Apple’s 2015 MacBook Pro and Air models now at US retailers Amazon, Best Buy, MacMall, B&H and others

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Refreshed 2015 MacBook Air and Pro models are now available at major US retailers following their announcement at Apple’s Spring Forward event on March 9th.

Currently, Amazon has all of the new MacBook Air models in stock and ready to ship, from $899. The new MacBook Pro models are also listed on Amazon as well, although supply is currently more limited. 2014 versions are discounted.

B&H offers $5 off and no tax at the time of purchase outside of New York on the new MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros as well as a free copy of Parallels. 2014 versions are discounted.

MacMall also offers $5 off the new MacBook Airs and Pros and tax only in a few states. 2014 models discounted.

Meanwhile if you want to get your hands on one today, Best Buy offers free site to store on the new MacBook Pro/Airs which will have stock varied by location. 2014 models discounted.

If you want to save some real money, 2014 models are seeing deep discounts at 9to5toys. At the Apple Refurb store you can pick up some heavy discounts on previous models while extraordinary savings are available at B&H and Best Buy on 2014 models including a student deal that chops the 2014 models down to $750 .

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Final Apple Watch Companion app for iPhone interface revealed [Gallery]

Early this year, we posted the first screenshots and details of an early version of the Apple Watch Companion application for the iPhone. Now that the application is bundled into iOS 8.2, developer Hamza Sood has activated the Apple Watch Settings portion and has shared a view of screenshots. As can be seen in the full gallery below, the interface is dark black, like the Activity app for fitness revealed yesterday, and includes all of the functionality we detailed earlier. Some interesting new settings, however, were revealed today, such as one for assigning a left or right wrist to the Watch, Handoff support, Haptic Strength, and volume levels. The Apple Watch will be released on April 24th, with pre-orders beginning on April 10th.

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Review: Anker’s Ultra Slim Battery Case for iPhone 6 offers a surprising mix of thinness, power, and low pricing

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I’ve learned over the years that there’s no such thing as an Apple accessory that’s perfect for every user. A design optimized for budget-conscious users will often turn off people who are ready to spend more for something fancier, and vice-versa. The best a company can do is to design, execute, and price products well for a particular segment of the population. Anker specializes in this — it focuses on creating very good to great accessories for value-focused users.

Its new Ultra Slim Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($60 on Amazon) is another example of that formula. Unfancy but more polished than similarly budget-priced rivals such as uNu’s DX-6, it’s not the most powerful or beautiful iPhone 6 battery case I’ve tested, but it does precisely what most users want: it more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, doesn’t add much bulk to the device, and costs very little relative to most battery cases. Anker’s current $60 price tag would be competitive for an Apple-certified case on its own, but at press time actually includes this excellent, powerful six-port USB charger for free (use Amazon promo code FREE60W1). This bundle makes the Ultra Slim Battery Case the best overall value I’ve seen for iPhone 6 users, hands-down.

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Is Apple’s ‘Titan’ electric car project being operated by “SixtyEight” shell company in Sunnyvale?

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A report from AppleInsider claims Apple is using a shell company called SixtyEight Research and small office building in Sunnyvale, California to work on its secretive electric vehicle project. The report doesn’t definitively confirm that Apple is actually using the site for its car project, but it does discover some connections with Apple and points to recent automotive related renovations at the building: Read more

Microsoft plans to bring Siri competitor Cortana to iOS devices, with focus on predictive intelligence

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Microsoft is planning on making the next generation of its Siri competitor, Cortana, available on iOS and Android devices sometime after the fall, reports Reuters. The focus, says the company, will be on an intelligent assistant that predicts the help you need, rather than simply responding to user requests.

Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions.

Google has majored on this kind of proactive approach through its Google Now service, which aims to work out what you will want to know when, and Apple began implementing similar functionality into the Today view in Notification Center in iOS 7, but Microsoft believes that integrating everything into the digital assistant is the future …  Read more

Developer unlocks Activity app inside iOS 8.2, appears when an Apple Watch is paired to iPhone

Developer Hamza Sood has done some digging inside the public iOS 8.2 build that was distributed to users on Monday. Although the Apple Watch is included by default as stock app (undeletable, whether you like it or not), the OS also includes an Activity app. Although it was previously known that the app existed, Apple has not shared details about what features the app has or even how you installed onto your phone.

Sood claims that the Activity app automatically appears on your Home Screen, once an Apple Watch is paired to the iPhone. After setup of the Activity features on the Watch itself, the app unlocks.

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Upcoming biography reveals Steve Jobs turned down liver donation from Tim Cook, wanted to buy Yahoo, and more

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More details about the upcoming biography Becoming Steve Jobs have been revealed through the book’s preview on Amazon (which has since been cut down significantly), revealing several interesting tidbits about the Apple co-founder’s life that were previously unknown (via Cult of Mac).

One example is a story about an offer then-COO Tim Cook made to Jobs when the latter was battling cancer. Cook says that he discovered he shared a blood type with Jobs and decided to undergo numerous medical tests before offering to donate part of his liver to the executive.

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OSMO’s new iPad drawing Masterpiece app draws impressive reviews

What kind of parent are you if you don’t plunk down $80 for one of these OSMO things right now? I just got one. Amazon reviewers gave it an impressive 4.8/5 stars and it comes with 4 apps. The latest, Masterpiece for iPad [free, App Store] lets kids learn to draw by a type of tracing using the iPad camera illustrated in the excellent Sandwich video above.

After the kids are done you can send it all over the place or print it out. There is a nice video capture feature as well that replays the drawing which looks like it will pump up your kids for the next drawing.

The OSMO game system has three other games at present: Words, Newton and Tangram

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It looks pretty cool but I’ll see if I can corral my 6 year old into a review.

Press release follows: Read more

Top 15 hidden Force Click features on the new 2015 MacBook (Video)

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Apple’s 2015 MacBook and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro are both equipped with a new Force Touch trackpad that adds new features within certain apps on OS X. If you’re not familiar with Apple’s new Force Touch trackpad, it’s completely pressure sensitive and can detect a hard press from a soft press. With this, you now have the ability to Force Click (a click with a continued press) on specific items to perform different actions.

We’ve spent the last 24 hours searching through OS X on Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display to find all of the hidden Force Click features that Apple has yet to mention. There are a good amount of uses for Force Click, but these 15 happen to be our favorite…

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Apple adds App Store guidelines requiring devs obtain health research data consent, disclose Apple Pay policies, more

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Apple has added some new entries to its App Store Review Guidelines that developers must follow when developing and submitting apps for iOS devices. Among the new additions, Apple is requiring developers to obtain consent from users for health-related human subject research, obtain explicit authorization for downloading music and video from third-party sources, and disclose policies related to Apple Pay… Read more