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Holy Crap! Darth Vader is in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

11:39 AM EDT, Jun. 23rd, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

As if we couldn't be any more excited about "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Entertainment Weekly just dropped a Death Star-size surprise in our laps: Darth Vader is in the movie. Since this movie chronicles the events leading up to the original 1977 Star Wars movie, it seemed pretty likely we'd see everyone's favorite Sith Lord, but now it's official. Hopefully Vader will make more than a cameo appearance because it would be frakking awesome to see him in ruthless bad-ass mode instead of the emo Vader we got in "Return of the Jedi." Rogue One hits theaters on December 16, so clear your schedule now.

Beijing iPhone Ban is About Money, not Politics

10:08 AM EDT, Jun. 23rd, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Analysis

Beijing iPhone 6 ban is a money grab, not politics

The Chinese company that won a ban on iPhone 6 sales in Beijing has been dead for about a year. But if you're thinking this is a case where China's government is using Shenzhen Baili's name in a political game against Apple, think again; this is a case where a company couldn't cut it making crappy products in a cut throat market.

1 Year Subscription for Typed Plus: $30

4:22 PM EDT, Jun. 22nd, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

https://deals.macobserver.com/sales/typed-1-year-all-access-to-plan-for-pro-bloggers?utm_source=macobserver.com&utm_medium=refer

We have a deal for you today on a 1-year subscription to Typed Plus, a blog publishing engine. With this plan, you can run up to 3 blogs with unlimited users and page views. The service hosts your images, you can do scheduled posting, and more. The price through our deal is $30, a massive 87% off retail.

BusyCal gets a Big Upgrade and an iOS App, too

11:38 AM EDT, Jun. 22nd, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

BusyCal is the go-to workhorse calendar app for the Mac, and now version 3 is out with new features like calculating travel time, an improved menubar view, and tasks tied to specific times. What's even cooler is that BusyCal is finally available as an iPhone and iPad app, so you can use the same familiar views on all of your devices and get event and task alerts on your Apple Watch. We've been testing the Mac and iOS versions for a few weeks and are pretty impressed. BusyCal 3 requires OS X El Capitan and costs US$49.99, or $29.99 for upgrades. The iPhone and iPad version costs $4.99 and requires iOS 9.3 or later.

Judge Dismisses Error 53 iPhone Bricking Lawsuit

9:39 AM EDT, Jun. 22nd, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Judge dismisses Error 53 class action lawsuit

A class action lawsuit against Apple over bricked iPhones and Error 53 has been dismissed because the Judge overseeing the case saying the plaintiffs failed to prove they had been harmed. This isn't, however, the end of the line because they can amend their claims, plus there are at least two similar cases in the court system, too.

Reason 9 Shipping, Adds Pitch Editor and New MIDI Processing

9:05 PM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Propellerhead shipped Reason 9 on Tuesday. The newest version of the digital audio workstation and sequencer adds two main features: Players automate and process MIDI input, and Pitch Edit, a pitch editor designed for vocals (think Melodyne or Auto-Tune). There are other new features, too, including Bounce In Place, new visual themes, and reverse MIDI clips. On the content side, Reason 9 adds more than 1,000 new "cutting-edge" sounds, and Pulsar dual channel LFO, a rack extension that was previously available only as a stand-alone $49 purchase. I love Reason, especially for sequencing. It's powerful software, and Propellerhead makes it ever-more capable with each new release. Reason 9 is priced at €405/US$449, while upgrades from any previous version are €129/$129. Propellerhead also has a stripped down version called Reason Essentials 9 priced at €120/$129. The software shipped today and is available now. 

Happy 20th Birthday to The Icon Factory!

