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First Look: 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Force Touch, new GPU

18 minutes ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple has given the 15-inch MacBook Pro a refresh, giving it a fresh lease of life. Unusually, however, it does not include an upgrade to its Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU. Due to delays with Intel's quad-core "Broadwell" parts, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro continues with a fourth-generation quad-core Core i7 part clocked at 2.5GHz. It does however, include some substantial upgrades elsewhere. This new model now features the all-new Force Touch trackpad that debuted on the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display, and which is also found on the recently refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also gains much faster PCIe flash storage, but more importantly, its aging Nvidia Ge Force GT 750M has been replaced with a much faster and all-new AMD R9 M370X.

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Amazon alters financial reports in UK to avoid 25-percent tax penalty

18 minutes ago | Posted in: industry

Amazon is altering its tax affairs in Europe, following pressure from governments and regulatory bodies over the way it and other tech companies attempt to shrink their tax bills. The retailer is starting to run sales it makes in the United Kingdom within the country itself, instead of funneling them through Luxembourg to minimize the amount of tax it pays, a change that is expected to bring in millions in corporation tax to the UK treasury.

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Game Replay: NES museum exhibit, Desura payment issues

8 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista write about some of the major stories in the wider world of gaming that developed over the last few days. In today's edition, the NES becomes a museum exhibit, hitboxes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive get some attention, and Desura payment issues

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Amazon courts Etsy vendors for new Handmade marketplace

8 hours ago | Posted in: industry

Over the course of several days, a number of entrepreneurs who sell on Etsy.com received an email from Amazon.com. The email contains an invitation to take a survey in preparation for a new marketplace the Internet retail giant is working on called "Handmade."

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BlackBerry continues restructuring, new layoffs imminent

11 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

Earlier this month BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, stated he believed the company was on track to be profitable again. At the time, Chen stated that design was key in the company's efforts to continue selling handsets while capitalizing on the fact that services were the primary source of income. Possibly contrary to Chen's remarks, BlackBerry has announced plans to cut employees from the device side, primarily from the smartphone software and application development area.

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Daily Deals: Long Weekend Edition

Sat May 23, 2015 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, gadgets, software, digital imaging, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, mobile phones, Apple

Hello and welcome to an unusual edition of Daily Deals. Typically, the staff of MacNN and Electronista do not provide a deals post on a Saturday or Sunday, but since retailers are offering sales over this three-day weekend, we're making an exception. As well as a recap of the still-active deals from earlier this week, we'll be adding new deals to the list throughout the weekend, so you can make the most of your money.

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Oculus VR, founder sued for alleged use of confidential information

Sat May 23, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets

The Facebook-owned Oculus VR and its founder are being sued, for allegedly using trade secrets from another company in its devices. Total Recall Technologies claims it hired Palmer Luckey in 2011 to create a prototype of a head-mounted display, confidential information that apparently formed part of the creation process of the original Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

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Apple television service held up by local programming demand?

Sat May 23, 2015 | Posted in: industry, Apple

More rumors about Apple's television service, citing unnamed sources outside of Apple, indicates the possibility that Cupertino is seeking local programming for inclusion in the upcoming steaming service for Apple TV. The service, often compared to Dish Network's Sling, will reportedly allow live broadcast shows and commercials to be viewed on any Apple device. The service has yet to be officially announced, if it exists at all. Apple has been rumored to say something about it at the WWDC conference in June with release later in the year, but the prospect of local content being added has analysts predicting release will be delayed.

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Briefly: Pebble Time ships May 27, HBO Now discounts considered

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, software

The Pebble Time smartwatch will start shipping to backers of its Kickstarter campaign from May 27, the company has revealed. In mass production since the start of this month, backers of the Pebble Time are being sent invitations to finalize their selections for backer rewards and their smartwatch, with tracking numbers expected to be provided to customers by mid-June. Shipments of the smartwatch will apparently continue on a "rolling basis" when the devices reach regional distribution centers. The company has also advised it is preparing to debut the new support apps called "Pebble Time Watch" for iOS and Android from next week

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Google 'Project Fi' invites to be sent out by mid-summer

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: mobile phones

People registering for an invite into the recently-launched Project Fi, the Google-created wireless carrier, may have a bit of a wait before they will receive their SIM cards and be able to use the service. An email sent out to users suggests that it won't be able to get everyone currently signed up for the carrier until 'mid-summer' at the latest, due to the virtual network's overwhelming demand from potential subscribers.

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Hands On: Aftershokz Bluez conduction headphones

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, gadgets, accessories, iPad

Headphones, the humble hero of every day life. Boring commute on public transportation? Just pop in your headphones and listen to an audio book. Noisy construction outside of your window? Slip your headphones over your ears and have an impromptu Netflix marathon. Avid jogger? A great playlist can help workouts fly by, but in this case, headphones are more of a hindrance than a boon. Cutting out important audio cues, such as sounds of construction, car horns, bike bells, or yelling pedestrians can be dangerous. But there is a solution - headphones that don't work by closing off your ears. We took a look at Aftershokz Bluez, headphones designed to help keep you alert at all times.

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AT&T to drop two-year contracts through third-party sellers

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, Apple

AT&T, one of the US' largest carriers, has opted to make a significant change to its arrangements with third-party resellers of its services, including franchises and agents such as Apple, Walmart, and others. All non-company stores will be restricted from offering any two-year contracts in the traditional format with an up-front down payment, though AT&T company stores and its own online site will continue to offer contracts. Instead, retailers will have to offer the AT&T Next option, where buyers pay the cost of the phone alongside the monthly service plan fees.

