January 29, 2015

It has a date — sort of. And it has a price — mostly. But less than three months before its release, the Apple Watch is still enigmatic in ways that the similarly pre-announced iPhone and iPad were not. Apple still hasn’t said more than one thing (“starting at $349”) about how the 34 different Watch models will be priced, and despite hiring a new team of sales executives from the fashion and watch worlds, no major changes are obvious at the Apple Stores where the watches will be sold.

What’s going to happen between now and April? 9to5Mac’s editorial team has been actively discussing the possibilities, and we’re ready to share our thinking with you today. Read on…

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9to5Toys Last Call: iTunes Free App of the Week, Sony storage up to 60% off, much more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call updates:

 

Amazon Gold Box – Up to 60% Off Sony flash storage: USB drives from $6, Micro SDHC from $8, more

Media: The Wire Complete Series $50 iTunes download, DVD/Blu-rays as low as $3

Roundup: the best soundbars to bring your home theater to life

Gaming For Couples: The best PlayStation 4 bundles, games, demos and accessories

Duet Display uses your iPad as an extra Mac display, hits its lowest price ever: $8 (Reg. $15)

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro w/ Retina display (newest) 2.8GHz/8GB/512GB: $1,599 ($200 off)

Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air (newest version) 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB $750 (Reg. $899)

Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air (mid 2013) 1.3GHz/4GB/256GB: $849 (orig. $1,099)

Small States: Schoolhouse Electric – beautiful home goods w/ old school techniques, giveaway

More new deals:

More deals still alive:

New products/ongoing promos/info:

iTunes Connect, Apple’s portal where developers manage software published on the App Store, is presenting many users with a widespread issue this morning. Several users are reporting logging in with their own credentials and being presented with both the name and apps of other iTunes Connect users, including upcoming, unreleased versions of apps. 9to5Mac has corroborated the errors with iTunes Connect. expand full story

First gameplay footage of ‘Sid Meier’s Starships’ for Mac and iPad (Video)

2K and developer Firaxis recently announced Sid Meier’s Starships, an intriguing new interstellar strategy game coming early this year on Mac, iPad and PC. Today we get the first gameplay footage from the upcoming title as part of the Firaxis Games Megapanel at PAX South. 

The hour-long video above includes the entire panel discussion with Sid Meier and other involved with the game, but there’s a quick link to jump to the lengthy gameplay demo (30:00) in the video above. 

The session features legendary game designer Sid Meier alongside the lead designers from the award-winning strategy title, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. In case you weren’t able to attend, the panel reveals the first public gameplay footage of Sid Meier’s Starships, as well as addresses the thematic tie-ins, connectivity and differences of the two games.

The game extends the sci-fi universe introduced last year in Civilization: Beyond Earth, the latest title in Sid Meier’s Civilization series. The game is also expected to include integration between the two that 2K says “will enhance and expand the depth of both game experiences.” The panel discussed the integration more in-depth during the gameplay demo at PAX South today. 

The original announcement trailer for Starships is here.

SoundCloud releases redesigned iPad app with new features, removes audio recording

SoundCloud today released a brand new iPad app that has been completely redesigned to offer a better experience for users uploading, sharing, and listening to music through the service.

You’ll have access to just about all the SoundCloud features available on desktop including the ability to build a Collection, explore genres, edit and view profiles, create playlists, and share tracks and artists with other users. 

One feature you won’t find is audio recording, however, as SoundCloud warns users to “Please upload any locally stored sounds before upgrading your iPad app, as audio recording has been removed from this version.” As an alternative, SoundCloud said it recommends downloading one of the many audio recording apps that offer SoundCloud uploads.

You also won’t be able to add or view comments, track info, and follower/following lists, but unlike the audio recording feature SoundCloud said these features will be returning in a later version.

The new SoundCloud app for iPad, version 3.7.1, is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 3.7.1

The beautifully redesigned SoundCloud iPad app gives you a simplified, more intuitive and more visual experience. Discover and hear fresh/new music & audio, and log in to build your Collection, create playlists, and be the first to share your favorite tracks & artists with friends and followers.

Please upload any locally stored sounds before upgrading your iPad app, as audio recording has been removed from this version. For future recording, we recommend downloading one of the many apps that allow you to record and post directly to SoundCloud. For your activity feed, track info and user comments, please go to http://www.soundcloud.com.

And for both iPhone & iPad users we made some performance improvements which give you a smoother scrolling experience!

Huge iPhone growth is more than a one-off blip, argues Tim Cook, with most still to upgrade

Updated quote with WSJ correction:

While few would expect the record-breaking surge in iPhone sales generated by the larger-screened models to continue into subsequent quarters, Tim Cook argued in a WSJ interview that the potential is there.

In an interview, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, not surprisingly, argued that the demand is more than temporary. He said fewer than 15% of older iPhone owners upgraded to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and that the majority of switchers to iPhone came from smartphones running Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

“We certainly believe there are legs to it,” said Mr. Cook of the iPhone sales surge.

Cook noted during the Q1 earnings call that the current iPhone lineup had experienced “the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches.” With CIRP data suggesting that the US rate of switching from Android to iOS has remained broadly constant, that suggests the bulk of switchers have been outside the US–China in particular … 

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