7:14 PM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I wanted to take a moment to wish The Icon Factory a happy 20th birthday! It's an amazing accomplishment for any company to stay in business that long, but to transform yourself from an icon-designer to a major design firm, user interface consultant, and app maker is astounding. Icon Factory posted a company timeline/history that is a great walk down memory lane, especially for Mac users. I have a soft spot in my heart for this company because it was such a shining star in the Mac world when that company was at its nadir in 1996. Icon Factory made awesome icons that helped make my Mac more fun—it might sound like a small thing, but I remember it to this day. So thanks, Icon Factory, and happy birthday! May the next 20 years be even more interesting than the first. - Bryan

YoCam Versatile Waterproof Camera: $179

5:32 PM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

YoCam

Check out the YoCam, a small camera that is waterproof up to 20 feet (IP68). It takes photos or video, and has video stabilization, too. It weighs just 1.9 ounces, and it has a companion app for iPhone and Android devices for processing images. You can get YoCam through our deal for $179.

Apple Should just Confirm the iPhone 7 Headphone Jack is Gone

4:31 PM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Don't count on a headphone jack for the next iPhone refresh

The only big design change we can expect to see in the iPhone 7 when it ships this fall will be the lack of a headphone jack. That's what the latest report claims, and it also says it'll be 2017 before a major redesign comes. Considering this report comes from the Wall Street Journal, Apple should just go ahead and officially confirm the headphone jack is gone.

TMO Daily Observations 2016-06-21: Forcing Phone-free Concerts, Russia’s Anti-encryption Bill

1:57 PM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Daily Observations Podcast

Daily Observations Podcast

Going to an Alicia Keys concert will get your iPhone locked away, but not by the police. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on concert goers being forced to drop their smartphones in locked bags as a condition to see the show. They also take a look at Russia's bill calling for backdoors into encrypted chat apps.

Apple Summer Camp Teaches Movie Making, Writing, Robotics

11:41 AM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

It's summer camp time again at Apple's retail stores for kids who want to learn how to use their Macs and iPads to create cool movies and interactive books. The summer camps are free and run from July 11 through August 12 for kids ages 8 through 12. This year's sessions include Stories in Motion with iMovie, Interactive Storytelling with iBooks, and Coding Games and Programming Robots. They typically fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early if your kids want to go.

iPhone Lockscreen Music Controllers Also Work on Apple Watch

11:41 AM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

Today's announcement that Sonos added lockscreen controls to iOS led us (ok, it led my son) to realize that this likely meant it would also be controllable from an Apple Watch paired to the same iPhone. Sure enough, it is, and that's because whatever music is controllable from your iPhone's lock screen is also controllable from the "Now Playing" glance on Apple Watch. Note that the Now Playing section of the Apple Watch Music app is less likely to show this data, but sometimes it will appear there, too. The "Now Playing" glance, however, has proven 100% reliable in all of our tests.

Sonos adds Lock Screen Controls to iOS App

10:17 AM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

In a scenario where many Sonos users might find appropriate use for the word, finally, today Sonos rolled out a new version of their iOS controller app that adds playback controls to the iOS lockscreen. Users can now control volume, play/pause and seek location as well as being able to see album art without unlocking their iPhones (and from the Apple Watch, too). Previously users would need to unlock their iPhones and launch the Sonos app to do any of these things. In addition to the lock screen controls, Sonos added Peek & Pop shortcuts, split view, slide over, simpler TruePlay tuning and higher quality Napster and Rhapsody streams. For this Sonos user, today's update is very much Cool Stuff Found! Version 6.3 of the Sonos iOS controller can be is available for free in the app store.

Apple Puts Non-Retina MacBook Pro on Death Row

9:48 AM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Product News

Farewell, legacy MacBook Pro

Apple's 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro looks to be close to end of life because the company is pulling it from retail displays, and it's unavailable in some locations. Once the 13-incher is gone, the MacBook Air will be the only non-Retina laptop Apple sells, and none of its computers will ship with an internal optical drive.

Apple Forms a Subsidiary to Sell Electricity

5:45 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Apple is publicly moral in many ways. Apple's products are highly recyclable and Apple works to be good stewards of the planet's resources. To that end, Apple has formed a subsidiary, called Apple Energy. The goal, with approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is to sell excess solar energy to consumers and businesses via Renewable Energy Certificates. Not only is Apple setting the example for how to be green and also make money at it, but the company positioning itself for its own technical future. Of course, there are implications for Apple's (rumored) electric car as well. Forbes has a great story on this. "Why Apple Energy Is A Wake-Up Call For Businesses."