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Top Stories  |   (Oct 30, 2014)

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Microsoft Band officially launches, available to buy now for $200

Cross-platform Microsoft fitness tracker has claimed 48-hour battery

Microsoft has officially announced its fitness tracker, the day after images leaked via companion apps. The Microsoft Band is able to track the wearer's vital signs and physical activities, with some included sensors not typically included in such devices, with it also providing a number of smartwatch-style interactions using its customizable display.

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Hands On: PluralEyes 3.5 (OS X, Windows)

Synchronization software removes headache from matching up video clips, audio recordings

DSLR shooters often have a troublesome workflow when trying to put together videos recorded with the dual-purpose cameras. While many consumers might look to a dedicated camcorder to produce a short film or conduct an interview, DSLR cameras provide the necessary technology needing only an external audio recorder to do the job. But how do users bring video and audio together? In the past, filmmakers entered into a time consuming process to match peaks in waveforms. However, that is no longer needed as Red Giant offers a supremely better solution with PluralEyes 3.5 .

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First look: Apple iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

iPad Air 2 is anything but an incremental update

Apple is heading into the holiday season with what it says is its "strongest holiday product line up ever." The arrival of the new iPads certainly helps to underscore the point. Most expected that Apple would bring the popular Touch ID feature to both models, while processor upgrades were also in the cards. With leaks increasingly taking some of the surprise out of Apple's product launches, it still managed to keep a few things secret until it took the wraps off the  iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 .

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Hands On: Wasteland 2 (OS X, Windows)

If the Fallout war never ended, this is where it started

In 2012, InXile Entertainment took to Kickstarter, aiming to raise $900,000 revive the 1988 classic role-playing game Wasteland with a sequel. Since then, and with over $2.9 million in pledges from over 61,000 backers, the team has rolled out Wasteland 2 on Steam , a successor which attempts to modernize the base game while keeping the style and gameplay of the original release.

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Amazon unveils Fire TV Stick as second media streamer

Amazon competes against Chromecast with own HDMI dongle

Amazon has added a second option for customers wanting to acquire its Fire TV media streamer, one which seemingly takes inspiration from the Roku Streaming Stick and the Google Chromecast . The Fire TV Stick plugs into the HDMI socket of a television, and aims to provide the same streaming experience as its set-top box stablemate.

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Fitbit reveals Charge, Charge HR, Surge fitness trackers

Two fitness trackers, fitness-focused smartwatch joinFitbit ranks

Fitbit has revealed three new devices in its fitness tracker range, including one which did not leak prematurely . The Charge and Charge HR appear to be reworked versions of the Fitbit Force , while the Surge has a larger display and a built-in GPS, with the device set to provide more smartwatch-style functionality on top of its existing fitness-related data collection activities.

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Editorial: In defense of the new $499 Mac mini

On paper, its not as strong as the 2012 model, but why worry?

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

Unknown author calls Knox compromised, unsafe for use

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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Rare Apple I computer sold at auction for $905,000

Takes second place in all-time high price paid for a personal computer

On the same day that Apple's stock closed at the second-highest price it has achieved in 2014, a new record-high price for its first computer -- the original Apple I -- has also been set , by a considerable margin. While an incredibly rare still-functional Apple I model (thought to be one of just six in such pristine condition) along with a letter from Steve Jobs was sold in May 2013 for $671,400 , the latest auction in New York saw this latest unit -- one from the original first batch of 50 -- change hands for $905,000.

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Apple Pay to be used at both 2014 World Series stadiums

MLB was early adopter of Passbook app, iBeacons; MLB app will gain Touch ID functionality

Major League Baseball, which has taken the role of unabashed cheerleader for several of Apple's financial and retail technology initiatives including Passbook and iBeacons, has announced another embrace -- this time, Apple Pay. Both of the two MLB stadiums involved in this year's World Series will be accepting Apple Pay for concessions starting with the event, which begins on Tuesday. San Francisco's AT&T Park and Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium will both have the hardware on hand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users.

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Opinion: iPad Air 2 demo shows power of 64-bit mobile computing [U]

Apple A8X chip in iPad Air 2 set to smoke the competition

Apple's demo for the iPad Air 2 during its latest keynote event was hugely impressive. As the company often does during its live presentations, it invited two developers on stage to highlight not only their apps, but also the power of the new iPad Air 2. Although all the technical details are not yet fully known about the powerful new custom 64-bit A8X chip, Apple did reveal some impressive numbers. But numbers aside, if you ever held any doubts about the benefits of Apple going 64-bit for the iPhone and iPad, the performance capabilities of iPad Air 2 as demonstrated should put them to bed.

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Editorial: Analysis of Apple's October device announcements

Event featured expected news for news iPad, surprises for 5K iMac and Mac Mini

Chatter between the staff of MacNN and Electronista is always occurring behind the scenes, but it ramps up when special events or live reveals happen in the tech world. Excitement was amplified this week as Apple took to the stage barely a month after its last event, the September showcase that launched the iPhone 6. Editors Mike and Charles, along with writer Jordan, debate some of the new device information that trickled out of the Wednesday event, while digging a little deeper on the impact the devices could have on Apple .

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Apple unveils new Retina iMac, featuring 5K display

Four times more pixels than previous model, all-new display technology

At its iPad event, Apple also unveiled a new 27-inch Retina 5K iMac , featuring an all-new display that offers 5K (5120x2880) resolution, 67 percent more pixels than found in a new 4K HDTV. Although previously rumored, the new iMac still managed to surprise with a lower-than-expected price tag starting at $2,499, considerably less than the cost of a typical high-end 4K HDTV. The new model, which will be sold in addition to the existing iMac models, also offers processing power up to a 4.0GHz Core i7.

