United States and EE in the United Kingdom. WiFi calling allows a user to make calls over a WiFi network instead of over their standard cellular network. This feature comes in handy for users who live in homes or areas with poor cellular service or for those traveling abroad. WiFi calling first launched on the iPhone with T-Mobile last year in the U.S. WiFi calling requires newer iPhone models, ranging from the iPhone 5c to the iPhone 6 Plus. Users on supported carriers can activate WiFi calling via the Settings panel shown above. Sprint says international WiFi calling is free when calling from 200 different countries to a U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico number.

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Apple releases iOS 8.3, including new emojis with diversity, new Siri languages, more

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Following the release of OS X 10.10.3 to the public, Apple has also released iOS 8.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update, which has been in beta for several months, brings over 300 new emojis (including diversity options) as well as a new keyboard for inputting the symbols. The new keyboard features a scrolling UI, rather than the old page metaphor, to better accommodate the wider range of emojis available in the update.

iOS 8.3 also includes a whole host of new Siri languages, so more international users can benefit from Apple’s virtual personal assistant. The update adds Siri in Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Siri’s voice has also been tweaked in this update.

Full change list included after the break:

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Video roundup: Apple Watch reviews highlight fitness features, notifications and more

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We have already highlighted the best bits from the Apple Watch write-ups posted today but text alone is not enough to fully appreciate the scope of the Watch’s functionality. We have collected all the video reviews of the device, which offer a visual appreciation of the Watch’s feature set. Moreover, with something as personal as a wearable, the videos also show you how the Watch looks worn on people’s wrists.

Follow along below for our video roundup:

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Video: Watch the world’s first Apple Watch unboxing

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With the embargo lifted, Apple Watch reviews are spreading around the web, ahead of preorders on Friday. We saw a glimpse of the Apple Watch packaging yesterday, but Chinese website ‘Gadget Guy’ has stepped up to offer the world’s first unboxing video for the device.

The ‘exuberant’ demo shows how the Watch packaging resembles a jewellery case. Inside the square outer box is a rounded rectangle which contains the Watch itself, presented on its side with band already connected. An insert helps keep the Watch band in a curved shape when you unbox the lid for the first time. Other items, like the inductive charger and instruction sheets sit in the square box.

Watch the videos after the break.

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Opinion: Roku’s new media players use voice search and apps to make Apple TV feel old

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Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.

Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…

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New photos purportedly show 4th-generation iPad mini casing with iPad Air 2-like design

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A new batch of photos published by French site NowhereElse may give us an idea of what the next generation of the iPad mini will look like. The images are said to be of the casing for the unannounced tablet upgrade, and seem to feature some design elements inspired by the most recent version of the larger iPad model.

While the third-generation iPad mini was simply a Touch ID-equipped version of the previous model, many Apple fans are hoping to see a redesign much like this with the next refresh.

Aside from the obvious similarities in the shape and materials, the photos and a video of the shell (which can be seen below) reveal a redesigned speaker grille that mirrors the iPad Air 2’s move away from two rows of speaker holes to just one. The new shell also indicates that the iPad mini 4 may be thinner than its predecessor, though it doesn’t seem like a big stretch to predict that.

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HBO NOW standalone streaming service debuts on Apple TV, iPhone & iPad with 1-month free trial

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HBO’s new standalone streaming service called HBO NOW has officially launched on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. HBO NOW allows subscribers to watch the premium network’s movies and TV shows online. The service is similar to Netflix as it’s delivered over a high-speed Internet connection rather than cable or satellite and doesn’t require long-term committments through contracts. Here’s how to get HBO NOW works: Read more

How-To: Choose the best stand or desktop mount for Apple’s iPads and Macs

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Apple currently sells more “laptop” than “desktop” Macs, but in reality, most Macs will be used substantially on flat surfaces — desks, tables, and sometimes nightstands. iPads are more lap-friendly, but also tend to get used upright, particularly for watching videos and access in the kitchen. Since I’ve spent a lot of time testing Apple device stands and mounts, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you, so you can choose the solution that best suits your Mac, iPad, or both at the same time.

Below, I’ve hand-picked options for different types of users, starting with passive MacBook stands such as Twelve South’s BookArc for MacBook Pro ($50). Made from Mac-matching aluminum with gray rubber inserts, BookArc is designed to safely hold a MacBook Pro upright so that its ports and SD card reader are easily accessible. Twelve South also sells a smaller version of BookArc for the MacBook Air, a bigger BookArc for the Mac Pro, and an earthy version called BookArc mod for fans of wood. That’s a rarity, as most Mac and iPad stands are designed to match Apple’s products, as you’ll see inside…

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Opinion: Could the 1080p Apple TV 4 hint at a 4K Apple TV set?

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The Apple TV set-top box hardware is expected to be updated this summer after 3 years since the last real refresh and a recent price drop from $99 to $69. While the last Apple TV upgrade boosted video output from 720p to 1080p, the rumored Apple TV 4 is not believed to support ultra high definition 4K video output featured on newer TV sets. Here’s why that’s no surprise and what I think it could mean for an actual Apple TV set:

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