OS X Mavericks allows for offline dictation and live feedback [Video]

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Digging through the System Preferences on the new OS X Mavericks, we’ve found a couple of Dictation features that are bound to make many users happy. With the check of a box and a 785 MB download, “Enhanced Dictation” makes it possible to speak your words without requiring an Internet connection. In addition, you can get live feedback. With live feedback, you can see what Dictation is interpreting before you press the enter key.

It doesn’t seem that the feature works in this beta… yet. Since it’s already built into the OS, they may set up the downloads before the next beta hits.

New Update: Enhanced Dictation can now be downloaded and installed. Of note, live feedback works even when you’re offline and seems to be working perfectly. The screen recording below was taken with the new Enhanced Dictation (Dictation didn’t like when I said “yet”).

Synology launches new 8-bay DS1813+ NAS with 4 GbE ports for $1099

If you’re fed up with Time Capsule and looking for a reliable, feature-filled NAS solution that also packs in some killer iOS companion apps and AirPlay support, we’re huge fans of Diskstation NAS Enclosures from Synology. We’ve reviewed the Synology NAS experience in the past, such as the two bay SD212 Diskstation, but today the company has announced its latest 8-bay unit with the launch of the new “DS1813+” model.

The new unit is similar to the 5 bay DS1513+ model it launched earlier this month, features the same screwless drive bays supporting 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives, but also includes four GbE ports and speeds up to 350 MBps reads and 200 MBps writes. On top of some nice iOS, web, and Android apps for managing all of your content, Synology also offers apps for printer sharing, VPN server, ERP software, mail server, web server, anti-virus, and network video surveillance built-in.  Read more

ZAGG announces huge Memorial Day sale: 20% – 50% off site wide including invisibleSHIELD, iPad keyboards & more

Zagg-Memorial-Day-Sale

From 9to5Toys.com:

Anyone familiar with Zagg, and with 9to5, knows the company offers more than a few high quality Apple accessories worth taking a look at. Not only will you get some of the best gear for iOS devices on the market, starting today you’ll also be able to get up to 50% off on select items as well as additional savings for other highly recommended accessories.

ZAGG is currently offering 20%-50% off site wide including 20% off its top of the line iPad keyboards and 50% off all invisibleSHIELDS, cases, cables, audio products, and stylus pens. 

We’ve reviewed and enjoyed a number of Zagg products that remain high on our list of recommended iPad keyboards, charging accessories, and protective covers. Below are just a few of our reviews for Zagg products that you simply can’t go wrong with:

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Apple cuts prices again on refurbished iPads

From 9to5Toys.com:

Apple this morning dropped prices across the board on iPads in its refurbished section of the online Apple Store as noted by MacRumors. We’ve recently seen quite a bit of iPad price reductions at 9to5Toys, some even steeper than this. For instance, Walmart has a new iPad mini for $80 off and refurb iPad Mini 16GB for $250. The new Apple Store prices:

iPad mini

- 16 GB Wi-Fi: $279, down from $299 previously and $329 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi: $359, down from $389 previously and $429 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi: $439, down from $489 previously and $529 brand-new

- 16 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $389, down from $429 previously and $459 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $469, down from $519 previously and $559 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $549, down from $619 previously and $659 brand-new

Fourth-generation iPad

- 16 GB Wi-Fi: $419, down from $449 previously and $499 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi: $499, down from $549 previously and $599 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi: $579, down from $649 previously and $699 brand-new

- 16 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $529, down from $579 previously and $629 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $609, down from $679 previously and $729 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $689, down from $779 previously and $829 brand-new

Good news for those interested in displays too: Thunderbolt and Cinema Displays are down to $799 (a $30 drop).You know what this usually means…

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Hackers release modified T-Mobile carrier update file to amplify iPhone 5 cellular speeds (jailbreak unnecessary)

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Just prior to the official launch of the iPhone, T-Mobile issued a carrier update to enable LTE, improve battery performance and add Visual Voicemail support .  The only problem is that some users were reporting slower speeds after the update.  TmoNews reports that two well known cellular programmers, @joe012594 & @cooldayr2, have successfully modified the carrier update to “increase the amount of bandwidth allowing for better throughput of data and data connection.”  That means you should be able to download apps quicker, browse the web faster and have a better overall experience on your T-Mobile iPhone after applying the patched carrier update.

