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Top Stories  |   (Sep 19, 2014)

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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, offerings 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 be named 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 had a minor change, but a significant one. 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 document, suggesting that Apple has now received a Patriot Act request and is subject to a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant.

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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, the Fire HD Kids Edition with a two-year replacement guarantee. The Kindle line has been buttressed by the seventh generation Kindle Voyage , and a new $79 price point Kindle with faster processor and twice the storage.

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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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Hands On: Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge

Is the Galaxy Note 4 or the Galaxy Note Edge the star of the show?

Samsung launched the next iteration of its Note phablet series today, the Galaxy Note 4 , but that model's almost incremental updates weren't what stole the show here at the New York launch event, timed simultaneously with launches in Beijing and Berlin. Rather, the real excitement was generated by the newly-launched Galaxy Note Edge . Electronista got its hands on with both devices, and found a great deal to like about each, and some quibbles.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 sports Quad HD display, improved S Pen

Galaxy Note 4 has Octa-core processor option for some markets

Samsung's expected reveal of the Galaxy Note at its Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event at IFA has confirmed earlier rumors of its high-resolution display. The phablet's 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display equals the size of its predecessor , but Samsung has boosted the resolution to Quad HD, 2,560x1,440, with a claimed 90-percent Adobe RGB color gamut and Gorilla Glass protection.

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Gaems details new devices including M240, release date set for M155

New partnerships in the works for branding, M155 hitting retail on November 2

At Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) this year, Gaems Vice President of Marketing and Co-Founder John Smith, along with partner and former professional athlete Hank Baskett, were on hand to talk about some of the new things coming from the company. While Gaems is best known for its series of Personal Gaming Environments (PGE) like the Vanguard and the Sentry, the company is branching out to new aspects of the gaming world with two brand new products for computer users, the M155 and M240.

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Alienware announces new Area-51, shows Alpha at PAX Prime

Builder shows off revolutionary design for flagship computer, uses new Intel CPU

Alienware shocked the computer industry this week, when it announced the latest version of the flagship Area-51 computer. During the Intel panel on the future of PC gaming, General Manager Frank Azor unveiled the new computer on stage as one of the first gaming machines built with Intel's Haswell Extreme Edition processor and X99 chipset.

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Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 delivers the best tablet display yet

As with its smartphones, Samsung has thrown everything it can at the wall when it comes to tablets to see what eventually sticks. However, even though Samsung holds the title as the largest single Android tablet maker, it hasn't made the same sort of inroads against Apple in the tablet space as it has with its Galaxy smartphones. It has launched tablets in all shapes and sizes, with multiple models and sizes targeting the low-end, middle and high-end segments making it a challenge for consumers to navigate. Its latest high-end model, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 , however, looks as though the company may finally have its formula right in its never-ending battle with Apple.

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Intel launches Core i7 Extreme Edition processors with 6, 8 cores[u]

Enthusiast Intel Core i7 processors accompanied by X99 Express chipset

[Updated with information from Penny Arcade Expo] Intel has formally unveiled an octa-core processor for desktop computers, as part of the Core i7 Extreme Edition range . Previously under the name Haswell-E , the first three from the range will consist of one processor with eight cores flanked by two six-core chips, with Intel also launching the X99 Express chipset alongside the enthusiast processor collection.

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Apple officially announces September 9 press event [u]

Expected to feature iPhone 6, iWatch

(Updated with Bloomberg claims of iWatch debut) As anticipated, Apple has formally announced a September 9 press event. Unlike past fall events, however, this one will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, rather than the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It will begin at 10AM Pacific time, or 1PM Eastern.

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Samsung unveils Gear S with SIM card, curved display, Gear Circle

Gear S smartwatch can operate independently from smartphone with own 3G connection

Samsung has unveiled a new Gear smartwatch and earphones before its Unpacked event at IFA. The Gear S updates the original device's bulky design into a slimline and stylish smartwatch with a curved two-inch 360x480 Super AMOLED display, though unlike the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, this edition adds the SIM card and 3G connection from the rumored Gear Solo , allowing it to work independently from a smartphone.

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Hands-on: OnePlus One '2014 Flagship Killer'

OnePlus One looks set to cause a major headache for the likes of Samsung

OnePlus is an ambitious new OEM out of China founded in late 2013 with designs on conquering the smartphone market. Its first handset is the audacious OnePlus One , which recently started shipping to the US and select European markets. Interestingly, instead of jumping into the market with a 5-inch smartphone, the company's first effort is a 5.5-inch phablet that it is marketing as a 'Flagship Killer.' With its intentions clear, is it possible for a company to come from out of almost nowhere to steal the title of most wanted Android phone from the likes of tech titans like Samsung?

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Amazon procures streaming site Twitch for $970 million [u]

Sources state that the deal is worth $1 billion, same as reported Google acquisition

[Updated with confirmation of deal between twitch and Amazon] Originally reported by The Information , Twitch has been purchased by Amazon. While Google was thought to be the forerunner that would pick up the company for $1 billion, based on earlier reports , Amazon has completed the deal, worth $970 million in cash.

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Hands-on: Golla Road City bag

Golla Road City bag provide an excellent blend of style and functionality

An ongoing conundrum for tech users one is trying to find the best bag to tote your gear around when on the go. Golla is a Finnish company whose products have now found their way into both Apple and Microsoft stores in various locations around the globe. In addition to smartphone cases and other accessories, the company also sells a range of bags geared towards tech users. We have our hands on the company's Golla Road City bag in gray and have been impressed with its blend of form and function.

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First look: Nvidia Shield Android gaming tablet

Nvidia delivers genuine differentiation with its Shield gaming tablet

Although it might look like just another Android tablet, the Nvidia Shield Android gaming tablet is one of the more interesting devices to come out in a segment that swamped with endless options, but little genuine differentiation. It tries to stand out from the crowd not with a heavily customized user interface, or even bold design, but rather tries to specialize in one particular area - Android gaming. It is also one of the first devices on the market running Nvidia's latest chip, the Tegra K1 . While it still sports a 32-bit ARM Cortex A15 4+1 architecture clocked at 2.2GHz, its graphics capabilities are the real highlight. It sports 192 Kepler GPU cores, which is the very same architecture that powers Nvidia's vaunted discrete desktop and notebook GPUs.

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HTC One (M8) for Windows launches as Verizon exclusive

Windows Phone version of HTC One M8 uses same specifications as Android original

HTC has launched the Windows Phone version of its One M8 flagship at an event in New York. The HTC One (M8) for Windows is a metal-clad smartphone with the same specifications as the Android original , including an identical five-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage.

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