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Top Stories  |   (Oct 01, 2014)

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Microsoft unveils Windows 10 as next operating system version

Windows 10 reintroduces Start Menu, lessens Live Tile use

Microsoft has formally announced the latest iteration of its computer operating system at its media event , but it isn't named Windows 9 . The incoming Windows 10, set to be made available to users next year, is being billed by the company as the "most comprehensive platform ever," with the software expected to run on the broadest range of device types, including computers, mobile devices, and the "Internet of Things" ecosystem.

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PayPal, eBay splitting into two separate public companies in 2015

Splitting of eBay, PayPal expected to be beneficial to each business

Auction site eBay and payment service PayPal are splitting apart into two separate companies. A plan has been approved by the eBay board of directors to separate the two into independent publicly traded companies by next year, subject to regulatory approval, with each company set to be presided over by two new chief executives.

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Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus review Part 2

Spec sheets belie just how powerful and efficient the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are

This is the second part of our two part combined iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus review. In Part 1 , we took a look at the design and construction of the new iPhones, along with the new larger and much improved displays as well as the all-new front and rear iSight cameras. In each of these areas, Apple has continued to raise the bar with at least one or more significant improvements over the previous generation. In this second part of our review, we take a closer look at the performance of the new models, their connectivity options, Touch ID/Apple Pay, iOS 8 and weigh up which of the two new iPhones might be best for you.

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China to begin iPhone 6 sales on October 10, reports say

Long-delayed device hampered by regulatory approval process

While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will finally debut in China on Friday, October 10 .

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Consumer Reports: iPhone 6 'bending' controversy overblown

Testing finds that larger iPhone 6 Plus actually less prone than iPhone 6

Adding to new suspicions that some of the "iPhone 6 Plus easily bends" videos appearing on the web may have been staged , Consumer Reports has now weighed in with the results of its own independent testing that largely refutes the claims that the phones can bend easily. After testing both models of new iPhone, as well as some other smartphones and phablets, the lab found that while the new iPhones were indeed less resilient than the iPhone 5 or Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, the HTC One (M8) is actually the most prone to deformation.

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Apple offers video tour of iPhone testing facility

Schiller suggests owners with bent iPhones visit Apple Stores

Continuing to fight back against claims that the iPhone 6 Plus is structurally unsound and prone to bending in people's pockets, Apple has given some tech reporters a tour of the iPhone quality testing lab , showing that it does and did test the new iPhone to simulate situations like those seen in videos to aggravate or cause bending. The original instigator of the furor has noted that his iPhone 6 Plus was slightly bent right out of the box -- opening up the possibility that some batches, rather than the phone itself, could have structural issues.

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FBI Director Comey worried Apple, Google encryption 'above the law'

Agency thinks Android L, iOS 8 security put consumer security ahead of law enforcement

Addressing reporters in Washington today, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey voiced his concerns over the recent shifts in security policy for Android and iOS 8 . Specifically, Comey believes that the new security encryption measures that cannot be bypassed for law enforcement puts consumers before possible emergency situations.

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iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Review Part 1

Apple makes substantial improvements across the board on iPhone 6

While every new iPhone launch is among the most anticipated smartphone launch each year, there can be little doubt that the wait for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been particularly excruciating. The expected jump in display size with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays has been as eagerly awaited by iPhone fans as it has been causing angst for Apple's competitors. However, as Apple is quick to highlight, there is a lot more to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus than their display sizes. It has worked hard to improve the iPhone across the board in order to make it a true generational leap over the iPhone 5s. In Part 1 of our combined iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus review, we take a closer look at design and construction, the enhanced display technologies, and the redesigned iSight cameras.

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Bash vulnerability 'Shellshock' affects Linux, OS X systems

Major security risk could be bigger issue than Heartbleed

A new bug may have a greater potential for harm than April's Heartbleed vulnerability, according to reports. The "Shellshock" vulnerability in Bash, a Unix shell typically used in Linux systems as well as in OS X, apparently allows for code held in environment variables to be executed within the shell as soon as it is invoked, potentially allowing for the control of affected systems to be taken over by another user.

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BlackBerry Passport launched with square 1440x1440 display

Touch-enabled physical keyboard of BlackBerry Passport detects flicks, swipes

BlackBerry has used its three simultaneous media events to launch the BlackBerry Passport smartphone. Just as rumored, the mobile device has a square 4.5-inch 1440x1440 touchscreen with a touch-enabled physical keyboard below, allowing the keyboard to detect swipes, flicks and taps similar to display-based gestures, but without the user blocking their view of the screen with their fingers.

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Samsung exiting Europe PC market; sales continue in US, elsewhere

Changing 'market needs and demands' cited for exit

Following continued dismal sales in Europe of computer hardware, electronics giant manufacturer Samsung has ceased sales in the region, effective immediately. The sales stop includes the company's popular Ativ line, as well as the generally-successful Chromebook products by the Korean manufacturer. While the company claims the stop is temporary, no word has been given on when the company may resume sales again.

