Gallery: First look at iOS 8 with Health app, Notification Center widgets, and more

Earlier today Apple announced the next version of its iOS software, iOS 8, during the WWDC keynote today. Below you’ll find a gallery of all the new bells and whistles in the latest operating system. If you’ve got some screenshots you’d like to send us, you can send them to tips@9to5mac.com.

The new software includes features like iOS-to-Mac continuity, quick-reply for first- and third-party apps, a new predictive text keyboard, changes to the Mail appHealthKit framework and Health app, Family Sharing features, new Photos cloud storage, an updated iCloud pricing scheme, new commands for Siri, App Store changes including beta distribution, a Touch ID API, third-party keyboards, new iCloud management and development features, a home automation framework, and even support for a brand new programming language.

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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

Teardown of new Mac Pro reveals upgradeable CPU

Following the launch of Apple’s new Mac Pro earlier this month and some early deliveries arriving for customers, Other World Computing today posted a quick teardown of the machine (via MacRumors). We’ll have to wait for a full, in-depth teardown to find out specifics, but several images posted by OWC do reveal what appears to be socketed CPUs. In theory that means owners should be able to perform a DIY upgrade of the Intel Xeon E5 processors shipping with the new base configurations.  Read more

Apple announces OS X Mavericks available today for free

Update: OS X Mavericks is available now as a free download on the Mac App Store. 

Apple has done something it hasn’t done before with a major release of OS X, announcing today during its iPad event that it will release OS X Mavericks, the latest version of its desktop OS, later today for free to all users.

Mavericks is available starting today for iMac and MacBook Pros from 2007 or later, 2008 MacBook Air, MacBook, and Mac Pro or later, and the 2009 Mac mini or later.

Apple first showed off Mavericks back in June at its WWDC developer conference and has since seeded several betas as well as Golden Master release followed by silent update to the GM release that could likely be the version Apple ships later this month. Despite not receiving a radical visual overhaul like iOS 7, OS X Mavericks includes over 200 new features and many big new user facing features like iBooks, improved multiple display support, iCloud Keychain, new Finder features, Maps, quick reply and lock screen notifications, auto-updating apps, and a number of under the hood enhancements to improve battery life and performance. (Full press release below) Read more

T-Mobile offering $0 down on iPhone 5c, $99 down on iPhone 5s with monthly installment plan

Following announcements from Walmart, Radioshack and others, T-Mobile is the latest to announce availability of Apple’s recently unveiled iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. We already know the two devices will be landing on all of Apple’s major US carrier partners (as well as in a handful of other countries on Sept. 20, and T-Mobile confirmed today it will be kicking off preorders for the 5c on September 13, the preorder date previously announced by Apple. The real news here is that T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier plans mean that the iPhone 5c will sell for $0 down with the $528 price tag paid through 24 monthly installments of $22. It will also offer the iPhone 5s for $99 down and 24 monthly payments of $22.91 to make up the $649 retail price.

As a reminder, Apple and most of its partner will sell the new iPhone 5s for $199 on contract and the new iPhone 5c for $99 on contract (for the 16GB models). T-Mobile’s full retail price works about to around the same as Apple’s, but it’s 5c price is a little lower than the $549 Apple is listing. That doesn’t mean we won’t see lower prices on the device at launch. Walmart already announced that it will soon begin accepting preorders for the 5c at $79 on contract and the 5s at $189.

Apple’s new iPhones will also become available in Australia, China, Canada, Germany, France, Singapore, the UK, and Japan later this month on September 20.

Verizon unveils 1 year “Device Payment Plan” for yearly updaters, moves full subsidies to 24 months

Verizon announced a few notable changes this week, possibly in response to T-Mobile’s new ‘Uncarrier’ pricing structure.

The first change enforces 24-month contracts and restricts subsidized upgrades during that period. Customers will no longer enjoy ‘early upgrades’ after 20-months, as was previously the policy.

While the change may disappoint customers who enjoyed upgrading their devices more frequently, Verizon told The Verge that a new “Device Payment Plan” will be accompany the policy changes.

The new payment plan allows customers to upgrade their smartphone annually by paying the upgrade fee at the register and dividing the rest of the full-retail price over 12 months. This payment plan will include a $2/month finance charge through the duration of the year.

For people like us who update annually, this option is a more pragmatic approach, especially when vendors like Gazelle (as well as others) typically pay more than the subsidized cost of a new smartphone for last year’s smartphone.

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