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Memo shows Rite-Aid's disabling of Apple Pay, NFC systems deliberate

16 hours ago | Posted in: industry, troubleshooting, Apple

Following reader complaints of Rite-Aid stores no longer accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments (following a brief period where both worked properly) and a "cone of silence" from PR representatives, leaked documents have revealed that the reversal by Rite-Aid on accepting NFC-based payments was deliberate, and that it may never accept Apple Pay, since it is planning to go with a rival mobile payments platform -- sometime next year.

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Sprint adds 12-month option to 'iPhone for Life' leasing plan

19 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, mobile phones, Apple

Sprint is making changes to its iPhone for Life rental plan, just over a month after launch. The carrier is adjusting the plan to allow customers the ability to lease an iPhone and upgrade it after 12 months, though the existing 24-month period between upgrades will continue to be offered to users at a lower cost compared to the new plan option.

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Friday Deals: iOS Grand Theft Auto, 240GB SSD, 1TB external, more

19 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gaming, software, upgrades/storage

Its time for Friday Deals! Every Friday, we round up the best deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, all prices are verified at the time of publication, but may not be valid if you're reading this after the weekend, so check before buying. Check back frequently over the weekend, we like to add stuff!

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AT&T locking Apple SIMs in new iPad models, buyers complain

20 hours ago | Posted in: networking, iPad

The new Apple SIM in the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is being locked to AT&T if data subscribers choose that carrier, according to complaints. The problem is confirmed by a new Apple support document, which says that when buyers "choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to [that] network only."

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MetroPCS adds data plans for tablets, sells Alcatel Onetouch Pop 7

20 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets

MetroPCS is offering tablets on its service for the first time, and has introduced a new set of data-only price plans for the mobile devices at the same time. The first tablet offered by T-Mobile's prepaid brand, usable on the new tariffs, is the Alcatel Onetouch Pop 7, a mid-ranged Android tablet with a 7-inch 1024x600 TFT display.

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WSJ says iTunes Stores sales down 13-14 percent in 2014

21 hours ago | Posted in: industry, Apple

Sales at Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent in 2014 so far, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. That represents a steepening decline, coming in the wake of a 2.1 percent dip in 2013. The trend is believed to be connected to the music industry's overall swing away from downloads, and towards streaming subscription services like Pandora and Spotify.

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Giveaway: Tomb Raider

21 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gaming, software

For nearly two decades, the Tomb Raider franchise has been keeping adventure-seekers entertained for countless hours all around the world. Since the release of the first game in 1996, there have been a number of sequels to the game, a series of box office motion pictures, novels, and even theme park rides. The most recent chapter in the Lara Croft saga was released last year, and recently the staff here at Electronista got a chance to dig in to the action to see if it lives up to our expectations. We also secured five redemption codes to give away to our readers.

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Hands On: Tomb Raider (OS X, Windows)

21 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

Last year, Square Enix published a new take on a fan favorite character that made a debut on the PlayStation back in 1996. Under the development of Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider was rebooted to reintroduce the origins of Lara Croft. Rather than rely on some of the typical tropes associated with the character, the development team added a depth and human touch that was welcome in the series. Earlier this year, the game was ported to OS X by Feral Interactive, giving Mac owners a chance to experience Croft's new story.

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Editorial: In defense of the new $499 Mac mini

22 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gaming, Apple

After its release, we came out pretty strongly against Apple's new $499 Mac mini. We thought it to be underpowered, and despite some minor improvements, generally a step backwards. Time has passed, tempers have cooled a bit, and we've given it a second thought. While we're not saying that its a must-buy, there are some good use cases for it, and in some instances it trumps the 2012 model.

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Deezer acquires Stitcher, will keep iOS, Android apps alive

22 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, audio

Paris-based streaming music service Deezer has acquired Stitcher, the company has announced. The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, will allow Deezer to take control of the personalized Internet talk radio service, which currently provides access to eight out of the top ten US terrestrial radio programs to users, as well as a collection of around 35,000 radio programs and podcasts.

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Ransomware found on online advertising networks used by major sites

Fri October 24, 2014 | Posted in: security

A new ransomware attack has been taking place, infecting victims by spreading malware via advertising networks on major sites, a report claims. Appearing on a number of high-profile websites, the malicious advertising pushed the CryptoWall 2.0 ransomware using Flash exploits, encrypting the victim's local storage and demanding a fee to decrypt it before a payment deadline elapses.

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Samsung's Knox Android security suite under fire from new researcher

Fri October 24, 2014 | Posted in: security, mobile phones

Reports have begun to circulate about a pervasive flaw in Samsung's Knox security software for Android phones. The technology, which is the foundation of Android 5.0 Lollipop's enhanced protections, has come under fire by a lone, previously-unknown researcher, who calls the effort merely "security by obscurity."

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Sprint increases Family Share Pack range with 1GB plan for $20

Fri October 24, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

Sprint is attempting to beat Verizon and AT&T by offering more data to customers on a low-cost subscription. In a continuation of earlier "double data" promotional plans, Sprint has introduced a new $20 Family Share Pack which is claimed to offer double the data of similarly-priced plans from Verizon, and three times the data of similar plans from AT&T.

