Buyer’s Guide: Discounts on iPhone, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, Apple Accessories, and More [Mac Blog]
Happy almost Fourth of July! With the holiday approaching, retailers are offering celebratory holiday sales, discounting a wide range of products. Sales are available at big box stores like Best Buy and at smaller websites, so if you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on an Apple product or accessory, make sure to see if it’s on sale this week.
There’s a new feature in the Buyer’s Guide, which will let you know when a product is available at the lowest price we’ve seen. Look for the products that are tagged with “Lowest Price Ever” to see some of the best discounts available. There are several this week, on an older 2014 Retina MacBook Pro that’s available for $600 off and on several older MacBook Air models.
We’ve rounded up the best deals we could find, on Apple products like the iPhone and on Apple accessories. As always, we’ve also got a list of great apps and games that are on sale this week.
Best Buy is offering a free $50 Best Buy gift card with the purchase and activation of any iPhone on a Verizon Edge, AT&T Next, Sprint Easy Pay, or Sprint Leasing plan. It’s also available for two-year agreements through Verizon and Sprint.
Prices for the iPhone 6 start at $199 with a two-year contract, or $21.67/month on a plan like AT&T Next.
iPad Air 2
Staples is discounting several of its iPad Air 2 models by $100, dropping the price of the 16GB Wi-Fi only model to $399. iPads on sale include all 16GB Wi-Fi only models and 64GB Wi-Fi only models in Gold and Space Gray, which are priced at $499 instead of $599 with the discount.
JXE Streams: An early, eerie look at ‘We Happy Few’
Drugs, check. Dystopia, check. An alternative 1960s English town with a terrifying history, check. We Happy Few ticks a lot of my boxes in its premise alone, plus the art direction seems spot-on and the characters already feel real. Take Uncle Jack for example: He’s a talk-show host with a permanent smile fixed on his painted face, and he says things like, “Of course, none of us had to do anything terrible when the Germans were here. No, no. At least, I can’t remember anything. Can you?” And then he laughs in a way that suggests, yes, everyone in this small English town definitely did something awful. One thing remains unclear about We Happy Few so far: How it plays. We’re going to find out today live on Twitch with a super-early, pre-alpha build of the game. Even though Compulsion still has to add more AI behaviors, world-building elements, combat mechanics and other features, they’ve given us the go-ahead to show off the early world of Wellington Wells. Join us at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT right here, on the Engadget Gaming homepage or at Twitch.tv/Joystiq.
Leak hints the next iPhone might record 4K video
Tired of recording ‘just’ 1080p video on your iPhone while your friends produce clips in glorious 4K? You won’t have to look on with envy for much longer, if the latest rumors are on the mark. A tipster on China’s Sina Weibo has posted what appear to be leaked details of the next iPhone’s rear camera, and it’ll reportedly jump to 12 megapixels with 4K video recording. There’s no guarantee that this is in the cards, but it jives with earlier claims that Apple’s future handset will focus on camera upgrades. You’re not likely to see design changes, if 9to5Mac‘s photos are accurate, so photographic improvements like this will likely be more important this time around.
Of course, the real question is whether or not 4K capture will matter much in practice. There are many more 4K TVs these days, as well as a 5K iMac, but they’re all pretty expensive — it’s still hard to find a place to play those Ultra HD videos in full detail. The gobs of storage necessary for 4K also limit how much you can record at a time. With that said, there are signs that Apple is working on a relatively cheap 4K iMac and otherwise pushing for higher-res content. If the iPhone is jumping to 4K movie-making, this year seems like a prime opportunity.
Photo by Will Lipman.
Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Apple
Source: Sogi (translated)
SoundCloud iOS update makes it easier to find new music
SoundCloud has been keen on adding new features regularly to make its version of music streaming more useful for listeners. With an update today, the company’s iOS app received a handful of tools that’ll make it a bit easier to find new tracks and keep your favorites organized. When you find a song you like, selecting the “Play related tracks” option from the menu will serve up some related suggestions. For that collection of songs you’ve liked, or playlists you’ve created, there’s a new shuffle option to change things up a bit. Finally, when the time comes to edit those playlists, you can now add or remove tracks from inside the app. You’ll no longer need to venture over to a browser to do a bit of organizing. The new tools are available now for iOS users, but, unfortunately, there’s no word on when the Android faithful will get access.
Filed under: Portable Audio/Video, Software, Mobile
Source: SoundCloud, iTunes
The Wirecutter’s best deals: a soundbar, Bluetooth headphones and more!
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This post was created in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Samsung 32GB EVO microSD Memory Card
Street Price: $16; MSRP: $38; Deal Price: $13
This deal is a match for the memory card’s lowest price ever on Amazon. It’s a repeat of an earlier deal we posted in May. It hasn’t gone above $17 since then.
The Samsung 32GB EVO is our pick for the best microSD card. Kimber Streams wrote, “The 32GB Samsung EVO is the best microSD card for most people’s smartphones and tablets because of its comparatively speedy 4KB random read and write speeds, snappy sequential read and write speeds, and 10-year limited warranty. It’s inexpensive, made by a reliable manufacturer, and the fastest you can get without spending a lot more money.”
