Google’s free photo editing app Snapseed 2.0 gets lens blur, layers, new UI, more

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Snapseed, the excellent free photo editing application, today received its first major update since Google purchased developer Nik Software back in 2012. Version 2.0 arrived in the App Store with a brand new user interface and a huge collection of new features, most notably including spot healing, lens blur effects, perspective transformation, and a non-destructive editing system that can copy edits from one image to another. The app remains universal across iOS devices, and now has a minimalist UI with Material Design influence.

While Apple’s Photos application improved considerably with the release of iOS 8, Snapseed’s unique ability to selectively fix small parts of photos — such as improving the brightness level of one dark face in an otherwise bright image — has kept it relevant as a key iOS photo editing tool for years. Snapseed 2.0 expands upon that feature, letting you apply filters and brushes selectively with a brush tool. You can also go into individual layers and make adjustments to changes that were previously applied during the editing process.

Snapseed 2.0 is available for free from the App Store now. Additional details are after the break…

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12-inch MacBook review roundup: The future of the notebook, but USB-C, keys and speed are issues

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We originally reported that Apple was preparing to release a redesigned 12-inch MacBook in January and the company made the device official during its Spring Forward event. The 12-inch MacBook doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow, April 10th, but reviews have already started pouring in today.

The all-new 12-inch MacBook has been completely redesigned and is the thinnest MacBook Apple offers. The laptop sports a 2304×1440 resolution display and is just 13.1mm thick at its thickest point. To get the laptop this thin, Apple made compromises and those compromises have made many potential buyers worry. The new MacBook only features a single USB-C port, with Apple encouraging users to use adapters to fulfill their other needs. Performance concerns also arose when benchmarks allegedly emerged from the laptop showing performance on-par with that of a 2011 MacBook Air. You can read our roundup of all the 12-inch MacBook reviews below:

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Mophie announces Space Packs for iPad mini, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, universal SpaceStation

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Continuing its line of combination battery cases and external storage solutions for iOS devices, Mophie today announced a collection of new accessories in the Space family: Space Pack for iPad mini ($200-$400), Space Pack for iPhone 6 ($150-$300), Space Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($150-$300), and SpaceStation ($150-$300). The three Space Packs combine iPad or iPhone-recharging battery cases with 32, 64, or 128GB of storage capacity, while SpaceStation offers the same three storage capacity choices with a standalone, device-agnostic USB battery pack. A free Space app lets you access movies, music, photos, and data that have been separately stored in the Space accessories by your computer, using an included USB cable.

Mophie’s batteries differ considerably between the devices. The iPhone 6 Space Pack has a 3,300mAh battery, which is said to provide a 100% recharge of the device, while the iPhone 6 Plus version has a smaller 2,600mAh battery that Mophie says will deliver a 50% recharge. An 8,000mAh battery in the more expensive iPad mini case promises a 100% recharge, and a 6,000mAh battery in SpaceStation is claimed to offer “3X extra battery” for unspecified devices — certainly smaller phones, rather than the iPhones and iPads supported by the other models.

All of the new Space Pack batteries are available for preorder now from Mophie’s web site, and will ship in May. The SpaceStation and lower-priced Space Packs for the iPhone 5/5s (16GB / 32GB / 64GB) are in stock now. Read more

Apple confirms Apple Watch orders are exclusively online for the launch period, expects demand to outstrip supply

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Leaked delivery details from Apple.com indicated supply would be constrained.

Update: A reader got a reply from Apple CEO Tim Cook about the situation. See below.

Apple has today posted a press release reaffirming that Apple Watch try-on sessions and preorders start tomorrow, Friday April 10th. It also confirms that Apple Watch orders will be exclusively online for the launch period.

Angela Ahrendts says that Apple expects demand to outstrip supply at launch on the back of tremendous interest from customers viewing watches online and in the Apple Store app. As such, this has forced the company to limit orders to online only for the time being.

“We are excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet. Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. “To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period.”

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Twitter now supports the iPhone’s gorgeous slow-motion videos

One of the stand-out features of the iPhone 5s was the 120fps slow-motion video, and the iPhone 6/Plus took this even further, allowing silky-smooth 240fps video at 720p. Sharing that video, however, isn’t always easy: many online services don’t recognize that the video is slo-mo, and play it instead at full speed.

There are clunky workarounds, but these are no longer needed for Twitter: upload slo-mo video from your iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus and it now plays at the correct speed …  Read more

Apple adds 10 new retailers to Apple Pay website, brings total to 68 merchants

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 11.04.29 PMApple this evening has added 10 new retailers to its Apple Pay site, bringing the total to 68 merchants highlighted on its website. Eddy Cue revealed earlier this year that Apple Pay was available in Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, and Apple has officially added the arena to its site tonight. Apple also officially added the Amway Center and US Airways Center to the site, although both have previously supported Apple Pay.

Apple previously said contactless payment terminals at over 700,000 locations total support Apple Pay in the US.

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Apple reportedly at odds with Disney over which channels will be included in upcoming TV service

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Reports regarding an Apple web-based TV service began to circulate in February of this year, with more details emerging last month. A new report from The Street now claims that Apple and Disney are currently in talks over what specific Disney-owned channels will be available on the service. It’s worth noting that Disney CEO Bob Iger is also on Apple’s Board.

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iOS 8.3 expands iPhone WiFi Calls to Sprint in the U.S., EE in the U.K.

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In addition to adding a slew of more diverse Emojis and several bug fixes, iOS 8.3 has expanded the iPhone’s WiFi calling feature to a pair of new carriers: Sprint in the United States and EE in the United Kingdom. WiFi calling allows a user to make calls over a WiFi network instead of over their standard cellular network. This feature comes in handy for users who live in homes or areas with poor cellular service or for those traveling abroad. WiFi calling first launched on the iPhone with T-Mobile last year in the U.S. WiFi calling requires newer iPhone models, ranging from the iPhone 5c to the iPhone 6 Plus. Users on supported carriers can activate WiFi calling via the Settings panel shown above. Sprint says international WiFi calling is free when calling from 200 different countries to a U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico number.

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Happy Hour Podcast 009 | Apple Watch preorder plans, new Apple TV talk. Is 4K important?

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Apple Watch preorders are approaching quickly, but will it be difficult to get your hands on one? Also, it looks like the upcoming Apple TV may lack an important future-proofing feature. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…

Click here to subscribe on iTunes or listen to the episode embedded above.

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