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Daily Deals: ViewSonic Projector, Acer Chromebook, iTunes credit

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming, peripherals, gadgets, software, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, mobile phones, Apple

Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, sales, and bundles on hardware, software, and gadgets for you, the discerning reader. Our last recap of the week follows after the new batch of deals, including a 1080p home theater projector, a $130 Chromebook, and the Logitech UE Mini Boom speaker.

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Android M could be revealed with fingerprint reader API next week

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: software, developer

The next version of Android could ship with native fingerprint authentication, bringing it in line with iOS devices, according to reports. Android M, the next version of Android expected to be announced at next week's Google I/O developer conference, could include an API that allows developers access to the functionality from within their apps, potentially making it easier for device producers to add a fingerprint reader to their devices using a common interface.

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Giveaway: Win your choice of Apple device worth up to $700

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, Apple

Do you have your eye on an Apple product that you'd like to acquire, but don't feel like spending the money to buy it? MacNN Deals is giving you the opportunity to win your choice of prize from a selection of Apple products in the latest easy-to-enter competition, which can net you an Apple TV, an iPad, an iPhone 6, or even an Apple Watch if you want one.

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Google reportedly working on Internet of Things operating system

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: software, developer

Google is planning to make its mark on the Internet of Things, by reportedly offering its own operating system. The search company is said to be working on "Brillo," software The Information reports would be capable of running on smart devices, such as refrigerators and light bulbs, with extremely low power and RAM requirements, potentially as low as 64MB or 32MB of memory in some cases.

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MixRadio now available to download on iOS, Android

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: audio, iPhone apps

MixRadio, originally called Nokia Music and owned by Line, has exited its beta testing and is now available to download on iOS and Android. Previously available only on Windows Phone and already available in 31 markets, the cross-platform music streaming service has managed to retain the majority of its features during the porting process, including free personalized playlists.

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Briefly: Skrillex Editions smartphone cases, Sling TV on Android TV

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, accessories, mobile phones

Google has unveiled a set of limited-edition cases for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy Note 4 smartphones, designed in partnership with Skrillex. The Editions cases include early access to an album, a short-cut button that takes users to Skrillex's YouTube music feed, and a companion live wallpaper that updates throughout the course of the day with images shot from a specially-launched balloon satellite named after Skrillex's dog, reports Phone Arena. The cases are being sold through the Google Store for now, but the official Android blog suggests it may be available elsewhere in the future.

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YouTube adds 60fps live streaming option, new advertising units

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, Graphics/Web Design

Google is making a number of small changes to YouTube, that will likely be welcomed by advertisers and gamers alike. YouTube's live streaming capability will now include support for 60fps streams, making it more suitable for gaming, while the initial advertising preroll that runs before many videos will now allow users to find out a lot more information about the advertised products, as well as making it easier to purchase.

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Daily Deals: Seagate Barracuda, Asus Transformer, Nintendo 2DS

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming, peripherals, gadgets, software, upgrades/storage, accessories, audio, mobile phones, Apple

Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search the Internet to find bundles, discounts, offers, and sales on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. The last few days of still-active deals are accompanied by a new set, including a 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, the Nintendo 2DS, and an Asus Transformer notebook.

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Briefly: Facebook video calls goes global, Google Maps traffic alerts

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: software, iPhone apps

Facebook is making video calling via the Messenger app available to more users. Previously available in 18 countries, including the United States, the Facebook Messenger video calling has been rolled out globally for iOS and Android users, though some countries will be delayed in receiving the calls due to ongoing work to improve the service's quality in those regions.

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PayPal agrees to pay $25M over deceptive credit scheme

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: industry

PayPal will pay out $25 million in fines and restitution, as part of a settlement in a case claiming it deceived customers over credit schemes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a complaint and proposed consent order to a federal court on Tuesday that PayPal enrolled customers into PayPal Credit without their permission, promoted benefits it failed to provide, and mishandled disputes over billing.

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: mobile phones

The Samsung Galaxy S6 range is a critical component in Samsung's flagging smartphone strategy. With sales of its high-end smartphones being sapped by intense competition from Apple's larger iPhone 6 models, and sales of its mid-range and low-end smartphones being attacked from all sides by the cheaper Chinese competition, the success of the Galaxy S6 is vital to the company reversing its fortunes. The Galaxy S6 Edge is potentially the more interesting of its two Galaxy S6 models -- both of which share identical specs on paper -- as the Edge features a more adventurous design with a curved version of its Super AMOLED display. So can Samsung claw back market share with its new smartphone, and return high profitability to its mobile division? Read on in our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.

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Amazon adds local stores to one-hour Prime Now delivery service

Thu May 21, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone apps

Amazon is making its Prime Now one-hour delivery service more attractive to its users, by offering products from local businesses. The new addition, initially taking place in a limited number of areas in Manhattan, will provide groceries, prepared meals, and baked goods from stores, bakeries, and food sellers in the area, alongside its existing selection of products it ships from its own warehouse.

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Game Replay: Christopher Lloyd in Lego Dimensions, Xbox TV tuner

Wed May 20, 2015 | Posted in: gaming

Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stores in the wider world of gaming that developed over the last few days. In today's edition, more characters invade Lego Dimensions, the digital TV tuner for Xbox One goes on sale in the US and Canada, and a request for cheaters to apologize on YouTube in order to reinstate their banned accounts.

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Briefly: Comcast HBO Go on Fire TV, Wi-Fi update for Android Wear

Wed May 20, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, software

Comcast is finally allowing owners of the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick to access two major streaming apps. Showtime Anytime and HBO Go can now be used through the two streaming devices, with Comcast subscribers required to download the relevant apps and sign in using their Xfinity TV account details. Access to both Showtime Anytime and HBO Go has already been granted to a large number of other set-top boxes, including Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, and Chromecast.

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