Activation Lock


Activation Lock in iOS 7 responsible for pronounced decrease in iPhone thefts
The Activation Lock feature Apple introduced in iOS 7 is already having a discernible impact on crime, according to law enforcement officials in a few major cities. If you recall, Activation Lock prevents would-be thieves from turning off “Find my iPhone” without first entering the appropriate iCloud credentials. What’s more, even if a thief wipes a device clean, reactivating the device requires the original device owner’s credentials.

The end result? The iPhone remains a popular device for consumers, but not so much for thieves. And also, all the other smartphone makers are considering adding similar features.

Maps ‘City Tours’ feature hidden in iOS 8 betas, works like a guided Flyover video
Although deeper changes to Maps are in the works, Apple did announce a new City Tours feature for iOS 8 discreetly on one of the keynote slides. This feature is not normally available in the current iOS 8 betas, but developer Pierre Blazquez has managed to unlock the feature through a hidden debug screen and shines some light on exactly what ‘City Tours’ entails.
[Image: London from the Apple Maps app.]

Hundreds of businesses in London are about to flip the switch on payments via iBeacons
In Brixton, South West London, hundreds of businesses will soon integrate iBeacons as part of one of the first real-world networks for mobile payments using Apple’s Bluetooth LE iBeacon tech.

Skype 5.1 for iOS rolling out with improvements to conversations and favourites
Approximately a week after releasing Skype 5.0 with a completely revamped design and new features, Microsoft is now rolling out version 5.1 with various improvements. Notably, there are enhancements to managing conversations, favourites, and finding the status of Skype contacts.

Adobe updates its iPad Voice app, linking it to Lightroom Mobile sync
Adobe has posted a quick update to the fascinating Adobe Voice app. Adobe Voice is designed to create animated videos with very little work. As we noted in our review, it integrates animation, photos and music to create quick, but professional-looking, presentations.

QuickBooks app for Mac review: Intuit’s free app makes QuickBooks Online more friendly
Each new iteration of QuickBooks Online and its related set of apps makes this platform better, thinks Jeffery Battersby. QuickBooks Online has had good iOS apps for accessing your QuickBooks Online data and now they’ve released the QuickBooks app for Mac, a free tool that brings your QuickBooks Online account to an app on your Mac.

LinkedIn debuts new Job Search iPhone app for finding your dream career
LinkedIn’s news continues today as it launches a standalone iPhone app for dedicated to job hunting. The iPhone app is called LinkedIn Job Search and it joins the primary LinkedIn app as well as LinkedIn Pulse, LinkedIn Contacts, and the social network’s other existing mobile applications. The app takes advantage of location data and push notifications to keep job hunters updated with relevant opportunities based on a set criteria.

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Lego Retro Apple Gear


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Recreating retro Apple gear with Lego blocks — Do you still have an old Apple IIc laying around? What about a Mac 128k? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t, but regardless of whether you’ve ever actually owned one of these harbingers of modern computing there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love with these tiny Lego replicas by Chris McVeigh.

He goes by his online alias Powerpig, and he’s taken painstaking steps to recreate some of the most recognisable Apple computers of yesteryear, while keeping their charm and quirky appeal very much intact.

The novice’s guide to excellent Mac backups — Everyone knows they are supposed to back up, but maybe you aren’t sure what you should do or how you should do it. I’m here to help.

Play It On A Mac: Spintires — In this weekly series Mike Wehner shows you how to get your favourite Windows-exclusive PC games running on OS X. For more information on the programs used, check out the Play It On A Mac explainer. For suggestions and/or questions about any game, feel free to contact me on Twitter.

Spintires is an off-road adventure game with ridiculously realistic physics and terrain deformation. You can actually see the mud and road debris wrap around the tires of your various Soviet-era trucks as you make your way through forests, streams, and the very rare paved roadway. The game was successfully Kickstarted a number of months ago and just recently debuted on Steam to rave reviews.

Yosemite, Tokyo, Cupertino


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How some of your favorite Mac apps could look when OS X Yosemite launches — When OS X 10.10 Yosemite launches this fall, most of Apple’s first-party apps will look completely different. This means that many third-party apps will begin to look out of place. Zinx has compiled some mockups from Dribbble demonstrating how some popular apps could look when they are redesigned for Yosemite.

