The best iPhone/iPad USB flash drives with Lightning connectors

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There are now several companies selling USB thumb drives for iPhone and iPad since the first ones with built-in Lightning connectors debuted late last year. By connecting a small and lightweight thumb drive directly to your iOS device, you can avoid limitations of onboard storage and cloud services and instead store and stream media like music, video, and photos using the drive’s additional storage.

A few things to consider when searching for the right Lightning drive: some have a battery that requires charging, companion apps for managing and streaming content from an iOS device vary in quality, and I found some have designs that make using the drives and your iOS device at the same time easier than others. Lastly, pricing varies quite a bit based on the the options below with drives ranging from 8GB to 256GB and other options offering bring-your-own storage using a micro SD card slot. Read more

You can now compare Apple Watch 38mm and 42mm actual sizes right on your iPhone

Apple Watch Space Black Stainless Steel

Apple Watch Space Black Stainless Steel, 38mm & 42mm

When the Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order on April 10th next month, customers will have to decide between two different sizes: 38mm and 42mm. Deciding between the two sizes may be difficult if you want to buy one before they begin shipping on April 24th, so the Watch will go on display at Apple Stores two weeks ahead of its launch.

You might not be able to visit a crowded Apple Store just to make that decision, and Apple (mostly) has that covered too. Buried inside the Apple Store app for iPhone is an actual size comparison for each case size. The mockup shows the casing of the Apple Watch with the home screen icons displayed, and you can tap to toggle between the smaller and larger cases. Read more

Apple asks some Apple Watch developers to hold announcements until after event

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Apple has asked developers who attended secretive Apple Watch app development workshops in Cupertino across January and February to hold off on announcing their applications, according to multiple high-profile developers. These people say that Apple has asked developers to not provide in-depth details, revealing screenshots and videos, or launch information about their applications until after the event at the very least. In some cases, Apple has even asked developers to wait until late March or early April to announce their applications…

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VLC for iOS back on the App Store, OS X app updated alongside massive cross-platform release

VideoLAN - Official page for VLC media player, the Open Source video framework! 2015-02-27 09-32-14

VideoLAN has today launched several updates to VLC across its apps on iOS, Android, OS X, and every other platform where the app is available, marking the first time that the company has pushed such a massive coordinated release and the re-release of the iOS app. The new versions (with the main app numbered 2.2.0), include several features across the various platforms, and VLC says it took more than a year of volunteer work to put them together…

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Apple reverses decision barring marijuana apps from the App Store, now requires location-based restrictions

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Apple has apparently been revising its app review strategy this week and has decided to reverse a previous decision that banned MassRoots, a marijuana-centric social app, from its software storefront. The application was booted from the App Store late last year (though it lasted much longer on the store than some other apps).

According to App Store guideline 2.18:

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Sling TV streaming service opens to the public, announces upcoming availability of AMC Networks content

Dish Network-owned streaming service Sling TV announced today that it will finally allow the general public to sign up and watch live TV from a variety of networks from a Mac or iOS device (through the free Sling Television app), along with several other devices.

Sling TV offers plans starting at $20 (with $5 add-ons available for some networks) that includes streaming and video-on-demand viewing options for live TV networks that usually require a pricey cable subscription, such as ESPN, TNT, Disney, TBS, CNN, and many more.

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Apple airs new ad for the holidays: ‘The Song’

Continuing its ‘From one gift come many’ campaign, Apple has published a new commercial entitled ‘The Song’. The ad depicts a young woman listening to a song on a record player, from her youth. The girl then learns the tune using their guitar, recording the tune on a Mac.

The girl then leaves an iPad preloaded with the same song for an older relation, her grandmother, provoking the same emotions of her childhood and memories. The ad concludes with a Happy Holidays message from the company. Apple describes the ad with the following prelude on its website:

Some gifts create a million more. Watch as one budding musician uses Mac and GarageBand to make a heartfelt song for her grandmother.

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Robinhood launches on App Store, brings zero-commission stock trading to the masses

Robinhood App

For several years, my grandmother has encouraged me to get involved with the stock market. While she was successful at persuading my older brother into investing in penny stocks, I have never taken the initiative to learn how the stock market truly works. For that reason, I was excited when I heard about a brand new app called Robinhood, which provides zero-commission stock trading at your fingertips.

While online brokers are nothing new, with existing firms such as Interactive Brokers and E-Trade, Robinhood is a mobile-first service that doesn’t require a desktop. Whether you are a twenty-something college student that doesn’t fully understand how the stock market functions, an experienced Wall Street stock trader, or fall somewhere in between, the app makes stock trading easier for the masses. Read more