Review: Truffol’s Intelli Classic iPhone 6 leather wallet case features RFID card protection

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Contactless credit and debit cards are only just starting to take off in the USA, but with Apple Pay driving merchants to introduce contactless payment terminals, you are increasingly likely to find that RFID symbol on your bank cards when you receive replacements.

We’ve had contactless cards in Europe for a few years now, and they’re even more convenient than Apple Pay for low-value transactions. For anything up to £30 ($46), you don’t need to verify the transaction in any way: just tap your card against the terminal. You can even do this without taking the card out of your wallet. (Bank guarantees protect you against fraudulent transactions.)

Convenient, that is, unless you have more than one contactless card in your wallet. This can either lead to the wrong card being debited or, more usually, cause the transaction to fail. Truffol has come up with an iPhone 6 wallet case specifically designed to solve this problem …  Read more

Review: A-Audio’s Icon over-ear headphones pack Bluetooth and active noise cancellation in a premium package

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These days, it seems like there is an endless variety of headphones to choose from. With new models popping up on a weekly basis, it’s hard to sort through the crowd to find the ones that fit you best. When it comes to active noise cancellation this elite selection thins out a bit, but there are only a handful that fall into the same category as A-Audio’s Icon over-ear headphones.

From a functionality perspective, these headphones give you everything but the kitchen sink. They can be used wirelessly via Bluetooth with active noise cancellation, in passive (wired) mode, and even feature dual sound profiles. Along with that, they include a wide variety of accessories that offer more than enough for any situation…

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Photoshop celebrates 25th anniversary today of app originally created on a Macintosh Plus

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Adobe is today celebrating the 25th anniversary of Photoshop, which first launched as a Mac-only app on 19th February 1990.

What went on to become the industry standard image editing app started life in 1987, when Thomas Knoll, a computer vision doctorate student at the University of Michigan, began developing it on his Mac Plus. Known then as Display, the app was designed to do nothing more than display grayscale images on the Macintosh’s black-and-white monitor. As Adobe showcases in the video below, the app has come rather a long way since then …  Read more

Apple Pay top payment method in Staples iOS app, says company, with 30% of sales

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Staples has revealed that Apple Pay is now the most popular form of payment in its iOS app, used for 30% of purchases made using the app. Apple Pay also appears to have driven new sales, with almost two-thirds of those transactions being from first-time Stapes customers, reveals FierceMobileIT.

“Apple Pay has been one of the most successful implementations when it comes to payments. […] Right now it’s the number one payment method for us in our iOS apps,” said Prat Vemana, vice president of mobile commerce for Staples.

Vemana also revealed that while Staples has both iOS and Android apps, with usage split pretty evenly between the two, Apple owners are more profitable, generating 70% of mobile purchases …  Read more

IDC: Xiaomi’s growth tops Samsung in China, but Apple is making a dent too

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According to the latest numbers from IDC, Xiaomi—the rising star of the smartphone industry—has managed to pass up Samsung in China. In 2013, Xiaomi trailed Samsung’s almost 19% market share by a solid 13 percentage points (at just 5.3%), and was only the 5th largest maker of smartphones in China. Things changed in 2014. Last year, Xiaomi finished off with 12.5% of the market, almost a half-point more than Samsung at 12.1%, taking the top spot and passing not just Samsung, but Lenovo, Huawei, and Coolpad as well.

Interestingly, though, the latest numbers also show that Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus contributed to a decent size dent in both Samsung and Xiaomi’s market footprint in Q4 of last year. Read more

Apple granted patent for Google Cardboard/Samsung-Oculus style VR headset for iPhone

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Apple is about to go head-to-head with Google on smartwatches and also encroaching on Google’s territory with research into electric and possibly autonomous vehicles, but what about virtual reality? Today we get a look at yet another area in which Apple might compete with Google as the US Patent and Trademark office grants a patent to Apple for a Google Cardboard/Samsung-Oculus style VR headset for iPhone (via PatentlyApple). Read more

Review: Pad & Quill’s Bella Fino wallet case for iPhone 6/Plus combines beauty & protection

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I’m generally a minimalist where iPhone cases are concerned, preferring either the naked phone or a very slim case like the Mujjo wallet case that is my daily driver. But Pad & Quill’s leather cases are so gorgeous, it’s hard to resist trying out something a little more substantial.

The Pad & Quill Bella Fino is a pocket book style leather wallet case available for both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Designed for use in a jacket pocket, it combines all-round protection for the phone with slots for either four (iPhone 6) or five (iPhone 6 Plus) cards, plus a slot for bills …  Read more

The New Yorker profiles Jony Ive: details meeting Jobs, iPhone 6, Apple Watch, cars and more

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The New Yorker has published an extensive profile on Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. Many newspapers have written up articles on Ive in recent years, but this latest account by Ian Parker is by far the most detailed and (arguably) the most interesting, revealing new anecdotes and tidbits on Apple’s latest products in the process.

The story tracks how Jony arrived at Apple back in the late 90’s, how his relationship with Jobs developed over that period, and how he is adapting to ‘leading’ design in post-Jobs Apple. The piece includes some new details about how the Watch project and the newest iPhones formed, as well as incorporating quotes from Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, and others.

Read on for some select excerpts from The New Yorker’s story.

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Mattel plans to release its new Google Cardboard-based VR toy on iOS by end of the year

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Google and Mattel are holding a press event today to announce a new product that merges Google’s experimental Cardboard virtual reality platform with Mattel’s classic View-Master toy. Also announced at the event: Mattel plans to bring the new View-Master toy and with it Google’s Cardboard platform to the iPhone by the end of the year. Read more

Popular automation app Workflow updated w/ over 50 actions, new features, more

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Leveraging the power of iOS 8 extensions and new system customization options, Workflow debuted on the iPhone and iPad last year bringing a powerful automation app to users. Today the team behind Workflow is releasing version 1.1, which adds support for over 5o new actions in addition to including new features and updating some existing actions. Check out the latest from Workflow for iOS below: Read more

Review: Hyper’s new Pearl is a compact, LED-lit mirror that can fully recharge the iPhone 6

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It’s not easy to create a legitimately novel accessory these days, and it’s even harder to sail smoothly through a crowdfunding campaign to bring one to market. Sanho — better-known as Hyper thanks to a popular line of battery products — spent much of 2014 preparing to release a female-friendly combination compact mirror and USB battery pack, using both Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise funds for its production. After making a public splash at the 2015 CES alongside the new (and world’s smallest) laser pointer iPin, the mirror-battery Pearl ($39) is now shipping to customers through Indiegogo’s InDemand service.

The result — a 3.6″-diameter circular double mirror with a 3000mAh battery underneath — has been finished with silver, gold, or red glossy metallic exterior paint, and a white LED light ring inside. In short, it’s an elegant and welcome option for female iPhone users, delivering a combination of solid build quality and good value for the price.

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Apple threatens to ban iPhone, iPad accessory makers that design based on leaks

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Apple is working to step up the secrecy surrounding future iPhone and iPad models by targeting a frequent source of leaks: third-party accessory makers. 9to5Mac has learned that in fall 2014, just before the iPhone 6 launched, Apple demanded that a number of leading accessory makers sign agreements barring them from seeking out information about future Apple devices, according to four sources with first-hand knowledge of the matter.

On one hand, the agreement dangled the loss of “future business opportunities that Apple and/or its affiliates may present to you” as a potential consequence of violating or not signing the agreement. On the other hand, signing and following it could lead to months-long delays in making accessories like cases available, during the time of year when those cases were most needed and demanded by customers. Read more