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

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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

Snapchat partners with Square, launches Snapcash for instantly sending money between users

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Snapchat today announced a new service, in partnership with mobile-payment service Square, dubbed Snapcash. The new feature allows Snapchat users to quickly and easily send payments to one another. Users can do so by simply swiping right to chat on the main screen in Snapchat and then entering a dollar amount. The money will go directly from one user’s bank account to another.

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CBS Radio News update adds CarPlay support with streaming news, local weather, and bug fixes

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CBS has updated its Radio News application with support for Apple’s CarPlay interface. The new UI allows users to browse and play the network’s library of on-demand shows such as the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes. Users will also find that the Now Playing screen presents them with their local weather conditions.

Also included in the new update is a set of bug fixes for issues such as two audio tracks playing back at once for some users. There is also a new introduction screen that walks users through the functions of the app. CBS News also rolled out a channel for the Apple TV earlier today.

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Any.do gets a massive update to version 2.0 with a focus on collaboration

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Any.do, the popular to-do list management application for iOS, has received a huge update to version 2.0, which introduces a new focus on collaboration among teams and families. All of the app’s previous functions still work the way they did in previous versions, so existing users won’t need to re-learn anything, but those who want better support for groups and sharing will find a lot of useful enhancements in this update.

A new chat function allows members of a project to talk with each other, share files from Dropbox, add and remove group members, and more. Shared lists and tasks make it easy to quickly assign work, update the group’s progress, or just add something to a shared grocery list.

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Microsoft outs upcoming fitness ‘Band’ with premature Mac and iPhone app releases (updated)

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Update: Microsoft has now announced the Microsoft Band, a $199 fitness band that does everything described below. It goes on sale Thursday.

Microsoft hasn’t officially announced its wearable device, but it seems the company has accidentally published its desktop syncing client to the Mac App Store early. Whoops. The device is called the Microsoft Band (possibly Lumia Band, according to some currently non-functional support URLs) and sports a 310 x 102 resolution display.

The Microsoft privacy policy for the app lists some of the Band’s features: “Microsoft Band sensors help you keep track of things like your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and sleep.” Links in the document claiming to lead to a page with additional data, such as a list of sensors, currently lead to a 404 page.

Other key feature include the ability to get phone notifications on the Band, create reminders using Cortana, and more:

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Microsoft OneNote for iPhone and iPad updated with iOS 8 support, iPhone 6 design, and more

Microsoft has pushed out updates for its OneNote client on both iPhone and iPad, adding support for new features added in iOS 8 and a design that’s optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Users can now password protect sections of documents directly from mobile devices (a feature that used to require a Windows PC). Those with an iPhone 5s or newer will also find that they can now unlock password-protected sections of documents using Touch ID. That feature isn’t mentioned in the iPad change log, so users on the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 might need to wait for a future update to enable it.

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Phone 2 Go app brings Time Warner Cable home phone service to mobile devices for no additional cost

Time Warner Cable today announced a new smartphone app that will let its customers use their home phone service on mobile devices for no additional fees. That means that users with a Time Warner Cable home phone service, which starts at $10/month, can now text and call through the new Phone 2 Go app on smartphones and tablets. The service requires a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection and will also work for international calling and texting: Read more