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Top Stories  |   (Nov 23, 2014)

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Google, Rockstar Consortium submit filing to end legal battle

Agreement reached November 12, set to end year-long legal battle by end of 2014

Google's legal battle with the Rockstar Consortium over claims that the search company infringes upon seven patents with the Android operating system appears to be coming to an end. According to a filing submitted to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas on November 17, both parties have agreed to settle their dispute.

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Hands On: LG G Watch R

LG G Watch R delivers breakthrough high-quality circular P-OLED display

We have previously taken a look at the LG G Watch , LG's launch device that helped to usher in Google's wearable platform, Android Wear. LG has introduced the next model in its Android Wear range, the LG G Watch R, which is a much more interesting and thoughtfully-designed smartwatch. Where the rectangular G Watch is quite nondescript in appearance, the G Watch R incorporates much more design flair and much more interesting technology.

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Apple Pay already dominating NFC contactless payment systems

Walgreens, others say Apple payment system is now most popular NFC payment method

Just a month after its debut, Apple Pay appears to be dominating NFC payment systems where it is available , according to reports, with the public quickly accepting the new checkout method due to its ease of use and speed. McDonald's recently noted that 50 percent of its contactless payments are now coming from Apple Pay, while Walgreens reports similar figures -- saying that the number of mobile transactions it has processed since Apple Pay's debut has doubled.

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First Look: Apple iMac with 5K Retina Display

Apple sells 5K Retina Display, includes powerful iMac computer for free

Apple has been adding Retina displays to its mobile product range over the past few years, but desktop users have missed out -- until now. Apple's new iMac with Retina 5K display has landed, with four times the pixel density of previous models - taking its total pixel count to an incredible 14.7 million pixels. But it is much more than just a pretty face: behind the stunning new Retina display, it packs a one-two punch of up to a 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 display and AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB of DDR5 VRAM. We've been using it for the past week, and have some first impressions ahead of our full review.

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Amazon and Hachette battle ends amicably with e-book sales deal

Hachette allowed to set e-book pricing for all its titles on Amazon storefront

The long-running and rancorous dispute between publisher Hachette and Amazon seems to be over. Both companies have announced that a deal has been struck, with Hachette being able to set prices on the e-books that it sells. Other specific terms of the deal have not yet been made public, and will not likely ever face public scrutiny outside the publishing industry.

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YouTube Music Key launched in beta with offline listening option

YouTube music subscription removes advertising, adds Google Play Music All Access

YouTube has launched its often-rumored music service, just one day after a report claims it struck a major deal with independent record labels. YouTube Music Key is a subscription-based streaming service which offers advertising-free viewing of music videos on YouTube itself, as well as a few other features only paid subscribers will receive.

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Staples outlets begin accepting Apple Pay

All 1,400 US locations ready, retailer says

Business supply chain Staples has begun accepting Apple Pay at all of its 1,400 US retail locations, according to an announcement. Retail shoppers must have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The company has also begun accepting Apple Pay through its iOS app , however, where people with an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 can also make purchases.

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Hands On: Apple iPad mini 3

Apple iPad mini 3 gets Touch ID, remains a match for the competition

Before Apple introduced the iPad Air last year, there would have been few who would have argued that it didn't need the iPad mini in its lineup. At the time, around 50 percent of tablet sales were going to smaller seven- to eight-inch devices, with the many of those sales going to Android devices. However, the iPad Air redesign was such a departure from the original iPad in overall footprint and volume that many Apple customers that had switched to the smaller iPad mini because it was lighter and easier to hold than the fourth-generation iPad, re-evaluated the larger 9.7-inch display option. So with the arrival of an even thinner, lighter and much more powerful iPad Air 2 , is there still a place for the iPad mini 3 ?

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President Obama voices support for Title II reclassification of ISPs

FCC should create net neutrality-protecting rules, insists Obama

President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications act. Wading into the net neutrality debate again , Obama has issued a statement asking for the FCC to "answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality."

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Amazon Echo introduced as networked speaker with virtual assistant

Echo speaker answers questions, plays music on command via voice recognition

Amazon has quietly launched a network-connected speaker with voice recognition. The Echo is a tall cylindrical speaker unit which can be used for music playback, but it also includes a seven-microphone array at the top for listening to voice commands, allowing users to give the device instructions to play music, ask questions, and set appointments.

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Analysis: reports of imminent iPhone 6 Plus recall over bad NAND false

NAND in devices not universally faulty, or to blame for some units crashing

After a night of sensationalist reports from South Korea, news agencies elsewhere in the world reported that the iPhone 6 Plus 128GB was likely going to be subject to a recall. MacNN started looking into the newest claims of iPhone 6 Plus problems early this morning, in parallel with an ongoing investigation that started last week about app library size causing device instability. Despite reports of phones being bent either accidentally or on purpose, we can report that there is no reason for a recall at this time over faulty NAND memory, or any other cause.

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Review: Apple iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2 packs the power of a notebook into a tablet form factor

Apple continues to dominate the tablet market with good reason -- its pace of innovation since launching the original iPad just four years ago must have its competitors reeling. The iPad Air 2 is the six-generation iPad, although the product line is only four years old. It is a testament to Apple's desire to remain at the forefront of tablet innovation and market leadership that it has advanced the definition of state-of-the-art each time a new iPad is released. Is this Apple's most amazing mobile device yet? Read on in our full review of the Apple iPad Air 2.

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Hands On: Woah Dave! (multi-platform)

Joust remake pushes all the right (8-bit) buttons

There's no doubt that retro-gaming is decidedly "in" these days, and the amount of games that have decided to emulate the sights and sounds of the 1980s and 1990s are many. Among those games, few have come across as overwhelmingly successful, but among those titles stands newcomer Woah Dave by Choice Provisions. The game has enjoyed success at PAX, E3, IndeCade, and California Extreme.

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Analysis: 20nm AMD chip design could lead to cheaper Xbox One

Developer resume gives clues to the APU shrink from 28nm to 20nm

Gamers hoping for a slim version of the Xbox One with a reduced cost could be see something hit the market in the near future. According to a resume from a senior manager at AMD, the company has successfully shrunk the die size of the system-on-chip (SOC) that is included in Microsoft's next-gen gaming console. Based on AMD's roadmap and die shrinks for GPUs and APUs, it could mean a new Xbox One is on its way in 2015.

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Hands On: Offload (OS X, Windows)

Copy utility software makes dumping pictures, footage to drive, backup easier

Dealing with the aftermath of a day of recording video or snapping photos can be time-consuming. Videos and photos are often spread across different memory cards and storage devices, all of which require attention to transfer to editing stations and backup locations. Offload from Red Giant looks to make that a little easier. Like many of Red Giant's other pieces of software , Offload is built with videographers and photographers in mind. It makes it easier to transfer a bunch of files in one action, rather than taking two or more.

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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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