Twitter sharing disappears in latest iOS beta, may indicate upcoming app-based extension

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A small change to the latest beta version of iOS may indicate a big change coming to the official Twitter application. In the pre-release version of the software that was provided to testers and developers last week, it seems the option to share content to Twitter has been removed entirely.

Not only is the Twitter icon now missing from the share sheet in first-party apps like Photos and Safari, but from all third-party apps that use the native sharing option introduced in iOS 8. The change could just be a glitch, but it more likely suggests that Apple may be removing its in-house Twitter sheet in favor of something new…

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Apple will offer virtual online try-ons and personal setup for gold & steel models

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While Apple will offer extensive in-store sales and try-on experiences in Apple Stores, the company will also allow customers to virtually try on an Apple Watch or Apple Watch Edition and receive setup support, according to sources. Prior to purchasing either of two higher-end Apple Watches, customers will be able to video chat with an Apple Online Store representative who will personally try-on and model Apple Watch collections and band combinations. Additionally, as we noted in our prior article about Apple Watch Edition sales perks, Edition customers will be able to have a “personalized pre-sales experience” either over phone or online chat…

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Apple Store revamp for Apple Watch revealed: ‘magical’ display tables, demo loops, sales process

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While the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition has been receiving a lot of attention due to its premium pricing and aesthetic, Apple will sell far more of the lower-priced Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models, and has created a different customer journey for those customers, according to sources briefed on the plans. Most of the sales process will be familiar to buyers of other products from the Apple Store, but a number of steps are different, including the process of visiting a “magical” display case, trying on different models, playing with demo units, considering Apple Watch accessories, and actually finalizing the purchase. Below, we detail the entire customer experience for the upcoming Apple Watch launch…

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Apple Watch Edition perks: 24/7 support, private 1-hour appointments, no lines

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After hiring a new team of fashion sales and marketing experts from Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry, Apple has developed a unique Apple Store purchasing experience just for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, according to sources briefed on the launch plans. When a customer interested in the Apple Watch Edition enters the store, he or she will be given no-wait access to a dedicated Expert, who will provide a personalized “journey” from the beginning of the appointment until the end, as much as one hour later. There will even be a new option for at-home video conferencing rather than in-store personal setup. By design, it will be more “elegant” than the budget-focused experience Apple Watch Sport customers receive…

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‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ – Meet the Authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli at SoHo Apple Store [video]

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Apple is clearly a fan of the new Becoming Steve Jobs book (review) by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli ($12+Amazon, $13 iBooks, Free Audible). Apple execs including Tim Cook, Jony IveEddy Cue and PR head Steve Dowling have all praised it and it is has headlined the iBookstore for over a week.  Its latest promo of the book is a 49-minute iTunes Podcast video of the authors getting interviewed at the SoHo New York Apple Store.

The interview is hosted by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who announced the book originally and is definitely worth a watch (or listen). Both the 49-minute video and audio are available here.

Another Meet the Authors is scheduled for April 7th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California.

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Opinion: As Nintendo ponders iOS, it’s time for Mac console game emulators to shine

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When Nintendo announced last week that it will collaborate with DeNA to release iPhone and iPad games, gamers split into two camps: people intrigued by the promise of brand new Nintendo titles designed for mobile devices, and others — including myself — who expect Nintendo to release shallow mobile minigames, mostly to promote console titles. Nintendo hasn’t actually committed to bringing the Super Mario games people love into the App Store; instead, it’s saying only that its characters will appear in new titles that won’t require complex controls. The implication is that only Nintendo consoles are capable of playing Nintendo’s console games.

I disagree with that. For years, Macs and PCs have been able to run thousands of classic console and arcade games, including Nintendo’s best-known titles, using emulators. These free programs let discontinued, often HDTV-incompatible games play on computers — in many cases, with noticeably better graphics than you remember. Freed from the fuzzy, low-contrast televisions people used to own, classic games can look pixel-sharp on Retina displays, and some emulators actually improve the edges and textures of 3-D objects. Nintendo may not want you to play its prior console games on your favorite Apple device’s screen, but thanks to emulators, it’s possible today. The picture above? That’s Super Mario Galaxy, running on a Retina MacBook Pro…

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The best Apple Watch accessories: bands, cases, docks, screen protectors & more

Apple Watch preorders, reservations, and sales are set to kick off in the coming weeks, so we’ve prepared a running list of the best accessories available to purchase and preorder online.

Companies aren’t waiting around for an official Apple third-party accessory program for the device, as a long list of straps, cases, charging docks, screen protectors and more are scheduled to ship next month in time for the Apple Watch launch. There are even solutions to attach traditional watch straps to Apple Watch, and portable power options for charging on the go.

There are bound to be more companies announcing accessories in the weeks to come, and we’ll be updating this list as they do. Read more

Review: Swapping MagSafe for SnapFit, BatteryBox adds 60Wh of portable power to MacBook Airs, Pros

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Thanks to Apple’s patent on the MagSafe connectors used in MacBook Airs and Pros, the list of third-party external batteries for MacBooks previously began with Hyper’s HyperJuice/HyperJuice 2 and ended with Lenmar’s ChugPlug — not much of a variety. Apple’s legal department chased Hyper for attaching harvested MagSafe connectors to its batteries, and Lenmar chose a workaround, sending ChugPlug’s power indirectly though an Apple wall adapter. Neither solution was ideal. It took until now for a completely different third solution to appear: BatteryBox ($220) from Gbatteries Energy.

BatteryBox is the first MacBook power option I’ve tested that doesn’t require either MagSafe or an Apple wall adapter to function. Since the developers went out of their way to create something that won’t run afoul of Apple’s legal team, there’s absolutely nothing Mac-like about its brick-like rectangular design. And it’s not cheap, priced between the two HyperJuices and higher than ChugPlug, which can now be had for only $100. But it works, adding a 60-watt-hour additional battery to the 38-95-watt-hour cells already inside MacBook Airs and Pros. So if you’re on the road without access to a power outlet and need to add hours of additional runtime to your Apple laptop, this is a viable alternative….

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Millions of British Safari users able to sue Google over secretly-dropped cookies

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UK Safari users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their browser settings.

It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.

Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …

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Apple announces grand opening for Apple Watch shops in department stores in London, Paris and Tokyo (Gallery)

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We reported last month that Apple was creating Apple Watch displays inside department stores in London and Paris, adding earlier this month that Tokyo was joining the party. All three stores-within-a-store are now official, with entries on Apple’s website. As we previously noted, the locations are Selfridges in LondonGaleries Lafayette in Paris and Isetan Shinjuku in Tokyo.

All three are opening on April 10th, the same day Apple Watchs are available for preview and pre-orders in Apple’s own retail stores, and are being given a high-profile presence in each department store …  Read more