Verizon buying AOL for $4.4B

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Verizon Communications is buying AOL for $4.4B in a deal believed to be focused on Verizon’s ambitions in mobile video and advertising.

The acquisition would give Verizon, which has set its sights on entering the crowded online video marketplace, access to advanced technology AOL has developed for selling ads and delivering high-quality Web video.

Traditional TV viewing is changing dramatically, consumers not only giving up their cable TV subscriptions in favor of video on demand over the Internet (a market Apple is believed to be planning to enter in the fall), but increasingly watching video on mobile devices …  Read more

Developer hacks Watch OS to get a web browser running on Apple Watch

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Prominent community developer and jailbreaker Comex has posted a video showing a successful hack of Watch OS to get the device running a web browser.

In the video, Comex has managed to get the Google homepage to render on the small Watch display. Apple does not include a Safari browser app on the Watch, for obvious reasons. The video shows that scrolling around even basic web pages on a tiny display is impractical.

More importantly, the video shows that it is possible to get the Watch to run arbitrary code. This could be the first step towards a ‘jailbreak’ of the Apple Watch although Comex makes no such promises to ever release the details of his hack.

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Latest low-cost iPhone medical accessory can prevent blindness and elephantiasis

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One of the things I find most inspiring about the iPhone is the way it can be adapted to create very low-cost versions of what would otherwise be very expensive medical equipment, unaffordable in many parts of the world. We’ve previously seen this approach taken for things as diverse as HIV tests, skin cancer detection and eye injury diagnosis.

The UC Berkeley has just added blood parasite detection to the list, using a 3D-printed case, Arduini board with Bluetooth module and LED lighting …  Read more

Spotify turns up the heat against Apple’s streaming music service, making fresh anti-competitive behavior claim

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Spotify, which is widely believed to be behind the antitrust allegations that led to both EC and DOJ investigations into Apple, has now added a fresh complaint. The Verge reports Spotify is complaining that the 30% cut Apple takes from in-app Premium subscriptions in the iOS app amounts to an “Apple tax.”

Apple charges a 30 percent fee toward any sales through its App Store, and that includes subscription services. That means if Spotify wants to sell its premium subscription service — which usually costs $9.99 a month — through the App Store, it has to raise the price 30 percent higher to $12.99 to pull in the same revenue, while Apple can still offer Beats at a lower price. Spotify and many others in the music industry believe Apple’s App Store tax gives them an unfair advantage over the competition.

One unnamed music industry source said that Apple taking 30% was “**cking bullsh**” …  Read more

Apple Pay is coming soon to Las Vegas casinos

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Apple Pay continues its rollout across the US with a stop in Las Vegas. The Cosmopolitan resort has announced that Apple Pay will be accepted at the hotels’ front desk, restaurants and bars by early June. Room service can also be streamlined using Apple Pay, as the concierge service will also accept Apple Pay as a payment method. This means that you can pay with your iPhone or even your Apple Watch.

It’s unclear if you will be able to gamble directly with Apple Pay — most casinos limit chips purchasing to cash only transactions. Or if credit cards are accepted, the payments are marked as cash advances so there are no ways to turn quick money. It is not known if the establishment can or will support this kind of transaction through Apple Pay.

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Apple SVP Jeff Williams to speak at the Code Conference later this month

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Re/code regularly gets Apple executives to appear at its annual conferences and this year is no exception. The site announced that Apple’s Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams will speak at the Code Conference 2015, which runs May 26 to May 28th. Re/code’s speaker appearances typically take the form of an interview, so you can expect the executive to give some insight on Apple’s latest announcements (Apple Watch) although naturally major feature announcements will not be discussed. The WWDC keynote will serve as Apple’s platform to feature its newest advancements in iOS and OS X, which is held on June 8th.

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American Foundation for the Blind honors Apple for VoiceOver technology

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The American Foundation for the Blind today announced four honorees for the upcoming Helen Keller Achievement Awards, highlighting Apple’s VoiceOver and Accessibility efforts alongside actor Charlie Cox, musician Ward Marston, and biopharmaceutical company Vanda Pharmaceuticals.

The foundation says that it gives this award to “accomplished individuals and companies for their success in improving quality of life for people with vision loss either through groundbreaking innovation or inspirational achievement that changes perceptions about what it means to be visually impaired.”

Apple is specifically being awarded for VoiceOver Accessibility technology across its products, per the announcement:

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Report: Phablet market quadrupled in Q1 with iPhone 6 Plus grabbing 44% of the market

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So-called phablets just about quadrupled their marketshare during Q1 of this year thanks largely due to Apple’s first product in the category, the iPhone 6 Plus.

The data comes from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech and shows the phablet market grew to 21% in the first quarter this year, up from just 6% last year. The growth is mostly due to the iPhone 6 Plus, which grabbed 44% of the market during Q1. Read more

Olloclip unveils its lens accessory-compatible Ollocase for iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus

 

We mentioned earlier this year at CES that Olloclip had a redesigned version of its lens accessory-compatible protective case in the works for both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and today the company officially unveiled its all-new Ollocase. The Ollocase carries an affordable price tag with pre-orders kicking off today and comes in two matte color options. Read on for all the details… Read more

Apple announces major new bond sale to finance increases in capital return program

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At its last earnings call, Apple announced that it is expanding its capital return program by more than 50%. This means the company is now looking to repurchase over $140 billion worth of shares and a larger dividend for shareholders.

To fund this activity however, it is cheaper for the company to sell domestic company debt than repatriate its ever-increasing cash hoard that is ‘trapped’ overseas. Therefore, Apple has today announced it will issue a new 7-part bond to raise the funds.

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Top 6 essential smart home accessories (Video)

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There’s no denying that connected smart home accessories are on the rise. Apple’s HomeKit is slowly making an entrance into this space, but for the moment there are a wide variety of accessories available that can make your house a lot cooler. Today we’re taking a look at some of the essential options that have been around for a little while, but are definitely must-haves if you’re into the smart home scene. These devices may not be necessary, but they make things around the house more convenient… Read more