Apple’s investment in Washington D.C. lobbying continues to rise

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While Apple may spend less than half that of Microsoft and a quarter that of Google on Washington D.C. lobbying, the company under Tim Cook is investing an increasing amount of its cash in its influence around the United States capital.

As Bloomberg reports, data from OpenSecrets.org puts Apple’s spending on Washington lobbyists from January through September last year at $2.9 million (a number which doesn’t include the last quarter of 2014) and almost $3.5 million during the full 2013 period. For perspective, Apple’s lobbyist spending only first reached $1 million annually in 2006, the year before the iPhone’s introduction and first crossed $2 million in 2011. Read more

Review: RAVPower’s Savior delivers 9000mAh of Apple-certified Lightning battery power at a great price

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RAVPower has done a great job of changing the traditional price-to-performance equation for Apple device chargers. Its two-, four-, and six-port wall chargers (reviewed here) are the best options I’ve seen at their price points, so it’s no shock that its Savior 9000mAh External Battery Pack (MSRP $100, street price $50) delivers great value, as well.

Equipped with wall blades for easy recharging, Savior combines a high-capacity 9000mAh battery with an Apple-certified Lightning cable, competing with similar accessories such as myCharge’s Hub 9000 — but for half the street price. Read on for why Savior is so easy to recommend, as well as details on the compromises it makes to keep its size and price down.

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LastPass password manager debuts on Mac w/ offline support, security check feature, more

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Smart password and security techniques are becoming increasingly important in our digital lives as new hacks seem to appear all the time, and having a unique and secure password (unlike these) helps ensure that your online identity is safe in the event of such a compromise.

LastPass, a cross platform secure digital vault app, is helping Mac users tackle the password management problem with the debut of its new Mac app. Previously only available for Mac as a browser extension and web portal, the new LastPass for Mac app brings new features to the desktop including quick search, security check, and more. Read more

Apple teases soon-to-open Apple Store in Hangzhou, China, with stunning mural

Update: Apple has posted a version of the video with English subtitles on YouTube (embedded above).

Apple is certainly not thinking small when it comes to China, with 25 new retail stores promised within a two-year period, and its latest soon-to-open store in Hangzhou features a massive mural covering the entire front of the store. The store is due to open on Saturday, January 24th, the second of five new stores Angela Ahrendts said would be opening by the Chinese New Year on February 19th.

Featuring a poem written around 2000 years ago celebrating the importance of the city—a provincial capital—the stunning calligraphy was hand-painted by Wang Dongling, a famous modern calligrapher. Apple has released a video of its creation …  Read more

Review: uNu’s DX-6 battery case more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, with Apple certification (Video)

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I’m always up for reconsidering the “best accessory” in a given category when something new arrives, and after every year’s CES, the “best iPhone battery case” tends to change thanks to new arrivals. But even though many new options were shown at CES this month, none impressed us enough to take the crown away from Incipio’s $80 offGRID Express (review).

uNu’s new DX-6 ($80 MSRP, street price $70) is the latest to arrive for testing, and despite the company’s strength with multi-device USB battery packs, its iPhone 6 battery case doesn’t stand out in any way except pricing. The pitch is simple: if you want an inexpensive, Apple-certified 3000mAh battery case, DX-6 is your option. But you’ll give up some frills to get it …

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Apple posts new aerial shot showing Campus 2 construction progress

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Following the last updated aerial shot of its under construction “Campus 2” earlier this month, Apple today shared a new shot that shows significant progress being made on the main structure and surrounding campus. As always, Apple shared the shot through the City of Cupertino’s webpage that provides traffic alerts and project updates for locals. Read more

Review: Truffol Station 5 USB Charger

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We all have a ton of gadgets these days that are charged by USB, from iPhones and iPads to things as diverse as cameras, scanners and GPS units. The challenge can be finding enough USB ports to keep up, which is why I resort to a powered USB hub. It’s plastic and not exactly pretty, hence my interest in a rather beautiful-looking product from Truffol–the company behind the reversible USB cable we looked at last year.

The Truffol Station 5 is not a USB hub: there’s no socket to connect it to a Mac. It’s designed for one purpose only, and that’s to charge up to five USB devices at once. It differs from most other such devices in two ways: form and function …  Read more

iOS developers share their earnings, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way

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If you write iOS apps and wonder how your earnings compare against those of other developers – or you have an idea for an app, and are wondering whether it’s worth pursuing – it can be tough to find any hard information. We hear occasional stories about hugely successful apps like Flappy Bird making hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, and we know there are some apps with literally zero downloads to their name, but what about the middle ground?

Jared Sinclair, developer of the RSS reader Unread, decided last year to share both his earnings from the app, and the lessons he’d learned along the way. It’s taken six months, but several other developers started the new year by following his example, with numbers and lessons shared for podcast player Overcast, graphical game Monument Valley and developer aid Dash …  Read more

Apple commemorates Martin Luther King on its homepage, encouraging employees to volunteer through gift matching

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.12.24Apple has updated its homepage today in commemoration of Martin Luther King, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has often noted as an inspiration for his work. Cook says he has pictures of Martin Luther King on his desk. However, this is the first time Apple has recognised Martin Luther King day (which happens on the third Monday of every January) so openly on its website. Read more