New in iOS 7.1: Big iPhone 4 performance improvements, better navigation audio, and more [Videos]

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Apple launched iOS 7.1 this morning after what seemed like an eternity in beta, making the first major update to the mobile OS since it was redesigned last year. Included in the update are several key features such as CarPlay, but also a collection of smaller tweaks and improvements that make system more convenient.

Among those features are two very important ones that haven’t really gotten enough press: huge performance improvements on the iPhone 4 and something called “HFP prompts” in the Maps application…

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Synology gets even better w/ version 5.0: Why every Mac & iOS user should have a DiskStation

I’ll admit, I’ve never felt the need to purchase network-attached-storage (NAS) hardware for storing and accessing my media or backing up my files. These days most of my content, from photos and movies to back ups of important files for work, are already stored in the cloud. My photos are (supposed to) auto backup to Photostream in iCloud, iTunes has all of my music downloadable from all my devices from the cloud, and any important files and everything else go directly to Dropbox or Google Drive. Around 90% of my content is already stored and accessible from anywhere in the cloud.

That being said, for the last year or so I’ve been hearing more and more about Synology DiskStation products. Coworkers can’t stop talking about them, and the products have received a lot of praise from many other reviewers as well.

I’ve been putting the Synology DiskStation hardware and brand new DiskStation Manager 5.0 software to the test in recent months to see if I could really benefit from a NAS solution despite all my content already being on the cloud and backed up. With today marking the release of 5.0, the company’s biggest software update yet, I thought now would be as good a time as any to share my experience.  Read more

Retail section of Apple.com updated with new design inspired by iOS 7

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Apple quietly updated the retail section of its website today with a new look that more closely resembles iOS 7. Where the previous version of these pages used content boxes, borders, textured backgrounds, and gradients, the new page instead utilizes ample whitespace and thinner typefaces.

The change is probably best illustrated on the section’s home page, where images previously constrained by content boxes now fill the entire page. On the “Learn” page, buttons with heavy gradients have been replaced by thinly-outlined, lighter versions of the previous design. Gradient-filled headers have disappeared from every page, now replaced by unadorned text.

Oddly, the “Make a Reservation” button that allowed users to quickly create a Genius Bar appointment has been removed from the site’s navigation. Appointments can only be made by navigating to the Genius Bar page and clicking a link in the first paragraph of that page’s content. The Concierge page has not been updated to the new design yet.

You’ll find a bunch of before-and-after comparisons and take our poll on the new design below:

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WWE Network comes to Apple TV with in-app subscriptions as service debuts

Update: The WWE Apple TV app is now live for users in at least the US and Canada.

Following rumors back and forth regarding the new WWE network launching today, the company has just announced that the service will be available to Apple TV users. WWE confirmed to us in a statement that the Apple TV app will arrive today.

WWE-Network-Apple-TV-03The Apple TV app will provide access to all 12 live WWE Pay-PerView events including WrestleMania, original programming from the network like reality shows and documentaries, as well as 24/7 programming from WWE and a ton of on-demand content.

The update appears to have hit Apple TVs (at least in the US or Canada) with the ability to access the network and purchase subscriptions. The subscription-based WWE network allows users to sign up for service directly within the Apple TV app using an iTunes account. The company notes that subscriptions purchased through Apple TV are “billed as a single charge of $59.99 (plus applicable tax) for the six month subscription period.” Read more

Venmo update brings the simplicity of AirDrop to mobile payments

Mobile payment app Venmo received a big update today that introduces a new way to quickly send money to nearby friends. It works just as easily as Apple’s AirDrop sharing system. The app uses Bluetooth to detect nearby Venmo users and lists them above your recent payment recipients when sending money.

While some apps make the process of sending money relatively quick, Venmo has the added benefit of making it easy to pay people around you without needing to enter any contact details at all, even if you’ve never met them before. The only catch is that both parties need to be using Venmo for the feature to work.

Venmo is available for free on the iOS App Store.