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Briefly: More Inbox invitations sent, LG G Watch R rollout details

Fri October 24, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets, software

Google has started to send out more invitations to its recently-announced Inbox email app. The search company has advised on Twitter that the second round of invitations has been dispatched to some of the Gmail users who have requested access by sending an email to Google's dedicated Inbox invitation address. Though the number of invitations sent is unknown, Google does say that more are "on the way".

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LG reveals Nuclun octa-core processor, confirms G3 Screen smartphone

Fri October 24, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

LG has finally unveiled its first self-produced processor for smartphones, one which has been rumored for some time under the "Odin" codename. Called Nuclun, the chip will be making its first appearance in a variant of the G3 called the G3 Screen, a smartphone which will be making its initial appearance as a South Korea-only release.

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Review: Sound Blaster Roar Bluetooth speaker

Fri October 24, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets, audio

There could very well be a new king of the hill for Bluetooth speakers, with Sound Blaster's recent entry into the marketplace. Bringing a heap of features for music enjoyment to a powerful speaker, the company introduced the Roar earlier this year. With the crowded market for Bluetooth speakers, is it possible that a company like Sound Blaster could release a device that topples some of the big names in audio? Find out in our review.

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Former Apple execs Johnson, McDougal form new retail startup, Enjoy

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: computers, industry, peripherals, gadgets, accessories

Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson, along with his former Apple colleague Jerry McDougal and former Apple creative director Tom Suiter have teamed up in a new retail-oriented startup endeavor called Enjoy, promising to help consumers spend more wisely instead of just aiming for the cheapest price. The company, which launches next year, will help consumers make smarter choices on buying, such as educating shoppers on the finer points of a camera to promote the best overall value.

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Court sides with broadcasters, shuts down Aereo live broadcasting

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Aereo was dealt another blow in its battle to survive today thanks to a New York court. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of broadcasters in a 17-page decision, putting a nationwide preliminary injunction in place against the startup. As a result, Aereo can no longer operate its "Watch Now" system that allowed television programs to be rebroadcasted over the Internet.

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Facebook unleashes Rooms, brings communities back to chat rooms

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, mobile phones

Facebook's Creative Labs team is bringing a new, yet old way to socialize over the Internet to users through its application Rooms. The free iOS app lets users create custom chat rooms on a topic, without requiring any special log in or connection to a Facebook account. Instead, users can select whatever user name they like and chat in virtual anonymity.

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Microsoft reports $23.20B for first quarter, beats projections

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry

Microsoft beat analyst expectations for the first quarter of 2015 today, posting $23.20 billion in revenue with a diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54. Analysts expected the company to post EPS of $0.50 on $22.02 billion in revenue. Strong sales in consumer hardware and a 10 percent growth in the commercial sector were responsible for the boost in revenue.

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Google adds GPS support, music storage option to Android Wear

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets

Google's first major update to Android Wear will be preparing the operating system for use on standalone smartwatches. The software update adds support for GPS sensors built into devices, as well as the ability to store music on a smartwatch instead of a smartphone, with audio able to be played through a paired set of Bluetooth headphones.

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Amazon posts massive quarterly loss, misses Wall Street predictions

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry

Amazon.com today announced financial results for its third quarter that ended on September 30. Net sales increased 20 percent to $20.58 billion in the third quarter, compared with $17.09 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Despite the increase, Amazon's net loss was $437 million in the third quarter, or $0.95 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $41 million, or $0.09 per diluted share in the same time period of of 2013.

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Briefly: Lian Li PC-Q26 chassis, Toshiba ships Satellite Radius 11

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: computers

Lian Li announced a new chassis aimed at consumers looking for custom built network-attached storage (NAS) options and system integrators. The new PC-Q26 brushed aluminum chassis grants ample room for storage options, while promoting the use of smaller computer parts as emphasized by the fit for mini-ITX motherboards. The case allows up to 11 storage drives to be stowed inside, with room for 10 drives in 3.5-inch bays and one in a 2.5-inch bay.

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Xiaomi moves international user data out of China during expansion

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Xiaomi announced this week that it's taking steps to strengthen its services across the globe after an expanded server infrastructure effort started earlier in the year. As a part of the server expansion, the company said that data from international users of Xiaomi products is being transferred out of the central data centers in Beijing.

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Hungarian government proposes data transfer tax for Internet providers

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Internet providers in Hungary may find their costs will increase, as the government mulls a possible tax on Internet traffic. A draft tax bill for 2015 has been submitted to the country's parliament, one which would require companies to pay for data transfers, as the country attempts to deal with a national budget deficit in alternative ways.

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VisionTek unveils USB 3.0 Pocket SSD external drive

Thu October 23, 2014 | Posted in: computers, upgrades/storage

Accessory manufacturer VisionTek today announced the new VisionTek USB Pocket SSD line of thumb drive-sized SSDs. The USB 3.0 drive can be used with nearly any Windows, OS X, and Linux based system, with performance of up to 455MB/s read and 440MB/s write in a pocket-sized drive.

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