July 19

AAPL: 99.87

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May 30

AAPL: 100.35

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Sony’s a6300 is one of the Japanese company’s most recently released cameras and is the successor to the very popular a6000. The camera has already received a ton of praise — Jeff took it for a test drive the other week, and enjoyed its 4K shooting abilities.

One common complaint, however, is the lack of a selfie screen on the a6300. Sony missed a big opportunity by not including a built-in way for vloggers to view themselves while on camera. 

The solution? Use your iPhone as a digital viewfinder. Not only will such a setup work with the a6300, but it’ll work with other digital cameras that support such functionality.

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May 24

AAPL: 97.90

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The Ultimate Ears (UE) division of Logitech has been making some of the best Bluetooth speakers out there for quite some time. When I reviewed the waterproof UE Roll last year, it became the no-brainer summer music purchase, especially as 9to5toys caught it dipping down to $50 a few times in the past few weeks.

The UE Roll is super-portable, mostly flat, rugged and so waterproof you can bring it into a pool with its own little floatie.  The sound quality is amazng for the small form factor and the battery lasts between 5-10 hours. This is the speaker I take with me on most trips because it is small in the backpack yet still sounds great, pairs easily with multiple devices and even has iOS/Android apps for creating alarms and checking battery. Obviously if you are throwing a house/pool party, you’ll want something more substantial like UE Boom and Megaboom.

Today UE upgraded the Roll with 15% better sound and 100-ft wireless range (up from 66-ft) along with some new color/designs (pictured above). Here’s the full official specs update …

  • Blasts out 15 percent more sound, delivering epic tunes in the palm of your hand.
  • Has a longer wireless range of 100-feet (up from 66-ft)
  • Is available in five vibrant colors: Habanero, Tropical Anime, Volcano, Atmosphere and Sugarplum
  • Offers portability and versatility like no other speaker, with the same completely waterproof (IPX 7) design, bungee cord loop and sleek, disk-shape design of UE ROLL – packing in even more without adding extra size or bulk
  • Plus, it comes with its very own UE Floatie in every package, so your speaker can float right through the fun and splash up next to you

I’m not going to blow smoke … and say that this is a big upgrade. It isn’t. In fact, at at least a $30 premium over the original UE Roll, I’m going to do something I rarely ever do – recommend you buy the old model for $30 less at Amazon (Verizon and Best Buy too).  You really won’t notice any difference and that $30 bucks you save can go almost halfway into purchasing another original UE Roll to pair up for stereo sound (for 200% the sound).

Update: Best Buy has the UE Roll down to $49.99 shipped

Screenshot 2016-05-27 08.32.28

If money’s no object and/or you need the extra 15% sound and range/color options/newest thing, head below for the full low down/video on the new $99.99 UE Roll 2. expand full story


May 22

AAPL: 95.22

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An unusual iPhone 7 leak is making the rounds today, showing some changes that have not be seen before. An Italian case manufacturer is showing a potential chassis design that features ‘four speakers’ and new layout for the rear camera and flash, including a hole for a larger aperture (via NowhereElse). As pictured, there are two speaker grilles cut into the top of the case and another two grilles on the bottom side.

This is not corroborating with previous leaks, that showed an iPhone 7 design near identical to the existing iPhone 6s. The rearrangement of the flash is particularly unusual although the larger camera hole has been suggested by previous leaks. As expected, the case leaks do not include holes for a 3.5 mm headphone jack which is rumored to be going away for the iPhone 7 — Apple will rely on Lightning connector and Bluetooth wireless headphones for audio output ..

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May 16

AAPL: 93.88

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This weekend’s discussion of the Sony a6300 got me thinking about the iPhone’s camera, and how great it can be when wielded properly. Our own Ben Lovejoy shared his tips for taking good iPhone photos a few months ago, and now I’d like to share my 10 go-to tips for snapping better iPhone pictures. expand full story

May 14

AAPL: 90.52

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The iPhone can shoot 4K video, and now even the iPad can shoot 4K video. Yet, there are times when you need the flexibility and power provided by a standalone camera.

Standalone cameras have inherent advantages over smartphone cameras, despite the major strides made by iPhone photography over the last few years. Even with amazing third-party apps like FiLMiC Pro, which lets you adjust things like ISO and shutter speed, you’re still stuck with a constant aperture and fixed lens.

While smartphones have replaced point and shoot cameras for a vast amount of people, standalone cameras, especially ones with interchangeable lenses like the recently-released 24MP Sony a6300, still have their place. expand full story


April 4

AAPL: 111.12

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The 9.7″ iPad Pro is an interesting new device. Fitting squarely between the 12.9″ iPad Pro and the 9.7″ iPad Air 2, it can be difficult to determine what the device actually is. Is it an “iPad Air 3″ or is it an iPad Pro mini? Well, to be honest, it’s a little bit of both.

