Review: Incipio’s steel-pinned Trestle case makes iPhone 6 Plus unbendable

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Finding supposedly major flaws in new Apple products has become an expected part of the early review process — it’s now assumed that there will be a new “-gate” every year, legitimate or not. For the iPhone 6 Plus, the issue was “Bendgate,” as early adopters found that the 7.1mm-thin metal phone could be warped if sat upon or flexed in strong hands. Citing only a small number of complaints, Apple deemed Bendgate a non-issue, and sources dismissed claims that Apple had tweaked the design after initial release to strengthen its internal structure. But Apple Stores also replaced bent units without complaint, so long as the damage was determined to be unintentional.

While Bendgate was overblown, there are real-world situations where the iPhone 6 Plus can be subjected to warp-causing stresses — particularly inside pants pockets when sitting down. So Incipio has developed a solution called Trestle ($40) to solve the problem. Sold in all-black, frost and black, or frost and pink versions, Trestle uses twin steel bars to radically reduce flex potential. After a week of testing, I can tell you that it definitely works.

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Review: Escali connected bathroom & kitchen scales make dieting smart and simple

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If there’s one thing almost as certain as death and taxes, it’s the gastronomic over-indulgences during the holidays and the consequent new year diet needed to undo the damage. In my particular case, a temporary drop in my main form of regular exercise–cycling–didn’t help matters.

But if there’s anything that can provide that added incentive to lose the holiday pounds, it’s an excuse to involve some gadgets. Two new connected scales from Escali seemed tailor-made for the job, automatically logging both weight and calorie-intake to an iPhone app, so I decided to put them to the test …  Read more

Apple apparently cutting back on the freebies, Single of the Week the latest casualty

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There was surprise expressed when Apple quietly dropped its annual 12 Days of Christmas promotion this past year, just one year after it first reached the US. The app provided a free digital gift–which could be a song, app, book, TV show or movie–for each of 12 days, starting on December 26th.

A number of our readers noticed that it has now apparently done the same with the Single of the Week, which has offered a free music track on iTunes every week since 2004. No track was offered last week, and a participant in a support communities thread spotted by Business Insider says he’s been told by an Apple employee that the promotion has been discontinued …  Read more

AllCast media streaming app makes it to iOS, works with Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, FireTV and more

The AllCast media streaming app–which allows photos, music and video to be beamed from a mobile device to an Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, FireTV and a range of smart TVs–has now made it to iOS, following the release of the Android app last month (shown in the above video). It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and is optimized for iPhone 5 and up.

The app works in a very similar way to the Chromecast stick–or, as the developer puts it, “no setup necessary, it just works like magic” …  Read more

Apple defends against EU 14-day refund abuse with App Store alert for customers with excessive refunds on file

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Last week, we reported on a flaw with the EU’s new no-questions-asked 14-day refund policy that meant customers could effectively get paid apps for free, as refunding the app does not delete it from customers’ devices.

In response, Apple has adjusted its App Store purchases slightly for customers who have an excessive number of refunds on file. This means people with a track record of refunding purchase effectively lose the right to refund their purchase.

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Text strings hint at Siri gaining support for Polish, Czech, and Slovak languages soon

A series of text strings discovered within iOS 8.1.2, and included on software versions dating back to at least iOS 8.1, suggest that Siri could soon receive expanded language support on iPhone and iPad. The localized strings provide translated references to how Siri would display things like settings toggles, restaurants and reservations, and sports information in Czech, Slovak, and Polish. Read more

British prime minister says he’ll ban encrypted chat apps if he can’t see your messages

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For several months we’ve followed the U.S. government’s attempts to work around encryption in chat apps, even taking the hyperbole to an illogical extreme at one point, but we haven’t yet seen similar threats from other nations… or at least, we hadn’t until today.

British prime minister David Cameron said today that unless the government is given backdoor access to encrypted messaging services, he’s just going to outlaw them:

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IDC: Q4 2014 PC growth better than expected, all-time high for Macs predicted

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Analysis firm IDC today put out its projected numbers for PC growth in Q4 of 2014, and these results are better than projected. IDC initially predicted that unit sales for PCs would fall 4.8% year-over-year in Q4, but, instead, the market only fell 2.4%. While the decrease in growth is not as weak as expected, IDC still notes that 2014 is the third consecutive year of slow-down in the PC market. Many analysts have attributed the lack of recent growth to the uptake in purchases and usage of both tablets and large-screen smartphones…

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Review: Olloclip’s Telephoto and Circular Polarizing Lens lets iPhone 6, 6 Plus users shoot 2X-magnified photos through glass

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Professional photographers rarely used iPhone cameras five years ago, but images produced by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are – under the right circumstances – indistinguishable from dedicated point-and-shoots. The one thing iPhones always lack is adjustable lenses, so Olloclip has been remedying that omission with accessories including the 4-in-1 Lens kits for iPhone 6/6 Plus (review) and iPhone 5/5s. At the 2015 CES, it debuted a second option for the iPhone 6/6 Plus called the Telephoto and Circular Polarizing Lens ($100), which is based upon but also different from the previously impressive version for the iPhone 5/5s.

Just like the 4-in-1 Lens, the Telephoto version offers big steps forward in functionality over the prior 5/5s model. It now features support for the iPhones’ front and rear cameras, uses a new clip-based housing, and includes a separate storage compartment for the polarizer. Read on for our full impressions.

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Details on Apple’s upcoming Lightning port specs for third-party accessories

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We previously told you that Apple will be licensing its female Lightning port to third-party accessoriesfollowing an announcement to Made for iPhone licensees late last year. Since then, the company has released specs for the Lightning port that details exactly what Apple hopes to achieve by opening it up to third-parties, including how it could improve accessories. Read more