Apple shares video of Omotesando, Tokyo Apple Store grand opening preparation — Apple has shared a video on its official YouTube channel of its preparations for the June 13th grand opening of the Omotesando, Tokyo Apple Store (above). The video is just under a minute long, but it does provide some perspective into the lengths that Apple takes to prepare stores for their openings.

Apple opens stunning new (and more private) Caffè Macs employee cafeteria in Cupertino — According to employee tweets and photos, Apple opened a stunning new Caffè Macs employee cafeteria at the corner of Bandley and Alves Drive in Cupertino this past Tuesday. Located close to the company’s first campus building, Apple received approval to build at this location in early 2012, and after 2 years of work, the new cafeteria is complete.

Tax, iMac, Pro, campus, iStudio Publisher


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Apple responds to EU investigation into tax practices: “Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe” — Following a report yesterday that the European Commission was about to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland, the EU has now officially announced the investigation at a press conference. Bloomberg reports that the investigation will include not just Apple, but also Starbucks and Fiat Finance & Trade SA and will look at “whether the tax deals in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are illegal state aid.”

Apple may soon be able to repatriate its $100B+ overseas cash after Senate mulls tax holiday — If Congress delivers on a proposed tax holiday, Apple could soon join a slew of American companies with large dollar amounts of offshore money eager to repatriate their earnings without being subject to the current corporate tax rate.

iMac reportedly getting a spec bump next week, but no Retina model yet — According to a new MacG report, Apple is planning to debut a spec bump for the iMac lineup next week. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear these will be Retina iMacs (for which references have appeared in recent OS X beta builds). Instead, it seems we’re only due for a slight processor speed increase, with each model gaining only 100MHz.

The report speculates that the new models could include a new and improved Thunderbolt 2 connection, but there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation of that at this time. MacG accurately predicted the most recent MacBook Air refresh, so it’s a safe bet that these iMacs are coming next week.

A year after being announced, you can now get a Mac Pro within 24 hours — While you still may not be able to walk in to an Apple Store and expect to walk out with a 2013 Mac Pro, the US$3000 and $4000 base models of Apple’s professional desktop are shipping within 24 hours of ordering for the first time since launch in late December 2013. This includes shipping to Apple Retail Store locations for pickup. Apple, of course, previewed the latest Mac Pro model at WWDC 2013, exactly one year from yesterday, but it only promised then that it would begin shipping later that year. Availability has since proven to be a challenge for the ‘assembled-in-USA’ Mac line.

Foundation walls start to take shape around Campus 2 project as Apple permanently closes Pruneridge Ave — The first walls around Apple’s Campus 2 have begun to take shape, as noted by KCBS reporter Ron Cervi, in a tweet today. Previously, more photos from KCBS showed the site’s considerable excavation under way, and earlier photos from March detailed the demolition work of the former HP campus on the site, which was almost complete at that time.

iStudio Publisher — This MacPhun software that creates PDFs includes a free 30-day trial of the full iStudio Publisher application for page layout and desktop publishing. Please make full use of your trial period before purchasing.

Yosemite design vid, Air update, Irish tax


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Apple posts OS X Yosemite design video from WWDC keynote — Apple has posted the video about OS X Yosemite’s new design from the WWDC keynote. The video gives a look at the system’s new inherent translucency, cleaner layout, redesigned icons, and new buttons. You can watch it here.

Apple releases SMC update for mid-2013 MacBook Airs to address battery issues — Apple has issued SMC update 2.0 for all mid-2013 MacBook Airs, citing a fix for battery problems while the computer’s screen is closed.

This update addresses an issue which may cause the battery to drain faster than expected when the lid is closed.

You can download the update here or in the Mac App Store.

EU launching formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland — According to a report from Ireland’s RTE.ie, the European Commission has decided to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in the country (via The Loop). An announcement is expected by EU officials tomorrow:

Apple last year faced US Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax gimmicks or loopholes in Ireland. The EU shortly after launched an investigation into tax agreements with multinational companies in Ireland and number of other EU countries, while government officials in Ireland denied claims of a special 2% tax deal with Apple.

Later, in October of last year, the SEC in the US ultimately closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing on Apple’s part.