The new iPad Pro will feel very familiar to current iPad Air 2 owners. For those of you that already own a 12.9” iPad Pro, the smaller version might feel like a downgrade in some ways. Certainly, it’s a downgrade in the most obvious area — size. But in other ways, primarily camera capability, it’s a huge upgrade.

Of course, iPad Air 2 owners who are envious of the iPad Pro’s ability to use the Apple Pencil have a definite reason to eye the 9.7″ Pro. The new iPad Pro also works with Apple’s new smaller Smart Keyboard accessory. In other words, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the 9.7″ iPad Pro. Have a look at some of our favorite new features, along with a few of the disappointments that we encountered. expand full story

March 31

AAPL: 108.99

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In theory, photos taken with an iPhone SE or an iPhone 6s should generally look the same, but we wanted to briefly pit both devices head-to-head just to make sure. Both phones sport the exact same iSight camera specs, although the iPhone 6s does have a camera bump where the iPhone SE does not. In this post we showcase several photos and a couple of videos from both the iPhone 6s and the iPhone SE. expand full story

Today is the official release day for the iPhone SE, and I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up my unit early this morning. For those of you who will likewise acquire an iPhone SE in the near future, or for those of you who are still unsure about a purchase, have a look at our hands-on video that touches on the top 15 iPhone SE features. We also have a brief look at some of the downsides of the iPhone SE for those wanting a balanced look at the latest new iPhone. expand full story


March 22

AAPL: 106.72

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Small iPhone fans, rejoice! Apple has finally updated its 4-inch iPhone for the first time since the iPhone 5s in 2013. Dubbed the iPhone SE, Apple’s 2016 4-inch iPhone could pass for the iPhone 5s if you weren’t looking too close (save for the rose gold version), but how does it compare to its predecessor as well as the rest of the current iPhone lineup? We break it down below:

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March 21

AAPL: 105.91

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As expected, Apple earlier today officially unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. While the device is essentially the same as the larger 12.9-inch model, there are a few notable differences that may perhaps frustrate users of the larger model, but also encourage iPad Air 2 users to upgrade. Read on as we break down all of the differences between the two models…

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January 26

AAPL: 99.99

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While those of us who would happily trade thinner iPhones for better battery-life may be in the minority, even fans of ultra-thin phones expressed disappointment at the camera bump in the iPhone 6 and 6s. The problem Apple faced is that the laws of physics determine just how thin you can make a sensor and lens arrangement for any given aperture while retaining quality. But a patent application originally filed in 2013, continued last July and granted today could provide a solution.

Instead of the usual flat sensor, the patent describes a ‘spherically curved photosensor’ that would allow the distance between the lens elements and the sensor to be reduced, allowing for a thinner camera module …

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January 15

AAPL: 97.13

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I’ve been all in on iCloud Photo Library since Apple replaced iPhoto with the new Photos app on the Mac last year and I haven’t looked back since. I pay $2.99/month to sync my 13,206 photos and 1,087 videos (plus iOS device backups) with iCloud, and this allows me to take or save photos and videos from any device and have them appear across the others including the web, edits, albums, and all. I even have a system to help ensure to if something in the cloud gets hosed that everything will be fine at home (and if the house burns down hopefully the cloud is still there).

This also enables me to access my 155 GB photos library in the Photos apps on iPhones and iPads that otherwise couldn’t fit that much content. Thumbnail previews are available at all times, and full resolution versions download on the fly as needed. When you’re iPhone, iPad, or Mac needs more local storage, Photos can remove full-res images and downloaded videos to make more space using an optimize storage option. This works pretty well especially on higher capacity devices, but there’s one problem…

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December 8, 2015

AAPL: 118.28

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I’ve been an iOS user since day one — back when it was called “iPhone OS” — and haven’t had any reason to leave Apple’s camp. Each day, I use iOS devices and apps, and for the most part, they “just work.” You could offer me a cheap Android phone or tablet and I wouldn’t have much use for it.

Or so I thought. Just in time for the holidays, 9to5’s publisher Seth Weintraub sent me an unexpected gift: a $99 Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen), also available on Amazon. That price isn’t a typo — for under $100 (half the price of the recently released sixth-generation iPod touch), Motorola is selling a full-fledged smartphone with a larger, higher-resolution screen than the $199 iPod, and for that matter the old iPhone 5c I decided to replace it with. You’ve probably heard that Amazon is trying a similar tactic with its $49 7″ Fire Tablets, which so radically undercut the price of Apple’s iPads that you can buy five for the same price as an entry-level iPad mini 2… and still have change left over. Since these products were developed by well-established companies, they’re budget-priced, but not junk.

