Features

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple

I hold a small metal device in my hands and twirl my finger on a circular controller, navigating the menus on my iPod classic. I haven't done this in a long time. I have a full range of iPod models, and this one, bought back in 2008, doesn't get much use any more. That click-wheel controller was never a great idea--it's clunky and inefficient--but it's emblematic of the early iPod line, before tapping on a tactile screen became the norm.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS | MOBILE | SOFTWARE

A steady decline

Apple forged a big alliance with IBM this week, and you know what that means: total fail. Meanwhile, iPhone users are mindless slaves to an inferior platform (no surprise there) and the iPhone 6 is doomed if it doesn't have a bigger screen.

NETWORKING

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What's next for Wi-Fi? A second wave of 802.11ac devices, and then: 802.11ax

Now that blazing-fast routers based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard are finally entering the mainstream, intrepid engineers are busily cooking up all-new hardware that will make that gear's performance seem quaint by comparison.

SOFTWARE

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The top 10 Windows 8 questions everyone asks

You've finally made the leap to Windows 8 (or, more probably, Windows 8.1), and a pretty big leap it was. Everything looks different. Everything acts differently. Even a simple task like shutting down your PC suddenly becomes a challenge.

SOFTWARE | HARDWARE SYSTEMS

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Ten years after: HP's primordial Windows XP tablet versus Surface Pro 3

The HP Compaq TC1100 is only 10 years old, but in mobile computing years, it's laughably archaic.

GAMES

Inside Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's MOBA mash-up of Diablo, StarCraft, and WarCraft

The world of multiplayer online battle arena games is becoming increasingly crowded, but Blizzard Entertainment is bringing the star power of its beloved PC game series--like WarCraft, Diablo, and StarCraft--to the fight in hopes of creating another hit and claiming victory over the likes of Riot Games' League of Legends, Turbine's Infinite Crisis, and Valve's Dota 2.

SOFTWARE | INDUSTRY VERTICALS

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This is your car on an iPhone: An app-driven road trip in the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE

It connects to my smartphone! It connects to the web! It connects to a wall outlet in my garage! The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE seems to connect to everything. Driving one for a week, I felt a connection myself--to the app that let me drive it greener and smarter, and even brag about it later.

BUSINESS ISSUES

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5 cool ways to use business cards in Evernote

Business cards get a bum rap. They create more clutter than connections, haters say, having been made obsolete by more sophisticated contact management web services and apps. But Evernote doesn't think so. Its addition of a business card camera to its iOS app and recent partnership with LinkedIn suggest it is determined to restore some of the business card's former glory and transform the way we use it. Here are 5 cool ways you can leverage Evernote's features to make business cards work for you.

INDUSTRY VERTICALS

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The 4G mobile hotspot you can drive: The 2015 Audi A3 is all about data

We piled into the 2015 Audi A3: four friends and me, along with their devices--two iPads and two MacBooks. While I pulled up a Google Earth map on the car's display, they punched in the network name and password for the car's 4G LTE hotspot. Off we went, and all our online services came with us: music, videos, email, the works.

SOFTWARE

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Why Apple needs to fix App Store search

Search has become the foundation of everything we do online. From Google and Bing queries to Siri, Spotlight and Songza, the apps and services we rely on would be worthless without those tiny magnifying glasses and shaded bars to guide us.

Expert Opinion

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Our favorite iOS Apps, July edition

As we do every month, Macworld staffers got together to chat about the best apps they've been using recently. Here are some that have recently captured our imaginations (and perhaps a spot on our homescreens), whether they're tiny apps from budding developers or the top-grossing apps that everyone is using. Our hope is that, while you might recognize some of these apps, others you might never have encountered. All of them, we think, are worth a look.

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Microsoft's productivity drive could kill software as we know it

On Thursday, Satya Nadella charted a new course for Microsoft, focused on interconnectivity and productivity--one where, conceivably, the company's standard-setting Office applications and other products and services could slowly blur into different modes of working with the same data.

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All about DDR4, the next-gen memory coming soon for PCs and mobile devices

New CPU and GPU architectures roil the market pretty much every year--sometimes more than once a year. Yet in spite of the impact that system memory can have on a PC's performance, the industry has relied on the same basic memory architecture for what seems like an eternity--in tech time, at least.

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Apple's HomeKit hub may already be in your house

At Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced--among a great many other things--HomeKit, a suite of tools for controlling such devices in your home as thermostats, furnaces and air conditioners, smart appliances, lights, cameras, garage-door openers, and security systems. Apple will provide a platform that these devices will be asked to conform to. Do so, and you can control them all from your iOS device.

Editors Pick

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Apple doesn't need its own gadgets to dominate the smart home

If you believe the weekend rumors, Apple will announce a connected-home platform next week at WWDC. But before you get too excited about an iThermostat and an iFridge and an iCamera watching you sleep, consider this: If Apple does get into the home-automation market, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll make smart-home gadgets of its own.

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10 things we want to see in Microsoft's Surface Mini

If Microsoft indeed intends to release a shrunk-down Surface Mini this month, as an invite for a "small" Surface event suggests, merely downsizing the tablet's design to fit an 8-inch frame ain't going to cut it. Sure, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 are beautiful pieces of kit, but they're made for big-screen productivity--the Surface Pro is essentially an Ultrabook without a keyboard. That experience won't translate well to a smaller form factor, better suited for content consumption than content creation.

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With this phone, I thee wed: How the Nokia-Microsoft union changes everything

There's no getting cold feet now. On Friday, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's device business will be official, after months of delays and regulatory hurdles. The remnants of Nokia will get a whopping $7.2 billion. In return, Microsoft will get 32,000 new employees, a legion of Lumias, and oh yeah, those funky Android-based Nokia X phones.

Latest Product Reviews

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MediaBeam: This ultra-cheap streaming stick isn't worth the money

Just what the world needs: another HDMI dongle to compete with Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick. Like those popular devices, Ematic's MediaBeam plugs directly into one of your HDTV's HDMI ports in order to stream content.

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Samsung Gear Live: It's the world's best smartwatch, but probably not for long

The Gear Live is the best smartwatch I've ever used--but that's not a remarkable achievement considering all the crappy-to-middling efforts we've seen from Samsung, Sony and Qualcomm. If I were being generous, I'd say Samsung finally landed on a simple, wrist-friendly interface that does away with messy nested menus and convoluted features like voice calling.

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OnePlus One: You're in control with this ultra-affordable phone

There's a utopian idea behind the OnePlus One: Offer a phone powered by the latest hardware and featuring a wealth of carrier options without any carrier restrictions. If that doesn't grab you, the price tag might--it's $300 for an off-contract 16GB model, about half of what you'd pay for phones boasting similar specs. But does the phone deliver a premium experience?

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App Factory 1.2: Turn your script into a stand-alone app

Editor's note: The following review is part of Macworld's GemFest 2014. Every day (except weekends) from July until September, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a standout free, low-cost, or great-value program. You can view a list of this year's apps, updated daily, on our handy GemFest chart, and you can visit the Mac Gems homepage for past Mac Gems reviews.