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Apple unveils iPad Air 2 with Touch ID, A8X processor

New tablet even thinner than iPad Air, half the thickness of original iPad

Through its press event, Apple today unveiled the iPad Air 2 , and a third-generation iPad mini . Both are the first iPads equipped with Touch ID fingerprint sensors, previously limited to iPhones. For the first time, the tablets are also available in a gold color along with previous silver and "space gray" options. Touch ID can be used for Apple Pay, but only online, not at retail outlets.

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Apple event: Apple Pay, iOS 8.1 October 20; Yosemite available now

All the October Apple event news from the Cupertino Town Hall

Apple's October product event has begun. Alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook calling the iPhone 6 launch the "biggest launch ever," Apple has announced that Apple Pay is "getting going" in the United States. The official launch of Apple Pay is Monday, October 20 to compatible device users. Apple has also shown details of iOS 8.1, with improvements to photo and video storage.

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HTC-produced Nexus 9 launches with Tegra K1 processor

Nexus 9 uses 8.9-inch 2048x1536 display, HTC BoomSound front speakers

At the same time as launching the Nexus 6 , Google revealed its new larger-sized tablet. The 8mm-thick Nexus 9 , produced by HTC , is equipped with an 8.9-inch IPS LCD screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, a resolution of 2048x1536, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection, housed in a casing with a soft-grip backing and a brushed-metal trim.

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Google Nexus 6 launches with 5.96-inch Quad HD display

Follow-up to Nexus 5 borrows Moto X styling, enlarges screen

After weeks of rumors , Google has finally launched the Nexus 6 smartphone, running Android Lollipop . At first glance, the Motorola-produced follow-up to the Nexus 5 bears a striking resemblance to the second-generation Moto X , complete with relatively few changes made to the external styling, but it boosts the screen to a phablet-sized 5.96-inch 1,440x2,560 display with a pixel density of 493ppi.

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Opinion: Four reasons why iPhone 6 is the best smartphone experience

If you want the best smartphone experience you can have, only iPhone can deliver it

Making the decision to buy a smartphone needs to take into account more factors than simply the hardware specifications of the device. While this might be a starting point, there is a lot more to the contemporary smartphone experience than the device itself. There needs to be an overall balance between the hardware, software, services and overall system integration - and on each of these counts, Apple and its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus continues to lead the competition.

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Employee class in anti-poaching suit doubles-back on settlement offer

In light of judge's rejection, plaintiffs now believe agreed-upon settlement too low

In a strange turn of events, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing many of Silicon Valley's top tech companies of suppressing wages by engaging in a "gentlemen's agreement" not to poach employees from each other have now said that Judge Lucy Koh, who is hearing the case, should formally reject a previously agreed-to settlement offer . Following Judge Koh's initial rejection of the $324.5 million settlement -- signed off on by the representatives of the plaintiffs and the companies involved -- the plaintiffs have now agreed with the judge that the sum is a bit too low.

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Opinion: Why you might want to opt for the iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 Plus could be the device that converts you into a phablet lover

Apple has certainly made life difficult for would be iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers. This year, it revealed not one, but two high-end iPhones that are both highly desirable making it the first time buyers have been faced with such a choice. Unsurprisingly, early tracking data from Mixpanel shows that the iPhone 6 is outselling the iPhone 6 Plus at a ratio of about 4.5:1. However, there are a few compelling reasons that you might want to consider before you choose the iPhone 6 over the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Apple confirms October 16 press event

Event should feature new iPads, Yosemite; may include new Macs

Confirming earlier rumors , Apple has sent out media invites to an October 16 press event. The invitations reveal virtually nothing about the showcase, simply offering an iOS 8-style Apple logo, the tagline "it's been way too long," and a time and place: the company's Cupertino headquarters at 10AM Pacific time. Apple is mainly expected to reveal a second-generation iPad Air and a third-gen iPad mini.

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Review: Huawei Ascend P7

Huawei smartphone measures 6.5mm thick tries to take on other flagships

In May, Huawei unveiled the latest iteration of its Ascend P flagship Android smartphone line, the Ascend P7 . Measuring a svelte 6.5mm thick and packing decent specifications, it is a stylish phone that aims to take on major flagship devices from other manufacturers. Does it do enough to conquer its opponents, or does its specifications let down its appearance? Find out in Electronista's review .

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Review: Mo-Fi headphones by Blue

Audiophile-grade amplified headphones feature perfect fit, great sound

Blue , a company that has specialized in microphones, has turned its techniques the other way around to create a set of serious headphones -- called Mo-Fi -- with an almost Apple-like attention to detail, from the packaging to the execution of the design. This is the sort of thing we were hoping Apple would create for Beats after the first year or two, but here it is now. At $350, they are not meant for casual listening, and it might be dangerous to wear them while walking the streets. They are primarily intended for serious listening to high-quality music. Are they for you? Find out in our review .

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Hewlett-Packard readying split for corporate, consumer businesses [U]

Move would create two HP companies, with current CEO leading enterprise business

[Updated with HP confirmation] Hewlett-Packard (HP) is said to be announcing a company split this week that would create two separate companies, based on different needs. The resulting break will create one firm that focuses on consumer-focused printers and personal computers, while the second will deal in corporate hardware and service operations.

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Speed test on flagship phones shows off iPhone 6 hardware

New iPhone wins handily despite half the number of CPUs, RAM

Though it has often been said that "specs aren't everything" when it comes to buying electronic devices, many consumers are still swayed by things like RAM or processing speed alone when considering device purchases. A new speed test by enthusiast site PhoneBuff , however, may convince many buyers to re-think the importance of the spec sheet. The new iPhone 6 was tested against the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8), and won the race handily.

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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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