Paradigm SHIFT Soundscape Soundbar
Street Price: $1,500; MSRP: $1,500; Deal Price: $1,200
We’ve posted this soundbar before at $1,275 but this is the first time it’s dropped to $1200. Stock does seem a little limited, with Electronics Expo (via Amazon) having 9 left, but other third party sellers that also have Prime shipping matched the $1,200 price.
The Paradigm SHIFT Soundscape Soundbar is our best soundbar. Chris Heinonen said, “When you’re paying this much for a soundbar, you want it to sound great, which the Paradigm Soundscape does. It bested almost all its competitors in our testing thanks to a more-accurate lower-midrange that provides some extra richness and warmth to movies and music. It throws a very large, involving soundstage and has clear dialogue with its center channel.” He also noted that the wireless adapter included works with any subwoofer, a rarity in this age of proprietary protocols.
JayBird BlueBuds X Bluetooth Headphones Storm White
Street Price: $122; MSRP: $170; Deal Price: $110
This is the lowest price for these headphones ever offered by Amazon. They’ve been steadily decreasing in price since the first of the year. This deal is only available on the Storm White variety of the headphones.
The Jaybird Bluebuds X are the runner-up in our best exercise headphones article. Lauren Dragan said, “If you want to cut the cord and go for Bluetooth, look no further than the Jaybird BlueBuds X. Bass sounds great, they’re light and don’t chafe, and they pack a lifetime sweatproof warranty.” She added, “They were just barely edged out as our top pick.”
Refurbished Dyson AM06 Bladeless Fan
Street Price: $240; MSRP: $300; Deal Price: $140
This is a fantastic price and significantly below any price we’ve seen on new models of the AM06. Since it’s through a Dyson authorized dealer and service center, it comes with a 6 month warranty through Dyson and 6 months through ABC Vacuum’s warehouse. However, our top pick in the best fan has a 5 year warranty and Dyson themselves offer a 2 year warranty, so you’ll have to consider whether that’s a deal breaker for you.
The Dyson AM06 is what we considered the best combo desk and room fan in our best fan article. Seamus Bellamy said, “During our testing, the $250 AM06 moved more air than any other desk fan. On its highest settings, this 4-pound 5.8 by 12 by 19.7-inch fan could put out as much air as some of the room fans we tested-and it often worked as well as they did, despite being much smaller.”
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
Filed under: Household, Portable Audio/Video, Storage, Samsung
Samsung Galaxy J2 spotted on Geekbench
Samsung has been grabbing all of the news lately with their flagship devices. Now comes some news on an entry-level device from Samsung which is limited to Asian countries. In a market like India, brand value is what sells a device. People buying either high-end or low-end smartphones always want to go with an established brand. The main reason for brand value is the sales support.
As it is, in Asian markets, due to the hoard of cheap smartphones, it’s essential to have good post sales service. These low-end devices tend to breakdown very easily and are riddled with numerous software issues. Both, the Indian and the Chinese markets have conservative buyers who always look at the price-to-performance factor seriously before buying any smartphone. Due to the lack of carrier offers in India, the cost of these devices is up nevertheless. Big brands like Samsung appeal to the average consumer more because of their reliable customer service. The Galaxy J2 will surely be on the checklist of many Asian consumers when it enters the market later this year.
The Galaxy J2 was spotted earlier in an import listing where it had been shipped to India for testing. There was nothing much that we grabbed from that, only that the Galaxy J2 has a 4.7-inch screen. But, few days back an unconfirmed report from wlivenews listed all the technical specifications for the Galaxy J2. Measuring at 129 x 68.2 x 8.9 mm the Galaxy J2 is said to feature a 4.7-inch TFT capacitive display with a resolution of 540×960 ppi. 1GB RAM is said to be handling the flow with 8GB onboard storage(expandable upto 128GB via MicroSD) and running on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Media-wise it is said to feature an 8MP rear autofocus camera with a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels, and a 2MP front-facing camera. All of this packed into a neat 122g package, available in white or black colors.
Even though unconfirmed, the specs above look nothing promising compared to the Chinese counterparts that Samsung will have to face. A benchmark entry, on Geekbench, gave further insight on the Galaxy J2 today confirming two things; dubbed as SM-J200F, Samsung’s entry-level device features a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and runs Android 5.1.1.
This also tells us that, the Galaxy J2 will be one of the first non-flagship devices from Samsung which will be running on Android 5.1.1. A new version of TouchWiz UX is also expected to be on this phone as with all latest Samsung devices. How well Samsung can optimize the software on the Galaxy J2 will be the game changer in the market though.
Samsung’s first entrant into the J series was a forgetful one. The Galaxy J1 packed low-end specs and was priced rather steeply. Hopefully the Galaxy J2 will fare much better if priced accordingly. Since, these devices are targeted more at Asian markets, price plays a very important role as well as software optimization. Samsung’s brand value is respected more in Asia compared to Chinese brands and people will buy this device for sure, but only if its priced right. Let’s hope Samsung gets this before delivering another sloppy device.
