Hands-on: WatchPlate’s rose gold treatment transforms steel Apple Watch + Classic Buckle & Sport band [Gallery]

Apple Watch WatchPlate rose gold

Nope, I haven’t caved to temptation and bought a $10,000 gold Apple Watch (waiting for gen-2…kidding!) … that’s a $549 stainless steel Apple Watch that met WatchPlate’s plating service to create a rose gold version with stunning resemblance to the Apple Watch Edition.

Last month we unboxed the first 42mm Apple Watch “3rd-party gold-plated edition” with Link Bracelet, a yellow gold version that looks like the ones only celebrities like Beyonce have, and today we’re taking a look at WatchPlate’s rose gold plating on a 38mm Apple Watch with Classic Buckle and Sport band. Check out our hands-on photos below: Read more

Happy Hour Podcast 020 | Apple Music launch details, new iOS 9/OS X betas, and Apple Watch 2 features

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Apple Music is almost here and it looks like Taylor Swift had a thing or two to say about it. Along with that, we have some exclusive details on Apple Watch 2 and an overview of the new iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, and watchOS 2.0 betas. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

This week we’re very excited to podcast with Brian from Pad & Quill and talk a little bit about some of the excellent accessories they make. Be sure to check out padandquill.com to view their products.

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The best Mac desk, chair, decor, and peripherals for your home office

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Like Apple Watches, home offices are “personal” — the look and furniture that work well for one person might not seem “right” to another. But the unified metal and glass aesthetic of Apple products works really well with modern office furniture, and there are also some iconic decor items Apple lovers can incorporate into a home office.

I spend a lot of time working from my home office, and have considered it a work in progress ever since I started building it around an aluminum PowerBook many years ago. Below, you’ll find a collection of items that will help you build a beautiful, practical home office that really spotlights your Apple gear, based on a mix of affordable and small investment-worthy choices…

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Kenwood’s first aftermarket CarPlay units now shipping, priced at $900 and $950

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We first saw Kenwood’s aftermarket CarPlay units at CES in January, and the company has now announced pricing as the two models start shipping to dealers. The catchily-named DDX9702S and DDX9902S retail at $900 and $950 respectively (but on Amazon for $750), and support Android Auto as well as CarPlay. Only the 9702S was on Kenwood’s website at the time of writing.

The two double-DIN DDX units are designed to be the center of a vehicle’s entertainment and information system. A large, 6.95-inch resistive touch display puts navigation, back-up camera view (camera required, sold separately), and a wealth of audio / video entertainment options at the driver’s fingertips. Each is equipped with Bluetooth technology to enable handsfree phone conversations as well as playback of streaming media from a Bluetooth-enabled phone or media device.

You also get built-in HD radio, HDMI input, DVD playback and support for Sirius satellite radio …  Read more

Review: Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro is a dream for media professionals and creators (Video)

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It would be silly to say that Apple’s latest iteration of the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display is the best MacBook yet, because that’s mostly the truth with every new model. Unfortunately, you won’t find a shiny new processor setup this time around, as Apple stuck with the trusty old Haswell configuration, but there are some nice improvements here.

The good news is, there’s a bump in clock speed across the board if that matters to you and we have a new GPU setup thanks to AMD in the high-end model. Even with these modest upgrades, the MacBook Pro I purchased is a beast for content creation…

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UK Apple Pay won’t require PIN but £20 contactless transaction limit does apply … for now

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Apple Pay is going international starting with the United Kingdom next month. The precise nature of how Apple Pay will work in the UK has been murky, with banks saying different things. Apple has now posted a FAQ to explain the situation.

Apple Pay will work with any current contactless reader. By default, it uses the same technology as other UK contactless cards. This means that performing an Apple Pay purchase will not require a PIN (as is standard with UK Chip and PIN payments). However, the usual £20 limit on contactless transactions does apply … for the time being. When Apple Pay launches in July, almost all merchants will only allow Apple Pay purchases up to £20 …

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Report: 20,000 indies likely on board Apple Music as Beggars Group & Merlin sign up (hello Adele?)

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Apple’s decision to reverse course and pay royalties to artists during the three-month free trial of Apple Music appears to have persuaded indie labels to sign up to the service. Billboard reports that Beggars Group – which owns 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade – has signed, and Merlin, which represents 20,000 indie labels and distributors, has recommended the deal to its members.

Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard.

The biggest name represented by Merlin is Adele. While most of Merlin’s members are likely to sign following the company’s endorsement, Adele of course has the clout to make her own decision, so it’s not yet certain that she will come on board …  Read more

VP Lisa Jackson promoted to oversee all of Apple’s environmental, political, and social affairs

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Apple today has updated the biography of Lisa Jackson on its executive leadership webpage, noting that she is now Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. Previously, Jackson was the VP of Environmental Initiatives only. The promotion will allow Jackson to take over leadership of all governmental affairs and public policy teams, according to Apple.

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Apple takes top Outdoor Lions prize at Cannes Festival for its Shot on iPhone campaign

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Apple first launched its Shot on iPhone 6 ad campaign earlier this year to showcase photographs taken by users with their iPhone. The shots were shown in Apple’s World Gallery and were taken from various areas around the world. Now, Apple’s World Gallery campaign has taken the top prize in the Outdoor Lions category at the Cannes Grand Prix festival. The World Gallery images were shown off on billboards around the world. 

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Opinion: Apple’s App Store needs to join the Confederate flag boycott

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Apple’s App Store should join Amazon, eBay, Walmart and others in boycotting the Confederate Flag

[Update 6/25/15: Apple has begun removing apps that “use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways” without removing apps with “educational or historical uses”.]

Apple’s Tim Cook added his voice to the chorus of CEOs speaking against displaying the Confederate Flag on Sunday, indirectly referencing it as a symbol for racism. In a tweet, Cook called to honor the lives of the victims in last week’s tragic South Carolina shooting by “eradicating racism & removing the symbols & words that feed it.” An Alabama native like myself, Cook has been a strong proponent for equality during his tenure as CEO, often speaking out against the South’s tarnished history and the changes we still need to address.

With major physical and online retailers including Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy now publicly supporting the boycott against the Confederate flag by removing merchandise that displays it, I believe it’s time for Tim Cook’s Apple to join the campaign by removing digital goods that display the Confederate flag on the App Store. Read more