Microsoft continues to target the MacBook Air w/ new Surface Pro 3 ‘Switch’ site

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Microsoft has never been shy about trying to convert MacBook Air users into Surface Pro 3 users. Despite being in a room filled with MacBooks, Microsoft targeted Apple’s laptop head-on at its initial Surface Pro 3 announcement event.

Now Microsoft is further highlighting the differences between the MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3 with a new online campaign (via ZDNet) intended to encourage Mac users to feel comfortable trying out Microsoft’s latest tablet.

Whether you’re considering Surface Pro 3 or have recently purchased one, we want to say thank you! We designed Surface Pro 3 to make you more productive in every aspect of your digital work and life. We’re truly humbled you’re here, and we’re excited to see what you do with your new Surface.

The recently launched microsite is the latest in a campaign largely led by ad spots (the latest holiday spot is almost pleasant) mocking the MacBook Air’s lack of touch screen, stylus, and more compared to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. Read more

Apple expands its social presence with new iTunes Tumblr blog

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In an interesting move, Apple has today launched a Tumblr blog for iTunes. The ‘blog’ runs a highly customized theme that more closely reflects Apple’s own website than a typical Tumblr page. The page features music, movies, TV and books content, with individual posts consisting of images, videos and animated GIFs of artists. Tumblr users can reblog these images on their own feeds, for social sharing. On a related note, iTunes also opened an official Instagram account earlier this month.

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Apple increases app prices in Russia in response to changing exchange rates

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Apple has today informed developers that it has changed the pricing of apps and In-App Purchases in the Russian App Store, following changes to exchange rates. The recent ruble-dollar rates have fluctuated so widely in recent weeks that Apple has been forced to take the Russian Apple Online Store down completely, as it reviews pricing for its products. 

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Gartner: iPhone sees growth while Samsung continues to slow, Apple to have record Q4

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Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.

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Philips brings its Pronto universal remote into the 21st century w/ iPhone app & Bluetooth-IR converter

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Touchscreen universal remotes have long been a popular way to turn a mass of button-covered remotes into a single, customizable unit, but these days the logical next step is to use the touchscreen device we already have – the iPhone. Harmony made the transition last year with the Ultimate Hub, and Philips is now following suit with the $50 Pronto Peel, going on sale in January.

Pronto, the latest device in connected home entertainment, together with the Peel Smart Remote app, turns your iPhone into a personalized universal remote control, completely changing the way viewers consume entertainment. Pronto allows you to control your entertainment devices, TVs, set-top boxes, DVDs and Blu-ray players, all from the iPhone already in your hand. Say goodbye to switching between standard remotes.

As with the Harmony Ultimate Hub, it works by turning wifi (Harmony) or Bluetooth (Pronto) signals from your iPhone into the correct infrared signals for your device …  Read more

T-Mobile teases a new uncarrier deal livestreaming tomorrow as it claims 50% faster LTE in NY

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T-Mobile has announced that it will be unveiling its latest contract-free deal in a livestreamed ‘fireside chat’ tomorrow, Un-carrier 8.0.

Un-carrier 8.0 is ready to roll, and you’re invited to join us for the unveiling of one of our biggest and boldest moves yet! This one is so big we had to keep it a surprise.

Join John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, as he unveils the news during a live fireside chat with David Pogue of Yahoo! News. David will be taking questions for John from Twitter through @JohnLegere and @Pogue and the #Uncarrier8 hashtag.

The company hasn’t hinted at any of the details, but we’ll of course let you know …  Read more

Apple releases iOS 8.2 beta 2 for developers

iOS 8.2 beta 2Apple has just released the second beta of iOS 8.2 to developers, for testing, as an over-the-air update.  The beta can also be downloaded from Apple’s developer site. iOS 8.2 includes WatchKit, so developers can create apps and Glances for Apple Watch. You can read about how such apps work with our previous coverage of the WatchKit APIs. Apple released the first beta of iOS 8.2 a few weeks ago.

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Apple TV adds revamped YouTube app (with ads), new channels from DailyMotion, UFC and more

Apple TV is receiving a flurry of new channels today. Most prominently is a brand new YouTube app, to bring the client up-to-date with some of the other platforms. The new app reflects the design of other set-top box clients, with easier access to subscriptions and search functions. For the security conscious, the YouTube app now uses OAuth to login rather than naive password entry (by visiting youtube.com/activate)

Unfortunately, this YouTube update also means that Apple TV users will start seeing ads for the first time on the platform. Naturally, some users will be disappointed by this addition — it is not possible to opt out of the update.

Aside from YouTube, Apple TV is also getting four entirely new channels from various providers. Rolling out today are channels for Conde Nast’s ‘The Scene’, ‘Fusion’, Dailymotion (a video upload site from France) and UFC for premium subscription fighting and martial arts content.

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