The post Samsung Galaxy J2 spotted on Geekbench appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Galaxy S5 gets an update on AT&T, but it’s not 5.1
Users of the AT&T Galaxy S5 have been anxiously awaiting the 5.1 update. T-Mobile has already rolled it out to theirs and many thought the AT&T variant would follow soon after.
An update has arrived at a hefty 296MB, but it is not the hoped for 5.1 update. The change log only list security and performance improvements. The new updates build number is G900AUCU4BOF2 and requires a wifi connection.
Come comment on this article: Galaxy S5 gets an update on AT&T, but it’s not 5.1
ARCHOS unveils the 50d Helium smartphone – Android 5.1, 13MP camera, $129
If you aren’t familiar with French smartphone and tablet manufacturer ARCHOS, perhaps now is a good time to do so. Over the past few years the company has aimed to produce high-quality software and hardware for a low price point, and it looks like its new offering does just that. ARCHOS has just unveiled the budget-friendly 50d Helium smartphone that may actually give other low cost smartphones a run for their money.
The 50d Helium offers up a 5.0-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 resolution, a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 processor, Adreno 305 GPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage and microSD expansion. It also features a dual SIM card slot, 4G LTE connectivity, a 13MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front-facer and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box. The non-removable 2100mAh battery is perhaps the worst specification this device brings to the table, but I’m pretty sure the price point will make up for it as far as many users are concerned.
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The ARCHOS 50d Helium ships with two soft, “stone finished” interchangeable backplates in Storm Blue and Stone Grey color options, and will be available this July for just $129. ARCHOS didn’t reveal a specific release date for the device, so we’ll let you know when it becomes available.
So what do you think, is the 50d Helium worth $129? Or is that too much to ask? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.
How Apple Music’s Liking System Works to Customize ‘For You’ Recommendations
Apple Music’s main draw is its focus on curation and its ability to learn about your music preferences to provide recommendations that suit your tastes. Apple’s new Music app focuses heavily on content discovery, with an entire “For You” section dedicated to recommendations.
According to Apple, its music experts “handpick songs, artists, and albums based on what you listen to and like,” and this content is what populates the “For You” section. Apple’s explained that “For You” recommendations get better over time based on “whether you love a song or not,” but the company hasn’t explicitly spelled out how to best use likes and listens to better tailor Apple Music to your tastes.
To clear up confusion on how recommendations work, The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple has spoken directly with Apple to get some insight on how the “Like” feature in Apple Music works to affect recommendations, and he’s penned a useful guide on liking from the information he obtained.
Any song played from Beats 1 radio, a default radio station, a curated playlist, or from a search can be liked by expanding the miniplayer and tapping the heart icon. You can essentially heart anything that’s playing via Apple Music.
As Dalrymple explains, tapping the heart button on a song you like influences the content that’s then displayed in the “For You” section of Apple Music. As more content is liked, the feature gets a better idea of each individual user’s tastes, and is able to offer up a more tailored selection of music. Music that’s added to a library and music that’s played in full also affects “For You.”
Tapping the heart does affect “For You,” the section of Apple Music that’s custom built with playlists, albums and songs tailored to your individual tastes. For You also takes into account music you add to your library and full plays you listen to. Skips aren’t really taken into account, because there are so many reasons you may skip a song–maybe you’re just not in the mood for it right now.
Radio stations created from individual songs, done by tapping on the hamburger button when any song is playing and choosing “Start Station,” work a bit differently. Instead of displaying a heart, these playlists display a star. Tapping the star allows you to choose “Play More Like This” or “Play Less Like This” to tune a radio station to your particular tastes at that time without affecting overall “For You” recommendations.
Pressing on any album or playlist recommendation in “For You” gives you an option to customize the section even more, by choosing “I Don’t Like This Suggestion.” It appears that this customization option is limited to iOS devices for the time being, as Apple Music on Mac doesn’t offer this menu.
Apple Music’s ability to offer up intensively tailored song recommendations over time may be one of the reasons why Apple insisted on giving users a three month trial to experience the service. Regularly liking songs and culling the “For You” section of recommendations that aren’t suitable should vastly change the quality of suggestions over the course of the next few months.
Nexus 4, 10 and 7 (2012) may still receive Android M after all
When Android M was officially announced, Google gave the bad news that the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 (2012) were not to receive the update due to the age of the devices, but that may be about to change.
A reference to the codename of the Nexus 10, manta, appeared in the AOSP repository for the device and an update dated May 28th was found marked as android-m-preview. Similar updates were found for the Nexus 4, and Nexus 7 WiFi, lending suggestion that those devices may actually receive the updated Android operating system.
It seems that Google is still investing in the older devices with the Android M rollout, which is great news for adopters of the Nexus devices, because that’s what the Nexus programme is all about. Whilst there’s no official announcements for the support of these devices, don’t be surprised if that changes closer to Android M’s public release.
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