Before and after speed comparison (via TmoNews):

AWSspeedtestbeforeafter

The update does not require your iPhone to be jailbroken, preface by the coders and instructions for the hack are below.  As always, please be sure to do a full backup of your iPhone prior to modding it in any way.
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OtterBox releases iPhone Defender Series battery backup case w/ intelligent power management app

otterbox_iPhone_defender_case
From 9to5Toys.com:

Otterbox has just released the iPhone 4/4S Defender Series case with iON Intelligence.  In addition to the rugged protection you’ve come to expect from OtterBox, this case also features a backup battery and intelligent power management app.  According to Otterbox, “The iON intelligence software is an app that estimates battery power and predicts battery time remaining by monitoring device usage habits.”

This hardware and software combo enables iPhone users to continually use their devices without worrying about battery life.  The case eliminates the typically frustrations of battery case owners by “clearly displaying the power status for both the case and device and intelligently predicts when the phone battery will run out.”  The Defender Series with iON Intelligence iPhone 4/4S case is available now with a retail price of $130, but for a limited time you can save 15%  with coupon code “AM2012″ bringing the price down to $110.50.

And yes, we’re told an iPhone 5 version is in the works. More images and full press release follows:

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iPhone 4 owners begin receiving their $15 ‘Antennagate’ settlement checks from Apple

Check-iphone-4-settlement.

Payday has come for some of the first responders to the iPhone 4 class action lawsuit.  Last February a settlement was reached that granted iPhone 4 owners who had not previously received a free bumper for their “defective” iPhones a $15 payout.  Several of our readers are now reporting that they received their settlement checks today.  The first checks were issued on April 17 2013 and are void after July 16th.  Unfortunately the deadline for submitting a claim has passed so if you missed out the first time around it seems you are out of luck.

In case you forgot, the settlement found:

Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4–particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”

Apple paid out a total of $53 million in the settlement, which was lawyers took a hefty $16M chunk.

Get Mac Blu-ray Player, Snapz Pro, Disk Tools, CrossOver, Paperless OCR, Gemini de-duper, more: $9

From 9to5Toys.com:

We covered this earlier this week when it was under $7 but it bears repeating as the price is still under $10.

Usually, these ‘name your own price’ bundles are full of duds but this one is pretty impressive. You get Mac Blu-ray Player, Snapz Pro, Disk Tools, CrossOver, Paperless OCR, Gemini de-duper, MusicTube and more. There is a catch though. It isn’t really “name your own price”, it is pay a bit more than the last folks did. The good news is that it is currently under $9.17. The bad news is that the more people that buy, the higher the price goes, so get in quick. Read more

Tips: Use little-known gestures to arrange photos and shapes in iOS Pages

photo

Although the touch-centric UI makes getting to grips with Pages for iOS straightforward, the interface does not appear well-suited to precise positioning of objects, which is necessary in more complicated documents. Luckily, Apple’s iWork suite extends the default iOS set of gestures to provide options for finer-grained control. Learning these more-obscure techniques makes doing ‘real work’ with Pages for iOS an enjoyable experience, rather than an annoyance.

Nudging objects

The natural way to position an object with an iPhone or iPad is to drag it, but this method is not really suitable when doing pixel-accurate alignments. With Pages for Mac, you can achieve one-pixel ‘nudges’ with the arrow keys. To do a nudge on a keyboard-less iOS device, you have to use a special two-finger gesture. Start by placing one finger on the photo you want to nudge to select it. Then, swipe in any direction outside of the photo’s bounds with another finger, to move the object in the respective direction. Add on another ‘swiping finger’ to shift by 10 pixels, rather than single pixels, at a time.

Locked movement

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Get Mac Blu-ray Player, Snapz Pro, Disk Tools, CrossOver, Paperless OCR, Gemini de-duper, more: $7

From 9to5Toys.com:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 6.54.47 AM.

Usually, these ‘name your own price’ bundles are full of duds but this one is pretty impressive. You get Mac Blu-ray Player, Snapz Pro, Disk Tools, CrossOver, Paperless OCR, Gemini de-duper, MusicTube and more. There is a catch though. It isn’t really “name your own price”, it is pay a bit more than the last folks did. The good news is that it is currently under $7. The bad news is that the more people that buy, the higher the price goes, so get in quick.

Update (9:50 ET) : It just went over $7… Read more

Did Apple shut down its Refurbished Outlet on eBay?

Apple’s eBay refurbished items store looks like it is closed for business (via Daily-Deals). All items were taken offline Saturday evening, and the store remains empty as of early Monday morning.

We reported in November that a representative of eBay told us Apple was running the store, possibly through intermediaries. An eBay spokesperson declined to refute the information at the time. An Apple spokesperson also declined to comment.

The store gained added attention because of the requirement that tax only be paid immediately in a few states, as well as PayPal payment options, and that it sometimes offered prices lower than the official Apple Store on Apple refurbished items.

We’ll miss you Apple eBay Store, but remember you can always find the best prices on Apple products on our product pages or on 9to5Toys.com.