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New iPhone 6 models best the competition, analysis sites say

Tom's Hardware, AnandTech both find the iPhone beats the rest

Early tests from PC performance sites Tom's Hardware and AnandTech have revealed that early iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus buyers aren't just buying style and elegance -- they're also getting a smartphone that appears to be the best all-around performer available, in some cases by a significant margin. Significant improvements in GPU performance, JavaScript performance and battery life once again see the iPhone outperforming phones with quad-core chips and twice the RAM.

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Hands on: Bungie's Destiny for Xbox 360

Is that wizard really from the moon and actually worth spending $60 on?

Let's just cut through the normal crap of a boring introductory paragraph. If you've been alive and a gamer for more than 15 years, you know who Bungie is. More than 25 years, and you've played a Bungie game or two. At more than 40 (and a Mac user), you've played games from the company that shipped on 3.5-inch disk. Bungie is now freed from the clutches of Microsoft, and under the thrall of a new master -- Activision. Destiny is the first title from the thrice-born company, and it's -- different. Is it any good, and more importantly, how is the experience on the seemingly-omnipresent previous generation of console?

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First look: iPhone 6, 6 Plus

New iPhone 6 and 6 Plus look to be winners

The wait is finally over as the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus finally start landing in the hands of customers. As has been suggested, the iPhone 6 Plus is indeed in relatively short supply at launch with greater stock availability of the new 4.7-inch model. We have got our hands on a 64GB iPhone 6 in Space Grey and a 16GB iPhone 6 Plus in Silver, and both are stunning devices to behold. So how are they shaping up in our first few hours with them?

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Nvidia announces GTX 970, 980 cards with Maxwell GPU architecture

Tenth generation of Nvidia architecture delivers new lighting, anti-aliasing, and sampling

During the company's Game24 livestream event, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage to announce> the next generation of GPU technology to be found in the 900 series of graphics cards . Nvidia's Maxwell, the tenth GPU architecture to be released from the graphics company, offers a number of new features over its Kepler predecessor, including new technologies like multi-frame sample anti-aliasing (MFAA) and dynamic super resolution (DSR).

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Australia opens iPhone 6 sales to 'massive' crowds

New Zealanders must wait an extra week for first shipments

While buyers in North America must wait until tomorrow for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 6 lineup, Australia -- by dint of being on the other side of the international date line -- becomes the first country in the world to launch the new iPhones. A MacNN staffer visiting the Penrith Apple Store in New South Wales near Sydney has reported a "massive" lineup, consisting of hundreds of buyers outside the store.

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Larry Ellison steps down as CEO of Oracle, retains board chairman spot

Mark Hurd, Safra Catz both named as CEO of Oracle following exit

Surprisingly, Oracle has announced that founder and CEO Larry Ellison will be stepping down, effective immediately. The outgoing CEO will be replaced by Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, who will both be named CEO of the company, but not use the title co-CEOs. Ellison is remaining on the board as executive chairman, and in a business capacity as chief technology officer for the company.

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Apple 'warrant canary' gone from transparency report

Missing language suggests Apple has received Patriot Act request

Apple's transparency report on governmental information requests has made a minor but significant change. Language saying that "Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us" has been completely removed from the latest version of the document, suggesting that Apple has now received a Patriot Act request, and is subject to a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant and subsequent gag order.

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Amazon refreshes Kindle line; adds new HDX Fire 8.9, Fire HD Kids

New product lineup adds Dolby Atmos to HDX Fire, new Fire OS

Amazon has completely refreshed its Fire tablet line, and added two new Kindles as well. Leading the pack is a refreshed Fire HD 8.9 , with HDX display with a more powerful processor, exclusive Dolby Atmos and the latest Dolby Audio, and all-new Fire OS 4 "Sangria" features and services. Also added are the Fire HD for less than $100, and the Fire HD Kids Edition with a two-year replacement guarantee.

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WSJ: iPhone 6, 6 Plus cameras beat Galaxy S5 handily

Despite half the megapixels, iPhone 6's sensors and phase-detection win the day

The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey Fowler has had a chance to take the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung's Galaxy S5 on a test run from a photographic perspective, comparing the built-in cameras on each. On paper, the iPhone models were at a serious disadvantage: the photo modules are only 8MP, compared to the 16 megapixel units on Samsung's flagship smartphone. Nevertheless, Fowler's photos make clear that Apple's combination of lenses, camera, sensor and post-processing technologies create consistently better pictures.

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Microsoft confirms $2.5B acquisition of Minecraft studio Mojang

Mojang acquisition involves exit of company founders including Markus Persson

Microsoft has officially confirmed it is acquiring Mojang , the Swedish game studio behind Minecraft . Purchased at the rumored cost of $2.5 billion , the deal will include the majority of the Mojang development team, though notably company founders Carl Manneh, Jakbok Porser, and Markus "Notch" Persson will be leaving the company once the acquisition is completed.

