News

SOFTWARE | CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

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Windows Phone 8.1 Update to make IE as good as iOS

It isn't every day that a company like Microsoft admits that its mobile browser isn't up to snuff compared to its competitors, like the iPhone or Android devices.

INTERNET

Nonlinear Film Technology lets you (and the rest of the audience) be the director

If you've ever grumbled to yourself at the end of a movie, "Well, that story didn't go the way it should have," then you'll want to know about Nonlinear Film Technology, or NFT. Pioneered by the filmmaking team of Milton Matthew Horowitz, Ryan Forte, and Todd Smyth, NFT marries smartphone apps with multiple movie versions and addressable movie theater servers--it's a little like Choose Your Own Adventure for films.

SOFTWARE | MOBILE | NETWORKING

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Office for iPad updated with PDF exporting, flick gestures

Microsoft updated its three Office for iPad apps--Word, PowerPoint, and Excel--with new features including PDF exporting, presentation views, and even a new flick gesture.

HARDWARE SYSTEMS

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This wildly ambitious PC uses copper foam and custom engineering to pack big power in a small, silent package

Your next ultra-powerful, ultra-tiny PC could look like a Brillo pad or copper-hued Chia pet, if a crowdfunding-slash-preorder campaign by Silent Power meets its goals--and then delivers on some ambitious engineering promises.

INDUSTRY VERTICALS

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Revolv's connected home hub gets even smarter with an Android app and Nest support

The best thing about the Revolv smart home hub is that you don't have to stick with one brand for all your connected home gadgets. The hub integrates multiple wireless protocols, and a single app lets you control everything, nearly 100 supported devices and counting.

GAMES

Sony's PlayStation Now game streaming service enters open beta

Two years after its purchase of game streaming service Gaikai, Sony has finally launched the fruits of that labor: PlayStation Now entered public beta Thursday. PlayStation Now is Sony's answer to backwards compatibility--a library of older PlayStation titles that can be streamed to your console.

SECURITY

Tor points finger at US researchers after possible compromise of service

In a year, Tor has turned from a celebrated global anonymity service into a full-scale privacy battleground, under attack from suspicious Feds, abused by criminals while earlier this week we learned that even the Russian Government hates it.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

BlackBerry Messenger beta freely available for Windows Phone

BlackBerry released its BlackBerry Messenger app in open beta for Windows Phone on Thursday, taking it out of the private beta stage.

INTERNET

Samsung's Milk Music service adds $4 per month premium subscription option

Samsung hinted this day was coming, and, well, now it's here. A new $4 per month paid tier has been introduced to the company's Milk Music streaming radio service, which is built atop Slacker Radio and comes preinstalled on select Galaxy phones.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

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Iota offers no-fee GPS tracking, thanks to long-range RF and your neighbors' Wi-Fi

Locating devices to keep track of your stuff (or even your pets or kids) sure are handy, but they have their limits. Trackers that rely on Bluetooth, like Tile and Proximo, have a relatively small range, so once they're more than 150 feet from your cell phone, you can't see them until they're back in range. GPS trackers, like Tagg for pets and HereO and Filip for kids, can be tracked anywhere, but you also need to pay a monthly fee for a cellular connection to send the data from the GPS chip up to the cloud before

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.