News

BUSINESS ISSUES

What to look for in Apple's earnings announcement

It's that time again--time to once more pore over page after page of financial details, to stare at endless columns of numbers, hoping that some obscure truth, unseen by most, will pop out at us. Yes, it's time for Apple financials.

SECURITY

Open sesame: How iOS 8 will unlock Touch ID's power

As iOS 8--and, presumably, new iPhone and iPad hardware--approaches its release day, big changes are on the horizon for Apple's Touch ID, a technology that has been met with less enthusiasm than it deserves.

INDUSTRY VERTICALS

Meet your second car: How the small, slender, $6800 Elio seeks a bigger audience

Call Elio the anti-alternative car: Quirky, but bound and determined to be mainstream rather than niche. That's why this three-wheel, two-seat, one-door car was at the Village at Corte Madera shopping mall last Friday--to show everyday people what their second car could look like.

SOFTWARE

Google Docs: 3 incredibly useful tools for edits and revisions

Google's cloud productivity suite, whatever you want to call it, has been making inroads in the world of work and collaboration. And it's not just because there's no software to install, it auto-saves your work, and it's free. The recent surge in Chromebook sales also means users are looking to get work done with web applications more than ever.

SECURITY

Russian cyberweapons cross-pollinating commercial malware, analysis claims

Sophisticated code of the sort used in Russian Government cyberweapons could be seeping into the commercial malware wielded by the country's criminals, a security firm has suggested after analysing the apparent cross-pollination in a previously unknown piece of malware called ‘Gyges'.

HARDWARE SYSTEMS

Toshiba Encore 2: it's bigger than the original, but is it actually a downgrade?

Toshiba's Encore 2 gives the veteran PC maker a bigger Windows 8.1-based tablet to take to the Aussie market, with the new model sporting a 10.1in screen as opposed to the 8in screen of the original Encore. But the new model seems to makes some compromises in order to keep its price tag attractive.

SOFTWARE

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Reborn Walkman steals some of Pono's hi-res audio thunder

Apparently the folks at Sony were listening to Neil Young: The company that introduced the Walkman portable cassette player in 1979 hopes to breathe new life into the brand with a high-resolution audio portable that plays FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) 24-bit 192kHz audio files. That's the same high-resolution audio format chosen by Young and his Pono partners for their PonoPlayer, which is set to ship in October.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

Hybrid, meet desktop: Surface Pro 3 docking station officially available for preorder

Nearly two months to the day after first revealing the Surface Pro 3 tablet, Microsoft has officially put its $200 docking station up for pre-order, after teasing would-be buyers with a limited-availability window last month.

SOFTWARE

Twitter tweaking Direct Messages for easier use across devices

Twitter is making a couple changes to its Direct Message system as the company grows increasingly fond of private communications.

INTERNET

Meet We Heart It, the teen social network that brands are watching

Social networks that appeal to women are written off as silly time-wasters (see: Pinterest), and ones that appeal to young girls are taken even less seriously. That's how 7-year-old We Heart It has flown under the radar for all this time, despite amassing millions of users and several high-profile advertisers.

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.