Intel and Micron announce new ‘3D XPoint’ memory solution 1,000 times faster than current NAND flash storage

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Intel has just announced a new breakthrough in computer storage technology developed in collaboration with Micro that is 1,000 times faster than the current-generation NAND flash chips upon which modern solid-state drives are built. The tech is called 3D XPoint (that’s “crosspoint”), and is the first new type of non-volatile memory created since 1989.

Incredibly, 3D XPoint isn’t just a theoretical product being developed, or an end-goal for a current project. It’s already in mass production and is expected to go on sale in 2016. Intel says the technology will enable a whole host of new applications, ranging from real-time disease tracking to 8K-capable gaming PCs if built into GPUs.

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Verizon will sell HBO Now directly to wireless and FiOS subscribers as Apple’s exclusivity expires

HBO NOW iPhone iPad iPod touch 21When Apple and HBO announced the launch of the HBO Now streaming service, they said that their app would be exclusive to Apple devices for three months. Now, a quarter year later, that agreement has expired and other providers are looking to distribute access to the television network’s streaming app.

One of the biggest names looking to get into the HBO Now market is Verizon. The mobile carrier and FiOS provider announced today that it will be bringing the service to its 100 million customers…

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Review: SwitchEasy’s Blocks + Colors are toy-like docks and cases for the serious Apple Watch

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Earlier in my reviewing career, I always tried to estimate the likely audience for products I tested: was an accessory likely to be universally appealing, somewhat popular, niche, or poorly received by virtually everyone? Many reviews (and reader comments) later, I learned there was at least a small audience for virtually anything, and conversely, that some people found reasons to dislike even the best-designed and best-reviewed products. I eventually concluded that there is no such thing as “universally appealing” or “universally bad” — just products for different audiences of different sizes.

SwitchEasy’s Blocks ($20) and Colors ($15) are as close to a test of my conclusion as anything I’ve covered so far for Apple’s $350-$17,000 Watches. Blocks lets you build your own Apple Watch dock from 92 plastic pieces that just so happen to be “compatible with Leading Manufacturer building blocks,” code for “works with Legos.” Colors is an inexpensive Apple Watch case designed to match three Apple Watch Sport bands. Toy-like in appearance, the designs are clearly not “universally appealing,” particularly for owners of expensive Apple Watches and Editions. But it’s possible that one or both of them may appeal to you, anyway…
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Opinion: iTunes is now so clunky the only safe solution is to nuke it from orbit

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I’ve complained before about the massive missed opportunity of Apple failing to properly integrate both owned and streamed music within iTunes. I got over that enough to use and enjoy Apple Music, and I’m confident I’ll be continuing my subscription once Apple starts charging my card, despite the raw deal we get on pricing in the UK.

But I also agreed with Variety that Apple needed to adopt the same approach for OS X as it does for iOS, splitting out the various iTunes functions into separate apps. Having now been using version 12.2 of iTunes for a month, I’m escalating this from a moderate whinge to a full-scale rant. The time has come for Apple to finally rid us of this creaking, bloated disaster of an app, and start afresh …  Read more

T-Mobile adds free Apple Music cellular streaming, offers free next-gen iPhone upgrades to iPhone 6 buyers

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Summer for T-Mobile this year has meant announcing a series of promotions and plans dubbed #UncarrierAmped. Today, the company launched the latest, and last of these moves. This time it’s all about Apple. John Legere announced in a blog post that the company is adding Apple Music to its Music Freedom free music streaming service and is going to offer this year’s — as yet unreleased — iPhone to anyone buying an iPhone 6 over the next couple of months. Read more

Sources at major labels say Apple Music hit over 10M subscribers in first month

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Music site Hits Daily Double cites “inside sources at some of the major labels” as stating that Apple Music signed up more than 10M subscribers in the first four weeks, saying the number was shared with them by Apple.

The site says both Apple and the labels were surprised by the speed of adoption, noting that streaming figures for some tracks – which include “a couple of cutting-edge hip-hop titles” – are on a par with Spotify, which has around 75M subscribers …  Read more

UK Apple Pay now available for HSBC and First Direct customers

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Following the launch of Apple Pay in the UK two weeks ago, Apple is continuing the rollout with the addition of two major banks, HSBC and First Direct. Customers who have credit cards or debit cards with those banks can start using Apple Pay now. As with other UK Apple Pay transactions, there is a £20 transaction limit at most retailers apart from those with upgraded payment terminals that support higher-value contactless purchases. The £20 limit is getting raised to £30 in September.

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Apple reveals 3 new Apple Watch ads focused on fitness, music, and travel apps

Apple today, just a week after debuting a new set of videos showcasing Apple Watch apps, has revealed three new TV advertisements again showcasing the various apps of the Apple Watch. The first video, seen above, showcases the music applications that Apple Watch supports. Apps showcased include ones such as Shazam, Instagram, and Apple’s own Music app.

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Apple seeds OS X El Capitan beta 5 to developers

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Less than a week following the previous beta, Apple has released OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta 5 to developers. The update is available via Software Update in the Mac App Store. The previous beta did not add any noticeable new features, but it instead focused on bug fixes. It is likely that this new beta has a similar focus, and we’ll update this post with enhancements as they are discovered.

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Parallels 11 to feature always-on support in OS X for Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant

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According to a leaked product page on the Australian Parallels page, the popular virtual machine software will support Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant throughout OS X. The product page explains that as long as Windows 10 is running somewhere in the background, users will always be able to say “Hey Cortana” and receive a response (via Neowin).

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Pandora’s ‘Sponsored Listening’ rewards ad interactions with commercial-free playback

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After a pilot of its new “Sponsored Listening” advertisements last year, streaming music service Pandora Radio announced today that it’s rolling out the feature to all advertisers and listeners in its mobile apps. The feature rewards users with an hour of ad-free, uninterrupted listening as long as they first interact with an ad for at least 15 seconds. Read more