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Apple Watch debuts in three editions

Wide range of applications, inventive new user interface

Apple on Tuesday introduced the long-awaited "iWatch," now known as Apple Watch . The device features a scratchproof sapphire screen in its regular edition, with a new "crown" dial on the side that allows users to scroll, zoom and doubles as a "home" button. The user interface is both new and familiar, with iOS overtones but arranged in a more organic way. The device has built-in storage, six different watch bands that are interchangeable, and a new "taptic" engine that offers vibration along with sound alerts.

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Apple introduces Apple Pay mobile payment platform

Uses NFC technology, Touch ID, Secure Element

Apple today announced Apple Pay, its long-awaited mobile payment system. The technology relies on a mix of Passbook, Touch ID, and new NFC and "Secure Element" hardware in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus . Users can add credit cards from their iTunes account, or take a photo of one and verify it with the bank. A credit card number isn't stored on a phone or shared, and transactions are tokenized, as was rumored. Should a phone be stolen, Find My iPhone can be used to disable purchasing functions, eliminating the need to cancel cards. Cashiers don't see any of the transaction data.

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Apple announces 4.7-, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models

Faster A8 processor debuts, improved camera, thinner body

As expected, Apple has formally debuted the long-speculated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models at its press event this morning in Cupertino. The new models will take their place as the flagship phones, featuring much higher pixel count of one million pixels (for the iPhone 6, a 1334x750 resolution @ 326ppi) and two million pixels (for the 6 Plus, a Full HD 1920x1080 resolution @ 401ppi). The new iPhones are both thinner than any previous model, at 6.9mm and 7.1mm, respectively, and come with up to 128GB capacity.

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Review: Blue Mikey Digital add-on microphone

Small, handy mic add-on enhances iOS recordings

Blue Microphones , a company that makes some of the most popular digital USB microphones among podcasters and musicians, has for some time made a Mikey clip-in microphone for 30-pin iOS devices that significantly enhanced the sound quality of recordings. The company has now brought out a new model -- the Mikey Digital -- designed for Lightning-based devices, and introduced a few new tricks in the process. While not the equal of Blue's more expensive desktop mics, it is a godsend for on-the-go recording. Is it right for you? Check out our review for samples and insight on this little wonder.

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Mini review: Swatch Sistem 51

Swatch Sistem 51 is a very smart traditional watch

While the gadgets that we usually cover on the site are high-tech, occasionally a 'low-tech' gadget comes along that can be just as desirable. The new Swatch Sistem 51 shows that there is still plenty of innovation taking place in the traditional watch market, despite all the attention shifting towards smartwatches. Recently launched in the U.S., the Swatch Sistem 51 is the Swiss company's first automatic watch and was made to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Like the original Swatch quartz watch released in 1983, which was comprised of 51 components, the namesake Sistem 51's minimal 51 part count making it the least complex automatic watch ever made - which, ironically, took substantial engineering efforts to bring it to market given most automatic watches contain over 100 parts.

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Video of functioning 4.7-inch iPhone seen running iOS 8

Home screen icon appears to confirm changes coming to Passbook

A functioning version -- perhaps a genuine finished unit, or a cleverly-disguised Goophone -- of the allegedly forthcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has been demonstrated in brief video clips. Going beyond any previous demo, the unit appears to function normally, is clearly running iOS 8 and is activated. The home screen shows the Health application (briefly demo'd in a different video) and the modified Passbook app icon, which now has a fourth red "stripe" resembling a payment card, seemingly confirming the idea that a mobile payment system will be introduced at the September 9 event.

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Motorola upgrades Moto X with 5.2-inch 1080p screen, 2.5GHz processor

Rear 13MP camera of new Moto X has surrounding ring flash

Motorola's sequel to the Moto X has been unveiled with a number of improvements on the original, but retaining the same name. The new Moto X has a slightly larger 5.2-inch AMOLED screen with an upgraded 1080p resolution, backed by a quad-core Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM.

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Microsoft bills Lumia 830 smartphone as 'affordable flagship'

Rear 10MP PureView camera used in Lumia 830

Part of a launch of three smartphones at its IFA event, Microsoft revealed the Lumia 830 . Offering a 5.5-inch 1280x720 display, the Windows Phone device is billed by the company as an "affordable flagship," with the aluminum-framed smartphone packing a rear 10-megapixel PureView camera aided with various camera app functions in the accompanying Lumia Denim software update.

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Intel considers bringing commercial PCIe SSD technology to consumers

Company shows off data center technology in a gaming application at PAX

Intel could be considering a move into a different class of data storage, one which is based on its existing solid state storage in data centers and other commercial areas. While there would still be a considerable time to get a product to the market, Intel is looking into the idea of moving its data center-class storage into the consumer retail space with PCIe solid state drives (SSD), similar to what Apple has done with the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro.

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