I wanted to see whether the Moto G would have any value in my life, and how it would stack up against lower-end iOS devices. What I found was exactly the reason Apple leads the cellular industry in profits yet continues to lag behind Android in market share: the Moto G offers a more than “good enough” alternative at a price that anyone can afford. From my perspective, the existence of a good $99 smartphone is precisely the reason the iPod family has all but disappeared, and why even iPad mini pricing is arguably unsustainable…

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Like many this morning, my first reaction to Apple’s Smart Battery Case was … what the heck? Albeit not expressed in those exact words. Seth tweeted that it seemed to be evidence that Jony Ive has left the building.

My colleague Jeremy has addressed the battery case specifically, but I think there’s a broader issue here. Apple claims to sweat the details when it comes to the design of its devices, and – a few grumbles aside – I think that’s a legitimate claim on the aesthetic front. It does go to obsessive lengths when it comes to making its devices as visually pleasing as possible. One part of that obsession is making iPhones as thin as it can.

But, to my mind, the company has an almost schizophrenic attitude here. It goes to all that trouble to make the phones as slim and sleek as humanly possible, yet it knows full well that the first thing the vast majority of owners do when they take delivery is to slip the phone into a case. Those cases substantially increase the thickness, and hide the design.

Which brings us to problem two …  expand full story

November 12, 2015

AAPL: 115.72

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If you own an iPhone or Mac, you’re probably a photographer — either with your iPhone’s camera or a standalone camera you connect to your Mac. Just as iPhoto’s simple editing and storage tools helped Apple sell iMacs, photography has become a major marketing focus for iPhones, empowering people to capture increasingly beautiful images and videos with the one device they’re always carrying.

Over the past year, I’ve reviewed some of the very best hardware, software, and services available to Apple-loving photographers. And I’ve spent the last month adding new choices to the list. So just in time for the holidays, I’ve put together 9to5Mac’s Holiday Gift Guide with top photography picks, at price points ranging from $2.99 to $2,200. From basic accessories to smart photo backup solutions to amazing photo-to-wall art printing services, there’s something for everyone inside…

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October 16, 2015

AAPL: 111.04

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October 10, 2015

AAPL: 112.12

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Great photographers are made, not born, and even the best photographers have plenty of unimpressive shots in their collections. But in the age of digital photography, it’s possible to create a great photograph without being a great photographer. You can even accomplish this days after snapping your photo, so long as you have the right post-processing software and a little time to play around.

Macphun’s Creative Kit 2016 ($150) provides photographers of all skill levels with six different tools that make bland or imperfect photos look great. This year’s Creative Kit includes the Pro versions of Macphun’s Focus, FX Photo Studio, Intensify, Noiseless, Snapheal, and Tonality, each renamed “CK” and expanded with extra features. All six of the apps are designed to be super easy to use, yielding great results even without diving into the manual controls, though there are rewards for tweaking their settings. Better yet, the standalone apps now work as plug-ins for OS X Photos, Aperture, Photoshop, and Lightroom, and can easily be used in combination with one another for even more powerful editing…

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October 8, 2015

AAPL: 110.78

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When Apple ceased development of Aperture, a lot of serious photographers were very unhappy about Apple’s attempt to palm them off with Photos instead. Many headed instead to Lightroom, the photo cataloging and editing app Adobe created from the ground up specifically for photographers.

If you’re new to Lightroom, our review covers the process of converting from Aperture – everything from importing your existing photo libraries to where to find equivalent features. This piece is about getting the most out of Lightroom – especially when it comes to speeding up your workflow – via some recommended tweaks and tips.

Let’s start with my recommended settings …  expand full story


October 2, 2015

AAPL: 110.38

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Macphun, maker of elegantly powerful photo editing tools including Tonality, Noiseless, and FX Photo Studio, has announced the impending release of Creative Kit 2016 — a bundle of 6 of the company’s Pro apps for a discounted price of $150. Creative Kit 2016 includes:

Noiseless CK (reviewed here) and Tonality CK (reviewed here), separately capable of eliminating various types of noise from images, and converting color images into beautiful black and white versions — both highly impressive, as our reviews discuss;

FX Photo Studio CK, a filter, frame, and brush-based photo editing tool that lets you convert simple photos into pieces of art; and

Snapheal CK, Focus CK, and Intensify CK, apps to erase unwanted items from photos, add lens effects such as blurs, or enhance subtle details in your images, respectively…

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